December 22, 2010

To off-hand or not to off-hand

It has come to my attention that off-hand items are better than they were in WOTLK.  In WOTLK I used to list off-hand items on the list even though you couldn't enchant them.  Now, I do not list them even though you can apply +100 intellect to both off-hands and shields.  As Wowhead shows, the number of off-hands in Cataclysm is decent (for the ones without hit).  I'd like to justify myself in not listing off-hands before I make the jump and do it again.

Reasoning behind leaving out off-hands:
  1. Off-hands have no armor.  Armor used to negate only physical mob hits, which made it rather useless.  In Cataclysm, armor reduces all physical damage.  If an AOE ability or boss ability is physical damage you will take much less damage wearing a shield.  I can think of one example off the top of my head which is Quake on Ascendant Council.  Granted, you're not supposed to get hit by it.... but with a shield you can survive.
  2. Competition.  With shields you compete with other holy paladins and with off-hands you compete with (potentially): paladins, priests, druids, shamans, warlocks, mages.  The likelihood of the caster classes being pissed when you take the off-hand is relatively high.
  3. Adds.  On the off-chance your tank isn't Chuck Norris, a few adds may hit healers while being picked up.  Shield armor helps then.  It's probably not enough damage that your self healing can't cover, but it might save other healers the trouble of getting your health bar up.
  4. Pride. Yeah, it isn't a good gameplay reason.  So be it.
Are these reasons enough to not list off-hands on the BIS list?  Are there reasons I'm missing?  Let me know in comments.


  1. i think u should leave the off hands to other classes i love my sheilds

  2. Off-hands have normally been regarded as a stat stick, where as for us Pallies they have done more than just provide stats - they boost our survivability more. I do however believe that if no other offhand is available that it should be a option as it would help us do our job of healing.

    How much better is that BiS offhand to the BiS shield? For min-max or just for the type of gamer ..?

    Personally, I love my shields and even if a imba off-hand was to be found, I'd DE it or pass on it. In some regards the same dilemma occurs when talking about Cloth, Mail and Leather - here we loose out on 5% Intel if we wear other than plate. Sadly, the Devs leave this area open for personal interpretation and adjustment as we receive no penalty for anything in that slot.

    My shield is carried with pride and I'd rather use it to smack someone with than a floppy book. It's my safe and fluffy thought.

  3. I had an offhand while I was leveling, and I felt like less of a paladin.

    From a raid leading perspective, it is better to encourage/limit paladins and shamans to take shields, much like many guilds did with armor classes in Wrath.

    So far, it seems like most offhands have similar or at least comparable stats to shields, so it isn't a hard choice. It may change, however, if one tier offers us suboptimal shields and great offhands. Time will tell.

    I appreciate your BiS list, and I've consulted it dozens of times while I was choosing what heroics I ran to get me ready to raid. Thank you very much!