The Dual-Spec Decision

March 25th, 2009


As patch 3.1 approaches, many of us are trying to consider our options regarding dual-specs.  Which characters should we get it for, and why?  Well, as I’ve been quite enjoying the Marksman tree lately, I started to consider whether I should get it as a secondary spec, just for fun.  Then I thought, maybe I’ll pick up dual specs on my mage, try some Frost for PvP!  And I’ve already given up on leveling my priest until I can get him his dual specs.

But all this thinking started making my wallet scream at me.  So I defined a few key points which would help me decide whether it’s worth getting or not.

From my humble point of view, there are 3 reasons one would be willing to get dual specs.

  1. A likelihood of respecing mid-raid.
    If you are an off-tank and can find yourself often being asked to switch to your DPS gear for some fights, having a dual-spec option would be beneficial to both you and your entire raid.
  2. Constant swapping between 10-man and 25-man specs, or PvE and PvP specs, or grinding and raiding/PvP specs.
    If you have two specs you swap between often, you’ll be able to save time and more importantly, money by picking up dual specs.  It isn’t necessary, since you could pretty easily just visit a trainer between your arenas and raids or your 10-man and 25-man, but if you think you’d like to do this more than 20 times between two specific specs (20 x 50g = 1000g), it certainly a worthy investment, and it will allow you to do this much more often than you might be doing now.  Keep in mind though that if you are someone who likes to test out different talents often, this isn’t a ticket to change your talents for free!
  3. Convenience.
    Maybe you occasionally change between two specs.  Every few weeks you like to spend a day doing PvP, or once in a while if a healer is nowhere to be found you like to shake your branches or shed your shadowform.  Well, now that change will be much more convenient.  This change won’t make you PvP or change roles more often, but when that situation presents itself you won’t have to make the trip back to the old world and pick your individual points.  It’s only 1000g anyway, right?

I have characters that fall under every point.

My Hunter falls under category 3.  She doesn’t need a trash or farming or PvP spec.  I have never paid more than 35g to respec, and I can probably count the number of times I’ve respec’d on my fingers.  But I wouldn’t mind being able to switch to MM on pet unfriendly fights.  I wouldn’t mind being able to do a bit more damage on the off chance I decide to hit the BGs or arenas. I wouldn’t mind specing for a pet tank should the situation where it’s needed arise.

My Priest falls under both 1 and 2.  I love leveling as Shadow, but I hate grouping as Shadow.  It is the opposite for Holy.  Being able to switch to Shadow easily while I work my way through Northrend would be a huge incentive for me to play him.  And if I ever get to the point where I’m raiding, I know we wouldn’t need all the healers in ever single trash or boss pull, so I could always make myself more useful by switching.

So what’s my decision?  Well, as much as I’m enjoying MM, I don’t mind manually respecing when I feel like switching.  It’s certainly cheaper, since it’s a rare thing.  However, there’s no question for my Priest, he’s going to camp out at the trainer until the patch hits.

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Related posts:

  1. On Dual-specs: Changing on the fly
  2. Getting a Feel for MM Shots and Specs
  3. Brajana’s Raiding Talent Spec
  4. Mend Pet – Healers and Hunter Pets in Instances
  5. Beast Mastery 3.0.2 to 3.0.9 Raid Comparison (with pictures!)

6 comments to “The Dual-Spec Decision”

  1. I’m in pretty much the same boat with my characters. I’m not going to bother getting a DS for my Mage because while I do enjoy PvP, I do not enjoy it as much at 80 as I do at lower levels, and regardless of what spec he is Ranged DPS is Ranged DPS no matter which way you slice it. If he was still lower level and I planned to keep him that way, then I would have a Frost spec for PvP and AoE grinding and Fire for everything else.

    For my Paladin though, he’s going to switch between being a tank and being a healer. My guild is 98% DPS right now, so we need to bring in some more tanks and healers if we want to keep heroics within the guild. Since I need to be able to bounce back and forth, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

    Similarly with my Shaman, I plan on having him be Resto for raids, but Enhancement for everything else. A healing character is great for raiding, but it’s horrible when you’re going solo with anything. That’s the main reason I haven’t bothered with a healer up to this point is because I don’t want to have to constantly respec to do my own thing or be forced to just leave the character idle except on raid day.

    Psynister’s last blog post..Paladin AoE Grinding – Part 1 (Pre-Lv 30)

  2. I plan on picking up DS with both my main toons. I plan on a raid spec and a PvP spec with my hunter. And, like Psynister, my lvl 78 resto druids other spec will be feral tank. That way he can fill 2 vital rolls.

    I hope that most people who take this same step as us are taking the time to practice. I have a feeling that there are quite a few out there that will do this and think they can just immediately be able to tank or heal. I leveled and grinded instances mostly as resto, but I have been collecting every piece of feral gear I can, and over the past month I have been respecing to feral to practice tanking with my guild. Please practice your alternate spec people:)

  3. Excellent point Korixys! I would hate to think that the convenience of dual specs would only create a pool of noob healers.

    Having a hunter main, I am tempted to make a PVP spec but really, I would think that the “Gear Manager” will serve me just as well.

  4. Glad to hear you’ve been practicing, Korixys! I certainly hope you’re not the only one.

    That was my very first concern when I heard about the idea of dual-specs, especially when they mentioned it would only be available at maximum level (which has since changed). I was afraid of, for example, a paladin leveling 1-80 Retribution and then claiming to also be a healer the day he hits 80, just because he can switch his talent points.

    I think it will be quite clear easy to pick up on people who don’t know their spec – we see them right now, people who want to try a new spec for the first time and don’t know what they’re doing. They just might be a bit more prevalent now!

  5. I would suggest not doing PUG’s for a few months after the patch comes out. It’s going to be ugly lol.

    “I was afraid of, for example, a paladin leveling 1-80 Retribution and then claiming to also be a healer the day he hits 80, just because he can switch his talent points.”

    That is exactly was is going to happen. And you think that pally is going to tell you before you start the run that he is just now trying holy? heck no, he’ll tell you after you have wiped a few times on trash.

  6. I highly doubt I’m going to bother. I was going to use it when I believed it was free, but 1000 gold for what basically is either a solo farming spec or a AoE trash-blasting spec is completely worthless to me. I have more important things to use my gold on (like a god damned Nobles deck).

    Rilgon Arcsingh’s last blog post..Congratulations to our winnars!