The Light Fades for Protection

Good morning everyone…

Lots of new news coming out now that Patch 4.1 has made its way to the PTR….

What?… you wonder where I’ve been?  I kind of expected that. Anyway, I’ve been really busy with some RL changes, most of them keeping me from really getting onto WoW much.  But that’s changed a bit, and I’ve gotten a little more time on my hands, and my workload has shifted at work.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand.  Looks like there will be a few changes to the Paladin with this new patch.  here’s a quick outline.

Paladin

Word of Glory: We hope Retribution and Protection Paladins occasionally do the right healing to others, but as we know Paladins sometimes feel that Holy Power is only for the healing. We rather like these specs use more Holy Power on damage abilities, and occasionally heal.

Holy

  • Divine Light now costs 30% of base mana, down from 33%.
  • Flash of Light now costs 27% of base mana, down from 30%.
  • Walk in the Light (Mastery) now removes the cooldown on your Word of Glory.
  • Word of Glory now has a 20 sec cooldown.
  • Aura Mastery now improves the effect of Devotion Aura, Resistance Aura, and Retribution Aura instead of all auras.
  • Conviction now procs from non-periodic spells.

Protection

  • Divine Guardian now has a 3 min cooldown, up from 2 min.

Retribution

  • Divine Storm now grants a charge of Holy Power if it hits 4 or more targets.
  • Sacred Shield now cannot occur more than once every 60 sec, up from 30 sec.

Well, as the title states, it looks like some of the Light is fading for Protection.  What I mean by this is the change in Word of Glory.  At the moment, it has become a practice among some Paladin tanks in raid environments to use WoG each time you have 3 Holy Power.  This saves a bit of mana for the healers, and provides a nice little buffer. With this new change, Paladins are now forced to use Shield of the Righteous or Inquisition. I have yet to follow the WoG spam method, but I’m also not raiding yet.  Time is still a little restrictive.  But do see how it could be a boon for healers.  I myself have moved towards using the more damaging Holy Power dumps in dungeons, in fact here’s how I usually work the rotation, boss tactics especially.

  •  
    • Avenger’s Shield > Divine Plea (3 Holy Power) > Shield of the Righetousness
    • This is then followed by: Judgement > CS > Avenger’s Shield (if off cooldown) > CS > Holy Wrath > CS > Inquisition > Judgement > etc. etc.

Following this method, I’ve been able to keep threat, as well as increase my damage after the initial threat build. using Inquisition as my second HP dump, has been a way for me to increase that outgoing damage, gaining a nice little buffer, where I can then move to WoG as the HP dump.  But instead of using WoG each time I have 3 HP, I would instead spread it out: WoG > Inq. > ShotR > WoG > Inq. > ShotR

Of course this is situational, as sometimes ther eis a need to burn down the target, and in those cases, i would often use ShotR on each 3HP cooldown.  Something I’ve come to love about the abilities linked with HP.

Some may be asking “What about Holy?” Well, the Walking in the Light mastery has fixed that by removing the 20 sec cooldown, allowing Holy Pallies to continue with their normal usage of WoG, as it is very unlikely that they’ll need a DPS increase while healing.

I have also noticed that the healing costs are still being tweaked and twisted.  I was a bit set back by the initial nerf to the cost, but do see that Blizz recognizes this too.

I am sad that Aura Mastery does not work for Crusader Aura, but had already gotten used to that. Though I’m unsure why Consentration Aura was removed. I guess it is due to the fact that CA is already being modified by the Aura Mastery spell itself, but time will tell.

Lastly is changes to Conviction. As there aren’t that many HoTs, it doesn’t really affect us a lot, outside of the fact that Holy Radiance does not proc it.  As I’ve said, I’ve yet to do any raids yet, so am not totally sure how it is going to affect healing.

The last change is Divine Storm now working almost like Hammer of the Righteous and providing a charge  if Holy Power if the attack hits more than 3 targets. This is a nice change, as when I was specc’d as Retribution it almost didn’t feel necessary to use Divine Storm at all, with the nice damage of Templar’s Verdict. I have yet to experiment with the Sacred Shield change, since I haven’t even experienced it before (Have been Holy/Prot since about 81).

Anyway, with all the other changes including the return of Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub as heroic 5 mans and the introduction of the Firelands raid, 4.1 looks to be an interesting patch.

Light be with you.

The Long Word :: 10/22/2010

Well, here’s my first shot at my weekly post called “The Long Word”.  Interestingly, I’ll probably be hitting both Holy AND Retribution this time.  In fact, probably hit Retribution a little more, since I’ve had a chance to play it lately.

The Long Word

The Long Word

But first, some general news:

ANZUUUUUUU!!!!
According to what I’ve read as of late, it appears that Anzu the Raven Lord is now a regular spawned boss in Sethekk Halls (Heroic of course). I overheard this while wandering through Dalaran and wanted to be sure. So I looked it up, and sure enough, he is.  So, I made my way on down to Shattrath (Oh I miss that place), and darted over to Auchidoun. Entering Sethekk Halls, I was wondering how difficult this would be, and began making my way through. It was easy as pie…. or so I thought.  Turns out after the patch was pushed, my default 5man setting was still on regular… *sigh* So I just cleaned the place up (Lower City rep is still on my list anyway), and popped out and hopped in on Heroic.  Upon entering, I saw the status text about the Eagle Hawk and Owl spirits returning to their stones, meaning that yes Anzu was there.

Anzu the Raven Lord

Anzu the Raven Lord

Started clearing through, easy enough, takes a little bit to take out groups as ret, but doable with the right CC.  But suddenly I hit a brick wall. Sethekk Ravengers…. these guys come in pairs, just like the normal doorway guards, but attack with such a vengence that it is hard to keep the HP up and still get damage out. I was sitting on about 30k HP in my ret set (both PvP and PvE), and they were eating through it like crazy. Sadly though, I couldn’t use Repentance, as they are Immune to it. So wipes were had, and cooldowns were blown, and eventually I was able to burn through the 3 or 4 sets of these guys and make my way to Anzu himself.  Fortunately, his room is empty, allowing me to get straight at him.

The fight is easy enough. Just start pouring on the pain, using Word of Glory if your life get’s about a quarter of the way down, using the other spots where your Holy Power is full to slap him with a hard hitting Templar’s Verdict. Then he’ll toss up a shield mitigating all damage, and starts summoning a ring of ravens to attack you.  They’re pretty easy, after you clear yourself of his initial stomp (he stuns you as soon as the birds are attackable). Just top yourself off, and start using your Holy Power points on Divine Storm and tossing a few Holy Wraths to burn the adds down. Once they’re gone, it’s back on Anzu, and pouring on more damage.  If you’re lucky he should only summon one more group of adds.  At least in my case, I was able to burn him down enough to take him out before anymore.  Unfortunately, the mount did not drop, though it has been confirmed that it does, in fact, still drop.

So, get your tails out there and have some fun in a nice “new classic” instance and have a chance at a really nice looking mount.

Speaking of mounts, be sure to hit Zul’Gurub every few days to be sure that you have a chance at the Zulian Tiger and Zulian Raptor before Zul’Gurub get’s flushed into the Great Sea.

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The Long Word

Good afternoon folks…

I’ve decided that I’m going to start changing up my format.  As you can tell, I have not been able to post much as of late, partly because I’m busy, and partly because there hasn’t been a whole lot to go into until lately. So, I’m going to start doing a weekly post (much like Tuesday with Tarinae) called “The Long Word”.  It’ll be a mixed bag of Retribution, Protection, and of course Holy info as it comes in throughout the week.  I may even throw in a few little extras from my alt’s classes, etc.

Word of Glory

The Long Word

I’ll probably begin this either Friday or maybe next week, we’ll see how the schedule goes.  I hope you all will like this new format, as it’s a bit easier for me to handle, and get out to you all. (Don’t worry, I’ll have a much better banner than just the Word of Glory icon :P)

Until next time, Light be with you.

The First cracks appear

Well, like I promised, with the new patch out, and the impending Cataclysm coming December 7th, I’ll likely be posting a bit more again.  And so, here I am :)

First up, let me say, the new UI changes are nice, I really like the new spellbook and talent tree setup.  It took a little getting used to, and took some time to iron out my talent choices, but since the servers were halfway stable last night, I hopped on to set up my specs on my paladin.

Sadly, this blog’s namesake, “Illumination”, no longer exists *sigh*. Oh well, probably won’t change the name though. Anyway, back to the subject at hand.

Patch 4.0.1 brings in a plethora of changes. Outside of the entire talent tree revamp, we also now have access to Reforging, Mastery, a handful of new spells and to top it all off a new resource system for us Paladins. My fellow blogger over at A Healadin’s Tear has done a great job of descibing how each of these work, so I won’t reinvent the wheel, I will however comment some on what I think of the change.

I ended up with a slightly different 32/2/2 build, taking advantage of some of the new Holy Power generating abilities, and getting more out of Holy Shock since it will be a very important spell now.

This post will pretty much be a quick intro to a more detailed one tomorrow (I don’t have any screenshots, and can’t really show you the choices I made).

But, 4.0.1 has begun to crack open the potential of the next expansion.  I hope to help with some of the transition in the coming posts.  Until then, I will see you in the new world.

Seeing the Forest through the Trees

Good morning fellow Paladins… and the others :)

I’m here today to take a look at some of the Cataclysm Paladin Talents, and what should/could and shouldn’t be chosen, based on your role. Yes, I’ve decided to dive into it for just a little while, as I’m sure that the talent trees will change (in fact it was just stated through MMO-Champion that the next build would likely change the Holy tree *sigh*).

Welcome to the ever changing world of Cataclysm

Welcome to the ever changing world of Cataclysm

This will likely be a LONG post, as I’m going to try to include each and every talent in here.  It’s as up to date as I can get, though I’m sure it’s to change as mentioned earlier. So, prepare for some information overload, as there is a lot to come.

So, without further ado, here is what I’ve come up with for us Holy types.

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Naming Conventions and Updates

Hi all, I’m still here, and have a little bit more information for the paladin class. First up being the official GUI update for Holy Power.  it looks like a little bronze dog tag hanging below your player portrait. It provides you with a visual of how many charges of Holy Power you have. Another change were some naming changes for spells such as Healing Hands.  Now known as Holy Radiance, it makes me feel much less pervy if I had to use it.

Holy Power

Holy Power GUI change.

Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of things that I can test, because I am still yet to be in the beta :(  The major thing that I want to test is the new Masteries. With the removal of Sacred Shield, several folks wondered what was going to take its place.

Basically the Holy Paladin Mastery will be doing that.  Each heal that you provide will be creating a “Divine Shield” and providing a mini version of the Sacred Shield based on the strength of the heal used. This is a really interesting addition, and in a way gives me a sense of Discipline Priest bubbling, except it’s happening automatically. Currently there is a bug that is replacing the shield with the next spell’s shield, no matter if it is less powerful or not. An example being, you cast a Divine Light that crits; this would put a substantial shield on the target. However, if you happen to have Holy Radiance running, it’s heals will overwrite the shield with its own shield, based on the power of the spell. This has been noted though, and marked as a bug.

There is a ton more that has been updated, in fact more that I’d be able to put into this post… yay for a busy RL.   But, I will begin breaking out some of these changes in future posts.

In other news, I went back Ret… yup, again.  I was actually on with some friends and we ran Heroic Halls of Reflection, and simply didn’t have the DPS to complete the final walk.  So, I hearthed out, and respec’d real quick into ret and grabbed my gear.  Needless to say, I actually hit near 5k dps and was able to help my buddies get the achievement for that run. Seeing that damage kind of excited me, so I decided to keep it and see how often I’d have a chance to get some instances in.  After a few runs, and also tweaking my gear to meet the hit cap, and maximize strength, I decided that it would be fun to continue this offspec… again.

Well, the next day, I was asked by a friend if I still had my tank gear.  Of course, I said yes, and ended up respecing AGAIN to go tank a couple of bosses in ICC. What sucked though is that I had just bought the T10 shoulders for my Retribution set… *sigh* Oh well.  So after that run was over, I swapped back.  I balanced the set out again, as changing the shoulders had dropped a good bit of +hit, and went looking for some raids. Fortunately I caught wind of a VoA 25, and decided to join as DPS. What a fortunate move that was, as the Sanctified T10 legs dropped, and I was the only Paladin DPS in the raid! So, I guess in a away, I had a bit of payback from helping my friends out earlier… ah, gotta love karma.

Haven’t really thought of a way to close this up, but will end it by saying that I plan to map out the latest changes for Paladins and provide some posts on the recent updates.  It’s difficult to keep up with, as they are changing almost daily, plus not being in the Beta, I’m having to look up the changes from other sites/blogs, and not blatantly plagiarise them.

So, until next time, Light be with you.

Holy Power Rangers!

Sadly, I missed my chance to get into this month’s Twitter Developer chat, but the news that was revealed turned out to be a massive shift for us paladins. It appears that the mechanic change that was mentioned earlier, did actually make it’s way to the public sooner than I  had expected. Contrary to my belief from the last post that this change would be “controvercial”, I actually don’t feel that it will be that much of a problem to most of the paladins who are out there.  Well at least to the ones who play Paladins for the class and lore, and not just because they can sometimes get the job done by being facerollers.

The actual change is quoted below:

All of the paladin specializations will make use of a new resource called Holy Power. Holy Power accumulates from using Crusader Strike, Holy Shock, and some other talents. Holy Power can be consumed to augment a variety of abilities, including:

  • An instant mana-free heal: Word of Glory
  • A buff to increase holy damage done: Inquisition
  • A massive physical melee attack for Retribution paladins: Templar’s Verdict
  • Holy Shield’s duration is now extended by Holy Power
  • Divine Storm’s damage is now increased by Holy Power

We also introduced several new heals for Holy Paladins including Healing Hands (an AoE heal-over-time that is applied to all players standing near the paladin), Light of Dawn (a cone heal with a 30-yard range), as well as a new heal called Divine Light, which is similar to a priest’s Greater Heal, and the new instant heal mentioned above, Word of Glory.

Q: Can you give us a sneak peek at one or two of the new Retribution abilities or talents?
A. Templar’s Verdict: An instant weapon attack that causes a percentage of weapon damage. Consumes all applications of Holy Power to increase damage dealt:

  • 1 Holy Power: 55% Weapon Damage
  • 2 Holy Power: 125% Weapon Damage
  • 3 Holy Power: 225% Weapon Damage

Word of Glory: Consumes all Holy Power to heal a friendly target for a specific amount per application of Holy Power (0 mana cost, 0 cooldown, instant cast)

Holy Power Ranger

Holy Power Ranger

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A Nip and a Tuck

No, this post isn’t about blood elf fasion statements, it’s instead about the new, smaller talent trees and paladin changes announced in the last beta build. With some recent information, it also looks like paladins will be getting another nip and tuck. Seems the devs over at Blizzard still don’t have a true grasp on what they want a paladin to be. Now-a-days I almost have a feeling that the Paladin should have been added as a hero class instead of the Death Knight, the way things are going.

Most parts of me are still underage.

Most parts of me are still underage.

Anyway, according to GC, it looks like another close look is being given to the paladin class, and how they should function. In addition, we again get to wait a little longer than everybody else to get some information on our new talent changes… Crusader’s Patience, my fellow paladins, patience.

These are old talents. This is not the paladin revamp that we said was coming. Sorry, you’ll just have to wait a little bit longer. (Source)

Here’s what else they had to say:

I’m going to regret saying this, but the paladin trees are the most changed in the game. There are only a few of the current beta talents that survived the, um, cleansing. (Source)

Again? Why do we have to have the most changed class every expansion.  One answer, no design focus. Again, us paladins will get to learn our way through new mechanics, and push on up to catch up with the other classes who may have had fewer changes.  Even compared to the Hunters whose resource management completely changed. I’m a bit jaded. I’ve been through nearly all the changes, especially some of the newer ones. I died a little on the inside when Illumination was nerfed from it’s 100% regen down to its current 30% (even down from the previous 60%). I wasn’t a fan of the 50% decrease in healing power when Divine Plea was activiated. I felt a shift when they removed the “all holy damage” from Divine Storm. I cringed when they turned Crusader Strike into a slap from a wet noodle. So basically, I’m used to the paladin class getting smacked around by the nerf bat, and the feeling of utter amusement when they become OP for just a little while.

On the other hand, Paladin’s aren’t OP. Ever tried raid healing as a paladin? Ever tried to top DPS the charts on a boss with a silence? Ever tried to tank a boss with a silence? It’s not fun, and greatly affects the paladin class in each situation. I’m sure some will feel that it is very situational, and that every class has these problems; and I would agree, however, paladins always seem to get the short end of the stick every expansion.

In the Ret case, we started with a basic question: what is it they should be managing? There are a lot of things they *could* be managing. Today it’s cooldowns. It could be mana or procs or a lot of things. There was one Ret talent in particular we really liked, and we started building a rotation around it. Then we decided the mechanic was good enough to flesh out for Holy and Prot too.
We’re not ready to share the design just yet, and like all changes of this sort, it will be controversial. Some players crave a more interactive rotation. Some like their paladins the way they are. Some are only attracted to the class because it can be overpowered and they like to feel like a superhero.(Source)

I myself have craved some more interactivity when playing as a Ret paladin, and feel that it would be a welcome change. However, the mention of integrating this mechanic, that was obviously brought about from discussions about “what a ret paladin should manage”, into Holy and Protection concerns me. Especially with no mention as to what that mechanic is. How far do they plan to change our class? I’m sure, as he said, it will be controversial, and yet another part of me will die, but I will hold true, and continue my adventure as a paladin. I never felt like a superhero, except that one time just before WotLK came out. I have felt like a cockroach (and called one) when I do some old school raids with friends, but other than that, I kind of feel pretty equal, and sometimes underpowered compared to other classes; yet again, situational.

Again, as usual, this is only beta. So there really aren’t many conclusive decisions that we can make. In fact I haven’t jumped into any of the Paladin Talent Trees yet, simply because they seem so unfinished. But, once we get more information, I’ll be sure to share it here.

Open the floodgates!

Well, it looks like the flood gates have been opened. As I arrived home from work yesterday after picking up the kids, I checked my twitter feed, which was empty before I left work. Now as I look at the notification bar on my phone, there are nearly 250 tweets from everybody and their brother. Looks like the NDA is lifted, the Alpha is over, and the Beta is to begin.

The Flood Gates have Opened.

The Flood Gates have Opened.

There are some fellow bloggeres, those of whom I will not hold a grudge nor covet, who revealed that they were in the Friends and Family Alpha, and are now in the Beta. I cried a little on the inside, but then I remembered… I was “in the alpha”, just not a functional questing/dungeon crawling/lore finding version.

I will not lie, I had a copy of the Alpha client, and in turn a local sandbox to play in. I will not reveal where I got it, though, simply to protect those who happened to make it available, and in turn give me this little peek into the Cataclysm. Sure, I had no NPCs, no quests, no items, and mostly broken terrain and the occasional complete system lockup, but it was still fun to see the new content. In fact it got me even more excited about the upcoming expansion.

Anyway, with the new information flowing onto the web, I hope to bring you some speculation on the upcoming Paladin changes.  Most likely I will focus on the Holy and Protection trees, but will touch on Retribution as well.

So, for now, I leave you with my favorite shot of a very inquizitive Deathwing… guess he’s wondering what you’re doing at his welcome back party.

Hey... did you bring the cake?

Hey... did you bring the cake?

Ok… I lied

Ok, maybe I didn’t lie, but I wasn’t able to continue the romp as DPS.

No More Ret... For now.

No More Ret... For now.

I did enjoy doing my daily quests as a Retribution paladin, and I did get a few upgrades; however, I didn’t get to use it that often in group situations. More often then not, we’d be short a healer, and I’d have to step in there instead. I think that only real group experience I had was a couple of 5 mans, and a quick Patchwerk fight for the weekly. I did do pretty well on the meters, which was fun, but it’s a bit repetative, and I don’t think that I really enjoy melee dps… and I never thought that I’d feel that way.

The reason for this, is that I don’t feel like I’m able to DPS to my full potential, unless I have a good tank who can hold the mob(s) in place, plus I’m never sure which mob to truly focus on if the tank is going all willy nilly on all the mobs. Usually I’d just focus another melee dps, and attack the target they are focusing on. I just don’t feel that I contributed as much as I could have, and because of this decided to respec back to Protection.

Yes, I do still have all my ret gear though, saved up in case I get the itch again, but for now I’ll be sticking with my insta-queues and the constant vigilence required to tank or heal. I guess another factor that influenced my decision was the fact that I was fortunate enough to get the Neverending Winter shield from ICC 10. This was even while I was healing, and fortunately all the tanks already had it or couldn’t use it. I had been waiting to replace my ‘ol faithful Royal Crest of Lordaeron (which will stay in my bank forever… yes more clutter). I now look even more like an actual tank, with my fancy T9, fancy T10 shield, and emblem helmet, I was looking good.

I think the loot was somewhat of an issue. I had nearly 5 chances to get a new weapon or other piece of gear for my Ret set, over the few times I was in ICC. The Citadel Enforcer’s Claymore dropped 3 times, each time… I was healing, and the other melee dps that could use it were still using the Tyrannical Beheader, just like me, so obviously, to the winner go the spoils. Ramaladni’s Blade of Culling even dropped once, and went to the dps Deathknight in the run, cause guess what… I was healing. Even had the Bone Drake’s Enameled Boots drop as well, but yet again, I was healing, and one of hte DPS could use it over me. I guess it’s an obvious observation, that there are more DPS, and therefore more competition for gear. With Ret Paladins, Fury and Arms Warriors, and Unholy/Blood DKs all fighting for the same gear, it does get a bit more difficult for me to get my chance, especially when I am unable to actually DPS for the run, as my Healing set/skills are needed more. But, as I always say, c’est la vie.

I guess that is a bane of Pugging as well. I am unable to ever make my guild’s scheduled runs, as I can never guarantee that I’m going to be able to make it. I am more interested in helping out my wife, or being with her and the kids, than starting a run at 7:30-8:00. So, the only chances I’ve ever been in ICC are through PUGs that I happen to run across while sitting in Dalaran doing some dailies, and most of those are pretty late in the evening. I guess that’s also why I have never seen beyond Rotface and Festergut (I’ve actually taken them down though, that was a fun run too).

So to close this all up, I’m no longer Holy / Ret, I’m now Holy / Prot once again, and will likely stay that way unless I am requested to come as dps, or get the itch again. So, until then, insta-queues and Emblems of Triumph flowing from the heavens will be my game again for a while.