Friday, August 22, 2008

WotLK Beta - Vengeance Nerf, Part II

Ghostcrawler is on the paladin forums, trying to spin the Vengeance nerf as an "unsanctioned" change. Kind of honestly, the fact that it made the patch notes indicates that it was an intended change. It's also amusing to note that we never seen Blue posters on the paladin forums except as a last-ditch attempt at damage control.

Sometimes I think that no one at Blizzard plays a paladin on a regular basis. How do you miss the fact that Judgements stopped working?

In any case, I acknowledge the fact that Retribution paladins are doing too much damage in Beta at the moment. However, Blizzard's reaction to this reminds me of the Illumination nerf. We have a core talent that works pretty well. Blizzard introduces some poorly thought-out changes that--combined with the core talent--breaks the class. Rather than reverting the changes, Blizzard nerfs the core talent.

There are 4 issues with Retribution DPS at the moment:
  1. The new scaling Judgements are doing a crazy amount of damage. No one knows if this is intended, because as normal Blizzard refuses to convey their vision (if it even exists) of the Paladin class to us. It might be intended, because Judgements of the Wise needs a powerful Judgement in order to return non-trivial amounts of mana to the group.

  2. Judgement of Command does double damage on a stunned target. Combined with Point 1 above, we see 8-9K crits on people.

  3. Seals currently proc off special attacks. Previously, they would only proc off auto-attacks. Cathela at Elitist Jerks has calculated that this change has increased Seal DPS by 85%.

  4. Seal of Vengeance is broken, and is scaling too well with AP. This is an issue with brackets in the SoV equation, because apparently the Paladin designer does not understand BEDMAS.

All of these problems have solutions, none of which involve touching Vengeance:
  1. Tone down Judgement damage, and increase the mana returned by JotW by the equivalent amount.

  2. Change JoC to have 100% crit chance on a stunned target. That's pretty solid guaranteed burst, without getting into crazy territory.

  3. Change Seals back to only proc off white attacks. This also fixes a normalization concern for SoR/SoB, where slow weapons would become greatly favoured over faster ones.

  4. Fix the SoV equation so that it falls back in line with SoR.

Not exactly hard. But then again, I don't think any of the designers actually play a Paladin, so they don't understand what is important to the class and what is not.


  1. "Sometimes I think that no one at Blizzard plays a paladin on a regular basis. How do you miss the fact that Judgements stopped working?"

    It's actually pretty simple, and it's something that was mentioned in other threads. Beta pushes grab from an instant snapshot of the current development build. It was likely that at the very instant the beta push was grabbed, the dev who was working on that at the moment had put the Judgements at a testing value while he worked on a related issue.

    They don't actually test the beta pushes before they go out, else it'll take much longer then they want.

  2. Blizzard has previously stated that the public Beta builds are a week behind their internal builds.

  3. Rohan, I think you need to make certain you keep the scope of these changes in mind. The 5% drop in Vengence is on top of the 10% drop to Avenging Wrath. We look at each isolated decrease and are asked to accept it, but we cannot overlook the cumulative impact of all these changes on top of one another.

  4. What's BEDMAS? I know PEMDAS (the MD/DM doesn't matter since both are at the same level) but P is Powers, so what's B?

  5. "In Canada, an acronym BEDMAS is often used as a mnemonic for Brackets, Exponents, Division, Multiplication, Addition, and Subtraction." From Wikipedia


  6. Uhh, the P in PEMDAS stands for Parentheses. E stands for Exponents.

    AMG, Kadaan, your grade school math teachers would hang their heads in shame.

  7. Whoa there. If seals didn't proc off special abilities as you suggested, that's a very negative change to Prot.

    Consecration is quickly being phased out as being a spammable ability. Its high mana cost coupled with the nerf to downranking will mean Prot has to use it very sparingly. In its place is the new combo of Hammer of the Righteous + SoV to apply seals to multiple enemies. To remove this would mean a very drastic undercut to a budding spec.

  8. As Rohan said, nerfing vengeance doesn't fix anything. Blizzard is treating the symptoms and not the problem.

    Ret paladins are doing "to much" damage = problem

    Nerf overall damage output? no
    Nerf the abilities that are doing too much damage? YES

    The problem is that Blizzard is addressing Ret's problems with scaling in WotLK but they are doing it TWICE. Not only did they give us spell power,(which would fix our problem of judgements doing the same damage in blues as in epics) but they also made everything scale off of AP and SP.

    Very well written Rohan /signed.

  9. Heh, I've just done a little research and Blizzard has previous on this very Talent.

    Prior to the 2.0.1 official release patch Vengeance was a flat +15% Buff upon Crit. During a large proportion of the Beta Crusader Strike was at 6 seconds.

    The official release had the 10sec Crusader Strike, and a new change to Vengeance.... a flat 10% Buff, down from 15%. Why? Well because Paladins were doing too much DPS, including spike Damage.

    The change to the Vengeance we know and love today wasn't made until 2.1.0, 4 months after the release of TBC. Crusader Strike wasn't reverted to 6 seconds until 2.3.0, 10 months after the TBC release.

    The moral of the story of course is two-fold. 1) Blizzard are piss-poor at balancing DPS specs for PvE during Beta, and 2) Buffing from a underpowered status takes one hell of a lot longer than nerfing from overpowered.

    I hope Blizzard has learned from it's mistakes.

  10. Blizzard has stated they're not doing numbers yet. They're currently concerned with shape and scope and will fuss with numbers later.

    The Build team grabs a snapshot of the source code. They then have to make sure it compiles and fix any glitches stopping it from doing so. After that, they have to package it for distribution and put it out on the servers. They might do a once over to make sure it installs correctly and doesn't just sit there like a bump on a log. At no point does the Build team say, "Yo, we're about to send out a patch. Would everyone please have things in a viable state by the end of the day? Thanks."

    For all we know, a dev was bumping down Vengence, because they were messing with the idea of giving a different damage boost elsewhere. *shrugs*

    Key word is: Beta.

    The devs said they're not actively working on Paladins right away due to the massive rewrite and wanting people to get used to the new system. They'll get to it in their own sweet time. Druids are currently pissed due to armor itemization for bears. And y'know what? They'll have to wait for the devs to get around to them as well.

    Once the devs say, "Yes, we're working on paladins again and these are the changes you'll see next patch" is the point where we can all whine and moan. Otherwise, get over your martyr complexes.

  11. The problem is plain to all in that we have some scaling issues that can only be bugs, and the critical multiplier + scaling + stunned doubling all together make JoC off-its-hinges atm, yes.

    Just don't be so quick to assume that the changes Blizzard are making right now - i.e the lowering of the Vengance bonus and AW - are meant to address that problem specifically.

    Call me a fanboy, but keep in mind a few things;

    - Blizzard sits atop all the numbers. They know where the problem lies.

    - There are millions of issues that are The Most Importantestest(tm) to Someone, but not to Everyone, and Blizzard cannot wish qualified coders and testers into existence. They'll get to it.

    Of course, someone may point out at this point that we've seen situations in the past where they aren't exactly attentive of the paladin class' needs - like the whole 2.0 CS thinger, but try to understand that even that happened for a reason.

    In the twilight, before TBC but after 2.0, a 6 second CS was broken. Later, as resilience became more common and hp pool average went up, a 6 sec CS was fine. Thus they changed it. You can view this as lack of foresight if you wish, but I understand them perfectly.

    I don't mean to criticize, but there's a line between justified negative feedback and downright whining. Not saying you've crossed over that line, just be mindful of it.

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