Friday, March 09, 2007

Vampiric Embrace

I think I found where all the priests and druids went. I joined a group for Tempest Keep - Arcatraz. We had one priest and two druids. Guess who ended up main-healing?

It was still a good and successful run. And I got to play with a Shadow priest for the first time in TBC. Shadow priests really complement Holy Paladins, to an almost rediculous degree. All that extra mana fueled my larger heals, and the group healing through Vampiric Embrace took care of all the splash damage that makes paladin healing hard.

In many ways, Shadow priests are the one hybrid that Blizzard really got right. Unlike a paladin, a Shadow priest does not choose between healing and doing damage. They heal by doing damage. Vampiric Embrace is the critical talent that makes the Shadow priest work. And the amount healed is linked to the amount of damage done, which gives large incentive to maximize damage capabilities.

What a lot of paladins really want is our own Vampiric Embrace. (Angelic Embrace, maybe. Though Blizzard would probably call it something silly like Embrace of the Naaru.) Imagine a Retribution talent where you healed your party for a certain percentage of the damage that you do. That is the precise solution that would make many Retribution paladins happy, because it gives the extra, obvious purpose to their meleeing. We are a melee hybrid, and so we should support by meleeing.

Judgement of Light does not work as well as Vampiric Embrace because JoL is independent of the paladin. There is no support incentive for the Retribution paladin to maximize his damage in the same manner as the Shadow priest.

This solution to the paladin role is fairly obvious, and I think that is the reason that Blizzard has been resisting this. It's really too close to Vampiric Embrace, and I think that Blizzard does not want to just copy themselves. But I think all their other attempts have not truely restored the paladin class to the melee zone for the large majority of players.

But so long as casting a heal reduces your dps (which it does, as time spent casting takes away from time spent meleeing), I think paladins will always have this tension between being allowed on the front lines or being forced to healbot.


  1. blizzard has been trying to alleviate this. For example the enhancement shaman tier 5, the proc is an instal flash heal. For paladins, the imp. sanctity aura indirectly heals melee while you are doing damage. Same goes for feral druids and imp. aspect of the pack where it heals you when you do a crit.

  2. Shadow Priests have come into their own in the TBC, its been quite funny the way that our guild leaders have changed their tune on this class and are now actively encouraging a couple of our formerly shadowy figures to return to the dark side. In some of the longer encounters in Karazhan the mana and health regen makes the difference.

  3. I'm really encouraged, because my up-and-coming shadow priest is a blast to play.
    My wife and I run beastmaster hunter and shadow priest (both 51). I typically just drop SW:P, Vampiric Touch, and Vampiric Embrace and we never need healing (I just wand so the pet keeps aggro). The beauty of it is that we can run in almost constant combat, with very little down time (usually only a rare stop for me to replenish mana).

    If we get adds or are taking on tough mobs, I start hitting with Mind Flay and Mind Blast. Vampiric heals, vampiric mana, and shadow damage are rather amazing even with my badly out-of-date gear (we rarely run instances). I can't wait to get the Outland quest gear updates and into the Outland cloth drops my main has sent down.

    It's kind of a joke with us now that I used to say, "Now this will be tough...", only to have us mow down the mobs with no problem.

  4. I like the healing to damage talent, but how imba would it be in pvp ;/. And another thing, you said blizzard doesnt want to copy themselves look at the new dungeon sets its a reskin of prior stuff.

  5. It's nice that there are some combinations of hybrid that are working well together. Perhaps that's more what Bliz needs to focus on - pairings up...

    But I guess as with anything, it's hard to balance. Just neat to know that Pally/Shadow Priest rocks together so well, I've heard that a few times now.

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