Thursday, February 05, 2009

Upcoming Paladin Changes in 3.1

Eyonix posted the list of changes for the remaining classes. Here are my thoughts on the paladin changes.

Blessing of Kings – this spell is now a base ability trainable by all paladins.

What a long road we've been on to get to this point. Ah well, no more whining about Kings. I wonder what the new Tier 1 talent talent will be.

Exorcism – this spell now causes damage to all types of enemy targets. However, it always critical strikes undead or demon targets. This change should make sure paladin damage doesn’t drop when going from Naxxramas to later tiers of content.

Very interesting. A nice buff for Holy soloing, and normalizes Retribution damage across all enemy types. The only concern I have is that this does add to PvP burst, as Exorcism is now usable on players. CS, Judge, DS, Exorcism, CS is now a complete string of attacks with no breaks in between.

Shield of the Templar now causes your Avenger’s Shield and Shield of the Righteousness to silence targets for 3 sec. The old damage bonus of this talent has been folded into Holy Shield, Avenger’s Shield, and Shield of the Righteousness.

Shield of the Templar becomes a PvP talent mainly. Frees up some points for PvE builds. A 3 second silence every 6 seconds on the highest damage ability sounds a little bit crazy though. I expect this to get nerfed once it's on the PTR.

Ardent Defender, Improved Hammer of Justice, One-Handed Weapon Specialization and more have had their ranks reduced.

Thinning out the Protection tree heavily. The real question is whether these talents will provide the same effect for fewer talent points, or will simply provide a smaller effect. I can almost guarantee you that Imp Hammer of Justice will be reduced to -10 seconds for 1 talent point and become the 11-point Protection talent. It's a solid nerf to Ret PvP, and Ghostcrawler will probably be happy to see us shut up about missing that 11-pointer.

Now, what will happen with Ardent Defender and One-Handed Weapon Specialization is more nebulous. Either way, Protection just got a lot more points to put in the secondary trees.

Guarded by the Light – no longer reduces the mana cost of shield spells, but now has a 50/100% chance to refresh Divine Plea duration.

I'm going to take a wild guess and say that Shield of Righteousness is the spell which will refresh Divine Plea. It's actually pretty elegant, creating a mana-return mechanic around ShR that the Protection paladin should be able to keep up throughout the fight.

Judgements of the Just – now also reduces the cooldown of Hammer of Justice by 10/20 seconds and increases the duration of the Seal of Justice stun effect by 0.5/1 second.

This is the reason I predict Imp HoJ is the 11-pointer. This talent would mean that Protection still gets 30s HoJ, but Retribution does not.

I'm not entirely sure why Protection PvP is being pushed, but I, for one, welcome our new Protection overlords.


  1. *cough* 2 second interrupt on 15 second cooldown *cough*.

    Anyway, I think one of Blizzard's stated intentions was that every spec should have some marginal PvP viability for those that wanted to go out and have fun with it. Prot Paladins were, relative to other tanking specs, pretty weak in this field and this change elivates them up to 'nuisance that needs to be dealt with' status. Still, the level of control being afforded to them is pretty high, especially against casters.

    Yay to no announced nerfs! They're probably coming, but we've got a few weeks yet before the madness truly begins.

  2. I think the slimming down of the prot tree is definitely a welcome change, and the main benefit of this patch (beyond baseline kings).

    That being said, ret and prot (in this preannounced state) can almost certainly look forward to another round of PvP-induced hotnerfs. With exorcism, this is going to give way to another round of QQ about ret burst damage, which Blizzard hasn't exactly managed to address properly so far.

  3. There was a post made yesterday by Kalgan which went largely unreported:


    "I find the rating system to be acceptable. However, I feel the measure of 'skill' is much more dependent on the current state of BurstVP. Until that is remedied, the system wont work very effectively, as Comps should not be a measure of skill.

    Side bar, Kalgan. You hotfixed Explosive shot, but hunters were probably last in the group of "too much PVP burst". Allowing the "big 4" to continue into 3.1 (which is months away) will drive many people away from PVP. Changes need to be made now, not in several months.

    There will be changes made before 3.1. "

    Blizzard seem to have something significant in mind to address burst damage for all classes. It's also worth noting that the SK-100, a resource which tracks the top 100 arena teams worldwide, features only 2 Ret Paladins. The vast majority of Paladin representation is via the 49/0/22 Holy build, and other class DPS specs are far more common.

    If the Exorcism Glyph remains in the game as-is Ret (and Prot, and Holy) will be gaining greatly increased utility and control. However I'm of the opinion that if Blizzard follow through on the idea of globally nerfing burst Ret will need every bit of the additional control to remain PvP viable.

  4. I think the big reason for the change to Exorcism is because they couldn't find a way otherwise to make the glyph actually work on non-demon/undead targets. Though the also explained reason is fine as well.

    While you can argue that the change to Shield of the Templar is for PvP, I think that you should still consider that having those spells interrupt is a -huge- benefit to Prot PvE. You can now Avenger Shield a distant caster to interrupt their spell and drag them to you, and you can also help reduce incoming damage by Shield Slamming a caster in your face.

  5. I think these changes strongly lead to BoSanct getting removed.

  6. Rolling the old damage effect from Shield of the Templar into ShoR will be nice for holy pallies who want to do a little more damage while out there soloing.

  7. Ahm. Not really. Shield of Templar is the answer to something that Paladin tanks have been lacking for 3 years. We have few option when it comes to interrupts. We don't have to do Line of Sight Shield toss pull on caster mobs anymore.

  8. Don't blame me, I voted Protection.

  9. Honors'

    I do agree with you that the additional damage being allocated to ShoRighteousness baseline is pretty nice for Holy. I'd have to say that Exorcism being applicable to all mob types is a much larger fillip for the spec's DPS. We still won't be talking raid-viable DPS, but they may scare the odd player in PvP with the burst damage output.

  10. All of these changes to the prot tree, with all of the silences, sorta scream OP to me. I think that once this goes live, non-pally's will scream about and then prot will be nerfed much like ret was (after 3.0 went live)

    Maybe that's just me being pessimistic though.

  11. I knew Paladins were FOTM, but with the latest buffs to Ret... Unless you get some nerfs -- for sure Paladins will return as FOTM. It's really bad when I consider rolling a Paladin.

  12. @Rohan, as always, great interpration on the news. I for one am very much looking forward to being able to drop some more talent points into other items - I find I never have 'enough' points to spend!
    Also, getting mana back will be great. Great! I've had folks tell me to just pull more mobs, but you know what, sometimes, there simply are not any other mobs to pull without having to kite the damn things half way across Azeroth!
    It might even cut down a lot on prot questing delays be removing a lot of the drinking when we are forced into fighting one mob at a time due to spawn distances.

  13. I think the Shield of the Templar changes may get nerfed down to an interrupt if they can't get the exorcism glyph to function. Or maybe they want protection paladins to be able to shut down casters. I'm not holding my breath.

    I hope they rename exorcism, as it is no longer quite as fitting when it works on everything. Maybe they'll decide to use your "Rebuke" for this one.

  14. < /rant >
    Prot being op in pvp? hardly but still go fight a prot warrior. the entire fight you will be stunned or silenced. if your melee most attacked will be dodge parried or blocked. if your a caster you have to worry about spell reflect when ever you actually get a spell off.

    with exorcism being usable against all types i dom't see this being unbalanced in pvp. it has longer cool down then other attacks. when stam and resillience get higher and fights get longer you will have to ask your self "do i want to use my exorcism now for the extra dmg or later to interupt a heal?"

    still this is interesting. got a hunter kiting you and can't seem to catch up? turn on seal of justice and exorcise him. if seal of justice can proc off exorcism and it procs you got a ranged stun.

    blessing of sanctuary isn't going anywhere. the rage/runic power returns are wonderfull.

    i don't think 30 second hammers of justice are going any where also. it would bea huge nerf to ret pvp and those that still pvp as holy/prot instead of holy/ret.

    i don't like the idea of divine plea having a -50% healing debuff. shamans/druids/priests don't suffer any penalties to use their mana regen cool down. though theirs are much more powerful but with longer cool downs.

    you can't nerf illumination any more either because it will turn paladins away from spell crit which the whole tree is still based around.

    its season 1 all over really. holy paladins in the basic level of pve raid gear aren't running out of mana in the short pvp fights. Spiritual attunement is getting villified because if another healer heals a holy pally that holy pally gets more mana to heal with.

    -50% healing when using divine plea in a raid? lol hey raid i can't do any healing for a while i need to regen.

    i can see guilds raiding icecrown and just bring 2 paladins most like prot and a ret just to have kings and might/wisdom. because holy paladins won't be able to compete again.
    < /rant >

  15. I'm pretty sure you're wrong about the silence being strong in PvP because it will be subject to diminishing returns. You DO have a point about ret burst.

    Prot paladins are the weakest of the weak in PvP (and by PvP I mean Areans, because Blizz could care less about BG balance) now that the double ShoR bug is fixed.

    A tankadin can't effectively deal with casters. This isn't balanced, it's not like a DK or Druid tank can't deal with melee mobs. The two HUGE holes in the Tankadin arsenal, when compared to other tank classes, is lack of caster control (both trash and boss-unless it's UD) and inability to generate resource in solo/OT role/PvP -other tanks get resource from either doing damage, or both dealing and taking damage.

    The silence + 10-sec HoJ interrupt + (possible) 15-sec exorcism interrupt really rounds them out (Not quite on par to the warrior shield bash/spell reflection/gag order/shockwave combo of doom - but certainly good). You can't have the arguably lowest HP tank (effective health on magic damage) be the only one unable to deal with trash mobs who can cast spells that hit for 20K+. This is needed fro Bliz to future proof their instances and encounters.

    The changed to allow DP to keep rolling addresses the resource issue very well.

  16. gosh, it's almost like blizzard delivered buffs on a friday?


  17. I don't see anything in the changes about the 3% damage reduction being removed from Shield of the Templar, only the damage increase to shield spells.

    So unless that's the case and they just haven't announced it, then Shield of the Templar is still mandatory in PvE.

  18. ok so in the same patch they are giving priests and druids less reason to stop casting for regen and making holy paladins want to stop casting to get full regen.

  19. Personally, as a strictly PvE prot Pally, I thing the Shield of the Templar buff is great. The dungeon design in Northrend just doesn't lend itself to LoS pulls. Too often I find myself trying to hide behind something rediculous like a tiny pillar or chair to entice a caster to come after me. Adding a silence on Captain America lets me just pull, and the casters come to me.

    I could see SotR being taken off this, or converted to a true interupt rather than a 3 second silence. I'd actually prefer the second option.

    However, seeing as Silence is being put on DR, the buff isn't near as strong in PvP as people think it is now.

  20. It would be reasonable to reduce Exorcism base damage if it is going to auto-crit on Undead. That would mitigate some burst QQ...

  21. "I could see SotR being taken off this, or converted to a true interupt rather than a 3 second silence. I'd actually prefer the second option."

    This thinking makes sense if ShoR was Shield Bash. But for Prot Paladins, ShoR is like some Shield Slam/Heroic Devastate combo.

    ShoR is the main single target threat spell for Prot Paladins. Because of this, it is ALWAYS on CD. (plus, giving us a high threat, single button, 6 sec interrupt -think bosses- might be a little over the top) Forcing Prot Paladins to wait to use ShoR for a spell cast would be counter to what ShoR does. The silence makes sense as it's more 'fire and forget' which is what ShoR and Heroic Strike/Devastate are about.

    Also, keep in mind that all of these Paladin abilities are on the GCD and, in PvE, all of our GCDs are taken up. So any on-demand ability we use is at the expense of threat somewhere else.

    I much more like the idea of a 10 or 15 sec HoJ as the interrupt. Possibly that combined with a 15 sec Exorcism interrupt allows for some decent caster utility. Again, this is nowhere near where other tanking classes are for caster utility (except for maybe Druids).

    I really expect these changes to stick in one form or another, and more caters mobs that CANNOT be allowed to cast their main spell be added. (See Heroic OK trash, I think Paladins are the only ones who have trouble with certain casters. But the Exorcism glyph helps in that instance)

  22. Sorry, but your thinking about Shield of the Templar is wrong: it will be even after 3.1 also a PvE-Talent, because of the 3% damage reduction of SotT. They only said that the damage from SotT will enrolled in the Talent itself, but nothing about the damage Reduction. And yes, they would mention it if they remove it.