Monday, October 27, 2008

Chicken Little, The Sky Is Not Falling

To all those who have asked me in the last few days:

  • Yes, I have seen the newest beta build notes.
  • Yes, I know they're nerfing all seal and Judgement damage.
  • Yes, I know they're halving the mana return of Judgements of the Wise.
  • No, I am not panicking about "retribution being nerfed into the ground."

Look, current state we're overpowered. I was solo'ing an elite with no outside buffs. Me, in a mix of raid and PvP gear, with only Blessing of Might to buff me, smacking an elite in the face. Judgement of Light on the target, Seal of Command on me, instant Flash of Lights and Divine Storms healing me as I went. I was spamming every ability I could, and every time I judged I jumped up back over 80-100% mana. No class is meant to have unlimited resource. Even though mana is not a mechanic that melee classes work well with, when using every ability at our disposal still results in a net gain in resource over time, something is not balanced correctly.

My concern is not that Blizzard is nerfing the damage or the mana situation. My only concern is for non-retribution paladins. These changes will hurt protection threat and holy solo'ing-capability. I'm pretty confident that even with these across-the-board seal & Judgement damage reductions, and even with less mana returned through JotW, that retribution damage will still be high. Divine Storm and Crusader Strike still are instant weapon-damage attacks (ignore the fact that Divine Storm is physical instead of holy), and with Judgement of Wisdom, JotW, and Spiritual Attunement splash damage gains feeding mana back, a cycle of the two strikes and Judgement should still be pretty easy to maintain. What gets cut? Consecration, a pure AoE spell that seemed out of place in a damage rotation anyway. Mages don't cast Blast Wave in their normal rotation, nor do warlocks cast Rain of Fire or Seed of Corruption on single-targets.

Retribution paladins, stop panicking. Put down the pitchforks and torches. This may seem like a similar situation to the 2.0 implementation, but back then we didn't have a semi-open line into the developers (i.e. Ghostcrawler, thank you Mr. Street for keeping us abreast of the situation) and we didn't see retribution in upper tier raids at all. The situation is different.

Am I worried? Sure, I'm worried. I'm not sure that these balance issues will be worked out by expansion release time. I'm not sure that the tests on the Patchwerk fights in beta are being done under feasible raid conditions. I'm not sure that the paladin mana situation was tested in 5-mans at all. But am I going to storm Blizzard's Irvine fortress in protest and cause a ruckus on the forums? No. Absolutely, patently, without a doubt, no. This is beta, changes are inevitable, and balance must be maintained. I'm going to zip it up, sit on my hands, and wait for more data and more news. If I get to 80, do a Naxxramas raid, and can't even hope to keep up on damage with the rest of the party and/or run out of mana 2 minutes into the fight after using my Divine Plea and a mana potion, then I'll start to whine and panic.

Do not be alarmed. This is all normal. Wait for the changes to be made, try them out in beta, and then make a judgment based upon the data you collect there.


Dradis said...

I am still concerned. I did some testing on a target dummy in SW. I can hold a standard DPS cycle of CS, Judge, DS for about 12 minutes. However, thats on a target dummy. Things don't tend to go that smooth in actual groups. And those few times the a well placed FoL have kept someone standing, well that may not be an option as things are. We will see how it goes.

I still think that the Paladin team needs to sit and really really figure out what they are trying to accomplish, because I am just not feeling it right now. I could be wrong, I have been before, and I will be again. But I am having a hard time keeping the faith as it were.

Jason said...

I was worried when I saw the patch notes. Played last night, at 69 in mostly quest gear and bs blues... yeah there was a dps drop and my mana bar wasn't always full. I can still take 68 elites down without using bubble or loh. I may eat my words but ret WAS op. Very op.

I love the class, I love ret, and wow is my escape from reality. Blizz won't kill the class or spec, but NO class/spec should be playing wow like they're god mode in morrowind.

I personally hope this fix will fix our real problem... all the bandwagon players who rolled ret because it was op and are whining "I quit" over the changes.

Prot, holy, (gonna get smacked here) shamans and 'locks, you have my sympathy.