Editor’s Note: This was actually supposed to go live yesterday but as you see, I was a little bit late. Pretend it’s still Sunday!
This blog post technically contains Legion spoilers. However, they pertain to the cost of switching specs, something that will undoubtedly change before the game is officially released. There are no lore or class change or even artifact spoilers here. But if you are avoiding everything Legion, read on at your own risk.
To start off, this post deals with a feature in the alpha, meaning there is a very high chance it will change before the game is launched. I realize this. However, alpha is also the very best time to offer feedback like this because the developers are looking to change the game. Yes I understand this will change, I’m writing this because I think it will. And now, without further adieu or preamble, the article!
Currently in the Legion alpha, you can play all of your classes’ specs. There is no dual spec anymore. Each class has access to every spec. However, there is right now a 100 gold tax every time you switch specs.
First of all, this tax is entirely too high.
Lets say you swap your spec 3 times per hour. Not an entirely unreasonable number, especially if you are raiding (changing per boss), trying out a new spec, or just running dungeons. You play about 3 hours a night for about 5 days a week, meaning you play for 15 hours a week. Again, not totally unreasonable. Now if you change your spec 3 times every hour, you change your spec about 45 times in a given week. Which means, with the 100g cost, you pay about 4,500g gold a week, just to switch specs.
4,500g a week. Over the course of a normal month, that becomes 18,000g. The course of a year? Almost a quarter of a million. For some gold moguls, that’s nothing. For me, that’s all of my gold after a few months. I don’t think everyone is rolling in the dough, near gold cap. So for a lot of people, that’s a lot of gold. And this is isn’t even factoring in all the beginning of expansion gold draining.
The 100g spec change is entirely too high. Even with all the gold people have amassed from the garrison, the spec change tax is far too exorbitant. And the greatest irony of it, a tax such as this would actually act to deter people from switching specs. The expansion when we finally could play all three (or two or four) specs of our class and many people would opt with just one.
But making the 100g cost lower isn’t the issue. Lower it a little and the barrier is still there. Lower it a lot and then why even have the tax in the first place.
I advocate for the complete removal of the spec tax.
Not only is the tax expensive, it’s also double dipping. Blizzard already has a barrier in place to keep people from changing specs willy-nilly and it’s called artifacts.
Artifacts are unique to each spec, meaning you can’t use your Holy Artifact in your Retribution spec. You can work to upgrade your artifact, but this improvement does not carry over to your artifacts of your other specs. So you might have a totally maxed out Holy paladin artifact and a basic Ashbringer. Yes Blizzard has said there will be catch up mechanics, but the weapons won’t just flip for each spec. We are going to have to invest time (and perhaps money) into each and every artifact.
So we already have a tax in place. A time sink tax. The 100g tax is an extra, and I would argue, arbitrary tax. There is already an effective barrier that makes people think twice about changing specs and I think adding another one is silly.
In addition, this gold price tax would impact hybrid classes more so than pure classes. While both rogues and paladins switch specs, I would argue that a paladin switches specs more. I go from Holy to Protection to go from Healing to Tanking. Because I can fill multiple roles, I often switch to do so. But while rogues might switch from Assassination to Combat (soon to be Outlaw) for a different playstyle, they are still filling the same role of DPS. So in theory a rogue could stay the same spec all expansion whereas the paladin will have to change to fill different roles. In essence, a hybrid tax.
I generally think that gold sinks are an important part of maintaining the WoW economy. But up until this point, gold sinks have been mainly optional. This proposed tax is a huge and constant gold drain and it is very likely to be mandatory (especially if you do any sort of group content). Sure, if Blizzard needs some sort of gold investment with the spec system, make it a one time gold cost to unlock. You could even make it cost something relatively high like 10,000 gold. Just make it a one time cost. I would much rather pay that upfront than be charged a little every single time. Drain me once, don’t keep coming back.
This being alpha, I know everything will change. The artifact system, the spec tax, everything is still up in the air. And since everything can change, I’m arguing now as opposed to later to get rid of the 100g. We already have a time sink barrier. We don’t need a gold sink barrier as well. And we don’t want any more hybrid taxes.