First you don’t read; then you don’t know how to do math

Note: This is a WoW related post. If you don’t like MMOs, games, think Blizzard jumped the shark with the “Wrath of the Lich King” expansion, rage quit the game after a paladin killed you in one cooldown or simply aren’t interested in WoW at all, you can skip this.

Today, reading WoW.Com (which is not run by Blizzard, I must say), I read this article about Prot Paladins outhealing Holy Paladins in PvP. As a protection paladin that does the healing job in PvP, I thought it would be worth the read. But the problem show up right in the first paragraph: The author’s solution is remove the Spell Power plate from the game. Wait, WHAT?

For those that don’t know WoW or don’t know how paladins work, here is a brief explanation:

Paladins can fill the three roles in a group, depending on the abilities (or talents) they chose: A healer paladin would take talents from the “Holy” tree; a tanking paladin would take talents from the “Protection” tree; and a damaging (DPS) paladin would take talents from the “Retribution” tree. Of course, there is always some mixing of talents from different trees (e.g., for PvP, a retribution paladin would pick some talents in the protection tree, to improve his survivability), but most points would go to the proper tree.

Also, there is the difference of gear. Since damage is what retribution paladins are going after, they would chose gear with more “Strength” and “Attack Power”; tanking would go with more “Stamina” and “Defense rating” and some “Strength” and “Agility” (I’ll not dwell on how those two attributes help survivability at this point); healing would go after “Intellect” and “Spell Power” (just to know, the more spell power a healing paladin have, the more powerful their healing abilities will be.)

At it’s core, the paladin is a caster. This means that most of it’s abilities are not normal attacks, but magic spells and since everything paladin related is magic, the “Spell Power” can help the class a lot. As the holy paladin is the only one that have gear with “spell power”, talents exist in the other trees to help them: The retribution tree have a talent called Sheath of Light, which increases the “spell power” based on “attack power” (which makes sense, since the retribution paladin would go after “attack power”), holy paladins have Holy Guidance, which increases the “spell power” based on total “intelect” (which helps them to have better heals) and the protection tree have Touched by the Light, which increases the “spell power” based on the total “stamina” (again, makes sense since “stamina” is the base survivability stat tanks go after.) Those talents help retribution paladins to make more damage, the holy paladins to have better healing and the protection to keep the enemy they should prevent running around and killing everyone else attacking just them.

Now that we put the basics down, comes the part that “don’t read”: The Blizzard forums point the problem of Protection Paladins using Holy Paladins PvP (Player versus Player) gear. The author’s solution is to remove the “spell power” plate from the game since holy paladins are the only class that have a use for it. First of all, removing won’t solve a thing, since PvP gear is “bought” with honor and, thus, doesn’t affect any other class. Every class is capable of getting honor no matter what (some may have some difficulties, but it’s not impossible.) But he seems to confuse the PvE part of the game with the PvP part. In a PvE (player versus environment), you go into what it’s called an instance (which is put as a cave, house, cathedral, building), kill some monster till you get to the big monster and, when he’s killed, you get your rewards in the form of new gear. Since holy paladins are the only ones interested in plate with “spell power” (the other plate wearers have no use for it, not even non-paladins) if there isn’t a holy paladin in the group, the gear is lost — it can still be sold, but it’s basically lost ’cause it comes to “it could be some gear that other class could use”. That’s the life of playing a game with random number generators: You can’t just say “I’ll go there and get that gear” ’cause you don’t have any control over the gear that will appear.

And the part that “don’t know how to do math”: As I pointed, holy paladins are interested in gear with “intellect” and “spell power”. But with holy guidance, if maxed to all available points, increases spell power by 20% of the total intellect or 10 intellect increases your spell power in 2. Since your gear also have spell power already, that’s a good trade off.

Stamina, for protection paladins, just turn into health and no other stat. But you may remember that talent that helps Protection paladins to have spell power based on stamina. If you put 3 points in that talent (which is the maximum), you get 30%, which basically makes 10 points in stamina give you 3 more spell power points. Things are starting to look clear, don’t they?

So take a look at this: Let’s take a piece of the PvP gear for holy paladins: the chest. It have 115 stamina, 50 intellect and 98 spell power. For a holy paladin, that means the total spell power of that chest is 118 spell power. For a protection paladin, that means around 132 spell power. And no, you can’t have both talents due the amount of points required to enable those abilities.

Also, just to add insult to the injury, you may notice that there are two “slots”, available for gems. The most powerful intellect gem gives you +20 intellect and the most powerful stamina gem gives you +30 stamina (the gem color is not important, in this case.)

So, removing the spell power plate from the game would help? OF COURSE NOT! If paladins where changed to use mail to have spell power, it would still gave protection paladins more spell power than holy paladins and the overheal would still be there.

The proper solution isn’t so easy, though. Reducing the stamina from the PvP holy gear would damage holy paladins survivability; reducing the spell power from the talent in the protection tree would hurt their ability to keep an enemy attacking everyone in the raid; increasing the Spell Power returned in “Holy Guidance” would make holy paladins in PvE too power to be compared to any other healers.

But there is one insightful comment in the article: Make the amount of spell power increased by stamina based on the total “defense rating”. That stat is only used in PvE by protection paladins and it’s not so helpful in PvP. Since the holy paladins have no use for that, the PvP gear have none and, thus, can be used as base to not hurt protection paladins (since their have large amounts of defense rating anyway) and not overpower holy paladins.

Announcing aoup

“aoup” (Add-On UPdater) is a simple application to keep your World of Warcraft add-ons up-to-date with the latest version in Curse. It doesn’t intend to have a nice interface or be completely up-to-date with the latest addons; for that, you can use the official Curse client.

This is the first release and I’m aware it’s kinda annoying to use it right now, but it works. The project page is in Google Code and the source code is available in this git repo.

Edit 1: D’oh, not “annoying”.