Warcraft: Niche Specs in Warlords

I think it’s safe to say, the majority of raiders in World of Warcraft enjoy the exhilaration of performing well in an encounter. You’re playing a pure DPS class with your buddies and you’re topping the meters – hold your head high. However the next encounter, you take a gander at the meters and you’re not doing so hot. Maybe it’s awareness. Maybe it’s your strat. Maybe… it’s your spec.

Opinion disclaimer

Now before I go too much further into this, I’d like to reinforce that this is strictly my opinion as a long-time raider and seasoned MMO gamer. Many people play the game in many different ways. Some enjoy keeping things more casual and aren’t too worried about their performance, while others are top end hardcore players who number crunch and take their performance very seriously. However, I think there are a fairly hefty bunch of players who are somewhere in the middle. This article is for you.

 So, what is a niche?

A niche encounter, in regards to Warcraft, is an encounter that is designed to favor a specific type of damage. I’ve listed a few examples below for reference, with video, if you are unfamiliar with the concept.

You can dive much deeper into the ‘intermittent cleave’ / ‘AoE’ niches (streaming, wave, burst), but for simplicity’s sake – we’ll leave it at that for now. The encounters in Warlords of Draenor have proven to be designed around these niches and I’m fairly confident this will continue in the future. So what does that mean to you?

Learn two specs.

So you play a pure DPS class and you’re interested in being a better asset to your raid team. You want to progress and you feel like you’re holding your team back on some encounters. You’ve reached the place many of us have and continue to reach in Warlords. It’s time to teach yourself a second spec and begin gearing up for that spec’s itemization.

It’s fairly clear that some specs perform better than others in different niche encounters. For instance, an Enhancement Shaman is probably going to crush an Assassination Rogue in the Imperator Mar’gok encounter in Highmaul. However, a Subtlety Rogue will generally annihilate an Enhancement Shaman in a single target encounter. Keep in mind, this performance is all relative to the ability of the people you are playing with.

Making this jump into playing two specs can be pretty intimidating if you’ve been exclusively playing the same spec for an extended period of time. However, let me promise you one thing – doing this will make you an overall better player and more valuable asset to your raid team. Put your time and effort into researching, practicing your rotation and pugging with the new spec and you’ll be comfortable in no time.


There are so many amazing communities out there to help support World of Warcraft players. Utilize them – or even better, participate in them! While this concept of niche specs has been around for a long while, it’s becoming more and more important to truly grasp and become better players. If you want to improve as a player, whether it’s in PvE or PvP – you simply need to put in the time and effort into becoming a better player.

If you don’t know where to start, ask the community! Whether it’s on Twitter or your favorite fansite, there are so many skilled players out there that would love nothing more than to help a fellow gamer improve. You’ll have to endure some of the toxic trolls out there, but that’s something that you need to endure, push through and find the genuinely helpful people.

I truly hope you enjoyed my insight and I’d love to hear what you think about niche encounters and playing multiple specs! Whether you comment here or catch me on Twitter, let’s have a chat and share thoughts on the subject. See y’all in Azeroth!

Accomp, out.



Accomp is a Gamer, UX Engineer, and Writer. He’s a PC MMO enthusiast, console gamer, and mobile geek. Whether it’s hardcore raid leading, competitive FPS gameplay, or discovering indie games, he’s got the experience. Join his Discord and follow him on Twitter, Twitch, or YouTube!

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