Crusader’s Patience: Paladin Cataclysm Changes

Well, we waited patiently, and here it is.  Somewhat lack luster and I plan on updating the post as I put together more commentary on it.

It does appear that they are creating a “Concecration of light” that moves along with you… I actually have some comments on that already in my Paladin Predictions post.  Anyway, here’s the meat of the post.

Paladin Class Preview

Bout damn time...

 

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.

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.

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).

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.
  • 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.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

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 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. 

Well, there it is folks, the new changes suggested for the paladin class in Cataclysm.  Some ofmy ideas didn’t make it into the mix, but some of them did seem to coincide slightly.  As we expected, Protection Paladins will get Vengeance, and Holy Paladins will be getting a passive form of Meditation (spirit to mana regen).  Below I point out a few pros/cons/indifferences about the suggested changes.

Pros:
Crusader Strike is now a core ability at early levels.  This will make a big difference in the leveling experience of Paladins.  Especially since you begin with only Seal of Righteousness and auto-attack… not much variety there, and it’s a slow process.

In addition, they plan to make Holy Shock a core ability as well.  I am a bit indifferent with this, as Holy Shock was always something that Holy Paladin’s could look forward to when working their way down the Holy tree.  I do see it as being helpful; however, as I have very often wished that I could hit Holy Shock while I’m spec’d Protection.  I’ve even used my Clique macro to use it, but obviously to no avail.

Next up, Sacred Shield.  It’s getting buffed to 30 minutes, which means much less recasting, though the single target is still in effect.  Not a problem.  It was difficult enough to keep up with both that and Beacon, since they’re timers would sometimes coincide, and sometimes not.

We’ll also be getting a new Bigger heal, leaving Holy Light as the “go-to” spell for healing, with FoL being the mini spell, and a new larger spell taking over the heal bombs.  However, they also plan on having Beacon of Light only work with Flash of Light.  An interesting change, as it was one of the defining spells that Paladin’s had.  Again removing some Raid healing aspects from the Paladin répertoire.
Big plus, if not just a really neat mechanic added:

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).

Ooooooo, neat.  This spell will give us a floaty winged guardian to provide different effects dependant on which spec you are in.  An example being, it will heal the most wounded ally in the area.  Now, we will have to wait to see how often this happens, and whether the target is party or raid wide.  Also, what size they are talking about when saying “area”.  I fear that in some cases, this spell may get wasted on a tank.  Example, just as you are prepping a big heal on the tank, and your guradian is still out, it suddenly heals the tank for a good chunk, possibly wasting your heal that you are prepping. Again, we’ll have to wait for specifics. The ability for it to damage enemies like the DK Gargoyle or Nibelung Val’kyrs (when in Ret) is cool though.

On top of that, it’s a cool “pet/minion” that you don’t have to have a special weapon to use!

Holy Shield will no longer have charges, and instead be a “passive buff” to your block chance.  This works with the Mastery talent of “Block Amount,” keeping Paladins in the class of many blocks instead of big blocks.  Works for me to tell you the truth, but I’m sure some other heavier Paladin Tanks will have other ideas.

Cons:
No gap closer.  There is still nothing that allows the paladin to a) catch up with a target (ret), or b) charge a target to get them closer to you (prot).

Blessing of Might will provide the benefit of Wisdom as well.

I don’t mind them consolidating the spells, and it is very likely going to be a headache reducer when working with large groups.  However, I personally enjoyed the challenge of getting the right buff on the right person.  It kind of dumbs down the task, so that the lazy guy in the group doesn’t have to worry about buffing anybody if there are two other paladin’s in the group.  Maybe that’s just me, but I’m a bit indifferent about this.

As mentioned earlier, Beacon of Light is going to work only with Flash of Light.  That means no more big heals on the melee group or an outside ranged group, to help out the other healers while still keeping your target (tank?) alive.

Indifferent:
Hands of Healing…. it’s an interesting spell… in fact, let me visualize it for you:

lol HoH

lol Hands of Healing... lololol... >_>

 I certainly don’t mind a nice AoE heal, that’s great… but with the suggested changes, we’re still stationary healers.  Running around a group isn’t going to help us much.  I did suggest this as a “concecration” type spell in my preview, however that would have been in one place and we could have moved out and stopped so that we could continue healing.  Again, I’m a bit indifferent about this.

Next up is Blinding Shield. This appears to be a rehash of Shockwave for paladins.  I’m unsure as to how long the “blind” effect will last, or if it will cause any extra threat.  They do also suggest that it will possibly only damage the target (like Eadric the Pure’s Radiance), which may at least generate some threat.  The ability for holy paladins to use it as well (they do have shields) is a nice touch, and the fact that they are modifying it so that Holy has a slightly different effect than Protection, seems to allude to future changes in the separation of abilities (if not much larger tooltips).

I feel that the changes are interesting, and will still only take it with a grain of salt.  But am a bit disillusioned by the absence of some core abilities that Paladins really could use.

What are your thoughts? Do you plan to continue using your Paladin into Cataclysm? (I am, haha)

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9 thoughts on “Crusader’s Patience: Paladin Cataclysm Changes

  1. That is the most amazing animation ever!

    People cluster up a lot more than you realize (you’ll notice more when you start to care). Depending on how short your ‘short’ range is, you’ll still be standing and casting while you make yourself a totem. BUT it has the benefit of a heal on the run. Mobility!

    • Thank you, I’ve had that picture forever, and had to find somewhere to use it.

      Anyway, I do realize that there is some clustering, I’ve especially noticed it on LDW and Jaraxxus fights; however, there are a lot of boss mechanics that require you to spread out. In these cases, I’m sure you won’t be able to provide any of the AoE healing that is needed… unless you run around like a Red Power Ranger on speed.

      I actually think that I’ll be creating a macro that either says “lol Hands of Healing… lololol” or “Converting to Totem Mode” whenever I cast it.

      • Understood. A lot of AoE healers have to deal with the spreading themselves. Ask a shaman if they can eyeball the max jump range of their chain heal or a priest if they can spot the best central point to drop a circle of healing. Prayer of healing is worse since it’s per-party.

        It’s not all that bad. Unless they limit it to 5 yd or something it should be good. I figure 10-15 yd is reasonable. Hopefully the 15, since you can’t center it anywhere but on yourself. It still wouldn’t be as good as some aoe healing, but definitely a marked improvement.

      • I totally agree with the range. When I suggested the “Concecration” idea, I had suggested that it be expanded to 15-20 yards (if Holy Spec) and only do healing. It would work much the same in this case, as any less than 10 yards is practically standing on top of you. It would be a really bad rehash of the Kil’Jaeden fight where everybody had to hide under the shield.

  2. GO GO PALLY HEALING TOTEM MODE GO! The picture made me laugh quite loudly and scare my co-worker who was dozing off.

    My reaction to this preview was slightly, Meh, though there are a few interesting points.

    While Guardian Spirit does sound like a cool new toy… how effective will it be? As you have pointed out, for Holy it could be a great waste if it did cast on a target you were already focused on. Healing Hands has given us the healing on the move while also being an AOE, but again, how effective will it really be for either. Yes, some fights have you clustered together, but will that continue with Cat? Pallys still will have only one other heal to cast on the move and now that it won’t work with beacon it will be the choice of do I move to the group to provide aoe heals or stand here and focus on the tank because if I move he might go down so I will just let that shaman/druid/priest that is still better for group healing handle it? I know it is too early to judge it much, so I’ll keep optimistic that it will actually work nicely once we can test it, but I won’t hold my breath either…

    “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.”

    YES! Finally something other than just face rolling three buttons perhaps? Ret is such a bore to play and really needs to be ramped up a bit. Nothing as complex as my cat druid but geez more than three buttons of lolretfite!

    I am happy that pallys are getting something else to use at lower lvl and it really bums me that druids didn’t get any mention of that during the preview other than they MIGHT consider lowering the lvl on cat/bear forms… /sigh

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