The Hybrid Pedigree

This is a guest post by Mimetir, an oversized owl of a raid leader on The Venture Co (EU). You can find her twitter feed at http://twitter.com/juddr.

I understood little about the game back when I was a young whippersnapper of a hammer-wielding paladin but I did know that those rather unfriendly zombies were hitting my party real hard now and I’d better cast that flashy light spell because no-one else did anything similar. Nowadays my boomkin suspects her claws are actually roots given the amount of times she’s dropped out of form to heal at a critical point. On the rare occasions my guild’s feral gets to DPS, he often finds himself bearing up and growling things off of the clothies. Even so, I regularly hear players bemoan that the hybrid classes are forgetting their utility and simply focusing on their single, chosen role. These comments usually come after an unsuccessful event or fight; a little help in healing from the paladin might have given the edge, or if the cat had just engaged bear’s-behind mode to help the overwhelmed tank out for a few seconds… A hybrid forgetting their flexibility just like a warlock forgetting to soulstone a healer. It’s something so integral to their class that they should do it automatically.

Hybrid classes allow a player to perform any and all of the three roles a group may require. Need a tank, DPS or healer? I can do all of those, says your paladin, druid or shaman. Admittedly the shaman can only tank under certain circumstances such as pre-60 instances, but this flexibility is something which makes these classes very popular choices for groups and also for players. Data shows that many players choose the paladin class, second only to the death knight – no surprise given the surge of DK mains when WotLK hit.

ConfusedKin

Still, some players are not able or willing to play a class to its full hybrid potential. I think there are three types of hybrid players:

  • Those who are able to play different roles or specs for a sustained length of time – these are more common since the availability of dual spec
  • Those who are able to respond to a situation by switching into another playstyle and back out at the drop of a hat
  • Those who cannot or refuse to do either of these things and focus on one task.

I’ve said that a hybrid should know their class’ utility backwards – but should they? If hybrid players are a minority now this suggests that they are a dying breed. WoW is a lot easier to play than its previous incarnations, quibble as you like over the finer points. Perhaps gameplay no longer requires sharp hybrids with an eye always on utilizing their out-of-spec abilities. Mayhap the game has made facerolling, overpowered roles the hero of the day and has sidelined hybrid utility as a luxury addition to a raid. That would certainly explain why there seem to be less active hybrid players out there: Look, we are indeed all just DPS. Do you, as a raid leader or officer, notice more if your hybrid classes or your top DPS dies early on?

Raid setup is a lot more flexible nowadays and most encounters can be downed by any combination of characters. I have heard that level 60 raid setup required a lot more thought and arguably a different approach from the player to what they could contribute with their class. I often wonder whether a willingness to change roles at the drop of a hat is a long-term satisfying playstyle for hybrid classes. The cons spring to mind immediately. Two healers just went down; you the boomkin needs to heal, while the feral waits for an opportune moment to combat resurrect the tree. There goes your rotation. There goes your proc and DPS concentration. There goes the raid’s moonkin aura; the new order of the day is the stress of switching mental gears and trying to find your healing spells in order to keep the raid up. Your place on the DPS meter – sixth of ten. Yet again. Nevermind.

That shouldn’t matter of course – you have just saved the raid from a potential wipe: congrats, have a pat on the feathery back. Now get back to eclipsing.

Having a pivotal role in averting a wipe can be hugely satisfying. I would bet, though, that many hybrids find it wearisome to keep doing so. Speccing into a particular role means that you enjoy doing that and intend to do your best at it. A player constantly carrying the hybrid "millstone" may find that they don’t meet their own spec specific targets or feel that they are achieving their best. It can also be argued that WoW is a more competitive place than it used to be and many players no longer look deeper at performance than your DPS done during a fight, no mind that you spent half of it healing. That, too, can lead to friction in a group and for some players a disinclination to perform hybrid tasks or play that character at all – these are things which should be watched by both the player themselves and a prudent raid leader.

That said I believe that successful hybrids are still prized raid members. if you can perform whatever is needed without a moment’s notice then you may get a reputation as reliable and a quick thinker – attributes likely to get you a spot in the raid as much as the top DPSer of your guild. And wearisome though the millstone may be, it’s there as a reminder that you’re playing one of the most situationally flexible classes in WoW and that there are always new tricks to learn for a jack of all trades. What do you think? Do hybrid players play their classes as well as they could? Do you as a hybrid enjoy being pulled from pillar to post? Do your hybrid raiders matter more as flexible players or solid DPSers?

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. As a hybrid myself I LOVE that I can dps one minute and heal the next. I love the versatility and if I wanted to dps all the time I would have chosen another class, I think.

    I guess I’m not entirely sure that hybrids are a dying breed though. Sure we can’t seem to get a steady Boomkin in our guild, but we don’t lack for Shamans, Druids, Pallies and Priests. All eager to DPS/tank if you give them the chance.

    Funny how nobody ever volunteers to heal 😛
    .-= Cassandri´s last blog ..OMG You Got Your Ass Kicked by a Girl! =-.

  2. Paladins simply don’t have the flexibility other hybrids do. Our ability to Tank, Heal or DPS is driven by our talent choice. A non Holy Paladin will be OOM in 2 heals, a non Ret Paldadin won’t come close to even 1.5k dps and a non Prot Paladin will get one shot by a boss like anyone else.
    .-= Honorshammer´s last blog ..Finally Facing The Brood Mother =-.

  3. Much as Honors said about paladins now also applies to some druid specs – as a feral druid I can cast maybe… 4/5 heals before I go oom? Also, if I spec for kitty dps I have to miss out on some of the big survival talents to the point of being squishy as a kitty and vice versa – I can’t dps too well in a full-bear spec.

    Same goes for my shaman – crap dps as resto and oom healing anything in the other two specs rather quickly. It’s really only boomkins and shadow priests who can have any success dropping out to heal and even then it’s not superb.

    Hybrids got better at their chosen roles within a spec but much of the flexibility was removed. On the one side, it’s a bit of a bummer if you were used to flipping between ‘modes’ and helping in all aspects, but on the other you should be able to do what you want within a given role without being asked to ‘offheal’ etc. I used to hate that on my druid – I was expected to back up heal when I didn’t have a clue how to do that (haha a lots changed since those days) and had prot warriors take my spot because ‘hybrids aren’t as good’.

    This is something you simply don’t see in many raids much any more – maybe in the odd 5-man where mobs don’t hit so hard and the cost of failure isn’t so high…

    /hug
    .-= Aurik´s last blog ..So… What Now? =-.

  4. Hybrid classes are still very much prized classes in my raids. I’m not sure what other raid-leader policies are, but in my raids, if you’re a hybrid class that knows how and does utilize all of your abilities (i.e. DPSers healing on the fly, Off-tanks DPSing certain bosses or picking up some heals, Holy Pallys throwing in a little DPS), you will always have a spot in my raid. My 10-man raids almost always have 2 pallys, 2 druids, and a shammy – the ability for everyone to do something a little extra, prevents wipes and I believe makes it more interesting for everyone. Alternatively, if you’re one of the hybrid classes and refuse or can’t do any of the above, you won’t get a second invite from me (no matter how good your DPS, healing or tanking abilities are).

  5. @Honorshammer That’s certainly true but we’ve had Ret Pallies “heal” the portal phase in Yogg 10 just using their instant (Holy Shock?) cooldown, and a Flash here or there when needed. It’s a little thing, but it meant we could scale down to 2 full time healers for Yogg+1.
    .-= Cassandri´s last blog ..OMG You Got Your Ass Kicked by a Girl! =-.

  6. Nice article, Mimetir. I don’t know if hybrids are a dying breed or not, but here’s a couple of my thoughts on the subject.

    As a Holy Paladin, I am very limited in my ability to switch roles in mid-fight. If incoming damage is light, I will do what I can to help out on dps, but I’m not going to provide a whole lot. If something happens to the tank and I feel like I absolutely MUST pull something off a clothie, I *might* surive one or two hits from trash, but a boss will likely one-shot me. We joke around in our guild about wearing ‘paper plate’. In this case it’s far easier for a Ret Pally to do emergency heals or tank (if he can swap in a shield quickly enough) than for a Holy to switch roles on the fly.

    The other issue I see is that when expansions add 10 levels, they’re also adding in new talents. I believe that this makes each tree diverge further from each other, making each ‘spec’ more specialized. This contributes to the problem mentioned above. The really good talents that are needed for a particular role are out of reach of someone of the other spec, which means they are less able to jump in in an emergency. I think this sometimes leads to a thought process where the player believes his spec IS the class, i.e, ‘I am a Retadin, I deal damage. Period.’

    The best player I know has saved our raids many times because he will jump in and tank in an emergency, or heal when I do something stupid and die (he’s a ret pally). He’s been playing a long time and gets more out of his toon than anyone I’ve ever seen; I sometimes think he really enjoys when the raid goes pear-shaped, specifically because it lets him use everything he’s got. I’m not sure how many people are around who think like that.

  7. As a resto – balance dualspec hybrid, I can say that it’s actually really hard to play a good role-switching hybrid on the fly, and that it’s a lot easier to specialize and be really good at one thing. I do a good job of filling a healing-DPS hybrid role because I’ve been pretty much dedicated to this one class for a long time and really worked at being good at more than one role.

    Our 10-man raids really like having a role switcher in them to go between healing and DPS, so we have 2 druids in our guild who will heal for some fights, and DPS for others, depending on the healing requirements for that raid. However, we really only need one role switcher in any particular raid (even 25-mans), so there is still a lot of room for people who are focused on a single role.

  8. I’m a Druid, Balance/Resto dual-specced. I spend most of my time as a Moonkin (100% of the time during end-game content), but sometimes will heal for lower content.

    It’s not the lack of knowledge of resto that doesn’t make me use the spec (I was full-time resto during endgame BC/early Wrath), but rather that I just prefer the playstyle of Moonkin – I have become bored of being a healer.

    At the moment, I changed my spec around a bit and am mainly now using resto for PvP scenarios, hoping to get in to arena soon when I get more resil gear.

  9. My main Alt is a Resto/Balance Druid. I vastly prefer healing, but have gotten pretty good at dps and do maintain a dps set. I will not tank and think Kitty form is only useful to stealth or dash. I play my class the way that I want to. I play the roles that I enjoy and only those roles. I have once dropped into bear form to tank after a tank died, but only once.

    I play a druid because I enjoy the healing style and if I’m going to DPS Moonkin is enjoyable to me. I do not play a druid for the variety of roles I can play in one class. My time, My money, My class….why not play it in a way that I enjoy?

    My main is a Disc/Holy priest. Everyone in the guild regularly jokes about forcing me to take hit gear so I can go shadow. I do not like the spec, I see no reason to force myself to play it. I do see the value in classes speccing for 2 different roles, but I do place my own enjoyment of the game above that and I’d never require another person to play a role that they do not enjoy.

    In my opinion playing a Hybrid Class does not mean you yourself must play it as such.

  10. As others have said, doing the off-spec thing incurs a large penalty.

    As a Moonkin, my Rejuv heals for roughly 300 HPS and my Nourish is worth about 3000 HPS. As resto, change ‘3’ to ‘7’. HPM for Rejuv is about 10 for Moonkin (and Balance healing will have very low mana regen) compared to 35+ HPM for resto.

    Non-dps things to do as a Moonkin:

    1) Remove Curse/Abolish Poison/Rebirth: Always

    2) CC: As needed.

    3) Innervate (someone else)/Tranquility: Common

    4) Other heals: Rarely as useful as DPS (although in PvP this moves up to “common”).

    5) Growl/Challenging Roar: Extremely rare. Only to extend a fight by a few seconds (don’t use these if a real tank is still alive, since you might steal a target he just taunted). Can make an enraged boss run across the room one or two extra times, just possibly providing time for a kill.

  11. I think some are missing the point of the post.

    It’s not that as a hybrid you are able to perform the healing tasks perfectly or as well as a main specced healer/tank, it’s that there are times when it can be the difference between a wipe, and a kill.

    Take Freya X3. Let’s say 1 lasher manages to escape a Frost Nova, and a ground tremor is incoming. Many many times, my enhance shaman has saved our raids by throwing his Maelstrom–> Chain Heal, our Boomkin’s Tranquility..etc…

    Are his bounces hitting as hard as our Resto Shaman? No. Will his mana support endless casting? No. But he could’ve just prevented a wipe.

    Shadow Priests who use their Divine Hymn on the last few seconds of the General Vezax Animus, during Twin Valkyr.. etc..

    A well played hybrid is invaluable to a good raid. After all, dead dps is no dps.
    .-= Canes´s last blog ..\(-.-)/ =-.

  12. As another person who has liked playing hybrids in the past, I’m disappointed that classes increasingly seem to be being moved so they can only fulfill a very specific role.

    Yeah, you’re going to want a couple of players who just do insane amounts of DPS, but it’s nice to have the option of being a player who is versatile, and can help out with healing if desperate, or can suddenly tank.

    I’m not saying Bliz should force players into it, but leaving the opportunity open would be nice, as some of us experienced players find it a fun challenge. It also gives a chance for really skilled players to do fancy stuff when things go wrong.

    Finally, I’m in full agreement with Canes, there’s a lot of little off-spec things players can do to help, Kitty-res and Kitty innervate both up raid dps, and I’m sure Retridins can throw a couple of useful mid fight protective spells too.

  13. “I do not play a druid for the variety of roles I can play in one class.”

    but the question is, when stuff hits the fan, do you use your druid abilities? If you’re boomkin, do you jump in to heal if a couple of healers drop, or do you say ‘Not my job’? That is the main point of the article. Lord knows my dps is pretty crummy, but if enough damage dealers have gone down and there’s enough healers up I’ll unload whatever I can on the boss in hopes of getting it down.
    .-= jeffo´s last blog ..Can Recycling Save the World…of Warcraft? =-.

  14. As a Moonkin I’m always more than happy to jump out and heal. infact I have to remind myself that I’m not the healer! As resto, or healing on my priest, if my heals are not needed as with a lot of daily heroics I pretend to DPS. Really the problem comes with tanking. I sneer at Feral. I hate melee. I have turned bear to tank after the real tank dies and bought the dps enough time to finish them off. However what I really did is swapped into bear form, attacked, and proceeded to mash buttons hoping that the mobs would stay on me. I’m really quite ignorant about all things feral. I do not really know the abilities and I sure do not remember which abilities are on which keybinds. I stopped using kitty form and bear form the second I had enough points to get Moonkin form.

    In closing….I’ll gladly heal or DPS as my druid, but please do not ask me tank! If you do I might cry 😛

  15. @Ayslin: I’m a feral druid who feels the same about non-feral specs. It’s like druids are 2 different classes.

  16. I think Canes and Ulram hit the nail on the head. The article is about whether you have the versatility to use all your spells available, but not to use your offspec spells full time. It would be a waste of a raid slot to assume such. But a hybrid who throws out that tiny bit of hps or that quick jump in threat right when it’s needed can really be invaluable.

    When I switch to Enh on my Shaman I find myself casting CH when Maelstrom procs if the healer(s) is a bit behind, on my leveling Ret Paladin I throw out a quick FoL when Art of War procs or pick up healer-happy adds, and on my Moonkin I often throw out the odd heal when it’s really needed… because a surviving group or raid is a much happier and accomplished bunch! I know in those roles my healing and my threat is limited in comparison to those who are specced appropriately, but that doesn’t mean I should ignore my offspec abilities completely. I just throw them into my rotation when appropriate and enjoy the extra thought process and utility that playstyle brings with it.

  17. Another thought on the subject:

    I think it really helps that my UI is built around utility spells (being that my main is a healer). No matter what character I’m playing, I bind all friendly spells to my grid/clique set up so that they are easily available no matter what direction events take. Even my rogue uses it! (Yay Tricks of the Trade!)

    I can only imagine how much more of a jump it would be for someone who’s offspec abilities are farther than a quick click away to switch to another role. But then again, I’m sure there are those who do it. A heavily modified UI definitely has it’s uses, though.
    .-= Puhoi´s last blog ..puhoi: @stellery Hope you have a good flight 🙂 =-.

  18. Well, in 10-mans, I have been known to shift out of moonkin form and spot heal sometimes – but that pretty much means my DPS is going to suck terribly bad for that fight (even if it’s just a couple heals), because just shifting in and out to get off like a quick Nourish still takes away a couple spells from the DPS rotation, and costs a lot of mana. So, I only shift out of moonkin to heal if it’s going to be the difference between wiping and killing a boss (which is really, really rare).
    .-= Lissanna´s last blog ..Preparing for Cataclysm: Moonkin Talent Feedback =-.

  19. @Canes Good points: every little can help. Dropping out to do X out of spec may benefit the raid as a whole even if it reduces your primary role performance.
    The crux of the argument seems to be whether people should be obliged to do that or, as several people have fairly contested, free to play ‘pure’ in their chosen role. I note that several folks have different views on what should be thought of as automatic out of spec contributions , too. Interesting discussion around this so far.

    @jeffo and Ulram – Yes, I wonder how segregated roles are becoming due to talent trees or whether that is an easy reason to not utilize hybrid options. Anyone have an opinion on the impact of talent trees?

    Also, Jeffo, good thought on ‘paper plate’. I reckon that is something non-spec hybrid class tanks generally find – especially those swaddled in at least some cloth for whatever reason.

    @ Ayslin You make a good point there: not knowing the keybindings/abilities of a spec is not necessarily the same as not wanting to play it. So, folks, is it our responsibility to learn/know them, even if we don’t have an active wish either way?

    @ Lissanna – aye, I can understand that. I find that shifting out to heal can really mess up a rotation or lucky proc, and DPS *can* suffer. How does it make you feel as a player/do you enjoy playing the class, when that happens?

    Loving the discussion, folks – thanks for the comments, keep them coming!

  20. I play a hunter. So why am I commenting on a post about hybrids?
    Mostly to say, I realy like getting to use some of the non-dps abilities. It was always neat when my pet could actually do something useful to help with tanking.
    Or when I’m making good use of interupts and debuffs.
    Or using misdirect. Or traps.
    Or even trying to use timely bandages.

    It all makes for a more interesting play experience than just trying to beat a number on a dps meter.

  21. I think there is an interesting double standard with hybrid playstyles, which I discovered through playing primarily healing and secondarily dps druids and paladins.

    On my druid main: if I see an opportunity to drop form and dps (like Yogg during stuns), it makes me a better player to do so.

    If I’m specc’ed moonkin, and I cast a heal–I’m a bad player. My dps loss is huge, and I’m no longer making a contribution to the team.

    I think hybrids are played less as hybrids now because the roles of tank, dps, and healer have become ossified.

    This is my own opinion as a healing class lead–I don’t want the dps healing. I’d honestly rather have a wipe. If the healers are failing, I want to know it. I don’t want to find out that others were compensating. Healthstones and pots are great–but if the raid instructions didn’t include “heal yourself if you’re about to die bc healing is short”–I’d rather have players not do it. Especially moonkin and shadow priest! If you have to drop form to heal, it is probably a huge dps loss to do so.

    I know from moonlighting as dps that maintaining high dps is damn hard. It’s harder than tossing an occasional heal and losing the rotation. As a most-of-the-time healer, I always find myself wanting to heal when I’m specc’ed moonkin and reminding myself that it’s bad, bad, bad to do so.

  22. Imo it comes down to playing your class to the fullest.

    We have a requirement for recruits to post screenshots and if I see a mage or a shaman in a raidsettng without raidframes, all red alarmbells are ringing. Mages and shamans can decurse so they should when needed.
    I don’t care if you’re resto or dps spec: do what’s needed for the raid.

    Our dps warrior has saved the raid from a wipe by just swapping stance switching a shield and pressing shield wall. And our restoshamans can do pretty ok dps just as our elemental shaman can toss quite a bit of healing when the situation requires it.

    I don’t think it’s a hybrid thing I think it’s a “using all your abilities to increase success” thing. And that is something that is expected of all players, not just hybrids.

    You got tanking, dps healing and utility. The players who manage to do great at the primary role but also manage their “utility” are the players I want in my raid.

    I think though hat healers are able to perform dual better and contributing more to the raid. One of the things as a healer is that you’re not healing all time and that it’s often about cetain moments of big damage where the numbers of healers are based off. So, you’re a good player if you do your healing job. You’re a great player if you manage to do the same healing job, not go oom but also do 1500 dps on a fight.

  23. I liked the article, and I’m not too happy that hybrid gameplay is getting less effective.
    My main is a dual specced shadow/holy priest, and my most beloved alt is a bear/moonkin (!) druid.
    When on my spriest, I do whatever I can to prevent wipes (divine hymn, dispels/abolishes/shields/occasional heals), and I res/rebuff etc – anything for a faster/smoother instance.
    When on druid, I have been occasionally casting tranquillity also while tanking (!) when a smart OT was available and the healer was in a bad state or oom. Innervates, rebirths, poisons I always do, and when in moonkin of course spot heals as well. In moonkin gear, I also heal easy stuff (normal instances for alts, Brewfest boss, group quests…).
    I also play a hunter, warlock and mage, but while my dps on the shadowpriest/moonkin are generally not at the top 3 – I do enjoy playing those hybrids a lot more, and my guild likes the utility value of my hybrid gameplay, as they like having me switching spec in raids, depending on what boss requires more healing/dps or occasional offtanking.
    I’m a pro hybrid and dual-speccer, and that is loads of fun 🙂

  24. Maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning (likely), but I think I have to remind everyone that using your “utility” abilities does not mean that you’re playing like a hybrid.

    If a feral druid:
    1. Buffs people with thorns
    2. Rebirths someone
    3. Innervates a healer
    4. Goes bear to save a dps or himself

    ….He’s not dipping into the other spec’s abilities.

    I’ll only buy him as a “hybrid” playstyle if, say, tranquility, moonfire, and nourish are a regular part of what he does in a raid.

    That said, everyone should use their utility abilities when the need arises (duh). I berate myself pretty often for forgetting to cat form + dash when I need to move quickly–but I don’t consider that a hybrid playstyle.

    What people SHOULDN’T do, in my opinion that is, is rethink the role you’ve been given by the raid leader. I’m pretty sure I’d be perturbed if the bear tank suddenly decided to tranquility–unless, of course, the raid leader calls for it. Mallet calls for Divine Hymn when he wants it from shadow priests–this is how things should go. Raiders should follow the strategy that the group is using–otherwise, when the group makes mistakes, it’s a lot harder to piece together what went wrong.

    Think about it this way. If you’re a moonkin, your primary job is to do good dps. I would not encourage popping form (and ruining your rotation) to Nourish, but I would encourage decursing and de-poisoning when the fight calls for it, like Yogg. Remember that those are actually balance spells! In ideal situations, of course the healers cleanse, because they’re not keeping up a fixed rotation, but in my experience it’s far easier for a dps to cleanse than heal and still put up decent numbers. I do think that, if I were specc’ed moonkin for a raid, that I would wait for a non-eclipse moment to remove a poison, except for something like Faction Champions of course, where dps would be a secondary concern to cleansing and CC.

  25. I love the hybrid playstyle. I came to be a paladin fan in vanilla-WoW just because I was so versatile in 5 man groups. In any particular battle, I might have done nearly anything–OTed a mob, helped out a CCed or OOM healer, or just tried to hurt things/protect group members. But fluid hybridity has been mostly dead for a long time, and it’s because there was never a demand for it in raiding, and because Blizzard never tried to create one. Instead they buffed modal hybridity, to the point where we now have dual specs and can excel in a different single role from fight to fight. That’s not too bad, but I did prefer the fluid hybrid.

    Blizzard not designing it into raid fights is really the problem. Sure, there are random opportunities to contribute or even “save the day” by throwing out a heal, tanking/taunting something, or adding some DPS. But it’s not sustainable the way these random opportunities are in 5 mans; the fights are too long in raids. A non-DPS can’t beat an enrage timer, a non-tank can’t hold a mob for long before running his healer OOM (assuming he’s not getting one-shot), a non-healer can only throw out a couple heals before going OOM himself. And these random events don’t kill a raid too often; encounters are built for them to be survivable whether or not there’s a hybrid available, eliminating the need for one. So these opportunities would need to be purposely programmed in by the developers for there to be a true demand for hybrids, and they just don’t do that very often.

  26. I love to play my enhancement shammy. I love to dps, but I also have a second spec into resto. But more often than not I find myself being asked to off heal. I put on my dps spec and my resto gear and bam! I can heal and dps with no handle bars no handle bars! I don’t mind healing I would just rather dps. I realize that being a hybrid class it’s my responsability to the group I’m in and to myself to keep my party alive. Even if it means being knocked off the top of the dps meter.

  27. Sydera, I see your points and do understand your view, but I wonder if we’re talking about exactly the same thing here. If you have a moonkin who messes up rotation to drop heals because someone is at 50%, that’s a bad thing, I agree — the fight will take longer with more opportunity for something to go wrong.

    On the other hand, if you have a run of bad play (or bad luck) on the part of your healers, I’d rather have that moonkin go healer mode to bring the boss down rather than wiping it. You can still assess what went wrong and address it rather than starting from scratch.
    .-= jeffo´s last blog ..Can Recycling Save the World…of Warcraft? =-.

  28. I’d stand to agree with Jeffo..

    I think that moderation in regards to Hybrids is the key to playing it well. And I’m not sure what messing up a rotation has to do with overall raid success. You can get back into your rotation, and ideally you raid with quite a few “pures” to even out the raid.

    I guess my point was misconstrued. People who can effectively and properly play a hybrid (I’m talking in a raid setting) are worth more than a Pure DPS class sometimes…even if their rotation gets messed up or dps is sub-par.

    I can’t think of a raid leader who would ask X,Y, or Z to perform a hybrid function… and then reprimand them for poor performance in their primary role (should it suffer as a result). I guess it’s all in the eye of the beholder though.

    -Canes
    .-= Canes´s last blog ..\(-.-)/ =-.

  29. @Puhoi The impact of a custom built UI on hybrid playstyle isn’t something I’d thought about. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

    @Simbaria – fair points, particularly from a ‘pure’ class. All classes have at least a couple of tricks up their sleeve for a fuller playstyle.
    Also, Ayslin, Jo and ShÃ¥mwow – good to see you and others post your enthusiasm for these classes. I’m finding the variety in the hybrid playstyles you describe very interesting.

    @Chris, Sydera, Orcstar – Thanks folks. Was hoping to hear from other raid leaders/officers as well as hybrid players themselves. Keep them coming!

    @Sydera, jeffo and Canes – Both sides of the debate are valid, I think. Jeffo’s post gets to the basics of this angle of hybrid play: do you want your boomkin throwing heals when healers are down and the tank’s close to dropping, or not?

    How much of your preference on this is based around your guild’s/group’s *style* of raiding, do you think? That is, what you’re used to from your raiders and the performance roles you expect of them? Or does it simply boil down to personal views on hybridity?

    Great debate folks, thanks – keep it up!
    .-= Mimetir´s last blog ..Juddr: Thus commences the Silence of the Talbuks in Nagrand. =-.

  30. If you have to have a healer dps or dps heal from 50%+ it’s probably a wipe, but there are a lot of times when the ability to change roles mid-fight, hybrid or not, can help.

    In our 10 man H Anub our shadow priest is expected to drop shadowform and heal after applying fresh dots at 30%. Our Restro Druid last night lost situational awareness and got hit by Algalon’s Cosmic Smash, but had the presence of mind to switch to kitty mid-air to prevent dying from fall damage, we had to have a rogue evasion tank the last few % of one boss, and at one point we used to have a bear tank who could brez and get back into bear in between boss hits. That kind of task switching and using all your abilities to their fullest aren’t usually needed once a boss is on farm mode, but can make a huge difference while going for first or early kills.

  31. The more I think about this topic the more I realize that I do not truly play my Druid as a Hybrid, and I do not at ALL play my priest as one.

    My druid has 2 specs. As resto I generally just heal, but if the encounter is not requiring my heals I will help dps by going into caster form and tossing out wraths or what not in between rejuvs. if I’m seperated from the tank and he is dying I drop into kitty and dash, this is not using feral spec really…just me using a kitty ability long enough to get back to healing.

    When I’m a moonkin I play slightly more hybrid. If the healer dies I do not hesitate and immediately begin tossing heals. Better yet if I see the healer dying i toss them a few heals to prevent it in the first place. If I feel that I’m going to save the day by healing instead of dpsing that is what I’m going to do.

    As a Druid I use the abilities that suit me best to get the job done…whatever that job may be. I do not use feral abilities generally as I do not know them and the hesitation to use them would render them mostly useless, plus they do not suit my play style.

    On my priest…I heal. I occasionally throw out some dps as I can, but honestly not often. In fact the only time I do it regularly is when XTs heart is exposed. I do not at all count this as playing as a hybrid. If I had a shadow spec I would occasionally pop out to heal just as I do on my druid, but I do not.

  32. The paladin is alas not as versatile as a druid when it comes to in-combat switching. If a paladin is tanking, he or she will not have any time left to toss a heal here or there, except for perhaps a Lay of Hands or a Blessing of Protection. The Lay of Hands is useful for saving a healer from dropping as fast to buy some time, but it’s rather limited. The Blessing of Protection will completely make the target survive, however renders it unusable for the next five seconds unless the target decides to remove the buff.

    The retribution paladin will be able to help out with some Flash Lights for a limited time, however, the paladin will have to spend some time between the heals tossing down a hammer of wisdom to get a little bit of extra mana. Toss up a Divine Plea, and you gain mana, but your healing drops quite a bit. The healing power is very limited as well, and the Flash Light hardly help, even though sometimes, every little bit help. Two Holy Lights, and the retribution paladin is out of mana.

    The Holy paladin? Sure, no problem. They don’t do much but heal. Sure, they can kick out a little bit of DPS if it’s needed and keep themselves alive quite a while, but its far from enough to, i.e. kill the boss. The holy paladin, however, can, in its form, tank, healing itself until perhaps a Combat Ress is thrown onto a proper tank. However, a single crit or high-damage hit from any raid boss can, and will kill the tanking Holy paladin, unless the other raid healers are healing like crazy. Then maybe, just maybe, the holy paladin can survive until the end of the bossfight.

    Out of combat, having time to switch spec and gear – no problem. Paladins are versatile and can adapt, as long as their spec allow it, but even so, paladins got their limits to adapting on-realtime.

    All hybrids are to be respected though, due to their massive amount of abilities and adaption abilities. However, I would say, any hybrid is limited when it comes to real-time switching of what they’re doing.

    Final words; Great article, Becca. It really gave me something to think about, as well as think about ways to use my paladin during fights (even though I’m usually tanking for you guys ;).

  33. Hybrid classes shouldn’t ever have to perform outside their intended roll in a raid unless (1) it was designated prior to the start of the encounter or (2) if the raid leader calls out for it in an emergency/unexpected situation.

    (1) In our 3D Sarth attempts before Ulduar came out, our elemental shaman would blast chain heals for a good part of the third drake due to the intense raid damage. It was necessary, and, because he followed his assignment, we we able to defeat 3D Sarth when it was still very difficult.
    (2) If a tank drops on the third phase of Naxx when we needed to have the adds managed, our feral druid would pick up the slack until we could B Rez the fallen tank, or the feral druid would remain tanking the adds for the duration of the encounter with our ele shaman back up healing him as needed.

    Sydera makes some very valid points. Just becasue a mage dispells during Saphirion doesn’t make a mage a hybrid class. Mages, as we all know, are a ‘pure’ dps class (actually the only ‘pure’ classes are dps classes – no such thing as a ‘pure’ healing or tanking class – every class is capable of fufilling more than one role in a raid except rouges, mages, locks and hunters). Keep the healers healing and let the mages do the dispells. Don’t have enough mages? Then the druids and shamans kick in to support. It all depends on the raid set up and strategy. Wotlk has changed the diversity of this.

    My main point is that a hybrid class shouldn’t be doing anything other than what he/she’s supposed to do. If the healers aren’t sufficient, then grab new healers. If the tanks are dropping like flies, grab some more geared tanks. If you have to have a hybrid class play a hybrid role in an encounter, perdetermine it. In my last guild, I was the raid leader and strategist, and, if someone didn’t comply to the stratagey, I would reprimand them and occasionally bench them. It’s important to know if my strategy was flawed by its nature or flawed by rolls not being fufilled. I’d darn near kill a druid for B Rezzing someone without being told to. Raids need a leader. Leaders need to be listened to and followed.

    Yes, Sydera, if I wisp a boomkin asking him/her why their dps was so low on a fight and they tell me that they thought it was necessary to heal for a while, I’d tell them to focus on their roll and let me take care of the on-the-fly decisions. If you have hybrids running around trying to hybrid-it-up the whole frickin raid, you’d never get anything done effectively.

    My two c’s

  34. @Guessur

    Yes and no.
    Yes, if the moonkin doesn’t trust your healers and goes helping healing nerfing his dps then he should get reprimanded.

    No, if on the last percentage of the fight the tank goes down, you do not want to have to whisper the dpswarrior to gogo equip a shield, shieldwall and taunt because you would be too late.

    The night we really learned Sartharion was the night our raidleader had his mic broken and I had to raidlead: I refused to call out flame waves because I was like: everyone can look for themselves. It took a few wipes but the raid adapted swiftly and since then no calls for flame waves had to be made anymore.

    I want people with brains, who can make good decisions but also have trust that their team does the job. On the spot good decisions are very very valuable I wish every raider could make them. On the other hand, people using their brain and going against the tactic of a fight deserve a quick boot from the raid.

    In the end I don’t believe in the concept of Hybrid. For that the different roles are too specialized. Every race (hyrbid and non-hybrid) has a big bag of tricks and you should expect them to have mastered all.

  35. I’m a feral druid. Not a cat druid, not a bear druid, a feral druid. I’ve designed my spec to be a tank or a DPS with just a single press of the shapeshift button. I don’t even change gear. I main tank Ulduar and I can top DPS charts. The two don’t have to be as separate as people seem to think nowadays and it’s a shame that they do.

    It is immense fun being able to, if the MT dies, go bear, growl, and immediately be a perfectly viable replacement tank. I’ve saved raids from wipes doing that. During Gluth I usually offtank for my guild by DPSing in cat next to the MT, going bear and tanking while the MT’s stacks fall off, then going right back to cat when the MT takes him off me. My favorite discipline priest and I have a great trick we use when I’m the tank and a mission-critical raider dies. We synchronize power word shield and barkskin, pop them at the same time, I shift to caster to quickly battlerez the dead raider, then immediately pop back into bear form and continue about my merry way. It’s a rush for both of us.

    My secondary spec is resto, though I waffled with going restokin as a sortof partner to my feral spec. Regardless, hybrids who embrace their duality are perfectly viable.

  36. I am drawn the hybrid style not for the versatility, but the limits the talent trees places on the classes. A Priest has two trees which are equally viable for healing, depending on what role one wishes to play. A Druid, however, only has a single tree in which to invest points (admittedly, though, it is a bloated tree).

    Back in the day, I longed for the variety having to choose between Disc and Holy gave me, but these days, I consider Resto to be superior because it is in every way equal to a “pure” class’ talents, but more consolidated and easier to grab all the tasty talents one could want.

    But I still play my Priest because I love the fat, ugly little guy. Whacha gonna do?
    .-= Professor Beej´s last blog ..Dollhouse – Evolution of Joss Whedon’s Tried and True? =-.

  37. Like many of the posters above I believe there’s a fine line between successfully utilizing your class to its fullest, and playing subpar in attempting to help.

    In a really bad, everything hit the fan moment, I’d much rather have the folks with me who know it’s ok to splash a heal on themselves, drop a “non-ideal” totem (roots anyone?) or lash out with a knockback to save a healer. I know I did my share of cleansing when playing a tank — its one of the advantages of playing a hybrid.

    For a dps class that has to change form to toss a heal? I’d really, really have to see the justification (literally raid saving) for it to make it worth the raid’s while — I’ve asked people to do it, but its also been a “we can definitely afford the trade off” in terms of dps loss for lesser healing ability.

    And I scrolled to fast to catch the name, but to the above comment re: raid frames — I expect everyone to decurse if they can, but I would never expect a mage to have more than decursive (it’s the most discrete raid frames I’ve ever seen).
    .-= Windsoar´s last blog ..The Impact of Badges =-.

  38. Nice post Mime,

    I am not sure I agree though. I think hybrids that have a “healing” mindset (ie always looking for that needed heal) are usually either

    (1) healing unnecessarily; or
    (2) propping up underperforming tanks and heals.

    Rarely do they find that perfect moment in my experience.

    I posted a longwinded further response on my blog 🙂
    .-= Silk´s last blog ..What’s a hybrid good for? =-.

  39. tapdancingNuns says:

    Nice post, I agree all hybrids should have a flexible mindset, but I think it mostly applies to 5 man and 10 man content. For example, on our first Vezax 10 kill 2 out of our 3 healers called oom at ~5% and we didn’t have any vapors remaining. Me, you’re local friendly neighbor hood Moonkin did a quick rejuv and a few Nourish on the tank just to keep him up long enough for us to finish him off and get the first kill. Should I have had to drop form and heal, probably not, but it did get us our first kill ;D

    So, in short I don’t go looking for opportunities do drop form and heal, but if it’s me throwing a few heals out or a >5% wipe, I think I’ll heal for a bit.

    Also, our healers don’t suck, this was our first kill and with everything there is a learning curve for the whole raid =D

  40. @ORCSTAR
    “I want people with brains, who can make good decisions but also have trust that their team does the job”

    Thank you. That was one of my main points. Listen to the Raid leader. If he/she’s good, you will get epics. I’m not sure how you can raid lead you way through an emergency with a broken mic. Smart players help those situations a lot; especially if the raid is used to eachother. Communication is key as to when a hybrid class should assume a new role.

    @KIVULI
    If that’ the way your raid/guild does Gluth, that’s fine. But as I was saying, that’s the way that the fight was setup, and that’s what makes hybrids an interesting addition to the raid. Rouges, Locks, Mages and Hunters are the only “pure” classes in WoW. They can do only fulfill one role with all three of their specs – dps. Druids and pallys are the staples of the hybrid classes. They can fulfill the roles of tank, heal and dps.

    @TapDancing
    Sounds like you saved the day, as hybrids are know to do at times. I’d have expected your raid leader to have noticed that and called out for extra help on heals. I’m a perfectionist. People that die in that fight… must not be paying attention.. especially healers.

    @Windsoar
    The only fight I perferred the mages to decurse was Sarth due to the amount of raid healing that had to be done. With three mages, they each only had to desurse twice or so per curse phase. I also set up our raids with only 5 healers on that fight instead of the more popular 6 healer set up.

  41. I raid as a tree and solo/daily quest as a boomkin, so I am pretty familiar with the tools of those two specs.

    If I am called upon to dps in a raid or a 5 man I still find myself watching grid like a hawk, and sometimes drop my feathers to fire off a heal or 3. (tranquility on the black knight, for example).

    The thought of jumping into cat form or bear form hardly ever enters my head – unless it is to cat dash past frogger mark 2 in Uldaur.

    But honestly unless it is an emergency I don’t see using offspec abilites. I would not try to heal in my boomkin spec and gear for any period of time, because that way lies a desert with no mana in sight. Equally the few balance dps spells I have while in tree form are unlikely to tip the scales of a fight.

    But in an emergency having that utility is one of the many things that make a druid very fun to play.

  42. Very well put together. As a Shaman Healer there have been many times where my Hex or grounding totem have come in handy. Really and truly playing a Hybrid class tests ones ability to adapt on the go making them some of the best classes to play. I have gone from Healer to DPS and back in a single night that it becomes second nature.

    I do not think I could not play anyother type of toon but a Hybrid they just feel right.

    -Lys

  43. This came up during a PUG run in Naxx, I was a moonkin, in an arachnid quarter run. I saw that the poisons were not being dispelled, so I went ahead and did it, and announced it in vent. When I rolled on the drop, someone said something about how I was so “fail” at dps, but quickly shut their trap when the raid leader (who was very happy that I saved him from an embarrasing wipe) asked that person how many poisons they dispelled. I won the roll :D.

    I like the hybrid role, when it is properly appreciated by the raid leader. I don’t like it when it leads to being called a “fail” dps.

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