Why being a Pure DPS is harder than being a hybrid

We've all heard it before. Pure DPS classes have it so easy! They only have to worry about one set of gear (excluding PVP gear) while the poor hybrid classes have to carry two or three sets! They also only have to collect gear with their primary stat and DPS secondary stats, while hybrids have to worry about multiple primary stats, tanking/non-tanking secondary stats, etc. AND they even only have to collect ONE set of always-hard-to-obtain tier gear! What a life of luxury the Pure DPS player lives!

Well, I hate to [Shattering Throw] your bubble, but it's not quite so simple.

Oh, it's true that a Mage (for example) only has to worry about gear with Intellect on it. Her desired drops are very clear-cut: no Strength, no Spirit, no Dodge, no Expertise, nada. And yeah, there's only one set of tier Mage gear.

However, what many people do not understand is that this Mage still needs a second set of gear to play her offspec, just like a hybrid class.

Why? Because Frost =/= Fire =/= Arcane.

With the implementation of reforging, suddenly we were given endless new options when it comes to optimizing our equipment. Got a chestpiece packed with Mastery, but Mastery is your worst stat? No problem! We'll just reforge a chunk of that Mastery to juicy Crit instead.

But what if your offspec values its secondary stats differently? What if your offspec hates Crit but loves Mastery?

Do you see where the problem is?

It's not something people really think about, when dual-specced DPS classes switch specs. Most players simply assume that, in terms of gear, Rogue spec = Rogue spec. But in reality, most DPS specs value secondary stats quite differently. Even worse, some specs not only have different values, but completely different cap requirements (Hit, Expertise, Crit, etc). Some lucky class/spec combos might have the same stat weights, yes, but others are vastly different, some to the point of having a secondary stat that is essential in one spec and near-worthless in the other.

For example? Let's look at my Death Knight, who is dual-specced Frost / Unholy.

DW Frost requires reaching the melee Hit (8%) and Expertise (26) caps, which is 601 Hit and 781 Expertise. (601 Hit is only 5% hit, but the spec gets a free 3% from talents.) Frost prioritizes secondary stats as Haste > Mastery > Crit.

Unholy, on the other hand, requires reaching the 8% Hit cap without that bonus 3%, which means they need 961 Hit. Their stat priorities are Haste > Crit > Mastery.

Right away, there's a disparity with the amount of Hit I need in my two specs. And notice the lack of Expertise? That is because Expertise is actually the worst stat for Unholy (not counting obvious wrong stats like Spirit or Parry). The perfect Unholy setup would see a big fat zero in the Expertise column.

So even though these are both DPS specs, the only way I could use the same gear for both specs is if I was willing to be quite subpar at one of them. If I gear for Frost, then when I switch to Unholy I don't have enough Hit and have boatloads of pointless Expertise. But if I gear for Unholy, then my Frost spec has too much hit and not enough Expertise!

How big of a deal is this? Well, it's a total of 1141 wasted or missing stat points (360 Hit + 781 Expertise). This would basically be like playing completely ungemmed and unenchanted! To anyone serious about their DPS and performing at a high level, this is completely unacceptable.

Keep in mind these are just the stats related to my basic melee caps - I haven't even gotten into how Frost hates Crit, but Unholy quite likes it. That's yet another factor that will result in one of your specs underperforming.

Want another example? Frost Mages have a special Crit Cap requirement of 33.33% due to one of their talents, something neither Arcane nor Fire have to worry about. Or if you want to look at a really dizzying example, check out the Rogue stat priorities:
Assassination: 8% Melee Hit > 17% Spell Hit > Mastery > Haste > Expertise > Crit
Combat: 8% Melee Hit > 26 Expertise > Haste > 17% Spell Hit > Mastery > Crit
Subtlety: 8% Melee Hit > Haste > 26 Expertise > Crit > 17% Spell Hit > Mastery

Those stats are all over the place! There's no way a dual-specced Rogue could have a single set of gear that properly follows each spec's priorities.

You might be asking, um hello, isn't this what reforging is for? Tidying up your stats and min/maxing for optimal results? And the answer is yes!...sort of. Sure, I can reforge and adjust my stats and end up using the same gear for both specs - at the cost of hundreds of gold every time I wanted to switch. Literally! I checked, and it costs me about 250 gold to reforge from Frost to Unholy stats.

But even putting the steep financial cost aside, the most significant drawback to this reforging requirement is that I can't do it mid-raid. Let's say I wanted to be Frost on Warmaster Blackhorn so we could have Chilblains for the Twilight Sappers, but then wanted to be Unholy for Madness of Deathwing so we could have Anti-Magic Zone.

What am I supposed to do - delay the rest of the raid while I hearth and reforge?

Imagine how frustrating and annoying that would be, to both myself and my teammates, when all I want to do is utilize both my specs so I can best benefit the group. You know - the whole POINT of dual speccing!

Another problem with this dilemma is that utilizing both specs is one of the only ways a pure DPS class (or someone who is dual-specced DPS, such as my DK) can bring additional benefit to a raid group. A hybrid character can fill in as a tank or healer, but my DK, or a Rogue, or a Mage? All we can do is DPS. As a result, we want to be able to help out in other ways, such as providing the various buffs/debuffs/etc. available in our different specs, such as Chilblains/Anti-Magic Zone, as mentioned above.

But how are we supposed to do that when it requires holding up 9 (or 24) other players?

The only real solution is doing exactly what any hybrid character has to do to play their offspec - collect and prepare a second set of gear. However, this is harder than it sounds, because quite honestly, it looks really, really bad.

Let's say my Death Knight is in LFR as Frost, and I roll on the DPS plate belt from Hagara, when I already have that exact belt equipped. Do I have a legitimate use for it? Absolutely, I need it so I can have one belt for Frost and one for Unholy. But try explaining that to the furious players in the group who only see a greedy jerk stealing "their" gear, by needing on a piece that he already has equipped. Go ahead, try to tell them about the dual spec demands and stat priorities and all that.

I'll save you the trouble. You will never be able to explain. No one listens or cares that you need that belt for your offspec so you can be your best at both specs. They just rage, froth at the mouth, accuse you of being an asshole and slam their Vote to Kick buttons as fast as they can.

It's not just an LFR situation, either. If I already have the 397 Hagara belt as Frost, and it drops again during my guild run, and my Warrior tank would like to need on it for his DPS offspec? Do you have any idea how selfish it feels (and looks) if I also rolled need on it for MY offspec, considering I already have it? I mean, it's actually equal priority for both of us - we both legitimately need it for our offspec. But it comes across as extremely greedy and selfish. And in one sense, I COULD use the one I already have for Unholy. It would cost me gold and it would be a pain in the ass to do during raid time, but I COULD use it, while he simply could not since he doesn't actually own the belt.

Now obviously, it's a little different in a guild situation. I have no doubt that, after explaining just why I needed the belt, my tank guildie would be fine with me rolling on it. But you try doing this and winning the belt, and not feeling like an absolute boor for being so greedy. It's silly, since you really do need it, but the feeling of shame is unavoidable.

And that's why I've been finding it so difficult to consider my Frost/Unholy DK truly dual-specced during Dragon Soul. If I can't switch specs on the fly, and if switching costs me hundreds of gold and requires a bunch of tinkering back in town, then why even bother being dual-specced to begin with?

Now at this point, you might be saying, oh my god shut up already, just DPS at 100% capacity in Frost and at 75% capacity in Unholy and quit whining!

Well, if that's what you think, we clearly have different definitions of what it means to be a serious DPS player.

If you don't raid competitively and don't really care about your DPS, then that's fine. I REPEAT - THAT IS FINE. This post isn't really addressed at you. Don't be mad or insulted by this, it's just aimed at a different player demographic! You play your part of the game and I'll play mine.

But serious DPS players? They do not strive to be "good enough." They don't aim to be "adequate."

There is always room for improvement.

Unlike healers or tanks, for whom success CAN be measured in such terms, the pursuit of excellence is a never-ending quest for a DPS player. I'm not saying healers or tanks aren't as committed or don't spend as much time fine-tuning their performance. That's absurd. But their criteria (Did everyone live? How was my overhealing? My cooldown usage? How much damage did I take?) are a) harder to numerically measure, and b) often at least partially out of their hands. It's simply a different situation.

But for a DPS, your performance is right there as a number, staring you in the face, challenging you to surpass it the next time.

Now, I'm not talking about ignoring crucial mechanics to pad your numbers, or blowing up the boss 0.5 seconds into the fight, pulling aggro and dying, or other characteristics of terrible players. I mean, come on. We're talking about serious players, not baddies. Doing all the right things and taking care of your specific responsibilities - interrupting, using defensive cooldowns, clicking the Lightwell - these are all things that go without saying. Without question, they are absolutely just as important as the number flashing on Recount at the end of the fight.

I liken it to writing a test. Things like killing adds and avoiding unnecessary damage? These are the no-brainers that any decent player will do. They're like writing your name on the test or meeting a word requirement - things that are just expected.

But your actual DPS results? That's your grade, the number you take home afterward as a summary of how well you performed. It's why you're there, so why would you settle for anything other than your best? If you're not doing everything in your power to push out your optimal numbers, you're slacking and letting down the rest of your raid team. We've all had those 1% or 0% wipes - playing with suboptimal stats could absolutely be the difference in such cases between a heartbreaking wipe and a triumphant kill.

Don't get me wrong - I'll screw around in solo play as an ungemmed Ret Paladin or horrible Boomkin, because well, whatever. But when I'm in a raid? When 9 other people are counting on me? No way. It's my best or nothing.

Of course, collecting and gemming/enchanting two full sets of near-identical gear is time-consuming, expensive, and is a lot of extra work. It's not for everyone, and that's okay. But for a player who wants to be able to bring two different specs to their raid, and who is unwilling to accept suboptimal performance? Getting that offspec gear is your only real solution.

It's just frustrating that gearing your offspec makes you look like such a jerk.

28 Responses Subscribe to comments

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    I'm sorry, I still don't see "pure dps is harder than hybrid". Hybrids face this exact problem as well.

    On my holy paladin, I want a mastery focused set for fights when I'm mostly tank healing, a spirit focused set for long long long fights (Madness), a haste/spirit set when I'm doing a lot of raid healing, and so on. During Firelands, I bought 3 copies of everything off of the MF vendors to make multiple sets of gear.

    PLUS, I'm also expected to have a dps set for nights when we have too many healers show up, or we decide to drop a healer to beat enrage timers.

    The hybrid problem isn't just about gear, either. If I switch to dps, I have to know which dps targets have priority (something I ignore as a healer). I have to be able to target them (which, for me, means targetting macros, because I'm terrible at targeting for some reason). In some cases, I need a completely different UI set up, in addition to the gear requirements.

    I'll agree that multiple sets of gear sucks, and that pure dps can gear that way at high levels of play, but I do not see that as a worse situation than what hybrids have to deal with.

    February 22, 2012 at 4:33 PM

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    You start talking about pure DPS classes, but then you use a hybrid class (Death Knight) as an example. Just because you have two damage specs doesn't mean it's a pure class. The only pure classes (classes that can only fill one role) are rogues, mages, hunters, warlocks, and mages.

    February 22, 2012 at 4:42 PM

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    With all due respect, that's not true at all. I just pulled up BiS gear for a Rogue, if you look at gear for Assassination and Combat, with the except for 3 pieces, they use the exact same T13 Heroic gear. Most of the differences come from reforging, that's it.

    Now let's use your example, Fire Mage and Arcane Mage.



    Two pieces of gear are different.

    If we look at it with Non-heroic T13 gear, five pieces are different, that's it.

    With that said, you do bring up good points, but it's definitely not to the degree that hybrid classes have problems with gearing.

    February 22, 2012 at 5:03 PM

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    @Zaralynda - Sure, hybrids face the problem of having to have different sets with different stats for varying situations, like Pures. No disagreement. But what I was getting at in this post was that no one minds if you roll on a piece of +Str plate for your offspec. But Pures are often not afforded the luxury of being able to roll for their "offspecs".

    @Ice - I realize the Pure DPS seems out of place when applying to a DK, but the point is that anyone that is double DPS specced that uses the same stats (including DK or Warrior) faces this social stigma of rolling on pieces they already have, for their offspecs. I thought about excluding DKs from this post, but the Expertise/Hit/secondary stats example was too vivid a case of the sheer differences that can exist between two "so-called" similar specs.

    @Anon - You prove my point exactly. They use the same Heroic gear because obviously, that's the gear available. But an Assassination Rogue wearing T13 BiS cannot use the same gear for Combat T13 BiS. At least, not without significant reforging and gear tinkering. To have two sets of usable gear, they'd have to acquire a second set, possibly taking those pieces or those tokens away from guild members.

    February 22, 2012 at 5:28 PM

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    @Rades You missed my point entirely. As a healer I have your problem (I have multiple copies of the same piece of gear to account for different situations), plus I have more problems (like being asked to do an entirely different job for the good of the raid).

    February 22, 2012 at 5:56 PM

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    Addressing the DK as a hybrid class:
    Considering that someone dual spec's with both DPS, then their class is no longer hybrid. The class is only hybrid if you are using one of those specs.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:21 PM

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    I think this is going to depend almost entirely on your raid team and their needs/goals, as far as the stigma of having the same gear x2. Most raid teams are going to require a primary and secondary spec, and most are going to have the wits to understand that you have to prioritize one set over another in order to be at peak performance in both specs. However, the benefits (such as AMF or whatever) sometimes outweigh "pure" DPS concerns. Most guilds should have standards in place to handle the double gearing issues. If you're *not* in a permanent guild--raid situation, then having two DPS specs is largely irrelevant (in my opinion anyway) as most pick up style/LFR groups are "what you see is what you get."

    The issue I think most dps/tank, healer/dps combos face is the radical changes in their *role* in the raid, while you seem to be focusing almost entirely on gearing issues.

    However, I *still* think this is a really great post (and discussion) to have, because I think it's more likely that DPS classes are asked to switch to their secondary DPS role without taking in the implications of the gearing choices that impact that role. Rogues, for instance, might have the exact same set of gear for multiple specs, but reforges/gemming/enchanting may be radically different. Most raid teams I've been in do not allow time to run off to the reforger when you're asked to swap, you're just expected to swap, throw on your gear, and be awesome.

    Harder? I'd argue that point with you. But it does highlight a flaw in the current gear strategy that applies across the board, and that is it's *damn* hard to provide 2 specializations at peak efficiency, but even *more* so when you're required to swap between them on the fly, and you lack the resources to adapt your gear on the spot as well.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:33 PM

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    The Renaissance Man

    You feel guilty taking a DPS belt for your DPS offset over the tank's DPS offset?

    How often do you jump between frost and unholy in Dragon Soul? There isn't a Magmaw/Conclave/Beth'tilac style encounter that is made immeasurably easier with Chillblains. There's actually several encounters that benefit from AMZ. I was under the impression that you only went frost if you had HoMs or Souldrinkers, and even then, only until you collected Gurthulak. Then you reforge and regem for unholy and don't look back.

    If the DPS differential is based pretty much upon weapon upgrades, why are you concerning yourself with gathering an offset over a tank who's sitting in an instance where over half of the encounters on ten man require the OT to DPS?

    February 22, 2012 at 7:07 PM

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    If you were going to use a dual-DPS scenario as an example, a perfect one would have been shaman (elemental/enhancement) or a druid (balance/feral).

    That said, I currently main a hunter - which is a pure DPS. However you spec as a hybrid class, it's still a hybrid class. Saying, "I have two DPS specs, therefore I am only DPS" is like telling a priest "You have two healing specs, therefore you are only a healer" - this is not true.

    As a hunter, though, the only real gear that changes between specs is... well, none of it, really. Our secondary stat priority is for all three specs so similar it really doesn't matter that much until you're at the very, very top level of play (which, most players aren't).

    Also, many players DO go reforge and respec between fights. If the raid wants the absolute best, then yeah, they should be doing as such. But let's look at healing priests:

    Holy Mastery: Spi = Mastery > Haste > Crit
    Holy Haste: Spi > Haste > Mastery = Crit

    And then haste, mastery and crit stacking are all three viable options for disc, depending on how the player needs to deal with a particular fight.

    So, depending on the fight, a priest could need up to five - FIVE - sets of gear to heal effectively. Never mind their shadow gear. Hybrids, unfortunately, have it way harder than pures.

    February 22, 2012 at 9:31 PM

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    At the beginning of the instance say you're there for offspec gear, that you'll be needing items you already have. If they're fine with it, problem solved. If not, you waste as little time as possible.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:32 PM

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    This is kind of a controversial topic, and I fully admit it's a bit of an aggressive/provocative stance (on purpose). So, thanks for reading/commenting, first and foremost. :)

    @Zaralynda - Hmm. I think it's a little different in that you're still collecting different Holy pieces for your primary set, and not an offspec. I agree that that feeling of feeling greedy would be there though.

    @Windsoar - Yes, exactly re: DPS and offspecs. I actually didn't really realize this myself until sometime in Firelands, when we brought up to our Frost Mage the possibility of going Fire for Alysrazor, since it so strongly favors Fire. And his reaction that he could, but his gear would work against him, caught us off guard.

    @Renaissance - Actually, when I was switching between Frost/Unholy it ends up being quite a bit of flipping depending on the fight. Some of them favor Frost while others favor Unholy. A quick tally - I'd prefer Frost on exactly four due to burn phases or adds (Zon'ozz, Yor'sahj, Hagara and Spine), so it's pretty evenly split.

    Tomaj - Perhaps expressing it as a class-based dilemma was a poor choice on my part. It's more the double DPS spec character, is what I meant. I did notice when looking at the Pure DPS classes that Hunters enjoy the same stats per spec, which is a nice luxury for them. :D As for Priests, you're right in that you could have different stat priorities per fight, but so could pures - in a perfect world, a Frost DK would load up on Mastery for Yor'sahj, for example. But I think this is a little different because you're still gearing your primary spec, and not your offspec. A matter of opinion, I suppose.

    February 22, 2012 at 11:19 PM

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    Part of the reason why people in LFR will rage and reach for their votekick buttons - though usually not often enough - is that it is extremely frustrating gearing in LFR when you're rolling against every twat who rolls need on absolutely everything they can, just for the gold/crystals/what have you.

    Explain all you like that you're needing for your dual-spec, but it's not going to impress the guy rolling for mainspec, who has lost the item every single time that it has dropped, often to people with the same or better item equipped. Fact is, equally using 2 dps specs is the exception rather than the rule. Most players focus on one because they play it better, they like the feel better, it's what they've always played, etc. Thus most players think in terms of mainspec/offspec. What you're effectively doing, even if you do explain, is saying that your offspec is more important than their mainspec.

    Your title was provocative, deliberately... but not really controversial, because it's *outright, blatantly wrong*. You feel bad rolling on the same items for main and offspec? Boo hoo! Hybrid players often have to do the same, and on top of that have the issues of situational gearing for different encounters if they're playing at the sort of level you assume. And any item that a hybrid doesn't roll in duplicate - for instance, rolling on +str gear instead of +int - means they can't even roll need with a role bonus in LFR, even if they do switch roles by encounter as you do.

    That's without going into the different interface requirements someone mentioned above.

    February 23, 2012 at 12:41 AM

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    @Rades In that case, I'd point again to shaman and druids. A shaman going elemental/enhancement or a druid going feral kitty/balance would have MASSIVELY different gearing priorities to the point of having every single piece of gear be different. And make no mistake, there are encounters which prefer one over the other, either due to not having legendary staff, or due to needing to provide a buff or debuff (H Morchok comes to mind, when buffs won't get covered for the entire raid - I even had to pull out a special pet JUST for that fight).

    In both cases, the shaman and druid are still hybrid classes. A DK providing AMZ is like a Disc priest providing PW:B, as an example. A hunter can just as easily provide the debuff a frost DK can via a Ravager pet (and I frequently do this, when our DKs are unholy, even in 25m, thanks to Gurthalak).

    As for priests, either holy or disc is the main spec - not "healing." And yes, the reforges and stat priorities are vastly different. The mastery-oriented holy priest is a little more complex than the haste one (and more so than I noted) - spi > haste to 12.5% with WoA > mastery > haste > crit, whereas a haste-oriented priest just goes balls to the wall with haste and spirit. But to say that it's "gearing for main spec" when you're healing, is like saying you're "gearing for main spec" when you're DPSing as a DK, even though your stat priorities differ between the different specs. That's a poor statement as well, not just saying that gearing for a hybrid is easier than gearing for a pure - because the truth is, it's not. In general, a hybrid's off spec will be either DPS or Healing or Tanking, all of which require different gear altogether (excepting off pieces MAYBE for shadow priests/elemental shaman/balance druids and the healing counterparts).

    When you look at the tier sets - generally four of them are BiS for any given class, plus one off piece - and you have a difference of 3-5 pieces between specs, versus up to 13 slots of gear, it's hard to lend credit to "pures" having it "more difficult" gearing-wise than hybrids.

    February 23, 2012 at 3:01 AM

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    I thought about this as if one of my raiders were coming to me asking these things. We've actually dealt with the issue of one of our dps swapping specs and trying to straddle the middle on reforges [thereby pulling down both specs].

    For reference I have dabbled in most specs and all classes at some point or another, so I am at least vaguely familiar with the issues you and others describe.

    And you are talking about a specific upper level of play. And if there were raid benefits to your offspec, I can see them being given some priority.

    HOWEVER, I would probably need to look at prioritizing a tank or a healer having a viable dps offspec for the raid over specializing yours given some of the encounter requirements, which often require either a tank or a healer, sometimes both, to go dps.

    That said, I may suggest to our arcane mage that they pick up gear no one needs to specialize their offset.

    And I'm afraid I would have to echo what others have that hybrids do have it worse. Tanks often will have mitigation sets, mastery sets and the like. Healers do the same with spirit/mastery/haste sets on top of any offsets they wish to pursue. This is a fascinating discussion and a very valid point that perhaps raid leaders need to be aware of. I mean heck, if nothing else, it's better to specialize a dpser's potentially valuable offspec than to go to shard right? You may need some of that flexibility eventually.

    February 23, 2012 at 6:58 AM

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    I agrees, it always that simple. Been raidin' with a mage what swaps between fire an' arcane dependin' on the fight, and keeps two different sets of gear. So I appreciates the utility from thems what spec dps/dps, an' what they's gotta but more work inta gearin' than thems what be dps/nuthin'.

    Howevers. Havin' just won the belt ya mentioned this week, I cain't help but notice how yer rollin' fer yer offspec an' gettin the same bonus as thems what be rollin' fer main spec. Those what be dps/tank or dps/healer does not have this luxury. Don't see how ya figger it be "harder" fer dps/dps specced adventurers, least as far as LFR be concerned.

    Personallies, I would like fer ta see Blizz put a limit on how many times ya can win a piece in LFR. "You's won two Item of Awesome? Okay, we ain't gonna let you roll Need on it no more." Would curtail thems what roll need on stuff they's just gonna vendor, whiles still allowin' ya ta has one fer each spec.

    February 23, 2012 at 7:59 AM

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    @Leit - You're quite right, there are certainly problems a say, Ret/Holy Paladin have when gearing that a Combat/Sub Rogue would not have, such as not receiving an offspec roll bonus in LFR. No dispute! My main point was to illustrate that the Double DPS character does have the unique social stigma of needing identical pieces. The "my offspec > your mainspec" is an interesting situation, though. In a guild, this obviously wouldn't fly, but in LFR where everything is sort of up for grabs? It's a little fuzzier.

    @Tomaj - Oh, I think I was unclear in my response. I was referring to a Priest having different sets of Disc gear, like a Mastery set and a Haste set. When you speak of having a DISC set and a HOLY set, then yes, Priests absolutely have the same problem as a Rogue or Mage, they're a "Pure" in the sense of gearing.

    And as for the hybrids that are gearing up specs requiring different stats - Ele/Enhancement Shaman, for example - yes, they have to collect that entire second set, but so does a Rogue. (If the Rogue wants to do 100% DPS in both of his specs.) The difference is, no one bats an eye when the Ele Shaman rolls offspec on the Agi gear. (To be fair, the Rogue WOULD be able to reuse trinkets & some pcs depending on reforges.)

    @Askevar - I agree absolutely that in most cases (Dragon Soul especially) gearing up your tank's DPS offspec role is most important than a DPS' offspec role. My major experience with this situation, however, has come from when we were trying Madness of Deathwing and I wanted to go Unholy not for any sort of DPS benefit, but because we (at that point) NEEDED Anti-Magic Zone. It was actually a DPS loss for me to go Unholy, since I am much more comfortable as Frost. And that was with reforging all my Frost gear - my DPS was already dipping, I couldn't afford any ADDITIONAL loss from using leftover pieces from Firelands or whatever. It was an annoying couple of weeks, haha.

    @Ratshag - The offspec/mainspec rolling in LFR is a very good point. I'm not sure there is an easy solution. Like, using the belt as an example, I could go in there and DPS as my Unholy offspec, using an old 359 belt from Al'akir, so the Hagara belt would be for my current spec and an upgrade. But what would actually be the benefit? I'd do less DPS than using my Frost Hagara belt (even improperly reforged), and in the end it would still be the same number of +Str users in the group rolling on the belt. I've given this some thought before, wondering if the social illusion of being undergeared was worth the hassle and lower value to the LFR group, before deciding it was kinda silly to handicap myself for no legitimate reason.

    The limit on items would be good, though. For example, no Hunter would EVER need more than one Kiril (the grow-huge Agi staff) since there's not even anything to reforge. They already have limitations on items based on class - even some that aren't really logical, like Paladins not being able to roll on their BiS Ledger (because they have Shield options) - so a quantity restriction would be appropriate.

    February 23, 2012 at 9:09 AM

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    You are preaching to the choir here. I've always said that DPS is the hardest role in the game. Not even considering that there is a need for more then one set of gear for DPS set.

    DPS is always an adventure of getting better. It is not like saying I tanked the boss or I healed the boss, which means you can do the job. Just doing the job is not enough because there is a number to hang on it.

    No matter how good you are... you can always be better.

    That is why DPS is the hardest role in the game, because it never ends.

    Just think for a minute. When you go and do an old raid, black temple or something, you never hear someone say... nice tanking... nice healing... but they do say nice DPS.

    The job of being a DPS never ends. The job of being a DPS does mean take it easy if it is trivial content. The job of being a DPS means you should always be getting better.

    February 24, 2012 at 8:30 AM

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    Hey man, reading this post really clicks with me. I've been a mage since day 1, and there are always some fights where the survivability of Frost might hurt my overall DPS output, but would help the raid as a whole succeed.

    So I switch from Fire to Frost and I can literally feel how wrong the numbers are, whether it's my cast bar or the numbers popping up from the baddie. Still, my Ice Barrier is soaking some huge aoe, and my healers aren't having to worry about keeping me alive.

    The thing I realized is that a dead fire mage does considerably less dps than an alive frost mage. This article really helped it click in my head that I should even consider having a second set of PVE gear. It's hilarious, because it's so second nature for my blood/frost DK, or my holy/ret Pally. It just never occurred to me for my Fire/Frost mage.

    February 27, 2012 at 10:37 AM

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    So basically pure DPS class now has to gather gear for one spec and then change to the off spec then gather another set of gear, it is almost impossible to gather two sets of gears for two specs. See the problem? How are you going to explain this to the people in your raid that you need two sets of almost identical gear for two almost identical specs?

    February 27, 2012 at 11:07 AM

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    @Jason - The problem is when the rest of the raid or your Raid Leader asks you to switch to your offspec. Like because of some utility or survival ability that your offspec has, or because it's better at AoE or brings slows, etc. Many people don't realize that you can't simply change specs, get all these nice new benefits and continue to put out the same DPS - at least, not without a separate set of gear intended for that offspec. And what many people also don't realize is that even though the actual gear might be the same in both sets - tier pieces, for example - the reforging would be entirely different. Which, when you add up all the reforging on all the pieces in a set, makes a world of difference.

    February 27, 2012 at 11:15 AM

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    I have 6 level 85s, 4 hybrid (shaman, priest, DK, warrior), 2 pure (mage, hunter). All of my toons have offspecs, and at least one full set of offspec gear. I do a DS progression raid on my main every week, and at least LFR for all the others, if not also a full progression raid.

    For my pure DPS classes (specifically mage, since fire/arcane have really different stat priorities) I've found that one of the simplest solutions is just to keep my old set of gear for offspec, and reforge and move new pieces around as needed, based on stats. Not as shiny as the new stuff, to be sure, but I can make sure I have a properly gemmed and enchanted set ready to go. Also, if I go into LFR as my offspec wearing my offspec gear, then I don't get people screaming that I'm already wearing the belt I'm rolling on. Most of the people who need stuff in LFR are replacing their Firelands-level gear anyway, and who really cares if you're #1 in meters on LFR as long as you are contributing an appropriate amount (which you will, if you know how to play your class and are wearing appropriate 378+ ilevel epics)?

    And, if they do scream and vote to kick you? So what? You're still eligible for the loot off that boss, anyway, and you just requeue. People scream in LFR and vote to kick when I roll for offspec on my hybrid classes, too. Heck they get mad when I roll main spec on my mostly-geared main, since I already have such nice gear and therefore they think I don't need that one remaining sidegrade.

    For any runs with your own guild, they should know and understand the role they've asked you to play where you are switching specs, so they should allow for some duplication and leeway on offspec rolls as much as they do for any hybrid's offspec.

    February 27, 2012 at 11:17 AM

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    I'm sorry, but as a feral tank/feral DPS druid, you're not getting any pity from me. Aside from trinkets, both specs use pretty much the same gear - with entirely different enchants/enhancements/reforges. And that's not including the other pieces I carry for various encounters - different trinkets, etc. So, not only do I want to get two of every item that'll drop in a raid/instance, I'm also buying doubles of rep items. And spending the gold to enchant/gem/reforge two pieces of gear.

    And to second what Ratshag pointed out - dps/dps rollers get their benefit added to their offspec items - "hybrids" don't. Heck, as a tank druid, my bonus is all sorts of messed up.

    However, I would argue that this could go the other way - much like "pures" may need an offspec, it's entirely possible that a "hybrid" could only have one spec. Perhaps the argument of pure vs hybrid isn't so much what one character does, but the mind-set behind it - the willingness and preparedness to take on a different role.

    February 27, 2012 at 11:43 AM

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    Not to be a curmudgeon or anything, but back in Vanilla, it was a known thing in raiding guilds to have people hearth out and respec, sometimes more than once in a raid.

    Not to say I WANT to have to re-gem and stuff, but it does have a precedent.

    February 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM

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    Seems to be a lot of exaggeration here. The stat weights for crit/haste/mastery are pretty close for unholy, and probably close for frost as well. In addition, while expertise is the worst stat for unholy, it's not worthless. It's just not worth as much as the others. So your example of "missing" 1000 of a stat isn't even close to correct, you're effectively missing maybe 300 of a secondary stat. All you really need is to swap/reforge a bit of expertise and hit, you could make up that difference with 2 pieces. And 300 of a secondary stat won't be too noticeable generally. I simmed getting all epic gems on my hunter, 20 gems would be 200 agi increase for 100K gold. Dps difference sims to 2%. 300 of a secondary stat is probably 1%. You can easily lose 1% with a very small mistake, hardly worth crying about unless you are absolutely you are at the max performance for every encounter and are absolutely sure you never ever make any mistake ever.

    February 27, 2012 at 10:15 PM

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    And also, why is regemming even mentioned? Most will be red gems, and the fact you have 20 haste instead of 20 mastery or whathaveyou on maybe 2 gems in your whole set isn't going to be noticeable.

    February 27, 2012 at 10:22 PM

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    And this is why, imho, reforging should be killed. It was touted as a way to easily increase gear flexibility, maybe take a tanking piece which is obviously sub-par for a dps spec and trim off some of the useless stats. Now, it's used as a way for minmaxers to tweek a piece of gear to perfection, trimming off a "subpar" stat.

    It's also near impossible to eyeball and damned mathy. Isn't that why they got rid of armor pen? Reforging needs to go. And when it does, this whole problem will go with it. And you'll be balanced around having armor that's "subpar" for all the specs.

    That said, you're right, I don't see the problem with it. But I'm also not a minmaxer.

    February 28, 2012 at 4:16 AM

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    I just roll with a hybrid feral spec and mastery heavy reforges. I lose something like 2% avoidance and gain a couple K bear dps, plus more flexibility. Certainly it won't work for HM MTs but it works for me. :)

    February 28, 2012 at 4:19 AM

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    PS: this assumes, of course, a different helm (meta) and separate trinkets. But even with my bear helm and trinkets on, my dps doesn't tank if I go cat midfight, and it frees up my offspec for a resto or boomy one. Plus I never accidentally start a dungeon in cat spec and gear and wonder why the healer is crying (not that I've ever done that-- ever. Nope. >>)

    February 28, 2012 at 4:30 AM