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Paladin > WoWFeb 15, 2016 3:00 pm CT

Lightsworn: Holy Paladin Legion updates

Big update week, Holydins! Holy Paladins are finally available for playtesting, and last week’s Legion alpha build also came with a slew of updates to our abilities. Let’s look at what’s changed.

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Baseline spell changes

  • Absolution: All healers are getting a new mass resurrection spell, which is nice. More importantly, though, is the fact that non-healer specs such as Protection and Retribution Paladins are getting their resurrection abilities back. For a while healers were looking to be the only ones capable of resurrecting, which would have been annoying and overly restrictive.
  • Aura Mastery: While Aura Mastery itself hasn’t changed (it still empowers our various auras), the auras themselves are drastically different. More on those later.
  • Beacon of Light, Flash of Light, and Holy Shock have had minor mana adjustments. Nothing really noteworthy.
  • Divine Intervention: Now received at level 78 instead of level 18. Seems sensible — level 18 was probably too early for such a powerful utility spell, though Mages do get Cauterize at level 30 and Blood Death Knights get Purgatory at level 60…
  • Light of the Martyr: Seems Blizzard still isn’t sure what Light Tap’s ratio of health sacrificed to amount healed should be. Previously we were looking at 400% of Spell Power in sacrificed health for a 525% Spell Power heal, a pretty good trade-off. However, Light Tap is now back to an equal 450% / 450% ratio, as well as not healing our Beacon of Light. Disappointing. Talents and Silver Hand traits will be able to alter this sacrifice/heal ratio, but I can’t help but feel the exchange should be a little more generous — it’s a dangerous spell, and many players are already skeptical about it. If Blizzard wants us to use it regularly, the reward needs to be worth the risk.
  • Reprisal: Removed. Formerly “Melee attacks against you cause your next Crusader Strike to deal 200% additional damage. Last month I was quite excited about Reprisal, praising the clever design of a Crusader Strike buff that only took effect while questing, preventing any PVE balance issues. Throw that all in the garbage, because Reprisal’s gone now. I guess it’s back to leveling via Denounce and Holy Shock spam?
  • Tower of Light: Removed. Formerly, “All heals cast by other members of your party or raid also heal your Beacon of Light for 10% of the amount healed. Additionally, all healing you cause on your Beacon of Light is increased by 100%. Lasts 10 sec. 3 minute cooldown.” It’s a shame that we’re losing Tower of Light without even getting to try it out, as it sounded like a pretty fun cooldown. It also had the rare distinction of being a class ability that I saw other healing classes getting excited about.

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Holy Paladin talent changes

  • Light’s Hammer: What’s that noise? Oh, it’s Light’s Hammer being tossed in a river with cinder blocks tied to its feet. Light’s Hammer got savaged — it no longer slows enemies, now heals allies for 50% of Spell Power (down from 67%), and once again costs a truly horrible 50% of base mana. At this point, unless there’s a Legion encounter where the entire raid is stacked up for massive sustained AOE damage that also perfectly lines up with the cooldown of Light’s Hammer, I don’t see myself taking this talent very often.
  • Crusader’s Might: No changes to Crusader’s Might, but it’s still a level 15 talent that buffs the Mastery we receive 63 levels later. If you’re in the Alpha, please, please leave feedback about this and get it changed!
  • Devotion Aura: Devotion Aura now reduces all damage to nearby allies by 15%, divided among the number of allies affected. This has some interesting strategic implications. Do you stack in a large group and provide a bit of mitigation to many, or stack in a small group and provide a lot of mitigation to just a few? There could also be extra value on fights where your raid has to separate into smaller groups, resulting in Devotion Aura being split among fewer players.
    Devotion Aura’s mitigation will not be divided during Aura Mastery, which will be a very strong raid cooldown.
  • Aura of Sacrifice: Formerly Aura of Light (which provided 10% increased healing to nearby allies), Aura of Sacrifice’s primary effect essentially uses our own health to shield our allies. Thematically, this is very cool. Mechanically? It’s…interesting, but oh man does it seem dangerous. Frankly, between Blessing of Sacrifice and Light Tap, I’m not sure we need additional ways to kill ourselves! Aura of Sacrifice’s value might also depend on how good your raid is at avoiding unnecessary damage. How annoying will it be when your raid’s Incompetent Elemental Shaman gets hit by the boss’ MOVE OUT OF THE WAY, DUMMY! ability for 5 million damage and redirects 10% of that to you?
    During Aura Mastery, Aura of Sacrifice will radiate 20% of any healing we receive to nearby allies, with no diminishing returns. This could be a wonderful option for AOE healing efficiency, especially in larger raids. As an extremely simple example, Light of Dawn heals 5 allies for 150% of Spell Power, for a total of 750%. An Aura of Sacrifice Paladin casting Holy Shock on himself/herself during Aura Mastery in a stacked 10-person raid would heal for a total of 1050% of Spell Power — 375% from Holy Shock plus 675% radiated (75% x 9 teammates). If you increase this raid size to 20 people, now you’re looking at 1800% of Spell Power (375% plus 1425% radiated). Obviously practical application will be more far complicated than this basic example, but it’s definitely got some interesting possibilities.
  • Aura of Mercy: While our other two auras provide damage mitigation, Aura of Mercy gives us a straight-up passive healing aura. A permanent, free, triple heal-over-time effect that ticks for 30% of Spell Power every second is very nice. In comparison, a Restoration Druid’s Rejuvenation ticks for 54.2% of Spell Power, but every 3 seconds.
    Aura of Mercy will affect all nearby allies during Aura Mastery, meaning free, fast HOTs for all nearby teammates. It’s no Tranquility, but it’s not channeled either, meaning we can still be contributing our normal AOE healing during this time.
  • Holy Prism: Holy Prism’s AOE heal took a bit of a hit, now healing allies for 250% of Spell Power (down from 300%).
  • Beacon of Faith: Just like Beacon of Light, Beacon of Faith’s refunded mana effect was also nerfed slightly (now 30% refunded, down from 40%). Also, for some reason Beacon of Faith’s icon also went from pink to blue — an unforgivable nerf!

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Silver Hand Artifact Trait Changes

  • Lightburst: I was worried about Lightburst before, which would have created pillars of light that we stood in for healing buffs. Thankfully, Lightburst is now a powerful, rapidly-ticking heal-over-time effect on a relatively short cooldown. It’s also a smart heal, since it’s actually a buff on us, not a specific ally.
  • Shock Treatment: Previously reduced the cooldown of Holy Shock, now increases Holy Shock’s critical damage and healing. Still decent, but I would have preferred the shorter cooldown.
  • Break of Dawn: The former Holy Paladin Gold Medal, this is now accessed earlier in the tree and is no longer a major trait. A scaling chance at a free Light of Dawn isn’t awful, but I can’t help but be disappointed our highly-anticipated “something cool” trait ended up being a rather boring “free spell” proc.
  • Focused Healing: Focused Healing is now accessed earlier on the tree and reduces the cooldown of Lay on Hands instead of Tower of Light. Okay by me.
  • Protection of the Light: Formerly Protector of the Light, now accessed earlier and moved to be our central trait. I loved the old version of this trait, which would have applied Divine Protection to our Beacon of Light target(s). The new version is a 1-rank trait that makes Divine Protection last 4 seconds longer. Definitely useful…but nowhere near as interesting or exciting.
  • Vindicator: Formerly Aura of the Silver Hand, which would have granted nearby allies a 5% haste increase. Probably too powerful, which is why the new trait gives us a decent buff to Avenging Wrath instead.
  • Templar of the Light: This trait is now 1 rank and adds 2 seconds to Aura Mastery’s duration (previously was 3 ranks, adding 1/2/3 seconds).
  • Protection of Tyr: Now provides a solid healing boost to allies, instead of activating all three of our auras at once. Understandable, given how strong our new auras are, though I’ll miss the sheer coolness element of blasting out every aura simultaneously.
  • Knight of the Silver Hand: Increased armor? Increased armor?? Armor only helps against physical damage, and most boss encounters don’t even have any non-tank-targeted physical damage! Unless Blizzard is drastically changing their approach to raid-wide unavoidable damage (which is hardly ever physical), or unless we’re going to be expected to do some healer off-tanking, I’m really not sure what to make of this. (It’s a nice trait for PVP, though.)
  • Share the Burden: Previously, this added a damage mitigation effect to the target of Blessing of Sacrifice. The new version reduces the amount of damage we take. Still good, and understandable if Blizzard wanted to keep our tank mitigation cooldown in line with those of other classes.
  • The Light Saves: This tank insurance policy trait previously had no indicated cooldown, but can now only trigger once every 30 seconds. Only to be expected, really! It’s also now a major trait.

The Silver Hand

Interestingly, the Silver Hand itself has changed! Formerly a 1-handed mace with matching off-hand libram, our artifact weapon is now a 2-handed mace with two relic slots and a sexy healing proc that seems to incorporate elements of the old Lightburst trait. Besides the obvious transmog implications, the new Silver Hand is also packing a base weapon damage equal to 2-handed DPS artifact weapons, meaning the removal of Reprisal might not be that big a loss after all.

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Whew! Those are some significant overhauls. If you’re in the Legion Alpha, make sure to try out all of our shiny new toys, and be sure to leave feedback on how they feel!

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