The Role of the Hybrid

Twitter was annoying me earlier.  What was Twitter annoying me about?

*points at title*

Hybrids.  Specifically, whether or not a DPS hybrid “should” have a heal or tanking dual-spec.  Is a person who plays a hybrid class as only DPS an instant second stringer, or otherwise looked down upon?  Why should they be?  Just because they can tank/heal doesn’t mean that they want to.  Even if they do want to, there’s a possibility that they won’t be any good at it.

“very little sympathy for people who don’t want to do what the raid needs” was one comment.  How is forcing someone into what they don’t like helpful?  Oh sure, it’ll get you by in the meantime, but over time they’ll get cranky, and either their performance/attendance will start to flag, or they’ll /gquit entirely.  What’ll that get ya?

Far better to find someone willing to make the adjustment, or who already fulfills that role.

Besides, where does that put every rogue, hunter, mage, and warlock?  Are they now also second stringers because they can’t tank or heal?  No?  Why not?  If you demand that all of your hybrids be able to fill one of those other roles or be looked down upon, why not the pure DPS?

I’d rather have happy DPS that has to rotate raid slots than happy DPS and one pissed off holy paladin.

Then again I’m also the priest that twitches when you mention holy, so make of that what you will.


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  1. #1 by Hakushi on October 7, 2009 - 3:58 pm


    Guilds can own one spec, but if your guild wants more then that, they need to specify it. Heaven forbid you want to play in the Arena or quest an on off night.

    As Guild Leader, no one will be telling me how to spec, but I would be pretty upset if someone expected me to spec both specs for what they considered best.

  2. #2 by Oasic on October 7, 2009 - 4:08 pm

    I think Mikata needs a ranged dps DS ;-)

  3. #3 by adgamorix on October 7, 2009 - 5:39 pm

    It all comes down to what your goals are. In my guild (and I’m starting to think we’re definately the exception) we have the following. 10 members. Of those 10, 3 are ‘pure’ dps – hunter, rogue, mage. Those three all have 2nd specs that are also raid useful. Our hunter is MM 95% of the time, but when our retadin has to go holy – he goes Survival so we can have replenishment.

    Our priest dual specs Disc/Holy in case we need more raid healing.

    One shaman is ele/resto, the other in resto/enhance.

    Our two Paladins are Prot/Holy/Ret and Ret/Holy/Prot.

    Druids are Feral Bear/Cat and Boomkin/Resto.

    Even though we never asked some folks to actually use that 2nd spec – they have it, and they have fully enchanted/gemmed gear, for that spec – just in case we need it.

    Nothing frustrates me like being in a five man with a bunch of folks who COULD spec into Heal/Tank, but don’t – and (this is the real kicker) they bitch about the lack of Tanks/Heals.

    DK> Man where are all the tanks?
    Spriest> I dunno, this sucks.
    Retadin> We need a healer too.

    Then again – my guild is all about progression. Yeah, I spec ret for off nights or facerolling to glory in EoTS – but come raid night, both my raid specs are in play.

  4. #4 by Perrin on October 7, 2009 - 6:15 pm

    In my old guild the Dual-Spec policy was:

    Your second spec is your own to choose what you do with. However, those who are raid capable both in spec/gear/skill in their second spec would have a higher priority on progression nights because of their greater flexibility.

  5. #5 by tytalus on October 7, 2009 - 6:26 pm

    I think that heal- or tank-capable classes who don’t are merely selling themselves short, but then I am currently in a fairly large guild and competition for the dps slots can result in a few people getting benched from time to time. If the dps-only hybrid can perform (or outperform, even) in line with other dps, they don’t have much to worry about.

    Actually, where I think this has hit us hardest in WotLK is tanks, not dps. Everybody and their mother wants to tank, a lot of them wanted to only tank, some of them are still that way (or only good at tanking) and they too suffer. Because we can only use so many.

    Well, I was one of those tanks, and I was forced into having to dps, and now I do both well. I learned to value versatility. Hybrids who don’t are only hurting themselves; it’s their prerogative.

  6. #6 by candy on October 7, 2009 - 7:21 pm

    My second spec is healing tho I have yet to use it, ever. Because when it comes down to it they’d prefer my shadow dps to my “what does this button do?” bad healing. Now, on my shaman on the other hand, I LOVE bother her specs (Heal+elemental)

  7. #7 by Katurian on October 7, 2009 - 7:34 pm

    Amen, sister! I haven’t healed a day in my life — and though that’s changing soon. It’s more out of the fact that my Raid doesn’t seem to need my DPS. They did Uld the other day and needed AoE Heals…then later they needed single target Heals. They ended up PUGing those last two spots.

    I could’ve went had I had my Healing Spec\Gear built up.

    Anyhow, I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve always been a fan of the “I pay to play how I want” rule, as long as you’re not a retard about it. As long as how you play doesn’t have negative effects on other people, more power to you.

    If they want Heals, and I’m not heals. Then I guess ya don’t want me. I’d rather sit out then do something for 3-4 hours I hate.

  8. #8 by Cassandri on October 7, 2009 - 8:04 pm

    See when I joined my current guild (and dual specs were brand new and shiny) they specifically asked me to choose Holy as my offspec. I don’t really like Holy.

    But I did, and I made an effort to get some +spirit gear and I healed people in raids during my trial.

    Then they got the healing team settled and they stopped asking me to raid heal. So I specced a weird Disc/PVP offspec that I enjoy and just told them that was my offspec. And I wasn’t going to collect any more Holy gear.

    So glad I took back my offspec for myself.

  9. #9 by Ron on October 7, 2009 - 9:27 pm

    I suppose you need to ask yourself why you enjoy the game to come up with your answer on hybrids.

    If you truly enjoy raiding and progression and that is #1 on your list, then you’ll do what is needed or asked of you and you’ll learn to do that role well. This is a video game we’re talking about after all, it’s not difficult to learn how to play any class/spec well. In the end all you’re doing is sitting down and pressing buttons regardless of your “role”.

    If you enjoy playing your spec of choice and refuse to learn something else when it is needed of you that is your choice… but do not say your priority in the game is raiding or progression because it clearly is not if you’re not willing to do what is needed for the team.

    Hybrids have to deal with this unfortunately. Although it is kind of funny that healers/tanks do not get looked at in the same way if they say they do not have a DPS spec. I’ve never once been asked to go DPS and no one has every questioned my reasoning behind a dual healing spec.

    Life would be so much easier as a mage/rogue/warlock..

  10. #10 by Anna on October 7, 2009 - 11:45 pm

    I think it depends on the guild and whether or not your expectations of the game match with the guild/raids. (I raid with a co-op thing. not a guild. anyway). Our rule is one spec must be functioning for the raid. That’s it. (No “if you have a better offspec than someone else you get more priority”). Other raids will say “you will spec how we tell you to spec or get benched”. That’s their prerogative, and I don’t have any say in whether it’s good or bad, since I don’t raid with them. (I’d generally be very unhappy there, but there would likely be more than one problem with that particular setup than just specs.) This is similar to other raids having loot systems I don’t like, recruitment rules I find stupid, and leaders whose voices make me want to stab my ears after 5 minutes on vent. They’re not my raid, they can run things how they want.

    Whether or not I’m willing to spec however the raid asks me to spec (and whether I have the gear for it) doesn’t take away from my dedication to my raid team. I am a fantastic healer (most of the time). I can pull Ok, but not that great DPS. I can not tank my way out of a brown paper sack. If my raid said “Anna, you have to tank or we’re benching you” I’d say “Thanks, but I can’t tank, you need to find someone else.” That’s a measure of my dedication as well – I’m not going to subject a raid to my ineptitude as a tank (my situational awareness, after five years of healing, is too geared in one direction). It means I know my strengths, and I respect my peers enough to say that if they don’t have room for me as a healer, I really probably don’t deserve a spot in a heroic ToC run.

    However, my 10 man raid, which is much more fluid, doesn’t have a set in stone roster, and which is mostly a gang of friends occasionally asks me to spec ret for certain fights (hardmode Hodir, in particular). And I don’t mind doing that, since it helps in a pinch.

  11. #11 by Anna on October 7, 2009 - 11:46 pm

    And because I forgot…

    Prior to my 10 man asking me to have a ret-offspec, I was Holy PVE and Holy PVP specced (Paladin).

  12. #12 by loldrood on October 8, 2009 - 12:29 am

    Cause who DOESN’T love having to lug around two completely different sets of gear all the damn time? That’s ~20 bag slots dedicated, maybe more(hi, fellow droods!).

    Dunno, worrying about spec for “progression” seems silly, since these days, Blizz’s thought pattern seems to be, “everyone should the latest Tier gear”.

    If it really bothers your guild that much, then they should be more then willing to pay for the duel-spec / respec costs.

  13. #13 by Perrin on October 8, 2009 - 12:45 am


    I have my 8.5 healing set, my T9 (3 pieces) set, my regen set, my Boomkin set, my frost resist pieces, my boomkin crit set, and to top it off, my “Best iLevel for Slot” set, with pieces I’d never use in normal encounters.

  14. #14 by kyrilean on October 8, 2009 - 7:31 am

    But those of us who are willing need to move a little faster.

    How long did it take to get tank gear and all because I was nervous as hell? Now I find I really enjoyed it?

    I need to gem/enchant my Enhance gear and that’s already a viable DPS spec for me.

    I need to collect Shadow gear again.

    And while collecting Tree gear, I need to collect tank gear. :)

  15. #15 by Isa on October 8, 2009 - 8:26 am

    I think requiring someone to do something they don’t want to do is dumb, but at the same time I look down upon hybrid players who don’t know the first thing about their non-spec abilities. As a ret paladin, I don’t own a healing spec (and wouldn’t take one even if my guild asked me to). But even though I don’t carry it everywhere anymore, I do have an entire heal set in the bank. My heal spells are on my action bars, and I’m ready to use them in an emergency. Same with my taunt, and a gear switch macro to throw on a sword and board. I don’t throw away useful tools, and when I see someone who has I think it’s a shame.

  16. #16 by Duht on October 8, 2009 - 8:38 am

    My main is a prot paladin. My offspec is ret. I don’t own holy gear. I don’t roll on holy gear. I don’t do holy. I cannot stand paladin healing. Please note, I said paladin healing. I’m not averse to healing in general, but I find healing as a paladin to be an awful, half baked class/spec. I hate it, lots.

    We’re never short a healer in our raids. I attribute this to good leadership, good recruiting, and good planning. If your officers are doing things properly, they are likely to fill your ranks with several backups without having to push a player into a role they do not enjoy.

    A large portion of our officer corps are healers, and as a result aren’t flaky when it comes to raid attendance. When real life does rear it’s ugly head, we have a few backup healers from healing capable DPS. No one is expected to maintain three specs. I think every hybrid in my guild has a dps spec as a primary or secondary spec. I’m not aware of any tank/heal/dps or tank/heal classes in our ranks. Speaking of tank/heal specs, I don’t think that that is a viable spec combo for progression. It’s more a spec you would have if you were looking to pug. I can’t think of an encounter where we need one more tank and one less healer or vice versa. I can on the other hand think of several encounters where we’ve had multiple healers and/or tanks switch to a dps spec.

    We have three main spec tanks in our guild. We also have a couple backup tanks in the event that a main spec tank can’t make it. Our guild leader, who is one of the tank corps is out for the week on a camping trip. We haven’t stopped downing bosses. When three tanks are needed, we can simply pull from the willing and available pool of raiders who opted into a tanking offspec on their own.

    Once again this setup is due to a great recruiting effort by guild leadership to get the classes/specs that we need. They have built redundancy into our raiding core without having to push someone into a position they aren’t interested in playing. Poor leadership forces their hybrids into building sets to fill every eventuality, essentially making their hybrid raiders pay for leaderships inability or lack of initiative in filling the raid with the roles necessary for progression.

  17. #17 by Matojo on October 8, 2009 - 8:55 am

    I responded to Psy’s post on the same topic so I’ll save you the teal deer, but I agree with this. Even if I were in a progression guild I would not force members to spec for something they don’t like or aren’t good at – morale is important. You piss people off, you screw with morale, people start deciding they don’t wanna show up, the progression stops.

    I have healing or tanking off-specs on hybrid toons because I enjoy those roles, but would never, ever expect anybody else to take up a role they don’t like.

    Like you, I’d rather have the happy tank that understands their role and picks it up willingly than the guy that was forced into the slot just because he’s a paladin/druid/death knight/warrior.

  18. #18 by Forreststump on October 8, 2009 - 9:09 am

    I knew WAY ahead of time that dual-specs would not eliminate respeccing costs. In fact, I think they may have gone UP.

    For both my druid and paladin, I maintain raid-ready gear sets for THREE specs, plus another set of PvP gear on the side.

    Druid: Resto PvE (Raid), Resto PvE (Tank), Resto PvP, Balance PvE (I have gear, though quite substandard, for feral specs, too); currently specced for raid healing and boomkin.

    Paladin: Prot PvE, Ret PvE, Holy PvE, Holy PvP; currently specced Prot/Ret.

    It’s nearly to the point where I’m actually considering leveling an extra paladin and druid (or faction change for the paladin – I’m a sicko and have one on both Alliance and Horde) just to be able to split spec duties between toons.

    I love hybrids for their flexibility and utility. I also HATE hybrids for their FLEXIBILITY and UTILITY.

  19. #19 by wantedpriest on October 8, 2009 - 9:56 am

    In theory, a hybrid’s dps is slightly lower than that of a pure dps class. The difference between the two is the approximate value that the hybrid brings to the raid by being able to fulfill multiple roles.

    To the extent that a hybrid refuses to provide that flexibility to the raid, they have lessened their worth in comparison to a pure dps class.

    Sorry to disagree with you on this one Amber, but to me, inflexible hybrids just seem kinda selfish and petty.


  20. #20 by shadowtycho on October 8, 2009 - 10:13 am

    ***wall of angry tank text incoming***
    raiding is a team sport, saying that you wont do a job because you wont(note: wont not, cant or suck at it) is selfish and detrimental to the group dynamic.

    if you are a ret pally and you /can/ heal you should offer to heal.

    if you are a kitty and you /can/ tank you should offer too.

    if you are a shadow priest and you /can/ heal you should offer too.

    i would think that’s common sense, you rolled a class that can do these things because either you didn’t know any better or you wanted to be able to do these things.
    If you were hell bent on being caster dps, throwing huge spell after huge spell to top the meters and did not ever want to heal, you shouldn’t have rolled a shaman you should have rolled a mage.
    if you wanted to be shadowy and dot things up and burn them to death but never ever wanted to heal, a warlock was probably more your style then a priest.

    note that above i used (and emphasized) can, if you suck at healing, you know it, and you don’t have the gear for it, please don’t waste everyone time in raid by struggling through a fight if you can’t do it.

    but… if no one else can do it, welcome to the truth of a team, self sacrifice for the betterment of a whole.

    if you play a hybrid and you think for a second that no one should expect you to be able to perform the roles of your class for 1 second then you are saying,”i shouldn’t have to tank/heal because i don’t know how to play my class, but i should be allowed to go to raid even tho i don’t know how to play my class.” no one wants to take the person that doesn’t know how to play to raid and if you cant perform at least 2 of your class specs addiquitly then you are being carried and should consider that.
    and while your considering that reroll one of the “pure” classes so that you can at least give the rest of us some utility crowd control and buffs.
    so to the plate dps that complain about the lack of tanks, and the hybrids that complain about heals;
    if you think you can do it better you are welcome to try.

    TL/DR; hybrids are expected to do all the roles they can do, and if they don’t they are just being selfish and lazy.

  21. #21 by shadowtycho on October 8, 2009 - 10:14 am

    huh guess that struck a nerve

  22. #22 by dorgol on October 8, 2009 - 10:38 am

    I have little sympathy for a hybrid class complaining about lacking tanks and / or healers in 5-man groups.

    You can choose to play the game you want, sure. But if you choose to NOT spec into your hybrid roll, then that’s your own fault and you aren’t allowed to complain.

    In raids, though, recruitment is more rigid. If someone is recruited as a Retribution Paladin, then they should be allowed to BE a Retribution Paladin. If they volunteer for tanking or healing, great. Otherwise, leave them to do their thing.

  23. #23 by Kotakh on October 8, 2009 - 10:57 am

    I agree with Tycho…mostly.

    As long as you’re spec and gear for it, you should do whatever your RL ask you to do. For exemple, i’m a resto/boomkin. I like healing more than Booming but if the RL ask me to go Boomkin you can bet your ass i’m going to do it even if i’d rather heal. But if he comes out of nowhere and ask me to tank…he can go f**k himself.

    Just because my toon “could” be a tank doesnt mean i have to know how to tank and get tank gear just in case. I am not a tank…never been and never will be. And it has nothing to do with me being selfish or lazy.

    Raiding may be a “team sport” and my class may be able to tank…but i’m still playing this game to have fun and i will not spend a raiding night “not having fun” just for the team. On the other hand, i will not insist on having a spot on the raid team if i’m not willing to fill the role they need.

    I have a much bigger problem with dps class that cant be bothered to use their “non-dps” ability or to move out of shit that hurt, that i’ll ever have toward a hybrid that refuse to play something he doesnt like. And those dps are much more common than those hybrid.

  24. #24 by shadowtycho on October 8, 2009 - 11:35 am

    @kotakh – i did specificly say you should be able to do 2 things, if your raid needs you to be able to fill in all 3 roles as a hybrid, that’s a recruitment problem.

    if you are a druid and you are rolling resto and moonkin, your doing it right, if you feel you need to have a feral set that is passable and tankish, more power to you.

    if your a dk or a warrior that refuses to tank: you fail
    if you are a pally that refuses to heal /or/ tank: you fail
    if you are a shaman that will not heal ever no matter what: you fail
    if you are a priest that wont heal even if you group needs it: welcome to failville

    the examples go on, i would much rather see some one try with all there might and fail to be agood support character, but be willing to try when they are called apon then just refuse because, “its my game and i don’t have to if i don’t want to”

    i have seen allot of fail heals and a few fail tanks(not much opportunity to pug with other tanks) and those poeple that where trying to support a group(well most of them, some poeple really need to reroll; we all know who you are fail-druid) got more points in my book for trying then the poeple who refuse to tank or heal on principal.

    this is also not to be confused with poeple who are done tanking or heal RIGHT FUCKING NOW. sometimes you need a break and i can sympathize with that.

  25. #25 by Ooke on October 8, 2009 - 11:46 am

    I play a 50/50 resto/enhancement shaman who has nearly identical gear for both specs (half Ulduar 25 half ToC 25 level)

    I spend more DKP than anyone else I know because I want to be able to do both equally well, or equally mediocre like I think some nights.

    What surprises me is my guild never assumes I’m healing, only some of the time and I thank them for that.

    I also find it’s a hell of a lot easier to pug if you can do more than one roll.

  26. #26 by Ayslin on October 8, 2009 - 2:11 pm

    I created my priest to do exactly one thing…to heal. i have 2 healing specs and I’m happy with that. I tried shadow…I hate it. If my guild needs dps they can take another raider or I can hop onto my druid. My druid is also a healer, but I do enjoy moonkin and do keep a set for it.

    I do value progression, but I value my own enjoyment of the game more. I will not force myself to play a spec that I do not enjoy and I do not expect it out of anyone else. I do encourage our healers to maintain a dps set, but I do not require it. If a person can do 2 things they have more chances of getting into a raid simply due to being able to fill different spots in the raid.

    Oh side note….my guild has an abundance of people wanting to heal and tank. We generally have to have at least a couple people go dps to for the night. We are a group of friends and we work it out. This works for us and we are all happy playing the roles that we enjoy.

  27. #27 by Ambrosyne on October 8, 2009 - 2:44 pm

    @Tycho – It is more selfish for me to ask you to do something you don’t like than it is for you to not want to do something you don’t like.

  28. #28 by Codi on October 8, 2009 - 6:00 pm

    @ Amber re: what Tycho said

    I don’t think asking someone to heal/tank for the good of a raid is selfish. Making your teammates unable to raid because you don’t feel like healing/tanking, that’s selfish.

  29. #29 by Voink on October 8, 2009 - 6:08 pm

    I’ll make fun of the number of dps in lfg when we’re short healers or tanks, sure (my current record is 14 without a single healer or tank), but I’m not going to bemoan it when I’m a PvE/PvP balance druid, and know full well I’m ‘contributing’ to the dps glut on our server by being a hybrid with no healing or tank spec. I had previously been a moonkin with resto offspec.

    I rolled a paladin to tank or heal on, Voink is for PEWPEW. I agree with the tone of this post 9as wel as Ayslin’s post above); if I don’t want to heal, I don’t have to, and I understand it often means a harder time finding a pug or guild group. This is a game, people should do what they want to do. If they want to fill two roles to be helpful to progression, it’s their right, but they also have a right to say “this is what I do, take it or leave it”.

  30. #30 by Kazgrel on October 9, 2009 - 12:11 pm

    I work both sides of the fence on the whole hybrid deal. My main (shaman) is elemental main spec, resto off. I’m comfy doing both, although I will admit to being better at elemental. This works well, since I’m better off being elemental in our raids, which are devoid of demo locks and boomkin as of this post.

    My paladin alt is ret and prot, and splits time evenly between both, or so it seems. I’m fine with that. My warrior, though…Arms all the way. One spec for pve, the other pvp. My paladin’s ret spec can work well enough for pvp, as can both of my shaman’s specs, but I find enough variance in my warrior’s specs to warrant dual Arms specs.

    Our guild is only stringent about a main character’s main spec. We do prefer raider’s off spec to be raid viable, of course, but we don’t dictate it. Alts are free game; do what you want with them.

  31. #31 by CC on October 10, 2009 - 2:25 pm

    I’m a moonkin with a resto offspec and I’ll heal if we’re desperate, but I make it damn clear, only if we are desperate. I don’t want to be the reason a raid doesn’t happen, but I’m damned if I’ll get pigeonholed into going tree when I signed up to be a laserchicken. Asking, rather than demanding, also goes a long way with me. “Rhi, would you mind healing for us? We can’t go if we don’t get another healer” is a whole lot better than a ninja invite and “go tree!” The first will probably get you a healer. The second will probably get you a fuck off.

  32. #32 by ekinara on October 11, 2009 - 6:04 pm

    Heres my view.

    You don’t have to nor should you have to, however it’s a little self defeating for your class if you never do anything but one role. This is coming from the resto/ele shaman who is only elemental offspec because doing dailys as Resto is tedious at best. and downright aggravating at worst.
    I personally think its silly to play a hybrid and never try to enjoy anything but one aspect of it, heck that’s the whole reason I went from rogue to shaman!

  33. #33 by korenmolen on October 12, 2009 - 6:51 am

    I can see both sides of this – my old main was just a healadin – I could not get my head round anything else with her – and I’m not talking about RP – this was who she was. My DK – well DPS with some tanking skills, but not a dedicated tank. My priest? shadow and holy – pretty much equally happy on both.

    YMMV, but being the tank or the healer in the party – whether 5man or larger – has enormous pressure – being a DPS is less – if you die/fail, the bossmob might still drop – if the tank or healer dies/fails, then it’s almost certainly a party wipe.

    If you’re a hybrid class, you have the inbuilt utility to change spec, but if you hate that role (whether just this evening, or perhaps more permanently) why should you be made to feel guilty for it? Another night you might do that, but not today.

    I saw a recent application from a hybrid with no dual spec – applicant said they wanted to focus on being as good as they could be in the one spec, not mediocre at two. It’s a courageous approach, but not an invalid one.

  34. #34 by Kestrel on October 13, 2009 - 10:56 am

    For 99 percent of guilds, my answer to their expectation that a “hybrid” (I f’ing hate that term, btw) be dual-specced into healing/tanking is, “Learn to recruit.”

  35. #35 by Rahana on November 9, 2009 - 3:34 am

    Since progressing Ulduar hardmodes early into 3.1 release, my paladin was asked to have 2 dps specs – one being defensive with damage prevention, but dps never the less. And it stayed like that ever since. I have fair tank gear and experience, I have great holy gear and experience, yet I am rarely asked to switch – of course I will respec second spec for the evening if we miss tank/healer for the evening, but having that other spec a permanent to switch in when we “need one more healer just for this”? No effing way. And I was never asked to do that, and never will.

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