Monthly Archives: February 2011

The worst thing to happen to Holy. Ever.

Since I’ve always felt left out of all the Paladin whining, I thought I’d offer my honest opinion on the 4.1 patch notes. Behold! The WORST THING TO HAPPEN TO HOLY PALADINS.

EVER:

Paladins

Really, Blizz? Really?!

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So I was dueling a Priest the other day…

… and I have no idea what spec he was running, but it wasn’t shadow. We were just herp derp’ing around at the stone before a Baradin Hold raid. I had the foresight to run my solo/questing spec, which is also what I use while looking really bad in some weekly 2s Arena. I lost the first 3 (4?) matches while I was figuring stuff out and before we gave up on the last match I was turning it into a real game. Between his Drain Mana and my aggressiveness I was usually near empty on mana and spending a lot of time under half health. What kept me in the game? Rebuke to lock him down a bit, Denounce for free dps, dirt cheap Holy Shock heals, Blessed Life for extra Holy Power, a self-Beacon with Tower of Radiance for even more Holy Power, and Word of Glory (often with only 1 or 2 charges). He could not believe I could be healing myself so well with basically no mana. I admit I felt a little Overpoweredtm!

Efficient direct heals have always been key to the Paladin style and, as much as Blizzard says they want to avoid overspecializing the classes into particular healing niches, they know nobody would appreciate copy-pasting the same toolkit across every spec. So I really appreciate the new Paladin experience and Blizzard’s experimentation with some new and unique mechanics.

Did I say ‘experiment’? Well, in case you haven’t been MPQ-diving or reading the fine print on the Holy talent panel, there’s been a little ‘b’ for ‘beta’ next to each version number since The Shattering. Posts like this and this in my feed reader provide confirmation. Doesn’t that just suck all kinds of *nasty and horrible things you don’t want near your face*? Sure this change by itself isn’t game breaking and I’m sure I’ll heal pretty well next week, but it’s all getting a little bizarre. This recent comment from Nathera, combined with the 4.0.6a change, reveals how unstable the entire Holy Power system is for healing. Blizzard doesn’t quite have a handle on it but, worst of all, it looks like their right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

I enjoy Holy Power, but what was once a interesting and situationally powerful mechanic is slowly becoming a minor bump to healing output that only makes a difference in the long run. No matter how much crap I used to give my guild leader about padding with Judgement of Light, I’m not a meter whore and neither is any good healer. I play a Paladin because I save people and because, when it comes down to it, I’m one of the best at keeping that one special player alive; whether he’s the tank, the debuff target, or just “special”. Spending Holy Power for a little extra output just isn’t interesting or even very relevant to the way I play as a healer.

Realm-only Heroic Queue?

A caller brought this up on Episode 216 of The Instance (54:45): what if you had the option to restrict your random dungeon queue to only players from your server? The current system has lead to a loss of familiarity, if not camaraderie, with the rest of the players on our servers. It is absurdly easy to avoid most interaction with players you’re likely to encounter on a day to day basis.

There are many positive aspects to adding this feature. Meeting new people you’d want to group with again is at the top of the list. Since moving to Backrock my Friends list is basically empty.

There are also some ‘negative’ aspects to this feature, which necessarily follow the loss of anonymity. I was placed into a partially complete Stonecore with four players from the same guild on a different server. Ozruk, of course, was the next target. Following at least half a dozen wipes where the tank proved entirely incapable of avoiding Shatter, the GM shaman resurrected everyone on the other side of the boss. I understand this is one of the more difficult mechanics to deal with, but complaining in chat about Blizzard’s design is poor form for a guild leader. I am willing to cut the tank some slack, too, as it isn’t something I’ve had to learn (yet) and the mechanic is not at all forgiving.

What broke the run for me, however, was the pre-Azil trash packs. One pack was pulled and I nearly died; the tank and myself being the only two with aggro on the mobs. Then, following an interminable wait while I have to assume the tank was discussing boss strategy with his guild, both of the last two packs are pulled simultaneously with Azil. I believe the tank was dead (with heals and Hand of Sacrifice) before any mob was killed. I dropped group, for the first time ever finding myself in a dungeon run with players who seemed to be actively wasting my time.

The (largest) part of me that holds no grudges and wants to move forward quickly forgot their names, their guild, and their server. The rest of me is still offended more than 12 hours later that people would inflict themselves on others in this way. If they were on my server I would have more incentive to shame them. They would have more incentive to improve, or at least find a regular healer. As it stands they can continue to be horrible, anonymous players in a system where I roll the dice every time I click “Find Group”.

Next time? I’m taking notes and aiming for the Bee Pit.