Monday, August 16, 2010

Quick Note on LAotL's Effectiveness: Not Quite Zeno's Paradox, But Close

Long Arm of the Law, Retributions new Talented Gap-Closer, was revealed on Friday and has already excited a lot of comment. Whilst many have hailed the chance at finally dealing with kiters, those with a more critical eye have analysed the talent and found it somewhat wanting.

UPDATE: Since posting this thread GC has responded to a query by Hofflerand on this topic:

We generally don't stack movement speed increases and PoJ explicitly says that it doesn't stack, but the 30% is a very conservative number so we left ourselves room to bring that up. It's 45% in our current builds.

Even if they don't stack, I think PoJ will be useful in a variety of situations and won't feel like a wasted talent.

Is this a meaningful Gap Closer?

Calling something a Gap Closer is somewhat overblown if the gap it closes is insignificant. Thankfully it's fairly easy to assess the numerical effectiveness of the talent for PvP and PvE:

  • Default Run speed is 7 yards per second (Source)
  • Most Players in PvP will utilise a minor run speed enchant for 8% increased run speed
  • Most Retribution Paladins will take the Pursuit of Justice talent for 15% increased run speed.
  • Long Arm of the Law increases run speed by 30% for 4 seconds

  • This implies:

  • In the duration of the LAotL buff (4 seconds) a PvP equipped enemy will run 30.24 yards.
  • A Paladin with PoJ will run 32.2 yards.
  • A Paladin with the Buff will run 36.4 yards.

  • The gross gap closed by a Paladin in an average PvP situation is 6.16 yards in this 4 second duration, which means that the net gap closed purely by the Long Arm buff is 4.2 yards. Note that at best this buff has a 10 second cooldown.

    The minimum range at which Long Arm can be used is 15 yards. Presupposing optimal conditions, at the end of the buff duration the Paladin will still be 8.84 yards away (~4 yards out of melee range) and it would take another 6 seconds to get into melee range. Most accomplished players of classes that can kite should easily be able to land another snare on the Paladin within that time frame. On the other hand it will reduces the time of getting an enemy into the range of a Hammer of Justice, which would be helpful when coupled with a cooldown reduction on this latter ability.

    In this regard therefore, Long Arm of the Law is most effective when dealing with escaping classes that have no Sprint/Ranged Snare/Inst. CC of their own, i.e. Warriors, the class which Retribution is already best equipped to deal. Against classes with easily apply-able snares (Hunter, Mage, DK) Long Arm has limited use, especially when Hand of Freedom is on cooldown. In essence, Long Arm doesn't make the class any less kiteable in of itself.

    Is Long Arm of the Law Reliable?

    A major change for all Paladins in Cataclysm is the removal of buff protections such as Stoicism (30% reduced chance that your magical buffs and debuffs will be dispelled), leaving crucial abilities like Hand of Freedom and Justice significantly more vulnerable to dispel effects. The crucial question was whether or not Long Arm would be a magical effect, and thus dispellable. Unfortunately it is dispellable, and to have crucial PvP abilities neutered by simple class abilities with no cooldown or effective cost bar a GCD feels like bad design. As a consequence of minimum range Ret Paladins will also have to utilise a range finder add-on to guard against using a Judgement in the dead-zone.

    Should you take the talent?

    In PvE the talent should be a fairly significant buff as outlined in the previous post. Even without the talent a 30 yard range Judgement has pretty significant implications when it comes to encounters with lots of mobility and target switching.

    The jury is still out in PvP. Whilst any movement speed boost is nice it has to be weighed against the additional DPS or utility talents you would otherwise spend the talent points on. On the other hand, more proficient Paladins will utilise Judgement focus or mouseover macros against tertiary targets to close the gap on their main target. The game will definitely be harder in Arena and Battlegrounds for Ret because of the changes already on the cards, and LAotL does little to really address underlying weaknesses in the class against the most basic mechanics.

    It feels a little churlish to complain about a movement speed buff but in my opinion it still needs work before it's really ready for primetime. Until then, it should be no surprise to anyone that Engineering will remain the de facto PvP profession.


    Antigen 16/08/2010, 17:06  

    Is your math presupposing the fact that, when Judged, an enemy player will only run at default run speed due to Judgement of Justice being intertwined with the other two? Or has something changed / I'm just not looking hard enough?

    Suicidal Zebra 16/08/2010, 17:20  

    The math is based on chasing a player with the minor run speed enchant, who will run at 108% of normal speed. This boot enchant is typical of most PvP players who don't have a talent spec for passive run speed increases.

    Also note that in 4.0 Judgement no long limits run speed. This effect is now tied to a proc from Seal of Justice.

    Daraxis 25/08/2010, 02:57  

    Just an FYI regarding your assumptions: Judgment has a base cooldown of 8s on beta at the moment.

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