Tobold's Blog
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Hand of Reckoning

My paladin reached level 16, and got the Hand of Reckoning spell. 30 yards range, which is three times his previous longest pull range, instant, and dealing awesome damage when used for pulling. Probably one of the best pulling spells in World of Warcraft. And that completely transforms the paladin at level 16 from a somewhat boring, zero-button fighter, to an insane killing machine. Hand of Reckoning at 30 yards, Judgement of Light at 10 yards, hit the mob with a huge hammer at close range, dead, next pull.

All in all, the newbie paladin experience not only has changed significantly from vanilla WoW to today, but it is also somewhat incongruous, with the new spells being noticeably different from the old. Furthermore the paladin plays like a jack of all trades, master of all. Easily outdamages both warrior and priest, while keeping the advantages of both classes. Fun? Yes! Balanced? I don't think so. Definitely not during the leveling phase.
Balancing in low levels was completely during the last few years.

Try leveling a mage after the paladin and you'll start to laugh won't be able to stop ;)

3xfireball oom. Staff crit! For 12 damage. Next staff hit in 3 seconds.
Just got my mage to 80 and know what I am talking about ;)
If it makes you feel any better, they retain that not-balanced feel all the way through the game! :D

Super-Fun-Happy times!
I think you need to be careful comparing low-level experiences. Different classes come into their own at different points and being powerful at L16 doesn't tell you much about the experience at L74.

I was cheerfully tanking, main healing and topping the damage charts (at the same time!) with my L22ish shaman. It didn't last.
In vanilla WoW, before BC, the paladins awesomeness curve used to fall in line with other classes around mid 50s...

At this point, paladins will be at the same level of performance as others sometime in the next decade. They outdps all classes except maybe DKs.
I levelled one just after they became available to the Horde for the first time and I had a line of weapons waiting for her on TBC release day.

I remember running a group through Maraudon just after I got my Crusader-enchanted Taran Icebreaker. Top dps (by a mile), main tank, top healer (by a mile, thanks Seal of Light) and main resser.

It's fun to be a goddess.
I had the same problem when I was leveling my pally. My pally was 60 and my rogue was 72. Every time I would log on the rogue to level it I would think, WOW, my pally does about the same amount of damage, but with plate armor and can heal. Needless to say, My pally has been 80 for a little while and my rogue is still 72.

Ret has got to be one of the most boring specs to DPS as.
Things just change too fast at low levels to call yourself imba. A new spell, spell upgrade or a new weapon might make you imba for a few levels. And a new build might change your playstyle entirely.

As Sven says those times come at different levels. Getting a pet for a hunter/warlock. Being able to dual wield. Getting access to uninterupted life drain. Getting mail/plate gear,...

@Nils: Level as a frost mages. You'll last a lot longer. And seriously, use a staff? Frostbolt, frostbolt, frostbolt, frost nova, distance, frostbolt, frostbolt. Next.
I stopped WoW at 67 with my dwarf pally. Loved that class, but druids were still a far better PvP class then my pally. Whether it was open world ganking or duels, they bested me. So if you want to truly see if your leet, try rerolling on a PvP server and see which class you can beat consistently. Mobs will always fall over dead for your $15/mo, but a good player who knows his class will truly test your abilities (class and otherwise).
In early levels Paladins were ALWAYS very good: A warrior that can heal and has an invincibility bubble. This was the case since WoW 1.0.

The problems started later when Paladins were neither good tanks nor good DDs and mostly got pidgeonholed into the healer role.

But as others already told you, early level imbalances are quite normal. Warlocks totally wtfpwn with fear in earlier levels, too. Later it loses a lot of its power.
@ Carra I talk about lvl 16 ...
I've found that the shift from fixed spell costs to costs scaling by level has put the pure casters at a bit of a disadvantage during the early leveling game. It used to be that until the next tier of, say, Frost Bolt opened up the damage got less impressive, but the cost got more affordable. Now the leveling mage watches as damage gets less and less impressive while mana costs increase!

I imagine some amount of this will rub off on the paladin.

That said, this sounds similar to the experience of a druid finally getting cat form at 20 and going from up to a minute per solo fight to easily killing groups of two in half the time.
Having just run the next 20 levels of an Alliance Paladin, it gets even more imbalanced. There are half-zones of undead and demons coming up, which means Taunt-Exorcism does 75-90% damage.
Good news is Hand of Reckoning stays useful the whole lvling experience and even at the lvl cap for soloing.

Other good news seems to suggest that in Cataclysm not only are new lands and zones being re-tuned but so will the class lvling experience. I watched a few Blizzon leaked vids from and saw some high lvl abilities used at a much lower lvl. One example I saw a lvl 10 (I think blurry vid) warrior using Victory Rush, which is currently a lvl 62 ability.
I agree, Hard of Reckoning is awesome. I did a Paladin in original WoW and they sucked to level. In TBC, it was much better. Now, they are super easy to level, although still fairly boring and need more attacks.

Paladins seems to be the toughest class to kill, PvE or PvP. I like that. Although they are definitely overpowered, or rather, some other classes need an upgrade and some better balancing.
I noticed that when I die in a battleground with my S5/6 equipped mage it is usually a paladin.

I also realized that when I see a warlock, Deathknight or another mage (they are the easiest on average), I plan to kill them within the next few seconds.

When I see a paladin I automatically plan to spend the next few minutes on kiting/spellstealing and divine-shield-waiting.

They are OP right now and will stay so until Blizzard either nerves them back into the stoneage or changes the way they are played in a fundamental way.
"At this point, paladins will be at the same level of performance as others sometime in the next decade. They outdps all classes except maybe DKs"

I hope you mean in a leveling situation, because if you are getting out DPS by a ret pally at level 80 (on a single target mob..multi mob it can be iffy for some people) you are doing something wrong.

As for unbalanced, nothing is going to beat the DK pre 70. I solo'd the Ring of Blood in Nagrand up to the last boss at level 66. That was as Blood spec and I will freely admit that with my DK at that level I was more just hitting buttons as they came off cooldown than knowing wtf I was doing.
Kids these days. Back in the old days pallies waited to get Linken's Boomerang from Un'goro Crater in order to pull without using Ez-Thro Dynamite.

Enough joking, of course it's better now that all classes can pull.
Paladins and DKs are both amazingly easy to level, and DKs start at 55 too. Which probably explains why the two classes are the most popular in WoW, followed by hunters who are probably the 3rd easiest class to level.

It's obviously not a gamebreaking flaw in WoW, but I am surprised that Blizzard has not gone back to improve the soloing/leveling capability of the less popular classes. Leveling a priest to 40 is painful.
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