Coping with respeccing

Respeccing changes things, and whether you’re the person respeccing or the guild leader who has a member that’s respecced, you’ve got some things about with which you need to deal.

If you have respecced, you no longer know your character inside and out.  You need to take time to learn the differences and effects, and I’m going to suggest that you STILL will be surprised – sometimes rudely, sometimes pleasantly – down the road.  And last but not least, if your respec causes you to gain a new ability that requires /use, then for Goo’s sake USE IT.

And this is true even if you move half a dozen points within a tree to ‘tighten things up’.

Wow, that’s short, not like me at all?  Guess it’s time to build up some wind…

I’ll start with an example.  Based on some insightful comments and my personal awareness that the map is not the terrain — er, that theory should be tested with practicality — I did a minor respec of my character to make max effective use of Inspiration.  I maxed it and moved some points to Holy Spec talent to increase the crit rate.  Where did most of these points come from?  Spell Warding.

It took conscious effort to up the use of spells that could crit within my rotation so inspiration COULD proc, but I finally got in the habit (after about 10 hours of play).  It took another dozen hours after that to realize I was dying more, and a bit of review made me realize it was because I was taking more spell damage that I’d previously lived through.  Which meant I needed to adjust SOMETHING – either work harder to stay out of the AoEs that were killing me, or get my spell warding back or…   Now remember, I used to respec a LOT on my main.  And to maintain that but not cause annoyance with guild leaders trying to plan (grin) I’m raising another priest as an alt (39, shadow as of yesterday).  And it STILL took time to realize the changes’ effects.  Not to mention the sudden delivery of Fear Ward (which I still forget to apply far too often).

FWIW, it was becoming pretty obvious that I was still not getting enough from Inspiration to make it worthwhile – a whopping 15% proc rate spread across ALL my heal targets, no guarantee it’s going to the tank is NOT reliable enough for planning.  So I returned to my previous spec.  Which will up my survivability, and means I need to retrain back to my older heal-pattern.

Which I will do — lesson, again, friends — by running a few ‘safe’ instances.  That is, I’ll run a couple of non-heroics, then a couple of heroics, intentionally pushing my healing habits, so that I set the habits AND remind myself of what to expect.

That last is pretty critical.  See, part of our playstyle is based on our expectations.  We ‘get a feel’ as shadowpriest that this sequence of 5 or so spells means a dead mob and time to move on.  Or as we’re leveling we ‘get the feel’ that this 1-2-3-wand pattern grinds the fastest over time.  Thing is, when we change something, we may suddenly need one less spell to kill.  Or we’ve now got something we HAVE to remember to put in place (fear ward) and that slows down our reflexes – and we start losing party members as our heals start a smidge too late (though really no later than what USED to be right, it’s just we’re not doing what we used to do).  Or….

If you respec – even if it’s just a change of a small handful of points within your tree, even if it’s changing from a bit here and max there to max here and a bit there – do yourself and your regular party friends a big favor and retrain your habits and reflexes.  Trust me, you want to learn this now instead of having everyone tearing hair out wondering why suddenly THIS BOSS is ‘too tough’ when it wasn’t just the other day.

Finally, let’s switch to guild officer view.  You have a member who respecs. You know there are going to be effects – you’ve read the article here and you’ve been around enough to know it happens.  You’ve got a couple of small issues with which to deal.

Now, most (not all) guilds put the member who respecs into some sort of special status – nominally recognizing the change.  But in my experience, few actually DO something about it.  If anything, they assume the player will take care of the issue and make it ‘merely’ an issue of time.  As I said above, it takes actual practice to grasp the change.  As a consequence, I’d like to recommend that you require — and then assist in meeting the requirement — that the player run through some practice runs to get the habits in place.  Run them through a couple of “easy” instances, then some “hard” ones.  Dual purpose these if you can – you’ve undoubtedly got members who need rep/gear/XP for themselves or their alts, or applicants who need evaluation, or, well, there are a number of such situations.  Save some time for everyone, make a schedule, and do what needs done.  At the same time, be smart enough to help the player get the habits.  If they respecced within holy to pick up CoH, then insist they USE CoH — and do your best to help build the habit.  (Take a melee based group to the party, and remind him to CoH instead of sequence heal or moving in range to PoH just for the practice – just for an example.)  If it’s a major respec – say, heal to shadow – take along the class leader or another knowledgable (OF THAT SPEC) player, in alt if necessary, who can evaluate and help improve swiftly.  Ummm, let me point out a critical point in that last sentence.  Don’t take the “Expert who grates on everyone’s nerves.”  Take the person who can teach, even if they’re not the Most Bestest Priest everyone wants on hand when they actually run an instance.

Second issue.  Do this even if it’s a minor respec.  Yes, I know, that’s a harder sell.  And for what it’s worth, I don’t think you, the guild leader, need to make the retrain as hard as is needed for a major respec.  Just… ask your class leader what the impact of the change might be (faster or slower or bigger or smaller heals, a little more or less survivability, and so forth) and try to set a run or two to bring those issues home.  Some people will get it fast, and others… it’ll take longer.  On the other hand, don’t make a huge deal of it.  Just set some simple rules, and make the apply across the board:

If you respec, you are at whatever the reduced standard is until you satisfy us you’ve coped with the change.  And that means you run some instances to lock in the habits.

Oh – yes, if I add my two cents, I would include this situation when Blizzard does a forced respec.  Note it’s not really time – dedicated players (who have support) can knock out at least a couple of instances on any given day.  Don’t go overboard, just… most guilds put some sort of burden on people who respec.  Part of that is to discourage changes so you keep the same number of that sort of healer/dps/tank.  But a major other part is to make sure your members are quality performers.  Take a moment to decide which, and make your burden work to help everyone.  In the long run, it’d help.

final note.  Yes, I just respecced a mere 5 points, and it’s even back to the previous spec in which I was better.  I would agree to my guild doing this to me anyway.  But then, I plan to do some work to regain the right habits anyway.

~ by Kirk on November 27, 2007.

One Response to “Coping with respeccing”

  1. Kirk, my first thought about your frequent deaths was: get more stam!

    I haven’t had any of the priest survivability talents since the xpac came out so I don’t really know what I’m missing.

    What I do is wear my stam gear during trash pulls (when deaths are most annoying I find), switching to my regular healing gear on bosses. With regular buffs (fort, motw and stam food) I normally run about 9600 to 10k hps on trash, I find it sufficient.

    But yeah, we get comfortable in a given spec and relearning things after a respec can take some time. We respec alot in our guild but I suspect most people just alternate between 2 specs they’re comfortable with, not picking up anything that new to play with.

    Per example, we have one druid who is feral in pve but respecs tree for arena. He does it every week. He probably goes for the same two specs all the time. Our mages all respec to frost for that boss in TK that is immune to fire. Our one spriest respecs holy when we’re short healers. They never seem to pick up “new to them” talents.

    Just an observation.

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