Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ghostcrawler Speaks: HoJ Gets An Interrupt and more

Well, just browsing the Official Paladin Beta Forums and spotted the following very interesting comments by Blizzard Dev Ghostcrawler:

We did add the interrupt to Hammer of Justice. This was done solely so that Protection paladins wouldn't feel like they couldn't tank mobs that needed to be interrupted but were stun immune. We just think that interrupt capability crosses over the line into something that a tank needs to do his job.

Death knights don't have a group taunt and paladins don't have a single-target taunt. We're not convinced yet that those are mandatory, but they might be.

You'll be able to tank the Four Horsemen though. If you couldn't, our dream of having Protadin MTs instantly falls on its face.

No news yet on whether it will be added to baseline or deep Prot (or perhaps the ever elusive new 11pt Prot talent) but it's a pretty big fillip for raid tanking Paladins against Caster targets who would be stun immune. That is, once every 30 seconds (fully talented). I think that a more elegant solution might be to add the silence to Exorcism baseline and have Exorcism deal zero damage against non-Demon/undead targets, (or let an interrupt effect be a part of SoJ's Judgement effect rather than damage) but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth :). It's also nice to see her reiterate Blizzard's desire to have Paladins be a viable MT on all raid fights.

In another thread we have what almost amounts to 'State of the Class' commentary by her, and without any fuss here it is:

Protection -- We want more tanks in the game. Main tanks. We think it's fun to have a diversity of players and see how different spells, abilities and class mechanics get used to solve problems. A Protadin with the right skill and gear should be able to tank any fight in the game. Previously, we tried to push Prot into the offtank and AE tank roles. While your abilities are still really well suited for AE in particular, overall our philosophy has changed and we want you to be able to do anything the other tanks do. Note that this means other tanks will get better at AE tanking though. Prot represents a special challenge when not tanking because you can both heal and do dps and some players want to do either. Or both. One final comment, that you have already seen, is we want you to gear like a warrior: collect Strengh and Stam and use tanking weapons instead of caster weapons.

Retribution -- You're a melee dps class, and one of only a handful of classes that can fill the "mana battery" role. With the changes to the way raid buffs work, we are blurring the lines a lot more between "pure" dps classes and hybrids that have the potential to respec if their dps doesn't work out. But we don't penalize classes for having awesome buffs the way we used to. Also remember that one of Ret's big limitations before was just getting in the group with the good melee buffs. That problem is solved. If you're good and know your stuff cold, you should be able to be up there with the rogues and hunters. Maybe not every fight, but not 500 dps below them either.

Holy -- You're still the best high-throughput, single target healer in the game. I suspect you're still going to get called on to heal the tank a lot. Holy was in a really good place in BC, so much so that other healers (probably priests more than anyone else) began to get overshadowed. To shift things back a little, as well to just challenge the player base, we introduced a lot more fights with AE damage and movement. Unfortunately, those mechanics hit Holy. Hard. At the same time, CoH and CH seemed to be able to handle any encounter. Beacon of Light isn't a panacea to solve all of those problems, but it is designed to help. It still needs a little work, but I think the basic spell design is sound.

One thing that has been mentioned is that the three paladin trees feel pretty separated from each other. We've gotten better in some other classes of making it a valid choice to go deeper into a second tree, and not just to get a single, incredible talent, but because there is some legitimate synergy there. It's going to be harder to get that feeling for the paladin than it is for the mage, but it is something we want to mess with some more after Lich King.

Obviously beyond the individual trees, we completely redid the whole seal and judgment system. We think it works pretty well, but we're just going to have to play with it some more to find the rough spots.

I realize I haven't talked a lot about PvP, because it's a very big topic... and this is already pretty long... and I'm always encouraging players to be more succinct. Anyway. We suspect we changed the landscape quite a bit in PvP with all of our changes and we're waiting for it to shake out a little more. It's much harder to theorycraft PvP.

There's a lot in there, so it's worth reading it through and really processing it. Here would be my reply:

Prot - Whilst a Prot Paladin may well like to do DPS or Heal this is largely impossible. In the case of Healing Prot Paladins, whether they are in Holy gear or not, simply don't have the longevity necessary for significant levels of healing. DPS suffers similarly from longevity, but the relatively low cost of damage-dealing skills and new Divine Plea could make some difference. Still, the Prot Paladin would be fundamentally limited in this role by a lack of mana (or mana regen).

Ret - Good to hear. Also Ret, like Arms and Fury, may have a role off-tanking in 10-man/5-man encounters, all because you give this melee spec an adequate means of regening mana. Take note ;)

Holy - I'm glad to hear our concerns are known... now something just needs to be done about it ;). And unlike many in the Paladin community, I see adding to the Seal/Judgement system so that it is useful in all circumstances to all specs to be a real boon to the class

That they don't quite know how things are going to shape up with PvP is pretty obvious, and with the number of class skills which have recently been canned or are in a state of flux heavily analysing PvP is probably premature. Still, I'm glad that they are happy with shaking things up a lot, as it was getting extremely stale.

Finally, the bolded part is curious. It sounds like there are more changes on the way after Lich King ships. Whether this means the patch after 3.0, or the next Expansion, is difficult to know, but I'm surprised to hear a statement in which a Dev admits that they're not going to be done come the launch of Wrath. It's going to be extremely tough to make any Paladin want to spec down another tree without really adding some interesting stuff there, unless that tree is Ret because Ret rocks. I'm not too worried though, so long as Blizzard keep talking to the player base.


Ashrayle 20/09/2008 08:14  

Quote: It's going to be extremely tough to make any Paladin want to spec down another tree without really adding some interesting stuff there, unless that tree is Ret because Ret rocks. I'm not too worried though, so long as Blizzard keep talking to the player base.

Probably not to much of a problem for the initial levelling to 80 but after that I can see little use for a dps subspec for healers and tanks in the endgame.

Dakkar 20/09/2008 17:59  

I just hope they don't mess with Ret to much. I orginally rolled a Paladin looking for something akin to how Ret is currently. I ended up going Shockadin for a long time because that is as close as I felt I could get while still being mostly acceptable to groups without the need to respec constantly.

Now I feel like I will have to option to go full Ret and be able to quest, farm, PvP, and be able to find groups while I am in LFG. And maybe I will get less of those LOLRET comments when people as what my spec is :P

I just looked at the new Holy talent tree. I think there a few nice changes there, and a few cool new talents the really synergize with Holy Shock. I think that Holy Pallys may start to look for more crit on their gear in the future with some of the talents revolving around critical effect triggers.

Still haven't got around to looking at Prot. And I haven't specced any but Ret on the PTR to really test out either one.

Keep the info coming, love your blog!

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