Monday, May 17, 2010

Hybrid Power

At the start of WoW warriors tanked and all other hybrids healed. The damage dealing was left for the pure DPS classes and I was happy to do so with my mage. Sure, our guild had a warrior and maybe a kitten damage dealer but druids or paladins weren't good enough to tank an end-game raid instance. And back then that worked fine. A raid needed 40 players and there were 8 classes. So you'd have about 5 warriors in your raid, enough to tank every instance. Perfect for raids but it caused a problem for dungeons. There you need one tank, one healer and three DPS classes. If only one in eight can tank then there just aren't enough tanks.

In the Outland expansion every hybrid could tank as good as a warrior or heal as well as a priest while doing similar DPS to a pure DPS class. This was a great step to fix the shortage of tanks as suddenly three classes could tank. Of course this didn't completely solve the problem as most people are afraid of the responsibility to tank or heal a group. And now they *could* DPS! Players who used to be called loladins or retadins were suddenly on top of the damage meters.

Logically, I  wondered why the heck I would continue playing as a pure DPS class (warlock/mage). A hybrid in Outland did as much damage as a pure class and some even added irreplaceable extras to the raid. It went so far as to stack shaman upon shaman for the most competitive end-guilds. So since The Lich King I'm playing as a deathknight. When I was raiding at the start of the expansion, I was outdamaging all pure DPS classes while wearing plate and being able to tank heroics. Unfair? Yep!

Seeing how much benefits a hybrids class gets, a worgen Druid is on my wish list. I tried out the paladin but it was boring as hell (auto attack and click a button every 10s, how much fun). Cataclysm promises to improve the early levelling too so I'll give them another try. I've been wanting to try out a healer and a druid looks like a nice fit for me. Add to that that they can also tank and even do two kinds of DPS and we've got the ultimate class. With the new dungeon finder tool I've also noticed how short the queues are for my tank-warrior. The only times I have to wait is if the healer slot isn't filled yet. Levelling a druid through instances as both a tank and healer looks like a fun way to level with instant queue times. If you enjoy instancing then tanking or healing seems to be the way to go.

WoW is now in a state where you can finish everything with 25 druids. They can tank, heal and do both ranged and melee DPS. Why do we still have to roll anything else? I wonder if the pendulum hasn't gone from favouring pure classes to favouring hybrids too much. Five years ago hybrids were the black sheeps as they were all forced to heal. These days the DPS are the black sheeps: long queue times and they bring less to the table then their hybrid cousins. Makes me think twice before I'd roll another DPS class.

The fix seems simple to me. Let pure DPS do about 10% more DPS and give them a bit more utilities like CC and raid buffs. That way a good hybrid will still outdamage an average pure class and the utilities make sure that you want to balance your raid with all classes. It's fine that tanks and healers are all roughly equal, just give the DPS a benefit as they're already off worst.

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