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The argument for paladin stances

Righteous Defense lays out an intriguing argument for an idea that I still personally can't get behind: paladin stances. The recent changes around patch 3.3 have shined a light on paladin versatility, and basically, paladins are forced to pay the hybrid tax three times over -- because they can do it all without limiting themselves, they can't do anything as well as other classes. So RD makes the suggestion: instead of letting paladins have all of their spells under any aura, it's time to narrow things down a bit. Devotion Aura becomes tanking stance, gets Righteous Fury's threat bonus added to it, and enabling it makes pallies lose some other abilities (Avenger's Shield is RD's suggestion). Retribution Aura becomes a DPS "stance," with added benefits and costs, and so on. By forcing paladins into a playstyle, you can give them extra power, because you've taken away versatility.

Unfortunately for those in favor, I don't think it'll ever happen. First of all, we already have a class in the game that uses stances, and I think that this type of gameplay is too close for Blizzard's comfort to implement in the same way on paladins -- they want the classes to play different. Second, the paladin class design has always focused on the versatility of being a hybrid. While paladins may want to limit themselves to see buffs, Blizzard has never shown an inclination to limit pallies' versatility just to make them more powerful. I like the idea of Righteous Fury's buff getting linked up to something else (it definitely seems like it's out there on its own as an arbitrary tanking buff), but paladins getting a fully implemented stance system doesn't seem likely at all.

Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Raiding, Classes, Buffs

Returning to Azeroth the long way around

Ethic at Kill Ten Rats has a post up about something that a lot of you have probably been through: more and more I'm hearing about people returning to the game. I've been playing ever since I signed up a few years ago, but that's really only because I'm writing about it -- I'm pretty ADD when it comes to games, so left on my own, I probably would have walked away from WoW a long time ago. But Blizzard is really good at bringing players back by tweaking the game in exactly the way they woud like. I feel like if I had left, I would have definitely come back in for a while, if not with Burning Crusade than definitely with Wrath.

Of course, Ethic's issues aren't really with deciding to return or not: he's having more issues actually trying to get his old accounts back. There's a laundry list of rules and limits to contend with, between dealing with having or not having the expansions, the limits on the Scroll of Resurrection program and the trial accounts, and dodging all of Blizzard's various limits on how to start and use new accounts to the game. Man -- if I had left and was planning on coming back, and I read Ethic's post, I might not even bother.

But quite a few people have come back, and I'd guess that even though there are confusing things about trying to find your way back into the game, a good number of you have done it. I'd like to know, so here's a poll: how many of you have left and come back, and how many times?

Have you returned to the game?
Nope, been here since the beginning.3191 (37.5%)
Left and never looked back!302 (3.6%)
Left once, back for now.2205 (25.9%)
I've quit twice so far.1382 (16.3%)
I've quit more than twice and keep coming back for more!1424 (16.7%)

Filed under: Polls, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King

511 characters per quest

One of the most interesting things we heard from Jeff Kaplan last week (besides that he agrees the Green Hills quest sucks; won't do that one again) was that quest designers are given only 511 characters (not words) to put their quest text in.

It's surprising to think that they've created all the backstory, throughout Azeroth, in just 511 characters at a time. But even Kaplan said the limit is a good thing: it means Blizzard has to show story to the player rather than tell it.

Still, doesn't seem easy to

Crap. Out of room -- that's 511 characters. Of course, they can fudge things a bit by having those "story quests" where characters can use multiple pages to build up their background, and the 511-character limit doesn't apply to all of the dialogue -- some of the later quests have pages and pages of dialogue as the quest goes on. But squeezing enough information to keep a player interested in just 511 characters is quite a feat.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Quests

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