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'?