Design Insight on Holy Paladin?

Class Development
To begin, I am posting this here over GD because it has to do with how a class was developed for Legion. If this needs to be moved, please let me know and I will move it pronto.

Something that I've thought about quite a bit recently has to do with the way Holy Paladins heal versus how Discipline Priests heal. This isn't a post to complain about one or the other, but possibly (hopefully) get some design insight on Holy Paladin specifically.

Holy Paladin was, to my understanding, designed to be more of "Melee healer" in Legion than it ever has been before. This is due to the removal of Denounce, the addition of their new Mastery (Mastery is what makes them heal for more due to proximity, correct?), and the fact that their mastery increases their armor by 30%.

With these things in mind, wouldn't it have made sense to redesign Holy Paladin with a "heal through damage" play style as well? I understand the desire to keep it a "niche play style" with Disc Priest, but I believe it would have been both very cool to make Holy Paladin heal through damage generated via melee and simultaneously fit the class fantasy of the heavily armored bearer of The Light. Personally, I would have been much more gungho to play my Paladin at the launch of Legion had this been the case.

I personally will hold out hope for this, but is there any chance that we might be able to get some insight on why this wasn't the determined play style for Holy Paladins in Legion?

Edit: Just realized that this thread is labeled as the place for "in-development changes". Will move this to GD.
Primarily because we don't want to force people into a playstyle (baseline, without talents) where they have to both target friendly targets to heal and enemy targets to damage, and frequently swap between them. Discipline is built very specifically for people who want that, and is good place to have it because 1) the class has Holy as an alternative and 2) Discipline has historically had a component of that, so a lot of players who want it are already there. But it's a playstyle that's both unusual and complex, and it's not likely to be baked into the core functionality of 2 out of 6 healing specs.
I've always thought that Holy Paladins would actually benefit from having a more robust system of melee attacks buffing their healing, or healing through melee attacks.

It's the most direct way of creating that feel of Paladins being the "battle healer."

The current design isn't bad though, because it does encourage paladins to be in melee range, and there are some talents and abilities that interact with enemy targets.

Holy Paladins can also do significant dps, if they focus on that. Or they can contribute a bit of dps by dropping consecrate while they focus mainly on healing.

I played Holy more in Draenor and, while the spec was really powerful then, I like the current design better. It's fun.

I've never played Holy as a main, but the veteran holy paladins I know also seem to like it.

Discipline being the spec that focuses most on healing through damage *does* make sense, I would agree with that. It needs something to clearly distinguish it from Holy.

Speaking to a larger point: isn't this partly an issue with the WoW targeting Interface?

I notice this in a number of different contexts (such as playing a dot-based spec, to take another example).

Wouldn't it be possible to provide better ways to acquire and swap targets?

I think that would probably open up some more possibilities for interesting healer gameplay, along with helping in some other areas, such as dot-based playstyles.
03/15/2017 11:19 PMPosted by Sigma
Primarily because we don't want to force people into a playstyle (baseline, without talents) where they have to both target friendly targets to heal and enemy targets to damage, and frequently swap between them. Discipline is built very specifically for people who want that, and is good place to have it because 1) the class has Holy as an alternative and 2) Discipline has historically had a component of that, so a lot of players who want it are already there. But it's a playstyle that's both unusual and complex, and it's not likely to be baked into the core functionality of 2 out of 6 healing specs.


As someone who dislikes holy, personally, this seems like you could fix it by making it so Judgment can be used on allies to hit their target, so you aren't constantly swapping.

Then have it debuff the enemy it hits, so that every hit against it has a X chance to fire a bolt from your weapon, damaging the enemy and healing allies for X amount.

Which kind of hybridizes it but doesn't change the target switching like you say. It also would help with holy soloing, giving them one more source of damage.
03/15/2017 11:19 PMPosted by Sigma
Primarily because we don't want to force people into a playstyle (baseline, without talents) where they have to both target friendly targets to heal and enemy targets to damage, and frequently swap between them. Discipline is built very specifically for people who want that, and is good place to have it because 1) the class has Holy as an alternative and 2) Discipline has historically had a component of that, so a lot of players who want it are already there. But it's a playstyle that's both unusual and complex, and it's not likely to be baked into the core functionality of 2 out of 6 healing specs.


This makes sense, but then it leaves me wondering what exactly are Holy Paladins meant to be? If we are not the "melee version of disc priests" then what are we?

You gave us Auras and a Mastery that requires us to be in melee, you give us talents like 'Crusader's Might' and 'Avenging Crusader' with a big meaty two-handed mace. Yet it all doesn't connect. It feels like you were trying to make us 'melee version of disc priests' in alpha but abandoned the idea in beta.

Is our design and class fantasy meant to be: "stand in melee and flash of light spam and swing the occasional crusader strike when no one needs healing"?

If you don't want to force people into a play-style then why give us the current Mastery of 10yards? What about the Holy Paladins that have been healing at range for years?

It's all very confusing design choices to me.
03/15/2017 11:19 PMPosted by Sigma
Primarily because we don't want to force people into a playstyle (baseline, without talents) where they have to both target friendly targets to heal and enemy targets to damage, and frequently swap between them. Discipline is built very specifically for people who want that, and is good place to have it because 1) the class has Holy as an alternative and 2) Discipline has historically had a component of that, so a lot of players who want it are already there. But it's a playstyle that's both unusual and complex, and it's not likely to be baked into the core functionality of 2 out of 6 healing specs.


Avenging crusader is a very fun and unique talent that gives holy paladins the option to be melee healers through damage. It is a fun talent, honestly more fun than most pve talents in the Holy tree. This could be a pve talent on the 100 tier, so paladins could choose between ranged playstyle (lightbringer), or melee style.
03/15/2017 11:19 PMPosted by Sigma
Primarily because we don't want to force people into a playstyle (baseline, without talents) where they have to both target friendly targets to heal and enemy targets to damage, and frequently swap between them. Discipline is built very specifically for people who want that, and is good place to have it because 1) the class has Holy as an alternative and 2) Discipline has historically had a component of that, so a lot of players who want it are already there. But it's a playstyle that's both unusual and complex, and it's not likely to be baked into the core functionality of 2 out of 6 healing specs.


As an aside, I'm actually in love with Holy Paladins(really Paladins) this expansion. This is the first time I have stepped in to a normal or above raid since the start of Cataclysm(and I used to raid Heroic in Wraths!) and a huge part of it is the design of Paladin gameplay and aesthetics.

For me, the Holy Paladin exemplifies how different the playstyles a spec can have based on talents. I love that I can go full shockadin and dps if Im in the mood for it in dungeons while also going more of a traditional ranged healer in raids or if I'm feeling like relaxing more. This has been a huge factor for me compared to Disc where I do not really feel theres a point I can Disc heal and "relax". Disc is always high stress for me but Holy Paladin provides the "opt in/opt out" flexibility of dps healing I love.

That said, when I do go melee healer it can feel a bit off sometimes. I have no issues healing, love the way auras work with proximity, enjoy procs from the "Divine Purpose" talent incentivizing shocking and up close aoe Dawn healing, but something seems off.

For me what feels off for melee healing are the following:

1.) Consecration just exist without any clear purpose. It doesn't really feel like it fits anyway I spec. I think I'd like it more with some interaction with my healing. "Light's Hammer" talent could be swapped with "Unbreakable Spirit" and "Consecration" should be merged in to the talent to reinforce the melee healing. In function "Lights Hammer" would now drop at your feet(like Consecration) but deal damage and heal allies in proximity.

1a.) An alternative is just to give Consecration a small healing bonus to allies who stand inside it, providing the Paladin opportunities to drop it in melee range. Or make it give something like a small increase to your Aura when dropped.

2.) "Crusader's Might" works okay. For me, it feels like I'm spamming "Crusaders Strike" for a clunky way to heal but it has a function so thats ok. What would smooth it out and fit melee healers is to allow the talents "Crusader Strike" portion to also cause some splash healing(like a mini Holy Prism effect) to those affected by your aura.

3.) Light of the Martyr is an interesting skill. It seems like it should have a more prominent role in melee healing. Maybe add some talent to where interaction between "Aura of Sacrifice" and "Blessing of Sacrifice" damage taken to paladin can either increase the next Light of the Martyr healing to a target within 10yards(inside your aura) or a bonus to its crit chance. Allow that sacrificed health to be used as a preemptive banked bonus to reinforce the entire idea of sacrificing yourself to bolster allies in the heart of the fray.

These are the types of interactions I feel myself wishing for with a strong plate wearing melee healer. I love the spec and it works well. It can just feel a little off sometimes. It feels 90% of the way to being the iconic battle healer but it just missing that little extra something that smooths out the rotation and really brings it all together in a cohesive build.
03/15/2017 11:19 PMPosted by Sigma
Primarily because we don't want to force people into a playstyle (baseline, without talents) where they have to both target friendly targets to heal and enemy targets to damage, and frequently swap between them. Discipline is built very specifically for people who want that, and is good place to have it because 1) the class has Holy as an alternative and 2) Discipline has historically had a component of that, so a lot of players who want it are already there. But it's a playstyle that's both unusual and complex, and it's not likely to be baked into the core functionality of 2 out of 6 healing specs.


I think most of us agree that turning the holy paladin into a straight melee healer without a ranged healer option would likely lose more players than it would gain (look at survival hunters for instance). However many of us would simply like to see some talent support for the play style.

At the moment there is one talent that has any interaction between our shiny giant hammer and healing. Is it really so difficult to add more?

Talents in my opinion should be used to alter play style and not be swapped per encounter. The current talents that could be altered/replaced/baselined in my opinion are as follows:

Fervent Martyr: This talent is a failure. I have never once considered taking it because the entire talent feels backwards. The person most likely to get LotM is the tank, for the simple fact that it doesn't beacon transfer. The second reason it's a failure is that it is a longevity talent directly competing with throughput talents.

The entire level 60 aura row: Why are these even talents? Aura mastery being baseline and these talents feels completely backwards. Aura Mastery does nothing unless you have a talent picked... how much sense does that make?
My suggestion is to baseline all 3 and simply combat lock them, done. Same exact functionality as they have now and suddenly we have an entire talent row freed up.
03/15/2017 11:19 PMPosted by Sigma
Primarily because we don't want to force people into a playstyle (baseline, without talents) where they have to both target friendly targets to heal and enemy targets to damage, and frequently swap between them. Discipline is built very specifically for people who want that, and is good place to have it because 1) the class has Holy as an alternative and 2) Discipline has historically had a component of that, so a lot of players who want it are already there. But it's a playstyle that's both unusual and complex, and it's not likely to be baked into the core functionality of 2 out of 6 healing specs.


However, on the otherside, it seems little to no support is really given to the playstyle via talents, and what little that is is rather minute and in some places, inhibitory. Some extra support or buffs to existing talents that support the melee healer style would be appreciated

Beacon of the Saviour from Legion Alpha, for example, would have been an amazing addition to support the melee healer playstyle.
I find it funny that most of the people putting out suggestions for healing-through-dps are asking for passive heals. As in, you don't target the people to be healed, they're just healed through aura / splash / something that you don't have to think about. So it sounds like you don't so much want "healing through dps" as "heals I don't have to concentrate on".

Also, if your dps abilities will heal, they should get a sizable mana cost so you have to decide, as with all other heals, whether to use it or save the mana.

As the spec that GOT healing-through-damage (and wanted it), take it from me giving up passive heals and dps during downtime was a trade-off I'm not sure was worth it.
03/16/2017 09:18 AMPosted by Aeterna
I find it funny that most of the people putting out suggestions for healing-through-dps are asking for passive heals. As in, you don't target the people to be healed, they're just healed through aura / splash / something that you don't have to think about. So it sounds like you don't so much want "healing through dps" as "heals I don't have to concentrate on".


I don't think it would have to be passive.

When I played Holy in Draenor, for example, I would use focus macros for Holy Prism and Selfless healer, because using a focus essentially allows you to identify an enemy target for certain spells, while still clicking mostly on friendly targets for heals.

The basic wow interface could support something like that, i.e. allow the player to have an active friendly target and an active enemy target. That would reduce the need to swap repeatedly.

There could be a limited amount of passive splash healing on melee, but I don't think that would have to be the main focus.

And there are probably other ways the targeting interface could be improved.
It doesn't have to be healing through damage. You can just use damaging abilities to augment your healing. It's a key difference. Currently, only Crusader's Might does this.

Add one or two more interactions and you have yourself a battle healer really.

Avenging Crusade is one that comes to mind.
03/16/2017 09:54 AMPosted by Mythlos
It doesn't have to be healing through damage. You can just use damaging abilities to augment your healing. It's a key difference. Currently, only Crusader's Might does this.


Think you have the correct idea. If Holy Paladins is ever get any further melee healer support, it should be augmentative rather than the direct damage-to-healing that disc has.

Crusader's Might has the Right idea, so did Selfless Healer. Maybe replace a few of the more lacklastre talents in the tree with things like Seal of Faith, Selfless Healer, and the like. Also, a small buff to Crusader's Might would be appreciated
03/16/2017 03:08 AMPosted by Arnath
This makes sense, but then it leaves me wondering what exactly are Holy Paladins meant to be? If we are not the "melee version of disc priests" then what are we?

You gave us Auras and a Mastery that requires us to be in melee, you give us talents like 'Crusader's Might' and 'Avenging Crusader' with a big meaty two-handed mace. Yet it all doesn't connect. It feels like you were trying to make us 'melee version of disc priests' in alpha but abandoned the idea in beta.

Is our design and class fantasy meant to be: "stand in melee and flash of light spam and swing the occasional crusader strike when no one needs healing"?

If you don't want to force people into a play-style then why give us the current Mastery of 10yards? What about the Holy Paladins that have been healing at range for years?

It's all very confusing design choices to me.

While there are a lot of raid mechanics that treat healers as ranged and can be counterproductive to Holy's mastery, being a melee healer is very viable. I've run quite a few 5 mans using Crusader's Might, Divine Purpose and Beacon of the Lightbringer. You can pump out a lot of damage and group healing with that build. Now it won't be as much healing as going full out healing spec, but it is a play option.
Avenging Crusader is quite literally the most fun time I've had in a long time in this game, it is probably the reason why I'm still subbed.

Making it a regular talent would give everyone an extra build to play around with.
03/16/2017 07:38 AMPosted by Azkaelon
Beacon of the Saviour from Legion Alpha, for example, would have been an amazing addition to support the melee healer playstyle.


That was the original intent of that talent, and we know some people liked it. We didn't remove it because the concept is totally bad, but that particular design had rotational impacts we weren't happy with (it encouraged a fully all-in DPS rotation, rather than a healer playstyle that got buffs of some sort from DPS abilities). Augmenting your healing through attacks is still something there's room for on the spec when we have the right time and place for it.

In general, where healers do get healing benefits from damage abilities, we're avoiding the classic "smart heal for X% of the damage you deal." We'd rather you still do your healing primarily through making decisions about casting healing spells. That doesn't have to be a strict rule--Avenging Crusader and Way of the Crane are neat designs and could potentially be in PvE as well--but it's one thing we think about.
I made my paladin as a shockadin because I loved the idea of a healer that can actually fight (this was before disc healing through damage). I don't think I've ever had so more fun than when I was madly swapping targets between friendlies to heal and enemies to blow to bits. People used to freak out if they watched who I was targeting and the fact that it changed roughly once a second.

I would love to see the healing through damage come into play for pve for holy. I think passive smart healing would be boring, but there are certainly ways to make it quite interesting.

Perhaps a talent that makes it so that a percentage of all damage is converted to healing on your beacon target(s). Or tie it in to light of the martyr and make it self castable for the buff while doing no healing or damage. Having a GCD just to switch healing targets without getting any actual healing out of it would ultimately make it feel terrible to play.

However it is done, it would make it highly active and lasting until overwritten would make it quite different to disc's atonement upkeep while also keeping the classic single target/cleave healing flavor that holy paladins have.
I wonder if Blizzard has ever designed a melee healer that flows between healing and damage to heal the rest of the raid before :thinking:
03/16/2017 07:52 PMPosted by Sigma
and Way of the Crane are neat designs and could potentially be in PvE as well


Yes...PLEASE!!
03/16/2017 07:52 PMPosted by Sigma
(it encouraged a fully all-in DPS rotation, rather than a healer playstyle that got buffs of some sort from DPS abilities).


I do not think you are considering the fact that Holy Paladin is a melee healer spec, as in you need to be in melee range to be most effective, this is due to mastery. This means that unless I want to gimp my healing, be it in PvE or PvP, I have to be as close as possible to my target.

Why is this relevant for the topic? Because it means we have to go through the same encounter mechanics as melee does. This is something no other healer has to do, so it is an implicit disadvantage in our design. A small parenthesis, you could mention that Beacon of the Lightbringer fixes this and I agree, at least in part. It was a solid design choice to give people used to the old Hpal healing that talent option.

Back on topic, I will compare Hpal to Disc as we both fill, in one way or the other, the heal-through-damage role. This will be from a PvP point of view. For the purposes of the discussion, let's say Hpal is forced into melee regardless of talent choice. This means that as a Hpal I will be right next to my healing target, which is probably being targeted by enemy DPS, as a consequence, it is really easy to switch targets to the Hpal. If Avenging Crusader is available, then it is fine, the Hpal will be able to heal through the damage he deals. Otherwise he finds himself in a terrible spot as Hpal lacks any kind of snares or reliable mobility tools - Blessing of Freedom can be dispelled/stolen making Divine Steed not very useful.

So outside of Avenging Crusader, Hpal is very susceptible to being focused as a consequence of how the spec is designed. We do not really have any mechanic that encourages us to be an offensive, melee healer outside of Avenging Crusader - No, Crusader's Might is not considered as an option simply because Bestow Light is bastly superior for PvP.

Now let's look very briefly at Disc Priest in a similar situation. Well, that situation simply wouldn't happen to a Disc for the simple reason that he can be at range from his target. So Disc, when compared to Hpal, is better equipped to perform this niche role, specially if you consider that Attonement is pretty much baked in their healing rotation, so they don't need an additional cooldown to perform the role like Hpal does.

In closing, I am perfectly fine with Disc being better (as in fully committed to this niche role) than Hpal. However, Hpal could use at least two things: a snare and a way to heal through damage done outside of Avenging Crusader. A minor duration snare attached to Consecration would be fine. Also, I believe it would be a good thing if Beacon of Light target could gain a mechanic similar to Attonement.

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