Tag Archives: patches

One of These Things Is Not Like The Others!

Blizzard typically designs its raid zones in three different sizes: you’ve got the one- or two-boss zones, the half-a-dozen boss zones, and the raids with a dozen or so bosses – give or take.

And then, in this thread, Ghostcrawler says (emphasis mine)

…once we say “tanking niches” players have visions of the DK who parks outside of Icecrown until boss 4, 17 and 31 (yes, IC is that big).

At the risk of sounding like a lolcat, ZOMG. No wonder they introduced raid timer extensions!

To put it pictorially:

Number of Bosses by Raid Zone

That’s one way of making sure Icecrown won’t be cleared before Christmas…

(Edit: I’ve seen a few other wry posts around the traps from GC in the last day, and he may well be joking about this – which is unlike Blizz devs, who don’t usually make joke posts unless it’s very obvious that their tongue is planted firmly in cheek, but even devs are allowed to have some fun.)

Edit #2: My guildie Phyl (of Hunters Rhok) has pointed out the official debunking, where GC says

an example on how we don’t want raids to rotate in tanks, I wanted to pick what I hoped was a ridiculous number so that players wouldn’t try and and deduce from my answer how many bosses Icecrown has.

Sadly, my sarcasm doesn’t translate well to the forums. :)

(Unfortunately, if he wanted to convey a sense of “this is just a hypothetical number”, he probably shouldn’t have followed it up with an explicit assurance that he was being serious.)

First Impressions of 3.2

Well, it’s been up for a few days now, and – restarts and server downtime and terrifying bugs aside – I’ve had a chance to put 3.2 through its paces. Some thoughts:

  • Isle of Conquest is great fun, although frantic and confusing at first. It’s a lot more fun when people aren’t just rushing to zerg the other faction’s end boss.
  • There are seriously not enough glaive throwers. >:(
  • The Wintergrasp changes are very disappointing; I don’t want to have to sit on a character for quarter of an hour waiting for WG to pop, only to miss out, and the new numbers cap gives the whiners some grounds for complaining about other people’s contributions.
  • The mount changes might be just what my poor languishing alts need. Riding at 20? Flying at 60? I’m sold.
  • The nerf to my mana regen is fairly tragic, although I haven’t had a good test of it in a progression raid because…
  • …the Deconstructor-spawns-a-squillion-adds bug is hilarious, but kind of raid-stopping.
  • (And having a half-hour downtime in the middle of prime raiding time doesn’t help, either.)
  • Epic gems are awesome, and just about made up for the giant nerf to Divine Intellect.

More intelligent thoughts to come when a) it’s not 6am after a hard night o’ Isle of Conquests, and b) I’ve had a chance to take the Holy/Prot Bubble Spec for a proper 3.2-style test drive.

The Argent Tournament in Patch 3.2

With my “Tourist Guide” series I attempted to present a comprehensive guide to the Argent Tournament and their goings-on in Northrend, so let’s look at the new content coming in Patch 3.2.

This post is Part IV in the series, a guide to all the new content introduced in Patch 3.2. This includes a new quest hub, new rewards, and changes to existing quests.

  • Part I: explains the scenario and the location, the side quests and the Aspirant stage of mounted combat.
  • Part II: covers the Valiant stage of the mounted combat event and questing.
  • Part III: covers the Champion stage of the questing, and where to go from there.
  • Part IV – The Argent Tournament in Patch 3.2: covers changes to the Argent Tournament, and delicious new content and rewards.

Caveat: Due to the PTR login problem, this guide has been developed with the aid of notes and screenshots I took earlier in the PTR testing process. I’ll update the guide with the most recent information as soon as I’m able to access the PTR again, but for now I felt an approximate guide was better than no guide at all. (Note that I’ve only included information where I’m reasonably confident it’s correct.)

Approaching the Argent Tournament

New Rewards

There are a range of new rewards available. (You can see existing rewards in Part III of my Argent Tournament guides here.)

  • Mini pets:

    • Silver Covenant/Sunreavers: Shimmering Wyrmling – this is BoE, but requires Exalted with the Silver Covenant or Sunreavers to use. 40 Champion’s Seals.
    • Argent Crusade: Argent Pony Bridle – BoP, 150 Champion’s Seals. This upgrades the Argent Squire or Argent Gruntling you receive in the first stages of becoming a Champion; once you’ve done this upgrade, your Argent minion can give you access to your mail, your bank or a vendor, once every eight hours.
  • Tabards, all 50 Seals each:
    • Silver Covenant (Alliance only) – requires Exalted
    • Sunreavers (Horde only) – requires Exalted
    • Argent Crusader’s Tabard (looks like a fancier version of the Argent Crusade tabard, see right) – requires Exalted
  • Ground Mounts, 100 Seals each:
    • Silver Covenant: Quel’dorei Steed – requires Exalted
    • Sunreavers: Sunreaver Hawkstrider – requires Exalted
    • Argent Crusade: Argent Warhorse, Argent Charger (the latter is paladin-only). These both require the Crusader title.
  • Flying Mounts, 150 Seals each:
    • Silver Covenant: Silver Covenant Hippogryph – requires Exalted
    • Sunreavers: Sunreaver Dragonhawk – requires Exalted
  • 1 new banner for the Argent Crusade, costing 15 Seals.
  • Bind-on-account chests with a 10% XP bonus (which stacks with the heirloom shoulders), costing 60 Seals each. (Other heirloom items will now be purchasable with Seals as well as Emblems of Heroism.)

New Achievements

There are, of course, a number of achievements relating to deeds in the new 5-man dungeon (Trial of the Champion) and the new raid zone (Trial of the Crusader). In addition, there are two new achievements relating to the Argent Tournament world event:

  • A Silver Confidant, for the Alliance, requires you to have reached Exalted with the Silver Covenant and Champion status with at least one city.
  • The Sunreavers is the Horde equivalent, requiring you to reach Exalted with the Sunreavers and Champion status with at least one city.

New Quests

The new quests generally focus around two plot points in 3.2: either keeping the tournament competitors happy (and, usually, well-fed), or helping save the Tuskarr of Hrothgar’s Landing (an island to the north of the grounds) from the aggressive invading Kvaldir.

The following new dailies can be found in your faction’s tent. They both require Exalted with Sunreavers/Silver Covenant, and reward one Champion’s Seal each.

The following new dailies require you to be a Crusader, and are given by new NPCs in the Argent Crusade tent near Crusader Rhydalla. They give one Champion’s Seal each unless otherwise stated.

Changed Quests

There are a number of changes to existing quests. As a general rule, the dailies will now send you further afield, and you will no longer be able to “double up” and complete the Valiant and Champion versions of a daily by killing a single set of mobs.

  • A Valiant’s Field Training used to require you to kill 10 Scourge in Icecrown. Now it specifies 10 Converted Heroes, north of Corp’rethar.
  • Taking Battle to the Enemy used to require you to kill 15 Scourge in Icecrown. Now it specifies 15 Cult of the Damned members anywhere in Icecrown.
  • Battle Before the Citadel used to require you to kill 1 Boneguard Commander, 3 Boneguard Lieutenants, and 10 Boneguard Scouts (which overlapped nicely with the Valiant version of the quest, At the Enemy’s Gates). This now requires you to kill 3 Boneguard Commanders; the Valiant quest remains unchanged.

Remember – more details to follow, as soon as the PTR is accessible again!

Preparing for Mana Regen Changes in 3.2

Blizzard have been unhappy about the state of holy paladins for a while now – apparently crit is “too strong” a stat for us, and they don’t like our distaste for mp5 – and as has been widely reported, 3.2 brings some pretty solid regen nerfs to the table for us. In return, they’re buffing the mp5 on most items, in an attempt to make it more appealing for us.


The Changes

Most of the changes were announced or foreshadowed in this post:

So, we loseWeight Exercise 5% of our intellect, plus Replenishment’s been cut by 20%, plus crit-based mana regen has been halved. In exchange, we get a more powerful Beacon of Light (which is a subject for another post), and 25% more mp5.

Crunching Numbers

If you want to know just how this is going to affect you, you need to take a look at overall data from a raid, rather than just relying on your perceptions. I’ll use WoWWebStats (WWS) parses here to demonstrate, but you can also use other sites like WoWMeterOnline (WMO) or World of Logs (WOL).

Before a raid, take note of how much holy crit rating you have – personally, I’m usually around the 41-42% mark when buffed (since I don’t usually get Focus Magic, and we don’t have a regular raiding boomkin).

Step 1: Recalculate your Intellect

Because we’re losing 1/3 of the boost of Divine Intellect, it’s important to note how that affects our other stats.

To calculate this, make note of your stats when raid-buffed, then divide your current Intellect by 1.15 and multiply the result by 1.10, to see your raid-buffed Intellect after patch 3.2.

In my case, I’ll be going from 1657 Intellect to 1584 Intellect, a drop of 73 Int. Losing 73 Int costs me 1095 Mana and about 0.438% Spell Crit, which will further reduce the effects of Replenishment and Illumination.

Reducing mana pool will also affect the mana return from Divine Plea, but that’s a factor that’s under your control, as you can adjust how frequently you use Plea to compensate for a reduced return.

Step 2: Illumination

After the raid, take a look at the WWS parse. (If your raid group doesn’t use WWS or an equivalent service, you can save your own combat logs and upload them for your own use.) Select yourself, and pick a boss fight you think was typical, or pick “all bosses” or “defeated bosses” from the split menu if you want an average for the whole night.

Now, look at the top section of stats, and look for your “HPS time” stat. That’s the amount of time WWS identifies you as healing.

WWS Parse - Part 1
(Click to enlarge.)

This sample just shows one fight, so the HPS time is 6:17. If it’s a full night, the HPS time will be far higher, of course (but lower than you’d expect, since every raid wastes a surprising amount of time on getting ready, recovering from wipes, clearing trash, strategising, and so on).

So, now you’ve got the time you spent healing, the next step is to find out how much mana you got back from critical heals during this time. For this, click on the “Energies & Dispells” tab below the first block of stats, and look for Illumination (which is the talent that restores mana after crit heals).

WWS Parse - Part 2
(Click to enlarge.)

From these two screenshots, you can see that I spent six minutes and seventeen seconds healing (or 377 seconds), and got 27,718 mana back from crit heals. This equates to approximately 73.5 mana per second, or 367.6 mp5. Obviously, these numbers are going to vary based on factors like the rest of your healing team, whether it’s a progression fight or farm content, your latency, and so on.

So, my 41% spell crit gave me back mana equivalent to 367.6 mp5 on that fight. Halve that. That’s how much mana regen you’ll loseWeight Exercise from crits when patch 3.2 hits.

Also note that your reduced Intellect (as calculated in Step 1 above) will also reduce your spell crit, reducing Illumination-based mana returns further.

Step 3: Replenishment

On WWS Replenishment will show up in the “Energies and Dispells” display, just like Illumination. It doesn’t show on the screenshot above, because that fight had no-one with Replenishment, so here’s a sample screenshot (from a fight with 5:46 HPS time).

WWS Parse - Part 3
(Click to enlarge.)

On this fight, Replenishment restored 8190 mana over 346 seconds, an equivalent of about 118.3 mp5.

To calculate the effect of the 3.2 changes on how much mana you get from Replenishment, you’ll need to do two things:

Take the Replenishment value, and multiply it by 0.8. This new value accounts for the nerf to Replenishment itself. Now take this new value, and multiply it by 0.956, which accounts for the nerf to Divine Intellect (since 0.956 is 1.15/1.10). That’s the new amount of mana you’d have regained from Replenishment in an otherwise identical situation, post-3.2.

Using the screenshot as an example, we get 8190 * 0.8 * 0.956 = 6263 mana over 346 seconds, or about 90.5 mp5. That’s a loss of nearly 28 mp5, on this particular fight.

Obviously, that’s a very small sample; for accuracy, you’re best off looking at a number of raids and totalling all the Replenishment mana returns and HPS times before you do any calculations.

Step 4: mp5

This one’s the most straightforward calculation. On your character sheet, take a look at your current mana regeneration while casting (without Blessing of Wisdom), and multiply that by 1.25. That’s your new gear-based mp5 total.

The Impact

Using the above calculations, you can work out how much mp5 you’ll loseWeight Exercise from the nerfs to Intellect, Illumination and Replenishment, and how much you’ll gain from the buff to mp5 on gear and enchants. If you’re still primarily in Naxx gear, you’ll likely loseWeight Exercise a fair bit of mana regen overall, because there was plenty of Naxx gear with Haste & Crit, and no mp5. If you’ve moved into Ulduar gear, the impact will be lower as pretty much every single piece of Ulduar spellpower plate has mp5 on it.

However, there’s one important factor to bear in mind: mana regen from mp5 is not the same as mana regen from crit. Quantitatively, they might still give you back the same amount of mana; qualitatively; they’re different.

Mana regen from spell crits lends itself to spike-based healing; crit-focused healers are good at throwing out a lot of healing very fast to compensate for damage spikes, and Illumination restores mana dynamically; the more you use, the more you regen.

Mp5-based mana regen, on the other hand, is a steady trickle of mana; if you engage in over-enthusiastic spike healing, you may run yourself excessively mana-dry until you wait for the pool to slowly top itself back up again. mp5-based mana regen lends itself to more measured, steady healing to keep a target topped up, and is particularly aided by mitigation from shields and damage diversion abilities (like HoSac and Divine Sac).

Whether we like it or not, Blizz has decreed that we need to focus more on mp5 and less on crit. Numbercrunching will help us mitigate the impact of the changes – by being ready to use more mp5-based gear, for instance – but it’s also going to be important to keep playstyle changes in mind, too.

Epic Gems and Jewelcrafting in 3.2

Look, it’s a post! Yes, I know it’s not a pally post, but the 3.2-related stuff is still brewing.

4 July 09: Unfortunately this post has lost all its comments due to technical reasons.

Patch 3.2 brings with it WotLK’s long-awaited epic gems. The item names have been known ever since they were datamined during the beta, but they’ve never been available until now.

What Gems Are There?

There are six new gems, of epic quality.

  • Red: Cardinal Ruby
  • Yellow: King’s Amber
  • Blue: Majestic Zircon
  • Orange: Ametrine
  • Green: Eye of Zul
  • Purple: Dreadstone

What Cuts Are There?

As far as I can tell, based on datamined info from MMO-champion’s internal DB, every uncommon/rare cut in WotLK has an epic equivalent except the prismatic “Enchanted” gems (the ‘all stats’ pearls).

Edit: as of PTR build 10072, there’s now an “all stats” epic gem – the Nightmare Tear, +10 to all stats, unique-equipped, matches any socket, and requires a Dragon’s Eye and 5 Infinite Dust to cut.

The values on the gems are increased by 25-33% over the rare cuts, except with mp5 (which is in line with the boost to mp5 on gear in 3.2). So a +16 attribute rare cut will be a +20 attribute cut in its epic versions.

I’ve revised the Jewelcrafting Quick Reference Sheet: WotLK Edition to include all of these cuts.

This table includes all jewelcrafting gem cuts excluding BoP gems that are JC-only. It is current as of 25 June 09.

Jewelcrafting Reference TableJewelcrafting Reference Table

If you prefer it in PDF form, you can download a copy here: jc32a.pdf.

Last updated 25 June 09.

What Cuts Aren’t There?

The ‘prismatic’ quality of jewelcrafter-only gems is being removed – the Dragon’s Eye JC-only cuts will now have a specific color. Bold Dragon’s Eyes will be red, Brilliant Dragon’s Eyes will be yellow, and so on.

This will make it harder to meet socket bonuses and meta gem requirements for unpopular gem colors (*cough*blue*cough*), and many people had expressed a hope that Blizzard would add orange, purple and green JC-only gems.

Alas: such things are, so far, absent.

Where Do the Cuts Come From?

As you can see in the images linked above, there are 72 cuts for epic gems.

The patterns are BoP and require 450 Jewelcrafting to learn. They can be purchased from the Dalaran Jewelcrafting trainer, Timothy Jones, for 5 Dalaran Jewelcrafting Tokens each – so you’ll need a whopping 360 tokens to buy ’em all.

Edit: As of 3.2 going live, the patterns cost 4 tokens each, requiring 288 tokens in total.

Where Do the Gems Come From?

Blizzard have made it pretty easy to get epic gems, but nothing’s sure except death and taxes:

Jewelcrafting

You can prospect Titanium Ore for epic gems, although they’re not guaranteed. As a guide, I just did 13 prospects (ie 65 ore’s worth) and got:

  • 4 epic gems,
  • 3 rare gems,
  • 20 uncommon gems, and
  • 8 Titanium Powder (which can currently be used for a quest handin on the PTR; according to commenters Catreina and Megree, this rewards 1 Dalaran JC token per 10 powder).

Obviously, this isn’t a big enough sample to get a realistic idea of drop rates; this could have been a very unlucky (or lucky) batch.

Edit: I just did another batch of prospecting (9th July, PTR build 10072) and 350 ore netted me 18 epic gems, 8 blue gems, 99 green gems and 62 titanium powder. This looks like about a 1-in-4 ratio for getting epic gems out of a prospect, which is pretty expensive given the scarcity of titanium; that will likely keep epic gem prices high.

Alchemy

You can transmute all six colors of gem. The transmutes for five of the gems are taught by the Dalaran Alchemy trainer, while the Cardinal Ruby transmute is taught by a quest from the same NPC. It’s a simple quest, requiring you to complete 5 epic gem transmutes of any other color.

Edit: the transmute mats have changed; thanks to Simes for alerting me.

  • Red: Cardinal Ruby (mats: 1 Scarlet Ruby, 1 Eternal Fire)
  • Yellow: King’s Amber (mats: 1 Autumn’s Glow, 1 Eternal Life)
  • Blue: Majestic Zircon (mats: 1 Sky Sapphire, 1 Eternal Air)
  • Orange: Ametrine (mats: 1 Monarch Topaz, 1 Eternal Shadow)
  • Green: Eye of Zul (mats: 3 Forest Emeralds)
  • Purple: Dreadstone (mats: 1 Twilight Opal, 1 Eternal Shadow)

(Edit: Note that the mats for the Eye of Zul have changed again, as of build 10072; thanks to Michelle for the headsup.)

On the PTR the transmutes have no cooldown; however, Blizzard has given stuff a cooldown late in the testing process beforehand, so there’s no guarantee they won’t on this one too. (Edit: they now all share the same 20-hour cooldown timer as the titanium and Eternal elemental transmutes.)

Emblems

You can buy all six colors of epic gem from the Emblem of Heroism Quartermasters in Dalaran; they cost 15 Emblems each. (Edit: red, blue and yellow gems now cost 20 Emblems, and orange, green and purple gems cost 10 Emblems each.)

PvP

You can buy all six colors of epic gem from the Jewelcrafting Quartermaster in the PvP vendor centres in Stormwind and Orgrimmar. They’re currently set at 10,000 honor, which is the same price as rare gems on live servers, so I suspect that price may increase.

More Paladin Changes in 3.1 – Build 9684

Things are changing pretty fast for paladins at the moment. This is nothing like the huge revamp in 3.0.2, but there’s a lot to adjust to anyway.

From MMO-Champion, an update to the official patch notes and a list of undocumented changes.

General

  • Divine Plea can once again be dispelled.
  • Exorcism: Now can be used on any target and has a 100% chance to be a critical strike when used on Undead and Demons.
  • Shield of Righteousness: Base damage and scaling factor increased by 30%.
  • Spiritual Attunement: Removed from trainers. It is now available deep in the Protection tree for 2 ranks at 5/10%.

Divine Plea being dispellable is a PvP issue; I have some reservations about this, but until there’s strong PvP on the test servers it’s hard to judge the impact. (That said, it feels like something of a bait-and-switch, since Divine Plea was made undispellable when they nerfed it to reduce healing by 50%.)

The Exorcism change is a nice one; it helps normalise paladin damage, and gives Holy paladins in particular a bit more oomph in solo content. The Shield of Righteousness change is a straight buff, so woot for that.

The Spiritual Attunement change, on the other hand, is extremely disappointing. Now you will have to be Protection to tank anything; no more tanking as Holy in Prot gear. I can understand why they didn’t want non-tanking paladins to have access to Spiritual Attunement, to help control our mana, but it really detracts from our nature as a hybrid if we have to spec Prot to tank anything. Rohan over at Blessing of Kings has an excellent post on the issue: Will the Last Hybrid Paladin Please Turn Off the Lights? which includes a couple of much more elegant ways of restricting access to Spiritual Attunement.

Holy Talents, Patch 9684Holy

  • Judgements of the Pure was moved from Tier 10 to Tier 9.
  • Sacred Cleansing was moved from Tier 9 to Tier 8.
  • Enlightened Judgements was moved from Tier 9 to Tier 10.
  • Infusion of Light was moved from Tier 8 to Tier 10.
  • Aura Mastery now causes your Concentration Aura to make all affected targets immune to Silence and Interrupt effects and improve the effect of all other auras by 100%.
  • Blessed Hands: Now reduces mana cost of Hand of Freedom, Sacrifice and Salvation by 15/30%, and improves the effectiveness of Hand of Salvation by 50/100% and Hand of Sacrifice by an additional 5/10%. Moved to Tier 4.
  • Pure of Heart: Now reduces duration of all curse, disease, and poison effects by 15/30%.
  • Purifying Power: Now reduces the cooldowns of Exorcism and Holy Wrath by 17/33% instead of increasing critical strike chance.

The talent shifts are a little confusing to read like that; click the image on the right to see how the tree actually looks. (Please ignore the slightly dodgy spec; I was just picking up Aura Mastery to test it out.) For the classic 51-point PvE builds, it’s still perfectly straightforward to get all the abilities you need.

The Blessed Hands change is a nice buff; it previously reduced mana cost and increased dispel resistance for all hands. It’s worth noting that the new version provides no benefit for Hand of Protection, but the other changes are useful both for PvP and PvE. It’s actually a viable alternative to Imp BoWis or Imp Lay on Hands now.

Protection

  • Greater Blessing of Sanctuary now gives the target 2% of maximum displayed mana when the target blocks, parries, or dodges a melee attack.
  • Guarded by the Light got an additional effect – In addition, your Divine Plea spell is 50/100% less likely to be dispelled.
  • Ardent Defender: Reduced to 3 ranks for 10/20/30%.
  • Avenger’s Shield: Base damage and scaling factor increased by 30%.
  • Blessing of Sanctuary: Now only grants mana on dodge/parry/block. In addition, will only grant mana if that is the active power type of the friendly target (Bears and Cats won’t gain mana).
  • Improved Hammer of Justice: Reduced to 2 ranks for 10/20-second cooldown reduction.
  • Holy Shield: Base damage and scaling factor increased by 30%.
  • Judgements of the Just: Now also reduces the cooldown of Hammer of Justice by 10/20 seconds, and increases the duration of the Seal of Justice stun effect by .5/1 second.
  • One-Handed Weapon Specialization: Reduced to 3 ranks for 4/7/10%.
  • Shield of the Templar: No longer increases the damage done by Holy Shield, Avenger’s Shield, and Shield of Righteousness. Now grants 33/66/100% chance to silence your Avenger’s Shield targets for 3 seconds.

From a healer perspective, most of these changes won’t make a significant difference. The change to Imp Hammer of Justice will affect 51/20 PvP specs slightly, but that’s about it.

From a tank’s perspective, I don’t have current enough knowledge of Protection to talk intelligently about these changes, unfortunately. Clearly I need to spec Prot for a week and go Heroic my face off!

Retribution

  • Sanctified Seals was renamed to Sanctity of Battle, now Increases your chance to critically hit with all spells and attacks by 1/2/3% and increases the damage caused by Exorcism and Crusader Strike by 5/10/15%.
  • Divine Purpose: Moved to Improved Retribution Aura’s position.
  • Improved Retribution Aura: This talent has been removed.
  • Swift Retribution: Now grants its haste bonus while any aura is active.

None of these changes significantly impact Holy; they’re a step towards slimming Ret down (although I didn’t think Ret was particularly bloated in the first place, to be honest).

Of note, I’d seen some concern about Sanctity of Battle no longer adding to healing spell crit. I’ve checked on the PTR and it does still affect spell crit, and the crit part of the talent is worded exactly the same as Sanctified Seals, so this appears to be intentional.

Paladin PTR News – Holy & Protection Changes

Here’s a quick roundup of the latest changes from the PTR. I don’t normally post ongoing changes, unless there’s something big for holy paladins, but this time around the news sources are overwhelmed with Ulduar data and the class changes are getting a lot less press. So here we go. (The source: MMO-Champion.)

The usual caveat: all of this is subject to change before 3.1 goes live. If you watched the progress of class changes in the WotLK beta, you’ll know just how much something can change during the testing process.

This is from Build 9658 of the 3.1 PTR.

General

  • All paladins auras had their range extended from 30 yards to 40 yards.

Thank God. Along with Blessing of Kings being baseline, this is one change where we can all say “It’s about time”. On the other hand, now Holy needs an 11-point talent.

Holy

  • Sacred Shield now cannot be on more than one target at any one time.

This change was implemented because Sacred Shield was doing “too much” damage prevention in Ulduar.

  • Infusion of Light no longer has a chance to reduce the casting time of Holy Light, but increases the the critical chance of your next Holy Light by 10/20% instead.

No word on why this change was made, but I’m hoping it doesn’t stick, personally.

Protection

  • Hand of Sacrifice now lasts 12 sec or until the caster has transfered 100% of their maximum health.

A PvP limitation; I don’t think HoS gets used as much as it should in PvE content anyway.

  • Targets affected by Divine Shield, Hand of Protection or Divine Protection can no longer be affected by any of these spell for 2 minutes. (Down from 3 minutes)

A nice change. Not unbalancing, I think, just making life a bit easier.

  • Divine Sacrifice *New Talent* (Tier 3) – 30% of all damage taken by party or raid members within 30 yards is redirected to the Paladin (up to a maximum of 150% of the Paladin’s health). Instant, 2 min cooldown.

Well, protection paladins finally got their 11-point talent. You can see some of their discussions in this Maintankadin thread.

Also, this isn’t a paladin change, but it’s something you need to know about anyway if you do any PvP:

Arms Warrior

  • Shattering Throw *New Skill* – Throws your weapon at the enemy causing [ 50% of AP + 12 ] damage (based on attack power), reducing the armor on the target by 20% for 10 sec, and removing any invulnerabilities. 25 Rage, 30 yd range, 1.5 sec cast, 5 min cooldown

Just like a priest’s Mass Dispel, that’s bye-bye bubble. Be wary of warriors wielding only one weapon!

Source: MMO-Champion.

Item Changes in 3.0.8

A few of the items I recommended in my Pre-Raid Healadin Gear Guide are seeing some changes next patch, and they’re worth looking at. (Source: this MMO-Champion thread.)

  • The Titansteel Guardian is being nerfed; its spellpower is being reduced from 490 to 457. Other stats are unchanged. It’s still an excellent mace, and worth getting if you can’t get your hands on something better, but it’s now a less competitive alternative if you do have the War Mace of Unrequited Love from Heroic Keristrasza.
  • Je’Tze’s Bell is becoming BoE. That’s a damn nice trinket, although I suspect prices are going to be sky-high.

Carry on!

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.