Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ret Paladin in US 1st (World 4th) Kil'Jaeden Kill

Over the long weekend the final boss of Sunwell and The Burning Crusade expansion, Kil'Jaeden the Deceiver, was defeated in both Europe and the US. The notable news for me - apart from that the expansion has now been 'beaten', probably fully 6 months before 3.0 drops - is that a Retribution Paladin was involved in Deus Vox's US-First kill. Slawnik is using a full-DPS variant build, the main purpose of which seems to be DPS longevity through foregoing Pursuit of Justice and instead maxing Benediction and investing the spare point in Divine Intellect. Given that the fight is supposedly 12+ minutes long, and he's Alliance and so doesn't benefit from SoB, that's not too much of a surprise. From a casual glance at the raid composition Deus Vox appears to be fans of the so-called off-builds for raiding; they were running a Feral Druid, couple of Shadowpriests, Arms and Fury warriors and most likely some Enhancement Shaman. Kudos!

So, is this sort of raid composition something which we should expect in Wrath? Well it's a tough call and we have to take a long hard look the other three KJ-beating Guilds and their success with fewer Hybrids. The huge unknown right now is the raid-role of Deathknights. From the looks of things, and given that Deathknights seem to be bringing DPS+Main/Off Tanking tools to the raid (but significantly not debuffing/raid buff utility at this stage), it's probable that Paladins will no longer have a lock on 3 Spots. Three of the top 4 kills downed KJ with two or fewer Paladins, and none exhibit the raid stacking of Paladins we've seen in the past (though Shaman... *whistles*). Hence spots for BoSalv (Kings on tank) and BoW/BoM on DPS/Healers (presupposing that they don't exploit the 'cast blessings, stay out of raid instance' bug) is all we should expect in the Wrath endgame given how end-game raiders tend to follow the example of the elite in raid composition. Deathknights will probably take one of the formerly Paladin, Feral Druid and/or Fury Warrior (off-tank) slots, with the healers expected to take up some of the healing shortfall from losing a Holy Paladin. Indeed, 1 Paladin raids may become commonplace depending on each healers' relative viability, and if Blessing of Salvation is reworked all bets are off.

What we can conclude is that the viability of Paladins (as well as other classes, mages being the most obvious) in end-game raids is looking more and more tenuous, but the catch-22 is that it means Prot and Ret Paladins become more attractive versus Holy whilst they can still buff BoSalv. To alleviate the worries of Paladins, and in fact all the classes faced with the chop, some more information from Blizzard needs to be 'released' and the raid exploit needs to be closed off. Otherwise the number of re-rolls in Wrath, or failures to re-sub between now and then, will only increase.

On a lighter moment, the comedy moment of the week has to go to Nihilum, whose RL Kungen gave a caster dagger to one of their rogues (source), thus proving that after a week of wipes even the best can make stupid mistakes. Also it shows that a loot council (or is that dictator) isn't always the best of loot distribution techniques.


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