My post yesterday, nominally about motivation for illicit RMT, drew a fair amount of debate over my assertion that dual spec enables a more solo/group-friendly hybrid playstyle.
One of the comments came from Shintar, a blogger who has all four of WoW's healing classes at 80 and a post about how only the hardcore need dual specs on his blog about being a healer. I would imagine that he's got the basic skillset reasonably well down. But what about those of us who actually need to LEARN to play?
A huge part of the value of the low level group game is the opportunity for players to learn group roles (i.e. aggro control for DPS, tanking and healing for everyone else) in easier content, so that we don't arrive in Northrend clueless. Does it really make sense to turn around and tell newbies to try and learn with irrelevant solo talent builds? When did Gevlon of all people become an advocate for players not doing everything in their control to ensure the success of the group?
A strange place for a gold sink
The irony is that high end players - until the very top of the min-max curve anyway - actually have less need for dual specs than newbies. Solo mobs have gotten so easy to kill that a raid-geared healer would be losing more time to refilling their mana bars after swapping over to their DPS spec than if they just killed the mobs on their healing spec. It's the undergeared lowbie who needs all the help they can get with the appropriate spec for their current activity.
You could argue that the better fix would be to scale respec costs to character level, instead of lowering the price of dual spec. Switching to a group spec for the weekend and then swapping back to a solo spec afterward means dungeon run price tags of 6G, 25G, 45G, 65G, 85G, and 100G thereafter. That number is nigh trivial for level 80's, and nigh ruinous for most level 40's. Or, if you really wanted to, you could argue that the dual spec feature shouldn't be available at all to players too low to take full advantage of it (which I'd say is no longer true by level 40).
What does not make sense is to restrict the feature ONLY for players who do not have a level 80 main paying their bills. Dual spec affects gameplay far more than any mount training ever did, and that makes it a bad place to put a gold sink (i.e. a timesink, since gold ultimately costs time to earn).