The World of Warcraft patch 5.3 contains many big features, changes, and additions that attract attention.  One small change that many players may missis the new Loot Specialization feature.  It really should not be overlooked though as it can be very important, and I am here to explain what it is and why you should be interested in it.

src="" alt="loot specialization"
style="border: 0px solid ; width: 350px;">

Where to Find Loot Specialization?

While not a large feature in the game, it is important.  It is so small in fact that the only way you see it is by right clicking on your characters image and finding it in the pull down menu.

The options you see listed there will be based on your character class, but will always include “Default” as well.  There will be an option for each of your classes specs no matter if you have that spec as your main, secondary, or not used at all.

What Does Loot Specialization Do?

Quite simply, loot specialization makes the game behave as if you are the selected specialization for all loot distribution done by the loot priority system.  This means that you will be treated as that spec whenever you are given loot from:

  • Raid Finder (including Bonus Rolls)
  • General Mists of Pandaria Quests
  • Heroic Scenarios

Therefore, if you are a Protection Warrior, but select Fury as your loot specialization, you will be awarded DPS gear instead of Tanking gear.

If you leave the Loot Specialization selection as Default, you will be given gear based on your current active specialization.  This means that the system will continue to function for you as it always has in the past.

Where Doesn’t Loot Specialization Function?

It does not work for normal scenarios, at least not yet, nor does it function in 5 player instances. 

Normal scenarios seem like an oversight on Blizzards part at least for not, so they may get added at some point.  Dungeons already give you the ability to roll on whatever you want, so I am assuming Blizzard saw no need to enable this there.

Blizzards Announcement of Loot Specialization

Blizzard Entertainment - Patch 5.3 Adds Off-Spec Loot and Rewards

In the upcoming patch 5.3, we’re adding a new “Loot Specialization” option that will give you more control over the loot drops and quest rewards you receive that are based on your class specialization (spec). This includes items obtained through bonus rolls, Raid Finder loot, the Heroic Scenarios coming in patch 5.3, and Mists of Pandaria quests. This new option will allow you to, for example, enter into Raid Finder as a Protection Paladin, but receive loot appropriate for a Holy Paladin.

To change your spec-specific drops, you’ll right-click your character portrait, and select the “Loot Specialization” menu option. The “Default” setting refers to your current spec, and you’ll have the option to choose from any available class specs (e.g. Frost, Fire, or Arcane). This option can be changed at any time you’re able to swap specs, which generally means while out of combat, allowing you to change which spec’s gear you’ll get from each boss within a single raid. Need those healing bracers from Tortos but that DPS off-hand from Megaera? No problem!

Right now, it’s difficult to collect off-spec gear easily, which can make it tough to switch roles if you decide you want to start healing or tanking. This change will allow people to play the specs they’re most comfortable with while collecting loot for another should they want to try out a new role . . . or even fully transition. Going from DPS to tanking or healing—especially when you’ve never done it before—can be daunting, and gathering up the appropriate gear can be a good first step. We want to help make it a more comfortable one.

How to Make the Best use of Loot Specialization

A great way to use this new feature is while levelling.  Leveling as a Healer or Tank can be painfully slow compared to doing it as a DPS spec.  Now you can simply level as a DPS and have your loot specialization set to Tank or Healer and be granted all the quest rewards that will help you get ready for your main role in the game.

With this new system in place it is critically important to keep the use of it in mind all the time. This is especially true in LFR situations. To explain what I mean let’s look at the following example:

You are playing a Paladin Tank in a LFR group, and have left the Loot Specialization set to Default since you are looking for Tank gear.  However, you get to a boss fight that you already have all the tanking gear from.  You do play as DPS as well though when you are doing your daily quests and could use some additional gear since most of your raid gear is all tanking orientated.   What you do is for this boss, just change the loot selector over to Retribution and you will have a chance to get some DPS gear that you could use. Just remember to change the selector back to Default or Protection before the next fight so that you don’t loose out on tanking gear that you may want or need from it.

By making appropriate changes to your loot specialization you can get gear that you can use, even though you are not playing that spec.  This can help you out immensely with your off-spec as well as preventing wasted equipment, since you would have been given a duplicate item and have to sell or disenchant it.


To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.