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4a. Hands over Blessings
Utilitarian Blessings (BoP, BoF and BoSacrifice) are being changed to 'Hands', mutually exclusive non-Blessing Buffs, and therefore will not overwrite the longer Blessings such as Kings. I believe that should be greeted with a certain amount of glee, especially from those Paladins who like a bit of PvP. However the elimination of Blessing of Salvation (30% reduced threat) and creation of Hand of Salvation (Threat reduced by 2% every over 10 seconds) has caused some consternation. Quite apart from this nerf to raid-wide threat generation (and hence DPS and Healing) some commentators have expressed concern that Paladins become Hand-bots. At a 2minute cooldown I don't think there is much risk of this, and I have long been of the opinion that Blessing of Salvation was a crutch for Paladin entry to a raid when we should have been justifying our position on our active abilities rather than passive ones. If BoSalv never existed this spell would be a great one at baseline, and even now it remains pretty damn good. I believe that the changes to Aura's and talents make up for the loss of BoSalv from a Paladin raid viability standpoint, and if raids need to be more concerned over threat then so be it.
4b. Healing Changes.
Again, I want to stay away from specifics but it appears that Blizzard are no longer against Paladins having AoE or HoT heals, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too. ‘Sheath of the Light’ is a great talent for Healing Paladins but you have to spec as many as 23pts in Ret to get it (such a 48/23 build has already been dubbed the ‘Sheathbot’). Beacon of the Light is 51pts in Holy, so it’s one or the other. The talents themselves are obviously quite buggy right now and the scaling isn’t fixed, but they are well worth keeping an eye on for the next month of two.
In terms of PvP, Holy gets a big boost with ranged Judgements (gogo Ranged JoJ’s on Druids) and the ‘Infusion of Light’ talent, causing your Holy Shock Criticals to grant grant you an instant Holy Light. Sheathbot in PvP may well be the spec of choice. Put together and it certainly implies that whilst Blizzard want Paladins to remain relatively restricted in healing tools they are open to considering the tools of other healing classes if appropriate.
Gwaendar over at Altitus also has some interesting info on Healing rotations based on current information, and the 6-sec Holy Shock seems to be immensely effective.
5. Offensive AoE
Protection and Retribution Paladins are getting Offensive AoE. Hammer of Righteousness at 51pts Prot threat generator of the order of Swipe, hitting up-to 3 targets for weapon damage as Holy. This may also be a very interesting PvP effect for Prot Paladins. Retribution gets Divine Storm, a Whirlwind-style AoE hitting up-to 4 targets, and healing 2 party or raid members for a total of 20% of the damage caused, as Holy Damage. To go with this Consecration will also scale much better for both Prot and Ret, so whilst we won’t exactly be Kings of AoE we certainly won’t be dead weight offensively in such encounters.
6. A New Stat Focus?
When the changes to Warriors ‘Shield Block’ were announced many people where saying that it was the end of the Shield Block Value Stat. However there is a new resurgence towards this stat for Paladins.
The ‘Touched by the Light’ Talent increases your Spell Damage by 10% of your Stamina (Prot talents, now with added synergy), so it’s possible that Spell Damage on gear will become significantly less important. However both Holy Shield damage mitigation and the new Shield of Righteousness’ Damage scales with SBV. It seems more than likely that SBV will be, if not a premium stat, at least not the relative waste it is currently for Prot. Also look out for better scaling of SBV with Strength, further improving our scaling with ‘warrior’ tanking gear.
Well worth noting: according to both Rohan at BoK and Galo at Ardent Defender SBV is scaling at a rate of 2 Str = 1 SBV. Needless to say, this would amount to a boat-load of mitigation and threat from all from previously 'Warrior' Gear.
7. Honourable Mentions
Raid-wide Aura’s – Great change IMO, though with it Aura Mastery becomes something of a premium talent. Ideally I’d like to see a 40yrd range for Aura’s be made baseline. I also love each of the secondary effects of the auras, though it’d be nice if Concentration Aura’s were slightly better. They are competitive with both the Shaman Totems and DK Presences now, though pale somewhat compared to the Druid form aura’s (whilst being less limiting).
Talent Imagery - Okay, so it’s a minor point, but I like the look of the new talent icons. Check out the official talent caculators for them.
Prot Talents are still bloated – consolidation would be very nice, especially with some of the earlier talents.
Hammer of Wrath – no longer resetting the swing timer? Proper scaling for Ret? Usable under 35%? Unified Hit Rating? .5sec Cast Time? All total sex for a previously lacklustre skill… I know Dazanna will be pleased.
Divine Guardian - Why Blizzard, Why?.
I think that’s all for now. And bloody hell that’s long. I’ll add some links to the bottom of this post for further reading, but till then:
Blizzard, if you are reading this, please send me a beta invite. EU Account, so I wouldn't even be muddying up your pristine US Servers ;).
EDIT: Where to get your Beta Information:
Blessing of Kings. - Rohan's got a Beta invite.
Banana Shoulders. - So has Siha
Standing in the Back. - Valyre's got one too.
Elitist Jerks Forum. - Lots of people on here with the Beta, or de-constructing the Patch files.
WoW Insider. - And of course i'd be remiss if I didn't mention WoW Insider who are doing a great job collating a load of the more general Wrath information.
If you know of anywhere else to look let me know.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
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