Friday, August 22, 2008

Broken Build [8820] is Broken.

Okay, so a new Beta build is out. Plenty of stuff in there for most classes such as a raised level cap (to 80), new zones and dungeons, and a few new Engineering Recipes I would be partial to. As always, for the full list see MMO-Champion. But a note on the current build.

It's totally, completely and utterly borked!.

A significant number of Paladin (and other class) skills and talents aren't working at all, from a status of working in the previous build. For example Judgements are currently doing no damage, there are reports of Sanctified Seals not working, and Illumination remains borked for Holy Light and Flash of Light. From this thread:

By Ghostcrawler (Beta Forums CM):

We didn't work on paladins a lot for this patch. Any changes you're seeing are liekly because a designer was monkeying around with mechanics and numbers a little bit trying to come up with something he or she liked. Whenever you see just a few subtle changes, particularly if they are undocumented, it is more likely experimentation than anything else.

When we start to discuss next steps for the paladins, I promise to drop by and lay a few on you. But if I don't post anything, it's because I don't know anything new.


So it's best not to get our pants too tightly in a knot over any 'unannounced' changes. I'll leave unsaid what I think of their Version Tracking processes. However, there are a couple of announced changes which made it into the Patch Notes:

Skills
Holy

* Concentration Aura changed = All party or raid members within 30 yards lose 35% less casting or channeling time when damaged.


Retribution

* Seal of Corruption, Holy Vengeance, Judgement of Vengeance, and Seal of vengeance all changed from 18 sec to 15 sec.


Talents
Retribution

* Vengeance (Tier 6) stacks up to 2 times now. (Previously 3)


The wording change to Concentration Aura is simply a clarification of the new Spell Pushback mechanic. Changes to SoCor/SoV are probably justified given that instant attacks can now also proc Seal effects, we'll have to wait and see. But then we have the change to Vengeance.

Lets be clear about this, the change is a straight 5% Total DPS nerf. It's not a change designed to reduce our burst DPS (i.e. Judgements which scale), and given that Blizzard haven't yet done any in-depth DPS testing it seems ill advised. Lots of people seem convinced that this is simply an over-eager Dev. tinkering and it mistakenly reaching the build. I doubt it.

Let me say this once, so everyone reading this: It's Not Unintended. It made it into the Patch Notes. GC isn't going out of his way to say that the change is unintended. Blizzard have been contemplating this change for a very long time, I recall a similar change in the absolute maximum magnitude of Vengeance in various TBC Patch beta builds when Vengeance was a flat 15% damage buff and it was always reverted Vengeance was changed down to a +10% flat damage buff in 2.0.1 and not changed to its current incarnation until 2.1.0, 5 months later. Changing it to a charge based buff rather than a flat 15% damage buff was a compromise they came to when they 'discovered' that Ret Paladin's DPS wasn't high enough in raids. It was a further 6 months and 2 content patches before Crusader Strike was changed to 6 seconds and Paladins gained much needed Passive Threat Reduction. So, for Pete's sake, if you don't agree with the change and are in the Beta then say something on the Beta boards.

If this change remains then Vengeance will always seem lacklustre. Unfortunately Ret Paladins are in a double-bind, whilst it may be relatively disappointing there are too few pure-DPS increasing talents to choose in a Ret Build, so dissatisfaction with the talent won't be reflected in unpopularity in Talent builds.

Apart from that most Ret Paladins will be waiting on the next build simply because too many of their abilities are not working. If I were a suspicious man I'd say that this was deliberate - Blizz wanted some breathing room from all the 'Nerf Ret' threads, and this makes it harder to do a direct comparison between Builds for the purposes of analysing the way they chose to nerf Judgement damage.

So Beta Ret Pallies... you may want to dust off that Hunter, Mage or Deathknight alt and focus your testing there for the time being.


EDIT: Plenty of Fury Warrior buffs in this patch now. An MS Effect on normal hits, no speed reduction on Titan's Grip (I always thought this was pretty wonky anyway) and refreshing Bloodthirst. I, for one, welcome our new Fury Warrior overlords.

5 comments:

Galoheart 22/08/2008 12:18  

I played last night for a short while after making my post and downloading the new patch. Yes quite a bit of things are kinds broken for Paladins.

Most of all I noticed that was bugged I just reported in game as a Bug through the feedback form.

Also if I'm not mistaken all Seal of Corruption is just not Retribution unless I'm reading it wrong somewhere. Protection can use that same seal as I do have it as well.

Stuff I know broken:
Judgements not doing debuff as well doing no damage.

For Blood Elf Paladin Arcane Torrent not working.

HotR now does Holy Damage but still acting like a Physical damage effect.

Those were what I noticed as often used abilities. Would have to test every single thing to make sure something else didn't get bugged somehow as well.

Really hard on Protection spec with Judgements not debuffing or doing damage till next fix. A good thing currently that HotR does proc seals for effect. With that and with the XP change now had 2 bars left to 72. So just went AoE grinding for 2 bars as be painfull with things bugged killing stuff one by one.

Hope we get a fix soon. The QQ from Rets been thru the roof though.

Suicidal Zebra 22/08/2008 12:29  

Thanks Galo.

And to be honest I'm much more concerned about Prot and Holy in this Push because a) Illumination isn't working, b) Judgements account for a whole lot of Threat, and c) they've not been seeing as much testing as Ret. Ret can kinda poodle along, still dining out on how strong it was and knowing that this build is just broken, but that prevents a lot of potential testing for the other two talent tress is troubling.

Josh 22/08/2008 15:05  

5 talent points. Stacks only twice. Increase damage by 10%.

After seeing Vengeance at 15% total for so long, I'm not sure I can get used to that.

Necrobutcher 22/08/2008 18:43  

think of it this way. if blizz keeps our seal procs on instant attack than the 5% is is more of a balance than a nerf. they could be addressing the fact that pallies are doing too much damage than they intended. i play a pally and i cant wait to be doing sick damage but we should have our limits in damage for utility(ie judgements)

Suicidal Zebra 22/08/2008 20:17  

The point is that relative class DPS levels cannot have been computed or analysed for the raiding environment because everything is in too much of a state of flux. All other DPS classes are having their sustained DPS and burst damage increased significantly in Wrath, some to much higher levels than Paladins (e.g. Arcane Barrage Mages, Unholy Deathknights are also well up there too) and until we have an accurate bearing of how we compare to them in Raids scaling back already existing and well understood Talents is, in my view, unwise.

Blizzard need to hold off on adjusting these more significant dials until they have decided what the heck they want to do with Judgements, finished dealing with all the other classes in terms of their base mechanics, and properly tested them.

Whilst the change to Seals so they proc from Instant Attacks is indeed a great change it isn't happening in isolation. Vengeance may need to be nerfed at some point, but with such a simple and all-inclusive scaler it should be done near the end of testing. And we're not even close to that stage yet.

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