I've been raiding pretty continously for the last three years or so. I started out seriously with Karazhan, but had been doing some MC before that. I've been playing with alot of different people during that time. The guilds I've been in (two, to date) have had very different goals with their raiding. The first one aimed at a casual but serious attitude that over time grew more and more serious. We had a friend-of-guildie invite policy however which meant we never actively recruited dedicated players, but hoped that the people who came our way would be interested and dedicated enough to get us as far as possible. It worked so so. Considering raiding wasn't the main goal of the guild however, it worked as well as it had to. The guild I am in now on the other hand, has succesful raiding as main goal and as such also engages in active recruiting. It also means that if you don't cut it, you will be kicked. All these experiences combined made me think about, what people seem to always be the ones not cutting it? Are there some classes that "breed" better players, or some classes that attract a certain type of players?
There is no denying that some classes definitely are easier to level than others, so that maybe some sort of sorting between players who give up easier than others is made already long before people get into raiding. One can only assume that the initial general interest to play a certain class is somewhat equally divided between the classes. That is, there are about as many people interested in playing a priest as a paladin, at least initially. But the difference in leveling-difficulty (the one being extremely easy and the other not so) make more priest players reroll before they get to endgame.
Or not, it could also simply be that the differences we currently see in class distribution are due to some completely other factor. Since I rarely argue that anything is black or white, my personal guess would be that there are several factors who contribute to these differences. But that still means "easiness-of-class" is one of them.
Another example - I do alot of lowbie randoms. I have never... ever... seen a feral druid cat who's been first at doing damage. Not even when setting aside the fact that they don't have an aoe, and most other classes do. Even when pitted against rogues or warriors, even when outfitted in BoA gear, they rarely do any good damage. So people trying out feral cats for the first time probably think after a few levels "wow... this didn't go too good. Maybe I should try resto/tanking/boomkin instead?". Any of those specs probably will do alot better when leveling and maybe they decide to stick to that instead. So a feral cat who wants to do any good when leveling, has to be pretty dedicated about it. More than other classes he has to read up on strategies and facts about his class to be able to perform well. I would say the same thing about rogues, but rogues unfortunately (?) also interests those players that are mainly attracted to the fact that rogues can stealth and sneak attack people (for some odd reason these people don't roll feral cats. When were you last sneak-ganked by a feral cat?).
Leveling a paladin or a hunter you really don't have to know heads from tails to do alot of damage or be able to kill elites 5 levels above you. I'm not saying any class is particularly difficult to level nowadays, especially not compared to how it used to be. But there are differences, rather huge ones, nonetheless. The classes that aren't as easy, that can't solo every elite quest/mob, and generally have a harder time doing things some classes just laugh at, attract a different kind of people or player. You'd either have to be dedicated to that particular class, or be a masochist to want to force yourself through that. I think most people who play these classes actually are a little bit of both.
But there are some more factors to consider. Although some classes are hell to level, they have other attracting features. Take the healing priest for example. Although they're probably the suckiest class to level, by being a healer they still have an easier time getting into groups - something alot of people find very attractive. Although we've only just recently gotten the LFD-system, making group finding even easier for healers, they've always had this advantage. Same thing with tanks, but to be honest all tank specs do fairly well when leveling. So we've chiseled out some factors here; easiness of questing and easiness of grouping. Some classes don't have any of these. Rogues, feral cats and dps warriors for instance. I'd also throw in mages and shadow priests in there. So my hypothesis then; do these classes attract more dedicated players?
Remember, this is not the same thing as saying that "everyone who plays X are bad and everyone play class Y rock". First of all most people have an alt of nearly every class by now anyway. What I'm saying is that I get the feeling that some classes have higher prevalence of people who are dedicated to their class. By dedicated I mean they try to learn everything there is to know about it to always do as well as possible. With some classes you seem to do pretty well even if you don't know so much. Check out what gems everyone else use and faceroll your way across the keyboard and you'll do fairly well. Not all classes are this forgiving. At most times these differences aren't much noticed. Even the worst of players can get good gear and burn through heriocs. These differences show when you get to endgame raiding. In endgame raiding the differences between people who do know what the heck is going on will show more clearly from those who don't. And definitely more among some classes than others.
Suddenly I feel like the "leet-talk" is concentrated to the same group of classes. And that some classes definitely try harder at being good than others. Maybe just because they have to try harder to get to the same results. Am I imagining things? Or is my sample too small to be able to draw any conclusions anyway? Perhaps.
These are my experiences (not all classes listed, just the extremes);
- Feral Dps Druids
- Enhancement Shamans
- Dps Dks
- Fire Mage
- Elemental/Resto Shamans
- Paladins (all specs)
- Feral Tank Druids
- Arcane Mage
Am I on to something here or just madly rambling?