After looking at the breakdown of DPS specs and their performance for this tier over at raidbots.com it got me thinking about the reasoning of different specs for pure DPS classes.
With the changes coming in mists where once you choose a spec you get everything that spec offers and the notation that druids would now effectively have four specs by splitting bears and cats into two different things it got me thinking that perhaps it is time they completely redesign the idea of specs as a whole.
This change shows that they are not bound by the three specs per class option anymore. That said, maybe it is time to do away with making multiple DPS specs.
Look at survival hunters this tier since the change to them. They are a top DPS spec again but poor marks and beast mastery are horrid. Horrid is even too kind of a word for them. What about mages? It is either arcane ahead by a mile or fire ahead by a mile but it is always frost that is screwed over. Even a non pure class like warriors can now see arms being miles ahead of fury in nearly every situation.
Being it seems like blizzard is making the changes they are making to manage balance better, which I think is a fantastic idea, it might be time to lose the duplicates.
Does a warrior really need 2 DPS specs? A hunter really need 3 ranged specs? A mage? A warock? A rogue with 3 melee specs?
Wouldn't it be easier to balance a class if they did not have 3 of the same thing? Maybe it will be easier to balance them now with the coming spec changes and it would make this post useless. Who know really, until we try it we can't say for sure.
Make beast mastery a tank spec and survival a melee spec and leave marksmen the ranged spec. Or maybe make beast mastery a leveling spec, survival a PvP spec and marks a raid ranged spec. Or maybe still add some more, make beast mastery the tank spec, survival the melee spec and marks the raid spec and add another spec specifically for PvP and a fifth spec for leveling.
They can add more specs now as they are proving with druids, they are no longer bound by three specs per class, they could roll with 2 or 5 if they wanted to. They are no longer forced into the three specs per class design which can only mean good things for us in the future hopefully. In the end you have to ask yourself does any class really need three of the same thing? Two maybe, just maybe, but three? Would be it so horrible for marksmen to be the raid spec for hunters and the only raid spec?
It would mean people would not need to switch all the time depending on what sims better. Do you know how many fury warriors I know that are trying to relearn arms because arms sims 20K better then fury in top gear? It is not like that have a choice really. Any competent player will always do what is best for the team. Blizzard having two DPS specs for warriors and calling it a choice is an outright lie. What choice is it really? The choice to do bad?
Part of the main reason for the changes is so people can not choose to be bad any more. That is why they are not letting people mangle their own specs any more and they are just giving them to people. If they are not going to balance both arms and fury to do nearly the exact same DPS it will always be a case of one being better then the other which basically means, no choice. Choosing to be protection or arms is a choice. Choosing to be arms or fury is not. There is a best option, that means no choice.
Instead of building a design that gives the illusion of choice that really does not exist just change the system so there is no choice. Turn arms into the PvP spec and make fury the raid spec, or the other way around if you wish.
If the game will never really give a real choice then why even fake it. I know from my personal experience I am better at marksmen but when marksmen is showing at around 34K over all and survival is around 54K over all do I really have the choice of which spec I wish to run as? No, I don't.
There are many hunters out there that are die hard beast mastery and at least for a portion of this expansion they where useful in raiding but for most of the last 4 or so years they have not been.
Given these three options, what do you think the most likely future for specs is?
1) Balance multiple specs of the same thing? (IE: All three rogue specs do the same DPS)
2) Make every class a one of each type spec? (IE: Prot Pally for tank, ret for melee, holy for healing)
3) Adding more variable specs? (IE: spec intended for leveling or PvP)
I think blizzard will keep with option one but I really believe that a combo of option two and three would indeed be the best route to go. We really do not need three specs that fill the same role for one class, it is wasteful in my opinion unless they do something really different.
I would love to see them balance things so beast mastery, marksmen and survival all did the same damage but I doubt that time will ever come. Or maybe I am just being pessimistic. Maybe mists can actually do something that they have not been able to do in 8 years. If there was ever a way to do it, having specs with no options, like the ones coming in mists, is the best way to do it. So I will reserve judgement. For now.