My Friday post on damage meter F-Bombs sure generated a lot of discussion, some of it good, some of it from people who failed grade 2 reading comprehension. But then there came a comment this morning from Pugnacious Priest that made me sit up and take notice. I quote it here:

“… All the Pug shadow priests Ive been meeting – most of them tagged with respectable guilds seem to have it in their head that they shouldnt be dpsing adds/spikes/dispelling and the like. Maybe the chips on our shoulders from being a poor mans Dps has bruised our egos so much that doing a job right is less important then beating the non hybrids …”

I’m sure some of you have seen Bladerunner, one of my favorite movies of all time. It deals with replicants, man made robots who look exactly human, who are better, smarter, faster, stronger, etc. As a result they’re banned on earth and if they show up they get hunted down by someone who looks like Han Solo.

Hybrids are also replicants, although they didn’t start out that way. Hybrids started out as classes for players who essentially just couldn’t make up their mind what they wanted to do, or players who couldn’t commit to doing something, a lot like my ex-girlfriend. In the beginning the trade-off was that in order to have the freedom to do two or three roles you had to accept that you didn’t do the roles just as well as the pure classes, whether that be healing, dps or tanking. As a kind of make-up for this, hybrids got given lots of groovy buffs that would hopefully ensure them being invited to raids even when we knew their dps sucked.

Inevitably and non surprisingly, hybrid players slowly but surely used a long campaign of endless complaining and nagging to get Blizzard to buff them up to be on par with the pure classes. Do you remember which was the best dps class in Burning Crusade? I do. They were called elemental shamans. And when one deemed himself desperate enough to join our crummy raid guild I remember us being a happy bunch indeed, (even if he was a closest sex offender to go by his guild chat).

Blizzard tried to balance things a bit better in WotLK but all their hard work in that direction was completely wiped out by a little class called Death Knights, who were labelled “Hero Class” which reminded me of game killing potential, ala Star Wars Galaxies jedi knights. These were so powerful they could kill a game designer at 20 paces, and thus they received a slow but steady nerfing into the ground until today where they can still top the damage meters if they so desire.

So where has all of this left us, the common people who must play day by day with the present reality? Well, we must remember that the present reality has all of this historical baggage tagged along with it, and it would be foolish not to keep this in consideration. As Pugancious Priest points out so clearly, hybrid dps now have a chip on their shoulder. They have been belittled and teased and demonised so often by us naughty “pure” dps that now they really want to show us that they can do the job. Unfortuately for everyone concerned the only way to effectively measure how the job is done is by looking at recount. Which would go some way to explaining the shadow priests temper tantrum in VoA the other day, (even, and I repeat, even if he was 4th overall on the damage meters and had also done damage to the orbs as instructed and was in no danger of not getting loots).

Ironically, in their push to gain acceptance as classes worthy of being invited to a raid for their dps, hybrids are digging themselves further into a hole by not doing their job properly. And it doesn’t help when they get grouped with players who proudly flash recount numbers in chat every chance they have. But in the end, what hybrid players have to understand is that all dps players are playing with the same yoke hanging around their necks. We are all slaves to the recount charts. As a rogue, I too will have my dps drastically lowered by running away and hitting the bone spikes. Our challenge is both to be able to keep up good dps while still doing the tasks necessary for completing the boss, and to be able to suck up the ignornace from the recount quoting crowd.

The doomed replicants in Bladerunner are afraid of humans while at the same time wanting to be more like them, and this goes for the humans as well. As long as there is a hybrid vs pure class competition there will always be these underlying problems that inhibit us getting a job done correctly. Our past differences are causing us to work against each other, even when we are on the same team. And at the end of the day we are much more similar than our differences would have us believe.