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Paladin Changes: Alright Blizzard, maybe you WERE listening

April 14, 2010

Thank you, Nethaera. Finally, the changes are here. And even though it’s still rough and sketch, we have new tools! I’m aware that every Paladin blogger is probably going to go nuts over these changes and blog like crazy, but that’s not stopping me. I’ll just wait till after I wrote mine to read everyone elses!

New spells:

Blinding Shield (level 81): Causes damage and blinds all nearby targets. This effect might end up only damaging those facing the paladin’s shield, in a manner similar to Eadric the Pure’s ability Radiance in Trial of the Champion. The Holy tree will have a talent to increase the damage and critical strike chance, while the Protection tree will have a talent to make this spell instant cast. 2-second base cast time. Requires a shield.

This is a mainly Protection spell, although how they mention the Holy tree will have a talent to increase the damage and crit chance of it makes me think of a useful PvP/ soloing Holydin ability. Just how much damage it causes will affect the use of it, it could do minimal damage and be used primarily for the blind effect, or be used as a heavy hitting move. Seeing as Prot talents will make it instant and they don’t mention cooldowns, this could possibly be part of the 85 tanking rotation. Certainly will be part of Protection and Holy’s arsenal.

Healing Hands (level 83): Healing Hands is a new healing spell. The paladin radiates heals from him or herself, almost like a Healing Stream Totem. It has a short range, but a long enough duration that the paladin can cast other heals while Healing Hands remains active. 15-second cooldown. 6-second duration.

Hurray for new healing spells! I cannot say how excited I am to see how this will turn out. A short range in Blizzard’s eyes is generally anything from 5-10 yards. I can’t see it being as limited as 5 yards, otherwise Paladins are gonna get a reputation in Cataclysm as Huggerhealers or somesuch. I’d like it to be 10-15, preferably. This will work well with the Paladin as it is, having to judge repeatedly to maintain the haste buff, and meleeing things to regain mana if there’s no nasty AoE about. It’s also in line with the new concept of positioning spells in Cataclysm (see Healing Rain for Shamans, Smokebomb, Wall of Frost.) Again, depending on how powerful this is will affect its use. If it’s strong enough, it’ll be a godsend for movement fights – as soon as we need to uproot because of slime/gas/bad things, we can pop that on + use of Holy Shock. Here’s hoping it’s mana effective enough to be using it a fair amount.

Guardian of Ancient Kings (level 85): Summons a temporary guardian that looks like a winged creature of light armed with a sword. The visual is similar to that of the Resurrection spell used by the paladin in Warcraft III. The guardian has a different effect depending on the talent spec of the paladin. For Holy paladins, the guardian heals the most wounded ally in the area. For Protection paladins, the guardian absorbs some incoming damage. For Retribution paladins, it damages an enemy, similar to the death knight Gargoyle or the Nibelung staff. 3-minute cooldown. 30-second duration (this might vary depending on which guardian appears).

This, I’m wary about. It sounds awfully difficult to balance, unless 3 different specs summon 3 different creatures. (Managing all these abilities for one spawnable character and making it scale correctly with Ret AP, Holy SP, and Prot HP would be a nightmare). It does mention ‘which guardian appears,’ so I guess it will spawn 3 seperate ones. For a 3 minute cooldown, this looks like a once, at max twice a fight cooldown. And it lasts for approximately 30 seconds (still being worked on.) For holy, it heals the most wounded ally in the area. And then goes home? I hope it’ll carry on healing my companions on the lowest health for the full 30 seconds, spamming FoL on those who need it! For ret, I can easily imagine another Gargoyle or Nibelung Valkyr mob attacking with you. For Prot, I’m not sure how it would work to shield you, unless it follows you around for the 30 seconds and buffs you, or takes 10k damage for you then dies, or whatnot. It’s still so unclear!

•    Crusader Strike will be a core ability for all paladins, gained at level 1. We think the paladin leveling experience is hurt by not having an instant attack. Retribution will be getting a new talent in its place that either modifies Crusader Strike or replaces it completely.
•    Cleanse is being rebalanced to work with the new dispel system. It will dispel defensive magic (debuffs on friendly targets), diseases, and poisons.
•    Blessing of Might will provide the benefit of Wisdom as well. If you have two paladins in your group, one will do Kings on everyone and the other will do Might on everyone. There should be much less need, and ideally no need, to provide specific buffs to specific classes.
•    Holy Shock will be a core healing spell available to all paladins.

Wowza. Crusader strike change, this was predicted in the form of people saying ‘Certainly Paladins will get a new low level attack, because leveling a Paladin from 1-10 is a nightmare!’. I’m happy about this. It’ll give me more things to hit people with in Holy Arena anyway. Cleanse changes make sense. The BLESSINGS CHANGE! Blizzard, I godamn love you. I didn’t think ANYTHING could or indeed would be done about how godamn annoying it is to buff as a Paladin, but I have had my prayers answered. As for all Paladins getting Holy shock, meh. I’m not too pleased Ret and Prot get more healing potential, to be honest. I find it annoying enough that hybrids are as good as they are at keeping themselves alive through a set of healing spells that aren’t even boosted by talents. But we’ll see.

We want to ease off the defensive capabilities of Retribution and Holy paladins slightly. We think the powerful paladin defenses have been one of the things holding Retribution paladins back, especially in Arenas. One change we’re considering is lowering Divine Shield’s duration by a couple of seconds. Having said that, Retribution does pretty well in Battlegrounds, and Battlegrounds will be a much bigger focus in Cataclysm since they can provide the best PvP rewards. Furthermore, the healing environment of Cataclysm is going to be different such that a paladin may not be able to fully heal themselves during the duration of Divine Shield to begin with, so this may not be a problem.

Um. Eep. Any shorter and we won’t be able to squeeze in a hearthstone cast time. I hope they don’t go ahead with this! They sound very uncertain.

We want to increase the duration of Sacred Shield to 30 minutes and keep the limit to one target. The intention is that the paladin can use it on their main healing target. That said, we would like to improve the Holy paladin toolbox and niche so that they don’t feel quite like the obvious choice for tank healing while perceived as a weak group healer.

Yes, yes, yes. I hoped they’d do something with Sacred shield. Here it is. I keep Sacred shield on the tank I don’t beacon, and spam heal the Sacred shielded one. That’s what I do to heal two tanks. It works well! And here, now I won’t have to refresh it every minute now! *dance*

We want to add to the Holy tree a nice big heal to correspond with Greater Heal. Flash of Light remains the expensive, fast heal and Holy Light is the go-to heal that has average efficiency and throughput. Beacon of Light will be changed to work with Flash of Light. We like the ability, but want paladins to use it intelligently and not be constantly healing for twice as much.

Ye– what!? Just with Flash of Light??? Please tell me that’s not what that means! That’s not good at all. The sound of an even bigger massive heal is good, but at the cost of losing all our healing spells running through Beacon? Beacon has become the central theme of Paladin healing in wrath, don’t limit it…

•    Holy paladins will use spirit as their mana regeneration stat.
•    Protection paladins need a different rotation between single-target and multi-target tanking. Likewise, we’re looking to add the necessity to use an additional cooldown in each rotation.
•    Holy Shield will no longer have charges. It will be designed to improve block chance while active, and will continue to provide a small amount of damage and threat.

Yeah, yeah, Protection Pallies do need a bit more spice. And Spirit. Woo. I’ll feel like a noob with spirit on my gear.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Holy
•    Healing
•    Meditation
•    Critical Healing Effect
Meditation: This is the spirit-to-mana conversion that the priest, druid, and shaman healers also share.
Critical Healing Effect: When the paladin gets a crit on a heal, it will heal for more.

Protection
•    Damage Reduction
•    Vengeance
•    Block Amount
Vengeance: This is the damage-received-to-attack-power conversion that all tanks share.
Block Amount: We want to keep the kit of the paladin as a tank who blocks a lot. So by contrast, the warrior tank will sometimes get critical blocks, but the paladin will absorb more damage with normal blocks.

Retribution
•    Melee Damage
•    Melee Critical Damage
•    Holy Damage
Holy Damage: Any attack that does Holy damage will have its damage increased.

This sounds fairly standard. Holy’s mastery isn’t massively interesting, but it’s useful. Protection gets more damage absorbing from blocks, as their current Holy Shield model works well with. Ret is even more standard, a flat damage increase. Maybe they’ll spice these things up more in the beta.

Overall

I’m pleased. We’re getting enough tools in our arsenal to bring us up into the same ranges as Resto Druids and Shamans. No-one will ever have as many tools as the Priest, but the new abilities don’t sound a complete cop out. I’m extremely concerned about the Beacon changes, and I’d really rather that didn’t go ahead… but so much will be changing in Cataclysm that I’ll just get used to it all at once. The good news is: I’m sticking to you Zalduun. For the Light!

-Zal

PS. I’ll quote myself, because that was a speedily typed reaction to reading the changes post. “Fret ye not, ye worriers. I bet a lot of this will be overhauled anyway.” Didn’t stop me picking it apart though. The panic is over, now the wait begins.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2010 5:09 pm

    You know, I might be making a new Tauren Paladin in the expansion. I am looking forward to being able to make a Holy Cow.

  2. Afrikiism permalink
    April 15, 2010 3:09 am

    Tauren Paladin, fair enough. Tauren Paladin in the Alliance T9 gear? 😛

    All pretty standard changes. I’m particularly happy about the blessing improvement, & can’t wait to see how the Guardian turns out.

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