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The Light and How to Swing It: A week of tantalizing Mists information

Matt Walsh

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

News hit Wednesday night that Mists beta was beginning to slowly open, capping a week that saw a deluge of new, juicy details from the next expansion. There wasn't much directly said about protection paladins in the press tour, though some tidbits got out that make for some interesting discussion. Moreover, with the launch of the beta client, datamining has begun; as a result, we already have a preliminary list of new glyphs -- which was also backed up during Blizzard's earlier presentation.

Glyphs 3.0

In Cataclysm, glyphs got a major numerical boost through the addition of prime glyphs, which were just straight buffs to various skills rather than tweaks like the major glyphs. As a result, they were easily mathed out to determine the best choice for each situation, which you likely saw listed in any class guide produced during Cataclysm's life cycle. This was pretty boring, as Blizzard saw it, and as such, the whole prime glyph system was chucked out of the game.

In the list of new glyphs, instead of straight number changes, we're seeing interesting modifications of the pertinent spell akin to already existing glyphs like Glyph of Focused Shield. A few examples of some new major glyphs:

  • Glyph of Avenging Wrath Heals for a percentage of maximum health over the course of the effect. Makes Avenging Wrath into a survival cooldown, which is excellent. More cooldowns are always helpful.
  • Glyph of Consecration Allows you to position Consecration anywhere within 25 yards, making it a holy Death and Decay. It'll be interesting to see how this works with the new Light's Hammer talent.
  • Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous A quality of life improvement; doubles the duration of the Weakened Blows damage reduction debuff the ability causes.
And interestingly, in a major change of pace, the crappy old "50% less mana" minor glyphs have been replaced with actual, sort-of-interesting minor glyphs that do cool cosmetic things. A few examples of those:
  • Glyph of the Falling Avenging Avenging Wrath gives you slowfall when active -- obviously a PvP glyph, but still much cooler than the old Glyph of Blessing of Kings, eh?
  • Glyph of Fire From the Heavens A little silly, but makes your Judgment crits call down some holy fire on a target. (Holy Wrath crits don't apply to us. Sadly, we don't have the ability anymore.)
  • Glyph of the Righteous Retreat When Divine Shield is active, you can Hearth 50% faster. Brings back bubble hearth, though you could have always dug up a Last Relic of Argus and used that.
Ultimately, I'm really happy with this new direction for glyphs. Some of the most fun "interesting decisions" I had to make in Cataclysm was planning out my glyph loadouts for each fight. Admittedly, the least fun part was then following through and eating multiple dusts every night swapping between the different glyphs. (But I digress.)

The new major glyphs that offer said interesting choices are a great step forward -- and again, how excellent is it to finally get some minor glyphs that do something more interesting than reduce mana costs on a spell you'll only cast after a wipe. Three years late, perhaps, but still a very welcome change.

Our rotation is in a good place

During an interview earlier in the week, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street pointed out that he thought that paladins were in a good place with regards to their rotation and that improvements to RNG and holy power generation were coming -- though this seems to primarily be with regards to ret. Other than that, it seems like the rotations that have begun to be worked out, based on the official Mists talent calculator, are close to what we'll be seeing when we finally get into the beta.

Our holy power looks like it'll generally be spent on Eternal Flame or Sacred Shield (I'm still leaning toward the latter), Shield of the Righteous, and Word of Glory. Theck has run some sims on the abilities that we know of and determined we'll be using a rotation based on a priority of Weakened Blows (i.e., Hammer of the Righteous) > Sacred Shield/Eternal Flame > Shield of the Righteous (at 5 holy power, to dump excess) > Crusader Strike > Judgment > Avenger's Shield > Consecration. From this, he expects us to have about 10% dead time, which isn't terrible at all. A little dead time is always preferable to 969, any day of the week!

Lastly, it looks like my supposition from the column I wrote after the calculator was update came to pass -- Ghostcrawler also indicated in that recent interview that both Word of Glory and Shield of the Righteous are going off the global cooldown, which is an awesome design change. If only we had it in Cataclysm -- it would have made all those ShoR whiffs a little less frustrating!

New spelling judgment

One thing I've noticed in all the recent datamining and updating is that Blizzard seems to have decided after seven long years to finally spell the word "judgment" correctly. OK, granted, "judgement" isn't an incorrect spelling, but it is considered a variant, while lacking that middle E is considered the primary spelling. I think it's only fair if I'm not allowed to use "irregardless" in day-to-day conversation without have rocks thrown at me that we should also hold the word judgement to the same standard!

Irregardless, this follows the same precedent set back at the Cataclysm beta when Shield of Righteousness and Hammer of the Righteous were normalized (so to speak) to have the same "of the holy cliché" appendage.

The Light and How to Swing It shows paladin tanks how to take on the dark times brought by Cataclysm. Try out our four tips for upping your combat table coverage, find out how to increase threat without sacrificing survivability, and learn how to manage the latest version of Holy Shield.

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