Friday, September 7, 2012

Holy Paladin: Shockadin Debate

Unless you have been living under a rock, I am sure you have heard the recent "debates" regarding Holy Shock being extremely over powered. As someone who has played the Paladin class since the beginning, I have tried to avoid this discussion because I feel my viewpoint is one that would be biased and jaded. However, due to the fact that this topic simply refuses to die, I do feel it warrants a closer look at the underlying question of should the current concept of the Holy Paladin be split into two distinct specs (much as was done with the Druid's Feral spec) or should this concept be put to rest permanently?

First let's look at what a Paladin is, as defined by Blizzard:

"This is the call of the Paladin: to protect the weak, to bring justice to the unjust, and to vanquish evil from the darkest corners of the world. These Holy warriors are equipped with plate armor so they can confront the toughest foes, and the blessing of the Light allows them to heal wounds and, in some cases, even restore life to the dead.

Ready to serve, Paladins can defend their allies with sword and shield, or they can wield massive two-handed weapons against their enemies. The Light grants Paladins additional power against the undead and demons, ensuring that these profane beings corrupt the world no longer.

Paladins are not only zealots, but also guardians of the righteous, and they bestow blessings on those the Light would shine upon. The Light radiates from Paladins, and worthy allies who stand near them are emboldened by its power."

So from reading this description, we do not see where Blizzard states that Paladins wield the Light to cast Holy spells at their enemies; however, I think it is important to note that the Paladins originally were trained as both a Priest and a Warrior. So how does Blizzard describe a Priest?

"Priests are devoted to the spiritual, and express their unwavering faith by serving the people. For millennia they have left behind the confines of their temples and the comfort of their shrines so they can support their allies in war-torn lands. In the midst of the terrible conflict, no hero questions the value of the Priestly order.

These masters of the healing arts keep their companions fighting far beyond their normal capacities with an array of restorative powers and blessings. The divine forces at the Priest's command can also be turned against foes, smiting them with Holy fury.

As light cannot exist without darkness, and darkness without light, some Priests tap into shadow to better understand their own abilities, as well as the abilities of those who threaten them."

So you may be sitting there asking yourself why I am going over what some may consider to be extremely basic information. I do this because I think the very first thing we need to do is establish if a Paladin can in fact wield the power of the Light as a caster against all enemies and not just against demons or the undead. Now after having reviewed both what a Paladin is and also what a Priest is, I think it is safe for us to establish that the Light's power can be cast at all enemies, so long as the Paladin believe that the cause is just and true.

So now that we have concluded that there is room within the lore of the game for a Holy Paladin who cast offensive spells, the question now shifts to does the game need an additional ranged caster? This question is slightly more difficult to answer, because it is going to come down to your own individual opinion; however, let's ask when was the last time that Blizzard added a new caster class or spec? In Burning Crusade, we received two new races and had the Alliance receive Shaman while the Horde gained the services of a Paladin order. In Wrath of the Lich King, Death Knights were introduced as tanks and melee DPS. Moving to Mists of Pandaria, we are receiving the new race of the Pandaran. Along with the new race is a new class, the Monk. The Monk represents a brand new style of healing class, adds another melee DPS class, and provides an additional option for tanking. It would seem that we have not had any new additions to the ranks of our ranged DPS. If the question is simply should a new ranged caster be added? Then I would say yes because we have had, in some cases, multiple new roles added for everything save the ranged DPS.

This then brings us to the point of this debate, should the Paladin be given a ranged DPS spec? That is a hard question to answer because it is tied to both the emotions/feelings of the player base and the game design itself. I think given the fact of what Holy Paladins have shown to be capable of doing in terms of DPS, that the spec can be made a reality, but should it? Are we heading in the direction that Hybrid classes should be able to perform all functions in this game? (Tank, Heal, melee DPS, and ranged DPS) Does the ability for classes like the Druid and Paladin represent an unfair advantage to those player who choose to not play these classes? Would it create an imbalance in class representation? These are the questions that truly matter and there is no firm answer because they are going to be answered based upon emotion rather than pure logic.

Logic says that having more classes being able to fill more roles will lead to larger groups of players being able to play the class they love in the way they desire. This is a good thing isn't it? I think the issue for Blizzard is far deeper though. If they give in to the Paladin community, then what about the Shaman community who have (more quietly) asked for an Enhanced build that would allow them to tank once more. What do they say to the Warlocks, whom have been teased with the ability to tank utilizing talents that enhance their demon's abilities? Should they look at the very small minority of Hunters who want to have a Survival build that allows them to duel wield once again with melee weapons? The list can go on literally for eternity.

At the end of the day, I am a Holy Paladin. I have chosen to forgo the glory of landing the killing blow in order to pave the way for my brothers and sisters in arms to land that blow instead. When a difficult foe falls, I stand quietly in the rear of the party and take pride in the fact that no one lost their life. This is the path that I have chosen. I do not want, nor need a caster build; however, I am certainly not opposed to the idea. In fact, I would welcome this concept with open arms. Was it not Blizzard who said, "Bring the player, not the class"

My own opinion is that by opening more roles up to more classes, it stands to only improve the overall game. Should every class be given a fourth spec? Not at first, but I could see it becoming more prevalent as time goes on and opportunities warrant it. I do feel though that Blizzard has been flirting with some of these concepts for quite some time (Warlock Tanks & Paladin Caster DPS) due to talent builds and glyphs that have crept up periodically over the years in betas and PTR patches. As none of us know what will truly happen, I simply offer my own perspective on it and welcome any comments or ideas that you have on this subject. As always, I want to thank you for reading the blog and I hope you have a blessed day! See you guys next time!

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