Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Prot using Seal of Command

Ghostcrawler has posted on the Official Forums again about Paladin AE threat.

I don't think it's Consecrate, actually. It was definitely Consecrate in Burning Crusade. I think it's HoR and possibly SoC.

Again the masses have locked into Consecreate as the issue. I think that's because its the most visible spell in our arsenal. It's what non-Paladins see. Ghostcrawler is right that Consecrate isn't the issue.

I disagree that Hammer of the Righteous (HotR) is part of the problem. HotR is basically Paladin's version of the Warrior's cleave. Warriors have the option to use Talent points to increase Cleaves damage, while Paladin's can Glyph Hammer of the Righteous to hit a fourth target.

No, I think the real culprit is Seal of Command. Seal of Command was intended as Retribution's DPS Seal for trash and quick fights, but when the change was made to turn Seal of Command into Seal of Cleave, Prot Paladins started to evaluate if it had a place in tanking. The change made Seal of Command proc a cleave on every white swing, and on every cast of Judgement (once every 8 to 10 seconds). The Paladin Tank community determined SoC wasn't going to touch Seal of Vengeance (Corruption if you are Horde like me) for single target (Boss) encounters. But once you were tanking more than 3 targets, or if you were tanking multiple targets that died quickly, Seal of Command would win out.

Multiple Targets that die quickly. Where do we see that? Heroics, and some Raid Trash.

Some Protection Paladins came up with a Heroics/Trash spec that included talents like Reckoning. Reck is a windfury like extra swing, and that extra swing was an extra proc of Seal of Command. We also discovered that the first application of our Judgements of the Just debuff also proced a cleave from Seal of Command.

Then the Devs moved Shield of Righteousness to the melee table. It would now be dodged, parried and blocked. But it also meant it too would proc a cleave from Seal of Command.

I wonder sometimes if the Devs themselves realize how many opportunities Protection Paladins have to proc Seal of Command. Every white swing, plus half of our 969 rotation procs the Cleave from Seal of Command.

Then you add Seal of Command to our other AE abilities like Consecrate, Retribution Aura, Holy Wrath (if Undead), Holy Shield and Hammer of the Righteous and you have a formidable arsenal of AE damage and threat.

A Seal of Command nerf wouldn't be unreasonable or unjustified at this point.

The solution seems fairly straight forward. The Devs could simply change Seal of Command to require a Two Handed Weapon just as Hammer of the Righteous requires a one hander. That alone would tone down Protection Paladin AE threat and damage quite a bit. We'd be left with Seal of Vengeance which doesn't do nearly the AE threat or damage of Seal of Command. At best, Seal of Vengeance is going to handle 4 mobs when synergistic with Hammer of the Righteous, and all but the main target will only have a small DoT on them to hold them off AE DPSers.

This issue again highlights the balancing problem from the Paladins lack of a Stance/Form/Presence system. If we had that, Seal of Command would only be usuable in our 'DPS' stance. While we could tank Heroics in a 'DPS' stance, it wouldn't be as much of a balance point, just as I don't think a Warrior tanking Heroics in Battle Stance should really be a balance point.

My concern is that rather than take the small measured step of taking SoC away from Prot, the Devs will also nerf Hammer of the Righteous' damage. Perhaps it would only do weapon damage x3 instead of weapon damagex4. That would be unnecessary and hurt Paladins ability to generate threat on single targets (Bosses) where it really matters.
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