Of course, I'm not debating the impotence of these spells on live servers. I've been in the same situations as the rest of you, with an open GCD and Consecration's mana-hungry maw grinning fiendishly at me, beckoning me to hit the button just this once. I have adjusted my playstyle to accommodate for Holy Wrath's damage-splitting behavior and have drawn a crude mental map of its range so as to not break CCs. Admittedly, the spells just weren't working out for ret, so it made little sense to hold onto them when they could be replaced by just about anything else. Still, their longevity and quirkiness has earned these spells a place in my heart -- specifically, near a cholesterol-encrusted valve where the property values are the lowest.
Before you go rustling my jimmies, I am well aware that Sacred Shield
is returning in Mists
. This time around, however, SS is being reincarnated as something closer to its Wrath
equivalent. The Cataclysm variant
has saved my shiny butt so many times that I can't even place a fair value on the talent, but I am sure my healers could give you a rough estimate of how many times their hearts have skipped a beat because of it.
Even given all of its wonders, I am forced to admit that I can see why this decision was made. In principle, the change is very similar to the process that Ardent Defender
went through between Wrath
. Passive mechanics are all sunshine and rainbows until they start having sweeping impacts on active gameplay. Prot paladins with Ardent Defender had a cooldown that was out of their control, and as such, they couldn't really plan around it.
Last week, Matt Walsh discussed hero moments
, opportunities when one player can save the day or sacrifice themselves for the greater good of the raid by redoubling their efforts, masterfully stringing cooldowns together, or traversing a hellish firestorm like a well-prepared duo on Supermarket Sweep
deftly weaving through the aisles. What better way is there to rob the player of this experience than by making these decisions for them?
My wager is that the same reasoning has been applied to Sacred Shield. I love surviving boss mechanics that have killed lesser melee types, but it's an empty satisfaction knowing that my life was saved by my talenting prowess and not by any actual combat-related aptitude.Auras
I would be remiss to conclude this post without mentioning the removal of auras. These days, the management of auras is an afterthought of raid leadership on most fights, with the real power being levied to the holy paladins through Aura Mastery
Not long ago, this power was within our grasp, and brandishing it at the right moments produced a sensation that you were standing on a mountaintop as the hero of the raid. Auras became a big part of our play because we had a raid survivability cooldown available to all flavors of paladins that increased the effectiveness of those auras by 100%. The different resistance auras became primary targets for AM, with Devotion Aura
following close behind.
Again, I am forced to accept that auras, by themselves, weren't what was producing that York Peppermint Pattie feeling -- that was Aura Mastery. Selecting which aura to modify was a relatively simple decision made before combat started, leaving AM to be the active ability that took proper planning and a little finesse to use properly.
Like Consecration and Holy Wrath, auras have been at the heart of the paladin class for a long time. With the removal of spell resistance in Mists
, we would be left with four auras, three of which affect combat. Instead of trying to devise some novel way of revitalizing these few relics, Blizzard decided to roll some of their effects into other abilities and passives (Devotion Aura
, Heart of the Crusader
) and nix the concept completely. It will be sad to see them go, but clinging to an outdated, ineffectual mechanic for the sake of nostalgia makes little sense in the long run.
What will you miss, readers? Does anyone prefer the slow and steady holy power generation of Cataclysm
? Will you miss hard casting Exorcism, being able to use Divine Light
and Holy Light
without respeccing holy, or shedding snares with 1/2 Acts of Sacrifice
The Light and How to Swing It teaches you the ins and outs of retribution paladins, from Ret 101 and how to gem, enchant and reforge your retadin, to essential ret pally addons.