Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Paladin sucks

Broken Toys had a link to a blog named Paladin sucks. This is a blog where over the course of a year, in nearly daily blog entries, a paladin explains why his class sucks, why Blizzard hates paladins so much, how every patch either ignores them or nerfs them, and so on. Talk about love-hate relationship. I'm not a big fan of playing a paladin either, but I found a relatively simple solution: I leveled a paladin up to 30 to get a feel for the class, found I didn't care for it much, and simply abandoned the character to play something else.

The disadvantages of playing a paladin are obvious: He is a hybrid between tank and healer, with neither of his two aspects being very good in dealing damage. Basically the paladin is excellent in the important skill of "not dying", but pays for that by being barely able to kill anything. If you made a contest where you take one participant of each class and time how long it takes each of them to kill a specific mob while soloing, paladin would come last. On the other hand if you made the contest about the same characters being attacked by an ever increasing flood of mobs, timing how long it takes until they succumb, the paladin would be top of class. Unfortunately "not dying" is a lot less heroic and fun than being able to kill monsters.

So wouldn't the "not dying" skill make the paladin the ideal tank? Unfortunately not. Because tanking is all about holding aggro, and the paladins taunting abilities are far inferior to those of a warrior. And the most important "not dying" skill, the famous invulnerability bubble, reduces the paladins aggro, and sends the mobs killing the other party members. And as always in MMO groups: specialists beat hybrids. A duo of one tank and one priest is a lot better than a duo of two paladins. In the end the paladin is reduced to buffing, healing, and purifying in groups and raids, being a less efficient healer, but a harder to kill one, which can be useful in some situations.

Classes that are there for support and defensive are necessary for a MMO. But that doesn't mean these classes are necessarily fun to play for everybody. Playing a support class requires a special mind set, as any holy priest can assure you. What works against paladins is that they *look* a lot more martial than they really are. You wouldn't suspect a (shadow) priest to be able to outdamage a (retribution) paladin, but that is exactly what happens. Many people who wish to deal lots of melee damage are seduced by the sexy look of World of Warcrafts huge 2-handed weapons, failing to recognize that the class which deals the most melee damage is in reality the rogue with his harmless looking dagger.

Fortunately there is one area where paladins shine: PvP. As the taunting abilities don't work in PvP, and there is no aggro management, suddenly paladins are a lot more powerful defenders than warriors. Being hard to kill even makes them better healers than priests in PvP. The invulnerability bubble, which isn't much of a help in a PvE group, suddenly becomes a very powerful tool in PvP. So powerful in fact that in the Burning Crusade expansion priest will get the ability to dispel the bubble, to the exasperation of many paladins.

Does being a paladin suck? Only if you started playing that class with wrong expectations, which is a definitive risk. If you want to play a healer / aggressive melee hybrid, you should take a shaman instead, even if their armor doesn't look half as good as the paladins. If you want to play a healer, play a priest. If you want to play a tank, play a warrior. And if you want to deal a lot of damage in melee, play a rogue. Expecting to be able to do all three things in one class, and each better than the specialist classes, isn't very realistic, and is bound to lead to disappointment. Then you could either join the growing horde of grumbling paladins, or just play something else.
or just play something else

(Kinda on topic...maybe not.) There is a common response to priests who complain about the state of healing in WoW. "If you didn't want to heal why did you roll a priest?"

I did want to heal, but the expectations from everyone makes healing not as fun as I thought when I first created my character.

Perhaps pallies are the same way. Expectations of being a holy warrior in the beginning, yet turning out to be a cleanser in the end. But you don't want to throw away all the time you invested AND you always hold out hope they may fix things...
I can't agree more with playing a class with the right expectations. For those who don't know what they want to do I highly recommend the druid. While not a specialized class and not quite as good as a warrior, priest, or rogue, at tanking, healing, or dps respectively. You sure can change your mind and respec if you don't like the route you're taking.
The problem is that the paladin changes at 60, not at 30. Most of us are really happy with the paladin before then. Honestly, I believe that playing a paladin in a 5-man instance is the single most rewarding experience in WoW.

The problem is the raid game. How would you feel if you rolled a melee class, a class with zero ranged attacks, and you were not allowed to go into melee?

And honestly, the dangers of going into melee on raids are overrated. But it's really hard to argue with raid leaders, especially when they have the perception that if you are in melee the healers are constantly healing you, and you're not doing uber-damage like rogues to justify that healing.
I guess this is true solo, but FWIW 2 pally's working together consistently can take on a lot. That's what my gf and I play (one is specc'd retribution and the other protection). Two auras, two blessings, two abilities to heal, turn, etc. We've made 50+ in a few weeks of very casual playing and can even do a few <40 instances only together.
My first character in WOW was a pali. I quickly noticed that this class was not for me as I found it disturbingly frustrating to live forever but dish out little damage.
Warrior was a bust as well because the first thing I realized about that class, is that without the right gear, a tank is kinda like a crappy rogue. I rolled a rogue and never looked back. Now at 60, I have 3 alts but my favorite is the warrior as I now have the money to create my ideal tank. At level 21 my warrior has 1106 health and 1650 armor unbuffed which allows me to tank mobs that are 4 levels higher than myself. Hybrid classes may be fun for some people, but for me, I have to play a class where I know my role. It is also nice as a rogue to only have druids to compete with for gear as druids are not very popular on my server.
Note that Paladins *can* MT, they're just not ideally suited for it. No snap aggro, less helpful tanking stats on T1/T2, etc.

Sometime last week, I MT'd UBRS with my Pally. It wasn't ideal. It was a PUG. My Pally is in 7/8 T1 and 1 T2. The Warrior wasn't very good and I took over MT about 20 min. in because it made more sense (plus I could pull with Holy Shock). Was lots of fun, despite a few deaths from the Druid underhealing me.
Pallys = flag carriers in BG FTW!
The problem with the argument of "why did you pick x or y class or not reroll" is threefold:

1. the 60 game is nothing like the 1-59 game
2. Blizzard's talent trees set up expectations for things to work a certain way
3. often it's player bias and ignorance of how to play that forces us into certain roles

1. 1-59, shadow is easy, as a shadowpriest I've even solo healed UBRS except for the beast and drakk fights, where I asked the feral druid to help. But suddenly after ubrs it's all different. (though ZG does not seem to be hard at all to heal.)

2. with the talent trees set up the way they are, there is the expectation that you can do those other activities. Suddenly you get to 60, and the game doesn't live up to those expectations. Whenever people's expectations are not met, they get upset. If the shadow tree was never there in the first place, priests wouldn't get upset about changes to it. If we didn't do such great damage 1-59, we wouldn't get upset when it's assumed we can't do great damage at 60.

3. player bias. This is a big one, little tyrants running guilds like 3rd world countries, ignorance by people who haven't played priests or paladins. People think you HAVE to do things a certain way. For instance, people used to say you HAD to be holy to heal in MC because it was just too hard, now if you read priest forums people say 'oh MC is easy, BWL is hard, you can be shadow in MC' now Naxx is the tough one, though no one is saying BWL is easy yet :) When statements like that are made, it seems pretty obvious it's just the "accepted wisdom" not tested empirically, or it wouldn't keep changing, since it's not attributed to gear more like "wipe until you figure it out, then put it on farm".

Basically the 1-59 game sets up priest and paladins for a big letdown when they hit 60, hence the angst. And, being an MMO, other players just add to it with their bad attitude towards us because we are "support" and are treated as less for some reason.
"being a less efficient healer" - Actually, Paladins have the most efficient healing spell in the game. Additionally, if I don't come top/second on the effective healing charts on a nights raid, I'd die of shock.

Paladin's Healing abilities are always overlooked.
brian is an example of the crap we put up with every day.

He says priests are treated fine, not bad at all. AND YET he proceeds to call me selfish and not useful, never having met me or seen me perform. Last raid I was on (an awful pug in zg) I was the only one bothering to heal the tank, the priest assigned forgot and was healing god knows who. but No, brian says I'm selfish and not useful.

What i really love is when i get lectured by DPS warriors. When they tell me to reroll I tell them to reroll a rogue, they get all pissy then and say "it's different"
I can't speak to the Priest question, but my first character in WoW was a Paladin (and he's still my best-equipped character) and my second was a feral Druid. In my guild, at least, feral Druids are well-loved, and get put into dps groups on raids for the crit bonus (and emergency healing, if necessary). Most of the Paladins are Holy spec -- mine is kind of a weird mix spec, with no 31s in any tree, but the mix gives me great flexibility -- and regularly come in at or near the top of raid healing charts. The 60 I play most often these days is my Rogue, and that's just because doing the damage is much fun.

The expectation/reality divergence concerning Paladins is probably the greatest of any class in WoW. The problem is that if you're old enough to have played D&D, you remember the Paladins as kickass melee types, with some anti-undead skills and holy spells (and in one version of AD&D, they were probably the most powerful melee class); if you played EQ, you remember the Paladins as (eventually) great tanks and deadly against undead. If you read the Paladin class description in WoW, you'd think that the Paladin as "holy knight" pattern would continue.

But Paladins in WoW are D&D Clerics with swords: mediocre in melee, but well-protected, and with a strong emphasis on healing. If they'd been given a class name that was not so derivative of D&D, there would be less complaining (and probably fewer Paladin characters...).
The problem with telling paladins to be "disappointed or not play" is that...well, more and more paladins just aren't playing. It used to be that you couldn't get into a raiding guild on my server as a pally. Now the new guild I'm in is short on pallies more than any other class, more than even priests, which are always in short supply. There have been more times than I can remember that I've been in a 20-man guild run and I've been the only pally. (Of course, then everyone wants kings, might/sal, and light/wisdom, and gets pissed off when told they can only have one.)

The problem with your advice is, frankly, everyone's taking it. Now what?
I had no Idea that Paladins were so weak when I started investing so much time and leveled to 60.

The DPS is laughable, no Ranged attack whatsoever. After 4 heals we are out of Mana and it takes 2.5 sec for each heal, forever!!!

We can't tank because no Aggro, we can't heal because too much Mana. We are like a tank with hurling pebbles.

Now I here that they are going to Nerf our Divine shield.....Unbelievable.

Our Talent trees are a mess and most talents are meaningless.

Its very Frustrating that you need to rely on other classes to kill something all the time.

Who cares if you can take a beating if all you can do is walk around and wait to be killed.

Blizzard need to give Pallies some love!!
Im not sure how your paladins are created but I made a retnub pally who can outdage most of the dps classes. Just takes time to build it right with the correct equipment. My melee crit % is 25% which lets me do massive amounts of damage with... crusader strike and seal of command then a judment and i just did over 3000 damage in under a 2 sec. and its just a 6 second co0ldown and I can do it again.
Paladins are not Tank/healer hybrids. We're Tank/DPS/Healer hybrids. We always had the Retribution tree.

Also, Paladins are meant to be Melee fighters ( that can take damage and deal it ) and secondary healers.

That's the tradition of the Paladin which dates back to D&D.

People just hate a Holy Warrior.
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