... they have a lack of Vision.
They're lacking in Vision in three key areas, at least for Paladins.
1) What does it mean to be a Paladin? What are our strengths, weaknesses, designed in abilities and deliberate limitations?
2) What does it mean to be a Healer, Tank, or Melee DPS? What tools are required to do each of these jobs given the current state of the game, and how should that fit into 1)?
3) How should a Paladin function in PvP, and still adhere to 1) and 2)? What should be their role, and how should they function in that role? What do they need to aid them in the role?
It struck me when analysing Beacon of Light that currently they're failing, at times, in at least 1) and the first part of 2), and it's affecting 2) and 3). It should come as no surprise that I see (1) at the 'Vision' of what the class should be, what at the core makes a Paladin a Paladin, or indeed a Rogue a Rogue, Warrior a Warrior etc.
Right now, development progression appears aimless. Beacon of Light was changed from something which showed promise to something which doesn't really address any PvE weakness and isn't very useful for PvP. Protection still has two mutually exclusive Blessings in the same tree. Ideas on how a melee DPS should function are schizophrenic at best, at worst Blizzard have introduced a 51pt talent which they don't intend Paladins to use with any regularity. Perhaps worse, at this stage a talent amounting to a second Crusader Strike on a separate cooldown would have been better.
In order to address Paladins for Wrath, Blizzard need to take a step back and focus on first and foremost what they want Paladins to be, or more precisely what they want a Holy Paladin, Prot Paladin and Ret Paladin to be. Then, they need to analyse the sort of encounters they are designing in Wrath so that Paladins have the tools to be successful in those encounters, for example AoE healing, in a way that is in keeping with the class and archetype (Healer/tank/Melee DPS) as a whole.
If their preconceived limitations prevent the class from functioning then either change the encounter, or ditch the limitation. I've spoken previously about how Mana, or more precisely a resources which diminishes quickly and is difficult to regain, is a broken mechanic for Melee and how Blizzard know this. Why else would they design DK's with a hybrid Energy/Rage system rather than Energy/Mana, or provide Enchancement Shaman Unleashed Rage? Gear sharing between Melee Plate Wearers also highlight this, and base-mana ability costs exacerbate the issue because for melee you're shoehorning a Rage-type ability cost into a Mana-type regen mechanic.
Once that's achieved, they should take it to the forums. Identify what they want the class to be, and as importantly not be, and then sticky it. Open threads on each class role and entertain ideas not just on feedback of what you've proposed thus far, but on all class mechanics, and keep it focussed on that class role. If needs be take each talent in tern and explain what the purpose of it is. But don't just leave up to the community to read between the lines, and possibly misunderstand. Feedback pretty useless if it has no real frame of reference.
Finally, fix the talents and let us test them. Even for Beta the number of talents which simply don't work is laughable. Hell, even Illumination doesn't work. My biggest worry, after a poor talent review, remains Blizzard 'running out of time' before they've had an adequate chance to address each class.
Monday, September 01, 2008
... they have a lack of Vision.