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The disappointing change to Holy Wrath


Disappointing because one of the more glaring issues with protection paladins in Mists has been our weak snap aggro, and Holy Wrath was always good candidate to remedy that problem in the upcoming expansion.

I was pretty excited when I saw a Theck tweet that began “I’m not sure what I think about the Holy Wrath change yet.” Oh awesome, I said to no one in particular finally they did something with Holy Wrath — about time!

Then without finishing said tweet, I opened a tab to MMO-Champ and read:

Holy Wrath’s damage has been increased by 100%, and its cooldown increased to 15 seconds (up from 9 seconds).

Sanctified Wrath (Protection) now increases the damage of Holy Wrath by 100% and causes it to generate 1 Holy Power.

And the air was promptly let out of the party balloon. The damage split (also known as meteor effect) had survived.

It’s nice that Blizzard thinks that our snap aggro needs work, as the patch notes specifically state the change to HW is …

to give Protection Paladins more burst threat and damage, while retaining its core damage-splitting identity.

Core damage-splitting identity. Oh goddammit. That read like lemon juice on a papercut.

In any case, I’m not confident that this will ultimately do the job of repairing our weak snap aggro. And I’ll be pretty unhappy if the first raid tier of Warlords is just more of the same: losing aggro over and over at one trash pack after another to my co-tank. I’ve been playing a paladin tank for many years now, through many high points and many low points, and the aggro situation in Siege of Orgrimmar was probably one of the lowest lows I’ve had to slog through.

The problem with a meteor effect is that the bigger the trash pack, the weaker Holy Wrath will hit for. So this change may make HW even better for single target, but the spell will still — by its very nature — be handicapped by an increasing number of enemies. It’s an intrinsic problem with the design of the spell, and playing with the damage knob isn’t an automatic fix.

Maybe the damage pass will alleviate this a bit. Maybe I’m not giving the new, burstier Holy Wrath the credit it deserves (especially with the updated Sanctified Wrath in the mix). Maybe paired with the five-target Avenger’s Shield and mobile Consecration this won’t be an issue.

But that’s a lot of maybes. I was hoping for something a bit more confidence inspiring, and this change surely was not it.

July 23, 2014


Leave a comment
  1. Theck
    July 23, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    What irks me is the revisionist history. The spell long predates the introduction of the meteor mechanic, and it’s not something I view as the “core” identity of that spell. It’s certainly not a mechanic that makes the spell fun.

    To me the core identity of Holy Wrath was (a) the ability to stun undead/demons, (b) the fact that it’s instant, as opposed to Consecration’s (as the damage-over-time option), and (c) the visual of independent bolts hitting each target (unlike many other AoEs).

    The meteor effect isn’t a core part of that – it’s an annoying mechanic that was added to reduce Retribution’s “free” AoE damage in a time period when they were trying to tone down the cleave of some DPS specs. I’m not sure why that mechanic persisted when the spell was removed from Ret and given to Prot – we certainly didn’t want it.

    • Rhidach
      July 23, 2014 at 11:29 am #

      Yeah I don’t get why the effect persists either. It doesn’t make any sense. What’s the point of an AOE spell that performs worse in AOE than single-target?

  2. Mechaninja
    July 23, 2014 at 11:20 am #

    My brother quit WoW over Tankadin snap aggro. I desperately wish they’d get that solved.