1 0 Tag Archives: holy shield
post icon

4.2: Go ahead and blockcap, we dare you

That’s the upside of the Holy Shield nerf (well, one of them) — the systemic acceptance of Paladin tanks blockcapping. The widespread fear going into 4.2 was that Blizzard would, in light of higher iLevels providing oodles more mastery, nerf something to keep us from reaching 102.4%. Instead, it seems that they’ve made amends with the possibility, but with a price. As of the latest PTR build, Holy Shield has been nerfed to providing a 5% block chance bonus, and the 10% block value bonus has been removed.

This means that it’ll be that much easier to blockcap. Between 378 gear and the free 5%, I’d be floored if we’re not reforging away from mastery in 4.2.

Likewise, the 5% block chance bonus means that the Holy Shield proc also frees up 398.4 mastery rating for us to allocate into other stats. Of which, the likely culprit to step in to the vacuum will be stamina. And because 398.4 mastery is basically 10 gems of straight mastery, the equivalent in stamina gems gives 630 stamina after Kings, which converts to 10,143 hitpoints.

So, theoretically, there are some health gains to be made with the itemization the nerf frees up. Of course, the hypothetical in the previous paragraph assumes you’d be only regemming mastery (and specifically to one other stat) and that’s before considering any reforging-to-mastery that could be undone. Ultimately: I’m just hand-waving.

In any case, my point is that I don’t think the nerf is as dire as the usual quarters are playing up. There are some major silver-linings to this cloud. Namely, that blockcapping will continue to be the operating goal into the next patch, and that we’ll be able to free up itemization to mitigate the loss of that 10% block value (well, 8% block value when you take into account the Eternal meta‘s buff).

Not the end of the world.

Leave a Comment
May 16, 2011
post icon

Back to business in beta

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!

Leave a Comment
post icon

Cooldowns and Forbearance on Beta

I’m sure folks have some questions about our menu of cooldowns in the next expansion pack: what’s available to us, when can we use them, how much do they mitigate, and (most importantly) is that terrible debuff Forbearance still in-game.

To answer the last question first, I am saddened to report Forbearance still survives, much like the UFO over Houston, post-nuking, in Independence Day. Target remains.

On the bright side, from what I could tell Divine Protection and Ardent Defender do not trigger it and can be used while your are afflicted with Forbearance. So finally (well, for now, don’t pop the champagne yet) we’re not the only tank locked out of our defensive cooldowns if one is used.

I am also happy to report that Ardent Defender (like Divine Protection right now) is off the GCD, so you can pop it at any point. Likewise I noticed that you can pop Divine Protection and Ardent Defender at the same time, though I’m not sure you would want to since the damage mitigation wouldn’t stack. I could only see doing that if you needed AD’s safety net and had buyer’s remorse from popping DP first.

Which brings me to my next point–the low cooldown on Divine Protection is pretty nice and I suspect will require a major attitude shift when it comes to survival. I’m thinking the model will in the future be something like Ardent Defender is popped as an “oh crap” button and Divine Protection is used as close to once per minute (if the minute cooldown holds) as possible to reduce damage taken over the duration of the fight and thus conserve healer mana. If the boss has predictable, regular damage spikes that would be the best point for it.

As always, standard beta disclaimer applies: everything can change!

On a slightly different note: I mentioned in an earlier post that Holy Shield was bugged on beta. Sometimes it would give 1.5% at 3 Holy Power stacks, sometimes 180%. Never 15%!

Last night while doing a few quick quests, I popped HS and hit 2013% bonus block chance. A minute later I pulled 1347%. I think at that point I was meta-blocking.

Leave a Comment
post icon

Please make this change!

As far as rotations go, something I mentioned in the live forums is we are trying letting Shield of the Righteous (or whatever we decide to call it) consume Holy Power for more damage *and* refresh Holy Shield. So you would need to get Holy Shield up, but then you could just use your shield hits instead. If you were ever in a position where you couldn’t hit the boss, you could always fall back on just casting Holy Shield itself. We’ll see how that feels.

That would be an amazing change, it would make Holy Power less of a limitation and more of a bonus, remove the maintenance-y feel of Holy Shield, and bring back our old friend ShoR all at the same time. I sincerely hope they make this change and are happy with it.

Bonus: a hint of something else they really should do.

We’d like to give Prot paladins (Ret too) passive spell hit somewhere.

That’d be pretty necessary if our attack power reduction debuff (Holy Wrath+Vindication) is on the spell hit table.

Leave a Comment
post icon

Build 12644: a few interesting changes

Build 12644. Some changes make sense, some seem like steps towards a different direction, like their reaching for something in the distance but don’t quite have it yet. Beta, and all. Ultimately just another step towards in the inevitable–though the question is: step forward, or step back?

1. Avenger’s Shield is getting all proc-y

So Avenger’s Shield has a base cooldown of 30 seconds. The talent Shield of the Templar reduces that down to 20 seconds. On top of that, Grand Crusader has been redesigned to give us a 20% chance to proc a reset on AS’s cooldown. This is great, but what’s the deal exactly?

Is AS supposed to be some sort of ghetto interrupt, on the global cooldown and suffering from the usual half-second delay in the application of the silence? I hope that’s not even half the intention of this change because that’s a depressing thought if they thing this makes a remotely plausible replacement for Rebuke.

My other thought is, how is Avenger’s Shield hitting on the beta? Is a powerhouse hit that would be worth using whenever the cooldown is up, or would it take a back seat to something doing a little more damage, like perhaps the new Hammer of the Righteous iteration? If Avenger’s Shield somehow becomes our heaviest hitting attack–a mighty big if–then that Grand Crusader proc will be something fun to watch for and immediately react to. Otherwise, it’ll just be a moment where we’ll have to stop and reassess our priorities midfight–”HotR is next, then Judgement… but AS just procced, so AS then judgement”–or something similarly annoying.

I really wish I was in the beta and could run some logs and work this out.

2. Holy Shield gets a little better

Up now to 20 seconds, which is good because we’re not as much in “one CS miss and you’re boned” mode anymore. However, two CS misses!

Personally, I think duration needs to get a little higher so that we can use Holy Power for something more than maintaining Holy Shield. Blizz wants the new resource system to be more interesting than stacking it to three and gaining a buff that other classes (I speak of our eternal enemies, the Warriors) get for free. I’ll return to this gripe shortly. In any case (or, as Anafielle would say, “irregardless”) Holy Shield is getting better but it’s not quite there yet. Need just a little more breathing room to make up for CS misses in early raid tiers and to give us a little more choice with Holy Power.

3. They want us to use Word of Glory, but I’m not buying it

Speaking of choice with Holy Power, the newest iteration of Guarded by the Light gives us a reason to use Word of Glory, giving us a protective shield worth however much we overheal ourselves with the ability. Doing on average 1367 per stack of Holy Power, and boosted by 20% by GbtL, it’s theoretically possible we’d get a shield worth 1640 per HP. At a max stack of 3 Holy Power, that’s a shield worth 4920 damage. Theoretically.

While that sounds interesting, I have two concerns: (1) who realistically is going to have more than one Holy Power to spend on a Word of Glory per Holy Shield cycle? And (2) how ridiculously hard is it going to be to time Word of Glory to maximize overhealing and thus getting as much shield as possible? I’d say close to impossible. Maybe at the start of the pull as a Holy Power dump, but I think I’d much rather have more block than a piddly 5k shield. A piddly 5k shield that doesn’t scale, and will still be 5k at the last raid tier.

Needs more work, send it back.

4. New Hammer of the Righteous, ShoR probably dead

The bell tolls for ShoR. Hammer of the Righteous now hits for 300% weapon damage on a single target, 150% damage on a second target, and 75% on a third. It’s not a single and multi-attack all in one. Good change–less clutter, makes HotR (presumably) our biggest gun.

5. Hallowed Ground not mandatory anymore

With the removal of the +damage component of this talent, it’s purely optional at this point. Also like if the Glyph of Consecration was made into a talent and given steroids. There’ll be no direct tps improvement for taking it, other than perhaps an indirect benefit by freeing up GCDs that would otherwise be spent maintaining Consecrate. I can’t see myself taking this talent in a hypothetical boss-only talent spec unless it really smooths out the rotation for us.

And, speaking of Consecration, a pertinent GC quote:

Currently we are looking really hard at AE damage abilities by all tanks. We tried Thunder Clap with no cooldown and didn’t like it. We also tried Thunder Clap with a Consecrate-like talent, but I’m not sure we like that either. At the moment we are thinking of nerfing any of the really passive AEs, including Swipe, Death and Decay, Damage Shield and Consecrate. All of those abilities (well, maybe not Damage Shield) would still be usable, but they would be more situational.

The bottom line is that we think all tanks need to be able to trivially handle the massive adds or straggling adds situations easily, or none of them should be able to.

Personally, I think it’d probably be easiest for the devs to move to a model where you can AOE tank, but until you severely overgear the instance, it’d be a fool’s errand to attempt to do so. It’s going to be impossible close Pandora’s Box at this point. Just let AOE tanking exist, balance it across the classes, and then make it deadly to do so right off the bat. People don’t want to CC in heroics when at the last raid tier, as much as they say they do.

6. Holy Demo Shout is go

I keep confusing Thunderclap and Demo Shout, which would be unfortunate, but this is warriors we’re talking about here. Anyway, Vindication is no longer an auto-debuff (which I cheer) and now an effect of Holy Wrath (which makes Wrath of the Lightbringer mandatory). I’m ok with this change. Less auto is good.

7. What the heck is our rotation becoming?

Someone observed we’re going from the easiest rotation in the game to the most difficult. In some respects, I think they’re right. Gone is the elegant simplicity of 969, and here comes a choppy priority system. We’re looking at a toolbox of HotR, Judgement, Crusader Strike, Holy Wrath, Holy Shield, Consecrate, Avenger’s Shield, and maybe Word of Glory. You’d want to Hammer before Judging, in case Sacred Duty procs, and you want to always get at least the three Crusader Strikes in every 20 seconds (though this basically being used every time off cooldown, since Holy Power is the foundation of our rotation), and you want to shield toss when proc’d (maybe), and you need to Holy Wrath every thirty seconds, and Consecrate at least every 15.

I deliberately made that paragraph as wall of text as I could stand, if only to underline how bizarre the rotation feels. And yet, the best part is: next build there’ll be something fundamentally different in there.

Roller coaster!

Leave a Comment
post icon

Concerns about Holy Power and Holy Shield

Consider this to the pessimistic counterpoint to my previous, optimistic post. Let’s talk about a major issue in the latest iteration of Holy Shield’s design.

But first, two pertinent GC quotes:

So you can use Holy Power for threat, healing or mitigation depending on current circumstances.

We are going to turn both Holy Shield and Shield Block into short cooldowns. A short cooldown is an ability that you don’t save for an absolute emergency (like Shield Wall) but we also don’t want it to be on such a short cooldown that it feels maintenance-y. It’s a tricky number to get right, but something in the 30 sec to 1 min zone feels about right. Then you might use Holy Shield one GCD instead of SoR or you can choose to save it until the next big boss attack.

Right now as it is in Build 12604, Holy Shield could not feel more maintenance-y. It has a 15 second duration, apparently no cooldown, and is optimally used at 3 stacks of Holy Power. With Crusader Strike at a 4 second cooldown, you’re going to be using CS every 4.5 seconds.

For example, a possible single-target rotation is:

0.0 CS (1 Holy Power)
1.5 X
3.0 Y
4.5 CS (2 Holy Power)
6.0 Z
7.5 X
9.0 CS (3 Holy Power)
10.5 Holy Shield (get that 15% block up pronto!)

Then, moving forward, you’d do something like:

12.0 X
13.5 CS (1)
15.0 Y
16.5 Z
18.0 CS (2)
19.5 X
21.0 Y
22.5 CS (3)
24.0 Z
25.5 Holy Shield

With that in mind, I posit this to you: what happens if Crusader Strike misses? Or parried, dodged, blocked? It’s a physical attack, it can be countered with any of those (much like ShoR today).

Do we put up a subpar 10%–or 5%–Holy Shield and live with the possibility that we’re running sub-optimally for another 15 seconds?

How does this sync up with Ghostcrawler’s declaration that,

Warriors get 15% block baseline, so this means the paladin has to work harder for it. Seeing as how the paladin doesn’t have to maintain Demo Shout or Thunderclap’s debuff, this doesn’t seem too great a burden.

Does work harder also mean “live with the possibility of not having the full benefit of a 15% Holy Shield”? Because, if you think at level 85 we’re going to be hit and expertise capped already, I have a bridge to sell you my friend.

The obvious solution is to extend the duration of Holy Shield. Even adding another 10 seconds to the length of Holy Shield’s buff would give you extra time to build up some make-up Holy Power stacks, if need be. And moreover, this would moreover reduce some of the tightness in the emerging rotation, where not CSing on cooldown means suboptimal survivability.

I am sure this is going to be fixed, but this is the worry du jour, for now.

Leave a Comment
post icon

3 trends you can see in our “new” tree

I did one pass with this morning and came up with this selection of talents. A complete waste of time, though, because our tree is obviously a work in progress. Everything is subject to change. Yet, there are still some trends you can see through the fog of war.

1. A radically different Consecration

Consecration on the beta server right now lasts for 15 seconds and has no cooldown. You drop it in one place, then can move and drop it in another immediately. Old one disappears, new one comes up. Then, the talent Hallowed Ground increases the duration by 15 seconds and damage by 15% for 1 point, and 30 seconds/30% for 2. A 45 second Consecrate.

Basically, the ability shifts to almost like a harmful aura than an actually ability in a rotation. I think this is a good change for sure, especially once you consider point #3 of this post. It’s shifting to more of a “fire and forget” ability. Moreover, even if the 45 second duration doesn’t stay, it’s obvious what the new path they want Consecration to take is.

2. Clickable Ardent Defender

This was probably one of the biggest complaints masochistic Paladins like yours truly leveled at Ardent Defender in the past, that it was automatic. At the beginning of Ulduar, we begged Blizzard for a second cooldown and instead we got the grotesque god-mode that has hung over our class ever since.

As of this latest build, Ardent Defender is now an on-click ability. Finally, some reactivity. Nonetheless, I sincerely doubt this is anywhere near the final version of this ability. Especially since 35%-0% seems too small a window to have for AD, you’re either going to misuse it or miss using it.

I’m still heartened that we’re being trusted with activating our own cooldowns now.

3. Many more buttons to push

Holy Shock, Crusader Strike, Exorcism. Those are three new single target abilities we’ll be juggling next xpac. Well, probably not Holy Shock.

The talent Improved Exorcism returns to us our precious instant Exorcism, though it’ll be a tad late if Hand of Reckoning retains its damage component. And Improved Crusader Strike… removes the cooldown entirely. Um. I can’t imagine this’ll will persist through later builds, unless it’ll be a lingering stupid trap for Paladins that think spamming a physical damage ability is a good idea for threat.

The biggest downside of all these buttons is a severe case of GCD-lockage, which will hamper us with attempting to throw out helpful abilities like a Hand of Freedom, a BoP, a self-Holy Shock in a pinch, whatever.

I would advise against obsessing too much about the tree and spending more than necessary (like I did) trying to finesse a spec with Righteous Vengeance (this will be must have, mark my words) and other major Prot talents. Next build may see a radical shift in talent placements and cost that will change the picture completely. Save your energy for then!

Bonus: What the hell is happening to Holy Shield?

We are going to turn both Holy Shield and Shield Block into short cooldowns. A short cooldown is an ability that you don’t save for an absolute emergency (like Shield Wall) but we also don’t want it to be on such a short cooldown that it feels maintenance-y. It’s a tricky number to get right, but something in the 30 sec to 1 min zone feels about right. Then you might use Holy Shield one GCD instead of SoR or you can choose to save it until the next big boss attack.


Leave a Comment