The Hybrid; What is it?

I want to talk about Hybrids. WARNING! LONG READ

The question: What is a hybrid?
The answer: It's an entirely new category of devices

Let me give a simple example of a mobile phone. A basic mobile phone makes calls and sms. It has nice tactile keys and design cues to enable that. A smartphone is a new category of device that can be billed as a total communications platform; and indeed the very first generation of smartphones were classified as communications devices. The phone was just a single element. In our modern smartphones; these things have become a jack of all trades and master of none. It still isn't as tactile and effortless as a mobile phone for calls and sms and it still can't perform the general purpose tasks of a desktop/laptop anywhere near as well.



When reviewing a smartphone, we view and review it exactly as a smartphone - the category the device was designed for. Phones, sms etc, these are just features that we make trade-offs with from more dedicated devices.

No one would be silly enough to try and review a smartphone against a basic phone and a full desktop computer. At the end of the day, a smartphone very much is a hybrid device. So why isn't the same applied to the hybrid computers when it clearly is a new category of device?

Likewise, we don't review an android tablet or an iPad as a smartphone! Nor do we review it against a laptop. They are their own category devices; a relatively new category. It's bigger than a smartphone and smaller than a laptop or ultrabook with far less power and typically runs lightweight applications with feature sets that can't rival laptops and size that, relative to a phone, limits mobility (use). Here too we have compromises between phone and laptop.



The question then; Why are people having such a hard time coming to grips with a hybrid PC?

Is it willfull ignorance? Is it because a popular, more hip brand like Google and Apple aren't making it?



In the MMORPG space; there was a very long running debate and argument about pure classes and hybrid classes. A WoW warrior would be a pure class. He's designed to do one thing really well - TANK or DAMAGE; but never at the same time.

A WoW Priest is designed to do one thing really well: HEAL or DAMAGE; but not at the same time.

A WoW Paladin is a hybrid. He was designed to do some tanking, some damage, some healing. On release, it was probably the most misunderstood class because he wasn't designed to fullfill any single role to the effectiveness as the pure classes (to a large extent, this affected Druids as well though theirs was a more clear designation).



For years it was one of the least wanted classes because people didn't know how to fit it into a group. It was seen as ineffective.

However; what it lacked in any particular focus; its "jack of all trades" came with surprise benefits. The class was able to withstand punishment that would outright kill any other class. It could drop aggro on a dime. It could flash heal near indefinitely while everyone ran out of mana.

It could fill primary spots that couldn't be filled. If you needed a healer and there was none; the pally would fill that spot. You just had to heal differently. The term unkillable healer is apt for the healadin. It was near impossible to kill him even if he gets aggro.

If you needed a tank and no warriors wanted to go with your group; the pally could fill that spot. You just had to tank differently; and where he lacks in threat tools and emergency abilities; the tankadin was likewise; near impossible to kill and in fact; with his ability to heal, he could tank AND off-heal; relieving the main healer.

His damage was also signifigant; though very few people saw this. They did eventually notice why a tank/hybrid was outputting so much damage even relative to pure DPS and huge outcry ensued. Even in the damage department; it wasn't that his damage wasn't high; he just damaged differently. You had to play him different from a pure class.

The gist is; with the hybrid came a new way to play. New things you could do that simply wasn't possible with pure classes. Back in vanilla WoW; you'd be hard pressed to find any other class that could put up a proper fight against an Elite and survive - not unless they severely out-geared the Elite. He was able to do quests and content as a self contained unit that would have required upwards of 3 players to complete otherwise.

After years and years, the hybrid became the defacto standard to the point that even pure classes have now been redesigned as hybrids. to be completely self contained. From completely misunderstood to literally defining the standard by which all classes would be designed.

Even to this day, most people still don't quite understand just how powerful a Vanilla Paladin was when specced and played as a hybrid. It was immensely powerful. You could have the DPS of Retribution tree with the best of the Tanking tree with the best of the healing tree. If you understood what the class was, it was a one-man wrecking ball that could tank, heal and DPS AT THE SAME TIME (with caveats).