If you do two things, what is your main spec?

Okay, so before the dual spec system, it was pretty easy to know what your main spec was. In most cases, your main spec was the one that you played all the time in raids. If you did change specs occasionally, you still spent 90% of your time as one spec in a dedicated raiding guild. You had one main spec and you stuck with it.

Now, we have dual specs. This means people can have 2 specs and 2 sets of gear that go along with it – and they can change both their gear and their spec any time they want. When the system first came out, most people still stuck with one primary spec.

As we progressed through Ulduar, we were also introduced us to something else – a bunch of hard mode bosses where most of the hard modes are pure DPS races with low healing requirements. This means that the number of healers needed for hard mode bosses is actually less than the number of healers people brought in to learn the normal mode bosses. This is opposite everything we’d ever known about harder content. Hard almost always meant needing more healers – not less.

So, if the number of needed healers go down and at least some of the healers have a second spec for DPS, what happens to those “flip flop” spots in the raid? It seems like the most willing & best DPS geared healer gets to switch to being more primary DPS. However, if you are switching to primary DPS because your healer spot isn’t needed in that tier of content, are you also switching “main” specs?

The difference between main & off-spec determines what kind of gear you have access to. If your main spec is healing, then you primarily have access to healing gear, and anything with +hit on it is obviously an off-spec item, right? Well, what if you really need to boost up your DPS? Are there select pieces of your off-spec that you should gear up as your main spec? If you are an off-set DPS, then your DPS is pretty much guaranteed to be lower than everyone else, because you are almost always stuck half a tier behind main-spec DPS (since you are taking what they don’t want).

What happens when you basically have two main specs? Do you switch what kind of gear you “need” at some point? Or, do you stick with the “main” set of gear being the healing role you entered with months ago that you hardly do anymore? What if you switched to gearing up a DPS set above your healing set, and then they need you to switch back to primary healing when Icecrown Citadel comes out in the not so distant future? Does it matter, so long as you do well enough in both roles that you still make a good contribution to the raid?

It’s even more tricky with the triumph badges. Trying to gear two sets from triumph badges is really tricky. It takes double the amount of time to get set pieces, and you can’t “greed” the set piece tokens ever at the normal 25-man level because they aren’t class restricted. Do I have to “need” 6 set piece tokens (4 for resto and then 2 for moonkin?) or, do I fill in some pieces with the 10-man version that doesn’t take raid tokens?

Sometimes, these decisions are all more complicated, and they’re things you can’t just plug into a spreadsheet and have it pop out the right answer for you. So, I haven’t been rolling either need or greed on pieces coming out of the 25-man Trial of Champions raid dungeon. I picked up a cloak that was better than my Naxx-level cloak, and it was something that I’ll use in both sets of gear because of how big of an upgrade it was for either set.

Beyond that, I think my next step is really to sit down and create a “wish list” for the current content I have access to. This is different than a “best in slot” list, because a wish list is basically a list of things I have access to for either spec (so things like – no cloth pieces for now if DPS is my off-spec). That means I can sit down with a spreadsheet (mostly Rawr), and weigh the value of different gear options.

Even in the Trial of Champions, we haven’t needed more than 6 healers for any of the fights. And, as Bellweather points out, we don’t really even need more than 3 or 4 healers for the Val’kyr fight on 25-man normal, with how little damage should be done to the raid. If you are taking a healing group of 8 or so people, and having to tell 2 or 3 of them that they can’t heal on a regular basis, you end up with a lot of people switching around to DPS specs some of the time (depending on attendance).

It’s actually a lot harder to be a “restokin” even with dual specs, since it makes gearing up mean making really hard decisions when you start getting into newer content. It’s easy for farmed content, since you can pick up pretty much anything you want since you are basically saving it from being DE’d and using it for the betterment of the guild.

However, even if it’s twice as hard to be a role switcher, having that sort of flexibility can make someone a really great asset to the raid (as long as it isn’t everyone in the raid trying to role switch all the time), and it means your guild isn’t having to put their regulars on standby just because there are too many healers online that night.

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15 Comments

  1. Elemak
    Posted August 27, 2009 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been having the same problem. When I started running with my current raiding group when Ulduar came out, I was brought on mainly as a healer, but as our tanks and healers geared up I started switching out to Moonkin for more and more fights.

    At the moment I have enough Triumph badges to buy either my resto idol or my balance idol, and they’re just sitting there because I have no idea which one I should buy first.

  2. Posted August 27, 2009 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Back when I was leading my own guild, and we used DKP, a person’s main spec was determined by what spec we recruited them as. We recruited a holy pally who ended up playing ret more than he played holy, and a resto druid who played feral more than he played resto.

    Offspec items in my guild didn’t cost DKP. If a raider needed an item for their main spec (the one we recruited them for), they had preference over the holy pally that played ret more than he played holy.

    However, if the resto druid that played feral wanted a feral item over a balance druid who we never asked to respec, the feral had preference.

    It’s tough finding a middle ground, but it really boils down to the fact that everyone needs to have a main spec.

    And yes, I do agree it is weird that these hard modes require more DPS instead of more healers.

    Mac

  3. Dillion
    Posted August 27, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Mac, seems like you’d WANT to allow those players to switch their main spec. To allow them to become better and have preference if they played it more often. I don’t get how you’d think it benefited you to let them run in those specs but not let them gear it up. If your guild was asking them to DPS as you say then I’d have re-evaluated the players and talked to them about their roles. Gotten feedback from other officers and made them DPS.

    Middle ground is great for temp issues but it’s dumb to leave a person in stone like that when its obvious that they are DPSing. I will say that if they wanted to stay healing that’s a different story.

  4. Lissanna
    Posted August 27, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s a little bit tricky, and it’s something interesting to think about – so I thought it would make a fun topic to discuss today.

  5. Posted August 27, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Hah, I know where this came from!
    Good post Liss.
    Just a side note to your post – When you deal with a loot DKP structure, as we do. Prioritizing the loot that best improves the spec that is most used is imperitive, and sometimes not using DKP for an offset even if it is an upgrade is the best decision. Primarily due to the fact that in the long run your “Main-Spec” will benefit the most, from the loot priority that youll will have by saving that offset purchase.

  6. Masterclif
    Posted August 27, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Your e-mail is being returned, so I’ll just post it here.
    Your Druid pve healing sticky at the wow druid forums
    It’s reached 111111 page views!
    Here’s a screen shot for ya!
    http://masterclif.deviantart.com/art/For-the-Blizzard-Druid-Forums-134894167

  7. Posted August 27, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I *really* am hoping that they have done away with their Ulduar mentality of hard modes being “bring more DPS and fewer healers”, and keep it consistent throughout the zone as well as through out dificulties.

    We generally run 6-7 healers, and I am sincerely hoping that the number of healers required for Grand Crusader will be consistent with the number of those required for ToC.

  8. Posted August 27, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Fortunately I’m usually one of the healers who gets to stay a healer for the fights that require less heals. That being said, even if your exactly 50-50% dps and heals, isn’t your “main” spec always your preferred spec. Assuming your raid is usually made up of the same 30-ish people every week, there are only a limited number of people taking gear, so even someone lower on the priority list for DPS gear doesn’t wait that long. And if you think about how few players actually use caster leather, I find that I get some nice pieces for my seldom-used off set while the poor clothies are still waiting in line for main spec drops! Then again, that’s just my experience, maybe I’ve had better luck than other people.

  9. Lissanna
    Posted August 27, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    There are some points where I don’t want to take DPS gear from the main DPS people, AND I don’t want to take healing gear from the people who are healing all the time, so I end up passing on things rather than feeling like I’m taking things from other people. I have a tendency of not taking gear over feeling like I’m stepping on toes. There is also really not a good selection of moonkin gear in ToC. I’m also behind everyone else in terms of Triumph badges because I had to spend my first 50 of them on my two idols. :)

  10. Wintersdark
    Posted August 27, 2009 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    This is a common problem for me. I dualspec feral and feral – cat and bear. My main spec is Feral: I don’t do either more. I tank and dps both, in equal amounts. One week, I’ll be tanking, one week I’ll be DPSing, some raids I’ll dps some bosses and tank others. I do heal when needed, but because I rarely do this I don’t expect to roll against actual healers on gear.

    As my raids expect me to do both tanking and dps, I expect to be able to take either sort of gear.

    The notion of “main spec” is antiquated and done. If a player is *expected* to fill multiple roles in their raid, they need to be able to gear those roles.

    It’s not a “OMG unfair the hybrids get everything!” issue. I envy the (very few) pure classes this: They will get fully geared much faster than hybrids, they never need to worry about maintaining multiple gear sets, etc. For example, I need *3* helms. Yay. That’s great. That’s an extra 120 cq badges over what others need to do; just to maintain my raid viability. Just for my helms.

    DKP is fair, though. I get just as much gear as anyone else does because I get just as much DKP as anyone else. I just have to maintain multiple gear sets, so each set gets built a little slower.

  11. Posted August 27, 2009 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    I don’t ever want to be forced into a full DPS role in any encounter (I don’t mind doing supplementary DPS, but not specced for it).

    I really dislike being a caster druid, and although I love feral, I only love it for solo play – I can’t stand being a cat in dungeons or raids.

    It probably won’t ever be a problem; raids still need SOME healers, and hopefully I can always be one of those. Plus, many healers I know welcome the change of pace and will quite enthusiastically jump at the chance to DPS for a fight or two.

    But I still feel as though the norm now is that everyone doing 25mans is expected to be happy to play whatever spec is required for the good of the group (moreso in more serious raiding guilds, obviously). I don’t want to DPS; I play to heal. I don’t want to feel obliged to fill a role that I really dislike.

    And because I have ZERO intention of ever being feral in a raid, I feel a little guilty handing over my Conquest badges for feral loot, which is basically just for soloing and questing. Like I’m really supposed to be buying moonkin loot for raiding, and I’m doing the wrong thing by buying stuff that I’ll only ever use when I’m doing dailies. I should be buying offspec raid gear – for those times when I’m expected to DPS.

    Y’know?

  12. Lissanna
    Posted August 27, 2009 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    I think, in the end, I probably need to keep resto as my “main” set. Anything that overlaps between the two sets should be main set, and it’s MUCH more obvious to tell what is moonkin-specific (since it almost always has +hit on it), so the more specific moonkin gear should be off-set because I can’t use it for healing at all – even if I end up playing moonkin more in the near future…

  13. Soule
    Posted August 27, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    So much of the leather gear right now is

    Sta
    Int
    Spi
    Gem Slot (maybe)
    Haste/Crit
    Spellpower

    As a Boomkin/Tree I roll on what I want. Most people don’t have an issue with it as I just say it’s for the role I am playing right now. Gem/enchant it later. You can’t do this with MP5 gear etc, but for the most part it’s not bad. Tokens being generic makes it easier I think.

    We normally just do one need. If something comes up I need, I don’t see why I can’t roll. I always pass cloth to squishy’s and if I am DPS’ing I pass MP5 gear to heals. Easy.

  14. kuhbus
    Posted August 28, 2009 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    for me (feral tank/resto) it’s quite simple:
    better gear = main spec!
    i did spent the triumph badges for resto gear -> main spec!

  15. Sae
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I think that maybe your main spec should be what you prefer to play. Suppose you are a resto/moonkin dual spec, and there is both a DPS and a healing slot left in a raid and you’re getting a choice which to do. Say you’ve been raiding a lot and you have great and mostly equal gear for both specs. I would say your “main” spec would be whichever one you would choose in that case.

    Of course, until you get to the point where your gear is mostly equal, then your main spec is whichever one has the better gear… But if you were trying to decide what you should spend triumph badges on then you should think about the above situation, and that might help you decide which spec’s gear to pick up first.

    …. I think some parts of that didn’t make sense, but oh well…