Quick and Dirty Guide: FAILures and How to Become EPIC Instead

Don’t view skill as a talent–“you either have it or you don’t” mentality–but as a journey and a challenge.

EPIC at Spec and Build

Ah, the thing none of us likes to hear. Your favored spec and/or talent build just won’t cut it. You can’t get into groups if you’re a Subtlety Rogue. You’re not wanted if you’re a Destruction Warlock. Your DPS is terrible if you don’t use Glacial Spike as a Frost Mage. Sometimes even Protection Warriors and Discipline Priests get picked on for not being the best tank and healer, respectively.

The reason for this is often elitism and min-maxing gone toxic, but there are certain specs and talent builds that will always struggle with specific kinds of content. For both healers and DPS, this is usually due to them being built for only Area-of-Effect (AoE) or Single-Target healing or damage. Healers will run out of mana sooner while DPS will struggle to meet the standard for the boss or trash types that don’t line up with their specs’ particular skills. Depending on your group composition and the specific boss or Mythic affix you’re facing, ranged vs. melee specs might also become favored. (And yes, there is such a thing as a melee healer, though not a ranged tank, interestingly enough…)

Tanks can also run into this problem, though usually it’s not a mitigation problem so much as a DPS problem, as counter-intuitive as that sounds. This is because the top tier Mythic keystones require everyone pitching in on damage, even the healers, to be able to time them. For most types of content, this isn’t going to matter, but min-maxing always finds a way to trickle down, and you’ll still see people complaining about the low output of Blood Death Knights, for instance.

For all roles, specific abilities like crowd control, interrupts, class buffs (including Bloodlust/Heroism and healthstones), knock-back abilities, battle “rezzes”, stealth, and damage-nullification abilities may also play into your class’s desirability in groups. Sound like a lot to keep track of? Now you know the headache of an MMO content leader.

For some of the classes, this problem can be soothed by just gritting your teeth and changing specs. For instance, Affliction Warlock is terrible at AoE but the best at raids, while Demonology Warlocks struggle in raids but are aces in Mythic dungeons. For classes with two DPS specs (or two healer specs when considering Priests), this is often the case, where one spec is intentionally tuned to be more heavy on AoE vs. single target. For classes with three DPS specs, the third one is then generally most useful for PvP rather than PvE.

Sometimes though, you just can’t or don’t want to change your spec. Tanks and healers (except those Priests, again) are just plain out of luck if their class’s version of these roles is undesirable. What are you going to do?

Well, one valid method is just not giving a flying moonkin. The other method? Read up on your spec very well. Become an expert, and in doing so, give your spec a good name. Be aware of the shortcomings and what talent builds, Azerite, or potions you can use to help mitigate this. Blizzard is pretty good at making the differences between damage and healing between specs under 5%, so playing your spec in content it’s not well-tuned for is often more a case of putting in a ton of effort for little reward than just plain impossible. That said, a player who knows their spec in and out and is comfortable with it will often out-perform a player who chases the spec du jour. So if your love of your class and spec is that great, I say, go for it! Just be prepared to have to work twice as hard than if you had chosen the easier spec.

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