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New Beta Changes and Playstyle Choices

July 16th, 2012 | Posted by Getsu in Mists of Pandaria | Paladin | World of Warcraft

The newest Beta Patch has brought a huge amount of changes to Holy Paladins, both large and small, that carry quite a few playstyle changes with them. I was going to wait until I could get on Beta to test the changes, but I’ve been having issues with the download and thought (I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures in this post. My updated Beta hasn’t finished downloading so I haven’t had a chance to get any pretty pictures to share.)

Here are the changes for Paladins and the link to the full post of changes on MMO:

 Paladin 

Talents

  • Divine Purpose now has a 20% chance to proc, down from 15%.
  • Eternal Flame was reworked: Consumes up to 3 Holy Power to place a protective Holy flame on a friendly target, which heals them for (4,260 + 37.7% of SP) and an additional (1,393 + 16.0% of SP) every 3 sec for 30 sec. Healing increased per charge Holy Power. Replaces Word of Glory.
  • Execution Sentence healing reduced by 10%.
  • Hand of Purity now has a 40 yd range, up from 30.
  • Holy Prism now costs 5.4% of Base Mana, down from 6%. Healing and damage reduced by 10%.
  • Sacred Shield no longer has a mana cost. Now has a 6 sec cooldown.

Holy

Retribution

  • Sword of Light Increases the damage you deal with two-handed melee weapons by 20%, down from 25%.

Major Glyphs

 

Healing Nerfs and 10% Cast Speed

The main change that I noticed was the slight healing and mana cost decreases that were made to all of our healing spells. These combined with the 10% cast speed bonus that was added to Seal of Insight seem to have been aimed at giving us a quality of life change. The amout of heal per second and amount of heal per mana seem to be just about the same as they were before the changes, but now our cast times are faster. This fixes the issue of long cast times that many people on forums were complaining about. It theoretically should leave us right where we were though. The nerfs are not meant to bring down our healing, so don’t run to the hills fearing the falling sky.

Divine Favor

IT’S BACK! IT’S BACK! IT’S BACK!
In case that doesn’t make it clear enough… We now have Divine Favor back on Beta. It works the exact same way that it does on live, although the glyph to increase its duration is gone. Apparently Blizzard’s intent with removing this had been to have less cooldowns for us so that we didn’t spend so much time worrying about them, but they have given it back to us. As far as I can tell this is just a straight buff. The nerfs to our (Non-Talent) spells seem to have been balanced around the buff to Seal of Insight, so this seems to be a lone change. I personally thought that the Seal of Insight buff was their response to casting speed issues and that Divine Favor would be left out altogether, but now that we have it back I hope that there are no more nerfs incurred because of it.
This change also leaves us in a place where, assuming that you take the Holy Avenger talent, we have 3 short cooldown and 2 long cooldown throughput abilities to use.

Talents and Playstyle

A common complaint that I’ve seen on forums recently has been an issue (that should have been fixed with this beta patch) that made Selfless Healer (SH) and using Judgement on cooldown mandatory. People on both sides of this issue seemed to think that playstyle should support what they wanted. These are the two main arguments that I saw regarding Judging and supporting points:

  • Certain people argued that Judging effectively has been a part of the Holy Paladin playstyle for so long that it shouldn’t be removed. It added an amount of skill that was necessary to be a good Holy Paladin. If you weren’t good enough to be able to balance Judging with Healing, then you didn’t deserve to do as well as the players who could effectively Judge and heal. With the removal of this, Holy has become a much simpler and the skill cap for it has been lowered significantly.
  • Others argued that Selfless Healer being stronger than the other options made Holy into a very cooldown obsessed class. Assuming that we HAVE to take SH, we would have to work around two short cooldown spells, Holy Shock and Judgement, to build resources for our healing spells. In this manner we’d run into the same issue that Resto druids were having on the Beta where we simply have so much to keep track of that we run the possibility of not being able to use our other spells. This situation would also leave us in a very bad place if we were balanced around having those instant free heals through resource building, and then found ourselves in a situation where we did not have the free global cooldowns to use Judgement.

I think that there is a lot of merit to both of these thoughts, but I want to once again remind people that the talents are supposed to allow choice in playstyle. With this patch, Blizzard made it clear that they want to make sure the talents are even in viability. Eternal Flame and Sacred Shield have both been buffed, while Selfless Healer had a nerf through the loss of the Ascetic Crusader glyph which made Judgement a free to cast spell.

I think that all of the talents are just about even now, but there is still a playstyle and situational choice that comes into choosing which spell you want to use. If you  have the time, and interestest, to use judgement, then SH is a clear choice that will serve as a mana conservation ability. On a fight with strict tank damage, you may want to take Eternal Flame to keep a HoT running on each tank. If you don’t have the time to Judge or the ability to spend Holy Power on a single target heal, using Sacred Shield may be the best option.

What I want to make clear here, is that each talent is going to have it’s niche. Each talent is going to seem completely amazing in some situations and rather silly in others. As far as I’ve seen, Blizzard has done an amazing job at making sure that we are going to be utilizing their talents without falling into the rut of “best.” If you played Diablo at all, expect these talents to work just like the abilities in that game. You may be switching constantly, and in my opinion that only means that Blizzard managed to do exactly what they envisioned.

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