Some Paladin nerfs to go live before 3.0.3

Zach Yonzon
Z. Yonzon|10.28.08

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Some Paladin nerfs to go live before 3.0.3

Ghostcrawler announced on the Beta forums earlier that some aspects of the much dreaded -- yet somehow expected -- Paladin nerfs are going to be hotfixed into the game immediately, in order to enable more testing of the nerf in PvP and PvE. This comes in the midst of the Paladin community's uproar at the severe adjustments to the class, with some players calling Blizzard out on their numbers and the data from which they concluded that the spec needed such severe -- and not surgical -- tuning down.

The changes that will go live are the 20% damage reduction to Seal of Command and its Judgement, as well as the reduction of Judgements of the Wise mana return from 33% of base mana to 15%. To further illustrate that the nerfs are intended for PvP, Ghostcrawler also happily announces that Seal of Blood / the Martyr will be un-nerfed to about "95% of where the (sic) used to be" in Patch 3.0.3. He says that, "hopefully this will compensate PvE Retadins for relying less on more expensive AE abilities that risk putting them out of mana."

The statements are curious on several points. In his lengthy response to the community, Ghostcrawler shot down accusations that the spec was being nerfed because of PvP by saying, "Ret PvE dps was also too high." If that's true, it's interesting that Blizzard is un-nerfing Seal of Blood / the Martyr. Both are PvE Retribution DPS Seals, and higher damage coefficients from the spells will result directly in higher DPS. This is good news, no question about it. It's just confusing.

To clarify, he says "relying less on more expensive AE abilities" -- which seems to indicate that Blizzard wants us to remove Consecration (and the now instant-cast Holy Wrath in demon and undead-infested raids) from our spell rotations. This ushers in awkward rotations where Consecration is asynchronous with our other cooldowns and not used every time it's up. At least, that's how I seem to read it. This means that Blizzard is aware that inserting Consecration into our spell cycle will run us OOM fairly quickly. In my opinion, this makes the change to Judgements of the Wise somewhat suspect for PvE.

It's also important to note that Blizzard still plans to nerf all the other Seals but Ghostcrawler says it will entail a lot more work so thus will be going live with Patch 3.0.3. When the hotfix finally comes -- likely patched in with the regular Tuesday maintenance -- I encourage all Retribution Paladins to test the changes extensively and report on -- not whine about -- them in the official forums. The more hard numbers we get from testing, the more hope we have of getting proper tuning and not just excessive nerfs. I'm extremely happy that Blizzard is active with fixing the class. It's the most responsive they've been to Paladins in a long time. I just wish it didn't feel so much like a mad scientist's experiment.
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