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The Dire Consequences of Quest Rewards Based on Spec in Mists of Pandaria

You’re playing World of Warcraft. You’re out in forest on a quest, killing boars, monkeys, and snake-man hybrids. You collect all the entrails, brains, tears, scales, slime, tusks, pelts, and tails that you need. You return to the client who sent you on this errand. What’s your reward? Up to (and including) Cataclysm, you would have a choice between several rewards. Some only reward gold, while others may offer several rewards. In the case of the latter, you would often have a choice between several different item slots, different armor (or weapon) classes, and a pick between primary stats. A single quest’s reward table looks like this more often than not:

From the quest "Fire Upon the Waters"

If none of those items appeal to you, then you can select whichever one is most visually appealing—assuming the item can be equipped. If you can’t do that, then you can select the item that sells for the most amount of gold. According to a recent Blue post, that is going to change in Mists of Pandaria. You turn in the quest and then you will be awarded gear that is appropriate to your spec. You’ll never get an item that is wasted! Read on to see Ghostcrawler’s statement on the matter, as well as what it means for players.

Impact on the secondary spec

The primary concern is that leveling as a hybrid class is going to be difficult. This is partially correct; healers or tanks with a DPS spec are going to suffer while questing. While healing and tank specs can be used for leveling, these are not optimal. Healers and tanks will switch to a secondary DPS spec and level like that. However, this means that they’ll receive DPS gear from questing instead of gear for their primary spec. So where is a healer or tank to get their gear from? Well, lead systems designer Ghostcrawler has the answer:

For the players that level as X spec but want to also collect gear as Y spec, we have a few solutions: — Several of the zones have vendors with decent gear that isn’t quite at the quest item level. These help provide coverage if you miss a reward, say gloves or shoulders, since questing is less linear now. However, these vendors also help you gather off-spec gear. — Several quests, especially those that offer blue rewards, weapons, trinkets and most of the level 90 quests, offer you a choice of gear for all of your specs instead of just your current spec. (Source)

Having vendors sell gear for questing is a nice solution. There isn’t much to say about it. And considering that blue quest rewards are often stronger items that can’t be reacquired easily, being able to choose which reward you want is also nice; it would suck to receive an awesome DPS weapon when what you really like doing is healing. Additionally, Ghostcrawler has this to say for tanks:

Also remember that if, for example, you level as Arms but want to tank a few dungeons as Protection, that the level-up dungeons are not so brutally difficult that you need full tanking gear. A Prot warriors in DPS Strength gear would do just fine. As you get into endgame content, especially normal raids, you’ll want actual tanking gear.

What about healers? Well, every healer is a caster. Therefore, caster gear is always going to be great for them. Also, any hybrid caster class with a healing spec also has a talent that turns Spirit into Hit Rating which makes healer gear be compatible. However, the complication arises when we consider that not every healer is a caster by nature; the only healer that has all three specs dedicated to casting is the Priest! Druids and shaman only benefit from caster gear if they are Balance or Elemental, respectively. This means that melee DPS specs like Feral and Enhancement will be stuck with Agility gear when they’d really like to have Intellect gear. However, Holy Paladins and Mistweaver Monks have both a tank spec and melee DPS spec to deal with. This effectively means that they are screwed in the quest loot lottery. Their only recourse is to buy their gear from vendors. Healers, tanks, and hybrids at large aren’t the only ones to suffer from this change. In fact, there is a far more dire issue that arises from it, one that will undoubtedly affect countless players…

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