Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Patch 1.9

Patch 1.9 was introduced yesterday. This was the "paladin patch", where paladins were reviewed and given some changes. I feel that, for the most part, this patch just added polish to the paladin in its current form. The talent trees were tightened up, and a few abilities were switched around. Paladin tanking was made a bit easier to use with the Righteous Fury buff. Judgement of Command was changed to add a little more damage. On the whole, the patch was probably a good one for paladins (though I do feel sad about the changes to Holy Shield). It did not, however, address the fundamental dissatisfaction with paladins in raids.

It possibly made paladins a bit better in PvP, though to a large extent this depends on whether Pursuit of Justice (8% bonuse to movement speed) is working properly or not. It is currently stacking with other permanent speed enhancements like Mithril Spurs, even though the tooltip says it does not. (It is not stacking with temporary speed enchancers like potions.) If it does stack with the permanent enhancements, PoJ is an awesome talent, and will help paladins in PvP significantly. If it's a bug, and is fixed/nerfed, then paladins are more or less the same in PvP as they were before the patch. (I'll still take it as I'm lazy and don't want to waste time juggling trinkets).

Prior to this patch, Coriel was specced Holy/Protection (27/24/0). I had all the healing talents, Holy Shield and Improved Blessing of Salvation. It was a very PvE, healing/support, 1H+shield focused build.

Post-patch, I'm going Retribution (18/0/33), mostly for a change of pace. The new build is pretty good, especially for soloing. I can kill things a bit faster than I could before, though I have less survivability when attacked by multiple enemies. Retribution is a very mana-efficient tree, even with judging Command fairly often.

It's an interesting exercise, trying to determine what the paladin talent trees represent. For example, the priest trees (Holy/Discipline/Shadow) are for healing, metamagic, and damage respectively. The purpose of other class trees are also fairly obivious or easy to figure out. The paladin trees (Holy/Protection/Retribution), in contrast, are the source of much debate. The conventional view is that they are healing/tanking/dps, the three main MMO roles. Ellia, a notorious forum poster/troll/devil's advocate, maintains that they are spellcasting/1H+shield/2H. Personally, I think they break down as follows: Holy = doing stuff with mana; Protection = doing stuff when people are hitting you; and Retribution = doing stuff without mana.

I'm not really sure if this is a useful breakdown for paladins, but you have to work with the tools you are given.

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