Tag Archives: nerfs

Paladin Changes in 3.0.9

(I originally titled this post “Divine Plea Nerf Ahead of Schedule” but I thought that sounded too bitter.)

At the end of last week, I posted about the changes Blizzard announced for 3.1, including a nerf to Divine Plea (changing the healing penalty from 20% to 50%).

Not content to wait until 3.1, Blizzard continues the fine tradition of hasty nerfs to paladins (I sound bitter, don’t I?) by implementing this change in 3.0.9, which is going live this week with no PTR test time.

The paladin-relevant part:

  • The duration on all Seals has been increased to 30 minutes and can no longer dispelled.
  • Divine Plea: The amount healed by your spells is reduced by 50% (up from 20%) but the effect can no longer be dispelled.
  • Sanctified Seals: This talent no longer affects dispel resistance, but continues to affect crit chance.


  • Glyph of Holy Light — Your Holy Light grants 10% of its heal amount to up to 5 friendly targets within 8 yards of the initial target. (Down from 20 yards, Tooltip text fix, was already hotfixed to 8 yards in game)
  • Glyph of Seal of Righteousness — Increases the damage done by Seal of Righteousness by 10%. (Old – Reduces the cost of your Judgement spells by 10% while Seal of Righteousness is active.)

If you’re curious why I’m bitter about the Divine Plea change, this post provides some backstory. It’s not that I object to the nerf in principle; it’s the implementation. Blizzard has shown a tendency, lately, to nerf first and test later, and paladins have copped quite a lot of that. Rolling a significant nerf like this into an abrupt live patch release, weeks (if not months) ahead of the overall changes to mana regen mechanics for every other healing class, strikes me as unduly hasty. Again.

Mana Regen Nerf Incoming

Just posted on the WoW forums by Bornakk:

As we have suggested, we have become concerned that mana regeneration is currently too powerful, especially for healers. We want players to have to keep an eye on mana. We don’t want you to go out of mana every fight, but running out of mana should be a very real risk for sloppy playing or attempting content that you aren’t yet ready for. When mana regeneration is trivial then certain parts of the game break down – classes that offer Replenishment are devalued, stats that offer mana regeneration are devalued, and spells that are efficient are neglected in preference to spells with high throughput.

Here are a list of changes you are likely to see in 3.1. They will be available to try out on the PTR. Mana regeneration is somewhat technical, so please bear with us.

  • Regeneration while not casting (outside of the “five second rule”) will be decreased. We think that (1) the ability to cast heal over time spells and then sit back and (2) benefitting from a clearcasting proc that also gets you out of the five second rule both provide too much mana regeneration, even over short time periods.
  • To make this change, we are reducing mana regeneration granted by Spirit across the board. However we are also boosting the effects of talents such as Meditation that increase regeneration while casting. The net result should be that your regeneration while casting will stay about the same, but your not-casting regeneration will be reduced. This change will have little impact on dps casters, since they are basically always casting.
  • The specific talents and abilities being boosted are: Arcane Meditation, Improved Spirit Tap, Intensity, Mage Armor, Meditation, Pyromaniac and Spirit Tap. Yes this makes these “mandatory” talents even more mandatory, if such a thing is possible.
  • Since paladins rely less on Spirit as a mana-regeneration stat, we have to address them in other ways. We don’t want to change Illumination or Replenishment. However, we are going to increase the healing penalty on Divine Plea from 20% to 50%. Divine Plea was originally intended to help Protection and Retribution paladins stay full on mana. It should be a decision for Holy paladins, not something that is automatically used every cooldown.
  • In addition, we are also changing the way Spiritual Attunement works. In situations with a large amount of outgoing raid damage, as well as in PvP, this passive ability was responsible for more mana regeneration than we would like. We want to keep the necessary benefit it grants to tanking Protection paladins, while making it less powerful for Holy paladins in PvP or raid encounters with a lot of group damage.
  • We are also taking a close look at clearcasting procs themselves. One likely outcome is to change them to an Innervate-like surge of mana so that the net benefit is the same, but healers won’t shift to out-of-casting regeneration so often.
  • We balance around the assumption that even 10-player groups have someone offering Replenishment. To make this even easier on players we are likely to offer this ability to additional classes, as well as make sure that existing sources of Replenishment are more equitable.
  • These changes are ultimately being done to bring the different healing classes more in line with each other as well as to give the encounter team more leeway when designing encounters, who can balance with these new mana regeneration numbers in mind. In a world with infinite healer mana, the only way to challenge healers is with increasingly insane amount of raid damage, so that global cooldowns become the limiting factor since mana fails to be. An example is the Eredar Twins in late Sunwell. We weren’t necessarily happy with that model, and this change hopefully allows us to move towards giving healing a more deliberate and thoughtful pace rather than frenetic spam.

Paladin-relevant parts bolded by me.

I’m not running around QQing about this just yet, until I see some reasoned analysis of the changes, or try it out for myself on the PTR. But you should be aware it’s coming, and I’d recommend analysing your use of Divine Plea to see what it’d feel like if your healing was cut in half when you used it; to keep an eye out for less healing-intensive moments to trigger it.

The State of Paladin

I try and stay positive when I focus on developments in the WoW world, but it’s getting hard to grit one’s teeth through yet another round of nerfs being fired like buckshot into the ranks of the paladins. Even when they’re not aiming at you, it’s almost a given you’ll get some collateral damage – probably right in the face.

Rohan of Blessing of Kings has been doing a good job of keeping up with the changes – the vast majority of which are nerfs – to paladins in the last few weeks, and I’ll point you there if you want to catch up on what’s changed (and changed, and changed again). So, What Went Wrong is a recent example of his interesting and insightful posts.

I’m angry, and bitter, and very very frustrated. I will try not to rant, but I make no promises. The change that’s frustrating me most is the story of Avenging Wrath, which was our shiny new Paladin spell at level 70.

The Backstory
In TBC Avenging Wrath was only a damage buff. It lasted 20 seconds, on a 3 minute cooldown, and triggered the Forbearance debuff – which lasted a minute, was triggered by Avenging Wrath, Blessing (now Hand) of Protection, Divine Shield (aka bubble), and Divine Protection (aka bubble; made you immune but you couldn’t attack at all, and shared the DS cooldown) and locked you out of all those spells while active.

Nice boost, right? In practice, it was rarely used.

  • PvE: it did nothing for Holy paladins (the vast majority of paladins in TBC), Ret paladins were a rarity in PvE (although those that existed would indeed have found Avenging Wrath useful), and generally it was mostly used by Protection paladins looking to crank up their TPS (since they didn’t have to worry about Forbearance, as they weren’t going to be bubbling).
  • PvP: pretty much never used, because it was purgeable/stealable, and locked you out of your only defensive ability to boot. No-one was going to give up the ability to bubble just for a damage buff that was almost certain to get wiped off anyway.

From The Sublime…
So, in the WotLK beta, Blizzard detached Avenging Wrath from Forbearance, and gave it a buff to healing done as well (finally making it useful for Holy paladins). This was, as far as I know, to encourage people to actually use it, and it worked. Finally, people were using their Level 70 spell – and loving it. To compensate, Forbearance was increased to a 3-minute duration. Fair enough.

…To The Ridiculous
Except, of course, that ret paladins were bubbling, blowing AW, and owning people up in BGs while completely immune – and strangely, other people didn’t like that very much. Blizzard clearly felt that this was an absolutely urgent issue, and hotfixed in a nerf (without even testing it first on the beta realms or the 3.0.3 PTR). Avenging Wrath now causes Forbearance again (which has been reduced to 2 minutes rather than 3).

The forums exploded as soon as this was announced, of course. Ten pages of respondents said “for god’s sake, don’t put it on Forbearance, just make AW and DS unable to be triggered at the same time, like trinkets”. This was apparently ignored, as were the nearly-as-numerous suggestions to have AW cancel DS and vice versa, or have AW just not give a damage boost while bubbled… et cetera.

Where Avenging Wrath Stands
So, let’s take a look at the net change between TBC and now, shall we?

Forbearance: Was 1 minute. Now 2 minutes.

PvE: Holy paladins will no longer use AW unless they really need the throughput buff and can be certain they won’t need to bubble for survival. Ret paladins may use AW, except on fights where they know they’ll need to bubble for survival. Prot paladins absolutely will not use AW (losing the TPS boost it provided), as it would lock them out of Divine Protection (which is now a Shield Wall ability rather than just being ‘bubble-lite’).

PvP: No-one (with any sense) will use AW. It’s still vulnerable to purge/steal and will still lock you out of your most vital survival ability; a paladin who’s blown their bubble is a vulnerable, probably-soon-to-be-dead paladin. And it’ll lock you out of your bubble for longer than it used to. Good times.

So, in other words, we are now worse off than we were in TBC. Thanks for fixing us, Blizz! Much appreciated!

“Paladin” Doesn’t Just Mean Retribution
This post was announced on the forums as an “upcoming Ret paladin PvP nerf”. However, it is in fact a nerf to all specs in PvE as well as PvP.

This follows on the heels of the last nerf, just four days earlier, also hotfixed in, reducing mana return from Judgements o the Wise and damage from Seal/Judgement of Command. Those really were Ret nerfs, not applicable to other specs, but in that post Ghostcrawler says “we still intend to lower the damage of other Seals and Judgements” (except Seal/Judgement of Blood and of the Martyr) – which basically means that Seal of Righteousness (the main seal for Holy DPS) and Seal of Vengeance (the main seal for tankadins) are getting it in the neck. Explain again how those are Retribution nerfs, given that Ret uses primarily Seal of Blood/Martyr and Seal of Command?

It’s really starting to feel like Blizzard has forgotten us Holy and Prot paladins are even here.

Testing Times
However, what also concerns me in the second nerf thread is Ghostcrawler saying (emphasis mine):

We are going to hotfix the nerfs to Judgement of the Wise (from 33% to 15%) and Seal and Judgement of Command (down 20% damage) to live. We need to start getting more testing on these changes right away to see what they do to Retribution in PvE and PvP.

What, in God’s name, do they have a Beta test and a PTR for, if not testing changes? Why the hell are they hotfixing nerfs to the Live environment before they’ve tested them?!

And then we have the issue that they’re hotfixing untested nerfs in left, right and centre, but when it comes to fixing damage done by these nerfs, the response is “we’re exploring this … we’ll let you know” and “as soon as we’re comfortable that we haven’t over-nerfed Ret, and a couple of other things, we’re going to look at healer dps again to make sure you can solo” and “we do realize this hurts Holy and Protection as well, and that is something for which we are prepared to offer compensation”.

So, the cheesy Bubble+Wings IWIN combo made people unhappy enough that it had to be hotfixed (despite the fact that it was a once-every-5-minutes combo for 12 seconds), but repairing the ongoing effects of these hamhanded, scattershot nerfs is something that has to be carefully considered, orchestrated, and implemented? Does anyone really wonder why paladins are feeling angry, bitter and victimised at this point?

Frankly, I think Blizzard has really dropped the ball on Paladin development. I will still be playing Sailan when the dust settles (unless something really really dire happens), but I can’t blame other paladins for rerolling or quitting entirely.