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Posts with tag hybrid

How hybrid should hybrids be?

In terms of design elements that have been problematic over the course of World of Warcraft's existence, the idea of hybrid classes and what, exactly, they should be able to do has always been one of them. When the game first debuted, two hybrids - priests and warriors - weren't even treated like hybrids. Priests were considered healers, with their two healing spects (holy and disc) while shadow was barely utilized, and warriors were not only nearly the only tanking class (druids and paladins could tank, but warriors were the unrelentingly favorite choice in classic WoW) and they were designed as a pure DPS class as well, not balanced as a hybrid, in their DPS roles.

Over the course of the years and years since classic (seven of them, to be exact) we've seen hybrid classes rise to ascendancy. The way hybrids were balanced for pure DPS changed to be much closer to pure DPS classes, and since all healers and tanks are hybrids there's been competition between each for both of these roles (considering that the two new classes added during WoW's life, death knights and monks, are both tanks and monks are also healers, competition has been necessary) making hybrids more attractive. However, it was really the addition of dual spec that made hybrids start to live up to the ideal of the hybrid class - with dual spec specialization, a druid can choose to have a tanking and healing, or tanking and ranged DPS, or healing and melee DPS specialization ready to be selected at the touch of a button.

However, it's never as easy as all that. Yes, a paladin can have a ret and protection spec, or protection and holy, or holy and ret ready to go. But he or she still needs to gear said spec. If you intend to heal for you raiding, tank for five mans and flex, and go ret for fun you'd actually not only need to hit a trainer from time to time to drop a spec, you'd also need three sets of gear ready to go. And it is this very limitation, so woven into the fabric of the game over the past few years that I myself have almost entirely forgotten about it, that is about to be bent further than it ever has been.

Make no mistake - Warlords of Draenor will change not only what stats we want on gear, but how we use that gear.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

The Light and How to Swing It: No hybrid taxation without representation!

The Light and How to Swing It
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Seasoned ret paladin Dan Desmond is here to answer your questions and provide you with your biweekly dose of retribution medicine. Contact him at dand@wowinsider.com with any questions, concerns, or suggestions!

Lately I've been browsing the paladin forums, usually with a stiff drink in hand. I'm not quite sure what draws me to those forums – almost every ret post is about PvP or Inquisition, but over time I've managed to find a few that validate my searching with their thought-provoking, insightful, and sometimes humorous nature. The other day, for example, I stumbled upon a post that made me scratch my beard stubble, put down my watered-down gin, and think. In it, the author briefly introduced the notion that he or she felt that players trying to heal in ret spec shouldn't be summarily votekicked for offending the linear sensibilities of the patrons of the Random Dungeon Finder.

Reading through the back and forth provided some good entertainment, and a few individuals earned my respect for being able to heal or tank effectively while also sustaining decent DPS numbers (if their stories are true, of course), but all of this got me thinking: should paladins (or hybrids in general, for that matter) be unshackled from the "one spec-one role" dictum that has dominated the thought-space of WoW players for years?

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Heart of the Wild controversy: Should players be allowed to change specs in combat?

Image
In a recent Mists of Pandaria beta build, the tooltip for one of the currently inaccessible druid talents, Heart of the Wild, was significantly rewritten and updated. The full tooltip is long, but the key assumption is that every six minutes, a druid of any spec can click a button and automatically be able change to another combat role for 45 seconds, with little drop-off in effectiveness. Restoration druids can start dealing damage, DPSers of either persuasion can throw around some heals or tank an add, and guardian tanks can even spread around a few HoTs without having to leave Bear Form and turn into paste. That's the theory, anyway.

As you can imagine, this idea generated some heated debate in the druid blogger community. The noted Lissanna of Restokin called it "(likely) the the least used talent out of any talent tree in the history of the game" Murmurs also agreed, saying "HotW has a pure functionality problem. It can never truly fulfill the position that it is attempting to grasp."

In opposition, Tangedyn, the co-creator of the Mew feral druid simulator and frequent contributor to The Inconspicuous Bear, wrote "... there's no reason to deny druids that want the versatility the capability to perform to their best of their abilities."

So who's right? Well, let's take a closer look at both sides of the argument, since this debate brings up several important issues to any WoW raider.

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Filed under: Druid, Mists of Pandaria

Are pure DPS classes really just another form of hybrid in disguise?

Once upon a time, my guild was trying its hardest to down 25-man heroic mode Lich King. It was the very end of Wrath, and we were running out of time to put an end to the boss before the inevitable launch of Cataclysm. I had been playing an assassination spec since some point between Ulduar and ToC, having given up on ever obtaining a really good combat weapon (I was partial to fist weapons; something about punching people in the face with knives appealed to me), and I was really good at it. I spent forever poring over stat caps and best-in-slot items and had just gotten the perfect set of items that capped every stat that needed to be capped.

And then it happened -- the prep patch for Cataclysm. Do you know what the best stat is for an assassination rogue in Cataclysm (other than hit, of course)? Mastery. Do you know what wasn't present on any Wrath gear? Mastery. My DPS went down, and due to sup-par burst DPS, I was sat for the realm-first 25-man heroic mode Lich King kill. I watched all my guildies ding the achievement and get the one title I was really excited about. And later, one of the officers, a druid, asked me flat out -- why didn't I have a backup combat spec?

Oh ... if only he knew.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Wouldn't this be cool? The dark trolls and the underworld

If you didn't read Mat McCurley's post about another draenei ship (and you should), the premise of this little series of ours is to explore things we'd like to see added to the game. While there are a lot of Outlandish and otherworldly elements to World of Warcraft, not every exciting piece of unexplored content is on the other side of a portal or infinite gulfs of darkness away. Some are right on Azeroth, just waiting to be explored.

Ever since I played Warcraft III, I've wondered about the dark trolls. They're the tallest race of trolls, they live on Mount Hyjal, and according to the World of Warcraft Magazine, the dark trolls are ancestors to the night elves, making them a kind of living link to these two species. Supposedly, many dark troll settlements have been wiped out by the Twilight's Hammer in recent months as part of their assault on Mount Hyjal, but that's no reason we couldn't see them make a return.

Possibly even an angry return.

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Filed under: Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: How would you design a true hybrid role?

Moonkin casting
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Lately there has been a lot of talk in the World of Warcraft about the state of the holy trinity of class roles in the game. There have been talks on whether to add extra support roles such as CC classes to a list of available roles (this being difficult due to the hurry-up-and-grind mentality of much of the community). My thoughts for the day are what I see as a potential revamp in the way the game currently handles hybrids.

I have always been a fan of bizarre specs. In Wrath, I had a dual-wielding resto shaman who utilized Maelstrom weapon procs to churn out instant Chain Heals to the group while maintaining a semi-respectable DPS output. When Cataclysm came out, I was thrilled at the aspect of an priest Atonement build to churn out DPS while aiding the group with a few smart heals. Once again, the Holy Trinity reared its ugly head, and I realized that due to being a disc build, I would be forced into a healing-only role with DPS in the downtime.

If you could change any mechanic for a class to facilitate the ability to perform a true hybrid playstyle, what would it be? One example I can personally think of would be change the balance druid Eclipse mechanic to boost healing done while under an increase to nature damage. This would not apply to Moonkin form due to casting restrictions in form, but this would lead to easier balancing as well. Stick to boomkin to nuke out DPS, or stay in caster to throw out some solid, boosted heals.

What would you change up to make hybrids more hybrid-y?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Will WoW ever have a 'DPS to heal' model?

We were just talking about it on today's podcast (thrill to the sound of three people barely awake trying to coherently discuss World of Warcraft) and hey, look, Ghostcrawler reads my mind from across the interwebs. Well, okay, no, he responded to a forum thread, but it's still interesting. Yes, interesting enough that I'm going to replicate the post here before discussing it. I am out of control, a renegade, I should hand in my posting badge and keyboard.

Ghostcrawler - Re: What's wrong with an Active Mana Regen Model?
I'm not sure we'd ever do a "deal damage to heal" model. It might work for new classes, but feels like a big change to existing classes that players know and love.

Having choices to get mana back is good. Standing around to regen mana is bad.

However, we still ultimately need a way that healers who are playing badly, trying to keep alive an undergeared / underskilled tank, or just tackling content that they're not yet ready for, can run out of mana to the extent that the encounter is over.



Personally, I hope that 'it might work for new classes' statement means we'll finally get something like a Warhammer Warrior Priest. I'm still jazzed from seeing Diablo III's version of the Monk and I'd be thrilled if they created a cloth wearing, staff wielding, spirit and intellect utilizing melee healer. I'm sad that they've ruled it out for any current classes (man, it would rock for paladins in my opinion and would single handedly make me like that class) but I'm very hopeful we'll be monking it up in an expansion or two.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Spiritual Guidance: Paying the hybrid tax



Every Wednesday, Fox Van Allen uses his dark, shadowy powers
to take the reins of Spiritual Guidance, causing severe harm to others in the form of large, yellow five-digit numbers. Holy and disc brethren, alike -- come join the dark side before his shadowfiend eats you.

Fact: Priests are pretty much awesome.

It's because we're versatile. We can DPS the living snot out of Lord Marrowgar in shadow, and then change to discipline so we can cover the raid in Power Word: Shields and Renews for Deathbringer Saurfang. Heck, we can even do both. We're just that awesome.

But awesomeness comes at a price, my friends, and that price is called the hybrid tax. It's the term commonly used to explain why our DPS is designed to lag behind that of mages, warlocks, hunters, and rogues -- the pure DPS classes. If you're a jack of all trades, you're supposed to be a master of none.

(It's cool though, they need the handout. It really sucks not being a Priest.)

We can be forgiven, though, for looking at Recount or a World of Logs parse and thinking that whatever the hybrid tax is, it's just way too high. But is it really? Are we finally doing the kind of damage that we should?

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Wrath of the Lich King

The Light and How to Swing It: A little less hybrid


With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and helps with the puppet shows at the Argent Ren Faire up in Icecrown.

Ghostcrawler has been doing a lot of talking pertaining to paladins and Blizzard's vision of them for the future. A lot of this has been spawned by some of the changes the developers have been toying around with on the public test realms. In the current build of the PTR, Lay on Hands causes Forbearance on its target which has prompted quite an uproar from the playerbase. This cuts a leg out from our two major defensive cooldowns making us choose either health or invulnerability during a fight. Holy paladins are getting some text tacked onto Sanctified Light which will allow them to reduce the chance it will cause Forbearance on others by 33/66/100% to allow it to still be useful when healing in groups. As this is the PTR, we don't really know how much of this will end up on the live realms. The developers have been toying around with several different ideas and at the moment we're not sure which one or ones they'll end up going with.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The argument for paladin stances

Righteous Defense lays out an intriguing argument for an idea that I still personally can't get behind: paladin stances. The recent changes around patch 3.3 have shined a light on paladin versatility, and basically, paladins are forced to pay the hybrid tax three times over -- because they can do it all without limiting themselves, they can't do anything as well as other classes. So RD makes the suggestion: instead of letting paladins have all of their spells under any aura, it's time to narrow things down a bit. Devotion Aura becomes tanking stance, gets Righteous Fury's threat bonus added to it, and enabling it makes pallies lose some other abilities (Avenger's Shield is RD's suggestion). Retribution Aura becomes a DPS "stance," with added benefits and costs, and so on. By forcing paladins into a playstyle, you can give them extra power, because you've taken away versatility.

Unfortunately for those in favor, I don't think it'll ever happen. First of all, we already have a class in the game that uses stances, and I think that this type of gameplay is too close for Blizzard's comfort to implement in the same way on paladins -- they want the classes to play different. Second, the paladin class design has always focused on the versatility of being a hybrid. While paladins may want to limit themselves to see buffs, Blizzard has never shown an inclination to limit pallies' versatility just to make them more powerful. I like the idea of Righteous Fury's buff getting linked up to something else (it definitely seems like it's out there on its own as an arbitrary tanking buff), but paladins getting a fully implemented stance system doesn't seem likely at all.

Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Raiding, Classes, Buffs

Ghostcrawler and the "hybrid tax"

Ghostcrawler has put a significant sticky up on the forums about what he calls the "hybrid tax" in terms of PvE play -- there's been some back and forth lately on the forums about hybrid classes and what they should and shouldn't be able to do, and GC wants to put any confusion about what Blizzard intends "hybrids" to be to rest. Very basically, he says that there are three roles in the game (tanking, healing, and DPS), and if a class can respec to perform a different role, it's considered a hybrid class. Otherwise, it's a "pure" class. This means a few things: pure classes, he says, should have slightly higher DPS ("all things being equal," and when does that ever happen?), because they don't have the option to switch out. There's no rule as to how much better that is, but as a tradeoff of rerolling being the only way for "pures" to switch, they get to be a little better. That's the "hybrid tax," and mages, hunters, rogues, and warlocks don't have to pay it.

Hybrids, however, do, and that means that paladins, druids, priests, shamans, and to a certain extent, warriors and death knights, will in Blizzard's view never be able to equal "pure" classes in terms of DPS output, with everything else being equal. You may love your ret pally, and he may be in uber gear, but he should never be able to pour out as much damage as an equally specced and geared hunter, because you can switch to healing, and the hunter can't.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Raiding, Classes, Death Knight

Should every class be a hybrid?


World of Warcraft has four classes that can heal and four classes that can tank. Two of the tanking classes are classes that can only tank or DPS, and two of the healing classes are classes that can only heal or DPS, leaving two classes as jacks of all trades who can heal, tank or DPS. In general, of WoW's 10 classes, we have therefore six or so classes that can perform at least two, if not three, roles. This leaves four classes with three talent trees each which only perform one role, that being DPS.

Should this be the case? Or should the remaining four 'pure' DPS classes... the Rogue, Mage, Warlock, and Hunter... be given the same 'hybrid' flexibility as the other six? We've seen great changes from the old days especially with the release of Wrath of the Lich King bringing real viability for hybrid classes to fulfill whatever role they spec and gear for, especially with tanking and healing: each tanking class can perform the MT role, for instance, although each can be said to have strengths and weaknesses to some degree in certain aspects (Warriors and Druids struggle with AoE tanking compared to Paladins and DK's, for instance). Some healing classes excel at group healing, others at tank healing, but all should be more than capable of solo healing a five man and all are valuable in raids.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, The Burning Crusade, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Blood Pact: What's up with everybody?


Another week, another Blood Pact! Bringing you all the wacky Warlockery that nine out of ten healers recommend for a healthy diet. And it's not because Nick paid them off or anything.

Hello again, my reprehensible cabal of spell casters I call a readership! How's it hangin?

Not a great deal has actually changed for me since last week. I was forced to disband my raiding group due to unfortunate scheduling problems, so I still haven't set foot in Ulduar. And since heroics stopped offering an interesting challenge months ago, I haven't had much of a reason to log in as of late. With Noblegarden upon us though, I suppose I'd better get to it--a proto-drake in my class color doesn't come along every day, yo!

Lacking any escapades of my own to pen for your amusement, I thought it would be nice if I did some research on how the various specs are being played these days, for the benefit of players (like me) who wish their spec' s play style would settle down longer than a handful of months. It's hard enough to be a DPS class beset by near-constant nerfs -- radically changing our play style all the time isn't helping. But enough QQ, lets talk about how Warlocks are doing their pew pew these days.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Loot, rationality, and the Sunwell effect


Here at WoW Insider we don't always agree with each other. Whether it's debating the merits of various tanks on different encounters, the damage difference between pure and hybrid DPS classes, the ideal function of a particular healing class in raids, or the superiority of cake over pie, our back-channel discussion tends to be pretty interesting.

Eliah Hecht's article "25-man gear should not be better than 10-man gear" sparked a lot of great discussion with our readers and, I think, some illuminating poll results as well. The majority of responders believed that giving 10-man and 25-man raids the same loot table would result in a significant drop in popularity for 25-man raiding. Overall, I tend to agree with this, but I also think that Eliah touched on something that speaks to Blizzard's evolving sense of game design, much of which is evident in the transition between late Burning Crusade and Wrath.

I would like to call this the Sunwell effect, or "ingame rationality." To wit: don't incentivize players to behave in a manner contrary to your actual design interests. I believe this played a huge role in the differences between BC and Wrath raiding, and that it underlies why the 25-man loot table has to remain superior to its 10-man counterpart.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Features, Raiding

Breakfast Topic: Is your raid lead requiring dual specs?


Sometimes the title of the post says it all. Is your raid leader requiring dual specs? If not, is he or she planning to?

While I've retired from my raid leading responsibilities, back in the day I probably would have "asked nicely" a few people to pickup dual specs, even going as far to have the guild pay for it. Of course the people that I asked would have likely been doing it on their own anyways. For instance I had an awesome Paladin tank who did just as good as DPS.

Right now the primary situation where dual specs are useful revolve around 10-man groups. Some fights are quite healing intensive and less of a DPS race. Those would benefit from having a hybrid switch from DPS to healing. An elemental shaman switching over to resto to heal the raid can make a major difference.

So how about it, is your raid leader making you dual spec?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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