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And THIS is why Druids are upset at Patch 5.0

Feathers, fur, and bark is flying furiously after the Blizzard Live Class Balance session. Why? Because they announced in no uncertain terms that they intended to push Druids back in the direction of being hybrids first, and birds, cats or bears second.

And lo, the argument started. A lot of Druids are very, very upset, and a lot of non-Druids – including WoW Insider editor in chief Alex Ziebart, who plays a paladin, the other massively hybrid class – don’t see why they’re so upset.

At which point, Beruthiel of Falling Leaves And Wings started writing down her concerns

“If Alex were a druid, and a tank, there would never have been the option to toss out clutch heal while actively tanking. Because for a druid to maintain their fundamental ability to tank, they must be in feral form. To shift out of feral form while actively tanking a raid boss has a 98% chance of leaving your raid with one dead tank. There was no “hybrid” option there. Sure, the druid has the option to heal, but they lose all of their functionality as a tank to exercise that option to shift. They can no longer perform their prime role.

When push comes to shove, I find myself asking is that really “hybrid”? I mean, really, when did “hybrid” and “shifting” become synonymous terms? Why can’t I be a hybrid while still retaining the core abilities that permit me to perform my role?

I mean, if we put Alex into my shoes as a druid, the minute he want to help pinch heal the raid he’d be flattened as a tank. Let’s stay with paladins. What if every time a Holy Paladin wanted to use a more base ability – say hammer of justice – they became locked out of their healing spells for 10 seconds. Because a resto druid who wants to stun a mob can’t heal for roughly that amount of time when they shift to bear, generate rage, and then bash. Why do I get penalized from performing as a healer to have the same functionality? Is it all because I have the ability to shift? Somehow that just seems faulty.”

I found this post an interesting read as a non-Druid, and someone who’s divorced from the situation entirely. I must admit, when I read the Blizzard devs’ responses to the class balance questions, I was quite enthusiastic – I remember great 5-man runs with druids acting as hybrids, and I was enthusiastic about that play style coming to the end-game.

But, whilst I still think that it’s a very cool idea, after reading Beru’s post I can certainly see the problems. It’s a difficult balancing act, and I can easily see the potential for Blizzard to get it wrong. And that makes the ensuing debate, and the development changes, all the more interesting to follow.

Do you think Blizzard will get druid hybridisation right this time?

arrow6 Responses

  1. 22 mos, 2 wks ago

    They never got druid hybridization quite right. Back in vanilla they just weren’t very good at balance, didn’t care, or at least had a much different concept of what balance meant. After that, being a hybrid changed toward being able to be multiple types of specialist, or, not a hybrid. Shamans were the closest to ever being “right”, with a non-trivial ability to help out, though rarely a game-saver. Paladins never quite got there except perhaps a little in LK when instant flash of light and endless mana as ret helped out.

    “the minute he want to help pinch heal the raid he’d be flattened as a tank” is not a druid-specific issue. All avoidance vanishes and the cast gets pushed back. That’s not a druid problem; it’s an everyone problem, or maybe not a problem.

  2. 22 mos, 2 wks ago

    Remember when Bears couldn’t drink potions in Bear form? Because, you know… bears?

    I think the HoJ-Bash comparison is a bit lame (why not HoJ vs Cyclone?), but it does indeed strike me as odd how Blizzard is pushing power-shifting in the same expansion they are turning warrior Stances into “use Berserker Stance for AE.”

  3. Rauxis
    22 mos, 2 wks ago

    simple answer – they won’t get it right :)
    and if they do, forum tears will quickly break it again

    trying to be a bit more serious: the concept of a druid never was to be a true hybrid like the Paladin. Shifting into a form defined the role, locking you out of most of your spell arsenal. There where even some comments by Blues on the forum on this subject.

    If this difference from the true hybrid Paladin (or to a lesser degree Warrior and Priest) is fair or not depends on your point of view. With the exception of potion usage in Bear/Cat-form I found these limits personally annoying – but not more so then the inability to equip wands or double fist weapons. Potion usage was simply unfair, but that one got resolved anyway.

    Rauxis, chosen of CAT

  4. 22 mos, 2 wks ago

    The question is just how much are they going to tweak the druid specs and be able to avoid losing the functionality of the individual roles as a whole. I remember the days of vanilla/BC when druids were ‘hybrids’. They were basically brought in to battle rez and nothing more. Due to the mixed nature of the druid back then the class as a whole was seen as nothing more but a filler spot in progressive raids. I honestly don’t want to go through that again with my druid.

  5. Derek
    22 mos, 2 wks ago

    @Klepsacovic – But it’s a much bigger issue for druids. Not only does their avoidance go away and they get pushback but they also loose a ton of health and most of their armor. Oh and we have no shield (magical or physical).

  6. 22 mos, 2 wks ago

    With Blizzard’s revamp of the talent tree, we are very likely start seeing more hybrid play styles. All warlocks are going to get talents that allow them to heal off damage done during spell damage (no longer just affliction locks). Monks will heal only while doing melee damage. We are about to see an entirely new play style that will require healers to have hit, in order to successfully heal. I think we first saw this with the rise of the atonement disc healers (dot, dot, smite).

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