Posted by: Kro | April 14, 2010

Cataclysm Class Preview: Paladin

The Paladin Class Preview is finally in. Worth the wait? Not especially.

I’m underwhelmed with the changes to Holy though I’m sure that it’s tough to figure without more Cataclysm context.

Holy will get what seems to be a conal clone of Holy Wrath. A damaging aoe that blinds aptly named blinding shield. This will work similar to Eadric the pure’s radiance.

Holy will get a talent to improve its damage/crit chance while Prot will get a way to make it instant cast. It requires a shield so ret is out of luck.

We’ll get a new aoe heal called healing hands. This will work like healing stream radiating from the paladin. At a 15 second cooldown, 6 second uptime and a short-range it looks possible holy paladins may find themselves hanging out in melee to make the most of this aoe heal. This could be nice for getting some seal procs. I can also see this being fun because a lot of encounters have a spread / collapse duality and timing this heal to go off at the right collapse times will be a nice challenge.

Guardian of Ancient Kings is a new cooldown pet for Paladins. It’ll basically help heal, absorb dmg, or do dmg depending on your spec. Sounds dumb to me. Sure an extra cooldown is nice but I don’t like set and forget pets. If it had a pet bar and had some interesting utility spells like sprinting spirit wolves or stunning ghouls I’d be more excited, but if its like gargoyle.. meh..

As far as changes to old spells…

Holy Shock and Crusader Strike both move to being core abilities

Blessing of Might goes the way of strength of earth totem and carries both wisdom and might bonuses. (Hopefully they change the improved talents in ret and holy so this is useful in 25 man raids.)

They are thinking of making sacred shield a 30 minute cooldown. This would be pretty nice. Reapplying every minute, or 30 seconds if you don’t subspec prot as holy, can get somewhat tedious especially if you are gcd constrained. (I’m looking at you hard mode saurfang.) Perhaps well lose some flexibility on who we put it on though if it costs significantly more.

Beacon will only be usable with flash of light. This was done because they only want it used intelligently rather than having Paladins always healing for 100% more. I can see the reasoning but it sounds crippling. Hopefully the AoE heal will help alleviate this.

After hearing about the Beacon change, the sentence about Flash of Light remaining the expensive fast heal, is worrisome. Flash of Light currently is our inexpensive heal. The heal that is spammed if you are conserving mana or are already oom. With the fast expensive/go-to/greater healing model they are going with in Cataclysm, making Flash of Light expensive was expected. An expensive heal being the only one usable with Beacon was not expected.. or welcome.

I’ll leave you with the Holy Mastery talent.

Critical Healing Effect: When the paladin gets a crit on a heal, it will heal for more.

Wow, because I was so sick of my crits healing for less. All kidding aside though, this ought to be nice in an environment when keeping people topped isn’t the primary goal or even realistically possible all of the time. If this means paladin crit heals will crit for -even- more and we are not seeing overhealing, this will be a nice (if boring) mastery.



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