Quite awhile ago now, I wrote about how playing a Protection Warrior made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Or I guess, cold and hard inside? I'm not really sure, but the gist of it was that the graphical appearance of Prot Warrior abilities combined with their sound effects made for a very visceral play experience. It was believable that I was up in a mob's face, keeping its attention focused on me, and taking everything it could dish out while remaining standing. Bashing things in the face with my shield was awesome, and it gave the illusion of being a very ferocious strike, which added a lot to gameplay. Without the sounds and images associated with it, it wouldn't have been nearly as fun.
I return with additional thoughts on that: My Protection Paladin, while it still has a very special place in my heart, isn't nearly as fun as my Warrior directly because of a lack of graphical and aural appeal. The visuals and sounds associated with Protection Paladin spells? Lacking, to say the very least. Where a Warrior's Shield Slam looks and sounds like you have busted a skull open with your heavy shield and powerful blow, a Paladin's Shield of Righteousness somewhat sparkles at an opponent threateningly, with an utter lack of aural flair.
Then there's Hammer of the Righteous, the Protection Paladin's 51 point talent. While it would've been a bit too much like a Cleave, I think I would've quite enjoyed it if the ability's animation was simply a heavy, ponderous hammer arcing through your enemies and bashing them across the face. Instead, it's the Judgement animation bouncing around in a silly fashion. Have you ever seen that thing miss one target, fly over the horizon, then whip back around to hit that last one? How absurd! The ability definitely does not give the feel of being a powerful blow. Then there's the sound effect associated with it. I thought I was playing WoW, not watching cartoons. They might as well replace the graphical effect with an anvil falling from the sky, with little birdies then spinning around your enemy's head for a few seconds.
Now, I won't go as far as to say something silly like this is a slap in the face or Blizzard hates Paladins or anything so nonsensical, but I think comparing the two taught me a lot about how much sound actually has an effect on how I, personally, play a game. When it comes to a decision as to whether I want to tank an instance on a Warrior or on a Paladin, if all other things were equal I would use the Warrior simply because they look and sound cooler. Of course, neither of those classes are my 'main' so maybe my thoughts on it are colored differently than those who play those classes more often.
Well, either way, Hammer of the Righteous sounds dumb is basically what I'm saying here.