Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sheath of Light and Paladin Scaling

I like the idea of Sheath of Light. But the way it has been implemented has contributed to some weirdness with paladin scaling. The purpose of Sheath of Light was to let heals cast by a Ret paladin scale in a small way, rather than remaining extremely weak all the time.

However, there are 3 types of paladin abilities:
  1. Abilities that scale with Attack Power only. These are mostly offensive abilities that belong to Protection and Retribution.

  2. Abilities that scale with Attack Power and Spell Power. These are baseline abilities that all specs use, such as Judgement and Consecration.

  3. Abilities that scale with Spell Power only. Heals, and Holy Shock.

The interaction of Sheath of Light and category 2 in particular is problematic. I remember that during the Wrath Beta, Seal of Righteousness was often the best Seal for Ret. Eventually it got nerfed down, but became very weak for Holy, and had to be buffed with a deep Holy talent. The reason this happened is because if the SP coefficient was high, Sheath would allow Ret paladins to use a lot of that SP coefficient, and the ability would outstrip Category 1 abilities. Balancing paladin numbers would have been a lot cleaner if Sheath did not affect abilities in Category 2. That way you could balance the AP coefficient around Retribution/Protection paladins, and separately balance the SP coefficient around Holy Paladins.

Even in Category 3, Sheath doesn't affect all abilities. Most notably, Sacred Shield doesn't scale with the granted Spell Power. This may have been an oversight at first, but now is maintained for PvP balance reasons.

When you get right down to it, Sheath of Light as it exists right now is overly broad. We don't really want to give Ret lots of Spell Power for general use. Most of the abilities Retribution uses scale primarily with AP, and adding extra SP scaling just complicates things. But we do want to give a Retribution paladin the option of increasing the power of her heals.

Sheath of Light should become a lot narrower in scope. The SP granted should explicitly apply to Holy Light and Flash of Light only. Then the coefficients of all the Category 2 abilities should be retuned so that each spec has an appropriate result. (The same idea would apply to Touched by the Light in Protection.) I think this would make paladin scaling cleaner and simpler. AP and SP scaling would no longer depend on each other, but would remain completely separate.

Of course, this would drastically change the value of Sheath of Light. It might come to be considered a PvP-only seal. But untangling AP and SP from each other would be an overall benefit for the paladin class.


  1. Changing spells to scale from only one stat would help. Heals and consecrate use SP. Prot-related damage such as avenger's shield, holy shield, and SotR use BV.

    Or use some sort of "highest benefit" mechanic where a spell only gains from a single stat which is most effective.

    Or go further and remove SP gear. Let's face it, SP plate is out of place: a single spec of a single class, and yet it must be on loot tables, despite such low use. Scale heals with AP, remove AP->SP, and just stick holy in ret gear and have a hit->crit talent somewhere in holy.

  2. I have to agree with Kleps on this one. It seems retarded that a single spec uses spell plate gear. How attractive it would be if we could carry two sets of plate gear depending on the role.

  3. "The purpose of Sheath of Light was to let heals cast by a Ret paladin scale in a small way, rather than remaining extremely weak all the time"

    I don't agree that this was the purpose of Sheath of the Light. The purpose of Sheath of Light was the same purpose of Touched By the Light, to let Paladins effectively use Arms Warrior/Prot Warrior gear and still have the Spell Power to scale the abilities that needed it.

  4. Honors, the only abilities that *need* SP are heals and Sacred Shield. And Sacred Shield scaling for Ret has been deemed overpowered. Everything else has an AP coefficient that can always be increased. Sheath of Light allows Ret to "double-dip" on the SP coefficient as well, and this causes balance issues.

    Kleps, the biggest issue with using Ret gear is how will our mana pool increase? Will it scale with Strength?

  5. I agree with Kleps. What you could do is have a talent (or talents) deep in Holy that would convert Str to Int for mana (or Str to mana), Hit to Crit, and AP to SP. Maybe even convert Armor Penetration into something else like Mp5.

    Then convert all existing Holy plate into Damage plate. This would help clean up loot tables.

  6. I am not such a fan of homogeneous loot. People are getting bored faster, when you have your loot from an instance there is not the same desire to run it. People ran kara for ages, yet are already stopping running naxx and starting to gear alts. And lets be honest, unique pally gear is kewl.

    As for the issue at hand do what they did with the drenai self heal. In stead of AP and SP, just go AP or SP.


  7. If Shattering Throw makes it to live(horrible ability that it is, hard to use and leaves the warrior rage starved). I think its only fair to let Sacred Shield scale with Sheath of light SP.

  8. Rather than removing spell power plate, I believe that Blizzard will introduce a class in the next expansion that uses the same gear as holy paladins.

    Most people assume that the next hero class will be a healer, and they've gone a long way to making gear spread more easily between specs. Since there is only one spec that would possibly want spell power plate, and at least two specs for all other gear, it makes ssense that the next class would use it.

    Not only that, but I think it would be boring to make holy pallies use the same gear as ret pallies.

  9. @Rohan Int from strength is probably the simplest, but then strength would be the main source of mana and spell power and could be hard to balance. Maybe hit could be used with str giving low int, so in combination they'd give sufficient mana pools.

    @Jorani I find shards to be very boring. People ran Kara because badges were giving T6 level gear, not because they were still getting new gear from Kara, except for the alts as you mentioned.

    @Ashimbo Maybe DKs could have used SP plate, that would have made 4 specs for it, which beats SP leather with only 2 specs, though I suppose there's not much use dwelling on could-have-beens.

  10. Imagine if sheath of light...a blatently healing related spell...was in the holy tree where it should be. Just imagine that.

    I know, this goes against the hybrid theory. But lets face it, the deeper the talent trees go, the more specialized a spec is going to become. At level 10, all paladins are the same. They can tank/heal/dps all pretty much the same. I just know that when I first heard about sheath I was extremely excited...then I saw that it was all the way at the bottom of the ret tree and thought "What in the!!!"

  11. During LK beta I had dreams of being a Sheath of Light healing pally (w/o bacon), but when it got moved to the bottom of the Ret tree those dreams were crushed.

    A blue finally responded that Sacred Shield scaling with Sheath of Light is a bug and be fixed in a future 3.1 PTR build. (cheer!)

    I don't understand why this was not fixed before, it is the only New ability given to Ret from 71-80, why should it not scale at all?

    Stat conversions exist in many other classes and they seem to be able to balance those. It will take a few patches for them to work out the kinks, just like the DK "issues".

  12. About the "One class one spec for plate holy gear" QQ...
    You do realize that not just one of the two but BOTH of mail and leather are exactly the same, and do you realize how retarded it's going to look when holy paladins, whom are just as holy as holy priests run around with dark armor and cruel, large, bad axes or maces?

  13. "About the "One class one spec for plate holy gear" QQ...
    You do realize that not just one of the two but BOTH of mail and leather are exactly the same."

    No, they aren't. Leather has 2 specs that use SP. Boomkin and Resto Druids.
    Mail has 2 specs that use SP. Elemental and Resto Shaman.

  14. I also think that sheath could use the mechanic from the Drae only HOT, SP or AP, whichever is higher. then just scale it from there as needed.

    RE: Levi
    "Leather has 2 specs that use SP. Boomkin and Resto Druids.
    Mail has 2 specs that use SP. Elemental and Resto Shaman."
    this is not quite accurate though. leather/mail with spellpower with Hit rating would be meant only for the respective magical DPS spec, which there is only one at each bracket.

    I agree with Reveriel on this one.