Runeforge Gossip set an interesting little thought going “And this has gotten me thinking about how we think of classes. We tend to see them mostly as what buffs they bring and their DPS. But often other things are important too, and even more so given that Blizzard wants us to pay more attention to things like CC, mana management, that sort of thing (no more simple stand and DPS fights). ”
The topic as set is to focus on what a particular class or classes can bring to the raid, which is an interesting thought but actually since 4.0.1 has a reduced scope due to the changes. Paladins and Druids share a buff (Mark of the Wild and Blessing of Kings), Blood pact overwrites Fortitude, Hunters can bring heroism to the raid and so on. So raid make up is going to be less difficult to achieve and I think less interesting. One of the fun aspects of Team Tincan and Team Pirate is we bring what we want to play, not what is necessarily needed for buffs or balance.
What we are truly bringing is the player, and more importantly the brain and awareness. For example it doesn’t matter whether a good player is running a dps DK or a Tankadin, they’ll know when to pop army of the dead, death grip in the caster or use Word of Glory as a health cooldown rather than blow it on threat generation as the situation demands. The warlock who banishes without being instructed to, knows how to drop banish early to save the team from standing around for the extra 20 seconds waiting for it to clear automatically, knows how to use soul shatter, and more importantly when to use it.
Buffs and specific raid utilities brought by the individual classes are simply the toolbox that player is bringing with them, and like any good tradesman they will make the utmost of whatever tool they have to hand and not blame their limitations on the class they’re playing.
With any new encounter half the battle is how quickly the various major components of the team can dial in their part of the puzzle, can the healers quickly get a handle on the flow of the fight, know when they can back off for that critical 20 seconds to conserve mana, will the dps pay attention to the timers and quickly dodge the flubber. Or will they stand like lemons cooing “ohh.. pretty green thing coming my way, will it be my friend”. Ok the new priest ability can yank them out of the way, but will the priest have the situational awarenessto spot the problem as it’s happening and have their UI designed to allow a quick save move.
Will the tanks work together as a team, knowing which way to dance out of the fire, talking to each other over venumblespeak, ensuring that they both take an appropriate share of the trash to spread the healing load, thus making the life of the healers so much easier.
In short when designing a raid, are you aiming to bring classes for their designed abilities or players who can make the utmost of the tools they’re presented with by the game?