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Off-specs and TBC


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#21 Fres

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 05:19 PM

I don't understand the frenetic apprehension regarding new specs come TBC. A warrior can tank stratholme and UBRS wtih 0 talent points spent, same with healing and dps classes. Why should that change during the initial push to 70 and tip-toeing through the 5-10 man content?

Then moving forward toward the new raid instances- just as content dictated spec with the current version of WoW we play, I feel that as people experience the content in the TBC endgame that will then dictate how they will spec.

In regards to the angst over dkp-systems and gear woes: don't raid with selfish people? Just like all new loot, at first there will be a lot of drama over who gets what, then you'll get it on farm and all those arguments will seem completely pointless. On a long enough time-line everyone can get every piece of loot they want anyway.
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#22 Kalman

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 05:25 PM

And setting things up so that hybrids are useless in any role except the one they're specced for would be phenomenally poor game design.

The thing is: hybrids *aren't* useless in any role except the one they're specced for in non cutting edge content. And that's good - letting them be hybrid in 5 mans is actually very good game design.

Letting them be hybrids in 25 mans is not good game design unless it's a role specifically *requiring* a hybrid, taking advantage of their breadth rather than depth; if you need depth to be valuable (as in the existing raiding game) then making hybrids valuable is poor game design because it'll tend to eliminate the pure classes.
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#23 suicuique

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 05:26 PM

1) you find the right number of people willing to spec the right number of ways to perfeclty serve guild progression. This is fantastically unlikely.

And here I disagree.
Yes we all know that there are guildies who resent to heal, or tank and would rather dps.

Heck, i for one have only 15 points in prot ... because up till now (we're not on 4HM yet) it IS enough unless you are the designated MT of your guild.

But point being, if a deep prot tank is enormeously more effective than a half assed prot tank. I WILL spec deep into prot. Because I really enjoy tanking. And I know many paladins/druids/priests who REALLY are into healing. These are the people who I will play with. And there will be no shortage of these.

And it is even made more easy, as apparently Blizz plan to give a place to some offespecs too. As someone noted there should be no place in a raid for more than one retribution pala. But one should not forget that there are 25 places for 9 classes. So bringing 2-3 palas with "only" one being retribution specced ... I see no wrong in that.

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#24 heel

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 05:31 PM

I can only speak about my own guild. As far as I know, all of our druids are planning to stay restoration. A few paladins have expressed an interest in retribution, but I am certain that they will all stay holy if that's what ends up being best for the guild. On the priest end of things, I'm the only one in the guild who intends to raid with shadow. The reaction that this decision has received is very interesting - there are a number of players who trust that I've done the math and think it's worth a shot, while there are others who are convinced that switching to an offspec will be detrimental to the guild. I would expect that this situation is a very common one. In any case, I'm sure that we'll have the final word on offspecs within a month after the expansion. If they are worth a raid spot, then I am quite sure that members of my guild will respec as necessary and step up to fill the role. On the other hand, if offspecs don't live up to expectation, it'll be business as usual. I have spent quite a bit of time collecting shadow gear, but if my raid performance isn't what I want it to be, I will not hesitate in immediately switching back to holy. I expect that the story will is the same for a lot of people, and in the end, this is more about your guild than it is the mechanics of the game. Good players will do what's needed of them. Bad players won't. Take a look at your guild today. Have a lot of druids with moonkin and hunters with wyvern sting? If so, you might be in trouble after the expansion. If, on the other hand, everyone is sporting an optimal raid spec, you probably have nothing to worry about.

#25 Cathela

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 05:34 PM

(3) Bring people who can actually switch roles as needed for any given fight.

I don't disagree, however, the encounter design we see plays a massive part in this. The complete lack of variety in MC killed any real need for anything outside of a focused role, and there wasn't much of an improvement in BWL except that you need more tanks than before. AQ is a marginal improvement, but Naxx is the real dealbuster. There's a completely different "ideal"' raid set up for almost every single boss within the zone, which sounds like a great way to promote hybrid use. You know you'll want/need 8 tanks for 4H and at least 2 healers per group for Sapphiron, but you still have to get through Patchwerk with only 16 slots left for DPS classes. Using hybrids appears to be the answer on the surface, but the problem is the encounters are so maddeningly difficult that the difference between cat or retnoob DPS and true rogue DPS can be the difference between victory and defeat. If the requirements for winning each fight in Naxx were loosened by about 10%, then really focused guild with deep benches would beat it much more quickly by swapping people in and out, but at the same time it would make the fights much more hybrid friendly. Hybrids will never defeat a deep bench of focused players, and that's a massive problem with the perception of how quickly raid content is completed by the player base.

I agree with what you're saying here about the existing 40-mans, especially Naxx. But I think it's reasonable to treat Naxx as an aberration. Right now, the raiding game has been stuck at 60 for close to two years, so they've had to ramp the difficulty level up that far just to keep things interesting.

If Blizzard sticks to their one-expansion-per-year plan from here on out, then they shouldn't need to make another instance that squeezes character ability as hard as Naxx does right now. They should be able to keep things in the future more like the situation you describe (or so we can hope.)

Also, 25-man content will have to be more hybrid-friendly than 40-man content, to account for the fact that for most guilds the class makeup is going to vary more widely from night to night.
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#26 Cathela

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 05:47 PM

Letting them be hybrids in 25 mans is not good game design unless it's a role specifically *requiring* a hybrid, taking advantage of their breadth rather than depth; if you need depth to be valuable (as in the existing raiding game) then making hybrids valuable is poor game design because it'll tend to eliminate the pure classes.

No it won't. In fact, the hybrid classes are specifically designed not to replace pure classes. Look at Blood Frenzy, Sanctified Crusader, and Leader of the Pack. These talents all add to raid dps, but they're useless unless you actually have dps classes available to take advantage of them. A Ret paladin might boost raid dps by as much as a rogue or a mage, but to do that actually depends on having rogues and mages there in the first place.
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#27 Mearis

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 05:56 PM

That exact design that you mention that Blizzard seems to be pushing hardcore for (powerful offspecs, but their power lies in enhancing pure classes) has its drawbacks, noticibly, incredibly poor stacking. One paladin for judgements refresh might be useful but two aren't. This is what I was in part concerned about, since I imagine a lot of people will be wanting to be that 'one' paladin, while the rest end up healing.

The warrior who replied with a 31/5/15 spec is exactly what I imagine expansion looking like. People taking 'enough' to be able to fullfil their mandatory raid role if required, and the rest DPS or PvP talents; the equivalent of 0/30/21 druids, etc, basically builds that are sufficiently proficient at raiding but give a nod to pvp and being able to be independent.

#28 Fres

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 05:59 PM

Letting them be hybrids in 25 mans is not good game design unless it's a role specifically *requiring* a hybrid, taking advantage of their breadth rather than depth; if you need depth to be valuable (as in the existing raiding game) then making hybrids valuable is poor game design because it'll tend to eliminate the pure classes.

No it won't. In fact, the hybrid classes are specifically designed not to replace pure classes.

just a heads up, i think he was referring to "pure" healers and tanks. To further develop your idea, it would only make sense if shadow priests and other offspec healers could provide some sort of buff to the tank that increases healing done to him to offset their decrease in effectiveness. In that case hybrids or offspecs would be "enablers" for main specs.
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#29 Gryn(AD EU)

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 06:06 PM

Vampiric embrace can be used to help healing and lighten the load on groups so other healers can focus more on the tank. this tactic is allready used with great succes on for example thaddius.

Vampiric touch can either be used to support the caster dps with more mana so they can do higher mana costing spells, which ups their dps, or the shadowpriest can be placed in a group with healers, regenning their mana alot so they can heal for more.

this is in addition to the raidwide buffs to caster dps the shadowpriest offers.

pretty effective use of a flexibile "offspec" imo.

#30 FunBall

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 06:10 PM

The talent specs make me think that Blizzard is trying to make it viable to bring along at least one off-spec person to any given raid. Right now in Naxx, you take a pretty big DPS hit by bringing along a shadow priest or a balance/feral druid or even a mortal strike warrior.

However, with the new talent trees, if someone is MS and has the Blood Frenzy talent, all melee DPS goes up 4%. That makes up some of the difference from the fury warrior that you could have also brought. A shadow priest with Misery adds an additional 5% spell damage to a fight. A balance druid with improved FF adds 3% hit to all melee.

It's not a world where you would stack your raid with shadow priests, balance druids, and MS warriors. And these particular classes probably won't put up damage numbers much bigger than they can already. They won't likely start dominating DPS charts. Overall raid DPS should be impacted less by bringing in the occassional off-spec.

#31 Cathela

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 06:35 PM

just a heads up, i think he was referring to "pure" healers and tanks. To further develop your idea, it would only make sense if shadow priests and other offspec healers could provide some sort of buff to the tank that increases healing done to him to offset their decrease in effectiveness. In that case hybrids or offspecs would be "enablers" for main specs.

Well, for a Ret paladin Improved Sanctity Aura does just that, and a Prot paladin can get improved resistance auras that would be handy against elemental damage.

Greyn pointed out where shadow priests bring raid utility.
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#32 Dakous

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 06:40 PM

I rerolled from a rogue to a druid. I mean, why be a rogue when warriors do that just as well, AND can tank? I routinely make fun of people who roll paladins and expect to do awesome DPS AND heal because why would you ever intentionally design a class that's strictly better than another (which is the premise of that line of thinking - that it's a warrior PLUS heals). I'm currently a feral druid and I'm often seen stinking up threads with my pro-bear propoganda. I also routinely stink up the healing meters with low body counts, live tanks, high throughput, low overheal (although I'm sure there's some intangible I'm missing).

So all of that summed up as I'm the most biased perspective on the following loaded statement:

Does it not seem like WoW is a giant game of "Not It" with regards to who gets stuck with the healing duty?

"Sorry, ha ha, I rolled a class that can't heal, you get to keep me alive while I'm actually having fun."

Don't get me wrong - I love healing. I think it's vastly easier than tanking or DPSing. I've got the ADHDs so playing whack a mole is just giving me 40 targets around which to shift my attention, rather than being DPS/tank where there's one target onto which one "focus"es (a foreign concept to the ADHDer, you see).

But I really see this discussion everywhere (and I'm a part of the pollution, I'm sorry!), and it just occured to me that really, the question becomes, "Well, who's going to heal? Bandage rogues? DUHHHHH." Which sort of strikes home the idea that this entire discussion is predicated in one simple paradigm.

That they called "not it" by rolling warrior in the first place, and there's no backsies.

To weave this to the OP, I think that nothing will change sociologically, because - hey - not it.
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#33 Fenrus

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 06:56 PM

I will always maintain that the problem of "pigeon holing" hybrids has nothing to do with itemization or class mechanics, it has to do with encounter design. Up untill now, Blizzard has designed most encounters following a paradigm of there being specific tasks/jobs/roles that have to be fullfilled in order to defeat the encounters, and the difficulty of the encounter is based around these jobs. As long as there are encounters that are designed around this paradigm, hybrids will be pigeon holed into one job or another. If there's a big bad boss that hits really hard and needs to be tanked, a warrior will always be the best choice to tank it. Simply buffing paladins, shaman, or druids so they can tank it as well or better than a warrior would be imbalancing. I think the problem most people who play WoW have is that they find it difficult to envision an encounter that is "hard" without following this formula.

So how do you make an encounter difficult/challenging without following the "best class for the job" formula? I think Blizzard has already introduced some ideas that follow a rule of more general difficulty.

An example might be encounters that require special movement and positioning from all classes. Like Dark Glare on C'Thun, Thaddius polarity shifts, or the Heigan Dance. Basically, if you don't move at the right time you die regardless of what class you are. Or the spores on Loatheb, your group has to get a spore at the right time or you won't kill him. These are all mechanics that are not class dependant and are still somewhat challenging (well, I personally don't find them that difficult but apparently they are for some people :P )

What I'm getting at is encounters need to be designed not around classes, but around a more general difficulty. Sure, things should still need to be healed, tanked, and DPSed - but these jobs shouldn't be what makes an encounter challenging, all these jobs should be able to be accomplished by hybrids or pure classes or whatever without having an effect on the overall difficulty of the encounter.

I have no idea what the encounters will be like in BC, but I'm hoping they move this direction.

#34 Oaken

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 07:18 PM

Blizzard has defined two "actual" 'hybrid' classes in the game, the paladin and the shaman. Instant cast spells of both of these classes do not restart the weapon swing timer. This is how hybrids were defined. A druid is much more a healer than a "dps" class.

Healers rerolling? I don't think so. Some people take pride in the fact that yes, a healer class is more difficult to play than a dps class. They feel like they are contributing more to a raid environment and in many cases they are. I really don't foresee a major change in the number of poeple that play their respective classes right now except for maybe more warlocks. Paladins and Shamans are in a different ball game really though seeing as they have just been introduced cross-faction.

Animal forms are not as powerful as their counterpart classes

Keep that in mind.

Please, let's not try to justify pigeon-holing people into roles based on Cheshire Cat arguments. I don't think there is a Druid out there who cares how you define what the word hybrid means because it has no impact on what I am and am not capable of. And Blizzard's definition of what druids are and are not has changed multiple times on their website as well so its no more valid a source of information.

Is a druid more a healer than a dps class? Certainly today we are. That's not the point of this thread though, is it?

Short answer is that I don't know its possible to even begin to speculate on the impact this will have. It is so dependent upon the instances, upon how the talents work out, and what bench a particular guild will have. I don't envision a future where nobody wants to heal (although the "not it!" analogy above is a pretty funny one) because there are some people who really like that today. How strongly top-tier guilds stick to their min/maxing practices (8 warriors in a raid!) and swap people on and off the bench according to need we don't know at this point because we don't know if hybrids bring anything to the new raids that they don't bring today.

#35 Vema

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 07:23 PM

Vampiric embrace can be used to help healing and lighten the load on groups so other healers can focus more on the tank. this tactic is allready used with great succes on for example thaddius.

Vampiric touch can either be used to support the caster dps with more mana so they can do higher mana costing spells, which ups their dps, or the shadowpriest can be placed in a group with healers, regenning their mana alot so they can heal for more.

this is in addition to the raidwide buffs to caster dps the shadowpriest offers.

pretty effective use of a flexibile "offspec" imo.

Some of that is true right now, loatheb is a fight where a shadowpriest can heal for more then any healer, but thats because of a fight limiting mechanic. I can tell you that just about every person in our guild likes having me in the party because VE, while not gamebreaking, helps smooth out the aoe in most fights. VT actually takes away from the flexibility of a shadow priest slightly as it becomes much more valuable to be in a group with all mana users, while rogues/warriors/ferals do eat alot of AoE VE can heal.

The biggest concern I have with how hybrid design is this

That exact design that you mention that Blizzard seems to be pushing hardcore for (powerful offspecs, but their power lies in enhancing pure classes) has its drawbacks, noticibly, incredibly poor stacking. One paladin for judgements refresh might be useful but two aren't. This is what I was in part concerned about, since I imagine a lot of people will be wanting to be that 'one' paladin, while the rest end up healing.

The value of a second shadowpriest to the raid is significantly less, the first can apply shadow weaving and misery, while restoring health/mana, while the second can only act as a battery. Similarly the first retnoob can refresh judgements, but the second is just a strange healer/dpser that isn’t that great at either.

Blizzard has designed hybrids in a pretty similar way, as most of them provide a couple things.
1) Raid Wide Bonus (Shadow Weaving/Misery/Crusader Strike/Blood Frenzy/Imp Faerie Fire/Bear Tank)
2) Specific Party Bonus (VT/VE/Aura's/Totems/Shouts)
3) Some DPS level

It remains to be seen, but from what we know right now nothing from 1) stacks. If you are a raid leader and want to bring a hybrid you have to decide that the sum of these three is more valuable then a pure replacement. If your current guild has two priests that want to spec shadow, I wouldn’t want to be the one who is newer/lesser geared.

Hybrids will be valuable, because they provide some indirect bonus to dps/healing that no pure class can replicate, but I doubt most guilds will have more then 2 of any hybrid, due to the reduced raid numbers, and under most ideal situations only 1 would be on any given raid.

#36 Tyvi

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 07:48 PM

I just hope we don't see a huge influx of feral and moonkin druids. I've read threads about druids believing they are going to be on-par with mage/rogue dps as far as end game goes and feral druids thinking the same. All of us have seem the short clip of the feral druid hitting for 2500ish and even one major crit for 4000 but really, I don't think that those specs are going to be more viable than a druid that was spec'd for healing.

How is that a bad thing? If Feral and Moonkin are as viable as healing is right now, where is the problem? Or does your guild not bring any Druids at all for raids? :P

#37 Feorthas

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 08:35 PM

How is that a bad thing? If Feral and Moonkin are as viable as healing is right now, where is the problem? Or does your guild not bring any Druids at all for raids? :P

The 'off-spec'--because anything but healing for a multi-faceted class is an off-spec apparently--builds reaching raid-viability is seen as threatening by pure classes because they don't want to lose their raid slots.

Examples:

-Why would you bring a rogue if a fury warrior can do the same damage AND tank in a different set of gear?

-Hell, why would you bring a fury warrior if a feral druid can tank as well, dps as well, and cast the all-important heal spells better than a fury warrior? (disclaimer: not saying this is true as of right now or as of v2.01, just making the most extreme example possible)

---

In all honesty, for a hybrid, or multi-faceted, class, an off-spec should be anything that concentrates heavily in one talent tree at the expense of the others. In a perfect world, a 'correctly' specced druid would have points in every tree, helping them do everything somewhat effectively and wearing gear very similar to genesis; however, in a min/max environment, that just isn't viable.
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#38 snape

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 08:54 PM

I think the quality of the player is vastly more important than the "quality of the talents spent". My main is a 60 Mage. I decided to try out a Druid (after a Priest) because I wanted something to melee with and because it's much more interesting than a Rogue. I (currently) am 0/30/21.

So I'm not an optimal healer. However, when called upon (which is 80% or more in the 5-mans that my Druid is currently running), I heal just fine. Because I'm skilled.

I absolutely trust my raiding Druids to heal well in whatever spec they choose because the are incredibly skilled. At some point, due to encounter design, I expect this to change and for deep Resto to be at least preferred, but for levelling up and the 5- to 10-man instances, spec what you want! I know I'm going to be partying with very good players, and they will get the job done. If, in fact, they can't - they are intelligent enough to respec and fix it.

And I think that's how hybrids should work.

#39 Nite_Moogle

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 09:28 PM

So I'm not an optimal healer. However, when called upon (which is 80% or more in the 5-mans that my Druid is currently running), I heal just fine. Because I'm skilled.

This is analogous to a tank saying that he holds aggro fine after he gets critted for massive damage because he's at 430 Defense with 0/5 Anticipation. He is skilled at what he does, but his skill has no effect on preventing the crit. A skilled healer without healing talents is just as good as a shitty healer with healer talents: they are both average at healing. The "good enough" mentality is maddening to anyone who wants to really progress through content. Just because it is much more difficult to pin blame on a single healer in a raid because of the sheer volume of numbers involved doesn't excuse a healer from being effective when they need to be.

No it won't. In fact, the hybrid classes are specifically designed not to replace pure classes. Look at Blood Frenzy, Sanctified Crusader, and Leader of the Pack. These talents all add to raid dps, but they're useless unless you actually have dps classes available to take advantage of them. A Ret paladin might boost raid dps by as much as a rogue or a mage, but to do that actually depends on having rogues and mages there in the first place.

I wanted to re-state this because it's completely true. However it also points to the biggest flaw in the way hybrids are handled: they are completely dependent on other non-hybrids. A group that has a Ret Paladin, Enhancement Shaman, Shadow Priest, Feral Druid and an Arms Warrior all have awesome synergy abilities, but none can really take full advantage of anyone else's. The Paladin's Crusader Strike ability is reduced to DPS since he has no other Judgements to keep up, the Shaman's Unbridled Rage is wasted on the priest and his totems point toward mutually exclusive goals, the Druid's ILoTP butts heads with Vampiric Embrace, the Vampiric Touch is lost on the Warrior and probably not even necessary in such a group, and the Warrior has 3 half-assed melee classes taking advantage of his deep wounds debuff. Hybrids do not feed well off other hybrids.

If you take these five and split them up amongst a 25-man raid in the proper groups, their abilities are extremely powerful. The Paladin can keep another Paladin's Judgements up and his crit bonus is extended to the whole raid, Unbridled Rage and totems go to 4 melee classes, Vampiric Touch can give mana to 4 casters, there are far more people to take advantage of the deep wounds debuff. However it is the context of the raid that makes them powerful. They require "core" classes or sheer numbers for their abilities to become worthwhile, and very few of them stack well.

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#40 Lord BEEF

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 09:38 PM

However it also points to the biggest flaw in the way hybrids are handled: they are completely dependent on other non-hybrids.

- snip -

They require "core" classes or sheer numbers for their abilities to become worthwhile, and very few of them stack well.

I would argue that it's not a flaw at all, rather a conscious design decision.
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