Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cataclysm Paladin Preview or stuff to activate on every COOL DOWN!

(Apparently clarifications have been posted already, will get to those after the raid!)

The early class previews are almost always wrong, in the sense that what actually gets into the expansion resembles it only slightly.  The early class previews for Wrath had us thinking casters would be constantly worrying about mana.  So, that said, here's my take on the Cataclysm Paladin Preview. 

If healing was the same in Cataclysm as is in Wrath then it would get boring.  The expansion would just be a bunch of new content which will play exactly like the content in Wrath.  A new expansion should change up our play style, force us to learn new ways to be excellent players. 
  • Crusader Strike will be a core ability for all paladins, gained at level 1.
  • Holy Shock will be a core healing spell available to all paladins
Holy Paladins can Crusader Strike and Retribution Paladins can Holy Shock.  The world has truly been turned upside down. 
  • Healing Hands (level 83): Healing Hands is a new healing spell. The paladin radiates heals from him or herself, almost like a Healing Stream Totem. It has a short range, but a long enough duration that the paladin can cast other heals while Healing Hands remains active. 15-second cooldown. 6-second duration.
This sounds a lot like the description of Beacon when it was first "previewed."  Proposed macro text, "Come close Brothers, so I can touch you with my Healing Hands!"  Seriously, based on the lack of any more information then raids will no longer be constantly topped off, ACTIVATE ON EVERY COOL DOWN.  I expect this to be a lot different once they actually start to implement and test it.
  • Guardian of Ancient Kings (level 85): Summons a temporary guardian that looks like a winged creature of light armed with a sword. ... For Holy paladins, the guardian heals the most wounded ally in the area. ... 3-minute cooldown. 30-second duration (this might vary depending on which guardian appears).
It's a smart bomb HOT.  Does it only heal one target, or does it constantly switch to whichever target is the lowest?  Too many questions to have any opinion on how this works, so I say, ACTIVATE ON EVERY COOL DOWN.  
  • We want to increase the duration of Sacred Shield to 30 minutes and keep the limit to one target. The intention is that the paladin can use it on their main healing target.  That said, we would like to improve the Holy paladin toolbox and niche so that they don’t feel quite like the obvious choice for tank healing while perceived as a weak group healer. 
The intention is for healers to be making smart decisions instead of just making sure they get something off every GCD.  It makes sense to remove the need to refresh the SS every couple of minutes since that is a pretty mindless behavior.  

Making SS last 30 minutes on a tank is reinforcing the tank healing niche.  They want to improve the toolbox, but not really saying how that will happen.
  • We want to add to the Holy tree a nice big heal to correspond with Greater Heal. Flash of Light remains the expensive, fast heal and Holy Light is the go-to heal that has average efficiency and throughput. 
Surprise! Just like all the healer previews (except Druids) the three heal model has been presented.  A fast expensive heal, an efficient heal, and a slow big heal.   I have to admit that I rarely concern myself with overlapping other healers while healing the raid.  The idea that target selection and heal selection will be more critical is going to be a challenge.
  • Beacon of Light will be changed to work with Flash of Light. We like the ability, but want paladins to use it intelligently and not be constantly healing for twice as much.
The Beacon is what enabled raid healing in the first place.  This seems to reinforce the tank healer niche which they are trying to fix.  The question will be, does the tank need a big heal, if not then Flash the raid, if so heal the tank.  That puts them squarely in the Tank Healer raid spot.
  • Critical Healing Effect: When the paladin gets a crit on a heal, it will heal for more.
Critical heals will heal for more.  So it's basically a critical heal bonus talent.  Sounds pretty underwhelming to me.

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