PTR 4.0.1: The Paladin Stuff
I have really been postponing this, for a number of reasons. First of all, I wanted to make sure I put in the proper amount of research and thought into it. Second, the WoW community as a whole has been force-fed so much Cata news lately that I’ve held back vomit every time I’ve considered adding more to the pile. Third, I’m a lazy moocher that’s been half-heartedly following a lot of the ups and downs of build changes and have just dreaded being even half productive. Alas, the approaching patch had me concerned that I would be lost in a sea of class and talent changes, so with that in mind, let’s see what I was able to discern from the PTR.
Ignore my misguided keybinds for the moment. Here is the totality of our DPS abilities available at level 80. Aside from TV, these are not new abilities. However, when and where we use them has changed.
Our New Addiction
Holy Power. Our new resource is poised to complicate the retribution rotation… or is it? Let’s take a quick review of the UI and how shiny it is.
Anyway, as you can see, our HP gauge is set below the mana bar, with one charge filling up the bar from left to right in the form of glowing glyphs. When fully charged, your entire character portrait glows with holy energy, although I for one would appreciate a less subtle notice that you’re at three stacks.
Tip: if you’re using the stock UI, you can go into your Interface menu, under Floating Combat Text, and enable “Energy Gains” to see a message in the middle of your screen that indicates a gain in Holy Power.
Ret’s only HP generator is Crusader Strike. More on CS’s importance later. For now, be content that its lackluster flashiness has been redeemed through exterior utility!
In combat, you could sit on a three-stack for HP as long as you keep swinging your weapon and remain fighting.
Out of combat, one charge of HP decays every 10 seconds (I know this because I counted; I would’ve had to switch to toes if it was a longer duration…)
Also, interestingly enough, you get a stack of HP from using CS on anything.
Let’s hope there are plenty of critters for us rets to charge our HP up on before pulls, and that our raidmates don’t run ahead of us and kill them. I have high hopes, I know…
Mastering the Mastery
Our new stat: Mastery. Instead of retyping the tooltip, I screenshotted it for your viewing pleasure:
Don’t worry, my dumpling paladins. I have another screenshot for you.
This is going to be our new proc to watch. When you get a Hand of Light proc, you better slam TV so hard it regrets being trained by you! Which, for some of us, is almost immediately after it was trained.
The sexiness of the Hand of Light proc does warrant further investigation into whether we should be reforging and stacking Mastery to our heart’s content.
While we’re talking procs, let’s look at the retooled Art of War:
I especially like the last part there. Mmmm…
When Blizzard Takes a Page from Mod Developers
Now that we have been given more things to watch (which is great for increasing the complexity of our spec), how are we to know when these things proc? Are we to watch our buff bar like some lowly… other class?
Blizzard said “Nay! Paladins are the glue that hold Azeroth together! We simply cannot abide by reducing them to nervous wrecks that evolved a second set of eyes to watch their buffs!” and spat out this recreation of one of my favorite mods, Power Auras:
Neat, eh? Let’s break it down a bit.
Hand of Light
The Hand of Light graphic is the little dealy at the top, like so:
When you see that little bar pop up, you will do one of two things, depending on your number of targets:
- In a single-target situation, you’ll hit Templar’s Verdict.
- In a multi-target situation, you’ll hit Divine Storm.
I know, I’m as weirded out as you all are about the excision of our beloved “Ret Blender” from our single-target rotation, but it’s a somewhat-necessary evil. Just wait and see what they did to it; you’ll forget all about not being able to spam it and TV at the same time. But more on that a bit later.
Art of War
The Art of War graphic is, unfortunately, a pair of glowing Ashbringers surrounding your character, like so:
What’s interesting is that you’re going to want to use up your Hand of Light proc above everything else, and yet its graphic pales in comparison to a free Exo. Double the agony.
Let’s take a look at these graphics in action:
Of course, Hand of Light proc-ed at exactly the right moment there. Trusty ol’ procing proc.
Also notice the Long Arm of the Law proc at the beginning. Yay! This little talent will ensure that we start pretty much every pull with a Judgement, as Charge is one of the sweetest things in the game, and now we get our own little one.
Haste: Whip Out Your Calculators!
Thanks to one of our new talents, Sanctity of Battle, haste will now play a (larger) role in our DPS by reducing the cooldown on Crusader Strike.
Let me put it this way: Crusader Strike generates Holy Power, which is consumed by Templar’s Verdict, our (most likely) hardest-hitting ability.
In short, the faster you can get HP, the more DPS you will do by pumping out TVs as fast as your chubby fingers will allow. Therefore, it’s going to be a math game to decide how much haste will be enough/too much/not enough at all, and what our stat priorities will be at 85.
While I love science and some math, I’m not a total mathlete, so I’ll leave that up to the experts, whose work I’ll peruse while eating a sandwich or what-have-you and eventually distill into something we can all enjoy.
The math, not the sandwich. Only I can enjoy that.
Har har har. So let’s look at our most basic spec: 0/0/28
Obviously, we have some points to spend, but getting to this point is fairly straightforward. I foresee Repentance to be required in this new era of ‘actually using our CC abilities’ that is Cata heroics. If you disagree on my selection of talents, feel free to voice your opinion in the comments, but I really think this is our solid “core.”
From here, we need to spend 2 points to be able to get Zealotry, one of our main cooldowns. I have a feeling Eye for an Eye, Selfless Healer, and Guardian’s Favor are all PvP-oriented talents, so I picked up Rebuke for a nice, usable interrupt and put one point into Acts of Sacrifice simply by default.
Here is the resulting build: 0/0/31
From here, it’s a bit fuzzier. If this were a post about raiding at 85, the choice would be easy, but we’re looking for something in the short term. For the moment, I’m going to have to say this build seems to edge out the other one I had in mind: 3/2/31
At 85, this looks quite meaty: 7/2/32
Of course, if you don’t run with a plethora of pally tanks like I do, going into Prot to get Judgements of the Just might be a viable raid option, though you’d be sacrificing DPS to do so.
But for now, let’s just focus on the level 80 builds.
Prime, Major, and Minor… Pains
This is something I wish I had more experience with on the PTR. My paladin is not a scribe, and my DK that I transferred over who was a scribe did not have the patterns I wanted to test. Also, the glyphs on the AH were at least 5,000g a piece (for some ridiculously stupid reason). But let’s dig through Wowhead together, shall we?
- Templar’s Verdict – 15% more damage to something we put on the top of our priority list. Sign me up.
- Judgement – 10% more damage from this mainstay ability? Again, jot my name down.
The last slot is somewhat fuzzier. We have a number of interesting choices.
- Crusader Strike – 5% increased crit chance to CS… hmm, we WILL be using that ability a lot. Toughie.
- Exorcism – 20% of the damage caused by Exo stays on the target and turns into a DoT, that lingers for 6 seconds. Again, appealing.
- Seal of Truth – Same as Seal of Vengeance in live (+10 expertise). Somewhat mediocre in comparison to what we can also choose from.
I’m going to have to go with TV, Judge, and CS glyphs for primes. On my own testing, I didn’t seem to use Exo as much as I wanted to (meaning, my AoW proc was up seemingly 100% of the time, but I was too busy spamming TV/CS/Judge to hit it), meaning its glyph wouldn’t be worth it.
I could be wrong though, as Exo’s glyph offers a pure damage increase, whereas CS’s glyph is somewhat less reliable, being an increase to crit “chance.” We’ll have to see, but those first two I expect to see in almost every spec.
These three I thought were a LOT more straightforward.
- Consecration – Increases duration and CD by 20%. Makes priority clashes easier to manage.
- Hammer of Wrath – HoW’s mana cost eliminated. Kinda ‘meh,’ but there’s not much else to go on.
- Ascetic Crusader – CS’s mana cost reduced by 30%. See above.
Seeing as two out of the three are mana-reduction glyphs, if we find we have plenty of mana to go around we could swap some out for other glyphs, although the others are pretty disappointing too.
I’m not even going to bother. The only remotely game-changing glyph is Lay on Hands, and even that is marginal. Go with what your heart or nether regions tell you.
A New Priority
Although this “work” will only be valid for the little time between 4.0.1 and Cataclysm, I have squished together what I am calling a “Proc Priority” system for both single-target and multi-target situations.
In the case of some one-on-one boss action,
3HP-TV > CS > Judge > HoW > Exo > HW > Cons
My reasoning is highlighted thusly.
“3HP-TV > CS”
I’m assuming (could be right, could be wrong) that a fully-charged Templar’s Verdict will be our ‘big boy,’ our ‘hot dog,’ our ‘grande enchilada.’ Therefore, using it and the primary means of being able to use it should be our top two abilities.
“CS > Judge”
Judgement is next because of one, though possibly two, reasons:
- To keep up our Judgements of the Bold buff (primary mana return mechanic)
- To keep up our Judgements of the Pure buff (we should be taking this, though whether it’s 1/3 or 3/3 has yet to be seen)
“Judge > HoW”
Hammer of Wrath does a piddly (on average) 2315 Holy damage, but with the talent Sanctified Wrath, it has an insane crit chance, to the point where crits essentially become the norm. Also, being able to spam it while your wings are up is nice as well, so HoW is staying in my top five.
“Exo > HW > Cons”
This order has to do with the number of targets. Since we’re dealing with one, Holy Wrath’s damage is not split at all, leaving it with (on average) 3294 Holy damage.
With Exorcism, we’ll only be casting that on an AoW proc (which, as I stated earlier, is up nearly all the time), and a part of that proc is that Exo’s damage is doubled, leaving it at (on average) 4942 Holy damage.
Finally, Consecration deals a steady (again, on average) 2670 Holy damage over 12 seconds to anything caught in its radius.
All of these values were taken at T10+ levels of gear with no buffs other than Ret Aura up. As stated, feel free to voice any differences of opinion below.
For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to define “multi” as 3+.
Remember; in such situations, switch from Seal of Truth to Seal of Righteousness (which is Cata’s Seal of Cleave, thanks to the talent Seals of Command).
3HP-DS > CS > Judge > Cons > HW > Exo > HoW
This priority is a hell of a lot more arbitrary and theoretical than the single-target priority I detailed. The important parts to recognize are that TV is being replaced with DS (as they are mutually exclusive, for the most part) and Consecration and Holy Wrath are being shoved before Exorcism and Hammer of Wrath, merely due to the AoE-nature of both spells. Just know that this priority comes with a lot of hand-waving.
Oh, and the amazing new thing about DS I mentioned earlier? They removed the target limit on it! Commence drooling!
Rolling into 4.0.1, we’ll have two big ones: Zealotry and Avenging Wrath. Let’s get the old news out of the way first.
Same old, same old. The only change to this is that, thanks to Sanctified Wrath, you can now spam HoW during AW’s duration. However, with increasing amounts of Mastery, you won’t be simply “spamming” HoW on cooldown with your wings up. Maybe, but doubtful.
The new guy. This is our pure “burn phase” cooldown. When we hit this, our cast sequence will be the following, interspersed with Judgements and whatever filler moves you need to toss in there while waiting for your CS to come off cooldown:
CS > TV > CS > TV > CS > TV, etc.
The more haste you have, the shorter the cooldown on CS you’ll have thanks to Sanctity of Battle, and the more 3HP-TVs you’ll be able to pump out during Zealotry’s duration.
This talent makes me laugh when the devs say Rets won’t be as bursty in PvP as they have been known to be before.
However, this talent also scares me and makes me think that, as a result of the previous statement, they’ll either nerf it or TV.
Because Two-Thousand Words is More Than I Planned on Writing
I believe that is the majority of what I have in terms of 4.0.1. However, I’m sure I’ll be posting about more patch and Cata-related things, now that the “finalization” stages are underway and the values of major abilities aren’t being monkeyed with, so keep an eye on your feed reader!