Patch 3.2.2 Notes: Hammer of the Righteous: The damage from this ability is now considered physical instead of Holy. The threat generated by the ability has been increased such that it will continue to do approximately the same threat it did when it was Holy damage.
The key idea to understand about Paladin threat generation is, it's gotta be Holy. Our tank stance is a buff called Righteous Fury. It provides our base damage reduction and increases threat generated by HOLY damage by 90% (soon to be 80% in Patch 3.2.2).
With Hammer of the Righteous (HotR) now being physical, Paladins will generate zero threat from it outside of the base hit.
Today, Hammer of the Righteous hits for 500 Holy damage. Threat generated: 950
PTR before the HotR change: 500 Holy Damage. Threat generated: 900
PTR after the HotR change: 500 Physical Damage. Threat generated 500.
It would actually hit for less than 500 because of Armor, but I ignored that to simplfy the example. Even ignoring armor, HotR produces half the threat is does on live.
There are a couple of different approaches the Developers could tank to make HotR " do approximately the same threat it did when it was Holy damage".
They could simply make it hit harder. It would need to hit about 80% harder than it does now. I find this choice pretty unlikely.
They could add a static threat component to HotR. This is exactly what they had been trying to get away from in Wrath. Balancing around static threat is problematic for the Developers. Threat is great one tier and lousy in the next.
The easiest solution, and the one I personally hope they go with, is adding a percentage threat modifier similar to what they do with Death and Decay. All that would be required is to make this percentage 80% and bingo, your dial back damage while keeping threat close to where it was.
The other interesting question is under what circumstances will HotR "do approximately the same threat it did when it was Holy damage." The issue here is the debuff, Sunder Armor. Will they balance the new HotR assuming a fully Sundered mob?
You would think most 25 mans would have access to the Sunder Armor debuff, but 10 mans may not. There is also the concern that for most classes that can provide the Sunder Armor debuff, it's a DPS loss to provide it.
I believe most everyone can agree that Paladin threat generation is really strong right now and by a good margin. However, let's look at what the Developers have already put on the PTR to reduce Paladin threat.
1) Touched By the Light will now increase spell power based on Strength instead of Stamina.
2) Righteous Fury threat bonus on Holy damage reduced to 80% (was 90%).
Both of these changes will reduce the amount of threat Paladins can generate. The exact amount is not clear but the math geniuses put it at roughly 5 to 7% depending on much you geared for Stamina.
Those changes haven't been fully tested yet, and still the Developers are adding yet another threat nerf. Will they overdo the threat nerf, the same way the overdid the nerf to Death Knights. Color me concerned.
There is another change that will affect the threat generated by some Paladins:
Libram of Obstruction: The buff to block value from this relic is now exclusive with the buff to block value from Libram of the Sacred Shield; it is impossible to have both buffs at once.
Libram of the Sacred Shield: The block value buff from this relic has been increased to match its item level.
Relics: All buffs provided by relics (idols, librams, totems and sigils) now share an exclusive category such that gaining a buff from one of these items will remove all other buffs gained from items in this category.
Basically, people were using macros to switch Librams in combat and get both the Block Value buff from the Libram of Obstruction and the Libram of Sacred Shield at the same time. Doing this let them do some very high threat and could have added to the perception that Paladin threat was 'too high'.
I'm concerned whenever the Developers start making adjustments to my chosen class and especially to it's 51 point talent. I look at the state of my Death Knight friends right now, and that's enough to get anyone a little nervous. (I'm glad they are getting some much needed buffs this patch.)
It's been suggested that the change to HotR was made for PVP reasons. Again, I have to ask what the Developers see as the role for a Protection Paladin in Arena. Our ability to contribute to healing was nerfed by the Touch by the Light change. Now our damage and burst is nerfed through the Hammer of the Righteous change. If the Developers really want to see Prot Paladin Gladiators, what do they think or intend those players to be doing to help their teams reach those high ranknings?