Taking the questions in order as they were presented to participants, early questions asked players how they would describe paladins in concept and in practice, including thoughts on satisfaction, flexibility, uniqueness, problems while playing, and suggestions.
What is a Paladin?
Players were asked the following question:
If you had to describe what you think the class of paladins should be about in only two sentences, what would they be? (Example: “A Paladin is a martial champion sworn to the service of a patron Arkati, serving both as the fighting arm to slay those who would oppose the patron deity and as the defender of the deity’s faithful servants. ” (taken from https://www.play.net/gs4/info/professions/paladins.asp))
Players were free to interpret this question as they liked, so responses varied on two spectrums: entirely mechanical vs. entirely rooted in roleplay, and what paladins should be vs. what paladins are.
Common recurring themes included:
- Championing, crusading for, defending, or serving a cause
- Championing, crusading for, defending, or serving an Arkati or spirit
- Great physical prowess augmented by moderate magic
- Heavy armor
- Spiritual devotion
A Paladin is a bastion of protection inside the fury of the storm. Standing stalwart behind his shield ready to fight beside his friend and rescue them in their greatest hour of need.
Holy Knights of The Realm, Oath-bound to protect a Cause/Order higher than themselves, through a rigid practice of Chivalry, Honor, Virtue, and Warfare.
A Paladin is a martial champion sworn to the service of a patron Arkati, serving both as the fighting arm to slay those who would oppose the patron deity and as the defender of the deity’s faithful servants.
A Paladin is a champion of a cause, who uses martial abilities with magical enhancements to strike his enemy down. He is a physical manifestation of his patron’s Will.
I picture paladins as having two main archetypes, the stalwart defender of faith/friends/the helpless or the righteous crusader. In mechanical terms, I’d peg those as tank/group support and setup/single target DPS.
A paladin is a master at close quarters weapons combat, and survivability backed by the graces of their deity.
The paladin is an inspiration to those around him. He passes judgment for the common folk and is answerable only to his god or his king. In most game systems he is conflated with a knight-healer. GS is the only game I’ve played where a paladin can raise the dead.
A few players brought up perceived discrepancies between ideal and reality:
- “I think that [play.net] description is fine. However, Paladins should have something to offer others which fits into that description.” (Nazagor, level 42)
- “Paladins aspire to be avatars of their Arkati or spirit and, as there are many Arkati and spirits, so too are there many varieties of paladin. (Or, rather, there should be.)” (Leafiara, level 100)
- “I think the Paladin should really seamlessly blend spells/melee. Don’t make my AS so big that I no longer need to rely on spells to setup (1602/1614/1615/1618) but also don’t make it such a pain to cast (requiring armor fluidity, requiring 1603 for an important cast). I really thought I’d be casting/swinging in equal amounts but it was mostly amb right leg, mstrike or feint mstrike. if I couldn’t successfully feint (rare) then I’d 1615 and amb head/mstrike.” (Alexyar, level 72)
These sentiments and others like will get ample time throughout the rest of the report. For now, let’s examine responses to the next question.
Player Satisfaction with Paladins
The next question asked:
How satisfied are you with playing a paladin?
- 8 players (15.4%) rated satisfaction with their paladin a 6/6, for the most satisfied.
- 12 players (23.1%) rated satisfaction a 5/6.
- 14 players (26.9%) rated satisfaction a 4/6.
- 4 players (7.7%) rated satisfaction a 3/6.
- 8 players (15.4%) rated satisfaction a 2/6.
- 6 players (11.5%) rated satisfaction with their paladin a 1/6, for the least satisfied.
That takes the totals to 65.4% more satisfied than not (rating paladin satisfaction at least a 4/6) and 34.6% more dissatisfied than not (rating paladin a satisfaction no higher than 3/6).
Comparatively speaking, rangers were overall dramatically more satisfied, having respective numbers of 86.7% and 13.3%. They also notably had no players give a 1/6 rating and 2 give a 2/6, compared to 14 paladin players giving 2/6 or lower.
Possible explanations for this particular curve will be delved into as we proceed through the report, starting with the remainder of this very page.
Paladin Training Paths
The next question asked:
How flexible do you think paladin training paths are? (I.e., Do you feel that there are many different viable builds and training paths?)
- One player (1.9%) rated paladin flexibility a 6/6, for the most flexible.
- 5 players (9.6%) rated flexibility a 5/6.
- 5 players (9.6%) rated flexibility a 4/6.
- 14 players (26.9%) rated flexibility a 3/6.
- 18 players (34.6%) rated flexibility a 2/6.
- 9 players (17.3%) rated flexibility a 1/6, for the most inflexible.
The next question asked:
How unique do you feel paladins are able to be within their training paths? (I.e., do you feel that within a specific build such as shield or two-handed weapons, paladins are able to be very flexible and unique relative to other paladins of that build?)
- No players (0%) rated paladin uniqueness within a build 6/6, for the most unique.
- 6 players (11.5%) rated uniqueness 5/6.
- 9 players (17.3%) rated uniqueness 4/6.
- 13 players (25%) rated uniqueness 3/6.
- 10 players (19.2%) rated uniqueness 2/6.
- 14 players (26.9%) rated uniqueness 1/6, for the most similar.
These ratings lay some groundwork in understanding many of the written responses for the next question.
Problems and Suggestions
Players were next asked to respond to the following:
What specific problems, if any, are you having with your paladin?
Common responses involved a lack of diversity, training points being too tight (spell ranks were cited most frequently in this regard), and a one-dimensional hunting style. Opinions on the use of shields also varied widely.
Below is a sampling of comments from all angles:
Being post-cap, my paladin doesn’t have too many problems, except for decent hunting grounds in the places she wants to be. However, pre-cap, the main problem that I remember her having was a large crunch of not enough training points for way too many skills to train in. Paladins have *soooo* many things that they want (and sometimes need or are designed) to train in, that they have to prioritize and feel ‘gimped’ during the pre-capped crunch.
Whatever build you do end up training, you have to 100% commit to it without much wiggle room because of lack of training points.
I hate that you can’t run Divine Shield and Zealot together. Running a shield is iffy from a min-max perspective already, but it feels like Paladins SHOULD sword+board.
I feel I’d fall asleep if I used a shield (which annoyingly paladins seem to be pushed toward), so really the only path after that is THW or polearm. Training points are so tight at my level range that there really isn’t any room for a secondary form of fighting. It’s either turtle up with sword&board or swing a huge stick. I just find hunting with my paladin to just be too boring.
I wanted to try this Zealot build paladin I kept hearing about. I switch away from shields, grab a big maul, and couldn’t stay alive for anything without a full (we’re talking Dreavening style) complement of spells. Prior to this change I was OHE/Tower shield and it was just boring. I wanted to use my shield more but it wasn’t a successful setup maneuver nor was it useful to train in shield strike mastery (just untrained and put them into passive skills).
I’ve been fighting stuff by just feinting and poking them with a lance for the last 40 levels. There’s not a lot of buttons to press or decisions to make in combat.
Depending on weapon spec, some spells are rather lackluster for particular builds by design. that can be a little disheartening when determining training. Other than that, it’s very linear, defined, and I don’t really think there’s too much variation in training paths beyond weapon selection.
There is very little diversity in my combat options. With heaps of post cap exp I can train in every weapon style, but my spells, smans and cmans are so narrow that it takes a full fixskills to do anything different in a hunt. It would also be nice to have some more mid term goals from hunting (like ensorcell gives). That doesn’t impact my actual hunting ability, but it would make the grind more fun.
They are very effective at hunting, but they feel one note. Hunting is using one spell and then swing for the head. Outside of that it’s character roleplay, they don’t feel particularly useful to groups or providing services.
Paladin’s don’t gradually grow in power along a curve in my opinion. As I leveled up, it seemed there were very extreme peaks a paladin would achieve via their training and then they would remain flat until the next peak. When you get Zealot at level 17, beseech at 35, full plate at 50, and later on 1650 when it was released (I was already capped).
[…] Paladin CS spells work for awhile until you pretty much peak at 50 paladin ranks. As you level towards cap you’ll begin to notice your spells are weaker than when you were leveling to 50 because you didn’t have the additional CS like a bard or ranger might. Paladin spells are expensive as well and bards don’t have this issue due to their longstanding (bug/feature) of not losing mana due to spell hindrance casting failure. You have the option to use 1603, but you’re extending the time per kill and expending more mana (neither of these are good choices imo).
The lack of diversity and being the paladin or anti-paladin that I’d like for my character to be. Bonding to black ora, or bonding to a weapon that could be considered an evil weapon. The bond is a spell, it’s the same bond a warrior has. The only good thing about the bond a paladin has is the spell infusion, strength and wisdom bonus you get. But other than that, it’s not really all that great.
The question immediately ofollowing the above then asked:
What specific ideas, if any, would you like to see implemented for paladins?
Among the more common responses were a reduction in TP costs, increased versatility, increased utility, improvements to shields, improvements to maneuvers, changes to lore thresholds or benefits, reworking 1640 Divine Word or allowing the use of chrisms, and more deity-related flavor. Three players proposed an aura system, presumably in the vein of Diablo (though only one of them outright said so).
Below is a sampling of suggestions, some specific and others more generalized:
Deity specific blessing/sanctification that synergizes or conflict with things like ensorcelling.
Phantom mstrike ranks with melee weapons similar to rogues/rangers with ranged weapons. More cman access to make them “tanky” such as parry mastery. Decent offensive spell options at lower costs, too many of their offensive spells are higher up the list. Zealot needs to be tuned to take less lore ranks to offset the DS penalty.
Paladins should be able to provide more services for fellow adventurers. Right now Paladins more than any other class except monks exist on an island. Despite having spells, Paladins can only 1601 + minor spiritual other people. They have group spells which is kind of cool but really pretty niche.
I’d like to see unique benefits or abilities given to paladins based on their chose deity path. Granted, paladins today get messaging based on alignment and deity-specific dmg types for certain spells, but because of their requirements to be a holy/dark crusader, I think there’s more opportunity here. Perhaps within a guild?
Perhaps more flavor text for ‘dark’ paladins depending on deity alignment, so folks aren’t forced into feeling like holy avengers.
Bards and Rangers are viable on casting alone – I’d like to see paladins that way as well. And, don’t give me the old line, “that’s what clerics are for.”
Some of the Classical Traits that make Paladins “Paladins.” for instance: A Lay of hands healing ability instead of the rarely used “Resurrection/Raise Dead” ability, A true “Immunity” to Disease/Poison ability, instead of spells that all Spiritual casters gain use of. A class of Weapons specific to Paladins (Two Handed Pole-arms, Long-swords for instance), or more effective use of these weapons than the other classes. A Class of Armor specific to Paladins (Polished Chain-mail/ Breastplate), or more effective use of these Armors than the other classes.
An “Heraldry” Class Ability that is akin to the Monk Tattoo ability, Sorcerer Ensorcell, or Wizard Enchant. This ability would allow Paladins to Draw/Paint/Etch Heraldic Symbols upon a Shield/Breastplate which would parlay Levels of Resistance to Sheer Fear, AdV weapon pluses/Weapon Dmg pluses or Shield attack pluses to melee Attacks or even Temporary Hit-point Flares. This ability could fit into the Cooperative players concept already being used by the other classes. A Paladin for instance would earn “deeds” that would empower his Heraldry Ability, and this ability could be tiered like the other Classes’ unique abilities.
I think paladins should be able to assess weapons. Or have their own ability that encourages paladins to convert to a deity and “infuse” that arkati’s power into a weapon or item of other players converted to the same arkati. Some type of deity flare or boost.
There needs to be a good alternative to 1617 (1609 is LACKING). 1625 needs to be easier to maintain and be tied to harness power rather than summoning lore for mana capacity. Paladins have too many lores to train pre-cap already.
1614 + 1x CMAN should provide an equal AS benefit in comparison to 2x CMAN, but not provide a huge bonus or any bonus beyond 2x CMAN (I’d prefer to train 1x CMAN and 1x spells personally, but there’s not a lot of incentive to due this pre-cap).
If nothing else changed, making 1603 be a longer duration (even 2 min would be a huge improvement) is something that would go a long way for me.
1608 is too expensive combined with spell hindrance and having to ward the targets; something needs to give here. Remove the hindrance or make it always hit; this should be a defining ability for paladins but I don’t think it is used much at all.
Crusade doesn’t get used much either (I sure didn’t use it) due to the low duration and high mana cost; I was always using far too much mana during my hunts already via 1614 and 1615.
I would like to see a bonded mount, some sanctification or blessing skills that are unique to Paladins (like adding holy weighting against undead or demons) and some neat Ascension stuff.
Greater variety in maneuvers, and dev support to use those maneuvers. […] I would like to see a paladin service offered to others that fits a paladin’s theme: physical attack/defense augmented by spiritual blessings.
Implement a way for being able to 1625 with secondary weapons, shield(s), armor, etc. Being a martial paladin, one should be able to have two weapons to switch between, and be bonded to both of them. Perhaps make it so that you can only be actively using one bonded weapon at a time (to make it impossible to dual-wield both bonded weapons).
Likewise, being able to bond to shields would give paladins a reason to actually be sword-and-board, instead of always going the ‘good defense is a high offense’ route. And, bonded armor makes sense since we already ‘bless’ armor with Fluidity or Blessing, why not be able to call our Patron’s blessing down more permanently on our own armor?
A paladin guild! Some of the benefits of said guild could tie in with existing spells and enhance them in a flavor based or slight mechanical based. For example, imbuing an artifact (Armor, or religious artifact such as a censer or wearable book as I tend to carry these things around with the intent on using them to show my devotion) with a religious based enhancement. Maybe base it around a sworn enemy system, where depending on your deity, the item provides enhancements by increasing your strength and creating some sort of ambient flavored response.
So say, I’m a follower of Charl, and I don’t like fire based things or tyrant based things (Eorgina) so in the presence of those things my item flares angrily and increases my power in some fashion (AS, CS, UAC, or Combat Manuevers), more so depending on my guild skill ranks. To counter that, if I’m in the presence of things Charl likes (Water based or storm based things) I encounter a slight debuff.
Maybe this somehow ties into the Crusade spell and enhances it while worn. Maybe this item can be crafted, to be utilized by non-paladin folks to provide flavor for them and a minor variant of the buff/debuff.
A wider variety of Cman and Sman options and the ability to train in more of them. If I want to switch this hunt from using polearms to two handers, I either have to forgo all maneuver skills or burn a fixskills. With the costs or penalties that high, I basically never change, even though I have maxed effectively every weapon style training.
Maybe abilities that can be learned with weapon ranks instead of just combat maneuvers. That would make changing weapon styles on the fly possible for people who put in the TPs. Right now, no amount of training will let me swap weapons and do new tricks mid hunt.
An ability to better put my indestructible paladin self to use for the group would also be fab. 1608 is almost useless in a world of fading/ambushing/AOE using/maneuvering/newly spawning creatures. 1614 was a bit better- at least in mixed level invasions- but the kneeling effect was removed. I want to draw attacks from the group to myself, to be an actual RPG tank.
An ensorcell like ability to add deity specific flares to gear would also be awesome. Maybe a T(x)/25 chance to flare with some bonus for being the same convert status.
Let 1625 infuse spells fire off not just with normal attacks, but also certain maneuvers where the weapon hits the critter, such as charge, trip or even subdual strike. Also a long term service to offer similar to ensorcell.
Making it less faffy to infuse your weapon via 1625. The lore requirements are fine, but if it could remember the last spell you imbedded it with and you could just INFUSE it again without prepping the spell, that’d be grand.