Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thank you but I don't WANT to play a Hybrid

The conversation is making the rounds regarding the infamous "graph". You know what I'm talking about, if you don't here it is yet again.

This graph was used as an explanation for the Rogue nerf. (I talked about that, before buff and after, no complaints from me about the NEED for the nerf just how it was handled.) There is something GLARING about this chart, of the PURE dps classes (we had four last I knew Rogues, Hunters, Mages, and Warlocks) only two make it into the top five, three in the top 10.

From there lets look at those common "off specs". Meaning, with the change in scaling raiding guilds no longer have the need to field a large core of tanks. With the introduction of dual specking the vast majority of  Warriors and Death Knights have a dps off spec of SOME sort along with a tanking spec. This allows them to both preform in raids in whatever function is needed, run heroics quicker as well as just give them a change in play style. They both sit squarely in the middle.

Next we have the other Dual Specs, the Priests and Shamans who also only have two options either healing or dps. For Shamans they have two options for dps and their best showing JUST squeaks into the number 10 spot. Priests on the other hand only have one option for dps and theirs JUST beats out a Tank specked Death Knight.

Then we have the hybrids, the Paladins and the druids who can do it ALL thank you very much and are proud of it. They are all clamoring because they can't have THREE specks. Dps Paladins came in number four (granted yes this is against an undead which gives them a LITTLE advantage but still.) Feral druids also preformed in the top ten.

Why is this a problem?  If PURE dps classes are preforming so far BELOW hybrid or off spec classes what motivation is there for a raid leader to bring them to a raid? ESPECIALLY in this day and age in which "buffs" once specific to a particular class can now be replicated with scrolls or other enhancements.

The thing I keep hearing as a "solution" is just to make EVERY class a hybrid of SOME sort and "BAM" problem solved. The thing of note however is that the individuals most commonly spouting this are people who PLAY hybrids. The same individuals who months before where screaming that with the onset of "dual specking" they would now be FORCED by their raid leaders to run two specs. Perhaps not being able to play their "preferred" spec as a result.

When I first created Daraia I toyed with the idea of making her a Druid, but as I looked at all the options I found I just didn't care for the Hybrid play style. It felt as if she just didn't have a true identity. The majority of individuals I know who play hybrid classes do so BECAUSE they like the flexibility and option to "re speck" into a COMPLETELY different play style whenever they get "bored". (Which frankly seems to happen a lot.) 

In addition to this just making every class more "versatile" seems more like making each class "similar" just with different armor. Do we really want to be at a point where the options are Ranged or Melee dps, Healing or Tank for EVERYONE? While it might be great for 5 man heroics, I have been in enough instances where "hybrids" fought over who would preform which role. We have also gotten to the point where people have encountered the "quick quer", those that que up as a spec they don't have gear for just so they can get into an instance quickly resulting in five dps and no healer or tank.

I play a rogue because I like the rogue play style. At this point I am running TWO raiding specs, one Combat the other Assassination with sets of gear for both. I change out specs based on the fight, though I find I prefer running my combat spec for doing daily quests and five mans. I know other "pure class" players that have done similar things. Dual spec with a Raid spec and a Pvp or Soloing spec. We enjoyed the versatility but when it all came down to it NONE of us desired to become a "buff" class or a "healing" class because we felt it changed our class from what it was meant to be.

Pure dps classes need to be preforming in the Top 5 period. I can understand having one spec preforming better than another but when it comes to just looking at DPS from similarly geared characters those whose job it is to JUST provide dps should be able to do it.  YES, Tanks and Healers DO need a viable off spec but not at the expensive of those classes whose bread and butter are damage dealing.

The other thing of note about this chart is the HUGE disparity between those at the top and those at the bottom. 4k may not sound like much but it is as if you completely removed a few people from your dps line up. Think running a 25 man as a 20. 

As much role bashing as has been going around with Tanks and Healers calling dps classes "meat in the room" it is charts like this which fuel the fire. Why should a tank or healer desire a pure dps class who they may have to compete with for gear when they can put out comparable damage in an off spec?

Blizzard tried to have Hybrids and Pure classes preforming about equally. The result was that certain classes were often left out in the cold in exchange for classes who could provide not only buffs but other "tricks". Lock Candy is great but is it enough to earn a raid spot as compared to a Arcane Mage? Does a Soul Stone out weight a battle rez? Rogues are in raids because of their high damage output, that is about all they have to contribute. Are we going to see this prejudice not only in raids but five mans? My observation is that as Lich King is winding down it is already happening. 

I have heard from many who have hit the end game and then moved on to taste the delights of other games while awaiting Cataclysm,  that part of the reason they left  was seeing the outrageous pug demands in gear scores and dps. What is pushing these ridiculous requirements?  The desire of individuals to just "steam roll" their way through to Arthas. Some players, (frankly the majority of whom seem to be YOUNG players,) have forgotten that TRUE fun is not in just reaching the prize and gathering up the "EPIC LOOT" but in the journey getting there, earning a prize after a great struggle. Even better if you ENJOY the people you get there WITH.

This chapter is drawing to a close, and with it Blizzard has made it clear they are going to be wiping some things clean. The question then becomes....will it be the way classes function? Will we all become Balanced? Hybrids? Or will Pure Classes STILL have a place in this reworked world?

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