Friday, July 16, 2010

Redesigning the Paladin

Man, I’m glad I did that blog post yesterday since apparently the talents are all wrong.
These are old talents. This is not the paladin revamp that we said was coming. Sorry, you'll just have to wait a little bit longer. (Source)
I'm going to regret saying this, but the paladin trees are the most changed in the game. There are only a few of the current beta talents that survived the, um, cleansing. (Source)
In the Ret case, we started with a basic question: what is it they should be managing? There are a lot of things they *could* be managing. Today it's cooldowns. It could be mana or procs or a lot of things. There was one Ret talent in particular we really liked, and we started building a rotation around it. Then we decided the mechanic was good enough to flesh out for Holy and Prot too.
We're not ready to share the design just yet, and like all changes of this sort, it will be controversial. Some players crave a more interactive rotation. Some like their paladins the way they are. Some are only attracted to the class because it can be overpowered and they like to feel like a superhero. (

I’m really getting tired of GC beating the old Paladins are overpowered bit. They haven’t made one significant change to Paladins in 3.3 or 3.3.5.
But the most disappointing take away from the series of post by GC is that they are redesigning the class… again. Paladins got one of the biggest designs in both Burning Crusade and Wrath and yet here as we enter Cataclysm we are ‘the most changed in the game.’ I feel like the Developers simply have a better handle on designing other classes.
If you look at the 4 tanking trees, the Warrior tree looks the most polished.
I’m just getting tired of having to relearn a brand new class every expansion. Balance in both PVE and PVP will be difficult early on, and the roller coaster ride of underpowered to overpowered isn’t fun for anyone. You would think that by this point, the Developers would have the Palaidn design fairly well understood. It stuns me that the Paladin will be changing more than the Hunter, who is changing its resource system, or the Death Knight, who the Developers obviously have had less time to understand. I don’t want to see a repeat of what happened in Vanilla where the entire Paladin combat system was scrapped and redone two weeks before release. I don’t want to see a repeat of 2.0 or 3.0 when Paladins were stupidly overpowered and had to be nerfed once the expansion actually shipped. We don’t have a complicated feedback loop like rage or a complicated system like runes and runic power. We should be the easiest class to figure out and predict. The Developers continued struggle with designing the Paladin is boggling to me.


Ferarro said...

In one respect, I have sympathy for the developers because it's not easy to do what they do. Paladins are in a very special niche in that we can do any role in the game - tank, heal, dps - just like Druids. But Druids have the easy way out from a designer standpoint: Forms. Choose a form that coincides with your spec and viola! Everything changes to how you want it. The Paladin doesn't have that luxury; The toolbox stays the same regardless of spec, with only a few specific talents added. So everything has to be balanced and tuned to everything else. It's a nightmare, and one wrong coefficient can be disaster. All it takes is for one of the 12 million players to find and exploit that one wonky spec and everything falls to pieces.

On the other hand, they've had 6 years to get this right. I wouldn't be opposed to a sort of stance/form mechanic for Paladins if done correctly. But that would take away some of the charm of being a Paladin. I think the bottom line is, we're going to end up being the most changed class every expansion, whether we like it or not. We're simply too varied and dance too heavily on the razor's edge between powerful and weak.

Hopefully Jedis will be easier for developers to grasp. =)

Pirim said...

I think this lack of something complicated is the thing that keeps developers struggling. They want to make paladins fun to play and without some or other complication it just cannot be done.

"We should be easiest class to predict" — exactly! Except that we should not. We should have clear weakness and clear strengths that balance each other out and make us shift behavior somehow. Right now paladins resemble mobs, activating abilities on cooldown.

I hope for the best from this revamp, which is, of course, the only thing I can actually do :)

Salt said...

Forms, stances, and presences rather define the other tanks, why can't auras be our defining tool?

Suppose we rolled up some of the tanking tools into "requires devotion aura" and several of the damage tools into "requires retribution aura" and many healing bonuses into "requires concentration aura".

The resistance class of auras could be renamed to something else, maybe "Infusions" or "Tolerances" or "Benedictions".

As an aside, I play a lot of alts, because I like trying new things. I think it will be fun to take my level 80 Paladin and re-learn a new way to play him; it'll be like starting an alt, at level 80.

Veneretio said...

This is one of those grass is greener scenarios. You're right they've got a better handle on Warriors, but Warriors are jealous of Paladins and especially DKs b/c they've seen sweeping changes to their play style.

Warriors are bored.

We've been doing SS > Rev > Dev (whatever it was sunder before) and weaving in Heroic Strike for 4 years straight... Nothing has changed in 4 years. Sword and Board procs just say... start doing SS > Rev > Dev all over again.

So while, you may find it frustrating to have to relearn your class, I know there's a lot of Warriors like me out there that'd love to be in your shoes.

Athelstane said...

It seems from the changes mentioned so far (as well as the new Holy Power system), they want prot (and ret) paladins to have a more reactive play style. Having tanked as dk, warrior and pally, I have to say right now Paladin requires the least amount of adaptation between different types of fights. The other side of that of course being that the current prot paladin play style is much less adaptable compared to the other two.

The 96969 rotation is pretty much it. If you run into a fight where you have to restrict your AoE, you suddenly have empty GCD with nothing to fill them. Giving Prot Paladins a spamable GCD filler is a nice start to making the play style a bit more interesting. Adding in a few procs and a combo point like mechanic, may do the rest.

learning a new play style may be a pain but I for one will not miss hours of hitting the same 5 buttons in the same order over and over again (with the occasional holy wrath mixed in on undead trash).