Thursday, January 15, 2009

Know Thy Friends (Paladin Edition)

Alright, so now we get to the class that is near and dear to me. Alot of my friends had asked me why I went with a Warrior over a Paladin for tanking. So I plan to address this along with why I did not want a retribution Paladin for DPS.

On the subject of tanking, it was really a tough call. Paladins have received a lot of nice tools to use while tanking and have gained a new taunt in the last patch. Blizzard has worked to make the class a solid tanking option and I respect that. I also respect the efforts of the great core of Paladin tanks out there, but my issue is not so much with what they can or cannot do, it is more with the one limitation that will not change. Paladins are a mana using class. No matter how hard we try to get around this fact, they are reliant upon mana and unfortunately in a prolonged fight or multiple bad pulls (take your pick here), I have seen Paladin tanks struggle. There are exceptions and I am fortunate enough to have a couple good Paladin tanks in my guild, and they know that I value them and will run anytime with them; however, we are talking on a broad general basis. With this thought in mind, a lot of Paladins suffer from the same issue which affects Druids, they switch specs too often and that is what causes many to not be at the top of their game. I speak of this from experience. I started out as a retribution Paladin and never had issues with this until BC content where no one would take me because burst damage was not as valued and average DPS was lacking. I switched to tanking, thinking that I stand there and get beat on, a healer heals me, and the DPS mow down the bad guys. This was so off basis it was not even funny. I then switched to healing and had to learn how to heal, but this came easy for me and I have been a healer in almost all the old world content, the BC content and much of the new expansion content. I never switched once I found my home as a healer and as such, I feel, I have stayed at the top of my game. Unfortunately, most hybrid specs cannot stick with one talent. If you doubt me, read the forums, all anyone cares about is being able to be duel spec. I think this is a negative for classes that can do multiple things such as tanking, healing and providing solid DPS. Time will tell if I am incorrect there.

As for the retribution Paladins out there. I simply do not trust you. Nothing too personal. I know what retributions are capable of and I am excited at how well they play (I rolled a new Paladin just to be able to play retribution), but it does not change the fact that most retribution Paladins suffer from the same problem I have with Death Knights, they charge reclessly in, ignoring kill orders, marks, show no regard for breaking CC, and pretty much feel they are unstoppable. Some of this behavior has died down, as this class of player naturally migrated to the Death Knight class, but it is still there. I have respect for the retribution tree and hope that in time, good players will show theirself and I can move a retribution Paladin into my groups, but until they learn to work with the group, all the benefits of the retribution tree are wasted on poor play.

When thinking of buffs and auras where multiple Paladins are concerned it becomes frustrating at times. I have seen several Paladins just switch their auras at will with no regard for the effect on the group they run with. This is worse when you have two or more Paladins in a group and they end up having the same aura up. Buffs must be planned out at the beginning of the group so that each Paladin knows what they are casting. Healing a Paladin is actually fairly easy. The prot Paladins will typically get the FoL, while retributions get BoL and reap the benefits of fighting near the tank (now if they would just stay there).

In closing my final thoughts on the Paladin is much the same as that of the Druid, there is so much potential that gets lost from people not focusing on one aspect of their character. I truly hope a core group of people really take hold of that notion because the hybrid classes have so much potential it is ashame for it to be wasted on poor play.

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