Not taking hard core or casual here. Talking about the over all type of player. Like I call myself a pattern player.
What is a pattern player?
A pattern player is good at recognizing patterns and reacting to them when they happen.
I guess that is the best way I can explain it. It is, in part, one of the reasons I fell in love with being a hunter. They have changed a lot over the years and not for the better in my opinion, but that is only because I am a pattern player. I liked having to keep track of the swing timer so I could stutter step for maximum DPS. It made me feel as if I was cracking a code, a simple one being it was a pattern, but I enjoyed it. I liked having to balance what I did based on movement because there was a lot I could not do while moving. So it became an effort of seeing a fight and working out my pattern of when I would need move so I lined it up perfectly, like a pattern. Being able to DPS on the fly has taken away some of that but all raid fights are still patterns basically.
I love that crap and I pick up on it rather quickly. I remember one fight last expansion, I did 12K on the first time I attempted it. Three attempts later I was doing 19K. All because I saw patterns and worked out how I wanted to do things, when I wanted to do them and how I would need to move to maximize doing them.
I think that is a telling sign of the pattern player. They might not seem like they are doing that well first attempt but each attempt they will get considerably better as they work out their pattern to how they do things.
Think of the first boss in the ZG dungeon when that came out last expansion and how many people died to that green slime. I did not die on it the first time, I guess I had better reactions than most, but after seeing it a second time I noticed it was the same exact path, third time again the same. Once I noticed that it was always the same I never died to it on any characters, I never even thought about it again. A good memory and knowing the pattern meant it was not even a mechanic in my mind. It was just... there.
People would die to that over and over. I had been in some randoms where it took a few attempts to down it and the same person would always die to it. I would tell everyone it is a pattern, it is always the exact same pattern. Once you see it, just remember it, that is where it will always be. It is impossible to die twice to it unless something strange happens or you have lag or you are not a pattern player at least in part.
Every time someone would die I would think, how can anyone die to something so easy.
The thing is, it is easy for me, because I am a pattern player. Not everyone is a pattern player. Every player can have some pattern recognition ability and will pick it up, but a pattern player notices these things instantly and even more so other things that non pattern people will never noticed even in a million tires. Like the two spaces you can stand in that fight that assure you will never be targeted by anything and never need to move at all. Only a pattern player would ever pick those up.
What is a multitask player?
The type of player that can handle multiple things in various different areas at the same time.
I don't like playing a feral druid or a rogue because I do not like the
combo point thing and keeping various buffs and debuffs up all while waiting on energy and then letting it pool to use to its best effect instead of using it right away. That is just too much stuff to follow for me when I would rather be playing than watching buffs, debuffs and energy. People that
like playing them are more multitask players. Sure, I can multitask,
as is proven by the fact I can do decent on both of those classes, but I
do not like to and being I do not like to I can never reach my maximum
potential and my time is wasted playing those types of classes.
Some people can monitor their combo points, the buffs they put on themselves, call out important things on vent, talk to a friend on skype and eat lunch all at the same time. I am not one of those people. I "can" do it if forced to, but it does not flow natural for me which means I am not a multitask player.
What is a rhythm player?
A player that is good at redundant and/or responsive things.
When I think of a rhythm player I think melee DPS. They have set rotations and the occasional proc that is a modifier. It is doing the same thing over and over and responding to special abilities once in a while. While from the outside looking in that sounds like the easiest role in the game it is not. It also does require a type of person that can handle that rhythm while, what seems like, constantly moving at times.
Again, this is something I can do, I've done it before but I can easily prove I am not a rhythm player by being placed in a long fight. I get bored easily by the standard rhythm of doing that type of DPS. In a two minute fight I can keep up with the best of them but the longer the fight goes on the more I, for lack of a better term, lose my rhythm. My numbers start to slide because I just can not keep up. Redundant does not mean easy, but it does mean you need to have the type of person that can keep up with it without getting easily bored or distracted like I do. Sadly for me, hunters are turning more and more into this type of class.
What is a numbers player?
Someone that follows all the little things to add them up for something much bigger.
A numbers player is not someone that asks for the DPS meter after every fight. Not even in the slightest, they are not obsessed with numbers but they are great at playing with them and knowing how they interact with each other.
Casters usually fit this area, even more so DoT classes. Fire mage would be the perfect example of playing the numbers to maximum effect. Anyone can fire off a combustion when they think it is best but a numbers person knows when it is best and doesn't just think it is best. Yes, you can use addons for this effect but the numbers players, the ones that love to play that type of class can do it without the add on, they just know when the right time is because they are following the numbers.
It is a reactionary type of play in a way as you are waiting for the right moment when the numbers benefit you best to use a skill or ability. You often need to change how you are doing things and basically restart a rotation from time to time based on what the numbers say are best for you. Just like all other types of players you can do fine with these types of classes even if you are not that type of player but someone that embraces the power of the numbers will always be better at it.
What is a rotation player?
Someone that can follow a required series of ability on an as best when used basis.
Do not confuse this with a rhythm player even if they do seem similar. Everyone has the ability to be a rotation player no matter what type of player you are but there is more to a rotation player than just following a rotation. While it is without a doubt the simplest type of player to be we do not see many classes that can simply follow this any more and as such the type of class that a rotation player would be no longer has a true home in the game. The old arcane mage was close to what would be a rotation player but the addition of stacks and needing to keep mana up changed them more to being aimed at the numbers players.
From what I read around many people call the caster feeling melee types, monk, shaman and paladin the closest thing left to classes that rotation players might feel comfortable with most. Sadly the rotation type player needs to adapt and embrace another style of game play because they will get left behind quickly if this is the type of game play they are best at being there is no class or spec left that fits it perfectly.
Someone that is a rotation player however will be able to play all classes a lot better than any other type of player. They might simplify every damage dealer down to a rotation and they might be able to do decent at each and every one of them, enough to fill in as the 10th or 25th person in a raid without hurting the raid, but they will never be able to excel at any of them to the point of ever being considered extremely good.
Most altoholics that consider themselves raiders will usually be rotation players. They can do it all and do it all well but are not exactly what anyone would call exceptional at any of them. For example, when I play a rogue or a feral druid or a warlock of any spec I am playing them more as a rotation player and less as a multitask or numbers player. I can do okay with them and to many on the outside looking in I might be doing fine but I am not doing really all that well in reality if you look at what my potential could be.
What is a by the book player?
A by the book player is someone that does what they are supposed to do because they are supposed to do it.
A by the book player could be any one of us and we do not even know it. I think of myself as a pattern player but I could be a by the book player and not even realize it. Maybe I am reacting to those patterns because I am supposed to and not because I notice them faster than non pattern players? Playing by the book, if you will.
The numbers player that knows that exact right moment to hit combustion could be doing it only because he is playing by the book. Sometimes we can think we are one thing and we are not, we are playing by the book. Doing things because we are supposed to be doing it. If someone can tell you why they decided that exact moment to hit combustion in detail they are a numbers player, but if they just say that they hit it because it was the best time to hit it for maximum effect, they are playing by the book.
There is one problem with by the book players. Even if they are absolute perfection in how they play and doing whatever it is they do, by the book players are not very quick to respond to things that happen that are not exactly by the book, usually, unless they also excel at being reactionary. A by the book player will get completely thrown off if something happens they did not think was possible. Like if a boss fight bugs out they will usually be the last one to adjust and you can see by their performance that they have been thrown off their game.
When nothing goes wrong and they get to do exactly what they are supposed to be doing a by the book player is without a doubt the absolute best player in the game. They will be the ones on the top of world of logs because everything went by the book and they did everything they were supposed to do by the book.
What is a reactionary player?
A reactionary player is someone that not only knows the right thing to do, but knows the right thing to do right now even if it normally would not be considered the right thing to do.
Most PvP players, at least the good ones, are pure reactionary players. Even raiders are reactionary players to some degree. Getting out of the fire is a reaction and if a player is not even in part a reactionary player they can't, or shouldn't, be raiding. All players should be at least in part a reactionary player.
A reactionary player is the exact opposite of the by the book player. The by the book player might think they need to use a finisher with five combo points whereas the reactionary player will do it when it would be best for that particular moment knowing that even if five would be better mathematically, it is not better in the situation they are in. As I am sure anyone can see, for player vs player this is a huge advantage and no player can be good at PvP unless they are in a large part a reactionary player.
Do not discount it for PvE however as reactionary players have their place there as well. Knowing when to burn is reaction, knowing when to save up for burst or adds is reaction, all the little stuff matters and it is reaction. So it is important there as well, just not as much as in PvP. I consider myself a reactionary player in PvE but not in PvP, hence the reason I am not as good at it as I could be, I lack the reactionary ability to excel at it.
What about tanks and healers?
Good question and just like damage dealers fit into all different categories tanks and healers would as well.
I would consider tanks to be, for the most part, pattern players. I think this for two reasons. One being the active mitigation which means they need to notice the patterns for when best to use it to minimize the damage they take. The second reason is because I am a pattern player and embrace tanking since the changes a lot more than ever before because of active mitigation. I am loving it because it is a pattern. When to use your mitigation more important then just using it.
A pattern player will use it when it is needed, a non pattern player will use it when it is available. As such, a pattern player will be much easier to heal because they are using it to help avoid or decrease the 120K hit whereas the non pattern player might not be able to use it because it is on cooldown from using it when it only avoided or decreased that 30K hit.
This is also why, for the most part, I think healers are pattern players as well. A good healer will hit abilities when they are most effective. Usually, when a heal is most effective is after a huge damage spike or wide raid damage and that usually comes at predictable times or in reaction to events, both of which are patterns. So good healers will always be pattern type players.
The difference with tanks and healers over damage dealers is that they are often more likely to be two types of player rolled into one. The good ones will always be pattern players but they will be pattern players and something else.
Although it might not seem like it on the surface the best combination for a tank or healer is a pattern player and a rotation player. But why? Tanking and healing have never had a rotation, it is always reactionary you might say.
Not exactly, even if tanking and healing never had a rotation so to speak anyone that has ever healed or tanked will tell you they have a rotation, many of them in fact. A rotation of cooldowns for spike damage. A rotation of mana regeneration for healers, A rotation for threat or damage as a tank, although not really different any more. It is just that their rotations are not the same as damage dealer rotations. Throwing your prayer of mending and shield on a tank as a disc priest every chance you get might seem like part of the job, but it is a rotation even if most might not view it as such.
A pattern player. Just like all players I also have some ability in other areas, but the type of player that best represents me is a pattern player.
What type of player are you?
Choose only the one that represents you best.