Ever since I started playing World of Warcraft five years ago, I’ve heard debate after debate about class balance. Originally almost every class was only good for one role in a group. The “Hybrid” classes didn’t really need to perform more than one role.
It wasn’t until the release of Molten Core where the “Hybrids” really came into the light. Trying to get 40 people together with the right class balance was very difficult. Having classes that could perform multiple roles was extremely useful.
While the “Pure” classes still had their places they were a lot more common since most of these classes were nothing more than DPS. This made it very hard to get a spot in raids even if they didn’t have a full 40 they still couldn’t take you because more often than not they were full on DPS classes.
Once The Burning Crusade came out Blizzard really tried to balance the classes more but still fell pretty sort of their goal. It wasn’t until a year later when they released Wrath of the Lich King that they really made a good move.
As of patch 3.1.1 characters can now keep two talent trees saved and switch without having to pay multiple fees. For the “Pure” classes it might not seem like a big deal but for the “Hybrids” it’s a wonderful thing. The “Pure” classes still gain something from this new system because Blizzard has attempted to give every class at least one tree that could be beneficial in a raid. So these DPS classes can be good for more than just DPS.
Here’s what Jon Wood over at MMORPG.com has to say about this:
“If you participate in any kind of PvE in WoW then you’ve probably heard, if not taken a part in it yourself, of the Hybrid vs Pure debate. Sticky situations between Hybrids and Pures are not new to WoW, or even the RPG genre. In most games, there’s always one class that’s more powerful than another just because it is so hard to strike a perfect balance. While the debate is not new, the current incarnation is. It all began when Blizzard unveiled their new plans for balancing classes in WotLK. They summed it up with an easy to remember phrase, “bring the player, not the class.” In other words, the idea is that you aren’t forced to stack specific classes in your raid just because you need that class’s buffs.
The argument stems from the difference between a Hybrid class and a Pure class. Hybrid classes are those that can perform multiple roles in a raid setting. There are only three roles in the game according to Blizzard: Tanking, Healing, DPS’ing. Pure classes on the other hand can only perform one of the three roles. So with that in mind, the only Pure classes are Warlocks, Rogues, Mages, and Hunters. Everyone else is a Hybrid.”