Our stance hasn't changed since Lich King. Originally (pre-LK) we tried to keep hybrid specs at 40% or more behind the pure damage-dealers, but then we also treated warriors as pure damage-dealers. If you really know your class, and I mean really know it, and if you have good gear, the right buffs, and a group that backs you up, then you are fully capable of topping the damage meters on certain fights. Overall we do want to make sure the pure dps classes are slightly higher when all things are equal, otherwise there is no point to those entire classes existing. Do warriors beat mages on some fights? Absolutely. What's the issue?I'm not sure what you're getting at with that last part. Ret paladins were not a serious raiding option for many players pre-LK. Now they certainly are. - Developer Ghostcrawler (Source)
I'd like to concentrate on his first sentence. This bothers me on a couple of levels.
First off, I'm pretty upset that this design wasn't communicated. Ret Paladins, Shadow Priests and other hybrids were doing their level best to compete for DPS spots all the while being designed to be 40% or more behind pure damage dealers. Of course, they didn't know they were playing against a stacked deck.
But the part that really irks me is that the Developers decided to treat the Warrior class as a Pure Damage Dealer despite the fact that at the time we are discussing (2.0 through 2.4), Warriors were generally considered to be the best Tank class around. In Beta, the Developers admitted to designing encounters to 'prop up' the Warrior class. I wish I still had that post but the Beta boards are long gone. However, the truth of their statement can be seen in things like Illidan's Shear and the requirement of Spell Reflect on Reliquary of Souls.
What was so special about the Warrior class? Why did they get this treatment? The only explanation that makes sense to my brain is that the developers had the idea that hybrids were healers and that Pure Classes were those that couldn't spec to heal. I think it's an odd definition of a hybrid, but it was never communicated to the player base to discuss/debate/give feedback on.
This also ignores the various utility even pure DPS classes can bring. I remember well that we prefered Mages over other classes at fights like Archimonde because they could Decurse. Rogues were pretty much a requirement for Reliquary of Souls and were very helpful on other fights due to Kick. So even though they weren't a 'hybrid' they brought more to the raid than just their UBER DPS.
Now Ghostcrawler has said before that bringing up past mistakes by the developers doesn't help us today and that's largely true. If we say we don't trust what Ghost and the other Developers are saying to us today because they 'lied' to us in the past, it doesn't lend itself to further communication today.
But it does make me feel pretty angry about the way the Warrior class was treated, and about the way hybrids were treated. Of course, that anger doesn't do anything to help my class today.
Today, all specs of Paladins are competitive in their own arenas of DPSing, Healing and Tanking.
But part of the reason my blog exists is for me to express, and work through my feelings, to vent a little bit and share my thoughts and theories about the game.