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Posts with tag hybrids

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

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

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

Breakfast Topic: Who will dual specs benefit most?


One of the things that's often surprised me while reading forum threads concerning dual specs is just how wide the gulf is between pure and hybrid classes' perspective on the issue.* Pure classes are worried that they are increasingly obsolete in an age where a hybrid can easily respec between tanking, healing, and DPS. With the damage differences between hybrids and pure DPS shaved fairly thin in Wrath, they've got a point, and it's not that unusual to see resentful players asking why their class -- which cannot choose a different role -- has to risk losing a raid slot to a class that can.

By contrast, most of the hybrids to whom I've spoken see dual specs -- not as a competitive advantage, but rather as relief from the financial drain of constant respecs. 50g may not seem like a lot of money in Wrath's economy, but it adds up, to the point where you realize that the two hours you spent doing dailies will only net you about 20g after, say, respeccing to heal a heroic and then respeccing back to tank or DPS for the night's raid. Thus hybrids are equally resentful about the demands made on their time and e-wallet that pure classes don't have to worry about.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Classes

Take the player, not the class


There's a new philosophy in Wrath (actually, already here in the post-3.0.2 world) when it comes to who you should bring on your raids. In short, as the headline says: pick the players you like, not the classes and specs you need. In all of WoW until this point, there have been certain specs that were virtually required in various parts of the various raids. Which specs these were has changed with time, but think of Shadow Priests' mana battery capabilities, or stacking Shamans to get many Heroisms/Bloodlusts. To be a cutting-edge raid it was simply required to prioritize "correct" raid composition over other factors. Yes, your players needed to know how to play their class, but beyond that, you took what was needed for the fights you were doing. And you took a Warrior main tank, generally speaking.

All that is set to change forever in just nine days. Now the classes are much more interchangeable with each other than before. Some prominent buffs have been nerfed, and in one notable case, distributed: Shadow Priests, Survival Hunters, and Retribution Paladins all give mana back with Replenishment. In general there is more than one class that can provide most types of buffs and debuff. Also, many buffs that used to be group-wide are now raid-wide, such as Paladin auras and Shaman totems. This makes it much more likely that picking two tanks, three healers, and five DPSers out of a grab bag will get you decent coverage on buffs and debuffs.

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Filed under: Features, Raiding, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: How hybrid DPS could still get screwed in Wrath


Recently a bunch of the writers here were talking about all the changes we're seeing to various hybrid DPS specs. Retribution in the beta is known to bring some serious pain, cat DPS has been given some pretty sweet buffs, and Shamans...well, Shamans seem to be in a state of flux, but when is that not true? With tank AoE threat buffed, the need for crowd control may also be a thing of the past, thus eliminating one of the more annoying roadblocks to hybrid desirability in 5-man groups. For 5-mans, at least, hybrid DPS should encounter significantly less difficulty (we hope) getting a slot.

However, it was my contention that, for the purpose of raiding, it doesn't ultimately matter how much these specs get buffed. They could do amazing DPS, bring incredible buffs, have any number of raid-saving abilities, and fart gold on every crit -- but you're still not going to see a lot of hybrid DPS running around Wrath raids for one very simple reason: someone has to tank and heal, and neither job is sufficiently attractive to allow most hybrid players to come as DPS. When it's a choice between respeccing resto or the raid never getting off the ground, most players will respec resto -- and decisions like that tend to be fairly hard to escape. The next night rolls around and -- um, do you mind coming as resto again?

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Death Knight

Hybrid Theory: Spell Power hands on


Welcome to Hybrid Theory, where we discuss all things hybrid in the World of Warcraft. Hybrid Theory is brought to you each week by columnist/blogger Alex Ziebart.

We've chit-chatted about the new Spell Power mechanic off and on, but we've never gone into serious detail about it yet. Why? Well, we didn't really know how it worked. We knew what it does but very few of us had a real hands-on experience with it. That has since changed.

Spell Power has done very very good things for the Hybrid classes, pretty much across the board. Obviously it will not drastically change Feral, Enhancement or Retribution, but it actually does add to those last two as well to some extent. Primarily it changes the Healing and Caster specs of the Hybrid classes, obviously. It brings back a lot hybridiness* to classes that... really haven't felt that way in quite awhile.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Hybrid Theory, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast topic: Future heroic classes

Blizzard has told us that the Death Knight will be the first of the heroic classes, and probably the only one we can expect to see in the next expansion. I haven't heard a word about what other heroic classes might be in the future. Therefore I started thinking of my own. Sure, sure we'd love to see Bards and Battlemages, but how about something new. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • The Craftmaster- Any existing non-heroic class, but can have three or four trade skills. They'd have access to bind-on-pickup Craftmaster-only items. No hot-glue gun required!
  • The Supertwink- No, I don't mean another rogue, but a character that cannot level past 29. The Supertwink may be able to access some abilities and skills from higher levels.
  • The Gunslinger- Somewhere between a Rogue and a Hunter. Gunslingers do not use pets, and have a few up close trick shots. They can dual wield ranged weapons and stealth about.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Breakfast Topics, Classes, Death Knight

Hybrid Theory: Shadow Priests and the Wrath Alpha


Welcome to Hybrid Theory, where we discuss all things hybrid in the World of Warcraft. Hybrid Theory is brought to you each week by columnist/blogger Alex Ziebart.

I really thought my excitement over Wrath of the Lich King would fade after the initial onslaught of alpha information and just come back around launch time, but that hasn't really been the case. It's been a pretty consistent type of excitement, and I pretty much devour every piece of information I can find.

We've talked about Druids already, but while I love Hybrids in general, my Shadow Priest is my main and my first love. Yes yes, I'm sure some of you still disagree with Priests being Hybrids, but I'm of the opinion that they are so I shall continue. If you want to disagree, do so in the Comments section below.

I adore playing my Shadow Priest, but I think all Shadow Priest players agree with me when I say there are some definite issues with the class on some level or another. Why don't we take a seat and see what might be on the devs' minds, eh?

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Talents, Buffs, Hybrid Theory, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

Hybrid Theory: Performance Assessment

Last week we discussed the fact that raw DPS is not a good indicator of the strength of a hybrid. The quality of a hybrid, or a person that plays a hybrid, will not easily be seen by looking at traditional damage and/or healing meters the same way you would for 'pure' classes.

Before I go on, I'd like to reiterate my disclaimer on this topic: Just because your class or spec is not expected to top damage meters, that does not mean you should become complacent about your DPS or Healing effectivenessity(use it, love it) in a raid. You should always strive to be a better player and find ways to improve yourself. If you think you've hit the ceiling of what you can accomplish, work harder to break through it.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Bosses, Hybrid Theory

Hybrid Theory: Brutallus and You


Every week, Alex Ziebart comes to you with Hybrid Theory. A column with... theories about hybrids, I guess. I mean, that's what it says at least. I guess it could be something else, but probably not. Honestly, you should probably just read it and find out for yourself.

In the past here on Hybrid Theory, we've discussed what Hybrids are capable of doing in a raid, as far as beneficial talents and utilities. We talked about the fact that a few well-placed hybrids in your raid can take your DPS from 'good' to 'horrifyingly good.' All of this comes to the front again in a boss that many high-end raid groups are clashing against right now: Brutallus.

If you haven't read anything on this boss yet, it's the single largest gear check in WoW yet. It's Burning Crusade's Patchwerk, mostly. To beat Brutallus, you need roughly 29,000 sustained DPS across your entire raid. If you don't pull that off, you hit his enrage timer and he destroys all of you. Simple as that! If you're lucky you can burn off a final two or three percent of his health after the enrage, but that's about as far as you go. That three percent is about 300,000 health, so don't get too confident.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Bosses, Hybrid Theory

Hybrid Theory: Magisters' Terrace, stomping all over your comfort zone

We've been talking about Magisters' Terrace a lot. I have been talking about Magisters' Terrace a lot. Lucky you, we're going to talk about it some more!

Magisters' Terrace is the brand new 5-man that came with Patch 2.4, so it comes across as much harder than it actually is. It is hard, sure, but not the soul-rending pain we're all feeling right now. All new dungeons require a period of adjustment. I remember when Dire Maul first came out, way back in the day. Everyone thought it was utterly horrifying.

During this period of adjustment, you're going to run into groups being far more strict about group composition. Once the community has become accustomed to the difficulty level of Magisters' Terrace, things will ease up. Currently, a lot of damage specced hybrids are having a rough time finding a group consistently due to one pretty large factor: A lack of crowd control. There are a lot of things you can(and should) do to make up for that, and knowing those things will do a lot to contribute to speeding up the adjustment period.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warlock, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Hybrid Theory

Hybrid Theory: Dear engineers, please build me a walking bank


Welcome to another installment of Hybrid Theory, wherein columnist Alex Ziebart assures the world that he does not, in fact, hate Retribution Protection Paladins. In fact, he raids with a Retribution Protection Paladin. Really. He does. Pinky swear.

Nearly every hybrid has felt the sorrows of lacking itemization at one time or another. Every hybrid has seen its ups and its down, has watched class balance fall into and out of order, and embraced their spec through the good and the bad. Throughout all of this, though, there has always been one ever-present issue. Completely unchanging. Viability and acceptance? Oh, no no no.

Bag space. The Blue Crew of Blizzard has made it very clear over the last few years that limited bag space is fully intended. It's viewed as an important aspect of game play. A mini-game, if you will. I must say, being forced into choosing whether you want to keep an item you enjoy or vendor it in favor of that new piece of resist gear that is mandatory for your raid's upcoming boss fight is the worst game ever. Sometimes little vanity items mean quite a bit, like your first epic. A lot of them are just plain neat, like the furbolg outfit maker.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Hybrid Theory

Hybrid Theory: What can I do? part 2


Hybrid Theory comes to you yet again from blogger and columnist Alex Ziebart. You're in for thrills, chills, and quite possibly some useful information, but I doubt it.

Last week on Hybrid Theory, I got into some of the basic details of what would make you and your spec desirable in a raid. I covered the DPS specs, and this week I'll be covering tanks and healers. Warriors, priests, I'll be leaving you out of this one. I love you, really, I do! But it's that conditional love, where I only love you if you're specced how I like. I hear Rossi, Knox and Harper still love you! Man, they sound way cooler when you refer to them by their last names, don't they? Like detectives, or super heroes.

...Right. Anyway! I'll be detailing the strong points of the tanking and healing specs of our beloved hybrids, and the utility you provide. Should you be looking for a new raid group anytime soon, these will be the things you'll want to keep in mind when asked what you can offer a raid. Having good gear and knowing how to play is also a plus, but this is a start.

Never fear you QQasuals(just kidding!) out there, next week I'll take a step back from the raiding scene and cover some of the new toys in Patch 2.4 and what they mean to you. However, it isn't next week yet, so read on!

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Hybrid Theory

Hybrid Theory: What can I do?


Welcome to another installment of Hybrid Theory, wherein columnist Alex Ziebart assures the world that he does not, in fact, hate Retribution Paladins. In fact, he raids with a Retribution Paladin. Really. He does. Pinky swear.

Let's face it, folks. A lot of raid leaders have very little idea what they're doing when they're brand new to the raiding thing. I was there once, too. Until you have some experience in the 25-man raids, you have very little idea how group synergy works or anything of that sort. As a hybrid, especially one specced in a tree other than your healing tree, this could cause you some issues when looking to break into raiding from the ground level, rather than filling a gap in an existing raid that generally knows what's what.

You will most likely find that you'll need to sell yourself to raid leaders. What can you bring to the table? What can you do that a mage can't? What can you do that a rogue can't? The answer: Quite a bit! First thing to keep in mind, though, is that as a hybrid, you will probably not do as much damage as the other DPS classes in the raid. Healing specced, you will keep up just fine. Damage specced? Well, you won't keep up on every encounter. That's okay though. You don't need to. Why? Because you specifically allow those other classes to meet their maximum potential.

I'll go through each of the damage specs one by one. Tanks, healers, sorry. You come next week. I'm writing a column, not a novel!

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Warrior, Raiding, Hybrid Theory

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