When warlords comes out and gear changes with spec it will be a solid change for the game. I've already written about it a little but have not dabbled on the spirit aspect of the changes. See, spirit is a secondary stat and secondary stats do not change. Only main stats change. So where the holy paladin can switch to retribution and his intellect will change to strength if the piece happens to have spirit on it, it will not change.
I see a huge issue here, one that it seems blizzard does not see. When some people bought the issue up to ghostcrawler he did his standard impersonation of a child playing peek-a-boo. You know how when a child covers their eyes they believe that what they saw is no longer there? Well, ghostcrawler is covering his eyes and believing that if he does not look at the spirit problem it is not there.
Basically when next expansion comes the gear is for all mentality is not true. Not even in the slightest. There will still be different types of gear but the line for those different types will now be absolutely clear unlike it is now. A cloth piece with spirit drops now a shadow priest can still use it, thanks to it converting to hit. Same for a boomkin with a piece of spirit leather. When warlords comes being there will be no hit cap to reach so the idea of spirit converting to hit becomes a moot point.
Effectively this means that spirit is for healers only. Being it is a secondary stat and it will not change that means anything with spirit on it is for healers, anything without spirit on it is for tanks and damage dealers. There is still a great divide. Actually a more definitive line than there has ever been.
Some might argue that the mana regeneration supplied by spirit can be used by other classes, so it is not so bad for them. I will argue the exact opposite. While spirit for mana regeneration might be fine for a warlock, a mage or a shadow priest when it comes to cloth, all the other armor types will get the shaft if spirit remains on gear.
Lets not even mention that spirit will always be more useful for a healer than it would for a mage or a warlock, even if it does help regenerate mana, unless they completely change the game that is and mana will be a huge issue with casters, who is to know really.
When it comes to leather I am sure the feral druid, guardian druid, windwalker monk, brewmaster monk and rogue will not be all that happy with spirit on their gear. I know my hunter will not be happy with it on his mail and while the elemental shaman or enhancement shaman might, just might, have a reason to consider mana regeneration I would be willing to bet that critical or haste or mastery would be more advisable for them. I am sure all variety of warriors and death knights will not be looking at spirit as a viable stat either.
So having spirit on gear, and it not changing when you change spec, is a huge issue that mr head buried in the sand ghostcrawler chooses to ignore. If he covers his eyes and doesn't see it then it doesn't exist right?
I hope this is addressed before warlords comes out or else the change to "one gear fits all" won't work. There will be two distinctly different types of gear. Healing gear, and spec switching gear, because healing gear can never be anything but healing gear.
Now, no good complaint can be made without giving some possible options on how this could be fixed.
1) Remove Spirit Completely:
Change healers over to an active generation system like tanks have an active mitigation system. Something like the old AA for disc where it restored mana but more important. Add some things like a proc system where if "greater healing wave crits your next heal will be free and return three times the amount of mana it would have cost" making that ability work no more than once every 30 seconds.
It would keep people healing and make it a lot more active. Your free heal just popped up so you reach for your most expensive heal to gain as much mana as possible, but there is huge raid damage coming so you can either regain that 3x mana and take the chance of the raid going down, or hit a cheaper spell that will insure the raid will be just fine but regenerate much less mana.
There is so much that can be added to the game with active generation and I believe it could add an additional level of excitement to healing. Not to mention, while active generation would still become more powerful as you gear up you could not simply over gear mana through spirit like can be done now at higher gear levels. If you need to use active generation you will need to use it, not just stack one stat to make mana seem almost endless.
How about making one of the heals, the smaller ones, like heal, or healing wave, act like steady shot and cobra shot do for hunters? When used it would regenerate mana, not cost it. And make it so the more it actually heals, the more it actually regenerates? That would be an option too.
I believe that removing spirit completely and switching to an active generation for mana is the best idea. Of course, that is only my opinion, share yours if you want to at the end.
2) Have Spirit Change on Spec Change:
Another options would be to have spirit change when your spec changes. Each piece of gear that drops would have a stat like "haste/spirit: 23" or "critical strike/spirit: 23" or "mastery/spirit: 23" on it. If you are in healing spec it is spirit if you are not it is the other stat. This might be easier to implement than switching healing over to active generation this late in the expansion development cycle.
It would also make sure that gear is not just gear for healer or gear for others. However, unless every single piece of gear had a "*/spirit" option on it the things that did have an option for spirit on it would still be given to people that have as healing spec as preference.
If something dropped and it was "haste/spirit" the healer or someone with a healing off spec would have the most use for it. It would still make it healing gear. So every single piece would have to have one stat that also had a /spirit option to it for this to work.
Being they are already designing it so it switches main stats it is believable that having it switch a secondary stat, just the spirit to something else, would be doable.
In my opinion this is the second best option.
3) Have Spirit be Useful for Everyone:
This could be done but would need a huge redesign of all classes and specs. This makes this option the least attractive in my opinion. It also would still mean there would be healer gear and gear for others. Even if spirit made my hunter regenerate focus faster that mail gear with spirit would still go to the healer first. It would mean a lot more for our healer to be able to heal more than for me to gain 0.2 extra focus every second because of it so I can get, what, 2 or 3 extra shots off during the fight?
While this option could work it would also mean that spirit would need to enter the system as a full secondary stat, not a secondary secondary stat like it is now, where it is rarely on gear. If everyone could have use from it then it would need to be more prevalent on gear.
This is an option of course, but I do not like it.
4) No Spirit on Dynamic Gear:
They said that tanking stats will still appear on necks, rings, trinkets and weapons. Make spirit, the healing stat, only appear on necks, rings, trinket and weapons.
This, like option one, is a great idea in my opinion, however, the amount of spirit, as it would be coming from so few pieces, would need to be substantial because of the lack of spirit on the main body parts which are all dynamic gear.
This would cure the issue of rolling on a chest piece because that chest piece would not be a healer piece or a piece for others because it has spirit on it. It would break the two role gearing design that it will be in warlord if it gets released that a chest piece can have spirit on it.
Although I have not yet heard anything mentioned about it, if I had to guess, this is the way they will go. It is, without a doubt, the simplest way to do it. Being those extra gear slots will still be spec specific it would make the most sense to have healer stuff in that category if you did not want to mess with the new dynamic gearing options.
I would not be surprised if spirit on trinkets is the same as the armor on trinket they mentioned for tanks already. They just did not tell us about it yet.
This is the second best option in my opinion but I still think removing spirit all together would be better.
5) Make Spirit a Main Stat:
Have healers designed differently so that they work with less intellect to begin with. If a retribution paladin equips a piece with 26 strength on it, when he switches to holy it becomes 13 intellect and 13 spirit.
While it is true that spirit as a main stat so it too switches would solve all the problems of gear being labeled as healer gear, it would require a redesign of how healers would work as they would now need to work on less intellect than they currently do because that intellect is being split with spirit because they are both main stats.
This completely fixes the issue with spirit as a secondary stat but brings up issues of its own. While all those issues are number balance ones they might be best avoided. So spirit as a main stat might not be the best idea, if it is splitting with intellect to become so.
But there is another spirit as a main stat option that could be considered. Bonus spirit as a main stat when in healing spec. At some rate of the current intellect on the gear might work best. Using the example above with the piece with 26 strength on it, when switching to healing spec it would be 26 intellect and 26 spirit. Or maybe 26 intellect and 13 spirit. Or some sort of percentage. Just giving the healers bonus spirit, for free basically, when they are in healing spec.
This is an option and not a bad one, but even at that, I am not so sure this would be the best route to go if it were my call at least.
As long as spirit remains a secondary stat on gear, and as peek-a-boo ghostcrawler with his head in the sand said it is going to stay that way because they like it, there will be an issue with gearing. There will be a case of "healer gear" and "other gear". So dynamic gear will not be all that dynamic, at least not when it comes to healers thanks to spirit as a secondary stat.
What do you think about the issue with spirit?
Do you think it will be a problem?
If you think it needs a solution, which one would you suggest?
Someone mentioned in the comments that they believe they saw them say they are using the option I have listed as # 4. Which does make sense, as I mentioned in the post, as it would be the easiest to implement. I do not recall reading this, but I would absolutely believe it, as I mentioned in the post.