Could WoW have worked without specs?

General Discussion
Could WoW have worked if there were 11 classes, period, rather than 11 classes and 33 specs? If hybrid classes were actually hybrids that did less damage than pures, but used said damage to power their tanking or healing? Warrior, paladin, and DK would be tank hybrids, and priest, shaman, and monk healer hybrids. Druid would be a little bit of everything while rogue, mage, warlock, and hunter would be pure DPS without any spec identity crises.

I realize this isn't realistic now, 8+ yrs into WoW's existence, but I think it would've been cool. Balance would be far simpler for the devs and therefore likely tighter, the new talent system would probably work a whole lot better, and new classes would feel less redundant.

What do you think, would WoW have been better or worse?
Hmm, we'd still have talents, I guess? Similar to the current system.

It probably could've worked; it would've been a lot easier to design around and since each class would have a niche you could play around with that and design encounters around it (similar to fights like Razuvious and Mind Control; priests used to need to actually use Mind Control to take control of the minions... I think 25-man still works that way).

As for better or worse? Neither, just different. It would've worked and made for an interesting game (just like it's interesting right now), but I don't think it would've been better or worse.
The greatest MMO ever, Ultima Online, didn't have specs. Every character has 700 skill points and you work on what skills you want to improve up to a max of 100. There are many many skills and many many combinations that ANYONE could find to suit their wants in a MMO.
10/31/2013 01:41 PMPosted by Gnarlok
The greatest MMO ever, Ultima Online, didn't have specs. Every character has 700 skill points and you work on what skills you want to improve up to a max of 100. There are many many skills and many many combinations that ANYONE could find to suit their wants in a MMO.


and you can change around the skills!

I started out as a mace melee fighter then ended up as a bard tamer mage.

And then you can take up begging and stealing too!
Iconic paladin is running around smashing things with a giant mace, it'd be weird not to have it as an option. Shields are for footmen.
I like the idea of no classes or levels. TES way, but more complex.
For example: Taking a lot of physical dmg = health increase, taking magical dmg = magic resistance, moving out of the attack's range in time = avoidance + agility, sprinting constantly = stamina, backstabbing = crits etc.
Druids would be the stuff of nightmares...

Does gear still apply? Like if you are geared for DPS you can't tank or heal too well? Otherwise it would be so OP.

Plus they would have to reduce the abilities by a tun. Like 5 per role plus 5 or more baseline.

Otherwise you fill up all the action bars and then some.
I have a feeling that certain classes would be pigeonholed into certain roles.
For sure it would. There would probably be like a few more classes though at this point but id probably much rather prefer it. I mean the specs for nonhybrids are very much the same anyways.

Take my class hunters for example:

"Survival is all about traps and hunting all the fun!". Turns out u just shoot an extra poison dot and thats about it. Traps are worthless etc.

Marksman is the same thing as surv except the abilities dont focus on DoTs.

BM is basically all about pets and you are still a ranger sort of.

It'd be laughably easy to just mash all three specs into just one big spec.

As for hybrids im not sure but pure dps classes would be extremely easy to just mash together.
It worked in EverQuest. There was a charming simplicity to it all.
It would be nice to not feel like my favourite class is obsolete, because the one thing he's able to do is done just as well by others, who also bring so much more to the table.

The greatest MMO ever, Ultima Online, didn't have specs. Every character has 700 skill points and you work on what skills you want to improve up to a max of 100. There are many many skills and many many combinations that ANYONE could find to suit their wants in a MMO.

Just to add to this, you had 700% you could apply to any skills, in any way you wanted, with a cap of 120%. Also while you could craft, to learn the skills meant giving up combat potential, so a fighter blacksmith truly was less effective than a pure warrior.

I loved that game, and do miss it sometimes. Wish more games had that kind of flexibility.
The greatest MMO ever, Ultima Online, didn't have specs. Every character has 700 skill points and you work on what skills you want to improve up to a max of 100. There are many many skills and many many combinations that ANYONE could find to suit their wants in a MMO.

I'm not sure I'd want such an extreme design for WoW, but UO was a great game.

Iconic paladin is running around smashing things with a giant mace, it'd be weird not to have it as an option. Shields are for footmen.

I think paladin in WC2 used a 1H mace and shield. Could have paladin 2H tank, idk.

Plus they would have to reduce the abilities by a tun. Like 5 per role plus 5 or more baseline.

Otherwise you fill up all the action bars and then some.

A bunch of abilities wouldn't be needed. For example, paladin would need far less healing spells.

Take my class hunters for example:

"Survival is all about traps and hunting all the fun!". Turns out u just shoot an extra poison dot and thats about it. Traps are worthless etc.

Marksman is the same thing as surv except the abilities dont focus on DoTs.

Yea, this really bugs me.
It would force balance. No more throw away specs, because that would mean a throw-away class.

Healing and tanking would have to be main specs and be very capable of damage, but it could still work.
I could see something like passives that improve your stats/skill sets based on your gear.

1hander/Shield = Prot, 2hander = Arms, Dual Wield = Fury.

You also could not switch weapons in combat anymore.

All specs of a class could use the same gear.
A druid has 4 specs.

And it would be an entirely different game.

Impossible to speculate if WoW would have been as popular as it is when something as basic as different specs for different roles wasn't in the game.

Take runescape for example. A fairly successful MMO (not on the level of WoW though) and there are absolutely no specs or classes. Just skills. Anyone and everyone can level any skill and do any of the content. And these skills took a LONG time to level. I am not just talking a month of 5 hour daily grinds for one of 26 skills, I am talking MONTHS of very long grinds just to max out one of these skills. Maxing skills is what kept many of the players playing, since it took so long to do. Also, BiS gear was tradeable. You could spend all day every day just farming up gold and own the best gear in the game. Gear wasn't progression, total level was.

Could have and also might not. Really depends on what else they factored into the game or left out.
So we'd go back to Vanilla?

Warriors were Tanks, Priests were Healers, and Paladins stayed in the back to buff... Warlocks? Go stand in the corner and try not to bleed on the Mages, as they die horribly.
I personally believe the Pure DPS classes are rather one dimensional, even with three specs.

After playing my hunter for a few months, I realize he just 'shoots at enemies' and has some really cool pet tricks, but that's it. To experience any other aspect of the game at max level with friends, a player has to hang up his hunter and completely level another class.

I imagine that's exactly what it would be like to have classes instead of specs.
I love those game styles, where you can kind of branch your character..but over time people always gravitate towards fotm/cookie cutter builds. There is also the danger of externalising a character's greatness - ie gear. This leads to gold farmers and the like.

I think the RP players would love it. They could have a warrior who witnesses the power of magic on the battlefield, and begins a journey towards becoming a caster.
I have a feeling that certain classes would be pigeonholed into certain roles.


To be honest, I never cared for different specs but this is true. Specs are a necessary evil in my opinion.
I never really liked the "classes are chess pieces" mindset with MMOs.

That's good for a single player RPG, where units are easily interchangable and re-arranged for whatever obstacle in your way.

But In MMO's, those units are all real people who have to spend really time leveling to have only their niche.

That's the kind of roster really only Heroic racing guilds have.

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