I think the game has matured thus far to the point where people roll a class with the expectations to only play one spec. I think people should be able to play what they want in any situation, but I also think the classes should feel and play differently enough that changing specs has a meaningful impact on the player experience. I think all specs should be able to aoe, burst and long term dps. I also think utility between specs is the key on making them feel different. Ghostcrawler pointed out in the past that the game feels like it has 30 specs that need balancing rather than 10 classes. I agree with his sentiments.
I +1'd this
But I'd also like to add:
I made a dk to be frost - but have only ever really liked unholy due to my play style.
I also tank on my dk, but my preference lives in unholy.
I'd like there to be a tri-spec option so I could play around with an actual built for PVP spec without having to sacrifice my Tanking and DPS specs. There are some nice PVP abilities that I didn't choose in my DPS or Tank spec due to PVE viability.
The same goes for my healers. I can either heal or DPS, but I don't have a PVP spec built just for PVP. I also don't want to spend gold every time I want to respec for a night of fun, or PVP in between group runs.
If I had an option for a third spec in addition to Tanking/Healing and DPS on whatever class I was playing, I'd be so happy ;)
I might want to PVP in between dungeons and not have to visit
If we stay with multi-speccing:
I like my specs to be focused for the tasks at hand - so I don't want a PVP based ability in my PVE Raiding spec. It's just not suitable for the task.
I think if you are going to do that, then you need to include some raid and instance mechanics that are going to allow that ability to shine in both PVE and PVP.
For instance, fear has some crazy limits when it comes to PVE, in many cases it's just not acceptable to use it at all while dungeoning. So there you have a useless ability that actually shines more in PVP.
If we move away from "multi" speccing our toons :
Come up with something like the various presences that a dk has to allow for various roles/functionality and add some base stats to all gear like the up-and-coming resil being a base stat.
Perhaps have a bonus dodge/parry stat built into the presence and do away with dodge/parry being an exclusive stat and have a modifier based on your overall resil/stamina/armor ratings. Perhaps resilience should be worked into a universal defense stat that increases threat and can be turned on and off with a presence or aura or stance.
Priests definitely need a buff to hymn of hope if we stay multi-spec - make it like an evocation please!
Or give us the option to get disperse as holy/disc if we do away with multi-spec :)
14 Night Elf Hunter
I like the idea too. I should be able to use my holy dps spells and do as much damage as with my shadow dps spells. No second spec needed. I also would love to do the same with my pally. Why do I even have "holy" dps spells if they aren't doing as much damage.
Here is my theory.
I really think the the perfect balance here would be the "feel," of say model 2 or 3, while in fact striving to come close to model one.
The fire mage should make things burn. He should apply and spread fiery destruction to the pitiful beings that choose to stand in his path.
The arcane mage should be the master of magical force. Exercising his power over the arcane with direct duplicable results.
The frost mage should be the frozen harbinger of death. Honor means nothing when victory is at stake. He will root you to the ground and target your weak points with precision.
I see no reason why any one of these guys should literally just be bad at pve. Ideally I would like them to continue to bring their own unique flavors, rotations, and dps methodologies to the table, but be able to put up similar numbers most of the time.
If frosty can't keep up quite the same dps as his buddies on boss X then, so be it. But frosty should at least be able to fight alongside his companions THROUGH boss X, without his damage loss becoming significant enough to necessitate a spec change.
The illusion of significant disparity can be achieved through spell rotations, procs, resources and style.
Spec is short for specialization. You can write two programs, in two different codes, that are functionally different, but provide the same service. Spells and abilities can be written this way too. The " whats the best spec," argument should be like the PC vs Mac argument. They should be able to do similar things, with differing success, while functioning differently, with reasonable defenses for each, and most importantly, the winner should never be so clear as to force the loser into admitting defeat.
Something I have thought for a long time now for classes with multiple dps trees... add a synergy system.
For example, a slight damage bonus to a frost mage dps if the target is also being damaged by a fire mage. Or lower the dps of a boss that is in combat with a subtlety rogue AND a combat rogue.
This would discourage the notion that one spec is better to have in a raid than another spec, and also the notion that a raid must have the "right" composition.
A variation of this would be for it to work across classes as well. For instance, assign different specs of the same class "A", "B", and "C". Then offer a bonus when an "A" Rogue is in a raid with a "B" Hunter.
In essence, the purpose would be encouraging diversity, while discouraging the tendancy to bring the spec, not the player.
6 Undead Priest
I honestly miss the days of BC. I'm a shadow priest and I really enjoyed being a utility spec in raids or dungeons;it was the reason I leveled my priest. I was able to put out a decent amount of dps while aiding my fellow raiders with mana.
Maybe you could implement something like the feral tree into a shadowpriest's talent tree(you know, how feral has two specs in one tree)? What I mean by that is give us the option of either doing equal dps to everyone else but with the crappy utility we have now, or allow us to have the lower dps and become a utility spec again. This would give us shadow priests options on what we would want to play...I know I would use both of my specs to have one for dps and one for utility.
Obviously there would need to be other utility spec options for other classes so shadowpriests aren't special little snow flakes, but I was just using that as an example.
All of the presented models are pretty bad...
I like 5 to a degree.
Warlock for example is all DPS which can be a little boring, every class doesn't need to have 3 roles but I think mixing in a 2nd role to classes that are "pure" would be a better way to go, even if it requires creating a 4th spec.
I, personally, would love to see Warlocks gain a healing spec but if 4th specs for other classes are ruled out that would mean one of the DPS would have to which would be a shame. It would need to be Demonology since it would probably be the easiest to convert;
Dark healer that retains minor DPS capability through pets. But I'm not saying I'd WANT to see demo go, not at all.
4th spec would be the best option.
We need a Model 6;
Create 4th specs for "pure" classes, keep the same role specs different mechanically but equal overall.
This would be the best option for bringing a new role to a class without creating rage-babies over ruining a tree.
I love the idea of model 4, in that PvP and PvE are separated distinctly. Balance would be so much easier to reach in both and distinctly separate parts of the game...Which are already separated by an already wide chasm of gearing requirements.
I like the idea that some specs / roles have more of a utility / synergy role. I love this aspect of the game, as mentioned in Model 3.
I disagreed with the idea with the "bring the player, not the class" mentality that overtook the game earlier in WoTLK, as the game ALREADY requires that there be a "tank" "healer" and DPSers.
I know it's a crazy idea, but has the WoW team considered asking WHY we need to have exactly one tank, one healer and three DPS specs to run a dungeon? Why aren't there some dungeons that require 5 tanks? 5 DPSers or 5 healers? or something in between?
Edited by Severrin on 2/20/12 10:06 AM (PST)
Role of Role feedback
Regarding Option 1:
“Everyone equal all the time” *sounds* great (who doesn’t like equality?), but I think is a very misleading idea. If you create a situation where every spec is capable of doing the same amount of over all damage, the same burst utility, the same AoE capability and the same survivability and mobility then you really just wind up with three specs that play pretty much exactly the same. What might change is the animation of your primary nuke (One is blue for frost! One is red for fire!)… or the weapon model you carry (I have daggers and he has a mace but in the end we both still spam 1 to build combo points.), but the actual game play will be pretty much the same. The visuals alone and the flavor of being able to say “I’m a Frost Mage” or “I’m a Sub Rogue” might be enough for some players, but personally I would rather that there be substantive differences in the way I play the different trees on my rogue. Your spec should have a meaningful effect on your gameplay beyond some RP potential and what names are on the tooltips. That I have to hit Sinister Strike more often than Mutilate to get to 5 CPS is just not enough.
I suspect that many people would argue that you don’t need to lose all individuality in game play in order to make every spec “equal”. I disagree. The trouble is as soon as you introduce any kind of meaningful game play change between the specs then you open a fairly large door for one spec to be better or even a lot better than another on any given encounter design.
Let’s take AoE for example. Lets say in order to avoid all the spec’s feeling the same rogues were given two types of AoE spell. Fan of Knives for Combat and some new different and flavor filled spell for Sub. Lets say that the two spells are balanced to do identical levels of damage (everyone is equal after all!) what do you do to make the game play different? (Not the animation and the flavor text, but the actual game play mechanics.) If you make it like Death and Decay, or a channeled spell like Hurricane you have suddenly created a situation where that AoE is going to be either better or worse depending on the encounter. (Please note: I’m not advocating for a ranged channeled AOE, I’m just using this as a clear contrast example to make the point. ) Traditional FoK would be best on something like Maloriak where you need to be constantly on the move, but a channeled ranged spell where you don’t have to be in the middle of the explosion might win on something like Rhyolith.
Even things as seemingly innocuous as the difference in poison damage between rogue spec’s opens up troubles. Assassination is defined as “poison spec”. However that really factors very little into it’s game play other than the fact that it’s primary finisher has a slightly green animation to it. In fact at the moment it can be a weakness, since poisons contribute to ramp up time, and assassination cannot do it’s best damage until it reaches a 5 stack of DP. Sub however doesn’t rely on poison damage and can switch targets with comparative ease. If you remove the ramp up time and DP stacks that assassination relies on then you’re left with out any meaningful difference in the game play. We’re back to some flavour text and a nicely colored animation.
So this leads me to Option 2.
Which all told I don’t think is a completely terrible option. The only issue I have with it, is the implementation I have seen so far is too extreme. I think it’s fine to have a spec that specializes in AoE and one that specializes in single target or cleaves. The difficulty arises when you take this too far. For rogues Assassination has a credible AoE. Combat’s AoE capabilities however are terrible. You could make the argument that the over powered cleave for Combat makes up for this, but you still have a situation where Combat is pretty weak with large packs and Assassination can not even come close to keeping up in 2 or 3 target encounters. And then there is Sub… which is pretty much strictly single target and is completely useless in anything other than single target non-cleave/aoe situations. These extreme disparities over what are pretty standard raid encounter components lead people to feel like the HAVE to switch in order to be competitive. For the average player that’s a pretty big problem, particularly for 10 man raids where each players choices are going to make a huge impact on the performance of the group as a whole.
I would prefer a variation of the #2 model where each spec has acceptable damage output in most areas. However each spec can then shine in a given area. For example: if combat and sub could do roughly 70% of the AoE damage that assassination could pull off. Assassination would still do superior AoE but die hard combat and sub fans to still play the spec in most raid situations and leave the spec swapping and heavy min/maxing to the people who enjoy that kind of thing and the most hard core of progression raiders. It would also allow for some variation in assignments. You might have an encounter where you don’t need or want your entire raid to swap to killing adds. You could then assign your Assassination rogue to go kill adds with your fire mages, while the Sub rogue stays on the boss. But if it turns out you don’t have quite the right raid comp your Sub rogue could probably still help out with the adds and not feel enormous pressure to zone out and switch specs.
The other idea that interests me is the slightly different mechanics between specs. Going back to the first example there might be a situation like Rhyolith where your Assassination rogue just can’t get into the middle of the aoe pack to FoK without dying. In that situation your Sub rogue might help out and use the ranged channeled aoe, even though it is technically a weaker spell. At the same time Cleaves are very useful on this fight as well… so maybe you would want a combat rogue if you already have great aoe damage from the rest of your raid. This is the kind of strategy choice that someone like myself (a player that loves to pick a spec to suit each progression encounter) would enjoy. The decision isn’t clear cut, it’s going to depend on what my raid needs at the moment. I may even change specs depending on the raid comp from night to night. However if that isn’t something you enjoy the difference in abilities isn’t so extreme that you would be holding back your raid if you chose to play one spec through out the entire tier.
Another example would be tweaking the parameters of utility spells. Perhaps one spec had an interrupt that doesn’t cost them damage but is on a longer CD. A second spec has an interrupt that has a short CD but might cost some damage or have an energy requirement that requires more skill to play. Or perhaps the interrupt has a slightly longer range (say 10 yards) making it more useful on a heavy interrupt and movement fight. In all of these situations each spec could probably fill the “interrupter” role, but in some cases the variations would make the job either easier or more challenging, or might even allow the player to cover interrupts on their own without needing help.
I honestly don’t find models 3 or 4 interesting. They have already been implemented in game, and personally I don’t feel like they were successful. If they had been I doubt we would be having this conversation.
Model 5 is a great model when designing a game from scratch. However I agree with Greg Street that this is an entirely unrealistic choice for WoW as it currently stands.
I think their truely is no best one model but I do feel that a model 1 and model 5 are not the way to go. They will need to combine model's 2 ,3 and 4. The dps should not be equal for all classes I feel each class has it reason for rollin that class. I feel the same way about healing. If you roll a pally you should not expect to be raid healing although it is very possible to raid heal as a holy pally. Holy Paladin main purpose is tank healing. If you wanted to raid heal you would have roled a retso druid or holy priest or shaman. We have all chosen the role that we wish to play. Keep doing what your doing just try not to make any big changes minor tweeks we can deal with.
We should all be equal dps, the slight variants should come out of casual/good/excellent experienced players.
You cant lvl out performance from that, all classes should have a single target and an aoe spec for dps, all classes should perform the same in most situations, the only variant here should be ur play style and how good u are at what u do.
If i want to dps, i dont really care about healing or tanking. If for a example you are a Paladin and you want to be Retribution, then u should get 3 specs with Retribution variants to choose from, one for single target, one for aoe and one for pvp. Who cares about tanks or healz? You are choosing a spec because u love what u do. And in that scenario, you should be able to put out the best u can out of that role.
Forget about hybrids, depending on the role we choose, give us our specs, if i wanna tank, I should be able to get 3 tanking trees to pvp as a tank in rbg, pvp as a tank in arenas and pve as a tank in raids.
No more hybrids, give us pure pwnage depending on the role we choose to develop in the game, then it will depend on how well we master our toon and abilities to shine in the dps charts.
In case anyone's still reading this thing, here's my feedback.
I believe each spec should represent a certain style of play. A very specific style of play. And that while one spec may lend itself better to certain situations than another, other players should be able to perform well in those situations. Just not exceptionally well. While switching specs may provide a benefit in certain fights, no-one should feel pressured to switch. Utility-based spells should be changeable on the fly, like MoP model, so that a Fire mage can pvp or pve as he wishes, without feeling overburdened by his inclination towards a particular playstyle.
So, with reference to that, the models:
"I wonder if we’d lose a little bit of the fun of experimentation and theorycrafting if it was basically accepted that you could take any spec to any fight and do about the same damage. It’s more balanced, yes, but does it lack depth or flavor? Is it fun?"
Why would it not be fun? The theorycrafters and mathematicians form an exceptionally small subset of the population. Would they derive less fun out of it? Yes, they would. Would the play itself change? No. Everyone gets to enjoy doing what they enjoy doing, including the theorycrafters, without worrying overmuch whether their inclinations towards a particular spec are directly conflicting with their desire to be better at PvE or PvP.
It is perfectly okay to have a spec excel at something. If you can match the style of play to the effects produced, you're golden. As long as they're good at everything and exceptional at something, they will never feel left out.
No. This is the one model I detest. Forcing me to switch specs, and hence playstyle, is something I am firmly against. I find it makes more sense to play a Warlock instead of an SV Hunter rather a BM Hunter. The differences in playstyle are too staggering to switch without losing a sense of comfort.
I am not against this model. I don't think it's a very good one though. You're essentially dictating playstyle, rather than letting the player choose. It may solve a significant chunk of your balancing issues, but you'd be cutting out a large number of playstyles in order to so. It's not a bad option though, it's not a very good one either.
You're never even going to think about implementing this, so why're we discussing it? 'Tis most silly.
Edited by Suej on 2/22/12 12:57 PM (PST)
There is a model missing.
That said by a 3-spec'ed character sounds kinda "It does not affect me, so screw them"
If they followed your *sarcastic quotation marks* "idea", single-spec'ed class players would have a much less rich charactwer developement. Also, it was said many a time that they did not want copy-pasted character specs for every season, but a diversity of specs, based on which one you LIKE the most. Now you suggest to force players into one single sqared spec... nice :rolls:
IMHO, now that Druids are (finally) having the Feral spec torn into two different specs, thus, earning a fourth spec, it could be a good time (surely for exp #6) to add a 4th spec for everyone as it's been asked (as it would obviously happen) in forums.
Though, as they are taking out ranged weapons for melee classes and melee weapons for ranged classes, it sounds a little more difficult now (since some pure dps classes could earn a 4th spec swaping from ranged attack to melee and vice-versa)
BTW, adding Vengeance and such skills to tanks, increasing hugely their dps, was really a mistake which screw the balance between roles
An idea I've tossed around among friends is that some future content might have less traditional group arrangements, like 4 DPS, a tank and no healer, 2 tanks and 3 DPS, or maybe even just 5 DPS. I think that the issues of spec balance will always remain, but maybe the problem could be approached differently in a way that changes up the pacing of some fights/dungeons.
I feel that this is a problem in PvP as well. It seems all too often that balance is written off solely with numerical considerations but there is much thinking outside of the box that could be done to improve the overall PvP experience for new and old players alike. Many newer mechanics seem to be straying away from the rock-paper-scissors structures of yore, making crowd control and stuns unmanageable to an extent that isn't fun and adding stats that widen the gap between new and veteran characters. Perhaps along with the new talent system, there could be an overhaul of how stuns/CC work, making each class able to completely wipe their current movement-impairing debuffs in a way that isn't just a trinket.
These are rough and incomplete ideas, but I do spend a good deal of time trying to figure out what would remedy WoW at this point and it just seems like the best way would be to think of ways to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, within the parameters of the game as it already is.
Edited by Pontificate on 2/23/12 10:23 AM (PST)
Here's an idea. Leave the game the way it is, in it's current iteration. This game is at the end of it's life cycle. We have been through what, three, four gameplay changes (stats, trees, etc.) now?
THE LAST THING THIS GAME NEEDS IS ANOTHER FUNDAMENTAL GAMEPLAY CHANGE
Why bother with another fundamental gameplay change, if you are developing another MMO? Why not implement these ideas into that MMO? Why are you even considering again changing the gameplay in a seven year old game?
Here is what you do:
Adding a healing spec to hunters and warlocks sounds like something you guys would say on April Fool's day. I mean, really?
This is something that drastically changed death knights and the way I played them. I was a frost tank during the entirety of Wrath and enjoyed it (except fighting Saph in naxx who was 90% resistant to 90% of my damage). When the Cata patch hit and I had to go blood, which I disliked, I basically stopped tanking. I have it dual specced but pretty much left it alone and now only do it when there is a satchel waiting. I just hate the way blood plays and prefer a faster play style which is why i play my rogue so much. So long as the conversation is going I'll say again that I wouldn't mind if combat rogues had a way to "tank", even if not in a full fledged way. It seems like its getting harder to think of the posibility now though, for alot of the recent heroics a dps getting hit at all is instant death which means there is no hybrid for dks anymore, if you have to pick up an add as frost to save the healer you have to pop all your cooldowns to avoid being one shot and hope the tank pulls it off beforee it gets a second. I liked being able to save the party from a wipe by either healing or tanking when i was a dps. It was the mark of a good player with enough awareness to stop a bad situation before it happened. Now though if you do anything not in your role, you're a baddie. Maybe Mists will change it, we'll see though.
You sound thoroughly annoyed by change, without change we'd all still be playing tic tac toe. They wouldn't have developed Checkers and then not Chess if people didn't try to find out what works and what doesn't and try to improve systems. Blizz has said many times that WoW is a living breathing entity and has to change or it just stalemates like Everquest. You play it for so long then realize there is nothing new and nothing changes so your'e jsut stuck for no reason. Everquest still exists but it doesn't ever pick up new players and most of those who played it back when it was really popular moved on to better things. You can't say just not to change anything ever. If blizz did that we wouldn't even have the system that you now claim to be the best because it'd just be nearly 10 years of vanilla with new locales. I'm glad for change even if its not always for the best. Cata was an attempt to fix problems and mist is just another step in the same direction. Why have [derp derp useless talent] next to [+omgzors it died lols] next to [you'll push this once a year but it'll be awesome when you do]? If you look at someone's spec and ever ask why they took something useless then obviously to you there wasn't a choice involved. Mists is removing talent potholes and adding choices that will actually be a choice. Some will affect playstyle (random vs consistent) slightly, others are debatably more oriented to pvp vs pve. Some people won't see this though and argue about how less is just less but those of us that see the big picture will ultimately like it so far as I can see.