I just did something unpleasant that made me feel a little weird.
First off, I dinged 83 last night on Thosif, my Paladin. That wasn't the unpleasant thing; on the contrary, leveling felt really quite good. I immediately hearthed to Stormwind and trained Holy Radiance, the Holy Paladin's new bread and butter group heal. I am really looking forward to trying that out tonight. My next post will likely be a run down of how the first dungeon with HR goes and my impressions of the spell.
The unpleasantness actually happened earlier in the evening during a random Stonecore pug run where I obtained the Prophet's Scepter for my main healing set.
"So what?" you may ask. And you'd be right. It's a nice leveling off-hand, and it's certainly a large upgrade from what I had previously. Thats not the problem.
The problem is that it's replacing this: Lost Pavise of the Blue Flight. As I'm sure every shield-using player out there knows, shields were damned near impossible to get in Wrath of the Lich King, and this particular one dropped off of Sindragosa, probably my favorite fight of that expansion and certainly my most satisfying kill to date. And it looks extremely cool as well.
There is absolutely no reason that a Holy Paladin needs to be carrying a shield. It really is just a big stat-stick. I have no abilities that require shields, no bonus for carrying one, no reward for the inordinately difficult struggle to get the damned thing in the first place (why do all shields have such ridiculously low drop-rates anyway?). I can’t even whack you in the nose with it if I wanted to. So I should be happy about getting a great upgrade that makes me heal better, right?
But here's the kicker: it just doesn’t feel right if Thosif is NOT using a shield. There is something unique to the Paladin in that they are the quintessential Battle Medic… heavily armoured and kicking some righteous butt and keeping everyone alive right up in the face of the enemy on the front lines. My Priest uses an off-hand sceptre, and that’s fine for a squishable clothie in the back, but I’m a Paladin! I want my shield!
This may sound a little silly, and really, it is… its just leveling gear after all. But it really drove home two ideas for me that hadn’t quite sunk in yet. Firstly, Wrath is really over, isn’t it? All that gear and all the accomplishments that I had worked for don’t mean anything any more. Giving up that shield and what it represents for something that I didn’t even want just feels weird and wrong.
Secondly, it made me a little nervous about the homogenization of the healing classes. I really don’t want Thosif to become a priest in plate armour. The old Paladin style of healing really captured my imagination because it was so different from the Priest style of healing. I guess the shield has always been symbolic of the idea that while the Paladin is typically standing back with the rest of the healers we could always wade into the fray and heal in melee range if we wanted to. “Don’t be silly, little priest, I have a shield. I’ll be fine”.
Besides, wouldn’t you rather look like this:
Rather than this:
Luckily there is hope on the horizon: Elementium Stormshield.