Sunday, September 14, 2008

WotLK Beta - Ret, Prot Updates

I don't really have a coherent post, so here's some general thoughts from Beta:
  • Retribution and Protection have been slimmed down and cleaned up. They're really nice trees now, with a fair amount of free talent points to dip into the other trees. As well, the first tiers of each tree are very attractive now.

  • Blessing of Kings got changed into a 5-point talent in Tier 1 Protection. While this makes it cost more for Prot, it's much easier for Ret and Holy to pick Kings up. I can make builds that include Kings for all three specs, and which I'd be happy to play.

  • Art of War got redesigned yet again. It increases crit damage on Judgement, CS, and Divine Storm, and also gives you instant Flash of Lights when you get a melee crit! Unfortunately, at the moment the instant FoLs still reset your swing timer, but as soon as that is fixed, the talent will rock. It's really nice to see Ret be able to heal--if only a little bit--and not be punished for it. Also AoW's damage increase is bugged at 2% instead of 20%.

  • Judgements of the Wise gives 20% of your total mana back. Essentially, Retribution doesn't need to worry about mana anymore. Ret is now limited more by cooldowns than by mana.

  • Judgement of Command was changed. It no longer does double damage when hitting a stunned target. Instead, it's a guaranteed critical when you Judge a stunned target. It's a reduction in burst damage, but hopefully allows our sustained damage to keep pace.

  • To be honest, Retribution is in really good shape at the moment. It plays well and is a lot of fun. It does solid damage. You press several buttons, but there's still room in the rotation to toss out Flash of Lights, Exorcism, Consecrates, Cleanses as you need to. It's quite possible that this is the best shape that any paladin spec has ever been in.

  • There's some concern about JotW and Holy. At 20% total mana, it's really attractive for Holy to go 38/0/33 and pick up JotW. Part of the issue is that so much of the Holy tree centers around mana reduction, but getting back 20% of your total mana every 8-10s swamps all of those talents. It is expected that JotW will change to 20% of base mana, reducing its value for Holy, but keeping it the same for Ret as Ret base mana is roughly equal to Ret total mana.

  • Protection is also in really good shape. It's doing a lot of damage, and is also fun. It's still missing an 11-point talent, so we'll see what Blizzard comes up with.

  • Speaking of tanks, Blizzard appears to be changing course on general tank design. They seem to be doing away with extra threat on abilities, but increasing the damage to compensate. For example, Hammer of the Righteous used to do 100% weapon damage + 30% increased threat. It's been changed to 120% damage, but no extra threat. I think this is a great change in design philosophy, and will make playing a tank much more fun.

  • Holy still needs some work. Kind of honestly, the biggest problem with the Holy tree is that it is very boring. Holy Shock is really the only talent that's remotely exciting. I think the new Infusion of Light, where you get instant Holy Lights after critical Holy Shocks has potential, but we'll have to see how it performs in instances.

  • Beacon of Light is a weird talent. Part of the issue with Beacon is that it only works on effective healing, not raw healing. In a raid situation, this could cause problems, because if your heal target gets sniped by another healer before your heal lands, the Beacon target won't get healed. As the Beacon target is probably the tank, this will cause problems. On the other hand, if Beacon worked off raw healing, you would never ever heal the Beacon target. You'd spray overheals around like crazy, because the Beacon target would soak it all up.

    I'm not sure what's going to happen with Beacon. A healer needs to heal the people who are hurt, not healthy people. At the same time, there's no sense in punishing the paladin because another healer got to her target half a second before her heal landed.

Anyways, that's a round-up of what's up with Paladins in Beta. Retribution and Protection are in good shape, have solid talent trees, and are fun to play. Holy needs some work.


  1. It is expected that JotW will change to 20% of base mana, reducing its value for Holy, but keeping it the same for Ret as Ret base mana is roughly equal to Ret total mana.



  2. Paladin base mana is 4114 at level 80. A blood elf paladin also has 102 intellect naturally from leveling at level 80.

    A naked paladin therefore has 5644 mana.

    Including raid buffs (Improved MotW, AI, Kings) you gain an additional 123 intellect. That means a raid buffed ret paladin has 7639 mana.

    20% of 4114 is 823 mana.
    20% of 7639 is 1528 mana.

    That means if JotW goes to "20% of base" a ret paladin loses 46% of the mana he would have gotten. That's a loss of 78 mana/second (with a 9 second judgement).

    There is no possible way they can put JotW on to just 20% of base mana without crippling ret again.

  3. By my calculations, with JoW + JotW, you are net positive with a 20% base mana return on the basic DS-CS-Judge cycle if you took Benediction. (You're slightly negative if you went crazy and took Deflection.)

    Even so, you could bump it up to 25-30% base mana, or lower the costs of CS and DS. The exact numbers don't matter, just that as long as it is total mana, it will be extremely attractive to Holy.

  4. I'm curious whether the new Art of War is intended to make the Pally more like Warhammer's melee healer archetypes. Illumination is now available cross-tree, and melee crit IS spell crit, so that's actually a lot of incentives for a Retadin to find time in their rotations to heal.

    As to 33 point Ret healadins, well, a lot of classes are going to face that kind of choice as our talent trees get taller and taller.

  5. I am at work so due to a silly firewall, I cannot check, but I thought Beacon of light was a hot type spell that healed everyone around the target for something like 1000health over a few seconds?

    Did it get changed in beta and the talent trees on the wow main site did not get updated to reflect this?


  6. Green Armadillo, not really. There's not enough space in the WotLK Retribution cycle to heal on a consistent basis. It's just good for touch-ups, not something to be counted on.

    Dave, yes, Beacon got changed. It's now a buff that you put on a player. When you heal someone else, the Beacon target gets healed as well for the same amount. Essentially, it allows a paladin to heal two people at once, and is reported to be very handy in 5-mans. However, there are concerns about Beacon in raids, as described above.

  7. Two Things,
    First, as a long time Ret Paladin I feel the pain of the Holy Paladins and their boring tree. Gaining one active ability from your entire tree is just bad design. Thankfully Ret no longer suffers from that. I think a great change would be to switch out the haste buff from your judgements with something that debuffs the targets damage output. Like a reverse Sanctuary. And a talent in deep holy to cause Consecrate to heal allies as well as damage enemies.

    Second, Beacon would be overpowered if it counted overheal but as it is it isn't reliable enough to count on for the reasons you mentioned. I think they should change it to count overheal but only a percentage. In other words, instead of 100% of effective heals make it 60% of total heals. They could adjust the percentage as needed.

  8. I'd just like to ask, Dazanna, how big would the deficit be? I don't know if you guys have seen, but Divine Plea was changed to a 25% recovery over 10 seconds every minute. With that combined with JoW and JotW, would that not be more then enough regeneration, even if JotW is based on Base mana?

  9. I played with Prot. a little on the PTR.

    Hammer of Righteous gives a satisfying "klonk" sound when it hits people, and is on a short timer.

    Judgments took a little getting used to, but it's nice being able to judge without consuming the active seal.

    With Hammer of Righteous and Judgments and Holy Shield and Consecration, there are enough abilities to juggle that combat is interesting. You can work out an ability cycle for going full-out, or a more reserved cycle to conserve mana a bit.

    My Defense skill dropped from 490 on live to 465 on PTR. I'll be able to recover some of that from regemming/enchanting, and some of it from swapping in high-defense trinkets and rings from the bank... at the cost of sacrificing some stamina.

  10. Instead of placing Beacon of Light on the Tank put it on the Enhance Shaman or the Feral Druid or yourself? Your always spamming heals on the Tank so when the other melee catch a splash or pull aggro you don't have to get distracted from your Tank?

  11. Stupid Mage, Beacon allows heals on everyone else in 40 yards to flow to the target.

    So, in a 5-man instance, if Beacon is on the tank, if I heal any of the dps or myself, the tank gets a heal.

    So it's much more useful on the tank than on a random DPS. It's not really a "beacon", it's more like a black hole, sucking heals from the entire raid around the target.

  12. I guess I was trying to address your concern about losing healing in a Raid with somebody else healing your off target so Beacon (Fat? Heals? Feed?) would be lost if it was on the Tank.

    Yes it might feel wasteful by having all other heals go to some off target but you're going to be healing the Tank anyway and none of those heals would be sniped. The off-target will catch heals that may or may not catch you off guard.

    But I play a Resto Druid so what do I know? =)

  13. The thing is that the current design works pretty well in 5-mans, where you cannot be sniped.

    Our basic problem is that we don't have group heals. So if all 5 group members get hurt simultaneously, the tank goes without heals for at least 7.5 full seconds.

    AoE damage is really painful to heal as a paladin, and Beacon is a good way to handle AoE damage in a paladin style.

    But if it is less useful in raids, then we get weird issues where paladins don't spec all the way the up Holy and that causes problems when they need to AoE heal.

  14. Ah, I can see where that would be a problem.

    I'm glad I'm not a Dev as I don't know of an easy fix. Of course if it were made easier it wouldn't be as fun to play.

  15. My only problem with Beacon is like you just said, Rohan. I just don't see how someone being a "Beacon of Light" means that they soak up heals from party members around them. The previous effect (or even one where heals on the Beacon cause nearby party members some splash healing) makes much more sense based on the description of the effect.

    Of course, I'm not saying that it's current incarnation is -bad-. I actually think it works pretty nicely. I just think that it's really weird considering it's description.

  16. I'm hoping they keep it at 20% of the paladins mana back from judgements, and just push it right down the tree so holy paladins cant pick it up without spending 40_ points into ret, so they're not really ret paladins EH

  17. err not really HOLY paladins.