Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Retribution System Idea

Exorcism cannot be used on players anymore and Ghostcrawler has put up an explanation. He also states:
In the same patch where we remove the “not on players” limitation for Exorcism, we are going to change the way paladins do damage so that their normal combat moves have more depth to them instead of just using abilities every time they finish their cooldown. This should make causing damage as a paladin more interesting and also less bursty. While we have some ideas on how to accomplish that, if you have suggestions or your own ideas about how this could work, this would be a good time to share them. (As examples of abilities you don’t just use whenever their cooldown has finished, you might look at Conflagrate, Brain Freeze, Rip, Overpower or Arcane Blast.)

It's hard to work with Ret, as you can't make changes that will seriously affect Holy or Protection. Here's an idea I had that's relatively simple, but might tone down Ret and make it more interesting.
  1. Increase the talent Vengeance by 2 points for 5 stacks of 5% each.

  2. Change Crusader Strike to require 2 stacks of Vengeance, and to consume 2 stacks of Vengeance when used.

  3. Change Divine Storm to require 3 stacks of Vengeance, and to consume 3 stacks of Vengeance when used.

  4. If Crusader Strike or Divine Storm crits, they still generate a stack of Vengeance (net loss of 1 and 2 stacks respectively).

  5. Tune the numbers so Ret puts out the damage you want.

This is a very simple system, but CS and DS now eat Vengeance charges, while auto-attacks and Judgment generate them. You can't burst right off the bat, as you have to build Vengeance charges.

As well, I don't know what the optimum time to use an ability is. If you're at 2 charges, do you wait for 3 charges to Divine Storm, or do you Crusader Strike right away? If your Judgement cooldown is coming up, should you delay a special in order to maximize Judgement damage? Will the value of Haste and Crit go up? Will slightly faster weapons be better than slow weapons? There's a fair amount of room for the theorycrafters to play with.

It might even be good in PvP, as you can trade off using an ability right now for a bigger ability later.

Finally, this is fairly simple to implement. We only touch 3 talents in the top half of Retribution. Vengeance is already the heart of the Retribution tree, so making it even more important is not much of a stretch. It doesn't affect Holy or Protection at all. It also works fairly well for a leveling paladin. First they would get Vengeance, which is always good. Then they get Crusader Strike, and that introduces the mechanic at a very simple level. Ten levels later they get Divine Storm and the full range of choice.


  1. Very interesting idea, it sorta makes Retribution use rogue-like combat; mana = energy and vengeance stacks = combo points.

    Hit cap would be exceptionally important because missing while trying to apply the two required stacks of Vengeance (to activate CS) would be huge, which could make this system rougher on leveling paladins (who generally are far from hit cap).

  2. I don't think Divine Storm should be combo point based; it's inherently an AOE spell, so requiring a single mob focus doesn't mesh with the expected use of the spell. I know that it is not used as AOE per se in the bulk of fights that matter, but it still doesn't seem to "fit".

    I think something like a combo point DOT from a CS would be interesting, a "shaft of light" shoved into the mobs face (or back) that continues to burn with a holy fury. There is already the DOT component from talents, so I dunno, an armor pen effect, or a rainbow of pain coming out the eyes?

  3. If I wanted a combo-point/rage type system, I would have rolled a druid...

    My fear is that they will do this to the whole seal/judgement system, and destroy the class in the process.

    time to start leveling my shammy...

  4. I've been spreading this around other blogs, and I think it needs to be repeated;

    Ever consider that it's, more often than no, Holy's fault that Ret gets hurt?

  5. I imagine a fight with this system going like this:
    1)Build a 5 stack of vengeance.
    2)Single target, use CS. Multiple targets, use DS.
    3)Return to 1.

    Seems like it needs more to me, I don't see why you would use both CS and DS anymore, you'd pick whichever one gets you the most bang per "combo point" and only use that one. Which seems like a step back to me.

    And even if this solves the problem of ret burst (I think it does), you then have the problem of lack of ret burst--I don't really PvP but my friend does and his experience is that the skill in playing a ret paladin has nothing to do with damage (admittedly easy), it's actually closing with your opponent. If we get to a situation where paladins can't burst and they still have the same substandard ability to get and stay on a target, we'll be pushovers.

    I dunno, that's my initial reaction, I'd have to think about it a bit more.

  6. @Wilson: LOTRO's Champion class has a mechanic that matches this idea even more closely. As with Rohan's suggestion, the "fervor" points are on the character, rather than the target, and can be spent in quantities, rather than all at once. LOTRO's version also scales ability costs depending on whether the player is dual wielding or using a 2-hander, since it takes longer to generate the requisite number of points with the slower weapon, but I suppose that point is somewhat moot since Ret is balanced for 2H weapons and off-tanking Pallies will probably just dual spec prot. Then again, a PVP pally might use a fast sword and shield to build their five stacks knowing that the damage will be healed and then swap in the big weapon for the bursty finish.

    Also, you've got the right concern but the wrong rating - if I read Rohan correctly, he's talking about the Vengeance TALENT (which procs off of crits) rather than the SEAL of Vengeance debuff. Unless you're grinding +3 mobs for some reason, your miss rates while leveling will be in the single digits.

    Your crit chance, on the other hand, will probably be in the teens (especially Pre-Outland at level 50, when you'd currently get access to CS), at which point it will take quite a while to build up enough stacks to do anything with them. You could scale the damage of the abilities up to compensate, but that would just get us back to unacceptable burst for epic geared characters at level cap. I.e., as we learned with Illumination, tying resource availability to a stat that's going to scale is not a good idea.

    I don't think it's a bad idea overall, I like the way the LOTRO champion plays, you'd just need to find some other mechanic to peg the resources to. Not judgment debuffs (these, like combo points, are on the TARGET rather than the Pally), so something else, but I don't know what.

  7. If I wanted this I'd have gotten my rogue to 80 and not have her sitting at 20 as my bank toon.

    Maybe there are a lot of ret pallys since the 3.0 buffs and they are just trying to get rid of those of us who actually liked the class before.

  8. I like it. It throttles our burst and gives us another resource to think about in combat. We kinda become hybrid rogue/DKs. How would you deal with the cooldowns on CS/DiS? I'd almost be in favor of removing them as the whole deal would be limited by crits.

    I've been thinking about adding an ability that eats your judgment debuff in order to add more damage and a party-wide effect. Light would give some health, Wis some mana, and Justice would add haste to everybody in 40 yards or something. I don't know, I'm just brainstorming.

  9. Yeah blizz's class steering is becoming more and more obvious. Look at what happened to warlocks>>they were OP for a time in arenas, so every mage player (and many others) rerolled locks so you had a surplus. The net result was a massive near-class breaking nerfs and now locks are the least played class.

  10. Adding a delay that requires crits to use our standard attacks just plain breaks ret pvp. Have you tried to crit an enemy with 900 resilience 3 times over a the first 5-6 secs of an arena fight? Ain't happening. So what then, judge and auto-attack? for 8 seconds till it is available and hope we crit two times in a row?

    Unless Vengeance stacked every attack, ret pvp would involve a lot of judge-and-hope.

    The plain fact is that ret is a CD limited class. We have no resource like rage/energy to slow our burst down, only CD's. So, the only real option is to give us more attractive CD's to use. More-ret-only melee abilities are the solution. That way they can scale ret damage without rogdering Holy and Prot. Possibly something that scales with the number of ret debuffs the target has.

    Chastising Blow:
    9% Base Mana
    Requires 2-Handed ---- Melee Range
    Instant ------- 6 sec CD
    Chastizes your enemy for daring to stand up to your righteousness, causing (weapon dmg modified by AP). Damage is increased 2% for every debuff you have on the target (judgement, vindication, heart of crusader, righteous vengance) Consumes RV in the process.

    That way you have choice later in fights on which CD to use based on the situation. PVE will just get a rotation that is optimal, and PVP has to think about what ability to use depending on what debuffs are up on a target.

    My numbers are estimates.

    Think Prot's 96969 rotation. They can't use all their abilities as they come off CD because they overlap. But each one is valuable. Scale from there.

  11. I think this is a very interesting and promising suggestion. The only change I'd recommend be made, is to have vengeance (or something with a different name and a similar stacking mechanic) stack on the Paladin instead of the target.

    It would make more sense from a Divine Storm perspective (it being an AoE) and it would offer a distinction (if even slight) to the rogue-style of play. Like runic power vs rage vs energy, they're similar but operate off a different mechanic that makes the classes play differently.

    This would also help in PvP (though admittedly I don't care much for it these days) to allow the Paladin to switch targets better, which they need the option to do if they are being locked down or kited (rogues that currently have a similar mechanic are difficult to kite with their CDs and abilities and also have just as many -more- options as the ret paladin for locking a target down).

  12. Vaelin, Vengeance currently stacks on the paladin. It's the buff which makes your hands glow and increases your damage.

  13. @Dallana, your assertion that Holy is what hurts Ret makes no sense. Could you explain it further?

    Right now, Ret's problem is that it bursts very hard because it is a 2H class which can use multiple damage abilities in consecutive GCDs at the very start of the fight. This has absolutely nothing to do with Holy.

    @Isa, once you get to 5 Vengeance Stacks, you can burst with Judgement, Divine Storm, and Crusader Strike all in a row.

    I'm not sure if what the optimum rotation would be. It really depends on how fast you generate Vengeance stacks and how much damage each ability does. I envision that CS and DS would still retain their cooldowns, so you might jump back to 5 stacks before CS comes off cooldown, so you DS.

  14. As an example to expand on my earlier comment;

    Recall when Judgment of the Wise was 33%? Ret's were happy. However, when Holy started speccing into it, gaining unlimited mana for healing, it got hurt.

    Divine Purpose and Art of War also had to be moved further down the tree to prevent Holy healers from becoming unstoppable healing machines, either way, it was a nerf on account of Holy's actions.

    As for Exorcism, need we forget that while SotM got buffed, the judgment got nerfed in a poor attempt to get ret's so use Command, which still hasn't worked. So, it was meant to be a way to supplement the damage lost to the nerf of the judgment.

    However, Exorcism's spellpower coefficient is enough, with talents, to make it hit even harder than Ret would, since Ret paladins don't stack attack power to the degree that Holy paladins stack spell power.

    So, basically, you have the much maligned Shockadin, once more, only with more healing and combat power.

    And now, Exorcism gets nerfed again, showing Ret paladins suffering a net loss of Damage in PvP.

  15. My very limited experience with Ret was leveling my Pally right before WotLK release, during the patch in which they added 51 talents (obliterating twinks while not twinked myself was great). I specced Holy the moment I dinged 80 and have no interest in going Ret ever again. Still, it's hard not to notice the rollercoaster the spec has been going though since when I exterminated twinks on low-level BGs. There seems to be always something off.

    I especially hope they end up with a new design to Paladin DPS and find a point of balance, especially because this Exorcism nerf could possibly turn out to be a dangerous precedent.

  16. Tone down Ret? Because Ret is so well well represented in arena? er...

  17. Imao this was a terrible change for us. We are hardly bursting like we were at the start of 3.0, even with the Exo change in our repertoire. We now are seriously gimped in serious PvP, this is waht the other classes want obviously, to have a little QQ session in blizzard forums and unfortunately, regardless of what GC says, they fold every single time, so much so, we were 20% behind dps classes previously, and now are probably still a tad behind in PvE, if not near where we should be. What about Blood DK's (DK's overall), how bout they fix them up, overall Blizzard really needs to start thinking about this a lot better, before ruining the class for another arena season for a start, never mind viability elsewhere.

  18. Okay, I didn't realize you were talking about keeping the cooldowns. I guess I still don't think this solves any problems then. There isn't truly a problem with our mechanics for PvE. Maybe we're less interactive than we or Blizzard would like, but we're not overpowered. But every time they help us out in PvE, it pretty much makes us crazy good in PvP because we are a burst class, and making that burst more powerful destroys whatever balance they've achieved.

    If you've now put a new limit on how often you can use CS and DS via combo points, that means the abilities will have to be scaled up in damage for PvE since you can't possibly be getting to use them _more_ than they are currently being used, and paladin sustained damage is already lower than they'd like. Further, paladins will have lower average vengeance stacks, which means damage has to be further shifted up to compensate.

    In PvP, yes, this delays the paladin burst until he can build stacks. But it's still there, and it'll be bigger than ever before since our base damage will have to be increased as above. Winning against a paladin will mean killing him before he can build his stack up, because if he gets to five he's going to stun you, then go through his burst rotation and crush. It's going from full to zero during a stun that drives people nuts about paladins and this is why we keep getting nerfed. I don't think merely delaying the burst is going to stop the QQing. Maybe I'm just not imaginative enough to see the other possibilities here, but I can't see it going any other way.

  19. I feel there has been too much focus on PvP. I'm honestly frustrated with the amount of weight that has been put into balancing for PvP, that PvE has just been almost thoroughly trashed.

    A bandaid on top of a bandaid on top of a bandaid... etc... doesn't do squat. We're supposed to be a survival class, yet we have only 1 (or 2 if you are human) way to get out of a stun, and that has a 5 minute CD. Our second biggest helper has a 11min CD when specced. After those CD's are blown, we're sitting ducks.

    Bleh. I'm tired of the yo-yo. I have a suggestion to fix this....

    Make 80 point talent trees. If I put just ONE point into a tree, lock me out of the others. Within that tree, include all the talents that benefit my class role. Copy SOME talents over to the other trees (like divinity, divine strength and a few others) that are intended for any spec to use. The 9 points lacking will need to be situational specced items.

    Then... make a 4th tree for PvP. And have fun with that.

  20. @Rohan and Vaelin,
    Vaelin is confusing Seal of Vengeance a target debuff with Vengeance, a paladin buff. an honest mistake on his part. once you start throwing around "Vengeance" and "Stacks" it can be confusing.
    Although that would be an interesting concept... a debuff that stacks on the mob or other player, a buff that stacks on the paladin. Both have damage increasing consequences for pally special abilities...

  21. Yeah, I totally noobed that comment up. It just goes to show how long I've been prot since being ret. ;)

    I think your suggestion is solid Rohan and with some recent blue comments it sounds like they are certainly considering something along those lines.

  22. @Isa We'd have to get rid of the cooldown at least on Crusader Strike. Divine storm could at most be fired off twice in a row with a five stack and luck (Lose three stacks and get one from a crit, have three stacks for another DiS), so maybe it could use a cooldown. CS-ing four times might be a little much, but the streak could easily be broken by missing a crit. And the theoretical five-stack would have to be built up without being spent.

    @the1jeffy The point about resil dismantling this combat system is a valid one. How about we plug a talent into ret that would cause every successful non-dodged or parried attack add a point while under the influence of Divine Plea? I'd almost be OK with a -100% to healing in the same talent. Gives us some measure of control while taking something away from us. Plea can still be canceled, and the other team could look and say "The paladin is charging his laser, but he can't help the healer!" Then Plea would be a tactical move, rather than banging it when it is off cooldown.

    We can't keep cooldowns on our DPS abilities if we went with this charge system though. That leaves us limited at the start by charges, the end by mana pools and the middle by cooldowns. Our damage would have boosted to unreasonable levels to remain competitive, and they already complain about our burst.

    The only real problem with this plan is that it plays differently from any other paladin build, almost like a different class. Of course, cats play different from bears or boomkins, so that isn't that big of a deal. I can see the UI in my head, something like( That is a Death Knight UI concept, but for a paladin, I see the rune "bricks" filling instead of emptying.

  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  24. Meh, i like your idea but it makes us kind of a rip-off of rogues, and its hard to think of any other system thats not already used by another class...

  25. I've given this more thought and consideration, but I really feel the whole "build up X, trigger Y, consume X" thing isn't what Ret needs.

    We just need a rotation. Lately, (3 weeks and counting) I've been tanking a ton, thanks to Dual Spec. I rarely find myself NOT pushing a button, and I feel I am close to nailing down the rotation correctly. If Ret had something similar to the 96969 rotation, our damage would be less bursty and we'd need to L2P better which would certainly reflect on the DPS charts.

    I hope Blizz doesn't go the way of increasing flavor on the CS. That's like increasing flavor on ShoR - it's just not needed. It's what it is: an instant attack... just with your weapon instead of shield. What Blizz needs to do instead is to incorporate 4-5 abilities, mesh their CD's better, balance/tweak the DPS on them to smooth out the damage and then have optional buttons (I'm sure they can work something out) to press in different situations. I.E. if dealing with one mob, lay off consecrate and replace with a single target ability that is akin to cons, but meant for 1 target.

    I'm not heavy on ideas or names... I'm just simply saying to add some flavor through rotation, rather than making it a bunch of white swings while we wait for something to stack enough to use other abilities. Nothing more boring than watching CD's tick away...

  26. what about a de-buff that we could put on enemy players that causes 50% or so of all healing done to said enemy player to be given out evenly divided to the ret pally and his group but at the same time give said enemy a buff to damage or healing it would do??

    not sure if this would be acceptable haven't really thought it threw kinda can up with it in the shower>.>