With World of Warcraft Patch 4.3 almost upon us, and it being probably the last major patch before the game is redone to World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria it has quite a few changes for most classes put into it. These are some of the last changes we will see to classes before they change over to the new talent 2.0 system for patch 5.0.
Being primarily a Paladin player the changes coming for Paladins in Patch 4.3 is a major concern for me. There have already been many different changes announced and discussed regarding Paladins and the upcoming patch, but here is the Paladin PTR notes as they stood as of October 18th.
As you can see from the list of changes above, there are quite a few things going on with the Paladin class. Since some are big and some are little I am just going to discuss the ones that I feel are most important to all of us as Paladins.
First up one of the changes that is affecting many of the buffs out there is a boost to melee attack power buffs. What this means is that Blessing of Might will now grant 20% melee attack power and 10% ranged attack power instead of the old 10% to both. Again, this change is not Paladin only, and is affecting most AP buffs. This is to compensate for the fact that ranged attacks, like those coming from a hunter, occur more often since they do not have to move or reposition as much as melee does. The buff is meant to help melee players DPS levels even out with ranged DPS in fights.
A big change for Holy Paladins will be that [ps spell=20165]Seal of Insight[/ps] no longer returns 15% of mana when judged. This amounts to a big nerf to them as they could judge at distance and get mana regen through it. Now it will no longer grant them mana unless they are in melee range attaching and hitting a target, not something any healer is likely to be doing. Since mana has not been an issue for most healers for a long while in this expansion, it is hard to say how much this will really effect Holy Paladins.
To counteract the huge nerf to mana regen through judging Seal of Insight the talent Judgements of the Pure will now increase mana regen from spirit by up to 30% after judging a seal. This may equal out to completely counter the loss from Seal of Insight, but that will take a while to figure out for sure. One nice thing is that it will last for a while and not require Paladins to be judging every 8 seconds but instead be able to do it every 60 seconds to keep up the effect from Judgements of the Pure.
Another huge change / nerf is to [ps spell=82327]Holy Radiance[/ps]. Since it was an instant before all Paladins could use it in one way or another. For example as a tank or as DPS you could trigger Holy Radiance to help out in AOE damage situations and not have to think about it too much. However now since it is cast, it is essentially verboten as a tank and close to it as DPS. It also means that it must be cast while stationary so it cant be used as a quick ability while repositioning.
The changes to Holy Radiance essentially mean that it is a Holy spec only spell now. However the new Holy Radiance now has a 3 second cast time and requires a target. The target is imbued with Holy Radiance and heals all group members within 10 yards instantly and a smaller amount each second for 3 seconds. This means that for Holy Paladins it has gotten better since it can be used on demand to heal groups of players, which is something that they have wanted for a while. It also means that you can position the healing on the player or group of players that needs it most, instead of just basing it around yourself. This is pretty useful in its own right.
Many talents have been changed around the Holy Radiance spell change as well so that it fits in better. It now benefits from Illuminated Healing, Clarity of Purpose, and Infusion of Light which it didnt before. This means that Holy Radiance should now heal for more, more often and for more effect, providing real options when you are required to flip into a group or AOE healing mode.
Lastly, Seal of Truth now benefits from a 20% bonus per stack of censure when judged instead of 10%. This means much bigger damaging hits from judging. While good for Retribution it is even better for Protection. Since judgement hits will be bigger, when teamed up with the 2 piece tier 13 set bonus, it will mean bigger damage absorbing shields as well. Since the 2 piece bonus was already factoring to be a big deal for Protection Paladins, now that it is going to grant even more damage mitigation it gets even better.
So is Patch 4.3 a Buff or Nerf for Paladins?
As you can see a whole lot changes and many are things that can make a huge impact on how we play the Paladin Class. Luckily though, most of them are not really nerfs but changes that make things feel different but do much the same.
The exception here being that Holy Radiance is essentially being removed from any spec other than Holy for real usage. The new Holy Radiance though looks to be a much better spell for Holy players, so for the players that really need to heal with it get more use out of it. DPS and Tank Paladins lose the ability to use it which is a nerf, but since it was used only sporadically anyway it should not be considered a massive nerf.
The rest of the changes line up with other class changes, and in some ways could be improvements to the class itself. For example while the loss of mana regen from judging Seal of Insight could be considered a massive nerf, the boost to mana regen from spirit could be an even bigger buff. Also the damage increase from Seal of Truth should help DPS Paladins be more competitive, and help Tanking Paladins survive longer, both great things.
Overall I really like the changes being made for this go around on the Paladins, and believe they will help the class more than hurt it. Therefore I have to rate Patch 4.3 as an overall Buff to the Paladin class.
Let us know what your take on the changes are in the comment system below
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