by Leafiara

Welcome, paladin players and other interested parties, to the results of the TownCrier’s paladin survey! In this two-part survey that ran from May 19th to June 23rd, we asked players to share comprehensive thoughts on the paladin profession in the world of GemStone IV.

Methodology

This survey ran from May 19th to June 23rd, 2020, with two parts released simultaneously that were filled out independently. Participants could fill out one and not the other if they so chose. Each survey was comprised of a mix of qualitative and quantitative questions.

All responses have been passed along to dev GMs in raw, unedited form, but in the upcoming pages of this public report, I’ve aimed to summarize a representative sampling of recurring themes and thoughts among players’ responses. To this end, I’ve highlighted comments that stuck out as exceptional for being either:

  • Succinct
  • Thorough
  • Specific
  • Unique in view
  • Unique in the way they were articulated

Some players gave permission to attach their names to their responses in this public summary while others opted for anonymity. Comments were chosen for quality over quantity; as an example (not a real one), if ten people said that 1620 Aid the Fallen should be deleted while one person said that they cast it five times a day, at best I only include one comment from each perspective. (The exception would be if some of the ten give different reasoning to their arguments.)

Emphasizing how many people simply like or dislike a spell, combat maneuver, or other element of paladins has been largely left to bar charts instead of quoting anybody and everybody.

For more details on how comments were selected, please see the bottom of this page below the table of contents!

Lastly, to support those using a screen reader, all charts have also been described in text below the image.

 

Participants

Between both surveys, 52 unique paladin players responded to the first part, with 40 of those returning to fill out the second part. (There were no individuals who filled out the second part but skipped the first part.)

Here are the demographic breakdowns:

 

How Long Participant Has Played Paladin Consistently

  • 6 participants had played their paladin for less than a year.
  • 8 had played their paladin between one year and less than two.
  • 10 had played between two years and less than three.
  • 2 had played between three years and less than four.
  • 1 had played between four years and less than five.
  • 20 had played more than five years.
  • 5 reported rarely playing their paladin or not playing their paladin consistently.

Level of Paladin

  • No survey participants reported having paladins in the level 0-9 or 90-99 ranges.
  • 3 participants each reported having paladins in level 10-19, 20-29, or 30-39 ranges, for a total of 9.
  • 6 participants each reported in level 40-49, 50-59, or 60-69 ranges, for a total of 18.
  • 5 participants reported in the level 70-79 range.
  • 2 participants reported in the level 80-89 range.
  • 17 participants reported as capped.
  • (1 participant didn’t fill in a level.)

Post-Cap Paladin Experience

Of the 17 capped paladins, 16 reported how far post-cap. Of those, 12 were below 2x cap, with the highest among them being at 14.7 million exp (1.94x cap). The others clocked in at 16 million exp (2.11x cap), 29 million (3.83x cap), 31.8 million (4.2x cap), and around 50 million (6.6x cap).

For those reading an archive of this report in the future, please be aware that these experience totals were gathered prior to the release of ascension. Future surveys will probably have to collect this data differently.

 

Intent of Character vs. Actual Use

 

In a pair of questions, players were asked whether they intended for their paladins to be main characters, alts, or pocket paladins. The latter was defined with an example of a paladin used only for armor fluidity, Mantle of Faith, or other abilities supporting other characters.

  • 31 players intended for their paladin to be a main.
  • 20 players intended for their paladin to be an alt.
  • No players intended to create a pocket paladin.
  • 26 players have been treating their paladin as a main.
  • 21 players have been treating their paladin as an alt.
  • 4 players have been treating their paladin as a pocket paladin.

I’ve created another graph below breaking down how (or if) actual use changed from intent on a per-player basis: 

 

Shifts of Intent and Use

 

Use as a Main

  • 24 players intended their paladin to be a main and it remained a main.
  • 2 players intended their paladin to be an alt, but it became a main.

Later questions throughout the survey will touch on what players love about the paladin profession, but those who intended their character to be a main and it remained so didn’t elaborate much on why that is during the early demographics section.

A few did express misgivings, though; one said that their paladin remains a main “more due to the name, and friends, than what the class currently provides” (Khaell, level 100) and another said “Intentions haven’t changed yet but playing my capped wizard has made me think about it” (Kal, 100).

As for those who intended to create a paladin alt only for it to become a main, one simply said they’re playing with their wife (name withheld, 36) while another wrote:

I rolled a paladin when I returned from a long break because I really wanted to see what they were all about. After briefly playing him, I realized that I like to use a polearm but couldn’t possibly do that and shields, which also had new abilities, and maintain the training plan I needed.

So I went full lance mode but found the initial training regime to be very strict and somewhat painfully limited. However, as I progressed, I realized that my paladin had some unique roleplaying capabilities, and was a very capable hunter which made up for those short comings.

He is a half-krolvin as well so figuring out religion for him was a treat and still is as I explain how Khar’ta is his deity but is the same as Charl. My paladin has been pretty fun ever since. I love the spiritual nature combined with melee prowess to include heavy armor. As I level him I really enjoy all the higher level capabilities and find him to be extremely powerful.

My only down point is, I don’t seem to have much of a group contribution as I would like (Consecrate and a Mantle) and I don’t have a guild to work on in tandem with leveling. I look to other professions to fill that gap (Warrior and wizard alts).

Koergun, level 60

Use as an Alt

  • 17 players intended their paladin to be an alt and it remained an alt.
  • 4 players intended their paladin to be a main, but it became an alt.

Some reasons given for creating paladin alts included “to learn […] how Paladins fit into the greater Gemstone schema, in terms of their mechanical benefits and detriments” (Whirlin, 100), being “a good change of pace from my main, a warpath” (Remilia, 49), and a player who “considered him for main for a while, but decided to stick with bard due to better utility.” (Tarthan, 17)

As for those who intended to create a paladin main only for it to slip into being an alt, one reported using their paladin as bait while farming essence on their wizard (“Holy Warrior”, 100), another said they came back [presumably to the game after a break] and like the monk profession (Picalo, 520), and others brought up concerns about utility and diversity:

The class has no diversity, or versatility in my opinion. Amazing kit, but that’s about it. There is no real ability to […] serve your dark or light pantheon. It’s a warrior with spells.

Evician, level 77

Paladins are an afterthought class. Nothing about them is desirable to a group or community.

Mykail, level 52

Use as a Pocket Character

  • 3 players intended their paladin to be a main, but it became a pocket character.
  • 1 player intended their paladin to be an alt, but it became a pocket character.

The player making the less dramatic of these shifts, from alt to pocket paladin, wrote: 

Too slow to hunt with and hard time competing with other classes when it comes to hunting ability. Lack of good training options. Everything a paladin does a cleric seems to do better.

Willington, level 55

As for the three players who meant to make a paladin main only for it to become a pocket character, each one explained why in detail:

I found the play style to be too convoluted for my liking. I found myself too heavily reliant on melee because of the hindrance of being in heavy armor. I found I had to be in heavy armor because I was taking too many hits. Then I saw a forum post break down how exactly Paladins are worse, in every way, to Warriors and I was like…why bother?

Nothing about the class made it fun (1650 was ok but at the level I was at I didn’t have enough spare points to increase spirit control for divine energy – plus once every 10 minutes???). I was also finding myself constantly running when more than 3 critters got into the room. 1630 wasn’t putting them down for long enough (not to mention it was eating through my mana, especially with the failure rate) to safely deal with them.

Alexyar, level 72

Paladins, to me, are very much where clerics were at prior to the updates by GM Estild and team a year ago. Paladins are very one dimensional and too many of their abilities seem to incentivize players into using a two-handed weapon or TWC rather than a weapon and shield.

Kaight, level 100

The playstyle was too constrictive. In order to hunt effectively, I didn’t have enough TPs to do anything except train combat skills. I couldn’t even skin. And, without anything to offer other players, it became boring.

Nazagor, level 42

If they aren’t already, things will start to get interesting in the next section–since nearly every point that’s been touched on so far saw agreements and disagreements among the survey responses.

Are paladins powerful or are they slow? Do they lack in group contributions or are they built around group contributions? Is their religious roleplay a driving reason to play them or is it lacking? Should they use shields or avoid shields?

These questions and many others are yet to come.

 

Table of Contents

 

(coming soon as the report gets created!)

 

Further Notes on Comment Selection

Generally speaking, my goals while choosing comments to include were:

  1. Highlight almost every actionable suggestion that included details and was more than a few words long.
  2. Include at least two opposing perspectives on every major topic as long as each side has one substantive comment.
  3. Quality over quantity: cut the redundancy and focus on quoting unique angles that add to the conversation.

#3 means that if five people reached the same conclusion and each gave different reasoning, I’d quote all five–but if thirty people reached the same conclusion with the same reasoning, I’d quote only one.

Please note that, overall, highlighted comments seemed to trend toward concerns or complaints. I tried to avoid this as much as possible in line with goal #2, but dissatisfied players just tended to give more detailed responses. (This might be partly explained away by the players who love every aspect of their paladins being more interested in spending time playing the game than spending hours filling out a survey, but that’s only my speculation!)

Navigation

(coming soon as the report gets created)

 

Avatar

Leafi

Leafi reports on current events in and around Wehnimer’s Landing, where she can often be found dashing about day and night! She also hosts public Town Hall meetings in the Landing and helps with numerous TownCrier projects behind the scenes, including entirely too many proposals that create more work for Luxie. Does this lass’s troublemaking know no end?