What’s a Tank to do with Dual Spec?

TGAPGeorge – Warrior Tank

Okay, so I’ve found a flaw in the upcoming Dual Spec extravaganza for Tanks… actually there are two.

The first flaw has been talked about already. And that is the fact that Tanks are very gear dependent. Being so, we spend a lot of time and trouble — a LOT of time and trouble — in getting that gear. So much so, the typical Tank only has a few pieces of DPS gear.

So the flaw, at least for us Tanks, is that when Dual Specs comes out, Raid Leaders across WoW will say, “Hey, Tank. You’re a superstar threat grabber and aggro holder, but we don’t need you for this fight. Flip over to DPS will ya?”

The results will be less than spectacular.

But we’ve all known about this DPS gear problem since 3.1.0 was announced. So what’s the second flaw? The DPS setup.

Dual Specs allow us to have two sets of talents, glyphs, spells, and action bars. I believe Blizzard kicked ass on designing a fun, easy, and not-a-pain-in-the-ass way to do this. So when you do switch from Prot to DPS, everything is set for ya.

And therein lies the problem. Not with the mechanics, but with what it allows you to do. You can be DPS almost instantly. But what have you been doing all this time? What have you striven to learn and perfect?

That’s right! You’ve been a Tank.

So — shazaam! — in three seconds you’re DPS. What do you do now? What’s the best spell progression? Where should you be? What should you be doing? What key are you going to be stabbing — in a limp futile panicked manner — when a mob breaks away to go munch on some healers? (Your Taunt key, of course)

Now for some Tanks — and all I’m Tanking What?! readers — this won’t be much of a problem. We will have researched our new spec, gone out into the boonies for some one-on-one practice, and generally done our best to be our best. For the rest of the Tanks out there… well, I’m sure “Tanktard” will be a phrase that’ll quickly gain popularity.

Here’s where it gets really tricky. We’ve worked so hard to become good Tanks, it’s gonna be very difficult to switch gears to a completely different role. I’m not talking about waiting for threat, getting behind the boss, and letting fly. I’m talking about all our carefully honed skills kicking in during the heat of battle. dualspecoopsIt’s going to be tough remembering that you’re not supposed to be at the top of the threat meter. It’ll be weird hitting buttons normally used for tanking and getting different results.

It’s gonna be hilarious the first few times you switch spec and rush to tank, but forgetting to first put on the heavy plate.

Well, I’m not one to pose a problem without at least taking a stab at the solution.

So here’s my suggestion. Get as much DPS gear as you can. Try to put spells that do similar things in the same slots as their tanking counterparts. And practice.

Lots and lots of practice.

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4 Responses to What’s a Tank to do with Dual Spec?

  1. Omenscourge says:

    Hey George,

    I could definately see how Warriors and maybe even Pallies will have a hard time learning how to DPS properly when not tanking.

    Having been a Bear all through BC and a DK now, I think we will have less dificulty with the transition.

    Both Druids and Death Knights are used to changing back and forth depending on the fight at hand. The talent selection that differntiate Cats from Bears in BC was so minimal that we just got into the habit of gearing for both roles. The same holds true for DK’s to a degree. I’ve tanked in DPS spec and I’ve DPSd in a tank spec, and I’ve run a hyrbid spec as well.

    My level 60 warrior hasn’t been out of defensive stance since he got it.

  2. TGAPGeorge says:

    I’ve never been a kitty or a bear, but now that you mention it, druids have been switching between roles like crazy!

    And you’re right, Scourge, DKs too often play it both ways, even in the same fight. And with the ability to tank or DPS in all of the DK specs, they’ll have the minimal amount of retraining to do when dual spec hits.

    Even Pallys — heh, or “Pallies” — sometimes throw on healing gear for a certain fight if that’s what is called for.

    Are Warriors the only slow kids with plastic helmets when it comes to Dual Specs?

  3. Justin says:

    I have 68 keybindings myself, I don’t think that switching over is going to be difficult at all.

  4. brandon says:

    as a tankadin myself from lvl 10, i was very frustrated at my slow pace of lvling, sure, i could take on 15 mobs and not die but it would take me and hour to kill them all! i struggled for many months as prot, finally disregarding my paladin at 35 to take my hunter the rest of the way to 80.
    then duel spec came out!
    at that point i had a 80 huner with close tro 3k gold, grabbed plate heirloom gear (once i figured out it is mail at under 40) and fought my way to 40. 1200 gold later, i had my pally in dps plate, swinging a 2hander sword and running ret talents.

    with the unigue chance to lvl as both prot and ret, i know how to stand as a brick wall, or hide behind it as needed

    i have 2 complete sets of gear adn all it takes is a guick trip to the bank to switch.

    the opnly draw back to being a paladin and duelspeccing is the when we switch specs, it wipes our mana, something no other tank has to deal with.

    i feel that getting the most out of deul speccing requires one to either lvl in dps spec and tank when in dungeons or if lvl capped run in dps to learn rotations and how to dps.

    and by all means get full sets of gear ASAP! tanking gear is great, for tanking, your dps will bomb with out proper dps gear!

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