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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Paladin changes in Beta build 9014

Wrath Paladin

I know I'm a bit late posting this, but it took me a while to calm down enough. Alright, some of you might have already read this and most of you might have crouched into a fetal position when you heard of the change to Divine Plea. In it's first appearance, Divine Plea was a phenomenal, channeled return of 50% total mana over 6 seconds. Of course, that was simply too powerful and was subsequently "tuned" in further builds. That tuning has resulted in gutting the ability, with the latest version granting a buff that regenerates 25% of total mana over 15 seconds but reduces healing by 100%.

A moment of silence, please.

It reduces healing by 100%. This means that it makes the one spec that needs it absolutely useless for 15 seconds. I seriously have no idea anymore where Blizzard is going with this. Ghostcrawler issued a quick revision, however, stating that the healing penalty will only be 20%. That's good news, but it's scary that such a massive nerf was even applied to what is a key spell for Holy Paladins considering that their only source of mana regeneration is a crit-based gamble.

Aside from a slight mana deficiency, of course, a Holy Paladin's more immediate problem is mobility. Instant Holy Lights helped towards this, but that was nerfed, too. Infusion of Light now only reduces the cast time of Holy Light by 1 second. Even with the Light's Grace buff, this still means a one second cast time for Holy Light. This means standing still. Again. The one fix to Paladin mobility was gutted and it's a really strange time for healing Paladins. Even the lengthened duration to Judgements of the Pure has lost its luster. Judging once every minute for 10% spell haste isn't so bad, but it's a band-aid solution. I don't mind having to judge every 8 or 10 seconds, really. Just give me enough reason to.

Judgements of the Wise was rebalanced to grant 33% of base mana instead of 25% of total mana, which amounts to roughly the same return without scaling with Intellect gear. This makes it less attractive to Holy builds that have been looking at a hybrid Holy / Retribution build that goes into Retribution for consistent mana regeneration. This makes it all the more important to find a proper mana regeneration mechanic for Holy.

For some reason, while Blizzard has found a great direction for Protection and Retribution, the formerly solid Holy has lost its way. Do I think Blizzard will figure it out? Yes, absolutely. Ghostcrawler has repeatedly said that measuring healing is much harder than estimating DPS and tanking ability, which I believe. She also states that they'll keep a close eye on it throughout the rest of Beta, in Patch 3.0, and when Wrath goes live. That's great. My only fear is that with the current state of the tree, there might not be enough Paladins speccing Holy for them to watch.