Patch 3.0.8 – What Does It Mean for Paladins?

If you want to read all the details of Patch 3.0.8, check out this very comprehensive post on MMO Champion

These are the official paladin changes:

  • Avenging Wrath: Divine Shield, Divine Protection, and Hand of Protection, and Avenging Wrath cannot be used within 30 seconds of each other anymore. Forbearance removed from Avenging Wrath.
  • Divine Protection: The penalty has been removed.
  • Divine Shield: The penalty has been changed so that all damage done is reduced by 50% in place of an attack speed penalty.
  • Hand of Reckoning(NEW): Available on trainers at level 16. It’s a 30 yard range taunt that causes Holy damage.
  • Judgements of the Pure: This Holy talent now increases the damage done by Seals and Judgements.
  • Judgement of Wisdom: Now returns a percentage of base mana instead of a percentage of max mana.
  • Sacred Duty: Interaction with Divine Shield and Divine Protection removed, but stamina bonus increased.

And there’s also

  • Reduced the spell power on the Titansteel Guardian to bring it in line with its item level.
  • Glyph of Holy Light now affects friendly targets in a larger radius.
  • The following crafted weapons have had their stats adjusted to properly reflect their intended power: [list including the Saronite Spellblade]
  • Avenger’s Shield no longer breaks Repentance, but unfortunately, Seal of Vengeance and Corruption damage will break it again. This will be corrected in a future patch.

Most of this is good news, or at least ‘good enough’. My thoughts on a few of these changes:

The Forbearance/AW change is better than nothing; it means people are going to start using Avenging Wrath again. (See this post for my early-November complaints about AW and how un-useable it currently is.) It’s still a little unfortunate in that using AW still locks you out of bubble – but 30 seconds is a lot easier to survive than 2 or 3 minutes. I still think it’d be much better handled by just making Wings and Bubble mutually exclusive, though. Still, this is a weak buff; if you can be confident you’re not going to take bubble-worthy damage in the next 30 seconds, go ahead and use your wings for bigger healing or damage output.

The change to the Divine Shield damage penalty is basically a good idea, but completely irrelevant to holy paladins since we’re rarely DPSing in endgame settings. It’s not an unreasonable change, since DS is meant to be a defensive ability, and it’s a lot more consistent with the modern state of how DPS paladins actually deal damage.

Hand of Reckoning. Possibly the least inspired name choice ever. (Not to mention that it’s really inconsistent, given that other Hand of… spells are temporary ass-saving buffs.) However, the ability itself is great – old-school paladins might be happy to face-pull if they can’t use Avenger’s Shield, but in the WotLK world of tank homogenisation this ability was probably necessary.

The Judgements of the Pure change is an interesting one. On the up side, I don’t think holy paladins are going to complain about more DPS, given how seal and judgement damage was gutted in Wrath – and for those wavering about the utility of Judgements of the Pure (which I no longer am, incidentally) it might help tip the balance.

“Shockadin” as a holy DPS spec is still basically dead, however, because the Holy DPS spec is almost identical to a standard full Holy healing spec, with the exception of picking up Seals of the Pure. (If I were looking to build a holy DPS spec, I’d probably go with something much like this 51/0/18 +2 build; you still have all the raw oomph of a main healer, and it covers all the DPS-relevant talents in Holy.)

On the other hand, I still feel that paladin DPS has been balanced badly. Our basic DPS is minimal, and requires talents to make it anything other than agonisingly low – either Ret, or (now) Holy. (To be honest, I’ve been told that prot DPS is in reasonable condition too, but I haven’t really looked into it since 3.0.2.)

This means that levelling paladins are boned – until you’re either level 40 (for Holy Shock if Holy), level 50 (for Crusader Strike if Ret), or level 60 (for Hammer of the Righteous if Prot), you have no active damage-dealing abilities apart from Judgements, Consecration, and auto-attacks with a Seal up. Your entire combat relies on one ability on a 10-second cooldown (or 8 with talents), and auto-attacking (with the occasional Consecrate until you run low on mana).

That is not dynamic or fun, and it can also be very hard to play – the total lack of burst output makes it hard to deal with healer mobs, for instance. I would not want to be levelling a sub-level-50 paladin these days.

7 thoughts on “Patch 3.0.8 – What Does It Mean for Paladins?”

  1. The Divine Shield change is a great one for tanks! Means I won’t drop aggro when I use it. So I’ll be taking 50% less damage AND suck in 30% of the raid’s damage for 12 seconds. I hope the 30% will actually be 15%, or I’ll drop fast if there’s a big AOE hit.

  2. Oooh, no no. It will still be a complete damage immunity, and you will still drop agro. The ‘50% less damage’ is to damage _done_, not damage taken. The current mechanic is that it increases the time between melee attacks by 100%; that is being replaced by the 50% damage penalty.

  3. I am leveling a belf pally right now. Its not so bad. Of course I picked him back up at 50, so I had Crusader Strike. Still, at level 40 you get to put your first point in JotW if you are going down the ret tree. Once you have it maxed at 42, you can more easily spam consecrate and pull 2 or 3 mobs at once. It is still no burst damage, but its not bad.

    And you have any clue on how to gear for ret then you will be putting out some respectable DPS. I agree that leveling a paladin gets boring until you start getting a good way into your chosen tree. But once you start getting some abilities it gets more fun. Ret paladin leveling is also very efficient. I have died maybe once from 50-55, I am on the same two stacks of food and water that I bought at 50, I haven’t had to pot once, and bubble can make traveling very convenient (ie jumping off of cliffs to save time). Lots of pros to leveling a paladin if you can maintain your sanity.

    Then I again I have never tried to level holy. I imagine the mana thing would be very different for a holy pally. I wouldn’t try leveling prot either until 75, at which point prot becomes an utter beast for leveling, easily on par with ret due to higher survivability.

  4. Here some more details and additions:
    * Judgements of the Pure: This Holy talent now increases the damage done by your Seal and Judgement spells by 5/10/15/20/25%, in addition to your Judgement spells increase your casting and melee haste by 3/6/9/12/15% for 1 min.
    * Judgement of Wisdom now give each attack a chance to restore 2% of the attacker’s base mana. (Old – 1% of the attacker’s maximum mana)
    * Judgement of Light now also procs from ranged attacks.

    and some ret stuff:
    * Seal of the Martyr now deals 27% of normal weapon damage. (up from 22%)
    * Seal of Blood now deals 27% of normal weapon damage. (up from 22%)
    * Vengeance now stacks up to 5 times. (Up from 3)

  5. Having level from 1-70 as holy (and planning to level to 80 as holy as well) I don’t think it could get any worse than what I already went though. Paladins seem to be more difficult to level than other classes judging from the number of people I know who tried one and then gave up. We’ve always hit our stride late.

  6. Rats, JoW currently gets 108.49 mana for me, and after this change it will be 59.06. Boooo. I see more big mana potions in my future. Ah well, at least I’ll feel like I can use AW in more fights.

    As for leveling I leveled from 1 to 70 holy. However most of that was prior to various changes (I have been playing for 4 months, almost all of it as a holy pally — hey, I have a day job). It has been fun and easy, BUT I’m basically grouped 100% of the time with my wife’s mage. So she burns down the mobs and I keep them from burning her down. Sometimes I can keep the mobs off her for a little while, but her damage output so far out paces my threat that doesn’t last long.

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