10/6 - Part 1: General Tanking
10/7 - Part 2: The New Seal and Judgement System
10/8 - Part 3: Changes to Existing Talents and Spells
10/9 - Part 4: New Talents, and suggested Trees
10/10 - Part 5: The New Threat Rotation or 96969
10/11 - Part 6: Threat Stats for Protection Paladins and Tank Gear Reitemization
10/12 - Part 7: Inscription and Glyphs
10/13 - Part 8: Comparing the 4 Tanks10/14 - PATCH DAY!
You know your class is in for major changes when it's entire combat system is rewritten. Seals and Judgments are the heart of the Paladin combat system. We seal up with one of many seals and Judge that Seal for damage, then reseal. That Seal, Judge, Seal rhythm is something you first experience around level 4 and keeps right on going all the way to the level cap.
On the surface the new Seal and Judgement system is a bit confusing but after you get used to it, it makes sense.
Seal and Judgement Independence
The major change you have to understand is that Seals and Judgements are independent of each other. On live, your Judgement is tied to whatever Seal you have active. In 3.0, that is no longer the case. Your single Judgement spell is replaced by 3 new Judgement spells. What you know as Judgement now becomes Judgement of Light. You also have Judgement of Wisdom, and Judgement of Justice, but only after you hit the trainer. So immediately after the patch installs you need to get to your capital city of choice and train these new spells.
No Longer Consumes the Seal
The most gameplay shifting change is that Judgement no longer consumes your Seal. Your Seal is still on you AFTER you Judge. Seals last for two minutes. That means if you Seal, Judge, Seal like you have since level 4 you are wasting precious mana. So get out of the habit. It generally doesn't take long.
The Judgement spells apply the debuff appropriate to the spell. If you need Mana, you use Judgement of Wisdom (irregardless of what you have Sealed). You can have Seal of Righteousness up and Judgement of Wisdom, putting the Judgement of Wisdom debuff up on the mob AND doing the Judgement of Righteousness damage. Pretty cool.
Judgements also do damage based on a combination of your Spell Power AND Attack Power (more on that in a future post). This damage may or may be further increased depending upon the Seal you have active. Seals like Righteousness, Command, Blood, and Vengeance all increase the damage by varying amounts.
Not Refreshed on Melee Swing
The next big change to understand is that your melee swings no longer refresh the Judgement debuff. It's falling off after 20 seconds, after which time you will have to Judge again to get the debuff up. Of course, if you are Judging on cooldown, you will have it refreshed every 8-10 seconds anyway.
Share and Share Alike
You may or may not be into the lore behind the game, but one thing that happened in the story when Sunwell was released was that M'uru, who was the Naaru that the Blood Knights had been syphoning for their Light powers was taken by Kael'thalas to the Sunwell. The leader of the Blood Knights went to Shattrah and spoke with A'dal who accepted the Blood Knights as full blown servants of the Light. Hang around A'dal long enough in Shattrah and you'll see the whole meeting go down.
It seems that in the time between Sunwell and 3.0, the Blood Knights have learned to use Seal of Vengeance (which they call Seal of Corruption) and have taught the other Paladins how to use Seal of Blood (which the Alliance calls Seal of the Martyr).
This is great news for Horde Paladins as Seal of Vengeance is buffed in 3.0. It now procs on every swing. Let that sink in for a minute. It procs on every swing. No more hoping you can get your stack up before the DPS is full bore on your target.
Seal of Blood (Martyr) is consider more of DPS seal, but the self damaging aspects make it an ideal Offtanking seal. One of the problems with offtanking is damage intake to generate mana via Spiritual Attunement. With Seal of Blood, you do damage to yourself as part of the seal creating the necessary hit point deficit.