First, some basic info for those that need it: A hybrid tax is a decrease in the overall abilities of hybrid classes by a certain amount; it makes the classes inherently less good than other non-hybrid classes. Hybrid classes are mainly paladins and druids. Pure classes are mainly rogues, mages, and hunters. Now to answer the question.
You're right -- the fact that a ret paladin will need to blow a GCD on an instant heal in the middle of combat is a natural hybrid tax imposed on him by the very mechanics of the class/game. However, that isn't enough. The hybrid tax exists for a few reasons, and there's always plenty of debate surrounding it.
- It balances a class where you could switch between the best healing, the best dps, and the best tanking in the game
- It makes pure dps classes more attractive to play
- It stop there from being situations (when skill is equal) that the hybrid would always win over a pure dps class
Removing an inherent lessening of the classes abilities would negate the above, meaning a paladin would be able to subsequently heal and dps at a naturally high level, whereas a rogue would only be able to dps. In a PvP situation, that is very undesirable; less so for a PvE. Further, if a paladin were able to dps as good as a rogue and
heal at the same time, then why would anyone play a rogue? The answer is they wouldn't. However because of the hybrid tax, people do play rogues.
Now, the important thing to remember is that for 99.999% of the playerbase, this discussion doesn't matter at all. For that vast majority dps and survivability is more dependent on knowledge of the class, gear/gem/enchant choices, and ability rotation. This has been one of Ghostcrawler's main points lately, and it's something that needs to be said often. Blizzard could eliminate the hybrid tax tomorrow and increase all the hybrid's output by 1,200/dps, but the super vast majority of players will still have the exact same problems as they did before. And those problems are strictly related to their ability and skill, not related to the game's mechanics.
"Will we ever see Recruit a Friend changed so that we do not have to be grouped 'and' in close proximity to our 'friend?'"
Very doubtful. If anything we're going to see the RaF bonuses apply through level 70 (soon too, I'd guess). But the grouping with a friend and being in close proximity hits at the very heart of the program, and that's not something I see Blizzard changing. If they did, RaF would just be "buy a 30% XP bonus" (even more so than it is now). And that's not going to happen anytime soon, if ever (I pray, at least).
"Has Blizzard ever talked about how Inscription will evolve past Wrath? With most professions, adding a new expansion just means 75 more skill levels of new and better gear. A level 80 wrath tailoring robe is obviously better than a level 70 BC tailoring robe. But when I look at glyphs, a lot of them are tougher to judge in terms of longevity."
All that we know is Blizzard has plans for new glyphs. We don't know what they are yet, but we know they're out there in Blizzard-world. There will, obviously, be glyphs for new abilities and situations, but beyond that we don't know much. How Blizzard is going to handle the professions in Cataclysm
is one of the major question marks right now.
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