Monday, November 24, 2008

Updated: Paladin Changes Due in 3.0.4.


I made some clarifications to my initial post.

You can use Hand of Protection during the internal cooldown, just not on yourself. The idea is to prevent the paladin from being able to combo damage immunity. We want you to still be able to use it on others.

The change to Judgements of the Pure is in addition to its current haste effects.

The taunt is called Hand of Judgement. It has a 30 yard range and 8 sec cooldown. It does a bit of Holy damage so that you can break sheep or freezing traps to pull mobs.

The change to Judgement of Wisdom was so Protection and Ret paladins (and Feral druids and whoever else) didn't feel like they were supposed to stack Int for mana, since there is none on their gear. We picked a number that shouldn't be a nerf to most Holy paladins, though it will mean that it won't keep scaling as your Int climbs, so I imagine it will be called a nerf anyway. :) We'll keep an eye on this -- perhaps adding an effect to a Holy talent or something to increase the return.


It's good that HoP will still be able to be cast on others using this 'cooldown' (gosh, that cooldown sounds an awful lot like Forbearance doesn't it *rolleyes*). It's still a stupidly over-complicated system that needs a better solution than that proposed. I hope this change means that Forbearance is gone, but I doubt it.

Hand of Judgement: Yay ranged pull! Though calling it 'Hand of Judgement' is bad IMO. 1) Hands are short-term Blessings, not debuffs, 2) Judgement has been overused as a term, and 3) HoJ is a well-used Paladin acronym already. I'd much prefer 'Call of Command'. Okay, maybe not 'Call', perhaps Righteous Command. But I'm just nit-picking there.

Whee, ranged pull. *does a little dance*


Ghostcrawler stuck his eye stalks above the parapet earlier today to provide a preliminary list of the changes Paladins should expect in a patch before 3.1:

We have already announced or suggested all of these changes would be forthcoming in the next minor content patch. I thought I would list them all in one place for ease of use.

1)Divine Shield: Penalty changed so that all damage done is reduced by 50% instead of a attack speed penalty.

2) Divine Protection no longer causes an attack penalty. Divine Shield's penalty was changed to 50% less damage done by the paladin.

3) Sacred Duty: This Protection talent no longer affects the attack penalty of Divine Shield and Divine Protection, but grants additional bonus Stamina.

4) Avenging Wrath, Divine Shield, Divine Protection, and Hand of Protection have a shared, 30-second cooldown. The Forbearance effect is no longer triggered by Avenging Wrath.

5) Judgement of Wisdom now returns a percentage of base mana instead of a percentage of max mana.

6) All mana drain effects now return a percentage of max enemy mana (making mana drains less punishing to paladins and other characters without large mana pools.)

7) Judgements of the Pure: This Holy talent now increases the damage done by Seals and Judgements.

8) All paladins receive a single-target taunt (name TBD) as a base ability.

[list edited by me so the Divine Shield change is included](Source)

Thanks very much to Honors Code for the heads up. Go over there and read his summary.


Back? Good. Okay, here is my take:

The change to Divine Shields' downside was on it's way, previous comments by GC and suggestions in various Paladin communities made it all but a forgone conclusion. The 50% figure is harsh, but a lot better than the idea of preventing all damage whilst bubbled. We'll have to see how it plays out as the impact of the change will only be known when we have an idea of Ret damage in lvl80 PvP.

The removal of attack rate reduction from Divine Protection change is good, but I'm not sure it goes as far as it could. Not screwing with threat generation in PvE without a talent point investment undoubtedly makes DP much more useful. For PvP however it is still a Magic Buff, and so it remains very vulnerable to Purge/Dispel. Personally I'd like to see DP and Hands get another dispel resistance boost beyond Stoicism, perhaps within the current Imp. RF talent. Otherwise, the Sacred Duty talent change to more stamina is nice.

Changes 5 through 8 are interesting but the numbers are critical in assessing how much of a buff or nerf they are. On Mana drain specifically (and I could probably devote a whole blog post to just this topic), whether Base mana or Total mana other classes can do more with less. I hope that when coupled with Divine Plea we become significantly less vulnerable to Mana Drain mechanics but fundamentally a spec that relies on mana but has no way to LoS Drains will be in a lot of difficulty. When it comes to Holy Paladin Damage, multipliers are crucial in judging how useful the talent will become, but I have the feeling that they will have to be extremely significant to bring their damage up to that of healing-spec'd classes with spammable offensive casting abilities.

Change 4 is the one which has me most puzzled, which is why I'll devote the last part of this post to it. Here it is again:

4) Avenging Wrath, Divine Shield, Divine Protection, and Hand of Protection have a shared, 30-second cooldown. The Forbearance effect is no longer triggered by Avenging Wrath.

We can take the following as implied from that.

a) Forbearance remains in the game. Duration to be determined but assume that it's 2 mins.
b) Use of AW, DP or DS prevents HoP from being cast. This means that you won't be able to cast HoP even on an ally within 30 seconds of any of the other spells.
c) AW doesn't cause Forbearance, and so in of itself doesn't lock you out of any other ability for more than 30 seconds.

In this Blizzard have come very close to the ideal solution and then missed by a wide margin. As I've said before, Forbearance should be removed from DS, DP and AW totally, it's a design relic from pre-TC days which really has no relevance. But possibly more of an issue is that the changes put Paladins in a triple-bind regarding these spells in PvP and conjures up a new problem not previously encountered.

i) Use of AW prevents you from going defensive for 30 seconds. Understandable to a certain extent, but I'm not sure I like it. Fundamentally it will mean that you pop it second in PvP (after DS) presupposing that the battle lasts for 18seconds after your bubble drops. No big deal, but given that they nerfed damage output under DS significantly is the mutual-exclusivity really necessary with these Spells. The arguement for making AW and DP mutually exclusive is easier to see, but both spells are dispellable and don't make you any less susceptible to CC, so again is the lock-out necessary? Perhaps have DP reduce damage output by 25% when a shield is not equipped?

ii) Use of AW prevents you from casting HoP on others. Bad Idea. And this still effectively prevents you from using AW for over a minute into an Arena Battle. In the first case you're not going to pot AW before popping DS (so x+30seconds) and then for 30seconds after DS you won't be popping AW before HoP on someone else (+30 secs).

iii) You can't use any of your personal defensive cooldowns (DP, DS) without locking out HoP, and visa-versa. This is, frankly, a net nerf for all PvP and non-solo PvE gameplay.

For those reasons I think this is a bad change. In addition Forbearance still exists, so we have three abilities (DP, DS and HoP) governed by this debuff as well as a 30 second shared cooldown on those and AW. Are there any other set of four or more spells which have as complicated a system of usage?

Blizzard should be using this time to make the system of cooldowns and lockouts less complicated, not more. It's a shame, but this change is fail, doesn't seem logical and appears to be created by a set of people not familiar with Paladin class gameplay. That said, they should be thanked for throwing up the list of changes before they go live (or appear on a PTR) so we can give feedback. So if you can give feedback then go to it!


Josh 25/11/2008, 00:34  

I personally think that Hand of Protection should function like Hand of Sacrifice - for use on other players only. In that case, the lockout on HoP wouldn't matter anyway.

I was an advocate of the 30 second lockout instead of wings-Forbearance. I don't have any better suggestions, otherwise I'd have advocated another idea. Unless they scrap everything and go back to the drawing board, I don't think we're going to see anything better coming down the pipeline.

Vndead 25/11/2008, 01:31  

this whole AW/DP/DS/HoP is a nerf rather than a fix.

#1, we use AW, not only we're vulnerable but our ally is also somewhat vulnerable.

#2, DPS in bubble will be much much lower so we can't really use the bubble as finisher but can only be used for healing now.

#3, we can't bubble and HoP someone else either for 30 seconds. It was very useful to use HoP on someone else.

Blizz is messing us up more and more each of their "fix".

Suicidal Zebra 25/11/2008, 02:08  

I agree Josh with you on HoP, and said much the same thing in my post on Forbearance late last month.

I believe that with a 50% reduction to damage output whilst under the effects of DS makes the risk of AW+DS null and void. Upping damage to 60(0.5*1.2)% of normal whilst under the effects of DS doesn't seem to be game-breaking (indeed, it would be a waste of AW, but that is for the Player to decide IMO).

Really Divine Protection + AW would be my only concern, and we can get creative to get around the need for a cooldown. As I suggested make DP reduce damage by 25% when a shield is not equipped, or perhaps make activating one cancel the other. Either way, I think AW and DP are the only two abilities which need to have a shared cooldown of any length if Blizzard are sensible in how they treat HoP and DS.

Orgauth 25/11/2008, 15:21  

Vndead said... "#2, DPS in bubble will be much much lower so we can't really use the bubble as finisher but can only be used for healing now."

This is NOT a personal attack, but a comment on the statement: I really had a "duh" moment there. It is, after all, Divine PROTECTION, not Divine PUNISHMENT. To derive "finisher" from something labeled as "protection" just does not compute in my brain.

It was intended to be an "Oh shit" defensive ability to enhance survivability, not a roflstomping offensive one. We took advantage of it with two instant attacks (three if you count Judgements?) that are not dependent on the swing timer (that was Blizzard's design fault, without foresight to see bubble abuse), and by doing so we perverted the intended function of the ability. "Bubblewings" with full damage output, even with the attack speed penalty, is stupidly overpowered. In my estimation, it is the only legitimate QQ that arose from 3.0.2 - complaints about up-front burst were not justified, given the multitude of other weaknesses of paladins in PvP (read: kiteability). Burst and mana regen should have been left alone - Bubblewings needed a nerf.

Suicidal Zebra 25/11/2008, 16:37  

Well, it's actually called Divine Shield, but you point is well made.

That said, if an ability is defensive in nature it doesn't necessarily follow that it should only be used in a defensive situation. Rogues use CloS offensively in Arena all the time, as do Mages with Ice Block. Deathknights will no doubt also use Icebound Fortitude in a similar vein.

Perhaps if Paladins had better CC protection Bubble-wings (or just bubble) wouldn't be used, or need to be used, in this way.

Vndead 25/11/2008, 17:37  

Orgauth, but isn't it a nerf now that we can't use it as a finisher?

If i choose to use it offensively, i can't? that's a huge DPS nerf right there. That's all I'm saying.

It wasn't their intention in the first place but since they nerf the rest to go inline with other's dps, now they take this huge damage output away, it's pretty much another nerf on top of whatever they though the fair nerfs were.

Vndead 25/11/2008, 22:07  

It's good to know, now we can remove my #1 and #3, though, we'll be missing #3 a lot, or at least for me ;)... especially vs Rogues. They can run so fast.., by the time we healed up, they're gone, healed up, come back for another round.

Not that i'm afraid of them but sometimes, they have stunlocks and i do'nt have trinket(EFH for human) and no bubble, can be tough.

Anonymous 26/11/2008, 04:19  

Just remove Paladins from the game. I love to PVP and my friend can completely anhilate me on his 60 Grand Marshall geared Paladin versus my 70 Vengeful/Brutal geared Druid. WTF? Whatever they do Paladins are not going to get the nerf they deserve. L2P a real class. Im not saying Druids don't have they're advantages over other classes, but come on. Ret Paladins just own everything. In 3 seconds too

Orgauth 26/11/2008, 15:30  

Oy... too much divinity to keep track of - shields, protection, tasty desserts (it must be close to lunchtime to that to enter my mind). I just shudder at mechanics for which there is no (Mass Dispel aside) defense. Reverse the first burst nerf, and all is good - to me, at least.

And by the way - Righteous Command is full of win. Everyone should go to the Suggestions forum, and see if we can't get the abominable name "Hand of Judgement" can be /fixed.

Actually, another name just came to mind - Compulsion. You are using your Holy power to compel the mob to engage you. And you could macro it with "/yell The Power of Christ compels you!" for some party/raid-irritating fun! I need to go put this on MY (barely read) blog... /snicker

Vndead 26/11/2008, 18:40  

Anonymous, if you level 70 with taht gear and losing against a 60 pally with that gear, you should just delete your druid and go make a pally....

... on a PVE server.

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