Friday, 6 February 2009

Patch 3.1 Info

Some (?) of the changes planned for 3.1 have been made public yesterday. These are:

  • Blessing of Kings – this spell is now a base ability trainable by all paladins.
  • Exorcism – this spell now causes damage to all types of enemy targets. However, it always critical strikes undead or demon targets. This change should make sure paladin damage doesn't drop when going from Naxxramas to later tiers of content.
  • Shield of the Templar now causes your Avenger's Shield and Shield of the Righteousness to silence targets for 3 sec. The old damage bonus of this talent has been folded into Holy Shield, Avenger's Shield, and Shield of the Righteousness.
  • Ardent Defender, Improved Hammer of Justice, One-Handed Weapon Specialization and more have had their ranks reduced.
  • Guarded by the Light – no longer reduces the mana cost of shield spells, but now has a 50/100% chance to refresh Divine Plea duration.
  • 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 0.5/1 second.

A few hours before the devs mentioned changes in the mana replenishment aspect of the game:

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.

  • 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 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. (Source)

I will focus on the changes regarding the Holy specs as its the one I know best. First of all the nerf on Divine Plea seems kind of justified, bearing in mind the current content, as things have been to simple some times. A Paladin decked in more or less the top gear rarely has issues with mana and Divine Plea has become almost a spamable ability. The -20% reduction is practicaly unoticable and people who are aware of cooldowns maximize their replenishment by spaming Divine Plea in the most demanding fights. Nonetheless, I noticed from personal experience that I rarely do this anymore. The attempt - and if numbers stay as such - is to make DP a more "thought-through" ability. Whether 50% is too much remains to be seen. Probably something in the order of 35%-40% would be better but we need to test it through in the PTRs

The good changes though are equaly if not more important. Kings becomes baseline, simplifying somewhat the spec choices. In my guild I am the only paladin going for 20 points in retry with Improved might and wisdom. The rest have specced around BoK. Now things will be simpler, although exact choices will be though through once the exact talent trees are available (which might change from the current ones, depending on the 11pt talent in prot).

The other change is Exorcism. This is a good addition in a Holy paladin's arsenal. The fact that it always crits on Undead and Demon targets is a subtle bonus as lots of mobs are of that sort, adding some oomph in solo game. However the non-ud/deamon aspect of it is much more important, speeding things a bit in the solo game. What remains to be seen is if the talent up in holy, affecting exorcism, will be tweaked. It may be worth considering in the grand scheme of things as far as soloing is concerned. The fact that it is an extra offensive ability in PvP might cause some friction (you know the wow community how works :p) which might lead in more detailed changes (mana cost, output etc).

All in all the changes seem interesting and would make healing possibly a bit more chalenging in terms of timing (not the crude thing it often is nowadays) whereas soloing as Holy will be a tad more interesting. As with all changes that crop up when patches are due, I am patient on how they will end up, as we often seen them change until we are able to use them in-game.

P.S. Check Rohan's post on the changes and in particular those concerning protection.


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