Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Argent Charger.

The Argent Charger is a Paladin specific mount available from the Dame Evniki Kapsalis, the Crusader's Quartermaster in the Argent Pavilion. Also for sale are the Argent Warhorse, Pony Bridle, Argent Tabard and Argent Banner. Unsurprisingly, you need to have attained the title of 'Crusader' to unlock these rewards:

The Charger and the Warhorse cost 100 Champion Seals each. At first glance this seems like a lot, especially for those still saving for all the pets, mounts and flying mounts available from the Tourney as a whole. However there are also at least 5 new daily quests to complete for more Seals, as well as drops from the 5-man Dungeon.

The Warhorse, which every Crusader has access to, is a recolour of the lvl30 Paladin mount. The Argent Charger is a recolour of the lvl60 Epic Mount.

I love how it looks, but I also love the Silver Covenant Hippogryph (Exalted with Silver Covenant req.), which is 150 Seals. If you want to save for either you'll have to make up your own mind which you prefer, but acquiring both is a matter of time rather than skill.


Lance over at A Bit Of Lance has a great write-up of the new Tourney features as a whole (so good, I wish I'd seen it before I wrote this ;)). Give it a look.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Paladin PTR Speculation.

It's that time again... PTR info will rule the WoW-tubes for the next few weeks. As the first test build is now downloadable MMO-Champ has yet again done sterling work to extract all the relevant bits, which means that we can put some numbers to rather pressing matters.

But before that, Super Double-important news:

"Please clarify: will DS and CS crits proc AoW?"


Yes. Any melee attack, not just white swings. Ranged attacks or spells will not proc it.

Thank goodness for that - melee in, Judgements out as they are classes as Ranged attacks. On to more general matters.


Seal of Command has been redesigned - All melee attacks deal [ 36% of mw ] to [ 36% of MW ] additional Holy damage. Lasts 30 min. Unleashing this Seal's energy will judge an enemy, instantly causing [ 8% of AP + 13% of Spell Power + 19% of mw ] to [ 8% of AP + 13% of Spell Power + 19% of MW ] Holy damage.

Seal of Vengeance now deals [ 13% of AP + 6.5% of Spell Power ] Holy damage (down from [ 15% of AP + 7.8% of Spell Power ]) and has a new effect - Once stacked to 5 times, each of the Paladin's attacks also deals 33% weapon damage as additional Holy damage.

From the looks of things the internal cooldown on SoC has finally been removed (it would be extremely silly if it hadn't). However, the damage the proc deals is significantly less than the current incarnation of SoB (~48% MWD) and Judgement damage blows chunks. Also, the guaranteed Crit-On-Stun effect appears to have been removed. The implication is that SoC is designed to be a PvP/Trash Seal in situations where high up-front damage is required, but even with instant Exorcism the implication is that burst damage will be significantly reduced. Great in theory, but in practice makes you wonder if Ret has the tools to keep up in PvP.

The strength of SoV largely depends how, if at all, it interacts with Seals of the Pure. A flat 15% increase would make it a very strong PvE boss fight Seal, but right now we can't bank on it. Needless to say however that SotP would be a heavy blow to Hybrid utility in PvE compounded with the loss of 1 GCD every 12 secs. From a tanking perspective it will also hopefully remain a competitive Tanking Seal, but the jury is still out given the reduction in threat (and SotR's similar threat reduction). As far as PvP goes, SoV would be mutilated by a Priest on any sort of dispelling duty as the bonus weapon damage only kicks in at 5 stacks, just dispelling one would make a Paladin hit 25% weaker.

In terms of stat weights in 3.2, Hit will still be the daddy. Expertise and Strength will however regain some ground lost to Hit in relative weights, and Haste will lose significant traction against Crit. Essentially, capping Hit and Expertise, and then gemming a remainder for Str will be the order of the day.


Sets -

Okay, I won't talk at any real length about the Set bonii. It's fairly obvious that placeholders are abound throughout the released Tier 9 and the Paladin sets are no exception. Suffice to say that sticking 5% crit on Judgement or Holy Light as 4 Piece bonus's given the nerfs these abilities are faced with in 3.1 would be madness, and it's unlikely that they'll reduce Forbearance's duration by another 30secs just to fit in a set bonus (though I can't but hope that they've got rid of it completely... fat chance).

Oh, there is one thing... the 2 pieces Ret bonus allows RV to Crit. Okay, that has the chance to be a significant DPS increase, much more than you might think at first blush. RV's rolling nature could also cause some pretty monster crits to occur on timers not linked to weapon swings which may cause some balance issues. Resilience is obviously the premium stat of 3.2 PvP, but one or two Rets may sneakily seek to push this bonus into their PvP gearset for greater pressure and RNG burst.

Relics -

Paladin T9 Retribution Relic (Seal of Vengeance) (Class: Paladin) -- Each time your Seal of Vengeance ability deals periodic damage, you have a chance to gain 200 strength for 16 sec.

Finally, a PvE relic actually useful for PvE? The internal cooldown is the real killer for this new Libram, but of course that sort of information isn't held on the tooltip. 200 Str is 506 AP, and with the standard 45 sec trinket internal cooldown + 100% chance to proc it would corresponds to ~180 AP on average. This is far, far better than the Furious Gladiator's Libram of Fortitude (144AP) and likely to be better even than the S7 Libram (whilst specifically being tailored to PvE). Anything close to a 35% up-time will make this Libram absolutely rock in PvE.


So, those are my preliminary thoughts on the figures so far. It's broadly a coin-toss whether the class as a whole comes out ahead in these changes but nothing in Paladin gameplay gets inherently more interesting. It is very early days however so nothing should be taken for granted.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Enough Twinks To Sustain BG XP Changes?

So, the new patch notes have been released. I've finally got material to talk about other than how much my guild failed last week on Thaddius (*sigh*) or setting up a weekly snark screenshot. But rather than shoot my proverbial load too early I'll instead space things out a bit.

By now you've probably all heard of the changes to Battlegrounds so that XP can now be gained from PvP objectives, and that XP gain can now be turned off. If you haven't, the notes are in the UnderDev page. The key line is the following:

# Players with experience gains turned off who compete in Battlegrounds will face off only against other players with experience gains turned off.

It'll be interesting to see if there are enough players to make Twink BG's a self-sustainable exercise. The assumption that most non-twink players make about low level battegrounds is that a small number of (primarily Rogues) dominate a session against a set of non-twinked players there to have a bit of fun. The stipulation outlined above may just serve to split the groups doing low-level PvP between those PvPing and Levelling at the same time, and those who aren't. This could have a very significant impact on low-level PvP in smaller Battlegroups.

On the other hand my own rush to judge may be doing the Twink community a disservice. Sure, they may have to get organised, but there just may be enough players to really keep the gameplay vibrant at the low levels. Preventing any form of XP gain also makes creating and gearing your Twink a heck of a lot easier. If nothing else the hardcore PvPers will have a chance to compete in organised, selective, large-scale PvP against each other at lvl80 earlier.

What do you think, should the XP/Non-XP separation remain in place?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Paladin 3.2 Patch Notes



* Blessing of Sanctuary: This blessing now also increases stamina by 10%. This effect is not cumulative with Blessing of Kings.
* Charger: Can now be learned at level 40.
* Exorcism: Now has a 1.5 second cast time, but can once again be used on players.
* Hand of Reckoning: Redesigned. Now does damage only when target does not currently have the caster targeted, but damage done increased to 50% of attack power, occurring after the taunt effect is applied.
* Judgement of Light: Now heals for 2% of the attacker's maximum health instead of a variable amount based on the spell power and attack power of the judging paladin.
* Lay on Hands: The buff from this ability now reduces the physical damage taken by the target by 10/20% instead of increasing the target's armor.
* Righteous Fury: No longer has a duration or mana cost, remaining until cancelled or death. Also cancelled when a Paladin activates a different talent specialization.
* Sacred Shield: When a paladin casts Flash of Light on a target with this buff, they also now place a heal over time effect on the target, healing that target for 100% of the Flash of Light amount over 12 seconds.
* Seal of Blood: This ability has been removed.
* Seal of the Martyr: This ability has been removed.
* Seal of Vengeance and Seal of Corruption: These seals have been redesigned to deal substantially more damage. Now, once a paladin has 5 copies of the debuff from these seals on his or her target, on each swing the paladin will deal 33% weapon damage as Holy, with critical strikes dealing double damage.
* Shield of Righteousness: Now deals 100% of shield block value as damage instead of 130%.
* Warhorse: Can now be learned at level 20.


o Holy

+ Beacon of Light: The healing amount on the Beacon of Light target is now based on the total healing done (including over-healing) instead of the effective healing done. Radius increased to 60 yards. Multiple Paladins can now have this active on the same target. Buff indicating a player is within range of the Beacon target is no longer displayed.
+ Divine Intellect: This talent now gives 2/4/6/8/10% increased intellect instead of 3/6/9/12/15%.
+ Illumination: This talent now returns 30% of the mana cost of the spell instead of 60%.

o Protection

+ Ardent Defender: Redesigned. Currently, any damage taken by the paladin while at 35% health or below is reduced. Instead, any attack that would reduce the paladin to 35% health or below has its damage reduced. In addition, once every 2 minutes an attack that would have killed the paladin will fail to kill, and instead set the paladin's health to 10/20/30% of maximum.

o Retribution

+ Art of War: Now only applies to melee critical hits, but will make your next Flash of Light or Exorcism instant.
+ Crusader Strike: Damage reduced to 75% weapon damage to match the new 4 second cooldown.
+ Seal of Command: Redesigned. This seal now deals 36% weapon damage on every swing, and deals substantially less judgement damage.
+ Vindication: Redesigned. Now lowers target attack power, is consistent and does not stack with Demoralizing Shout.


* Glyph of Seal of Command: Redesigned to cause the Paladin to gain 8% of base mana each time the paladin judges Command.
* Glyph of Seal of Blood: Changed to Glyph of Holy Wrath, which reduces its cooldown by 15 seconds.

Truly a mixed bag there.

UPDATED: Paladin 3.2 Changes Preview

Update 2: PTR Patch Notes Now Up!

Update: Summarised, Seal changes included.

Take a look at those Seal changes... do I sense the chance of Seal-switching to maximise DPS?

Paladin Class Change Preview Summary:

Caveats: Some of these changes are still in progress and may ultimately end up in a different form or with different numbers. Furthermore, assume that talents, glyphs or set bonuses that affect any impacted abilities will also be changed accordingly. Finally, don’t expect that every class will see this many changes. We are making far fewer changes to class mechanics overall in 3.2, but paladins in particular have some issues we feel are in need of being addressed.


Ardent Defender has two important changes. The first is that the damage can no longer “skip over” the 35% health level – it will always be reduced. Secondly, it has a new effect that if a blow would kill you, it instead sets you to 30% health. This portion of the ability cannot occur more than once every 2 minutes. Think of it as a Last Stand that you don’t have to push.

Blessing of Sanctuary to become the tanking Blessing of Choice. May include some form of stamina increase.

Doubled the effect of bonus block value on items (so jewellery, but not shields). Stop-gap not part of long-term plans to change blocking.


We like that Holy paladins have a niche as single-target healers. The problem is we think this niche is a little too narrow at the moment. Furthermore, paladins don’t have a wide arsenal of healing spells so it’s important that all of them are being used.

Flash of Light: so that it places a heal-over-time effect on any target with Sacred Shield on them (the effect will be similar to Sheathe of Light).

Beacon of Light: Changed to count Overheal, i.e. if you place Holy Light on a rogue who is already at full health, it will still have the full effect on a tank with Beacon of Light on them. May allow more than on Beacon on a target (i.e. effective for more than 1 Holy Paladin).

Illumination: Mana returned reduced such that if you use Holy Light too recklessly (such as on targets who don’t require that much healing) you do risk burning out of mana too quickly.

Slight adjustment to Replenishment and MP5 on gear buffed.


Depending on who you ask, Retribution paladins are either perceived as being in need of improvements to make them stronger or are in need of changes to make them less powerful. We are really happy with the overall changes to the Seal and Judgement system from Lich King. However, Ret still has some problems. There aren’t enough buttons to push and they are all limited by cooldowns, allowing Ret paladins to have a lot of up-front burst without requiring a lot of skill or timing to actually hit those buttons (now after the opening moves of a fight, we think things get a lot more interesting because now the paladin’s defenses, healing and dispelling can come into play). We have other problems to fix as well. Exorcism currently can’t be used on players, which we think is a weak design. We have also become less enamoured with the drawback to Seal of Blood / Seal of the Martyr causing damage to the paladin.

Exorcism: Now has a cast time of 1.5 seconds but can be used on player.

The Art of War to make not only Flash of Light instant, but also Exorcism. Choose healing or damage.

Crusader Strike: Cooldown Lowered to 4 sec, damage also lowered. This accomplishes a few things. It lowers burst, it gives the paladins more buttons to push since they aren’t always waiting on cooldowns, it requires a little more skill since the player will have to choose between Crusader Strike and other attacks more often (such as the new Exorcism procs), and it gives Retribution a chance to get more damage out of their Seals (providing a sustained DPS boost for PvE).

Seal of Blood and Seal of the Martyr removed. The damage recoil increasingly felt like a liability in PvE, and wasn’t serving to offset the massive burst damage capable in PvP. We are buffing Seal of Vengeance / Corruption and redesigning Seal of Command with the expectation that these are now the seals of choice for PvP and PvE. Righteousness can remain a tanking seal.

Vindication: Now an attack power debuff that works like Demoralizing Shout.

These changes do not close the door on adding additional attacks, PvP utility or even the oft-requested Crusader Strike debuff. If the changes outlined above finally accomplish the goal of balancing Retribution in PvE and PvP, then we can start exploring those other design issues.

Everything subject to change upon testing and actual gameplay.


We know it's hard to evaluate the Retribution changes without understanding how the Seals now work. Here is how they work.

Seal of Command
OLD: Gives the Paladin a chance to deal additional Holy damage.

NEW: All melee attacks deal additional Holy damage.

Seal of Vengeance / Corruption
OLD: Fills the Paladin with holy power, causing attacks to apply Holy Vengeance which deals additional holy damage over 15 seconds. Holy Vengeance can stack up to 5 times.

NEW: Fills the Paladin with holy power, causing attacks to apply Holy Vengeance, which deals additional Holy damage over 15 sec. Holy Vengeance can stack up to 5 times. Once stacked to 5 times, each of the Paladin's attacks also deals 33% weapon damage as additional Holy damage.

(Full Source Text)

These changes, though tweaks here and there, are pretty significant when aggregated.

Three specific changes catch my eye:

1) Ardent Defender redesign.

This is absolutely immense for a talent which was starting to lose its lustre in the end-game. The 2min cooldown passive anti-death effect is very nice, and coupled with it not being leapfrogged means that Tankadins just got a whole lot more hardy. Still, no extra button to push.

2) Beacon to be affected by Overheal.

Huge. Seriously. The spell will become dependable and much more useful in a raiding (esp 10-man hard mode raiding) situation. It also has significant PvP implication which will need to be addressed, slightly mitigated by how CC-able Paladins generally are.

3) Crusader Strike Cooldown Reduction.

Okay, this is a little complicated. The first and most obvious point is that it makes the Paladin cool-down space much tighter. However 4 seconds is slightly non-optimal because melee abilities GCD's aren't affected by Haste. Just how strong the ability is will largely now depend on the strength of the altered Seals, but basing it on current SoB mechanics this would yet again increase the DPS contribution Seal mechanics (as SoB procs are not normalised). In addition, it seems that a new CS secondary effect isn't completely out of possibility.

This change makes us quite a bit weaker in PvP though, depending redesigned Seals and Exorcism.

The obvious negatives are:

Nerf to Illumination: Part of this will be required as the new Overhealing Beacon could potentially allow for infinite mana situations, esp in PvP. Unfortunately it's a disappointing change to a talent battered by the nerf bat over successive Expansions. The regen effect will probably be tied to Mana/5 levels, mandating a more balanced gear selection.

1.5sec Exorcism. Tough to swallow for Prot as it will essentially become unusable in a Tanks' threat rotation (no avoidance whilst casting), and it's not ideal for Holy which already suffers a lack of offensive abilities. It does however make Ret's rotation a little more interactive and more potent in PvP, so it's not all bad (testers should make sure that AoW Exorcism doesn't reset the swing timer). Tying a free boost to Exorcism's damage in deep-Holy would be a nice idea for Holy PvP/PvE.

Seal of Blood/The Martyr will go the way of the dodo. We should now all be concerned with how Command and Vengeance are altered, SoB (without feedback damage) offers a good model for SoC, it should be very interesting to see how Vengeance is changed. Two quality seals, one for PvP and one for PvE, would be most welcome. Again though, this isn't good news for Prot which makes extensive use of SoV last time I checked.

Something of a mixed bag overall. There's certainly nothing that I'm rabidly against (though another Illumination nerf springs to mine) and the AD change is mouthwatering. Roll on the full patch notes next week!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Oh Damn, a 40-man Battleground.

Yep, the new Isle of Conquest is set to be a 40-man PvP instance. See here for more info.

So, what does this mean? Well, the most obvious concern is that the battleground could be a flop. BG's as a concept are teetering on a precipice due to the success of Wintergrasp, the Arena and a poor reward scheme unlike that found in the previous Expansion. The current state of PvP balance where burst damage is terrifying and certain healers are next to unkillable is a significant factor in declining popularity, which may be a reason why IoC will tend to focus more on vehicle-based combat. But above and beyond that, the Honour System as a whole has almost no incentive as an alternate means of character progression; to get on in Battlegrounds you still need to wring the neck of high-end PvE content. As things stand, the Isle of Conquest risks being almost dead on arrival not because of its' quality compared to other BG's, but rather that the honour system is dross and needs a significant re-vamp.

That said, a fresh experience is a great idea. My real complaint is pretty parochial: BG's are numbers game and Ruin-EU sucks ass.

In my Battlegroup the Alliance faction dwarfs the Horde. Generally speaking this wouldn't be so much of a problem except that the population disparity is such that prior to the new cross-language BG only one or two Alterac Valley's would ever be active. Invariably, at least one of these would be 40 Alliance vs 15 (or less) Horde, leading to one faction roffle-stomping the other if the other AV instance didn't finish soon, and otherwise leading to a long and drawn-out conflict. I have yet to see any Horde-player on my server with The Alterac Blitz. This problem is represented in nearly every battleground to some extend, but is most pronounced in the 40-man BG.

You may be thinking "Oh, hang on, wasn't there something about Cross-language Battlegrounds being introduced recently?", and you'd be right. However this innovation addresses the other glaring problem with high faction imbalance: long queue times for the highest population faction. It doesn't address the issue of not enough players to fill a Battleground team because the teams created are delineated by language, and so whilst you may fight against foreign language teams you will never fight along-side foreign language players. Essentially from the players perspective the number of teams you can fight against increases significantly, but not the number of players you can fight with.

Adding another battleground therefore only serves to spread and already shallow pool of players even more thinly. And is a 40-man BG really sensible when we have difficulty filling a 20-man one?

I hope to enjoy the new battleground upon the release of 3.2. I don't expect that I will.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Vindication Hotfixed, No Longer Reduces Sta/Int.

Yep, another one. Bornakk drew the short straw and presented it to the forums:

We are in the process of completing a hotfix that could go live as early as this afternoon that will make the Paladin talent Vindication no longer reduce Intelligence or Stamina from the target it is applied to. The talent will continue to reduce Agility, Spirit, and Strength as it currently does. We felt this change will help balance the ability out, especially in the lower arena brackets where they are very prominent, while not being a negative impact on a Retribution Paladin’s PvE dps.

Once this hotfix is live, the tooltip will be incorrect until we can update it in the next content patch.


Increasingly it felt like someone playing against a Ret-Pally really only had 60% of their health bar because Vindication took away 20% from the start and then Hammer of Wrath kicked in when they had 20% left. This change was something we could confidently hotfix and would have a minimal to no impact on the PvE side of things.

Okay, so there are a few things that need to be stated here.

The first is that the Vindication Hotfix obviously doesn't have any impact in PvE because most mobs (esp. raid mobs) these days are immune to the debuff. If Bornakk had any sense he wouldn't have even mentioned PvE and in so doing give 50% of the trolls in the thread an opportunity to bitch by pointing out a real or imagined error.

The second is that Vindication doesn't take off 20% of the target health, rather 20% of the targets Stamina. As Stamina levels increase the effect will tend to converge to 20% of the targets HP, but the difference remains quite significant at current non-tank Stamina levels. Also HoW range is calculated on the adjusted HP range, meaning that the effect isn't quite as bad as only a 60% effective HP pool. Vindication + HoW is certainly effective, esp. HoW, but no-where near as effective as an MS effect for instance.

Third, this change doesn't alter Paladin burst damage as the Vindication effect takes place after the damage causing the proc is calculated. Generally an Auto-attack + SoB proc will be for more (considerably more when crit) than the -HP effect, meaning that Vindication only matters when meaningful healing can occur. Given that the greatest complaint with burst damage was gibbing within a GCD or two Vindications' impact is minimal. This is especially the case with no ranged attacks, which means that keeping the debuff up on more than one target is extremely difficult.

Latest tourney: RMP wins again. :rolleyes:

On the face of it Vindication was a quality talent for 2 points. It provides a trash debuff, minor DPS reduction and nerf to HP levels (much less of an impact on healing than say Mortal Strike). But the mechanics of it means that it's not nearly the panacea the critics believe it to be. It was useful for 2 points so low in the tree but only that. Ironically, this change means that the gibbing threshold for HoW is higher by 400-600 HP's. Not significant in a 1v1 vs a healer, bit potentially important when playing with an additional DPS or two.

Essentially, the nerf doesn't change any of the aspects of the spec which are most complained about (i.e. faceroll-win in 3v3 and 5v5) but do make it much harder in situations under which Ret was already struggling, i.e. 2v2 against Healers (esp. Druids). Talk about getting your nerfs ass-backwards.

The value of the talent is back to being marginal, probably only as a single point for the trash debuff. Unfortunately this now means that many of the so-called 'PvP talents' in Retribution (Vind., E4AE, SoC) are now lacklustre and of only marginal value vs putting those same points in straight DPS or Prot-utility talents.

Of course, we need a reality check here. This change, the HoF change and the E4AE/Ret Aura hotfixes combined don't mean the return of 'lol-Ret'. Far from it, with continued high burst Ret should still be doing well in the 3v3 and 5v5 brackets, though 2v2 against good healers will continue to be our Kryptonite. These continued nerfs are certainly demoralising, but the skill of yourself and your partners should still see you through. The problem however is that now many Paladins are wondering what's next - Pursuit of Justice is looking very juicy and Stoicism is the unheralded backbone of many PvP builds (Ret and Holy). With so many changes since 3.1 no-one would bet against another nerf before 3.2 hits.

Blizzard are aspiring to change Ret DPS mechanics in 3.2. Vindication would have been ideal in a world where Ret burst DPS has a much slower and more predictable build-up. Without Vindication the utility and viability of slow-wind melee DPS will be much lower, and it becomes more an more difficult to see just there Ret's overall PvPviability would be coming from.

Oh, and one final thing. Whilst were on the subject of Vindication and separate rules for PvE and PvP now being reflected in the tooltip isn't it about time we include 'Has no effect on raid or Boss mobs' in Vindications'?

  © Blogger template 'Ultimatum' by 2008

Back to TOP