(Gnome) Tank for Life

Respect your damage dealers
October 28, 2010, 17:10
Filed under: dps, healing, tanking, thought

It came to me when I recently overviewed the new race/class combinations arriving with the launch of Cataclysm: the roles of individual classes in WoW have blended more and more together over the years, except for 4 special select classes.

When I started playing back in 2005, there was hardly any overlap when it came to role selection for certain classes. Those advertised on the official WoW page as hybrid were practically holed into one role and that was healing. “Paladins can’t tank” was a catchy phrase back then and indeed the vast majority of paladins were forced into specing holy. Druids had a tree for all three roles yet it was a truly rare sight to see a feral druid or an “oomfire” druid and with good reason too, there was at most 1 single end-game item for feral druids per slot if that ‘many’ at all and itemization for example for balance druids was non-existent (observe the first tiers of the first raids), but the same thing was true for paladins who wanted to tank or shammies who wanted to DPS. If you were a druid, you were restoration and that was it. Things have changed drastically since then…

The classes in the game today offer the following options:

  • Pure DPS class: 4
  • DPS/tank hybrids: 2
  • DPS/tank/healer hybrids: 2
  • DPS/healer hybrids: 2

In other words, 4 classes who strictly play in 1 single role and 6 classes who can play 2 or 3 roles, when you factor in the dual-specs feature even 2 at the same time. The only core limiting factors are a player’s personal preference and time invested. As you can see, we’ve come a long way since the old days and the tables have been reversed quite a bit. Today less than half of the available classes make a dedication to truly fulfil one role (and I am, of course talking about mains here) and those are hunters, warlocks, mages and rogues.

Let me repeat that: while the hybrid classes are perfectly capable of fulfilling 2 or 3 roles, only half of all classes dedicate their WoW careers to bringing the pain.

In my view of the post 4.0 world of WoW these 4 classes should be treated with high respect for what they do. They don’t have the option of hopping back to a major city and respecing to either protection or holy or resto, should they get tired of playing to see big numbers or racing to the top positions of Damage Done. They endure the long waits in the Dungeon Queue because all other classes have the option to go DPS. Only these 4 have the eternal task of bringing down the monsters we face in 5-mans or raids. They commit themselves to dealing damage and that above all. However important the tanks’ and healers’ job is at any given time, their roles will be increasingly important in Cataclysm. Judging by the new raids we’ve seen so far, they will have almost as hard a time doing the DPS task as tanks who dedicate their toons to soaking damage or healers who dedicate their toons to nullifying damage. Except a mage, a warlock, a hunter or a rogue will only do one thing and will not have any other option to do anything else, save for rolling a new toon of a hybrid class. Hats off to them!