Saturday, June 14, 2008

Stepping on the toes of Holy Paladins.

A Wrath Alpha build has just been released with a whole bunch of class and game changes. As a Ret/Prot favouring Paladin I'm very interested in the alterations to hit/crit/haste ratings which makes them affect both Melee and Spells; much love to Shaman I think there (yay dual-wielding, spell-hit capped Shocking Enhancement Shammies), but not too shabby for Paladins either (would be nice if Expertise provided spell-hit too, but you can't have everything ;) ). Also featuring in this new build are the first attempt at new Shaman and Rogue talents/spells. If you are interested you can read the continuing ElitistJerks commentary here, but aside from the 51pt talents (which look gimmicky at best right now) I'd like to mention a change to the existing Elemental Shaman 11pt (1/1) talent, Elemental Focus.

New Text:

"After landing a critical strike with a Fire, Frost, or Nature damage spell, Lesser Healing Wave or Healing Wave, you enter a Clearcasting state. The Clearcasting state reduces the mana cost of your next 2 damage or healing spells by 40%."

Why do I point this out? Well, the answer should be obvious: the effect is very similar to that of Illumination, in fact in an environment where LHW/HW is being spammed it acts as both a 40% 'Illumination effect' and mana reduction on non-crit casts. Actually, that doesn't explain it very well, if you can explain it better send answers on a postcard. The upshot of this is that Resto Shaman have access to a talent roughly on a par with Illumination.

This talent doesn't come cheap however at ll pts (1+10 in damage-dealing talents), but with the synergy Shaman will be getting on Spell Crit (Ancestral Healing and a new talent which IIRC also heals the lowest health nearby target on Crit for 60% of amount healed) it surely has to be tempting. The problem of course is that it further erodes what is increasingly the only niche of the Holy Paladin: Mana Efficiency. By scaling well with Spell Crit in terms of mana cost, getting fundamentally more additional benefit from spell criticals, and having better passive mana regen abilities (totems, water shield), does this spell the end of the horse drawn zepplin hyper-mana-efficient Holy Paladin?

Well, hopefully not. One of my previous rants notwithstanding I don't want Holy to be forced out of a raid/party, just not automatically a better option than Prot/Ret. Unfortunately it seems that with these new changes to Shaman healing, and the recent change to the way Spirit scales mana regen, Holy Paladins need more than 'love' - maybe as much as a significant mechanics review. That Paladin talent leak can't come soon enough.

Oh, I forget to mention: Shaman get HoT's appended to their healing spells, and weapon buffs apply have effects on their spellcasting too. I'd expect something similar for Paladin healing and Seals.


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