Monday, October 5, 2009

Cataclysmic Hopes

There was a thread on Maintankadin asking about what people’s hopes were for Cataclysm. I started writing a response there and I quickly saw it wasn’t going to fit, so I made it a blog entry.

The developers did a fantastic job with Wrath of the Lich King. My wildest hopes and dreams for the Expansion were actually realized. Paladins are now full fledged members of the tanking team across the game. We have two real cool downs, a real taunt, well itemized gear. We got a Shield Slam and some unique mechanics like Sacred Shield and Ardent Defender.

Paladins can now stand toe to toe, not only with ANY raid boss in the game, but also against any other tanking class in the game.

Raiding opened up and now 10 man Raiders can experience all of the raid game.

Best of all, I haven’t been asked to spec Holy ONE TIME since I installed Wrath.

After some initial turmoil, the guild situation in Wrath turned out to be better than I could have hoped. Boston ended up creating the exact guild I always wanted to be a part of. It’s a bunch of good, mature guys and gals who have fun online and kill stuff. I can’t wait to go kill Arthas with those guys and gals.

So after getting just about everything I could have wanted out of Wrath, what would I like to see in Cataclysm?

Schism

Take the inelegant solution. Balance the game and abilities so they can work in both Arenas even if they have to work differently. It will improve the experience for both PVE and PVP.

Sanctuary

Blessing of Sanctuary is no longer a Blessing but simply a self buff, perhaps even rolled into Righteous Fury. The Developers have put the 10% stamina and then 10% strength on BoSanct to try to get Paladins to use it over Kings, but we still dig the avoidance from Agility. Is that next, 10% Agi? At that point it really just is Improved Kings. Other tanks have their Rage from Avoidance talent and do not have to choose between BoKings and getting Rage from Avoidance. Paladins shouldn't have to make that choice either.

Interrupt Me

A short cool down, off the global cool down interrupt. One of the things I’ve come to love about my new Blood Elf is Arcane Torrent. It’s the off the global cool down interrupt I’ve always wanted on my Paladin. The problem is that it has a 2 minutes cooldown. Interrupts remain one of the main weaknesses of Paladin Tanks (and to be fair Druids also suffer here). You can see this clearly on fights like Jarraxxus or General Vezzax. You want a tank with a reliable, short cool down interrupt that is off the global cooldown for those fights.

Close the Gap

One of my favorite things about my Warrior alt is the mobility of Charge. Paladins need a gap closer. We have some fantastic ranged tools but sometimes you really need to be at a certain place RIGHT NOW. Some sort of Holy Charge would be fantastic. Warbringer is a very fun dynamic on my Warrior and I’ve love to see that on my Paladin.

Proc Me

I’d like to see something added to Paladins to would break up our metronome rotation: 9-6-9-6-9, 2, 3, 4, 9-6-9-6-9, 2, 3, 4. Let me again point to my Warior alt and the talent Sword and Board. This is a proc that finishes the cool down of a Warrior’s Shield Slam move. Giving something like this to Paladins would help to break up our rotation. Perhaps borrowing something like Art of War from our Retribution brothers would be a nice addition here.

My secret hope is that it would also allow some differentiation based on skill between two Paladin tanks, and add some complexity to the class. Although my experience is limited with Death Knights and Druids, I would guess that Paladins are probably the easiest of the 4 tanks to learn. This can be great for new tanks, but some of us vets who’ve been doing the Tankadin thing since before Mt. Hyjal are itching for something more.

Challenge Me

Paladins need an AoE taunt akin to Challenging Shout or Challenging Roar. The closest thing we have is Righteous Defense which can taunt up to 3 targets, as long as all three are targeting the same person.

AD For All

While the Guardian Spirit ‘Save’ should remain the Paladin’s 2nd cool down, I’d really like to see some version of Ardent Defender given to Druids and Warriors. Death Knights have an AD like skill with Will of the Necropolis. I am of the opinion that the 4 Tank classes will continue to be difficult to balance as long as AD is only in the tool belt of half those tanks. With AD across the board, the tanks can be more easily balanced and encounter designers would have a better idea of exactly what they could throw in an encounter to challenge any tank.

No Spell Power Plate

I want to see the end of Spell Power plate. I don’t have the first clue how you pull this off. Perhaps the easiest solution would be an armor multiplier deep in the Holy tree and then encourage Paladins to roll on Resto Shaman mail, which seems to get wasted nearly as much as Spell Power plate, at least in the raids I attend.

No More ‘Badge’ Gear

Now hear me out on this one before you go rushing for the Comment button. Instead of making and itemizing separate gear, allow the gear that drops from bosses to be purchased with Emblems. One of the problems that emblems were supposed to solve was that you couldn't get a particular drop you needed from a particular boss. So put those specific drops on the vendors and when you run the dungeon 12 times and it doesn't drop, then you can go buy it.

Fix Retribution

Ret should be one of the easiest specs to balance. They don’t have a complicated resource loop like Rage, or Energy. They have a fairly predictable rotation, and their tool set is well known to the Developers. It seems as though Ret has vacillated between facerolling people in PVP to barely holding its own. Use Cataclysm beta to finally fix Ret as a balanced spec.

Embrace Tank Equality

The Developers have done a fantastic job of balancing the 4 tank classes in Wrath. The memo didn’t quite get to Encounter Design Team. You can see it at every tier that those guys had Warriors in mind as they designed the fights. Now to be fair, over 50% of all tanks in the game are Warriors (citation needed, but I can’t seem to find it), so I can understand to a certain extent them designing with Warriors in mind. However, if you are going to truly embrace Tank equality that means designing fights with all of your tanks in mind.

Let me give you a couple of examples from Wrath. The most obvious to me is the timer on Lord Jarraxxus fireball ability matches up exactly with a Warriors Shield Bash. That kind of screams ‘we had a warrior in mind when we designed this.’

Also, Gormok the Impaler can be disarmed on Normal mode to reduce the damage the Tank takes. General Vezzax really hurts a Paladin’s ability to generate threat, but doesn’t hurt a Rage/Runic tank nearly as much. Charging back in after Mimiron’s Shockwave allows for keeping him still and getting more time with melee dps. The Whirlwind ability of the Vyrkul in the Thorim encounter can be stopped by Disarm. Spell Reflect allows a Warrior to tank the Head in Mimiron.
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