Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wrath Beta Build 8885 - Paladin Changes and New Glyphs.

Well, the latest changes have hit the servers, which includes the Buff and Debuff stacking system previously mentioned. Also in the patch are a great deal of new cooking recipes, the most fun of which is a food to control critters! Here is the list of known undocumented changes for the Paladin class:

Paladin Class Changes
Retribution Skills

* Blessing of Might ranks 5+ have all been buffed and now grant more attack power.
* SoW changed to: "Fills the Paladin with divine wisdom for 2 min, giving each melee attack a chance to restore 20168s1% of the paladin's maximum mana. Only one Seal can be active on the Paladin at any one time.

Unleashing this Seal's energy will judge an enemy for 20 sec, granting attacks and spells used against the judged enemy a chance to restore 20268s1% of maximum mana to the attacker. Your melee strikes will refresh the spell's duration. Only one Judgement per Paladin can be active at any one time."

The %ages right now are 4% and 2% respectively.


* Judgements of the Wise (Tier 6) changed to: Your Judgement spells have a 33/66/100% chance to grant up to 10 party or raid members mana regeneration equal to 0.5% of their maximum mana per second.
* Improved Blessing of Might (Tier 1) now increases the attack power bonus from Blessing of Might by 5/10/15/20/25%. (Previously 10/20/30/40/50%)

Holy Talents

* Beacon of Light (Tier 11) changed to: The target becomes a Beacon of Light to all targets within a 40 yard radius. Any heals you cast on those targets will also heal the Beacon for 100% of the amount healed.

Protection Talents

* Blessing of Sanctuary: Reduces damage taken from all sources by 3% for 30 min. In addition, when the target blocks, parries, or dodges a melee attack the target will gain 10 rage, 20 runic power, or 2% of maximum mana. [There's a Typo in either the tooltip of the implementation. Currently it only restores 1 Rage, not 10].
* Shield Specialization (Tier 3) now increases shield block value by 10/20/30%. (Previously just increased damage absorbed) [This talent still doesn't scale with Block Value gained from Strength. Needs Fixing]
* Toughness (Tier 3) now reduces the duration of all movement slowing effects by 10/20/30/40/50% in addition to its previous effect. (Previously just increased armor by 2/4/6/8/10%)

The change to JoW/SoW is pretty crippling for a Prot or Ret Paladin whose maximum mana is so low. The %ages, given the internal cooldowns, seem to match up with the level of mana regen expected from the new Replenishment mechanic. Furthermore no Paladin has a more or less effective JoW than the other, making a Ret Paladin all the more difficult to justify given that you will have two healing Paladins and they will both be Judging (even from range). As things stand, Ret runs out of mana extremely quickly, have no unique utility, and stand in Melee range taking damage - from a pure convenience perspective they are worse than sub-optimal.

The changes to Beacon of Light are quite something, it should be interesting to see what the Holy Paladins think of it. I'm still not too convinced that it'll work out too well in the field so to speak, mainly because Mana concerns are so much more strict. Duration could also be an issue - losing a GCD every 2 minutes isn't too bad, but losing one every 30 seconds or less may be an issue.

Shield Spec now increasing Block Value is a welcome change which keeps mitigation the same but scales threat for a number of tanking abilities. The new Toughness doesn't stack with Divine Purpose, but if nothing else could be a very interesting PvP talent if you are looking to get deeper in Prot for some reason.

The changes to to Judgement of the Wise and Blessing of Sanctuary were partialy gleaned in the last post, but Blessing of Sanctuary's new secondary effect of replenishing Rage / Runic Power / Mana on a Block, dodge or Parry is very, very significant. Personally, I'd have been happy to see it be simply a 1/1 talent for the Paladin only, restoring mana when he Blocks/Parry's/Dodges - In 5/10-mans you give up BoK by using it on yourself and it's tough to see you using it in a non-raid environment except in situations where you significantly outgear the instance. I'm sure that Tankadins will be fairly pleased with this change to a previously lacklustre spell which now benefits all tanks, but it rightly should renew calls for Blessing of Kings to be moved to Baseline. By itself though it isn't nearly enough to warrant bringing a 3rd Paladin into the fray - in situations were you have 2 Paladins BoW/BoM and BoK will continue to be what's utilised, whether one specs 21pts into Prot or not.

New Glyphs:

* Glyph of Blessing of Kings -- Reduce the mana cost of your Blessing of Kings and Greater Blessing of Kings spells by 50%.
* Glyph of Sense Undead -- Damage against Undead increased by 1% while your Sense Undead ability
* Glyph of the Warhorse -- Reduce the casting time of your Summon Charger and Summon Warhorse spells by 0.5 sec.
* Glyph of Lay on Hands -- Increases the mana restored by your Lay on Hands spell by 5%.
* Glyph of Blessing of Might -- Increases the duration of your Blessing of Might spell by 20 min when cast on yourself.
* Glyph of Blessing of Wisdom -- Increases the duration of your Blessing of Wisdom spell by 20 min when cast on yourself.

My guess is that these are minor glyphs (though Glyph of Sense Undead could be a Lesser one). The minor Blessing glyphs are pretty disappointing TBH, GotWarhorse and Lay on Hands are not too much better. A full list of Paladin Glyphs datamined so far can be found here.

If there's anything more I'll endeavour to update this list, the patch is still downloading for me.


Noktaris 30/08/2008, 19:34  

Regarding Beacon of Light, it's funny to read the initial comments on Wowhead - mostly to the tune of "finally, an area heal."

To avoid really commenting on the current implementation, I'll admit I'm still not convinced that Beacon would be worth passing up an additional 5% chance to crit on top of a 60% return on crit heals over time with Sheath.

I've advocated an alternative for quite a while: implement a cooldown-based ability that causes the paladin's next Holy Light or Flash of Light to heal all of the target's party members within x yards, for a heightened mana cost. Triple the cost of an equivalent single-target heal is typically the standard.

Suicidal Zebra 31/08/2008, 20:44  

My concern with it for Arenas are two-fold:

1) It's got a very hefty mana cost. Sure, this is fine in the pre-match buffing stage, but can be prohibitively expensive in the heat of battle if your 'Beaconed' team-mate dies or is purged.

2) It's a magic buff, and hence purgeable. As if that wasn't the case with enough buffs already.

There are many different solutions to Paladin healing weaknesses in both PvP and PvE, and what you've suggested certainly isn't a bad one. The Glyph of Holy Light is a weaker solution similar to that which you suggest, and has got a lot of attention from Holy Paladins. If there's one thing we're lacking for, it's not good idea.

The problem is that the two versions of Beacon of Light are so dissimilar that it leaves me wondering what problem they want this spell to be a solution to. The old one was a weakish AoE heal (dependant on the SD Coeff, it could have been quite powerful once the dust settled). The new one is a strong 2 (3, 4?, is it being active on more than one player at a time a bug?) -person heal which suffers from being unreliable due to it not taking any overhealing into account. The latter solves a clear problem, the former not so much.

The only thread tying the proposed abilities together is that they integrate into maintank heal spam rotations, jiving with Blizzard's desire to keep Paladins as the 'main-tank healers'. Well that's great, but they need to just sit down and think about what they want the ability to do before considering how they want it to be cast and fit into rotations.

Hrm, I really should do a proper post about all this.

Noktaris 01/09/2008, 00:44  

This entire round of revisions for the class, including the new glyphs, has the feeling of having been passed off into the hands of someone who's never played a paladin before.

Some official commentary from Blizzard as to what the spell is actually meant to do would probably be helpful. Until then, it's difficult to tell what is and what is not a bug.

Khassad 01/09/2008, 08:43  

I always played an healing paladin in PvE and recently in PvP, and for my healing strategy this Beacon of Light could be awesome.

Previous implementation was only a quite weak AoE-heal, while this one seems perfect for the paladin MT healer. And it perfectly fits my interpretation of the paladin healer.

Suicidal Zebra 01/09/2008, 16:04  

Whist it fits the Paladin style of healing somewhat, does it actively mitigate our weaknesses in PvE or PvP.

In PvE we have most significant problems with AoE damage. That's not to say that if we take the time to heal them the MT will die (which the latest Beacon fits with), but rather that the AoE damage being taken means you can't single-target heal them quick enough to prevent them from dying. The original Beacon addressed this issue and the issue addressed by the new Beacon, though it very much depended on scaling.

For PvP... well it's a dispellable Magic Buff that costs a **** load of mana, which is not great in the dynamic environment that is the Arena. Make is undispellable, and a much lower mana cost, and I'd be much more tempted.

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