Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Hybrid Tax, real or not?

Our boomkin friends are getting a pretty ugly-looking nerf toStarsurge in patch 4.1.0, which surprised me a little bit. Admittedly, I'm no expert on balance druids, but from what I've seen on the DPS meters, their damage didn't seem stratospheric. In fact, I usually see boomkins trailingshadow priests across the board.

The whole thing got me thinking. Why are boomkins being nerfed if they're not topping the meters? Is it a "hybrid tax" thing? Does the hybrid tax even still exist in Cataclysm?

Heres a list of theory craft dps done in a theoretical fight with all players in 4 piece t11 and average i372 items, with full buffs. (the chart labeled dps rankings to the left of this)

There's a major drawback to theorycrafting: The numbers you get in the lab are often different from the numbers you get in the real world. The site, which pulls data from the top performers at World of Logs, shows something of a different picture over the last few days:( seethe first (top) chart with white background)

Obviously, that throws a bit of a wrench in our hybrid tax calculations. It's hard to calculate what doesn't exist.

So, wait, is there a hybrid tax or not?

The final judgment as to whether or not the hybrid tax exists in Cataclysm is still up for debate, of course, and we could see some major changes coming with patch 4.1.0. For now, though, we have to deal with reality, and that reality (at least for me) is this: Shadow priests are one of the strongest DPS specs out there right now. It's not an easy spec to master, but once you do, it's an incredibly powerful one.

That's not to say that the hybrid tax can't and won't make a comeback. Warlocks are slated for a flat DPS buff in patch 4.1.0, which should bump their DPS nicely. And, as we already stated, boomkin are in for a DPS nerf -- a spec that's already underperforming shadow priests by just about every metric. Patch 4.1.0 could just as easily contain more buffs for pure DPS classes and more nerfs for hybrid classes.

So are shadow priests in for nerfs in patch 4.1.0? It's clearly too early to tell, but it really depends on Blizzard's core class design philosophy. Are classes really balanced around best-of-the-best DPS -- that is, around progression raiding? Or are classes balanced around a more typical DPS player, a philosophy that wants to find a middle ground between the hard-to-master shadow priest spec and an easier-to-play boomkin spec?

1 comment:

  1. I totally believe it. I was #1 dps once upon a time, now I'm 4th-5th AND have nerfs incoming. They gave pallies my buff & DKs my Battle rez. They hate Boomkins.