12 July, 2005

Scrap the judgement system

I am getting more and more convinced of that the Judgement-system needs to be scrapped (or a total overhaul), and hope strongly that the design team is considering such a thing. Many of the judgments and seals are supposed to work with each other, which is supposed to create interesting seal and judgement combinations to juice up combat interactivity. On the table it's a very good idea, but in practice it is not.

Judging a seal costs 166 mana with a fifteen second cooldown. Combined with the fact that the most useful group judgments are random based such as Judgement of Wisdom or Judgement of Light, and where Judgement of the Crusader is supposed to be judged to increase the damage output by increasing holy damage -- tells the story that they're balanced for situations where you are more likely to stand and hit at the same target for over fifteen seconds, increasing your chance of getting the desired effect. The time spent on using the desired effect is supposed to make up for the high mana cost and cooldown. In other words, the entire system of how the Judgement-skill is balanced upon is that time rewards you. If you're a heavy hitter using a slow two-handed weapon you're not likely to judge in the first place, because this system also rewards fast weapons.

It has little or no use for in PVP, and it's bolstered upon further with the tediously high mana cost. The fifteen second cooldown means you can not switch targets at will. The high mana cost is a big reason why you're probably not judging in the first place since that mana would go better elsewhere.

When it comes to combinations, Judgement of the Crusader goes in hand with Seal of Righteousness where each time you get the effect of Righteousness the damage is increased by the judged Crusader. Judgement of Command goes in hand with Seal of Justice where each stun provides extra holy damage to the target. Judgement of Fury promotes Seal of Righteousness and Holy Shield (and Retribution Aura, but that's something I'd like to discuss another time). Judgement of Wisdom with Seal of Wisdom is a way to increase the mana generation rate while in battle.

Some of these combinations are great, but others are not. Combined with poor design they make the idea of combinations of seals and judgments very limited. For example Seal of Command is a talent gained seal making you unlikely to grab it unless you're planning on using it as your main offensive seal, its judgement does not give that much damage and Seal of Justice has diminishing returns and its talent to improve stun frequency to increase combination effectiveness is near the bottom of the Protection tree. Suddenly the combination of them are useless, hard to get, and provides little return for the investment in talents.

Another example is Seal of Wisdom. The cost of the two Seal of Wisdom at 175 mana and Judgement at 166 mana (a total cost of 516 mana). It doesn't give it's return in invested mana unless you're hitting your target for quite a while. This is due to the fact that the judgement and seal are random based -- not guaranteed to give you the desired effect of mana gain at every attack. This combination is ruled out in group play immediately due to the fact that two thirds of the melee classes do not use mana, then it's ruled out in PVP due to it's randomness and required time investment, then it's ruled out for use by slow heavy hitter specified Paladin players. All of this effectively shrinks it down to solo PVE at mobs which you expect take a long time to kill with fast one-hand hitters. It's ridiculous.

So in conclusion:

§ Promotes interactivity in battle.
§ Promotes judgments effects which benefits group.
§ Promotes interesting seal and judgement combinations.
§ Fifteen second cooldown and mana cost promotes strategic choice of target.

§ Designed to rewards time dedication, which disfranchises PVP use.
§ Judgement of Wisdom is useless for 2/3 of all the melee classes because they do not use mana, narrowing it down to PVE use only.
§ No other class beyond the Paladin and Priest does Holy damage, reducing Judgement of the Crusader down to PVE use only.
§ Hence due to the two points described above, group judgments are limited down to one: Judgement of Light.
§ Insanely mana-inefficient effect of Judgement of Righteousness, making you very unlikely to judge that seal.
§ Useless effects in PVP for Judgement of Fury and Judgement of Justice.
§ Some of the seal and judgement combinations are useless, hard to get, and provides little return for the investment in talents.
§ Rewards weapon speed, which disfranchises two-handed/Seal of Command players.

That the entire system is built up to disfranchise a popular talent build arguably used by a majority of the Paladin player base is a pretty fatal design flaw. Scrap the judgement system.


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