Monday, March 9, 2009

Homogenization - Pros and Cons

Vanilla WoW. Easy mode. Casual friendly. Call it what you want, but there are two sides of the WoW story these days.
Some day it's too easy, some say it's fine. My opinion? Doesn't matter. I still pay the subscription.

Ever since the release of BC the WoW community has taken on the duty of blaming Devs of making everything the same. Classes share specific spells (fear ward, "execute", crowd control, etc), hybrids are just as good as "pure" classes, even talent trees are producing similar results within the selected classes.

This is good and bad to hunters for a variety of reasons.

The Good:
Lets go back to BC endgame. Beast mastery was king. Your pet tore the mob a new one while you pew-pewd and enjoyed it. Fast forward to the great hunter nerf of 09. BM got slapped into the back seat as survival took the thorne at the top of the DPS meters. Marksmenship is still... well marksmenship.

With 3.1 comes some changes that are good for hunters. Stacking ammo? +1. More pet talents? +1. Explosive shot nerf? +/- 1.

The goal, as said by the Devs, is to get all three of the hunter trees similar in damage output. The hunter community will just have to wait and see if that's truely a reality. If the promise is fufilled then hunter's will gain one thing we've never had before as end game players. Freedom. The freedom to play what we want without gimping our selves to high hell. The freedom to utilize our talents tree choices to their full potential. The freedom to not be /laughed at for showing up to the raid with the latest cookie cutter spec.

If the goal comes true, we will finally become a true DPS class. Of course there will always be one talent tree that does more damage. There's no way to beat the math. However, + or - 300 dps over 5000 dps total is nothing.

The Bad:
Every change that brings us closer to homogenization tends to remove a little bit of morale from the hunter class. Not only are we being internally unified, we're being made closer to every other DPS class. Each DPS class wants to do damage, crowd control, and live. Mages are no longer class cannons, hunters are no longer the king of survivability, warlocks no longer are the number one DoTers. This tends to remove the uniqueness of each class. Why be stuck with a mana pool and cloth gear when you can roll a plate wearing fury warrior of the same DPS caliber?

With the homogenization comes the never ending hybrid buff. Classes that can fulfill more than one roll, and be the best. And with the introduction of dual specs comes the problem of eternal one upping.

Example: Lets say you are in a guild where the main tank is a druid. The drood MT is a great tank. Always shows up on time, is fun to play with, but also likes being geared the best. In his spare time he started developing a healing off set incase he wanted to switch. Dual specs come out. Now mr.drood can swap between tanking and healing at the touch of a button and a 5 second cast.

During a progression raid, mr. MT drood is not the MT, but an OT. Your guild comes to a single tank encounter and doesn't need an OT, but an off healer. Mr. Drood saves the day with the touch of his 5 sec cast and BAM! you have an off healer. Epic Gear #20,000 drops with the best stats in the world. Its a healing piece. All healers roll and mr.drood wins with the help of fate. Mr. drood, however, already got a phat lootz drop of an earlier boss while tanking. Should he recieve this l33t loot?


Homogenization leads to problems of compition. Sure the gear works for everyone and drops more frequently. No more getting warlock boots without a warlock being present. However, you now have to roll against every other class who might use the piece.

Is this the begginning of the end for WoW? Are the devs making a fatal mistake of playing the "fair-game"? How cookie cutter will they make the classes?

Only time will tell. Until then, I'll be raiding with my spirit beast because thats what I enjoy doing.

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