Note: this post contains information on Wrath of the Lich King. However, it’s not really ’spoilers’ as such, and I recommend you read it anyway in the interests of being prepared.
One of the big changes in Wrath of the Lich King is a revamp of gearing and the way gear stats are handled. This is for a number of reasons – such as making hybrids more flexible and making gear pieces more useful – but here’s the basic summary for holy paladins (and, well, all healers and casters).
- Spell crit, spell hit and spell haste ratings are disappearing. Crit, hit and haste ratings now affect both spellcasting and physical abilities.
- +heal and +dmg/heal ratings are disappearing, and being replaced with spellpower, which affects both spell damage and healing.
- Existing items with +healing are being translated to spellpower stats instead; it’s not a direct 1:1 translation, so on Wrath Day you’ll end up with a lot less spellpower than your current +heal.
- This is not a problem, because other mechanics are being revamped to account for it (for instance, healing spells are getting a much bigger boost from spellpower).
- Existing items with +dmg/heal are being translated to spellpower as well, at close to a 1:1 transition.
On Wrath Day, you’ll see a big change in your stats: no longer will you have Spell Crit or Spell Haste, and your giant +Heal will turn into a much smaller Spellpower number.
Let’s take a look at a sample healadin with a fairly standard 42/19/0 build (based off my own character), Here’s a warcrafter.net sandbox showing the paladin in a fully gemmed and enchanted set of Karazhan gear (including some gearing choices I wouldn’t actually make, but I’m sticking to the Kara-only guideline).
Examplia, as we might call her, has the following vitals:
- Health: 7,717
- Mana: 10,427
- Healing: 1734
- Spell Damage: 703
- Mana Per 5: 113
- Spell Crit: 16.34%
On Wrath Day, she’ll have the following:
- Health, Mana, Mana Per 5: unchanged
- Spellpower: 1078
- Crit: 16.34%
So, you can see that her base stats and regen remain unchanged, while her +Healing turns into Spellpower at a ratio of about 1.6 : 1. Her spell damage increases, which means her effectiveness as a shockadin may also increase (depending on how much benefit Seals and Judgements will derive from spellpower, which is still being revised).
(Remember, of course, that Blizzard may revise items differently depending on the gear in question. Examplia is wearing Karazhan gear, which was designed two years ago when The Burning Crusade was being developed; characters in gear from Sunwell Plateau or badge purchases from the Isle of Quel’Danas may see different tweaks, as Blizzard’s developers had eighteen months’ more experience when developing those items.)
What does this mean? Well… we don’t entirely know yet. (All that math for nothing!) Blizzard have said that the change of condensation of +dmg and +heal into spellpower won’t reduce healing output; I haven’t seen any equivalent statements about the effect on shockadin DPS, so it could yet be an improvement, reduction or no real change at all.
What we do know, however, is that existing gear will be more versatile, and upcoming gear will be useful to more people.
Compare a couple of items:
- TBC stats: Triptych Shield of the Ancients vs Dragonheart Flameshield.
- WotLK stats: Triptych Shield of the Ancients vs Dragonheart Flameshield.
Previously a healing shield and its DPS equivalent, in Wrath of the Lich King these items will be all but identical – which means if you only ever got one, now it will do dual-duty. This effect can be seen in a lot of other places as well:
- TBC stats: Essence of the Martyr vs Icon of the Silver Crescent.
- WotLK stats: Essence of the Martyr vs Icon of the Silver Crescent.
- TBC stats: Violet Signet of the Grand Restorer vs Violet Signet of the Archmage.
- WotLK stats: Violet Signet of the Grand Restorer vs Violet Signet of the Archmage.
As you can imagine, once healing and spell damage are condensed into Spellpower a lot of DPS caster items suddenly become excellent for holy paladins. Compare the Karazhan rings; all of a sudden the Violet Signet of the Archmage is suddenly better for a holy paladin than the Violet Signet of the Grand Restorer, as it has Crit Rating instead of Spirit.
Obviously, this effect will become less important after Wrath Day as people start doing quests, running instances, and upgrading their gear – new caster/healer gear in Wrath only comes in one flavour, and that’s Spellpower. However, the better your gear is on Wrath Day, the longer you’ll take to upgrade it, and the easier you’ll find questing and instancing in the meantime.
In closing, I note that I expect paladin gearing-up to be bunches of fun at level 80. No more getting stuck with stacking mp5 until you hit Tier 5; now all those caster Crit/Spellpower items will be just as tasty for us!