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Posts with tag roles

Switching roles

It's officially the end of the expansion, because I'm tanking again. Every expansion, this happens. I start off tanking, something happens and I switch to DPS, and then by the end of the expansion I'm tanking again. The best part is that it usually happens in the middle of working on heroic progression, meaning that I'm suddenly tanking the hardest fights in the game. Usually without having ever tanked them before, in fact. Last night for instance I found out that I am much better at doing Heroic Norushen if I go down to kill the big add with some Vengeance built up, for how much it helps with Shield Barrier if I mis-time and get hit by the big attack.

My gear is adequate - about ilevel 566, with quite a few heroic pieces - but it's still a learning curve and one that's sometimes fairly hard to adjust to, and not just for me. This is a raid we've been clearing weekly, and suddenly here's a new tank who doesn't know what's going on as well as the previous tanks did. Combine that with my general sense of perfectionism (I do not like making even the most understandable mistake) and it can be pretty stressful.

But sometimes it's necessary -- your group has all the healers it needs, and you volunteer to DPS. You've been playing a hunter, now you're on your priest healing instead. (Hi, Final.) You're a tank but you're burned out and you need a change of pace. So, how can you deal with this, both as a player and as a group with a player switch? While I'm not pretending to having any sort of universal answer, here's a few things I've noticed.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Breakfast Topic: Are you a happy healer or a reluctant healer?

Breakfast Topic Are you a happy healer or a reluctant healer
I was smirking my way past the Gordon Ramsay-esque commentary on Twitter recently (go to the tweet to view it in all its unblurred, NSFW glory) when it struck me: Blizzard has created so many incentives to play a healer. Obviously, they've worked -- but are the healers enjoying it?

As a long-time healer, I find myself broken-hearted at the idea that players are going through the motions of healing simply because for the sake of faster random queue times or to fill a hole in a roster lineup. Healing by people who aren't passionate about healing? Healing by people who aren't glued to the action? Healing by people who might be watching "other things" on another screen, or eating pizza, or, or ...? Dear readers, we're talking about saving lives here. I weep. Seriously, I weep.

Still, there seem to be quite a lot of healers going about their business in today's game. If you're a healer, do you enjoy the role? Did you choose to be a healer of your own volition, or were you influenced by queue times, role benefits, or the needs of your raid or guild? If you were nudged into healing by outside forces, has it been worth it? Are you a happy healer or a reluctant healer?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

A proposal for scenarios in Mists of Pandaria

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We have seen and heard a ton of information on questing, dungeons, and even Pet Battles in the Mists of Pandaria beta, but one thing that has been absent thus far is also one of the things I'm most excited about -- scenarios. From what information we received at BlizzCon, we know that Blizzard intends for scenarios to be phased and quest-like in their presentation. They could be used to move stories forward, with players interacting with non-player heroes directly and even fighting alongside them in important battles.

An idea for this new game mode that I have been tossing back and forth with a few friends is creating a series of how-to scenarios that introduces the player to the aspects of group play. Meloree at Sacred Duty has suggested this as a prerequisite to entering the Dungeon Finder, but I think even having the option would improve grouping experiences dramatically. Tanks could enter dungeons and raids with a better grasp on basics like threat, positioning, and proactive cooldown usage. Healers could learn mana management, throughput efficiency, and this fabled triage model that we keep hearing so much about. Damage dealers could become familiar with high-movement fights, interrupting, and burn phase cooldown maximization.

Clearly, this seems to be well within Blizzard's capabilities to produce. We already see NPCs that tank, heal, and DPS in the game in various quests. In my opinion, there are only a couple of things that may stand in the way:
  1. Is this something the designers can do easily and quickly, or would a significant amount of resources need to be allotted to the development of this idea?
  2. Would players react positively to such tools being made available to them? Would they feel pressured or upset if they failed to complete the scenarios in their chosen role?
What do you think? Is this something you would use? Would this help the dungeon running and raiding experiences, or is the potential for disaster too great here?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: What roles do you play?

An interesting thread popped up on the forums a few days ago that I wanted to ask our readers about here at WoW.com -- what roles have you tried in the game, and has experimentation with other roles changed how you play overall?

Right now my main spends her time tanking and healing at an even 50/50 split. Healing's made me a more observant tank; I have a better appreciation of what a heal team goes through to keep my furry rump alive. Tanking hasn't exactly made me a better healer -- the two roles are so different that I even wind up redoing a portion of my UI while jumping between them -- but it's made me more forgiving of tank mistakes, and also left me in a better position to gauge whether a problem is the result of the tank or another group member. Damage-wise? Oddly enough, playing as a tank/healer for so long has made me into a hesitant DPS at best. I hate losing aggro to anyone as a tank, and hate healing oblivious DPS who pull it, and that's made me incredibly paranoid about my threat as a DPS. I watch Omen way more than I worry about my rotation.

So what role do you normally play in the game? If you change roles at all, do you notice experience from one role having an effect on how you play others?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: Why are warriors so awesome?

Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky be your host today.

Today has to have some special significance. If you take the month and the year and add them together and subtract 2000 you get the day. The day. It's like, the world is going to end or something, and it isn't even 2012!

Oh well, here are the last questions I'll ever answer in The Queue, because it's the end of the world as we know it (which happens to be today's reading music).

Rhornez asked...

"Why are warriors so awesome?"

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Filed under: Mage, Priest, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Dungeon Finder reactions from players

The long-awaited Dungeon Finder is finally out on the servers, and people have had a few days with it now, so let's jump in and gauge some early reactions. Overall, it seems to be a big hit -- tanks and healers are jumping into groups right away, and while we've heard of longer waits for DPS, it doesn't seem bad at all. While of course the initial flood of people brought instance servers down (I'd expect to see the same thing happen during peak time this weekend), everything seems to be working well since then: disenchanters are correctly dropping items out, loot is getting distributed correctly, and groups are doing what they were always supposed to do: rake in the badges and rewards for players.

Hots and Dots actually has a long take on the Dungeon Finder, including "15 Things You Should Know," like that tanks and healers are still as important as ever (if you sign up for DPS and another role, you likely won't be doing DPS), and that we're finding out very quickly just how skilled or knowledgeable people really are ("the Party Leader will be forced to confess midway [through] that they actually know nothing about the instance").

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, Leveling

A new blogger survey, this time for DPS

Last weekend we spotlighted the big healer survey that went around the blogosphere a little while back -- it was chock full of information straight from healers about their classes and abilities and what they thought of them. Now, Death Goddess is aiming to do the same thing for DPS classes. She's only got a few blogs who've answered so far, but they run a good range, from hunter to warlock to mage, and maybe getting the word out like this will encourage a few more DPS-style bloggers to put their answers in the pot.

As long as we're going to keep encouraging this meme (or non-meme, as they may be saying), I'd love to see some of this stuff quantified a little bit more. It'd be interesting to put into numbers which kinds of classes like their roles best, or which situations each role likes to play more (do healers prefer raiding over 5-mans, or do DPS prefer to play solo rather than PvP?). The healer survey was a treasure trove of raw anecdotal information, but it'd be good to see this put into a spreadsheet or graph, and maybe give us a more quantified look at what people think of their class. We'll keep an eye on the DPS data and maybe try hashing it out once the list of those surveyed becomes pretty substantial.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Raiding, Classes

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

Breakfast Topic: Which role is the hardest?

This is a pretty old post, and it's a question that's been asked before, but it's still an interesting one: what's the hardest role in a raid? Ghostcrawler says he doesn't find one of the three roles (tanking, healing, and DPS) to be "hands down harder" than the others, although he does call tanking and healing "probably more stressful."

As someone who's done all three in raids a fair bit, I feel pretty confident saying DPSing is hands-down easier than the other two roles. Of course, it varies fight-by-fight, but typically the most that's asked of DPS is "don't stand in the fire" and sometimes "switch DPS to X." It does take some research and work to get the optimal rotation down, and some classes (like Death Knights) have it harder than others (cough Ret Pallies), but the raid just doesn't rely on your split-second reflexes the way it does for tanks and healers. Heck, last night I caused a wipe by just saying the wrong thing while tanking.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Classes

From our readers: Always a DPSer, never a tank

We get a lot of email from our readers who are trying to improve their in-game experience. I'd like to take a moment to address a reader who's struggling to find or make the right guild. Beware of the following wall of text.

I started playing over a year ago. Never have been able to find a good guild. I'm a warrior tank. Love it. Even made a second just for fun. Trouble is, it seems all of the guilds that can do anything already have their tanks. I'm really sick of pugging Ulduar and getting stuck on kologarn cause either healers or the other tanks fail.

I started my own guild after my leaving my last guild because they refused to let me tank. I couldn't even roll on tank gear as fury when all of their tanks had all best in slots. But my guild is stuck with 36 level 80s who are never all on at the same time... and most of the ones that are on are under-geared or aren't skilled in the least bit. what's your advice?


Dear anonymous reader,

Sometimes starting your own guild is the answer, sometimes it's not. It takes time, patience, and vigilance to build a raid guild. Be sure to check out Scott Andrew's Officer's Quarters. He regularly addresses the ups and downs of guild leadership and offers practical advice on the challenges you may face.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding, Classes

Crygil wants to know what you think of class roles

CM Crygil has posted a very general thread over on the forums asking players what they think of the various class roles out there: "Ranged/Melee/DPS, Tanking and Healing." As you probably have noticed, those three roles make up what are often called the Holy Trinity in role-playing games and MMOs: either you do damage, prevent damage, or recover from damage, and those three roles make up the basics of most roleplaying combat systems, including the battles in World of Warcraft.

But as quite a few people in the thread say, they're not quite sure just why Crygil is asking for this information. Sure, there are lots of good and informative answers in here (most people actually spread out "the trinity" to four roles, splitting melee/close combat and ranged/magic combat into two parts), but as there has always been, there's really nothing outside of the kind of thinking that's been done before on the subject -- anytime developers try to break out a new part of the trinity of roles, they either fall right back into the stereotypes (a bard that casts magic damage "songs" is really just a dressed up Mage), or they end up breaking the game (mind control/crowd controller is a new class idea that's been played around with before, but as Blizzard has discovered, it's extremely hard to balance that exactly right).

As Crygil later says, these questions are his, not Blizzard's -- he just wants to get some perspective on what the forums dwellers think of how the current roles work. And he promises that CC is "on its way back," so maybe Blizzard will try to do some more experimenting with the different types of roles classes can play.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Forums

Replenishment is mandatory and other buff discussion from Ghostcrawler

One of the major overhauls heading from Burning Crusade into Wrath of the Lich King was the consolidation of buffs and debuffs. In an attempt to keep raid groups from thinking they had to bring one specific class to get one specific buff or debuff, Blizzard switched some spells up, gave buffs to more classes, and made them unstackable, the result being that one can take one of a certain handful of class and specs to get the buff or debuff they desire, in theory giving a raid more choice about who they bring.

Still, the buffs and debuffs remain, and Ghostcrawler has been having some pretty interesting discussions about them in the past few days. To start with, he came out and said it pretty plainly: Replenishment is Mandatory. Blizzard will balance fights under the assumption you have Replenishment much as they do under the assumption you have a tank. In the short term, this means your raid is probably going to want to find a Shadow Priest, Retribution Paladin, or Survival Hunter if they haven't already.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Instances, Raiding, Bosses, Classes, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King

Forum post of the day: The tank surplus

"Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels."
- Faith Whittlesey

Kazug of EU-Defias Brotherhood is afraid that he will never be able to take on the role of main taink against Heroic Malygos. He pointed out that although tanks are relatively scarce in five man instances, there is fierce competetion for tanking slots in 25 mans. One out of five players must be a tank in five mans, whereas only one in twenty-five can be main tank in a raid. He feels that only the best of the best, the ones with the most time as he defines it, are able to take on the role of main tank.

Other tanks are left taking out the trash on single-tank fights. Several posters echoed Kazug's sentiment. Despite a dedication to tanking, they're relegated to the roll of picking up adds in most fights. Others indicated that their guilds rotate MTs or even have tanks roll off for main tanking responsibilities. For some guilds the MT is the MT and that's all there is to it.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Forum post of the day: A Rogue without a cause

Maximogu of Firetree posed the question "Why bring a Rogue to an 80 heroic?" in the general forums. He claimed that at this point there CC is unnecessary for most tanks that rely on AOE. Most of the trash pulls are handled by AOE classes now, making the Rogue's single target focus obsolete. He argued that Rogues are best suited with Druid tanks that do not handle multiple mobs as well as other tanking classes do.

Here are some of the reasons given for bringing a rogue along:
Anushka of Kel'Thuzad: There's a lot of nasty things that can be interrupted in most heroics. Though I wouldn't take more than one rogue.
Khadros of Frostwolf: To listen to the sound of theirs daggers going schlick schlick schlick.
Morgrimm of Korgath: Because one of my friends is a rogue.
Owari of Frostwolf: To DPS, of course.
Mypetgoat of Bladefist: It's one expendible DPS that won't roll on my gear.
Madia of Maelstrom: They need loot and stuff too.

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Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

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

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