Wednesday, July 29, 2009

R.I.P. PVE Ret Paladins

Today, Honor's Code looks at the most recent change on the PTR to Retribution Paladins.

Sorry for the drama of the title, but it got you to click to read the post didn't it? So yesterday, talking about the SoV/C change for Retribution I said "But I don’t think it’s going Live as is."

Well I was wrong. There is a long thread on the WoW General Forums in which GC is having a pretty nice discussion with the players on this issue. I don't agree with everything he says, but I am very impressed with the level of feedback he is providing. That shouldn't be taken for granted and he needs to be thanked for it.

Now he posted several times in what is becoming by now a very long thread. I'd like to highlight one of his responses on Page 11. He was replying to some of the comparisions of other classes with ramp up times to do DPS, like Ferals and Rogues.

Now, stepping back, I think it's easy to take examples like this and argue which are apples and which are oranges. The point I was trying to make was that we don't consider long ramp up time to be a bad thing. The game could probably benefit from more of it. Yes your dps will be lower when you can't just keep banging on the same boss for 3 minutes. I'm not sure that's a huge design flaw, provided your dps makes up for it in other ways. Other characters do much better on fights where they can generate a lot of AE damage (say Unholy and perhaps Fury). As long as Ret's overall damage doesn't fall so low as to be a liability, we don't think it will be an issue. I understand some of you feel differently. A Fire mage going into a dungeon where several mobs were immune to fire would have a problem. I'm not sure "Don't bring a Ret to this dungeon because it doesn't have a lot of long ramping fights" is going to be a mantra. We'll see.

The bolded parts were added by me for emphasis.

They don't consider the long ramp up to be a bad thing. The next sentance, he acklowedges DPS is going to be lower on any fight on any fight where you can't stay on the boss for 3 minutes. As I showed yesterday, this is 10 of the 14 fights in Ulduar, plus Emalon in Vault of Archavon. So on about 2/3s of all current fights, he acknowledges our DPS will be lower.

I can't imagine what these mysterious 'other ways' our DPS is supposed to make up for the fact we are lower most of the time.

It's the last sentance that really tells you this is going Live. 'We'll see.'

EDIT on 7/31: Wow, I can't believe this. I was wrong, which means my original post, which I said was wrong in this post was actually right. Bottom line is I was right, even when I was wrong. lol.

Okay, enough at my poor attempts at humor.

They changed SoV AGAIN. Zebra's got the low down, so without further ado, Mr. Zebra, you have the mic, sir.

"A new build on the PTR has slightly improved the damage output of SoV during the ramping-up stage. In previous builds, the SoV Proc only occurred when 5 copies of Holy Vengeance were up on the target. Now, Seal Proc damage scales with the number of copies of the debuff on the target:"


Josh said...

This is the sort of stuff that the PTR was made for. I'm usually not a doomsayer, but this is going to make retribution either hell to play or ineffective in half of all current/future raid encounters, based on the raid team's encounter design preferences.

I almost wish they'd let me keep Seal of the Martyr instead.

Therigwin said...

thanks for keeping us up to date on this.

So what we are seeing in this up coming patch is the following -
Buff Prot
Nerf Ret and Holy

Selfish question, how do these changes effect solo PVE play for like dailies?

Honors Code said...


Normally I'd agree with you, but if you look at the tone and tenor of the post I linked in my blog, you'll see that this is going Live. It's just a PTR issue anymore.


I think it will slow you down on dailies. Most stuff I fight when Ret goes down in less than 10 to 15 secs. You'll never see the full stack and the 33% weapon damage proc. I may just stay Prot for Dailies.

Whats my Main Again? said...

Wouldn't the solution to lots of target switching be just to use seal of command instead? Seal twisting was a big part of Ret dps during BC why are we now afraid to switch seals mid fight?

Even in movement fights we are assuming that you will be breaking off of the boss long enough for your dot to fall off... is that the case for the mentioned bosses?

With your example of rogues... it actually falls in line more with which poisons are used for the fight. Using deadly poison and envenom with 5 stacks is higher damage then using eviscerate... but movement fights can cause the stack to fall off and on trash it is almost entirely useless.

@Therigwin Holy is actually getting a nice buff in that 100% of your heal will go to your beaconed target instead of just effective healing.

Honors Code said...

Sure you can use Command, and you'll probably have to. The problem is Command doesn't do very much DPS and the Judgment hits for very little.

So do you do non competitive DPS with Command or non competitive DPS with Vengeance. Either way, you are asking the raid to carry you.

If things are as bad as predicted (and we won't know until more testing is done), I may ask to bring my Warrior or Hunter on fights where I'm not needed to tank.

Elladrion said...

how long does it take for the stacking debuff to fall off? And can it be applied to multiple mobs or will attacking a new one remove the old stack?

Honors Code said...

The stack falls off after 15 seconds. I can be applied to multiple mobs through tab targeting and hitting a different mob before it falls off.

The key to the damage is not in the stack itself. They key is having a 5 stack opens up your additional 'finishing move' that does 33% of your weapon swing as Holy Damage.

Only white hits will refresh a stack, and Ret has a swing timer of about 3-3.2 second depending on weapon and haste.

Elladrion said...

How long does it take for the stack to fall off? Also, can you apply the debuff to multiple targets or will the original debuff dissapear?

Either way, I'm extremely dissapointed with all this, not becuase it's (another) nerf to ret, but becuase of all the talk about making ret more "interesting" to play, which it doesn't. It's still the same cooldown game it's been since 3.0.2 (and earlier, really), just now we have to wait a bit to start doing real damage. On my hunter I have to make sure serpent sting doesn't fall off and apply black arrow whenever possible and watch for lock & load procs. On my DK I have to make sure my diseases don't fall off and I refress horn of winter and unholy blight. On my ret pally I have to....autoattack? really? REALLY? I think anyone who's had a ret pally in the last year should automatically get the What a long, strange trip it's been achievement.

BigFire said...

As the old jokes goes, no one at Blizzard plays Paladin, so they really don't know. It'll be nerfed because Arena QQers are currently the favorite child, and they out numbered PVE Retribution Paladin.

And Elladrion, Honor already mentioned that it'll take 15 seconds for the seal to fall off. 12-15 seconds to apply, 15 seconds to fade. Yep, Blizzard really must yield to Arena consideration.

Dallanna said...

Yeah, I don't think I like GC anymore.

Anonymous said...

@ Elladrion et el.

The idea of 'interesting play', by the eliminations in your post, suggests that having all your damage front-loaded through a few burst-type cool downs is more enjoybable then managing debuffs on different mobs and thinking about what/whome to hit next?

As a full time cat druid the nature of my classes' damage is maintained through a combination of DOTs and payer-buffs applied through combo points - a design which forces the player to think about their next attack rather then spam a set rotation.

Having raided as a 2- button mage in TBC I found the kitty concept daunting but over time I find the challenge of a dynamic play style more rewarding.

Perhaps this is the direction of the paladin changes.

Furthermore, your usefulness to the raid is not based solely on your ability to be #1 on the damage meters in every single fight. Your raid buffs and your individual ability to do the right thing at the right time and generally stay alive is never accurately reflected as a single DPS number.

At the same time I sympathise with those ret pallies who will now have to justify their existance to PUGs and ignoratn raid leaders who think that any 'adjustment' to a class makes them put out negative dps and become completely unviable in all scenarios.

Honors Code said...

The Feral Driud analogy, while I understand why some might go there, is really a poor analog. The situation is nothing like that of a Feral Druid.

Here's the key differnce.

You've got 4 combo points on a target, and you need to switch. You can choose to Ferious Bite and get something out of your Combo Points, and you can maintain Savage Roar to go to your next target.

The Paladin with a 4 stack of Holy Vengeance doesn't have those choices. It's either stay on the mob and start doing 'normal' damage in 3 more seconds or switch and lose the 12 seconds you just invested to get with 3 seconds of doing 'normal' damage. There's no choice involved for the Paladin, where there is for the Druid.

Whats my main? said...

You are missing the point though with feral druids... yes savage roar helps... but a druids true dps doesn't come out till they can get a 5 combo point rip off with savage roar active. Then they have to maintain rip, savage roar, and mangle throughout the fight. If there is target switching they need to build up the combo points for both all over again.

The difference is though that once paladins get to 5 stacks all they have to do is autoattack to keep them up.

Regardless if this does pose an issue with Ret dps going foward then I'm sure Blizzard will patch in some form of Fix. I don't think things are as bad as you are making it out to be but I could be wrong.

Honors Code said...

Current PTR parses seem to support a rather dim view, however, Ghostcrawler said the PTR is a build or two behind so we don't have any way of getting empirical data at this point.

I'd LOVE to be wrong. But I think you will see the Developers come out at some point and say "We think Ret DPS is too low in 3.2/Coliseum."

Anonymous said...

@Honors Code

The analogy is about the ramp-up of damage. I realise that RetPals dont have rip or savaged roar: this does not invalidate my point.

Whilst druids do have a window to utilise the combo points before switching this goes towards planning ahead and thinking on your feet - just like Ret is being forced to do through these changes.

Honors Code said...

I just don't see how relying on auto attack constitutes thinking on your feet. As a Feral druid, you have chioces in every situation, as a Paladin, you don't. There's no thinking on your feet when there is no choice involved.

I'd love to better understand your reasoning. How do you see the Paladin in 3.2 having to think on his feet? What is the key decision?

Whats my main Again? said...

I'm sure you know this by now... they updated SoV again in the latest build. Your weapon swing damage ramps up per stack up to 33%. So you will do gradually more damage till you get 5 stacks instead of 75% damage till you get all the stacks up.

I think this is the change many expected to put in.

Molsan said...

I'm strongly considering dumping my retribution spec for holy when patch 3.2 hits and just go back to Prot full-time.