Patch 3.3 is almost upon us. Here's a look at the changes for paladins.
Divine Intervention: This ability now also removes Exhaustion or Sated from a target if the recipient is out of combat when the effect ends. In addition, the cooldown on this ability has been reduced from 20 minutes to 10 minutes. Cannot be used in Arenas.
With the decreased cooldown and removal of Exhaustion, this ability can now be used without fear. Good for wipe recovery and reducing repair bills.
Flash of Light
Flash of Light: This spell no longer causes a heal-over-time effect unless the player has the Infusion of Light talent.
Infusion of Light: This talent now causes the paladin's Flash of Light spells to heal the target for 50/100% of the Flash of Light healing amount over 12 seconds [if Sacred Shield is on the target].
Though the patch notes (so far) haven't explicitly stated it, this refers to the FoL+Sacred Shield HoT. You will still need Sacred Shield to be on the target. Pretty much nothing changes for Holy paladins, but Ret and Prot paladins lose that HoT. A PvP change more than anything.
Lay on Hands
Lay on Hands: This ability will place Forbearance on the paladin if used on his or herself. It will not place Forbearance on others.
A slight nerf to Protection paladins in PvE, and to all paladins in PvP. Blizzard is trying to cut down on the number of "extra lives" a paladin can use in a row.
Aura Mastery: This effect of this talent has been reduced in duration to 6 seconds.
A PvP nerf. The main effect this will have in PvE is that it will make timing this ability more unforgiving. Usually you use AM during a boss special attack. 10 seconds did give some margin for error, so you might hit AM a couple of seconds too soon and still cover the duration of the attack.
Repentance: This crowd control effect will no longer break early from the damage done by Righteous Vengeance.
Small boost to make Repentance more usable on a target you've already attacked.
Divine Guardian: This talent no longer increases the amount of damage transferred to the paladin from Divine Sacrifice. Instead it causes all raid and party members to take 10/20% reduced damage while Divine Sacrifice is active. In addition, the duration has been changed to 6 seconds, however the effect does not terminate when Divine Sacrifice is removed before its full duration.
Divine Sacrifice: Redesigned. The effect of Divine Sacrifice is now party-only and the maximum damage which can be transferred is now limited to 40% of the paladin's health multiplied by the number of party members. In addition, the bug which allowed Divine Sacrifice to sometimes persist despite reaching its maximum damage has been fixed. Divine Sacrifice will now cancel as soon as its maximum damage value is exceeded in all cases. Finally, damage which reduces the paladin's health below 20% now cancels the effect early.
Okay, DS is now party-only, so it becomes much less valuable than it used to be. However, hopefully the new design allows the paladin to survive using DS without the bubble. If that is so, you get to use DS much more frequently.
The raid damage reduction gets moved to the next tier and cut in half to -20% for 6 seconds. As with Aura Mastery, the timing becomes less forgiving. However, you will get to use it without the bubble (hopefully). A less powerful effect usable more often.
I suspect that most Holy paladins will still take DS+DG, and may even end up using it more. However, I think most Ret paladins will drop the talent, and use the points in Retribution, probably making Vindication standard.
On the whole, not a lot has changed for paladins. Minor nerfs to a couple of situational abilities, but Divine Intervention becomes usable again. Divine Sacrifice becomes weaker, but might be usable more often. It really depends on how likely a paladin using Divine Sacrifice is to gib herself. Personally, I hope that DS and the bubble become fully de-linked. The bubble can go back to being an individual emergency defense, rather than being saved for Divine Sacrifice all the time.