October 15, 2009

Paladins, Tier 10 thus far

Being as paladins, along with half of the other classes, still don't actually have models for their tier 10 gear yet on the PTR there isn't much we can actually show you other than a dwarf in his boxers. What we do have is the set bonuses which may or may not change by the time patch 3.3 actually hits. Both holy and retribution have been changed a couple times throughout the test builds thus far, so they should be getting fairly close to what we'll see. Protection hasn't had much change in it thus far, but the bonuses are in line with what we should be expecting. After the break, we'll look at each spec's set bonuses and do a little theorycrafting in some cases to see what they'll mean for us in Icecrown.

Holy set bonuses:

2 Pieces: While your Divine Illumination talent is active, your healing spells are increased by 35%. 4 Pieces: Your Holy Shock spell causes the next Holy Light you cast within 10 sec to have 0.3 sec reduced cast time. We'll start out with the two piece bonus. Whether you use Divine Illumination proactively or defensively when you're low on mana, this will be a nice boost. Being able to bump up all heals for 15 seconds every 3 minutes is nice especially if you run across fights in Icecrown that require the occasional high healing moment (much like ToC and Ulduar gave us samples of at times). This also gives you a way to help offset Divine Plea. Just pop Divine Plea, hit Divine Illumination, and gain some mana while still healing. Anything to offset Divine Plea is always welcomed.

When looking at the four piece bonus, I almost have to wonder why they didn't just give us a half second off of Holy Light instead of the 0.3 seconds. It's just one of those things where Blizzard generally tries to round things to a half or 5% of something. It just baffles me a bit. However, adding in haste, that should take Holy Light down to about 1.5 seconds to cast with Light's Grace in tow. Not shabby and Holy Shock should be part of every healadin's arsenal anyways.

The holy bonuses aren't set in stone and very well might change before 3.3 finally gets released. Keep an eye out for out coverage as well as the patch notes for more information as they have been tweaking some of the tier 10 set bonuses in all four healing classes.

Protection set bonuses:

2 Pieces: Your Hammer of the Righteous ability deals 20% increased damage. 4 Pieces: When you activate Divine Plea, you gain 12% dodge for 10 seconds. The two piece bonus appears to be the standard threat upgrade similar to tiers 7, 8, and 9. Yes, tier 9 also had the lowered cooldown to Hand of Reckoning tossed into it as well, it did do a small threat increase to Hammer of the Righteous. This threat upgrade is fairly straight forward and just doubled what the Naxx gear offered a couple of tiers ago.

The four piece bonus is a bit more interesting. Right now, we're not all that certain how this activates. It might be related to the actual spell cast which means we'll be able to have another tanking cooldown every 60 seconds when Divine Plea's delay is up. I'm sure healers will also like the fact that you'll be starting each fight with a little more avoidance and making the initial shock of incoming damage a little less. The other thought is that this will trigger every time Divine Plea refreshes from Guarded by the Light. While this would be wonderful, it would be fairly over-powered. Expect it to be more of the former and less of the latter.

All in all, the layout is fairly expected. The two piece bonus gives us threat and the four piece bonus buffs up our defenses a little more. The bonuses are fairly sexy and I'll rarely say no to another tanking cooldown.

Retribution set bonuses:

2 Pieces: Your melee attacks have a 40% chance to reset the cooldown on your Divine Storm ability. 4 Pieces: Your Seals and Judgements deal 10% additional damage. Give me a 40% chance to reset a 10 second cooldown ability with every white damage attack? Yes, please. The only problem is that this might start to complicate the first come first serve style of the ret rotation. While Divine Storm is lower on the list than Judgement and Crusader Strike, we don't have as much dead time as we used to since CS is on such a low cooldown now. What will likely happen is the slow removal of Consecration from your rotation as you fill it with extra Divine Storms. With less Concsecration, we have less need for its associated glyph and you can probably swap over to Glyph of Exorcism or something new and unknown that will pop up on the PTR at some point.

As far as the four piece bonus goes on the ret set, it's a nice and boring damage bump for seals and judgements. Nothing game changing here, but still appreciated none the less. Boring and good is sometimes better than interesting and controversial.

All in all, it's a fairly decent set of bonuses to end an expansion on. However, as I warned earlier, none of these are set in stone until patch 3.3 goes live and even at that point, there's still debate as to how long they'll stay. If you have any feedback on the tier 10 bonuses thus far, please let Blizzard know via these posts in the forums.

US Realms: (Healing) (Tanking) (DPS)
EU Realms: (PTR)

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