Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sacred Shield Nerf

The latest patch notes have the following:
- Sacred Shield: The damage absorption effect from this ability now triggers only once every 30 seconds.
- Infusion of Light: This talent now also reduces the cooldown on the effect of Sacred Shield by 12/24 seconds.

This is Blizzard saying that Sacred Shield really should have been a deep Holy talent, not something available to all paladins. However, they probably don't want to mess with the structure of the trees when Cataclysm is going to change them anyways. So the change effectively makes Sacred Shield a Holy-only spell.

I think the real, underlying strain on paladin design is Touched By the Light and Sheath of Light. I confess that I really liked these talents, as they were an attempt to retain some of the fluid hybrid nature of the original paladin.

But perhaps that goal just isn't worth the problems it causes. If Touched by the Light and Sheath of Light did not exist, maybe paladin design would be stronger. Prot and Holy would still have access to heals and Sacred Shield, but they would be much weaker, only using the base values for those spells. Blizzard wouldn't have to be doing these shenanigans to keep these hybrid specs in check.

If those two talents were gone, AP and SP coefficients would also be de-linked, and could be tweaked independently of each other, so Holy could be strengthened or weakened independently. Of course, it's too much to do now for 3.3 as you'd have to tweak almost all AP coefficients.

Perhaps the best way to retain "hybridity" for paladins would be to be specific, rather than general. For example, supposed Art of War gave you an instant Holy Light instead of Flash of Light. Sounds overpowered, but without Sheath of Light a Ret paladin would have zero spellpower, so that HL would only hit for the base heal.

This way the hybrid nature can be carefully controlled, and specific instances can be changed. A general solution only seems to result in general nerfs.


  1. I read a suggestion I really liked after the sacred shield nerf was announced on mmo champ. Make the spell the 11 point holy talent and make aura mastery baseline for all paladins. AM is a neat, short CD ability that all specs could use effectively (and far from overpowered), and it puts sacred shield deep enough in holy that few pvp ret pallies or tanking pallies could feasably get it without giving up a lot elsewhere in the prot/ret tree

  2. Getting rid of those talents would result in more QQ from the PvP side. Ret would have no spellpower from talents, instead they'd wear Holy gear and suddenly be doing reasonable damage *and* throwing instant Holy Lights around everywhere.

    A better solution might actually be to turn everything around. Make all the paladin abilities scale higher with attack power, and give Holy a talent that makes their spells and abilities scale with spellpower instead.

  3. Thats a good point about TbtL and SoL. I think the biggest sticking point to changing them is Consecration. Consecration still scales with SP and is a key part of both tanking an ret dps. But changing it would nerf it for Holy PvP. Damn this is complicated!

    I think what the devs are trying to do is minor fixes. They won't want to mess with paladins again big time before Cataclysm, when a lot of what we're talking about will change completely anyway. The boat has sailed for Wrath.

  4. Screw balancing problems. I have not been able to keep the tank alive if the healer dies in a 5-man dungeon, or make throw a couple of heals to save a flag-carrier in WG, since vanilla, and I won't give it up.

    I hated that my shammy could do that and my main couldn't all throughout TBC, for me it was *the* thing that made me feel I was not playing an Arms warrior (and a bad one at that). Deal with end-game problem in end-game, do not gut the class 1-79 for it.

  5. You have not been able to keep the tank up as a ret healing, you mean? I don't know, I never tried it in a heroic, but I might give it a try. Normal dungeons I healed during leveling 60-70 and 70-80 as ret all the time, donned my accumulated healing gear, and no problem at all...

    Anyway, yeah, I found the idea NegativeZero offered very intriguing and might take it faster - let Holy Paladins wear ret gear, and convert AP to SP, or something like that. No idea at all how that would work out, but would also solve the pellplate issue ;)

  6. I actually used a sheathadin spec a lot pre 3.1 for heroics, and it still works. The spec was wonky, but I could do good DPS in ret gear, or heal heroics in 5 mans. Of course this was when JoL scaled with SP and you could cast SS on more than one target.

    I've still saved more than one wipe by healing while ret, in ret gear (not raids, just 5 mans, but still).

    Maybe just take away the 50% crit for FoL that comes with it?

  7. 5 mans have no relevance to end game imo... My prot pally can solo any heroic (except Occ) with no cooldowns used (bubbles/LoH/Pots), of course I'm in full item level 232/245. (which isn't hard to get mind you)

    No longer will I be able to save the healers' mana pools by keeping up Sacred Shield on myself. No more being able to count on SS to keep my partner alive in an arena game through a CC. (For those of you that didn't know, this was the bread and butter of the prot/holy build, apart from the much-improved CC)

    After the nerf, I am debating whether or not holy pallies should even use this ability as it drain their mana significantly if it can only activate once every 30 seconds. Sure the HoT is nice, but some fights you're spamming HL just to keep up with the damage output anyways.

    Unless they increase the meager 300 damage absorbtion it gives, why waste 500 mana on preventing such a small amount of damage, when you can Holy light for roughtly 3x the mana, and obtain 60 times the effect? (sure theres before-fight prep, but 300 damage is nothing on a 35k hit)

    Also, with the CD reduction from Infusion of Light, are we meant to spam it? draining our mana pool at the same rate of HL spam? (assuming you have a decent crit chance in raids)

    Yes, I realize we need a nerf (solo camped the opposing faction's VoA entrance without dying for 30 minutes) However I can say that I am not the only one who is reliant on SS, not only for my holy build, but for tanking and as an added utility for ret in raids.

    This also ties in to the unbalanced raids. Bosses hit too hard for tanks to have low mitigation, Sacred shield provides a small (but amazingly helpful) 600 damage bubble every 6 seconds. I expect holy paladins are going to become more like Disc priests soon enough, putting up SS every 6 seconds whenever the tank is topped off.

  8. *assuming that they increase the amount absorbed because unless you have a surprisingly small amount of SP, it's a waste of a global CD*

  9. Kevin, I think you've misunderstood the change a little bit.

    The Infusion of Light change means that, for Holy paladins, SS will work exactly like it does now: 30s duration, procs once every 6s.

    However, for all non-Holy paladins, SS works like: 30s duration, procs once every 30s.

    So in 3.3, SS will be good for Holy, and not good for Ret or Prot.

  10. ahhhh okay, thanks

    /cry my hopes for prot/holy next season have been smashed