Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Paladins in Wrath: My Expectations.

It seems to be all the rage to list out everything you could ever want or need for Wrath these days. As I've never seen a bandwagon I didn't like (OMG, Drumz!) it's time for me to jump on it, mainly so I can laugh at my own naiveté in 12 months time when we have the same problems at 80 as 70 ;). So, lets get this show on the road:

The Top 5 things I want to see in Wrath of the Lich King

*cue Whole Lotta Love*

  • At 5: On the wish list of every Holy Paladin... a Heal Over Time. But, I don't expect it to be a direct HoT similar to renew. A HoT component added to any (or all) of our direct heals via talents seems to be the most likely, probably as the 51pt Holy talent. My money would go on Holy Shock getting it, compensating not only for it heavy mana cost but also adding to it's viability. Knocking down its cooldown to 10secs would also be great addition, and for added kudos a DoT could be given to the damage portion of HS.

  • Coming in at 4: A new Weapon Damage Seal. It's my hope that Blizzards reticence in giving Alliance Paladins SoB, even though it scales significantly better than SoC as gear improves, is an indication of a new Melee Seal on the way. I don't expect this to be faction specific - Lore-wise all Paladins now draw power from the same source - but I do expect it to be better than SoB.

  • Number 3 can only be Plenty of Activated Abilities (or... please not another Crusader Aura). My intense dislike of the pre-1.9 Paladin was based upon how passive combat was for them (though spamming Cleanse in MC came a close second). 1.9 was somewhat of an improvement with a 10-second Direct Damage Judgement (though we all know just how much of a trade off 1.9 was), and 2.0 even better with Crusader Strike for Ret and Consecration becoming baseline. But still, I feel that simply more options for Paladins (and every class), have to be a good thing. The more that players have to decide 'do I use this ability now' or 'what do I have which synergies best with x' the more interactive their game experience is, and hence the more enjoyable it is. This is my only criticism of the Seal and Judgement system as it stands: because it encourages a rather passive experience. The same is somewhat true with Paladin Healing. In the same vein, long cooldown Paladin abilities such as Lay On Hands should be made available in the Arena to combat the powerful PvP skills of other classes on a moderate length cooldown (Mages, Rogues... that means you).

  • A new entry at number 2: Offensive Abilities for Prot Paladins. From the looks of the other tanking classes in the leaked talents and spells so far everyone is getting the ability to do damage in Tanking Spec. So far we've heard nothing for Paladins, but I'd like a Shield Slam-type ability generating Holy Damage and using Holy Shield charges as a 51pt talent. Also, not just for Prot Paladins but in fact all Paladins, I'd give all paladins as their lvl80 spell an intercept-type ability called 'Shield Charge', the only proviso being that it requires a shield to use. It should not have knockback!

  • And Top of the Charts for the 5th week of the row: An Uber-Cleanse. Choosing to cleanse debuffs in PvP, and to an extent in PvE, is becoming less of a valid cooldown tradeoff as the game has progressed. Many PvP Paladins now tend to use Divine Shield as super-self-cleanse because of the unreliability of Cleanse for clearing said debuff and DS for giving you extended invulnerability (for Healing etc). The best solution, returning Paladins back to the role of premier de-debuffer, is to allow Cleanse to remove 2 of each type of (non-curse) debuff. Alternatively Blizz could create a 'Cleanse-over-time' spell for Paladins similar to Abolish Disease, or if you wanted a seriously exotic suggestion a debuff resistance Aura (similar to our resistance Aura's, but keyed to debuffs rather than resistance schools). As Deathknights and their diseases become prevalent in Wrath I believe that this will become essential, aswell as set up Paladins as a strong Deathknight counter-class (just as they counter casters)

  • Hrm... I'm forgetting something, and if I don't put it in they'll revoke my Ret Paladin Union Membership. :(

    Better Scaling for All Abilities. It'll be of no surprise to anyone when I say that the requirements of all Paladin skills stat-wise is absurd, as much as any other class (at least on a Par with Shaman). However fixes aren't simple, and contrary to the belief of some Paladins it isn't a Ret-only issue.

  • Tanks suffer it wrt hit scaling (they need both Spell and Melee hit) which could be sorted by making +Hit a generic stat which applies to both spells and melee. They also have gear set requires dissimilar to Prot Warrior Plate, with threat scaling by Spell Damage rather than Strength. I'd expect this to be looked at closely in Wrath so that our threat and mitigation talents scale seamlessly with warrior gear and hence Paladin-only tanking gear can be phased out. It'd a shame to remove this variation, but it does solve the itemisation team a lot of head-aches.

  • Ret Paladins tend to suffer from it greatly. Even though a majority of our damage scales with Ap/Crit, the majority of our damage-dealing skills don't. Ret Paladin skills should all scale with Ret Paladin stats, either indirectly (as in a AP->SpellDam Talent) or directly (Judgement, HoJ and Consecrate all having an AP coeff). This especially goes for Melee Judgements, which should at the very least scale with Melee Hit (yes JoC, I'm looking at you). Similarly HoW should have a base miss rate of 5% against equal level mobs, and scale with both spell and melee hit.

  • In an attempt to solve scaling issues for both Prot and Ret, I'd dump the Redoubt or Imp. Devo Aura talents and stick an AP->SD talent right there as a 5/5. Perhaps up-to 35%... gosh, how different a complexion would that put on the Prot Tree?

    So, there are my hopes for Wrath of the Lich King. Nothing too outlandish IMO, and certainly not overpowered when taken in their entirety. Given how restrictive Blizzard have been with Paladin skills in the past with regards to the sorts of abilities they haven't been allowed to have (snares, interrupts, HoTs and group heals) I wouldn't expect anything terribly imaginative, but I do expect to see 3 or even 4 of the suggestions I've outlined above crop up, at least in Beta.

    Oh, and get rid of Forbearance. It's an archaic method of controlling Paladin cooldowns which have long since passed being necessary.


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