Hybrids vs. Pures in the Land of Azeroth
As the Big Bear Butt, Larisa at the Pink Pigtail Inn, Aurik at /hug, and many others have mentioned in recent posts, Blizzard’s tweaking of Hybrid class performance along with dual-spec implementation is making Pure class players wonder what their future holds.
I believe there are two inherent problems present in this situation that will keep this type of balance issue from ever being completely solved:
1) PvP and PvE are governed by the same rules, but have completely different needs.
2) There will generally be a larger supply of characters than slots, allowing leaders to choose the better classes for a role, rather than having to make do with a less than optimal choice for a role.
The first point has been the thorn in the side of the majority of people who are against the Pure-DPS being significantly better than Hybrid-DPS. The argument often sounds like “If rogues and mages become uber-DPS, hybrids won’t be able to compete!” Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen, but as can be seen through the immediate re-speccing classes go through for dealing with shift in role (which dual-specs will help out with) or shift in ability (usually after a significant patch upgrade/nerf to a class), players will tend to gravitate to the best build for a particular role. Since the non-DPS roles tend to have their light dimmed in PvP as I understand it (and I do admit, my PvP experience is severely limited – I generally PvE), crying “Versatility!” is no answer to the PvP side of this issue. However, on the PvE side, having Hybrids’ DPS performances so close to the Pure-DPS performances seems like it would make the logical choice for a leader to be the hybrid, especially once Dual-spec is implemented, especially if it’s used for change in role rather than PvE vs. PvP changes.
A partial solution to this would be some sort of class boost/change in DPS that would be only effective in a PvP situation, perhaps? (At least for the Arena and Battlegrounds – I’m not sure how anything could completely be effected in the actual world environment and perform well.)
The second point demonstrated itself in the already mentioned issue Hybrids used to have of “Hybrid-tanks were not allowed to tank”, because there was a better choice (Warriors) and one could generally find a Warrior to fill the spot. (Tanks and healers, I know are harder to find than DPS, but at the time many leaders were willing to wait for the ‘appropriately built archetypes’ rather than give the Hybrids a chance.) Because of this, Blizzard chose to change the performance of Hybrids to near pure-role levels, because their first indications were that versatility had little value, as the leaders could look for the best in class for each slot.
Now, the situation has the potential to be reversed – as perhaps some of that versatility can be an advantage to a group, with little cost, given the the current Blizzard philosophy of role equalization. For a very small decrease in DPS potential (almost non-existent if the player is good enough), the leader now has someone who can step into a second role in a dire pinch, even if not fully set up for such a role.
So, because of the variable value of the versatility provided by the Hybrid classes, this will always be a nigh-impossible problem to completely solve. Blizzard seems to be erring on the side of inclusion, wanting to include the Hybrid classes (to the point of making what used to seem like pure classes like Warriors into Hybrid classes by allowing them access to good DPS), rather than excluding them, probably because they are the majority of classes out there, now. (I believe it’s about 6 Hybrid classes to 4 Pure classes, currently.)
Like the downplaying of difficulty seen in this game over recent months, in order to include everyone as much as possible, Blizzard seems to be helping Hybrids in order to include as many people as possible. I’m not sure what the exact numbers are, but I would have to believe that the total number of players in the 6 Hybrid classes (especially since Death Knights are one of them) has to be significantly higher than the 4 Pure classes, and therefore, supporting them, in Blizzard’s eyes, would support a larger contingent of the game than maintaining any Hybrid vs. Pure disparity would.
I do hope that the Pure-DPS classes get more tasks suited to them in the future, in order to assist in their continued survival as desired options to leaders out there in WoW. The downplay of secondary tasks like crowd control in the higher level content has hurt these classes, and that leaves them with one purpose only – DPS – which can be filled relatively effectively by many of the classes out there, not just the Pure, which leaves the Pure classes wondering if there are potential pink slips out there waiting for them, or if they have a future in this game.
My 2 yen,
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