Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Understand Divine Sac Change

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the Divine Sacrifice change in 3.3.

Divine Sacrifice was :

30% of all damage taken by party or raid members within 30 yards is redirected to the Paladin (up to a maximum of 150% of the Paladin's health). Lasts 10 sec.

In 3.3, Divine Sacrifice changes to :

The effect of Divine Sacrifice is now party-only and the maximum damage which can be transferred is now limited to 40% of the paladin’s health multiplied by the number of party members. In addition, the damage transferred to the paladin is now reduced by 50% before being applied to the paladin. Finally, the bug which allowed Divine Sacrifice to sometimes persist despite reaching its maximum damage has been fixed. Divine Sacrifice will now cancel as soon as its maximum damage value is exceeded in all cases.

Divine Guardian was :Improves the effectiveness of your Divine Sacrifice spell by an additional 10% and increases the duration of your Sacred Shield by 100% and the amount absorbed by 20%.

In 3.3, Divine Guardian changes to:

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 20% reduced damage while Divine Sacrifice is active.

Let's try to unpack the changes here.

The Paladin 'raid wall' has been nerfed from a 30% damage reduction to a 20% damage reduction, and the Paladin must now spend an additional 2 talent points to get the raid wall. The amount absorbed has been buffed from 150% of the Paladins health to 200% of the Paladins health (40% times 5 party members = 200%). The damaged transferred will be reduced by 50%.

Let's put some numbers to this. A raid buffed Paladin with 45k health would allow a raid to absorb 90k worth of damage (or 3600 damage per raid member in a 25 man raid) and do 45k to the Paladin. As long as he's getting some heals, he Paldain should be able to survive the damage. A Ret or Holy Paladin taking the talent would knock those numbers about in half.

Normally, whenever a Paladin uses Divine Sacrifice, he couples it with Divine Shield and takes no damage. The durations of the two spells work out almost perfectly. Divine Shield is 12 seconds and Divine Sacrifice is 10 seconds. The Paladin hits Divine Shield, then has a 1.5 second global cooldown, and hits Divine Sacrifice. Both spell end at nearly the same time. I took this near perfect synergy of timing to be a clue from the Developers that these two spells were designed to be used in tandem.

Since the Paladin takes no damage under Divine Shield, there is effectively no cap on the damage. The Developers now call this a 'bug'. In 3.3, the bug which allowed Divine Sacrifice to sometimes persist despite reaching its maximum damage has been fixed.

If we assume a 20k Holy Paladin, this puts a cap on Divine Sacrifice of 4000 incoming DPS. If your raid is taking more than 4000 incoming DPS from the Boss ability, Divine Sacrifice will stop working before the full 10 seconds is up. A 40k Protection Paladin raises the bar to 8000 incoming DPS.

I believe the Developers are trying to uncouple using Divine Shield and Divine Sacrifice. I have this sneaky suspicion they saw how powerful the combination was going to be in the upcoming Icecrown Raid.

So pretty much Divine Sacrifice/Divine Guardian is a nerf to Paladins and even the part that might look like a buff is taken away from the 'bug fix'.

What's this mean to your average Protection Paladin?

Well if you were mostly maintanking boss fights, you likely weren't popping Divine Sacrifice all that often. That likely won't change. Even with a 50% damage reduction on the redirected damage, you don't want to voluntarily take a hit equal to your full life bar while you are tanking the boss and raid damage is flowing around. That's a ticket straight to an Ardent Defender proc and possibly even death.

If you offtank most fights, you were probably using Divine Sacrifice liberally, or should have been. It's a fantastic tool for an offtank, and some might even argue it pushes Paladins a little bit into the offtanking role. In 3.3, you'll still want to use Divine Sac to help out the healers and possibly save the raid or a fellow tank in a tight spot.

I will still have Divine Sacrifice in my spec in 3.3, but that is only because it's required to get Divine Guardian. The Divine Guardian buff of Sacred Shield (longer time, more absorbed) is still part of the talent. Since we don't run with any Holy Paladins, I am in charge of my own Sacred Shield, and Divine Guardian means I only have to refresh it once a minute instead of once every 30 seconds.

NO DS Live DS Damage Reduced 3.3 DS (no cap) Damage Reduced Change from Live
iDPS per person 2000 1400 1600
10 man 160000 112000 48000 128000 32000 16000
25 man 400000 280000 120000 320000 80000 40000


Veneretio said...

Ya, it seemed like one of those unique buffs that needed to be addressed. Although frankly, the biggest offender is still Bloodlust and why they haven't addressed it before this, I'm not sure.

It's fairly clear that another class needs Bloodlust, but I have a feeling that it's PvP that's holding them back from making this change.

Which leads me back to something actually on topic, will this affect PvP for Paladins in any way?

Honors Code said...

I don't see any major PVP implications. The cap gets smaller as you go down in arena size (200% of the Paladins health in 5s, but only 40% of the Paladins health in 2s).

Westin said...

I think you misunderstood the changes a little bit, specifically the "Party Only" aspect of Divine Sacrifice. My understanding is that when a paladin (with 1/1 DS and 2/2 DG) pops Divine Sacrifice two things happen:
1) The entire raid benefits from a 20% damage reduction, no string attached.
2) The paladin's party benefits from having 30% of their damage transferred to the paladin.

So, depending on how the stacking and whatnot works out, you have the whole raid outside the party taking 80% total damage and the paladin's party taking .7 * .8 = 56% total damage.

Now, I'm not entirely sure how much damage the paladin takes. I can think of three ways it might work out:
1) The paladin takes damage equal to 100% of his health and gets no benefit from the 20% raid damage reduction.
2) The paladin takes damage equal to 80% of his health because 200% was transferred and then reduced by 50% and then reduced further by 20%
3) The paladin takes damage equal to 100% of his health but abosrbs 25% more damage because all incoming damage was reduced by 20%

My bet is on the second one, because the first seems too unforgiving and the third resembles the "bug" we make use of right now. If 2) is the case, you could always pop divine protection to cut the damage in half again if you're tanking, leaving you with a nice raid shield and a beefy party shield at the cost of 40% of you hp. The duration of the raid wall is still tied to your hp, though, so you're right to point out that there is a maximum incoming dps per raider (or rather, per party member) to allow the raid wall to go full duration.

All in all, I wouldn't be so fast to cry nerf on this one. If you used Divine Sacrifice exclusively with Divine Shield (as I did) then this is almost a completely new ability. Also, without being tied to Divine Shield, you can use it every 2 minutes as opposed to every 5 or 3 minutes. Previously I only took this as Holy, but it might work it's way into my Prot build now too (at the cost of 3/5 Reckoning).

You've inspired me to go test this on the PTR :)

Honors Code said...

As I said in the open, I'm still trying to understand the change.

I'd be most interested in your discoveries.

Ngita said...

You did mention but that you didnt fully understand it, but yes Westlin is correct. The free raid wide 20% dr is massive and now its uncoupled from Divine sheild, it can be use more frequently. Nothing worse as holy then bubbling to avoid death and then realizing in 3 minutes you will need it cooldown so you can use divine sac

Blizzard mentioned in 3.2 beta they considered its current behaviour a bug, But they were unsuccesful in fixing it.

Joe said...

There is a thread at plusheal.com in the Paladin section discussing the changes and how we think it will work. I have not seen anybody posting PTR information yet.

My understanding/guess is this:
*20% right off the top for everybody.
*30% of the total (=50% party mitigation) redirected from the party.
*1/2 of the redirected damage is done to the paladin.
*Divine Shield, Divine Protection, Sacred Shield, etc deal with the original damage and probably the transferred damage as well.

RatherNotSay said...

My mind is throbbing!!

Make it stop!!!


I am glad other folks out there try to work through this stuff too. I think with this one I will just wait and see how the performance of Paladin tanks are once the change hits.

Power said...

So, what would happen if I was in my own party in the raid group? Could I just pop it every time it's up with no worry to my health at all?

Ngita said...

Power, yes and No.

Their is the damage reduction (raid wide) and absorb(party wide) . So 20% dr on the raid but the absorb scales by the number of people in your party. Ignoring the maths on the DR, Your hp is 25k, you take 20k damage, reduced by 50% and that equals 40% of your hp, at that point the absorb and DR fail.

But if you had been in a party with 4 other raid members. The maximum amount you can absorb is no longer 20k its 100k, so the absorb wont fail.

Evidence suggests that you want to be in a party of 5 but not a party with tanks or other tanks.