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.