“So this machine is supposed to …” Shuanna raise her eyebrows, staring at the strange contraption. “This is supposed to teach me something new?”
“Oh yes!” the gnome said. “It’s a prototype of course. Just sign this waiver.”
Shuanna hesitated. The gnome prodded the air in front of her with a pen, waved the waiver in a very hurried but yet inviting manner. The smile on his face was whiter than snow. She took the paper and the pen, signed on the dotted line and let them install her in the machine.
“Right,” the gnome nodded, closed his hands around a iron driving wheel and turned it. The machine hummed. “Here we go!”
There was a flash. There was a sensation of being … jolted. then strange memories of thing she never had mastered before filled her brain. A minute later they released her. She stumbled out, shook her head, regained her balance and whistled. Then she slowly turned her head towards the gnome and said, awestruck:
“I know kung fu!”
– – – – –
Yeah, sorry about that. Got a bit carried away. So anyway – this weeks Community Blog Topic from WoW Insider is: Should all classes get a fourth spec? There is a simple answer to this: No.
I think simple answers are boring. The world is rarely simple, not ours, not Azeroths. So the more complicated answer is this: Yes, we should get a fourth spec – under certain conditions. Let me explain. I have an idea, you see.
I realize adding a fourth spec would cause a lot of balancing problems. At worst it could cause utter chaos in the (some say barely) balanced game. Now, there is a few solutions to this problem:
- Make a fourth spec PvE only.
- Make a fourth spec optional.
- Integrate a fourth spec with existing specs.
- A fourth spec with just a few new abilities.
- Make a fourth spec conditional.
This is risky business. PvP players would probably feel cheated on something potentially awesome and extremely effective. The old and old discussion of PvE vs PvP would flare up giving community managers a headache. Again. Not to mention all the other hot topics – hardcores vs casuals, for instance. Still, if it could smooth things out … maybe. I have to say even I am not sure this is a great idea. It could be a terrible idea to be honest. It probably is. Dangit!
Optional fourth spec:
This is also risky business. The very second the theory crafters get their hands on the most effective fourth spec, that second anything optional becomes “mandatory”. We’ve seen this before, from add-ons like Recount (or Gearscore befor iLvls) to LFR (and possibly soon Flex Raids). the trick is to find a fourth spec that is appealing but not appealing enough. How do you accomplish that? Well …
Integrated fourth spec:
Say what? Yes, it’s an innovative design! The best existing abilities from various specs have been cherrypicked to enhance your class abilities! A warlock who suprise his enemies with frost bolts. A mage who scare the dirt out of a kobolds fur with a shadow bolt. A warrior who calls forth the powers of divine light. A paladin who bellows so loud dozens of enemies shrink back in awe of the Holy Rage. A priest who goes into a frenzy with a Spinning Crane Kick – a dervish figure dancing through the battlefield. A monk who sneaks through the shadows mutilating and garotting. A rogue who handles a gun as only a rogue can – silenced, from the shadows. A hunter who … uhm … who rolls need on everything; “It could be useful, allright!?”. Sorry about that last slur. My mind wandered.
One or two abilities, no more, from existing classes, intertwined, intermingled. One big screaming family of cross-educated heroes and insane murderers!
A fourth specs few new abilities:
This is completely integrated with the last point of interest – Make a fourth spec conditional. Now, what exactly is the condition? This, my friends, is la piece la resistance: A new Hero Class – MERCENARY.
The mercenary – a conditional fourth spec:
The condition is once you’ve hit level 90 (and possibly reached an iLvl threshold) you get the option of turning Mercenary. A Mercenary class would work for a short period of time: say as long as a questchain (of dailies or weeklies) is still in progress. Or B) by paying a (large) amount of gold – say 50 000 gold – to an NPC and thereby gaining a timed debuff lasting for instance, a month. The Hero Class would become a goldsink. I think a much needed goldsink at that. The Mercenary have the ability to work with any faction.
A human warrior turned mercenary would get a “merc debuff” rendering the warrior unattackable by the Horde for as long as the debuff is active. The human warrior would also be unable to attack any Horde (even om PvP realms). You, the human mercenary, can pick up any and all Horde quests you like as long as you operate as a mercenary. The same goes for Horde who venture into the Alliance territories. A mercenary might not be well liked, some would even consider them a traitor – but money doesn’t smell.
The debuff could last as long as you don’t hand in the mercenary quest that bought your services. That way we could finally play through Silverpine as worgens – even as Alliance. That way we could get some much needed help against the Defias – by orcs, no less. Or whoever. The possibilities for an enriched gaming experience are endless. Or so I like to think. Just be careful not to loose the debuff.
Once you’ve accepted a career as a mercenary, the Fourth Spec becomes active. You will gain a few new abilities tailored for a Mercenary alone – plus whatever cherrypicked abilities the spec otherwise contains.
Would a Mercenary class be “optional”? Only until it became Mandatory (2 seconds after it’s been known, the cynic in me says). Excluding the raiders – would it be cool and fun for everyone else? You bet! Because, you know. Imagine the grizzled warlock veteran who’s fought both Gods and Demons, stumbling out of the hut where the contract was signed … shaking the head, muttering:
“I know kung fu!”