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Community Blog Topic Results: Should all classes get a fourth spec?


The last Community Blog Topic asked, "Should all classes get a fourth spec?" My answer was no, but I still presented some ideas as to how four specs could be implemented for most of the classes. This was a rather hot topic with a slew of comments and a large number of blog posts. I've focused mostly on the blog posts here.

Fizzl from Working Title likes the idea of a fourth spec and would like it to be used to add a buff spec to each class.

A replenishment-style system of raid buffing via damage. Think of it like this for a moment: a buff role would be available to multiple classes. Each buff-specced class could use damage output to provide raids with multiple buffs (more so than just mana return). Lets say a "buff" warrior at maximum output provides the raid with a nice health boost. Or a "buff" mage doing its job allows a temporary buff of the raid that functions like a mini-Time Warp.

Nyold from Confessions of an Altoholic has some ideas for each class, keeping in mind gear distribution. Here is the death knight suggestion:

A healing spec. A lot of what they do is already healing: self healing, rezzing, preventing damage. This could be interesting because instead of mana, their main resources would be runes and mana. (Runic power would not work well with a healing class, because a resource that starts at zero can't be longevity-limiting). This is similar to how monks suddenly use mana when healing.
HerrKlokbok at The Exodar Sisters has some solutions for the problems having fourth specs would cause. One is to make it a conditional hero class.
The condition is once you've hit level 90 (and possibly reached an iLvl threshold) you get the option of turning Mercenary. A Mercenary class would work for a short period of time: say as long as a questchain (of dailies or weeklies) is still in progress. Or B) by paying a (large) amount of gold – say 50 000 gold – to an NPC and thereby gaining a timed debuff lasting for instance, a month. The Hero Class would become a goldsink. I think a much needed goldsink at that. The Mercenary have the ability to work with any faction.
JeffLaBowski at Sportsbard believes that a fourth spec would be bad, but he still had suggestions for other classes. Here is his hunter suggestion:
Not really a new spec, but a new breed of hunters. I would have gnome hunters and make them be able to create mechanical pets. "Mechanimals" and robots. They could perhaps teach other hunters to do this as well. Maybe even have "support pets" that can heal or tank for limited amounts of time. Instead of freezing traps they could throw down spikes or oil slicks. Instead of arcane damage they could deal electricity.
At Dead Gnomes Society, alykii said no to fourth specs but still had some ideas. For warlocks:
... a "ranged tanking" spec for warlocks. Bosses that only deal magical damage can also be tanked by a warlock specced for it. The spec would include armor increases, health increases and defensive cooldowns. Call this spec shadow defender.
At Power Word: Remix, unlimited black has several suggestions for the classes, including warrior.

I know, I know: people have joked at a warrior healing spec using bandages since forever. And people have balked at the idea of the most inherently magic-free class having abilities that are clearly magical in nature. But if you get a little looser on the idea of what Hit Points are, I could totally see a warrior that heals people through morale, or through impressive attacks that show the enemy isn't unbeatable. And what you'd have is a Warrior wearing spellpower plate swinging sword and/or board into the bad guys and telling her allies "WALK IT OFF DAISY."
pyrephoenix at Corhi, Casually suggests this for rogues:
... I think a tanking rogue could be a really interesting direction to go with the class. Create a hard cap of 65% dodge/parry combined, use talents and spells for active mitigation of the other 35%. To remove 'spiky' incoming damage, make the passive mitigations lower incoming damage rather than block it altogether, but don't let A/M depend on timing (no sense making high latency force raid wipes more than necessary).
At Frost and Claws, tyledres says no to four specs.
10 brand new spanking spec would be awesome right? But I can't see Blizzard putting that much time into creating and balancing that. They already decided that creating a new class is difficult enough and that's just 3 specs. So do they just introduce a few at a time then? Who goes first and how do you keep the rest of the world from nerdraging that their class wasn't first? It'd really just be easier to create a new class. Look! New shiny class! Horray! And keep working at fixing and balancing the older classes.
hstein3 from Halbert's Cubicle thinks that certain questions must be kept in mind when adding new specs to classes
  1. Does it fit with the lore/theme/flavor of the class?
  2. Does it require changing the mechanics of the class?
  3. Does it require changes to any other game features?
  4. Does it fill a niche, or conflict with existing archetypes?
  5. Is it intuitive to new and/or existing players?
Rayvncat1 over at Rayvn's Reliquary has this to say:
... my answer is still mostly no. I think doing that would be a terrible idea.

The only way I can see this idea ever working is if Blizzard continues the alt unfriendly stance they brought about with Mists. It makes sense if they really expect most players to focus on one "main" and not have alts.
In the comments, draknfyre (along with a few other commenters) said,
"Shamans could become that support class that Ghostcrawler hinted at."

You mean what they ORIGINALLY were?
It's true, I remember now that in Vanilla, the shaman was like a support class to mixed reviews. Contradicting another of my ideas, many commenters said that my idea for battle mages imbuing their weapons with magic power is already being done via enhancement shamans. For hunters, many people suggested going melee or creating a petless ranger spec. And there were quite a few votes for a shockadin (ranged DPS) spec for paladins.

This was a fun topic to explore. If you have any suggestions for future Community Blog Topics, please leave them in the comments.

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