Friday, August 22, 2008

What is a Raid Spec?

So Larisa wanted me to make another post and since a recent discussion in the guild about people not speccing correctly to benefit the raid I thought I write a post about my view on the subject.

So your guild is serious about raiding and expects everyone to spec to benefit the raid and progress of the guild, what is the correct way to spec then?

First let me say that this is mostly focused on T6 content and most benefit for the raid, some people just dont have fun with certain specs and might be more beneficial if they play something they like. The following post is what I would go after as raidleader picking a team to raid BT or MH.

Player skill > Spec
So this rogue is mutilate and tops of our dmg charts, does it mean that mutilate is the best raidspec? No, it doesnt. It just means that he severly outgears you or is just so much better playing mutilate than the other rogues is at playing combat swords. If he switched to combat swords with equal or even slightly worse swords he would do more damage. The best raidspecs is just simply math, what spec/rotation/gear will give the best effect. Skill makes a diffrence, gear makes a diffrence, but when those is equal there is always 1 spec that provides the greatest benefit.

Druids can be viable in all 3 specs actually, 1 boomkin can be in with the casters to boost them enough to earn a spot. You can really use a feral tank and a feral is great to boost the hunters in a dps group. And resto is just amazing healers.

First hunter should normally be a surivival hunter provided he has enough agility gear, 1k agility raidbuffed is a good starting number for T6 content. At 1k agility he provides around 600 dps extra for a normal 5 melee + 2 tanks+ another hunter. All the rest of the hunters should be BM spec for maximum dps.
Marksman hunters should go back to pvp.

Ok, I admit that mage knowledge is a weak link of mine since its the class I have never played seriously. From what I have seen from an outside view is basicly arcane spec if you provide them with alot of mana, otherwise Fire+icy veins spec. As you go higher in content you want all your mages to go fire.

Another class that actually all 3 specs is valid. 1 Prot pally is needed to have for many encounters, 1 ret pally can give enough boost to a melee group to earn a spot and holy spec is a good healer, holy it the only spec you can take more than one of though.

First priest in raid should spec divine spirit and is now hereafter refered to as DS bitch of the raid, the gimped healing is more than made up by the benefit from DS. At no point should more than 1 DS be allowed in the raid though. Shadow is a incredibly useful spec even it has fairly gimp dps, a raid can use up to 2 shadow spec. Holy spec is an great healing spec and you can have several in the raid.

Combat swords. There is only one spec for rogues that is valid and now that everyone can easily grind BGs for S2 swords there is no need to spec otherwise because of which weapons you have. Dragonstrike and Badge fist is better weapons os can be valid in a fist/mace+sword spec build but sword spec is much better and as soon as you get a decent sword you should switch. Sub and Mutilate rogues is for pvp only.

First shaman should be enhancement, the benefit for the melee group is huge. Even a 2nd enhancement in tank group is very valid because they also pump out very decent dps on their own. 1 elemental is somewhat valid in a caster group, but usally you can get almost as much benefit from having a resto shaman in that group, but if you have someone that really wants to play elemental let him because shaman buffs is huge. You want to keep every shaman you have. Resto shamans is amazing healers. Up to a total of 5 shamans in the raid is really useful.

1 warlock can be curse bitch, basicly speccing malediction for an extra 3% dmg from casters on single targets. This is a valid gimp spec but not as essential as an arms warrior or survival hunter. The diffrence in dps compared to a destro warlock is big enough that it wont pay off on all fights but it will in a majority of the bossfights. Depends a bit on raidsetup of course and number of casters. All remaining warlocks should be destro+sac spec.

First warrior should be arms spec for blood frenzy buff, 4% extra on physical dps is a great boost for the raid. 1 fury warrior can be worth it if there is room in melee group, but if there aint room and you cant give him windfury its not worth taking. 1 Prot warrior is very needed, there is many fights where warriors makes better tanks than the alternatives.

Utilty spec
The gimp specs that benefit the raid most is in order
Survival Hunter
Arms Warrior
DS priest
Malediction Warlock

Be nice to these people since the giving the joy of topping meters to help the raids, also remember that a 2nd person speccing like this is absolutely no benefit for the raid, none of those buffs stack with each other.


Typhoonandrew said...

And the raid leaders should aim for a mix of classes and roles. Very obvious I know, however every time you add another of the same class over a new class in the raid you remove diversity. Ideally you want a diverse group as well as a geared group, as the "oh-sh*t" powers of the classes are different.

In 25 this might not happen much, but in 10 mans (which are coming in the xpac) having all heals and all dps of the same type of often a real issue.

Like having all melee DPS on Prince. Yuk.

Darkhorse said...



It is not a case of the fireway or the highway.

Having raided with both recently I can say that for me at least it is a little bit harder to raid as frost, simply because you have a pet to worry about, and if the elemental isn't used correctly the frost mage's DPS will suffer as a result.

Zakesh said...

Zupa: As I said my mage knowledge is quite a bit much weaker than other classes being that its the only class I never played myself, therefor seeing it from the outside I do tend to miss some of the finer things in how they play.

I have seen exactly 1 player ever play frost good enough to compete, but even if he completetly owned some encounters there was still encounters where he would be completly erased just based on mechanics.

It might just be that I never raided with good enough mages.

Chris said...

Skill only beats gear and spec if the other person is not at least vaguely competent.

Its a simple fact that for T6 raiding for Warlocks your build is pretty much:

Lock 1: 0/21/40, Curse of Elements
Lock 2: 0/21/40, Curse of Doom
Lock 3: 0/21/40, Curse of Doom

You might have a 30+/0/21+ Lock in there doing Malediction however thats about it. Again in other situations you might see multiple Fire Warlocks, but again it tends to be all or nothing.

A raid spec is your most effective potential build, that is played correctly it does the most damage / healing / utility. Raid composition at the truly high level is about creating the maximum effective unit for the minimum expenditure. At the lower end its the trail down of that high end "Well Elitist Jerks says this is...", and also attempting to max out as many of the controllable aspects of your raid as you can.

As I have said, and am planning on posting on, your raid is not defined by your best players, those who could go kill Kil'jaden tomorrow if they had the gear but are currently in Karazhan, but rather by those in the raid that are there for other reasons, the less hardcore, your corepugs. Raid specs at the lower end are essentially a way to attempt to boost the raid over the hurdle of DPS limits, player skill etc, at the high end they are vital to pushing past new challenges quickly while undergeared.

This game is not really designed to be a challenge once you overgear an encounter, and is meant to challenge normal people when they are geared correctly, raid specs and min-maxing allows you to beat the hurdles before you should have a reasonable chance at doing so, and even 1% damage does make a difference over a long fight (1dps difference * 60s * 10 mins = 600 damage in the fight, the difference between an optimal raid spec well played and a scrub spec is often 200 or more, even if we assume its 20 damage differenec thats still 12,000 damage that needs to be made up, or 10+seconds more of casting, and since some guilds hit the enrage cap and relied on a Warrior's Shield wall to survive for those seconds that 20dps can be the difference between a wipe, and a kill).

Anonymous said...

I won't settle the issue about what magic school is best for raiding here. (We're running that battle in other posts :)). I just wanted to add that there are some synergies between different kinds of specs for mages. A fire mage on his own will have a pretty rough time doing all the scorching for the debuff by himself. And a deep frost mage can provide some boost for arcane/frost mages. A bit of coordination between mages doesn't hurt, no matter which of the standard raid specs you pick.

Captain The First said...

My interest in raid specs is fleeting at best but it would probably be wise to add the following:

current patch: 2.4.3

for posterity's sake because we don't know how future patches or even wotlk will change the game.

What I would liked to have seen here are actual build examples so that you have something a little more tangible to look at. After all, I can spec into prot and easily throw my points away on completely useless and arbitrary skills which doesn't really make me raid specced anymore.

Zakesh said...

2ndin: That warlock example is pretty much exactly what i said in the post. 0/21/40 is destro+sac. A curse bitch is 38/0/21 +2.

captain: Yeah i thought about doing talentlinks also, but in many cases alot of middle points is fillers and then that would need to explain exactly which is filler and would be hardpressed to fit that into a single post.

Maybe I should do a followup for that.

Chris said...

Yeah, thats what I mean, Raid specs exist because they min/max damage, and this filters down, even T4 locks try and go the 0/21/40 spec because its the highest damage (despite Affliction being better at that level, and the Demo Spec being competitive at T5). Specs filter down from their optimal position to other positions in a bad way which makes a raid less efficient overall.

In general skill is involved, and between two equally geared players will make a big difference, however gear makes a much larger difference in the end game as gear ramps up a lot, a fresh level 70 stands no chance against my lock basically no matter how well they play, because I can pretty much one shot them if I crit.

Raiding specs are min - max for a reason, because they have to be to push content in progression guilds. For those guilds following after nerfs, or indeed gear paths such as heroic badges then the requirement on raid specs is lower, and this is what drives lower end guilds through content, a decent number of people being able to pretend to be far more (the 10 man ZA group I run with could down Void Reaver inside 6 minutes, packing about 2/3rds the dps of the 25man raid we took to kill him). In a non-progression guild a raid spec is a min-max attempt that isn't needed, and can be hurtful as people don't understand why its better, they simply spec that way because they were told to (I have seen locks with 500 spell damage going 0/40/21... ouch).

I suppose thats another post, raid specs, when to use them, and when they hurt you.

Anonymous said...

Marksmanship hunters can raid too... You should have 1 in a raid.

Anonymous said...

Oh, poor Loronar! I was just waiting for you to comment. :)

Zakesh can be somewhat nasty when he puts up that side. And now the Marksmanship hunters were his first victims...

But he sure likes a good argument. So why IS a Marksmanship hunter needed in the raid, according to you?

Anonymous said...

We have a raid leader who allows us to be any spec we like. She even takes us that way and we're into t6 content!! We have some unusual specs, like a Boomkin and a Ret Pally, and we seem to do okay.

For me, I'm an Arcane mage right now. But, I spent two years as frost and the last eight months as fire. Two pieces of t5 + Arcane Blast = ridiculous dps. In the future, when I'm more into t6 gear, I'll probably go back to fire.

When the expac comes out /shrug. Who knows. :D Thanks for the great information!!

Anonymous said...

In the absence of a shaman with Windfury totem, Trueshot Aura can be a viable replacement. Even if there is already a shaman, putting Trueshot Aura in an all-hunter group can provide a nice boost to the DPS party. It boosts the RAP of both Beast Mastery and Survival hunters in addition to Ferocious Inspiration and Expose Weakness.

Theorycrafting-wise, 125 RAP gives about 9 extra DPS.

Anonymous said...

I also forgot to mention that Scatter Shot is sometimes useful if a tank suddenly loses aggro and you need a temporary crowd control for the tank to reorient him/herself.

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