Wednesday, November 05, 2008

An Alternative to Flash of Light

In the comments to the previous post on Flash of Light, Bob asks:
I would agree with you if it wasn't for one thing. What could you give paladins instead of designing the class around FoL, that the other healers don't have?

I would probably buff Seal of Light heavily. Something like this:

Seal of Light
14% of base mana
Instant cast

Fills the Paladin with divine light for 2 min, healing up to 5 friendly party or raid members for [A * AP * WS + B * SPH * WS] with each melee attack. Only one Seal can be active on the Paladin at any one time.

Unleashing this Seal's energy will heal the friendly party or raid member with the highest threat for [C * AP + D * SPH] over 20 sec. (Does not stack. A, B, C, D are values such that the ability is balanced and worthwhile)

Effectively, meleeing with Seal of Light takes over the mundane maintenance healing that we use Flash of Light for. We use the Judgement to maintain a solid HoT on the tank with duration matching the duration of the Judgement effect. We have Holy Shock, Sacred Shield, and Holy Light for responsive healing. I'm not really sure where Beacon of Light would fit in.

Actually, it might be interesting to use Beacon of Light like a focus target. If you cast Beacon on someone, your Judgement of Light HoT automatically targets them, and maybe something similar happens with Holy Shock (Shock hits the enemy and heals the Beacon target). Beacon would have to go much lower in the tree though.

Essentially a normal paladin would have somewhat undirected healing, but a Holy paladin would be able to focus her healing through Beacon of Light. I'd have to think about it a bit more, but I think there are some possibilities with this scheme. It fits nicely with our niche as a single-target, tank healer. Effectively we're duplicating WAR's defensive target scheme on a small level. It's not a true defensive target, but it would be enough to get some of the same style as the warrior priest mechanics (which I've praised in the past).


  1. Here's the issue though, hybrid classes are designed to do 1 of a given list of options, with a base spells/abilities that can allow them to supplement another role without respeccing if needed. Blizzard never designed hybrids with the intent that they could perform 2 roles at once. As much as I want to see paladins turned into close range healers, our healing is never going to be linked to swinging a big freaking hammer.

    What Blizzard really needs to do is to give paladins a rework to enable and encourage them to get close to the action, but we'll still be healers who spend all their time casting and no time wailing away.

  2. It depends on the coefficients. If the coefficients are heavily weighted towards spellpower, the damage you do will be mostly irrelevant.

    All you're really adding is some white damage, and with a spellpower weapon is not really something I would worry about or consider overpowered.

  3. This is a pretty good idea IMO. As for Bacon of Light, you wouldn't really need to change it. Rather you could have Judgement of Light target the target with the least health (rather than the most threat), and then have Bacon duplicate the spell.

    Obviously, it might be interesting if your JoL could crit (e.g. if your Judgement crits, the the JoL heal is increase by 50%).

    There are two problems I can see with this approach: a) it would dilute Paladin's role as premier tank healers, b) it would greatly reduce Paladin mana consumption. You would esentially replace FoL heals costing 7% of base mana every 1.5s with SoL heals costing 14% every 120 sec and JoL heals costing 5% every 8 sec. Moreover you would be meleeing, and therefore gaining mana via JoW.

    This could be solved by burning some % of your base mana (say 1%) every time you swing your weapon with SoL active, but I think that detracts from the elegance of Rohan's solution. In any case, you would need to increase mana costs somehow, or holy paladins would simple not run OOM... ever.

  4. Now that looks more like it! Constructive instead of whining ;)

    I wouldn't make it a HoT effect though, but a direct heal. Make it stack. And hook it up with something else that makes it uniquely a healer type of choice. Like a healer aura talent in the holy tree that converts a percentage of damage done into healing when you keep a certain judgment on target, and boosts your holy damage when judging another. That would make it work with the current Seal of Light, Consecration, Holy Shock etcetera, as well as boost Holy spec dmg enough to be feasible in solo play.

    It shouldn't be the only thing you would need to do, but provide a base amount of healing, like a stack of Lifebloom, a Renew, or the talented Earth Shield. You would need to keep a full stack up for maximum effect, and you would still need to cast FoL or HL depending on the amount of incoming damage.

    And maybe give an effect similar to Maelstrom Weapon or Tidal Waves, in that casting a FoL or HL would get boosted by the effect and consume the stack, requiring you to melee more to build it up again.

    Something like a 'Hand of Light' might work too; boost healing to that target for an amount of time, or heal that target for a percentage of the incoming damage. Maybe trainable, and healing as a function of the amount of damage done, with a significant boost to the effect if you're specced deep enough into Holy.

    I would love an aura that requires significant investment in the Holy tree, and reflects the true paladin nature. A revamped Improved Concentration Aura maybe?

  5. Hmm, I iz inspired by this, and my current shaman focus is showing; how about a Holy talent that imbues your weapon (like Earthliving Weapon) with Holy power; an effect that boosts your healing, and has charges that are converted into small direct heals when you hit something, requiring a regular reapplication that costs mana.

    Would work well with Beacon of Light, too.

  6. I like that idea. The actual
    damage you do while "melee-healing" should be (very) low.

    Do you got any feedback from blues about that idea? Did you enter
    it in one of the WoW suggestion forums?

    This sounds like a very interesting and good alternative healing mechanism while not even being disruptive. Ppl could stick to their normal FoL or use your Seal of Light.

  7. Revaan:

    That said, though, there already are (well, technically will be) a bunch of classes that provide healing by doing damage. SPriests can cause healing on party members by doing damage, Feral Druids cause healing when players affected by ILotP crit, and Deathknights can cause party/raid members to heal based on the damage they deal (as examples).

    Of course, the level of healing provided by these abilities is pretty small compared to what I figure Rohan is intending here.

  8. I like the idea too!

    Now Blizzard is run by very clever, intelligent people and they must be aware that the holy trinity is looking creaky now - and given that tanks are now also fairly good damage dealers instead of just meat-shields - I'd say that they're aware of this problem.

    So if this is the case, they must be fairly worried re. the state of healing in the game - I'm sure I don't need to go on about this, but healer-burnout is common and even a lot of dedicated healers are complaining about how boring healing is looking in Wrath - Paladins get the least new tricks to play with of course.

    Anyhow - I've not played WAR, but having damage dealing and healing combined is one of the most exciting things about the game to me, so ideas like the SoL change are more than welcome.

    I'll finish with a whine, I'm sorry - I do hope that Blizzard does something like this as healing needs a shot in the arm, but the Paladin re-design has turned out to be a false dawn and I'd be very upset if Blizzard are now working on 'Paladin 3.5' release for talent/class balances in 3.04 soon after Wrath is released - here's hoping...

  9. You could give the Prot Paladin those healing abilites, and then you could do away with the Holy Paladin altogether.

  10. @RJ:

    "Of course, the level of healing provided by these abilities is pretty small compared to what I figure Rohan is intending here."

    These healing effects are more or less negligible. Group healing gets mildly easier, but you don't really notice it if those classes aren't there, they're essentially just performing one job.

    One thing that would be good to see Blizzard do for paladins would be for them to create a deep-holy talent (31 points or deeper) that lets paladins keep their shields out while casting heals. This gives us survivability up close by allowing us to factor in block in our physical mitigation, but is too deep to be viable for other builds.

  11. Unworkable in the vast amount of fights where you can't have too much melee in there.

    Get in the back and heal =P

    ~Jason DPS Liberation front

  12. Ok, I've been reading your blog for a while now, and even though I've been tempted to post on some of your more "colorful" comments before, I've somehow managed not to. But this is, by far, one of the worst ideas you have had. As someone who enjoys playing a holy paladin, I have to say that healing now is very good for us. We got Beacon of Light to help us raid heal without having to worry too much about the tank (making us decent aoe healers too btw). An instant cast medium size heal whose crits cut the cast time on our large heal by a whole second and makes FoL instant, meaning we dont need to worry so much when the tank takes a huge hit. You're also either unfamilliar or are forgetting the paladin gear in wotlk. It will pack a ton of spell haste, not to mention the 15% we get from judging light or wisdom from 40 yards! So even our big heal won't take as long to cast at lvl 80. And here you come saying "replace fol with a better Judgement of Light" So now you want us to stack hit rating on top of: Intellect, Crit, Haste, and Spellpower... If you want to hit things with a giant hammer, spec ret, but please stop QQing about the state of Holy in terms of healing. We're perfectly capable healers for almost any situation, and one of the things that makes us a good healer is FoL. We don't have to be and don't want to be a healer like a priest or druid. Your posts are almost always negative, and all they serve is to bring the morale down. If you cannot take a positive outlook on the game like Banana Shoulders and Resto4Life, then please stop blogging.

  13. Quellious, your comment is decent for the most part so I am not deleting it as I normally would. However, if you don't like what I write, you are always free to stop reading it.

    Second, haste would still help us. It speeds up HL, and speeds up weapon swings, increasing the healing-per-second from the new Seal of Light. As for hit rating, it wouldn't be that hard to pick up. We already get 4% from Enlightened Judgements (which could always be increased to 8%, as it's really high up in the Holy tree, if hit is really an issue), and we share itemization with damage casters. A few +hit rings and trinkets, maybe a spelldamage mace with +hit, and we'd be fine.

  14. I'm the poster who advocated for a holy energy bar.

    So, just curious, if the paladin isn't casting spells non-stop, what's the mana bar for?

    It's a decent idea, but for the amount of casting we'd be doing, we'd have a sick pool of mana left. Sure, we could just use it up with larger heals, or we could develop a different system...

  15. Vlad sounds a little bitter, but he raises a point that the game designers have to be careful about.

    If paladins are given powerful instant heals that Prot paladins can use in combat, there is a potential for imbalance.

    Suppose Seal of Light and Judgement of Light get awesome buffs. My tankadin could become overpowered. I'll just buff myself with Seal of Awesome Light and judge Awesome Light on the mob, and we can do this dungeon with 4 dps and a tankadin. Who needs healers? And heck, if DPS aren't around, I can probably solo the dungeon if my heals are so good.

    I think the reason paladin (and shaman) heals are mainly cast-time based is to prevent them from being unbalanced tanks, and I'm not sure how you can improve paladin healing without breaking tanking.

  16. On paladin healing, I really enjoyed main healing as Ret spec w/ Ret gear.

    I did w/ the headless horseman countless times. It was a lot of fun. I havn't tried it in dungeon runs, but the tank and spank horseman was very EZ to heal being Ret. Mana wasn't even a concern, and my instant FoL alone kept the tank up.

    Due to the paladin being a healing/tankk hybrid I really wish Blizzard went a different route with Ret. Instead of giving Ret really good burst damage they should have Made Ret just as good at healing as Holy, except Ret healing would involve hitting the enemy with your hammer as well.

  17. Here's the problem with Rohan's suggestion:

    Either you have to make each hit also cost a bunch of mana in addition, or the healing generated has to be a pretty insignifigant amount; along the same levels as Vampiric Touch or Blood Aura. The reason should be pretty obvious; Spending only 14% of base mana to basically heal 5 raid members for a value even half of FoL every 1.5~2 seconds for 2 minutes with no additional cost is obviously broken.

    And I don't know about you, but having an entire healer concept which is based on doing VT level healing doesn't sound like a good idea to me. If anything, that would cause Holy Pallies to be left out of parties, instead of being invited more often.

  18. You still have Holy Shock and Holy Light for significant healing.

    The idea is that Seal of Light replaces the mundane spamming of Flash of Light. FoL essentially turns the paladin into a living HoT, and I'm just getting that HoT by meleeing instead of channelling.

    The mana concerns are valid, though. It might be necessary to add a mana drain to SoL in order to get good healing. Though there aren't any Illumination returns. Maybe each hit causes the paladin to lose (3 * WS)% of base mana.

  19. Hmm what about making judgment of light able to target the tank and then act similar to the way judgment works but in reverse. Basically the tank would have a judgment type thing on it that when hit by an enemy would heal them for x*% of your spell power. It would function similar to a shaman's earth sheild but with paladin flavor.

    Or what about changing the way hand of sacrafice works to instead deal half the damage to target would have recieved to the paladin and then that amount is reduced by some % of your spell power.

  20. I agree with preston about changing the healing style on each spec. This could be done with ret by massively buffing the FoL glyph to be pretty much a full HoT, or give ret pallies another HoT spell way down in the tree and make it activate on melee crits or something...could even make it do something like was mentioned earlier along the lines of "upon melee crit, activates (new HoT spell)on your defensive target. Kinda like a ret version of beacon maybe, but it's some sort of a long duration buff like "selects a target to be the reciever of your (new HoT spell)"

  21. Artorin wrote: It would function similar to a shaman's earth sheild but with paladin flavor

    The level 80 paladin spell is:

    Sacred Shield Rank 1
    12% of base mana 40 yd range
    Instant cast
    Each time the target takes damage they gain a Sacred Shield, absorbing 500 damage and increasing the paladin's chance to critically hit with Flash of Light by 50% for up to 6 sec. They cannot gain this effect more than once every 6 sec. Lasts 30 sec.

  22. Seems to me this idea is abit.. bad. You want to replace FoL with a meleeish judgement spell that requires a large amount of hit to heal (Or do you mean judge a person? I don't think that would be different than FoL). So instead of staying out of range of melee AoEs on bosses you want to stand near him spamming a spell that does the same thing as FoL with less control? This just seems like a neat idea that would be a terrible thing to implement due to the way bosses work and heals needing control. Also putting it on highest threat only removes our ability to raid heal in any way mostly (We'd still have expensive spells but that ineffiecent). Putting it on the lowest health person makes us a raid healer and not a tank healer. I can see it as nice flavor but I think you'd completely destroy holy as it is. Holy is a fine healing spec as is, with us putting out a large amount of healing with beacon and healing 2 tanks at the same time. We are basicly the best healers for cleave fights. All in all, neat idea, impossible to implement without destroying holy, and targeting for big heals and then back to the mob to melee is very hard in this game without the ability to subtarget.

  23. Rohan:

    The mana cost makes it easier to swallow, but it doesn't really make the deal.

    There's 3 main benefits that are given by this system:

    1) Since the healing is not based on cast times, the Paladin gets an almost unprecedented amount of mobility. The only other healer spec that has that much mobility is a Circle of Overhealing/Holy Nova Priest, who must pay an outrageous amount of mana to keep it up.

    2) Since the healing is not based on casts, it cannot be interrupted or prevented, other then by not being near the Paladin.

    3) Since the healing is not based on casts, it allows the Paladin to still Block attacks with their shield.

    The downsides are:

    1) The Paladin needs to be in melee range, which means that they have a lower threat threshold, and are more susceptible to attack. Or the target just plain moving out of range.

    2) The healing, in order to balance out the benefits, would end up having to be pretty insignificant.

    I don't really see how it could turn out to be a benefit in the end. I think that if Holy's healing was specifically designed around this Seal of Light, it'd dramatically hurt Holy's viability, both because it makes it easier to damage you and because the healing would have to be almost pointless to counter your mobility and the effect this would have on Prot and Ret.

  24. I have to agree with Quellious on this one. I normally read your blog because I like your commentary on the MMORPG genre in general. When it comes to the paladin class, however, I'm generally not in agreement with you. I really think you should just play your Paladin as ret, and level a different character for healing. This idea sounds much more boring and simplistic than FoL spam. Basically you want us to just sit there meleeing the mob and judging and let the computer heal for you. I actually came from healing as a Shaman (T6 content) and after the patch it just isn't the same. The skill to playing a shaman pre-patch was managing your mana by spamming the correct rank of CH. You also had to find time to refresh Earth Shield and your Totems (of course choosing a target that was nearby others taking damage and having good reaction time was the other part of it). Now, quite a bit of that complexity is gone and unless you want to sit back and not heal, you're at the mercy of outside mana regen to decide how long you'll last while spam healing. I've now picked up my Paladin and am really enjoying healing on him. With Beacon of Light, I can place it on the tank and, assuming I'm quick enough to get the heal off before anyone else, I can still raid heal. With FoL, I can basically spam heal without worrying about mana. Of course, to really get awesome healing throughput, you have to use Holy Light as much as you can. So there is still mana management involved. I also enjoy the feedback of direct heals which is obviously one of the things that attracted me to the Shaman and Paladin classes. I look at the fact that we have a limited ability to heal on the move as a challenge. Here's a vote for another satisfied Paladin healer. Maybe another class would suite you better for healing?

  25. mordekai, the flip argument could easily apply to you. If you want to play a direct healer, why don't you play a shaman or a disc priest?

    The paladin is a melee archetype. I think that should be reflected in how it heals. After all, there are many more classes which do ranged heals. Why not have the paladin heal in a different manner?

    People who want to range heal can roll priests, shamans, or druids; and people who want to melee-heal can roll paladins.

  26. Why don't we play shaman or priest or etc. Because we like the way pally is tank healer. Pally is by no means a "melee" class more so than druid is or any other class might be. Not sure where you came up with that at, we melee in 2 of our specs, and one is tanking so we have no choice and most of our abilities in that form are ranged anyway. We are a hybrid. We can stand at ranged and heal, stand in the face of the mob and tank, or stand at the back of the mob and kill. Why should we give up our mobility and versatility as a healer to become so pseudo-melee regen bot? I rolled pally to heal because I like the way it heals, I've since started to enjoy tanking some. I rolled a priest and disliked it, why should I need to give up the way I like to heal for a class that heals nothing like mine because of some since of "melee archetype." This idea has too many problems with it to work on any raid. It's hard to balance, causes too much target problems, and has little benefit. I'll give you an example of something like this: FFXI implemented a melee-like healer that was based on melee hits for healing, it was used in nothing endgame because it was in AoE range, needed to melee to keep up its ability (IE needed hit), and was just overall less useful in every way than a healer standing back healing. The only place melee healers exist is in WAR and that's because all of them are that way. There just isn't a place for this in WoW.

  27. I play a holy Paladin - I love the way it feels post-Echoes of Doom. I have no problem with healing in raids or heroics...if I could have only one complaint it would be that we share itemisation with dps casters - if i wanted to wear cloth, I'd have rolled a priest.

    Having said that, I'd agree with Rohan's comment that the Paladin is a melee archetype, and I fully enjoy wading into a sea of enemies, waving a giant hammer. But, having a healing mechganic that heals based on how much you hit something does not really sit well with feels, I don;t know, vampiric?

    So how about a reverse Seal of Corruption? As the Holy paladin lays the smackdown on some greeblies they build up charges in their "Seal of Awesome Holy Power" until they judge it, which then heals all raid members within melee range for x amount based on the charges we built up.

    Then we still get to feel like holy warriors hitting things with our big frickin hammers, keep FoL for spot healing, rotate SoW in and out to keep mana going...or we can stand back and use HL on the tanks if we prefer.

  28. I understand that you have this idea about the Paladin archetype and don't think that it is presented properly by Blizzard. I personally don't think that we need to actually have to melee things to fit that archetype. To me, a Paladin healer is one that is extremely tough. I think that the class accomplishes that better than any other healing class. My Shaman was the same way, but not to as great of an extent. Sometimes I enjoy standing in the mess of things and dropping a consecrate. I can handle a hit or two if I pull aggro. I can also taunt mobs off of clothies. Even if my bubbles down, I can still stun them or heal through it until a tank picks it up. With Beacon of Light, I'm even more difficult to kill. I can put Beacon on myself if I know that I'm going to pull aggro from having to start heals early while the tanks pick them up. I think most experienced players who rolled Paladins knowing what to expect as far as game mechanics. Obviously not everyone is as dissatisfied with the way they heal as you. I, personally, would be very annoyed if they suddenly changed the core of the way they heal.

    Sorry if this sounds like I'm bashing on you. I am, I guess, on this particular topic. I do think you're a very intelligent person and enjoy your blog. I've been reading it for quite a long time. I just get tired of all of the complaining sometimes and wanted to voice my opinion of satisfaction with the state of Paladin healing.

    For the person that said that Paladins got the weakest final talent, I would have to highly disagree. Beacon of Light is really what made Paladin healing fun for me. Spamming heals on the same tank over and over is very boring. Being able to Beacon the tank and test your reflexes to see if you can pick up raid heals fast enough that the tank gets your full heal, is much more exciting. Add that with all of our "Hand" utility spells, having to find time to Judge to keep the Enlightened Judgments buff up, and balancing mana usage with the amount of Holy Lights we can use.

  29. While I enjoy reading this blog, I don't really think this new mechanic of healing will function very well.

    1)The effect of linking our primary heal to melee is to disadvantage holy paladins in raid encounters such as Maiden or Aran, where casters cannot function near the boss. It would reduce paladin healing to merely the reworked Seal of Light, which would make other healers a better choice.

    2)As mentioned by previous posters, the effect would be to make paladin healing more, rather than less, one-dimensional. With free healing in this manner, there is not even the need to be concerned about mana. Thought would hardly be required.

    3)Making our primary heal dependent on the server rather than players eliminates most of the skill required to play a healer. Just whacking a mob on autoattack, and judging every few seconds, is even more simple then a retribution rotation. Player decisions will be reduced to a minimum.

    4)What would happen in fights without a threat list?

    5)Personally, the "melee archetype" does not need to be reflected so overwhelmingly in the design of a class. In fact, hybrids, by definition, should not really have any specific archetype.

  30. If we're trying to bring the paladin back into melee, then why not, in addition allowing us spec into holding a shield while channeling, also give paladins a talent that inversely increases bonus healing from spell power based on distance (i.e. the closer you are, the more extra bonus you get).

    This doesn't affect current playstyle (as the extra bonus could be 0 for 40 yards), but encourages paladins who like playing in the thick of things to move as close to melee range as they want.

  31. Jumping in on this one very late, my apologies.

    I like what you propose with SoL. My own concept was somewhat different, rather than SoL turning into a mini CoH (an idea I like), I thought you could simply have SoL heal your targets target for something along the lines of what a FoL would hit for. Something would need to be address lack of mana consumption with this style, but I like the general idea. Maybe have SoL be a constant mana drain while in effect.

    In addition I think a very easy buff to BoL would to have it heal it's target for an amount equal to the damage you deal with any Judgment.