Friday, June 19, 2009

[Patch 3.2] Can't Kill This

I think like most of you I’m still trying to digest the Patch 3.2 notes. I’m going to assume you’ve read them, and not repost them all here.

We don’t have a PTR yet, so much of my initial reaction is speculation. We also know that much of the patch notes can and will change over the course of the PTR.

So let’s dive right in with the big news, the change to Ardent Defender.

Ardent Defender: Redesigned. Currently, any damage taken by the paladin while at 35% health or below is reduced. Instead, any attack that would reduce the paladin to 35% health or below has its damage reduced. In addition, once every 2 minutes an attack that would have killed the paladin will fail to kill, and instead set the paladin's health to 10/20/30% of maximum.

I am greatly concerned that so many people look at the buffs to Paladins and immediately think we are going to be overpowered without looking at the whole picture. They see that our new Ardent Defender looks similar to the Blood Death Knight skill, Will of the Necropolis. Will of the Necropolis was deemed to be overpowered therefore the new Paladin skill must be as well.

What is missing from that analysis is the context of the Paladin’s entire toolkit. Paladins have one cooldown right now, Divine Protection. Blood Death Knight’s had at least two others in addition to Will of the Necropolis. They also had more armor, more pure avoidance, and most importantly more health than a Protection Paladin. This gave Will of the Necropolis a much larger threshold to work with, as well as giving the Death Knight other tools for damage reduction in addition to Will of the Necropolis.

The idea behind the Ardent Defender change is to give Paladin’s a Last Stand type of move, without having to copy/paste Last Stand to the Paladin spell book and calling it Holy Stance of Righteousness.

Last Stand is a straight Effective Health increase, as is the new Ardent Defender.

Since we don’t have a PTR there are many details we simply don’t know. Many times in my playing experience, I’ve read something in the Patch notes and formed an opinion on it (love it! Hate it!) only to have that opinion changed once we got the ability on the PTR or Live realms.

Just one example is we don’t know if the damage reduction percentage has been changed. It is currently 30% on live, but we don’t know if that number was tweaked. You see how it says our health is returned to 10/20/30%. It’s a 3 point talent. On Live that 10/20/30% is the damage reduction. I would not be surprised at all to see a flat 15% damage reduction when we finally see a PTR. That’s a nerf to the current skill and certainly one I’d exchange for the buff we are getting to it.

We also don’t know if the damage reduction applies to the entire hit that would take us under 35%, or just the amount that would take us under.

Let’s look at an example. You have 40k hit points. You get hit for 15k and are now at 25k. AD doesn’t ‘kick in’ until you reach 35% of your max health, or 14k hit points. This is known as your AD threshold. Therefore AD does nothing.

You get hit for 15k again. Your healers are asleep, watching TV, CC’ed, in Ice Blocks, etc. You got no heals. Now you are at 10k, and under the AD Threshold, but you are only 4k under. So does the entire 15k hit get reduced by AD, or does AD only reduce the 4k portion.

The second part of the AD change is also called into question. It’s basically a Cheat Death/Guardian Spirit type of buff. I absolutely love it and I’m sure it will be a wipe saver, but let’s think about it before you go calling it OP.

Last Stand, Vampiric Blood would still be better in situations where you are taking several high damage hits like Mimiron’s Plasma Blast, or Thorim’s Unbalancing Strike plus his normal melee, especially on Hard Mode. AD will save you once, and put you back to 30% health. You will still be in the AD Threshold which is nice. But now it’s on cooldown for 2 minutes. If the situation happens again before those two minutes are up, you’re a dead Dwarf.

Also keep in mind that the Paladin can’t control when she blows her cooldown. We can’t use it proactively, the way Vampiric Blood, Survival Instincts and Last Stand can be used. We also can’t save it for the hard part of the fight. Although, it’s unlikely, the cooldown could get used on an easier part and be unavailable for the hard part of the fight. The Paladin has no control over that.

Personally, I like the fact that it is auto triggered. The reactive, passive nature of many of the Paladins abilities was something I always enjoyed about the play style.

I’m also curious how it will work with Divine Intervention. Could I Divine Intervention someone, but then be put back at 30% health instead of dying? Basically, I would be giving up my cooldown to save one else, and it would only work on a fight where I’m not actively tanking something like Mimiron Phase 2.

It’s also going to make ‘calling a wipe’ a little more difficult.

“Just DIE, Honors!”
“I’m trying to!!!”

It is my hope that the Ardent Defender changes will go through as outlined by the Developers and in the Patch Notes. Paladins need a second cooldown. The solution created by the Developers is creative and fits well with the Paladin’s play style.

There’s much more I’d like to say about Patch 3.2, but this has already gotten a little long, so we’ll touch on some of the other changes in another post..


Anonymous said...

Actually Honor note they changed it to any attack that would reduce the paladin to 35% health or below so on that wording an attack that would reduce you from 40K to 14K would be affected. Also it says "attack" and not "damage"... don't know if that is significant. At least you aren't Holy and having your how you function completely redesigned. I think that's a holy nerf every single patch since the 2.4 changes, it'd be nice to be able to look forward to a patch for a change... sigh.

Honors Code said...

I understand that, but I can't think of much that does 26k in a single attack. The scenario I outlined is accurate.

whatsmymain said...

I know most people are comparing this to last stand for warriors but there is one really really really big difference.

Lets say a boss does an attack that hits for 75k damage. Your warrior has 40k health pops last stand and still dies to the 75k damage. The paladin gets hit for 75k damage but instead of dying jumps up to 30% health. You see the big difference there? Abilities that would kill the tank don't.

Last stand is a great ability don't get me wrong but this ability is much more potent then any other tanking move. Essentially it is an unplanned guardian spirit.

The 30% health also keeps you in Ardent defender range for more damage reduction when it does activate.

Finally I've seen steelbreaker on heroic hit for over 30k with a bad rune placement.

Honors Code said...

I agree that it's not Last Stand, which is exactly what the Developers wanted to do, which was give Paladins a temporary EH increase without just giving us Last Stand.

The scenario whatsmymain imagines is very real and shows an advantage to AD, but we can just as easily create a scenario like I did in the post where Last Stand saves you but AD doesn't.

They are different skills that both help tanks get through tough spots.

Honors Code said...

I think the reason so many people are latching onto 'this is Paladin's Last Stand' is because of the Developer comment that essentially said the same thing.

whatsmymain said...

One of the things that concerns me with this is what happens if you have guardian spirit on you when you would have died? Which one gets activated? Or do they overwrite eachother both triggering?

I know I'm counting my chickens before they hatch but I'm curious how the 2 will interact.

Anonymous said...

It would be a great boon to paladin tanks, and therefore their entire raids, for the new AD to be left in.

However, from a healer standpoint, this new AD is in no way comparable to Last Stand. This would be the most powerful tanking ability in the game at this point in time.

Firstly, AD is passive and not activated. Many tanks die because "oops I forgot to press LS + SW/couldn't press it fast enough". Secondly, tanks rarely die due to healers being unable to keep up. They die due to a moment of inattention, an unlucky spike when they have to move, etc. The new AD is perfect for this, it prevents those wipes where the heal lands 0.1 secs too slow and the MT dies. Last Stand is more helpful in providing a buffer for situations where you know the boss is going to hit hard for a period of time, not to save from spikes.

And lastly, you can't "waste" the AD proc, because it procs when the tank otherwise would have died :) There's no sense to the tank choosing to die instead (2 min cd guarantees it will be ready every fight). If a tank "dies" more than once per 2 minutes, there's something seriously wrong with the healing strat anyway.