Monday, February 16, 2009

MMO Issues: Dual Spec

A great RazorFen Kraul run, got Corpsemaker!

I'm fresh from an instance that was actually a decent PuG run, and enjoying all the neat changes in the highly addicting World of Warcraft. Today has been quite a fun day for me. Prior to ripping the heads off razorfens, I finished F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin. While I must say the game is challenging, creepy(Terrifying at times), and overall fun, I was really disappointed in the ending. Why?

I won't ruin anything, however it does end rather abruptly and is an obvious set up for the next game/expansion. It just seemed to sudden, and the game only clocked about a good 7-8 hours. While I will not get into my fury over how short games are these days, I'll simply go ahead and talk about what I wanted to converse about today.

If you've been paying attention, Blizzard will release a new game mechanic called "Dual Spec". This will enable players to have more than one spec that they can switch between if they either..

1: Go to the Lexicon of Power in any capital city


2: Use a new crafted item that summons a Lexicon of Power to them. The item requires more than one player to summon it.(Think how a Warlock summons someone.)

Blizzard is using this new game mechanic to make it easier on people constantly having to switch from a PvE(Player versus Environment) and PvP(Player versus Player) specializations. What is good for PvE may not be good for PvP. So instead of having players spend countless amounts of gold, they can just switch over. Also one could use a Solo spec, a raid spec, so on and so forth. The benefits are quite sound for World of Warcraft players.

What about the possible negative points?

One issue I would like to bring up for open discussion(Give me your opinion) is how would this affect guild looting? Already there are people who want to take loot for their DPS set/Tank set/Healing set when that is currently not their spec, even though people who can use it now want it as well. What happens when this new game mechanic hits the floor?

For example, let's say Retribution Paladin (which is a DPS spec) switches over to Holy(Which is a Healing spec) so the raid has enough healers. Then, hypothetically speaking, let's say a weapon that Paladin has been wanting drops. Should he be allowed to roll/spend points on it over people that came to the raid in their DPS specs? How would that work to placate the other members that will be somewhat upset to have a "healer" try to take THEIR dps gear?

Of course, this comes down to one of the MANY flaws of a game that bases it's character advancement with "gear" lust. People become obsessed with getting better gear because frankly there is all there is left progression wise for them to continue in a game like World of Warcraft. Regardless, how do you deal with that type of situation?

I know that I personally would allow that person to roll on the weapon, but what do you think? How should guilds set up their policies for dual specs? I frankly believe that many smart guild leaders and officers will already be discussing this issue to avoid any situations once the mechanic becomes live.

So today's discussion: What possible policies or just "rules" should be implemented by guilds for dual spec, if any?


  1. Great question. I posted a reply to your question's on my blog ( I think now is a great time to start conversations within the leadership about this. But I think it's still too early to make any official policies or rules quite yet.

  2. Is this really an MMO issue, or just a WoW issue?

  3. I'm an officer in my guild, and I believe that we still will have ONE main-spec and then the offspecs, what your OTHER spec is, is just an easier to get to offspec.

  4. I don't see a lot of change in this area for my guild. It's the same as if, say, an elemental shaman respecs before raid to come as resto, because we're short on healers. Your main spec is still the spec you signed on to raid with, just like your main character is your main character. We have a loot hierarchy that goes something like this:
    1. Main character's main spec
    2. Main character's off-spec
    3. Alt character's main spec
    4. Alt character's off-spec
    I'm pretty sure that won't change just because there are more options for achieving an off-spec.

  5. I usually run with groups who hold a very relaxed loot policy. I can see equal footing for both specs if it's not an exceptionally rare item.

  6. Tipa, considering the dual class nature of Runes of Magic, it may well come up there too. An open skillset MMO like I keep talking about would also run into this sort of thing. At least, if it's loot-centric. ROM looks like it is, but not so much my design. *shrug*

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