Greedy Goblin

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Once upon a time Blizzard had a plan with a MMO game, where people level, quest, interact with the world. Form groups to perform harder quests, maybe fight with the members of the opposing classes. It had to change a lot because of the player's demands. Quests nerfed, leveling can be completely bypassed, PvP was moved to closed battlegrounds to stop the endless ganking.

Once upon a time Blizzard had a vision about different classes. They had to completely change that, due to strong player demand, but it's memory is still on the official page:

  • Druid: Hybrid, Primary Healer
  • Hunter: Ranged Physical Damage Dealer
  • Mage: Primary Ranged Magic Damage Dealer
  • Paladin: Hybrid, Secondary Healer
  • Priest: Primary Healer
  • Rouge: Primary Melee Damage Dealer
  • Shaman: Hybrid, Secondary Healer
  • Warlock: Debuffer
  • Warrior: Primary Tank
So the plan was simple: Warriors tank, priests heal, hunters, mages rouges attack the monsters, warlocks weakens them, and the three (actually two since horde had no paladins, alliance had no shamans) hybrid classes fill in the holes, taking always the role what is needed.
It could work - in a better world. In a world where most people are governed by reason.

There are barely any hybrids in the game. If there are, they are laughed at. There are no 17/17/27 shamans, who can heal nicely but can also tank an add and deal acceptable spell damage. There are deep elemental shamans, there are deep enhancement shamans, and deep restoratio shamans. They are not hybrids, but pure casters competing mages, pure melee competing rouges or pure healers competing priests.

No doubt, that a 17/17/27 shaman can quest faster than any of the pure ones. No doubt that this shaman, with around 1400 +heal can easily heal even a heroic instance, while a broken CC wouldn't mean immediate wipe, like it is with the deep resto, who sometimes wear cloth to have higher healup. Like the difference between 1960 and 1995 healup would make or brake HC Underbog.

The only place where one needs to be a perfect DPS glass cannon, a maximized healing capacity healer or the tank with highest available survivability is end-game raiding. Wowjutsu tracks 4.5M people. 32% has killed anything in SSC, 27% in TK. So about 1.3M people engaged in serious raiding. That's 13% of the 10M playerbase. 55% are not even on the list, since never raided even Karazhan. So it would be understandable that 13% of the people are purely specced and the rest is either on some PvP spec or hybrid, happily instancing or questing. Strike that, even raiders should respec hybrid for longer farming-questing seasons.

Why there are no such hybrids? At first, because people has the stupid tendency to want to look amazing, even if it's pointless or completely counter-productive. While our 17/17/27 shaman could do his dailies easily, perform very well in a random BG or do an instance either as healer or as DPS, he could not excel in anything. He wouldn't be as good healer as a deep resto and would not be as good DPS as a deep elemental or enhancement. No one would say "whoa" upon inspecting. People - unlike goblins - has a strange wish to be respected, even by strangers who don't have any effect on their life.

So our shaman select spec and gear like he would be main healer in an endgame raiding guild. He can barely quest, and in the instance can only hope that the tank and CC knows his job. But people will not laugh on them upon inspecting.

This stupid wish to look perfect can have that funny result, that the guy become useless in a raid, like a healer with 2200 healup and 30 casting Mp5, the tank with 23K HP and 20% avoidance, the DPS with low mana regen or no CC ability. While he is useless, this fact is only obvious to the real end-game raiders, and not to the inspecting crowd. They think he is a very well geared uber player.

This two further negative effect: people tend to choose these "uber" players for pugs or for casual guilds. So while he is practically useless, other people rather pick him because he looks good. On the top of it, if your tank has 22K HP but only 20% avoidance, your healer really need that 2000 healup to keep him alive. If your mage has 35 combat mana regen, you really need a "perfect group setup", including resto shaman or shadow priest, or his DPS will be the one written to his wand. The point is that the average player cannot notice, that the faliure of the instance is caused by the "uber"-looking one, and not the others.

This post was inspired by the "end of the world" talks on resto druid forums. Even if resto druids are a couple percent weaker than CoH priests or beacon paladins, this couple percent can only make or brake a world first kill, and 99.9% of us does not even compete for world firsts. That 2-3% can be fixed by one more gear piece (= one more week of raiding the previous tier, or a couple of instances for badges). The problem is not the 2-3% difference between resto druids and beacon paladins itself (as the current beta build stands). Their problem is that people would look upon them as "noobs", "having funny spec", "reroll pala or respec oomkin noob", and so on.

I've seen many times in Kara, ZA, Gruul, Maggi, SSC, TK that a disc priest who was just asked to jump in because another healer had to go, was in top 3 healing. Skill > gear&spec. The only place where it is not true is the competitive raiding, where everyone is at top skill, so differences can only be made by spec and gear. While most people never-ever will be in competitive raiding they read their sites, reiterate their sayings, try to look like them, poisoning their own life mostly and of others a little.

What is the connection between this and making money? Savings. People rather look rich by buying epic mounts and epic gems than be rich by investing their money into trading. It's the same thinking that stops them from being effective in questing and instancing (95% of their game time), what stops them from being rich. Don't follow their path! Stop look good. Be good.

PS: I go retalent and decrease the number of talents in protection. I want bit more damage. I'll still be able to tank well!

Legal notice: 1) I did not advocaded hybrid talents for a 25 mans raid or 2000+ arena. I was talking about questing, instancing and BG-s, the places where vast majority of the players spend their time.
2) I did not researched the shaman class and not claiming that 17/17/27 is the best questing spec.


Gaming Diva said...

You are correct with my first toon I waited before I started purchasing high priced items. I held onto those greens until i could afford it. I was able to buy anything I want simply because I traded and played the WOW market well. In many ways it's similar to business if you think about it.

It's my first week on the new realm and I've made over 100G. I honestly haven't spent a lot of time at the Ah, just enough time to list items and occasionally snag a good deal. It so easy to make WOW gold if you know what you are doing.

I'm going to post about that later.

When I make 500G I'll create a GB for my bank toon. That will give her a lot of space to house her items. I did it with one of my Ally toons.

I tend to stay away from the Wow end of the world" forums. Too many Chicken Little's running around proclaiming the sky is falling. Additionally I think some people doing the complaining really need to learn more about their class. It can make a world of difference. I'll wait until WOTLK comes out before I form an opinion.

Joel said...

I disagree that most hybrid classes would be better off with a hybrid spec for normal play. The abilities you use regularly change drastically depending on which tree you go down. My druid casts moonfire maybe twice a week - improving his moonfire is a bad investment. Ditto for my shaman and chain lightning. I've done some light healing on both of them with non-healing specs but 99% of the time I'm only using my healing spells on myself. Extra healing points means bigger overheals.

That being said, I agree I agree that skill > spec in most situations. If someone wants to come with a weird spec I'm okay with that as long as they can perform their role. What drives me nuts as a raid leader is people not performing their roles and refusing to make efforts to improve.

One of the best players I knew had a paladin with a weird hybrid spec and he could fill any role at the drop of a hat. It can be done - it takes skill and a willingness to pursue the odd.