In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm we’ll be making several changes to class talents and abilities across the board. While this list only outlines some of our plans for the paladin class, we want to give you a look at the new high-level abilities and an overview of how the new Mastery system will work with each talent spec.
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.
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.
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).
Next you will find a list of some of the paladin spell and ability changes, followed by our intentions for improving each talent tree for the release of Cataclysm. There will be further changes, but those revealed below should offer some insight into our goals.
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.
- Cleanse is being rebalanced to work with the new dispel system. It will dispel defensive magic (debuffs on friendly targets), diseases, and poisons.
- 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.
- Holy Shock will be a core healing spell available to all paladins.
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 a fast heal, but will be more expensive to justify the cast speed. Holy Light will be the go-to heal that has average efficiency and throughput. Beacon of Light needs to be changed so that its benefit is letting the paladin heal two targets at once, not letting the paladin get two heals for the mana cost of one. It’s intended to save GCDs and targeting time, not mana.
- 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.
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses
Critical Healing Effect
Melee Critical Damage
Meditation: This is the spirit-to-mana conversion that the priest, druid, and shaman healers also share.
Vengeance: This is the damage-received-to-attack-power conversion that all tanks share.
Critical Healing Effect: When the paladin gets a crit on a heal, it will heal for more.
Block Amount: We want to keep the kit of the paladin as a tank who blocks a lot. So by contrast, the warrior tank will sometimes get critical blocks, but the paladin will absorb more damage with normal blocks.
Holy Damage: Any attack that does Holy damage will have its damage increased.
This concludes this Cataclysm preview for the paladin class. The development of these changes will continue to evolve in the coming months. Please be sure to provide any feedback and thoughts you might have on what was covered here.
Note: Blizzard also updated the UI for thePaladin's new Holy Power system. The unit frame now features a gauge below the health / mana bars that lights up runes for each charge of Holy Power that the paladin has. When the Holy Power has reached its maximum (3), the meter will glow until charges have been expended.
Holy Power Gauge
Blinding Shield (81)
Damages and disorients nearby enemies, possibly only the ones facing the paladin's shield (similarly to Eadric's Radiance
). Holy paladins will have a talent to increase Blinding Shield's damage and critical strike chance, while Protection will have one that makes it an instant cast.
Holy Radiance (83)
The paladin radiates heals from him or herself, almost like a Healing Stream Totem
. The spell has a short range, but also relatively long (compared to the instant healing spells) duration, which should allow paladins to use this when they expect to see AoE damage and continue using their good ol' heals.
Guardian of Ancient Kings (85)
Summons a guardian that works differently depending on the paladin's spec (it also looks like the winged angel-like creature from WarCraft III's Resurrection spell). 30 seconds duration. 3 minutes cooldown.
Holy: Heals nearby wounded targets, preferring the ones with lowest health.
Protection: Absorbs a portion of the incoming damage.
A pseudo-resource mechanic is being added - Holy Power
. Certain spells (Crusader Strike and Holy Shock) build a charge of Holy Power with each application, stacking up to 3 times. This Holy Power can then be used for a number of spells, like Holy Shield
, Word of Glory
Holy paladins are getting much bigger arsenal of spells to work with. Other than the standard for every healer quick-but-expensive, normal, and slow-but-powerful heals, paladins will have an instant heal, a cone heal, and an AoE heal.
Protection paladins are having their rotation tweaked, so it is more fun and doesn't look like it can be macro'd.
Retribution paladins, similarly to Protection, are having their rotation worked on.
HolyInvokes the power of the Light to protect and to heal.
ProtectionUses Holy magic to shield himself / herself and defend allies from attackers.
RetributionA righteous crusader who judges and punishes opponents with weapons and Holy magic.