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. Itâ€™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]
- Avengerâ€™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.