(Source Re: Tanking changes are based on a flawed pre
You're conflating two different problems, both related to AoE.
Problem 1: Mage uses Blizzard every pull. Starts to wonder what that Frostbolt button is for.
Problem 2: Warrior uses Thunder Clap every pull*. Starts to wonder what that Shield Slam button is for.
* - Yes, I know you need to TClap for the debuff, at least on dangerous
pulls. But the debuff lasts a long time. There is a big difference
between generating threat with Shield Slam / Devastate / Revenge and
using Thunder Clap for the debuff and just using Thunder Clap to
AoE balance for both dps and tanks (hell, for healers too for that
matter) is very delicate. If the numbers are too low, then it's never
effective to use them. BC felt like this for much of the duration. If
the numbers are too high, then it's always effective to use them,
particularly given how easy it is when you don't have to pick out
In both cases, the problems come down to repetition. Most endgame
players kill a lot monsters. When every fight feels similar, because you
approach it the same way with the same tools, then it's easy for
boredom to set in. Ideally, you'd go from say a 5 pull to a 2 pull to a
swarm to a single target boss to a 5 pull to a 3 pull to a boss with
adds, and so on. But even in that situation, if the pacing is too
predictable then you fall back into a pattern and boredom can get in
(Source Re: Holy Paladins - Compilation of Problems 4
I feel like we have done this several times and what many paladins are
looking for is not an explanation, but buffs. Nevertheless, I'll take
you at your word and try and boil down our design intent.
The BC and LK design of the Holy paladin was basically to use one or two
spells and get a lot of use out of them. This is sort of like the mage
dps design, where there aren't a lot of sources of damage, but there are
a lot of other factors (cooldowns, procs etc.) that make how you use
those spells more interesting. So rather than the paladin having 5
different heals, they pretty much used Flash of Light or Holy Light
(depending a little on what gear stats and encounters looked like at the
time) but with other spells to boost those heals, such as Beacon of
Light and Divine Favor, and then all the paladin support abilities, like
Paladins (all three specs really) were designed to be a really passive
class, with Protection doing a lot of passive threat generation (e.g.
Consecrate) and survivability (e.g. Ardent Defender), Ret doing a lot of
passive damage (e.g. Seal damage, Vengeance) and Holy doing a lot of
passive healing (e.g. Judgement of Light).
It made paladins play really differently for sure, but it was also kind
of boring. Because so much of what the class did was passive, players
weren't making a lot of choices. Because they weren't making a lot of
choices, there wasn't a huge difference between good and bad paladins
except gear. I don't really think any of the specs were as "faceroll" as
they often get labeled. However, the deltas between the good and bad
player weren't large enough -- great paladins were great and bad
paladins were pretty good. Honestly, the group to whom that is the most
unfair is the paladin -- you can work and work just for a marginal gain
above the guy who just picked up the class.
We made some pretty radical changes to the paladin class for Cataclysm.
There is another resource to master. There are opportunities to do the
wrong thing. A great paladin will have earned his or her greatness.
The Holy paladin niche, especially in Lich King, was to be the single
target healer. In a raid, this almost always meant the tank healer. We
designed boss damage to tanks specifically around what Holy paladins
could heal. It was okay for paladin healing to be overpowered, because
they really weren't competing with anyone for tank healing privileges
and we could just make the bosses hit harder. The paladin tree wasn't
very sexy though. It came with a lot of passive, boring or downright
useless talents. Paladins were at the forefront of our mind when we
decided to change talent trees.
Being in the same role all the time also gets boring. Imagine only one
melee class (say rogues) had a reliable interrupt, so rogues were always
given interrupt duty. Imagine mages had the only form of crowd control
-- every encounter that's what the mage would be doing. When the Holy
paladin can only heal the tank, then every encounter starts to feel
similar to the poor paladin healer. They never have a chance to offer to
stick with the second group or to raid heal or to watch the melee. With
our attempt to make 10-player raids feel more legit, we wanted to
handle the possibility that you might end up with two paladin healers
(or perhaps a Disc priest and a paladin healer). We'd prefer you to run
with a diverse raid comp, but we understand that isn't always possible.
There are Holy paladins who are used to being overpowered, because
frankly that's the way things were for a long time (again, metered by
the fact that your niche was very narrow). For them, anything is going
to feel like a nerf. Likewise, there were players who were attracted to
the class because it was very simple. We heard for years from the
paladins who wanted something more to do, so it doesn't surprise us that
now that we're delivering on that, some of the paladins who were fine
with the status quo are now voicing their displeasure. Overall, we're
very happy with the new design. We think it's fun to heal as a paladin.
The numbers might not be quite right yet, but that's the kind of thing
we're still tweaking. Perhaps two years from now there will be a lot
more going in with Holy Power, but we think we have a good framework
from which to iterate.
We think Holy paladins are good at 85. Holy Radiance is a powerful AE
heal. Light of Dawn is too, though it's more situational. It really
shines in larger raids. (Maybe we should have switched which was the
talent and which was the core ability, but we knew Light of Dawn could
have a more dramatic graphic effect since it was instant, which we
wanted to reserve for the healer.) Paladins have more choices now about
how to heal single targets -- they have a similar arsenal as the other
healers when choosing between efficiency, speed or throughput. They can
choose to avoid healing the Beaconed target or go ahead and heal the
Beaconed target, with different results for each. They still have a
little bit of self healing with talents light Enlightened Judgements and
Protector of the Innocent to try to keep that feel of them healing two
targets at once, as well as being sturdy healers, as fits someone
wearing plate and carrying a shield. Mana efficiency is something to
keep an eye on, but we have a lot of knobs to turn with things like Seal
of Insight and Beacon of Light. We recently made a change to make
Judging Seal of Insight provide more mana to the paladin. Paladins can
heal fine in 5-player dungeons and are doing great in raids so far,
though we're about to get a whole lot more data on that.
Unfortunately, many of these strengths don't show up at 80. Missing Holy
Radiance is huge. Mana isn't much of a problem on live today partially
because health pools are still much smaller. There isn't much of a
choice about whether to use Holy Light because the comparatively low
expense of Flash of Light, coupled with the risk that someone may die at
any second makes the decision about which heal to use not too
challenging. We haven't seen too much evidence yet that paladins are
much poorer tank healers than other classes, though I understand many of
you feel that to be the case. (It also doens't help that the popular
logging programs and websites aren't showing Holy mastery yet.) If we do
decide Holy can't competitively tank heal any longer, then we will buff
them. This is tricky though. Too much of a buff and paladins and raid
leaders are just going to conclude "Oh, Holy paladin = main tank healer"
again. Contrary to what you might suspect, our blue posts reach a very
small fraction of even the raiding community.
Mana may be a bigger problem at 80 just because we tended in the past
to avoid putting regen stats on healing plate, and many paladins are
sticking with the old models of stacking spellpower or haste, even when
faced with mana problems.
Also contrary to how you might feel, we think we did pretty well with
healer balance in Lich King. All 5 healing specs were represented. We
think we can erode their niches a little, such that the two druid raid
can heal fine, or such that you can put a Holy priest on the tank and a
paladin on the raid, without having the healer that nobody will want. We
haven't been in a situation where a healer gets sat for a long time. I
don't think it will be that way in Cataclysm either.
As a footnote, it's always hard to talk about the "average healer," let
alone the "average WoW player." There were paladins struggling for mana
before this most recent patch and those who balanced their Flash of
Light and Holy Light use. There were probably some who healed the raid
and doing an awesome job. We have to look at lots of different players
and often talk about you in more general terms than you actually
possess. Just because any of the above doesn't apply to you personally
doesn't make it an invalid conclusion. Just keep that in mind.