Sunday, September 12, 2010

4.0 Early Paladin

So the 4.0 PTR is out. You can download it (16 gigs!) and test all the new class talents and mechanics. No Cataclysm content is available though.

Character copy wasn't working for me, so I decided to test out the low level paladin experience.

First off, the UI changes are superb. The new character pane is great. The new guild pane is pretty nice as well. The only thing I would change is that the Guild pane really needs a default hotkey.

As for the newbie paladin experience, I don't really like it. The thing is that the very first level sets the tone for the class. Cataclysm Paladins start off with only Crusader Strike. No heal. CS is a great skill, and does make leveling more interactive. But it makes the level 1 paladin feel like a warrior. Previously, a level 1 paladin had Seal of Righteousness and Holy Light. It set the tone that the paladin hits her enemies and heals her allies.

The next few levels don't help either. At level 3 the paladin gets Judgement and Seal of Righteousness. Judgement doesn't even have the healing debuff, so it's a straight combat move. You get Devo Aura at 5, but still, it just doesn't feel right.

The other problem with level 1 paladins is that CS generates Holy Power, but you don't have any skills to use it. An extremely common question in general chat is "What is this yellow bar under my paladin's health/mana?" The first skill that uses Holy Power is Word of Glory (the instant heal) at level 9.

What I would suggest is that Word of Glory gets moved to level 1. That way the paladin gets both a melee attack and a heal right from the very start. Both facets of the paladin are represented, and paladins are once again differentiated from warriors. As well, you get an outlet for Holy Power, and get paladins used to the new mechanic right from the start.

Then you could move Judgement to level 5 and push Devotion Aura to level 9. You don't really need Judgement right away at level 3.

I think this scheme would work better for the initial paladin experience.


  1. Really like your idea - having a heal (particularly one that uses the holy power interface) at level 1 makes a lot of sense to me :)

  2. It's worth pointing out that in Cataclysm, there will be a quest from your class trainer at level 3 where you learn a new ability and then practice it on a training dummy (or a wounded person). In other words, that design decision wants a learnable ability at level 3.

  3. Well, there's still Seal of Righteousness at level 3.

  4. While I have been impressed in beta with the new questing experiences for low level characters, I agree that they probably over-simplified stuff with the ability progressions. Having one button to hit for the first 3-10 levels is just boring, I think they can trust new players enough to be able to differentiate between 4 or 5 abilities at least...

  5. I wanted to try a Draenai Paladin and hunter to compare, maybe its just the area, But 6-9 as a human Paladin with grays and a busy lowbie was not fun. Then you hit 9 get word of glory are immediately op.