The previous post started the story of a hunter pushing for a fury warrior to tank and an apparently feral druid to heal. To me this was an example of how being a game can interfere with being a world (or is it the reverse?), but also how we refuse to RP even when it's starting us in the face.
What do specs do for us?
The main thing is they make us different from each other. Our characters are slightly more special. This would be a pull towards the world side. The cost is that while fury can DPS better, protection would tank better. If the content is difficult enough, this distinction will matter to the players and in this case, prevent us from playing. The world came at the cost of the game.
Why do we pick our specs?
Even with relatively cheap respecs (50g isn't so much now that we can get that from a handful of dailies) and dual-spec, spec means something. I don't believe that most players pick their spec because it best fits the gear they have, but instead because that's what they want. In a way, the spec is who they are. It's a character identity. It's an invitation to RP.
It's not all that hard either. We don't have to imagine anything or pretend, we can simply say that we're not tanks or healers or DPS. For RP we might say it a bit more; we cannot bear to hold the lives of others in our hands, or we do not love the violence of DPS, or we lack the courage to stand between certain destruction and our group. Or we can just say we don't like doing that. Whatever we choose to say, we don't have to pretend much, since the choice of our character is really our choice as RL people.
Should specs go away?
WoW has been steadily moving in the direction of trading world for game. It seems to have been successful, after all, it has steadily gained subscribers (though there are rumors of a slowdown over the past few months). Are specs just another obstacle to the game? In the BRD story it is clear that spec prevented us from playing. Should they go away?
Specs are not the obstacle here. It is player choice. Specs only demonstrate that choice. Someone who doesn't want to tank might be more likely to tank if they weren't fury, but they still don't want to tank. Specs truly are a player choice. In fact, they are a good way to add to both world and game. They make us different (adding to world), emphasize our choices (again, world), and make us stronger at what we already want to do (that's making it a more fun game).