Is there a most viable class and spec

1 Human Paladin
Is there? Best DPS, best healing, best tank, does it depend on the patch notes? Cant all have potential to be amazing?
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90 Tauren Druid
It'll all depend on too many things to have a set answer of "The best tank is always ____, the best healer is always _____, the best dps is always ______."

If you're going to have a raid group, you'd be better served having a dozen people who enjoy the class of their choice, and have some basic competency. Much better that forcing a dozen people to play the current "best comp" for a given content level and hope your players can do their thing.
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90 Human Paladin
Many classes and specs are dependent on many factors, from PvP to PvE, to what kind of fight the raid's up against, to gear issues, to how addons effect individual playstyle.

The game is more balanced these days than it was back in Classic. What a lot of people forget about the parses and info coming from bleeding edge raiding guilds is that they will squeeze even 100 DPS more on a 150k DPS fight by any means necessary and possible (as they're often doing it barely-geared for the fight compared to most raiders). Which can often mean swapping out classes, specs, talents, glyphs, consumables, etc. That doesn't mean the other stuff is "bad" by any stretch.

Also, if more people are playing X class with Y spec, there's more data points for that option than there are for others. Not everyone plays at the same level, or with the same gear, or the same talent and glyph choices, so the data skews one way or another.

It likewise doesn't mean a spec is bad; back when Beastmaster Hunters were supposedly less viable than other specs, I knew BM Hunters who could match or top the DPS of the other Hunter specs, because they knew how to squeeze out the damage in the most optimal way possible.

Do some specs/classes have issues in some patches as opposed to others? Yes, it happens, definitely, and when there is an actual issue, Blizzard is usually on top of fixing it best they can while maintaining balance everywhere else. Mages right now are feeling a burn that Blizz is trying to repair, for example. Sometimes though, it's an issue of playstyle. A lot of paladins didn't like the Ret changes in Cata, but my raid leader loves Ret and pulls massive numbers when he gets the chance to just hit things (he's usually MT). it works for him (I'm giving it another try, as I'm not getting to tank this expac, dailying as prot is getting annoying, and I'm better geared for healing).

In the end, Blizzard wants people to play the class and spec they want to play. With the changes to Talents and Glyphs, that works out easier; actual spec-specific stuff is default to your spec, the rest is situational or flavorful. While some patches will break a class or spec unintentionally, it's usually adjusted back in an ever-changing seesaw of buffs and nerfs to maintain balance as more content is released.
Edited by Alynore on 4/1/2013 1:21 PM PDT
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1 Human Paladin
Yes so it halfly depends on what that person likes to do
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90 Orc Warrior
Blizzard has essentially achieved a very good situation in terms of raiding, where class/spec differences are sufficiently small as to be undetectable by all but the best players (i.e. unless you're in a hardcore raiding guild doing bosses really early, at low gear levels). Basically a balanced comp is better than an unbalanced comp overall (i.e. one fight might favor a 10 man raid with 3 druids and 4 mages, but in most other fights this comp is fail); and each class has at least one spec that's good. Even when one class is suffering overall (maybe hunters?) the difference is not large. The top to bottom has maybe a 8-10% difference numerically, and if you take into account utility the difference is even smaller.

So while there will always be a top dog, there has never been a smaller difference between top and bottom in terms of spec rankings.
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k thx that makes a lot more sense.
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6 Gnome Rogue
Some classes and specs are a LOT harder to master than others. It doesn't mean that they have less potential it just means it's a lot harder to REACH that potential.

The rule in my group is that we don't care what spec you are, we care what kinds of performance you are getting. If your performance is not in line with the group, then you are going to have to fix it, and that may mean changing specs, or devoting a WHOLE lot of effort to making your performance in your current spec a complete masterpiece.
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