The Burden of the Hybrid
Judging by the title of this post, you may think that I intend to discuss the elusive “hybrid tax,” some sort of mysterious coefficient that gets applied to all of our base abilities to penalize us for being able to fulfill every role. I’m not even sure such a thing exists, I just know that it’s a term that was thrown around a while ago, before I got into blogging and min/maxing and all that stuff. What I really wanted to discuss was the personal burden of being a hybrid class.
Note: for this discussion, let’s take ‘hybrid’ to mean either druid or paladin; that is to say, a hybrid is any class that can fulfill all three roles of the Holy Trinity of MMO Gaming (Damage/Healing/Tanking). However, most of this logic can be applied to the quasi-hybrid classes as well: priests, shamans, death knights, and warriors.
I’m sure, as paladins, we’ve all gotten the whispers from random people asking us to “heal FoS?” or “tank Ony?” To be fair, if you’re just looking in /who for a holy paladin, there’s no way to distinguish between our specs without some form of outside inspection. However, I think everyone can agree that there is some sort of general expectation that we use our Dual Specialization ability to learn a different role.
After all, we can be tanks, healers, and DPS without having to reroll; why not learn something new and “be useful” for a change?
Reinforcing the “Main” in “Main Spec”
When you rolled your level 1 hybrid class, you read the description, you heard from all your friends how great it would be, and you had this grandiose expectation of what playing this class would entail.
Now that you’re 80, you’ve been through the thick and the thin. You’ve marched through quests and waded in the ankle-deep cesspool that is the LFD system. Maybe you’ve tried your hand at tanking or healing some dungeons. At max level, you feel like you’ve been through enough to know what it is you want to do with your class in the endgame.
And then it happens: you’re asked to do something else.
Let’s be honest, this isn’t like going from a holy priest to a disc priest; making the switch from DPSing to tanking was quite the transition for me, and the few times that I’ve tried holy were only after I read every “Holy Paladin 101″ post I could get my hands on AND after I got enough offspec gear from guild runs to make any freshly-80 holy paladin weep… and even then, it was messy.
I’ll admit that I’ve allowed myself to be coerced into things before. I was talked into healing on my druid for a 10m ICC with only one other healer when I had no clue what to do other than put a Rejuv on everything that was still alive.
When I raided on my shaman, I was coerced into raid healing Naxx and OS.
Hell, I was convinced to main tank ICC 25 back when my tanking gear and experience were a mere fraction of what they are today.
I hated every minute of all of these experiences. The feeling of not being in control, of not knowing what to do and when… it was anxiety-inducing, to say the least. I don’t think I’ll find myself in the same situations, though, since I have such great main tanks from which to leech information and experience.
Also, one of our holy paladins would literally kill me if I, or any other paladin, went holy.
In short, no hybrid class should feel responsible for bringing a “viable offspec” to the raid. If a feral druid loves to DPS, then that should be all he or she is concerned about. Same goes for a holy paladin, or shadow priest, or any of the myriad of hybrid spec and class combinations.
If you’re in a “hardcore” raiding guild, and your raid leader wants you to change roles, stick to your guns. Don’t be afraid to pull up your application to the guild and remind him or her that you are there as your main spec and your main spec only. If they truly need your spot for a healer, they can bench you and take a healer. If one isn’t on or your guild roster isn’t quite so large, it’s not your fault. Any half-enlightened raid leader will realize that trying to put a square peg into a round hole is a bad idea anyway.
Let’s face it, no one wants to play a game when they’re not having fun. So take a lesson from my past mistakes: don’t let anyone coax you into doing something you don’t want to do or don’t feel comfortable doing. Stick by your assertion that your main spec is your main spec for a good reason, and disregard anyone that says otherwise.
This post is brought to you by the Devil’s Advocate, because while Antigen loves the ability to be a versatile raider, the DA sees things… a little differently.