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Lay on Hands nerf

2009/11/06

With patch 3.3 coming closer every day, I want to take another look at an ability that is being changed. In this case it is our iconic healing ability Lay on Hands, the biggest heal in the game, on the longest cooldown.
Initially Blizzard thought about making Lay on Hands castable on everyone but yourself. The reasoning being that Paladin’s are already hard to kill as it is (Divine Protection and healing). One of the coolest things about Lay on Hands is that it is a leveling Paladin’s “get out of jail free” card. A lot of classes have an ability like that (Feign Death, etc.), and while a Paladin might have Lay on Hands and bubbles, it would still be a loss not to be able to instantly heal ourselves to full, once in a long while.
So thankfully Blizzard abandoned this idea and has now gone with Lay on Hands causing forbearance on its target, just like Hand of Protection. This is next to Divine Protection and Divine Shield causing forbearance on the caster, and Avenging Wrath interfering with it all.
While this solves the problem of not being able to chain bubbles and huge heals, it introduces another one: tank imbalance. The problem is that a Protection Paladin’s major cooldown is Divine Shield. And prohibiting the use of a Lay on Hands after a Paladin tank’s cooldowns, but after those of other tank classes is plain unfair. Even worse, an early Lay on Hands on a tank will not even allow him to rely on his own cooldowns.
This problem is now also present for throwing Hand of Protection on a tank, but people who do this deserve a /slap anyway. So now a different problem of the Paladin class comes up. They have a few very powerful abilities, which Blizzard does not want us to use in quick succession. This seems fair, as it forces us to think when to use one of our stronger powers. However this should not restrict other classes from doing their work, just because we try to save them.
A solution that I have seen proposed, and one that I thought was interesting, is to make it so that forbearance is placed on the caster of Lay on Hands (and probably Hand of Protection as well then). While this still allows multiple Paladins to chain cast their saves on a tank, this probably means you have a bigger problem anyway. It does force a Paladin to think about what he is going to do. Can he afford to boost his casting or dps? Should he save the dps who is about to get nailed by shielding him? Or might the tank be in need of an emergency heal? I think that is the gameplay we want from these abilities.
Update:
New patch notes indicate that forbearance will only be triggered if you cast Lay on Hands on yourself as Holy, through the Sanctified Light talent. Nice fix for Holy, even mellower than what I talked about.

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