The 2.4 PTR is up, which means it's time for everyone's favorite pastime: complaining about the patch notes. ZOMG, more badge loot and no attunement for Hyjal? Blizzard is caving in to casuals! Another difficult 25-man raid instances? Oh noes, the gear gap is back and Blizz only cares about raiders!
But class complaints tend to be more numerous and specific. In all the hubbub, it's sometimes hard to tell exactly what's going to happen to paladins in the next patch. So here, without delay, are the four things you need to expect in 2.4:
1. Enter the Sunwell.
Whether you're sitting around picking at your toes after having cleared BT, stuck bumping your head up against SSC or The Eye, or just waiting for another 5-man, Patch 2.4 has a new PVE encounter for you. People who enjoy small groups can go to Magister's Terrace and fight Kael'thas, hardcore raiders can set foot in Sunwell Plateau, and not-quite-as-hardcore raiders can burst into the attunement-free Black Temple and Mount Hyjal.
What does that mean to you? Well, for a lot of people, it means it's time to spec back to whatever the guild needs them to spec to. In most cases, you'll be going back to healing. But with only a handful of spells, a lot of paladins find healing boring. To spice it up, try out some new mods, or sneak in and Judge the bosses when no one really needs you.
Of course, you can always raid as prot or ret. There's been some rumors that Kil'Jaeden may be very sensitive to Holy damage, which would open up spots for all sorts of paladins -- maybe even requiring a pally tank. Alliance retadins might be a little upset, though: the loot has a lot of haste rating, which is tailor-made for Seal of Blood.
2. Brand-new lore.
As you may have read right here, 2.4 heralds a major chage in the current state of the Warcraft storyline.
Basically, a beaten Kael'thas is trying to summon the demon lord Kil'jaeden into Azeroth. To facilitate this, he needs the power of a dark naaru. So he goes to the easiest source, blasts his way into Silvermoon City, and steals the Naaru M'uru from the basement of the Blood Knight quarters. As such, all belfadins should lose their powers, but instead, Lady Liadrin goes to look for a new source. Liadrin shows up in Shattrath City and acts all contrite to A'dal. A'dal reveals that M'uru "knew his path" and stayed with the Blood Knights willingly because of a prophecy made by the draenei Velen. Liardin then pledges herself and her Blood Knights to the defeat of Kil'jaeden, and the Blood Knights become gifted with the Light, instead of having to steal it.
So what does this mean for us? Well, in theory, it should end the in-game enmity towards alliance paladins and Blood Knights. No more desecrating Uther's grave, burning down chapels, or draining power from M'uru. Tirion Fordring might even accept belfadins into the Knights of the Silver Hand, turning it into a pally version of the Cenarion Circle. I'm not sure that any of the paladin quests will actually change, though; that would take a lot of time and effort to fix something that few people would notice.
But it's unlikely that players will follow suit and drop their resentment of the other faction's paladins. There's still the Seal of Blood/Seal of Vengeance debate, the argument that belfadins don't support ret pallies, the sexual orientation jokes, etc. Very few Alliance paladin players dislike blood elves simply because of the lore; there's usually a number of other factors involved. Selected quotes from the official forum thread on this change include:
"So now I'm a good guy? lame!" -- Horde
"I will kill Lady Liadrin the first chance I get." -- Alliance
3. Libram buffs.
The 2.4 patch notes promise changes for many of our librams, which were widely considered underpowered. Here's the scoop, direct from the notes (links show the 2.4 versions):
- Libram of Absolute Truth: The Holy Light mana discount has been increased.
- Libram of Divine Purpose: The bonus damage on Seal and Judgment of Righteousness has been increased.
- Libram of Mending: The mana regeneration buff has had its duration increased. The name of the buff granted by this item changed to Grace of the Naaru to avoid having the same name as the Light's Grace talent.
- Libram of Righteous Power: The bonus damage for Crusader Strike has been increased.
- Libram of Souls Redeemed: The bonus for Flash of Light has been decreased and the bonus for Holy Light has been increased.
- Libram of Wracking: This item now increases the damage on Holy Wrath and Exorcism instead of decreasing their mana cost.
These are pretty good changes for holy and ret pallies. The only one I'd dispute is Libram of Souls Redeemed, just because Flash of Light is much more useful in raid settings.
4. Embracing homeostasis.
Honestly, pallies didn't get a lot of changes in this patch -- just some bug fixes with coefficients, the libram buff, and the non-pally-specific drinking change. That doesn't mean that there won't be changes before the patch is live, but it does indicate that Blizzard is fairly satisfied with the pally changes from the 2.3 series of patches. Instead of feeling ignored by Blizzard, just take the lack of changes as a lack of nerfs.
What do you think the most important change is in 2.4? What would you like to see in the future for the paladin class?