Hi guys! Missed me? Before I get into this with my usual grovelling about how I'm always late *coughs* I just want to say thank you to the people who do stick around, and even more so to those who comment. You guys are what make me come back to write more, and I really need the inspiration!
Also, if anyone is going to Blizzcon in October (for those lucky people who got tickets), I will be there if you'd like to discuss anything or just hang out and be merry. Look for a short haired, glasses wearing, petite girl with the name Prettyboi on her badge. I'll probably be accompanied by a guildmate of mine, possibly another if he manages to get a ticket from the opt-in. *crossing my fingers for you, Darn!*
Also, the last poll I posted was the preference of people on Servers. The final response was 25% liked PvP servers, 50% like PvE, and 25% liked both. There were small numbers this time around on the actual people who voted, so all I can conclude is that there are more people who play on PvE servers than PvP servers who read my blog. Interesting, considering I only play on a PvP server.
With that out of the way, let me jump into the WotLK stuff (finally!).
I don't pretend to know anything about Holy, really. It is, admittedly, my weakest spec, and people who outgear Kara DIE when I'm a healer (partially because my gear sucks so bad, but mostly because I'm just that terrible). About the only time I've done well as a healer is as a 2v2 Arena healer with an MS Warrior partner. But being good at Holy is not something that has ever really interested me, since *most* of the time, a Holy Pally gets to hit one to three buttons repeatedly and very few people ever thank the healers. Why would I subjugate myself to a thankless, boring role? (Note: Take my opinion with a grain of salt, please! I mean no offense to any healers, I personally admire you guys for sticking with it - it's clearly something I could never do.)
Anyway, I am reasonably intrigued with some of the direction they are taking with the Holy spec in particular with the upcoming expansion. However, certain aspects of what they tweaked just don't sound right to me. First off, we'll start with the knowledge of the spec I DO have.
When I frequent the WoW forums, there's a list of things that I hear Holy Paladins complain about. Correct me if I'm wrong on any of these:
-Holy Shock is more or less a joke, and the cooldown prevents us from being able to heal on the run like every other healer can
-Lack of HoTs is debilitating
-No AOE heal, on top of lack of HoTs and a weak instant cast make us the least versatile healer
-We rely on downranking for mana conservation, rather than having spells that actually support mana conservation or an active way to regenerate mana (Seal/Judgement of Wisdom requires melee, something a healer should never be doing)
Now, these are some of the fixes seen so far to alleviate these issues:
-Holy Shock's damage ratio has been adjusted multiple times, its cooldown has been lowered. In addition, it's usefulness has increased from being an unreliable clutch heal to a supplemental heal that assists Holy Light.
-We have an AOE HoT as our 51 point talent.
-If specc'd into Retribution, our critical heals also provide a HoT
-We have an Evocation-like ability now.
-We have a shield somewhat similar to Power Word: Shield, only not as strong
Now there's a few problems with these fixes. First off, while we gained one new spell to alleviate some of the problems we have (Beacon of Light), it's very situational and very expensive to cast. Since it turns a specific target into the source of the healing, you have to make sure it's someone who isn't going anywhere and someone who will be affecting the most amount of people to make the spell cast worth its while (casting on the tank to heal all the melee is probably the best bet I can think of, but I'm hardly an expert). Right now, it's more advisable to spec deep enough into Retribution to get Sheath of Light for the HoT on Critical effect, which is much needed by Holy and not really needed at all by Retribution.
I appreciate what they were trying to do with that (make Retribution a somewhat viable back-up healer), but Retribution never asked for that while Holy did. In addition, many of the gimmicks that they want to give Holy, such as Judging to get benefits to their healing, is something that should have been intrinsic to the class design from day one. While I personally like the concept, I don't know how it will mechanically work out. I also doubt other people will go for it simply based on precedence - meaning that they're so used to being Priests in Plate and not being anywhere near the fight that many won't take the initiative to change their play style. After all, with an option much simpler by, ironically, speccing into Retribution, why would they have to?
I don't think the Evocation-like ability is all that helpful either, especially since the main reason you'd need it is if you were spamming AOE heals. You can only spam the AOE heal 3 times in a row before you're out of mana, and all that means is now you can do it 6 times before you're out of mana.
These are really just some basic observations from someone who knows very little of the matter at hand. I do not have a beta account, so I haven't experienced any of these changes, and my understanding of Holy as a spec is quite limited. But for what it's worth, I don't think the Holy Paladin has been "ruined." I just think it's different now. Sufficient? Well, that I can't say without experience. I do think that they're likely lacking in certain areas, perhaps even to the point where they won't be one of the best single-target tank healers anymore. That doesn't leave much for them to be, or give them much use. I also dislike the idea that you have to have so many points in Retribution for the current optimal build. That's ridiculous.
Something needs to be changed. I don't really know what, and I don't know the fix, but I will concede that Holy Paladins had the worst "upgrade" in the Paladin class, and likely the worst upgrade as a healer, overall. I respectfully request that Blizzard take a look at what they did, and find out what works and what doesn't, and quickly. I understand it's a beta and there's time to fix things... but with their focus being spread all over the board, some things *will* be missed. And I wouldn't be surprised if Holy Paladins are one of the ones getting the shaft this time around.