One of the things that drew me into World of Warcraft was the game’s ambition. They set out to create a huge online world in which thousands could interact and join together to defeat enemies. At the core of this goal is player groups. Initially it was clear to me that WoW had chosen to develop very independent, non-overlapping character classes (and to a lesser extent, races). Tanks (threat-grabbing and damage-absorbing class) were a singularity, either you had a warrior in your group or you failed. Same could be said for the healer, which was isolated to a priest class. While other classes could heal/tank, their effectiveness in a group, when facing end-game content was nearly zero. While the chat channels were flooded with “need tank” or “need priest”, I applauded Blizzard for trying to create a very diverse population.
All that has changed. The focus now is on hybrid classes. In the past you needed very specific class balance in groups to defeat encounters, but not anymore. The group buffing class (Paladin) has been transformed into the elite of tank-healer hybrid. Paladins, properly spec’d and geared, can chose to either be an elite end-game tank or healer. They are no longer limited to a singular role by their class choice. The same can be said for the druid, able to transform from healer to tank to DPS and be end-game competent at all three, if they chose. Even the ultimate tank class (warrior) has become hybrid, choosing between tank and DPS. How lame.
The problem with this design direction is the game becomes bland. Making all the classes the same (I won’t even get into how many stuns there are now) has the affect of removing any unique identity with your character. You essentially bring nothing unique to the table. Multiple other classes can replace the abilities which you found so appealing that you chose the class and invested many hours to refine their use.
I would have preferred Blizzard continued their original effort to provide very distinct, unique classes.
While I continue to play WoW, it is not the game I began playing two years ago.