Those anxiously awaiting patch 4.0.6 should be happy to know that this patch should be hitting the live servers tomorrow. This includes the redefining of how many players constitutes a “guild group”, fixes and adds to the “luck of the draw” buff, adds some balance to Tol Barad and Strand of the Ancients, makes Retributions mastery possibly their best stat, along with a plethora of other class and instance changes. This patch has seen a ton of revisions already – you can find the most current after the break – with more possible by the time it goes live. I’m pretty happy with the changes overall. We should see some class balance, random dungeon finder groups might be a little more manageable, and did I mention the buff to retribution? Continue on for the most recent patch notes (as of this posting) in their entirety.
The above chart was featured in a WoW insider Scattered Shots article, you can see the full article HERE.
Notice retribution at the very bottom of the raiding dps specs. Now, this doesn’t include the traditionally low raiding performance “pvp” specs such as subtlety rogues, but ret pallies are still easily 25% below the top performing dps spec and also lower than the next lowest by almost 1,000 dps. Naturally, I’d love to run around topping the meters, but balance at least is much preferred to the current state of affairs. Did we paladins despair though? Of course not! We knew at some point the useless mastery would be reforged into something we wanted, at least a little, and boost our dps. Blizzard, in their infinite wisdom (is always wisdom when they’re buffing your class right?), also buffed our bread and butter attack, Crusader Strike. Check out the paladin class changes.
- The mana costs of Blessing of Might and Blessing of Kings have been increased by approximately 217%, making them roughly equal to the cost of Mark of the Wild.
- Crusader Strike weapon damage percent has been increased to 135%, up from 115%.
- Divine Plea now lasts for 9 seconds, down from 15. It grants 4% mana per tick, instead of 2%, for a total of 12% mana, up from 10%.
- Divine Purpose: The chance for applicable abilities to generate Holy Power has been reduced to 7/15%, down from 20/40%, but instead of generating 1 Holy Power, the next applicable ability used consumes no Holy Power and acts as if the paladin has 3 Holy Power.
- Hand of Light (Mastery): A percentage of the damage done by Templar’s Verdict, Crusader Strike, and Divine Storm is done as additional Holy damage.
- Repentance is no longer broken from damage done by Censure (Seal of Truth).
- Glyph of Divine Plea now adds 6% mana, for a total of 18% over 9 seconds.
The two biggest changes we have here are the 20% more base damage to crusader strike and our mastery changing. Mastery is now a passive holy damage buff to key attacks and our old Divine Purpose talent has become the same as what Mastery was. Depending on what this percentage ends up being, we could see a very significant boost to damage. This mastery also gives blizzard an easy knob from which to tune our DPS if it’s ever too low or too high. Holy paladins are also probably a little excited about the slight buff to divine plea which provides an extra 2% mana (3% talented) over a shorter time span.
I’m really excited to see ret damage come up to par with our other dps pals and for the first time was considering copying my toon over to a test realm to see the changes first hand before they went live, alas, the page isn’t currently loading. Maybe there’s a bunch of other enthused paladins clogging up the internet.
The rest of the 4.0.6 patch notes can be viewed HERE.
Fear not, dear readers, I haven’t forsaken you. I mean that in the original context of the word, not that I might have raised you from the dead with the Vyr’kul, in case you were wondering. Like so many these days, I’ve been a little bogged down with the holiday rush, family get-togethers, and, well….the Cataclsym! Oh the wonders if the end of the world.
So far, my paladin has reached 85, my warrior is gaining more rested XP at level 84, and my shaman is starting to feel neglected at 81. The rest of my toons have barely seen me do more than log in to start the rested XP process. Yes, in case you have alts at the previous level cap, you have to log into them once before they’ll start accruing rested experience. I suppose my death knight has seen a little love, but only because I need some enchants. There’s a fair chance he’ll end up being my 3rd or 4th 85 due to the need of having max enchanting and inscription.
Although my paladin is still fun, and will likely remain my main (though ret spec instead of holy as primary), my warrior is just blowing through the quests. At 84, even with stat deflation caused by leveling and very few regular dungeons under his belt, the warrior can still break 10k dps without too much trouble. Victory rush, which heals 25% of my hp after getting a killing blow, helps me keep on keeping on as if I had a pocket healer following me around *insert any cataclysm zone here*. Ret paladins damage just feels a little gimped in comparison, not really bad mind you, just mediocre. Ghostcrawler (lead systems designer for WoW) did put a blog post which, among many other things, comments that ret paladins dps might be low and could be buffed, along with a re-imagining of our mastery. To read about that and a great deal of future balance changes to come check it out. Other highlights include, shockingly, survival hunter damage nerf. Despair hunters, despair!
I was going to write a little about healing on the new resto shaman, but I didn’t really play the resto shaman any today. Well, I did one wintergrasp, but it doesn’t really count towards getting a grasp on my class and spec. I have a different topic in mind, inspired by a post made by a guild member that you can find the link Corath’s Blog – Melee State of Mind. I started to wonder, since it’s been a few years now, why a Paladin?
My very first Warcraft toon was actually a warrior, who since has become my 6th and most recent level 80. I played him to about level 26 back in the middle of Burning Crusade and quickly lost interest. Despite the heavy armor, I took a lot of damage and had to stop and eat often or waste gold on potions. I don’t much like stopping or wasting gold so I moved on to a class that felt like everything my warrior was – with heals. I tend to play plate-wearing burly monstrosities of power when I can in a game. Now I had a character that could not only wield a great 2 handed weapon, he wore heavy armor, hit really hard, and could keep himself alive. Perfect. This Paladin became my first max level character shortly after Wrath launched. I played him almost exclusively for a nearly a year, dabbling only occasionally in alts.
Here’s some changes from one of the latest beta builds. Playing around with my holy spells a little bit and checking the tool-tips, these seem to be in place on the live servers as well. So what does this mean to you Holy Paladins? 30% increased base healing from all of your main heals. Read the changes and I’ll get to some explanations after.
- Holy Radiance‘s effectiveness now diminish on targets farther than X yards away.
- Divine Light base healing has been increased by 30 percent, from 8,538-9,512 to 11,100-12,366.
- Holy Wrath now scales from 61 percent of spellpower, up from 30 percent. Base damage is reduced by 22 percent, from 3,122 to 2,435.
- Exorcism now scales from 34.4 percent of spellpower or AP, up from 15 percent. Base damage increased by 15 percent from 2,343 to 2,741.
- Flash of Light base healing has been increased by 30 percent, from 5,313-5,961 to 6,907-7,750.
- Lay on Hands no longer restores mana.
- Holy Light base healing has been increased by 30 percent.
- Beacon of Light now lasts 5 minutes, up from 1 minute.
- Mastery: Illuminated Healing now absorbs 10 percent of the amount healed, up from 8 percent. Now lasts 8 seconds, up from 6 seconds. Each point of mastery increases the absorb amount by an additional 1.25 percent, up from 1 percent.
- Holy Shock base healing has been increased by 30 percent, from 3,033-3,285 to 3,943-4,271.
Outside of large base healing buffs to FoL, HL, DL, and HS, there’s a handful of other small nerfs and important buffs. Small nerf to the range on Holy Radiance, though who really cares? We want big tank heals, not weakish AoE heals on CD. We also lose the mana return from Lay on Hands. While this is technically a nerf to the spell, the new glyph allows for the spell pretty much puts it right back in, so we’re sitting good still. The biggest news here is the buff to our mastery. Not only does it absorb more than before up to 10% of the healing done from 8, it lasts two seconds longer. Each point of mastery is 25% more effective as well, potentially making it pretty worthwhile to stack some mastery through reforging.
Although Holy gets some use out of the buff to exorcism should help rets dps out pretty well with about a large increase to its scaling and base stats. Hopefully I can take these and test them out, but I’ve been a little more focused on gearing my new resto shaman. Having a lot more fun there than his other spec, enhancement. Probably some updates on that tomorrow!
I know I mentioned yesterday about getting more into warrior or DK dps but, I didn’t play my DK at all (other than doing the Headless Horseman Daily) and didn’t really learn anything new about the warrior. Actually, I did learn I should watch my threat on my warrior now that he has decent gear, because dying sucks.
What I did want to talk about today is Retribution Paladins and how awesomesauce they are right now. Yesterday was my first time taking ret into a raid since the big patch. With 2 slight upgrades (251 to 264 boots and back) and the changes from 4.0.1, my ret pally went from ~9k dps on Toravon 25m in VOA to 11.5k dps on the same fight. We actually wiped once on him because a tank and heal went offline, though it gave me a chance to see a neat little comparison of my own dps. The first attempt I was using Seal of Righteousness because I forgot to turn it off after trash. This is the seal designed to be slightly bursty and hit multiple targets with the seal of command talent. I was a little under 9k dps using that seal. At first, I didn’t notice the wrong seal since my damage was comparable to the raiding damage I was used to doing.
After the first wipe and during the replacement of the offline players and ragequitters, I used my proper Seal of Truth. Truth, much like the former Seal of Corruption, leaves a stacking dot on the target which also increases the damage of your judgement. Checking recount after the second attempt and kill, Censure (the name of the Dot damage) was responsible for about 15% of my damage. This should give you an idea of how important it will be to maintain 100% uptime of this DoT. On single target, low movement fights it shouldn’t be an issue. In fights like Marrowgar where he moves away from you or in rotface that could require you to take a slime to the off tank, you should be very aware and keep the debuff up if at all possible.
The other important changes are too our cooldowns. Avenging Wrath (as I mentioned in my Top 5 New Paladin Talents post) now allows hammer of wrath to be used outside of the normal enemy < 20% health rule. This means, outside of tank threat issues, you open up boss fights with wings and your rotation changes to HoW usage on CD. Our new cooldown timing is a point of contention so far for ret paladins. Zealotry can be used when you have 3 holy power and for its duration makes each Crusader Strike grant 3 holy power instead of 1. Rotation during Zealotry should be Crusader Strike > Templar’s Verdict > CS > TV and so on til the buff wears off. The issue comes with the normal standard of stacking cooldowns. Using AW and Zealotry at the same time would mean buffed CS and TV along with the HoW, but you’ll be doing less of everything during that time. If you follow the CS > TV rotation during Zealotry, you’ll miss precious extra HoW hits, though if you do HoW on cool down like you should, you wont get as many CS > TV combinations off during the time.
I haven’t seen enough data into this to say definitively which is the right way to go. Personally, I open with AW and have a rotation something like HoW > CS > Judge > HoW > CS > TV > HoW, depending on Holy Power generation. HoW on cooldown, only delaying it if I have a Mastery proc for TV or full HP for TV. Immediately after my AW buff ends, I use Zealotry and am able to maintain very high DPS for the duration of both of my big cooldowns. On Toravon I was only able to use Zealotry once this way while getting 2 Avenging Wrath off. During a slightly longer fight I’d probably be able to get two of each even with this method.