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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Real Friends on RealID

Good morning everybody!

Been a bit since my last post, but as usual, in the eloquent words of Tinkerpriest:

“If I got paid like as porn star would, every time I got bent over by work, I’d be rich”

Things have calmed down a bit, and I’ve had a chance to get online with some local friends of mine and both of my brothers. About a year ago, maybe two, I learned that some of the folks that I work with also play WoW, and at the time we were all guildless, so after migrating a few characters to a single server, we started up “Wanderers Among Realms” (see what I did there :P), yes, it’s not correct grammar, but I couldn’t fit “Amongst”. Anyway, we got together, and were all leveling through The Burning Crusade, and eventually running some heroics together.

Mmm hmmm..

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Holy Sh-…. Shock

The world is continuing to be torn asunder, and along with it the talent trees are shifting wildly. Protection paladins are losing and gaining spells left and right, Retribution paladins are still gaining their footing, and Holy paladins are constantly feeling their buffs rearranged. 

However, among all these things, one thing seems for certain. Holy Shock is turning out to be a monster. 

Betcha didn't know Goku was a Paladin

Betcha didn't know Goku was a Paladin

Here’s the basics: 

Holy Shock
8% of base mana
20-40 yd range
6 sec cooldown
Blasts the target with holy energy, causing 1399 to 1515 Holy damage to an enemy, or 3938 to 4266 healing to an ally, and grants a charge of Holy Power 

From the last notes I was able to read up on, it had an 81% spellpower (healing) coefficient. 

At the moment, I am sitting at 2813 Spellpower unbuffed, with a 30.78% crit chance. This would mean that my base Holy shock should heal for around 3938 + (2813 [SP]*.81) = 6216.53 to 6544.53 with no talents or buffs added. 

So, let’s start adding some talents.  First we’ve got Divinity, which is currently Tier 1 on the Holy tree.  It provides, when maxed at 3/3, an increase in all healing done by you by 6%. Next we have Healing Light, sitting in Tier 2, providing, when maxed at 3/3, an increase in the amount healed by your Word of Glory and the damage and healing of your Holy Shock by 30%. Lastly we have Crusade, sitting in Tier 1 of the Retribution Tree, (meaning we can’t put points into it until level 70). With Crusade maxed at 3/3, you will have an increase in the damage of your Crusader Strike, Hammer of Righteous, and Templar’s Verdict by 30% and the damage and healing of your Holy Shock by 30%. 

So, let’s add these up. First let’s think about what is affected by the percentage increases that the talents provide. Will they be added to the base spell strength where the SP coefficient is added at the end, or will it be added on top of the spell’s strength after the SP coefficient has been added.  I’ll put both in, just to see what the difference may be. 

[D] = Divinity
[H] = Healing Light
[C] = Crusade
[SP] = Spell Power
In addition to the SP Coefficient (Before):
3938 + (3938 * .06 [D]) + (3938 * .30 [H]) + (3938 * .30 [C]) + (2813 [SP]*.81) = 8815.61 to 9360.09
Including the SP Coefficient (After):
(3938 + (2813 [SP]*.81)) = 6216.53
6216.53 + (6216.53 * .06 [D]) + (6216.53 * .30 [H]) + (6216.53 * .30 [C]) = 10319.44 to 10863.94

So, we now have an idea as to what kind of potency the new Holy Shock will have.  This is not even including the crit chances which will increase this amount by 150%-200%. Holy Shock is turning out to become one of the most useful spells in our spellbook, even though I already use it plentifully, this will make it even better. 

Now the other talents that it will affect.  First up, it will provide a stack of Holy Power.  Holy Power being our new extra resource to manage, allowing us the instant mana free heal called Word of Glory. Outside of its new primary function, Holy Shock will provide some cast time reductions for Holy Light via Infusion of Light, dropping its cast time by 1.5 sec. Next, via Speed of Light, Holy Shock will also grant upwards of 30% spell haste for your Flash of Light, Holy Light or Divine Light spells (if talented 3/3). So mixing Holy shock with a Judgement, via Judgements of the Pure, you could increase your overall haste by 39% for at most 1 minute. 

I know this is a lot of information to take in at once; however the effects of these changes are huge.  We are going to truly have the flexibility that we may not have had before, mostly thanks to Holy Shock. 

I hope this helps get you a bit excited about the upcoming changes, though they are still in Beta, they really do appear to be shaping up to be something great. Again, until Blizzard makes it law, it’s only speculation, but it sure does get me ready to start trying some of this out in Cataclysm. 

[start emo mode]
But I’m not in the Beta… *sigh* /wrist
[end emo mode]

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.

The Aftermath before the Cataclysm

Yes, that title is a bit dyslexic, but oh well. I promise that this will be my last RealID post, now that it seems to have cooled a bit, and is now easier to handle and examine. As of this afternoon, about lunch time, Mr. Morhaime, CEO of Blizzard, denounced his robot overlords, and with a level head and group discussion renounced the usage of real names in the Blizzard forums. It will instead be using CharacterName.CharacterCode. This will obviously provide the same functionality, in that it gives a central alias that all characters branch from, allowing more folks to know who is actually posting; however, I don’t think that it will really remove the abundance of trolls that roam under the bridges of the Official Forums.

It seems that Shade’s Internet Dragons have won the day!

After following several conversations, and threads on the subject, I don’t believe that it is over. This is likely only the beginning. You see Activision is still that dark cloud hovering over Blizzard.  They still have a say in the decisions made by the boys in Blue. There is still the possibility that contract changes can be made, giving Activision more power, and making Blizzard have that much less control over the content they provide. However, they must be vigilant, just as we must. I believe that Linedan said it best, when he cast Vigilance on Mr. Kotick (CEO, President and Board Member of Activision Blizzard), as it is likely that there will be some ninja aggro being picked up by him.

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Automatic LFD?

Ever had a strange feeling that another change was going to come along the line, somehow linked to a recent change? I seem to get those a lot when Blizzard announces changes, especially with expansions. In this case, I had a feeling that there was going to be a change to the LFD tool, linked to the new Talent Tree and Specialization changes.

Automatic LFD?

Automatic LFD?

Last night, I had an interesting thought about the new talent trees, and the requirement to choose a Specialization. Since you are required to choose which tree you are going to focus on, it is assumed that this information is stored about your character, including those with Dual Spec. Basically, if you chose Holy as one spec and Protection as the other, those become your specializations for each of those trees.  This is then “hardcoded” into your character.

Now, since the system now knows that you are a certain Specialization, and really doesn’t allow you to create crazy Holy/Ret DPS specs, it can also determine what roles you can play in a PuG using the LFD tool. Basically, is this change going to remove the possibilities that, for example, a Ret paladin can sign up as a tank on the LFD tool, and in turn get a quicker queue, in turn gimping the group? I see this as a good thing, but also can see some setbacks.

First up, DPS specialized characters, can’t “fudge” their way into a quicker queue by signing up as a Tank, simply because the system knows that they are not a tank, and will automatically mark them as DPS. I guess the same goes for Healers or even tanks, signing up as another role.

Example 1: All available, if your class can accomodate those roles.

Example 1: All available, if your class can accomodate those roles.

Example 2: Roles restricted based on the Specializations you have chosen.

Example 2: Roles restricted based on the Specializations you have chosen.

There would be setbacks though. For example, I have often used the LFD tool, but only marked healing, so that I would have a little time to finish up some quests before the instance popped up. The obvious solution for this would be to lock out all other roles dependant on your specialization, and then allow you to choose which of those you really want to queue as. There would be another setback though.  Even though a Ret Pally may have signed up as tank, and can’t tank at all, they at least have a group formed up, and can then drop/pick up as they need.  Time will still be an issue, but not as much as it was while waiting for the dialog to even pop up, since now, your group is at the top of the queue.

Anyway, this was just a quick post to toss that idea out there.  What do you all think, is it a possibility?