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3 things I'm going to miss about retribution in Mists

3 things Im going to miss about retribution in Mists
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Seasoned ret paladin Dan Desmond is here to answer your questions and provide you with your biweekly dose of retribution medicine. Contact him at dand@wowinsider.com with any questions, concerns, or suggestions!

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of the beta and what's coming our way in Mists of Pandaria -- so easy, in fact, that we lose sight of what we stand to lose in this transition. Retribution isn't undergoing as extensive of an overhaul as warlocks are, but amid the improvements and buffs are abilities, talents, and mechanics that are going by the wayside. Unfortunately for many of you, Inquisition isn't one of those mechanics, but below are a few things that I will look back on and yearn for in the coming expansion.

Holy Wrath and Consecration The loss of these two abilities isn't so much about how our AoE toolbox is going to suffer in their absence. No, Hammer of the Righteous and Divine Storm should more than make up for these relatively weak filler abilities, and I'm sure our mana pools won't miss Consecration in the slightest. When I first started playing the spec, I had visions of my character being not only a powerful warrior but also an adept wielder of the Light. There's just something about a paladin using generous amounts of holy magic to battle demons and the undead that just seems so right and makes the departure of these abilities hurt the overall feel of the spec. Yes, we still have Exorcism, Judgment, and Hammer of Wrath, but aside from Exo, these spells just seem like they have holy damage added on to them after the fact.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

The Light and How to Swing It: Evaluating Mists of Pandaria talents for holy paladins

paladin talents
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

Speculating on talent choices that aren't even being publicly tested yet is risky business. Mists of Pandaria isn't in beta testing yet, which means that everything is still be up in the air. What if holy power gets scrapped between now and then? What if the developers decide that shockadins should actually be viable? There are simply too many unknowns when discussing an upcoming game that hasn't faced any public scrutiny.

At the same time, speculating on talent choices with no empirical evidence whatsoever is also fun, because we get to make it up as we go along. I am already imaging a build with the new Pursuit of Justice, where I stack up 5 holy power points via Boundless Conviction and run around with 60% bonus speed for an entire encounter. Will it work with 5 holy power points, or will the speed boost only count 3 of them? Only time will tell. Or Ghostcrawler. But mostly time.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

4 major updates for holy paladins in Mists of Pandaria

Execution Sentence
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

Blizzard recently promised to release a flurry of Mists of Pandaria information in March, but apparently it's opened the gates early. The Mists of Pandaria talent calculator and ability list received a massive update this week, giving us new info on the talents and spells that holy paladins can look forward to in Mists. In addition, the Blizzard community managers have been answering questions about the new data at a rapid-fire rate.

Holy paladins have a lot to look forward to in Mists. It's clear that the developers have been looking at our weaknesses as healers, as several of our long-standing issues have been addressed. While we've always had a wide variety of utility abilities, until recently, holy paladins really only had single-target heals at their disposal. With the introduction of the revamped Holy Radiance in late Cataclysm and now the new talent options we'll in Mists, our base healing toolbox is looking more and more complete.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It, Mists of Pandaria

The Light and How to Swing It: Retribution of patch 4.1

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. This week, Justicar Alex Ziebart tackles patch 4.1's impact on retribution paladins. Questions? Comments? Feel free to email the author.

Before we get started here, I'd like to include a disclaimer: Yes, we're about to talk about patch 4.1. However, it is still extremely early in the patch's life cycle, so anything and everything could change before the patch hits live realms. We are going to talk about the patch because I feel the few changes to retribution currently on the PTR are significant, and talking about them is a good way to gain an understanding of them. If you like (or dislike) a change but don't understand the how and the why, what good is it?

With that out of the way, it's time to render judgement upon the patch 4.1 patch notes.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Light and How to Swing It: Retribution in 4.0.1


With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon, an entire flight of black dragons. Please send screenshots as well as any comments to gregg@wow.com.

A couple weeks back, I covered the changes to protection for the 4.0.1 pre-Cataclysm patch that usually goes out a month(ish) or so before release. The point of those patches is so that everyone can play with the new class features and get everything figured out before the chaos that is the actual expansion release. Now it's time to do the same sort of coverage for ret pallies. If you haven't been following the changes thus far, it's going to look odd. There are new class concepts and skill/buff consolidations.

First off, picking your spec now has a lot more meaning from the get-go. You receive most of the passive buffs that you'd have to spend 40 talent points getting in the past for free at level 10 that are responsible for making your chosen spec usable. As an example, you get Sheath of Light, Two-Handed Weapon Specialization and Judgements of the Bold. That provides your attack power-to-spellpower conversion, your weapon damage bonus and your mana regeneration. All of this just for picking the spec. In addition, you get a new attack called Templar's Verdict that we'll get into later.

First off, let's talk about the biggest change to our class in the expansion: holy power.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Light and How to Swing It: Where did they go?

With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon, an entire flight of black dragons. Please send screenshots as well as any comments to my email at gregg@wow.com.

Before we get on to business, I need another batch of screenshots for headers if anyone feels like tossing a couple my way.

A lot of abilities have been either renamed, revamped or removed in the Cataclysm beta. This is part of a consolidation process to remove a lot of buttons off of our bars. Other abilities were changed to remove durability and healing from retribution.

However, in the interest of explaining where things went, I decided it might be best to make a list of our lost and renamed abilities, for those of you who haven't been able to keep up with all of the changes.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Light and How to Swing It: The holy paladin checklist

Every Sunday, Chase Christian of The Light and How to Swing It invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. This week, we discuss how to mentally prepare for every encounter.

Way back in the day, before any of us had the opportunity to actually play the game, Blizzard was in the process of developing the classes of WoW. Rogues were designed to be sneaky stabbers and priests were based around doing heal-y things. Shamans and paladins were created to be in direct opposition to each other. The designated shaman archetype was the offensive hybrid, giving their friends extra damage potential and eventually Bloodlust.

Paladins were the antonym, created to help defend their raid and party from damage and to provide useful buffs. While much of the original intentions have been diluted via homogenization, paladins are still the ultimate defensive class. Unfortunately, in order to perform our role in the face of constantly changing opponents and venues, our toolbox of abilities has become fairly large. We've got a utility spell for nearly every situation, and there are a vast number of situations out there. The key to being an effective paladin is to do your homework and to come prepared.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Light and How to Swing It: Prot talents in Cataclysm

With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon, an entire flight of black dragons. Please send screenshots as well as any comments to gregg@wow.com.

If you saw my column last week, you'll notice that I've been less than thrilled with the way the protection tree had been progressing in the beta. Sure, things have been getting better, but it has felt as if the whole tree is fairly unsettled. With the latest build, we're finally starting to see things get a little smoother and the mechanics to make a little bit more sense. Keeping Holy Shield up is easier than in previous builds, and a lot of depth to the types of strategies we can have while tanking has greatly improved. Also, our mastery bonus has been official revealed.

I'm going to use the same type of disclaimer that I did on the ret talents article. These may not be the talents we'll end up seeing when the expansion hits, but they're getting there. Some talents will look pretty close to how they exist currently, while others have absolutely nothing to do with their current versions. Let's go take a look.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It, Cataclysm

The Light and How to Swing It: The Val'anyr effect

Every Sunday, Chase Christian of The Light and How to Swing It invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. This week, we discuss how our new mastery bonus will affect the class.

Every class was designed with a specific flavor in mind. If you read Blizzard's official descriptions of the classes, you'll see that skills and abilities were not assigned at random. These paradigms of thinking for each class pulled from fantasy archetypes and characters from Warcraft's rich lore. Each class had a purpose, and those purposes were what made the game diverse. With 40 people in a raid, you could easily assume that every one of these crucial roles was filled. Unfortunately, that doesn't carry over to today's raiding scene. With the seemingly constant shrinkage of the de facto raid size from 40, to 25, to 10, it's become more and more difficult for the developers to ensure that we'll have all of the tools and abilities available in the game.

Blizzard's faced with the tough challenge of trying to ensure that each class stays unique, but also allowing for enough overlap that you're not forced to raid with a perfect mix. Bloodlust has always been the posterchild for this war between uniqueness and homogenization. Shamans have claimed that Bloodlust is their right alone, but the developers decided to give the ability to mages as well. Discipline priests, the sleeper healers of Wrath that went from useless bubblers to raid-shielding gods, were next in Blizzard's sights. Luckily for us, the devs chose paladins to be the recipients of this socialist disbursement.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Light and How to Swing It: Healing through heroic Deathbringer Saurfang


Every Sunday, Chase Christian of The Light and How to Swing It invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. This week, we discuss how to handle healing as holy paladin on the heroic Deathbringer Saurfang encounter in Icecrown Citadel.

When we first meet him in Nagrand, his name is Saurfang the Younger. When he is found in an image projected by the brain of the old god Yogg-Saron, he is called a Turned Champion. When we see prophecy fulfilled in Icecrown Citadel, we learn that his father named him Dranosh, which means "heart of Draenor." When we finally confront him face to face, his name is only Deathbringer; he is no longer our ally or even his father's son, but the Lich King's most powerful death knight.

The Deathbringer Saurfang encounter is one of the easier fights in the normal version of ICC, due to Saurfang's position in the first wing of the citadel. The heroic version, however, proves to be much more difficult than the three preceding bosses. Due to his item table containing our first shot at ilvl 264 or 277 tier tokens, he has been tuned with the strength necessary to guard such valuable loot. While a fight like Valithria may showcase how powerful holy paladin healing has become, Saurfang on heroic difficulty is an example of an encounter that is nearly impossible without an appropriate number of holy paladins to keep everyone alive.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Cataclysm Class Changes: Holy paladin analysis

Apparently Christmas comes early in Irvine. Blizzard decided to share their notes for the paladin class a full two days ahead of time, which I have to say is a nice switch in tradition from their normal habit of pushing content back until "it's ready." While prot paladins are wondering what exactly Blizzard's plans are for their spec, ret paladins are worrying about losing their defensive capabilities that have been their go-to cooldowns in PvP play. The developers did however shine a light onto their plans for holy paladins in Cataclysm, revealing a bit of their design strategy.

Nethaera
Healing Hands (level 83): Healing Hands is a new healing spell. The paladin radiates heals from him or herself, almost like a Healing Stream Totem. It has a short range, but a long enough duration that the paladin can cast other heals while Healing Hands remains active. 15-second cooldown. 6-second duration.

The big reveal came in the form of Healing Hands, the future addition to our healing toolbox. While it satisfies a few of my requirements, such as having an AoE effect and being on a relatively short cooldown, there are still a lot of questions about exactly how powerful HH will be and how tiny the radius actually is. Either way, we've finally got something we can cast when our group is taking AoE damage, and that has me hopeful that we may finally escape the bonds of full-time tank healers. The power of this ability remains to be seen, but I'm glad that Blizzard knows what we lack and they're working to fix that.

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Filed under: Paladin, Cataclysm

Shield spell effectiveness reduced in PvP

After the recent changes to resilience and the reduction of healing in PvP, we now move on to spells that prevent damage entirely. Power Word: Shield and Sacred Shield are also being affected, having their effectiveness in Arenas, Wintergrasp and Battlegrounds reduced by 10%. Bornakk broke the news to the forums, which responded about as you might expect, with people who rely on those mechanics frustrated and those who have to try and kill people using them jubilant. I know, I was shocked too.

I'm kind of on the fence about this change. On the one hand, man, as a warrior I hate beating on a shield in PvP. Hate hate hate. It does seem odd to me that we moved resilience to reduce all incoming damage and then reduced all healing to match, though. It seems somewhat like a complicated way to do nothing at all. As someone who sometimes goes resto on my shaman for PvP, I don't really look forward to having my heals heal for less, especially since it's a penalty that will hit me immediately while farming up honor for PvP gear to get resilience will take me time, time my healing will have been adversely affected throughout. How about you? Happy or unhappy about the latest changes in PvP?

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Filed under: Paladin, Priest, Analysis / Opinion, PvP

The Light and How to Swing It: A little less hybrid


With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and helps with the puppet shows at the Argent Ren Faire up in Icecrown.

Ghostcrawler has been doing a lot of talking pertaining to paladins and Blizzard's vision of them for the future. A lot of this has been spawned by some of the changes the developers have been toying around with on the public test realms. In the current build of the PTR, Lay on Hands causes Forbearance on its target which has prompted quite an uproar from the playerbase. This cuts a leg out from our two major defensive cooldowns making us choose either health or invulnerability during a fight. Holy paladins are getting some text tacked onto Sanctified Light which will allow them to reduce the chance it will cause Forbearance on others by 33/66/100% to allow it to still be useful when healing in groups. As this is the PTR, we don't really know how much of this will end up on the live realms. The developers have been toying around with several different ideas and at the moment we're not sure which one or ones they'll end up going with.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

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."

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Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion

World of Warcraft Patch 3.2 Paladin Guide


WoW.com has covered patch 3.2 extensively. Everything from the surprising changes to flying mounts, to the latest and greatest loot, and all the changes in between. In our patch 3.2 class, raiding, and PvP guides we take a look at exactly what changes and how the changes will affect your playing.

More than any other class, I think, Paladins underwent significant changes in Patch 3.2. There were changes across all three specs that palpably impact gameplay and challenge players to take a different approach to the way they play their class. I went through most of the changes in detail in an older post, and many of those initial thoughts still hold true, albeit tempered with some experience on the PTR and changes over the past weeks.

There are buffs and there are nerfs, but the main thing to keep in mind is that this is Blizzard's constant balancing act. As the game progresses, I feel that they're finally honing in to the proper vision for the class. We won't go through all the changes here, but we'll break them down according to what impacts the class in general and according to spec. Let's bathe in the Light after the break...

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Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion

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