Secret Design of WoW PvE: Variety vs Specialization

The series: [Intro­duc­tion, and a call for com­ments, Solo Dif­fi­cul­ty vs Group Dif­fi­cul­ty, PvE vs PvP, Vari­ety vs Spe­cial­iza­tion, Solo Per­former vs Group Util­i­ty, Your role in a PvE raid]

If your class can do many things, don’t expect to be unqual­i­fied best at any of them.

There are three roles: tank, heal­er, dam­age (dps). But real­ly, every class can do damage–you have to be able to put out some kind of dam­age in order to play the solo game. So it’s real­ly two spe­cial­ized roles, plus the com­mon role that every­one has. Some class­es spe­cial­ize com­plete­ly in that com­mon role: hunters, rogues, mages, war­locks. The rest can do mul­ti­ple things, and this arti­cle con­cerns them.

Now, every class can’t do every­thing in the game (except druids). That’s part of what makes groups fun. With the cor­rect mix of char­ac­ters, you can accom­plish goals that a group of iden­ti­cal char­ac­ters could­n’t do alone.

That vari­ety in game­play that you enjoy in the solo game, the abil­i­ty to kill mobs and heal and be tough… that entire skill set does­n’t direct­ly trans­late to your endgame expe­ri­ence. Gen­er­al­ly, each of those roles opens up to var­i­ous nich­es for you in raids.

Three exam­ples:

  • Pal­adins can heal, tank, and dps. They’ve got all the bases cov­ered! How­ev­er, each role is not com­plete and uni­ver­sal cov­er­age of that role. Pal­lies heal sin­gle tar­gets extreme­ly well, but strug­gle with being stunned and group dam­age. Pal­lies tank large groups of mobs extreme­ly well, but strug­gle at times with raid boss­es and cast­er boss­es. Pal­lies dps well in PvP, but strug­gle with the con­tin­u­ous high lev­el of dam­age need­ed for PvE.
  • Rogues do one thing: dam­age. When built cor­rect­ly, they can dam­age in any sit­u­a­tion in the game, cast­er or melee, PvP or PvE. They dam­age well. They have to, because they don’t tank or heal.
  • Priests can heal or dam­age. Priests are great heal­ers. How­ev­er, even when they choose to spec and play a dam­age role, their dam­age rarely com­pares with pure dam­age class­es, either in PvP or PvE.

While the best guilds will val­ue a good hybrid play­er (the druid who can tank or dps, the pal­ly who can tank or offheal), there sim­ply aren’t that many hybrid posi­tions avail­able in raids. Most of the time, you have to excel at one thing, which means large­ly sac­ri­fic­ing that ver­sa­til­i­ty and embrac­ing your class’s niche. You have to learn to kick butt as much as pos­si­ble in the one thing you choose to be excel­lent at.

Here’s where I lift a toast to every restora­tion druid who has ever received the raid or instance direction:

“The tank’s dead! Tree-man! Go bear form and pick up that boss!”

Tree-man is sit­ting there thinking,

“I’m wear­ing a mix of leather and cloth heal­ing gear. The war­lock has more health than I do, and I have a pal­ly sal­va­tion buff. I do have a tank­ing set of gear, but it’s trapped in my bag because we’re in combat.

“Bear form is not a Super­man cape!”

But Tree­man switch­es any­way, because he’s built for restora­tion and hard­ly ever gets to rawr in groups. It’s a more fun way to die.

More Words!

3 thoughts on “Secret Design of WoW PvE: Variety vs Specialization”

  1. Hehe, reminds me of a WSG I was in. I respecced my druid from PvE tank to a PvP Balance/Resto build. I had maybe 7k health, 7k mana. I some­how wound up with the flag. I run it to our base.

    I don’t PvP. I don’t recall that going stealth would drop the flag. It does. Ok… the priest and shaman who are stand­ing there with me don’t say any­thing. The priest picks up the flag. The priest, by the way, has 4k more health than I do. Chances are… more resilience too. Then he puts the flag down. Still says noth­ing. The flag gets reset. And then the priest says, “The druid would­n’t pick up the flag!”

    His response to my say­ing, “I have less hit points than you do and crap­py gear” was… “You have bear form.”

    Because that’ll save me.

  2. Tree man how­ev­er has the chance to save the raid, that util­i­ty, even if he can only hold the boss for 10% with mas­sive spam over­heal­ing can real­ly make the dif­fer­ence between vic­to­ry and defeat. Raids don’t tend to stack spare tanks because of their lack of util­i­ty, hav­ing class­es that can step upto the bat if need­ed and play makes all the dif­fer­ence, and it may be over­rat­ed but its a last ditch attempt at no fail­ing, and thats worth a try.

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