One of the biggest issues the “pure” DPS classes seem to concern themselves with are classes that are able to perform both DPS and some other role, if geared and specced for it.
The Purist types, i.e. mages and rogues, take the statement “jack of all trades” as a law written in stone, rather than a turn of phrase that describes the class conveniently.
Mages and Boomkins, for instance. The argument goes that because the boomkin is capable of tanking, healing, or even doing melee DPS if he so wished is a perfecttly valid reason for the mage to always perform better in a ranged DPS role.
After all, the mage can only perform the one role, so logically the mage should be better at it than any hybrid could hope to be.
Now, some hybrids throw up the argument that they have to collect gear and respec in order to actually fulfill any other role meaningfully. But really, that argument holds as much weight as “Bah, I can’t go eat yogurt whenever I want! I need to get a spoon from the drawer first!” Sure, it’s a restriction, but it isn’t one that can’t be overcome with even a modicum of effort.
If you’re in a low end guild, i.e. present day Karazhan type, I can guarantee it will be very easy to throw together some gear that would perform admirably for whatever your new role is. You may not be able to tank Prince right off the bat, but you’ll be a fine tank for everything else.
If you’re in a high end guild, say present day BT/SWP type, I can guarantee that if you’re specced Resto, and the guild suddenly has a crushing need for a feral tank, it will not be difficult to get a tanking set built, if you don’t already have one.
Not a lot of guilds are going to say “Here’s some tanking leather for druids, but both druids are resto spec. Disenchant them!”
I guess they could say that, if they were stupid.
Point is, it is a very small hurdle. And either way, a pointless argument.
Let’s look at a raid in WoW. 25 people.
We have 5 tanks up front, getting the ever living snot beaten out of their swords/shields/hopes/faces, depending on class. We have 8 healers chilling out at the back, making sure all of their friends are alive. Hopefully, these healer types are friends with tanks.
And everyone else is a DPS guy. Only purpose is beating the ever living snot out of whatever the raid is killing. Giant murlocs, nagas, bicycles, emo kids, whatever.
The way classes are chosen is how well they fit their role in a raid environment. There is never a need for a hybrid to do anything… hybrid-y. That feral tank isn’t going to suddenly sit back and heal everyone. That shaman isn’t going to effortlessly switch between healing the melee DPS and joining them. That’s not the way it works.
You don’t bring a paladin tank to SSC just because he can heal better than a warrior tank can. You bring him because a paladin tank is a damn fine tank.
Once you step into a large scale raid, anything “hybrid” no longer counts for anything. All that matters is how well you fill the role you were brought along to fulfill.
You head into a raid as a Boomkin. You’re job is to deal as much damage as possible without yoinking threat from the tank. That you can tank or heal or whatever is irrelevant at this point. The raid already has tanks. The raid already has healers. You are there to deal damage. Just like all the other casters.
And that is why a disparity between a hybrid class in a DPS role and a pure DPS class cannot exist.
Raids don’t bring along a hybrid because they have the capability, however flimsy it is, to fulfill some other role. If, say, an elemental shaman and a mage were at the exact same gear level, but the shaman was only capable of outputting 70% of the damage the mage was, why bring the shaman in the first place?
Utility? That’s kinda been thrown out the window now, hasn’t it?
A raiding environment does not cater to hybridism in any way, shape or form.
Fact is, if a DPS class is not capable of producing close enough numbers to another DPS class, they simply will not raid. It’s not like this doesn’t happen.
Remember retribution paladins about a year ago? “LF1M DPS” “I can DPS!” “But you’re a Paladin…?” “So? I’m ret! I can dea-” “No thanks, we’ll take that mage standing behind you.” “But-”
Or more recently, where mages are routinely ditched in favour of… well, pretty much anything, by simple fact that the class, as a whole, is not able to perform at the same level as others. Remember that world record DPS thing on Brutallus? Remember how there weren’t any mages in that raid?
That is something that, I’m sure, nobody wants to see happen.
That is why Blizzards intention with the whole “raid with who you want to raid with” rather than who you have to raid with is such a good idea.
What is the advantage of bringing an elemental shaman over a mage? Or a shadow priest? Or a boomkin? Or a hunter?
In a perfect world, there would not be an inherent advantage in any of those classes.
This isn’t to say there shouldn’t be pros and cons to each class. There definitely should be distinct differences between the different DPS classes. But their core role, that of dealing damage, needs to be roughly the same.
Let’s say you’re choosing a pillow. Do you want the feather pillow? Maybe you’re allergic to feathers. Maybe you want the self heated one instead. Or maybe that other one over there scientifically proven to be good for your back. Or maybe that gigantic white one over there. It’s big enough to use as a blanket. Or maybe you’re lonely for some company, and the pillow with the fake arm is just right for you.
Point is, they are all pillows. Just different types of pillows.
That’s what is being aimed for in Wrath. Here’s hoping they pull it off.