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Posts with tag dual-specs

Are pure DPS classes really just another form of hybrid in disguise?

Once upon a time, my guild was trying its hardest to down 25-man heroic mode Lich King. It was the very end of Wrath, and we were running out of time to put an end to the boss before the inevitable launch of Cataclysm. I had been playing an assassination spec since some point between Ulduar and ToC, having given up on ever obtaining a really good combat weapon (I was partial to fist weapons; something about punching people in the face with knives appealed to me), and I was really good at it. I spent forever poring over stat caps and best-in-slot items and had just gotten the perfect set of items that capped every stat that needed to be capped.

And then it happened -- the prep patch for Cataclysm. Do you know what the best stat is for an assassination rogue in Cataclysm (other than hit, of course)? Mastery. Do you know what wasn't present on any Wrath gear? Mastery. My DPS went down, and due to sup-par burst DPS, I was sat for the realm-first 25-man heroic mode Lich King kill. I watched all my guildies ding the achievement and get the one title I was really excited about. And later, one of the officers, a druid, asked me flat out -- why didn't I have a backup combat spec?

Oh ... if only he knew.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Blizzard: No triple spec on the horizon, but it's not ruled out

When Blizzard introduced the dual spec system in patch 3.1, speculation almost immediately turned to the concept of the "triple spec." The idea seemed like an all-too-real possibility, gated behind the caveat of "We want to see how the system works first."

Two years later, we have plenty of information on how the dual spec system works. Its initial price tag of 1,000 gold kept it limited only to the most serious of players, but even that high cost couldn't keep the more casual set away. The pricetag has since been slashed all the way down to a mere 10 gold, making it something that everyone can, should, and will train. Dual spec has become so popular that Cataclysm's new stat system seems as if it was built around it. You can now be a successful shadow priest and healing priest in the same gear; a feral DPS druid can change into an able feral tank with very few gearing changes.

Dual spec's been such a terrific and natural fit that it's hard to imagine the game without having it. To that extent, it's been a smashing success. And so, if dual spec has worked so well, why not consider triple spec? For paladins and druids especially -- both of whom can heal, DPS, and tank -- it'd be a godsend. Triple spec would lead even more people to create a PvP spec, an aspect of the game that Blizzard wants more of us to experience.

Unfortunately, triple specs aren't on the horizon, or so said Community Manager (and blue poster) Bashiok on the official Blizzard forums today:

So ... Why don't we have Tri-spec yet?
Obviously having an array of possible specs to choose from would be convenient for any number of reasons, but it would also encourage situations where people are using it to shift their builds around for each individual encounter or task. Those are the kinds of options that quickly stop being options, and instead become a requirement. And as they become a requirement our necessity to design and balance around it changes it from a nice convenience option to a core piece of the game design puzzle.

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Filed under: News items, The Daily Blues

G4 talks to Blizzard about five years of WoW

We are quickly approaching the fifth anniversary of World of Warcraft's release (my calendar has it on the 23rd of November), and G4 has gotten a head start on celebrating -- they sent Morgan Webb over to Blizzard headquarters to talk to the team, including Tom Chilton, Alex Afrasiabi, and Jeff Kaplan, about what things have been like in the last five years since WoW's launch. There's nothing super groundbreaking in here, but there is lots of reminiscing about the game's early thinking -- Chilton talks about how dual specs were never even considered as an idea (until they, you know, were) and what things were like in the early post-launch days. Pretty stressful, sounds like.

Afrasiabi talks about how the quest team puts together and tracks all of the game's quests (he mentions both Metzen and the game's historian as the "lorekeepers" of the game), and the fact that they've put together "millions of words" of story and background lore for the game at large. He specifically talks about Cataclysm and replacing questlines, and says that if something does get removed from the game, they're hoping to replace it with something better, but most "fan favorites" will stay. And finally, Jeff Kaplan looks back on the early game itself, from unfinished zones to broken balance to launch day exhaustion. G4 teases something about the next MMO project, but all he says is that he can't talk about it. Oh well -- if we can't look forward, at least we get a nice look back from the folks at Blizzard who've been there since the beginning. You can see all four of the videos after the break.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Blizzard, News items, Quests, Lore

Equipment manager and dual talents won't mix

Now, I was under the impression that Blizzard eventually wanted to combine the dual specs and equipment manager features -- they were taking their sweet time making sure it was exactly right, but eventually when you switched specs, you'd be able to switch into the gear you wanted at the same time. But apparently that's not the case: the lovely Nethaera over on the forums says that no, there are no plans to connect the two. They believe that many people will want to change specs and gear at different times, so you'll still have to press two buttons if you just have two gear sets for two specs.

Fortunately, that functionality is filled in very well with addons, and Eliah did a nice writeup last month of how to do it with a few of the available addons out there. Which is probably why Blizzard isn't doing it -- we've heard at the BlizzCon UI panel that they're more than happy to let addon authors fill in the extra functionality that they believe only a few players are looking for. And as you can see in the thread, there are macros that will tie them together as well.

Better for Blizzard to get to work on something else than put together functionality that those who really need can already find. But yes, if you're waiting for an official solution to switching gear and specs at the same time, look elsewhere.

Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Add-Ons, Talents

The high cost of rez sickness

Lotonero got his thread locked because he posted it in the wrong forum, but he makes an interesting point: rez sickness costs are higher than ever. Death costs are already pretty high -- when you're dressed in greens and blues it's not much of a problem, but get yourself down to red on some high-level epics, and see if you don't wince when you hit up the repair vendor to pay the piper. But rez sickness costs are even worse -- they affect durability on all of your items, even those you're not wearing, and so when a dual-specced healer or tank with two or even three sets of gear goes rez-sick, the amount they have to pay goes through the roof.

Now, you might think what I thought: if you're carrying around that much epic gear, then a) why are you dying, and b) why are you rezzing from a spirit healer? But Wryxian, right before sending Lotonero packing to the suggestions thread, throws in his own two cents: "Maybe not." Maybe Blizzard might consider it -- dual specs wasn't around when they originally thought up the cost of rez sickness, and maybe since many players are carrying around two sets of gear now, it's due for another look. I didn't think the Hearthstone cooldown needed a nerf either, but we got that anyway.

So maybe it's something for Blizzard to think about. My guess is that most players will not think it's worth the change -- gold is flowing so freely nowadays and the death penalty is so cheap (back in the EQ days, we used to lose XP or even levels) that it's not a big deal, especially when you choose to go rez sick. But it's true that this is one of the game's oldest mechanics, so maybe it's time to take a critical look.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, Making money

WoW Insider interviews Tom Chilton on Patch 3.1 and beyond

Now this is by no means the first time we've interviewed World of Warcraft's Lead Developer Tom Chilton (aka Kalgan) but we though with the recent release of Patch 3.1, this would be the perfect time to sit down with him and get the 411 on Blizzard's plans for their latest patch.

WoW Insider: Blizzard seem to be treating each major patch as more of a mini expansion, what are the reasons for this?

Tom Chilton: I would say the biggest reason is because we're always pushing ourselves to do as much as we can in every patch. We're never really satisfied with what we have in the patch versus what we didn't have. Maybe the developers get a little out of control - but in a good way as that's good for players. More than anything else we want to make sure that in a patch we have content for everyone.

We feel like one of the things we didn't do so well in the past was to deliver content for everyone, we would deliver content for different parts of the player base at any given time like a 25-person raid or a 10-person raid or here's a new battleground, back in the day of Arathi Basin. However we didn't really hit everyone at the same time so we're trying harder to do that while at the same time maintain our pace of Expansions ... our blindingly rapid pace of Expansions.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Expansions, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: If you could add game mechanic to WoW what would it be


Last night I was flying down to Un'Goro to do the Hard Boiled Noblegarden achievement. Long flights get me thinking, at least they did until I installed the Bejeweled addon. World of Warcraft has changed so much since I started playing and 3.1 has brought some of the most interesting changes: dual specs, the hearthstone timer nerf.

Now as I was flying, my guild whispered me asking for my aid in Naxx 10. Fortunately they could summon me but it reminded me of one of the biggest problems with flying in Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, you can't get off a bird. Yes I know you can log out and then log back in to be deposited at the next flight point but it's hardly ideal if you need to get off right now.

Since I first started playing, I've wondered why Blizzard don't implement a handy eject button that you could use when on long flights. You could be thrown from the back of your gryphon or wind rider and gently parachute to the ground. Alternatively they could just allow you to hearthstone while flying. But I digress. Readers, I want to know if you could add one mechanic to the game what would it be?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Lichborne: A Patch 3.1 talent build cookie platter for Death Knights

When I said I wanted a new build, this wasn't exactly what I meant.
Welcome to Lichborne, your (usually) weekly (I swear) source for Death Knight news and tips.

So now that Patch 3.1 is underway, the basic cookie cutter tank and DPS builds have begun emerging. The Patch 3.1 nerfs really haven't slowed us down in any major way, and with dual specs in, we're doing better than ever on the whole versatility front. In recognition of this, let's give you some straight information, no chaser. Here's a handful of cookie cutter DPS and Tank builds for each tree to get you on the right path to DPS or tanking dominance in Patch 3.1, or both if you've dropped that 1000 gold. All of these builds also included recommended glyphs at the link as well.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances, Raiding, Leveling, Talents, Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Breakfast Topic: Is your raid lead requiring dual specs?


Sometimes the title of the post says it all. Is your raid leader requiring dual specs? If not, is he or she planning to?

While I've retired from my raid leading responsibilities, back in the day I probably would have "asked nicely" a few people to pickup dual specs, even going as far to have the guild pay for it. Of course the people that I asked would have likely been doing it on their own anyways. For instance I had an awesome Paladin tank who did just as good as DPS.

Right now the primary situation where dual specs are useful revolve around 10-man groups. Some fights are quite healing intensive and less of a DPS race. Those would benefit from having a hybrid switch from DPS to healing. An elemental shaman switching over to resto to heal the raid can make a major difference.

So how about it, is your raid leader making you dual spec?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: What do you think of 3.1


It's been a long old twenty four hours but the US servers have had Patch 3.1 running life for a little while now. I can just imagine the thousands of people swamping Ulduar, the Argent Tournament and every class trainer from Azuremyst to Thunderbluff will be stood on by thousands of toons trying to dual spec.

Now over the last few weeks Breakfast Topic has been, quite understandably, a little Patch 3.1-heavy. We've asked about your most anticipated feature, whether your guild is ready and where your toon will be when the realms restart (just in case you were wondering, Serisa is waiting outside Ulduar to see if the above happens on live as well).

So if you're lucky, you've had a few hours to poke around and take a look, I want to know what your impressions are of The Secrets of Ulduar now that it's gone live?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

World of Warcraft Patch 3.1 Official Patch Notes

Here we are ladies and gentleman, the official patch notes for the live version of patch 3.1. Features of this patch include:
  • Dual Specs
  • Ulduar
  • Argent Tournament
  • Major Class Changes
  • Swimming Mounts
  • New Inscriptions
A few reminders about these notes. First, they were obtained from the official patch files. Secondly, the notes are subject to change at the whim of Blizzard. If they do, you'll be able to find the changes here. Third, not everything on the PTR makes it into the live patch – and not everything in the live patch was on the PTR.

The full notes are after the break: Part I and Part II.

For a concise listing of everything we've written on the patch, check out WoW Insider's Guide to Patch 3.1.

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Filed under: Patches, News items

Spiritual Guidance: Shadow as a secondary spec in 3.1

Every week, Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host today is Alex Ziebart who doesn't have as many cool links to plug up here as Matticus does but will try anyway. This week we get our Shadowform on..

Dual specs are coming, probably only a week away, and I suspect that many Holy and/or Discipline Priests out there will be picking up a Shadow build as their second spec. Priests, like most classes, can have many little build variations to fit your playstyle: Raiding, soloing, doing Battlegrounds, doing arenas, all of that. I'm going to look at a couple of good PvE specs to use in patch 3.1, but unfortunately avoiding the PvP specs for you arena junkies in our audience. Trust me, you don't want to take my advice there. Discipline PvP maybe, but not Shadow.

PvE Shadow - Raiding
MMO-Champion has a great tool for setting up talent specs, because you can include your glyphs as well, so we're going to be using that. This spec (14/0/57) will be a fairly cookie-cutter raiding build in patch 3.1, with only very minor variations from person to person. The Shadow tree isn't a very complicated one. Either a talent boosts your DPS, or it does something else. For a raiding spec, you want all of the DPS talents and you can skip all of the 'something else' talents unless they're mandatory for a DPS talent. It's pretty straightforward. Even in the Discipline tree the ultimate goal is to pick up the DPS talents, Twin Disciplines and Improved Inner Fire. Meditation isn't a direct DPS talent, but having no mana is certainly a DPS hit.

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Tom Chilton on what's coming in patch 3.1

Our old friend Jessica Citizen has an interview up with Blizzard's Lead Game Designer on World of Warcraft, Mr. Tom Chilton. When Jeff Kaplan shipped off to other pastures in Blizzard to work on the new MMO, Chilton says he took over Kaplan's meetings, so right now, he is the flag leading the big ship of WoW. In the interview, he talks a bit about dual specs -- the system was originally planned to go in with the Lich King expansion, but it had to be pushed back to 3.1. And Chilton says he's already expecting to answer questions about triple specs at this year's BlizzCon, but of course, there's a balance there, as there has to be some choice on the part of the player as to what they decide to specialize in.

He also talks about the Argent Tournament and Ulduar -- the Tournament, he says, will be a boon to solo players and players who enjoy daily questing, with the jousting minigame mixing things up a bit. And Ulduar's hard modes, as we've heard before, will bring raiding back to the difficulty that players expect. Chilton fesses up to an error that GC hinted at yesterday -- Blizzard nerfed PvP items at the same time that they made raiding more accessible, and the result is that people flocked to PvE while ignoring most of the PvP options. "We kind of over-solved the problem," he says.

In the end, he calls 3.1 "the most ambitious content patch we've ever done for World of Warcraft." We'll have to see -- given that Noblegarden should show up with the new patch, it ought to be implemented by at least April 26th.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, PvP, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King

Triple specs appear to be at least possible


Many people have mentioned this before in conversation about Dual Specs – why not just allow triple specs? We've all speculated for a while that the technology is already there and is just a matter of further implementation.

Today Bornakk, a blue community poster, said that right now all Blizzard intentionally wants is to have two specs be available, but that they "...want to see how the system works out first," before considering triple specs. I think it's pretty safe to read between the lines here and take it to mean that it's possible and has at least been discussed by Blizzard to some extent if community people (and not a developer like Ghostcrawler) are already talking about it. Remember here that community folks usually don't talk about development related things without running it by or hearing it from a developer first.

Triple specs would offer even more flexibility to play the class in whatever way is possible. A druid would be able to switch between a healer, tank, and caster role in a single instance / raid. A paladin would have the same amazing flexibility. While each class right now has at least two specs that can really shine in specific situations, triple specs would allow three-role hybrids to become amazingly powerful characters.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Vista sidebar widget available for WoW players

If you're a Vista user, that odd sidebar has suddenly become relevant to your WoW lifestyle. Available for free from the Wndows Live site, WoW Explorer has a host of neat little plugins. The simplest of these features include the ability to put your realm on the Explorer skin -- you'll instantly be able to see if your realm is up or down, or what its population is like right now. You can also select your Explorer's theme, size, and toggle its docking behavior.

The Explorer's neatest feature, however, is the search functionality. The plugin lives on your Vista sidebar, which gives you instant search from your desktop. You can choose which popular site is the Explorer's default (such as your intrepid WoW Insider or maybe Wowhead), and the results instantly return in a flyout window. I ran several different searches, such as looking for Dual Specs or some different fat loot, and found the widget to be incredibly fast and responsive.

You can't beat the price at "free." Since I'm one of the masses who had previously stared at the sidebar wondering if the dang thing would have any use, it's nice to see something WoW-related live over my local weather widget.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends

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