Thursday, October 08, 2009

Patch 3.3: Cementing The Raid-Wall, Fixing Divine Sacrifice.

The Patch notes have just been updated and finally we have some detail for Paladin changes in 3.3. It looks like the idea of a raid-wide Shield Wall is going to be formalised and tested following a rejigging of Divine Sacrifice and Guardian.


  • Divine Guardian: This talent no longer increases the amount of damage transferred to the paladin from Divine Sacrifice. Instead it causes all raid and party members to take 10/20% reduced damage while Divine Sacrifice is active.

  • Divine Sacrifice: Redesigned. The effect of Divine Sacrifice is now party-only and the maximum damage which can be transferred is now limited to 40% of the paladin’s health multiplied by the number of party members. In addition, the damage transferred to the paladin is now reduced by 50% before being applied to the paladin. Finally, the bug which allowed Divine Sacrifice to sometimes persist despite reaching its maximum damage has been fixed. Divine Sacrifice will now cancel as soon as its maximum damage value is exceeded in all cases.

  • Okay, this is going to take a little unpacking to explain.


    Divine Sacrifice redirects 30% (40 with Divine Guardian) from each raid member to the Paladin. This should continue until 150% of the Paladin's Max HP have been transferred. Sometimes however, most notably when Divine Shield is active, the Paladin takes no damage and the Divine Sacrifice buff appears to persist for much longer than expected (usually the full duration of Divine Shield). This effectively shields the Raid for 30% (40% when talented) of all incoming damage (hence 'Raid-Wall'), immensely useful for certain hard-modes. It's pretty much always been recognised as a bug, and a powerful one at that, but silence from Blizzard made assessing the intended functionality impossible.

    Note that you only need to invest 11pts in Protection to gain this Raid-Wall.

    In 3.3:

    Divine Sacrifice only applies to 'Party' members (not raid-wide). It transfers 30% of damage taken by Party members. The damage redirection is limited to 40% x # of Party members, i.e 200% of the Paladin's maximum health when in a full party. As the Paladin will only take 50% of the damage redirected, and damage is only redirected Party-wide, the chances of insta-gib are significantly reduced.

    Generally, 3.3's DSac will be similar to 3.2's except that it's Party-wide and correctly limited by the Paladin's health.

    Divine Guardian will be a true 20% Raid-Wall, but should function in a much more predictable manner. Extending the duration of Divine Sacrifice by minimising the damage your Party-members are taking will be key to the proper use of this ability - for a 28k HP raid-buffed Paladin to retain a 10sec duration his party members would have to be taking only 4.6k DPS (after modifiers) on average. Not very much, but the raid-wide 20% damage reduction will help.

    The Paladin using Divine Sacrifice+Guardian should not be in the same party as the Main Tank.

    No clue if this ability will stack when multiple Paladins use it at the same time (probably not), nor any idea if you will have full DSac duration if all your party members are immune to all damage (gogo 5-Paladin parties).


    A broken wall is still a wall. Ish.

    I'm loath to call what has to be a bug-fix a nerf, but it is. To get a Raid-Wall (i.e. Divine Guardian) you need to invest 17pts in Protection which necessitates the omission of potent DPS increasing or healing talents. Except in very specific fights taking Divine Guardian will probably be a Ret Paladin no-go. For Tanks, the use of DSac in concert with Divine Shield shouldn't be required any longer, so no dropped aggro, but it still greatly increases incoming damage. It's probably not something that a tanking Protection Paladin would be able to use because of the substantial increase in damage taken in any situation where you actually want to use it.

    I like the redesign in general, and had it been a part of 3.1 I'd have bitten Blizzard's hand off. However 17 pts is probably too deep for a DPS or Healing spec, and instead putting both DSac and DG in Tier 3 (requiring a total investment of 13pts) would be a better idea IMO.

    What are your thoughts?

    Image taken from Flickr Creative Commons group


    Will Armstrong IV 08/10/2009, 06:38  

    I think putting a talent into the tanking tree that no main-tanking paladin would want is a step backwards to the days when Prot Paladins were only useful for AoEing trash and off-tanking for Warriors.

    I say, make Divine Sacrifice baseline, as a utility tool for grouping or questing to help soften damage, and make Divine Guardian a low tier Prot ability. It's still defensive oriented, but clearly not for main tanking.

    Honestly, I've never seen the point of Divine Sacrifice. But then again, I main tank or I don't tank at all. That's not ego, that's a Paladin who's earned his tanking stripes refusing to step aside for a class that's had it half as hard as mine.

    Unknown 08/10/2009, 06:42  

    > The Paladin using Divine Sacrifice+Guardian should not be in the same party as the Main Tank

    ...In fact, one of the first comments I saw about this was "OK, put the paladin in group 6 by himself."

    Klepsacovic 08/10/2009, 16:09  

    What if the paladin was in the MT group? Throw this up and reduce some damage, redirect some damage. Will he die from the MT's damage? Perhaps. But what if someone else put sacrifice on him, would that redirect enough damage to make it survivable?

    Dorgol 08/10/2009, 16:24  

    I've had Divine Sacrifice in my Holy build since it was added.

    I use this skill in several fights: XT's Tantrums, Hodir Frozen Blows, transition from Phase 2 to 3on Yogg, beginning of phase 3 on Anub.

    I'm wondering if a 20% damage reduction will be enough to count as a "tank CD", though. If I'm in the tank's group I get a bigger damage reduction, but it won't last as long.

    Also, while 17 points in Protection can hurt Retribution Paladins, 17 points for my Holy Paladin is a non-issue. I lose out on 8% crit, but I'm already over 50% crit when buffed.

    Anonymous 08/10/2009, 18:46  

    I have 19 points in Prot. This does not hurt my build at all. I have long since ditched the holy/ret build for greener pastures.

    Go to:

    for a good discussion on these potential changes. This looks to actually be a positive change, though we lose a huge mitigation tool, we gain some other potential positive changes.

    Suicidal Zebra 08/10/2009, 19:06  

    @ Jacob: Heh, very good point.

    @ Klep: The approach I've been taking is to look at Divine Sacrifice+Divine Guardian as a raid-wide mitigation cooldown. Under that assumption, you want the Divine Sacrifice buff to last as long as possible so the 20% DR lasts for as long as possible.

    However, you can look at things from the other direction, Divine Sacrifice could be treated as a 2 min cooldown for your Party's tank. 30% damage redirection probably won't gib you instantly and the damage you take is limited to 100% of your max health, so minimal healing should see you through it. The tank then gets 20% Damage Reduction (if you've been able to spec for DG) and a further 30% redirection. Even with Divine Sacrifice alone, the tank can have ~56k damage mitigated.

    @ Anonymous

    Thanks for the link, and the Healer PoV. I'm still somewhat stuck in the pre-3.2 mindset wrt Holy builds, so it's good to see that at least one role can get a use out of the talent.

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