Thursday, September 11, 2008

Beta Build 8926 Paladin Changes. Blessing of Kings to Tier 1?

Build 8926 is just in, and there are lots of Paladin changes. Check MMO-Champion for the full list of all changes in this Build. Also, on a cosmetic level some player facial graphics have been altered, check out Shia post over at Banana Shoulders for more info.

A couple of points make be believe that there is more to come for Holy and Prot. Given all the feedback provided during the last week it seems strange that the only Holy talent change is the nerfing of Holy Guidance. If nothing else deep Holy needs a lot of work, and I remain unconvinced by the current implementation of Beacon of Light. By contrast Prot is now a lean and mean talent tree, but without a 11pt 'prestige' talent. Other gaps left graphically shallow in the tree make me wonder if a couple more talent as due for those spots. Some Silence and Mana Burn protection for Prot would still be nice.

Finally, Blessing of Kings is now in Tier 1 Prot. This seems like a fudge to me. Whilst it may be seen as a compromise on Blizzards part it still leaves Prot with 2 Blessings in one tree, and a Ret Paladin will still want to take 10pts in Prot for this effect (and Divine Strength). I really think that Blizzard needs to bite the bullet and make this Spell baseline. They may not like it but it's probably the only way to generate three well balance trees.

Retribution
Skills

* Seal of Corruption's damage reduced.
* Seal of the Martyr's damage reduced.
* Seal of Blood's damage reduced.
* Seal of Vengeance's damage reduced.

[Please, if you haven't done any DPS passes yet, why are you reducing the damage of our Seals already? These may be reflecting a reduction in Judgement damage, rather than the Seal proc effect]

Talents

* Divine Storm (Tier 11) mana cost reduced.
* The Art of War moved from Tier 9 to Tier 7 and changed to 2 ranks. It now increases the critical strike damage of your Judgement, Crusader Strike and Divine Storm abilities by 10/20% and when these abilities critically hit the cast time of your next Flash of Light is reduced by 0.75/1.5 sec. [Tooltip states a cast speed reduction of 0.75/1, but Rank 2 does general instant FoL's. This talent puts the value of Righteous Vengeance into stark relief, it provides half this benefit for 3 more talent points]
* Sanctified Seals moved from Tier 7 to Tier 4. [Nice change, but I still think that undispellable Seals should be baseline]
* Divine Purpose moved from Tier 7 to Tier 5 and changed to 2 ranks. It now reduces your chance to be hit by spells and ranged attacks by 2/4% and gives your Hand of Freedom spell a 50/100% chance to remove any Stun effects on the target. [A nice, much more efficient Divine Purpose. Great PvP talent]
* Vengeance (Tier 6) changed to 3 ranks and now stacks up to 3 times (9% total). [Given that Blizz seemed positive that they needed to nerf Vengeance this is a happy medium]
* Judgements of the Wise moved from Tier 6 to Tier 7 and now your Judgement spells have a 33/66/100% chance to grant the Replenishment effect to up to 10 party or raid members mana regeneration equal to 0.5% of their maximum mana per second, and to immediately grant you 20% of your maximum mana. [Great talent, now out of range of Holy Paladins with 30yrd Judgements. The mana regen, coupled with the new Benediction, is enough to allow us to use our Hand spells much more freely, and perhaps even a Cleanse or two.]
* Sheath of Light moved from Tier 5 to Tier 9. [To move it out of range of Holy Paladins]
* Improved Retribution Aura moved from Tier 4 to Tier 6. [Huh? Needs work]
* Crusade (Tier 4) now increases all damage done by 1/2/3% in addition to its previous effect. [Very nice change to what was previously a lacklustre talent. Goes some way towards offsetting the Vengeance nerf]
* Seal of Command (Tier 3) damage reduced. (Check talent list for details) [nerf to Judgement damage]
* Seal of Command's Judgement effect no longer causes double damage on stunned targets. Now it enforces a 100% crit rate on Stunned and Incapicated targets [While this is effectively a nerf, it probably is the ideal solution to the heavily scaling burst we were seeing from JoC. If this is how Blizz have chosen to reduce our burst potential then I can think of worst ways]. source.
* Pursuit of Justice (Tier 3) no longer reduces chance for spells to hit you. Instead, it reduces the duration of disarm effects by 25/50%. [Given my worried out the Disarm mechanic for PvP/Tanking, this is a very nice change]
* Deflection moved from Tier 2 to Tier 1. [Great for Prot]
* Improved Blessing of Might moved from Tier 1 to Tier 2. It now is 2 ranks and increases the effect of Blessing of Might by 12/25%. [Can't complain about this at all]
* Benediction (Tier 1) changed to reduce the mana cost of all instant cast spells by 2/4/6/8/10%. [Fantastic talent for Ret and Prot, where it reduces the mana cost of pretty much all the skills in their rotation. Not so great for Holy, but still better than old-Benediction]

Holy
Skills

* Divine Plea changed so that you gain 25% of your total mana over 10 sec, but the amount healed by your spells is reduced by 50%. Cooldown reduced to 1 min. [Very nice change again for Ret and Prot. A talent deep in Holy to off-set this healing loss would be nice]
* Seal of Light - Unleashing this Seal's energy will deal [ 20% of AP + 32% of Spell Power + 1 ] Holy damage to an enemy. (Damage reduced)
* Seal of Wisdom - Unleashing this Seal's energy will deal [ 20% of AP + 32% of Spell Power + 1 ] Holy damage to an enemy. (Damage reduced)
* Seal of Righteouness - Fills the Paladin with holy spirit for 2 min, granting each melee attack [ 2.8% of MWS * AP + 5.5% of MWS * Spell Power ] additional Holy damage. (Damage reduced)

Talents

* Holy Guidance (Tier 8 ) now increases spell power by 4/8/12/16/20% of your intellect. (Previously was 7/14/21/28/35%)
* Healing Light now affects Holy Shock.

[The lack of Holy talent changes make me think that this tree is due for a pass in the next build. It's curious that they thought that Holy Guidance needed a nerf... I'm not sure it did]

Protection
Skills

* Shield of Righteousness now deals holy damage equal to 240% of your block value. (Up from 200%) [Ouch, that's gotta hurt. Some enterprising Tankadins are now seriously contemplating meting out some Justice in the Arena's]
* Seal of Justice - Unleashing this Seal's energy will deal [ 20% of AP + 32% of Spell Power + 1 ] Holy damage to an enemy. (Damage reduced)
* Righteous Defense is now a 10 sec cooldown. [Really, this was necessary for the sake of tanking parity]

Talents

* Hammer of the Righteous (Tier 11) now causes 120% weapon damage as holy damage, but no longer "causes a high amount of threat". [Nice, but will be interesting to see how this affects our threat generation]
* Shield of the Templar (Tier 10) changed to increase the damage of your Holy Shield, Avenger's Shield and Shield of Righteousness spells by 10/20/30%. [More ouch]
* Avenger's Shield (Tier 9) now deals more damage and is instant cast. (All ranks) [Wow, AS is finally in Prots threat rotation, and is a nasty PvP snare. Kudos Blizz]
* Guarded by the Light (Tier 9) now reduces spell damage taken by 3/6% and reduces the mana cost of your Holy Shield, Avenger's Shield and Shield of Righteousness spells by 15/30%. [Eh, it's a good consolidation of effects, but I'm still not struck by Mana cost reduction talents in Tier 9. Still, at 2 pts only required and a 6% damage reduction I really can't complain]
* Combat Expertise (Tier 8 ) changed to 3 ranks, increases your expertise by 2/4/6, and total Stamina and chance to critically hit by 2/4/6% [An effective buff to all bar HP. It will be interesting to see the relative HP's of Tier 7-9 Tankadins and Prot Warriors, given they have higher baseline HP and a ranged slot]
* Improved Holy Shield removed from the talent tree. [Good]
* Holy Shield (Tier 7) now has 8 charges, but no longer causes additional threat. [Good, with one caveat: does this effectively increase or reduce our threat generation from HS?]
* One-Handed Weapon Specialization (Tier 6) now increases damage you deal with one handed weapons by 2/4/6/8/10%. [Parity with Warriors' talent]
* Spell Warding removed from the talent tree. [Effects rolled into Guarded by the Light, so not surprised]
* Reckoning can now proc off a blocked attack. [It always could, but I presume they mean a 100% blocked attack]
* Blessing of Kings moved to Tier 1. It now increases all stats by 2%. (Previously 10%)
* Improved Blessing of Kings is a new Tier 1 talent that increases the effectiveness of Blessing of Kings by an additional 2/4/6/8%.
* Shield Specialization removed from the talent tree.
* Redoubt moved from Tier 3 to Tier 8. It now increases your block value by 10/20/30% and damaging melee and ranged attacks against you have a 10/20/30% chance to increase your chance to block by 10%. Lasts 10 sec or 5 blocks. [Two talents rolled into one, but now deep in Prot. Prot paladins will still take it for the BV but Redoubt still has yet to find its niche. Makes Prot levelling (AoE grind) more difficult]
* Anticipation moved from Tier 1 to Tier 2. [Making space for BoK]


Glyphs:

* Glyph of Seal of Blood -- Your Seal of Blood or Seal of the Martyr increases the mana received from Spiritual Attunement by 10% while active.
* Glyph of Seal of Righteousness -- Reduces the cost of your Judgement spells by 10% while Seal of Righteousness is active.
* Glyph of Seal of Vengeance -- Your Seal of Vengeance or Seal of Corruption also grants 10 expertise while active. [Mmmm, tanking goodness]


I'll add some commentary later. My initial thoughts can be summed up by one word: "amused". There's still work to be done, perhaps even nerfs along the way if other class talents are anything to go by, but the changes as listed are all good ones IMO.

2 comments:

Karl 11/09/2008 15:59  

Well, At least Prot and Ret still look very viable, even if it's going to take a lot of work to figure out a new Ret dps rotation.. :-)

But man, My BM hunter got the shaft....

-- Fearstalker and Halabar

Suicidal Zebra 11/09/2008 16:48  

Yep, I was glancing over the Hunter changes earlier and thought that it wasn't so bad, but now that I look at it again with fresh eyes it's not nearly as choc-full of nice talents as it was.

Still, there's time let yet, hopefully things will work out.

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