Lightsworn: Alpha changes for Protection Paladins in February
February was a busy month for Legion alpha builds. I’m not sure if we’re any closer to a beta, but at least we’re getting a better view of how Protection Paladins are shaping up for the coming expansion. Before we know it we’ll be wielding a massive Titanic shield in one hand and a shining sword in the other. Then again, maybe we won’t be wielding that last one! There’s been big doin’s on the artifact front this past month which makes this perhaps the most exciting month of alpha news in a good while.
We have a flail!
This is definitely the most interesting development this month. Dataminers have discovered art for an honest-to-goodness, Crusader-style flail in one of the most recent builds. There was initially some confusion as to what specialization the flail might belong to, but it appears based on the various color options that were datamined that it is reasonable to assume the flail will belong to Protection Paladins. Reddit user /u/Andypaladin made this graphic demonstrating how the different color variations match Truthguard’s colors.
MMO-Champion also recorded a video of how combat animations look when a character is wielding the flail. As you can see, the animations are pretty polished already. This is pretty exciting! I was horribly underwhelmed when I saw that we were being given a boring sword as our main-hand weapon to go with our much more impressive shield. Not only was the sword boring looking, but it also was pretty antithetical to the Protection Paladin aesthetic. We Paladins are not typically sword-bearers, we are wielders of mighty hammers and maces! A flail is a much better option for our main hand. I only hope that the option is going to be baseline and not locked behind the highest levels of content.
Relatedly, a new shield design was datamined. You can see on this Wowhead news post how the new design looks. It’s a much cleaner, more streamlined shape and I think it actually looks a lot better than most of the over-the-top designs that we are currently being offered. (But that’s just me.)
This month has been pretty light for spell changes for Protection. We only have these two changes that are worth paying attention to:
- Blessing of Protection and Blessing of Sacrifice now have charges.
- Light of the Protector only heals 35% of health and its cooldown was increased from 15 to 20 seconds.
As you can see, nothing really worth caring about just yet. The second change is pretty much just some tuning on that spell to eventually land on a sweet spot of healing-to-cooldown.
Notable talent changes in the past few builds
Talents are where most of the excitement has been this month. We have multiple changes and even a major shakeup of the first talent tier. Specifically:
- The First Avenger talent was completely removed. It used to make Avenger’s Shield hit only one target, do extra damage, and give the chance for its cooldown to reset. With its removal there is currently an empty space in our talent grid on the first tier.
- A new talent has been added, named Hand of the Protector. It replaces the talent Day of Reckoning. Day of Reckoning used to give Hand of Reckoning three charges and made enemies hit by Hand of Reckoning have a debuff that caused them to do less damage to you. The new talent allows you a second version of Light of the Protector that can be used on allies and group/raid members.
- The sixth and seventh tier talents Aegis of Light and Righteous Protector have swapped places. The former is now in the level 90 tier and the latter is in the level 100 tier. The designers must have felt that Aegis of Light made more sense being available earlier on.
- The talent Retribution Aura has been changed to now only proc when a non-tank ally is struck. This change makes sense, it might have caused threat issues ultimately if it were endlessly proccing while your co-tanking was handling a boss.
- The talent Last Defender now has diminishing returns in its effect. Again, this change makes perfect sense. If you rounded up at least 34 enemies to tank at once you’d be taking zero damage!
There were also changes to the super-interesting PvP talents:
- Knight’s Wrath is now Knight’s Valor (much more fitting name for our specialization) and makes Ardent Defender also apply to allies within 15 yards.
- A new PvP talent called Warrior of Light, which makes Shield of the Righteous do extra damage in exchange for reduced damage mitigation.
The third place were we saw a bunch of changes this past month was to our artifact talents. Build 21063 featured a slew of artifact changes and there were also a few changes in 22134, the most recent build.
- The weirdly named artifact talent Factual Armor is now called Faith’s Armor. It has had its threshold pegged (for now, at least) and as such will give an extra armor armor buff when you are under 40% health.
- Forbearant Faithful makes a bit more sense now due to a far less vague description. I’m still wondering though if the effect will be caused by Forbearance applied on allies as well as Forbearance applied on your own character.
- The damage reduction effect of Eye of Tyr now is set to last 9 seconds and has a 1 minute cooldown.
- Tyr’s Enforcer now affects all enemies within 5 yards of those struck by Avenger’s Shield, not just the initial target and the bounces.
- Lastly, there were a number of name changes to artifact talents: Empowering Light becomes Light of the Titans, Eye of Judgment becomes Stern Judgment, Flames of Judgment becomes Tyr’s Enforcer, Insistent Defender becomes Unflinching Defense, Rebound Effect becomes Bulwark of Order, Shield of Truth becomes Sacrifice of the Just, Truth in the Flesh becomes Eye of Tyr. While these aren’t particularly noteworthy, I’m just impressed that the designers resisted once more naming everything Divine This and Holy That. You can obviously see a definite (Titanic) theme running through our artifact talent names now.
And there you have it. That’s the month that was. Here’s hoping that March is just as eventful for us, though preferably in way that doesn’t involve any nerfs!
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