Spec choices and when to make them

Michael asks a "newbie question" over on Livejournal. Apparently when his GL asked him what spec his pally was, he had to reply that he didn't know-- even though he's almost level 40, he hasn't chosen one yet. Now, I might be the exception on this (wouldn't be the first time), but I was surprised to hear about something like that-- most of my characters' specs are chosen from level one-- either I know what I want to do with them (as with my Rogue twink, who's been PvP-specced from the beginning), or I have a clearcut plan to follow (my Shaman was Enhancement until 60, and then respecced Resto for raiding). Usually if I ever deviate from my plan (as happened with both my Warrior and my Mage) and change my spec halfway through, I decide that the character isn't really want I want to play, and they get abandoned.

How long do you wait to come up with your spec choices? I can't imagine many players wait as long as Michael did, except maybe if the character is an alt that they aren't worried about. And in general, I research specs before I choose them, but maybe I'm the exception on that as well-- I guess the alternative is to just choose talents that you're interested in and go with those. Did you have your character planned out from the beginning, or did you just make it up as you went along?

This article was originally published on WoW Insider.