[I]n 5.0. Block capping and mastery in general is currently too good for warriors and paladins. We think tank balance is close enough in 4.3 that dramatic overhauls could make matters worse. In 5.0 we will change things.Daxxarri
[O]ur plan is to have ... Hammer of the Righteous ... apply the 10% physical damage debuff and remove Demo Shout and the like as well as the attack speed debuff. Creatures would just be balanced around their normal attack speeds.
Judgments of the Just in 5.0 is a passive Ret and Prot ability that causes Judgment to generate Holy Power. It isn’t related to the current ability, but we liked the name. We didn’t want Holy to have to Judge for Holy Power. When we get our talent calculators (which include core and spec spells) all of this should be a little cleaner. We’re in a fog of war period right now.
Q: Is there any chance of a new spell for paladins to fill the role of Holy Wrath for single target fights?Developer Live Q&A
A, Ghostcrawler: Holy Wrath becomes a nuke for Holy. Ret and Prot will generate Holy Power from Judgment, Exorcism procs, Hammer of Wrath and other abilities that make sense. We still want there to be some small gaps in rhe rotation, but smooth over some of the frustration of today.
From the latest PTR build comes the news that:
Grand Crusader will now generate a charge of Holy Power if the Avenger Shield it procs is used within 6 seconds.
I’m not surprised they made the change. I remember at Blizzcon last year at the Class Q&A, someone asked the panel how they felt about the Grand Crusader talent being skipped by so many tanks because the rotation was so rigid and there wasn’t much room for an AS proc in single-target. The panelists responded that if they felt that was the case, they’d change the talent to make it more desirable. I guess this is their solution.
Now, as for the change itself–this is great from a quality of life standpoint, but in certain situations I’m not sure how much effect it’s going to have. Especially considering Word of Glory is still getting nerfed, come 4.1, into having a 20 second cooldown.
So, from a survivability standpoint the extra Holy Power that we can generate is still bottlenecked 20 seconds at a time. Which means this change isn’t going to be a gigantic help in that arena, aside from making it easier to guarantee you definitely have 3 holy power when WoG comes off cooldown.
And in a single-target raid environment, threat is not going to be an issue outside of the initial pull when a tank needs to establish their threat lead, so the extra ShoRs are going to be inconsequential, aside from extra dps put on the boss to avoid an enrage. Though, it’ll be interesting to see if the extra holy power generation can be parlayed into weaving Inq and ShoR, with a much greater overlap between the two.
In terms of a quality of life standpoint, the extra holy power generation will be very welcome in our current low hit/low expertise world. Right now we’re often tortured to watch holy power creep up as Crusader Strike continues to miss or be avoided. Having the holy power pour in at a faster rate is definitely a good thing.
Theck did some initial number crunching on the change, and he concluded that GC procs giving holy power “is more or less DPS-neutral; if anything it’s a very minor improvement.” I’ll restrain myself from copy-pasting his reasoning, so check out that link to see what he came up with and his speculation about the effect the change has on our priorities.
All in all: great change for quality of life, not much of an effect on survivability, and threat neutral from the looks of it.
The left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing over at Blizzard. In holy power’s nascent days during beta, we were told by–no greater creature than Ghostcrawler himself–that crusader strike failing to generate HP on dodges/parries/misses would make the prot paladin rotation too dependant on luck to work fluidly.
The way they went about this was utterly deranged. There wasn’t a peep about it throughout the duration of the PTR and it only appeared out of the nether in the last week of testing. No one knew if it was a bug or an intended change, and pleas on the PTR boards went unanswered until patch launch when some random QA blue appeared, confirmed it was an intended (yet, mysteriously undocumented) change and managed to typo in that blocks also prevent HP generation. He’s since corrected himself, but the misstep seems indicative of a more pervasive problem in this whole process.
No one seems to have any idea what’s going on at Blizzard. This “intended change” probably would never have been volunteered as documented had others no spotted it first.
Even more abrasive is when questions about the change arose on the damage dealing forums, Zarhym appeared and declared:
This was a bug. A note for this has been added under the Paladin Bug Fixes section here: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2166872
Missing attacks should not generate Holy Power. We generally don’t reward characters for failing to land attacks. Retribution paladins can improve their hit or expertise like other melee DPS specs do. Tanks don’t generally stack a lot of hit or expertise, but we think Protection paladins will still be able to tank just fine. Prot warriors for example miss Shield Slams.
But again, it was declared a bug back in beta by GC for HP to not generate on dodges/parries/misses. So, what changed exactly? All they did was reinstate a bug and call it a fix.
Moreover, is there a statement more asinine than “[w]e generally don’t reward characters for failing to land attacks”? You sure about that champ? As Theck argued on this thread,
A DK that misses with Death Strike does not lose the rune; they can recast immediately to get their shield. The real cost of a miss is a GCD.
A warrior that misses with Shield Slam is not locked out of Devastate for the duration of Shield Slam’s cooldown. Similarly, a Devastate miss does not lock them out of Shield Slam or increase Shield Slam’s current cooldown. And from what I’m told, they still generate rage on missed attacks. The real cost of miss is a GCD.
A rogue that misses with Sinister Strike is not prevented from casting SS again on the next GCD, nor do they stop generating energy during that time. The real cost of a miss is a GCD.
A paladin that misses with Crusader Strike now pushes back their next SotR (or WoG) by 3 seconds. It is entirely possible for an appropriately-geared raiding paladin (i.e. low hit, low expertise) to miss several CS in a row, delaying their hard-hitting attack by 6, 9, 12+ seconds.
It’s obvious Zarhym has no idea what he’s talking about if he thinks there’s an equivalence with Shield Slam.
And of course, his defense above is coming from the same CM team that assured bear tanks (in a different thread) that their armor buff was a tooltip fix. Which, obviously, it wasn’t. Oops. Bad info from the developers, it seems. Fancy that.
Why is the CM teams’ firefighting not reassuring in the slightest?
It doesn’t feel like a stealth nerf, because there doesn’t seem to be any clean reasoning why of all the knobs Blizzard could elect to turn they chose our resource generation. It can’t have been targeted at our threat, which is lower than other classes, and all that’s left for HP to affect is the frequency of which we cast Word of Glory and how often it’s available. I’m not going to defend our self-heals, because they’re over the top. However, if this change was how they decided to go about a nerf, then they could not have done it any more stupidly. Tune down Word of Glory’s scaling, don’t throw a monkey wrench in our resource generation. Hasn’t anyone at Irvine ever heard of Occam’s Razor?
In short: What the hell is going on at Blizzard?
We need to hear from Ghostcrawler on this. He’s the only one with any credibility left to speak on this matter.
Bonus sidenote: Theck crunched some numbers and determined that there still isn’t a compelling reason to stack hit/expertise, even in light of this boondoggle.
Crusader Strike – 3 sec cooldown. Hammer of the Righteous – 3 sec cooldown. Cooldown shared for both. [source]
For the worse or for the better? Depends on your point of view. Personally, I agree with the sentiment I saw on the tanking forums–it seems they’ve gone from one extreme to the other.
In a world of 4.5 second Crusader Strikes, we were looking at GCD gaps a-plenty. Around 6 a minute. With a 3 second CS, we’re now looking at being GCD locked, with every other keystroke being Crusader Strike or Hammer of the Righteous. How is this an improvement? We’ve substituted one evil for another.
The rotation’s pet name is currently moving through committee, but personally I favor “3X”. I know it sounds like some model of automaton–and, poetically, oh how that fits–but it refers more to the fact that the rotation boils down to: CS > J > CS > HW > CS > ShoR > CS > J > CS > etc.
I appreciate the fact that we’ll be much less ability starved, so to speak, and I commend the devs for working to correct that, but there has to be a better way. 969 was a mindless rotation that was powered purely by muscle memory. A rotation with GCD gaps required knowledge of what abilities to use when to excel, and I reveled in that. 3X I suppose is kind of a halfling in the sense that the 3 will always be obvious, but the X requires enough forethought that if you don’t use the best choice possible at that moment, you’re hurting yourself in the long run. I can appreciate that, I suppose.
There’s also the question if you actually want to hit CS on cooldown, or if sometimes something else will take a higher priority. Then again, with ShoR doing the damage it does, I can’t imagine you wouldn’t want 3HP ASAP.
A part of me is excited we’re going to have no empty GCDs, and another part of me rues the fact that there wasn’t a more elegant way about this. I still feel like a simpler solution was throwing one more single target ability in the mix, an instant Exorcism or something, to fill those gaps in a less shoe-horned way. Or, like Theck advocated, making Judgement generate HP, and thus pushing up the availability of ShoR. I think that would be a much, much better solution.
And of course there’s the dev’s concern that Inquisition will now be up during ShoR, and the implications thereof. I’m deferring (once again) to Theck on this, who doesn’t think it will be a big deal.
I don’t believe that Inq will ever be worth casting on single targets. Even in the old 4.5-second CS model, it didn’t break even. The 3-second model will have a larger physical/holy damage ratio, making Inq even less likely to succeed. The real problem is that even though you’re adding 30% damage to ShoR, you’re not making up the 70% that you’re losing by not casting ShoR, because your only holy damage sources are J and AS (and seal damage).
Ultimately, I think 3X is a step backward. There were more elegant solutions and Blizz took the easy way out to calm the concerns about GCD gaps. I don’t think this solution is viable in the long term, and I guarantee–if it doesn’t mutate again before launch–we’ll be seeing another redesign of the Prot rotation in the near future.
Lastly, there was some unequivocally good news. The first is that HotR is getting buffed to scale with attack power (and thus Vengeance).
We realized that the AE portion of Hammer of the Righteous didn’t scale with Vengeance. While it’s true that Prot paladins gain some spell power, they get it from Strength, not the attack power provided by Vengeance. We changed Hammer to scale with attack power, which should mean it hits harder with Vengeance. That will provide some of the damage boost you are looking for.
The other is that HoJ will be going off the GCD for us, finally giving us a real interrupt. A long cooldown one, but a real one.
While we still think an off the GCD interrupt isn’t an essential tool for a tank, we also don’t think it’s going to break anything for paladins to have one either. Our eventual solution is to let Vindication’s ability to let HoJ interrupt also take HoJ off of the global cooldown. That change will require new tech, so it’s not something you’re likely to see anytime soon, but you can know that it’s in our long term plans. Again, we don’t think the interrupt issue is a critical problem that must be solved today. The rotation one in the previous paragraph is a bigger deal.
I guess it’s better than nothing, eh?
Now… while we’re giving away toys you don’t think are necessary… how about that gap closer?
I’ve been generally upbeat about Protection Paladins in beta. Perhaps to a fault, but I truly, honestly believe the foundations of the class are solid heading into the final stretch of beta. It’s the numbers that need tweaking here and there, sure, but like I said–generally solid. Now, things aren’t all cupcakes and gumdrops, there are some big issues that could have a negative effect on our “solidity” going forward. These are things that I feel confident will be resolved by launch or in the future, but for purposes of awareness, Justice herself compels me to bitch about them.
1. Word of Glory will fall behind
The amount of healing WoG does is based on two things: how much HoPo (as Ana calls it) you have, and talents. Spellpower doesn’t modify it, so that free spellpower we get from Touched by the Light only goes towards holy damage/threat. And we can’t generate more than 3 Holy Power, so while initially WoG will be okay at first for the ratio of healing done vs. total hp we have, only the second number will go up. Eventually the disparity will make WoG not worth even feeling guilty about not hitting.
This is coupled with the fact that Blizzard wants us to use Word of Glory. Guarded by the Light cements it, but the talents has the most unwieldy mechanics of anything else in our tree. Never mind that they want us to expend precious HoPo on that button, they want us to time it to maximize self-overheals? It defies explanation.
There is a major rework needed on Prot and WoG, which hopefully will come in our next pass. We need some kind scaling, and we need some kind of incentive to use this spell. Why do only overheals put up that damage absorb effect? Why not any self-WoG heals? What’s the downside? It’d be an Interesting Choice™, eh?
2. HotR > CS on single targets
This I cannot imagine not being resolved when they do their final numbers passes, but at the moment Hammer of the Righteous does more damage against a single target than Crusader Strike. The solution can’t be to nerf HotR (it seems pretty perilously balanced right now to interact properly with Inquisition), instead it must be to buff Crusader Strike.
If this doesn’t change, this will seriously damage the stated goal of separate aoe/single target rotations. As always my boundless optimism assumes this will change, however.
3. ShoR is a huge liability if and when avoided
On beta right now, when you hit the ShoR button, you expend three Holy Power and strike out with your shield. As on live, ShoR can be dodged/parried/missed, and if it does the Holy Power you expended disappears into the ether.
We’ve been playing tennis with concerns over ShoR, and Holy Shield, and Holy Power since the inception of the HoPo apparatus. Then we finally hit a plateau where the 15% block was the only degree of Holy Shield available, no matter how much Holy Power you expended. And that’s great. But, considering ShoR is designed to be a huge portion of our single target threat, the fact that it can miss and then you lose 13 seconds of HoPo accumulation… that’s a huge deal.
Conversely, if a Ret Paladin misses with Templar’s Verdict or Divine Storm they only lose one Holy Power. Much better design. Needs to apply to ShoR as well.
ShoR being avoided should carry some sort of penalty, if only to give a reason to carry hit or expertise, eh? ShoR first becoming avoidable in 3.3 was what began to make Paladins start favoring expertise. I suspect this will carry on into the future.
I’ll play the optimism card here as well: I think this will change, and the penalty will be one Holy Power like Ret currently “suffers”.
4. Quality of life things that will never be fixed
This is the point where I approach the closest thing I can muster to despair. I don’t think, especially at this juncture, we’ll ever get an off-GCD, short cooldown interrupt or any kind of gap closer. Cataclysm was the perfect chance for these niceties to be implemented for Prot, and I suspect that the opportunity will pass untaken. It’s not upsetting, but it is disappointing.
One of the first things I did Friday when I got home was try to log into the beta and get some more leveling done and see if I missed anything. Instead, all the servers were down. A new patch was being applied from the looks of it, which means I got back just in time.
Later that night everything came back up and I caught on WoR some of the incoming changes. Most immediately tantalizing of which is the new Holy Power UI widget. I’m sure you’ve seen a thousand screens of this, but here are mine:
I’ll be talking a little bit about Holy Power, ShoR, and Holy Shield in a bit. But first, a few back-end things–check out the new tooltips for hit and expertise. This is pretty handy (especially for Expertise, which is a tad more complex than Hit). Takes a little of the numerical mystery out of the game, but QSS.
Now with more Block!
And of course, the biggest news of this build isn’t the fluff HoPo (as Anafielle calls it) interface, it’s the introduction of Mastery.
At base, our Mastery (Divine Bulwark) is worth 16% block chance as soon as you train it. As you add more Mastery rating that number goes up (tempered by the level/mastery formula, of course). At level 81, with 75 Mastery rating, my block chance went up to 23% before Holy Shield.
At lvl 82, I had managed to accumulate 492 mastery through various quest rewards, worth 28% block chance. That’s 32% before Holy Shield, 47% after. In fact, before dinging 82 I had about 52% block chance all together. One level dropped it 5% from the ratings/level conversion. I expect that drop will get steeper as my level gets higher.
The other “skill” available at the trainer was Plate Specialization, which boosts a stat if you’re in all plate.
So basically a free 5% stamina.
Revamped talents and spells
I already talked about Ret’s (grumble) gap closer in a post on Saturday, so I’ll avoid repeating myself here in this space. Some changes prot-side included a return to a +damage Consecration talent, a new Sacred Duty that makes ShoR have a chance to crit (I’ll talk about this re: priorities in a sec), and Wrath of the Lightbringer affects Judgements as well now.
Shield of the Righteous (ugh, that name) is now implemented, unlike the week before. You can talent into it and it appears in your spellbook. And unlike the 30/60/90 iteration, it now deals 20/60/120 AP based on how much Holy Power you’re rocking. At lvl 81 I had about 3700 AP with Might up. I was ShoRing for about 4600 damage a hit, which is 120% AP (including some Vengeance). Not too shabby, but also not the BOOMHEADSHOT type-attack I was hoping for. Perhaps at later levels with more massive AP numbers.
ShoR also when cast will put up a 20 second Holy Shield buff. For 15% block chance, regardless of how much Holy Power you had when you used ShoR. 1 HP is 15%, 2 HP is 15%, 3 is… you get it. This is much less onerous than the old prospect of stacking Holy Power to 3 then getting the max block buff up at the start of a boss fight. Now your first moves in melee can be CS+ShoR and you’ll be good to go.
Hammer of the Righteous has been redesigned. Rather than cleave and swinging flying, glowing hammers about with a mellifluous CLANG, you now just let loose a holy burst of light and hit everything around you. Rather than being a copy of Cleave, HotR is now a copy of Thunderclap. I haven’t tested the damage yet to see how much it does single target, on two, three, etc. and WoL ate the log I did Saturday. Nonetheless, I’m curious why this spell was redesigned, especially when Holy Wrath still works.
Speaking of HotR, it is, as we knew was coming, now on the same cooldown as Crusader Strike. And both have a 4.5 second cooldown, lining up nicely with GCDs.
Hand of Reckoning no longer does damage on taunt. Disappointing, but it was always a band-aid to the removal of Exorcism from our toolboxes. To fill in the gap we have Avenger’s Shield with a–talented–15 second cooldown (which gives me tingles) and the new Improved Judgements talent which allows us to have 30 yard Judgements. Something I can see myself getting.
The new priority
So, like I’ve been teasing, here’s the new priority rotation I’m monkeying around with: (1) Avenger’s Shield, (2) Judgement+3HP ShoR, (3) CS/HotR, (4) Hammer of Wrath, (5) Judgement, (6) Holy Wrath, (7) Consecrate.
The reason I have Judgement twice is because you definitely want to make sure to cast it before ShoR, since it gives ShoR a 50% chance to crit. It doesn’t have to be immediately before, the proc has a 15 second duration, so you can ride that for a bit, or jam another Judgement in right before ShoR for another chance of it.
Judgement otherwise still hits like a wet noodle and isn’t worth prioritizing over other, hard-hitting spells.
Also, don’t forget: the first rule of Grand Crusader is it will always proc if you use CS/HotR when Avenger’s Shield is not on cooldown! Also, we don’t talk about Grand Crusader.
Now, one of the more disconcerting things about beta right now is how many free GCDs we have. I’m so used to rotating through my 9s and 6s that I find myself stopping dead in my tracks with no idea what to do next as all my abilities are on cooldown. In a raid I could toss out some Hands/utility. While soloing I just block Holy Wrath as a filler.
Oh good, more morality quests
And the last thing I want to talk about in this post is I had a very interesting questing experience in Hyjal this weekend.
What’s this? A moral choice?! I had the option of letting the NPC kill the quest target who we were interrogating, or let her go. Being a blood-thirsty Alliance I opted for the throat slitting, though outside of that quest there didn’t seem to be any recourse to my actions. I’ll be miffed if it turns out she comes back to you a week later and gives you a free epic for sparing her life.
Expect this to generate blog posts at the advent of Cataclysm much in the same way that Borean Tundra torture quest did two years ago. Money on the table!
Imagine my surprise when I read the leftovers of the Twitter Q&A from Friday and saw that our world had suddenly been turned upside down. Well, that might sound a bit dramatic, but what was announced was a tectonic shift in the play style of the Paladin class. Right now, as it stands, we just throw abilities at the boss while attempting to sync cooldowns and maximize output.
To say the least: Boring. Overly simple as well.
Something had to give and I’m glad to see that we’re finally getting that much-needed complexity that many of us have been clamoring forever for.
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
969 is dead and rightfully so. We’ll be shifting to using a more priority-based system in Cataclysm that builds on using abilities when the payoff is at its apex. For example, say Crusader Strike builds Holy Power for us, then we would do some normal attacks, mix in CS, and build HP to 3. Once Holy Power is maxed out, that’s when we would pop Holy Shield for a longer damage reduction “break” (which begins to make sense of GC’s assertion that you would only use Holy Shield once a minute or so, it becomes much more manageable when there’s a clear point to use it).
Or, you could opt for casting Inquisition and going for a threat boost (probably more useful for trash or farm content?). In any case, choices! And priorities! We’re not just doing A, C, B, D, A, E, B, C, etc, anymore!
Has it been properly conveyed how excited I am about this system yet? I realize this is a weird reverse of Rogue combo points, where we’re stacking these on ourselves, but I am sure in the end it will be just the tonic class needs.
Likewise, this GC quote from this weekend is pertinent:
We felt like we needed to add several new spells to the paladin rotation, including making Holy Wrath a real part of the rotation. With all of those changes, we thought it was hard to justify having a mechanic to choose your Judgement when you were already choosing your Seal and Aura. It’s just a different model. If anything at the moment I’m worried that we made paladins too complex and might have to reign it back in a little. We’ll see when players can try it out in beta.
Yes, wait and see! After the long time we’ve spent wallowing in “easy mode”, erring on the side of complexity is not a bad thing. Just go with it.
Lastly, I would like to /sign the suggestion given by many on the official forums, as well as by Rohan and Sucidal Zebra: rename Holy Power to Zeal. Holy Power is an undeservingly lame moniker for something with so much potential.