Crithto - Gear Changes in Warlords of Draenor
Another reason for these item changes are to bring hybrids closer to fulfilling their off-spec role. Part of the fantasy of being a warrior is that you can take the punishment when you need to (tank), or dish it out if you want to (DPS). However, collecting two entirely different sets of gear, plus gemming, enchanting, reforging... it's all different and it's just a lot more work. In most cases, it was too big of a barrier for some players to even consider. With these changes, we're bringing your off spec closer to the performance of your main spec. You won't have to collect the same Chest set piece twice, or say, get a different set of boots. However, if you want to be optimal, there will still be items to collect.
This means many things. One I'll illustrate using an example from my own experience.
I have two DPS specs right now, because some fights in Siege of Orgrimmar
are single target fights (and thus, fury is better than arms for them) and others are AoE fights (and arms heavily outperforms fury on AoE) - as a result, when I am asked to tank/offtank or just decide to do so, I must engage in the following steps.
- Collect protection pieces (offspec gear) in raiding, waiting of course for our main tanks to have all they need for progression.
- Make sure my offspec pieces are all gemmed, enchanted, and properly reforged.
- Go to the trainer and choose one of my DPS specs to lose in order to pick up my protection spec.
While I will still have to do some of this (if I want two DPS specs, I'm going to have to hit up a trainer when I decide to tank) the first two will be greatly
reduced in difficulty. At last, at long
last, I will be able to wear my gear for both DPS and tanking. I'll probably want/need tank specific rings, necks, capes and trinkets as well as a weapon and shield, since I don't expect warriors to start tanking with 2h weapons. It's still some
effort to switch from tanking to DPS (I'll at least have to hit my dual spec button if I have a tank spec ready to go and switch some gear around) but not nearly
In the discussion of all the changes to gear this has been the point I haven't seen get discussed nearly as much as it should be, because what it does isn't just a case of making it so the holy pally plate is also good for DK's and warriors and ret/prot pallies, or that the tanking leather is of use to moonkins and rogues - it means that every piece of gear you get is just that, gear
. It's not only gear for one of your specs, and as a result, you can perform the roles you are specced for faster and easier.
Crithto mentions that, as an example, if you switch from healing to tanking you may not have the best possible rings, trinkets and other accessories, but that's less important for "I'm just doing this to fill in" situations. Yes, if you wish to be as good as possible at your roles, you'll need some specialized gear, and that's in my opinion good because it rewards good choices and allows progression minded players to display mastery of the gearing side-game - but it also means that on days when I feel like running some dungeons, I can just switch over to prot and do
it without needing to have collected whole sets of variant gear for the purpose.
PvP gear will still exist as a separate gear path, although even PvP gear will switch by role/spec (so your holy pally can PvP in the same set as your ret pally) but otherwise, this is the end of things like tank and DPS and healing class sets, since class set bonuses will also switch with role/spec.
And this all leads us to the question asked at the beginning - just how hybrid should hybrids be? Is it good
for the game if a druid could easily switch from healer to ranged DPS in the same gear?
No, seriously, that's the answer. Yes, it's good for the game.
All right, fine, I'll explain my answer. The first thing to keep in mind is, we're still limited to two choices of spec - the most hybrid any class can ever really get without a trip to the trainer is two roles at most. Since we're limited by that already, having our gear
not be a hindrance
to the performance of these roles simultaneously makes it far more convenient for people who want
to do this kind of hybrid play without really blowing the doors off of the system. We can't switch in combat, we can't drop a spec away from a trainer, we'll still need to consider talent choices and glyphs - it makes the hybrid lifestyle easier without making it trivial
Now, if you're worried that it makes pure DPS even more disadvantaged, I can argue with that, but it comes down to this - it does, slightly. It does because it removes an arbitrary mechanical limit on hybrids, but the same things that keep hybrids from swapping on the fly (can't switch in combat, can only switch between two) will mean that it's simply not going to be that big a change from modern raiding or dungeons. The limiter will be player choice - what roles did the hybrid player choose
to spec into - and not whether or not they've been able to pick up offspec gear.
In the end, I think this is an astonishing move forward towards hybrids getting to play with their wider class toolkits, and I'm eager to see where it goes.