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.

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Secret Design of WoW PvE: PvP vs PvE

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]

No class is glob­al­ly bet­ter at PvP than every oth­er class. WoW PvP is a huge rock-paper-scis­sor game, where there’s an answer for every move, or in WoW’s case, Class A always feels over­pow­ered to an oppo­nent of Class B, Class B over Class C, and Class C over Class A. (except expand­ed out to an 11-way graph) While no class is uni­ver­sal­ly dom­i­nant in PvP, some builds are uni­ver­sal­ly bet­ter than oth­er builds in that envi­ron­ment.

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Secret Design of WoW PvE: Solo Difficulty vs Group Difficulty

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]

Your abil­i­ty to solo par­tial­ly deter­mines the expe­ri­ence you’ll have in groups. If you have an easy time in the lev­el­ing game, you are going to have a more dif­fi­cult expe­ri­ence in the endgame/group game. The fol­low­ing list goes from easy-to-solo to hard-to-solo.

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Secret Design of WoW PvE: Introduction, and a call for comments

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]

It occurred to me that peo­ple who haven’t been group­ing or raid­ing a lot don’t know what role var­i­ous class­es have in a raid, or of class design in gen­er­al. You can go read the page on the world­ofwar­craft web­site, but they make every class sound equal­ly great at every­thing. That’s just not the real­i­ty of it. So I can keep com­plain­ing about how many peo­ple get stuck between lit­tle knowl­edge and expand­ed knowl­edge, or I can take my shot at fix­ing it via expla­na­tion.

If you don’t know how a par­tic­u­lar char­ac­ter or spec of a char­ac­ter fits into the group game that fol­lows the lev­el­ing game, this is for you.

It’s pos­si­ble to find out every­thing I’m about to write from var­i­ous places online, but as far as I know, there’s not one place where it’s all con­nect­ed. Most arti­cles are writ­ten from the point of view of one class or anoth­er; every guide is writ­ten by that class, for that class.

This is going to be the top lev­el view, how raid lead­ers (and pos­si­bly Bliz­zard design­ers) look at class­es and their role in the game.

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Playing Around

I real­ized in my last arti­cle, I used the ref­er­ence “25th per­son” with­out explain­ing what it meant. In my time as raid lead, it became a short­hand for the most under­per­form­ing per­son in the raid. A raid lead typ­i­cal­ly knows this as they’re assem­bling the raid.

“Hey, Lisa wants to come along to Gru­ul tonight.”

“We already have a 25th per­son.”

The Nth per­son is some­one the rest of the raid plays around in order to make sure the com­mon jobs get done. Good heal­ers cov­er for the bad heal­er, strong dps makes up for weak dps, every­one cov­ers for the tank who can’t remem­ber to use their cooldowns, etc. This per­son, for what­ev­er rea­son, just does­n’t help in raids that much.

You’re count­ing up from the bot­tom, so in a 10-man raid Lisa would be the 10th per­son.

Of course, if you’re bring­ing mul­ti­ple peo­ple who need to be played around, you could have a 24th per­son, 23rd per­son… but there gets to be a point where some­body has to know what they’re doing. Unless you’re talk­ing bat­tle­grounds, in which case it’d prob­a­bly be eas­i­er to count good peo­ple from the top.

(Impor­tant Safe­ty Tip: Raid lead­ers should only use this lan­guage to each oth­er, strict­ly behind the cur­tain. I do not advise refer­ring to any­one like this pub­licly. Although, I would like to hear how that goes. I think it’d be fun­ny, in a dark way.)