As I'm sure you've seen already, Eyonix dropped more class changes, Paladins being amongst this latest batch. Not many Holy changes, only minor Ret changes, but a whole crapload of Protection changes. Delicious, delicious Protection changes. A lot of the Protection changes serve a dual purpose- the changes are pretty good steps toward making Protection Paladins PvP-viable like Protection Warriors are becoming, but those same changes make the tree even stronger in PvE than it already is. It's beautiful.
- Blessing of Kings – this spell is now a base ability trainable by all paladins.
Assuming we are getting the 10% version, this is a great change. At the very least, it's going to open up 5 talent points for a large number of Paladins, and that alone is good news. It also means that there will probably be a brand new Tier 1 talent in the Protection tree come patch 3.1, so it'll be fun to see what shows up there.
- Exorcism – this spell now causes damage to all types of enemy targets. However, it always critical strikes undead or demon targets. This change should make sure paladin damage doesn't drop when going from Naxxramas to later tiers of content.
- Shield of the Templar now causes your Avenger's Shield and Shield of the Righteousness to silence targets for 3 sec. The old damage bonus of this talent has been folded into Holy Shield, Avenger's Shield, and Shield of the Righteousness.
- Ardent Defender, Improved Hammer of Justice, One-Handed Weapon Specialization and more have had their ranks reduced.
- Guarded by the Light – no longer reduces the mana cost of shield spells, but now has a 50/100% chance to refresh Divine Plea duration.
I'm going to assume it's going to be something like Shield of Righteousness has a 100% chance to refresh Divine Plea's duration with 2 talent points. If that (or something similar) is the case, that's going to be incredible. Protection will more or less be able to keep Divine Plea rolling forever in combat, which will be an absolutely huge buff. Next to dealing with Casters, a Protection Paladin's biggest weakness is trying to off-tank. When the Paladin isn't directly being attacked, it's incredibly hard to keep their mana pool up. Now? Not so much. Rolling a Divine Plea forever might not keep a Paladin's mana pool topped off if they're going all out on threat gen, but it's going to do a lot to help the situation.
- Judgements of the Just – now also reduces the cooldown of Hammer of Justice by 10/20 seconds and increases the duration of the Seal of Justice stun effect by 0.5/1 second.
Overall, I really like this news so far. I suspect our Holy brethren will feel a little left out because there really isn't much of anything here except for no longer needing to sink talents into Blessing of Kings. Then again, the BoK replacement should probably be something Holy-friendly for those Paladins that go 17 into Prot for Divine Guardian. So the BoK change probably doesn't free up much at all for those Paladins.
I'm cautiously optimistic here. Some of these changes sound way too good to be true, and others just have some crucial information missing. I wouldn't be so hot on the Guarded by the Light change if Divine Plea's duration is refreshed when you cast, oh... Divine Intervention. I would love it if Shield of Righteousness triggered it, though. Those are important details, even if we can make some safe assumptions about it.
Cautious optimism, ladies and gents. Cautious optimism.
Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.