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Force builds/talents or not?

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#1 Brage


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 03:08 PM

Hello there, this is my first post, and I hope I have managed to follow all the rules. Aside from the tiny detail that I cannot seem to select Bloodhoof(EU).

My question is on the issue of requiering certain builds or talents amongst your raid members. Lately I have had quite a discussion about it with some members of my guild. Amongst them a highly unruely mage that insists on beeing a fire mage. Right now all we requirer from our mages is a mere 20 points in the frost tree and the rest they can put however they like. Other classes have similar demands. Such as druids that must have Natures Swiftness, Paladins must have some points in the holy tree and the same goes for our priests that cannot be shadow.

From my own point of view it makes sense. We can currently clear all of Molten Core in roughly 3 hours. Blackwing Lair still takes us more than one raid night, altought we have managed to reduce it to only needing to kill Nefarian before we head off to Ahn'Qiraj. Our adventure in AQ40 just began and we have managed to reduce Skeram to a heap of ash once.

Beeing a mage myself, and amongst the people in charge, I am pro forcing a build or talent. If I compare my talented frostbolt to my untalented frostbolt I would loose 30,000 damage over a 5 minute fight if I went full fire. If more mages would follow the trend and go fire we would loose anywhere between 30,000-150,000 damage over a 5 minute fight against several of the targets we fight that are immune to fire.

The downside to this is that either the rogues/hunters/warlocks increase their dps to make up for this loss or the fight just take a littel longer putting more train on the healers.

From my point of view that is quite bad. Since we primarily focus on Molten Core and Blackwing Lair right now, trying to get more time in AQ, beeing frost makes the most sense in terms of everyone doring their part as best they can. Rogues, mages, healers and so forth.

One point my unruly mage brings forth is that he can still do damage with an untalented frostbolt. I can agree, but a druid can also still heal witout Natures Swiftness and so can a shadow priest. The difference just lies in the effectivness of it. What I tried to explain to him, amongst others, is that healers will be perpetualy stuck in a healing platform whereas mages eventually will be allowed to be fire, since we'll likely drop Molten Core and take down Blackwing Lair in a single night and then focus our other 3 raid nights on AQ40.

Then in my eyes it would make sense. When 75% of our raid time is spent in a place where fire can even be said to be superior. But right now, I very much believe it is in the best inerest of our guild to stick to the required 20 points in frost as a minimum. The same goes for the other classes and their rules about builds and talents.

I am however curious about what some of you think. One idea I have been playing with is trying to let everyone just take whatever build they like and see how it affect us. The mage claims he wish to have fun and therefore he is allowed to be fire. I know some other players agree a bit that it's not alwasy fun to be a resto druid, but they like raiding, and they see the bigger picture.

I tend to view those that wish to have all the loot of their dreams but without a willingness to sacrifice as a bit as egoistic and self-centered. I am especially annoyed when a damage class can cry about beeing frost. I think they should try grinding on a holy priest to be quite honest.

I can understand a priest that wish to have, say, 20 points in disc or holy and the rest in shadow. Or perhaps just 20 points in shadow more than I can understand a mage that cries about beeing frost. Either way, he can do damage when he is alone and he can do it good.


Small response here to the first poster.

In my eyes we are still learning Blackwing Lair to an extend. We have only killed Nefarian twice and since we have a wish to stabilize some fights in the zone and reduce the overall time we spend and our hitrate on one shotting bosses I believe we'll still be better off with some points in frost. Other than that the argument is perfectly valid.

#2 Jaz



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Posted 24 September 2006 - 03:13 PM

Will Fire not be more effective on the content you are currently learning, as opposed to farming?

I don't know anything about Mages, but I do know they are generally Fire these days, and I do see the insanity of Ignite on Recap.

#3 Shadout


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 03:58 PM

It depends on how you are doing in BWL, if its on 100% farm the fire specs will just make each fight a bit longer, but not affect you more than that. But ofc, if you are struggling sometimes the lower dps could become a problem.
Ans since it seems you are still learning, ye, I would "force" them to frost. (whether you actually force them or simply start to invite frost mages before fire mages is a matter of preference ofc, but if your mages are interested in the guilds progress they should understand that frost is better in bwl, and the faster you get it on 100% farm the faster they can go fire and own the newer instances :D )

In aq40 and naxx both specs are pretty equal (but fire wins imo).

#4 Relwin


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 04:09 PM

Spell check a little next time. (for fuck's sake people loose != lose and I hate when people think it does)

Short answer: Forcing specs is dumb because you're telling people that they can't be effective unless they conform to your view of the game. Because my shaman is enhancement does it mean I never heal and can only go LOLWFDPSEARTHSHOCKEARTHSHOCK? Of course not. Some people won't mind switching to a more raid oriented spec because they are prioritizing that, not everyone wants to do that though and that's fine.

#5 Quigon


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 04:15 PM

You shouldn't ever force specs - but you shouldn't ever need to either. Conundrem I suppose - the problem is specs are not really super important until mid-naxx, where min/maxing is absolutely critical to your progress.

#6 Tancrid


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 04:22 PM

From the point of view of a mage who was able to stay fire-specced all the way through Molten Core and BWL I'd say it's a mistake to force a talent spec on someone. Some people have no problem going back and forth getween frost/fire/AP based on what they think will give them the biggest edge on whatever encounter they're learning at the time, some people can't do that. I'm glad that my nobody in my guild ever tried to force me to put points in frost, because I seriously would have probably /gquit and looked for another guild than specced frost. We weren't that big into damage meters at the time, but I never felt *that* gimped with my spec to the point where I was holding back progress. In fact, when we would get blue drakanoids on the melee side for Phase 1 of Nef the raid leader would often send me to their side to either flamestrike them or single target them with fire spells and it was a huge help.

A person's spec obviously affects their playstyle (some people just can't live with changing that) and also their gear choices. Another positive aspect of me sticking with a scorch-heavy fire build was that Netherwind was generally crap for me. I was much better off picking up things like Mantle of the Blackwing Cabal, Bracers of Arcane Accuracy, Mana Igniting Cord, and Gloves of the Hypnotic Flame. If I had switched to frost like the other mages, that would have been one more person fighting for Netherwind while all those other very good pieces would have been disenchanted.

In the end, you could be doing more harm than good forcing how someone specs. As long as you can tell that he's trying his best, showing up on time, and coming prepared, I don't see why he can't stick with fire. I doubt he's behind other mages by a huge amount, and since BWL encounters don't have enrage timers or other DPS thresholds to overcome I don't think it's going to make or break an attempt. Also, I could have lived with having frost mages invited to raids over me but not with forcing a spec on me with which I'm not compatible.

#7 Decker


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 04:49 PM

Spell check a little next time. (for fuck's sake people loose != lose and I hate when people think it does)

I think it's quite obvious that English isn't his first language. Loose/lose wouldn't be picked up by spelling/grammar check AFAIK. "Beeing" however would be ;)

To get to the question however. Do it indirectly. If someone wants to spec a specific way then let them. Invite others before you invite the "poorly specced people". If you're barely able to fill a raid recruit the types of builds you need.

I'm sure Alliance do not need "uber Paladin DPS" just the same as horde do not need DPS shaman.

Be sure to educate the people with bad specs that if it's for PVP/Grinding and they're in a PVE guild expect the guild to invite based on the best interest of the raid/guild. If you're a useless spec and showing up in a raid you're wasting 39 other peoples time...if not more.

#8 Orbnauticus


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 04:54 PM

If you start forcing specs, you're going to start seeing a lot of burnout (especially amongst healer classes). As a CM I never ever forced specs, I simply tried to lead by example and do the disc/holy 21/30 SH spec. When our guild began to kick around the idea of a shadowpriest full time, I volunteered and saw two or three priests spec shadow shortly thereafter. That's fine, make a mental note to not have them Holy Nova'ing on Vael and move on. A shadowpriest or fire mage will not have the longevity in MC/BWL that a holy priest or frost mage would have, but a talented player will get the job done no matter what the spec.

#9 Hamlet


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 05:00 PM

Really, you have to judge based on the content you're on and what the goals of your players are.

First of all, I wouldn't ever try to "force" specs on anyone, in terms of their position in the guild depending on it. However, depending on how advanced you are, you may reach a point where, pragmatically, you need to consider spec based on invites.

We always used a have a good heap of off-specs. It didn't really matter, as the content wasn't tuned to make it a problem. Some people enjoyed PvP and that affected their spec; I encouraged Feral Druids heavily in AQ40, where they were so useful; we have a resident diehard Shadow Priest.

As you get more advanced and push raid performance, these things hurt you more and more. And the right way to go about it isn't to suddenly have a day where you force specs on people, it's to ramp the focus on raid performance in your guild. When we do Patchwerk, I invite DPS based entirely on the numbers (how long I expect their DM bar to be, based on past performance and other factors). A person who's off-spec will probably get subbed out. Are we "requiring" particular specs in a pretty meaningful way at this point? Probably, yes. But people can see why, and how it affects the raid.

Right now, all of our Rogues are Combat, all of the Hunters are MM, and all of the Mages are Fire, etc. I never came out and said it had to be that way. People made their own decisions, based on the information that the guild leadership is interested mainly in PvE progress, and are going to use the tools we're given when assembling raids.

#10 Shalas


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 05:07 PM

Force people to be useful, but not to spec a specific way.

If someone with a suboptimal spec can consistantly place in the middle of thier class (or higher) for damage through extra consumables, superior skill, superior gear (due to being the only one picking up certain items), or whatever, then let them. Yes, they're hurting you by not doing as much damage as they could, but the people under them are hurting you more. Resolve the problems with the people at the bottom first, and then go after the offspec people.

If someone is offspec and consistantly dealing significantly less damage than the rest of the class (and not outgeared/etc.), then tell them they aren't contributing and need to change something.

#11 Torael_7


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 05:11 PM

A shadowpriest or fire mage will not have the longevity in MC/BWL that a holy priest or frost mage would have, but a talented player will get the job done no matter what the spec.

This is pretty much it. As long as that shadow priest or feral druid knows his role in whatever you're raiding, let them spec whatever. Then again, if they claim they're PvP specced but they never PvP outside of, say, ganking outside instance entrances, maybe you should have a talk with them, or "encourage" them somehow to spec in line with what they spend most of their time doing.

#12 Felippe


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 05:17 PM

I think the best way is to create an environment where they don't need to be an off-spec. For example, if they need to farm for materials then ideally some DPS classes in the guild would be willing to group up and help them out. The only problem comes when they want to PvP and they don't feel like healing the warrior with Ash'kandi or DEoI.

edit: of course, this is where my policy of having multiple characters come in. I have a 60 druid and warrior on top of my warlock. If I feel like healing then I just log on my druid and bust out 3k healing touch crits. The rebuttle to this is that not everybody has time to get multiple characters to 60, which is understandable.

#13 Brage


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 05:47 PM

There are some good points made. Previously the only talent we required of the mages where the aggro reducing one. Other than that they could pick whatever talent build they wished for. In light of other class leaders I decided to impose a required 20 points in the frost tree. This way, all mages would be able to perform optimally given our current content progression. Those mages that picked only the required 20 points would still be able to leech off of the full or deep frost mages Winter’s Chill.

My unruly mage is actually amongst my best in terms of gear and skill, and despite the fact that he can be a pain in a certain anatomical part of the body from time to time, not related to talent builds, it would be quite annoying to loose him. On a server as old as mine getting good mages has become quite hard.

I guess we could still progress and improve our performance in both Molten Core and Blackwing Lair despite hosting a few fire mages. A leading problem is obviously other classes that would still be forced to spend their talents in a certain way, since I, as the mage leader, cannot abolish the rules regarding druids. But again, that would be the problem of the druids and not mine or my mages.

The burnout issue is also high on the list. Part of my unruly mages argument is that he wishes to have some fun. For him, it is fun to play with fire. I can certainly understand that, fire is quite nice and I loved using it while leveling and quite some time past 60. Others like him, healers and mages alike, might end up simply quitting or taking a break. Recently, we had a very good priest go on a break. She is now shadow and having lots of fun, she even gets to raid because we often have open spots right now.

Overall I would prefer to not loose mages, either to breaks or quitting (the guild or the game). While I believe frost benefits us the most right now, I guess we would not ‘loose’ out in terms of progression or farm ability just because a few mages decided to jump onto the fire wagon.

Coaxing mages into being frost, or willing to spend some points in frost, might actually be the better idea. I think people will more often resist and rebel if they feel forced into something rather than if they feel they are doing it of their own free will. That way, they can never point and claim, that someone took the fun out of the game and that is why they are taking a break or quitting.

As it stands right now, I think a max of 3 out of 8 mages would actually turn and go for a fire build.

The idea of inviting based on talent builds might not sink in too well amongst the raid leaders or upper management, but since we are not currently anywhere near Naxxramas it should, based on what I know and the information given here, not be an issue.

Thinking about it, right now, it seems that there are more reasons to not force talent builds but instead try to simply appeal to peoples team spirit. Lacking that, and if needed, simply try to recruit new people and begin inviting with a preference to talent build. However, such a step is a bit drastic and I’d prefer to avoid it, talent based invites. At the very least, I guess voiding the rule and allowing any type of talent build amongst the mages and then evaluating if it hurt us or not is a good step forward.


I used Word and a spell checker this time. I am not a native English speaker.

#14 The Jalwell

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 06:08 PM

If you have spec requirements for some classes and not others, you'd better be prepared for some bitterness. Of course, from a practical standpoint, that is what you want to do as some classes benefit far more from being raid spec'd than others do, and in others a few people with a specific spec is enough. That said, fire mages is a bad example because frost > fire for raiding ceases to be true after BWL. In a more general sense, though, "x class can spec for pvp, so why can't I" is something you need to be prepared to deal with if you have some classes more restricted than others.

I agree with the ideas of requiring competence rather than a particular path to it. If the fire mage is one of your best players, it's not worth losing him and picking up a less skilled frost mage.

#15 LadyVex


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 06:23 PM

As a priest I really disagree with *not* forcing specs.

Having seen shadow priests on raids and been one myself, I am not at all impressed.

If your guild is absolutely dedicated to raiding, then your members will either conform or move on. They shouldn't stay anywhere where they aren't happy, and the guild leadership has the right to decide what they want from the guildies to match their goals. If the leadership determines one spec is more efficient for what they are trying to do, then they have the right to enforce this. If you are not happy you can go elsewhere.

As a side note, was a "good" raiding spec always something you looked for when looking for applicants?

In my old guild when we updated our recruitment forums, we always said what kind of spec we wanted on our classes. IE, if we were looking for druids, we said: Druids 1-2 (Resto), Priests (Not Shadow), Warrior 1 (Prot) Etc.

Later on when the druids began bitching about not being allowed feral, we told them this is what they signed up for, and if they didn't like it they were more than welcome to leave. We had goals to meet and we had more than enough people who were agreeable with these rules that the loss of one snotty druid wasn't something we'd worry about.

If you are, however, semi changing the rules now that you're getting into AQ, you will run into the problem that your guild thought one thing and now it's being switched on them. IE, you might have been the guild people went to that still raided decently but didn't require specs, and now you are.

My main point is, there are quite a few guilds who don't force specs, but imo, I completely advocate this system. Min/maxing is tops, especially since you're never really in "farm" mode. You nail down one instance and you start another.

I'd suggest sitting down with your guild and deciding where you want to go. If your goal is to nail content fast and work your way through it all, then let people know that in order to do this you want the best possible specs available to a raiding situation. If there are only a few who don't agree, well...a couple people are easy to replace with those who are absolutely dedicated to progression.

Edit: Also as someone said, you can't require specs for certain classes and not for others. For a couple of these it won't make much difference, but guarantee that the first time a priest gets angry about not being shadow he's going to use the hemo rogue/LR hunter to make his point. If you are dedicated to min/maxing, enforce it across the board. Or maybe try it. Have everyone spec for efficiency and if you don't see an improvement, let them spec back. If there is an improvement, your point has been made.

#16 Cindarin


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 06:25 PM

Honestly, why do you feel that this is necessary? It seems to me that over the course of BWL, the fire mage would keep up with your frost mages. You don't seem to be learning the drakes anymore (those are what's fire immune, right?), so min/maxing would lose it's importance. Although I know that Firemaw is annoying no matter how many times you've done it.

Also, if you force specs on mages, there will be more mages telling priests about how hard it is to grind or pvp when they're pve specced, and we just don't have any sympathy. :p

#17 LadyVex


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 06:44 PM

Honestly, why do you feel that this is necessary? It seems to me that over the course of BWL, the fire mage would keep up with your frost mages. You don't seem to be learning the drakes anymore (those are what's fire immune, right?), so min/maxing would lose it's importance. Although I know that Firemaw is annoying no matter how many times you've done it.

Also, if you force specs on mages, there will be more mages telling priests about how hard it is to grind or pvp when they're pve specced, and we just don't have any sympathy. :p

Yea, I agree with the mage thing. Fire mages ftw.

#18 Shalas


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 06:47 PM

Honestly, why do you feel that this is necessary? It seems to me that over the course of BWL, the fire mage would keep up with your frost mages. You don't seem to be learning the drakes anymore (those are what's fire immune, right?), so min/maxing would lose it's importance. Although I know that Firemaw is annoying no matter how many times you've done it.

I think Nef is too, but you really shouldn't have very many phase 2 wipes anyways.

#19 borat


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 07:23 PM

unless your deep into naxx, with BWL/AQ40/Naxx only having shelf lives of 2-3 months I'd say let people play as they want and have fun. Realistically if your not already 8-9 bosses deep into Naxx your likely not going to be at Kel'Thuzad before expansion is released, so why try to force anything?

#20 Snowy


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Posted 24 September 2006 - 07:44 PM

You should judge them on performance, not what their spec is. Their spec will affect their performance to some degree of course. I've done experiments where I've stealth specced back to shadow, done a full AQ40 run, and not a single person has noticed. Your problems really come offspecs who refuse to adapt their role in a raid. i.e. my job in a raid is to heal, that's all there is to it. Not to raid in DPS gear, not to DPS, but to raid in a full healing set. The feral druid who bitches about healing, and never takes any healing gear is going to lag really far behind, and then you can sit him out of raids and explain why. The shadowpriest who is in Naxx with a few pieces of Prophecy and is always whining about wanting to DPS is going to be a joke, and so on. Those are the people who you sit on the bench. The ones who enthusiastically adjust to what their raid role is, the ones who take gear and use the necessary consuambles to help them do that, are the ones you want to keep.

Judge people's attitude and performance, forget about the specs for now.

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