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WoWMay 31, 2016 1:00 pm CT

Lightsworn: Latest Legion Tankadin updates

paladin kneeling in Cathedral of Light

Hey, Blizzard Watch! It’s hammer time!

Well met my fellow Tankadins. I’m Ted Atchley, but in-game, I’m your friendly neighborhood Dwarf Tankadin known as Honors Hammer. I started tanking late in Vanilla after endless runs of Alterac Valley to get my Immovable Object. (In those days, few guilds would give a Paladin a raid drop tanking shield.) I started writing about Paladin tanks during our formative days in Burning Crusade at my blog, Honor’s Code.

With the end of the expansion lull in full force, all eyes are fixed on how Tankadins are shaping up in Legion’s beta. The Light has not seen fit to bless me with a Beta invite, so I’m relying on those players in Beta to give me the lay of the land.

During the Alpha test, Tankadins lobbied for the return of our Holy Power resource system, but the developers were disinclined to acquiesce to that request. Give yourself some bonus points if you get the reference. Then late in Alpha, players put forth several ideas in an attempt to improve on the current design and many have now been implemented.

Let’s dive into them.

Originally Posted by Celestalon (Official Post)
Judgment: Instead of Judgment crits granting a Shield of the Righteous charge, Judgment will reduce the remaining cooldown of Shield of the Righteous by 2sec, or 4sec on crits.

With the loss of Holy Power, Shield of the Righteous is now on a charge system, and charges generate on a timer. The original design had all critical hits creating more charges which led to too much uptime on our Active Mitigation. Then the developers moved the charge generation to Judgment crits. No matter which ability they picked, relying on crits to generate charges could create a kind of feast or famine situation not seen since the halcyon days of leveling with the original Seal of Command.

The new design has crits increasing the cadence of gaining charges. It makes each time we judge more exciting because we are always working toward that next charge rather than every time we don’t crit being a disappointment. This allows us to spend or pool charges and not have to worry if our next Judgment will crit. Our recharge rate will scale with both Critical Strike and our good ole buddy Haste, but now Critical Strike might have a chance to break into the Cool Stats Club currently dominated by Haste and Mastery.

I do find it somewhat amusing that they got rid of Holy Power and gave us a charge system that emulates Holy Power only instead of building up Holy Power from spells, we get Holy Charges on a timer.

Originally Posted by Celestalon (Official Post)
Avenger’s Shield: No longer buffs your next Shield of the Righteous.

The original Alpha design attempted to provide a good, meaningful decision between offense and defense, but in reality, it was the illusion of choice. The Shield of the Righteous buff vacillated between two extremes. Either the buff was so strong that you never cast Avenger’s Shield until you needed the buff or so weak that you ignored the buff and cast Avenger’s Shield as soon as she came off cooldown.

paladin casting Avenger's Shield

I love Avenger’s Shield. Not casting it when it lights up feels wrong. Nothing makes you feel more like a Tankadin than going all Captain America — expect maybe rounding up a whole room and Consecrating.

Part of the problem is that too much is tied to Avenger’s Shield already. Avenger’s Shield hits like a truck pulling a locomotive. It’s got an interrupt, an absorb shield, and the cooldown periodically resets via Grand Crusader. The artifact adds a little splash damage and up until this change, it also buffed Shield of the Righteous. Avenger’s Shield is working so hard the Union of Spells and Abilities is going to demand a raise!

But we still want that buff on Shield of the Righteous. I wonder if they would move it to…

Originally Posted by Celestalon (Official Post)
Consecration: Additionally, Shield of the Righteous is 20% stronger while in your Consecration. (Would dynamically update as you move in/out of the Consecration).

Consecration! Yes, I adore this idea. It fits so well with the ‘class fantasy’ of the Paladin. I consecrate this ground with the power of the Light and on this holy ground, I am stronger!

Mechanically, I have my concerns. In Legion, there are no major Glyphs. This means no Glyph of Consecrator and no Glyph of Consecration. I can’t tell you how much I miss Glyph of Consecrator. Because I’m not in Beta I haven’t actually played without it, but I miss it. Just to check, I went to Dragonblight to talk to my future self and my future self confirmed that we miss it.

Without those Glyphs, we are going to have put some forethought into when and where we place our Consecration. Imagine that Deadly Boss Mods tells us that in 4 seconds, we’ve got to haul our little Dwarf butt out of here because Allure of Flames will cast. We wouldn’t want to cast Consecration even though it’s off cooldown. Currently, the buff isn’t so huge that a few seconds of downtime will hurt that much unless you get hit with something like Impale.

Originally Posted by Celestalon (Official Post)
Hammer of the Righteous: 4.5sec recharge Blessed Hammer: 4.5sec recharge, and increase to 3 max charges.

The first tier in talent tree is the specialization tier. You’ve got Captain America, the First Avenger, which makes Avenger’s Shield hit harder but only on a single target like the Glyph of Focused Shield. You’ve got Hand of the Protector which allows Light of the Protector to be cast on others. I’m not a fan of this talent. This just in: we’re tanks, not healers. Then you’ve got Consecrated Hammer which makes Hammer of the Righteous have no cooldown and gain the damage bonus of Consecration. With the new longer recharge, Consecrated Hammer removing the cooldown should be more attractive depending on how much of each fight is spent with a single target and how much of it needs AOE/Cleave.

Originally Posted by Celestalon (Official Post)
Guardian’s Light: Removed. Knight Templar: Moved to Guardian’s Light’s spot.

Guardian’s Light was a static buff on Light of the Protector. It doesn’t say, but I wonder if that buff is baked into Light of the Protector now.

Well, that opens up a spot in the tree. I wonder what they will put…

Originally Posted by Celestalon (Official Post)
Seraphim: Returned, in Knight Templar’s spot. Same duration/cooldown, but costs 2 Shield of the Righteous charges, instead of 5 Holy Power.

Hello there again, Seraphim. Anne and Rossi once put out a tin foil hat theory on some site I won’t mention speculating the Naaru were actually Paladins that had become one with the Light. After reading that, I always saw Seraphim as one step closer to that eventual evolution.

I loved some the shenanigans we could pull off early in Warlords of Draenor with Seal of Truth, Glyph of Harsh Words, Seraphim and Holy Avenger before that all got nerfed…to the ground!

paladin under effect of seraphim

The Seraphim talent adds an option for more advanced gameplay. The goal of WoW and all Blizzard games is that they are easy to pick up but difficult to master. The Tankadin, as she stands today, is easy to pick up, but lacks some of the hard to master part. Seraphim can help fill that role. It’s also a fun talent to take as you start to overgear content. On Beta, you can consume partial charges for partial duration but it is not clear if that is “working as intended.”

Originally Posted by Celestalon (Official Post)
Tuning: Significant tuning improvements. Overall, Protection Paladin damage is extremely low right now, and is being massively increased. On top of that, there are several talent rows where the tuning is extremely off, such as Blessed Hammer dominating its row, which we’ll solve (mostly by buffing Hammer of the Righteous).

During Alpha, Blessed Hammer was so far outperforming Hammer of the Righteous that it made Hammer of Righteous becoming an AOE in Consecrate irrelevant. You would still rather use Blessed Hammer. Part of the problem is Blessed Hammer is all lovely yellow Holy damage, unaffected by our enemy’s pesky armor. Hammer of the Righteous’ initial hit is physical and reduced by armor.

From my perch on the outside looking in (but not in a creepy way), it sounds like the developers are making an attempt to address our concerns. The viability of Tankadins has never been in question. We’re more than solid choice for your tank. The question is, and remains, how much fun is it to play a Protection Paladin in Legion? I’m excited to SoonTM get my gauntlets on a Beta client to answer that for myself.

What’s your thinking about the changes? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and if you’re in Beta, share your experiences.

**Special thanks to Kerriodos of < Temerity > on Windrunner for lending his Alpha/Beta experience to the writing of this post.

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