Blizzard Is Not Concerned with Prot Pally Viability in PVP


Back in November, Ghostcrawler said:

We’re hoping that Rated BGs give Prot specs a useful role similar to tanking in defending towers, carrying flags, etc. A tank in an Arena needs to have a lot of control and damage just like everyone else to be competitive, which coupled with their inherent survivability and resistance to being controlled got us into trouble.

GC’s comments back then made sense – they wanted Prot specs to have a “useful role” in PVP, but they were concerned about balance. I can totally appreciate and respect that.

Last night, Daxxarri posted that Blizzard is not concerned with keeping Protection Paladin viable in PVP. Here are the sections related to PVP (bold emphasis mine) for Prot and Ret:

We’re not too concerned with keeping Protection viable in PvP. We know some players enjoy it, but the majority of Prot paladins are more concerned with their ability to tank, and that’s where we spend most of our Protection design effort. It’s a great goal to make all of a class’s specs viable in PvP, but it’s not always possible to do so and paladins have other options.

We think the 4.06 changes overall gave Retribution too great a buff for PvP. We realize that there are those that disagree, but we’re pretty firm on that point and we needed to make some adjustments. Given that Ret is primarily a dps spec, we thought it made more sense to reduce their off-healing capacity, which had become quite strong, rather than their damage.

That’s not to say that we mind a hybrid dps spec occasionally helping out with healing – that feels cool, and it’s appropriate. On the other hand, we want damage focused specs to be primarily focused on dps. It’s true that there were other ways we could have reduced Retribution healing. We could have changed Selfless Healer or even Word of Glory itself. As I mentioned earlier, after looking things over, we arrived at the conclusion that having a powerful heal you can use infrequently is more compelling than having a weak heal that you can use more often.

The things said by GC and Daxxarri are not aligned – Prots are either viable or not viable. If they are not viable, they are not useful.

Let me make a few points here:

  1. Blizzard has not yet implemented “tanks” effectively in PVP in WoW compared to other games
  2. The WoW community, which consists of a lot of players who have only played WoW, doesn’t have a lot of experience or perspective on what well-implemented tanks in PVP look like
  3. Retribution in 4.1 is still screwed

Blizzard has not yet implemented “tanks” effectively in PVP in WoW compared to other games

WoW back in Vanilla was largely a PVE game, with limited PVP content. In TBC, Arenas were introduced. In WotLK, it got even easier to grind out PVP gear with Honor. In Cata, most of the Rating requirements were removed from PVP gear. So WoW has gradually been increasing its PVP content and accessibility. These are all good changes.

That being said, WoW is lacking mechanics for tanks in PVP, relative to rest of the market.

For example back in 2008 Warhammer implemented tanks with the following features:

  • Against players, Taunt acted as an interrupt and buffed the tank’s damage on that target
  • Tanks had a Guard mechanic, which was a buff they could put on a single player, to re-direct some of the incoming damage on the Guarded player to the tank. This was an awesome mechanic. A tank could put Guard on squishier DPS or Healer to help keep them alive under focus fire
  • Tanks had Hold the Line, which was an avoidance buff that the tank could channel (while moving) that would affect players behind them. So you could do mass charges or defend against assaults

Mechanics like these made tanks highly relevant and fun in Warhammer PVP. Other modern games such as Rift are borrowing these mechanics.

The issue with WoW is that a lot of abilities either have only a PVE application (e.g. Taunt) or are imbalanced in PVP (e.g. CC effects). This will continue to be an issue until Blizzard sorts out how to balance PVE and PVP for a given spec – which is totally doable but needs to be supported by intention and good design.

It’s noteworthy that WoW has copied good non-PVP ideas from other games, such as Achievements and Guild Achievements/Rank, which were ideas innovated by Warhammer.

The WoW community doesn’t have a lot of experience or perspective on what well-implemented tanks in PVP look like

Most WoW players when you ask them about a tank spec only say that it’s relevant for PVE. This is a notion enforced by both the game mechanics and the fact that for many players, WoW is the only MMORPG they’ve played.

Therefore, you see a lot of backlash from players about tanks in PVP.

Retribution in 4.1 is still screwed

The reason why Ret is viable for BGs and competitive PVP (Arena, Rateds) is because it has good offhealing capability. This is necessary IMO because Ret does not have the amount of CC that most DPS classes possess.

To quote myself from a post on the WoW forum:

IMO Prot and Ret will be steeply nerfed PVP if the WoG nerf goes in with even a 5-sec cooldown let alone 20-sec, without some other strong compensating mechanics, e.g. increased CC.

Back-to-back WoG heals (via Eternal Glory for either spec, or Divine Purpose for Ret) or WoG heals cast within 2 GCDs of each other (e.g. WoG, Divine Plea, WoG) are a huge part of what make Prot and Ret viable in PVP.

Anyone who debates that point IMO is either ignorant about the mechanics of those specs in PVP or biased against Paladins.

I’m very perplexed by the reasoning for the nerf mentioned by Blizzard. Granted, Blue posters often get skewered / nitpicked by players for anything they say, but this is one case where I think the concerns of the playerbase are entirely warranted.

I have read some inane arguments that Prot and Ret shouldn’t be able to have offhealing capability in PVP, but what the people saying those things fail to take into account is that relative to other DPS classes, we lack CC. As such, we heal because that’s what is needed in some situations to help friendly players, because we can’t peel to the extent other classes do.

Anyway, it is what it is. I’m glad I’ve moved on to Rift, because based on what I’m reading, I don’t believe Blizzard understands how to design mechanics for non-Holy Paladins in PVP.

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Posted in Paladin, PVP, RIFT, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft
32 comments on “Blizzard Is Not Concerned with Prot Pally Viability in PVP
  1. calixcloud says:

    I’m gonna drop the only max level character in my entire account once Patch 4.1 hits.. It’s ridiculous that Blizzard talked about trying to make Prot PVP viable from the beginning of Cata, but they are making this PVP-killing change now, so after all of the Honor/Conquest Gear I purchased, that was basically a waste of time..

    I’m thinking of either starting an Elemental Shammy or Feral Druid. Hopefully that works out.

    GL with Rift, and thanks for your insights on this WoW issue.

  2. Vaun says:

    As usual Taugrim you nailed it. This is the killer:

    “I have read some inane arguments that Prot and Ret shouldn’t be able to have offhealing capability in PVP, but what the people saying those things fail to take into account is that relative to other DPS classes, we lack CC. As such, we heal because that’s what is needed in some situations to help friendly players, because we can’t peel to the extent other classes do.”

    My buddy and I play a 2’s team of Prot Pallies… and we have done very well maxing out at 1820 so far. We have invested a ton of conquest points to get our gear. If this goes through, teams that we have trouble with or teams we actually don’t will run right over us with their CC and superior damage. Our rating will drop like a rock. Neither of us have any intention of rolling new characters or being forced to play a type of pally we have no interest in (holy) so we will be quitting WOW.

    As usual, thanks for your thoughtful and succinct analysis.

    • taugrim says:

      My buddy and I play a 2′s team of Prot Pallies… and we have done very well maxing out at 1820 so far. We have invested a ton of conquest points to get our gear.

      First of all, congratulations!

      It is not easy to get to 1800+ in 2v2 with a dual comp of the same spec (except for dual Mages). It takes skilled play and coordination.

      If this goes through, teams that we have trouble with or teams we actually don’t will run right over us with their CC and superior damage. Our rating will drop like a rock

      Yes, unfortunately that is a realistic outcome based on the changes in mechanics :(

      Neither of us have any intention of rolling new characters or being forced to play a type of pally we have no interest in (holy) so we will be quitting WOW.

      Same here. I tried Holy PVP in 4.0 WotLK, and it just didn’t resonate with me.

      I have had at most 2 characters at max level of any game simply because it’s a huge time investment.

      Even if I were staying with WoW, switching from Prot to Ret doesn’t look viable either.

  3. Bigeffintank says:

    Back in November, I made a paladin with the sole purpose of tanking PvE, hence my name. But when I hit 85 and started PvPing with some friends, I realized how many of the tanking habits I had picked up while leveling worked to keep me alive against players. So I decided to go prot for PvP because, if anything I can hold people’s attention while my mage friend lays waste. We even made a fairly successful arena team. As I gained PvP gear I started doing very good damage and was winning more duels than losing. I decided to get serious and I found your blog and have been reading it for about a month or so. I’m sad to see you went on to another game, but I am actually curious about Rift, so I may end up buying the game soon. Anyways, I just wanted to let you know there is probably a huge amount of silent readers like me appreciating what you were doing. Thanks a ton and good luck in Rift.

    • taugrim says:

      Anyways, I just wanted to let you know there is probably a huge amount of silent readers like me appreciating what you were doing

      Thanks for taking the time to write, I really appreciate it, and it encourages me to continue blogging.

      I realized how many of the tanking habits I had picked up while leveling worked to keep me alive against players. So I decided to go prot for PvP because, if anything I can hold people’s attention while my mage friend lays waste…but I am actually curious about Rift, so I may end up buying the game soon

      If you enjoy “tanking” in PVP, I think you’ll love how tanks are implemented Rift.

      Out of the 9 Warrior trees, 1 (Vindicator) is specifically designed for PVP. You can invest points to improve your “tankiness” in PVP, e.g.:
      http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=0ct__.xb

      What this gives me is a Guard ability that will redirect 35% of damage on a Guarded target to me, which is fine, because as a tank I’ll be durable and can take the hits. If I have enough talent points I’ll boost that up to 50% by maxing out 5/5 Improved Guard.

      In Warhammer, abilities like Guard enabled me to run with anyone in skirmish World PVP. MDPS. RDPS. Healer. It didn’t matter, I had utility to help keep them alive while we pounded opponents. It was a blast.

      BTW, love the name :D

  4. Dad says:

    Hey Taugrim :) I ended up purchasing Rift and I brought some of my friends along. We didn’t go on your server but we are all having a lot of fun so far.

    Currently my WoW subscription is still active but with theses changes killing my spec (ret) I don’t see myself staying there much longer.

  5. Morgan says:

    I made a macro to make my WoG have a reset time of 20 seconds and used that on my action bar to how it worked out. Got my arse handed to me many times.

    Reading the above postings has ruined what has been a great day. Not your fault Taugrim, glad to see the info coming from the US forums.

  6. Jackßauer says:

    I’m so tired of Blizzard telling us how to play our class. Give us talents and abilities and let us decide what WE want to do with them. I was extremely pissed off when reading your post I didn’t know Blizz’s position turned so negatve against Prot Pally PvP.

    Couldn’t be more fitting though that I read about my favourite spec dying as I’m installing Rift.

    I hope you’re not overwhelmed with Prot Pallies creating toons on your server and adding you, because you’re about to get one more! :)

  7. Chris says:

    Hiya, like the guy said above, silent reader here =]
    I have been tanking on my pally for a while (too long) and with cata promising to make prot viable for pvp I thought what the hell, lets do it. After farming BG’s and trying arena with a fellow officer, I finally found something I truly enjoyed doing, even giving up raiding in the process. But ofc, Blizz cant just leave us alone. Most of my wow friends are just saying QQ, OP pally etc but like you said, apart from HoJ (lol) what cc do we really have? Blizz giving up on prot pvp has just killed my love for the game and as such, I have just cancelled my subscrition. i’m not even bothered waiting for 4.1, but I am seriously considering giving Rift a go. Just wanted to say thanks for the blog, i randomly found it one late night and ive been here since, your guides really helped me start in pally pvp as I was a pvp nab, and if I do decide to jump back on the MMO chain I can get some tips for rift here ;) Gl with what you do mate in game and out

    Chris

  8. Morgan says:

    Anyone know if EU players can signup / play on US servers if you buy the US client. I did this for LOTRO when I played and also Star Trek MMO.

    • Morgan says:

      Found my own answer on the official site

      If I purchase a digital copy of RIFT but live in Europe, will I be able to play on the North American servers on March 1st?
      Yes

      I do think that it will be at all possible to blaance a game with SO many choices, but I may take a look. Not seen a single BAD review yet (lots of neutral, but NO bad)

  9. darthmullett says:

    Nailed it as usual.i too tried doing arenas and bgs without WOG and was getting destroyed by undergeared everything as a ret.Prot is different though,you can still dominate in bgs but are useless without off heals in arena.I will be joining up on Rift this weekend.Trying to decide which way to go for my toon.Riftblade looks nice,but was also thinking of trying something other than a warrior for once(rogue).Not sure it is really my playstyle though since all my toons on wow are pallies,warriors,and dks.

    • Dad says:

      Hey Darth :) I haven’t seen you in a bit. Always missing you on WoW. I’m sure you’ll be going to Taugrim’s realm but I’m Corthana if you want to join me.

      • darthmullett says:

        Hey Dad.Yeah been working alot of hours,but will be on tonight if you want to run some 2s.Haven’t decided where to go yet.It will be a party vote,because Necrochain and a few others are going to come with me.Also I’ve been leveling my warrior to 85.Pretty boring facerolling everything,but I am sure I will pay the price when I start trying to get gear.lol

        • Dad says:

          Yeah, I’m currently on Corthana with 3 of local friends. It’s a PVE server (not my choice) but I’m really liking the game so far.

        • taugrim says:

          I highly recommend rolling on an RP-PVP server.

          I don’t RP, but from previous games (LOTRO, WAR), RP-PVP servers tend to have the most mature community and fun cross-faction rivalries.

          I was going to roll on Sunrest, which in Head Start was the only planned RP-PVP server, but it was oversubscribed (3h login queue). Trion opened a 2nd RP-PVP server, Harrow, and that’s where I ended up. It’s a good server – people are friendly, there is a lot of activity.

  10. APOSTOLOS PAPASTAMATIOU says:

    Hello Taugrimm and hello to the rest of you guys,

    I was playing a prot paladin. I have started though as ret. I am more of a pvp player. The reason that i have spected in prot is that from the last patch before cata (sorry but i dont recall its number), ret palas lost their pvp ability. Okey, ret had the chance of enormous burst. Because i have equipped 2 tier10 pieces, i remember some occasions that my DS reseted 3 times in a row, while critted too! A very good healer died in about 2 sec! But when taking in mind the majority of time, ret had issues. Not an interrupt, one (HoR) and a half cc (repetense) and thus a moving crash dummy. If rets hadn’t bubble, they would just be unplayable. Taking these into account, I changed my play style to a prot (protribution). On the way doing that i found this blog (thank god!!!). And the fun was back! Durability, a strong cc, silence etc. So i stayed prot after the launch of cata. I was happy. Then the nerfs started… A little bit every time. Nowdays a non-healer pala cannot heal! A class with some sort of magic capabilities cannot heal, where for example a warrior or a rogue with NONE magic capabilities can heal their ashes off… And then came the WoG nerf. It is just enormous. Apparently, even Bliz detected it: ”We’re not too concerned with keeping Protection viable in PvP.” WTF?? Why?
    From now on I am quiting WoW. I am putting my hopes in Rift. Unfortunately I live in europe, so I cant meet you Tau in game :(
    Farewell, ex Vavyl from Jaedenar.

    • Morgan says:

      Actually if you buy the USA client, signup on the USA site there is no reason you cant play the american version. According to the official FAQ if you are in europe you can play the US version

  11. Mortenebra says:

    I really wish Rift looked more appealing to me, but it just looks too bland. Maybe it’s time for an MMO break for me even though I -JUST- introduced a friend to WoW and he bought the game two weeks ago. -_-

  12. Vaun says:

    Hey Taugrim… Do u think there is ANY chance they don’t go through with the WofG 20 sec CD? Thanks man….

  13. d3c0yBoY says:

    After reading this, I quietly stared at my monitor while filled with annoyance and disappointment towards Blizzard. I even contemplated reposting this on their forums, but then realized it would fall in deaf hears while falling victim to trolls. At least I have Dragon Age 2 till the dust settles with Rift and the final verdict comes in.

  14. Nathan says:

    Hey guys,

    Seeing a lot of queries about EU/US and Rift so I thought I would clear something up.

    As Taugrim said in the previous video, he was playing with me in that Warfront, I’m from England.

    You can buy ANY ver of Rift and simply switch between EU and US servers at will.

    So if you’re European and wish to play with Tau, you can no problem!

    Cya.

  15. Jimmy says:

    Hey Taugrim, James here again :) (from old KO days)

    I’m glad to see you are playing Rift, it seems to have interested a lot of people, at the moment i’m really enjoying it, even on my slow laptop with the lowest graphics settings – makes PvP a little jerky still, though. :P

    I saw one of your posts on the forum and remembered this blog so thought i’d take a look, and you pretty much happen to be planning the same character as i’ve made, but i guess you got a quicker start – i’ll be sure to keep checking this to see how it’s going, and what i have to expect. I’m about level 20 at the moment, but i won’t be doing much leveling the next few days, so i’ll have to do some serious catch up :)

    Here’s a link to my current theorised build, although, i’m changing it constantly, trying to think of what might work best. Not sure about the AoE stuff yet, but i guess i’ll see how things go. Tell me what you think, and if i’ve missed anything crucial haha.

    James

    • taugrim says:

      even on my slow laptop with the lowest graphics settings – makes PvP a little jerky still, though

      I write a separate post – I’ve tried some stuff for graphics that seemed to help a LOT.

      Post the link to your build!

  16. Vavyl says:

    Hey guys,
    i have found this. Check it out and tell me thoughts!
    http://forums.riftgame.com/showthread.php?95264-How-to-level-a-Warrior-*Devs-Sticky*

  17. Biggreentank says:

    Greetings.

    I was wondering how much of the issues WoW has with balance and mechanics is related to the extreme (relatively) age of the engine they use? I am personally of the opinion that most gamers are unaware of the constraint the WoW engine inherently brings simply because of how old it is. Furthermore, I think that the perception that they are somehow just lazy is typical of people who don’t appreciate the complexity of the system nor the fact that WoW is pretty much pioneering here simply due to the scale of the enterprise. Anyways…

    btw,
    As a fury or arms PVP warr I just had to laugh at the complaint about no CC. One shout, thats what I got. :) I get to yell at someone and they’re (yeah, and their friends, I know) panicked for a bit, and it’s range is pretty short.

    Oh well. I am a mac user and I believe that makes rift, along with a lot of either time sinks, unavailable to me. So I hope that some future balancing makes WoW interesting to you again, because I found your pvp videos to be outstanding in their scope and description. Your analysis is top quality and really helped me understand how to think about pvp while it’s happening and not just furiously button mash. So thanks for what you’ve already done, and I know it’s unlikely but I hope you make some more WoW stuff in the future.

    peace out

    • Vaun says:

      Oh well. I am a mac user and I believe that makes rift, along with a lot of either time sinks, unavailable to me. So I hope that some future balancing makes WoW interesting to you again, because I found your pvp videos to be outstanding in their scope and description. Your analysis is top quality and really helped me understand how to think about pvp while it’s happening and not just furiously button mash. So thanks for what you’ve already done, and I know it’s unlikely but I hope you make some more WoW stuff in the future.

      peace out

      I could not agree with this more… we want you back Taugrim! ;)

    • taugrim says:

      WoW has with balance and mechanics is related to the extreme (relatively) age of the engine they use? I am personally of the opinion that most gamers are unaware of the constraint the WoW engine inherently brings simply because of how old it is. Furthermore, I think that the perception that they are somehow just lazy is typical of people who don’t appreciate the complexity of the system nor the fact that WoW is pretty much pioneering here simply due to the scale of the enterprise. Anyways…

      I do not think that software architecture, design, or code implementation is the issue here, and I say this as a long-time software architect and developer.

      Blizzard’s implementation of their code and system has historically been top-notch.

      As a fury or arms PVP warr I just had to laugh at the complaint about no CC. One shout, thats what I got

      I don’t play Warrior, but here’s a list of CC from WoWWiki as of Patch 3.3:
      http://www.wowwiki.com/Diminishing_returns

      Charge
      Concussion Blow
      Disarm
      Gag Order
      Intercept
      Hamstring
      Improved Hamstring
      Intimidating Shout
      Shockwave

      I found your pvp videos to be outstanding in their scope and description. Your analysis is top quality and really helped me understand how to think about pvp while it’s happening and not just furiously button mash

      Thanks!

      I know it’s unlikely but I hope you make some more WoW stuff in the future.

      If ever I return to WoW (no plans at the moment), I’ll say so on this blog.

      Take care!

  18. […] given that I already de-subbed from WoW due to interest in Rift, the post from Blue about not being too concerned with Prot Pally PVP, and the fact that my free time is very limited, I haven’t decided what to […]

    • Grinban says:

      I think we should post on the blizzard forums how many of us are canceling our accounts because of their “not worrying about keeping prot pvp viable”.

      I know I’m canceling. That approach is uncaring to its community and narrow minded. I’ve played holy spec since 60, and I’ve finally enjoyed a new style of play, only to have it taken away after grinding hours on honor and conquest gear.

      Anyone down? I’m sure our money is negligible to them, but its still less money they’ll be getting monthly. Bastards.

  19. Pilgrim says:

    Just cancelled my subscription to WoW. Paladin was THE reason I started playing back in ‘o7 and the only class I truly cared about (even had 2 of them at 85). Alas it seems as if paladin is the class the devs care the least about. Tired of the roller coaster that is “balance”, which is the only real problem WoW seems to have and will eventually drive more and more people away. Rift seems to have addressed this problem right off the bat with the huge layout of choice when it comes to speccing a character. I am now happily playing Rift and have left the headache that is WoW behind me.

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