I will tell you, that I absolutely felt the same concern that you do when I heard the off-the-cuff statement about “default specs”. I was sitting there collecting my thoughts about the new transmog system and wondering if it could be applied for Challenge characters or not… I had even gone so far as to formulate a well-thought out question when I heard the question of 3rd specs get raised.
No big deal, I thought. I turned to my wife to see if she’d be a good sport and go up to see if my question could get asked (I’m not the best public speaker that’s for sure), when the developer mentioned something about a third spec… and hey… a fourth spec too, for druids.
Wow, I thought… that’s great! Inwardly I cringed at the thought of being forced out of my Unholy spec for Frost for a particular boss fight. I’m listening to the response include something about no more ‘no spec’.
Immediately I cursed. Whoopsie! The people around me turned and looked at me wondering just what my problem was. For the starting player, yes… this is good. For challenge characters, this basically negated a pretty crucial part of the challenge. It felt like an eternity, but I think it was probably only five minutes before I got up and left.
After a brief stop at the Blizzard Store and a meet-up with Griffter (I mean, how can I pass that up? Incidentally, you can catch his BlizzCon roundup where he talks about us meeting… he chuckles because he could tell I was literally in shock about the news), I went to the Legion demo area. The lineup was super long and there wasn’t a way for me to skip the line… standing in the line wasn’t an option unfortunately as my body was already giving me the signs that it was time to turn in.
I did get the opportunity to chat with a Blue Shirt at the demo who knew a crap ton about the demo. I have also asked about the changes with two devs later that day at the Hilton. The following changes are slated to happen once 7.0 drops:
Default specs are thought to be DPS-related, however, I could not get a confirmation on that… it does make sense though as really there’s not a ton to learn for tanking or healing from 1-10.
Why write all this stuff? I wanted to let you know that I am completely on the same page as most of you. When I step back and look at the changes several things jump out at me:
Overall, I would expect to see more contenders for max level compared to Warlords, however, we had this when the challenge was more prevalent during Cata and Mists due to several factors (only 85, 90 levels vs. 100; Warlords saw the stat squish; several classes also only had limited abilities).
The change might not be a bad thing as it will undoubtedly help folks speed through the lower levels until they hit Legion zones.
Another thing to keep in mind, that has been pointed out to me by some of the folks at BlizzCon, was that default specs could be scrapped before Legion. It’s possible, yes… but…. this isn’t a game-play thing… it’s a quality-of-life improvement for new players that looks to be working from what I could see of some guy playing the 1-10 experience.
For what it’s worth, I did let the two devs know how this would impact the Iron Man challenge and they would let folks know at BlizzHQ to see if there was something they can do, however, one guy did state it was doubtful since the spec is assigned at character creation and it requires more work to remove it. I’ve also lobbed a tweet at Celestalon asking for some kind of no-spec option… sort of an advanced setting that is hidden for folks that really want to run with no spec.
At this point all we really have is speculation but, if you were worried, I want to you to rest assured that the Iron Man community will never let the Iron Man challenge die, nor will I.