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The Way of the Shield: Protection in Cataclysm


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#1 malthrin

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 02:29 PM

This thread is the home for Cataclysm discussion about the Prot tree and tanking specs in general. I'll keep this post updated with relevant links to blue posts and other previews as they become available. Constructive criticism is fine; whining will be infracted.

Here's what we know so far:
World of Warcraft - English (NA) Forums -> Cataclysm Class Preview: Paladin

New Paladin Spells

Blinding Shield (level 81): Causes damage and blinds all nearby targets. This effect might end up only damaging those facing the paladin’s shield, in a manner similar to Eadric the Pure's ability Radiance in Trial of the Champion. The Holy tree will have a talent to increase the damage and critical strike chance, while the Protection tree will have a talent to make this spell instant cast. 2-second base cast time. Requires a shield.

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.

Guardian of Ancient Kings (level 85): Summons a temporary guardian that looks like a winged creature of light armed with a sword. The visual is similar to that of the Resurrection spell used by the paladin in Warcraft III. The guardian has a different effect depending on the talent spec of the paladin. For Holy paladins, the guardian heals the most wounded ally in the area. For Protection paladins, the guardian absorbs some incoming damage. For Retribution paladins, it damages an enemy, similar to the death knight Gargoyle or the Nibelung staff. 3-minute cooldown. 30-second duration (this might vary depending on which guardian appears).


World of Warcraft - English (NA) Forums -> #BlizzChat Developer Chat on Twitter -- 7.16
7/16/2010 - Dual Resource System Looks like combo points

Q: What is the goal when re-designing the paladin class? How do you plan to change rotations, talents, etc?
A. All of the paladin specializations will make use of a new resource called Holy Power. Holy Power accumulates from using Crusader Strike, Holy Shock, and some other talents. Holy Power can be consumed to augment a variety of abilities, including:
An instant mana-free heal: Word of Glory
A buff to increase holy damage done: Inquisition
A massive physical melee attack for Retribution paladins: Templar’s Verdict
Holy Shield’s duration is now extended by Holy Power
Divine Storm’s damage is now increased by Holy Power


World of Warcraft - English (NA) Forums -> Cataclysm Class & Mastery Systems Update
7/21/2010 - NEW TALENT TREES! WoW Talent Calculator - Sigrie

Ardent Defender - Activate to reduce damage taken by 20% for 10 sec. While active, attacks which would otherwise kill you cause you to be healed for 15% of your maximum health. 3 minute cooldown. Off the GCD.

As to Holy Shield, it is going through rapid iteration. Our current implementation has it providing 5% block per stack of Holy Power, up to a max of 15%. So you can use Holy Power for threat, healing or mitigation depending on current circumstances. You should be able to keep the 15% block up all the time with a very small amount of effort.

Warriors get 15% block baseline, so this means the paladin has to work harder for it. Seeing as how the paladin doesn't have to maintain Demo Shout or Thunderclap's debuff, this doesn't seem too great a burden.

Signature abilities gained at level 10:

Paladin - Protection
Uses Holy magic to shield himself / herself and defend allies from attackers.
Avenger's Shield
Touched by the Light
Vengeance


We are going to turn both Holy Shield and Shield Block into short cooldowns. A short cooldown is an ability that you don't save for an absolute emergency (like Shield Wall) but we also don't want it to be on such a short cooldown that it feels maintenance-y. It's a tricky number to get right, but something in the 30 sec to 1 min zone feels about right. Then you might use Holy Shield one GCD instead of SoR or you can choose to save it until the next big boss attack.


Other posts on Cataclysm tanking philosophy:
World of Warcraft - English (NA) Forums -> Please do away with faceroll AoE tanking
Lampkin in EJBSG 28 | Anders in EJBSG 24 | Cavil in EJBSG 20
Boomer in EJBSG 19 | Roslin in EJBSG 17 | Roslin in EJBSG 13 | Roslin in EJBSG 8
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#2 Targh

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 07:53 AM

According to the talent trees at wowtal, ardent defender is clickable and no longer passive. Not sure how I feel about that.

#3 gat0r

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 10:19 AM

There is still no talent for aoe blind to be instant cast, so there will be changes. As for now it seems you will need to spend 1 GCD on Plea every 15 seconds to keep 3% glyph damage reduction up. But for mana regeneration we can choose between 2 talent points in SA and 2 talent points in no_CD_Divine_Plea. Also now we would have 2 ohsh1t! buttons to press, new AD seems good. They want us to use Crusader Strike (which would be without CD). 45 seconds duration for Consecration - Oo

#4 pdpi

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 12:59 PM

One thing I just noticed that I'd like someone on the beta to test: does the Eye for an Eye proc activate Judgements of the Just?

#5 gat0r

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 01:35 PM

Seems like it can be a paladin's thunderclap =) Also would be nice to know if new SoR can proc Vindication.

#6 frmorrison

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 02:45 PM

According to the talent trees at wowtal, ardent defender is clickable and no longer passive. Not sure how I feel about that.

I seems like they are making it into a really powerful (compared to last stand or survival instincts) cooldown to preempt known burst times. They just need to remove the 35% trigger if that is the idea.

There is still no talent for aoe blind to be instant cast, so there will be changes. As for now it seems you will need to spend 1 GCD on Plea every 15 seconds to keep 3% glyph damage reduction up. But for mana regeneration we can choose between 2 talent points in SA and 2 talent points in no_CD_Divine_Plea. Also now we would have 2 ohsh1t! buttons to press, new AD seems good. They want us to use Crusader Strike (which would be without CD). 45 seconds duration for Consecration - Oo


No cooldown Plea sounds better than the current system (for lesser skilled players). It does require you to hit the button every 15s, but there should be free GCDs.

No cooldown CS is most likely a mistake, and that talent likely belongs in the Ret tree. The AoE blind is supposed to be there. GC said the Paladin trees in the beta client were older versions, so just wait to the next patch.

#7 flyingtoastr

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 02:56 PM

I seems like they are making it into a really powerful (compared to last stand or survival instincts) cooldown to preempt known burst times. They just need to remove the 35% trigger if that is the idea.

No cooldown Plea sounds better than the current system (for lesser skilled players). It does require you to hit the button every 15s, but there should be free GCDs.

No cooldown CS is most likely a mistake, and that talent likely belongs in the Ret tree. The AoE blind is supposed to be there. GC said the Paladin trees in the beta client were older versions, so just wait to the next patch.


The 35% trigger actually makes sense in a certain context. Instead of using it to preempt a huge burst, you use it as a literal oh shit button when you get very low on health. Divine Protection can still be used when you need preemptive damage reduction. In practice it might work out to be utterly useless, but the theory behind it is solid enough.

The cooldown-less CS also makes sense with Prot. They've cut out 2 of the abilities from the prot rotation (Holy Shield will be a medium cooldown while Consecration only needs to be refreshed every 45 seconds), so what better way to fill the holes than with the new baseline class ability. CS becomes the GCD dump when you have nothing else to hit. The damage bonus may need to be adjusted, of course, but I doubt any of the numbers on any talents are finalized.

#8 Redcape

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 04:18 PM

The strange CS talent may well fill a few niches in that it gives prot paladins a button to hit as a filler and also lets them dps with a 2hander reasonably but I don't see how that makes sense with the rest of the tree. Granted it would be nice to be able to kill single mobs as prot really efficiently but having that rotation be only 1 button is very strange. If it ended up being limited to a 1 hander then I can see how it would make sense since that version of CS wouldn't be hitting hard enough to be a problem - you would still have a regular rotation but you would have a fine button to mash when you just want to punch some guys.
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#9 Antmanton

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 10:59 PM

I'm not sure I like the idea of having to spam Divine Plea all the time for mana. I know that Blizzard wants tanks to become more involved in boss encounters, but resource management at the tank end of things has traditionally boiled down to either enough or not enough based solely on passive class mechanics. Coupled with the upcoming addition of threat decay, having to spam your resource generation button every 15 seconds begins to feel either like a punishment if you have to open a GCD for it, or like a pointless and mindless chore if it's off the GCD.

While we're on the topic of resource management, however, one other thing I hope to see addressed in the next couple builds (assuming it hasn't already been changed internally) is the consolidation of all the boring-but-mandatory mana-management talents that still litter the Protection tree. Sanctuary, Spiritual Attunement, and Divine Guardian makes seven talent points (plus one more for Divine Sacrifice, technically) one must spend just to be able to keep pushing buttons. Even just mashing SA into Sanctuary might help with the feel of this.

#10 Chicken

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 11:03 AM

While we're on the topic of resource management, however, one other thing I hope to see addressed in the next couple builds (assuming it hasn't already been changed internally) is the consolidation of all the boring-but-mandatory mana-management talents that still litter the Protection tree. Sanctuary, Spiritual Attunement, and Divine Guardian makes seven talent points (plus one more for Divine Sacrifice, technically) one must spend just to be able to keep pushing buttons. Even just mashing SA into Sanctuary might help with the feel of this.

That is definitely something that needs changing, though I'm of the opinion that it'd work better if one of our mana regeneration methods is simply made baseline for anyone who is specced Prot. Either SA or Sanctuary would work well for this, though Sanctuary has the issue that it's mana returns might be low until you get above baseline levels of avoidance. While it does work out the same in the end, currently low level Prot Paladins feel slow compared to other tanks as they lack mana regeneration tools and so they run out of their resources frequently during combat.

Obviously this fairly quickly doesn't become a problem any more, but I can imagine it feeling discouraging to someone who decides to newly start as a Protection Paladin. The same is likely true for Retribution Paladins and Enhancement Shamans at low levels. The problem mostly arises from the simple fact that these are mana using classes with talents which change them from using the 'standard' mana system to a unique system, but until they get said talents they're just mana using classes with very small mana pools. It seems more logical to make at least part of their mana regeneration systems a passive effect of picking that spec, as they're an integral part of how these specs play.

#11 Pallytos

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 05:31 PM

The new Ardent Defender is something I am concerned about too. As of right now, it says we can only use it when below 35%. The problem is that we are rarely under 35% for very long, either we get healed or we get killed. 35% health is a percent that a boss can easily eat through in one hit.

However, with our hit pools becoming much larger 35% HP will be considerably more than it is now. Basically I'm wondering if at 35% HP a tank can still die from the next boss attack in Cata?
For example, say an avg tank has 100k HP. 35% being 35k HP, ofc. Are the hardest hitting bosses of Cata(normally at least one or 2 bosses per instance are heavy hitters) going to being hitting the tanks hard enough that it makes Ardent Defender almost impossible to use? It just seems that 35% is a bit low to be using an active ability when we are getting hit so hard.

If my HP is dipping to a "killable" level, I'm more likely to use Divine Protection or our new Guardian(depending on how much it actually absorbs) rather than having to check whether I'm at 35%. I'm hitting the button to save my life.

#12 Raistlin212

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 06:50 PM

Can we compensate for the AD "nerf" by macroing it into most of our moves so if we're under 35% at any point it fires off semi-automatically? That seems like a fix.

#13 Pallytos

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 08:00 PM

Can we compensate for the AD "nerf" by macroing it into most of our moves so if we're under 35% at any point it fires off semi-automatically? That seems like a fix.


I did think of that, but it's not really "fun" to do that. I don't think that is the game design Blizz is going for, however, that is what would happen if it stays in its current incarnation.

Furthermore, if we are going to do that, then why not just make it automatically proc anytime we go below 35%(cannot occur more than 1 every 1-2minutes). Which goes back to my point about the design and intent Blizz has for this ability. Macroing AD to every ability and AD being automatic is essentially the same thing. Obviously something Blizz does not want, else they would have just left the ability as is.

#14 Yamahako

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 08:39 PM

If they pull off their stated goal of making healing less spam required, then it shouldn't be too hard to actively hit the button. We will likely rarely be full health, and go down more slowly.

#15 Mex

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 05:57 AM

The changes that we've seen so far (and I would hesitate to make anything more specific than very broad-strokes type inferences from them) seem to indicate a shift towards more engagement with tanking as a protection paladin, and less autopilot abilities. The dismantlement of 969 and the changes to AD will force us to pay more attention to what we're doing in order to maximise efficiency. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

Macroing AD to abilities may work, but you're going to be sacrificing a lot of control. If you pop it right before your co-tank taunts, or after a single, non-threatening hit which occurs infrequently and hits for 70% (ie most dragon breaths), then you're likely to end up wasting it. Furthermore, changes to the rotation may prevent such macroing from being as effective as it would be now, for instance. The sub-35% conditional does pose a problem in that it may be hard to time the ability well if health is consistently spiking. With button mashing though, I can't see it being a huge problem. If it does become an issue, I'm sure Blizzard could change AD to give a ~3-5 second buff that procs the ability-proper if the tank's health dips below 35% while it's active. The key is get players engaged and make sure that they're pressing it in response to (or possibly pre-empting) something that the boss does.
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#16 Wrathblood

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 03:29 AM

This is a bit of an old topic but its worth following up with: DP will refresh on melee hit like now, so no need to spam DP every 10 GCDs to maintain mana.

In terms of talents, yeah, its annoying we have multiple talents to keep up mana, but warriors are in basically the same boat, all of them but SA give significant additional benefits, and from GCs comments, we're not going to be automatically assumed to always need all of them.

We'll have to see what the final talent chart looks like, but I do hope the mana recovery talents are a bit more spread out than they currently are. Today, they're somewhat clustered together, and low level prot pallies really do struggle with mana. Then they get to the mid levels, pick up a bunch of talents all at once, and then maul everything. Particularly with JoW going away, a smoother transition would be nice.

#17 emptyrepublic

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 06:57 AM

I want to divert the discussion a bit towards our rotation for tanking. The current 9/6 system is clearing going away, but I'm not seeing a new rotation mechanic forming up. With the introduction of Holy Power effecting the duration of effects like Holy Shield (which is already at 1 minute according to the latest Beta build) and Grand Crusader reseting CS cool downs it's sounding like Protection will be falling in to the FCFS rotation mechanic. The attractiveness of 9/6 was the ability to reliably keep up threat without out the need of a complicated mechanic, thus allowing a higher degree of raid awareness. I'm hoping Protection doesn't end up in a FCFS mechanic since the new AD now requires the tank to manually activate the ability there will be a lot for the player to pay attention to; perhaps too much depending on the particular raid fight.

#18 Mex

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 07:05 AM

New talent trees are out, and look like they're at least semi-coherent. Notable is the omission of Spiritual Attunement, which seems to suggest that ability costs will be balanced around Sanctuary and Divine Plea regen. I think we'll see some fairly interesting changes to our rotations in Cata, with the addition of the dynamic Grand Crusader.

This would probably be a good starting point for a cookie cutter spec. I don't see PoJ being any less required in Cata than it is now, so 7 in ret seems mandatory. The remaining 3 could conceivably go almost anywhere; we'll likely just have to wait for some more finalised numbers to be able to determine which talents give the largest threat boost.

The new holy shield definitely seems powerful, but I'm worried that its effects might be too pronounced for its uptime. With a 40 second duration (with 3 HP) and 1 minute cooldown, we'll be pressing it pretty much every time it lights up. If the mastery bonus ends up staying as block value, then we could end up seeing it average out to a 10% reduction easily, and quite possibly see it go higher. The problem is that the short cooldown and relatively low power level (compared to DP / AD) mean that you won't often be saving it, but that it's still potent enough to cause a noticeably discrepancy in damage taken depending on whether it's on or off. 2/3rds uptime is good when we're talking in averages, but it represents a significant amount of downtime from a healer's perspective. I think that they could definitely stand to curtail the uptime a bit.

edit - I think a more varied / dynamic rotation is generally a good thing. I hated 969, and hope that this new system will introduce some more engagement with our ability use. Holy Power is a good start, but I think that a big part is moving HotR away from single target viability. If it remains cooldownless, then it really needs to sit at the absolute bottom of any priority system. Judgement and ShoR still look like they'll be important, although we'll be pressing consecrate and holy shield much more infrequently. Crusader Strike will play a central role too. I think it's a good thing that our rotation is shifting to mimic warriors', rather than the other way around.
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#19 Proudmoore

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 09:22 AM

One notes that Retribution has apparently gained an Interrupt ability. As that would leave Paladins as the only tank class lacking the option of a "proper" interrupt, I wouldn't be surprised if that saw a bit of further development. It's not unlikely that they want to keep it out of the hands of Holy Paladins, though

With the talents for Holy Wrath, I wonder if it might end up as a replacement for the instant Blinding Shield the paladin preview mentioned. The two seem to fill very similar niches (Thunderclap equivalent) on similar cooldowns.

#20 Entropie

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 10:17 AM

I wouldn't be too sure of getting an interrupt:

Q. Death knights are the only tanks without a stun, which is pretty key for a few things, like adds on Heroic Lich King. Any plans to give them one?
A. There’s a video of a death knight solo-tanking 10-player Heroic Lich King. Impressive stuff. But just like stuns are incredibly good on Lich King, there are a number of fights where mechanics like Death Grip, or the ability to pre-drop a Death and Decay to pick up spawning adds, are incredibly useful. That’s part of class and encounter diversity.



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