1 0 Tag Archives: paladin cataclysm changes
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Build 12539 brings a flood of changes

Finally we can begin to tinker with our talent trees. It looks like pieces are starting to fall into place and–as you might suspect–there has been much change visited upon the Protection tree. Some talents are gone, some are revised, some are new. I’ve broken down most of the changes into key themes or trends, rather than going tier by tier through the tree. I think it’ll be easier to give an effective overview of everything this way.


How we manage our blue bar is changing. To whit,

We also cut the Spiritual Attunement mechanic… Instead, Prot gets Judgement of the Wise (sans the raid Replenishment effect) as a passive, just like Ret. In essence, the melee paladins should rarely run out of mana, and if they do, they always have Divine Plea for emergencies.

So this is how things stand on the mana front: our mana will naturally regenerate, and should stay ahead of our consumption provided we don’t sit there and constantly recast Consecration. If we do run into a tight spot, we have Divine Plea as a mana “cooldown”. We probably won’t be as obsessed with keeping the effect up, because it will be overkill.

In light of this, I’m confused about Guarded by the Light. For 2 points, we get a no-cooldown DP coupled with an auto-refresh on hit. I would posit that if this talent made it to live, we very well might skip it. I just don’t see the point if DP isn’t going to be constantly used. Using it as a cooldown would preclude two talent points being spent in reducing cooldowns and extending durations.

I suspect the talent will be either changed or removed, but for now feel free to skip it in your drawing board builds.

Edit: Something I completely blanked out on that Kaelandros brought up in the comments was that GbtL autorefreshing gives us a constant 3% damage reduction via the glyph, which would be reason enough to go 2/2 GbtL. Assuming the glyph makes it to Cataclysm, you’d probably having to stick with GbtL, which is a particularly stupid design/reason to have to spec into a talent. I suspect the glyph will not make it to Cata untouched.

Rebuke, the greatest insult of all

Holy crap, Paladins get an interrupt! A real interrupt! … oh wait, it’s in the Ret tree. Four tiers down. Out of reach.


This needs to change. Call to arms!

Grand Crusader is our Sword & Board

Interesting, a proc! I like this, as you can imagine. I’m a sucker for procs.

I can forsee a future where Crusader Strike will only be used when proc’d by this talent (since as just physical damage it will be weak without the benefit of Righteous Fury upping threat, and we have harder hitting single target attacks), which will then flow Holy Power into our coffers.

Holy Shield is our primary Holy Power dump

Holy Power will now extend the duration of Holy Shield by 10 seconds per charge consumed. Baseline, Holy Shield increased block change by 30% for 10 seconds. So, generating 3 HoPo stacks (I feel dirty having written that) and then casting Holy Shield will dump our… HoPo… and push up a huge amount of block. With a 1 minute cooldown, that’s 66% uptime, nothing to sneeze at.

Combined with Mastery giving block, I wonder how much block we’ll have with this ability up. 45%? 50%? More?

We’ll also have the new skill Inquisition (which replaces Blinding Shield as our lvl 83 ability), that can be used to dump Holy Power. Increases holy damage done by 30% for 10 seconds per Holy Power charge.

Sacred Duty/Protector of the Innocent are beyond boring

1% or minute per talent point. 3 talent points to cap. Yawn. This is precisely the kind of talent we were told was going away in Cataclysm, and I expect these are just placeholders.

Raidwall survives the cut

A big sigh of relief from me, for now. I love the raidwall effect of Divine Guardian, and I’m glad to see it in our current tree. I hope it continues to dodge any further changes and stays just as it is from here til live.

… as does Reckoning

Rumors of this talent’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. And, color me surprised, I really thought this was the last we were going to see of this talent. The question now is, with its effect reduced to just blocks having a chance to proc it, how much threat will this talent be. If we’re blocking 35% of hits with Holy Shield up, it’s probably not going to be a lot of threat. At 50% we’re starting to see the chance of a more beneficial uptime.

This is definitely a talent that’s going to need to be mathed out to prove its worth. But, I have a nagging suspicion that because as gear gets better this talent will too, it’s eventually going to be worth it. The question is if it’s going to be worth taking off the bat or not.

How is AOE getting reined in exactly?

So, Blinding Shield is gone. Ok, that’s one less AOE spell. However, Holy Wrath now hits all enemy types. And Consecration is nigh-infinite when talented through Hallowed Ground.

I need to know exactly how the devs are planning to tone down AOE. Between our buffs and Warriors getting their own Consecration (oh yes), it seems like Cataclysm has the potential to become another massive AOE-fest.

I suppose mana costs can be tuned to make AOEing prohibitively expensive, and mobs can be designed that cannot be tanked in a huge pile–but the tea leaves seem to be pointing towards a different future.

10% vs 15%

From the linked GC quote above comes the news that we’ll be getting a +10% stamina modifier not from some talent, but rather

Prot paladins get +10% Stamina at level 10 for choosing Prot spec.

Believe me, unlike some delicate flowers on the official tanking forums, I understand that Beta does not equal final, so I’m not going to freak out in a glorious flash of italics and bolds and poetic similes. However, it is concerning that warriors at the moment have a 15% stamina modifier, while ours is down to 10%. And this is with classes have different initial stamina values.

This will probably change. I hope.

Ardent Defender still is gimped

I’m withholding judgement on this talent until we see what a more realistic/tuned iteration looks like. Obviously, I like the clickability,  but the timing in which is can be active seems off. There’s a lot of questions that need to be answered. The health range should probably also go up to 50%.

Subject to further balance tweaking of course.

Update! Ask and ye shall receive:

Ardent Defender – Activate to reduce damage taken by 20% for 10 sec. While active, attacks which would otherwise kill you cause you to be healed for 15% of your maximum health. 3 minute cooldown. Off the GCD.

Two specs, one tank: Trash and Boss Builds

While screwing around with I came up with two builds. One is primarily for trash tanking, 0/34/7, and has Wrath of the Faithful and Reckoning. The other is more boss-tanking oriented, 3/31/7, and has Divinity and only 2 points in Reckoning (because I can’t think of a better place of them).

I can definitely see myself just juggling two different prot specs in the next expansion. Even while dual specced now I barely ever use my Holy spec… or is it Ret? I haven’t switched specs in about four months and can’t remember while I currently have as my offspec. With only 41 in our pocket, talent points are a precious commodity, so it makes sense to me to have two different specs for two different tanking roles, and not “wasting” points on a talent that I might not need at that moment.

Likewise, I’m seriously considering dumping Pursuit of Justice if run speed enchants return in Cata. Doesn’t seem worth 2 points when an enchant can provide half the effect and those points could be spent on talents more directly affecting our threat.

All in all

I’m pretty happy with the tree. I’m not one for doom and gloom–er, generally–and I know none of this is final. It’s a good step towards the end game (and a huge improve over the last tree!) and I’m sure it’ll only improve and tighten up from here.

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It begins!

The NDA was lifted, Beta has opened, and two Prot Pally changes have already slipped through the net.

First, Blessing of Sanctuary is just “Sanctuary” now. We no longer have a cast a separate blessing on ourselves, the actions of Sanc are now baseline. This is in-tune with blessings in general being streamlined–ie, might and wisdom combining to just Blessing of Might.

The other big thing you might have noticed is the change to the Holy Shield talent. At the moment, it’s poorly worded, because the description easily misconstrues itself as saying that our 6% crit reduction is only active when Holy Shield is active.

Thankfully, as Ghostcrawler has illuminated, this is not the case.

The crit immunity is a permanent passive for spec’ing that deep into the tree.

Also, I think the Wowhead tooltip is wrong. What I’ve seen is Holy Shield only increases chance to block by 5% now, rather than 30%. For what it’s worth.

Of course, the Prot tree is no where near finalized. This is all very much subject to changing. Including what talent gives us the crit reduction.

Hold onto your hats.

Edit: Suicidal Zebra has a great roundup of changes thus far.

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Mastery and inconsistencies

In our class preview last month we were told that our third mastery would mean that “the paladin will absorb more damage with normal blocks.” The assumption among many quarters was this meant we’d have a higher-than-normal damage absorption rate from blocks. That is, a warrior would block for 30% and sometimes 60% (if critting) while we would block for, say, a steady 40%.

Turns out that was not the case. According to the datamined Alpha Mastery values, our third mastery definitively increases our block chance. This corroborates what was datamined by MMO-Champ, which I mentioned in my last post on the subject.

The Mastery values are pretty interesting. It appears that with 51 points in a tree we’ll be gaining 8.01% damage reduction, the Vengeance effect, and a 16% additional base block chance. Putting aside that Mastery and Block Rating is the same stat for us right now, 16% is a pretty major number when each block is a straight percentage of damage reduction.

Overall though, it’s interesting to see a disconnect between what Blizz said they would do in our class preview and what reality has so far turned out to be. I wonder if anything else from the preview is… off.

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Paladin buff tweaks in Cataclysm

I spotted these on Maintankadin, and figured I’d share.

Resistance Aura — Gives 31 additional Fire, Frost and Shadow resistance to all party and raid members within 40 yards. Players may only have one Aura on them per Paladin at any one time.

Makes sense to consolidate all the resistance auras into one. There seems to be some heavy buff stacking going on in Cata.

Blessing of Might — Places a Blessing on the friendly target, increasing attack power by 11% and restoring 2 mana every 5 seconds for 1 hour. If target is in your party or raid, all party and raid members will be affected. Players may only have one Blessing on them per Paladin at any one time.

Blessing of Kings — Places a Blessing on the friendly target, increasing strength, agility, stamina, and intellect by 6% for 1 hour. If target is in your party or raid, all party and raid members will be affected. Players may only have one Blessing on them per Paladin at any one time.

We knew these were coming, but, most importantly: “If target is in your party or raid, all party and raid members will be affected“. YES. Do want.

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Let the leaks begin!

The Cataclysm Alpha was leaked to the internet and now screenshots and datamined info galore is spilling into the community.

Unfortunately not much about Paladins is yet known. I checked mmo-champ’s talent calculator for our class and the only talent change I could see was Crusader Strike is now gone from the Ret tree and in its place is a talent (Improved Crusader Strike) that increases damage of that attack by 10%. I thought we were getting rid of +% talents?

The one very interesting thing leaked so far are the stat values of enchants and profession bonuses. The max level of Toughness gives 60 stamina right now. In Cataclysm it’s going to give 121 stamina. There’s a chest enchant that gives 75 stamina. Several different new tanking enchants as well, like +blocking on bracers, +dodge on bracers, +dodge on weapon. Hopefully this means we won’t still be using Mongoose still in Cataclysm, haha.

I know these are just placeholders and probably will change, but think about what that might mean for other things. If Toughness is 120 stamina, then would epic gems in Cataclysm give 60 stamina each (following the formula of epic gems being about half the stamina of the prof. bonus)? Gravity thinks this means we’ll see tanks in T11 with 120k hp. Hawt.

If you want to see something really cool, check out the maps of all the various zones on mmo-champ. Some crazy changes there that I won’t spoil in this space. (Likewise, I’ll be sure to post spoiler warnings and tuck stuff behind a read more link when it comes to storyline and whatnot…)

I’m eagerly awaiting some more substantive leaks. For now though I’m content to know that the first hole has opened up in the dam, and eventually we’ll have a torrent.

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What #BlizzChat has told us about Cataclysm

1. Ret Paladins (at least) will be getting an interrupt.

Q. What information/ideas can you share on PvP utility in the Retribution tree? Mandatory gap closer/interrupt question. Not having a cleanse will hurt. :\
A. Retribution paladins will be getting an interrupt.

It’s disappointing they side-stepped the gap closer portion of the question. That’s a pretty serious concern for Ret that they’re losing a lot from their defensive bag of tricks, without much offense-oriented to make up for it. An interrupt is nice, a gap closer is near-mandatory I would say.

2. What goes in our Libram slot will be homogenized, in that we’ll be sharing more generic relics with Death Knights and maybe Druids.

Q: Will relics and wands be getting any new attention in Cataclysm?
A: With relics, the plan is to make them class agnostic. In other words, there might be a +strength relic that a death knight or paladin might want to equip. We think that will let us add more of them to the game without them being so specialized. They will feel more like wands.

This is interesting and unexpected. While lore-wise it doesn’t make much sense for a Paladin and DK to share a relic, in a design sense it seems prudent.

3. Vengeance is being designed with off tanks in mind.

Q: Can you go into more detail on Vengeance? As it stands it sounds like off tanks will be at a significant disadvantage.
A: We want Vengeance to have a long enough duration that off tanks won’t lose their damage bonus. In most situations, the off tank is doing some tanking along the way. The worst case scenario would be say a fight where the off tank needs to tank in phase 3 but not phase 1. Remember, even in that case though you have tools to generate high threat. Vengeance is there to keep DPS from pulling off you late in the fight.

As an oft-off tank, I feel assuaged. As long as the duration is long and even little ticks of AOE set off Vengeance, it’ll be good for us tanking wingmen too. And, finally, an excuse to stand in void zones.

4. Holy Shock will still have a damage component despite being baseline and available for Ret/Prot.

Q: Now that paladin’s Holy Shock is baseline is there any plans to change the Art of War talent?
A: We like Art of War, so we don’t expect it will go away. We understand the concern that Holy Shock might compete with Art of War a little bit in terms of role (an instant damage spell) and that’s something we’re going to have to address.

Just don’t screw it up for us! I want that ranged goodness to stay intact, more or less.

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My preview predictions

I think before the end of the day today we’re going to know what Cataclysm holds for us. Because of this I wanted to get my guesses out on paper, so to speak, so I can engage in some vigorous toldjasoing tomorrow–or, you know, emphasize I was just guessing and you really can predict this stuff.

The obvious stuff

Early strike – Shamans got their primal strike with the reasoning of making it easier to level as Enhance. This is great (though a bit late for my alt) and points to a design intent to bend the leveling difficulty curve so it’s not such a boring auto-attack-fest early on. Pallies among other classes definitely need more buttons to push at the beginning. A baseline Crusader Strike, trainable at level 1, would be great.

Indeed, Zarhym teased us with this post:

Here’s something:

…will be a core ability for all paladins, gained at level 1…

I think that will be Crusader Strike.

An honest-to-goodness interrupt – Now that we cannot self-cleanse magic, having a short cooldown, off-GCD interrupt will be critical. I think it will happen. Also, name prediction: Rebuke.

Divine Storm nerf – They slapped down Whirlwind for Warriors, saying they didn’t want it used for single-target damage. DS will probably get the same treatment, 50% damage for all mobs.

A middle heal – Priests got a middle heal between Flash and Greater. I expect Holy will get the same to sit between FoL and HL.


Damage reduction

Every other tank got the first two, so those are gimmes. For the third one, the design philosophy for the longest time has been Warriors block more damage, Paladins block more often. With the former getting Critical Block as their third mastery effect, I’m expecting the trend to continue with us getting an old talent redesigned to let us block more often. Personally, I expect that to be Redoubt, an effect that will proc for a set amount of more block chance, with the Redoubt proc to be affected by your Mastery stat. Money’s on the table!

The speculation

Close that gap! — This is my hail mary. It’s obvious that Blizzard is trending towards homogenizing tank toolboxes–the latest step being DKs eventually getting a Demoralizing Shout effect. One of the last differences between the tank classes is a gap closer. Warriors and Druids can charge, DKs can Death Grip, and we can… face pull. Or toss a shield and then face pull. Point being, I think this will change. Here’s my hope and dream for the lvl 85 spell:

Crusader’s Charge (level 85): The Paladin hurls themselves toward a targeted spot, discharging a burst of holy energy when they land. Each tree will tack on an extra effect to the spell. Holy will convert that holy damage into heals. Ret will silence up to three enemies when they land, in addition to holy damage. Prot will daze up to three enemies when they land, in addition to holy damage. Will share a cooldown with Avenger’s Shield.

This might be a little pie in the sky, but with the greater emphasis on movement, I think a gap closer is in the cards. Even one not as ridiculous as the ability I just outlined.

Seal of Command – With Crusader Strike (probably) going baseline, this will jump up to being Ret’s 41-point ability to keep it out of reach of Prot Pallies.

Heavy bubble nerf for Ret – The trend in Wrath has been make Ret less of a defensive dps (quote GC: “A defensive dps spec just doesn’t work”) and more of a straight and narrow, offensive dps. That means gutting their abilities to manage debuffs (aka, the Cleanse nerf), self-heal, and reduce incoming damage. I fully expect to see Divine Shield to either be removed entirely, or put out of reach of Ret Paladins.

Major revamp of Prot abilities – 969 will be taken out back and murdered. Our rotation will become something more of a priority system, with either a dot to manage or a proc to watch.

I have absolutely no idea what our 81/83 spells will be. And, I can’t even begin to guess. I’m sure one will be something healing oriented, and one damage oriented. I doubt we’ll see a damage reduction spell, especially with Sacred Shield at 80.

Now that I’ve ventured out into the great unknown, it’s Blizz’s turn. Come on guys, wow me.

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Cataclysm stat changes announced

Interesting stuff!

Stamina - Because of the way we will be assigning Strength, Agility, and Intellect, non-plate wearers will end up with more Stamina than before. Health pools will be much closer between plate-wearers and other classes.

Armor - The way Armor mitigates damage is not changing, but the Armor stat has been rebalanced to mirror changes to the armor curve in Cataclysm. As a result, bonus Armor will go down slightly overall. We are also changing the mitigation difference among armor types so that plate doesn’t offer so much more protection than mail, leather, and cloth.

These two together are interesting: it seems like the effort is being put into tank’s time to live deriving less from health and armor mitigation (aka effective health) and more from other stats. I’m not sure how I feel about, or at least understand, declarations like stamina and armor will be similar across tanks and non-tanks alike. I suppose reforging and enchants/gems will expand that gap, but it’s sort of weird.

Block Rating - Block is being redesigned to scale better. Blocked attacks will simply hit for 30% less damage. Block rating will improve your chance to block, though overall block chances will be lower than they are today.

Shield Block Value - This stat will no longer be present on items, since the amount blocked is always proportional to the amount of damage done. Talents and other effects might still modify the damage-reduction percentage from 30%, however.

Makes sense, they were talking about bringing Block down so you couldn’t go through a heroic with like no damage while a Druid or DK would be dealing with a lot more pain.

Parry - Parry no longer provides 100% avoidance and no longer speeds up attacks. Instead, when you parry an attack, it and the next attack will each hit for 50% damage (assuming they hit at all). In other words, Dodge is a chance to avoid 100% of the damage from one attack, Parry is a chance to avoid 50% of the damage from two attacks, and Block is a chance to avoid 30% of the damage from one attack.

This is the most interesting change, I think, and definitely the most unexpected. A smart idea to change Parry so it isn’t just a carbon copy of Dodge. I like this implementation, although I’m assuming that damage reduction is just applied to the next physical melee attack.

Defense - Defense is being removed from the game entirely. Tanking classes should expect to become uncrittable versus creatures just by shifting into Defensive Stance, Frost Presence, Bear Form, or by using Righteous Fury.

Operative phrase here being “versus creatures.” So a Ret or Holy Paladin can’t slap on RF and be crit immune in pvp. Great idea, and quells many concerns when this was first floated as a change to RF a few weeks ago.

Finally, they sum up our 4.0 gear adjustments as:

If you are a tank (druids excepted), expect to see:

No more Defense on gear. Existing Defense becomes Dodge, Parry, or Block Rating.
No more Block Value on gear. Existing Block Value becomes Block Rating.
You’ll have as much Stamina as you’re used to, though you may notice your tanking plate has a bit less Stamina than a comparable piece of DPS plate, since we tend to take the gem budget out of your most attractive stat.
Bonus Armor on gear will go down slightly.

Sounds to me like Cataclysm will change tanking to be less EH-centric and more diversifying out toolset so avoidance (as we now know it) along with the new Parry and Block mechanics are worthwhile in a raid situation. Awesome.

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