Sunday, March 15, 2009

Reflection on Hybrids: Disadvantaging the Purists

(hī'brĭd) Something of mixed origin or composition 

I was listening to NPR this week and there was a piece called Say it Loud: I’m Hybrid and I’m Proud. This piece is directed at Americans (like myself) who have a hybrid black-white president, with origins from Kenya and Kansas, for the first time. However, most of what was said is applicable to anyone. America is not the only place with citizens of mixed origins (Italian-Americans), we are not ever close to the only county driving hybrid cars, nor are we the sole birthplace of hybrid art made of two or more mediums. If you are not American (and many of the best blogs I read are not) I hope you find a kernel or truth in this article if you chose to read it. But now on to what this piece got me thinking about… 

When I hear the word ‘hybrid’, sometimes I think car, but more times I think atomic orbital, base-ship jumping cylon (Battlestar Galactica), or … role in WoW. Since this is a WoW blog, it is likely you thought of the later when you chose to read this post. The piece from NPR focused on how a hybrid anything is stronger, more enduring, and even better than a non-hybrid. 

Druids, the most hybridized class, can fall into thinking this of themselves. Why not, when we are treated that way? Need a good off-tank? Bring a feral druid who can also put out competitive physical DPS. Too many tanks but not enough healers tonight? The same bear can respect resto. Fight not friendly to melee? Lolkitty can turn into a Critchicken for a few gold. Say it Loud exalted the hybrid. In real life, this may be a worthy thing to do, since anyone can go out and get a piece of hybridization for their life – whether it’s a car or a foreign significant other. Those who do are better off than the ones who try to be purest, Say it Loud describes, and I tend to agree. 

Well, why don’t we do it in WoW too? Let’s exalt the druid as the best class to play because of its hybrid flexibility alone! Sure, on a druid blog that’s okay too, even if some would disagree. But that’s not what I’m here to write about. Instead, I’m here to caution you against some things I’ve heard and this sinking feeling I have: Being a hybrid class could give us druids very unfair advantages over other people in raids when dual specs come out. This is not good things coming to us because we are awesome players – but good things coming to us at the expense of other, purer classes. 
When dual specs were announced, Yakra went right to the drawing board to figure out how dual specs would affect our DKP system. Right now everyone declares one main role (Tank, Heal, Magic DPS, or Physical DPS), this role is required to be in top shape for every raid and you can bid as much DKP on loot for this role. All other roles are off-spec and you can not bid more than 30 DKP. Yakra wants to create an incentive for hybrid classes to have two raid worthy specs and be fully ready to fill two different roles in the raid. Yakra wants to do this by raising the maximum off-spec bid for secondary roles. 

This idea made me very very scared. Yakra thought (thinks) it will be healthy for a guild. I think it could be painfully unfair to those classes who cannot chose to fill a second role. No, purists probably wouldn’t be competing for raid spots against hybrids very often, since the ‘toon with the needed primary role would be taken over someone who had the role as their secondary spec. But what if… what if the experience and gear of the person with the secondary spec was just a little higher than the primary spec’ed player? Or what if it is easier to have lower DPS from a ‘healer’ than it is to teach a new-to-the-guild mage not to stand in fire? Now the hybrids are taking raid time directly from the purists. 
‘But our guild is above that!’ you say. You would never take away a new member’s chance to learn something new and give their raid slot to someone who isn’t primarily spec’ed that way. Okay, let’s say I believe you. The duel role spec’ed hybrid will still get more raid time then the purist. No more healers on right now? My opinion is that means you need to recruit more healers for your guild, but secondary spec’ing would allow you to grab a DPS-to-healer instead. Hurray for the shadow/holy priest who gets more raid time. Sucks for the hunter who doesn’t have that option. The hybrid isn’t taking a slot directly from another player, but they are still getting more raid time than another player and that can still hurt… a lot

Then to add insult to injury we are thinking about raising the DKP max bid? The same hybrid who is getting more chances to raid and more chances to see loot drop will also be inflating the DKP purists are forced to spend on their gear. It may only be by a little bit, but when tier pieces drop, that little bit can make all the difference. The pure classes could be triply screwed over by the hybrids. 
Every guild is going to handle duel spec’ing differently. I would love to hear your guild’s plan. I’m not saying don’t duel spec’. My plan is to duel spec two healing spec’s: either tank healing and raid healing or throughput and efficiency. I know many people will have one raid spec’ and one PvP/grinding spec. All I am asking is that you be very sensitive to how your choices and your guild’s choices may affect the non-hybrids in your guild. Non-hybrids are people too!

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. Even though we are hybrids, we should not be greedy or selfish enough to think we are the be all and end all of raiding for our guild. Besides, we can't heal while we are tanking, nor can we dps (very well) while healing.

    Journeys in Azeroth:



About Amy

I've been playing WoW since Easter Sunday 2005, coincidentally the same day I became engaged to my forever husband and tank Chad, aka Yakra. I have held the roles of druid class officer, healing role officer, and general secretarial type officer in two guilds. Currently, I am not playing WoW. When I'm playing, my blog, like my life, is casualcore PvE healing focused. (I love gear math!) When I'm not playing WoW... well, I can't quite tell you what this blog will be about since I have never blogged while not playing WoW! Expect to see reflections on being a married WoW player and on just being married, stories from my other RP adventures (LARPing and table top), and accounts of my life's most meaningful activity: teaching chemistry.

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