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Paladin - Warlords of Draenor Alpha Patch Notes Analysis

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Icy Veins asks the experts' opinions on their favorite class changes!

The Warlords of Draenor Alpha patch notes have been out well over a week now, and millions of players have already voiced strong opinions of the direction Blizzard is headed with the game in this coming expansion. Some class changes have received overwhelmingly positive feedback, while others have left many a player scratching their head. A few changes have even caused a substantial outcry of rage!


We've invited a handful of our class MVPs to share their opinions on the changes made to their respective top class. For this patch notes analysis topic, we have requested feedback from our resident experts on the projected changes being made to the Paladin class. Shuttle, Theck and Shibbx have all been kind enough to share their thoughts on the upcoming Paladin changes!

Shuttle is one of the best Holy Paladins and he raids in Blood Legion. Theck is the mathy brain behind much of today's Protection Paladin theorycrafting (which he regularly discusses on Sacred Duty). Shibbx is one of the best Retribution Paladins and he raids in Envy.

Blizzard Icon Paladin WoD Alpha Changes

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Ability Pruning

  • Avenging Wrath is no longer available to Protection Paladins.
  • Divine Favor has been removed.
  • Divine Light has been renamed Holy Light.
  • Divine Plea is now only available to Holy Paladins. Mana costs for Paladins have been adjusted accordingly.
  • Guardian of Ancient Kings is now only available to Protection Paladins.
  • Hand of Salvation has been removed.
  • Holy Light has been removed.
  • Inquisition has been removed.

Hit and Expertise Removal

  • Holy Insight no longer increases the chance to hit with spells.
  • Sanctuary now also reduces the chance for attacks to be parried by 3%.

Retuning Healing Spells


See the full patch notes for complete details of these changes.

Crowd Control and Diminishing Returns

  • Blinding Light has been removed.
  • Repentance's cast time has been increased to 1.8 seconds.
  • Turn Evil's cast time has been increased to 1.8 seconds and now has a 6-second duration in PvP (down from 8 seconds).

Buffs and Debuffs


As part of a push to combine the different types of Haste in the game as much as possible, we merged Spell Haste and Attack Speed into just Haste, which benefits everyone.
  • Crusader Strike; Hammer of the Righteous no longer apply the Weakened Blows effect.

Raid Utility Balance

  • Devotion Aura is now only available to Holy Paladins.

Instant Cast Heals

  • Eternal Flame now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast) for Holy Paladins.
  • Light of Dawn now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast).
  • Word of Glory now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast).
  • Guarded by the Light (Protection) now also makes Word of Glory and Eternal Flame instant cast.
  • Sword of Light (Retribution) now also makes Word of Glory and Eternal Flame instant cast.

Tank Vengeance and Resolve

  • Mastery: Divine Bulwark now also passively increases Attack Power by 8% (percentage increased by Mastery), in addition to its current effects.

Active Mana Regeneration

  • Divine Plea has been redesigned to be instant cast ability with no cooldown, and consume 3 Holy Power to immediately regain 7% of the Paladin's maximum mana.

Class Changes


For Paladins, we have a few tweaks in store.

We made several changes for Holy, to go along with other larger system changes to compensate for the removal of Guardian of Ancient Kings from Holy, and merged its benefits into Divine Favor. In order to follow through on our change to merge all types of Haste %, we removed the Spell Haste % from Seal of Insight to a Holy-only passive, so that it didn't also increase Protection's baseline Haste by 10%. Our changes to healer mana and mobility also indirectly increased the value of Selfless Healer by a large amount, so we brought it back down to be even in power with the other talents on its row. We also raised the range of Denounce to be consistent with other spells.
  • Avenging Wrath now also increases all of the Paladin’s healing by 100% for its duration.
  • Denounce's range has increased to 40 yards (up from 30 yards).
  • Infusion of Light now also passively increases Haste by 10%.
  • Seal of Insight no longer increases spell Haste by 10%.
  • Selfless Healer for Holy no longer causes Judgment to grant Holy Power. It also is only usable on Flash of Light, no longer on Holy Light or Holy Radiance.
For Protection, we tweaked Eternal Flame in order to reduce its massive self-healing amount, and provide better balance between talents on that row. We also added a new passive, Shining Protector, in order to give defensive value to the new Multistrike stat.
  • Bastion of Glory no longer affects the periodic healing of Eternal Flame. It still affects the direct healing portion of the ability.
  • Shining Protector is a new passive ability for Protection Paladins.
    • Shining Protector: All heals you receive have a chance equal to your Multistrike chance to trigger Shining Protector, healing you for an additional 30% of the triggering heal.
We made a few additional changes to Paladins. We revised the functionality of Hammer of the Righteous a bit, such that its performance is about the same, but its tooltip is much clearer. We also made Stay of Execution much more attractive to use as an emergency button. One big change for Retribution that isn't mentioned here is the removal of Inquisition (see Ability Pruning), which will have a notable effect on their rotation.
  • Hammer of the Righteous now deals 50% Physical weapon damage (up from 15%) to the primary target, but the primary target is no longer hit with the Holy damage.
  • Seals no longer cost any mana.
  • Stay of Execution (the Holy version of Execution Sentence) now deals its healing in a large burst at first, and then decreasing over time (reversed from before).
We wanted to improve Seal gameplay for Protection and Retribution, so have made a few changes in that regard. Protection had three Seals, but only used Insight due to its defensive value. We've moved that defensive value into a passive for Protection Paladins, and expect them to primarily use a mixture of Seal of Truth and Seal of Righteousness now. To provide better gameplay between Seal of Truth and Seal of Righteousness, and effectively remove a button, we made Seal of Righteousness transform Crusader Strike into Hammer of the Righteous.
  • Seal of Insight no longer gives melee attacks a chance to heal the Paladin.
  • Inner Light is a new passive ability for Protection Paladins and provides a chance for each melee attack to heal the Paladin.
  • Glyph of the Battle Healer is now available only for Protection Paladins, and affects healing from Inner Light instead of Seal of Insight.
  • Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous are no longer separate spells.
  • Seal of Righteousness now also causes Crusader Strike to be replaced with Hammer of the Righteous while active.

1. What is your overall impression of Blizzard's changes to the Paladin class?


Shuttle (Holy): There are some questionable changes made to the holy spec. They're essentially removing the majority of our cool downs and merging them into one which I think is great. Currently we have 4 (3 non talent) and it can be overwhelming having to managing them all. 1-2 powerful cooldowns instead of 4 average cooldowns is a great step forward. Overall, I'm looking forward to the changes!

Theck (Protection): It seems like they are fairly happy with where we are as a spec. We had a few abilities pruned, but the core of our toolkit is unchanged. There aren't any major mechanics changes in the patch notes that we didn't already know about. So I'm pretty happy with everything so far. I'm looking forward to beta starting so that we can start testing abilities and refining our models.

Shibbx (Retribution): I feel like they are trying to go back to old retribution a bit, which I think is a good thing.
Retribution have not gotten that many changes so far, some few tweaks. Time will tell what more they feel like doing to it.
 

2. Which changes do you think are the best and why?


Shuttle (Holy): The best change has to be the new style of healing. Come Warlords of Draenor, we'll be moving back into triage healing & less smart healing. Holy specific, I'm looking forward to having a niche again with tank healing becoming more predominate in 6.0. Paladins had an identity crisis this expansion, so I'm looking forward to having a niche again!

They've also removed Devotion Aura from everything but Holy Paladins! Rejoice!

Theck (Protection): The removal of Vengeance, even though it isn't a change specific to Paladins. Getting rid of Vengeance is a huge quality-of-life buff to tanks that enjoy playing their spec outside of raids. We keep the survivability part thanks to the new Resolve mechanic, and get to have much higher baseline DPS in all situations.

If I had to pick a Paladin-specific change, it would probably be some of the new glyphs. Extra range on Judgment should be fun, of course, but what really stands out is the Glyph of the Consecrator, which lets Consecration move with us. This is something most Paladins have been drooling over since we first saw Rushing Jade Wind, so it's pretty neat that we're finally going to have that option.

Shibbx (Retribution): Removal of Inquisition, this will make our rotation much smoother in PVE and PVP. They are also removing Guardian of Ancient Kings for retribution, this means you don't have to stack up buffs to be able to deal higher damage. I do like the system with Holy Power, and I like that they will continue with that.
 

3. Which changes do you think are the worst and why?


Shuttle (Holy): The worse change, is the nerf to our mobility. They've added a cast time to Light of Dawn & Eternal Flame. The only mobility we have left, is holy shock. If encounters require movement, we'll be stuck with just a six second cooldown Holy Shock. They've noted they're designing encounters around this, so hopefully it's not to big of an issue.

Theck (Protection): I think the hardest one for players to accept will be the loss of Avenging Wrath. Wings are pretty iconic, and a lot of protection Paladins expressed dismay on hearing that they were cut. I don't think it was a bad change mechanics-wise, though, at least in the sense that it was a logical ability to prune.

It's hard to really call any of the changes to Paladins "bad" yet, in my opinion. The new talents are still rough enough that we can't really evaluate them. Most people will say that losing Devotion Aura is "bad," though I'm in the camp that thinks we need complete raid cooldown disarmament, so I'm fine with that change.

Shibbx (Retribution): They are removing spells for retribution Paladins making them specialization only useable for Holy or Protection. That also means that retribution will have some spell that the other specialization wont like Avenging Wrath. If they dont improve Retribution damage in raids, I feel like we wont be used as much when we loose our Devotion aura raid cooldown, with Ret's damage being low on single target fights.
We still have HoP, HoS and that could still make us useful on some fights.
 

4. How would you alter any of the existing changes?


Shuttle (Holy): We haven't seen the full picture yet, so it's hard to suggest changes.

Theck (Protection): I would probably have culled a few more abilities, like Turn Evil. I'm also not really a fan of the seal-twisting implications of Empowered Seals, but it sounds like it's an intentional part of their design. I think that seals are a component of our toolkit that feels really stale, so I'd probably have redesigned that talent to make them more interactive with the rotation (as in, somehow adding a proc that causes us to change our spell choices).

I'm also not sold on Seraphim yet. I think it'll feel weird to have a 5-holy-power resource dump, but we'll see how it performs once we have bosses to test against.

Shibbx (Retribution): I'm not sure about the new talents we will get at level 100. It looks like they don't know what to give retribution and just adding old lookalike spells that they have removed. Final verdict to replace Templar's Verdict, which is just a new main attack. Seraphim, cost 5 hp and improves your secondary stats by 30% for 10 seconds. This just feels like a new Inquisition type spell. Empowered Seals will make your seals give you different buffs for 20 seconds. This feels like we are back to The burning crusade when they removed these kind of Judgement buffs. Back then you debuffed the boss with a buff spell for the raid for 30 seconds. With this judgement buffs persists through changing seals. If I would like to alter anything, it would be the new talents. The Mists of Pandaria talents were a joke when they came out, but I liked the idea they worked with. I don't know what they would need to do, but like I stated its like the re-using old abilities that are or gonna be removed.

5. What changes would you like to see in WoD?


Shuttle (Holy): I'm hoping we see some revamps to the Eternal Flame & Selfless Healer talents.

Theck (Protection): I'm actually pretty happy with what we've seen so far, they've nailed most of my wishlist (Vengeance being the biggest part). I'm still hoping to see a change to Holy Wrath to make it less anemic in AoE situations. They've hinted that they're looking at it and considering the options, so I'm optimistic about that.

Shibbx (Retribution): I think Retribution is very fun to play as it is now, with few spells being removed it would make it easier to play, but still fun in my eyes. What I would like to see in WoD is that Retribution become more useful in raids then to bring it in for Devotion aura or Divine Shield like its been in this expansion. Improve our damage dealing abilities and give us some useful DPS glyphs to make us more viable in 20-man raiding with fewer spots available.

Patch Notes Last Updated - 24 April 2014

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...

  • Divine Favor has been removed.
...

We made several changes for Holy, to go along with other larger system changes to compensate for the removal of Guardian of Ancient Kings from Holy, and merged its benefits into Divine Favor.

 

 

So which point have i missed?

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So which point have i missed?

Lol, nice catch tongue.png It's still in the latest update of the patch notes, as far as I can see.

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Lol, nice catch tongue.png It's still in the latest update of the patch notes, as far as I can see.

 

I've just checked the latest updates:

 

  • Divine Plea is now only available to Holy Paladins. has been removedMana costs for Paladins have been adjusted accordingly.

Maybe Divine Plea was meant instead of Divine Favor. huh.png

Edited by LobbyBoy

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Divine Favor was renamed to Avenging Wrath & Divine Plea was put back into the build.

 

That's not the whole truth.

 

The renaming just happens for

  • Avenging Wrath Divine Favor now also increases all of the Paladin’s healing by 100% for its duration.

 

And

We made several changes for Holy, to go along with other larger system changes to compensate for the removal of Guardian of Ancient Kings from Holy, and merged its benefits into Divine Favor. 

still remained.

Edited by LobbyBoy

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That's not the whole truth.

 

The renaming just happens for

 

And

still remained.

 

  • Divine Favor was renamed to Avenging Wrath - Increases all your damage and healing done by 100%, increases your haste by 20%, and increases your critical chance by 20%. Lasts 20 sec.

 

Pretty sure the part you've quoted, is just an oversight on Blizzards behalf. 

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