Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Nature of a Paladin

Without resorting to game terms, or specific mechanics, each class can be summed up in an easy-to-understand sentence, which contains the basic nature of the class.

The hunter has a pet animal, and shoots enemies with a bow or gun. The rogue sneaks around, and stabs enemies in the back. The mage blasts enemies with raw elemental or magical power. The warlock summons demons, curses enemies, steals souls, and generally trafficks in all manner of darkness.

When elements of this basic essence of the class disappear from the playstyle, it leads to unhappiness. For example, I believe that hunters are happier now that they can use their pets in instances.

What is the basic nature of the paladin?

The paladin heals her allies, and smites her enemies with a giant hammer.

Both elements are necessary. Just healing is not enough, and just smiting is not enough. A paladin is both shield AND hammer.

In raid content, Holy fails this test, but Retribution fails just as badly. Respeccing to a warrior-lite is not enough, but neither is speccing to be a priest-lite. I enjoyed playing a paladin while levelling. Now that I am raiding, I would like to play a paladin as a paladin once again.

That's all. I don't want to top the DPS charts. I don't want to top the healing healing charts. All I want is to do is heal my allies and smite my enemies with a giant hammer, without being a liability to my raid.

And for those of you saying reroll, I chose the paladin for a reason. If I had wanted to only do damage, I would have rolled a warrior or rogue. If I had wanted to only heal, I would rolled a priest or druid.


  1. Seems perfectly reasonable to me. There are a lot of changes that could be made to various classes, but it does seem that right now, pallies really got the short end of the stick.

  2. That would bring a tear to a glass have perfectly captured the torment of being a paladin with that summation.

    Speaking as a Retadin from Level 1 to Kara and a Healadin onwards, I miss the flurry of action that was SoR, JoR, CS (with Exorcism thrown in when appropriate)....but I do enjoy the healer plate that can be got later.

    Kashinboner - Aman'thul

  3. Unfortunately, Priests are being rolled to be Shadow (mana battery) and Druids rolled to be Feral (for tanking). So neither are being rolled for healing purposes usually.

  4. The current status quo, which ramos describes, is caused I believe by the 'gap' between different specs' ability to solo for different classes. As bad as the plight of the soloing holy pally is, soloing holy priests have it worse, and holy pallies can't get a dramatic increase in soloing ability by switching specs, as holy priests and resto druids can. Furthermore, druids can put themselves into a viable role - tank - by speccing into their best soloing tree (the difference between a full tanking druid spec and whatever feral spec you like for soloing is just a couple of points, so you can spec one and essentially have the other - AND you can be a passable DPSer in five-mans if it comes to it.) Priests can put themselves in a viable role by speccing into what is not only a great soloing tree, but possibly the best tree in the entire game. (Seriously, have you seen the Shadow tree? I didn't know trees came like that.)

    I see a bit of hope for pallies in melee in the Death Knight. Specifically, in the Death Knight itemization. While it's unclear how the Death Knight's combat system will interact with Int, Frostmourne as shown at Blizzcon had 150 Int on it, and I doubt they'd make Frostmourne a weapon that appeals primarily to Paladins. (Of course, it also has the text "Equip: The wielder becomes the new Lich King", so it's obviously not the final model.") Either way, having another class with the roughly the same ability dependencies as a ret pally might get them a bit of an itemization boost. Thanks to the miracle technology of 'more than two reward choices per quest' introduced in BC, there really should be room for nice items for every spec.

    Here's some early caps new shaman talents from mmo-champion. I think these are the kinda thing pallies need to get them casting at melee range - stuff that rewards casting spells with melee buffs and rewards melee with casting buffs.

  5. Gah, the last link didn't fit on one line. Here it is broken into two, which is inconvenient.

  6. "I see a bit of hope for pallies in melee in the Death Knight. Specifically, in the Death Knight itemization. While it's unclear how the Death Knight's combat system will interact with Int, Frostmourne as shown at Blizzcon had 150 Int on it, and I doubt they'd make Frostmourne a weapon that appeals primarily to Paladins."

    I've mainly been curious as to how they intend to make both int and spirit work with the death knights, since they don't even have mana. A spell class without mana. I'm so confused :P

    But you should be happy that at least holy healing pallies are needed in raids. Holy priests have it worse... people only have room for one holy priest for stamina and improved spirit buffs. All the rest of the healers are pallies (for the added utility of auras and blessings) and shamans (for totems). I rolled my holy priest to be a healer, and from what I hear, my prospects aren't too good if I ever want to raid. :(

  7. If I had wanted to only heal, I would rolled a priest or druid. - you'd roll the hybrid class that blizz did RIGHT and just heal? :P

  8. Seems you summed up in short the nature of most classes .

    I do agree with Ramos above also. Lots of people seem to roll a class and play it basically to DPS in short.

    I like the idea much better that a Paladin smite their enemies with a giant hammer or whatever the weapon is in hand and while doing so Heals their comrads or group. That healing should be better than the punny heals we have when smiting a enemy.

    As a protect paladin I've never been Holy spec. I've always wanted to smite my enemies up close, provide utility buffs and heal if i see the need to with flexibility. Yet prefering to strike my enemies with holy judgement and spells.

    If Blizzard discription of Paladins was a Healer that can sometime melee I would have stayed a Warrior which I was in the begining. Paladins to me is a melee knight or warrior with martial ability and defensive skills a cutting edge fighter who's given up some of that ability to be able to Heal and provide other group support function tp a group. Being that hybrid comes flexibility as a Paladin chooses to be, whichever end you chooses enhance your skill set, while retaining the ability to heal to some capacity.

    As a paladin i dont wish to be at the outer perimeter of a fight. I want tp be in there fighting and smiting thy enemies contributing to my group with buff and debuffs by my smiting and ability to heal a group while doing so in some way.

    Yet in the end paladin have crying issues. But I have to think Paladins chooses to spec and play how they wish to play. If you end up choosing to be a healer to me its because you want to. If you choose to get in there and smite and take licks on your plate, its also because you want to too. The individual chooses to do so and not just because Blizzards says YA or NA

  9. you'd roll the hybrid class that blizz did RIGHT and just heal? :P

    Heh, at the time I rolled the paladin, druids were described as primary healers. Plus, healing with HoTs has always intrigued me as mechanic.

  10. If Blizz wanted paladin's to be melee-healers, they just need to do 2 things:

    1) Buff Judgements of Wisdom and Light heavily, in both proc rate and in amount healed.

    2) Give us some insta-cast, longish cooldown healing spells. Anyone who's been a raid-healing paladin knows that you end-up chain-casting healing spells most of the time, and you really don't have much of a chance to swing a weapon.

  11. The primary difference between a holy priest and a holy paladin, as it stands, is that one solos in melee and one solos (primarily, if things are going well) from range. Their roles in instances are nearly identical; prayer of healing, shields of various varieties, different buffs and plate, while all things that can be immensely handy, don't change the fact that the actions actually taken by the players of a holy priest and a holy pally are virtually identical, even though one is a ranged class and one is a melee class. (They differ most in what their buffs do and how they work, but buffing isn't a role, like tanking, healing, DPS or CC; it's just an out-of-combat thing you kinda do that helps. A shaman probably has the most interactive buffing, but not by a ton.)

    While I kinda like the druid 'over time' flavor, if I were to start again, I'd give the paladins instant-cast and short-cast HoT spells (although most of the druid ones are anything but fast as it is). There'd have to be some factor in there that prevented paladins from healing while actively tanking, but if you're chain-casting you aren't hitting. (Of course, there'd also have to be something in place to prevent the paladin from being an effective DPSer at the same time as they were being an effective healer; the current druid array of heals would come pretty close to this ideal, though, as their more efficient heals take more time to cast.)

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  13. Wanting to heal and DPS is a very interesting idea but blizzard has only pulled it off with Shadow priests. If ret pallies could get a spell that puts a vamperic embrace type debuff on the mob which heals on melee strike, like seal of the crusader that heals the party instead of extra damage. This would give the sense of both healing and DPS and if a paladin wanted to focus on more DPS they could use a different judgment but if needed they could begin to heal the party by casting this healing one. Now i do know that you wont be healing in the true sense of a paladin but including the buffs that paladins give, it seems to me that the class would be very helpful in raids in 5 mans as ret. I don't know what most paladins would think of this or if this is what the original post was aiming for but this would provide more raid viability.

    PS: This blog inspired me to roll a paladin and it has been interesting to say the least ;)
    PSS: This is abhinav from last week =D

  14. Originally I was going to counter by bringing up the point of balance. Basically that it's not imbalanced if a hunter does more DPS with his or her pet, since the balance can be brought up by lowering non-pet damage. It would be imbalanced if a paladin could tank (of which smiting enemies is a part of) as well as say... warriors and heal at all. If that was the case, Paladins would be the only class called upon since it would allow guilds to need a little less healing, and thus they could bring more DPS.

    They could balance it by making paladins not as effective at each and able to do both, but then it would be just like tanking pre-tBC, where we were able to hold our own in 5-mans, but were only called upon as an absolute necessity in raids. My literal next thought was "That wouldn't be fair to those of us who love tanking and want to play as a paladin."

    But then I stepped back for a second, upon realizing something. How is that fair to the paladins who want to dps/tank and heal at the same time? In the name of balance, a style of play that I don't necessarily care for, but others do is disallowed. In my mind, the way it is now was only "okay" because I didn't want to play the other way.

    In the end, it sucks. It sucks that each of us can't have the playstyle that we want, whether it be that of a fluid hybrid or a modal hybrid.

  15. To Onekumar:

    We've got this. It's called Judgment of Light/Wisdom; the trouble with it is that it doesn't do enough healing/mana regen to make it worth a raid slot.

    The trouble with Melee-healing is that many of the encounters in BC favor ranged DPS: Many bosses cleave, AoE damage, fear, etc the melee-ranged players, making even bringing in a Rogue a liability in some cases.

  16. Paladins are the best healers in the game, If your raiding guild tells you to heal then heal. If you don't want to heal and dick around with paladin lolmeleedps then /gquit.

  17. To Michael...

    I do raid as a rogue and i can tell you that you have nothing to fear but fear itself (pun intended ;P). While cleaves, fears and other problems do exist many have been nerfed to only hit at a 180 degree radius which means that if the rogue was behind the mob they would be safe. Now i still think there are problems but i still see enough shammies, warriors, druids, rogues and even shammies melee DPSing in raids. Now if blizzard could buff this judgment of light then i think ret pallies would have a viable situation in raids.

    A different situation would be to spec ret/holy. Yes you would not be able to do ether one well but you would have the ability to do both better then someone who was not speced in those trees.

  18. I would say Blizz could make Ret Palis 100% raid viable if only they had a talent that returned a % of holy dmg back to the group in the form of health (similar to VE). You wouldn't top the dmg meters, you wouldn't top the healing meters, problem solved.

  19. To be honest, your summary rubbed me a little wrong. It may be splitting hairs, but I feel much more comfortable with:
    A paladin protects her allies, and smites her enemies with a giant hammer.

    It is reasonable to expect a paladin to have some curative powers. To be an effective replacement for a priest is another beast altogether, and one I think paladins could stand to lose. On the other hand, with skills like BoP, BoF, DI, and Lay on Hands, paladins are equipped to handle situations that healers really can not.

    I am not a raider, but reorienting the paladin to effective melee-range healing spells could give them a unique and useful niche.

  20. I started with a druid and priest and only rolled a pally to tank and heal for my girlfriend when she decided to start a mage.

    That stated, I've found the paladin class the most enjoyable and challenging to play.

    People keep asking what our role is - "Blizzard, please define our role!" I think that question/statement ignores our a hybrid status. We're a hybrid class, a jack of all trades, and while we can be good healers, good tanks, or good hammer smacking smiters, we'll never be the best.

    And honestly, that is a deficiency that a skilled player can always use to their advantage. A paladin that dps's better than a rogue, out heals a priest, and out tanks a warrior is something to be proud of.

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  22. I agree totally. I don't want to play a deathknight or warrior. I want to play the paladin that you read about in the retribution tree. Sounds good on paper, but doesn't come through in the game.