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Tag Archives: Dual Spec

Overlooked Changes

Today we’re going to look at some of the things that have changed in the recent patches that not everyone knows about. Blizzard did an excellent job of leaving things out of the patch notes this time around and it’s been a bit of an interesting search trying to find them all.

I’m sure I don’t have all of the things that have gone unnoticed listed here, so I certainly welcome your input on anything else you may have noticed that others seem to have missed, or which did not appear in any of the patch notes.

Mailboxes in Starting Zones
In case you aren’t aware, every starting zone now has a mailbox in it. I’ve seen a lot of people talking about their plans to roll new alts which include running to the next town to get their bags, gold and gear – but you don’t have to.

All of the mailboxes are pretty close to right where you load after creating the character. If you start a little ways off from where the first quest-hub is then that’s where you want to look as it’s generally right beside the main building in the first hub.

Generalized Professions Trainers
In those second towns that you used to have to go to in order to find your first mailbox, you’ll now find a new type of NPC called a Professions Trainer. They’re almost always located right beside the Trade Goods vendor if you need to know where to look.

These NPC’s allow you to ask about any of the actual professions, not tradeskills, to get a general idea of what they do and how they work. After asking about a specific profession you’ll also be able to train that profession from the NPC.

The good news is, you can no get started on any profession you want without having to hunt down your trainers in specific cities (looking at you, JC trainers). The bad news is, they can only train you up to skill level 75, and they will not train you in the next level of the profession. In order to progress you’ll have to find a trainer specific to your profession.

Dual Specialization and Class Trainers
You can now purchase a dual spec at level 30 (down from 40) and it now costs only 10g (down from 100g in beta, down from 1,000g in 3.5). You still get it from your class trainer, so if you need to know where to buy it just ask a guard for the nearest trainer.

You can also find class trainers for every class in all of your faction’s major cities. The one class that might be an exception to that is the Death Knight, and the only reason I don’t know is because I haven’t thought about looking. Having a portal directly to my trainers kind of removes the need for me to care about where else I can find them in the world.

Battlegrounds and Dungeons
Battlegrounds are now split up into level ranges of 5 rather than 10, so level 10-14 and 15-19 are two separate brackets now and so on up the level range, with 85 being in its own.

You can also queue for some battlegrounds at lower levels than you used to. I did a post on that earlier this week, so if you want the details on that you can read about them here.

That post also includes the new level ranges for the 1-60 dungeons. Most of them stayed the same or at least pretty close to what they were before, but others made some fairly significant changes. See Stratholme and Scholomance for some big eye-openers.

Alliance and Horde Racial Tabards
You can now purchase tabards for each of the 6 races of your faction, including the Goblin and Worgen that aren’t playable yet (for 5 more days, woot!). These tabards give you reputation for killing mobs inside dungeons – all mobs, in all dungeons, at all levels.

You can purchase the tabards in the major cities from vendors you’ll find near or next-to the flight master. Here’s a reference for where you need to go to buy each one:

Stormwind: Humans
Ironforge: Dwarves and Gnomes
Darnassus: Night Elves and Worgen
Exodar: Draenei

Orgrimmar: Orc, Troll, Goblin
Undercity: Undead
Thunderbluff: Tauren
Silvermoon City: Blood Elves

You get the most reputation from running dungeons of your own level, though it is possible to grind rep from dungeons both above or below your level as well.

If you start wearing a tabard and 15 and chain some random dungeons you should become Exalted after about 10 dungeons worth.

[Edit: One more thing about the tabard vendors - They're all riding the racial mount. So if you're heading to the flight master in SW and see an NPC on a horse that wasn't there before, he's likely the tabard vendor. If you go up to the flight master in Org and you see a Troll on a raptor next to an Orc on a wolf next to a Goblin in a tryke - you've just found the tabard vendors.]

Rare Spawns Give HUGE Experience
Thanks to my buddy @Etherjammer on twitter, it appears that Rare Spawns now give you about 15x as much experience as a normal mob of the same level when you kill them. So that’s roughly the value of a quest or two. I haven’t seen anything official on rare spawns, so maybe there’s a formula or maybe certain ones just have certain values or something. I’m not sure what’s going on in particular, but it’s safe to say that if you see a rare spawn – kill it. Or tame it, maybe, if you’re a hunter, but in general – kill it.

Guild Professions Lists
I still see people asking around for links from certain guild members, or asking if anybody has Profession A and so on. If you pull up your guild window you can select “Professions” from the dropdown box up at the top and then view the professions and recipes of everyone in the guild. There’s a checkbox in the bottom-left corner of the guild window that lets you toggle online and offline players, so you can even see the professions of people that aren’t currently logged in.

The new professions windows also allow you to search. Typing words into the professions search window will bring up any items in that profession that contain the word(s) either in the title or in the description. You can also do a search by materials. For instance, if you can’t remember the exact name for that special twink/BoA strength enchant, but you do remember that it uses Righteous Orbs, then you can type “righteous orb” into the search window and it will pull up the Crusader enchant if the person knows it.

If you do a search and don’t get any results then you can repeat that search for the rest of the guild members listed as having that profession. I’m told there’s supposed to be a way to do a guild-wide search with the professions windows, but I haven’t gotten it to work yet so I don’t know if it’s just broken or if it’s not really implemented. But either way it’s not working for me right now.

Dungeon Quests
In running random dungeons I still have people asking the party to share quests. As far as I’m aware, all of the dungeon quests that require you to actually be inside the dungeon are given to you inside the dungeon itself. So if you zone into the entrance of a dungeon and there aren’t any quests for you to get, it’s because you’ve already done them all or you aren’t eligible for them.

There are still some quests that send you to the area where the dungeon is found that still get listed as being in or from that dungeon, but they’re completed outside of it so sharing them would do you no good anyway. If someone drops group in the middle of the dungeon and another person comes in to replace them, then you do want to share with that person since they zone in next to you instead of at the entrance where the quest givers are located.

The slight exception to this rule is found in the next section.

Class Quests
The old class quests are gone, but there are new class quests available to take their place. The first of these quests is available at level 20 and from what I’ve seen they all involve going to SFK to get certain items. The reward for all of these that I’ve seen on my own toons so far is a weapon or off-hand item.

There is at least one other class quest that you get like this that requires a higher level, but I’ve only found it so far on my 80 Mage so I’m not positive what the level requirement is.

The class quests come from your class trainers in the major cities. I’m not sure if you can get the quests for trainers found in other locations or not.

Flight Paths [Edit: Added]
My thanks to @Christman for reminding me about the flight paths. There are now Flight Masters/Paths in all of those 2nd towns I mentioned above (examples: Sin’jin Village, Razor Hill, Kharanos, Goldshire, Bloodhoof Village, etc).

You can also see all of the flight paths on your map now, for both factions. In order to see them you have to have either explored the part of the map that those flight paths are located in, or have an addon that removes the unexplored effect from your map.

I use the Mapster addon which shows me the full map and allows me to put a transparent, colored “fog” over the sections that I haven’t actually explored yet. So I’m able to see the full map, including flight paths for both factions, at all times and I have a green colored fog that hangs over portions I haven’t explored yet so that I can track that as well.

Reduced Cost: Respecialization [Edit: Added]
Another thing I just remembered is that the cost to respec has been changed. It’s not longer a set amount that increases each time you do it, the cost is now based on your character’s level.

I haven’t done it enough or on a broad enough level range to figure out what calculation they might be using for it, but I did a respec on a level 13 Priest and it cost me 11s and some change.

 

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The 5 W’s of Dual Spec

Not too long ago I gave a my Review on Dual Specs. My mind has somewhat been altered by that since then after seeing my wife do it on multiple characters, but not a whole lot (mostly due to the fact that I’ve still only done it on the one and am not impressed).

What I want to talk about today though, is a problem I see with other people who are doing it and a question that has been asked of me: When should I dual spec? the answer to that question will follow. However, I’m going to cover all of the W’s concerning dual specs: Who, What, When, Where, and Why?

This is my opinion, and I share it with you now:

Who Should(n’t) Dual Spec?
Basically, anybody who wants to dual spec, and can afford to do so, should do it. There’s no reason not to dual spec if you want to try it out and don’t mind spending the money to do it. My wife loves being able to switch between her specs and has a blast being able to step into different roles on the same character. I enjoyed it a couple of times here and there, though in the end it just never became necessary.

The people who shouldn’t dual spec are the ones who:

  • 1) Don’t want to
  • 2) Are not willing to get gear for both specs via question, PvP, or grinding
  • 3) Can’t afford it themselves and are not good at making/managing their gold

Dual Specs are not a requirement to play this game. Some guilds I have seen do require it, but if you’re in that type of guild then you probably already know this stuff and don’t need to bother reading. If you don’t want to do it, then don’t bother. Save your gold and spend it on something a little more useful, like Epic/Cold Weather Flying.

If you aren’t willing to get the gear for both of your specs then you should probably avoid DS. The reason I say that is because if you have the wrong gear (tank gear on your healing spec, for instance) then you’re not going to perform very well. If you can’t perform in your second spec, then you’re never going to use it either. In cases like these you’re basically just throwing away your gold for no reason.

If you can’t afford something that you want, you simply shouldn’t buy it. Making gold in this game is not hard. Holding onto that gold once you get it is for some people (/raise hand), but it’s not hard to make it. Please don’t ever make the mistake of trying to borrow gold from friends or guild members if you aren’t positive that you can pay it back quickly. I’ve borrowed gold from a guild member one time, and I only did it because there was an item on the AH that I had been searching for for months that was about to sell and I didn’t have the gold yet. I had enough auctions that I would have the gold the next day, but I wouldn’t have it before the auction expired and someone else won it. I got the gold, bought my item, and repaid the loan with 10% interest 3 hours later. If you can’t manage something like that, don’t ask to borrow gold. (/end mini-rant)

What Should Your Dual Spec Be?
For some reason, people ask this a lot. I really don’t think this is a question that needs to be asked to anyone but yourself. What should my dual spec be? Well, probably whatever I want it to be..? For this question, ask yourself what you want to do with your character. If you want to heal, and your class is able to heal, then make one of them a healing spec. If you want to tank, and are able to do so, then make one of them a tanking spec. If you want to dps, then spec for it. If you want to PvP, then spec for that.

The answer to this question is really one that only you can answer. Spec for whatever you want to do with the character. If you are doing it for your guild because you need to fill an open role, then you probably already know the answer to this question yourself. If you are doing it because you want to try a different build to see how it works, then again you probably already know the answer to the question. If you want to do it, but you don’t have a specific reason driving you towards it, then that’s when the question needs to be asked. But, it’s a question you have to ask yourself; what am I doing right now? (tank, heal, melee/ranged dps, single/AoE dps), what would I like to try instead or perhaps in addition to?

When Should(n’t) You Dual Spec?
If you are going to dual spec, then I suggest you do it as early as you can so that you can get practiced at using both of them. Whatever the specs are for, use them for that purpose. So if you have a healing spec, then use it when you are in a group like when running through instances or doing battlegrounds. If you have a PvP spec, then use it in BG’s and Arenas while you level. Whatever the role of the spec is going to be, use it when in that situation. If you happen to have two specs that fill the same role, but with different talents, then trade off on a fairly regular basis so that you get practiced with them.

Generally speaking, and in my own opinion here, you should not wait to dual spec at high level unless you need to. If you do wait that long then make sure that you gather the gear you need for it before hand, and try to do some research on your spells and talent points. Waiting until higher level to try out a dual spec is a good way to find out that you suck at what you want to do. Unless you have played the class at that level before then you aren’t going to know what to do or how to use the class. You might have a good idea and be able to scrape by, but if you haven’t spent any time during your leveling to learn how to play the class then you aren’t going to be very good at it and probably won’t bother using it very often.

What I’m trying to say here is, don’t put it off expecting to just step into the role at higher levels and be good at it because it’s probably not going to happen. Get it early and start practicing using it so that you have at least some idea of what it is that you’re going to be doing. You can’t expect to be a good tank when you’ve never had to bother with generating threat or using your taunts. You aren’t going to be a good healer if you’re constantly spamming a single heal that doesn’t even begin to compare to your other options even though it looks like a great spell to you.

Where Do You Dual Spec?
Any of your class trainers around the world can open up your dual spec talent tree for you. The cost is 1,000g and there is currently no way of lowering that price. Most of your trainers will be in the major cities though some of the smaller towns throughout the game have trainers as well.

Why Should(n’t) You Dual Spec?
There are plenty of reasons why you should dual spec, as well as why you shouldn’t dual spec. If you want to try out two different talent trees, then dual specs might be for you. If you want to be able to heal when you’re in a group but also love to solo your own dailies and such, then dual specs are probably great for you. If you like to grind mobs with an AoE Frost build but love to instant cast people to death in battlegrounds, then dual specs are a good idea for you.

If you have a fairly small raiding guild that likes to mix things up now and then with which people fill which roles, then dual specs might be for you. If you have a guild that does not have members on a consistent schedule and may need to cover a role that is usually filled, then dual specs might be for you. If you just want to have fun and enjoy the game from multiple perspectives then dual specs might be for you.

You shouldn’t dual spec simply because someone else wants you to or because you feel pressured by a guild, unless you were already aware that they would require it and knew ahead of time. You shouldn’t dual spec because some loser thinks it’s required for you to be recognized as a good player. You shouldn’t dual spec simply because you have an extra thousand gold sitting around burning holes in your pouch. Instead, send that gold over to me.

If you want to dual spec because it’s interesting, opens up more opportunities for enjoying the game, or because you just want to have fun with it, then by all means jump right in and do it. Just don’t do it because some guy tells you that you have too or that you’ll never be able to raid or get invited to a good guild if you don’t.

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2009 in World of Warcraft

 

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Dual Specs: A Review

When Dual Specs were first announced, I was pretty thrilled about the whole idea. I knew right off that I wasn’t going to buy it for my mage because, well, ranged dps is ranged dps no matter what color your spells are.

I was pretty excited to get it going on my paladin though, being a hybrid class and all, so I got it set up on him right after he hit level 40. Lexington’s dual spec happened quite a while ago, and I decided today that I would share with you what I have found with it so far.

First Attempt: Prot/Holy
My first dual spec was Prot and Holy. I knew for sure that I wanted to level as prot, but I also wanted to get a feel for paladin healing since my wife enjoyed it so much with her’s. I had her tell me about the spec that she used, how she healed, what addons she found helpful, etc, etc.

I left that dual spec up for about 8 levels, never using the Holy spec once or even bothering to switch over to it to spend my talent points from those levels.

I realized that Holy probably would not happen very often since finding healers was very easy at the time and finding tanks was serious business. All I did was tank, so I figured the need to heal was worthless. Enter a respec.

Second Attempt: Prot/Ret
I knew that there were some cool abilities in Ret and that most paladins who played with that spec really enjoyed it a lot, so after finding that I would not be a healer I turned the dual spec over to Ret instead. I ran around a bit to get a feel for the new spells since I hadn’t used any of them before, and then jumped back over to Prot and went back to leveling.

When the time came to move on over to Outlands, I found that I still had never bothered using the Ret spec nor had I bothered gearing for it at all. So when it came time to choose quest rewards in Outlands, I went ahead and picked up a few pieces for Ret and actually put it to use on one of the quests.

To be a bit more honest and clear on that, I should say I went into the fight as Ret, killed a single mob, and then switched back to Prot.

A few levels down the road I switched over to Ret and made myself do a couple of “kill X mobs” quests with it, and then I decided that Ret was not for me. Enter a respec.

Third Attempt: Prot/….nothing?
I found out that Ret was not the spec for me, and I knew that there were still plenty of healers in my level range if I needed them so there was no need to bother with a Holy spec. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with that second spec, so I paid for the respec and then didn’t bother spending any of the points.

Outlands had come and gone and I was in Northrend. I started noticing that almost every stinking quest reward in those starting areas were either geared towards Ret more than Prot, or that they were downgrades from my existing Prot gear.

So, since I wasn’t using it for anything else I decided to jump back over to Ret once again. I did a few quests with it, jumped over there to kill some stupid Gnome Death Knight a time or three, and got a pretty good feel for it. The problem was, Ret was slow and boring. Why in the world would I want to fight a one mob at a time when I knew I was capable of taking on so much more with Prot?

The answer didn’t take long to arrive, and I set Ret back on the shelf. Several more levels passed by, and I eventually just gave up on that boring business all together. Enter a respec.

Fourth Attempt: Prot/Prot
So now I know that I don’t care for Ret very much, and I know that not only do I not have the gear for Holy, but I also have no desire to heal as a paladin, and my wife has giving up on the paladin class all together after leveling two of them to 80 for healing.

So rather than trying to make the other specs work, I jumped over to a dual Prot spec. One is Prot/Ret which is what I use for questing and instances, and the other is Prot/Holy which I use for farming lower level instances so that I can have helpful benefits such as being immune to silence and reducing stun/slow times.

I find though, that even with this new spec I rarely bother actually switching over from one to the other. The only instance that I really even need to switch over to the farming spec at all is Stratholme right now, and I have such a large supply of the enchanting mats and cloth that I run it for that there’s really not much of a point in me doing that either. The only reason I go now is to continue my fail streak at getting the Baron’s mount.

But, screw all the respecs, I’m tired of changing.

Looking At Other Classes
So now we get down to me sharing my actual thoughts on dual specs rather that my experience with them.

As I mentioned before, I didn’t want to dual spec a straight dps class because it really doesn’t matter whether my mage is frost, fire, or arcane, it’s still always the same thing with different colored spells. (I’ve got an 80 mage, and I’ve rocked every viable spec in the game. Excuse the generalization there, I know each spec is “different”.)

But surely Hybrid classes would get more use out of a dual spec, right? As you can see in my case here, no we really don’t. At least not in my experience. I think the problem with dual specs on a hybrid class is the fact that we’re hybrids. To explain further, we’re hybrids because we can fill multiple roles, and we can fill those multiple roles even when we aren’t specced for them. So while dual specs seems like a good idea for a hybrid, what I found in my playing was that I never had a reason to bother with that second spec because I performed just fine in the other roles with my primary spec.

I thought long and hard about dual speccing my 47 Shaman to be either Enhancement/Resto or Enhancement/Elemental, but you know what I found in playing him? That’s right, he performs both of those roles (dps/heals) just fine with his default Enhancement spec. So after thinking about it quite a bit, I am almost positive that I will not bother getting a dual spec for my shaman either. I don’t need to switch between Enhancement and Elemental because dps is dps. Sure, having ranged vs melee is good in some cases but that doesn’t make it necessary.

I find no reason to bother with a dual spec on my priest, hunter, or rogue either. I look around for who to buy it for, and where I might use it and constantly find myself drumming my fingers on the desk with almost every class failing to get me even remotely excited about it.

Yet there is one exception: Druid.

I am currently playing two druids. The first one you already know about, Beldinn (Tauren Druid 35). The second is a new addition named Ibewaffles (Tauren Druid 16), and is part of a twink guild that is spawning from some of our existing members of MOTiE where we are all named “I Be (breakfast food)”.

What I have found, with both of these druids actually, is that the idea of dual specs works pretty well for them. Both of these druids already carry multiple sets of gear. Both of them fill their various roles on a frequent basis, even when leveling solo, and both of them could make solid use out of being able to change their spec on the fly.

Beldinn is running a Balance spec right now, and Ibewaffles is running Feral (he’s going to be the FC, doubling as a healer when needed). While questing with them I keep them both in their casting gear and play them as Balance until I run out of mana. If I am in combat then I use the built-in gear manager to switch over to my dps or tanking gear and then finish the fight. If I run out of mana at the end of a fight then I either sit down and drink (which is hard on Beldinn since his mana pool is 60% larger than the best water he can get), or I swich gear and continue on as Feral while I wait for my mana to regen.

Looking Ahead
After looking at all of the different classes that I play, how I want to play them, where I want to play them, what goals I have for each both short and long term, I find that the druid class is the only one that I have any sincere desire to dual spec, and it’s the only class that I personally see any true benefit coming out of.

On the one hand I could use Balance to burn through everything I need to until I run out of mana, then switch over to my Feral (dps) spec to continue on as a cat, and then I could switch back. But the problem there is that you lose all of your mana/energy/rage when you change your spec. So switching back to Balance would mean that I need to drink and restore my mana right after I made the switch, which would nullify the very reason for switching over to feral in the first place. At that point I might as well just stay as Feral until I am going back to town for some reason.

Will I bother with getting a dual spec for Beldinn? Possibly, but probably not. Having a decent set of great pretty well nullifies the need to bother with a second spec when you aren’t at least in Outlands. If I do go ahead and get him a dual spec it will start off as Balance/Feral and then probably move to Balance/Restoration or Restoration/Feral once I get into either Outlands or Northrend.

I can see how dual specs will help people at end game, especially if they manage to farm the raids and by doing so are able to build two full sets of gear that they can use for their specs. But early on though, even at level 40 when you can first purchase it, there really isn’t much of a need to bother with it.

Collecting multiple gear sets at lower levels is really a bit of a waste of time unless you plan to stay in the level bracket for battlegrounds. Otherwise you’re better off just gearing for your primary spec and leveling on. Even though I have multiple sets of gear for Beldinn, most of his Feral gear is made of bits and pieces that came from his 19 and 29 twinking. It still works just fine for when I need it, but I’m not going to bother keeping all of that gear up to date when I have an option of upgrading my Balance gear instead.

If you are playing a hybrid class then you can handle (at least to some degree) the various roles that you can fill with your class with a single spec. A tank spec will not perform as well at healing or dps as one who was specced as such, but they can usually get by.

Looking ahead, I see Dual Specs becoming a thing of my past. Unless I decide to dual spec Beldinn and it turns out to be exceedingly useful then I do not see myself bothering with it again. If they chopped the price down dramatically, then I might look at it a bit more, but probably not even then unless it was about 10g.

Final Thoughts
Looking at various classes I have played, the only real reason I find to bother with dual specs for my own play style is to have one set up for PvE and another for PvP. But even then, I don’t think that I can justify a 1,000g price tag for something that is not going to be used all that often. Even if I run PvP like nobody’s business am I really ever going to make enough changes back and forth to justify that amount of gold? I seriously doubt it.

At this point in time I do not see myself purchasing a dual spec for any of my characters save for the possible exception made for Beldinn. Having run with a druid before on my paladin though, I know that a Balance druid can perform all the healing needed for two manning instances below average instance level well into the 50’s. Will I dual spec at that point? Probably not.

I think with the introduction of the Gear Manager (even though addons already existed for such functionality previously, that the need for dual specs for anything other than raiding is limited. If you need to tank instead of dps, then it’s not that hard to throw in your tanking gear and do the job. If you’re supposed to be a dps caster, then it’s not that hard to switch over to using your healing spells for a while instead. All it takes is two clicks of a button and you go from filling one role to another.

Are dual specs helpful? Sure, if you actually put them to use then they can be a real help. Do I feel that they are worth the money it costs to get them? No, I don’t. Not even at level 80.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2009 in World of Warcraft

 

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