It's often been said that druids are the three-in-one class: we can mimic warriors, priests, rogues (and even mages), but can't fulfill their respective roles as well as they themselves can. While in recent times druids have been able to gear up and perform as well as their parent classes in many respects, we are far from "warriors with stealth" or "rogues that can heal" or "priests that can off-tank in a pinch."
Our problem as druids is that we cannot but neglect the full breadth of our abilities when we must specialize in only one aspect of our class. Of course, any class works best in situations where most or all their abilities might be needed to succeed, sometimes even in the course of a single fight -- it's just that for druids these abilities include tanking, damage, and healing all together.
If you're playing with an experienced group, each player is likely specialized to one of these three roles, and his or her whole purpose is to minimize the chance that backup tanks, healers, and damage-dealers will be needed. That leaves druids trying to compete with warriors, rogues and priests (and mages), trying to do just as well at the same task, but with fewer abilities to call upon in the fight. Locked into these smaller roles, we must gear up and spend our talents in such a way that even if we were to shift out of our main role into another when the need arose, we wouldn't be able to do very well at it at all.
This brings me to the adventure at hand: Today we will go on an journey of the imagination together, exploring the potential future of druids, considering how this problem of specialization versus versatility might be approached. Indeed, as I gaze into my crystal-ball-shaped paper-weight, I see two possible futures: one, called "The Path of the Pandering Pedant," seeks nit-picky perfection in a class designed for breadth and scope, while the other, "the Way of the Multitudinous Master" brings the full manifest of all our abilities into harmonious use with one another.
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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives