Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Paladin Perception

I have a perception about our game, and it’s one I want to challenge. I don’t want to continue to think this is true if its not. The perception I have is that the majority of the player base has a strong dislike  for Paladins. I’m not talking about individual Paladins. You get to know and will generally like your guild mates, but as a general rule players seem almost predisposed to dislike the Paladin.
Anna of Too Many Annas stated this far better than I could. Allow me to quote from her.
I get it. Paladins are the redheaded step children of WoW. They’re universally disliked, and have been since beta. Sometimes, they’re even unbalanced! (OH NO SOMEONE  ALERT THE F*ING PRESS) Sometimes paladins deserve the nerfs they get. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they get knee-jerk, unannounced, Thursday morning nerfs. Rarely do I think a knee-jerk, unannounced, Thursday morning nerf that bypasses the tooltips is warranted for ANY class.

And yes, I know that’s happened to warlocks too. Newsflash, I’m not talking about warlocks. Just because some other class has gotten a knee jerk nerf doesn’t make all knee jerk nerfs right. And just because I’m not pleased when that happens to paladins doesn’t mean I think it’s OK when it happens to other classes. Same thing goes for balance issues.
At the very least, I know that I’m not alone in my perception that Paladins are ‘universally disliked.’
Why is it every time a blogger needs to describe a poor attitude player, they make that player a Paladin in their story. Here is a recent example on World of Matticus, but it’s hardly the only. Not be outdone, Warcraft Hunter’s Union also got into the Paladin bashing act.
I have been disappointed with some of the design elements for Paladins during Wrath. Our Tier Set Bonus, speaking of Protection, have been lacking, especially in Tier 10. There were moments every tier before Ice Crown where it was sort of obvious the fight wasn’t designed with Paladins in mind.
It's never fun to be picked on, especially by the Developers of your game. I didn't like Rets being the butt of the joke at Blizzcon. Paladins are universally disliked, and Rets (which would be the spec of Honors if I kept him my main) are the most disliked of the Paladin specs. At Panels, Paladins were routinely booed when asking questions.
Do we, as Paladins, seem to be the most reviled class in the game, or is that just my perception? And if my perception is accurate, why is it that players dislike Paladins. Is it simply Bubble, or the whole goody-two-shoes Hero type thing? Is it because the story/lore seems to constantly revolve around us? Wrath ends with 3 Paladins, or former Paladins,  center stage in Tirion, Bolvar, and Arthas.
I don’t have the answers, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Orthien said...

I have to agree with you Honors we really do get some strong dislike, I recently had to personally step in to tell off Zephur on Inside Azeroth off for doing just this thing.
For me there is nothing worse than hearing un-justified attacks on good Paladins. Saying that there really are many idiots mainly on the O-Boards that live up to everyones stereotype and just make things worse and I think its these idiots that have stopped the hate from disapearing by now. Its sad but as long as these people are on the forums everyone else on there will hate Paladins, and while those forum goes hate us Blizzard will join in for the cheep shot to and while Blizz jab at us everyone else will learn to hate Paladins. Its a visious cycle.

I really believe the only way to end this is to find that magic spot where were balanced so forum Pallys have nothing to QQ for and everyone else don't see us as OP. If we can get everything fixed and sit at that balanced place long enough it would fade, Id hope.

Pippet said...

Isn't it weird that Paladins are the most popular class played then? If everyone dislikes them then why are there more paladins than anything else?

I don't know that I buy in to the "the majority of the player base has a strong dislike for Paladins" statement. I'm sure some people say that sort of thing, but i hear it more about hunters and DK's and very rarely about paladins. It could just be the people you know are biased against your class.

Pippet said...

Here is a very recent link for the whole most popular class thing I said.

Dmitry said...

Paladins are universally considered to be a faceroll class.

Most classes fall into the "Easy to play, hard to master" category. On the other hand, playing a paladin is, in fact, easy to master. Holy paladins don't have many buttons to press, so it's harder for them to epicly fail than say a Priest. A Retadin in t10 who doesn't know sh** about FCFS priorities performs undeniably worse than one who knows his stuff, but the difference is surprisingly small. A Tankadin can tank most of his stuff with eyes closed, mispressing his buttons yet generating enough threat and never dying. Like, at all.

We are the Huntards of the present day. Until our rotation catches up in complexity with our furry Cat buddies, we will probably keep being prejudiced like that. Death Knights, who endure even more stigma, are actually harder to play properly.

My first main was a paladin. I loved playing him. I can wholeheatedly recommend a brand-new player who never set his foot in gaming to start with a Paladin. The class is extremely forgiving and noob-friendly. The fact that you can try 3 different roles helps even more. Only when I tried playing other classes (priest, hunter, DK) I actually realized how easy Paladins are.

I hope Blizzard finally make up their minds about our class in Cataclysm, and actually introduce some mechanics that bring out the difference between crap Paladins and the zillions of bads attracted to the class like motes to fire. Until then... MANY NOOBS. HANDLE IT.

Suicidal Zebra said...

This probably deserves a blog post of its' own, but I'll give you my opinion.

Paladins, in Vanilla, were pretty much a joke class, especially in PvE where they were initially brought chiefly for Cleanse and Blessing duty. 1.9, though it was a net buff, didn't change that very much. They were also extremely frustrating to deal with in PvP, largely because of back to back DS/BoP giving you immunity to a large proportion of incoming damage for 20 seconds, making them prime targets for whines from Warriors and Rogues, the most outspoken classes on forums in Vanilla.

Roll on TBC. Horde were finally allowed Paladins and an awful lot of them rolled the class in 2.0, contributing in no small amount to the glut of Paladins we see today. It then became clear that the first Tier of the lvl70 end-game suited Holy Paladins because their simple spell mechanics could be easily adapted to. Hence, Priest, Druids and Shaman felt left out in the cold somewaht. Paladin dominance declined as raid content progressed, to the extent that Holy Paladin were eventually benched outside of Sunwell, but the aggrieved attitude remained. Nerfs to longstanding talents were seen as justified, and in some cases not going far enough.

Couple that with the dominance of H-Pally+Melee in Arena Season 1. Suddenly this joke class, which was no sort of competition for 2 years, was suddenly a threat! A threat when competition for raid/arena team places was allegedly cutthroat. That's got to leave a bad taste.

The same thing later happened with Prot Paladins, except here the aggrieved class was Warriors who'd had the tanking game pretty much to themselves. Ironically the complaints from them were louder but less justified, Warriors still dominated the Raiding and Arena game and only fell close to parity in 2.3 (even then, only in a minority of Heroics). To suddenly have competition for Heroic/Raid/PvP spots, when previously they'd been all but guaranteed, must have been awful for the poor dears.

Finally, we have Wrath. Prot - fully competitive in Raids and tearing up Heroics. Holy - Not quite a box full of tricks but capable of healing everywhere. And now Ret, the jokiest of joke specs, rips everyone a new one on their way up to 80 and in Season 5. And to top it off, they've still got Bubble!!

This can't be right said they, and the forum echo chamber agreed.

There are few more enduring resentments than someone you knew in your heart couldn't touch you being elevated to equality in any field. When that feeling of superiority has the momentum of forum-wide 'conventional wisdom' it leads to the sort of wide-spread resentment we see for the Class.

It's not something that will ever go away for WoW. A role-balanced Paladin is seen as unfair by enough 2-spec and pure spec Players to retain conventional wisdom status. Even underpowering or making Ret/Prot non-viable wouldn't stop the hate, but would return the derision with which Paladins were seen in Vanilla.

The best thing you can do is deal with it as it comes up with strong logical arguments and a reasoned and balanced viewpoint. Beyond that, accept that the bias is there and confront it when it rears its' head in locations were it has no place, such as the more respected parts of the WoW-blogosphere. Little more can be done.

Tonab Shin said...

I can't account for Pre-LK, but in Wrath Paladins have been made op more than any other class. I would argue now that while paladin tanks are still one of the best we don't have any major improvements over any other. Protadins are level with tanks, but Rets still stay at the top of dps aslong as they hold a brain and an average level gear, and Holydins are smashing the hps on high tank dmg fights being able to heal 2 targets almost non-stop.

Paladins are still one of the best classes to play, and one of the easiest.

Do you all remember the Holydins in Prot spec for PvP? The people who abused this didn't help, but any other class would use that advantage if it fell so nicely into their lap wouldn't they?

Our bad name won't fall away, ever. One of the classes was to take the heat, and wouldn't you rather we got it rather than another class that would whine? From my point of view paladins as a whole are sturdy players who don't care what people say about them (I'm talking about the ones in icc pushing forward with everything they have) and get on with anything at their disposal, and still come out as capable players.

We got AD which made Warriors whine, icc came and they bumped warrior's hp above paladins (by quite alot). My co-tank is 4k more hp than me and his gear is on par with mine. And yet if there is a tank whipe (not usually with out healers) its usually him on the floor and me taunting the boss.

We class hp over any other thing at the moment, and while paladins have less stamina in equivalent gear we still maintain the high end tank choice.

All classes don't like paladins cause of how well they can do (our utility is awesome) but when they have a choice of a paladin or any other class, they are likely to call on the paladin (dependant on gear levels and if they have too many of that class/spec), unless its a Retadin who tend to be facerollers and not capable of doing anything apart from their dps and are generally referenced to as retards.

Honors Code said...

Pipet ,

The site you linked was actually looking at battlegrounds killing blows versus deaths and not overall class popularity. Paladins do well on that metric with high killing blows and low deaths which could explain some of the negativity thrown their way.

Anonymous said...


Except the whole reason why people hate "faceroll" classes is because people feel they have to work harder than the faceroller for the same dps/tps. Yet the dislike of paladins extends back way before they were brought up to speed with other dps and tanks.

And I'm here to tell you, tanking is about A LOT more than rotation. There are threat lowering abilities, bubbles, defensive cooldowns, interrupts, stuns, and the "sacrifice"-type abilities that are all part of protecting the raid. A paladin tank who does nothing but roll through his rotation is doing it wrong.

Anonymous said...

I would chalk this up to your own perception. My own is that DKs are still top of the list (by a large margin). I'd probably put hunters second.

SirFWALGMan said...

People hate Paladins for the same reason they hate DKs probably. This is a little speculation. In BG's and low-skill PVP they kill. DK's more so in the early level with their good weapons. So you have DK's ganking everyone in Outland pissing them off.. same with Paladins. In the BG you with your 0 rez gear try and hit the Paladin and he bubbles and your like wtf? Then he heals to full and your like wtf? then you die. Least if you are not skilled in killing paladins. It is hilarious to see like 5-6 enemies attacking a single paladin and he is alive due to bubbles and heals and stuff. So I think this causes a lot of hate.

I do think that people think Paladin's and DK's are "Easy" to play or OP so a lot of people flock to them which means a lot of bad players running as "tanks" in dungeons and doing a really bad job. So some hate probably comes from there.. like most Hunter Hate I think comes from pugs with bad players and aggro pets.

Finally and this is kind of lore-ish reasoning. The perception of the whole Paladin archetype in WoW seems to be these pompous arrogant shined up goody-goody jerks who are totally idiots. Nobody likes an arrogant character.

Anyway that is some of my thoughts. I do not think you are wrong that people HATE Paladin's... Hell I have felt some hate myself after that second bubble when I have the Paladin down to specs of life. Most of the people who have one are probably alts because "Hey I am going to play that OP class".. then they get bored and give up or something.

Alex Cresswell said...

It's not paladins in general that are dislike. It's ret paladins that are disliked, and personally I think it's well deserved, but the players themselves are not to blame, but rather Blizzard. By leaving Ret Paladins so OP after WOLK was released it has became part of WoW culture to hate ret paladins(and this has simply extended to paladins in general). Every paladin I encountered while leveling (on my PvP server) was ret, and every one of them killed my poor mage. I actually think that ret paladins deserve to be wussified in the next expansion (for the first several months) just to make up for the screw-up with WOLK.

Pippet said...


I was linking a generic part of the site cause it crashed from overload or something last night. Look at this here overall distribution part of the site (it includes pve and pvp realm population distribution as well as overall).

In the overall distribution by class paladins are 1.6% more popular than the next most popular class (DK's). They are also more than twice as popular as rogues/warlocks.

I think maybe being that a large part of the wow player base does not research their class well (and for a large number of casual players, can you blame them for not caring to do so?) and thus you have the most popular class overall that would probably, by extrapolation, have the largest number of so-called "noobs" playing that class. This could be part of the reason for the "hate", but I think some people are also jealous of the ease of play in comparison to other classes (This coming form a person who has 7 max level characters, all of which are more than geared for heroics and over half are ICC playable, and whose first character to 80 was a prot pally).

"And I'm here to tell you, tanking is about A LOT more than rotation. There are threat lowering abilities, bubbles, defensive cooldowns, interrupts, stuns, and the "sacrifice"-type abilities that are all part of protecting the raid. A paladin tank who does nothing but roll through his rotation is doing it wrong."

1. That quote pretty much sums up all tanks in general. It is not a paladin specific thing.
2. I also see a lot of people roll a pally tank because of everyone telling them how easy they are and they don't know how to play it well. Which could contribute to the "hate"

Hana said...

Growing up Horde during vanilla I disliked paladins largely because they were Alliance-only and few things were more annoying in PvP than a good bubble or a well timed Lay on Hands. But that was a practical dislike.

These days, I think people might dislike paladins just because there are too many of them. According to the armory data mining reports, they're the most played class in all of WoW (check here I can go to a 25m VoA and we'll have seven of us, or to a 10-man raid with four of us. The population is so high it's become "not another paladin!"

And the more paladins there are, the most likely they'll become a target of bashing.

Fuubaar said...

@ Alex

My main is a protection paladin that I rolled over two years ago. During TBC, Prot Pallies were thrown to the way side as Off -tanks and Add tanks only. Never allowed to Main tank anything because of this rubbish stereotype. Even after our group's MT quit wow for a while, I took over the reins. I had the gear & the knowledge for it, but when pugs would enter, they would look at me & drop group.

"Paladin's can't Main tank"

This horrible situation left a lot of people very angry. Not only did this push me into hyper drive of trying to prove myself as a viable tank but as a paladin who knew her stuff (yeah you heard me... I'm a female... wanna fight about it ;).

When Wrath finally came out, I was bound & determined to become our alliances MT. During Naxx, I would have similar gear & similar expertice as the incoming warrior tank. Who was chosen as MT? The Warrior of course because of their higher healthpools.

This really had become a frustrating gig as a Paladin tank. Today I'm the Main tank for my Icc-10 man guild because I've proven to be knowledgeable and consistant in showing up & doing my job.

Hell, recently, I've talked to others who do not play paladins about up comming changes.

"Don't get too excited. They are going to nerf you to the ground. Where you belong"

Well, thanks for your imput you tard :P


many of us old school paladin's have felt the pain over the years. For once, we aren't looked upon as worthless scum. It's actually rather refreshing. Obviously that stereotype wont go away and everyone will remember when lolret melted their faces in pvp. But remind them that lolret used to be the slowest leveling class ever ;)

<3 Fuu

Sougent said...

It's obvious from the comments here that the perception is bad. I play a Ret Paladin, I like playing Retribution and honestly it's tiresome to hear the hate spewed about them.

I don't find it to be a faceroll, maybe that means I'm a crap player, I don't know. I feel like I do ok, or so Skada seems to indicate.

All I know is from my view I don't see the argument about how OP they are, from where I'm sitting there doesn't seem to be a great difference in power.

I'm not a young guy with lightning fast reflexes, so maybe I am worse than I think and I'm missing something. It's hard to tell because there doesn't seem to be a lot out there to compare with, no good Retribution Paladin blog (that I've found) that that says with gear x you should be doing y damage/dps.

I don't do raids, usually, my guild does them too early for me to consistently make them and the pug raids I've tried always seem to be fails. Never killed an ICC boss, don't know what kind of damage/dps I would do or how much I ought to be able to do given my gear.

Funny thing is, my "main" spec is Protection, I have over 5k gearscore on both Prot and Ret specs so I could easily tank heroics with an instant queue but I will invariably wait 20 minutes to queue up in LFD for a heroic because I enjoy trying to see how much damage I can do in a given run (I value damage over DPS on the meters).

I know I've run slightly off topic. Yes, there's a prejudice out there particularly for the aspect of the Paladin that I enjoy most In my opinion, an unfounded prejudice.

That said, to heck with them, I will play the class I enjoy until Blizzard screws it up so bad that it's no fun any more or I level one of my alts up to 80 and decide I like playing something else better.

HP said...

What a great post! I also enjoyed reading the comments.

I have always felt this way but people always downplay it.

Paladins have always been very up and down with the nerf/OP-ness I feel and I think Suicidal Zebra summarized it best.

Brajana said...

I must admit, I hated paladins for a long time. First, they were alliance, so as a hordie, my hatred for them was nearly as strong as my hatred for Night Elves.

But a few months ago, I rolled one. Now I have 2 paladins, at 80 and 69. And I love the class! :)
I think that stigma has probably hung around from Vanilla for a lot of people.

Thorned said...

@Tonab Shin
Rets top the dps meters?
In most cases they are slightly behind Warriors, Rogues, Locks, Hunters, Dks and Mages. Especially with equal gear. How hard is the possibility to fail for a arcane mage or a mutilate rogue?

Always when I hear players of other classes whine about paladin I get the impression that they think playing WoW is like solving quantum physics equations. I play a rogue(late), a mage(arcane) and a dk(blood, unholy) as well as a paladin(tank, ret). With the rogue, the mage and the dk I deal more damage than my paladin with lesser gear. Its just easier for me with them.
But well, thats just me ;) I cannot draw conclusions from that. what the whole community can do with their toons.

Maybe its just the "the other side is always greener" type of thing :-/.

Helion said...

I wonder a little about the perception that paladins are easier to play than other classes/specs. My first character was a paladin and it took me a long time to truly understand what I was doing. The fact that I was not a dedicated gamer and had barely played video games for a long time prior did not help, I admit. Even after making it all the way to 80 I realized I was not choosing talents, enchants, equipment or gems properly to maximize my spec. It wasn't until then that I started reading and studying the class and the different specs. In my opinion, when you first start playing WoW, this kind of stuff is not as intuitive as most think; and once you know what you are doing, it is easy to judge others for their ignorance and lack of experience.

Still, there is so much more to playing the paladin, particularly retribution. Everyone thinks dps and measures the spec using numbers alone. If you think of it that way, then it truly is a facerolling spec. FCFS? What could be simpler than that? But it's NOT only that. If you play ret and that's all you pay attention to, then you are doing the class and your group a disservice. You are definitely not even scratching the surface of what ret can do. I am leveling a tree, now level 51, and all the time I see ret paladins who just run around doing piddly damage compared to other dps classes and on top of that they pay absolutely no attention to things they should be doing. Being a tree, I cannot cure disease or dispel magic. Paladins can Cleanse, but they are perfectly content to just sit there with the whole party diseased or magically debuffed. The point is that retribution is not as one dimensional as most treat it, be it bystanders that don't play paladins or paladins themselves. I disagree that paladins excel at dps compared to other dps classes (assuming relatively equal gearing);I would say that we are decent, we can hold our own and excel in particular situations, such as when mobs are mostly undead and particularly when fighting groups of undead mobs. And if you know how to really use the spec, you can kick ass in PvP, probably because of ret's speed, mobility and survivability (by virtue of plate armor and our many defensive spells). The paladin is by definition a primarily defensive melee fighter. To expect ret to top the dps charts when players are relativelty evenly geared (and outside of the special circumstances above) is, in my opinion, unrealistic.

Interestingly, it wasn't until I started tanking with a second paladin that I began to realize everything you can and should do as ret. Tanking seemed so much more intense and busy; suddenly I had to pay attention to everything that was going on. I had to make sure I kept aggro and got it back when I lost it, pay attention to health levels on everyone else, keep an eye on other players and where they stood so that I could anticipate situations where unintended pulls could occur, cleanse, use Hand of Protection, Hand of Salvation, Divine Sacrifice/Guardian... the list is seemingly endless and all of it can be done by ret too. Much of this is going on behind the scenes and unlikely to be noticed by others, but adds a lot of value to the retribution spec.

AlliKilla said...

I think a lot of the hate directed toward pallys is brought on by the type of individuals who normally choose to play paladins. You touch on it briefly, but let me expand on who the typical pally player is. The goody-goody, white knight, holier than thou, gamma males who aren't liked by women despite always treating them kindly and with respect and who turn to the World of Warcraft to see if the failed currency of chivaly will buy you the attention you so desparetly crave in the gaming world. It won't. And the derision and hatred heaped upon you by the WoW community is proof of this. All you wannabe Arthas pallys should all quit, or roll a weasely rogue which will better reflect the type of people you really are. QQ about the hate all you want, you know i'm right. Btw, if you had the gumption to play horde you'd realize its just alliance pallys that get crap for being pallys. The Horde love us. -Horde Pally

Honors Code said...

Methinks Allikilla needs to check my armory.

Helion said...


I just love it when you come across people who just talk out of their ass as if they are experts on everything they have to say. Because of course they have taken the time to study these things, run double blind randomized placebo controlled studies on each and all of these issues and there is absolutely and simply no doubt in their tiny little minds about the truth of things. More than that I just L O V E the fact that this type of buffoon thrives in the World of Warcraft. I gladly and humbly bow out and let you have all those surely high quality women that prefer to not be treated kindly and with respect by the likes of you.

Sandaria said...

I've heard and dealt with this topic so much it's not even funny. I've played ret from the moment I started playing, not having a clue what I was doing. But I've always played paladins or "clerics" in nearly every game I could. They were always my favorite. So it was a natural fit. But I like you comment at the end. The game lore is heavily involved with paladins, honestly I'm loving it!

Dallanna said...

To predate Suicidal Zebra, there has been some speculation as to why the paladin class was so horribly weak back in Vanilla ( as admitted by the crab himself.)

Two of the original WoW designers were notorious for their antics in EQ2, staging 'protests' and server crashes because their chosen class, oddly enough warrior, was not the premiere and bestest class of all and their hate of hybrids.

I have no idea who they had to blow to get the job at Blizzard, but they did and they ensured that warriors were the only tanking class for the entirety of vanills and for some bizarre reason, scrapped the original strike system paladins had TWO WEEKS before the game shipped.

Oh, and Allikilla, glad you've shown us the pinnacle of Horde maturity.