Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Third Year Mark

It's been about three years since I started writing this blog.

I think I'm a lot happier with WoW than I was last year. I've sort of made peace with the whole specialization issue. It's not ideal, but it's okay. It helps a lot that Protection and Retribution are very viable. Going Holy is closer to an actual choice, rather than being forced into it. Have to give Blizzard props for making that happen.

The biggest difference between now and previous years is that I am unguilded. To be honest, it's sort of nice not being in a guild. You log on, and do whatever you feel like. As well, there's something to be said for experiencing content in the proper order. I did every single quest before starting heroics. I haven't done any raids yet. But that means that I don't outgear the content yet. It's kind of nice, seeing a blue drop and realizing it's an upgrade for me rather than pure disenchant fodder. I just got to Revered rep with Wyrmrest today, and picked up multiple upgrades.

It's been really pleasant to have been able to go through the content in order, to consume it at leisure and not be rushed, rather than skipping all over the place. However, I'm coming to the end of what you can do solo and I do miss the experience of working on harder content with a team that sticks together.

I think I'm going to take a vacation from WoW for a few weeks before jumping into raiding, though. Cleanse the palate, if you will.

This past year I also tried some other MMOs. Age of Conan was terrible. Wizard 101 was quite good. If you're at all interested in a different MMO experience, give Wizard 101 a shot. The client and the first few zones are free.

Warhammer Online was decent, but I just couldn't get into it. I actually tried resubscribing a month ago to try the new tank class. Mythic has made some significant improvements. Of the five issues I identified, they've made amazing progress with the responsiveness of combat and polishing of systems like the chat interface. I still couldn't get into any of the classes, but if you were on the fence regarding WAR, you might want to take another look. Of course, I never made it past level 11, so I have no idea what endgame is like.

Monday, December 29, 2008

More Thoughts On Healing

  • Why am I always the first one at the instance? Why does it always seem to be the DPS who need summons?

  • Why do DPS players think that that sub-1500 DPS is acceptable?

  • Also, if you aren't over 2K, STFU about damage meters .

  • If I have to run back, you should be running back too. Ressing lazy people after a wipe is a waste of time. Parallel execution, not serial.

  • Please maintain Line-Of-Sight to the healer. Don't hide behind pillars. There's nothing more heart-stopping than seeing a player take a chunk of damage, going to heal them, and seeing an "Unable to cast" message.

  • You know, DPS players really infuriate me when I heal.

  • There's something about the duration of Beacon and Seals that bugs me. I have no problems keeping Sacred Shield up, but I struggle with Beacon and Seals. I think the time--1 to 2 minutes--is short enough that it has to be refreshed in-combat, but long enough that it falls outside my immediate horizon and thus I lose track of it.

  • I'm still mulling over gemming Intellect vs Crit. The math generally points to Intellect, but it really depends on hitting Divine Plea every cooldown. While Crit doesn't require extra effort on my part, and is not that far behind.

  • There was a real lack of blue plate gloves for both Ret and Holy. There isn't a single blue plate glove quest reward for Holy and only one for Ret. I wonder why gloves were overlooked. I'm very slowly working on my Frenzyheart rep to fix this.

  • Working on rep was a lot easier as Retribution.

  • Heh, I complain a lot about Holy, but I actually like healing. The level of control, of immediacy, of concentration is a lot of fun. I don't really feel like a separate member of the group, I feel like I am submerged in the group, or even that I am the group. Everywhere and nowhere.

    What I don't like are DPS who are ... "inconsiderate", may be the best word. It can feel like they are actively working against the group, and that makes the experience extremely unpleasant. In contrast, competent considerate DPS are great to run with. In some ways the DPS have more of an effect on the healing experience than the tank does. I mean, the tank is going to take a beating, and take the majority of heals, and that is going to depend on her gear and skill. But that is expected. How the DPS acts is much more of a wild card, and really makes the difference between a pleasurable run and an unpleasant run.

Friday, December 26, 2008

When Did Healing Become So Hard?

I bit the bullet and respecced to Holy today. I very quickly got into a Heroic Utgarde Keep run. My immediate thought:

"Wow, when did healing become so hard?"

Maybe I've just gotten used to face-rolling my way through instances as DPS, or maybe I'm just undergeared and out of practice, but it feels like paladin healing has gotten a lot more complex.

The following is my thought process throughout the instance:

Begin Stream of Consciousness.

Okay, I have to keep up Beacon of Light, Sacred Shield and a Seal. I've pretty much abandoned Flash of Light and am mainly using Holy Light. Nothing else seemed to keep up with the tank's damage intake. Does Sacred Shield even do anything? You know, Sacred Shield is a lot more expensive than I remembered. Why is the tank's health not going up? Oh, Beacon fell off again! I'm supposed to Judge to do something or the other, but I can't stop spamming Holy Light.

Who thought an AoE silence/interrupt on the final boss of Utgarde Keep was a good idea? Why did the DPSer who does 2K+ DPS just take a 24K Smash? Couldn't you have Smashed one of the other two who are doing less than 1K DPS? Let's try Holy Shock. Yeah, that really did a lot. Back to Holy Light. Sweet, sweet Holy Light. Why are there axes attacking me? Where are you, AoE heal! Oh I see, Beacon fell off yet again. Divine Plea, thank the Light!

End Stream of Consciousness.

What this game really needs is some way to challenge the DPS without affecting the healer. Healing is hard enough without the added worry of standing in the fire. Or more accurately for paladins, spell interrupts and silences.

The thing is that because environmental hazards affect both healers and DPS, they are necessarily less challenging than they could be. They have to be easy enough that a distracted healer can avoid them, and that leads to a difference in challenge level for the two roles. Since a DPS only has to look out for herself, an environmental challenge that is complex enough to challenge her is probably going to kill the healer.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Tobold, The WoW Economist, and Greedy Goblin have noted that there appears to be some deflation going on in Auction House prices at the moment. Each of them attributes it to a different cause. The WoW Economist says it's because of a temporary decrease in demand because most people are levelling. Tobold feels it's a permanent decrease in demand because of the lowered difficulty of WotLK PvE. I don't really understand Greedy Goblin's explanation, but I think he's blaming it on the rich people gouging the poor people (Marx-style class warfare?).

I'll offer a different explanation: Right now, the market in WoW is not obeying supply-and-demand in the classic sense, but is being dominated by the mechanics and side-effects of levelling professions.

Here are my assumptions:

1. Most people are gatherer/crafter. They have one crafting profession and the related gathering profession. There are some double gatherers or double crafters, but they are outweighed by the gatherer/crafters.

2. Most crafters have a personal stockpile of raw materials. They primarily craft using materials from that stockpile and only purchase materials if they are missing them.

What I think is happening is that most raw materials being gathered never enter the market. Instead they are stockpiled to fuel the crafting required to level the profession. Only after the crafter hits 450 skill, will excess raw materials be redirected to the market.

So on the raw materials side, what we've seen is an artificial scarcity of materials, as most materials were being reserved for levelling. Now, a month after the expansion launched, more and more people are hitting 450 skill, and excess materials are starting to be sold off for profit, decreasing the price.

On the crafted materials side, the fastest crafters were the only ones able create the higher level items, and thus could command a premium for their items. Now, more and more crafters are reaching the higher skill level and producing the high level items. The big change here is that the crafters don't care if they are selling the item for a loss. They are crafting for skill points, not monetary gain. Any money gained from selling the item is a bonus. Supply is independent of demand at this point. Even if all the tanks have Tempered Saronite, it will still be made, because it nets the blacksmith a skill point. So a serious excess of supply is being produced, again driving down the price.

The key here is that the crafters are not being driven by traditional monetary incentives, they are being driven by the desire to increase their skill. That warps the market. I think this state will probably last for the next month or two, until a great majority of the crafters have reached 450 skill. Then levelling skill ceases to be a concern, and the traditional economic concerns of profit and supply-and-demand will reassert themselves, and we will see prices stabilize.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ask Coriel: Action Bar Setup

Arnold asks:
How do you set up your action bars? With the now three types of judgments available, and the various seals etc, what fills your hotkeys? What is the most efficient/best/useful setup to use? I currently have all three judgments hotkeyed to button 2, with alt and shift as modifiers to swap between them, though it still feels clumsy. Also the various seals. Ought I not bother with them, or should I try and set them up with modifiers as well? Any recommendations?

I'm not really the best person to be asking this. The sad truth is that I click a lot of my abilities. What I generally do is have the number keys 1-6 bound with the abilities I use most often. The 2, 3, 4 slots are the core spells that are cast all the time. Then I tend to click the other abilities that are used less often. I tend to use the default button bars, and not a lot of mods.

For Retribution:

1 - Hammer of Wrath
2 - Judgement
3 - Crusader Strike
4 - Divine Storm
5 - Consecration
6 - Flash of Light, Cleanse, Hammer of Justice, or Exorcism, depending on the fight.

For Seal refreshes, I click the Seal I want every two minutes. For Judgement, I find that I tend to cast one type of Judgement throughout the fight. You don't often switch Judgements. Whichever Judgement I am
casting I move into the 2 slot.

I'll have similar layouts for Protection and Holy. For example, for Protection, the 1 slot is Righteous Defense. I haven't made a Prot layout yet, but I'm thinking of using two castsequence macros. One for the 6s abilities, and one for the 9s abilities.

Holy has the heals in the 1-6 spot, usually all with mouseover macros. I haven't really gone Holy and made a good layout yet, though.

For another perspective, take a look at Ferraro's setup.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ads on the WoW Forums

Blizzard introduced advertising on the Official WoW forums. So far it looks like mainly WoW tie-in products. I don't really have an opinion, other than the ad on the right is a bit annoying because it wastes a lot of space.

But the ads have spawned the thread Rise Up, Sons of the Horde!, which is legendary. Here are some choice samples:
Foolishly you have sought your own bankruptcies. Brazenly you have disregarded offers beyond your understanding. You have browsed hard to invade the realm of the t-shirts and minis. Now there is only one way out — to walk the lonely path of the checkout line.

The Mengarie is for paying customers only.


Stop clicking me! Me not that kind of ad!

Sales, Bargains. My people are addicted to it... a sale made manifest after the Sunwell went out of business. Welcome to the future. A pity you are too poor to buy all this. No one can stop my T-Shirt bonanza now! SELAMA ASHAL"ANORE!

You landlubbers are tougher than I thought! I'll have to upgrade online to WotLK!

All department stores, all outlet malls, are open to me!

Bargains have brought you here to me. I shall be your salesman.

Simple shoppers, credit is the fire in which you'll burn!

Majordomo Executus: These mortal customers, my lord! They have invaded your store, and seek to purchase your merchandise!

C'thun whispers: Your friends will abandon you for hot bargains.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Ideal Guild

Each time I leave a guild, it seems like I become more exacting in what I'm looking for. I guess I'm reacting to whatever caused me to leave the previous guild.

The first time, I just wanted to raid. The second time, I wanted to raid and have stable loot rules (i.e. no changes in the middle of a run). Next time, I wanted to raid, have stable loot rules, and a stable leadership structure. And so on.

I thought I'd outline what my ideal guild would look like. I think I probably won't be able to find it, because the vision has gotten a little too precise, but it's an ideal. My ideal guild would:
  1. Raid Three Days a Week - I don't really want to raid for most of the week. I could probably do four nights, but I think that that a guild should raid one less day than it is fully capable. So ideally I'd only like to raid two or three times a week for about 3-4 hours. Also, I'd like raids that started somewhere between 5:30 pm PST to 7:00 pm PST.

  2. Move Fast - The raid moves at a quick pace. No long pauses, no wasting time. Fast and efficient. Starts exactly on time and finishes exactly on time.

  3. Focus on New Content - Of three days, one day should be for farming, and two days should be for wiping on new bosses. People really over-estimate the value of gear. Time and practice are worth far more. Gear comes as you do stuff.

  4. Have a Relatively Fair Loot System - Kind of honestly, I don't really care what system is used anymore. As long as it's fast, and not too biased, it's good enough. Frankly, I think I'd prefer a "Need for Main Set, Greed for Off-Set, Pass Otherwise" system, just because it would be the fastest system and we could move on to the next pull immediately.

  5. Have Friendly, Competent People - Not asking that everyone be super-hardcore (in fact, it probably would be better if they weren't) but people should show up when they say they will show up. They should know how to play their class, maybe not to the absolute cutting edge, but enough to avoid the standard mistakes. They don't need to have the absolute best, most expensive gear, but what they do have should be enchanted and gemmed properly.

    Also, they should pay attention during raids. I understand real life sometimes calls you away, but I disapprove of people who watch TV while raiding. If something is important enough that you do it while raiding, it is important enough for you to stop raiding and step out until you have finished.

  6. Not Mock Casuals - I like the hardcore, and I don't make any "no life" or similar comments. Being good at WoW is as much of an accomplishment as most of us are likely to achieve. Very few of us will become Nobel Prize winners or brain surgeons.

    But this is one habit of the hardcore that I absolutely despise, the mocking of those weaker than themselves. Things like laughing at a random paladin in Shattrath behind her back in guild chat because she's using Spirit gems. Would it really have been so hard to whisper her and help her select better gems instead?

    The strong should help the weak (or, at the very least, ignore them). Mocking the weak only betrays insecurity, and frankly makes the person someone that I do not want to play with. The worst part about this habit is that you cannot say anything to convince them to stop unless you are a better player, as your opinion carries no weight otherwise.

    I am tired of adolescent male bravado, and would like a guild free of it.

Anyways, that's my ideal guild. I wonder how close I can get.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Loken in Halls of Lightning is an interesting fight. Currently, Loken is the mob with the most kills of players each day. I haven't done Loken on Heroic yet, only regular, but I've been watching some threads about him.

Loken has a bunch of abilities, but we'll only concentrate on two. First, he does a Lightning Nova with a long cast time, somewhat short radius, and lots of AoE damage. Second, he has an Aura which does more nature damage to you the farther away you are.

There are two strategies to deal with this. The first, "correct", strategy is to run away from Loken when he starts casting his Nova. The second strategy is to all cluster at Loken's feet, take the damage, and simply heal through it.

A lot of Holy paladins are complaining about Loken because we are singularly unsuited to healing the second strategy. AoE healers can cope with the second strategy in a much easier manner.

What's really interesting about the fight is that the first strategy is brittle. If everyone runs out successfully, then very little damage is taken, making it easy to heal. However, if a player is slightly slow to react, they may get caught by the edge of the Nova. And they end up taking *more* damage from Loken's Aura than if they had stayed at his feet. That can easily kill them, which makes losing the fight more likely.

The second strategy is robust. The damage taken is a fixed, known quantity. As long as you can heal through it, you're good. There's a high initial barrier, but once that barrier is met, the fight becomes a lot easier. Not to mention that it increases the time DPS stays on Loken, making the fight end faster.

Ghostcrawler is insisting that this fight is still doable by healing paladins. And he's probably right. But if there's a brute-force strategy that paladins can't use, the player base will probably push towards that. Perhaps the only real solution would be to make Nova insta-gib people, forcing people to run out.

Edit: corrected the description of Loken's Aura.


I don't know if I mentioned it, but I moved back to Skywall at the beginning of Wrath. I really did not like playing on a PvP server.

So I'm guildless, and have been trying to PuG as Retribution. I've done a couple of heroics, but it's quite hard to get groups as DPS. There's a significant healer shortage. It's driving me closer and closer to Holy. I don't really want to, but going Holy just makes so much sense.

I'm at the point where I really need to decide on what to do. Logging in and sitting in LFG for hours while doing dailies is very boring.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Culling of Stratholme

I had a chance to do the new Caverns of Time instance, The Culling of Stratholme, yesterday. My impressions are fairly negative. It is a rather disappointing instance, at least compared to Durnholde and Black Morass.

First off, Blizz makes it very easy for you by having all the citizens turn into Scourge very quickly. Arthas kills a couple civilians, but the vast majority of the time is spent killing undead. It sort of negates the whole impact of this event. In Blizzard's lore, the slaughter of civilians in Stratholme is where Arthas crosses the line, where Uther and Jaina abandon him. However, this instance pretty much puts Arthas on the right side, as everyone in the city seems to be converted to Scourge already. Of course, it would be hard to have players killing civilians, but that's the problem with choosing this event in the first place.

Second, Blizzard is too attached to the whole tourist angle for the Caverns of Time. Warcraft lore is decent B-level fantasy, in my opinion, but it is not strong enough to support tourists. It really only works when the player is a active participant. Maybe Lord of the Rings Online could get away with this, but I don't think Warcraft can. WoW needs the active threat, the notion that the players are needed, to work.

In the first two Caverns of Time instances, the Infinite Dragonflight supplied the motivation for the players to get involved. In Stratholme, they're pretty much an afterthought. They are only in one small section, as the second-to-last boss. It feels like Blizzard just added them in because everyone complained about Hyjal. You could strip them out and--aside from missing one boss--the instance would pretty much be the same.

So that's my view on The Culling of Stratholme. It's a mediocre instance that's little more than a glorified cutscene of an event from Warcraft III. Rather disappointing, really.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hand of Reckoning

Hand of Protection - short term utility buff cast on friendly target
Hand of Freedom - short term utility buff cast on friendly target
Hand of Salvation - short term utility buff cast on friendly target
Hand of Sacrifice - short term utility buff cast on friendly target
Hand of Reckoning - taunt cast on enemy

One of these is not like the others. Blizzard, please change the name to something more appropriate.

(Just to be clear, Blessing of Reckoning, Seal of Reckoning, and Judgement of Reckoning are also inappropriate names.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Paid Character Customization

Or as Blizzard calls it, Re-Customization:
Character Re-Customization is a paid service that lets you change an existing character's gender, face, skin color, and other cosmetic features determined by his or her race and gender combination. When you perform a Character Re-Customization, you may also change the character's hair color and hair style (similar to the in-game barbershop) and select a new name, if desired.

I dunno, I don't think I would pay $15 to change my character's gender. But then again, it's better than leveling a brand new character. I know some people who really regretted making their character a specific gender, and I guess they would be happy with this.

Does this count as RMT? It sort of is, and it sort of isn't. To be honest, more than anything else, I think the price for this, name changes, and server transfers is to offer the service to players who really want it, but keep the demand low.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Storm Peaks and Icecrown

I finished Storm Peaks and Icecrown over the weekend.[1] Both were very good zones. In particular, the first set of quests with the Argent Crusade was great. For the first time, the world changed with you as you accomplished goals.

I was stuck at 139/140 quests for Icecrown for the longest time. I could not find any other quests, and normally Blizzard gives you a little leeway in the quest count for the achievement. Finally after looking up the quests on Wowhead, I found I had missed one questline that started from a drop. I had just never killed that mob type before.

There are two things that disappointed in Icecrown. First, it doesn't come to an end. It's like the first book in a trilogy. All the other zones told a full story. I guess we'll have to wait for a later patch to finish the story. Second, Blizzard stopped doing voiceovers for the Lich King quest cutscenes. I think the Lich King voiceovers really added something to those scenes when they occurred in previous zones, and hopefully they put them in at some point.

I do have to give Blizzard credit for putting the Arthas front and center for this expansion, and really integrating him with the questing. It's a very refreshing change from trend of major storylines which only occur in raids.

So questing is pretty much done for me, and now I have to turn my attention to the other parts of the game. I still haven't decided what to do yet.

Also, where are all the breadcrumb quests that lead into the high end dungeons and raids? Isn't there a quest which sends you to Naxx? It might be deliberate, to allow non-raiders a true sense of completion, rather than having quests in the log which they will never be able to do. If this is the case, I'm not really sure how I feel about that. I can see the advantages, but it also seems wrong somehow.

[1] Technically I have one quest left in Icecrown. But on Skywall it's been bugged for the last few days. Hopefully it will get fixed during the server reset.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


I've been trying the mod QBar recently.

It's a very simple mod that automatically puts usable quest items on a bar for you. It makes questing easier, as the button for the whatever items you need to use is always in the same place. No need to dig through bags, or try and keep some regular bar space free. No need to worry about cleaning up unused icons after the quest.

It's a great small mod that does one thing, but does it very well.

Questing Updates

The trouble with talking about the next few zones in Wrath is that they are chock-full of spoilers. Especially Dragonblight. Dragonblight is spoiler-city.

Since my last update, I've done Dragonblight, Grizzly Hills, Zul'Drak and Sholazar Basin. The rule of two levels per zone held very well. All the zones are very good, with lots of interesting quests.

I strongly recommend doing Grizzly Hills before Zul'Drak. There is a major questline in Grizzly Hills which sets up Zul'Drak.

I also felt that the rate of gaining gear upgrades was perfect. I was in mostly T4, and I was slowly replacing epics with good blues, starting at around level 74. It was a very gradual process, and felt just right to me. I didn't replace an epic with a green until Storm Peaks. (Technically, I'm also wearing green boots, but that's because I accidentally disenchanted my blue Retribution boots.)

I also did the dungeons Azjol-Nerub, Old Kingdom, Drak'Tharon, and Gundrak. They're solid dungeons. The last fight in Old Kingdom is spectacularly awesome, with an elegant and seamless use of phasing.

Phasing in general is used more and more. In particular, Dragonblight contains the first use of permanent phasing. After a quest, one area of the world is permanently changed. This is very interesting, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Blizzard does when they become comfortable with this technology.

Sacred Shield is really nice for Ret soloing. It doesn't seem to improve with Sheath of Light, but the extra crit chance on FoL means you can keep Sheathed FoLs ticking on you all the time. Sacred Shield -> Art of War -> Instant critical FoL with ticking Sheath HoT. It's very useful for soloing elites. Plus even 500 damage reduction is nothing to sneeze at in solo content.

Two more zones of questing to go, and then I'll have to figure out what to do for endgame. I also have an odd desire to go Holy and heal some instances. Retribution is fun for soloing, but it's sort of boring in instances.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Normalize Illumination

In addition to taking a look at crit talents, perhaps it is time that Illumination got normalized. Currently its effect varies wildly with the spell. With Flash of Light, a crit will restore 123 mana/sec. With Holy Light, a crit will restore 306 mana/sec.

Essentially, Illumination is almost three times as good with Holy Light than it is with Flash of Light.

I think Blizzard does not have an issue with paladins having really high crit rates on Flash of Light. Witness Sacred Shield, which gives the paladin an occasional 50% bonus to FoL crit rates. However, when Holy Light gets really high crit rates, things go crazy.

What I would suggest is weighting Illumination in favor of Flash of Light. Something like a FoL or Holy Shock crit returns 75% of the cost (153 mana/sec), but a HL crit only returns 30% of the cost (153 mana/sec).

(Numbers can be adjusted for balance. This is just a demonstration.)

Of course, Sanctified Illumination would be really bad, so that talent will have to be replaced. But the crit talents need to be looked at anyways.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Incoming Holy Nerf?

Sometimes I feel sorry for Ghostcrawler. It's looking like he'll have to nerf Holy Paladins again, and I don't think they're going to take it well.

Essentially, in T7 content, paladins are able to reach around 70% crit rate on Holy Light. With Illumination, that works out to max rank Holy Lights that are 42% cheaper, and thus can be spammed. Remember that this is the first level of raid content, and it's only going to get worse.

I wonder what form the nerf will take. Another hit to Illumination? Making the Retribution crit talents only work with melee attacks? Maybe lower the intercept on the crit rating equation so that it starts very negative, but still increases at the current rate.

In my opinion, what really needs to happen is for the +crit talents in Holy, along with Divine Favor and Divine Illumination, to be removed and replaced with new talents. There is too much of an emphasis on saving mana in the Holy tree, and so far, it always ends badly. The talents really need to encourage the paladin to spend mana. Of course, I doubt a Holy tree revamp is coming anytime soon.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Warhammer Online: Contribution Shocker!

According to Wizards & Wenches, Warhammer players have figured out how contribution in public quests and keep sieges is measured:
Now we know how contribution is calculated. It’s so shockingly simple, so obvious we wonder why we didn’t figure it out a long time ago. It isn’t.

See, instead of actually measuring all the data players do during Public Quests to find out who contributes the most every player is making a roll when they enter a zone, and that roll is your contribution that appear. It doesn’t weight all your healing, all your damage, all your buffing, or everything that make you more worthy of a reward than a player standing AFK in a corner. It’s just random. The roll remains until you zone so you will get the same contribution in both Keeps unless you relog or someone with higher roll enters the PQ area.

Wow. Honestly, I'm speechless. What do you say to something like that? The evidence presented in threads on the discussion forums looks solid to me.

This is a blunder on par with Age of Conan's "females do less dps than males because their animations are slower" bug.

Quick Taunt Macro

Quick macro idea to handle both Hand of Judgement and Righteous Defense:
/cast [harm] Hand of Judgment; [mod:shift][help] Righteous Defense

It casts the single target taunt if you are targeting an enemy, and Righteous Defense otherwise. If you press the Shift key, it should always cast Righteous Defense.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hand of Judgement

From Ghostcrawler:
7) Hand of Judgement - All paladins receive a single-target, 30 yard taunt on an 8 sec cooldown. This spell also does minor Holy damage in order to break CC and the like for pulling ease.

First off, the name is terrible. Hand spells are minor buffs cast on friendly allies. This is not a Hand spell. Naming a taunt "Hand of Judgement" makes as much sense as naming it "Blessing of Judgement". Also, Judgement is a poor word to use, as Judgement already has a very specific paladin use. This is just going to be confusing. Name it "Condemn" or "Rebuke" or anything interesting. Heck, name it "Crusader's Defense" and let it match the other taunt.

To be honest, Blizzard is really overusing the words "Divine", "Judge", and "Righteousness" when it comes to paladin ability names.

Second, I have no problem with the taunt part. I can see the argument there, even if I think the cases where RD fails can be worked around.

Third, this is an opinion that is not going to be popular with most paladins, but I think the ranged pull part is a mistake. Back in 2006, I wrote a post called Restrictions are Good, and it covers most of my arguments.

Weaknesses are important in design, and one important paladin weakness is that we don't get a baseline ranged pull. We have to learn to compensate for that, to learn how to body-pull, to fight multiple mobs at a time, to use our cooldowns to reset the fight.

Not having a ranged pull makes the paladin gameplay different from the other classes. Especially the solo experience. It makes us value different tactics, to identify spots where we can catch flying mobs. Weaknesses make the game interesting.

And to be honest, I think having a ranged pull is unnecessary. Blizzard cannot make a mob that has to be fought at range, because there are multiple classes that cannot kill it (Warrior, Rogue, Paladin, and maybe Deathknight). Every mob must close to melee range to be killable. If a flying mob can close to melee range after the pull, it can also path close to melee range during its normal patrol.

As well, Blizzard can always add a quest item to help. Consider one of the very first quests in Borean Tundra, where you use a net to knock a Scourge flyer out of the sky. The very few cases where a ranged pull is absolutely necessary can be worked around.

Maybe it is inconvenient. But it makes for a different experience than the other classes, and that difference is worth preserving.

Of course, now that Ghostcrawler has announced the ability, he cannot pull it or he will torn to shreds by paladins on the forums. Regardless, it is my opinion that giving paladins a baseline ranged pull is a mistake.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Divine Shield and Avenging Wrath

Blizzard's solution to the interaction between Divine Shield and Avenging Wrath is very clunky. I'm going to present a solution that I believe is far more elegant and simple.

First, as always, let's take a step back. Exactly what are the problems here. I think there are two problems here.

Problem 1: Chaining Immunities

Paladins have three immunity spells (going to list the upcoming versions):

1. Divine Protection - 50% less damage taken for 12 sec, 100% damage dealt
2. Divine Shield - 100% less damage taken for 12 sec, 50% damage dealt
3. Hand of Protection - 100% less physical damage taken, 0% physical damage dealt and melee attacks

Basically, casting these abilities back-to-back is overpowered, especially the case where multiple HoPs are tossed on a mage or warlock.

Forbearance is a good solution for this, and should be kept. Personally, I think a 1 min Forebearance is more than long enough, as the real concern is an immunity immediately coming after another immunity.

Problem 2: Burst Damage Dealt While Immune

Generally, a paladin should not be able to completely kill someone while immune. Blizzard has made a good start by making the immunities have a flat reduction. However, Avenging Wrath increases the paladin's burst damage, hence the effort to make Avenging Wrath mutually exclusive with the Immunities.

However, AW does not necessarily have to be absolutely exclusive. The combination just has to be weak enough such that the paladin cannot deal enough damage to burst someone down.

A better solution would be to increase the damage penalty of Divine Protection and Divine Shield slightly. (Hand of Protection is fine, as you can't make physical attacks.) Divine Protection should reduce the damage the paladin deals by 20% and Divine Shield by 60%. 80% of total damage is still enough for Prot to maintain a decent threat output, and is a small price to pay for the damage reduction. And really, for Divine Shield, the paladin doing 40% or 50% damage is not a big difference for a primarily defensive ability.

But if you add AW into the picture, a paladin with Divine Protection does 0.8 * 1.2 = 96% damage. With Divine Shield, she does 0.4 * 1.2 = 48% damage. Note that both of these numbers are less than the proposed official versions. If the proposed version is correctly balanced, the new version cannot be overpowered.

This solution is clean and simple. Avenging Wrath is completely separate from the Immunities. You can use it whenever you want, without having to worry about Forbearance. Each problem has it's own separate solution, and there are no clunky and complex cooldowns to worry about.

Edit: Oops, Divine Shield, not Divine Storm.

Upcoming Paladin Changes

Ghostcrawler posted some changes coming to the paladin class. Here they are, slightly out of order, with some commentary:

1) Divine Protection no longer causes an attack penalty. Divine Shield's penalty was changed to 50% less damage done by the paladin.

2) Sacred Duty: This Protection talent no longer affects the attack penalty of Divine Shield and Divine Protection, but grants additional bonus Stamina.

Good, though obvious, changes. Did we need additional stamina? I doubt the Prot paladins will complain though. It's kind of odd though, we spent TBC as high Avoidance due to uncrushable, and have now morphed to extreme Mitigation tanks.

4) Judgement of Wisdom now returns a percentage of base mana instead of a percentage of max mana.

5) All mana drain effects now return a percentage of max enemy mana (making mana drains less punishing to paladins and other characters without large mana pools.)

This is a good change for a world where a few mana-using classes have stopped using Intellect.

6) Judgements of the Pure: This Holy talent now increases the damage done by Seals and Judgements.

Of course, rather than actually fixing the botch job they did on the Seals, Blizzard puts a band-aid on it and calls it a day.

Still, beggars can't be choosers, and Holy is definitely going begging these days.

7) All paladins receive a single-target taunt (name TBD) as a base ability.

My suggestion for a name was "Guardian's Challenge". However, on maintankadin, someone suggested "Rebuke" and I really like that. It's short, snappy, slightly exotic, and has great religious connotations.

3) Avenging Wrath, Divine Shield, Divine Protection, and Hand of Protection have a shared, 30-second cooldown. The Forbearance effect is no longer triggered by Avenging Wrath.

Sigh. I really wish Blizzard would put some more thought into their paladin fixes. Locking out a Hand which we primarily cast on other people is not a good move.

Second, this solution doesn't fix AW + HoP if the HoP is cast by a second paladin. Though given that you cannot attack, it may not be such a big issue. And Forbearance still prevents back-to-back immunities.

I think HoP could be removed from this shared cooldown without much harm. Still, the whole situation with cooldowns and forbearance seems very jury-rigged to me. I'm sure there's a better, simpler solution.

Edit: Ghostcrawler clarifies:
You can use Hand of Protection during the internal cooldown, just not on yourself. The idea is to prevent the paladin from being able to combo damage immunity. We want you to still be able to use it on others.

I don't really understand how this is going to work.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ask Coriel: Help With Healing Heroics

Jinkadink of Mannoroth asks:
I decided to spec holy to get in groups. I was wondering if you had any guidelines in terms of what stats to shoot for, for heroics. Right now I'm about 1100 +spell, 15% crit, 115 mp5 (without BoW). From what I've read on EJ I should be stacking int wherever possible, but I feel like my mp5 is really low. Although I have so much mana (13k unbuffed) I'm not sure running out is an issue, unless the fight goes beyond 5 minutes.

I did manage to heal heroic UK with two early wipes due mostly to my newbness (remembering to use Lay of Hands would have prevented both). I just got the feeling that I was undergeared while running it because I was really struggling to keep up with the tank on most pulls and I rarely ever had time to heal anyone else taking damage.

I haven't really healed with the new 3.0 talents, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

EJ focuses on Int because both Replenishment and Divine Plea work of 'Total' Mana. So if you increase your Total Mana, you regenerate more. Add to that the extra spellpower and crit, and you can see why EJ is promoting Int over Mp5. Now, in a heroic, you might not have Replenishment, and you might not use Divine Plea as often, since the fights are shorter. So the value of Int is less.

However, looking at your stats, I think you need more +healing. EJ kind of takes it for granted that you are trying to stack as much +heal as possible, even if they don't explicitly mention it. 1100 seems rather low for an 80 attempting heroics. I would really focus on +heal, and not worry about regen as much.

As for the situation you are having trouble with, that's what Beacon of Light was made for. It's a new tool, so it will require practice. But try and keep it on the tank as much as you can, especially in boss fights. It will allow you to heal the other party members and still keep the tank up.

Remember to Judge (use a focus macro) to keep the Haste bonus up.

/cast [target=focus] Judgement of Light

(You can set your focus with the /focus command, or bind it to a key in the Options menu.)

Also, I would advise using the glyphed Seal of Light, as that would make your spells more powerful. You sound to me like you are fine with managing your mana, but you need your heals to be more powerful, to do more healing-per-second. The cure for that is more +heal, and to a lesser extent, more +haste.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Howling Fjord

I finished off Howling Fjord a couple days ago, hitting 74 in the process. Thus far I'm pacing about 2 levels a zone, which is a pretty good rate.

Howling Fjord is a really good zone. Borean Tundra was a good zone too, but in a lot of ways Borean Tundra represents "pop culture" WoW. There were a lot of fun quests, and in-jokes with D.E.H.T.A. and the gnomes. Heck, there was a quest to make wolves poop. The magic quests are closer to the "technological" feel of Warcraft magic, rather than the mythic feel (very shields and sensors sort of imagery). Even the regular quests were very much in line with WoW 1.0, but superbly polished. There's nothing wrong with Borean Tundra, but it's very much the WoW we know.

Howling Fjord, on the other hand, "echoes" a bit more. The Vrykul storyline touches a lot of real world mythologies, from the obvious Norse flavour to King Arthur (the sleeping king) to the Nephilim of the Judeo-Christian tradition. In particular, the quests to go into the spirit world and see history are superb, especially the way the Lich King is integrated into the first one.

The story is more martial, and there are fewer pop culture jokes. There is a greater sense of wilderness, especially with the homesteaders in Fort Wildervar. As well, Howling Fjord throws you into the fight as soon as you arrive, and that makes everything seem more immediate. The music is awesome, and perfect for the zone.

Plus, there were pirates. And Tuskarr. I love the Tuskarr, their voices are just perfect. The quest to get the reef cows to mate (after you kill Big Roy) is hilarious. The pirate quests were very funny, especially the elf-loving pirate and his girlfriend. But even the pirate and Tuskarr quests had that strand of death and loss running through their quests.

Blizzard did a superb job with Howling Fjord.

As an aside, you ever notice that dwarf quest-givers are crazy? It's sort of unexpected, because you expect them to be level-headed and down to earth. You see a gnome with a quest, you know it's going to get really weird. Humans will give you solid, traditional quests, and Night Elves will give you hippie save-the-whales or deeply tragic quests.

But dwarves give you quests that start out normal and sensible, and yet somehow you end up like this:

Dwarf Lieutenant (after several perfectly reasonable Vrykul quests): Navigating the steep bluffs of Howling Fjord can be nerve-racking! I've come up with a solution to ease that burden by utilizing vrykul technology and dwarven ingenuity.

Me: Umm.

Guard Captain Zorek: You are insane, Coriel! What kind of degenerate would actually launch themselves from a harpoon gun as a method of travel?

Me: I blame the dwarf.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Retribution Tanking

Judd W asked for some tips on tanking as Retribution. So here are some. Retribution tanking works pretty well in 5-mans, as Protection armor now has a fair amount of strength on it. Your biggest problem is that you are missing most of the mitigation talents, so your healer has to be prepared.
  1. Make sure Righteous Fury is always up. Because Ret has extra threat reduction from Fanaticism, keeping RF up is crucial. I refresh RF if it goes below 10 minutes.

  2. Wear Protection Armor and a high-DPS 1-hander. Stamina, Defense, and Strength are your key stats. I've found that good tanking gear usually comes from instances, though there is a little bit as quest rewards. There are also some decent crafted pieces.

  3. Pulling can be hard. Pull with Repentance if you can. Otherwise body-pull if it is safe, or get another class to pull for you, and drop a Consecration to pick up the mobs.

  4. I prefer using Seal of Vengeance as you can switch targets while the Vengeance stack ticks away. You'll have to switch targets a bit more often than Protection.

  5. Ability preference is something like: Consecration, Judgement, Divine Storm, Crusade. Emphasis on Holy damage that can hit multiple targets.

  6. Don't forget about Divine Protection. It's really powerful now for reducing damage at crucial points, especially early on large pulls, where you have multiple mobs beating on you.

  7. Righteous Defense is actually pretty useful with the new threat display. As soon as one of your teammates highlights in red, you can select them and RD. You don't have to find the mob that is actually attacking them. This is invaluable on larger, more chaotic pulls.

  8. Unlike Protection, a lot of your threat comes from active abilities, not reactive abilities. As well, you have Judgements of the Wise, so you don't need healing to regenerate mana through Spiritual Attunement. This means that you and your teammates can use stuns liberally, and still maintain high levels of threat.

Realistically, tanking as Retribution is not a whole lot different than tanking as Protection for 5-mans. Make sure your healer knows that you might be a bit squishier than normal so she is prepared. Tab around a bit more to maintain threat on multiple mobs. Stun early, stun often.

I personally wouldn't advertise myself as a tank. But I would offer it as an option if the group is having trouble finding one.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I forgot to mention that the new Repentance is very useful, especially when tanking as Retribution.

It gives you a ranged pull that's also Crowd Control. It's like sheep-pulling, only the mobs run towards the tank instead of the mage.

I'm so used to Repentance being mediocre in PvE that I didn't even have it on my bar and was just body-pulling. Then there was a pull where I could not get close, and I remembered Repentance had been changed, so I pulled it out and it worked beautifully. I used it a lot for the rest of the instance.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Borean Tundra and Initial Notes

I finished up Borean Tundra today. Coriel is now 72. I did take a brief detour to Howling Fjord and did the first few quests so that I could do Utgarde Keep. I've done both Utgarde Keep and Nexus now, tanking as Retribution (in protection gear).

Tanking as Retribution isn't too bad, but you're definitely squishier, and sometimes your health can drop very fast. I'm thinking about switching to Protection, but I like Ret for general solo questing.

One thing about Retribution soloing is that it is much easier with Seal of Command. Seal of Blood does more damage, but the recoil means you have to keep healing yourself, and if you're not paying careful attention, your health can drop to dangerous levels. I skipped SoC at level 70, and I'd be questing, and then I'd look at my health and be below 20% for some reason (probably serveral SoB/JoB crits in a row). I picked up SoC at 71 and it's been much smoother.

The quests in Borean Tundra are well done. I especially liked the D.E.H.T.A. quests, especially the one where you free trapped mammoth calves, and they trumpet at you. (Also, the quest reward [G.E.H.T.A.] was hilarious.) The big cutscene quests were very well done, with a really nice integration of lore in regular questing.

I also really liked how the different camps had different flying options. The drakes from Coldarra, and especially the planes from the Fizzcrank Airbase.

The only negative was the torture quest in Amber Ledge.

Other than that, it was a great entry zone, and I'm looking forward to Howling Fjord, which is where I'm headed next.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Torture Quests

The quest The Art of Persuasion in Borean Tundra was a bad call on Blizzard's part.

I was okay with the Death Knight torture quest because it fit the Death Knight thematically. But this one is just out of place. Especially ironic considering the quest giver states, "You see, the Kirin Tor code of conduct frowns upon our taking certain 'extreme' measures - even in desperate times such as these" as the reason he is handing the prisoner over to you to be tortured.

My immediate thought was, "Hello, paladin here!"

It's especially annoying because it's on the main line to Coldarra and the Nexus. If you don't do this quest, you pretty much miss out on the entire Malygos conflict.

As I said before in Stories, Wrong Choices and Death Knights, there is a difference between single-player Western RPGs and MMOs. MMOs must have a shared reality and thus our choices are dictated by the quest designer. The quest designer therefore has the responsibility of making sure our actions are at least somewhat acceptable.

This quest crosses that line, and is a failure on the part of the quest designer.

(Also, you'd think mages would have a spell to force people to tell the truth. That seems like a very common spell in fantasy.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Regarding First to 80

Dear people on General Chat/Forums,

Ever notice how anyone who plays more than you has no life? And anyone who plays less than you is not dedicated enough to deserve epics?

It's amazing how you managed to hit that perfect balance.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

First Day in Wrath

I picked up Wrath at lunch today. After installing I logged on to an 800-person queue for Sargeras. I quickly switched to Skywall, which only had an 80-person queue. I took my hunter to Howling Fjord and did a few of the quests. Then I realized that I really wanted to play my paladin first, so I went back to Sargeras. By this time the queue had grown to 1300 people.

A long time later, I logged in with Coriel and started doing the Borean Tundra quests. Borean Tundra is a bit more crowded than Howling Fjord, but not too bad.

For now, I've decided to go with Retribution and mostly solo. I've decided not to rush to 80, but take my time. To that end, I've turned off Instant Quest Text. It actually does make a difference in immersion, I find. With Instant Quest Text, I barely read the quest, but having the text fade in forces me to slow down, to actually read the backstory behind the quest.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Here's to You, Marshal Windsor

With the return of King Varian Wrynn to Stormwind, one of WoW's greatest quest events is no more. I speak of the quest The Great Masquerade, where Marshal Reginald Windsor marches through the streets of Stormwind, and exposes Lady Katrana Prestor as the black dragon Onyxia.

This event was more than most other events in WoW. In a lot of ways, this was WoW's Triumph of the Legions, the ticker-tape parade for the conquering heroes. There are a lot of elements that made this event so special.

First was the decision to put the capital city right next to the starting areas. This meant that there was a whole range of player levels in Stormwind when the event takes place. I remember first seeing it as a very young player, seeing a group of max level players walking through Stormwind in their shiny high-end armor, with the guards all saluting. This event never failed to attract a crowd of people to see the fuss, really emphasizing the sense that this was truly a parade.

From the other side, a player usually completed this quest chain as they hit endgame. In many ways, it functioned as the dividing point, the graduation ceremony, between leveling and the endgame. This quest was the reason the Walk key needed to exist. As well, unlike the raid events, this was accessible to just about everyone. It was also the culmination of a long chain, and Jailbreak was not a trivial quest, so the parade was a worthy reward for the effort.

I think events like these, where the player gets to show off--to strut a bit--in front of the other players are important. It provides incentive and aspiration to the lower level players, and acknowledges the effort of the higher level players. Events like the hanging of Onyxia's or Nefarion's head. I don't think the Burning Crusade really had anything, other than maybe Magtheridon's Head and Kael. But so few people did those bosses, that it didn't have the same feel.

As well, I think the "graduation ceremony" feel, at the edge between 5-man and raid content was important. We mark important transitions with ceremonies, and I think TBC could have used a similar ceremony between raiding and levelling.

I'm kind of sad that the event has gone away, but with 20 extra levels, it doesn't have the same impact it once had. Still, here's to you, Marshal Windsor.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Akoha: Playing It Forward

While we wait for Wrath, let me take the opportunity to point you to a new type of game.

One of my friends is involved with a startup, Akoha. Akoha is described as the "world’s first social reality game where you can earn points by playing real-world missions with your friends." It's still in Beta, and is looking to launch sometime in the new year, I believe.

Essentially, you start with a pack of cards. Each card has a mission on it, a mission ID number, and is worth X points. Missions are real world activities like (looking at my pack):
  • Donate an Hour of Your Time (200 points)
  • Invite Someone for Coffee (175 points)
  • Thank Someone (125 points)
  • Give a Compact Fluorescent Bulb (200 points)
(Yeah, it's got a heavy starry-eyed, young, urban 20-somethings influence, but they mean well.)

You do your mission with someone in your real world, and give her the card. She goes onto the Akoha website, and enters the mission id, confirming that the mission passed from you to her, and everyone gets points. There's options to enter more details, and pictures/video of the event. Then she can "play it forward" and passes the mission on to someone new, and the process repeats itself. You can see nice maps and graphs of how your mission gets passed around the world.

It's an interesting idea, especially the way it attempts to mix the real world with the internet. It's also an interesting attempt to promote people being nice towards each other, an altruistic game instead of a zero-sum competitive game.

Of course, coming from the MMO world, I have a little more cynical bent, and it's interesting to see the divide. I briefly held the highest score in the game after bouncing a single mission back and forth between two accounts umpteen times. To me it seemed obvious that someone would try that, would try to grief and/or cheat.

I'm also a little concerned about how they plan to make money. Personally, I'm a fan of the Blizzard model. I give Blizzard money and Blizzard keeps the servers running. It's very simple, and everyone understands their part. These Web 2.0 social networking games/sites, I have no idea how the money flows, and that is a bit worrying.

Heh, here's an exchange that illustrates the divide between gamers and non-gamers. There's a forum where people can suggest new missions.

Someone Else: How about a "Make Love to Your Lover" mission, to show them that they are truly special.
Me: This is going to suck when it gets "played forward."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lack of Paladin Enthusiasm

There's a distinct lack of enthusiasm among paladins these days. Which is sort of odd. More than any other class, Wrath of the Lich King is our expansion. We follow Tirion Fordring to Northrend, to defeat Arthas, the fallen paladin who killed Uther the Lightbringer. All the paladin lore comes to a head in this expansion.

The paladin community should be pumped, should be excited. But it really seems like we're not. Instead, you have paladins quitting, and the sense in the community is more one of resignation than true excitement. It really looked like Blizzard was going to fix us. Instead, they went half-way, stopped, and then nerfed us "to the ground, baby." Put a few band-aids here and there, and called it an expansion.

I canceled my subscription ten days ago. I'm really not sure if I'm going to pick up Wrath. I probably will, just because I have nothing else to do. This time, though, I sort of wish I did have something better.

These are just random thoughts on the three specs:


Boring spam. Good luck soloing with Holy. Blizzard revamped the Judgement system, but did not fix the Seals. Seal of Righteousness is pulling double duty as both the spellpower Seal and the levelling Seal. Given that we have zero spellpower while levelling, this paradox is really hurting the other Seals, as Blizzard tries to keep SoR from being either underpowered or overpowered.

Paladin damage seals should go in the following structure:

Level 1: AP-based consistent Seal for levelling, also becomes the default Protection Seal at endgame.
Level 20: AP-based burst damage Seal, PvP Retribution Seal.
Level 64: SP-based consistent damage Seal, for Holy. We start getting spellpower plate around this level, so it makes sense that we get a Seal that can take advantage of that gear.
Level 64: AP-based consistent higher damage spell with a drawback. For PvE Retribution.

This setup makes sense. Each Seal has a place and an appropriate job. You don't have to try and force Seals to do what they are not meant to do.


No 11-point talent. Talk about unfinished. Maybe we'll see one in 3.1. I'm not holding my breath.


I'm concerned about the direction Retribution theorycraft is going in. We should be talking about weapons, or debating Armor Penetration versus Haste rating. Instead, all the discussion is focusing around obscure ways to generate mana to power extra Consecrates. Using the Spiritual Attunement Glyph. Chomping Dark Runes. Deliberately taking extra damage to maximize SA returns.

I appreciate resource management as much as the next paladin. But I don't really want the best Ret paladins to be the ones who farm Dark Runes, or are the ones who can take the most damage without dying. It just does not seem right to me. The best Rets should be the ones who can pull off the priority rotation the best, or have the best dps time-on-target, or pop trinkets/Avenging Wrath at exactly the right moment. Or even the ones who can use their Hands or small spells to greatest effect.


Bleh, maybe I'll go watch Inuvusira's movie about the Light of the Dawn again. That seems to be the only thing that gets me half-way interested in Wrath.

Edit: Just to be clear, I'm probably not going to quit. I'll probably end up picking up Wrath and resubscribing. I think.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

On Blogging, Part II

See Part I.


First, make sure you are measuring traffic. You can get free tools from Sitemeter or Google Analytics.

The best source of traffic are the blogrolls of other sites. First, link to other similar sites in your own blogroll. Click those links occasionally (don't spam clicks, but click the link once in a while). That causes your blog to show up in the other person's referral logs, and they'll often check the link out of curiosity. Don't only link to established blogs, link to a few of the newer upcoming blogs that you read. They'll be very grateful for the link, and more likely to link back to you.

The established blogs tend to have larger blogrolls, and are less likely to want to have to fiddle with it. In particular, it's very annoying to link to someone, and then have them stop posting a little while later. I personally don't really like linking to people who haven't been posting for a few months. Again, content is king. The more you post, the more you seem established and worth linking to.

As you write more, the more likely the search engines will start to pick you up. After a while, search engines (specifically Google) becomes a good source of traffic.

Put your blog into your signature on forums. It's an easy way to generate a bit of traffic. I still get hits from years-old posts on the WoW forums. As well, most other blogs have a field for you to enter your website when making a comment. Fill out fields like that. However, don't be obnoxious and constantly reference your blog in comments on other blogs. Just make a worthwhile comment, and if the people are interested, they will check out your blog.

Traffic builds up slowly and steadily, I find. If you write steadily, traffic will build steadily. Oddly enough, a direct link from large sites such as WoWInsider doesn't really help your traffic. WoWInsider shows up as a massive spike, and it's quite thrilling. But almost always, traffic falls from that spike back to the same level as before. The spikes are noticeable, but don't really make a difference in the long run.

So that's my advice for building traffic. Write steadily. Link to other bloggers, both big and small. Put a link to your site in your signatures. Don't worry about traffic. Write steadily for yourself, and people will come.


I don't really know a lot about advertising. The problem with WoW advertising is that the real money comes from gold sellers. If you get Google Adwords or similar, it's a fair bit of work to filter out the gold sellers, and whatever is left doesn't really earn you much money.

I think I had Adwords for 3 months once, and I made a grand total of $5. Given the amount of time I spent blacklisting gold sellers, it really wasn't worth it, and I dropped Adwords.

Honestly, I have no clue how to make money from a WoW blog. My advice would be not to bother. I'm pretty sure a shift at McDonald's would be better value for time.


Comments can be very weird sometimes. You'll craft something that you think is utterly brilliant, and no one will say anything. They won't even tell you that you are wrong. Yet a throwaway post can generate great discussion. It's odd and hard to predict.

I recommend that you never "ask" for comments in your post. Let your post stand on it's own. It's something I've noticed, but it seems like if the post invites comments, fewer people actually comment. It's not 100%, sometimes people do respond to posts, but it's very hit and miss. Plus, I think it looks a bit sad, if you ask what readers think but there are zero comments. Write as if you don't expect comments, and it is more likely you will get some.

The only surefire way of generating comments is to insult PvP from a raiding perspective, or insult raiding from a PvP perspective. That will almost always generate a firestorm.

As to the rules for comments, I try to make it as easy as possible to comment. I don't require people to log in, or type in a captcha. Every barrier you put up makes people less likely to comment. The easier you make it for people to comment, the more likely they will comment.

Of course, you're probably worried about comment spam if you leave comments wide open. For some reason, Blogger doesn't actually get a lot of spam. I'm not really sure why, but it's another advantage to using Blogger. Occasionally, one specific spammer will pop up and start spamming. What I do then is to turn on Comment Moderation until the spammer goes away. Always have Comment Notification up so you get email when people comment. Sometimes you will get spam and normal comments on really old posts. Blogger now allows you to enable Comment Moderation for older posts, and it's been a big help.

I don't really get very much spam, and what I do get I just manually delete. Captchas and other anti-spam mechanics cut down on spam, but they also cut down on normal comments.

The final topic regarding comments is censoring/deleting comments. My advice is to just delete comments that are insulting or pointless. Try to delete such that people see "This post has been deleted by a blog administrator" or similar message. People tend to follow the social norms already established on the blog. If everyone else is insulting or trolling, then they will insult and troll, push the boundaries a little bit more. Step on it early, delete the first offenders aggressively, and it will keep your blog from becoming like the official WoW forums. Of course, it is important to differentiate between honest dissent, and people being stupid. But in general, people who are worth listening to can phrase their disagreement in an appropriate manner.

Freedom of Speech doesn't mean that you have to put up with jackasses on your own site. They can always make their own blog.


That's pretty much all I wanted to write about. My advice boils down to keep things simple. Write steadily, and write for yourself.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

On Blogging, Part I

I've been writing this blog for a fair while now, and I'd like to offer some thoughts and observations for new bloggers or interested readers.


The first decision you need to make is to self-host, or use a hosting provider such as Blogger. The advantage of self-hosting is that you can control everything, down to the exact detail. The disadvantage of self-hosting is that you have to control everything. Self-hosting is also a bit more expensive money-wise, but web space is not very expensive these days. The time costs in setting up everything are a more important consideration.

Obviously, I've opted for using a hosting provider. I picked a template at the beginning and have not really changed it. Maybe the site is not the best looking in the world, or the flashiest, but it's clean and does what I want with a minimum of effort on my part. I don't have to worry about databases, or hand-tuning HTML or CSS or similar silliness.

But there are drawbacks. For example, Blogger doesn't really do trackbacks very well. I've seen other sites have neat little tricks like adding the the person's last blog post to a comment. Or allow you to edit your comment for a few minutes after posting. If you self-host, you can do pretty much anything you can imagine, but it can take a fair bit of work.

If you can live within the confines of a hosted blog, I recommend using a service like Blogger. It's quick and easy, and allows you spend less time working on your website, and more time on writing content. If you ever have a choice between getting a new website feature to work, or writing another post, I recommend writing the post. Content is what will make your site. New, flashy features are nice, but you really have to beware of neglecting your content to work on your presentation.


The second decision you need to make is focus. For example, this is a World of Warcraft Paladin blog. The name in particular, Blessing of Kings, identifies the focus squarely.

Focus is a double-edged sword. On one hand, having direction makes it a lot easier in the early days. It gives you something specific to write about, making it easier to generate ideas for posts, making it more likely you will continue writing. You belong to the community that shares your focus, and that often makes it easier to get inspiration, links and traffic.

On the other hand, sometimes your interests will wander away from the focus. A more generic name and focus allows you to write about anything without being confined. Sometimes I wonder if I am still playing my paladin because of this blog. If I wasn't writing this, would I have switched to another class, or even another game? If I had chosen a different name, would that have made it easier to switch?

I think having a focus is very useful, especially in the early days. It helps establish your identity. But that identity can and will be confining, so consider how you present your focus.


The single biggest thing you can do to improve your blog is to write more. A steady stream of new content is the best way to get more visitors. Ideally, you should aim for one post a day. Of course, that's an ideal. I almost never make that, and I think I average something like one post every two or three days. But I can see the difference in traffic for months where I had a steady schedule of posts versus months with more erratic schedules.

Other than that, my advice is to write what you want to write about. Don't write something thinking that it is what your audience wants to see. If you don't like role-playing, don't write about role-playing. If you don't theorycraft, don't force yourself to write posts with lots of numbers. Write for yourself, and the audience will come in time.

Finally, the one recommendation I will make regarding content is not to use expletives or put up anything that is Not Safe For Work. The vast majority of readers will read your site from work during the hours of 9-5, Monday to Friday. While I weep for the lost productivity of our economy, you should generally avoid posting anything that would cause your site to be blocked by workplace firewalls, as that will prevent most people from reading your site.

Upcoming in a later post

Getting Traffic, Commenting, Advertising, and anything else I can think of.

See Part II.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Class Achievements

I was thinking about the fact that new paladins don't need to do the Charger questline any more. Instead, they can learn the Charger spell at level 61. I completely understand why Blizzard is doing this, as it's pretty hard to get a group at level 60 to do the instances. And yet, it seems a little bit sad. Getting a charger was a rite of passage for a paladin in the old days.

I was thinking of a reward to encourage paladins to do the Charger questline anyways, and it occurred to me that it would make a good Achievement. And then I thought we could take it a little further. What if there was an Achievement for each class, with the reward being a title, and each Achievement required a whole bunch of requirements that really represented the class as a whole. And of course, completing the Achievement nets you a very nice class-specific title.

For example, for the Alliance Paladins, I would have requirements like :
  • Completing the Redemption questline
  • Obtaining Verigan's Fist
  • Rescuing the Charger from Deathknight Darkreaver
  • Completing Tirion Fordring's questline in EPL
  • Do that level 50 quest, and the one involving Uther's Tomb
  • Exalted with the Argent Dawn
  • Exalted with the Argent Crusade
  • Probably some other paladin-ish questline in Wrath
  • Clear all the 5-man dungeons which involve the Scourge (including Razorfen Downs!)

Completing this Achievement would be a good way of handing out a title like "Knight of the Silver Hand" or "Blood Knight" for the Blood Elves. (Obviously the Blood Elves would have a few different quests than Alliance.)

You could do something similar for all classes. For warlocks, you could require the charger questline, the various demon questlines (including the infernal and doomguard). Druids would require Cenarion Circle and Cenarion Expedition rep. I wouldn't require anything from raids or heroics though, which is kind of sad as it rules out Benediction and and Rhok'delar for priests and hunters. But I think this achievement would be something that would interest a lot of casual players, and should be involved, but accessible.

Heh, I'll issue a challenge to the other classes to list what would be a good set of requirements for their class (either in the comments, or on your own site).

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

An Alternative to Flash of Light

In the comments to the previous post on Flash of Light, Bob asks:
I would agree with you if it wasn't for one thing. What could you give paladins instead of designing the class around FoL, that the other healers don't have?

I would probably buff Seal of Light heavily. Something like this:

Seal of Light
14% of base mana
Instant cast

Fills the Paladin with divine light for 2 min, healing up to 5 friendly party or raid members for [A * AP * WS + B * SPH * WS] with each melee attack. Only one Seal can be active on the Paladin at any one time.

Unleashing this Seal's energy will heal the friendly party or raid member with the highest threat for [C * AP + D * SPH] over 20 sec. (Does not stack. A, B, C, D are values such that the ability is balanced and worthwhile)

Effectively, meleeing with Seal of Light takes over the mundane maintenance healing that we use Flash of Light for. We use the Judgement to maintain a solid HoT on the tank with duration matching the duration of the Judgement effect. We have Holy Shock, Sacred Shield, and Holy Light for responsive healing. I'm not really sure where Beacon of Light would fit in.

Actually, it might be interesting to use Beacon of Light like a focus target. If you cast Beacon on someone, your Judgement of Light HoT automatically targets them, and maybe something similar happens with Holy Shock (Shock hits the enemy and heals the Beacon target). Beacon would have to go much lower in the tree though.

Essentially a normal paladin would have somewhat undirected healing, but a Holy paladin would be able to focus her healing through Beacon of Light. I'd have to think about it a bit more, but I think there are some possibilities with this scheme. It fits nicely with our niche as a single-target, tank healer. Effectively we're duplicating WAR's defensive target scheme on a small level. It's not a true defensive target, but it would be enough to get some of the same style as the warrior priest mechanics (which I've praised in the past).

WotLK Death Knight Finale

A while back, I mentioned how the first thing you should do in Wrath is play through the Death Knight opening. A number of paladins mentioned in the comments that they felt uncomfortable playing as the bad guy, or doing some of the evil things the death knight chain requires, such as torturing people, or killing civilians.

I understand that point of view, and luckily, Invisusira has has made a movie of the Death Knight ending sequence.

It's a must-watch for any paladins who are not going to play the Death Knight. It's pretty much the same as the finale event, only edited slightly and with added music (the music actually adds a great deal to the video).

It goes without saying that this is full of spoilers.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Smart Heals

There's some interesting discussion on the new Blizzard healing forums. One new line of debate I'm seeing recently is the effect of "smart" heals such as Chain Heal, Circle of Light, and Wild Growth. Each of these spells are multiple target spells, but the server chooses some or all of the targets. And the choice is not random. Instead, the server usually chooses the targets with the lowest health, maximizing the spell's effectiveness.

Unlike direct heals, where the target has to be chosen a few seconds in advance of the spell landing, the smart heals choose their targets at the time of the heal, making them perfectly reactive. What this means is that these spells tend to have much less overheal than spells which require human targeting. As any paladin can attest, our overhealing skyrocketed in TBC, to the point where seeing 50%-60% overheal is common.

It's very possible that because of their high effectiveness, smart heals are a better choice than most other heals, in any situation which does not require large direct heals. As well, a great deal of the skill in healing involves proper target selection, choosing the right person to heal at the right time. Perfect smart heals controlled by the server negate a lot of that skill.

One interesting suggestion I've seen is to give the various smart heals the Beacon of Light treatment. Essentially, the smart components would only work off the effective healing done to the selected target, not the raw healing. If you cast Circle of Healing on a full health target, it does nothing, just as if you had cast a direct heal on that target.

This would once again make target selection more important, and weight healing back towards the direct single-target spells. You can't just spam Chain Heal and expect the server to do perfect bounces, you have to direct your healing to where it is needed.

Monday, November 03, 2008

On Flash of Light

Ghostcrawler posts:
The paladin has been designed around Flash of Light, just like the shaman was designed around Chain Heal. We didn't want to completely change what these classes were all about, in part because a lot of players like them as they are. We figured players who gravitate towards wanting lots of different kinds of heals can play the druid or priest. Players who want to have relatively few spells and can then focus on cooldowns, trinkets or the like can play the paladin or shaman. We think it would be dangerous for paladins to pick up Lich King and find their class had completely changed.


Flash of Light represents everything that is wrong with the Paladin healer. Cleric. Clothadin. Healbot. Boring. 2-button spam. Standing at the back of the raid. Completely changing the playstyle from levelling. Not hitting things with a giant hammer.

I wrote this in 2006, two and a half years ago, and it still applies today:
Flash of Light is the real problem with the paladin class. A single cast of FoL heals for a trivial amount, but at a trivial cost. This means that a paladin generally casts multiple FoLs in quick succession to actually do anything. I've heard Flash of Light described as a "channelled heal-over-time spell." And this is precisely what it is. The paladin stands there and channels her mana into the tank's health bar.

The problem is that if you are channelling, you cannot do anything else. And the essence of a paladin is doing multiple things at once! The mechanics of Flash of Light cut across the very grain of paladin playstyle. So remove Flash of Light in its entirety. Soloing will not miss it. PvP will not miss it. And PvE will be better for its absence.

If you really want to fix paladin healing, to make it more enjoyable, I believe that Flash of Light will have to be removed or drastically changed. I find it really disheartening that not only does Blizzard not see this, but they have deliberately designed the class around Flash of Light.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Protection 11-Point Idea

Glorious Charge
Requires 10 points in Protection Talents
5% of base mana
8 - 25 yd range
30s cooldown
Causes you to charge an enemy. All party or raid members within 45 yards become immune to Fear effects for 10* seconds.

Glyph of Glorious Charge
Minor Glyph
You may use Glorious Charge while mounted on a Paladin Warhorse or Charger. If you do, the target is stunned for 2 seconds. After the charge, you dismount and the battle is finished on foot.

I'm pretty sure everyone can see what I'm going for. Lots of paladin flavour, a gap closer, but no real stun/damage like the warrior or druid variant (unless you're mounted, and really, getting hit with a mounted charge is probably worth a small stun). Also, this would require lots of gold particle effects for the charge blur.

The Fear immunity might be funny. Imagine a raid fight like Nightbane where a Holy paladin charges in right before the boss casts the Fear.

* 10 seconds might be a little high. But you get the idea. The Paladin is inspiring her comrades by charging in, and the buff to friends, rather than a debuff to the enemy, reflects that. Also, anti-fear is decent in that it prevents an immediate Fear from completely negating the Charge.

Retribution Utility Idea

It's 1 AM, and I had an interesting idea for Retribution PvP utility. We'll see if it's any good in the morning.

Rank 0/2
Requires 1 point in Crusader Strike
Requires 45 points in Retribution talents
Gives the Paladin's Crusader Strikes a 50/100% chance to increase the target's Global Cooldown by an additional 100% for the next 30 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times.

Effectively, hit the target once with CS, and her GCD becomes 3s (2s for Rogue/Cat), 2 hits for 4.5s, etc., all the way up to 5 hits for 9s. (Assuming zero Haste, of course)

It's something that no other class can do. It messes with tempo, slows the fight down, and is anti-burst. It hurts instants more than spells with cast times. Yet at the same time, it doesn't affect a specific individual spell, only how often you can cast spells. It sort of becomes a counter to the Haste stat.

I have no idea how this would work with mobs. It's probably a PvP-only thing.

Thoughts? Would this actually be worthwhile in PvP, or should I get more sleep?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

So What Went Wrong?

Blizzard is never, ever going to tell us exactly why paladin development for WotLK unfolded as it did. Currently, Ghostcrawler is publicly blaming it on some bug with weapon switching. But I don't think that's the real story. There's too many other factors in play. So this is my speculation as to how Blizzard got into this position. Note that I have zero evidence that any of this is real, just what happened in Beta/Live, and my gut feeling as a somewhat experienced paladin.

For PvP, at the beginning of WotLK, I think Blizzard made the design decision that a Ret Paladin would be high burst, but very immobile. Essentially, it would be very hard for her to get inside melee range, and she would be pretty easily kited. However, if you let a Ret paladin catch up to you, she would be able to unload and burst you down.

The reason I think this is what happened is that none of the current Ret burst is surprising. It doesn't take a genius to see that Ret was going to try to run up to someone and hit all the buttons in a row. It's not like a Frost Mage's Shatter Combo, which revolves around getting off an instant Ice Lance while a Frostbolt is still in flight. That's an example of something which is tricky, and can be unexpected if you're not an expert with the class. There's no way that any person reasonably familiar with Retribution could fail to predict Hammer of Justice -> Judgement of Command -> Divine Storm -> Crusader Strike. It's not clever or something which takes mad skill, it's obvious.

Second, consider the initial Art of War talent on Beta. It gave CS a chance to double the damage of the next Judgement. The immediate combo with the old Judgement of Command, and the resulting *eight-fold* damage on a stun-crit comes to mind. As I commented in July, when I first got into the Beta:
Sometimes I really don't understand Blizzard. Back in March, they said they were worried about Paladin burst damage. Fast forward to the WotLK Beta, and we see the following two talents: [Righteous Vengeance, Art of War].

The existence of the original Art of War--and the crit damage increasing talents like Righteous Vengeance--says to me that either: no one at Blizzard plays a Retribution paladin (entirely possible); or paladins were deliberately being given higher burst in the initial WotLK design.

So in Beta, Blizzard toned down the worst excesses of burst, but left the design of "immobile + high burst" alone. Then they released it to Live, and immediately the vast majority of the populace made it clear that this was an unacceptable design decision. The outcry forced Blizzard to scrap the "immobile + high burst" concept, and just hotfix Retribution down to a nominal level.

So that's my theory for PvP. It is my explanation of why Blizzard is just going nuts with hotfixes. That's not a rational response to a few bugs or missing the damage target slightly. If that had been the case, Blizzard would have just shipped fixes in Patch 3.0.3. It's the reaction to realizing that the entire design concept was seriously flawed and needs to be scrapped.

For PvE, I think the original spreadsheet/model that Blizzard used to come up with initial damage numbers had a significant error. My guess is that the model didn't account for Seal procs from specials.

The reason I think this is the case is that Blizzard has consistently focused on Seal/Judgement damage when nerfing Ret's sustained damage. This is despite the fact that Seal/Judgement nerfs hurt the other specs, especially Holy, even harder. Blizzard went to a lot of trouble to make it easier for healers to solo, and I really don't understand why they targeted the paladin mechanic that is most important to the healing spec (and levelling characters). Last time around, Blizzard was willing to do things like play with cooldowns. If Ret's damage was too high, I would have expected Blizzard to target the Ret-specific abilities like Crusader Strike and Divine Storm. Decrease damage, or increase cooldowns. Change Ret damage increasing talents to do something else. But they didn't really touch CS/DS until the Live hotfixes.

On Beta, Blizzard kept adjusting Seal damage down, saying that Seal damage was too high. To me, that implies that the damage from Crusader Strike and Divine Storm was meeting their expectations, but Seal damage was consistently higher than they predicted. That implies that their model wasn't predicting Seal damage correctly, and the most obvious explanation is that it didn't account for the procs from specials. That's the major change from TBC (other than the change to AP + SP scaling, which is much easier to check and much more likely to have been the first data to be compared).

This is all speculation. I don't know if any of this is real. But the paladin class is not a very complicated class. There's no feedback loop like warriors and Rage. There's no complex mechanics like Combo-Point generation. In fact, if you look at the other classes, Blizzard was mostly in the right neighbourhood most of the time, barring crazy bugs. They've been much more surgical with the other classes than paladins. To me, that says that the spreadsheet/models were pretty accurate. The biggest change I can remember is the warriors losing Heroic Leap because it was too buggy, and the top end of Fury being shuffled around. And that's in a completely different league than getting the damage numbers wrong.

Paladins are very straightforward and unsurprising, and I really would have expected Blizzard to nail the paladin numbers from the very start, both in PvP and PvE. That they didn't, in my opinion, points to deeper underlying causes than mere weapon-switching bugs on the Beta server.

Edit: Additional proof for the PvP side of things. Ghostcrawler is now posting on the forums that Blizzard is considering giving Retribution some form of utility like a snare or interrupt. This is a 180-degree change from Blizzard's previous stance on Retribution, and further indication that their design for Ret is now completely different than in Beta.

Friday, October 31, 2008

What the Hell?

In the four-year history of the game, has any other class been balanced by multiple hotfixes to the Live servers? Actually, has there even been any other non-bug-related hotfixes, just for class balance?

Seriously, Blizzard, this is a breakdown of your design and development procedures of monumental proportions.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Retribution Solution

Current Retribution Rotation

Retribution is in a bit of a mess at the moment. It is very close to being good, but there are two intertwined problems, one with PvP, and one with PvE. I think it might be worthwhile to take a step back, and look at the issues again.

For reference, here is a graph of what the first 20s of a Retribution rotation looks like:

The PvP Problem

To see the PvP problem, look at the area marked "PvP Burst". See how tightly compacted the abilities are. In the space of 4.5s, a Ret paladin gets two auto-swings, all three special attacks, and any assorted seal procs. This is a large amount of burst, and always occurs at the beginning of the rotation.

If you look at the rest of the rotation, you can see how spread out the abilities become. There's lots of empty Global Cooldowns or wasted space. This part of the rotation is much less bursty than those first few seconds. A lot of Ret's problems with burst in PvP would go away if those first 5 seconds looked more like the remaining 15s.

The PvE Problem

The PvE problem is a little more subtle. See the Empty GCDs in the rotation? Retribution is balanced around those GCDs remaining empty, and not contributing any damage. If those Empty GCDs contributed extra damage, the damage of the main abilities has to be lowered in order to keep the total DPS the same.

Taken too far, you end up where Death Knights are. Death Knights get a Strike every GCD, but each Strike only hits for 50% weapon damage. Which is a bit odd for a 2H weapon class, in my opinion. 2H Weapons should hit hard, but hit slowly, which is the model for Retribution Paladins.

Those Empty GCDs are also useful for tossing paladin utility spells, like re-Sealing, Flash of Light, Cleanse, or the various Hand spells. As well, against Undead, Exorcism can be used, emphasizing the Paladin's prowess against the Undead. Finally at the end of the fight, those GCDs are needed for burning down the enemy with Hammer of Wrath .

The main problem here is Consecration. If a Ret paladin can use an Empty GCD for Consecration, they've increased their DPS. Blizzard wants to avoid having to water down the main abilities, so they are trying to prevent Consecration from being used. The current tactic is to try and restrict the Ret paladin's mana, so that the paladin cannot cast Consecration without worrying about running dry.

The problem here is that there is not a lot of room to maneuver. If Retribution doesn't have enough mana for Consecration, they also have trouble being able to cast the non-damage spells, and it's very easy to lose mana from a mistake. That's hurts the flexibility of Retribution, which makes a paladin a paladin. If they have too much mana, they start casting Consecration regularly, and end up with higher DPS than they should.

A Solution

So can we kill two birds with one stone? I think we can. Here is my suggestion:
  1. Have Judgement, Crusader Strike, Divine Storm, and Consecration share a 3 second cooldown (in addition to their normal individual cooldown).

  2. Change Judgement as follows:
    1. Increase cooldown to 12s.
    2. Increase damage by 20%.
    3. Change Improved Judgements to increase damage by 10/20%.
    4. Increase the duration of the debuff to 30s.

  3. Change Divine Storm as follows:
    1. Increase cooldown to 12s.
    2. Make it do Holy damage once again.

  4. Remove Seal procs from specials, and tune abilities upwards as appropriate. (Not really necessary, but I may as well throw it in.)

The new Retribution rotation would look like:

Note how the problem with PvP burst goes away. Each individual ability hits like a truck, but you can't string a whole bunch of abilities together in a row. The Retribution Paladin hits bone-crushingly hard, but hits slowly, as is appropriate for a 2H class.

For PvE, there's no room to cast Consecration in the basic rotation because of the shared 3s cooldown. You'd have to kick out a Crusader Strike. That means Consecration becomes more appropriate for AoE situations, as it is meant to be. Overall dps remains roughly the same, once abilities are tuned to match the new cooldowns. However, there are still tons of Empty GCDs for the paladin to cast utility spells, Exorcism, or Hammer of Wrath. Judgements of the Wise can be tuned a little higher, giving a Retribution paladin room to breathe, without the danger of contributing additional damage.

Essentially, what we are doing here is creating a Retribution Global Cooldown. The normal Global Cooldown is the limit on how much damage can be dealt in the shortest amount of time. By basically doubling that cooldown for Ret paladin special attacks, we space out the damage, allowing the individual damage abilities to remain powerful, while still leaving room for the utility spells that make a paladin a paladin.

Finally, I don't think this would be very hard to implement. There's no new major mechanics. It's just fiddling with cooldowns and damage. This makes it far more feasible to be implemented before or just after Wrath of the Lich King.