The Mandatory Paladin QQ Post

Being away and with little playtime to try out things has some advantages, I don’t get to react to strings of nerfs + partial reversals as they happen.

I got some playtime on my paladin (now Ret with the blue honour PvP set), and did some Shattered Sun dailies. And currently, despite the nerfs already live (and before the rest to come), from a pure solo PvP standpoint, the changes definitely feel good. Stuff dies a lot faster than before 3.0.2.

PvP? Haven’t had a chance to do more than one single AV, and I don’t think there’s any justification for me to start playing pretend DPS. Healing remains an extremely rare commodity in BGs, my PvP healing set is half season 1 and half season 2 kit from back in the day, I’ve only started to use some of the Ret healing toys a bit in the mix. In other words, I haven’t had a chance to experience that so badly decried uberness which has led to this uncessant string of nerfs.

That being said, what this past month has, again, amply demonstrated, is that Blizzard still has no clue about the paladin class. The sequence of “Ret is fine, stop QQing” leading to “it’s a bit too high, we’ll tweak a bit” followed by the implementation of “To the Ground, Baby”, a modification to the TTGB nerf, and now the backtracking on Avenging Wrath / Bubble / Forebearance, combined with the dramatic side effects on prot threat generation and holy solo-ability, shows a team of class designers in total disarray.

There is no plan, there is no coherent vision, there is also no consistent message and there is ample evidence of QA (including player testing on the beta and the test realms) being a shameful mess.

Ghostcrawler, initially applauded for a new approach to dev / player communication, is seeing his credibility dropping week after week.

An example, when he answers the forum questionHow do you come about your decisions and numbers to boost or nerf paladin class related abilities?” with the following gem, illustrates that we’ve moved from open communication to defensive PR bullshit:

We do very extensive testing on all aspects of combat balance. Remember, as a large company we have access to testing capabilities far beyond that of the average player. As developers of the game, we also have access to a large number of tools that we don’t make public.”

Sorry, Ghostcrawler. When 3.0.2 went live, you first told us Ret was fine, then perhaps slightly too strong in PvP, then massively too strong in PvP and PvE and again still too strong in both aspects (oh and we don’t know how to handle burst damage sorry but in another couple of months we’ll revert a lot of the nerfs because contrary to what we’re saying now Ret won’t be scaling well at level 80 beyond Naxx). I’m not questioning the reality of the class’ balance state, I’m simply unable to reconcile the evolution of your claims with the notion that you do extensive testing.

Or perhaps you’re simply unable to interpret the results.

The final nail on the Paladin class designers’ coffin is this gem hidden in the announcement of the next nerf (they said to the ground, after all):

Yet bubble+wings currently is used a lot in BGs and Arenas and helps contribute to the feeling of being destroyed by a Retribution paladin while you are unable to respond.”

Hello, Blizzard, ever heard of stunlocking? For four years, you have nerfed every other class who had the capability to kill another player while they were unable to respond. Never has stunlocking been touched. If rogues are to be the exception, fine, but you could start being open about it, and cut the crap like shown in the post above. As a former warlock main who’s had chain fear nerfed time and time again, I’m getting really tired of this.

That being said, since Blizzard has no clue, there are extremely smart bloggers out here who’ve come up with many suggestions to diminish the frontloaded burst potential of a Retadin in PvP without affecting PvE damage on longer fights nor holy / protadins.

The first, repeated often, is to stop seals proccing on special attacks (and adjust damage accordingly to make up for it). Almost every Retribution paladin who has given some thoughts to the matter recommends the same thing.

Blessing of Kings’ Rohan, perhaps the smartest of us all, has an extremely well thought out post with a whole set of measures to fix the issues. While I encourage you to read the whole thing for yourself, here’s the TL;DR version:

Have Judgement, Crusader Strike, Divine Storm, and Consecration share a 3 second cooldown (in addition to their normal individual cooldown).

    1. Change Judgement as follows:
      1. Increase cooldown to 12s.
      2. Increase damage by 20%.
      3. Change Improved Judgements to increase damage by 10/20%.
      4. Increase the duration of the debuff to 30s.
    2. Change Divine Storm as follows:
      1. Increase cooldown to 12s.
      2. Make it do Holy damage once again.
    3. Remove Seal procs from specials, and tune abilities upwards as appropriate.

If the burst frontloading is the issue, address the frontloading. What Blizzard is currently doing is lessening the value of every talent point invested in Ret more and more. They should make up their mind. If they want a holy-based burst class in the game, they should fix the frontloading. If  not, they’ll have to rethink the holy-based burst aspect from scratch. Either way, this is the fourth time they’re messing up the class in the same amount of years. Whatever they’re doing, it’s not working.

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