Are Warlock Specs REALLY that Contentious?

Yesterday I decided to help a couple of old pals from the Breed out and tag along for a Magister’s Terrace run. When we got there, Gorgas and I spent a little bit of time discussing curse assignments, healthstone strengths, and all those other fun things that get sorted out when more than one warlock is in a run. During this discussion, we had a small discussion of what spec each of us were, and the resto druid (who was from a fairly well respected raiding guild on Cenarius) said (paraphrased I am afraid – learn to screenshot Sar, learn to screenshot!) ‘The Sac spec is a pile of poo. People spec that solely because of a bunch of theorycrafters telling them that’s what is best. My spec puts out more damage than that, no one beats me’. Well, I quickly countered with the solid fact that my personal DPS has increased with that spec. However, I thought to myself, why is it really such a point of contention what other people spec? I quite often ask other people what their spec is, but from a general interest point of view. I like to hear what points others consider worthwhile, and I enjoy asking them what they think the pros and cons of these specs are. After all, a questioning warlock will (eventually) become a knowing warlock.


In my opinion, there are really only two reasons why anyone should spec a certain way: Personal Enjoyment and Performance. Personal Enjoyment, in my opinion, is the most important aspect of the game. You play the game for enjoyment, you pay good money to enjoy it. Therefore, you should play the spec that gives you the most entertainment.

However, Performance can also be an important factor. Whether it be because you are a raider and maximum damage output is crucial to the raid’s success, or because you simply like to be the best that you can be, Performance is intrinsically linked to Personal Enjoyment. The key is finding a balance between the most enjoyable spec to play, and the greatest damage output.

Damage Output

However, your spec is not the be all and end all of damage output. There appears to be a lot of misunderstanding out there about things which affect DPS. Many people like to simplify it down to one factor, whether it be to make themselves feel better, look better, or simply because they havent considered all the things which have implications on what damage you put out.

  1. Spec: Some specs have a higher damage output than others. Plain and simple. However, this does not mean that other specs are not more useful. Some have greater survivability, some provide greater raid utility in the form of buffs and debuffs, and some assist heavily with crowd control. There is no ignoring, however, that specs do have a great impact.
  2. Personal skill: The level of skill a player has will always impact upon their damage output. It is the one factor that can not be reliably calculated when working out how much DPS a player should be doing based upon the other factors. It is also one of the most variable factors from day to day. The day you are feeling a little off, or are a bit tired, will not measure up to the day you were at your bright eyed best.
  3. Gear: Obviously, improvements in gear equal an improvement in damage.
  4. Technology: The computer which you play with, the internet connection you use, all have an impact on how good your damage is. Again, this is pretty darn difficult to measure (if it is at all possible). However, you can not deny that it is easier to play with a computer which has a high framerate and a connection which provides you with a low latency and stability. Now I am not sure what is considered to be a ‘good’ measurement of these things (I consider my usual 15-20fps, 400-700 latency to be perfectly playable. Others disagree and shudder at the thought of those numbers).
  5. All the factors above applied to the other people in the group: I think this especially applies to the tank (as much as I hate all the pressure we put on tanks). You can only put out as much damage as your tank can keep aggro over. You push for maximum DPS when your tank just can’t generate that much threat? You are going to die. Pretty simple!

So why is there such an emphasis on ‘the best spec’? This seems to be true for every class, not just warlocks. If people can justify their spec with a ‘I think it is really fun to play’, that should be good enough. There also seems to be a disdain of ‘cookie cutter’ specs. There is a reason why some specs are more popular than others, and that is because they have been tried and tested to be proven effective (and sometimes fun!). Pride in your spec? Sure, go for it – Destro Locks Pwn! Pride at the expense of putting others down? Not so necessary.


~ by Angela on May 29, 2008.

3 Responses to “Are Warlock Specs REALLY that Contentious?”

  1. I am SO freaking glad I’m not the only one out there like this.

  2. Well said; short of mashing your face into the keyboard its really hard to come up with a “bad spec” as a lock, and most builds are definitely limited only by what their tank can put out, not what they can personally do in terms of dps. As a class we’re already inherently cool, so find the spec that works best for you and run with it – nice post 😉

  3. Thanks for the post

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