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Patch 3.3 PTR: Ghostcrawler explains Paladin changes

You know how it goes. Blizzard nerfs Paladins, Paladins shake their heads in disbelief, then break out the pitchforks and scream bloody murder for a bit, beg Blizzard not to push through with the changes, and eventually run home and cry into My Little Pony sheets and staining pink underwear. Sure enough, when the recent PTR patch notes hinted at nerfs to the Paladin class, the pitchfork-wielding and bloody murder-screaming ensued. We're now about to enter the stage of bargaining. It's still on the PTR, after all. For those wondering what the bed-wetting ruckus is all about, Sacred Shield was nerfed to proc only once every 30 seconds (essentially proccing only once every cast of the spell unless augmented with talents), Aura Mastery was nerfed to 6 seconds down from 10, and Lay on Hands is being primed to be uncastable on one's self.

Ghostcrawler said that he didn't "want to promise (they) won't change the spell for 3.3," but that players also shouldn't "worry too much on the Lay on Hands change at this point" since it didn't make it to the latest PTR build. He explains in the forums that Paladins are no longer just a support class (as they were for quite a long time), but that all the abilities over time have contributed to making the class feel like a "one-man army" that is able to play offensively, defensively, and essentially take on more challenges without having to change stances, forms, or even specs. In a rather snippy response to a troll crying (with My Little Pony blanket in hand) in the forums, Ghostcrawler simply said, "Dear OP, Bye. Hugs, GC."

Discussing the Sacred Shield change as soon as we got wind of it, I argued to the WoW.com team that it was a Retribution PvP nerf more than anything, and a push for Holy to use it more in its focused healing kit. Although it does hurt Paladin tanks, Ghostcrawler states that Blizzard's "overall goal is to make Ret less tanky." Guess what? Retribution only really "tanks" in PvP, where the repeated nerfs to the spec's burst has altered its playstyle to become one about survivability. With the nerf to Sacred Shield and the planned nerf to Lay on Hands, that survivability diminishes massively.

With retribution burst nerfed to the proverbial ground, and survivability seemingly about to fall on its face, there's still no sign of the much asked for PvP utility to compensate for the removal of burst (Paladins never got out of the bargaining stage, apparently). It had gotten to the point that protection had become a much more viable, fun, and admittedly OP spec to PvP with, necessitating some nerfs to the protection tree which continue with Patch 3.3. This includes the possible nerf to Lay on Hands (put down those pitchforks, people, the nerf isn't even live on the PTR yet) which would be, to put it bluntly, stinky and messy as Murloc poop.

The good news is that, again, this is still just the PTR. Things can still change, and this is why it's being tested. The hope is that Lay on Hands will come out of it unscathed, but again, Ghostcrawler didn't promise anything (no more promises from the crab!). If I were to venture a guess, the iconic spell will likely still get nerfed to a degree. Stay tuned to the PTR and WoW.com, and hold on to your pink undies.
Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to the Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion

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