Monday, November 8, 2010

No Longer Fluent

The bad news is I'm not going to 'win' NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words this month just isn't going to happen and now that I'm in the throes of it, I'm not really sure why I thought it would. Check that, I know why I thought it would. I was under the delusion that 50,000 words would be easy. I had the story pretty much written out in my head, and I figured it wouldn't be too hard to just bang it out. But along the way I found that I grossly overestimated the amount of words I've done in a writing session. Just for fun, why don't you guess how many words are in this blog post and I'll put the answer at the bottom.
The good news is that I'm not going to let the fact that I'm not going to 'win' NaNoWriMo stop me. I'm going to keep writing and we will just see how far I get. I have a littany of excuses, and explanations for why I'm not going to win, but I'm not even going to mention those. I'm tired of being an excuse and explanation guy. The choices I make this month will determine if 50k is going to happen or not.
I decided to log into WoW while taking a break from writing. I was just knocking out a couple of dailies when I saw a message from a guild mate asking for help with the Outland Heoric achievement. This was the same guild mate who had traveled all the way from Desolace to Dalaran to help me with the Hallow's End achievement. I jumped at the opportunity to help out. I fancy myself a pretty helpful guy, but I really like to help people who themselves go out of their way to help people.
I asked her which heroics she needed and she listed them off. It was at that point I remembered you used to need to be keyed for Outland Heroics. That requirement hasn't been removed, only lowered from Revered to Honored. I opened up Abir's reputation pane. All the reps required for the Heroics she needed were in the Neutral or Friendly. This wasn't going to fly. Of course, I had Honors. He ran all these Heroics back at level 70. He would have the achievement for running them all if achievements had existed back then. I offered to run Honors and my guild mate accepted, even offering to help Abir grind the rep necessary afterwards.
I had already rebuilt Honors Protection spec and Ret spec. He was respecd and Glyphed and ready to roll. We decided to start with Shadow Labs.
This was the first time, aside from a couple of dailies that I had used Honors since 4.0.1. We cleared the first couple of rooms with no problem and moved into the room with the large patrolling demons and the casters channeling. I pulled the first group, and got feared into a second group. Suddenly, we had a ton of mobs on us. As the situation grew hairy, I started going into emergency buttons. Divine Protection was a shadow of its former self, and I had forgotten to key bind Ardent Defender because I never needed to hit it before. I kept misclicking Shield of Righteousness with only one Holy Power. Consecrates cool down was longer than a speech from a pompous politicians trying to filibuster. We got feared into a third group and that was lights out.
We rezzed, pulled a bit more carefully, and finished the instance, but I was frustrated. Before 4.0.1, playing my Paladin was fun. I was proficient with all his moves, and I played by instinct and muscle memory. Now it was like I was a brand new player. All those hours learning to play my Paladin beyond his specified limitations were blown away. I logged off that night happy that I had switched mains to my Warrior. Sure, its annoying to not have reps like the ones needed for Outlands, or to not have the impressive trophies like Honors collection of Raid shields going all the way back to the Impenetrable Shield of Darkness. But the toon that got those reps and those shields doesn't exist anymore. I've been given something called a Paladin in its place but one that is mechanically different. It was like I walked out my house to go to work and my Saturn was still there. Only when I got into the car, I found the brake and the gas pedal had been reversed and the wind shield wipers now turned on the lights, and the lights honked the horn, but only after you hit them three times.
I'm sure someone brand new to the calls will find the new Paladin fun and well designed. Its not that I missed for the old mechanics of the Paladin class. What I missed most acutely was my feeling of profiency and fluency in playing the class.
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827 words. How close were you?

14 comments:

Mite said...

.."Before 4.0.1, playing my Paladin was fun.".. .."What I missed most acutely was my feeling of profiency and fluency in playing the class."


Your words. During Wrath I played each paladin spec. 969696, holy light spamming and fcfs were actually quite simple. I would often lie to myself: "Oh, but being a skilled paladin it's much more than that!". I now realize how wrong I was.
Enter 4.0.1. I found that it was a lot harder to keep agro or heal with my paladin; even on a random dungeon.
I loved it. I can only describe as mega-awesome how holy power changed the way we tank, heal or dps. It wasn't easy to change, sure- but at least give it a try!

(I guessed 1000 words)

Sol said...

I felt the same way when I first dusted off my Prot Paladin after 4.0.1. I was so frustrated that decided I'd switch my main spec to Holy, and I started farming heroics to gear up that spec.

Then (spoiled by having four tanks for my four most-played toons) I thought "You know ... healing queues are five minutes, and tanking queues are instant ... I could save some time by farming that gear in Prot spec."

So I started tanking again, and for the first few runs I hated it. But, bit by bit, I started re-arranging my keybinds, adjusting my rotations, learning to recognize procs, and gradually becoming adjusted to the new playstyle. A few hours later I was tearing through heroics just like I used to.

The mechanics are different, sure, and it takes some learning. In the end, though, you're still wielding a sword, a shield, and the Light.

Honors Code said...

I could see how someone might draw that conclusion if they didn't know me. I'm sure I'd get used to Holy Power eventually. Why not give me the grace to be a little miffed that the Devs decided to change the fundamentals of a toon I've played for years, through Vanilla, Burning Crusade, and Wrath, doing things that most thought were impossible for the class to do.

Anonymous said...

I won't say I was sold to the idea the moment I logged on, but a few hours later I was stomping heroics with my fun, new character.

Seriously Honors, I think you should at least try to get into your paly, you owe him that much and I'm almost certain you'll love it, it's sooooo much fun.

Yeechang Lee said...

"Why not give me the grace to be a little miffed that the Devs decided to change the fundamentals of a toon I've played for years, through Vanilla, Burning Crusade, and Wrath, doing things that most thought were impossible for the class to do."

As a fellow paladin-since-vanilla, I don't understand why 4.0.1's changes are affecting you more than 3.0's bringing of the 969 rotation, or 2.0's legitimizing of paladin tanking, or even 1.9's paladin class revamp.

To me, the only functional difference in 4.0.1 is that one rotation no longer covers both single-target and AoE tanking, something that many players had asked for. That's it. While I was not one of them, I enjoy the minor feeling of competency I now get from seamlessly transitioning from one rotation to the other as circumstances change during a pull. I don't view Holy Power as a new mechanism; I view waiting for three stacks as part of the two new rotations I've had to learn, which also happens to fuel a nice instant heal if desired.

I have an equally well-geared druid tank. Although from the standpoint of new and changed tools paladin tanks' changes were much greater, in practice the de facto end of AoE tanking for druids--at least until a second AoE arrives at 81--with a resulting forced return to tab targeting, is a much more-substantial change.

Duht said...

I feel the same way Honors. My main has been a paladin since about halfway through TBC, after the belf flood slowed to sane levels.

I was eager and anxious for the changes in 4.0.1. I wanted my paladin to be freshened up, breathe a little life into him since I dropped out of raiding about a year ago. When the patch dropped and I made my way into my first heroic since the patch with friends, we got through fine, but I hated it. Nothing made sense.

It felt wrong. I had been stripped of abilities, and told that my backup and previously long cooldown abilities were now a part of my rotation. Expansion patches are supposed to give me something, not take them away, I griped to the guild. DPS was busy cheering at their insane dps boosts.

I tanked three or four more heroics set on getting T10 since it had been made more easily available. Every run was progressively more frustrating. I was starting to get a rotation down, aggro was getting better, I was starting to get the hang of it, but still it chaffed. I let my account expire.

I've got alts, but without the pally, I feel like I've not got anything to look forward to in Cata. I hang around Ratshags, Jongs, and your blogs, purely because you guys make me laugh... but I think that's about as much wow as I'll get into in the coming expansion.

Bacon said...

I can understand your frustration there Honors. I'm still having troubles wrapping my head around the druid tanking changes. However, they didn't go under near the changes you guys did.

Before I finished the first paragraph, I guessed 1400 words. Maybe I should have read more of your post. :)

Celendus said...

My motivation for enduring the changes came from remembering the fire I used to have for tanking in BC - no matter how dire the challenge, I would give it my all.
I wanted to prove to myself that I could still rise to a challenge in the name of being a paladin tank.

It did take about 5-10 hours of training dummies and heroics to get comfortable again, but then, that's not a whole lot of time. Who wouldn't spend that much time (over several raid nights) wiping on a tough progression boss, or grinding dungeon rep for your entry-to-heroics gear?

Count me in as another one who enjoys the new system. Every single attack is now a choice of some sort or another (hammer or CS? Which filler? Do I need threat or healing from my HPs? Double up on cooldowns or save one for later?).

I'm not saying you gotta go back right now, but come back to the class in a couple months. You'll be glad you did.

Helion said...

I found the transition painful. I think the first random I did after 4.0 was Pit of Saron. Keep in mind that not only were paladins new, but so were many of the classes, particularly healing classes. It was PAINFUL. My paldin tank felt squishy on mostly ICC gear (GS 5700-5800)and I just had a mess of buttons that I floundered with from beginning to end. I hated it. But sure enough, little by little, I began to appreciate the truly impressive changes. I still feel that he feels a little more squishy than before, but not enough to make any difference. What is significantly different is that mana is no longer a problem at all. Ever. Also, I have become a badass aggro machine and my dps rocks. Having Avenger's Shield available so often and cost so little in terms of mana makes a huge difference in keeping aggro on multiples and pulling back the ones that do get away or join the fight. And Word of Glory... what can I say? Glorious! I think my biggest hurdle was getting used to Avenger's Shield as a tool to be constantly used. Given the relatively expensive mana cost and long cooldown of the shield before 4.0, I used to be pretty selective in terms of when to use it. Now between it and Hammer of the Righteous, I find aggro a nonissue. I generally dislike stacking all stam gems and ignoring bonuses, so I probably have more str than most paladin tanks. That may be why the dps and aggro are less of an issue. I don't know. I have to say that I am happy with the state of protection spec. Sadly, I cannot say the same about Retribution. I find it significantly less fun to play and the dps has suffered remarkably. Maybe I still have not nailed the mechanics, but doubt it. I also hate what they have done to Divine Storm.

Mite said...

"Why not give me the grace to be a little miffed that the Devs decided to change the fundamentals of a toon I've played for years, through Vanilla, Burning Crusade, and Wrath, doing things that most thought were impossible for the class to do."

We're suffering the naggy ex-girlfriend syndrome. "Oh so you're not playing a paladin anymore, eh? Then we'll come here to bitch about it until we get what we want: a dwarf paladin main"

Honors Code said...

I have huge respect for your transparency and integrity , Mite. You have received 1000 Hammer Points.

Anonymous said...

It's just growing pains my man. Right now hp is low so the "really good" paladins are just the players who are inhumanely fast and can make split second decisions before they go splat; especially in regards to pvp. But I think once cata goes hot and the numbers are tuned even further you will rediscover your Superman-esque capabilites.


Wankster of Magtheridon

Archangel said...

I read your blog for a long time now, but this time I have to reply to this.

"...Why not give me the grace to be a little miffed that the Devs decided to change the fundamentals of a toon I've played for years..."

Well, as much as I was prepared to be disappointed again by this new change, in the end it was the exact opposite. This time, they did a wonderful job. I cannot express in words, the beauty that the paladin tanking is right now. Same as Sol said, first I hated it, I hated my inability to control the paladin I was playing eyes closed. But curiosity was bigger. Even if was to end up hating it completely, I wanted at least to see how it feels, when I was close to master the new mechanics the best I could. I ran heroics, few raids, trying (and failing) to pin down a rotation, mismanaging procs, continuing to feel bad, slow, clunky and helpless altogether. And one time..it..just..clicked. That's the word for it. The fluency you talked about, was there. Oh yes it is there. But it's more than fluency. It's a beautiful symphony. That's how I feel. The moment I realized how it works and what the results are, when I actually “sensed” the playstyle, I felt a genuine feeling of “whoa!”. A pure emotion that starts from your heart and propagates through your whole body, like a small warm shiver, following by your heart beating faster, because something awesome just happend that took you by surprise and you don't know how to handle it. This time they didn't just “decided to change the fundamentals”. They actually did a splendid job.

I'm telling you this because, I understand your decision of playing your warrior in Cata. But it would be a great injustice to do so, by concluding with your verdict. Because, also as a paladin tank, I can say with great confidence that the “feeling of profiency and fluency in playing the class “ is there and even more. It just didn't clicked for you..yet.

Mite said...

"And one time..it..just..clicked. That's the word for it. The fluency you talked about, was there. Oh yes it is there. But it's more than fluency. It's a beautiful symphony. That's how I feel. The moment I realized how it works and what the results are, when I actually “sensed” the playstyle, I felt a genuine feeling of “whoa!”. A pure emotion that starts from your heart and propagates through your whole body, like a small warm shiver, following by your heart beating faster, because something awesome just happend that took you by surprise and you don't know how to handle it."

@Archangel
Dude that was awesome. You almost made me cry. It was pure paladin kick ass rocking beauty. If you ever read this, props.