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.

16 comments:

Adlib said...

Don't worry, they will definitely get rid of spell power plate. From what I can remember, they're getting rid of +spell power, +attack power and whatnot and just sticking with basic stats like +intellect and the like for Cataclysm. I think the archeology profession and talents will give the appropriate boost where needed. I don't know how it will work yet, but this probably just makes it easier for Blizz to itemize, but that's just my opinion. :)

Dorgol said...

According to BlizzCon they haven't found a comfortable way to get rid of "healer" Plate. Yes, Spellpower will be gone, but there will be plate full of Intellect and (gack) Spirit for the Holy Paladins.

Apparently, Blizzard doesn't want Holy Paladins to roll on DPS Plate and then heal like a champ. I can understand the thought, though it does annoy the rest of the raid (especially when you only have 1 Holy Paladin in your roster).

My #1 desire for Cataclysm is that Holy Paladins will be "fixed" in PvP. I don't want to spec 51 points into my TANKING tree to HEAL, but the utility and survivability offered by that tree are too good right now. Hopefully, Blizzard has some changes in store.

Meloree said...

The only part of that post I'd like to quibble about is Mimiron (P1). It's pretty trivial as a paladin tank to keep Mimiron immobile through Shock Blast. The range on the ability is MUCH smaller than people give it credit for, and Mimiron is stationary for about a second or so after it goes off. He moves less than a yard when I tank him. Of course, on the same encounter, I wish I had Spell Reflect.

Elliot said...

PVP will still be a pain to get right because even if they never make the Ret 3.0 type mistake again people will find out what is the most dominate class in a pvp setting and gravitate towards it. Of the thing you listed the gap closer and a lower cd interrupt on my pally tank are the things i would love to see in Cataclysm. I am also excited to see what the Mastery stuff brings

Anonymous said...

It will still be SP Plate though, as it will have INT (for spell power) and SPIRIT (for mana regeneration). I don't want to look like a Shaman as a Holy Paladin either Honors. I want to look like a Paladin. And from my understanding. you haven't tried Holy since vanilla. It has changed so much since then (changed so much since BC). It's in a pretty good spot now, with a number of different and successful approaches that can be taken depending on raid composition - a great achievement for a spec with so few tools. I sometimes wonder at the tone that holy is mentioned in your blogs, it verges on derisory sometimes, which is a shame since Holy Paladins are Paladins too. Your writing is great though, I've learnt a lot about my class and I really enjoy your attitude and world view; I just wish you'd stop mentioning my favourite spec if you aren't prepared to give it a fair go - I love healing on my Paladin :-)

Michael said...

Im a bear... I don't want AD. sorry :/

I'll stick with the 60k+34k armor instead of an EH proc tyvm.

Darraxus said...

So...make Prot Paladins godlike?

I think they need to give some love to prot warriors. Our dps doesnt really stack up to the other tanks at the moment. Especially paladin tanks.

And I doubt Paladins or DKs ever get a charge. To me, it is the class defining warrior ability....much like a paladin bubble or deathgrip for a dk.

Honors Code said...

@Darr,

It's simply a list of what I feel Prot Paladins could use in Cataclysm. I'm sure the Developers will keep the game as balanced as they can. I'm sure Vene or Tank Like a Girl could make a great list of what Warriors need for Cataclysm. I don't play mine enough to give any solid suggestions other than fixing Heroic Strike.

Honors Code said...

@Anomyous Holy Paladin,

There is some latent hostility within my writing towards Holy. It comes from one too many times in both Vanilla and tBC of being told that the only way to play a Paladin was to be Holy, and one too many nights of "Spec Holy or Don't raid."

I'm glad you enjoy the spec, and I'll try to keep my bias in mind when I write.

Elliot said...

"There is some latent hostility within my writing towards Holy. It comes from one too many times in both Vanilla and tBC of being told that the only way to play a Paladin was to be Holy, and one too many nights of "Spec Holy or Don't raid."

i understand you on this one even thought i have only played a pally since BC (main was a lock) it was holy or bust for a while then prot or bust for a bit also in fact with everyone now rolling a ret pally for pvp or a dk I find to get into good guilds holy/prot is the way to go

Brast said...

Honor, I don't really understand where you are coming from here. You want Paladins to have all the abilities of the other tank classes yet keep their own class defining abilities such as bubble and flexible blessing system. Being a long time reader, I know you are not exactly an unbiased opinion but the way you write implies that you think you are. In your view, the way for the developers to "fix" Paladins is to give them anything any other class has that is good to create a god-like tanking class.

Tankadins are NEVER as bad as you claim and they still have their strengths and weaknesses you have to figure out how to maximize and minimize respectively. Boss fights have mechanics that work better for some tanks and not as well for others. This is the case for all tanks and is in effect unequally equal. Making all tanking classes homogenous with the same abilities, just renamed, would not be fun for very long.

Adgamorix said...

I raid the hard modes and end game with all three specs - and I love them all. Some kind of shorter CD interrupt would be nice - but let's face it - each class has their pros and cons (funny - my latest blog post was on this very subject) and giving away part of the toolbelt would hamper that class.

Also - GC has stated more than once that they like paladins being the "easy" class for healing (not a lot of tools in the box), and I don't see it changing for ret (FCFS) or prot (969).

Tank, heal, or DPS - put me in coach, I'm ready to play.

Anonymous said...

Dude seriously, if you want the exact same abilities as a warrior just reroll warrior. The grass aint that green over here.

Also if all tanks have the same abilities then whats the point in having 4 seperate classes?

Certain fights are harder for certain classes, so what? Warriors werent meant to multi mob tank in TBC, it didnt stop us. The whiners whined and the rest of us got on with it and found a way to do it.

Honors Code said...

I'm not out to advocate Paladins to be some be all end all tank class, though I can see how that might have come across. The Developers will balance the game. Heck, I even advocate giving AD to Warriors.

Paladin Tanks are in a really good place in Wrath. We've got everything we need. That makes it a little hard to answer the question of what we need for Cataclysm.

So I think about times when I'm frustrated with my toolkit. It's usually when I see another tank class able to more easily handle a challenge with one of their tools (AoE Taunt, Interrupt, etc.) and say yeah, that'd be cool thing to add to Paladins in Cataclysm.

You didn't read one word here upset when Warriors and Druids got a version of Holy Shield (Damage Shield, Savage Defense), or Avenger's Shield (Heroic Throw with Gag Order). Those classes saw Paladins able to handle some challenges and asked for something like it.

Anonymous said...

"You didn't read one word here upset when Warriors and Druids got a version of Holy Shield (Damage Shield, Savage Defense), or Avenger's Shield (Heroic Throw with Gag Order). Those classes saw Paladins able to handle some challenges and asked for something like it."

Damage shield is nothing like Holy Shield, its basically a physical version of ret aura that scales with block value. It doesnt block damage, it causes damage based on your block value.

Gag order is 2 talent points to have a ranged silence on a 1 minute CD. Most of the time I dont even use Heroic throw to pull as its on CD. If i do use it its for a threat lead, not the silence. Im more likely to charge and shield slam/thunderclap. We didnt need a ranged silence or afaik ask for one. Spell reflect and LoS worked fine.

I think the point some of the other posters are trying to make is that instead of playing within the limits of your class paladins, as a whole, have a tendency to see someone else do something and want to be able to do the same. (In before underdogs the whole of vanilla)

Speaking as a warrior I dont want bubble wall, or holy shield, or consecrate or even the much talked about ardent defender. If I wanted any of that Id bother levelling my pally above 66.

Honors Code said...

Avenger's Shield, a ranged attack with a silence. Heroic Throw with Gag Order, a ranged attack with a silence.

You are right that Ret Aura is probably a better corollary for Damage Shield than Holy Shield.

Warriors wanted better AoE tanking tools, so they asked for things like the uncapped targets on Thunderclap, because they saw how well Paladin's AoE tanked in Mt. Hyjal and made Heroics so much easier. I think every class asks for tools that other classes have. We, as players, aren't nearly as creative as the Devs with coming up with new mechanics.

You have to remember that before Wrath, the Developers made sure Paladins lacked tools needed to be a MT, so yes, the Prot Paladin community asked for those tools. We needed a lot going into Wrath. Not the least of which was a true taunt, which we got with Hand of Reckoning, and a true cooldown, which we got with Divine Protection (aka Bubble Wall).

I still see places where the Paladin toolset could be made more complete (interrupt, AoE taunt). We are the only tank class that can't either move to the mob or move the mob to itself. So that's what I'll ask the Developers to do.