website tracking
Rows and Rows of the Finest Virtuosos on Game and Player

Rows and Rows of the Finest Virtuosos

Heather Richtmyre  //  November 10, 2009

Hybrid balance and the meaning of offsets.


ybrid. A quick search of the word brings up definitions involving the combination of two disparate elements, crossbreeds, and so on. The definition in World of Warcraft is a bit more specific. See the official comment here.

Hybrids are classified as any character class that can perform multiple roles. These are the druids, shamans, paladins, priests, warriors, and death knights. Out of these only the paladin and druid can perform all three functions of tanking, healing, and damage-per-second (DPS).

Rather basic. Of course, the viability of hybrids in comparison to classes that may only DPS is a source of controversy at times, along with nearly everything else in WoW. The addition of the dual-specialization option only added to this, as it increased the flexibility of a hybrid class by allowing a change of role without spending additional gold and leaving the instance. The benefit of having a character that can change roles this easily tends to be offset by a slightly decreased output when purely dealing damage. Most of the protests that I have encountered related to this form of balance tend towards an unwillingness to fulfill multiple roles on that character. I've always found this rather odd, as it seems borne of an expectation that the abilities of characters should be balanced around players who refuse to use the abilities to their fullest.

Most protests of hybrids' slightly decreased damage output tend towards an unwillingness to fulfill multiple roles on that character.Mainly, the introduction of dual-specs has allowed for less restrictive requirements in forming a raid, as some members can change to fill whatever need is highest at that time. It can also lead to confusion when someone shows up with the gear and spec of the role they are not going to be performing as.

Now, as an addendum, I'll address a few of the items of terminology related to different specializations. An off-spec is any specialization your character could have that is not the one you utilize the most often and which usually has a lower priority on upgrades for it. The offset is the actual gear to be used by the specialization that is not your main or most utilized one. Mainly, the terms are used in determining loot distribution, and I did encounter them even before the introduction of dual-spec.

Offsets can vary from quite easy to very difficult to acquire, depending on how many others will compete for such gear. In some cases, only other members of your class will be interested (spellpower plate, mail, and leather), and in others three different classes will be vying with you (cloth and plate DPS equipment). Given that with a somewhat stable group over time, the demand for these items will decrease, filling out an offset of gear is not a terribly difficult proposition.

Michael Ubaldi // November 10, 2009 // 10:06 AM

Reaching all the way back to the days before I began playing, the three-way hybrids — druid and paladin — were my first choices. I value versatility enough to accept lower performance benchmarks. That said, I look forward to what my warlock alt can do in endgame.

Heather Richtmyre // November 10, 2009 // 8:47 PM

A warlock in endgame invokes much of "Summon please!" and "Why are there no cookies yet?"

Join the Discussion

Articles by Heather Richtmyre

February 22, 2011

February 10, 2011

G&P Latest

July 1, 2011

June 28, 2011

About  //  Editors  //  Contributors  //  Terms of Use