Courtesy WOW Insider, new patch notes have been released today for the 4.0.6 PTR and there are some very interesting changes coming for Paladins. Of course, it’s best not to get too excited over these changes just yet, as these changes may not make it out of the Play Test Realm.
Forbearance: The duration has been lowered to 1 minute, down from 2.
Forbearance, of course, is the debuff that Paladins are given when using one of our major cooldowns (Divine Shield, Lay on Hands and Hand of Protection), preventing the paladin from chaining together very powerful spells for a certain period of time, currently 2 minutes. The reduction of this effect to 1 minute is a lovely “Quality of Life” improvement for paladins, allowing us a great deal more flexibility as to when we can use our major cooldowns. The 1 minute limitation still prevents us from casting the wonderfully overpowered Divine Shield/Lay on Hands combo (every PVP paladin’s dream, I’m sure), but doesn’t restrict us unduly from casting our cooldowns when needed.
This is a very nice change that I would love to see make it onto the live servers, especially because…
Lay on Hands now causes Forbearance on the target. It used to only cause it when cast on the paladin. This was an old design from when Divine Protection caused Forbearance and the paladin didn’t want to prevent a tank from using their defensive cooldown.
From the perspective of a group with a single paladin healer, this is no big deal. I only have two Forbearance causing cooldowns that can be cast on other players, and they typically would go to different targets anyway. Where this will affect things is in a raid with more than one holy paladin. I suspect that this is to prevent raids from gimping boss fights by allowing the tank to ignore a mechanic and take a huge amount of damage, knowing that there are two 100K heals available at a moments notice to pull him through. Chaining two Lay on Hands back to back on a tank could allow the tank to survive an insane amount of damage, possibly completely neutering certain boss mechanics. This could lead to a situation where the optimal way to do an encounter would require that there be two paladins healing the raid, which is the exact situation that Blizzard is trying to avoid. The reduction in duration to Forbearance, however, should still allow two paladins to heal together in a raid effectively without being unbalanced or prone to “Unforeseen Creativity” from the perspective of the developers.
This change is too bad, but understandable from a balance perspective. Let’s let inflating gear levels neuter the bosses, like always.
Lay on Hands cannot be a critical effect and will not be affected by most abilities which modify healing (such as Beacon of Light).
D’oh! This one hurts. One of the most beautiful and elegant things that a holy paladin could do was to cast Lay on Hands on a DPS, have it crit and then have half of that healing to go the Beacon of Light target. Seeing that many large, green numbers show up on my scrolling battle text gave me a severe case of the giggles most times.
Again, from a balance perspective, I can understand this one. But I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.
Rebuke can now be trained by all paladins at level 54. Exisiting characters will need to visit their trainer, even if they had talented Rebuke before.
This change has been out for a while and has got some people very, very excited. It’s absolutely fantastic for Protection Paladins since they’ve desperately needed a real interrupt ever since… well, forever. It also allows a Holy Paladin to add even more utility to their arsenal. My only question is where the hell am I supposed to put yet another button on my action bar?
The interesting thing about this change is that if a Holy Paladin wants or needs to be using Rebuke, they are going to need to heal within melee range of the boss. This is interesting since it would also give us access to Crusader Strike to generate Holy Power. Given the very short radius of Holy Radiance, the melee nature of CS and Rebuke, I’m wondering if that is exactly where Blizzard wants Paladins to do their healing.
Protector of the Innocent heals for 30% less.
And the nerfs just keep on coming. With Protector of the Innocent healing for the amount that it does right now, I am almost completely able to ignore my own health bar and focus on the group. I doubt that this is an intentional design; hence we get this reduction in PotI’s healing. No big deal, really. Frankly, I think the biggest result of this change will be a large decrease in my Overhealing Done numbers.
I think these changes, added to the ones that we have seen previously add up to a lot of not much. The reduction in Forbearance is nice but not game-changing, as is the change to Divine Plea and it’s associated Glyph that we heard about last week. I think Paladin’s are in a good place right now, and the minimal changes that Blizzard has proposed really amount to not much more than a simple fine-tuning.