Friday, January 09, 2009

The 3.0.8 PTR Changes and You.

Lo everyone, sorry about the lack of updates recently. The good news is that I'm back playing (thanks to my brother who bought me game time and a copy of the Expansion), the bad news is that my mind has turned to mush and drafting new posts is getting frustrating because of a lack of ideas (or other people having them whilst I've been in the drafting process, as so often happens ;) ). Anyway, enough about me.

Those of you reading MMO-Champion may have already read the latest round of PTR notes (Build 9438) which for a mini-patch are quite comprehensive, but I know that some are stuck behind corporate firewalls and so can't see them. So first here are the changes which directly impact Paladins:

Ghostcrawler - New Dispel Mechanics:

Since we are getting lots of questions on this:

The general rule of thumb is that helpful spells (e.g. buffs) and dots are protected. Other offensive spells (e.g. crowd controls) are not.

We are definitely interested on hearing feedback on this implementation. We like the basic mechanic of casting and dispelling spells, but I think many players agreed that the system beyond that needed an overhaul. I am sure many players have their own ideas on how this should have worked, because a lot of them have been pitched to us.

Feel free to discuss dispel and dispel resistance here rather than having the conversation across multiple threads.

NOTE: The dispel spells themselves have not changed. Offensive spells that do no damage (say Polymorph) will just be easier to dispel now. They will not benefit from the talents that make dispels harder. (Source)


PTR Patch notes and Undocumented Changes (Source)


# Avenging Wrath: Divine Shield, Divine Protection, and Avenging Wrath cannot be used within 30 seconds of each other. Forbearance removed from Avenging Wrath. [Hand of Protection is no longer part of this spell cooldown interaction, but retains Forbearance]
# Divine Protection: The penalty has been removed.
# Divine Shield: The penalty has been changed so that all damage done is reduced by 50% in place of an attack speed penalty.
# Hand of Reckoning (NEW): Available on trainers at level 16. It?s a 30 yard range taunt that causes Holy damage.
# Judgements of the Pure: This Holy talent now increases the damage done by Seals and Judgements.
# Judgement of Wisdom: Now returns a percentage of base mana instead of a percentage of max mana.
# Sacred Duty: Interaction with Divine Shield and Divine Protection removed, but stamina bonus increased.



* Stoicism now reduces the chance your helpful spells and damage over time effects will be dispelled by an additional 10/20/30%. (Old - affected all spells) [Reflection of the changes to dispel mechanics]


* Glyph of Hammer of Justice -- Increases your Hammer of Justice range by 5 yards. (Old - increased duration by 1 sec)

A big fat 'meh' to taking HoP off the 'immunity+AW' cooldown interaction. It was probably warranted to eliminate confusion and potential UI bugs (when is a spell both on a cooldown and not on a cooldown? when it's HoP and you've just used AW!), but frankly when reading about this change I always think Blizzard are going in the wrong direction. At the very least Forbearance should no longer be a part of the game, and not removing it will get increasingly dumb as the Arena becomes less burst-reliant. Preventing AW from being cast at any time seems meaningless given the change to DS and that both it and DP are easily dispellable.

We had a hint that the Glyph of Hammer of Justice was going to change all the way back at Blizzcon, and personally I think it's a good one. With new dispel mechanics, PvP trinkets and personal stun-breakers the difference between a 6 second and 7 second stun is minimal, but the change from a 10 to 15 yard range is pretty big. It'll be interesting to see how this one pans out.

Okay, the dispel mechanics changes. It should be noted that this only has an effect in PvP, I'm pretty sure that the encounters with NPC self-dispel are very rare. For Paladins, as for all classes baring Warriors (co-incidence? I think not!), this change could go either way. From an offensive prospective this is broadly a detrimental change - our Hand of Justice, Repentance, Vindication and Judgement spells are all 30% easier to dispel if you currently take Stoicism. Defensively, the picture is much more rosy.

In 3.0.8 there will be a greater innate value to Cleanse and other dispel effects. Cleanse was always the weakest of the defensive spells because it could only dispel one negative effect of any school per global cooldown. High numbers of debuffs with even moderate dispel resistance made the spell counter-productive in most casts, and healing through the debuff effects were often preferable. With the removal of dispel resistances for non-dot negative debuffs Cleanse will now rarely waste a GCD by fizzling.

In addition, this change makes one previously fairly awful talent reasonably useful, though fitting it into your PvP build could pose interesting problems:

Sacred Cleansing Rank 3
Your Cleanse spell has a 30% chance to increase the target's resistance to Disease, Magic and Poison by 30% for 10 sec.

The other issue for Cleanse was the sheer number of trash debuffs that other classes could put up to protect their more useful debuffs, at a rate of more than one every GCD. This is espeically the case with Rogues (*shakes fist at Deadly Brew and Vile Poisons*), but also true for Frost Mages and Warlocks. Well now you can use their debuffs against them: by not having a resist and properly curing a trash debuff you could proc a chance to resist subsequent debuffs. Yes, it is still a chance to proc for a chance to resist, but the chance to proc will be much greater.

The benefits of these changes probably won't be seen until the ratio of burst damage to health pools has reduced somewhat. Right now absolute PvP damage is probably too high to warrant Cleansing over healing except on the odd CC (though you should see some improvements in such cases), but as player durability and GCD leeway in PvP increases.

I'd expect to see 3.0.8 next Tuesday (the 13th) or the following one, followed by 3.1 at some point far in the not too distant future. From the sounds of things this will be the last significant patch of any stripe before 3.1 hits.


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