Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Relative Power Level of Fluid and Modal Hybrids

Kaziel posts a response to my previous post about fluid and modal hybrids:

Fluid hybrids cannot be equal power to single purpose classes, for game balance. In raids, underpowered classes or specs would (and are) shunned. Balanced fluid hybrids would never see endgame except in limited circumstances. Making hybrids modal allows them to be brought up to similar or equal power as a single purpose class without disturbing game balance too much, thus allowing them a place in endgame.


Here's the problem with this statement: being a hybrid (regardless of type) is in itself an advantage. If a modal hybrid was as good as a pure class, why would you bring the pure class? And if the pure class is better, why would you bring a hybrid?

If the hybrid is fluid, the fluidity is the reason you bring the hybrid. Sure the paladin may be a worse tank than the warrior, but she can off-tank an add, and after the add is killed, can help heal the warrior through the enrage. Fluid hybrids allow a raid group to adapt to multiple stage fights better and more smoothly because the hybrids can take a different role during each stage.

But if the hybrid is modal, she is a tank for the entire fight, and after the add is killed, becomes pretty much useless. In this case, why take the hybrid tank at all? Why not just take another warrior?

WoW sidesteps this problem a little bit by re-defining the pure classes (warrior, priests) as hybrids, thus allowing them to drag the other hybrid power levels up. But there is still a lot of sentiment that "priests should be the best healers". But if this was the case, why would you bring paladins? If priests are the best healers, modal healing paladins cannot tank, cannot dps, and would have worse healing than a priest.
  1. Modal hybrids must be equal to pure classes at the given role, else the pure class will be preferred over the hybrid for that role.
  2. But if they are equal at the given role, the hybrid is better because it is a hybrid, and offers additional options for the player.


This is a paradox. Blizzard has resolved it by redefining all tanking and healing classes as hybrids. Paladin healing can be as good as priest healing, because priests are modal hybrids and can become DPS.

A fluid hybrid does not need to be as good as the pure class. But they do need to be good enough to perform their part. And that is where historically that WoW has failed. Allowing hybrids to be good enough to, say, off-tank a mob while still retaining their fluidity to help heal after the mob is dead.

And the reason this is so, as most people pointed out in the previous post is because of gear.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

You know, this is one of the most useful and intelligently written WoW blogs I've ever seen. Been lurking for a few months, but never really commented before.

Thanks for doing what you do. Enjoyable to read, and enlightening.

drakesilver said...

Great blog, I agree with the previous comment.
I disagree that paladins are not better healers than priests. It is situational. Paladins can put out ~1.5k-2k healing every 1.5 seconds forever. They can't do anything else. This works very very well in raids. In my Karazhan run (i'm holy pally) I do around 45% of the healing, with a holy priest doing 30% and a druid doing the rest. Without druid and priest HoT's we would not be able to kill stuff they even out the burst/crit damage but I end up doing the majority of the healing.

However paladins in a 5man with no off healer have a much lower maximum healing they can put out to keep the tank up. We have no hot's and we run out of mana very very fast if we have to use anything other than flash of light. Fights such as Aeonus (final boss in BM) are very hard on a paladin healer no matter what your gear is. The main tank at least once a fight takes maximum health in damage (due to stun+breath) before a paladin can get a heal off. This same fight is easy for a druid or priest to heal because of long/many HoT's and priest bubble.

Joanadark said...

I am rather surprised at the turn your writing has taken lately. A lot less hopeful than, say, a year ago.

I disagree with you here, again.

What is the reason for bringing along ANYONE who serves the exact same role as someone else?
The differences between them.

Raids do not consist of all mages for DPS. Nor do they consist of all rogues. An all priest healing force would be incredibly less effective than a Priest-Druid-Paladin-Shaman team.
A warlock is all well and good, but he's doing alot more when theres a shadow priest too, and a hunter suffers if the target has no sunders or they have no BoM.

The classes all work interactively because they are all different.
There is no comparison of whether Priests or Paladins are the "best" healer, because they are different healers, suited to different healing threats, and different healing roles, using a completely different healing arsenal.

I would not want all paladins healing my raid and having to live without PW:S, Renew, or Prayer of Healing any more than I would want all Priests healing and have no LoH, no FoL or downranked Light's Grace-sped HLs, no Divine Favor-Holy Shock, no JoL.

If there is an issue, it lies in the lack of advantageous use of Paladin advantages in their tanking role, both by game mechanics and by players, including paladins themselves, not in some dark plot to keep the plucky hybrids down.

s4dfish said...

I think that the current talent tree design encourages modal hybrids. By having trees that extend to 41 points, you're encouraging people to specialize to the extent that they aren't functional in their other roles. A Paladin with 41 points in Protection sucks at healing and a Paladin with 41 points in Holy sucks at tanking. I think the future for players of hybrid classes outside of the min/max raid scene is one of balanced talent choices. Current design does not support or encourage this choice, but I think it is what is going to have to be done.

joanadark said...

Not to mention that, as I addressed in earlier comments, fluidity ISNT an advantage. Fluidity serves no purpose whatsoever unless things are going horribly wrong, which they shouldnt be.

joanadark said...

"By having trees that extend to 41 points, you're encouraging people to specialize to the extent that they aren't functional in their other roles. A Paladin with 41 points in Protection sucks at healing and a Paladin with 41 points in Holy sucks at tanking."

I have to say that a class that can effectively tank, with a large portion of their massive threat-gen coming from fire-and-forget reactive damage, and while doing so stand there and heal THEMSELF effectively as well is just a tad overpowered.

While I may have rolled the paladin because I wanted the ability to weild God's Wrath and turn people into chicken nuggets by looking at them funny while walking around in a cloud of acid fog which kills anyone who comes near, that doesnt mean that making the class be like that would be necessarily a good thing or a balanced thing.

Oh and I forgot that I wanted layzer beams attacked to our helmets too.

I am in no way saying "you can heal, so being able to do anything else too is overpowered".
I am saying that being able to heal with great effectiveness, WHILE tanking with great effectiveness by nature of dealing massive damage with great effectiveness is pretty much a negation of everybody else's ability to also contribute. Raids would just stack paladins.

GSH said...

Modal healing paladins cannot tank, cannot dps, and have worse healing than a priest.

I think people are mis-interpreting this line. (I should have been clearer.) It's modified by the hypothetical in the two sentences previous to it.

"If Blizzard made priests the best healers, modal paladins would have worse healing than a priest."

That's self-evident.

Right now though, paladin healing is comparable to priest healing. Which is how it needs to be for modal hybrids to be viable.

GSH said...

I would not want all paladins healing my raid and having to live without PW:S, Renew, or Prayer of Healing

Death & Taxes seems perfectly happy with it.

Fluidity serves no purpose whatsoever unless things are going horribly wrong, which they shouldnt be.

I disagree. In the same way that I can take different roles in different fights, I can take different roles in different stages of the same fight.

My single best post that sums up how I like to play my paladin is my description of the Nefarian fight.

That's what I loved about the paladin, and what I feel the class has lost.

joanadark said...

I would not want all paladins healing my raid and having to live without PW:S, Renew, or Prayer of Healing

Death & Taxes seems perfectly happy with it.


The full quote was:

Our Paladins heal.
Our Priests DPS.
Our Shamans heal.
Our Druids heal.


Nihilum takes it even further, since they always have exactly 1 Holy Priest. Never more. Never less.

healing variety.