One of the biggest complaints I heard in World of Warcraft was about class homogenization. The idea is that if you take the classes and combine the enough, that you would basically end up with tank, healer, melee DPS and ranged DPS. This is true, if you happen to go that far. I recently read a blog post about this that does bring up an interesting point – choice. This extends into Rift a little bit, because there has been a lot of discussion regarding 1.5 changes and capability of different classes to perform in particular roles – most notably, tanking and DPS.

Milk

A definition from Dictionary.com reads, “to make uniform or similar, as in composition or function.” What I want is for people to think about this for a little bit. Similar in function. Meaning, capable of performing to approximately equivalent values. In Rift, there are twenty (20!) different souls that are focused primarly around dealing damage. There are six that cover tanking. Four are specifically for healing. Two are your support souls, focusing primarily on buffing/debuffing (though Bard arguably also fits into healing, but it is not primarily about healing).

So, when people bitch, moan and complain about homogenization, I tend to look at it from a bit of a different perspective. Do I want all classes to be exactly the same in their damage output/tanking survivability/healing capacity? Absolutely not; it shouldn’t work that way. However, all the roles should be able to perform similarly to each other when looked at in the grand scheme of things. The lines get blurred a little bit when you look at it from the perspective of “equality,” though that’s more a loose term than anything.

Every calling, and each soul, is going to have its strengths and weaknesses in different environments. As an example, the Cabalist soul for clerics really shines when it comes to AoE damage, but is lacking in single target damage (almost to a point where people don’t use Cabalists for single-target encounters). In the same regard, a 51 Elementalist does pretty well for a single-target encounter, but if there is any movement whatsoever, or significant AoE, then it quickly falls to the wayside (and is subpar single-target DPS besides). What I think ought to be the case is that these, and other souls, should be able to perform admirably in any situation, such that if a person is wanting to play them, then they can.

However, I do also support people learning multiple souls, even should they only prefer to look at particular roles. The only exceptions to this might be people using Archon, Bard, Chloromancer, Justicar or Riftstalker, since there are no other options for those in their respective callings – in this case, learning at least one other role can only serve to benefit the player and their groups. But, I digress.

The main point is that all the tanking souls (the four warrior souls, Justicar and Riftstalker), the healing souls (the three cleric ones and Chloromancer), the two support souls (Bard and Archon), as well as all the DPS souls (everything else) should be able to perform as capably as their counterparts in other callings. They do not need to perform equally, but I do feel that the heavy invested souls (44-51 points) should not feel subpar to hybrid specs (32/34 or some variant, normally), nor should they feel exceedingly weak to other callings in general (right now, generally the case with mage and cleric DPS as of T2 raiding, if what I read is correct).

If the souls weren’t intended to be able to perform on par with the other souls of the same type from the other callings, then I’m unsure why it those souls would have been created. And no, there’s no using the, “But you can do x amount of roles and I can’t!” card here. Yes, I can tank, heal or DPS as a cleric. However, I cannot go respec Warlord or Archon and provide Assault Command or Flaring Power as needed. I can’t provide raid buffs as a Sentinel, Warden or Purifier in the same way I could as a Shaman or Druid. A warrior can do that as a Warlord in their tank spec.

I don’t mind there being some sort of challenge to my tanking (e.g., AoE snap threat, relying on healing to keep consistent threat, vs. Spotter’s Order, or not having Sergeant’s Order or some sort of ranged silence that isn’t on a 1-minute cooldown). I don’t mind having to use an actual rotation vs. a macro (see, most mage specs). I do not, however, want to put in the same or more effort, and get less return for my investment. To this end, there must needs be some degree of homogenization in order to allow for everyone to be able to be competitive.

Do I believe everything I read on the forums? No, I’m not so stupid as that. But the trends are there, and they are not without merit.