Anyway, our class preview is finally out! Yippee! Sorry holy paladins, but I'm only going to be covering Protection and Retribution relevant changes.
Blinding Shield (level 81): Causes damage and blinds all nearby targets. This effect might end up only damaging those facing the paladin’s shield, in a manner similar to Eadric the Pure's ability Radiance in Trial of the Champion. The Holy tree will have a talent to increase the damage and critical strike chance, while the Protection tree will have a talent to make this spell instant cast. 2-second base cast time. Requires a shield.
Hmm, an AoE silence/CC? Does this hint at a return of skillful CC in dungeons and raids? Intriguing...
Guardian of Ancient Kings (level 85): Summons a temporary guardian that looks like a winged creature of light armed with a sword. The visual is similar to that of the Resurrection spell used by the paladin in Warcraft III. The guardian has a different effect depending on the talent spec of the paladin. For Holy paladins, the guardian heals the most wounded ally in the area. For Protection paladins, the guardian absorbs some incoming damage. For Retribution paladins, it damages an enemy, similar to the death knight Gargoyle or the Nibelung staff. 3-minute cooldown. 30-second duration (this might vary depending on which guardian appears).
This seems to be the big doozy. The Prot version gives tanks another defensive cooldown, while the Ret version is another thing to pop during BL. While I like the idea of keeping my spellbook as abbreviated as possible, I'm saddened that I wouldn't be able to pop the Ret version when I'm tanking for some extra threat. But hey, paladins can't be choosers.
Crusader Strike will be a core ability for all paladins, gained at level 1. We think the paladin leveling experience is hurt by not having an instant attack. Retribution will be getting a new talent in its place that either modifies Crusader Strike or replaces it completely.
I completely agree with this change. The short cooldown on CS will ensure that you'll have enough buttons to push to prevent rapid aging and premature death.
"[N]ew talent in its place that either modifies Crusader Strike or replaces it completely," = CS healing debuff? Hrmmm...
Blessing of Might will provide the benefit of Wisdom as well. If you have two paladins in your group, one will do Kings on everyone and the other will do Might on everyone. There should be much less need, and ideally no need, to provide specific buffs to specific classes.
Blizzard Entertainment: stupid-proofing your gaming experience since '91.
We want to ease off the defensive capabilities of Retribution and Holy paladins slightly. We think the powerful paladin defenses have been one of the things holding Retribution paladins back, especially in Arenas. One change we’re considering is lowering Divine Shield’s duration by a couple of seconds. Having said that, Retribution does pretty well in Battlegrounds, and Battlegrounds will be a much bigger focus in Cataclysm since they can provide the best PvP rewards. Furthermore, the healing environment of Cataclysm is going to be different such that a paladin may not be able to fully heal themselves during the duration of Divine Shield to begin with, so this may not be a problem.
I'm confused by this statement. Ret's amazing defensive capabilities are... holding it back? I don't Arena much anymore, but I don't think it's our defensive cooldowns that are hindering our ratings, but lack of snares, interrupts, and healing debuffs. But hey, I could be wrong.
We feel Retribution paladins need one more mechanic which involves some risk of the player pushing the wrong button, making the rotation a bit less forgiving. In addition, we want to add to this spec more PvP utility. Right now the successes of the Retribution paladin in PvP seem to be reduced to either doing decent burst damage, or just being good at staying alive.
You know how I said Blizz is stupid-proofing things? I take it back, slightly. In other words: this, this, a THOUSAND TIMES THIS!!! While Ret's FCFS rotation isn't the easiest, it isn't incredibly difficult. Requiring more skill to truly excel at Retribution is a challenge to all Ret paladins, one that I'm more than willing to accept.
Protection paladins need a different rotation between single-target and multi-target tanking. Likewise, we're looking to add the necessity to use an additional cooldown in each rotation.
Meh, I sort of agree with this assessment. Blowing a Consecration on one mob, as part of our 969 rotation, is a ridiculous mana drain. Again, more complicated = more skill. I loves me a challenge.
Holy Shield will no longer have charges. It will be designed to improve block chance while active, and will continue to provide a small amount of damage and threat.
Good, no more premature drop on masses of trash mobs or a quickly-striking boss.
Well, that's it from me. All said, I'm looking forward to the next 5 levels, as well as how this all works out in the endgame.