Too Legit To Quit
Anyone who's visited the US Pally forums knows of McHammar, the guy who popularized the Reckoning bomb. He quit playing and isn't expecting to re-subscribe until BC comes out (= can't post on the forums). Here's his thoughts on the recent debacle:
Hi there. It's me, Mchammar. I've been watching the Paladin forums again with great interest recently. It seems the new Burning Crusade has a lot in store for Paladins. And of course, since I'm Mchammar, I really mean PvP Paladins. But also maybe all paladins, for all I know.
My favorite, favorite thing about the expansion is/will be Crusader strike. I know it's not an original sentiment, but even with a 10 second cooldown I love this talent. Why? Because it's exactly what I wanted from back in the day. An instant attack for Paladins. I don't love it solely because it improves our DPS, but because, as a mostly PvP player, I love burst damage. And what more could a Paladin want? The 6-to-10 second nerf barely effects us in PvP, save in drawn-out duels. The real beauty of the skill is the way in which it actually augments a Retribution Paladin's ability to heal in PvP.
As of right now, almost all a Paladin's dps is autoattack. Crusader strike, even at 10s, helps this figure a lot. As far as burst damage is concerned, we can now break out a fierce combination of one melee attack + a JoC (at +15% increased crit rate, remember) + a CS, and possibly a SoC strike, all within less than a second thanks to unlinked cooldowns on Judgement and CS. Then, we have 8 or 10 seconds to choose between hitting an enemy once or twice, firing off a HoW, and/or healing a little bit, before releasing our next salvo. This combination, with the extremely believable BC character stats of 20% crit, 250 spell damage, 800 attack power, and 70 DPS on a 3.8 weapon, is capable of delivering almost 4000 burst damage, if everything crits. And that's without Vengeance, Avenging Wrath, Sanctity Aura, or even 2h mastery; with all these factors that number can increase to 6000 or more! On average, you'll be doing about 2500 damage to the enemy if you hit all 4. That ain't bad for a plate-wearing, bubble-popping, heal-tossing "tank" class like us.
A properly-played retribution Paladin will be a substantially stronger force on the battlefield, thanks to the improved Ret gear present in BC, and to CS. This is true even taken relative to other classes. Paladin gear, and it would seem hybrid gear in general, is being tuned more properly. It looks like Blizzard has finally figured out what Paladins do all day: Everything. Stamina, Spell Damage, Strength, Crit Rating, and Int make a good Retribution Paladin, and thanks to the new level cap and relative powers, it's finally possible for all of these to be doled out in adequate amounts, at once. Take a look at the Thottbot beta plate.
And now, to return to what most of you have probably come to expect from me, comes the part where I tell you to quit yer bitchin'. The recent nerfs to vengeance and CS reek of an attempt to reduce Retribution Paladins' raid (read: sustained) DPS, it's true, but who's to say that that's such a bad thing. I still think anyone who rolled a Paladin with the intention of being a damage-dealing machine when they had the option of being a mage, warlock, rogue or hunter (whose ONLY possible role is to be a dpser) has brain damage. In PvE, we're supposed to be a "tank-healer hybrid." I'm not prepared to analyze our tanking, but I think the combination of our new abilities with new gear, horde paladins (and therefore, encounters allowing for or even demanding Paladin tanks), and a shift towards more hectic raiding experiences will give us plenty to do. Also, unlike what some people have been saying, unless you have perfectly wrong timing, you still have 2 chances to hit a Crusader Strike in order to refresh a Judgement. Remember, Judgements are 20 seconds now. You can miss a CS 5 seconds into the jJudgement and still get another shot at 15.
I've said it before, and I'm just about to say it again: Paladins are, above all, a hybrid class. There are, of course, still plenty of people that know this, but there seem to be many who don't quite get it. In BC PvE, we'll hopefully be scrambling around protecting the wee squishies like I remember doing back when I was leveling my Paladin. In PvP, we'll be able to take hits, throw big fat heals around, and hit like a wrecking ball. And based on what I've seen of the new armor, we won't even be all bloody golden anymore.
Oh, by the way, remember when the only way to really outfit your Paladin beyond Soulforge was to be a rank 13 PvPer and/or raid Nefarian every week? Well, some of the blue stuff dropping in TBC is actually balanced towards Ret Paladins, and has stats comparable to current PvP armor. Speaking of PvP armor, that's been made easier for the average person to get, too. Finally, I can just play the game how I want (by PvPing), without having to do it for 16 hours a day, and get the gear without having to waste my life away feeling like a greasy asshole talking to my guildmates on Ventrilo. I can't wait.