Sunday, April 29, 2007

Focus Macro

I came across a good focus macro for crowd control on the forums, and I can't find the post again. So I'm recording it here so I can reference it later.

#showtooltip spell
/clearfocus [target=focus, dead][button:3]
/focus [button:1/3, target=focus, noexists]
/cast [button:1/3, target=focus][button:2] spell

If you left-click the icon, the macro will cast the spell on your current focus (without changing your current target). If your focus is dead or doesn't exist, the macro will set your focus to your current target and cast the spell on it.

If you right-click the icon, the macro will cast the spell on your current target, ignoring your focus.

If you middle-click the icon, the macro will switch your focus to your current target and cast the spell on it.

Basically, this macro allows you to designate a target as your focus, and always have your crowd control spells work on that target. So you don't need to find your target before re-sheeping or whatever CC you are using. It should have a decent amount of flexibility with regards to CC'ing a different target in the middle of a fight.

The only paladin spell I'm using it for is Turn Undead. I imagine it will be a lot more useful on my warlock.

Edit: Patch 2.1 has apparently changed how conditionals are handled. I've edited the macro above.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Gems

I've been inspecting people outside of Karazhan, and I have noticed that there appear to be three types of raiders. At least, three types when it comes to all-important question of how to socket your gear.

Type A: One Gem To Rule Them All

This person is fixated on one type of gem, and filled all their sockets with that type. They don't seem to care about socket bonuses at all. Classic examples are tanks who fill every gem slot with blue +stamina gems, or mages/warlocks who go for red +spell damage gems.

This type of player is occasionally seen on the WoW forums complaining that the sockets on gear are not the "correct" type.

Type B: Let's Match Colours

This person puts a pure blue gem in a blue socket, a pure red gem in a red socket, and a pure yellow gem in a yellow socket. They always make sure they have their socket bonuses.

Type C: Multi-colour Gems For The Win

This person uses a lot of multiple colored gems, getting lots of smaller bonuses. They'll still get their socket bonuses, but often get some effect from a socket colour not available on that piece of gear. For example, if there are blue/yellow sockets, they may go for red/blue and red/yellow gems.

---

I'm a Type B person myself. I like getting my socket bonuses, and there's usually one gem in each color that I like. Multi-colour just seems like too much work for me, and for some reason isn't as pleasing to my eye as matching a red gem to a red socket. For example, all my red/yellow/blue tanking sockets are +8 dodge/+8 defense/+12 stamina.

So what type of gem person are you?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Two Views of Loot

There are basically two philosophies of loot that determines a lot of guild attitudes, rules and restrictions. I find that you can generally trace "why" a guild has the rules it has to which attitude is more prevalent.

Loot as Reward: Under this view, loot is the reward for putting in the hard work, the carrot at the end of the line. Getting an epic weapon, or completing your set of armor is a goal in and of itself.

Loot as Investment: Under this view, loot is a means to an end. Getting better loot makes your character more able to take on new challenges.

Guilds that emphasize Loot as Investment tend to have more restrictions on loot distribution. Class restrictions, or officer-assigned loot are common hallmarks of this philosophy.

Guilds that put more weight on Loot as Reward tend towards less restrictions, and more free DKP systems.

So which view is correct? Half the problem is that both views are correct. Loot is reward and investment. Indeed, you can even argue that some pieces tend more towards one side than another (class sets versus non-class sets, for example).

However, a lot of times you get problems when two people with different underlying philosophies clash. When one class takes an item which would be "better suited" for another class.

But there are a fair number of raiders who are in it mostly for the loot, for the reward aspect. (Witness all the complaining about TBC raid loot on the forums.) Gearing up to beat newer challenges is merely a way to get better loot. Even though it's not considered polite to say that. They'll mouth words like "overcoming new challenges" to get into the guild. In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with being motivated by loot, so long as you aren't disruptive about it. It's a fact that people like to make their characters more and more powerful and can see that as an end unto itself.

Overemphasizing loot as investment demoralizes a lot of people, and can make them feel like they aren't getting enough reward.

I think that a guild who is looking at setting up rules needs to take a strong look at which philosophy it is inclined to, and set up their rules to acknowledge that. However, different rules can reward different philosophies.

For example, under Officer-loot systems, the guild is the investor who makes decisions. Under a normal DKP system, the individual player is the one who invests in their character. Both can use the loot as investment philosophy, but on different levels. But only one can really accomodate the loot as reward philosophy as well.

I also don't think that one philosophy is better than the other. Different people are motivated by both in different degrees, and ignoring human nature is a quick route to failure. How people act upon that motivation is the important part.

Edit: I'm not really happy with this post. It doesn't really convey the sense of how *important* these philosophies are. Decision points such as "Gearing up the main tank first", or whether to have an "A Team" for Karazhan, or many other of the questions facing guilds have their roots in the differences between these two philosophies.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

First Impressions: Lord of the Rings Online

I decided to check out the open beta (World Tour) of Lord of the Rings Online. Here are some thoughts. Keep in mind that I didn't get very far, only about level 6, and my computer is at the low end of the scale, which may account for a lot of my impressions.

If I had to sum up my LotRO impressions in a single word, it would be: drab.

Seriously, the entire colour scheme is greens and browns, and not even vibrant greens and browns, but this faded, dull look. Maybe it shouldn't be fully cartoony like WoW, but everyone doesn't need be dressed in brown. Primary colours are good.

LotRO generally lacks that veneer of polish that separates great games from the rest. It's a lot of small things, the way icons are really hard to tell apart. ( A pink arm on a red background is really hard to distinguish. Whatever happened to contrast?) Or the fact that a couple of UI elements overlap each other.

Also, it shouldn't be this hard to make an attractive character. If I'm making a female elf, I would like her to look like Liv Tyler, not Hugo Weaving. (Though Orlando Bloom is a reasonable option.) Character generation has a thousand different combinations, but it was so much work to make something that didn't look stupid.

This extends to animations. Watching people move in this game is painful. Most people look like they are skating on the grass.

Mechanics-wise, it seems okay. Very similar to WoW and other games. I tried a Captain, Minstrel, and Defender for a bit. The minstrel was pretty interesting, but pulling out a lute and strumming for half a second in the middle of combat was really weird.

I played the captain the most. It's a sort of combination of paladin and hunter. I really liked the shouts you could cast upon defeating an opponent. The biggest thing that bothered me was the sound my captain made when doing one of her warcries. Unfortunately, that was the ability I used to pull mobs, so I heard it at the beginning of every fight.

There were a couple of nice touches, the way quest goals changed as you completed them. For example, if you had to kill 10 boars, after you killed them the goal displayed on screen was "return to questgiver". Additionally, being able to click on the quest tracked on screen and open up the quest log was very useful.

As well, the way they use instances and zones is really intriguing. For example, you have to defending the starting town from an attack, and there are two zones: a pre-attack zone and a post-attack zone. After you do the attack quest, you end up in the post-attack zone, which looks just like the pre-attack zone. Each zone contains all the people at that stage of the game. Pretty clever, imo.

All in all, it seemed like a decent game, but really lacking in polish. I stopped playing after my captain hit level 6, mostly because the colour scheme depressed me, and I was having a hard time telling icons apart. I guess I really prefer the more colourful, "unrealistic" games.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Completely Weird Paladin Melee Idea

I saw a post on the Paladin boards discussing what would happen if Crushing Blows could not be pushed off the table. The obvious answer is tanking would become Bear country, as only Druids would be able to survive bosses.

For background, raid bosses have a 15% chance to deal a Crushing Blow, which does 150% of normal damage. If your total dodge/parry/block/opponent's miss chance is greater than 100%, you cannot be crushed. This relatively easy for a warrior to accomplish with Shield Block(+75% block), but much harder for a paladin with Holy Shield (+30% block). We do have Redoubt, which is another 30%, but that cannot be triggered reliably.

There are currently three ways to deal with Crushing Blows:

1. Not get hit by them. Dodge/Parry/Block.

2. Have so much armor that most of the damage is mitigated.

3. Have so much health that your healers have enough time to restore your health to full. This usually requires more healing.

Warriors and Paladins utilize the first strategy, while Druids use a combination of the second and third.

But as I was thinking about the problem, it occurs to me that there is a fourth strategy, just one that isn't used in WoW.

4. Prevent the mob from making Crushing Blows. This could happen through the use of a debuff. As an analogy, you can prevent mobs from casting spells through the use of a Silence debuff.

And naturally--since I am a paladin--my thoughts turned to using this idea to keep paladins in melee.

My idea revolves around Vindication. Make Vindication baseline, proc more reliably, (with a reduced debuff) and also have it reduce the chance of Crushing Blows by 15%.

So now having paladins in melee is very useful, as they keep the tank from getting crushed.

A paladin tank can easily keep herself from being crushed, but she has lower health than a warrior to compensate.

A druid tank can simply soak the crushes, the way they do now, relying on their armor and health.

A warrior tank, without paladin support, would be in a bad position. I would suggest some mechanism to remove Crushing Blows, only keeping it more onerous than a paladin's Vindication. Perhaps a debuff that they have to stack like Sunder (-5% per application), but which costs rage, causes minimal threat, and must be reapplied.

This way each of the classes have a slightly different twist on tanking. Rather than being strictly inferior in mitigation to warriors, Paladins have less health, but are immune to crushes. Warriors have better health and mitigation, but their crush immunity is clumsy. Druids have the most health and armor, but get crushed all the time.

And having a paladin--regardless of spec--in melee is always a good idea.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Spirit and Fun

The discussion about Illumination has me thinking about mana regeneration in WoW. Paladins have spell crit, Warlocks have Lifetap, but what do priests/mages/druids have? They have Spirit.

Part of the reason that there is so much conflict over regen and endurance is that, quite frankly, Spirit is a terrible stat and mechanic. Spirit is widely considered the worst stat in the game, and gear with Spirit is generally regarded as much less valuable than gear without it.

The problem with Spirit is that it violates what I will call Coriel's First Law of Design:

Doing stuff is fun.
Not doing stuff is not fun.


Mana regeneration via Spirit is governed by something called the Five Second Rule (FSR). The FSR states that you only get mana back after you have gone five seconds without casting a spell, and you only get mana until you cast another spell.

So not only do you have to do nothing to regenerate mana, you have to spend 5s doing nothing with no benefit before you even start regenerating mana. And 5s can be an eternity, especially for a healer.

Contrast this with Illumination or Lifetap. Illumination rewards the paladin for casting heals. With Lifetap, the warlock is actively controlling her mana regen. In both cases the player is actively doing something worthwhile to improve their play. They are not standing around doing nothing.

Spirit is so bad that we actually have a second stat which governs mana regeneration: mana/5s or mp5. Both stats return mana to the player, they just differ in how they do so. Mp5 returns mana at a continous rate, even if the player is casting a spell. Mp5 is widely regarded as superior to Spirit because it works all the time. A player with mp5 can actively play the game, and not just wait around.

The fact that we have two stats which basically do the same thing is a really bad sign. It's a clear indication that the original stat mechanic was deeply and fundamentally flawed.

It's probably really late in the game's lifecycle to change this, but I think that Spirit should do the same thing as mp5. Return mana to the caster at a continuous rate during combat, and return heath/mana at a higher rate outside of combat. All items with mp5 should be converted to Spirit, and all talents that allow mana regeneration while casting should be reworked to provide bonus regeneration.

At one fell swoop we eliminate a stat, simplifying gear choices, and make Spirit a valued stat once again. As well, priests, druids, and mages get a method of mana regen which can be counted upon and which lets them be active players having fun, while still getting the benefit.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My Illumination Fix

Here's how I would solve the paladin endurance healing problem, without altering Illumination:

1. Replace Sanctified Light, Holy Power, and Divine Illumination with new talents not aimed at saving mana. High level holy talents should encourage the paladin to spend mana, not save it.

Heh, since the priests seem to dislike their 41-pt Holy talent, Circle of Healing, let's swap it with Divine Illumination. That would give healing paladins a significant tool to help them act as main healers in 5-mans. Maybe even reduce its power, drop it down to 31 pts, and move a pumped up Holy Shock to 41 pts.

This change right here removes -11% cost from Holy Light, and -5% cost from Flash of Light, as well as the extra mana savings every couple of minutes from Divine Illumination.

2. For all the +heal gear with +spell crit, replace +spell crit with the equivalent mana/5s. Tthe vast majority of gear like this is paladin set gear, so it shouldn't have very much impact on the other healing classes.

These two changes should be more than enough to keep Illumination in check. Basically, they just reverse the decisions made in patch 1.9, and return paladin healing to the older, more balanced state.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Illumination

Description

After getting a critical effect from your Flash of Light, Holy Shock or Holy Light spell, gives a 100% chance to gain mana equal to the base cost of the spell.

This talent is the heart of the paladin Holy tree. But there are a lot of misconceptions as to what it does, or its real effect on a paladin.

The best way to think about Illumination is that it reduces the average cost of Flash of Light, Holy Shock, or Holy Light by the paladin's spell crit. If you have 10% spell crit, your healing spells are essentially 10% cheaper.

This is a very powerful ability, especially as it is open ended.

Background

Before patch 1.9, Blizzard was very careful to keep Illumination in check. It was very hard to get spell crit for paladins. For example, the quest reward [Eye of the Beast] specifically excluded paladins from using it.

Paladins highly valued items such as [Azuresong Mageblade], because spell crit was much harder to come by for them than it was for the other classes.

Then, in patch 1.9 and the paladin review, Blizzard did an about-face. They decided to embrace spell crit as a "feature" of the paladin class. Other healers went for spirit or mp5, paladin healers would go for spell crit, and that the hallmark of paladin healing would be efficiency. We got talents that increased our spell crit, and our itemization began to feature spell crit.

I think that time has shown that this was a bad decision.

As a result of our new talents and itemization, we have been able to stack spell crit to significant levels. 30% or higher spell crit is not unheard of, and that translates into healing spells which are 30% cheaper, which makes our efficiency insane compared to the other healing classes.

Current situation

The proposed nerf to Illumination cuts the amount of mana returned in half. So if you have 10% spell crit, your healing spells are on average 5% cheaper.

The problem with Illumination isn't Illumination itself, it's that Blizzard let paladins have too easy access to spell crit. But cutting Illumination in half devalues all the items out there with spell crit. Which is pretty much all our healing gear (PvP, Tier gear).

To illustrate this, look at the paladin Holy tree. We have a talent Sanctified Light, which increases the crit strike chance of Holy Light by 6% for 3 points. That talent effectively reads "The cost of your Holy Light spell is reduced by 6%". Which is a pretty decent talent for 3 points, and more or less in line with other classes' cost reducing talents.

Under the nerf, it reads "The cost of your Holy Light spell is reduced by 3%". Which is not that good. I would say that is not worth 3 talent points. The same thing occurs with Holy Power. 5 points for 5% cost reduction is decent. 5 points for 2.5% cost reduction is not.

Conclusion

Paladin healing endurance needed to be reigned in. But I don't think nerfing Illumination is the correct way to do it. This problem is primarily a problem because of the changes wrought in 1.9, and the resulting itemization. Those are the problems that should be fixed. Hitting Illumination is a band-aid fix, and has many ramifications. One of them is that this change pretty much shatters the top part of the Holy tree.

To be honest, paladin healing needs a proper overhaul. It manages to simultaneously be too good, and not good enough. Once again, I chalk this up to a lack of vision on the part of the Blizzard devs, or a lack of being able to communicate that vision. Watching these changes, you get a real sense that Blizzard doesn't know what it wants the paladin to be, and is just running around slapping band-aids on the class, trying to keep it from breaking.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Patch 2.1 Paladin changes (minus Illumination)

This is a quick run down of the upcoming paladin changes in patch 2.1. I'm saving the biggest change--the change to Illumination--for another post.

"Ardent Defender" (Protection) now reduces damage taken by 6-30% when below 35% health.

Good change. It's now far more likely that Ardent Defender will actually kick in and prevent some damage. Previously, if a tank got to 20% and took a hit, it was quite likely he'd die anyways, regardless of the damage reduction.

"Avenger's Shield" no longer has a minimum range. It may be used on any target within 30 yards.

"Avenger's Shield": The damage portion of this ability will now be applied even if the victim is immune to snare.


A fairly minor buff, but useful all the same. May even make pulling after a rogue sap easier. Rogue saps, someone pulls normally, and paladin uses Avenger's Shield when the mobs reach the group. Also more useful in PvP.

"Divine Shield": This ability no longer removes or prevents the "Weakened Soul" debuff.

"Eye for an Eye": Some spells did not trigger "Eye for an Eye" correctly. That has been fixed.

Fixed some data errors that caused "Seal of Command" and "Seal of Blood" to generate more threat than intended.

"Forbearance": It is no longer possible to use a macro to gain the benefit of "Avenging Wrath" and "Divine Shield" at the same time.

"Greater Blessing of Kings": The cost for this blessing is now twice the cost of "Blessing of Kings", instead of a fixed cost of 150.

"Greater Blessing of Sanctuary 2": The range on this spell was incorrectly set to 30 yards. It has been changed to 40 yards.

"Greater Blessing of Wisdom 3": The range on this spell was incorrectly set to 30 yards. It has been changed to 40 yards.


Bugfixes. No real effect on the paladin.

"Hammer of Wrath": Rank 4, damage increased.

More HoW damage is always good.

"Improved Seal of Righteousness": The percentage increase in damage from this talent is now applied after all bonuses from items and effects which increase your spell damage.

This change makes ImpSoR actually worthwhile, especially for a Holy paladin looking to increase her damage without getting Seal of Command. I'm not really sure that a tank would get this, but it is an option.

Actually, a 10/41/10 build might be interesting. I'll have to think about this.

New Protection Talent added: "Improved Holy Shield", 2 ranks: Increases damage caused by "Holy Shield" by 10/20% and increases the number of charges of "Holy Shield" by 2/4.

Blizzard seems to be cementing our role as tanks for multiple mobs or bosses with a fast attack rate. I think many paladins would have preferred our block rate to increase by 10/20% rather than damage (to make us uncrushable). But on the whole, this is a nice buff.

"One-Handed Weapon Specialization"(Protection): Now increases all damage caused by the paladin by 1-5% while a one-handed weapon is equipped.

Decreases the extra damage from auto-attack and Seals, but increases the damage from Holy Shield, Consecration and Judgments. I'm inclined to call this one a wash, maybe even a slight buff.

"Sanctity Aura" now increases all damage caused by affected targets by 1/2% and no longer increases healing done to affected targets.

This is interesting. It boosts Ret paladin damage by 2%, and gets her put into a DPS group instead of a tank group. I'm not sure that this will be enough to really make Retribution raid-viable, but will be interesting to watch.

"Seal of Blood": This seal will no longer cause additional chances for weapon procs to trigger.

"Seal of Righteousness": This seal will no longer cause additional chances for weapon procs to trigger.

"Seal of the Crusader": The rank 7 tooltip has been fixed to read the same as other ranks of this spell.

"Spiritual Attunement": First-aid generated healing will no longer trigger this ability. However, "Lifebloom", "Earth Shield", and "Improved Leader of the Pack" will now trigger it correctly. The tooltip has been adjusted to indicate it only works on healing from spells. It will also now work correctly when you are mounted or sitting.


Bugfixes.

"Spiritual Attunement": Mana is no longer healed if the paladin is at full health.

As predicted, the extra synergy between Holy Paladins and Shadow priests is nerfed. This makes SA pretty much a pure tanking ability, which is what it is intended to be.

"Stoicism" (Protection) should now properly affect all magic effects cast by the Paladin and no longer applies double its intended benefit to "Blessing of Might" and "Blessing of Wisdom".

Whatever.

"Vengeance" (Retribution) now increases Holy and Physical damage by 1/2/3/4/5% for 15 seconds following a critical hit, but the effect now stacks up to 3 times.

A nerf for our burst dps, but a boost for our sustained dps. Early reports from the test server say the Vengeance stack is refreshed each time you crit. It shouldn't be hard for a moderately-geared Retribution paladin to ramp up to perma-Vengeance. Another boost for the raiding paladin.

Vindicator Aesom at Blood Watch will now correctly train a full range of paladin spells.

Good for him.
---
As well, the effect of glancing blows will be reduced, which is another buff to paladins who melee.

So, in conclusion, we mostly have moderate buffs to Protection and Retribution, with a small nerf to Holy paladins. Not counting the Illumination change, I would say that this would be a decent patch from the paladin point of view.

The Illumination change, though, is far more complex, and so I'll save that discussion for another time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

PC Gaming Frustrations

I'm a die-hard PC gamer. My favorite games and even types of games are PC only. I've never really gotten into console games. The last console I owned was the original Nintendo Entertainment System.

But sometimes PC gaming gets really frustrating. Now, I'll admit that my current system is not top-of-the-line. In fact, it's probably closer to bottom-of-the-line by now, especially as it's a laptop. But WoW runs decently on it, so it's okay for my purposes.

In any case, I picked up Jade Empire: Special Edition today. I install it, and run it. The game launches one of those setup utilities where it reports what can go wrong. It reports that my desktop is running at 16-bit and that I have generic monitor drivers, and this may cause a problem. I shrug and launch the game anyways.

The game immediately crashes to the desktop.

I set the desktop to 32-bit and try again. The game crashes again.

So I set out on that time-honored ritual of the PC gamer: updating drivers. I hit up Windows Update, get all the DirectX updates, get new video drivers, new motherboard drivers, new sound drivers, pretty much everything I could find.

The game still crashes to the desktop.

I reinstall the game. It still crashes.

I give up and jump to the Support forums. After perusing threads, and examining logs, it turns out that my video card is below the minimum specifications. Which does suck, but was a reasonable risk given the quality of my computer.

What really annoys me is that this wasn't caught by their setup utility. Rather than giving pointless warnings about bit depth of the desktop, telling me that my video card isn't supported would have been far more useful.

It's getting close to raid time, so I leave Jade Empire to the side and fire up WoW. Ironforge seems a bit laggier than normal, but I chalk that up to random internet chaos. I get to Karazhan, and zone in.

When the fighting starts, my graphics start stuttering like crazy. Thinking something had changed when I updated video card drivers, I turn down all the graphics settings. No help. The game is pretty much unplayable.

I drop from the raid, and try to find older drivers. Finding older drivers turns out to be annoyingly hard. I go to the computer manufacturer's website, but for some reason it isn't working, and keeps timing out when I try to go to the support section.

Eventually, after Googling, I manage to get older drivers from the European site for my computer manufacturer. Installing those returns WoW to normal.

Sometimes gaming on a computer is a giant headache. If I had an XBox, all I have to do is toss the disc in the machine and it would magically work. No fiddling with drivers, or mysterious crashes. And it would cost so much less money.

It's especially ironic that all of this trouble was caused by a game that was originally made for a console.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Shadow Priest Talent Tree

I respecced an alt priest of mine to Shadow today, and was struck at how well designed the priest Shadow tree is. It's a model of efficiency, with hardly any wasted space. There are three different paths in the tree, a levelling build, a pvp build, and an instance build. Each path is different enough from the others, and the point distribution works beautifully when creating each build. I think that the Shadow tree is probably the best designed talent tree in the game.

As well, take a look at the single-point talents (11, 21, 31, 41pts). I think that these talents are often critical to the sucess or failure of a tree. Shadow has Mind Flay, Vampiric Embrace, Shadowform, and Vampiric Touch. These talents are all great, and form the heart of the shadow tree, the core of what it means to be shadow. A Shadow Priest makes full use of all these talents. Having all four single-point talents being awesome is very rare.

In many ways the Priest Holy tree suffers from the exact opposite. Holy Nova, Spirit of Redemption, Lightwell, and Circle of Healing are all "gimmicks", rather than being core parts of the Holy Priest.

For paladin trees, Holy's talents are decent, but not really all that exciting. They aren't as crucial to the Holy tree in the same manner as VE or Shadowform. They are also very independent of each other. Protection has outstanding talents in Holy Shield and Avenger's Shield, but Blessing of Kings and Blessing of Sanctuary contradict each other. You can't use both at the same time. Retribution comes the closest to the Shadow ideal with Seal of Command, Sanctity Aura, and Crusader Strike. However, Repentance falls more into the gimmick spell mode.

None of the paladin trees are as well designed as Shadow though. In particular, they are missing the multiple paths through the tree for the different options. You can't really differentiate between a PvP build and a levelling build, in my opinion. Oddly enough, Retribution probably comes closest to a proper design. Its problem is that the base paladin is too far slanted in the other directions.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Same Old, Same Old

The war between Retribution and Holy continues unabated on the Paladin forums. It's pretty much the same problem that has always existed, though currently the divide is larger ever since paladins superceded Holy priests in raid healing.

It's amusing, in a sad way. The priests are unhappy that paladins are better healers, and the paladins are unhappy that paladins are better healers.

I really hope paladin healing doesn't get nerfed though. I really like being able to act as healer for a 5-man. Having paladins available as primary healers makes running instances so much easier. Perhaps we could stand to be nerfed a bit in raid healing, but any hit is going to make 5-mans harder. I do not want to return to the old days of spending half an hour or more whispering priests and druids to see if they want to come on a run.

I think that there is a deeper problem with paladins. Just take a look at the classes and their current roles:

Hunter - dps
Rogue - dps
Warlock - dps
Mage - dps
Shaman - heal/dps
Priest - heal/dps
Druid - heal/tank/dps
Warrior - tank/dps
Paladin - heal/tank

One of these is not like the others.

And in many ways, this is part of the problem. The fact is that paladins are fundamentally different from all the other classes in the game. If more classes lacked the "dps" part, the game would be designed differently. I've already commented on how the battegrounds are designed for high dps classes, with short respawn timers.

I think part of the problem with paladins is that every other class has a dps component designed and built into it, and paladins really don't. Seal and Auto-attack, and maybe judge every 10s. One real combat move at 41-points in Retribution, almost an afterthought in many ways.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Things That Should Be Nerfed

1. Spiritual Attunement

Right now, SA returns mana even if you are healed at full health. So SA and Vampiric Embrace have gone nuts. I think Blizzard will reign in SA by only applying it to actual healing.

It's actually interesting, because Heal-Over-Time heals don't tick if the target is at full health. So for a paladin, getting a HoT is worse than getting a direct heal, because you'll lose out on some mana.

All in all, SA working with overheals leads to odd behaviour, and I think that SA will get nerfed.

2. Flasks

I think that very powerful temporary buffs are a bad game design concept. The problem is that a raid which is willing to pay the costs for these buffs is significantly more powerful than a raid which isn't willing. And this leads to a dilemma when tuning content.

Should you tune content for the buffed raid, knowing that you are forcing every raid which wants to suceed to pay for the buffs every time they try this content? Or should you tune content for the unbuffed raid, knowing that the buffed raids are going to blow through the content?

It's far easier to just avoid the question and not have powerful temporary buffs. You can tune for permanent buffs, such as gear, because acquiring such buffs/items is a one-time, gradual, process.

In WoW, the major items that exhibit this problematic behaviour are high end alchemy flasks and elixirs. I think that the game would be better off without flasks. Then Blizzard could tune content to a more permanent gear level, and this would make life a lot easier for raid guilds.

Now it would be harsh on alchemists, as their uber-items would no longer exist. I would suggest that they get something more permanent, perhaps very powerful transmutations.

Edit: Here's a random idea. What if alchemists could transmute magical items? You could take a BoP blue and transmute it into a couple BoE greens. Or maybe a lower-level BoE blue. Heh, this idea probably isn't very good, but it's something that isn't in the game yet.

3. Warlocks

Just because.