Sunday, October 26, 2008
I Would Have Settled for the Nerf Bat........
Well, looks like we are getting hit with the nerf nuclear missile. I agree that our damage is a little out of whack at the moment. I have out damaged a T5 Feral Druid on several occasions (yes this means you Curdt). Do I feel that was right? No, especially considering that I am still sporting a lot blues and only have one piece of T4 and two pieces of badge gear. My gear is pretty crappy. I should not be able to out DPS anyone in T4, much less T5. Sorry Curdt.
So what is Blizzard's solution? Nerf us "to the ground, baby!". And I am not talking just overall damage output, nope. I am talking about mana efficiency as well. I guess we just weren't going OOM fast enough. But, here is the thing. You nerf our damage, fine. It was not entirely unexpected. But you nerfed our utility at the same time. Huh? Yeah that's right, utility in a group has also been nerfed "to the ground baby!" due to the changes to Judgements of the Wise.
JotW has been reduced from a 100% chance to return 33% of base mana upon casting Judgement to a 100% chance to return 15% of base mana upon Judgement successfully landing. This is a big change. Now its absolutely imperative that we are hit capped just to make sure that our Judgements land. And I believe that Judgements are based on spell hit, which means that we will still have a 1% chance to miss. That combined with an over 50% reduction to mana returns is a little crazy.
And I will say that I have gone OOM in fights before, even on trash. I had started to rely on the fact that my Judgements would be able to get my mana back up long enough for me to DPS for another 8 seconds until I could Judge again. What happens now if I am OOM and waiting for my mana to return enough to Judge, only to have my Judgement miss? I will probably have to stand there for even longer. But I won't be waiting for the Judgement cooldown to come back up, I will be waiting for my mana to regen enough to even cast another Judgement. If my Seal drops off in the mean time, I am going to be real screwed since I won't have the mana to up another Seal and then Judge. This also means I will have to tweak my Seal refreshes as well to lengthen the amount of time that I am able to DPS. Where I used to refresh seals when they had 20-30 seconds left, I am going to have to move that to 10-15 or less to conserve mana, which means I run a bigger risk of putting myself in the situation I just described. Hell, that situation has already occured on more then one occasion as it is, with the exception that JotW would be there to get me back into the fight. Not anymore.
So what does all that have to do with utility? Well essentially, Ret Paladins will no longer have extra mana for Cleanse, FoL, or Hands. I had been doing all of that in combat via Healbot. It was great being able to take some of the load off of whoever was healing. Not anymore. We won't be able to spare the mana.
The other issue I have is that we are a melee class, and more and more we are becoming a physical damage class. That is fine, but I don't see what sense it makes for us to be energy starved when it seems like Warriors, Rogues, and Feral Druids don't have the same problem. We should not be energy starved if we are doing a normal DPS cycle. Adding in things like FoL, Cleanse, etc, should negatively impact our energy pool. However, we should not be stuck auto-attacking because the devs cut our legs out from under us. Just a quick comparison to Rogues as far as regen rate goes:
Rogue - 20 energy per 2 second tick, which is equivalent to 20% of their energy since they only have 100 energy. Complete energy refund every 10 seconds. This is counter balanced by the relatively higher percentage cost of their abilities and the lack of gear to increase their base energy (some exceptions and talents apply, however this is not the rule).
Paladin - Chance at 15% base mana per 8 second Judgement cooldown. Complete base mana pool refund every 56 seconds, however this will is not be the entire mana pool. This also assumes that none of the Judgements miss. This is offset by the relatively lower percentage cost of abilities. Regen rate can also benefit from Replenishment and Judgement of Wisdom. It does make for an odd position since JotW does not scale with Intellect, but JoW and Replenishment do.
Although I don't have any solid numbers right at the moment, it would seem that there is a great disparity between Paladin sustained DPS and Rogue sustained DPS just based on longevity. We should, by all rights, be able to DPS as long as a Rogue provided we are just doing our damage cycle. Again, adding in extras should negatively affect our mana pool. It will also negatively affect our damage output since those extras reset our swing timer. I don't know how Warriors work, but it seems like they usually have a pretty steady supply of Rage. If they don't, then they should, and they need to bitch at Blizzard. Melee DPS should be on par with each other for their ability to sustain their DPS, other wise some is gonna be left out in the cold. Even Enhancement Shaman do not have mana issues that I have seen. Most of them don't even run Water Shield. Where is the parity?
At this point, I am concerned for the future of Ret Paladins specifically and Paladins in general. I really feel bad for Holy Paladins since this nerf is really going to screw them on damage output, whereas every other healer is getting a damage buff. Holy has to do dailies too ya know. Not to mention that they are going to have to level up in a few weeks. And until that dual spec feature comes online, there is going to be a shortage of Holy Paladins in WotLK. Prot spec should come out of this ok, but that remains to be seen.
I am going to wait to see how this plays out. If it feels like I am playing my 2.4 Ret Paladin again, well I don't know what I am going to do. I have done so much with Dradis over the past few weeks. I have earned a lot of achievements, seen a lot of content, and earned a lot money. She is my first toon to get 70 and I was really looking forward to having her be my first toon to 80. I also really only have time for one character between family, school, and work. I so desperately want that time to be spent on Dradis, but I refuse to be stuck with a boring sub par class for another expansion.
Would I give up WoW if this nerf is as bad as it is starting to look? No, I have too much fun with my friends and there is a lot about this game that I love. I have 8 other classes (9 after the expansion) to play that I have never used at 70. I have a Hunter sitting at 61 and a bunch of lowbie alts that already have a few levels on them. So worst case, I can pick up with one of them and keep on playing. But I don't want too. Aside from Dakkar the Hunter, my other toons have a long long way to 70.
Not to mention, the Paladin is very me. There is something very appealing to me about the lore, the style, and the symbolism of the Paladin in WoW. For those reasons, I would rather stick with my Paladin and have her be the first to see Naxx, two handed sword firmly in at the ready. But, I will have to wait and see how much crack the Paladin development team at Blizzard is smoking before I decide what to do.
And a final comment to Ghostcrawler, although s/he will probably never see it. I really hope you do right by Paladins and genuinely take the plethora of information available to you from players into consideration. If you can't do that and if Ret Paladins are left in the horrible state they were in for all of TBC, I hope that Blizzard will see fit to find a more capable replacement.
PS: Draydis is now on permanent hold. Additional leveling while bored will be done on Dakkar and/or Dradias.