Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Itch

I suffer from MSD. It's a terrible disease that is neurological in origin, but manifests itself physically. Those with MSD are compelled to spend large sums of money to sate a hunger they cannot explain and is constantly waffling on what it really wants. The hunger is unpredictable, and is a constant pull on the mind of the affected. Some mistake its symptoms for that of withdrawal.

What is MSD?

Multiple Specialization Disorder

I've flip-flopped between protection and retribution several times throughout my Warcraft career, and WotLK is going to present a crossroads for me, and another opportunity for my MSD to rear its ugly head. The amount of gold I've spent respeccing back and forth, enchanting and gemming multiple gear sets, and repairing my armor after back-to-back-to-back chain instance runs to acquire certain gear pieces is obscene. Both protection and retribution will be receiving wholesale alterations, and the newly tailored trees and abilities are going to make both of them more interactive, exciting, dynamic, etc. I enjoy the nuances of both specs, and when the expansion hits shelves, I don't know which one I'm going to like better.

Retribution is getting a few new toys to contribute to group/raid utility, and its damage is getting bumped up. What's the advantage of being a ret paladin? Well, questing/leveling is a bit easier, since you don't have to pull 10 enemies to achieve efficiency. The disadvantage? Finding groups is a bit more difficult for instances - needing both a tank and a healer who can a) pay attention, and b) locate their main abilities on their hotbars, is more of a problem than many think.

Protection is getting a host of new abilities too, though. A new instant attack, a shield slam-y thing, and other goodies. What's the advantage of being a prot paladin? Instancing becomes a simple equation - find a decent healer and you're pretty much good to go. No waiting for a tank to come along. Disadvantage? Solo play becomes noticeably slower, unless you're adept at AoE grinding, and PvP becomes a chore.

If there is any truth to the rumor that players will be granted the ability to swap between two talent specs in the future, this might all be just a pointless rant by me. I'd set my two specs to be a ret and a prot variant, and swap between them for solo'ing/instancing. However, when I hit 80 I'll be presented with the same problem again - tank or DPS?

I've done both in The Burning Crusade, and love them both. I frequently get "the itch" to spec tank and plow through Zul'Aman, or have a hankering to grab my two-handed mace, team with a shaman, and start mashing things with a Windfury Totem down. As retribution in raids, I feel like I'm contributing something indispensable (Judgement of Wisdom), but when I'm protection, I feel as though I truly am the glue that holds things together.

What should I do?
I feel silly saying this on my retribution-focused Warcraft blog, but when the Wrath expansion gets released, and I load up my pre-ordered install discs (you better believe I'm pre-ordering that shizzy), I'm not sure how I'll progress my paladin through Northrend. I did a fair bit of both questing and instancing in Outland, so I didn't have a lean one way or the other. I don't know which way the itch will nudge me, though, when my boots hit the frozen soil to the north.

1 comment:

Garrett Darnell said...


A way to have 2 different specs and flop between them has been discussed in blue posts, and though I haven't seen anything about it in the wotlk beta, it's still early, and i'll honestly be suprised if they don't implement it before wrath is out.

I have 2 level 70s, a level 62 paladin that i'm working on, and a 44 shaman that i'm powerlevelling on another server with the help of my brother's 70 toon i've got plenty to work on, and I hate to leave things undone, so i'm already over my limits when it comes to improving my characters, and I hate that my 70 shaman doesn't have a resto set to heal heroics and stuff.

If I only had one toon and it was a hybrid that could tank, dps, and heal, you bet your ass i'd be working on sets of gear for all 3 specs, fully enchanted, and probably PvE and PvP versions of the ones that are viable in both areas.

I only recently discovered your blog so I really don't know what your situation is, but I think it just depends on your available playtime and how many alts you have. If you're only working on your one toon, i'd say go for it! Be a sick dpser and a sick tank and a sick healer all at once. I think it improves you as a player overall to be able to understand the intricacies of each role (healing, tanking, dpsing).