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The Light and How to Swing It: Cataclysm blessing overhauls

Gregg Reece

With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon an entire flight of black dragons.

Well, we've had a small deluge of Cataclysm information about paladins in the past week. Some of it was fairly straightforward answers about design goals while other information was more hinted at with a wink, wink, nudge, nudge sort of feel. One of the items that has been fairly glossed over is all of the changes they're wanting to do to blessings.

At the beginning of Wrath, we had some blessings and auras removed by moving them to talents, built into the base coefficients or changed into the hand abilities. It made life easier on trying to figure out who is casting what and which people in the raid were which spec so you know which spell to cast and then managing all of the exceptions. This is why there are multiple addons that people have designed to handle them for you and remind you to recast them.

It looks like the coming expansion will be bringing more of these simplifications and reorganizations, but all of the details are still in flux. While some of the changes have been decided upon, others are more in the idea phase and will likely change greatly throughout the course of the possibly impending beta.

First, let's take a look at what we saw in the official paladin class preview post for Cataclysm:

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.

So, instead of needing three paladins to cover Blessing of Kings, Might and Wisdom, you'll just need two. This is primarily a change to help out 10-man raiding guilds so that they don't have to do exceptions with 10-minute buffs to various players when dealing with hybrids. This is a nice little quality of life change, but a lot of you will probably be upset as this is one more small step towards greater homogenization of abilities. It's a fine line to walk, but I don't think they've reached that point yet.

Let's take a look at what else they're thinking of changing.

Kings and Might can just be raid wide. There should be no need to target individuals. We're trying to make sure there isn't a circumstance where one dude would prefer the opposite buff to everyone else.

Bo Sanc could just be Kings with an extra mana component (for the paladin). We're also considering making it a passive that gives the paladin mana and provides the 3% damage reduction buff raid-wide which is currently brought by Renewed Hope (the Disc talent).

Raid. Wide. Blessings. However, right now you run into the problem where Kings is better for some people and Might/Wisdom is better for others. I'm not sure if they're going to be changing it where the new Might is what everyone wants, with Kings being a good secondary buff or not. We'll have to see on that. Otherwise, this should greatly cut down on the number of Symbol of Kings we've got to carry around.

I'm also interested in the second half of the post. Blessing of Sanctuary will likely change in some way that's yet to be set in stone. Like Ghostcrawler says, the damage reduction component might end up being a passive bonus attached to your auras like the healing buff from Improved Devotion Aura or the haste buff to Swift Retribution.

As far as the mana regeneration component goes, I don't see a real reason to keep it attached to the blessing itself. Paladins are the only current tank class that uses mana, and giving that mana regeneration to any other classes isn't all that useful for normal play. Yes, there are certain scenarios you could use it for mana regen on other classes, but those don't really fall into the "normal" part I mentioned earlier. It's quite possible that this part of the spell will become a passive talent for us. It makes the most sense and would allow us to use things like Blessing of Might when soloing for extra damage.


Or having a paladin vs Drum of Kings? Glad you feel that way. So, what other class is getting Kings? Y'know, since it's just so broken for Shamans to be the only ones with Heroism, it makes sense for the other class-exclusive buff to be handed out in a meaningful way.

Making Kings and Gift the same buff (and pulling the consumables) is one obvious answer.

Gift of the Kings? Blessing of Wild? Well, let's look at this logically. To combine the two of them, you'd replace the bonus to stats in Mark of the Wild with a flat 10% to all stats like Kings. The rest you'd just take from Wild. However, the buff would likely be nerfed slightly when they combine it, primarily because it just makes it a little too powerful with so many things stacked onto it. Also, having another class be able to supply "Kings" would be nice for smaller raids or simply guilds with a small number of paladins.

While these do give us some ideas of how they're trying to redesign blessings for Cataclysm, just remember that these are still half-developed ideas and we haven't seen how they'll work out in beta. Feel free to chime in on the official forums with your thoughts on these changes, but keep perspective and don't freak out.

The Light and How to Swing It tries to help Paladins cope with the dark times coming in Cataclysm. See the upcoming Paladin changes the expansion will bring. Wrath is coming to a close and the final showdown with the Lich King is here. Are you ready for the assault on Icecrown Citadel?

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