Class Stacking and the Trivialization of Raid Mechanics

Jaybee Mass Resurrection (Raids), Role Check (Classes), Writer Soap Box (Staff Editorials) 1 Comment

World of Warcraft has reached the end of another expansion. For the past few months, more and more guilds have killed Mythic Archimonde and others have joined the ranks of guilds selling full Mythic HFC clears. My own guild has had Mythic Archimonde on farm since January and we started selling our own full clears a month ago. The sales were rocky at first, as we adjusted to being one, two, or even three ‘real’ Raiders down in certain fights. As weeks past, though the other officers and I noticed something – the fights got much easier with the more Rogues, Mages, and Hunters we had.

The notion of Rogues, Mages, and Hunters being really good for raiding is not new at all and it is not one I’m unfamiliar with, either. However, I had to be exposed to this notion first-hand, in practice, before I could fully understand how true it was and why. To carry successfully, your Raiders must execute mechanics flawlessly to make up for the loss of DPS spots. Rogues, Mages, and Hunters are the perfect classes to have for walking this razor’s edge because, as we have seen repeatedly in the past, they are able to easily trivialize or even completely nullify certain raid mechanics through various talents and abilities. In fact, the ability of these classes to negate certain mechanics is so strong that it has greatly affected how my guild recruits, and we have even dubbed them the ‘holy trinity’.

The other officers and I cannot trial or even view the logs of a Retribution Paladin, Enhancement/Elemental Shaman, Shadow Priest, etc. without first asking ourselves “Is this player’s skill going to outweigh the DPS and mechanics “cheesing” that a Mage/Rogue/Hunter could bring?”. Due to having an active roster of 25 Raiders, the “Trinity vs. Everything Else” question expands further out and usually results in us bringing another Hunter or Mage over our beloved Feral Druids or Shadow Priests. Grappling with these issues has been tough for us, but we are only now fully grasping a problem that the most elite guilds have wrestled with for a long time – negating entire raid mechanics is incredibly valuable and only a few classes can do it.

Class stacking has only just become feasible for my guild, but world-class progression guilds have been doing it for years. While other classes have been able to cheese mechanics, such as using a Death Knight for Mass Grip on Mannoroth’s Imps or a Demonology Warlock to manage Enforcer Sorka’s Swirling Vortex, Rogues, Mages, and Hunters have always been of use in negating mechanics across multiple raid encounters. Xhul’Horac’s Black Hole and the resulting Singularity, a mechanic meant to be soaked by multiple people, can be completely soaked by one Rogue with Cheat Death. The Wrath of Gul’dan mechanic on Mannoroth is minimized and negated through Mages soaking Gripping Shadows with Ice Block and Hunters with Deterrence. Fel Lord Zakuun’s Cavitation can be eaten entirely by one Mage using Evanesce, and all three of the holy trinity can soak all the Wake of Destruction released from players leaving the shadow realm. So many of these mechanics are meant to be dealt with carefully by multiple people, or even an entire group, but the trinity trivializes so many of them.

The ability for some classes to ignore some minor raid mechanics is not a bad thing. In fact, it should be considered a perk of the class. For example, there is nothing wrong with a Rogue using Cloak of Shadows, or a Windwalker Monk using Touch of Karma, to ignore Kormrok’s Fel Outpouring. In that case, a Raider is simply using one of their own class abilities to negate a raid mechanic strictly concerning them and not the entire raid. The line is drawn when a class can use one of their own abilities to negate a raid-wide mechanic for the entire raid. A raid-wide mechanic that is supposed to have a major impact should not be able to be ignored through the actions of one or two people playing a certain class. Since these raid mechanics and the challenge of overcoming them are the entire point to raiding, the classes that can most consistently negate them are valued much more highly than others who cannot, and this is wrong.

This article may come off as silly to the super elite Raiders that have dealt with this issue long before me, but I feel it is more relevant than ever. Not only can the holy trinity trivialize so many mechanics, but they are also the highest DPS on almost every fight. There is nothing wrong with some classes beating others on fights and there will never be perfect DPS balance, but it is completely wrong that a select few classes can be of such use mechanics-wise and deal the highest damage. When bringing classes to a raid, you first have to evaluate the value of the class itself, and then the ability for the player to utilize the ability of that class to the fullest. When a mediocre Mage, Hunter, or Rogue becomes more valuable in a Mythic raiding environment than an expert Warrior, Shaman, or Priest, there is a huge problem.

The reign of the holy trinity needs to be addressed going into Legion. I don’t mind if Rogues, Mages, and Hunters are still the highest damage on some or even most fights, but they cannot also be allowed to negate entire raid-wide mechanics. However, the ability for any classes or specs to consistently negate important mechanics is a problem, and that problem affects how progression-focused Mythic raiding guilds recruit and evaluate Raiders. I may have picked on the trinity in this article because they are the most egregious currently, but that situation can change long-term, and hopefully that change will be its complete removal. 

Content Writer - World of Warcraft
I play my Worgen Warrior Jaybee on Kel'Thuzad as my main. I raid for the guild Celestials as an officer and core member of our mythic progression team. I'm pretty opinionated on many things, so I write about many things across the game.

Comments 1

  1. Interesting points.. though I can’t help but feel not enough is said about what you call the Holy Trinity.. being a hunter for a long time.. long friggin time I have worked my butt off to be a value to a raid team, learning how to balance my abilities to counter boss abilities. It’s really not as simple as you are implying.

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