Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blizzard's Vision of the Paladin

At long last, Blizzard has set out what they expect the paladin to be. Ghostcrawler posted on the Beta forums:

I actually think you know what direction the class is moving towards, because you know your class. But I'll try and pontificate here for a moment if that's helpful.

Protection -- We want more tanks in the game. Main tanks. We think it's fun to have a diversity of players and see how different spells, abilities and class mechanics get used to solve problems. A Protadin with the right skill and gear should be able to tank any fight in the game. Previously, we tried to push Prot into the offtank and AE tank roles. While your abilities are still really well suited for AE in particular, overall our philosophy has changed and we want you to be able to do anything the other tanks do. Note that this means other tanks will get better at AE tanking though. Prot represents a special challenge when not tanking because you can both heal and do dps and some players want to do either. Or both. One final comment, that you have already seen, is we want you to gear like a warrior: collect Strengh and Stam and use tanking weapons instead of caster weapons.

Retribution -- You're a melee dps class, and one of only a handful of classes that can fill the "mana battery" role. With the changes to the way raid buffs work, we are blurring the lines a lot more between "pure" dps classes and hybrids that have the potential to respec if their dps doesn't work out. But we don't penalize classes for having awesome buffs the way we used to. Also remember that one of Ret's big limitations before was just getting in the group with the good melee buffs. That problem is solved. If you're good and know your stuff cold, you should be able to be up there with the rogues and hunters. Maybe not every fight, but not 500 dps below them either.

Holy -- You're still the best high-throughput, single target healer in the game. I suspect you're still going to get called on to heal the tank a lot. Holy was in a really good place in BC, so much so that other healers (probably priests more than anyone else) began to get overshadowed. To shift things back a little, as well to just challenge the player base, we introduced a lot more fights with AE damage and movement. Unfortunately, those mechanics hit Holy. Hard. At the same time, CoH and CH seemed to be able to handle any encounter. Beacon of Light isn't a panacea to solve all of those problems, but it is designed to help. It still needs a little work, but I think the basic spell design is sound.

One thing that has been mentioned is that the three paladin trees feel pretty separated from each other. We've gotten better in some other classes of making it a valid choice to go deeper into a second tree, and not just to get a single, incredible talent, but because there is some legitimate synergy there. It's going to be harder to get that feeling for the paladin than it is for the mage, but it is something we want to mess with some more after Lich King.

Obviously beyond the individual trees, we completely redid the whole seal and judgment system. We think it works pretty well, but we're just going to have to play with it some more to find the rough spots.

Well, that's the plan. Now we'll see how well Blizzard executes it.


Dazanna said...

Right now the community is pretty up-in-arms because none of the class deficiencies have been met and some things continue to be nerfed into the ground.

No matter how GC tries to spin it the math proves that prot Warriors are kicking prot Paladins' collective asses in everything except AoE tanking (putting us right back where we are now).

Holy hasn't seen a single major change other than the continued tweaking to BoL since the beta went live.

Ret, which all the Naxx parses I have seen are showing as currently riding in the mid-to-low sector of DPS, keeps having the sustained damage buffs nuked.

For all that GC is trying to say I think a lot of the community is not seeing it right now. She picked a horrible time to make her first appearance in months.

SappyRogue said...

So basically Pallies are staying exactly as they are, except Prot pallies like myself will be stacking Stam+Strength instead of Stam+Int+damage. Got it. Not much of an update there...

Khassad said...

I agree with dazanna...
...meanwhile in my guild three holy paladin are rerolling.

robur said...

I'm not super convinced about the "vision" that Blizzard is writing about. Pally tanks rolling against DKs and prot warriors for loot who can be good AOE tanks? Why not having a single tank class if all can do the same in the end?

Beacon of Fail as the answer to CoH and CH? Not sure how that is going to work out.

I toyed around with the latest talent calculator and came up with an 51-5-15 build as a raid holy paladin - not too many exciting new features aside from the beacon really, although the crit bonus from ret is nice. Let's see if posting the link breaks this post.

Ah, and of course the link can't be accepted. GG.

RJ said...

I think you're doom and glooming just a little too much there, Dazanna. If you look around at the other boards, you'd see that most of your comments are related to the fact that none of the classes are tuned right now.

Ret may be middle of the pack when it comes to Naxx, for example, but that's also because 2~3 other classes are way too ridiculously high, which is something that GC has already stated is incorrect. The classes arn't meant to be doing 4500 DPS by Naxx, they're meant to be doing more like 2000, which is, from what I believe, pretty close to what Ret is currently in beta.

Dakkar said...

I agree with RJ. I having been toying around with Ret in the PTR and I love it! I zip through mobs, never need to stop, downtime is non-existant, dps seems to be good as well. This is even with all the lag that the PTR has. As long as they don't make any huge change to Ret, I think that we will be as viable as SPriests, and the decision for who to pick will be down to if you want/need melee or ranged.

I can't comment on Holy or Prot since I haven't played with them to much, and I am having to much fun with Ret to even worry about them. Just my 2 copper.

Anonymous said...

I love GC !!! I dont know too much about pallies, but i'm big into tanking, and GC is a very sane voice in a cacaphony of mostly mad screaming...

I guess you'll never prevent people whining as loudly as they can... but every time I read something GC posts, it gives me trememdous faith in the designers, and demonstrates why WoW is so successful. Dont let the manic screams from hopelessly addicted
spoiled brats blind you to what a good job those guys are doing !!!

Personally, I dont think Blizzard really "spin" things. The community does most of the spinning - if you look closely at how small minded and selfish most people's compaints are...
(eg dazanna, did you even READ what GC said? Your comments are ridiculous in light of her post...)

Macawber said...

I don't understand how people can be so in love with Ghostcrawler just because she occasionally posts on the forums. Communicating with its customers should be expected of any company, especially one with a subscription-based business model. Blizzard has failed so miserably in this regard for so long, that I guess any feedback at all is reason for celebration.

Furthermore, posting this vision for paladins means nothing if they don't follow through with game mechanics, gear, and encounters designed to make it work. And right now, as beta testers and people on the PTR have pointed out, it isn't working. So either Blizzard doesn't truly agree with GC's vision for paladins, they don't know that the reality doesn't match their vision, or they realize things aren't working but they're unable to fix it.

I wish I could be as optimistic as some of you, but I've been playing a paladin long enough to know better. It really would be nice if all tanks were equally viable against bosses. It would be nice if Ret paladins could do good damage. It would be nice if Holy paladins had more than 2 or 3 spells to use. But the more builds we go through where none of these things are addressed the less optimistic I am that things will be fixed by the time the expansion comes out.

Anonymous said...

That was a great read, I definatly wont bother with Wotlk as even the more influencing people like GK have no idea what is going on..

Cacophony, ironic you use that term as it shows how they dont even listen the the people PAYING for the service and entertainment, completely ignoring those who are not.

I think if they are going to make it such a chore to heal, they should make it a chore to do damage and absorb damage as well. The Trinity of balance here is VERY sku'd by the DPS slice, which sucks for everyone who supports the dps.

A friend of mine was reading up on the nerfs to Resto Druids and will be closing his account abruptly and most likely permenantly for good reason.a Bliz just is not nimble nor responsive to the hand that feeds it, and this time bit too hard.

I would like to see paladins witha beacon of hope. Here is what they should be asking the dev's for pallies.

~If its such a no-no to give a class so much variable mitigation, DPS and support capabilitise and options, Do you only want straight cut roles in the game?

~Paladins shouldnt be the lightning rod for failed game balance and design, imo. If they can only addon the gear/stat to the crutched tank/heal/spank trinity design on encounters it shows they cant innovatively move forward, but only backwards. Why have skill trees when the encounter only cares about gear/stats and the tank/spank dance to beat it.


Khassad said...

I think GC is in big trouble with paladin class.

Yesterday I tried in BETA a 28/0/33 spec. With respect to deep holy spec, I lost 1k mana pool (12k instead of 13k) and about 5% healing power, but... I gained infinite mana.

With Judgement of The Wise talent, I realized that I can chain-cast HL-rank max, and my mana bar is always full. Judging something about every 10 seconds, average mana regen is about 3k every 10 seconds, while casting. There's something broken in the holy tree.

Fish said...

Does this mean we get "tank buttons"? I have to say currently warrior tanking on a single target is just SO MUCH EASIER than pally tanking because you have so many options (devestate, shield slam, revenge, etc) to make them lock onto you. As prot we have. . .consecrate and holy shield if it procs? Granted I much prefer the pally for the AOE aspect, but is it too much to ask for something to keep 1 target locked onto us?

Rohan said...

Fish, yes, we get a shield slam in Shield of the Righteous and another attack with Hammer of the Righteous. Also the new Judgements are generally a lot more useful. Oh, Avenger's Shield is instant cast too, so you can use that whenever it comes off cooldown.

Protection has a lot of buttons to press now.

Goeben said...

I don't get it. If something or anything about a game makes you as angry as many of you sound, why do you keep playing it?

I enjoyed reading the few positive, constructive comments here. For the rest of you, let's try to reacquire some perspective, shall we? The point of GC's comments was that they are working on reaching the goals she described. Are they there yet? No, or she wouldn't have to explain it. Will they ever get there? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps they are too stupid or too lazy or just plain evil, and will never get it done. Maybe they secretly want Paladins, or Druids, or some other class to be borked. Or maybe it's a really difficult balancing act, along with the thousands of other details they are working on for WotLK, and they will continue working as best they can.

So what if it isn't ready for Nov. 13? How many people are going to decide not to buy the expansion because the Paladin class, or Resto Druids, or some other aspect, isn't quite finished? A few maybe, but not that many. No matter what the game looks like on Nov. 13, you know there will be significant changes in future patches. If you aren't willing to cope with the ongoing development, there are millions of other people who will. And when that changes, the game will go out of business.

Blizz is in the business to make money. Period. And they have done a pretty good job of that. You don't make money by screwing your customers. However, you might possibly make money by selling a product that a lot of people like, even if some other people don't. If you don't like their product, don't buy it.

Anonymous said...

As someone with both a holy and protection paladin, I'm still concerned about Blizzard being able to fix our class let alone reitemizing gear (yet again). Prior to BC we stacked strength-intellect-stamina for protection but after BC it was all intellect-stamina. Now we're back to the prior. In addition, when Retribution pallies rightfully complained about their gear, Blizz went overboard and reitemized all pally gear between lvls 60-69 (dropped in instances and most quest rewards) to have all + spell damage/healing removed. This hit protection and holy pallies horribly - try and find any +healing plate gear for those levels now - there is none until you reach level 70. Heaven help anyone trying to main heal between levels 60-69 or trying to heal their first level 70 instance. I just don't have much confidence right now from everything I've seen and read so far.