Pardon the boring titles, but I don’t want there to be any confusion that this paladin information (and the mage information before it) refers to released previews for each class. Paladins being the last to receive their preview, got a little lucky and the information was released two days earlier than originally anticipated. It came out about 7am PST, I believe. There have been a mass of reaction to the preview. To have waited as long as we did (5 extra days) I was not impressed. Not to say I dislike them or like them, they just merely aren’t as exciting as I had hoped (though a lot of people are having fun with “Healing Hands).
Before throwing this post behind a cut for its sheer length, I want to mention something about the concept of providing this information. With the coming of the Cataclysm, I enjoy learning about new mechanics. When starting any game, that is how I learn about it, develop an opinion about it, etc. For all intents and purposes, Cataclysm will be a “new” World of Warcraft. I don’t want to know lore spoilers (I even managed to avoid the ones for the ICC release until I was ready to take it all in). But I want to be prepared on how to play my class. I don’t want to spend hours trying to figure it out live. I hope my information and analysis provided is in no way perceived as QQ because I fully understand accept the ability for change. I also like to provide the information with links because if you are like me, I get lost in the forums and am usually the last to know about blue posts.
So without further ado, the paladin preview:
New Paladin Spells
Blinding Shield (level 81): Causes damage and blinds all nearby targets. This effect might end up only damaging those facing the paladin’s shield, in a manner similar to Eadric the Pure’s ability Radiance in Trial of the Champion. The Holy tree will have a talent to increase the damage and critical strike chance, while the Protection tree will have a talent to make this spell instant cast. 2-second base cast time. Requires a shield.
This is interesting to say the least. The only form of CC a non-ret paladin has is a 6-second stun effect. This is highly viable for PVP both for prot and holy. It does require a shield so the rets will just have to rely on Repentance. Assuming that a healadin does not have a dual spec, this will also be a viable source of damage output for solo questing as a healer given that a holy talent will increase damage. This talent point, at the moment, seems useless to end-game PVE healers though.
Healing Hands (level 83): Healing Hands is a new healing spell. The paladin radiates heals from him or herself, almost like a Healing Stream Totem. It has a short range, but a long enough duration that the paladin can cast other heals while Healing Hands remains active. 15-second cooldown. 6-second duration.
Well, they always said we needed more healing spells. I am ecstatic that this type of spell made it in over the predicted (tested?) Radiance Aura. Maybe I missed something with the Aura thing but this new spell seems like it will be a positive change. The only variant is whether or not it is mana efficient and the amount of healing. It does last for 6 seconds but is it enough healing per mana cost to make it a choice over other options? Healing Stream does a small amount constantly vs. 6-seconds. There has also been some confusion surrounding this spell as to whether or not it will a casted ability or passive. The constant application and no mention of a cast time/mana cost could imply a passive quality; however, the unmatched CD/duration imply a cast is necessary.
Guardian of Ancient Kings (level 85): Summons a temporary guardian that looks like a winged creature of light armed with a sword. The visual is similar to that of the Resurrection spell used by the paladin in Warcraft III. The guardian has a different effect depending on the talent spec of the paladin. For Holy paladins, the guardian heals the most wounded ally in the area. For Protection paladins, the guardian absorbs some incoming damage. For Retribution paladins, it damages an enemy, similar to the death knight Gargoyle or the Nibelung staff. 3-minute cooldown. 30-second duration (this might vary depending on which guardian appears).
I think this would be better spent as a talent point much like a Death Knight’s gargoyle. The individual utilization of the creature are interesting but even more interesting would be to see its implentation. I have read some interesting thoughts on whether or not this will spawn different “creatures” for each spec and about the general mechanics overall. This is definitly a “must-see-live” ability for a definitive opinion can be made but it just isn’t that impressive to be a new Level 85 in my opinion.
Changes to Abilities and Mechanics
- Crusader Strike will be a core ability for all paladins, gained at level 1. We think the paladin leveling experience is hurt by not having an instant attack. Retribution will be getting a new talent in its place that either modifies Crusader Strike or replaces it completely.
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the Shamans getting Primal Strike for low-level leveling. It will also give holy paladins more of a rotation than just smacking things around for the most part. This tied in with the (see below) Holy Shock will work nicely as a damaging rotation. Assuming they keep Shield Bash, the ability to output damage as a healer is growing in our favor and that is beneficial. Right now, soloing takes forever and you can’t go anywhere alone in a battleground. This should help alleviate both problems – not solve.
- Cleanse is being rebalanced to work with the new dispel system. It will dispel defensive magic (debuffs on friendly targets), diseases, and poisons.
I have already discussed this and am not a fan.
- Blessing of Might will provide the benefit of Wisdom as well. If you have two paladins in your group, one will do Kings on everyone and the other will do Might on everyone. There should be much less need, and ideally no need, to provide specific buffs to specific classes.
Given that healadins will use Spirit for mana regeneration, what exactly is this supposed to mean? They are removing Divine Spirit for priests, so how is the implementation of “Wisdom” going to benefit any healer. Assuming it is to benefit all mana classes and not just DPS classes like “shroomkin”, mages, and warlocks. This change is classified as confusing.
- Holy Shock will be a core healing spell available to all paladins.
I’m torn on this change. Holy Shock, for many healadins, is a core ability. It is a defining point in a healing style. Most people also argue that ret/prot pallies are already extremely capable of their own survivability when left to their own devices (I mean have you SEEN Judgement of Light?) In the end, it will give holy paladins another talent point refund but at what cost? Losing the only healadin defined healing spell? But is that really that bad? See, I really don’t know how to feel about this. It will take some digesting.
New Talents and Talent Changes
- We want to ease off the defensive capabilities of Retribution and Holy paladins slightly. We think the powerful paladin defenses have been one of the things holding Retribution paladins back, especially in Arenas. One change we’re considering is lowering Divine Shield’s duration by a couple of seconds. Having said that, Retribution does pretty well in Battlegrounds, and Battlegrounds will be a much bigger focus in Cataclysm since they can provide the best PvP rewards. Furthermore, the healing environment of Cataclysm is going to be different such that a paladin may not be able to fully heal themselves during the duration of Divine Shield to begin with, so this may not be a problem.
- We feel Retribution paladins need one more mechanic which involves some risk of the player pushing the wrong button, making the rotation a bit less forgiving. In addition, we want to add to this spec more PvP utility. Right now the successes of the Retribution paladin in PvP seem to be reduced to either doing decent burst damage, or just being good at staying alive.
- We want to increase the duration of Sacred Shield to 30 minutes and keep the limit to one target. The intention is that the paladin can use it on their main healing target. That said, we would like to improve the Holy paladin toolbox and niche so that they don’t feel quite like the obvious choice for tank healing while perceived as a weak group healer.
- We want to add to the Holy tree a nice big heal to correspond with Greater Heal. Flash of Light remains the expensive, fast heal and Holy Light is the go-to heal that has average efficiency and throughput. Beacon of Light will be changed to work with Flash of Light. We like the ability, but want paladins to use it intelligently and not be constantly healing for twice as much.
- Holy paladins will use spirit as their mana regeneration stat.
- Protection paladins need a different rotation between single-target and multi-target tanking. Likewise, we’re looking to add the necessity to use an additional cooldown in each rotation.
- Holy Shield will no longer have charges. It will be designed to improve block chance while active, and will continue to provide a small amount of damage and threat.
First off, Sacred Shield for 30 MINUTES!!! YAY! Okay, now that that is out of the way…DO NOT TAKE OUR BUBBLE AWAY. In my opinion, the Paladin Bubble is a staple of the class. It is part of what makes a paladin A PALADIN. On top of that, as a Holy Paladin in PVP, I still get squished easily. I have no output to compete with things like whirlwind and rogues poisons, etc. I understand that by lowering the duration is not removing it all together but I see this as an equivalent of lowering a rogue’s stealth effectiveness. I don’t see the paladin bubble as a problem. (I concede that was a bit of QQ and I’m sorry but I’m done now). Moving on.
“We want to add to the Holy tree a nice big heal to correspond with Greater Heal.” — I consider Holy Light to be pretty big. I mean a spell that average crits around 20k? Maybe I need to re-work my definition of big.
“Flash of Light remains the expensive” — What? Huh?
“Beacon of Light will be changed to work with Flash of Light.” — Okay, I am just going to categorize this as confusing at let it be done. There is no way to know whether this implies it will no longer work with Holy Light/Shock, etc. So I will leave it alone.
With this all said, I am pretty excited about playing the paladin class in Cataclysm and continuing my journey on to Level 85. It will be exciting also to see other paladin races (Holy Cow!) running around. I am glad that all of the class changes have been given. Overall, (with the exception of dispelling mechanics) I think Shamans had the most exciting preview and I was overly excited about the mage preview as well. Cataclysm will be a whole new experience, are you game?