After the release of the Paladin Class Preview, Blue Poster Nethaera put out some clarifications. These answered some of the questions that I had about the suggested changes, and brought up a few more questions. This post will deal mostly with the Healing aspect, and hope to put together another post about some of the Tanking and Ret changes as well.
First up, some clarification of the Flash of Light/Holy Light/Big ‘ol Holy Light change. According to the post.
Flash of Light remains a fast heal, but will be more expensive to justify the cast speed. Holy Light will be the go-to heal that has average efficiency and throughput. Beacon of Light needs to be changed so that its benefit is letting the paladin heal two targets at once, not letting the paladin get two heals for the mana cost of one. It’s intended to save GCDs and targeting time, not mana.
In addition we’re changing the paladin heal design to match that of the other healers. Holy Light is the middle heal. It’s very efficient, but not particularly fast and doesn’t have a lot of throughput. Flash of Light will be the faster heal that costs more mana. (Currently paladins sort of flip the model around by having a fast, efficient heal.) Holy paladins can talent into an additional heal tha tis like a giant Holy Light. It might take three of these big heals (or two crits) to get a tank from death’s door back to 100% health.
This completely blows away my possible Paladin Raid Healer concept. With Flash of Light becoming more expensive because of it’s speed (they best increase the healing coefficient if they do so), the gearing for FoL Paladins would change, and require much more Int, or in Cataclysm, more Spirit and increases in their mana pool. I’m assuming that Holy Light’s cost will go down, as it will be the go-to heal, and not have as much throughput as it had before, and the addition of the Super Holy Light will likely be the HL bombs we’ve been used to, but I’m sure at a much higher cost.
It may provide a new ability to raid heal with enough haste mixed with the new Holy Light. Since it will still be larger than Flash of Light, but more efficient. If it can be sped up enough (though obviously not as fast as Flash of Light), it would be, in theory, able to heal enough people in a short amount of time to be raid healing viable. Especially if the Glyph of Holy Light stays on Holy Light, and not moved to the Super Holy Light. Hmmmmm…
In addition to these changes, Beacon of Light seems to be set to only work with Flash of Light and the middle of the road Holy Light:
Currently of live, Beacon of Light is a tool that allows paladins to target more than just he main tank. In Cataclysm if it just doubles their healing, it is going to be overpowered. We have two ways we might handle this and we’ll experiment to see which feels better. The first is that Beacon only works on some heals, such as Flash of Light or holy Light (but not the big one). An alternative idea is that Beacon increases the mana cost of a heal cast on a beaconed target, since you’re essentially getting a double heal. Under this model, Beacon itself would cost no mana.
Personally I would prefer their second method suggested. As if you are healing anybody but the Beacon’d target, then all of your heals cost what they would, and will work with the Beacon of Light. However, if you cast heals directly on the Beacon’d target, the heals cost slightly more. The reasoning being that you are getting a double heal on that target, so it should cost a little more. I could handle that, as long as the mana penalty was not too high (maybe an additional 50% increase to the cost of the spell being cast). This would not totally change how we heal, but would cause paladins to look closer at their mana management, and be prepared to pop mana saving cooldowns if they have to pull the Beacon’d target from the brink of death. Also, according to the post, this would remove the cost of Beacon, since the mana cost is going to be placed on the extra mana cost of healing that Beacon’d target.
Again, some interesting suggestions.
Also included in the clarifications was some talk about the paladin’s mana pools, and their ability to throw massive amounts of healing out with little to slow them down.
Also on the live realms currently, paladins have huge mana pools and massive throughput. The trade0off is that they are excellent single target healers and much weaker in other roles. We want paladins to be slightly more interchangable with other healers. In Cataclysm, you should be able to have a Holy Priest on the tank and a Holy Paladin on the raid. We’re not sure we’ll back off of the current healing roles completely, but we definitely want to add more breadth to those whose roles are currently too narrow.
As has been going on lately, paladins are being pulled into the homogenization of the healing classes. I don’t disagree with trying to pull paladins out of the tank healing niche, and allowing them to do some other types of healing, but I would be skeptical to think that a paladin could fill the spot of a Holy Priest. Sure, I’ve raid healed before, on a Sartharion 10man (before we all overgeared it), and it wasn’t easy. Though we are getting new tools, I am unsure how effective they will be if we still have to stop to truly get our healing throughput out there.
As for the Guardian of Ancient Kings. First, it’s important to understand that this is not a pet nor does it have a pet bar associated with it. Second, it’s also not meant to last for very long. So, it’s not a pet in the traditional sense. It’s a friend in need when you need it, but not a permanent companion.
I actually totally expected this from the description of the spell. I felt that it would be a DK Gargoyle/Druid Treant Posse/Nibelung proc type spell. I do like how they are working towards spells working slightly differently dependant on what spec you are though. That should prove to provide some interesting talent changes in the future. And possibly allow them to lessen the burden on PvE when a PvP change needs to be made.
In conclusion, I’m slightly more excited then I was, but still am a bit “meh” about the changes suggested. We’ll still have to wait for more official news to make any true decisions.