Lightsworn: Finally, a look at Protection Artifact traits in Legion
Holy mackerel our time has finally come! In the most recent alpha build, the traits for Protection Paladin Artifact Truthguard were datamined, which means that we don’t have to just watch on as all the other specializations to enjoy their cake — we get to have some too. And finally we can begin the tortuous process of comparing all our new toys to what the other tanks are getting.
Truthguard’s Artifact traits offer a good mix of damage-dealing and defensive bonuses, all along to the way to the big gold power traits. The paths the traits follow are pretty straight, so early on you’ll find yourself committing to three specific traits if you want either of the two gold powers that they block the way to. You know what’s also the most interesting thing? Blizzard offers a commendable example of restraint here — the words “holy” or “divine” do not appear once in any of the trait names. Impressive!
How Artifacts work
Forgive me if this is obvious at this point, but here’s a quick digression to talk about how Artifact traits work. You unlock traits with Artifact Power, which is apparently earned doing the usual unsavory business: quests, raiding, dungeons, PVP. You also can earn it from killing rare monsters or finding rare items. There are also relics that can be collected and then slotted into Truthguard, upgrading the item levels and offering ranks in traits. For Truthguard, specifically, we can use an iron, holy, and arcane relics.
Lastly, all artifact traits can eventually be unlocked — including all three gold powers. This means that Artifacts ultimately offer an additional, alternative means of leveling your character rather than a way of distinguishing one player’s character from another. I suppose initially though we will definitely treat traits like old-school talents, as we bee-line for whichever gold power is mathed out to be the best.
Overview of Truthguard’s traits
Empowering Light: One of our three gold powers, this trait makes using Hammer of the Righteous buff your next Light of the Protector to offer extra healing. Considering how much we will likely rely on Light of the Protector (as our leaner Word of Glory replacement) in combat, every extra ounce of healing we can squeeze out of it is welcome.
Eye of Judgment: One of many x% increase traits, this one increases the critical strike chance of Judgment by 10% at three ranks. This is a big deal though because Redoubt now depends on Judgment crits to give Shield of the Righteous charges. So while this may appear to be a boring damage-increasing trait, it’s actually a very helpful survivability trait as well!
Factual Armor: While it sounds like this trait is a work in progress based on the description, the general idea is that it will give us an armor boost whenever we’re under a certain (dangerous) percent of health.
Flames of Judgment: Our second gold power, this trait causes Judgment to deal damage based on healing received. It’s unclear exactly how the mechanic works (e.g., is it all the healing received since the last Judgment cast?) but it’s an interesting concept. I am looking forward to seeing how they ultimately make it work.
Forbearant Faithful: This trait is worded weirdly. I’m not sure if this is meant to imply we will have Forbearance “charges” or if it means every time we have Forbearance it knocks some time off our cooldowns. (Probably the latter, but it’s vague!)
Hammer Time: This is a pretty standard damage increase trait. No surprise it’s one of the first traits you can pick up.
Heart of the Avenger: Ditto to the previous trait, a straight damage increase for one of our heaviest-hitting spells.
Painful Truths: This trait gives us a damage reflect when Ardent Defender is active, which is a nice addition.
Rebound Effect: This is our third gold power. The description seems like a word is missing, but I imagine it means that Avenger’s Shield gives a damage absorb effect worth the amount of damage it deals. Pretty much the same effect from our tier 18 2-piece bonus.
Resolve of Truth: Pretty straightforward trait here — it gives extra health. There’s nothing wrong with that as more health is always welcome!
Righteous Crusader: Increases the damage dealt and damage absorbed by Shield of the Righteous. SotR is a cornerstone of our active mitigation, so this will be a very helpful trait.
Scatter the Shadows: Light of the Protector is another cornerstone of our active mitigation, so an extra 30% healing at three ranks is going to be valuable.
Shield of Truth: This is a pretty neat trait. Not content with slapping Blessing of Protection or Blessing of Spellwarding on an ally, now we can put our most very special bubble on them as well. I can see this being a massive help situationally, and I’m excited to have another utility ability — especially because I always feel that I “waste” Divine Shield by not always having many uses for it in raid combat.
Truth in the Flesh: Our opening trait, Truth in the Flesh gives us a cooldown that releases AOE damage and reduces damage taken for 9 seconds.
So that’s that. Obviously these traits are all in progress and there are still many more iterations to go before we can be confident we’re looking at a finished product. (And even then I’m sure a few nerfs and buffs await once Legion is finally live.)
After such a long wait, how are you feeling now that you know what we have in store for our and our artifact in the next expansion? Are any of these traits exciting? Do you think they will have major impact on your playstyle? Which traits in particular are you most excited about?
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