Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Concerning Proposed Paladin Changes for Cataclysm

So recently I had wrote up some things on my guild's forums about my views on the proposed changes to the Holy Paladin in upcoming Cataclysm in WoW. The first post I wrote, I gave a lot of short, sarcastic comments about the changes and commented on how alot of it was unlikely to keep me playing after I hit 85 in Cata. I got ripped for it pretty bad and ended up taking everything down.

But it didn't stop me from writing a much longer version which i'll post here since I've decided its not worth talking to the folks there about it with the response I got with my first one.

With the considered changes to mana regen, raid damage, tank damage, and upcoming healing philosphies I made the following assumptions based upon the incoming changes....

New Spell #1:

Blinding Shield (level 81): Causes damage and blinds all nearby targets. This effect might end up only damaging those facing the paladin’s shield, in a manner similar to Eadric the Pure's ability Radiance in Trial of the Champion. The Holy tree will have a talent to increase the damage and critical strike chance, while the Protection tree will have a talent to make this spell instant cast. 2-second base cast time. Requires a shield.

I don't PvP a huge amount, but with the experience I have I can say this is a pvp focused spell. I don't see it having many uses in a raiding environment as blinds are easily broken and folks will always aoe. It might be ok for leveling solo, much like Holy Wrath was on undead mobs. Though with a far longer cast time.

My concern with this for PvP is two fold. One: it's two second cast time and Two: its a holy spell.

2 seconds is like casting a holy light in pvp - a bad idea. Why, because of opportunities to be globaled. Because of the power of this 'aoe blind' - they will probably make this a spell that effects those facing the paladin. If they allow this spell to affect people regardless of position facing, then yes, this could be very awesome.

Reality check though: the resulting cries from other classes would lead to this quickly being changed.

Therefore, my statement, this spell will not be very used as it is proposed now. Offensive damage will depend on what the damage they give to it is. I doubt it will be as powerful as Eadric the Pure's which does about 10-12k on some folks.

As a fun thought: I see this more as a 2 second casting Holy Nova with that damages without healing that MIGHT blind should someone be facing while casting. However, most players will see a long cast going, and either interupt the long cast, or turn and be unaffected should they do what I think they will, which is make it so it only hits those facing the caster.

Healing Hands (level 83): Healing Hands is a new healing spell. The paladin radiates heals from him or herself, almost like a Healing Stream Totem. It has a short range, but a long enough duration that the paladin can cast other heals while Healing Hands remains active. 15-second cooldown. 6-second duration.

Ok, i'm not looking for something to make me into a superman for raid heals. My class is being rewritten to be like the other classes in power. Fine. But this spell does not equal the power of the other raid healing spells. Judging by the description chosen to describe the spell:

"almost like a Healing Stream Totem"
"Short range, 6 second duration"

From what I understand of shaman, healing stream totem isn't all that powerful. Probably a little less healing then Judgement of Light's return which is now based off 2% of the attacker's health. It will also only last 6 seconds and have a 15 second cool down. Bigger health pools, smaller mana pools, larger damage over time. I cannot perceive this being a spell on running with the powerhouse aoe heals of the other classes.

Question for it too: does it have a cast time? Is it channeled?

On the information currently shared, this is just not a spell that really will really do much for keeping a raid alive like other better equipped classes will. From teh current peek of the spell, we will be inefficient compared to the power provided by Priests, Druids and Shaman. The spell may change as more info is introduced. Yes, not enough information to make solid declarations. But off the little information given, its a shit spell so far as aoe heals go. That's just my view.

Guardian of Ancient Kings (level 85): Summons a temporary guardian that looks like a winged creature of light armed with a sword. The visual is similar to that of the Resurrection spell used by the paladin in Warcraft III. The guardian has a different effect depending on the talent spec of the paladin. For Holy paladins, the guardian heals the most wounded ally in the area. For Protection paladins, the guardian absorbs some incoming damage. For Retribution paladins, it damages an enemy, similar to the death knight Gargoyle or the Nibelung staff. 3-minute cooldown. 30-second duration (this might vary depending on which guardian appears).

"...As for the Guardian of Ancient Kings. First, it's important to understand that this is not a pet nor does it have a pet bar associated with it. Second, it's also not meant to last for very long. So, it's not a pet in the traditional sense. It's a friend in need when you need it, but not a permanent companion...."

In karazhan there were books for healers that proc'd a 'pet' healer. They stood next to you for a limited time and cast healing spells on the people who were lowest in the raid. I threw out the random number of 100-200 heals, but yeah, they'll probably toss out some medium-ish hold lights. Maybe 2-3. In addition, their heals can easily be wasted and their presence pointless because they'll be healing the person with the most damage. Unless affected by haste, their heal will likely be sniped.

This will be like the Mirror Image 'pets' and Gargoyles. There will not be a pet bar for it according to the current released information. Like you guys said earlier, not a ton is really known about this. But just from the intial information given, cute spell, but just another cool-down and not something I can really utilize other than blindly hitting and hoping they might heal what I want them to heal. Random is random, and as this spell stands now, it leaves little to wow and be excited about. Its kinda crummy really.

Next you will find a list of some of the paladin spell and ability changes, followed by our intentions for improving each talent tree for the release of Cataclysm. There will be further changes, but those revealed below should offer some insight into our goals.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

* Cleanse is being rebalanced to work with the new dispel system. It will dispel defensive magic (debuffs on friendly targets), diseases, and poisons.

This is cool. I like this. I can dispel some of the other classes. No complaining here.

* Blessing of Might will provide the benefit of Wisdom as well. If you have two paladins in your group, one will do Kings on everyone and the other will do Might on everyone. There should be much less need, and ideally no need, to provide specific buffs to specific classes.

This is a personal frustration for me. Yes, I hated hearing the bitching from the masses when they didn't have a buff, but I liked that we could give so many cool unique things out. But the buffs are vanishing into homogenization. In so far as traditions, I will miss knowing we're giving out some cool stuff to the raid. But hey, more to the 'bring the player not the class thing." Question will be how the talents that improved the blessings will work or will they take the blessings and attribute the full 'improved' markings to it. Or will there by a improved blessings general talent in one of the trees?

* Holy Shock will be a core healing spell available to all paladins.

Just frees up another talent for me ideally. Not sure how they'll work with Infusion of Light which makes the flash of light instant. ( If they bother bringing it back at all. )

New Talents and Talent Changes

* We want to ease off the defensive capabilities of Retribution and Holy paladins slightly. We think the powerful paladin defenses have been one of the things holding Retribution paladins back, especially in Arenas. One change we’re considering is lowering Divine Shield’s duration by a couple of seconds. Having said that, Retribution does pretty well in Battlegrounds, and Battlegrounds will be a much bigger focus in Cataclysm since they can provide the best PvP rewards. Furthermore, the healing environment of Cataclysm is going to be different such that a paladin may not be able to fully heal themselves during the duration of Divine Shield to begin with, so this may not be a problem.

I said it earlier, but this is another issue where they're destroying the holy paladin's survival when they don't have a lot of offense to balance it. They said they may not do it because the damage is going to be so big that you may not be able to heal through the duration anyway. But I do not think taking away more of our survival without decent abilities to fight back is cool. I don't care what people think about their perceived OPness in BGs and Arena. That's just my take.

* We want to increase the duration of Sacred Shield to 30 minutes and keep the limit to one target. The intention is that the paladin can use it on their main healing target. That said, we would like to improve the Holy paladin toolbox and niche so that they don’t feel quite like the obvious choice for tank healing while perceived as a weak group healer.

This is a cool change as far as cool down monitoring goes. I would be able to keep it up on a target much easier. Though I'm sure they'll be upping the mana cost to balance the time it lives.

* We want to add to the Holy tree a nice big heal to correspond with Greater Heal. Flash of Light remains the expensive, fast heal and Holy Light is the go-to heal that has average efficiency and throughput. Beacon of Light will be changed to work with Flash of Light. We like the ability, but want paladins to use it intelligently and not be constantly healing for twice as much.

Flash of Light is currently our lowest healing spell with cheap mana.
Holy Light is currently the costly big heal.

They are basically either putting in a third Super holy light to compensate for huge heals for the big health pools, or they're making holy light big and putting in a medium in there somewhere. The issue here is that they're talking about jacking up the flash of light spells to a high mana costs while trying to figure out how to get us into raid healing with the Healing Hands aoe stationary aoe heal.

I suspect the medium Holy Light will be the heal we usually use for regular tank healing still. And that when big stuff is coming we'll start cranking up teh big one. With the raid healing spells looking as they are, we'll still really only be decent at tank healing and still 'spamming holy light.' Unless changes of course.

The beacon change, I listed pretty carefully before. And here is what I don't like about either:

1. Beacon only working with Flash of Light
Con. : Flash of Light is now expensive. Spamming Flash while keeping up an expensive beacon spell and dealing with a smaller mana pool with changed regen mechanics. Tank Health Pools will be larger, but this kind of change is pointless. In the time you might get them up with your flashes you probably could have individually bombed both with a big heal, or had two healers watching over them. Getting rid of the risen cost of the FoL will make this more appealing. They've mentioned removing the cost of beacon... but we'll see.

2. Beacon on a target will cause heals on that target to cost more mana.
For this to work, they'd probably make the duration of Beacon shorter. MUCH shorter. Because a Paladin cannot remove the effect themselves unless they put it on another target. Next is a question of the cost of the new big heal. Because beacon itself is also expensive to cast all the time and you're looking at a possible mana/health bomb that might cost twice the normal mana cost. They've mentioned removing the cost of beacon... but we'll see.

* Holy paladins will use spirit as their mana regeneration stat.

Not terrible. More worried people about paladin's taking their gear when they can't take the paladin's gear. Armor bonus should help that though.

So overall, I'm pretty unhappy with the current proposed changes to the Holy Paladin coming in Cataclysm. I am well aware there is alot to change and that could change, especially once beta starts. But this all is just showing what they're pushing towards and honestly I'm not sure I will have fun playing this type of healer. From the hints at how limited mana is going to be and how big health pools will be, and how the damage will be going out, I find myself feeling less and less eager to see Cataclysm as a healer at all really. But we'll see what happens. Maybe I can get into the beta.

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