Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hybrid is the new black

Argh, I'm getting so many things to write about that I'm starting to mix them in my head. If I had the time to write more than one post per day, I totally would.

Today I thought I'd talk about hybrids vs pures, an issue that has gone on since the dawn of WoW. Well actually it's more about the idea of pures and hybrids, the idea of some classes being more for buffing and some classes being more for dpsing. There is in fact a couple of classes in WoW that might be considered "selfish" classes while others are more of "altruistic" classes. WoW did for a long time try to move classes more towards the selfish, pure style, but maybe today it would be better if we all started moving toward the hybrid idea of team work and working together to achieve a goal. WoW is after all based on team work, so it seems weird that there still today are some classes that don't have to care about their team mates at all in a raid situation. I'll try to make myself a little more clear.

Some classes have alot of buffs, and some have nearly none. I always enjoy playing on my hunter/warrior/rogue for the sole reason that I don't have to care about buying reagents and remembering to buff people when raiding. When healing on my priest I have to remember to throw Fortitude on that poor sucker who just died and got ressed. I have to interrupt what I am doing to buff my fellow team mate. Same thing goes if you're a mage or druid. Talking about druids, they have to stand ready to interrupt whatever they're doing to throw a CR or Innervate on whoever needs it the most. Some classes, like rogues, dks and especially dps warriors have nothing to think about but their own dps-rotation. Sure, rogues might have to ToT once in a while but the point is that some classes have extremely little to think about when it comes to the rest of the raid compared to other classes, and in my opinion this should change.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think that anyone playing a dps warrior or rogue is a selfish douche bag. Blizzard has chosen these designs for the classes and there isn't really anything you as a player can do about it either. But if I mained a warrior or rogue, I would enjoy the possibility to be of greater use to everyone else in the raid. There are plenty of shamans/druids/paladins being picked out for raids now just because of their buffs, I bet rogues and warriors would like this as well. And mages just have their intellect and food really, and most raids would do well without that. What if mages could choose to use Ice Block on some other target than themselves for example? It is these kind of changes I am looking for.

I actually wouldn't mind some classes being the pure dps classes, if that at least would be somewhat difficult. Looking at top dpsers at different fights we can see that warriors, fire mages and assassination rogues usually top these lists by far. This shows that being able to fully concentrate on your dps rotation is extremely valuable. I will be honest and tell you that I haven't played either of these classes in endgame, but I have played fury and fire mage on 80 and I can say that I don't find it particularly challenging. Especially not when you compare it to the rotations of feral cat druids or enhancement shamans (I find them difficult anyway) - classes that are also expected to do other things than dps all while juggling what probably is the most difficult dps rotation there is (especially druids).

One could argue that doing the most dmg is sort of a raid buff, that by killing the enemy faster you actually help the entire raid, since that is the main goal of the fight anyway. But honestly, how many players are chosen today solely on the fact that they do good damage? They would have to exceptional damage, and no class is that good since Blizzard wants to keep things fairly fair. So imo either have the division we have now, but then have some classes as exceptional dps classes whose sole reason it is to make sure that damn thing dies, while others do less damage but provide the raids with valuable buffs (this is how WoW was back in Vanilla actually), or make everyone equally valuable to the raid both through damage and buffs. As of now buffs are far more vaulable to a raid and some classes have simply been left without. In a 25man raid you could easily bring 6-7 druids but you would never ever bring more than 2 rogues/dps warriors. Druids can play different specs, but that's just it - their ability to bring more buffs to the raid makes them more valuable. A druid is in fact four classes in one, with great combat utility, and we need to see more of this utility in the poor classes who today only can offer their dps to get a raid spot. Maybe remove CR and Innervate from druids and give them to the pures instead?

Hybrids have all these buffs because they used to suck badly. No one would bring a druid to a raid in Vanilla unless they had specced Innervate. People brought paladins just for the blessings. But things have changed dramatically since then, and pures are now in the position hybrids were in Vanilla. Hybrids have been made as good as pures without the pures gaining any of the utilities hybrids got back in Vanilla. Pures have been standing still while Hybrids moved forward. It is time pures got some of that hybridness.

WoW is about team work. Is it really a good idea to still have classes that don't have to use raid frames when raiding? That play in a way that doesn't in any actual way include the necessity of communication? I once talked with a hunter about the necessity of communication and he said that "he didn't need to communicate, because he knew exactly what to do". Yes that is probably so, but there are classes in the game that need to know not just what they need to do, but what everyone else is doing as well. To some classes communication is a corner stone in their raiding. Some classes use skills that don't directly benefit them, but that benefit the rest of the raid instead. As a fury/arms warrior you don't have one single skill that is used for the sole reason to help someone else in the raid (correct me if I'm wrong).

Blizzard has realized this to some part. When Dk's came they were given the equivalent of Strength of Earth Totem as a buff and Windfury Totem as a possible talent. I want to see this spread of buffs even more. Why not give Rogues Shadow Protection buff? Why not give warriors Blessing of might buff? Either make all classes into teamwork classes or make their selfish ways more difficult to handle. No class should feel like the rest of the raid is mere by standers that are there to buff their own dps. I really think everyone should have to handle the responsibility of having to think about their team mates now and then.

What would you prefer? More like in Vanilla with a clear difference between buff-oriented and dps-oriented classes or more of a mix for everyone?


  1. Many of the pure classes actually buff their raid by debuffing the target. For instance, in a meleeheavy raid its important to keep up armor debuff which is done by a rogue or a warrior. I would argue that having to change your combat behaivour (and lowering your own dps) depending on fight and raid composition is more demanding and "unselfish" then prebuffing raidmembers with for example bok.

  2. Ah yes, I was thinking about mentioning the debuffs that pures give but figured that although they're beneficial to others that's actually more of a passive benefit of them. A dps warrior would stack the exact same debuffs just for his own dps, the fact that other gain on them as well is just a happy coincidence. Rogues can apply stuff like Expose Armor, which might be slightly less beneficial than their normal rotation, but in the end still beneficial to them directly.

    I'm rather after the skills that aren't directly beneficial to a player, but more in the big picture, like ressing a team mate or applying a debuff that isn't part of your standard rotation just for the sake of others (like a hunter running to place a slowing trap). In a sense I feel that the people who play a spec that isn't the best for the individual just to buff the raid (like demo lock) could fall into this category as well, although it's on the edge.

    Like I said in the post, the utility skills are clearly more sought for in raids today, since you really only need one person to apply a debuff, but having several who can res/give mana/otherwise save peoples lives is worth more. My point is probably not that some classes don't bring anything to the raid, but that some classes clearly bring so much more and that's unfair to the ones who don't have so much to show off.

  3. Rogues have utility, so does every other class. Maybe the problem is more that the encounters right now don't require much use of their utility. Rogues - if we take them as an example - can dispell enrages, they can crowd control and lock down dangerous mobs, avoid and dispell magic from themselves, interrupt, stealth, snare ,sprint and disarm.

    Say that you design a fight where it is crusial to disarm or interrupt a specific mob effectively. There you have a fight where warriors and rogues both could be needed for utility.

    Why do you think that for example innervate requires more of the player than ToT or misdirect does? If innervate is more valuable to a raid than ToT or misdirect is I say that is more up to the design of the encounter.

    In my opinion it would be more fun to design encounters where different classes utility comes into play than to give rogues Fan of Replenishment.

  4. Yes exactly, thank you for saying what I am trying to say in a much easier way ;) Of course every class has utilities, but it is clear that some are valued much higher than others. My suggestion was to spread the utilities more over the classes, but your suggestion to make encounters who require the utilities is also a good one. It makes me think about Nalorakk in ZA for example. And in LK hc you still need someone to tranq, although there a hunter is the better choice. (And I still can't see what utility a dps warrior has).

    Blizzard have said that they want the game to be "bring the player, not the class", but they clearly have a bit to go before we're there. And if that is where they want us to be, the first step would be to spread utility imo (give someone else than shamans Bloodlust!).

  5. "Some classes, like rogues, dks and especially dps warriors have nothing to think about but their own dps-rotation"

    Nerdrage! ;)
    I would like to disagree to this statement in particular.
    As I'm mainly playing a rogue as main I will respond to this claim with some examples.

    A good rogue will always kick outgoing spellcasts.
    The spellcast is never (almost) directed at the rogue, hence unselfish

    A good rogue will disarm mobs that hurt much.
    Gormok the impaler to minimize the number of impales and tacticians in ICC which are just a pain in the ass for example. (unselfish)

    A good rogue will use his defensive cd:s not only when its lifethreatening
    Defensive cd:s used to minimize dmg = less mana spent for the healers.

    A good rogue will use tott when off cd whether he has the 2p t10 setbonus or not.
    With the 2p t10 setbonus tott is a dps increase for the rogue but before t10 rogues still totted away to help the tank with the threat or helping to collect mobs (like on lady deathwhisperer) or to boosting a dps:s dmg with 15% for 6s every 30s

    A good rogue will use whatever poison necessary.
    This is perhaps not used much but I can think of a few fights where its good to use non dps poisons (the enrage miniboss in rs, lich king (although a hunter is better), faction champions..)
    Poison is in fact the most like a raid buff in the sense that it’s a apply and forget type of mechanic.

    A good rogue will use alternative finishers depending on situation.
    Using for instance kidney shot instead of eviscerate in a bad situation or applying an armor debuff like the example in the first post (which you are correctly pointing out is not completely useless for the rogue but still a net dps loss which its probably a higher loss then for instance a balance druid casting innervate on a healer)

    These are just examples on stuff rogues do which is not part of their dps rotation and can be considered unselfish.
    Most of the stuff on this list is can actually be considered manaconservation for the healers so in a sense, a good rogue will buff the healers most.

    On top of that off course we have passive buffs like savage combat (combat rogues) that gives the raids melee a 4% dps on poisoned targets but that’s not an unselfish debuff.

    Comparing playing my rogue and my shadow priest I would say that even thou I think playing shadowpriest is harder (more timing of abilities) they do virtually nothing during the fight that is not related to dps:ing. (It might be that I’m a bad at shadowpriesting) Sure they cast their buffs before the raid (apply and forget) and they have great raid utility in replenishment, some background aoehealing with VE and a 3% hitbuff from misery.
    Sure a SP can go healing of shit+fan happens but that’s more often then not=wipe anyways.
    Sure both the SP and the rogues have more abilities that could be considered utility/buffs but since today’s raids are designed to be easy tank/spank fights those are seldom used.
    I remember TBC when you carefully planned a trashpull in a heroic and some encounters (yes in heroic) were near impossible if you had the wrong group comp. Blizzard do want the class to be of no concern and makes the encounters difficult by adding challenging movement maneuvers instead since movement skill has nothing to do with classes. (except for blinking/teleporting/disengage mechanics)

    This said, yes druid combatres is OP ;)

  6. I will agree that I know very little about rogue-raiding, so thank you for helping me out here ^^ Yes rogues as most classes have some sort utility or "unselfish" skills, you found way more than I had thought about ;) (poisons is a really good example of unselfish playing)

    Maybe "unselfish" was the wrong term to begin with, I realize everyone who is raiding has the possibility to help their team mates without it being directly beneficial to themselves. I think I was more after the point that you only need 1 (one) rogue to apply all those utilities (unless you -really- need crippling, anaesthetic and Mind-numbing).

    You see, rogues/warriors/dks are not the bad guys here, although it sure seems like that from my post (my bad!). The classes with all the OP skills are the bad guys, and I think they should share their utility! As it is today there are very few reasons to stack pures, which is unfair imo.

  7. All classes have their raidspot clear I think.. Druids for instance..
    Who can resist dancing bears with rockets strapped to their but?
    And also, they have CR ofcourse.