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January 4th, 2013, 09:50
I think the best about a paladin is the very high survivability. Paladins are usually the last man standing if the group wipes. Excellent saves and self-healing are the main reasons.
This means the paladin is a good class when you level up from 1 to 20. Especially if you are a TR with good gear and 34+ build points. Then you can have a high constitution and decent strength. With e. g. green steel weapons you can clear trash fast.
The problem with a paladin comes at higher levels if you're well geared. The problem starts at lower levels if you're not well geared. Paladins can only dream of getting above 1000 dp damage on their crititical hits. Usually they score between 300-500. When you compare that to fighters and barbarians who can score over 5000 damage on a critical hit then you see something is seriously wrong. Casters can also regularly score in the thousands on their damage spells.
In the epic level areas even trash monsters have a lot of hit points. So paladins need longer to finish off trash. They might be able to do epic hard quests, but on epic elite the lack of dps will seriously gimp the group.
Even worse for the paladin is that their best abilities (great saves and self-healing and even smites) become available to other classes via the epic destinies. Several destiny trees now have healing as an option. That means all other classes can twist in healing capability. The great AC paladins have can also be obtained by the other classes via epic destinies.
Paladins can, of course, also benefit from the destiny trees like legendary dreadnought and fury of the wild, but it takes a long way to go there. When you get there you still notice that you can't get the best abilities due to lack of feats.
E. g. you rarely can fit in cleave and greater cleave. So no overwhelming critical at level 21. You can't take many of the LD abilities due to lack of certain feats. So the paladin lack of feats really comes back to bite you at the epic levels.
On the other hand. If you focus on your paladin to just be a tank then you will see that the paladin works very well. If you maximize the Unyielding sentinel tree you can easily get over 100 AC with a shield with 1100+ hp. Then the paladin can help the group being their tank.
The problem with this is that most quests are about killing trash and not holding aggro against a boss. Quests like Vision of Destruction aren't run very often. If you play mainly in guild runs and being a tank can protect others from harm then you can still do well. In pug groups people like to complete the quests fast and focus on getting a very high dps to get rid of trash fast. Killing bosses are rarely a problem in quests. Not being able to finish off trash fast enough is the reason you wipe.
I've spoken to several DDO experts and they say Turbine are aware of balance issues regarding classes and races and will do something about that when they revamp the enchancement system. That's probably one reason it's delayed to 2013.
The best reason to play a paladin is if you just want to play to level 20 and then TR. The +5% healing amp and past life ability (+3 attack/+3 damage 3 times per rest) are great past life abilities. At epic levels you will notice that the paladin will suffer. I've heard the ranger is also struggling with the same problem.
If you look at PUG LFM's you will see that the classes they usually don't look for are paladins and rangers. I've even seen some groups ignoring clerics and only look for favored souls and druids. Rogues have actually become stronger with the epic destinies and can actually have very high dps in sneak mode.
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