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Season of Discovery Phase 4 PTR Development Notes: June 28th

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This week's Season of Discovery Phase 4 PTR build focuses on Paladin and Rogue changes.

Season of Discovery Phase 4 will be released worldwide on July 11th.

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Testing Focus
We have a new PTR build going up soon (55391) and we’ve included a few more classes’ adjustments today with that build. We again increased the damage and health of Testwerk for the PTR as well to help with more accurate testing. Lastly, we’ve also added a World Buff consumable to the Consumables vendor on PTR.

We still plan to deploy additional class adjustments today which we hope to get out before the weekend, barring unforeseen circumstances.


  • Hammer of the Righteous damage has been increased to three times weapon damage (up from 2x weapon damage).
  • Art of War now reduces the remaining cooldown of Exorcism by 2 seconds on critical hit (previously was 1 second).
    • Developer’s Note: The old version of Art of war did allow for a playstyle that was unique to SoD where a fast two-handed weapon had a place in the game and while we’d like to move away from “exo spam” one button playstyle, we still love the idea of the build. The previous adjustments to Art of War also hit protection especially hard so we felt it appropriate to adjust this to still allow exorcism to be used rapidly without it completely dominating the rotation of both retribution and protection paladins.
  • The Divine Sacrifice rune has been replaced with Hand of Sacrifice:
    • Causes target party or raid member to transfer 30% of damage taken to the caster. Lasts 12 seconds or until the caster has transferred 100% of their maximum health. 2 minute cooldown.
      • Developer’s Note: The version of Divine Sacrifice we introduced to Season of Discovery has a lot of drawbacks, and it is very situational on a slot filled with other situationally good utility. We’re changing this to be more like the familiar Hand of Sacrifice from future expansions. Blessing of Sacrifice is rather weak in Vanilla WoW aside from avoiding CC in PvP with no cooldown, and it also removes the target’s Blessing. This should be more generally useful with fewer drawbacks than Divine Sacrifice (or Blessing of Sacrifice, for that matter).
  • Activating Holy Shield no longer provides attack power, but now provides 2 spell power per point of defense instead.
    • Developer’s Note: Protection Paladins gain enormous value from Sheath of Light, and Defense giving Attack Power only furthered the value of that rune. So, we’re swapping the bonus Defense provides Paladins from Attack Power to Spell Power to further enable and encourage the usage of other runes such as Malleable Protection, which has also been adjusted.
  • The Malleable Protection rune now doubles the spell power bonus granted when activating Holy Shield.
    • Developer’s Note: In the same vein as the last Dev Note, this is about having players feel less bad about taking their Defensive while adding value to the Defense stat. Spell Power is also a bit more thematic than Attack Power for Protection Paladin.
  • The Vindicator rune has been replaced with a new rune: Shock and Awe
    • Holy Shock now grants the paladin 1 additional spell power per point of Intellect for 30 seconds on use. (replace with actual tooltip text)
      • Developer’s Note: The Vindicator rune was just too strong in relation to the other options in this slot in its previous state so we’re adding a slightly different version of it to the Talent itself. But that left us with a Rune open, and an opportunity to give the “shockadin” playstyle another option for players wishing to pursue that niche.
  • The Vindication talent now reduce the target’s attack power by 70/140/210 and grant 3/6/10% additional attack power to the paladin when it triggers. Lasts 30 seconds.
    • Developer’s Note: The original intent of Vindicator was to add some value to a Talent that was functionally unusable in PvE in Original WoW. As a result we’re moving the portion of attack power reduction and the AP increase to the actual Vindication talent itself.
  • Shield of Righteousness now causes damage equal to two times the paladin’s shield block value plus an additional amount of damage based on attack power.
    • Developer’s Note: The damage scaling on this ability was not satisfactory so we doubled the contribution that shield block value adds to the damage.


  • Slaughter from the Shadows: Now reduces Backstab and Ambush cost by 30 (up from 20) and now also increases damage Backstab and Ambush do to non-player controlled targets by 60%.
    • Mutilate is dominant in PvE and we know some players have a deep fondness for backstab so the intent here is to bring Backstab up with new synergies. This rune may be niche and situational due to the fact that it competes with Deadly Brew but we’ll keep an eye on usage.
  • Unfair Advantage now also triggers on Parries, always hits your current target, and grants 1 combo point when it triggers.
    • Developer’s Notes: This is to give tanks a way to get Combo Points to maintain their 2 maintenance finishers without having to completely rely on Honor Among Thieves. This accomplishes two things: 1) allows you to feel like Avoidance further increases your damage output. 2) Increases the potential for Rune combination diversity. You can do Honor Among Thieves + Carnage (with the Carnage change later on) or Combat Potency/Focused Attacks + Unfair Advantage to have a way to gain combo points, and a way to keep the energy flowing.
  • Shiv has been replaced with a new rune: Cutthroat
    • You no longer need to be behind your target to Backstab, Ambush, or Garrote, and you have a 15% chance when you Backstab to make your next Ambush not require being in Stealth.
      • Known issue: These abilities still trigger an error stating you must be behind your target. This is visual only and we will correct that in a later update.
      • Developer’s Notes: With the change to Poisoned Knife to have no dead zone, Shiv stood to fall even further behind compared to the other runes in this slot. With Saber Slash and Mutilate having their identities locked in with damage over time effects, we wanted to add a “Big numbers” option to this slot for those who enjoy Backstab and Ambush.
  • Main Gauche now grants 100% Parry chance until you next Parry an attack instead of 10% Parry. Now also reduces the Energy cost of Sinister Strike by 20 for the next 10 sec. Combo points granted reduced to 1 (down from 3).
    • Developer’s Notes: In line with theme of glove runes and dominance, we understand Mutilate has been essentially the default choice for many builds, and we want to open that up more. Creating a synergy with Sinister Strike made sense to us here, since Main Gauche is a longer cooldown and we don’t feel comfortable increasing the rate at which a Rogue will able to avoid attacks and accelerating rogues reaching a full avoidance cap which could prove problematic. We think this version of Main Gauche allows the player to control their avoidance, creates more energy play outside of just Adrenaline Rush, and may allow more builds to open up. This additionally keeps the efficacy against bosses with 2.0 attack speed essentially allowing the rogue to avoid 1 extra attack every 10 swings (10%).
  • Carnage: Now also heals the Rogue for 40% of all damage done by Rupture (or Crimson Tempest).
    • Developer’s Note: Adding some sustain to Rogue could be problematic, but we also feel like Rupture has two uses in an Envenom World – stop another Rogue from restealthing, and to bleed down a Plate wearer. Outside of that, Rupture doesn’t have a ton of great application. So instead of adding more damage to it, we want to push its identity out in a way it doesn’t compete 1 to 1 with other finishers. This also gives Tank Rogues an opportunity to opt into Carnage over Unfair Advantage and adding Rupture to their rotation.
  • Fan of Knives damage reduced to 50% weapon damage (75% with daggers).
    • Developer’s Note: Fan of Knives is an incredibly synergistic ability and there are more synergies than before for Rogues. This version may look weaker than say the Wrath of the Lich King version, but Focused Attacks is 50% more energy restored in SoD than in Wrath, Deadly Brew will apply Deadly and Instant Poison from both weapons on Fan of Knives, and occult poison will increase the damage of your instant poisons when you stack it up with longer AoE pulls. So, we feel very comfortable taking down the base damage of Fan of Knives without negatively impacting AoE threat or damage relative to similar AoE abilities. The three cloak runes are similar ways to do AoE damage, and with Carnage now working on Crimson Tempest for healing off AoE targets it now has distinct identity as well. We’ll continue to monitor these three runes and adjust as needed.

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