Thursday, May 3, 2012

Picking an Off Spec

For a few of my characters, most glaringly priests and warriors, I am going to have to decide on an offspec.  With mists coming soon and there no longer being any reason to have two of the same specs I need to start deciding what I want to do with my offspecs.

Throughout my game play career I've always been a tank on all my warriors and a disc healer on all my priests.  My offspecs for those classes where tank and disc as well.  If anything, I needed tri spec and if I had it I would have had three tank specs on my warrior and three disc specs on my priest.

There was never such a thing as a right spec or a wrong  spec when it comes to the roles for tanking or healing.  If you are DPS it was usually an easy decision.  If marksman sims best at the moment then you make your hunter marksman.  Simple as that.  On rare occasion there might be need for another ability in the mix.  Like needing concussive barrage for the beth fight.  So that would be one of those rare occasions it might be good to have two marks specs.  But over all, with DPS there was always a right and a wrong.

Tanking and healing is never that easy.  You could tank single target great with an AoE tanking build and you could tank AoE stuff with a single target build as well.  What it usually came down to is what the group you ran with had and needed and what you are most comfortable with.  So unlike a damage dealer, you had a choice.

Same goes for healing.  Some people liked to go into strength of soul for disc while others avoided it completely.  I have two totally different disc specs and strength of soul is in neither whereas another person in my guild, after I convinced them that disc healing is leaps and bounds better than holy, added strength of soul to his spec because he considered it required.  Two different outlooks, both with excellent outcomes, all based on opinions and neither is wrong.  My numbers might still be better than his but that has nothing to do with strength of soul, that has to do with him having never played disc before and me having played it since the beginning of time.

Speaking of the beginning of time on my priest, it leveled PvP.  A PvP spec is another completely different spec from either of the two I use now or the one the other priest uses.  So here we go, looking at four totally different disc healing specs and all four are, for lack of a better word, viable.

For tanks and healers there have always been specs based on what is best to have but there are usually some points you can spend on flavor, even now with fewer swing point options, the ones where you turn your tank spec into a kiting spec, or an AoE spec, or a DPS tanking spec, or a threat tanking spec.  There might be a suggested spec, but there where always different things you could do and not be wrong.

Now, with mists coming, and all specs have everything they are ever going to offer there will be no choices anymore.  No more will I need to have a tanking spec for main tanking, for off tanking, for kiting, for DPS, for PvP, for whatever.  My tank spec is my tank spec and that is all it will ever be.  No choices here. 

The flavor now comes from glyphs and those 6 talent points, all of which I can change on the road at any given moment as long as I have some dusts of disappearance.  This is why I no longer need two tanking specs.  I do not need my add spec and my main spec.  If I need to switch from one to another I just change some things with a dust of disappearance.  I must say in a way that is awesome.  No need to have two tank specs because if you needed to switch a few times in one raid for certain fights, just change some things around with dusts and you are good to go with one tank spec.

That also means I need to learn to do something else on my warrior and priest.  No longer can I say that I do not have a DPS offspec on my warrior, that my second spec is for add tanking.  I could just switch some things around if I need to tank adds.  I need to get a real offspec now.  I need to do arms or fury.

Mists might be a long way away still but I might as well get into the idea that my warriors are not all tanks and my priests are not all healers any more.  They can now be something else.

This is a whole new world for me.  I am a purist.  Warriors tank and priest heal.  Anyone doing anything different is wrong.  End of story.  Well, the story just got a sequel because of the changes coming in mists and this grumpy elf needs to find offspecs for his warrior and his priest.

I made the first steps last night.  I deleted my add kiting spec from my warrior.  Not like I had used it often anyway.  The last time it got any regular use from it was on Mal in BWD. I love that fight.  I love add tanking.  I know, the grumpy one is also a strange one.  Most tanks hate add taking.  I just like it because it feels like I am doing more than just standing there getting beat on but that is another story all together.

I switched up to an arms spec.  Like I said, DPS is easier when deciding on a spec.  Where there is no right and wrong for healing and tanking but there is a clear cut best spec for damage dealing.  Arms can go two ways.  It could go with a little extra in the AoE department or a little extra in the single target department.  I decided to go a little extra in the single target department.  After all, that is what should be the main concentration most of the time.

All my warrior's DPS gear is ungemmed and unenchanted.  I still had a green piece, a few 333 blues and only one trinket so I am stuck using one of my tanking trinkets.  Can you tell I never took gearing up for an offspec seriously on this character?  The only DPS type pieces I had where ones that I had won on greed rolls in randoms where there was no enchanter to disenchant or on the rare occasion I needed for the sake of an offspec I knew I might never even make or use.

So I entered the world of non-instant queue time on my warrior for the first time at 85.  I got well of eternity, it went kind of well but scared me a little bit because I was the top DPS on that one guy at the beginning where it always seems everyone is huge DPS.  That would not be so bad if it where not for the fact this was my first time ever playing DPS on this character at 85 and the fact I only did 14K.

Okay, 366 equipped item level I should be doing more than that, but having no experience, no gems, no enchants, I had some hopes that I could do this and as least pass it off as I know what I was doing thanks to the 15% random buff.

We work our way through things to the first boss.  I am no longer #1 in DPS, the tank is.  Which to be honest is not uncommon there.  However, I am number two.

We knock out the first boss, no problems, the DPS in this group is nothing to write home about and I am surely not helping matters any either being new at it, ungemmed and unenchanted.  I still did 17K, which I was happy with.  When we looted I was more than just happy, I was ecstatic that the DPS plate belt dropped and I won it.  I just replaced a 318 green.  How is that for lucky?  Replaced my worst piece on my first boss as a DPS.

Like I said, the group was nothing to write home about.  The DPS was less than you might expect to see now but I would hazard a guess the group was something like myself.  All people that knew what they where doing but all trying new characters or new specs.  For our low group performance we executed perfectly and had no wipes and no issues.  Everyone did what they where supposed to do, which in a random is like winning the lottery, the odds of a full group of knowledgeable people is a rare thing.

This little win of a group in the world of randoms made me think that perhaps I should try new things out a little bit more.  Maybe test some specs I have not played much.  Maybe build up the confidence to work on my warrior and priest offspecs for the first time.

I should admit I did cheat a little and that might be the reason I did okay my first time in as an arms warrior.  Although I was ungemmed, unenchanted and inexperienced I did spend a good half hour on the dummy before I even considered going into a random.  I think that is the only reason I did even half way decent.  I practiced ahead of time.

I did three more runs with my warrior as DPS, did them in an all guild group this time.  So with no 15% buff my numbers where a little lower of course but over all with each run I got a little more comfortable with playing him.  By the end of those three runs I was doing more DPS without the 15% buff then I did in that first run with it.

I think I can do this.  I think I can break the mold of warriors are tanks only and priests are healers only now.  Like I said, come mists I am going to have to anyway, so might as well get a head start with it.

So my priest is up next.  Oh boy this is not going to be a fun choice at all.  I can still be a healer only on my priest.  I can go holy.  There is something about holy however that I just do not like.  I do not like the feel of holy healing.  I tried holy for a short bit in wrath and I hated it.  I was so glad when ICC came out and everyone and their mother was screaming for help from a disc priest and I got to go back to doing what I love doing, healing as disc. For a long time there it seemed like I was the only disc priest on the server too which lead to a ton of invites from people I did not even know just because I was disc.

Since ICC came out and I became disc again my main priest and all other priests I added since have only been disc.  A time has come for a change and it looks like I am going to be giving shadow a try.

Perhaps if my endeavor into shadow goes as well as my one into arms for my warrior went I might actually have another option to roll with.  In the day and age we are now, with the huge buff to DS and people looking for healers with an offspec more often, I could get some pug time in on my priest if I had an offspec.  Although to be honest I am not sure why anyone would want me DPSing when I can pump out the heals as well as I do to begin with. 

At least my priest will have much fewer gear issues to worry about.  I can, for the most part, use my healing gear to DPS in.  Being spirit translates into hit the only things I would really need to worry about changing are the tier set items for the set bonuses and I can reforge everything else as needed until I get replacement shadow only gear.

Warrior was yesterday, maybe priest will be today.

Seems like sometimes you can teach an old dog new tricks.

It took a long time but it seems I am catching up with the 21st century now and leaving behind the warriors tank and priests heal mentality.  But there is one difference with me and that thinking.  While I will finally accept that warriors and priests can DPS it will still always be offspec in my mind.  They should still be tanks and healers respectively as their main specs.  Or they are doing it wrong. ;)

Okay, so I am learning to open my mind slowly, but I am trying.

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