Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
We're all hybrid now - except for the dps?

Once upon a time MMORPGs had a holy trinity of tanks, healers, and damage dealers. Most games had some pure classes, that is tanks which were highly resistant to damage but couldn't deal much of it, healers who could heal a lot of damage but couldn't deal much of it, and dps classes who did nearly all of the damage. And then there were hybrid classes, who did two or even three roles, but worse than the pure classes.

World of Warcraft, like previous MMORPGs, started with that same model. Only after a while the hybrid classes complained, because if you're even a little worse in tanking or healing than a pure class, you won't get invited to raids. Thus Blizzard made paladins and druids tank as good as warriors, and heal as good as priests, in some situations even better than the pure classes. Now the pure classes started to complain, because playing a warrior or a priest was understood to be a deal: You would tank or heal best, but give up on your damage dealing for that, thus hurting yourself in soloing. Blizzard responded by increasing the damage of the pure tanking and healing classes, and by introducing dual spec, making it easy for them, and the hybrids, to switch from a tanking or healing role to a damage role. The pure tanks and healers had effectively been transformed into hybrids as well.

And then came patch 3.3 and Blizzard introduced the Dungeon Finder. The math of the Dungeon Finder is simple: If you take away the lost time for assembling a group and traveling to the dungeon, the xp and other rewards gained per hour in a dungeon are suddenly superior to anything you can do solo. The more dungeons you run, the faster you advance. And all those hybrid classes, both the original hybrids and the previously pure tanks and healers, quickly found that if they queued up for the Dungeon Finder in their tank or healing role they'd find groups much, much faster than if they queued up only as dps.

The ones left behind in all this are the pure dps classes. They didn't gain much from the introduction of dual spec, except for being able to change the flavor of their damage. They didn't become hybrids, they are the only single-purpose classes left. That was all nice and dandy when soloing was in thing to do, because damage is the most useful ability when soloing anyway. But while their hybrid friends are already looting the end boss, the pure dps are still waiting in that Dungeon Finder queue. And even if they make it into a group, they aren't necessarily dealing more damage than a hybrid who signed up as dps. Playing a pure dps class today, especially one without AoE damage, feels like shooting yourself in the foot. Everybody else is as good as you in your single role, without having to suffer from the consequences of a single-role class.

Makes me wonder if Blizzard is stopping their continual re-invention of the holy trinity here, or whether we will see some move that turns the pure dps classes into hybrids as well. Mages that can heal? Rogues that can tank? Sounds strange, but if anyone had told you in 2005 that paladins would one day be one of the top damage dealers that would have sounded strange to you too back then. Will we all be hybrids one day?
I'm really looking forward to that day, myself. When they let hunters and warlocks can legitimately tank using their pets, when mages can heal like some kind of arcane priest... but then, I really prefer playing as a hybrid, I consider more varied playstyles to be more interesting. As long as they make each one feel different, I'm all for it.

We never thought they'd give us tauren paladins or gnome priests either, but you see where we are today. Give it a few years for them to balance it all, and I bet any race can be any class and every class will have at least two roles.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. I would like a game where you could switch freely between tank/healer/dps roles and have it all built into the system.

There could be different ways to do it. You could still have classes if you want, but let everyone have their own tanking/healing/dps abilities. Then to make it more useful in group situations make it stronger then. Perhaps like the fellowship maneuvers in LOTRO.

Another way could be to make all classes have all abilities like above, but not at the same time and a way to switch roles relatively easy. Like dual-spec but perhaps more specs available. This would allow for agreements to be made like, "Ok, I'll be the healer tonight and you will do it tomorrow".

You could tweak the ideas of course, and I'm sure there are even more variants. I'm sure the basic ideas would work though if you built the game around it.
Some other major factors that you are forgetting;

- Respec costs went way down since they stayed the same. Why they added Duel Specs is beyond me, the whole concept sounds beyond useless and seems completely unnecessary. It ruins balance and really just looked to me as a 'Up to eleven' type feature.

- The Dungeons themselves changed, pre-WOTLK (e.g. Sunwell) CC was a must-have. Look at MT, you couldn't do the instance without specific CC classes.

Blizzard has gone to an extreme in WOTLK and there is no doubt of that. This is their punishment. 'Every class equal' is just 'some classes are more equal then others' phrased slightly differently. There will ALWAYS be some better then others so why even try if the min/max nerds or even casuals are going to be taking advantage of it, the idea/definition that balance is 'all classes are the same' is BEYOND moronic.
I honestly think the dual spec was the worst idea ever. It would have been great if they'd allowed all of the hybrids to do just as well as the pures if they couldn't switch roles at the drop of a hat.

Rogues used to be able to kind of tank. A few changes by Blizzard would've sealed the deal. They decided to go the opposite direction instead, but I wouldn't doubt that sooner or later every class will be able to perform every role. Warlocks will heal by draining from enemies and redistributing it to the party. Priests will tank by calling upon powerful holy protection magics.

And Rogues will tank just like DKs do now. Lots of parry and dodge.

I don't think this is the end of their reinvention of the wheel. This is just the beginning.
The ideal system is the one used in FFXI, you could have a tank/healer/dps built into the same character and having some nice synergies by doing so, ie. healing with your dps or tank, havig limited spell use as tank or dps with your your priest.

I wonder why this sytem hasnĀ“t been used since FFXI.
As a DPS I've found it highly advantageous to be in a guild and queue up alongside a healer and tank.

Of course this won't work if you're not in a guild, but then not being in a guild makes you lose out on most of the social aspects of the game (I don't define the mudslinging in trade chat "social") anyway, so you lose out already just by being unguilded.

I don't believe that making every class a hybrid is the answer either, after all lots of hybrid players refuse to do anything but DPS, and that won't change just because the "pure" classes get hybridized. Some will take the chance of course, but that doesn't change the fact that if you don't want to tank or heal you don't want to tank or heal, even when given the choice.
I think its all a question of supply and demand. Look at it this way: EVEN THOUGH it takes longer to queue as a DPS, there are still more than 3/5 people queing up as one creating a longer waiting period. That tells me one thing:
To many people its still worth the hassle. If it wasn't there simply would be more tanks and healers in the LFG system.

Hybrids are a major advantage as they add a great deal of flexibility to the game. If all classes were limited to one role it would take considerably more efford to create a Heal-Tank-DPS-DPS-DPS group. Buffing the pure DPS classes to doing more damage than hybrids would mean that there would be no retribution paladins, cats, shadowpriests, DPS-shamans or DKs in any "serious" raid. We don't want to be there. When you choose to play a pure DPS, it was your wish to not tank or heal (which, again, is what the huge majority of wow players does: NOT want to tank or heal).
I'm okay with pure dps being inferior to hybrids for a few expansions. These things come and go.
While i would love to see less strict roles and more synergy between classes (eg one that can heal self by leeching from enemies and another that can heal others by taking from allies) it would reduce the ability to solo content.

On a side note as a Warlock I quite like having dual specs.
Interesting post. I did more or less the same with my new warrior, started before the holiday season, and he is 72 now. Regarding the rage problems i found it frustrating to pull until i was 50 and learned the talent to be able to charge in def stance. Until that if I charged in battle stance and switched to def, it was too much of a hussle to start the fight. Hitting with range weapon does not generate rage, so you pretty much have to rely on bloodrage.

My solution was anticipation (use bloodrage eary before pull to put it on cd (paladin tanking helped, its similar with devine plea), Bu the real thing was chain pulls. Don't let my rage vanish off combat. That of course made the caster DPS craz bitving about mana back and all. It has become a habbit of mine to check the mana of the healer, if above 50% pull. This way I had no problems with rage at all. And after 50 its just a piece of cake.
As a paladin, a pure dps class well played will out dps me by a comfortable margin, so i dont think this is an issue at all. I have 10-20% less damage in exchange for flexibility, but i rarely use dual spec now (it was useful when our guild was understaffed)

Now that i run the finder about once par pay, i usually stay dps and wait the 15mn to find a group. SO overall, if i was to reroll, i'd pick a pure dps class :)

Dual spec was uber (i even wish there was tri spec)when i wanted to 5man a lot, or when there was holes in our class roster.
The way I would have dealt with it is to put all the really crucial group buffs on pure DPS classes. So if you want to DPS, either roll a hybrid and have that flexibility as a backup option, or roll a pure DPS class and have the buffs that people need.

Too late for that, though, can you imagine the absolutely epic QQ that would result if buffs like heroism, kings, fort, etc. got taken away and given to DPS classes.
The equality is that for every 5 man 3dps spots are open. Or are you saying people play hunters, rogues, and mages because they like to play healer and tank classes?
So, what are the pure classes and what could they conceivably add to them?

- Hunter: The last time I played a Hunter (long time ago), the Survival tree was pretty strange. Maybe turn that into a (pet-)tanking tree.

- Mage. Arcane healing sounds pretty cool.

- Rogue. Evasion tanks.

- Warlock. You can add all kinds of lifestealing abilities to allow warlocks to heal. Basically warlocks could be 'redistributing' health more than actually 'healing'.

As far as I know, the rest of the classes are hybrids. Only 4 out of 10 are pure DPS classes at the moment.
i think wow lost out by downplaying and spreading out the secondary roles (cc, buffing/debuff) Now pretty much every class has a cc ability (although in most instance CC is now irrelevant). The 'must-have' buffs get spread across 3-4 classes rather than sole selling point of one. I can see why the did it- to stop stacking of one class in raids- but it looses out becuase of it.
One of my favourite class based system is lotro. Every class has its mastery of its role. Lore master are undisputed kings of cc, captains of buffing etc (though each class has secondary roles- so hunter or burglars can do decent cc replacements). The result is people look for a varity of classes in groups, rather than going tank, healr and 4x hunter cos they're best dps.

I'd like to see an mmo where rather than make everyone hybrids, which just reinforces the trinty, they weaken the tanking and healer role and increase the secondary roles. So rather than the holy trinty you've got a whole collage of classes of which you need a variety to win. So no tank? Well we can debuff the boss and let the mail wearer 'tank' him. or use the crowd contoller to snare and kite him.

It would need fleshing out the secondary roles a bit- most cc/buff/debuff abilities atm involve clicking couple of buttons and refreshing every 30 secs or so and then focus on doing sub optimal dps. Compared to tanking or healing where you have a range of abilities and which to use in the right circumstance makes a real difference.
Another alternative is the Diablo 2 model, where every class and nearly every spec is DPS (and, therefore, every group was an all-DPS team).

No tanking, no healing, no crowd control: it was all about killing them before they kill you and running out of the fire.
Once upon a time the only tanks in the game were warriors. I remember running molten core. Priests, paladins and druids healed. And 5 warriors tanked with maybe an extra one for damage. All the rest was DPS. There would be the occasional DPS pallie or druid but they were rare and didn't compete with the pure DPS.

This year I could outDPS all the pure DPS with my deathknight. And for a while my class was the best tank for the end game content (Sarth 3D comes to mind). I'm glad I switched from my mage, why would I still play one?

The major reason is probably because people do not like the responsibility of tanking and healing. So choosing a pure DPS class makes sure you won't have to bare it.

Personally I think adding more CC is the way to go and limit it to DPS classes. Create encounters where you need frost traps, sheeping, demon banishing, stuns and make sure that DPS classes are quite a bit better at CC. Then make sure that the pure DPS does 10% more damage then the hybrids. A good hybrid will still outdamage a mediocre pure but a good, pure DPS should be on top. Now you have a reason to not simply bring all hybrid classes.
What pure dps that can't do AoE damage?
What pure dps that isn't doing higher than hybrid?

Rogues with the FoK spam, Hunters with Volley, Mages with Blizzard, and Warlocks with rain fo fire or living seed all have plenty of aoe.

Also, from combat parses from the past few months, the top damage dealers int eh world are all still pure classes. The hybrid tax, which much less than it used to be, is still there. Just ebcause a ret pally or spriest is outdpsing you doesn't mean it's as easy for them to do so.
If we are talking from a pure PVE perspective I believe dual spec and class homogenization is a pretty good thing, as opposed to most here.

The only real point here is that pure dps classes (one of which I am playing atm) are at a disadvantage because of the dual spec and their small contributions to the raids/dungeons.

But this can be solved very easily by game design.

I believe Blizzard's biggest mistake was making dungeons/raids too easy this time. No CC or finesse required. In order to make pure DPS classes more attractive it would be enough to enforce their qualities, which are DPS and CC.

Simply put, make mages, rogues, hunters and warlocks do ALOT more damage than the rest of the hybrids (like 15%+ more) and IMPROVE THEIR CC IN A PVE SETTING. Also make CC something required to complete an instance again.

Doing more damage than a hybrid, imo would be a good choice of design, making people want more rogues in their raids rather than, say, ret paladins, who can get into raids easy enough by the healing or tanking route, as well as having a much easier time gearing for any of these roles through faster dungeon queues.

Better CC should also be an advantage. This way the holy trinity would become a quadruple: Tank, Healer, Damage and CC. You can already notice that pure dps classes were designed in this manner. Adding the need for CC to dungeons/raids I believe benefits the game because it removes some of the burnout of today's fights which are simply AOE fests...

The amount off CC mages, rogues, warlocks and hunters have are superior already to most of the other classes.

So for example, you could makes mage's slow in pve to have a much larger effect and act virtually like a root spell, that along with polymorph can make the class really capable at CC-ing. Even more, make counterspell a really long duration silence in PVE.

Locks have Seduce, fear can be made to make the target stand in place instead of running, and same felhunters spell-lock could be a silence.

Rogues have sap, blind can be amplified in duration, also gouge, cheap shot and kidney shot could be given additional uses.

Hunters are already the masters of kiting. Their traps, pets and concussive shot are already excelent CC forms. Just add an increased effect in PVE and you'll have a really potent class to manipulate a fight.

These are all just some ideas about how to save the pure dps classes from losing flavor.
They did that in BC and it didn't work in terms of balance. Every group had to have hunters and mages and than a throw in dps. I got turned down on my shaman and my warlock for groups because either I didn't bring CC or my CC is weak (Seduce).

Now I think they went to the extreme that every pull is AoE. Maybe Cat they can bring back some CC just not Shattered Halls and Shadow Lab type CC required.

Also warriors and priest were never quite pure. We used to bring dps warriors to raids in classic. They would just throw on a shield to tank when needed. And while priests were the main healers you always had pallies/shamans and druids fill in the slack.

I am glad with the changes without them I would never had liked tanking since I found warrior not that fun and never liked druid forms. So I got to make a prot pally that can compete instead of being holy which I hate.

And really that is what has changed some people moved from pure dps to hybrids. There are probably too many paladins and dks still but overall I think the class balance is better than before.
I'm not sure that the correct answer is for Blizzard to make all the classes hybrid. Rather, they can ensure "pure" DPS classes remain viable, desirable, and even required in a couple ways.

1) Intelligent gear itemization is something that could go a long way to helping out pure DPS classes. Rogues gear fairly quickly since only one other spec in the game is looking for +AGI leather and daggers and nobody with a conscious will take that away from them. On the flipside, make it tougher for hybrid DPS to gear up. If Warriors, DKs, and Pallys are all rolling on +STR plate, it should take one of these players that much longer to get comparable gear to a rogue.

The "pure" classes that suffer right now are warlocks and mages, since they compete with each other and priests for gear.

2) Design encounters which require one of the pure DPS classes. Everybody hates Faction Champions, but when you think about it, you really need a rogue, mage, or warlock in the group to do some CC. Just last night, we were doing a TOGC10 run and struggled on the fight until we remembered to have the rogue apply wound poison to the focus target. The fight was easy once we did that. Had we had any melee (aside from a warrior who can also apply the healing debuff) even doing DPS commensurate with the rogue (he's pretty good), we couldn't have gotten through the encounter.

Finally... WTB a Bard Class!
I really like what Captainmission wrote about diversifying rather than giving everybody everything. The reason to have classes instead of just a skillset (IE Ultima Online) is actually forced diversity. In games like UO there emerge 2 or 3 informal "classes" that have optimized stats. (tank mage/tamer/etc)

In games like EQ and WOW the point of classes is to have different people with different strengths and weaknesses. I feel we are travelling a road with short term gains (yay I filled my group) and long term stagnation. Since the game has come out most of the classes have had their rought edges sanded down to the point where its becoming more and more difficult to spot real differences.

EQ had many different classes with a variety of very different roles (and if all else fails just give the undesitrable class a must have buff). This created more problems in terms of groups, but made the classes more interesting. I have recently started an alt and instead of seeing other possibilities with new classes, I was underwhelmed.

There are great conveniences to giving classes staple abilities, but I think it reduces game designer creativity and ultimately brings us closer to 11 million Hero_094272894a's running around.
I beg to differ, I think there are no REAL hybrids in WOW. Due to the way gear and talents work in WOW you need to be specced and geared for your appropriate role. There is no chance of a ret pally pinch healing in a raid, and it's doubtfull they would even be able to cover for the death of a healer in one of the harder heroics. For all intents and purposes the ret pally is a pure dps class.

One might questions that the ret pally switches to holy after the raid wipe to give extra support to the healers. Sure, this could happen, but I doubt this paladin's healing gear matches his ret set, and I doubt his healing gear is as good as someone is main specced for healing and has spent all their dkp and frost badges on healing gear.

We all know how guilds like to min/max their stats, and if they really needed more healing they would bring a dedicated healer. In the scenario above the lowest dps will get removed for another healer.

Duel specs really only apply to makng life easier outside of raids, and I'm glad for that.
"Simply put, make mages, rogues, hunters and warlocks do ALOT more damage than the rest of the hybrids"

This will never happen. No one wants to go back to the TBC days when heroics were trivial if you brought lots of mages and had a protadin tanking. They need to stay roughly the same difficulty, regardless of classes. Otherwise it'll be back to the days when hybrids who didn't want to tank or heal just didn't get groups.
Thinking about it from a raid leader's viewpoint I can see several issues.

1) We have too many people who want to tank with 4 classes. Raid tanking, for anyone who hasn't tried it, is freaking awesome fun. 9 classes all wanting to tank would be a nightmare to manage.

2) Loot would be a real problem with an everyone can do everything set up. For example 25 of your raid members would all need a healing ring, a tanking neck, if one dropped.

3) It might be really hard to get people to heal. We can usually convince hybrids who would rather dps to heal "just for tonight" because it really is them doing it or raid cancelled. If there are 18 other people who can heal just as well why should Mr Ret have to go Holy for a night?
The 'hybrid vs pure' issue stems from another, more fundamental issue - load balancing. You need tanks and healers, but they are much less popular than DPS. The game rewards high DPS more than it does tanking or healing - you can't tank a mob to death, or heal it to death. The higher your DPS, the more exp you earn, the more loot you get, the more monsters you kill. DPS is the shortest path to the endgame, and many people take that path.

Then they complain because there aren't enough people who are willing to suck it up and play sub-optimally to tank and heal for them. You've got too many people who want group A, and not enough to want groups B and C. So Blizzard's solution is to incentivize B and C in order to get more people to join those groups. Blizzard tried to make it easier to switch between B/C and A (Dual Spec), make it so that B/C and A aren't quite so far apart (boost tank and healer damage), but the problem remains.

My idle thought would be to try to eliminate the role of DPS altogether. Mostly equalize DPS across the table, and then give the (former) DPS classes a new role to fill. Perhaps that would be buffing, debuffing or doing something else. I don't know offhand. However, as long as killing things is the focus of the game, people will gravitate toward the classes that allow them to do that the fastest.

Do people who play dps only classes WANT to be hybrids?

One of the advantages of being a rogue or a mage or w/e is that nobody can expect you heal or tank. A lot of people hate those rolls, so playing a class that simply cannot ever do them solves a major problem for them. And it's not like this is a new problem; dps has always been a dime a dozen. If you wanted to get VIP treatment, you needed to be a tank, healer, or a very very good damage dealer.

Also, this doesn't feature too much to you cause you don't pvp, but damage dealers got a lot of dual spec too, as the pvp spec and the pve spec are typically different things. So dual spec is great for everyone, really. Hell, I thought that was what dual spec was for!
Hobart stole the words right out of my mouth: supply and demand. This is econ 101 and I humbly submit that you're looking at it from the wrong perspective. The real problem isn't that pure DPS classes don't have enough options; the problem is that there is too large a supply of people who want to do DPS in a 5 man.

From a tank's perspective this is totally obvious. My prot pally signs up for a random dungeon and snap, I'm in a group. It is every time without fail, there is no delay, ever. To me, this suggests that there is are masses of excess DPS-only players (and even a few too many healers) who are waiting for a tank to come along and bring them. In other words, fewer than one person in five actually enjoys tanking. I do enjoy it, but that's just lucky for me and it's taken a lot of time to learn the game enough to do it effectively.

So that's the real problem that Blizzard sees as critical to address: not enough tanks. First they introduced Death Knights, a fourth tank class that has a jump start on leveling. Then, they introduced dual spec, so that all the DPS warriors, pallies, and druids wouldn't be afraid to get their feet wet tanking. Now we have the dungeon finder, which makes everything easier on everyone, but especially tanks.

And like certain economic theories, the hope is that the market will correct itself automatically. There are still fewer people who want to tank, but now tanking comes with the added perk that you are guaranteed a quick spot in a group. This modifies the play experience, so it gives you a little more incentive.

If this somehow manages to generate so many tanks that more DPS are required to fill out the available groups, then suddenly mages, warlocks and rogues will be in demand again, as their services are actually required.
I see two options to end this debate -- make all classes equal or change the trinity mechanic itself.

Making all classes equal (already happening)waters-down the game, making the whole idea of a "class" in the game irrelevant since every class could do everything. Why not then just have a character that picks certain skills and talents and be done with the idea of a class? It loses the charm of all those different toon images I suppose.

Changing the threat mechanic and thus the management of aggro would be radical (ie. it will never happen) but in a way, more realistic and more challenging. No, it is not like a pvp fight, but have aggro tables modified to be less predictable and less manageable. (ie. one boss hates gnomes, another attacks players that heal or use holy power). It would at least allow people the flexibility of all entering an instance as dps and use abilities as required under the circumstances. Other MMOs like LOTRO and GW have a more varied approach like this and gameplay can be a refreshing change, with instances being different every time based on player tactics.

"No one wants to go back to the TBC days when heroics were trivial if you brought lots of mages and had a protadin tanking."

Trivial as opposed to the hard and challenging dungeons of WotLK? Right...

Anyway at this moment there is hardly any significant decision to be made in WoW. There was a time where 50 gold was not spent. Now they even have dual specs.

Now I'm not going to be that guy that walked 60 miles in the snow both ways uphill. Times change and companies have to maximize their income while the iron is hot.

I just wish that instead of making all classes become jacks-of-all-trades (Mass market) MMO devs could make the leveling curve much shorter in order to allow players to have one of each. The concept of "main" is not relevant in WoW anymore, so why not go all the way? They already have Heirlooms so why not having XP bonuses and such after getting the first toon to 80? Just by adding new races they can keep the leveling lovers (who i expect to be 3 or 4 millions) occupied ad aeternum with the game. And that would solve the issue for the raiders. Need a tank? I'll have one ready in 3 weeks. :)
Actually GC had talked about this in one of the interviews I had read earlier, problem is I can't remember which one. From what I read Bliz plans on pure dps classes to be out dpsing hybrids come Cata, now if this is still true I am not sure. Now I am not absolutely sure about this since my main is a Hybrid healer but even if a person signs up as healing they need to have spent the money on getting the dual spec, they also need to have the gear to handle the instance which means that a person will have had to put in the time for it.

Also the main reason tanks and healers are able to get in the randoms is not because they are hybrid but rather there aren't that many people who actually build them. You look at any server out there and check the numbers and you will see a greater number of dps compared to tank/heals even higher than the 2-3 that you need for an instance. Maybe when people start building more tanks/heals you would see a shift but until then...

Oh and one other thing about being able to do anything MxO had done this but there weren't enough people actually interested in the game and the mechanics to make it viable. I think you will face the same situation if u tried to do that here.
The pure/hybrid 'WAH WAH' would only have any merit if classes would be randomly and unchangeably assigned to people.

Today anyone can decide to make a new character and have it raid ready within less /played time than ever before thanks to faster leveling and badges.

If you want to tank or heal - roll one of the classes than can fill these roles.
If you don't want to be bothered by either tanking or healing - roll one of the four dps-only classes.
I'm sorry Tobold, but I really fail to see what your point it. Non-pure DPS specs find groups faster because they do queue up as healers and tanks? Duh...

You seem to be implying that the current situation of hybrids (where hybrid = anything not pure dps) can tank and heal their way to the end boss while "the pure dps are still waiting in that Dungeon Finder queue" is a bad state of affairs.

My question is, what is wrong with the picture? It's not like your hybrid tank/healer queues up for the dungeon for a tank/healer role and after he is ported in respecs and wants to do DPS - the group will never work without their role.

Pure dps classes are not without a purpose and they are not left behind: they offer players a choice of gameplay without the headaches of healing or tanking. And because there are so many players who prefer that playing style they incur a waiting penalty, even though they have 3 dps spots vs 1 spot for healing/tanking. I don't see anything wrong with a popularity tax - you choose to play a ROLE that's easy and popular you don't get the same perks as someone who chooses to harder and therefore rarer ROLE. This works the same for the paladin/priest/shaman/druid/warrior/DK who wants to do damage - they pay the same popularity tax if they are not willing to play a different role in the trinity.

Now you might say that hybrids are better of because they can choose different roles at will, but I would argue that is not that huge of an deal.

First because pure dps dealers have the highest potential damage - not by a LOT mind, but mages, hunters, locks and rogues are usually top damage dealers with the occasional hybrid up there being more the player than the class.

And second is that the versatility of hybrids is mitigated by the need to collect, enchant and gem a secondary set of equipment. Not too far out to simply rerolling a different class alt and gearing him up from scratch.

Yes, it is definitely a perk for hybrids, but going from this to complaining that playing a pure dps class is "shooting yourself in the foot" is seriously wow forums worthy.
Wyrm: "
Trivial as opposed to the hard and challenging dungeons of WotLK? Right..."

No, trivial compared with the unforgiving experiences trying to tank heroics on my warrior that left me burned out with the game. It was not fun. Plus people really didn't want you if you were the wrong class. Also not fun.

Sure, you could stack the group and make things more manageable. But that wasn't a good answer if you wanted to play with your friends.
Yes, I do think we're headed towards a reality where all classes are hybrids.

Following on from that thought ... if all classes are hybrids then why bother having these so-called 'classes' at all?

Why not have a world where my role or function can change day to day or even minute to minute based on the skills and gear I've acquired and what is needed?
I like Kazim's response given above. I play a whole slew of characters, all are DPS even if they are capable of other roles (Paladin, Shadow Priest, etc). However, specifically due to the LFG tool I have started a Protection Paladin.

Also to Tobold's point, I am leveling exclusively through dungeons. This is due to several reasons: 1) Insta Group as a tank, 2) I am learning to tank from the ground up, and 3) it's more effective and has better rewards than solo questing.

I do hope that more people will start up tanks and even out the demand somewhat. Then maybe we will all be waiting only 5 or so minutes for a group.

And even waiting 30 mins for a group is not so bad. Before this patch, it was an all night affair for me and didn't work out most of the time. (Waiting for some kid to finish dueling outside of Ogrimmar and make it to the dungeon seemed a regular feature of my groups.)
I saw WoW heading this way 4 years ago. It's the main reason why I quit 3 years ago. The increasing homogenization of the classes is a testament to Blizzard's utter inability to think outside the box in any meaningful way.

On that day long ago that Blizzard decided something needed to be done to address the complaining from the hybrids, they made the easiest, most short-sighted, conservative decision possible that would eventually lead to the game as it is today: pure vanilla.
Mage Frost --> future healing role
Warlock Demonology --> future healing role
Hunter Beast Mastery --> future tanking role via pet
Rogue Combat --> future tanking role (use feral druid armor)

but just allowing for hybridization won't make players good tanks/healers or even want to tank/heal (cf. DKs), that problem lies deeper in the heart of game design ... and human nature.
"Simply put, make mages, rogues, hunters and warlocks do ALOT more damage than the rest of the hybrids (like 15%+ more) .. Doing more damage than a hybrid, imo would be a good choice of design"

No, they did that in WoW 1.0 and it was a horrible choice of design. As has already been pointed out in this thread, back in those days, you did not see any hybrids DPS'ing at endgame, period. Every warrior had to tank. Every priest, shaman, paladin and druid had to heal, end of story. Hybrids might as well have not existed.

That is not a mistake that Blizzard are going to return to.
I think what Champions did was pretty good. Everyone is able to switch to tanking, support, dps, or generalist.

Even without getting tanking abilities, just by being in the tanking role, I have more health and my damage holds more aggro.

Support roles enhance healing, and the power of CC and shields.

Dps roles lower threat, and increase damage, but CC is weaker and health is lower.

Of course all this is based on the origin point of the generalist.

With 3 talent trees (hell they could add a 4th, though that would be alot of work), for each class, having them be able to do all roles is quite possible.

We already know that a Hunter, or Warlock can pet tank lower level instances. And a shield carrying Shaman can as well, and with a little tweaking (twinking) so could a rogue. So why not expand this to level 80?

Mages could just get alot of shields, allow slow to work on bosses, and multi target CC that was less restrictive than sheeping, and maybe some sort of conversion spell for damage to healing.
@Mike: This would reduce the game to 3 specs who are the most efficient at tanking/healing/DPSing. Your 25man raid would be something like: 3 warrior tanks, 5 priest healers, 17 DPSing mages.

I really don't think that the pure DPS classes ever will have a heal/tank spec. Today's strong hybrids had had some very basic and clumsy integradted skills and talents from the very beginning, its just that those really weak talents were buffed to be on par with able tanks (warriors) and healers(priests) later on. Warlocks never had any party healing spells, had they?
It wouldn't really fit the wow-universe.

Saying that a rogue's evasion is kinda like a tanking skill that could be extended on is like wishing for a mage that is tanking with his iceblock ability - its plain stupid. Evasion is a mean of surviving a "holy shi--" situation, like a healing potion. Oh wait, we could have an alchemist-class that tanks and has to pot faster than the bosses hit him....

Blizzard did streamline lots of spells and abilities, that is true -but there still is a lot of diversity in the different classes and roles.
First off I like the "holy trinity". It's a very straight forward way of working with the core elements of a RPG.

I use to be very anti-hybred. If someone is a Warrior or a Priest no one should out do them at tanking or healing, the end. They sacraficed everything else to be the best at what they wanted to be.

Every MMO that comes out now is moving farther and farther away from the old definition of class structure. I don't know if it's a good thing or bad thing yet.

I do not like how Blizzard did the class tree's in WoW though. It seems so lazy. This is your dps tree, your heal tree, your tank tree.

I think Final Fantasy XIV is moving in the best direction. You can level up different classes but you are limited to one class per arch type. Thus you can only be one kind of tank, but you can also be one kind of healer. Atleast that is what is seems based on what I have read.

It retains the holy trinity which enables RPGs to really work but offers players versatility.

Sorry for the long windedness.
After reading this post, I logged my rogue, specced and gemmed for pve (though still wearing pvp gear only), and queued up in the LFG tool.
At this moment (yep, way too late, I just HAD to do one more run, and another... and another :P), I have completed all but two pre-3.2 dungeons (using the random dungeon option). Collected 54 emblems of triumph and bought the ilvl 232 tier 9 breastplate. I'd collect the entire set before the weekend this way, if I had the time.
So... what was the problem again? :)
Hobart and Kazim, I tend to disagree.

I especially don't like the "you chose to be DPS, so don't complain"

I started my main, a rogue, in May 2005. Yes, that is 4 years and 8 months ago. I've had no clue about those roles in WoW. Then I did nothing but PvP at 60, hardly any tanks needed either.

Since then I've levelled an army of alts, tanked all of T4 and T5 content on 2 different characters, even healed a bit in ZA and MH. Now, at 80 still sporting all 3 roles on different characters.

This all doesn't help me a single bit that my Rogue is still my main, the class that I enjoy that little bit more than the others to keep him my main as well. And when I queue up for the daily random, I'm really glad I have my pocket healer to team up with for less waiting and the knowledge of at least one competent party member.

Hell, I even do more randoms as tank/healer (alts need more gear, not just the 2 Frost) - and I still disagree with this situation.

Maybe it would help to make 6 man groups where you can cram in another DPS (like in LotRO) that should drop queueing times by about one third...
The "alternate" spec for dps used to be CC. But long ago Blizzard removed the need for CC. And even if they didn't there would be little need due to most characters outgearing the dungeons.

I dont' get all these people not liking dual spec. I guess they didn't play holy priests. Sorry I don't have time to grind out an extra 50 gold per day on top of the gold I needed to grind out for raiding, on top of the mats I needed to gather for my raiding guild. Seriously "oh no people are having fun"
I'm not too worried. If tons of dps rerolled tank or healer the queues for dps will shorten.
It might be fun to have DPS classes with viable non-DPS roles. Rogues have certainly tanked before, (remember dodge-tanking Brutalus stories?) and it might be fun to see a Mage with spells like Chill Shield, Arcane Mending, and Cauterizing Flames. Even if they don't get a chassis strong enough for end game raiding, it would be nice to see them able to pick up the other roles in at least a secondary manner good enough for normal and possibly heroic dungeons.
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