Monday, June 22, 2009

Patch 3.2 and Paladins

The patch notes for WoW's patch 3.2 have been released a week ago and it's mostly very good stuff, almost on par with patch 3.1. In some cases it's even better. I'm excited for example about the new mount system, the new Argent Tournament stuff and the nice changes to a lot of classes. I won't go too much into detail regarding the good stuff just yet.

What I do want to complain a bit about are the changes to Retribution Paladins. The main change is:
Exorcism: Now has a 1.5 second cast time, but can once again be used on players.
I'm talking about Retribution even though this will affect the other specs as well but since Exorcism is now a very important spell in a Ret's rotation, it will probably affect this spec the most.

Forgive me for sounding bitter but this is a bullshit change. B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T. And why is that, you might ask? Because once again, Blizzard is "fixing" a skill that works perfectly in PvE in order to balance something stupid in PvP. Erm, ok as if I give a crap about Exorcism being used on players.

They claim that it will all be balanced by this other little change:
Art of War: Now only applies to melee critical hits, but will make your next Flash of Light or Exorcism instant.
OK so we nerf Exorcism by giving it a casting time. Then we nerf Art of War by making it apply only to melee hits. Then we un-nerf Exorcism when Art of War procs. Net result, the way I see it, is a big nerf. While Art of War applied (previous to 3.2) to Judgement, Crusader Strike and Divine Storm, after 3.2 it will only apply to melee swings which occur very seldom anyway due to Paladins' preference for slow weapons.

This change will make Exorcism behave like Flash of Light now. Meaning that it can be interrupted or delayed if I'm hit on by mobs. The more, the merrier. Another "nice" side-effect is that I won't be able to cast it while I'm running towards a mob. I would have to stop at a distance and wait 1.5s for it to cast. What I find even more disturbing is that Retribution Pallys don't have too many spells in their rotation anyway. Exorcism > Judge > Divine Storm > Crusader Strike > wait... > repeat.

Wait, it gets even better. Although Retribution is the spec that's gonna be most affected, other specs will also suffer from this. For example I use Exorcism occasionally in my Prot rotation when I have an excess of mana. So I guess that from now on I'll skip on this skill.

Luckily, Protection got some buffs this time and since I'm going Prot from now on, I can't be happier. For example the following change is pretty good. As a solo player I don't find myself very often in such dire straits but it will come in handy occasionally.
Ardent Defender: Redesigned. Currently, any damage taken by the paladin while at 35% health or below is reduced. Instead, any attack that would reduce the paladin to 35% health or below has its damage reduced. In addition, once every 2 minutes an attack that would have killed the paladin will fail to kill, and instead set the paladin's health to 10/20/30% of maximum.
Another small buff below. Extra stamina is good, especially for a tank. I always use Blessing of Sanctuary due to the damage reduction and mana generation.
Blessing of Sanctuary: This blessing now also increases stamina by 10%. This effect is not cumulative with Blessing of Kings.
Now here's one that I like.
Righteous Fury: No longer has a duration or mana cost, remaining until cancelled or death. Also cancelled when a Paladin activates a different talent specialization.
Righteous Fury is pretty mana intensive for a 30-minute buff. Well, maybe it should be but after casting this, plus Seal of Wisdom I always have to throw a Divine Plea 'cos a third of my mana is gone. So yay for this small change.

Now the following might be perceived as a nerf to Protection but if I'm not mistaken, it evens out with the changes to block so in fact it might actually be a buff.
Shield of Righteousness: Now deals 100% of shield block value as damage instead of 130%
So that's about it for Protection and Retribution. I don't really care about Holy and I don't think I'll ever try it. Although, now that Retribution doesn't hold anything special for me, I might be tempted to give it a try but since I don't heal in groups maybe it's not worth it.

I'm just happy that I jumped the Ret ship while I had the chance. Protection is too much fun now but I'm still pissed when Blizzard nerfs PvE so for PvP's sake. As a solution to the stupid Exorcism nerf, I re-iterate what a commenter on said: keep Exorcism the way it is (unusable on players) but change Art of War so that the proc makes Exorcism castable on players. Simple solution innit?


Shawn said...

Hear Hear. Just when I was getting used to having Exorcism in my rotation, too. Meh.

Dalaila said...

Hi, just my 2c for your blog: the new layout is almost perfect, much much more readable :). I would just change the blue color: it's hard to read, too dark I guess.

Joe said...

I've jsut started a paladin on both horde and alliance, although i'm gonna play horde out first, it seems to me, protection is forever coolest. Heres to giving Blizzard the finger every now and then for doing silly things for pvp'rs!

Darth Solo said...

@Shawn what spec are you? Ret?

@Dalaila thanks! I'm glad you like it. The blue is selected when I format the article. I'll try a lighter one.

@Joe Blizz sometimes make me bang my head against the wall. I just wish they had a 4th talent tree just for PvP and leave PvE the hell alone. My blood pressure rises to dangerous levels whenever I hear people discussing that X class is OP compared to Y, nerf this and nerf that. These discussions are always about PvP, no exception. I happen to think that PvP should be completely separated from the rest of the game, so sue me.

Joe said...

couldn't agree more!

Dalt said...

I agree that it's always frustrating to see Blizz nerf PvE abilities for PvP balance (Arenas in particular).

I try to console myself with the thought that if it wasnt for Arenas then Blizz wouldnt feel compelled to make a Paladin's (or any hybrid class's) dps competitive with the "pure" dps classes. That seems to be one good thing that has come of all the PvP balancing they keep doing.

Dalt said...

Oops - not sure if I was clear with my comment above but I meant that I am enjoying the boost hybrid classes have recived to our dps in PvE that has come from all the PvP balancing and re-balancing Blizz keeps doing.

Thanks :)

Dalaila ShadowsongEU said...

Unfair stuff for Paladins? Let's talk about hunters... Seeing T9 tier-set bonus I could say we're the WORST class ever in terms of "bonuses" lol.... :-|

Darth Solo said...

@Dalt indeed, something good has come from all this "balancing". I guess if you look at the whole picture, it doesn't seem to bad right now. Paladins and shamans for example are fun to play in PvE. However, I'm not convinced the good stuff came from PvP balancing but rather from Blizzard's new (ish) philosophy that every spec should be viable in raids. That, I agree with.

@Dalaila I sympathize with my fellow hunters but unfortunately I haven't any interest in tier armor simply because as a solo hunter I'll never get to own even a single piece. I would venture to guess that those bonuses are a lot easier to tweak than actual skills and talents though.

Joe said...

just a quick update, the paladin class rocks my socks off. I've solo'd everything, where as before, i remember you'd need a group say to kill knucklerot in ghostlands, i've solo'd him at lvl 20 without breaking a sweat. The pally class is easy to survive with from what i can see, i've pulled a whole bunch of mobs by accident, and still dont go down, with a correct bit of micro management. A much more fun, and intense class to play imo. I'll see if it gets less fun pending the patch.

Darth Solo said...

After 3.2 Prot should be slightly stronger I would think. Ret... I don't know anymore. It has stopped exciting me after I discovered Prot.

Zralhaust said...

Don't worry too much about the Art of War changes for Ret. From what I am reading on many abilities including Judgement and Divine Storm Count as melee abilities, and AoW still seems to proc frequently. They also seem to indicate that with the changes to Seal of Vengeance That Ret-PVE damage while losing some of the burst, is improved. I too solo a good bit of game content and plan on keeping my main ret.

Darth Solo said...

Well, that's good to hear. I will still keep Ret as my off-spec but I'm not sure I'll use it very often in the future. Prot is too much fun. I will continue to shed tears over Exorcism because I would always use it as a ranged opener on a mob while on the run. By the time the mob got in melee range, the GCD was over and I could hit it with my melee abilities. Now, I'll have to sit still while casting it.