Monday, November 24, 2008

Only Constant Is Change

Blizzard has announced some changes to Paladins coming in the next minor patch, which will come before the patch which will release Ulduar.

We have no ETA on the patch yet.

You can see the original post in all it's blueness here:

1) Divine Protection no longer causes an attack penalty. Divine Shield's penalty was changed to 50% less damage done by the paladin.

2) Sacred Duty: This Protection talent no longer affects the attack penalty of Divine Shield and Divine Protection, but grants additional bonus Stamina.

3) Avenging Wrath, Divine Shield, Divine Protection, and Hand of Protection have a shared, 30-second cooldown. The Forbearance effect is no longer triggered by Avenging Wrath

Let's take these first three together because really it's parts of Blizzard's response the issue created when they caused Avenging Wrath to once again cause Forbearance. I highlighted an issue this caused for Protection in my "Come On Blizzard, Think!" post.

The problem Blizzard was trying to fix was a Retribution ability (at Level 70!) to basically instakill an opponent while completely immune by activating Wings (Avenging Wrath) while under the effect of Divine Shield aka The Bubble.

The Bubble adds an attack speed penalty so a 3.5 swing weapon becomes a 7.0 speed weapon. This balanced the Bubble until Ret got not 1, but 2 different instant strikes which would not be subject to the swing speed penalty. The original purpose of the swing penalty to reduce DPS under the Bubble was lost. Now when you Bubble, your DPS is reduced by 50%, but your swing timer is unaffected. The original balance of the Bubble will be restored. To me the Bubble was always intended as defensive tool.

Since they removed the attack speed penalty, the part of the Protection Talent Sacred Duty to remove the penalty no longer serves any function. To be honest, most Protection Paladins took Sacred Duty for the Stamina bonus. To use your Bubble while tanking meant the Boss would ignore you and go attack someone else. Usually, this was a Bad Thing.

However, the talent is now 'under budget'. So to compensate Blizzard will be increasing the stamina it gives by an unknown amount. Any additional amount is good and should be considered a buff. This will further narrow the base health deficit to Warriors and change the 'catch-up' point where Paladin's superior Stamina scaling allows them to surpass the Hit Point pool of a Warrior.

4) Judgement of Wisdom now returns a percentage of base mana instead of a percentage of max mana.

This is a nice buff for low mana casters like Ret and Prot Paladins as well as Enhancement Shamans. High mana pool casters will likely see far larger benefits from Replenishment than Judgement of Wisdom.

5) All mana drain effects now return a percentage of max enemy mana (making mana drains less punishing to paladins and other characters without large mana pools.)

As the parenthetical text indicates, this should make Mana drains (a bane to all PVP Paladins) less punishing. The new Arena season won't start until mid-December so we will have to wait and see on the results of this change. Though at first glance it certainly looks like a PVP buff.

6) Judgements of the Pure: This Holy talent now increases the damage done by Seals and Judgements.

Blizzard has stated they were concerned about Holy Paladin DPS for soloing and leveling. All Paladins were hurt by the nerfs to Seals and Judgements aimed at Retribution, but probably no one spec was hurt more than Holy. This talent essentially undoes the nerf for Holy, but not for Protection. Blizzard must continue to monitor all Tanks and their ability to generate TPS. In addition, if Blizzard is to believed that Tank DPS will matter, they must continue to monitor Tank DPS. Right now, Paladins have lower Tank DPS thanks to the large multiplier on Righteous Fury. Give us equal DPS and our TPS is OP. Make us do equal TPS, as is the situation is now, and our DPS is a little low. The question, which frankly we lack a large enough sample size of data to answer, is how much lower and is it so much lower as to make Protection Paladins non-starters for Tanking roles.

7) All paladins receive a single-target taunt (name TBD) as a base ability.

He really did save the best for last. A real single target taunt has been at the top of Paladin's wish list since near the end of Beta. For Four Horseman, and Gothik it would be nearly required (though Gothik was fixed.) This will make two Paladins tanks working together much easier, and it will also give us a nice fallback in the case that Righteous Defense resists.

This looks initially to be a great minor Patch for Paladins, but the ETA is MIA.


Anonymous said...

That is a bunch of really great news that seems to demonstrate that Blizz is paying more attention and, as you requested, thinking more than they used to. They started to get smart with 2.3 (even though our additional STA wasn't in the first set of patch notes, generating much QQ), and it's good to see them following though.

Also, even though you've chosen to rejoin old friends (personally, I think this was your best option), I would be interested in hearing the loot rules you came up with. I don't think I'm obsessed with loot, but one has to have gear, especially as a tank, so you end up caring about it one way or another. I have long been interested in a loot system that can be fairly and consistently applied - making an "exception" is often unfair, always inconsistent, and usually causes some level of drama. That said, sometimes an exception makes the most sense.

Lastly - thanks for the shout-out in a previous post about how I sign my anonymous posts (I'm behind on reading blogs, was busy IRL). I actually have an account, but can't use it to sign comments behind my work's firewall. One note though - it's "Fedaykin". A fedaykin is a "Fremen death commando" from Dune. I'm not sure what that is, but it sounds pretty cool. ;) "Fredykin" is presumably a non-nuclear relation to Freddy Krueger or something. =P


Asara Dragoness said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday! I thought about that too, getting a boar named Bebop, but I have this irrational thing about boars due to some players that I absolutely don't like swearing by them and how they're the best pet ever. So I don't use one. XD And my newly expanded stable is already full anyway, with pets that I'd rather not be rid of so soon! :)

ANYway.. my other high-level toon is a prot paladin, and what I read here makes me happy. I was already happy with the way they changed seals and judgements, as it seemed to make my job a great deal easier. It is a very nice surprise to see devs that actually seem to be listening to the players for once. And once I get my hunter up to 80, I look forward to experiencing Northrend up close and personal on my pally! XD