And everything else apparently, if you are to believe certain individuals. Since the launch of TBC, and especially after the launch of Wotlk, there’s been an increasing amount of people who believe that all the classes are the same and that we might as well only have one class. This is obviously a silly exaggeration, but I do see where people are coming from and I share some of the concerns.
“In the good ol’ days”, that weren’t really that good, some people just want you to believe they were, every class had very specific tasks. As a hunter I would kite mobs that were immune to crowd control, trap mobs that couldn’t be sapped or sheeped (shept?) and do tricky pulls. A good example is a boss in Molten Core, whos name eludes me, that needed to be pulled by a hunter because of the very short amount of time you had to do so. If you pulled him too soon or too late, he would bring friends to join the fun. Since we had instant cast, long-range shots and feign death in case the kodo-droppings hit the fan, hunters were ideal for the job. I really enjoyed this very specific job and the responsibility that came with it. It was something no one else could do. It made me feel rather unique and important to the raid.
Things weren’t all unicorns and sunshine though. As a paladin my job was very easy. Buff people with a 10-min blessing. 40 people, individually, there was no such thing as a single blessing that buffed all the classes with that blessing. By the time I had finished buffing the raid, I only had a few minutes to throw some heals around before I had to start all over again. That is unless someone died and had to be re-buffed. Sure, it was a very important job to do, but I never felt like I was raiding, but rather that I was tagging along to help others raid.
It’s clear that giving each class and specc very specific jobs has both its ups and downs. The problem was still evident in TBC. Shattered Halls for example was a pain to tank unless you were a protadin because of the large and spread out trash packs. While druids were the main-tanks. Even though it made people feel a bit unique, perhaps less than it did in vanilla, it also had its flaws. After Blizzard changed raids from 40-man to 10/25, the problem was no longer to get enough people, but rather get the right classes and speccs, especially in 10-mans.
While a lot may disagree, I think Blizzard did the right thing with Wotlk. A 10-man with two paladin tanks, or two healing trees alongside a shamalama works out alright, it’s far from ideal, but it doesn’t keep people from raiding. And while our tasks may have become less unique, how we do them still is. Priests, druids and shamans can all AoE and raid heal, but they do it in very different ways. The same goes for tanks and DPS, they can all do pretty much the same, but they do it differently and some do certain things slightly better than others. And don’t forget that classes still have some unique abilities that non others have. Druids are still the only ones who can combat ress, warlocks got their soul stones and health stones, while priests can save someones life with flashy wings thingy (I’m bad with names, ok?).
I started out by saying that I shared some concerns about the homogenizing of the game. And I do, even though it might not seem that way. Right now I think things are fine when it comes to how the classes play. Probably better than its ever been. My only concern is that things will become too homogenized to make the game more accessible. I’m no fan of getting frost from heroics. And I’m concerned about how easy certain aspects of the game has become. As I said, I think most things are fine as they are, I’m just worried that Blizzard intends to head further and further down the path of making all aspects of the game accessible to everyone. Feeling unique and having your own personal character unlike everyone else is a large part of what MMO’s are about and I hope Blizzard recognizes that.