Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Paladin: the truth is out there

A recent 'heated' argument in LS and now this post on Bluegartr forum prompted me to make this entry. There are always debates about gear sets on any job, but somehow playstyle and gear on Paladin is a much more touchy subject. It might be because there are more factors determining how well a Paladin performs than there would be for other jobs/roles. Perhaps there are also more ways to achieve their goals than for other jobs. Or maybe it's because players that choose tank classes are generally more arrogant, stubborn and/or egotistical than the average player. I can't decide which it is and it's probably a bit of everything.

So why post about the debate? Am I going to weigh in on the views expressed in the BG thread? No you. "Yes" there is such a thing as being optimal, but also "Yes" there are usually trade-offs made and more than one way of doing something. I think these two points of view are often on the clashing ends of Paladin debates. Both sides make valid points. If you want to discuss Blue Mage subjob versus Red Mage subjob on Khimaira you're going to factor in stuff like MDB traits, Phalanx, hate from Blind and Sleep spells and of course physical defense. You leave out things like different playstyles because you're assuming your own playstyle. Whether you think you're optimal or not doesn't change that if you put two players in the exact same situation their actions will quickly diverge. How would you compare the performance of two setups if you can't compare them under the exact same circumstances? You fall back to calculations or parses/data of situations that you deem close enough to compare. More often than not players rely on their gut feeling and support it with data/math instead of using data/math to form their opinion. So, what's the point I'm trying to make? I guess it's "Stop being en evangelist on Paladin matters". Whatever happened to reason?

Step back a bit and look at the big picture. Ask yourself how fast can your group kill something and how safe/reliable is your method. That's all that matters in the end. If you consider it from this level, increasing kill speed as well as reliability turns into macro management and low level discussions like I.R. Hauberk versus Avalon Breastplate, while still relevant, lose a lot of their significance. So, to reiterate: Yes, gear and sj choices matter, just not as much as people think they do. Both the ignorant as well as the well-informed hold on to their opinions with way too much ferver.

While on the subject. When I leveled Paladin I bought DD gear pieces once I hit mid 50's. Exped mostly on birds until I moved to the mire. Due to Feather Tickle I didn't often have TP, however I felt like the party was doing better than if I didn't attempt to deal damage. Unfortunately, the average DD player is of low enough quality that my damage output actually mattered. In the mire I felt like my utility went through the roof as I was able to eat food while WS'ing as frequently if not MORE frequently than the rest of my party. The idea behind DD'ing on Paladin was "if you can't hold hate against your DD's in such short fights, help the party in a different way". It turned out that with my DD numbers I was actually able to hold hate better than a pure turtle setup. Looking back it makes a lot of sense. In such a short fight, with nobody holding back, the rate of increase of everyone's volatile enmity is going to be very high. Considering for each point of damage dealt provides more VE than CE the largest part of your enmity is going to be VE for the duration of the fight. If you tried to turtle tank with Paladin you'd have pretty much only VE with the exception of cures. With gear swaps you can still max out enmity on Flashes, Provokes and cures. While you take more damage and thus lose more CE than a turtle tank, you also produce more CE beacause of your damage output. So CE may be somewhat similar in the two situations but more likely still in favor of the DD setup. VE on the other hand will be much higher when you attempt to DD. Since VE is the largest part of your total enmity in short fights against mobs with low HP, the setup with the highest total enmity is the DD setup. With more damage taken comes higher stress on the healer. However, being able to kill faster balances this out to a certain extent. Not to mention the more kills and thus more EXP you'll be able to get during the course of the party.

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