Paladin Changes: First Impressions

In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm we’ll be making several changes to class talents and abilities across the board. While this list only outlines some of our plans for the paladin class, we want to give you a look at the new high-level abilities and an overview of how the new Mastery system will work with each talent spec.

New Paladin 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.

No effect here for ret, though maybe a little bit of a dps boost for holy?

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.

FINALLY!  An AoE heal for pallies..  A True AOE Heal.  Never mind the fact that we are esentially becoming a freaking TOTEM, just embrace what we get.

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).

Alright, so first off, I want to say, that Ret has been needing a button to press for a while.  I mean, think about it.  Ret is always striving for 100% DPs.  There is no choice, like with Mages.  We dont have nukes we hold off on.  We just DPS.

And for burn phases, we hit our wings, if you are lucky a trinket or a speed pot, and…  we continue to DPS.  We need something that is more of a “decision making”  I don’t think this is it.  But it is a recognition of the fact that we just need something else to do.

Next you will find a list of some of the paladin spell and ability changes, followed by our intentions for improving each talent tree for the release of Cataclysm. There will be further changes, but those revealed below should offer some insight into our goals.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

• 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.

Leveling a paladin at low levels is not fun.  There is nothing to really do.  Judge and……  auto attack.  Auto attack a lot.  Its mind numbing.  This will hopefully help, AND make the process faster.

• 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.

Ohh GOD YES!  Simplify the pally buff boss.  Thank GOD.

• Holy Shock will be a core healing spell available to all paladins.

Interesting.  Didnt expect this one, but interesting.  Will it remain instant cast?

New Talents and Talent Changes

• 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.

Nothing here we dont already know, or have expected for some time.

• We feel Retribution paladins need one more mechanic which involves some risk of the player pushing the wrong button, making the rotation a bit less forgiving. In addition, we want to add to this spec more PvP utility. Right now the successes of the Retribution paladin in PvP seem to be reduced to either doing decent burst damage, or just being good at staying alive.

Depth of play.  That is all I am asking for.  If I give you cookies, will you put chocolate chips in them?

• 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.

How they are going to make it so that we dont SS the tank is going to be beyond me.  Hmmm…

• 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.

OK, I am confused.  I thought HL WAS the big heal.  And from design intent of the past, we were pretty much designed to spam FoL (being the super efficient one, HL being the mana waster).  Are we changing that?  Going with the standard “three heal system?” that all healers are getting – fast & costly, normal, Big and REALLY costly?   What about our Shock?  Wouldnt that be our “Fast&Costly” – because it is right now.  I think we ALREADY have that granularity that is present, it just needs to be tweaked.

Beacon.  Dont give us Baconhax and take it away from us.  If beacon is going to work with FoL only, then why, why, WHY turn FoL into the inefficent heal.  Its counter-intuative.  You gave us beacon because we couldnt heal a group well.  Like… Not at all.   So we embrace it, and make it work for us, even though it truly was NOT what we needed.  Then, you make it work ONLY with the “fast and inefficent” heal.   Don’t give us granularity, then artificially force us into a spot where mana is going to be burning off us.  I think the intent here is to force us to use the other heals in our healbox.  And that is fine.  But dont cripple our group healing to do 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.
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Critical Healing Effect

Damage Reduction
Block Amount

Melee Damage
Melee Critical Damage
Holy Damage

Meditation: This is the spirit-to-mana conversion that the priest, druid, and shaman healers also share.
Vengeance: This is the damage-received-to-attack-power conversion that all tanks share.
Critical Healing Effect: When the paladin gets a crit on a heal, it will heal for more.

Umm.. So super crit?

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.
Holy Damage: Any attack that does Holy damage will have its damage increased.

Double edged sword here folks.  On one hand we have the blessing that we are not going to have the original mastery, decreased cooldowns.  Thank the lord.

On the other hand this is extremely boring.  Like, mind numbing.  I was hoping this is where they would add depth into the ret playstyle, something like arcane mages are getting.   but it appears they are going the safe route.  But I am not even sure this is a safe route.

Holy damage is our finisher.  I can easily see our finisher getting nerfed hard as mastery levels get higher.

Secondly, more than half of our dps comes from holy.  And that is a problem because THERE IS NO RESISTANCE TO IT.  Again, I see the nerfbat being lined up already.

This concludes this Cataclysm preview for the paladin class. The development of these changes will continue to evolve in the coming months. Please be sure to provide any feedback and thoughts you might have on what was covered here.

AND… Cut.  Really light on details, just like they said it would be.  Hopefully we get a clarification Q&A like other classes, but I have my doubts.  No REAL details on ret.  Which saddens me, because out of all the classes and specs, I think this is the one that they are going to end up revamping the most, they have alluded to it before.

*sigh* just another day in the life of a lolret, right?

3 Responses to “Paladin Changes: First Impressions”
  1. zelmaru says:

    Re: AOE heal. SPLOITS!!! Pallies can AOE heal with a freakin GCD every 15 seconds and do other heals at the same time. SPLOITS!!! (Ignore wild growth, this is about pally sploits!)

    • Firespirit says:

      LOL, too funny Zel. Yeah, I can see where this might be a bit… OP. But, as with everything, we are just going to have to wait and see what happens.

  2. Vespers says:

    I think the intent for the Bacon changes is to make pallies still able to group-heal, but possibly take away the ability to heal two tanks simultaneously, because admittedly that was a touch ridiculous.

    The pally-as-totem thing is interesting, making pallies more likeky to end up healing from melee possibly? It makes sense for the platey to be up there, y’know.

    And yeah, I really hope they give us more for ret. I love my ret, I hope they make it a bit more interesting to play, hopefully without taking away too many of the tools that I currently use while dpsing so I have something else to do.

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