Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rampaging through Outlands like a Divine Storm

It took a while, but Vaadren has been copied to the PTR realm. Of course I went straight to it and started checking out all the new stuff. New talent trees, new spells, new mechanics, it's all there and looking good! I know I was sceptical before (and honestly, looking at the notes it was hard not to), but I've made a 180 here. Like I said in an earlier post, Firelight was pretty psyched about how Retribution worked now. And after trying it myself, I have to fully agree with him.

The talent tree looks really nice, for starters. It's too bad that the WotLK trees are different (unless the WoW Europe site hasn't updated their talent trees yet), because I see some really good things in there. I wasn't sure about Sheath of Light at first (you get spell power to a certain percentage of your AP, and crit heals regenerate health for 12 secs to the target) because of the return of spell power, but it's more to give some spells a bit of a holy damage bonus, and to increase healing power (good for soloing and in case you need to throw in an emergency heal in a raid), so I welcome that talent now. The disappearance of Sanctity Aura is apparent, it being replaced by Retribution Aura now I think. There's some talents in the tree to increase Ret Aura damage, and add raid wide haste rating (from weapons to spells, from melee to ranged) to the Aura effect. We'll see how that goes. Judgements of the Wise is possibly the best talent Retribution could have gotten, with a raid wide mana regen AND instant mana reimbursement (20% of max mana) upon judging!! We used to have problems with mana, seeing as our mana pool is usually quite low and we spam our seals and Crusader Strike. With JotW we have gotten a mana regen when doing what we're supposed to do in raids (spamming seals) without our DPS output having to suffer. After several intense fights, giving it all I had, I still had a significant amount of mana left, making me wonder how the hell I can get rid of it! Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we've just become mana batteries. Raid viability, here we come!

The new mechanics take some getting used to, but overall it's really nice. The one Judgement spell has made way for three varieties: Light, Wisdom and Justice. These Judgements do exactly what their corresponding seals already did (health regen, mana regen and a "flee-lock"), but now upon judging. The corresponding seals still exist with their seal abilities, but instead of their "old" judge abilities, they now deal holy damage instead. Active seals on an opponent (Light, Wisdom, Justice, Crusader) aren't possible anymore, but I'm not too sad about that. Overall the system has a lot of flexibility, enabling you to deal damage plus gain mana / gain health / slightly incapacitate your target with each judgement, whichever you need most at the time. And that's without Crusader Strike and Divine Storm, which allow you to customize your battle routine even more.

The spell departement has recieved both good and bad changes. A few spells have been removed, including Blessing of Light + its Greater version, and also Greater Blessing of Salvation has gone. I never used Light anyway, only when there were enough other Paladins available to cover the other Blessings. Salvation is a typical choice though, seeing as it's a popular Blessing and widely used in raids. Divine Protection has had its effect changed. It now provides 50% damage absorption at a cost of 50% slower attack speed. It's like half a Divine Shield, quite strange. The main additions have to be the Judgements: Light, Wisdom and Justice like I mentioned earlier. And then there's the spell buried deep within the Retribution Tree: Divine Storm. Divine Storm has to be the coolest addition to the Paladin's arsenal. It hits up to 4 targets in a 8 yard radius, damaging them with holy damage and healing 20% of that damage done to up to 10 party/raid members. With the new JotW it's pretty hard to run out of mana, so mana cost isn't even an issue anymore. Spam away with your new Divine Storm, and enjoy your melee AoE spell, useable every 10 seconds.

It'll still take a while before the patch hits the live servers, but if the end product is anything like it is now, I'll be a happy Paladin!

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