Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ret Paladins "nerfed to the ground"

A slight play on words by Ghost Crawler of Blizzard CM fame. Paladins will be enduring a second round of nerfs after the previous round didn't exactly calm the near universal outrage against the class in PVP. And as one can imagine Paladin partisans, including those on WoWInsider are outraged.

I love the comment by Zach Yonson at WoWInsider, which is a complete distortion. And erroneous in its supposition.

This is an extremely disappointing course of action in comparison to the complete absence of nerfs to Druids despite their utter dominance of the Arena format for three seasons (reducing Cyclone's range wasn't quite the solution, was it?). Paladin representation in Arenas went on sharp decline through all four seasons -- and this includes the Holy spec.
I replied and was replied to by even more nonsensical postings by others which I won't bother chronicling here. Zach's belief that Druids dominate the Arenas flies in the face of reality. While Druids do in fact do quite well in the 2v2 bracket, they are about equal with Priests in 3v3, and are behind everyone in 5v5. Evidence of this is easy to find at SK Gaming and Arena Junkies. And why is this? In 2v2 you have the least CC of any of the brackets available. Yet Druids have two CC abilities, and used to also have a short stun move (Feral Charge), which is no longer in reach after patch 3.0.2. And Druids are extremely mobile and their heals are mostly HOTs. So doesn't it make sense that they would dominate the smallest bracket? That mobility is put more to the test in the larger brackets because there are more people involved in a fight, and greater pressure can be put on a Druid. They spend more time fleeing and less time healing in most cases. And when more people can focus on the druid healer, their lack of means to deal with it come into force. Priests and Paladins do the best in the larger brackets because they can withstand that greater pressure.

In any event Zach complains that nothing has been done to change this fact (what, the fact that Druids are hurting in 5v5 and are only middle of the pack in 3v3?), yet he doesn't offer any examples of what he would like to do to "nerf" that dominance. The problem that he, and Blizzard runs up against is that you can't really change what people like Zach dislikes about Druids (and he's really speaking about Resto only, while has nothing to say about how utterly un-viable Feral is in Arenas of all brackets and how Balance is only slightly better) without utterly changing the class from the bottom up. You'd have to redesign the class, which simply isn't going to happen. You can see how Blizzard has made attempts to counteract some of the abilities that made Resto Druids so good in smaller brackets by how they moved key abilities around in the talent trees, yet I'm not sure the changes are going to have as great an effect in 2v2 as people would like to see.

What people like Zach are refusing to acknowledge is that we're not talking about a healer who is mobile and can operate with impunity in a 2v2 bracket. We're talking about a DPS telent tree that enables that class to dominate PVP any where that character is at the moment. We've been seeing Ret Paladins run into small groups of people and just decimate them. Being able to take on 2-5 other characters, kill them all, and walk away still alive is not balanced. Not even close. Yet we were seeing it in every battleground, every day here in WoW. Their arguments to maintain their level of capabilities are completely without merit and make no sense.

I screamed bloody murder over the nerfs that the Druid class endured between patch 1.8 and BC. Its still the single largest nerf to any class since the inception of the game. So while no one really likes nerfs to their chosen class, I can sympathize with Paladins. But it still doesn't meet the level of nerf that was doled out to Druids. And we can all see it is necessary. Ferals could not even hope to waltz into a group of people in a BG post patch 1.8 and kill everyone with little effort. Not even close.