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Thread: What exactly is a "viable spec"?

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    Telaran Jake Steel's Avatar
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    Default What exactly is a "viable spec"?

    I see the term "viable spec" used a lot in forums across many different games, pertaining to leveling, DPS, tanking, yadda yadda yadda....

    So what exactly is a "viable spec"? I mean, isn't any spec viable for leveling? It's not like it's hard and to do it with any spec. And if you're keeping up with tanking, holding the enemies and protecting your allies, or keeping everyone alive as a healer, or killing things as a DPS, then isn't any related spec viable?

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    Telaran kuzo's Avatar
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    a viable spec is the spec that gets the task done the way you intended to. healing spec is probably not meant for tanking..etc

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    Plane Touched Raptorus's Avatar
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    It's a polite term used to describe what is considered expected or at least acceptable by those who demand a certain performance level by cookie cutting.

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    Telaran
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raptorus View Post
    It's a polite term used to describe what is considered expected or at least acceptable by those who demand a certain performance level by cookie cutting.
    For instance, I don't expect Raptorus with his mage to main tank the dungeons for us. That's not viable. Nor do I expect my marksman to do it. If a spec can't do the job you intend for it without extraordinary conditions (i.e. he CAN tank if he's all endurance specced, is a elem/chloro, and the rest of the party is clerics and bards) it's not viable.

    Note: I have no idea what he plays, I'm just using him as an example since he took the opportunity to slam people who like theorycrafting.
    Reason is a choice. Wishes and whims are not facts, nor are they a means to discovering them. Reason is our only way of grasping reality; it is our basic tool of survival. We are free to evade the effort of thinking, to reject reason, but we are not free to avoid the penalty of the abyss we refuse to see. ~Terry Goodkind, Faith of the Fallen

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    Soulwalker
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    Viable simply means possible with a large amount of likely success.

    Like, the key objective of a tank is to keep other people from getting hurt.
    Yes, you may be able to kite the mob to death as a ranger/MM combo (in theory, not practically), but there are so many outside forces in effect that the job would be both simpler and more effective if you just used the Riftstalker soul.

    It's all about optimization really, and some content may demand that you have an optimized spec for whatever your role is :P

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    Ascendant popsicledeath's Avatar
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    I don't think it's just seeming to get the job done. A lot of people make that mistake. Hey, our group didn't die that fight, so the healer must be doing his/her job and have a viable spec, right? Then the next fight is a hard one, and you wipe because the 'healer' is actually just a cleric focused mostly on dps and doesn't have a viable healing spec.

    Or, the harder one to gauge, is the self-adertised dps rogue who then gets into a group, seems to not be doing very much damage, and says he's a rifstalker for roleplay reasons but is still doing damage, promise. Sure, doing damage, but not actually a viable dps spec.

    Or you kill someone in pvp 5 levels lower than you with your pyromancer/necro/chloro, but that doesn't mean you actually have a viable spec when it comes to challenging pvp.
    -According to a Facebook quiz, I'm a genius.

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    Plane Walker Cormyat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Steel View Post
    I see the term "viable spec" used a lot in forums across many different games, pertaining to leveling, DPS, tanking, yadda yadda yadda....

    So what exactly is a "viable spec"? I mean, isn't any spec viable for leveling? It's not like it's hard and to do it with any spec. And if you're keeping up with tanking, holding the enemies and protecting your allies, or keeping everyone alive as a healer, or killing things as a DPS, then isn't any related spec viable?
    If there are other specs that are much more useful for what you're attempting to do, meaning that your spec will only be accepted when those other specs aren't available, your spec isn't viable. That's how I look at it.

    "Viable" means a group won't necessarily kick you because they know it's likely a player with another far more effective spec will come along. It's not so much about "can we succeed with this player and his spec?" as it is "we can easily do better than this guy."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cormyat View Post
    If there are other specs that are much more useful for what you're attempting to do, meaning that your spec will only be accepted when those other specs aren't available, your spec isn't viable. That's how I look at it.

    "Viable" means a group won't necessarily kick you because they know it's likely a player with another far more effective spec will come along. It's not so much about "can we succeed with this player and his spec?" as it is "we can easily do better than this guy."
    That straddles the line between "viable" and "optimal."

    Just because there's a better way, doesn't mean it's not viable. If there are 4 tanking souls that will allow you to do a 5 man dungeon without any special group makeup, then they are viable. If there's a 5th tanking soul that would allow you to do it in half the time, that one is optimal.

  9. #9
    Rift Chaser
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    Viable: Capable of working successfully; feasible:

    A viable spec is a spec that is capable of working successfully. I disagree with what other people consider viable specs.

    Right now, I think most people consider most SOULS are viable for SOMETHING. I think the only soul whose viability is greatly in question right now is the justicar (but i've never played one). The reason being as they are potentially intended to be either tanks or the melee version of chloromancer, but TRION hasn't made it clear what they want them to be, and right now they just don't do either at a sufficient level of performance to be successful (I'm basing this entirely on hearsay).

    When one gets into talking about a "Viable Spec" it means whether or not the souls you have put together can work together. For example, taking two specs that do not compliment each other in any way, such as a trying to max both the paladin and champion trees. The skills don't compliment each other so it wouldn't be considered viable.

    Or, to put it another way, a "viable spec" you could think of as a combination of souls that is better than the mere sum of its parts. While a Paladin/Champion may be able to function with both trees at 32 points, it would be, in large part, just like playing a paladin with no other soul or champion with no other soul. Compare that with say, a paladin warlord where both trees get buffs from using shields and generally playing defensive.

    To be honest, I find it somewhat hard to come up with specs that aren't "viable" at least potentially. Most trees have some non-exclusive buff that benefits the others. But, generally there are a few trees for every class that work great to complement other roles.
    Last edited by Hachiko; 02-12-2011 at 01:53 AM.

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    Soulwalker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hachiko View Post
    Viable: Capable of working successfully; feasible:

    A viable spec is a spec that is capable of working successfully. I disagree with what other people consider viable specs.

    Right now, I think most people consider most SOULS are viable for SOMETHING. I think the only soul whose viability is greatly in question right now is the justicar (but i've never played one). The reason being as they are potentially intended to be either tanks or the melee version of chloromancer, but TRION hasn't made it clear what they want them to be, and right now they just don't do either at a sufficient level of performance to be successful (I'm basing this entirely on hearsay).

    When one gets into talking about a "Viable Spec" it means whether or not the souls you have put together can work together. For example, taking two specs that do not compliment each other in any way, such as a trying to max both the paladin and champion trees. The skills don't compliment each other so it wouldn't be considered viable.

    Or, to put it another way, a "viable spec" you could think of as a combination of souls that is better than the mere sum of its parts. While a Paladin/Champion may be able to function with both trees at 32 points, it would be, in large part, just like playing a paladin with no other soul or champion with no other soul. Compare that with say, a paladin warlord where both trees get buffs from using shields and generally playing defensive.

    To be honest, I find it somewhat hard to come up with specs that aren't "viable" at least potentially. Most trees have some non-exclusive buff that benefits the others. But, generally there are a few trees for every class that work great to complement other roles.
    for me Justicar role is that of Solo player. See my thread pvp, solo, groups. Dont see a functiion for it in groups or in PvP especially mid/endgame.

  11. #11
    Plane Walker Cormyat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystal View Post
    That straddles the line between "viable" and "optimal."

    Just because there's a better way, doesn't mean it's not viable. If there are 4 tanking souls that will allow you to do a 5 man dungeon without any special group makeup, then they are viable. If there's a 5th tanking soul that would allow you to do it in half the time, that one is optimal.
    Assuming all 4 of those tanking souls are relatively equal then yes, they are viable.

    However, if there's one tanking soul that is worse than the other three, I don't refer to it as "viable" in the context of an MMO. To me, "viable" means, "good enough to get you groups on a consistent basis."

    A good example would be the combat swords rogue in WoW pre-Wrath. There were probably three other classes that did better overall DPS than the rogue for raiding at that time, but the rogue still got groups if specc'd correctly. Combat swords was a viable build, even though it wasn't optimal.

    But if you were specc'd daggers, you would often be literally kicked out of groups even though, technically, it wasn't that terrible a spec if you knew what you were doing. The problem was that combat swords was so clearly superior that it made the daggers build no longer viable. You only got groups if people liked you enough to tolerate your build or if they just didn't know how bad your build was.

    Now hopefully, RIFT isn't quite as affected by things like DPS Meters and the like that tend to turn viable builds into lawl-builds, thereby keeping more souls viable, but I doubt it. Like I said, to me you have to look at it in context and accept the reality of how your soul will be viewed by others. I mean, it's technically possible to take down a lot of content naked, but that doesn't mean entering a raid naked is a viable gear-spec.
    Last edited by Cormyat; 02-12-2011 at 11:51 AM.

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    Champion of Telara BucMan's Avatar
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    Viable means not optimal but still a spec that can get the job done. Viable specs may be within 10% or so the effectiveness of the optimal. Generally the person playing the more individualized but no so cookie cutter spec will be better at his spec than many who just copy/pasted the cookie cutter. When the difference is small(like 10%), player skill is the trump card. When it's huge, skill won't make up the difference.

    Take the previous mention of the dagger rogue in WOTLK. In TBC, the spec was viable because while not quite as effective, it wasn't way off. In WOTLK this changed and the gap between the two increased greatly until the dagger one was so far behind, it was no longer a viable spec in dungeons.
    Last edited by BucMan; 02-12-2011 at 01:01 PM.
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    Soulwalker Firesky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BucMan View Post
    Viable means not optimal but still a spec that can get the job done. Viable specs may be within 10% or so the effectiveness of the optimal. Generally the person playing the more individualized but no so cookie cutter spec will be better at his spec than many who just copy/pasted the cookie cutter. When the difference is small(like 10%), player skill is the trump card. When it's huge, skill won't make up the difference.

    Take the previous mention of the dagger rogue in WOTLK. In TBC, the spec was viable because while not quite as effective, it wasn't way off. In WOTLK this changed and the gap between the two increased greatly until the dagger one was so far behind, it was no longer a viable spec in dungeons.
    Agreed. Above is my understanding of Viable Spec.

    Some people seem to think that it means optimal or suitable. Though, WoW seemed to use the term' viable' as a scrape-through spec, rather than just simply sub-optimal. Early hybrids in WoW were scrape-though. I played a druid healer and tank in the early days.

    The healer could only resurrect one player every 30 minutes and had no viable PvE threat management other than heal over time spells. The tank had few abilities and on long cool downs and had no counter to mortal strikes. But they were considered viable. Today, they would probably be considered optimal, since both have been revised extensively.

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    Rift Disciple Ibliss's Avatar
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    There are some great responses here. I think we understand the clear line is between viable an failure but underperformance is rather vague.

    A tank that does not die but can't hold aggro against viable to optimal DPS is not viable, true or false?

    One could argue that the DPS need to skip steps in their rotation to generate less threat because aggro is the DPS's responsibility. One could also argue that moving through content at 2/3rds speed because of the need to hold back is the tanks fault.

    I'd like to hear people's opinion on this.
    "The only reason I need to group is to have witnesses to my greatness." -Hubris

  15. #15
    Rift Disciple
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    A viable spec is something that gets your job done without a great deal of hassle, and with a reasonable speed and efficiency.

    You may have dozens of dps specs, but only a handful of the best ones are viable since the others lack in speed, efficiency or other tools.

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