03 November, 2006

The Paladin Ideology Scale

With the US midterm elections coming up, and drawing on my undergraduate roots in Political Science, I've been inspired to compose this topic. If there's one thing that can be said about the WoW Paladin community en masse, it's that they're all over the place on how the class is perceived. In the American political system, people are generally described as being on a linear scale, with left being more liberal and right being more conservative.

In the last post, Mastgrr highlighted a thread started by Joram - a notorious proponent of the extreme Retribution end of the Paladin spectrum. I thought this would be a good starting point, so for the sake of model building let's tack him on the far right. If you've browsed the Paladin forums with any degree of regularity in the past, you are probably familiar with Nobilityownu - a low-level troll (probably with a 60 Warrior main) that insists that Paladins should stick to (nothing but) healing, buffing, and keeping "pure classes" up and running at peak efficiency. We'll put him on the extreme left.

Thus, our scale is born. Bear in mind that this scale helps to identify how you believe the WoW Paladin class should be played and designed (as opposed to its actual performance and capabilities - something that could probably be quantified in hard terms). Below I've placed our extreme examples, along with my own perception of how I prefer to play the class.

I've always been a proponent of having options. If you like to heal and that's your thing, then I think you should be able to spec deeply into Holy and do that. If you like to tank, then Protection should return your talent investment richly. Likewise with Retribution and dealing damage. We should always remember, however, that the core of our class definition and lore is the service and protection of the greater good. This is why our Greater Blessings, heals, Cleanse, auras, etc. are all baseline abilities, but so are plate armor, Exorcism, stuns, and the ability to wield a wide variety of martial weapons. We are more versatile than Warriors and more durable than Priests in the face of a physical onslaught. Never completely neglect a valuable facet of the class. Pick a playstyle on the scale - whether it be dead center or closer to one side or the other. Just don't fall off the edge.

17 Comments:

Anonymous Davaeorn said...

This scale is missing "Protector" :(

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be a moderate. I believe all Paladins should be able to spec to any of the three talent trees, and be a valuable asset in that role: Healer, Tank or DPS.

Personally, I favor DPS with the ability to heal. Put me about where Vaelin is on the scale.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Mastgrr said...

I would be exact center. I want all three trees to be equally viable.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Ephor said...

The problem with current game balance is that the returns for going right of healing/dps Hybrid are virtually nil. You give up so much healing for so little dps. HS is on a timer only five seconds longer than CS (currently) AND it can be used with Divine Favor for a forced crit, and don't get me started on its superior range.

What's more, you don't have to give up vengeance to have HS and the loss of Fanaticism is made up for by holy power (which helps heal and HS crits too). The only thing you gain by going 41 Ret over 31/0/30 is a few extra points for stats, utilities, or extra armor - oh and 3% crit for your raid (plus repentance).

The Retribution and Protection trees have little to offer past Vengeance and Reckoning respectively. I'm fine if blizz doesn't want us to damage or tank like warrioirs, but don't give us half-assed damage and tanking abilities on tiers 7-9 if that's the case! That sort of equivocating makes it seem like they just want more paladins nerfed.

However, if they're truly having second thoughts about the CS nerf, they may just be a AS-deadzone away from real tree balance, so we shall see...

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Ephor said...

Addendum: Ha! forget to respond to the question: Ideologically I'm right-center. I understand I'll have to give up a good deal of dps for survivability and party member aiding and I'm fine with that (I perfer it actually, it's why I didn't choose a warrior). I'm just bitchy because I feel I'm getting screwed on my talent investment if I go farther from healadin than dead center.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I've always felt that the Paladin is a Warrior who has some holy spells, much like the old school D&D character class. Heck, the Paladin in D&D didn't even learn holy spells until level 3 or so (which is probably level 10 in WoW terms).

But, in terms of WoW, the Paladin should be 2/3rd Warrior, 1/3 Cleric. I base this off the Talent trees. Paladins have two trees dedicated to Warrior-like duties (Tanking and melee DPS) and one tree dedicated to Priestly duties (Healing and Holy spell damage).

Elderin, Retri-noobing since December, 2004
Real Paladins Judge Command.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Mastgrr said...

By the way, for you guys who are outside the United States: liberalism is referred to as a left-wing ideology in the US (in Europe and plenty of other democracies in the world the social democrats are the left wingers, which would be what in US terms is referred to as progressive).

5:35 PM  
Blogger Kaziel said...

I would say I stand at about the opposite of where Vaelin is. Some meleeing, but more of an emphasis on healing. If nothing else, there should be some paladins (or at least one Retridin with CS) meleeing to keep judgments up. And honestly, paladins aren't that bad at DPSing, so if one could keep up healing while meleeing, why stop them? Every extra hit means a little less time spent fighting, and it's not like it costs mana (the justification to me, why priests shouldn't nuke).

6:17 PM  
Blogger Lord Vir said...

FYI: I'm only talking about pvp here, since that is what I care about. ;)

The problem with current game balance is that the returns for going right of healing/dps Hybrid are virtually nil. You give up so much healing for so little dps.

Not really, You can go full ret, and still get spiritual focus and the 12% to your heals. The only healing options you give up are %5 to crit heals, illumination, and insta-cast healing holy shock. In the grand scheme of things, this isn't much.

While I don't agree about the spec statement (and I assume you meant spec, since you compare HS to CS below), I do agree that being melee first minded in BG's is very counterproductive. The problems are a lack of offensive options in melee range (compared to a warrior or rogue) and the fact that the paladin is the best pvp support class.

I used to think the statement about the paladin being the best pvp support class was overstated because the paladins flash heal is weak for pvp. However, support is more than just healing. Our short term blessings, protection, freedom, and sacrifce are better than anything a priest, shaman or druid can give out. They just seem to bring so much to group pvp, especially freedom since wow pvp is all about crowd control.

Finally our ability to bubble out of trouble once every five minutes can change a pvp fight totally.

In my opinion, the overall problem is the priest class should have been the best support class in the game (both pve and pvp), not the paladin.

HS is on a timer only five seconds longer than CS (currently) AND it can be used with Divine Favor for a forced crit, and don't get me started on its superior range.

CS scales upwards better, and is easier to get a high crit rate for. HS is more attractive with the lower cooldown, but the top of ret in BC appears to offer a lot more DPS than the top of holy.

What's more, you don't have to give up vengeance to have HS

If I go up holy in BC, I don't think I could pass up the top tier holy talents, the one that halves damage and the other one that gives 2.0 holy light spells (after one has been cast) are very pvp viable.

and the loss of Fanaticism is made up for by holy power (which helps heal and HS crits too). The only thing you gain by going 41 Ret over 31/0/30 is a few extra points for stats, utilities, or extra armor - oh and 3% crit for your raid (plus repentance).

The mana effcient damage of Empowered judgement will be a big deal as well. It will be easier to get melee crit than spell crit on plate I'm sure, so holy power really doesn't make up for fanaticism, they are going to be two very different gameplay styles imo. Of course this is theorycraft at this point.

The Retribution and Protection trees have little to offer past Vengeance and Reckoning respectively. I'm fine if blizz doesn't want us to damage or tank like warrioirs, but don't give us half-assed damage and tanking abilities on tiers 7-9 if that's the case! That sort of equivocating makes it seem like they just want more paladins nerfed.

I think the top of ret with vengence at 6 seconds (which it still is on test) is very nice. Empowered judgement makes judging command every 8 seconds a lot more viable, fanatcism means it will crit more often, to have vengence up more often. CS simply gives us more controlled damage, which is what this class was lacking.

Prot sucks from a pvp point of view, and needs help. One resistance aura, along with a talent to reduce spell damage for just the paladin and insta-cast avengers shield would all help. A good healing talent to encourage the 'battlefield healer' type prot build for pvp would be nice.

A prot paladin should be by far the hardest thing to kill in the game in pvp.

However, if they're truly having second thoughts about the CS nerf, they may just be a AS-deadzone away from real tree balance, so we shall see...

Even with AS deadzone being fixed, I still think that tree needs more pvp viability. Holy and Retribution look good to me (without the CS nerf), even if holy 41 is a bit lackluster.

I still think the paladin needs a move to attack magic users, such as a kick, pummel or maybe a mana drain type seal. Every other class has something like this (except maybe druids?).

For the record, I'm probably to the right on the scale, but I respec every month. I rolled the class hoping to get a melee based hybrid, but I find myself healing more often than not on my paladin in group pvp, simply because I like to win. :)

8:00 PM  
Blogger Lord Vir said...

By the way, for you guys who are outside the United States: liberalism is referred to as a left-wing ideology in the US (in Europe and plenty of other democracies in the world the social democrats are the left wingers, which would be what in US terms is referred to as progressive).

Funny, it seems like people who call themselves progressives in the US are the same as the liberals, but they just figured out calling yourself a liberal in US national politics isn't likely to get you elected.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Mastgrr said...

I'm contributing to a derailing here, but I just have to comment.

Lord Vir: Funny, it seems like people who call themselves progressives in the US are the same as the liberals, but they just figured out calling yourself a liberal in US national politics isn't likely to get you elected.

Liberals and progressives are two different kinds and I hate it when people use it interchangebly. I can agree to a certain extent that modern day progressivism/social democracy is very close to modern liberalism, but they are infact two unique ideologies with different heritages.

Progressives base their goals and ideology around the principle of the common good and it should be the people who decide, that we collectively we should all be counted for. The seventeenth amendment to the constitution is an example of this. They also believe to a certain extent of the equality of outcomes.

Liberals base their goals and ideology around the principle of individualism. Not a single liberal believes in the equality of outcome. However all liberals believe in equal opportunity, though that is where social (modern) liberals divide with the neoliberals (liberterians). Modern liberals believe that the government can be used as a positive entity and thus use it force to aid the people. Neoliberals believe that the government is only a negative entity and thus must be reduced to the size of a nightwatcher.

In MANY countries around the world, the Democratic party would be two parties. In my country where I grew up, Sweden, liberals are the right wingers and progressives/social democrats left wingers. They haven't even considered to govern together with each other for decades.

Hell, in many parties around the world liberals and liberterians are in the same party! Lib Dems in the UK reflect this. Same thing with ALDE group in European Parliament.

Main problem with the word "liberal" in the US is that it's been twisted in the way that it's become derogatory. My belief is that this is simply a testament of the what absolutely smashing power Reaganism and resurgance of conservatism had on our culture and that it really has been the Republican party that has set the tone of the debate from the 1980s to today.

Congress is most likely to become Democrat now in a couple of days due to large dissatisfaction of the war and Republican party in general. Many conservatives themselves are distancing from modern conservatism. Katrina I think also really boosted the shift towards more leftward thinking because people began to ask - why if we have a government, shouldn't be there to help us? In essence we're seeing a form of backlash I think from what was kickstarted twenty years ago.

As an additional note: Funny thing is that most Americans don't even know what the labels "liberal" or "conservative" really mean. 10% of Americans even have a flipped perception of them.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Lord Vir said...

Liberals and progressives are two different kinds and I hate it when people use it interchangebly. I can agree to a certain extent that modern day progressivism/social democracy is very close to modern liberalism, but they are infact two unique ideologies with different heritages.

Progressives base their goals and ideology around the principle of the common good and it should be the people who decide, that we collectively we should all be counted for. The seventeenth amendment to the constitution is an example of this. They also believe to a certain extent of the equality of outcomes.


So progressives have a populist type agenda? That doesn't seem to fit the 'progressive' label in America very well. For example, it seems that most American progressives would be for gay marriage, while a national vote on the issue would likely result in a rejection of gay marriage.

Liberals base their goals and ideology around the principle of individualism. Not a single liberal believes in the equality of outcome. However all liberals believe in equal opportunity, though that is where social (modern) liberals divide with the neoliberals (liberterians). Modern liberals believe that the government can be used as a positive entity and thus use it force to aid the people. Neoliberals believe that the government is only a negative entity and thus must be reduced to the size of a nightwatcher.

I hear the term libertarian used more than neoliberal.

Terminology in American politics is strange for example, social liberals aren't that liberal at all, they think the government should basically decide what is best for people. Libertarians seem like the liberal ones, since they are for personal freedom (in my view).

Paleoconservatives also believe like libertarians in smaller government.

Neoconservatism reminds me of the word liberal in American politics..that is Neoconservatives don't seem all that conservative.

In MANY countries around the world, the Democratic party would be two parties. In my country where I grew up, Sweden, liberals are the right wingers and progressives/social democrats left wingers. They haven't even considered to govern together with each other for decades.

Some Republicans have libertarians streaks, such as Ron Paul from Texas. They were once the party of less government, or at least Reagan talked a good game about less government.

Main problem with the word "liberal" in the US is that it's been twisted in the way that it's become derogatory.


Yeah, which is why I suspect a lot of social liberals call themselves progressives, but they really don't believe it should be the people who decide things if the people don't agree with their positions.

My belief is that this is simply a testament of the what absolutely smashing power Reaganism and resurgance of conservatism had on our culture and that it really has been the Republican party that has set the tone of the debate from the 1980s to today.

Congress is most likely to become Democrat now in a couple of days due to large dissatisfaction of the war and Republican party in general. Many conservatives themselves are distancing from modern conservatism.


I think many conservatives are realizing that Neoconservatism isn't really 'conservative' at all.
Running massive deficits, fighting a war when our vital interests are not at stake, free trade and illegal workers at the expense of the American worker are not classical conservative positions.

Katrina I think also really boosted the shift towards more leftward thinking because people began to ask - why if we have a government, shouldn't be there to help us? In essence we're seeing a form of backlash I think from what was kickstarted twenty years ago.

That is funny, because what I saw from Katrina was the opposite effect. That is, people realized when the shit hits the fan, the big federal government isn't going to come save you, at least not quickly.

As an additional note: Funny thing is that most Americans don't even know what the labels "liberal" or "conservative" really mean.

Considering the fact that nearly half of all Americans don't vote, and many who do are uninformed this isn't suprising if it's true.

10% of Americans even have a flipped perception of them.

Well that depends what you think the correct perception of what a conservative or a liberal is in American politics. It also depends who you have in mind.

(Sorry for the derailed thread, but the OP was sort of about politics.)

10:23 PM  
Blogger Lord Vir said...

Off topic for the thread, but interesting for paladins. Some guy on the beta forums claims SOR is killing SOC.

http://beta.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html;jsessionid=13604A9FEC27224017C118039558FB31?topicId=1100368&sid=1

Oh, and thanks for the insightful post before Mastgrr. :)

1:26 AM  
Blogger Mastgrr said...

So progressives have a populist type agenda? That doesn't seem to fit the 'progressive' label in America very well. For example, it seems that most American progressives would be for gay marriage, while a national vote on the issue would likely result in a rejection of gay marriage.

No. You're confusing populism with collectivism. While yeah - to a certain extent progressives very much are populists in many regards, they however ideologically look at a country as whole from the perspective of a collective.

I hear the term libertarian used more than neoliberal.

Mainly because, imho, liberterians don't have balls. The main reason they don't call themselves neoliberals is cause liberalism has a very special tint in the American language.

Terminology in American politics is strange for example, social liberals aren't that liberal at all, they think the government should basically decide what is best for people. Libertarians seem like the liberal ones, since they are for personal freedom (in my view).

There is very little difference between a liberal and a neoliberal. Ideologically they are the same with the exception of a flip of a switch from "positive" to "negative" (which some would argue would be a large difference, not me though).

Paleoconservatives also believe like libertarians in smaller government.

Mainly because conservatism (which really isn't an ideology, more of an attitude) found itself comfortable with the neoliberal policies of smaller government. The reason for this is that conservatism at its core is all about identity. Property equals identity. Increasing someone's property by reducing government interference is thus good for identity and so forth.

Otherwise Conservatism is all about the family unit and using the government as a paternalistic arm to tell people what morals they should adhere to.

Neoconservatism reminds me of the word liberal in American politics..that is Neoconservatives don't seem all that conservative.

Neoconservatism is primarly a foreign policy ideology.

The people who run the White House and both chambers of Congress are conservatives. I don't think blaming it on the neoconservatives is a correct assessment.

Some Republicans have libertarians streaks, such as Ron Paul from Texas. They were once the party of less government, or at least Reagan talked a good game about less government.

There are plenty of libertarians in both parties. There was nothing conservative about Barry Goldwater. DNC with the Democrats come to mind.

That is funny, because what I saw from Katrina was the opposite effect. That is, people realized when the shit hits the fan, the big federal government isn't going to come save you, at least not quickly.

I guess your right in the aspect that it depends from where you are looking at things.

1:37 AM  
Anonymous Vaelin said...

One of the key ideological differences between the progressive end of the American political spectrum (on the left) and the conservative (on the right) is their view of human nature. Progressives draw heavily upon figures like John Locke, and hold the notion that mankind is at best basically good, though more likely that they begin tabula rasa - in a neutral state. This represented a major break from the more longstanding view rooted in theology and heralded as far back as St. Augustine (and beyond) - that the nature of fallen man is a sinful one, and thus ultimately bent on evil.

To the progressive, the idea of a collective society where the vast majority of people are concerned with contributing to the greater good is a perfectly attainable goal given enough time and social change. The shift from theological understanding to a more complete reliance on human resources thus includes the relegation of faith to a very compartmentalized place in life, with the elite understanding being that it will ultimately be given up altogether as science comes to explain every remaining mystery in the universe.

The conservative sees the progressives' vision as impossible, due to the selfish nature of mankind. Many point to historic examples of failed attempts at creating a collective society, and the elitist class that eventually emerges as testament to said greed (usually high-ups in the controlling party). The founding generation of Americans knew this well, and constructed a system of government designed to divide power and pit selfish interests against other selfish interests. Faith played a large part in the lives of many of the American founders, though the degree to which it resembled modern evangelical Christianity is debatable. A number of the founders were more akin to Deists (God created everything, wound it up like a clock, then pretty much let it run autonomously).

5:27 AM  
Anonymous snow said...

pally prot tree buffed. Imp Divine Shield changed to Sacred Duty: 1 minute cd off DS AND 6% total stam bonus. Imp. RF = 6% damage reduction.

11:13 PM  
Anonymous snow said...

tier 4 sets:
http://www.worldofraids.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1168

Paladin tanking one is freaking hot.

1:23 AM  

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