Paladin PTR Changes Analyzed
Many changes are in the works for the Paladin class, some good, some less good, and some are just changes. Let's not get too worked up since these are just getting ready to go to the PTR, but itˇs always smart to keep your eye on the horizon.
Let's break down the latest PTR notes as shown in the forum announcements and how they are going to affect the best class in the game (Paladins in case you forgot):
* Blessing of Sanctuary: This blessing now also increases stamina by 10%. This effect is not cumulative with Blessing of Kings.
Good for those of us running as single Paladins in a 10-man, semi-pointless for the 25-man runs.
* Charger: Can now be learned at level 40.
As expected, this concurs with the previously announced mount changes.
* Exorcism: Now has a 1.5 second cast time, but can once again be used on players.
This is going to be an interesting change. Since 99% of my time is in PvE, this will make the spell almost useless to me. I'm not sure I'd wait that long to cast on an enemy in PvP either.
* 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.
Making sure to keep this as taunt and not a damage spell, it appears that Blizzard is reworking this into a decent threat generator with more punch.
* 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.
This will reduce the potential for an uber Paladin to boost lower geared players by letting them leech off superior spell power. On the flipside, it also means that the gear of the Paladin won't gimp the spell - better geared party members can now get more potentially.
* 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.
Without doing the math, this looks like a reduction in main tank effectiveness - meaning that the armor increase provided more benefit than this reduction in damage. This will require testing to really understand the mechanic changes.
* 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.
Not a huge change, as this has convenience written all over it. The mana costs were pretty heavy when trying to rebuff a whole raid, but it was just a few seconds of drinking. This almost turns RF into an Aura.
* 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.
This could be nice. I see quite a few more FoLs being cast! There are some questions though. What happens when a second Paladin casts FoL on that target, does the target get another HOT? As a tank, can I cast SS on myself and get loaded up by other Paladins? Of course that assumes the buff lasts long enough (it seems to get wiped off pretty fast in tanking conditions).
* Seal of Blood: This ability has been removed.
* Seal of the Martyr: This ability has been removed.
Interesting. Seems like a pretty substantial nerf to Retribution DPS, but letˇs see what theyˇve done with Seal of Command. It was tough when I got caught using these in PvP and killed myself.
* 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.
More damage is good, but how will it work? What happens at less than 5 stacks? This needs some evaluation on the PTR.
* Shield of Righteousness: Now deals 100% of shield block value as damage instead of 130%.
While this looks like a substantial downgrade, the overall game effect should go up due to changes in Block Value:
Block Value: The amount of bonus block value on all items has been doubled. This does not affect the base block value on shields or block value derived from strength.
On-Use Block Value Items: All items and set bonuses that trigger temporary increases to block value have been modified. Instead of increasing their block value amount by 100% like other items, they have all had their effect durations doubled. This applies to Glyph of Deflection, Gnomeregan Autoblocker, Coren's Lucky Coin, Lavanthor's Talisman, Libram of Obstruction, Tome of the Lightbringer, Libram of the Sacred Shield, the tier 8 paladin Shield of Righteousness bonus, the tier 5 paladin Holy Shield bonus, and the tier 5 warrior Shield Block bonus.
There is some debate on the overall impact since there is little gear with Shield Block Value as a stat. This will require some testing.
* Warhorse: Can now be learned at level 20.
Mounts are good. Mostly-free mounts at lower levels is great.
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.
Will overhealing become the new chain heal? This appears to be a nice add to the effectiveness of the spell, we'll see how it plays and watch for more changes.
Divine Intellect: This talent now gives 2/4/6/8/10% increased intellect instead of 3/6/9/12/15%.
Looks like a downgrade (duh?). Lower mana pools just ahead, no diving.
Illumination: This talent now returns 30% of the mana cost of the spell instead of 60%.
Another downgrade in the works. Look for less mana returning to the lower mana pools described above. Not a huge nerf, but Blizzard wants mana to matter, so this is what we get.
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.
Let's see...Guardian Spirit-like with some Will of the Necropolis (a la Death Knight) thrown in and we've got ourselves a pretty good death avoidance ability. Watch this one for changes as it gets tested.
Art of War: Now only applies to melee critical hits, but will make your next Flash of Light or Exorcism instant.
No more magic crits to help out, but reducing both cast times for FoL and Exorcism (and it's new 1.5 second cast time) to instant is nice.
Crusader Strike: Damage reduced to 75% weapon damage to match the new 4 second cooldown.
Less damage, but more strikes. Buff or nerf, your mileage may vary.
Seal of Command: Redesigned. This seal now deals 36% weapon damage on every swing, and deals substantially less judgement damage.
Without Seal of Blood/Martyr, this will probably be the Retribution Seal of Choice.
Vindication: Redesigned. Now lowers target attack power, is consistent and does not stack with Demoralizing Shout.
In the continuing trend of "Bring the Player not the Class" Paladins will now be able to cast Demoralizing Roar/Shout, leaving the Druids/Warriors to increase health or use other options.
As stated earlier, these changes are being uploaded to the Public Test Realm, not the live servers, so donˇt have a Tauren (cow) if the changes arenˇt to your liking. There are sure to be changes to these changes so watch these pages for updates.