Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My 'Stance' On Paladin PTR Changes

We know interupt this UI series to bring you late breaking news from the PTR. Let's go to our man on the scene, Todagrond for more on this story.

Thanks Honors. Yes, we've got news from the PTR and it's not looking too good for Paladins.

# Sacred Shield: The damage absorption effect from this ability now triggers only once every 30 seconds.

# Talents
* Holy
o Infusion of Light: This talent now also reduces the cooldown on the effect of Sacred Shield by 12/24 seconds.

* Lay on Hands can no longer be cast on yourself.

* Protection
o Divine Guardian: This talent no longer increases the amount of damage transferred to the paladin from Divine Sacrifice. Instead it causes all raid and party members to take 10/20% reduced damage while Divine Sacrifice is active. In addition, the duration has been changed to 6 seconds, however the effect does not terminate when Divine Sacrifice is removed before its full duration.

That's the latest from the PTR. Back to you, Honors!

Thank you, Todagrond!

Let's take a look at this news and the changes one by one.

Lay On Hands

This some simply isn't happening. Put down the pitchforks. How do we know this? We just happen to have Lead Developer Ghostcrawler, live from Blizzard HQ, to join us.

Mr. Ghostcrawler, would you care to comment on the Lay on Hands change?

I wouldn't worry too much on the Lay on Hands change at this point. I don't want to promise we won't change the spell for 3.3, but our intent was to revert the others only change before it went out to the PTR, which is why we didn't patch note it. We have already changed it back on our local builds. (

Okay. We can take a deep breath and relax on that one.

Divine Guardian

When something is difficult to explain and understand, that's often a symptom of bad design. We saw that symptom with Divine Sacrifice/Divine Guardian. The new iteration on the PTR is much simpler to understand.

You pop Divine Sacrifice and start soaking up damage. You can soak up to 2x your buffed health. When you pop Divine Sacrifice and if you are speced into Divine Guardian your raid gets a 20% damage reduction for 6 seconds. You are still only soaking damage from your party and if you absorb more than 2x your lifebar in 6 seconds the 'raid wall' remains.

The skill makes much more sense and it's a nice external tank cooldown and 'raid wall' for predictable bursts. At 6 seconds, I doubt it would overly encourage stacking Paladins, but I have underestimated the skill before so I might be underestimating it again.

Sacred Shield

So basically this change really hurts the usability of Sacred Shield for Protection and Retribution. Basically what will happen is you will get a 30s buff, and if you take damage while you have that buff, you will gain a 6s absorb shield. This can only proc ONCE in the entire 30s.

Now read the part about Infusion of Light taking it back to current internal cooldown, allowing 5 procs in those 30 seconds. What the Developers are basically doing is making Sacred Shield a 35 point Holy talent before it does anything meaningful.

This one isn't going Live either. Let's bring back Mr. Ghostcrawler once more. Mr.Ghostcrawler, what are the Developers trying to accomplish with this change?

We are trying some things with Sacred Shield to make it more of a Holy tool and less useful for Ret and Prot (without being totally irrelevant). I don't have a lot of faith that the implementation on the PTR is the one we'll go with for a couple of reasons, but our overall goal is to make Ret less tanky and the Holy tree feel like it's the right one to focus on for healing. I would expect a Sacred Shield change of some kind though. (

I understand wanting to make deep Holy more attractive. It's an issue you have been dealing with all of Wrath. It's driven, in part, because the 0/0/0 Paladin is still a decent healer.

So allow me to offer this suggestion, originally put forth by poster Candiru on Maintankadin,

Sacred shield would make a good 11 point talent in Holy. Make Aura Mastery baseline level 80 skill.

I think that's a great suggestion. AM is more useful to all specs than the proposed Sacred Shield would be. Sacred Shield feels more like a Holy talent anyway.

If you do nerf Sacred Shield effectiveness for Protection, and that seems to be the goal, I think I'll be specing out of Divine Sacrifice/Divine Guardian and puts those points somewhere else.

Any comments, Mr. Ghostcrawler?

The paladin class isn't just supposed to be for support anymore, but at the same time, the original intent for many paladin abilities was to help the group. Over time however they have contributed into making the paladin into a "one-man army," able to play offensively, defensively and heal without say the stance changing or shapeshifting or sometimes event talent specialization required of other classes. Many of the LK balance problems we've had with the class are because of that core issue. (

I don't see the 'one-man army' argument at all, but I do I actually agree that one of the problems with balancing the Paladin class is our lack of stances or forms.

A central issue with the current design of the class is that a 0/0/0 paladin is a functional healer, and nothing else.

Here's a little thought exercise for you. You have a Paladin, Druid, Warrior, and Priest. Each of them is level 80 in appropiate gear for the job but they have 0 talent points.

I'd trust the Paladin to heal, but tank? Maybe. DPS? He's really going to struggle. Now think about the other classes. Obviously, the Priest can't tank and the Warrior can't heal. But my contention is that each could perform the roles they are capable of specing into as a 0/0/0 better than a 0/0/0 Paladin, in all roles except for Healing. I tend to think the reason for that because they have forms/stances.

Allow me to offer this suggestion: give Paladins some type of Forms/Stance/Presence system in Cataclysm. Tie them to Auras, or call them Auras and make a separate buff for the resistances. Then you'd have Concentration Aura for the healing 'stance', Devotion Aura for 'tank' stance, and Retribution aura for the 'dps' stance.

Thank you for your time, Mr. Ghostcrawler.

Now let's turn this over to our audience now.

What do you think? Would giving Paladins a form/stance system make the class easier to balance?


Dakiros said...

I like the "aurastance" idea but unfortunately this goes against a lot of the talent changes they did in Wrath where aura effects go across every aura. No one would ever want to use a resist aura or situationally switch to conc aura or something like for the faction champions fight in ToCr.

Someone said...

all i have to say is that this brings up the old arguement of making all the classes the same..

you have forms for druids, presences for DKs, stances for warriors,and now we want to add more to the mix? mage armors, hunter aspects and such are all the same in the end.

Mister K said...

I think that Righteous Fury should be used as our stance mechanic as it basically is for tanking. Tie it into a talent in Holy to give healing throughput or something of that like in the holy tree. Tie it not the ret tree by giving it a modifier to crusader strike or dot effects something of that nature. It would be more like mage armor than stances that way but I think it would fit better. Or if they were really going to reconfigure Holy set it up for the next expac and use it as a modifier so that there wouldn't be any more plate gear with Int. have it modify strength to spellpower(or whatever the mechanical term will be in the expac) at 100% ratio for holy, and stam modifier for tanking and strength modifier for ret. Just some ideas anyways

Westin said...

When I read about LoH and SS changes, and then a few minutes later read about how they weren't happening, I decided I was over dosing on PTR. The 3.3 PTR has been so turbulent for Paladins and so controversial (for fishermen too, but that's another QQ for another place) that I decided to step back and let the dust settle before I take anything I read seriously.

They're doing a lot of testing on the test realms, and that's good for the game, I guess. Even if it is an emotional roller coaster for Paladins ;) Too often I see things introduced on the test realms and then changed in a hot fix when it goes live - like they were "testing" it on the live realms instead.

Also: when you've soloed a handful of heroics from start to finish then yes, you qualify as a one man army.

Mike said...

Having a "Stance" would also tie in nicely with the removal of Spell Plate! Wanna heal? no need to change gear, just activate your Holy Spec/Aura and go to town with The Light!

Eric said...

I would hate to change the aura system, it is a great system and unique. I hate the warrior stance system and the druid form system. Its clunky to me.

Personally, I would favor nerfing the paladin's base healing abilities. If you want to make Holy more attractive and Ret/Prot less flexible, then make Holy a real healing tree.

Retribution and Protection heal too well as it is. I have done some emergency healing as an off-tank simply via DP + Seal of Wisdom and been able to keep a tank up. As Retribution, its pretty easy to throw heals around with Art of War processes, JoLight and DS. Honestly, its not crazy for me to post 7-10% total raid healing on a 25 man raid and still be in the top 5 dps.

I do think it makes more sense to simply remove some of the healing from the base class and put it in Holy.

I do like the Sacred Shield suggestion of essentially swapping it with Aura Mastery.

Honors Code said...


DKs are soloing heroics as well, so I guess they need some attention. You can find a YouTube of a DK soloing heroic Halls of Lightning.

Honors Code said...


There are drawbacks to my suggestion, no doubt, but I find it more palatable than what they are considering at the moment.

Honors Code said...


The strength of Prot and Ret healing is part of the core issue and a big reason why ProHoly isn't going away.

Lochagos said...

I can heal a modern heroic 5 man with 0 points in holy but otherwise wearing holy gear. I cannot tank a modern heroic 5 man with 40-50-60 points in protection without tanking gear - but with the gear I know I can at least as a ret spec.

I think it is more of a gear problem than a spec problem at this point. And it is only going to get worse as raid tiers improve and unwanted offspec farmed gear is lying around.

Nogon said...

In my opinion the whole idea of those resistance auras should be placed in the prot talent tree to give the pally and his party/raid the buff, because like you said it ain't wort the points in divine guardian anymore
so using these to agin a passive resistance aura, is actually the same to what they're now except for the part we have to click on the button.
This would also encourage to have less pallies in the run having , for having all neccessary auras.
But yeah hey that's just my idea.
But i like the idea of saying devotion aura -> prot stance
retribution aura -> dps stance
Concentration aura -> healing stance

Anonymous said...

The AM to 6 seconds makes me want to start avoiding it. I think they need to remember that SS is a level 80 ability, and they should replace it if they nerf it to the ground. If it needs a crit holy shock every 6 seconds, it is still a nerf to holy (and requires another adjustment to the way some Holy play). I think it's time to give Paladins a break with a major patch and not change everything yet again. I love playing my Paladin, but if class change was available I'd have switched to another class by now. If I knew which class was least likely to change from Cataclysm, I'd be levelling them now.

Stances would require the resistance auras (of which concentration aura is one, when you think about it) be detatched from the Aura system somehow.

Orthien said...

The problem as Ghost Crawler himself said is that we suffer from a core issue stemming from Classic WoW.
We were designed as a healer and buffer, then had the ability to DPS and tank added on top when they decided they should be viable.
This means as a class we are healers that can tank and DPS, and not a class that can heal, tank or DPS as the rest have been built up.
Untill this is fixed any solution will just be a bandaid that will more than likely hurt Prot and Ret at the same time.
On the topic of Aura-Stances, I think they would make us feel to similar to Warriors and DKs. I would like to see our own unique system to go will a full overhaul in Cataclysm. No idea what that would be though.

Eric said...

@Honors Code

What I meant by my post was that in my opinion you fix the issue of Prot/Ret healing by nerfing the base paladin healing abilities. I think Prot and Ret both heal way too well for a non-healing spec. This is specifically because a 0/0/0 Paladin has 80% of the tools needed to be an effective healer.

Take the healing ability out of the base Paladin class and put it into the Holy tree.

Dallanna said...

Go to 1:30 to see my opinion on the matter.