Two weeks have passed since the 4.0.1 patch hit us. Changes are made to most classes, and paladins are not an exception.
So... are we at a better state now than two weeks ago? Well, some of my initial concerns have been addressed atleast.
The rotation is still very random, and it seems like Blizzard intends to keep it this way.
Ret damage was low, so they buffed several of our abilities. But numbers never really concern me, since they are easy to change.
Retribution is in the same place as two weeks ago.
I was concerned about mana regen for holy paladins (at 85, at 80 nobody seems to have any mana issues). Blizzard added even more mana regen to Seal of Insight, in the form of 15% of the paladins base mana being regained when unleashing its judgement.
I complained about Holy Radiance only having a 10 yard range. It was buffed to 20 yards (which in turns seem to make it slightly TOO good). Edit: And yes, it has been nerfed.
Light of Dawn is still a situational heal, which requires the raid to group up. Most raiders are used to spreading out as much as possible during fights, so the need to group up to get healed will take some getting used to.
Word of Glory was buffed for Holy paladins, since it was too weak. Actually, ALL holy paladin healing spells were buffed. Again, numbers tweaking is easy to do.
Holy is in a better place than two weeks ago.
The buff to Crusader Strike made it better for single target than our AoE move Hammer of the Righteous. For a while, tankadins used more or less the same rotation on single target as they did on multiple target. The buff changed that at least.
I was concerned about our ramp-up time. We need to build up three Holy Power before being able to hit the monsters hard enough for them to notice. Blizzard will address this by making Divine Plea generate three Holy Power when used. This means that tankadins can start a fight with three Holy Power every two minutes. This is a good change.
The prot rotation is still "939". It's not harder than the old "969", which, even though it was "easy", was an elegant and smooth rotation. "939" leaves a little bit of wiggle-room, since not 100% of our global cooldowns are used (but pretty darn close).
I was concerned about Grand Crusader. Our Avenger's Shield ends up low on our priority list, which means that we mostly ignore this proc, and just use our frisbee when it fits into our rotation. In AoE fights, the proc is more useful, since (unglyphed) the frisbee hits three targets in the face. Blizzard has stated that they will in some way buff the proc, since it is their intention to make it our signature proc.
Word of Glory is still a concern. I read about tankadins getting huge heals off when they have massive Vengeance stacks. This is broken, and will be fixed. Word of Glory is not supposed to scale with the attack power provided by Vengeance.
Blizzard is buffing Word of Glory for Holy, but keeping it as a modest heal for ret and prot.
I see the use of Word of Glory, but I still find it underwhelming. Compared to the self-healing on my death knight (Death Strike, Rune Tap, Bloodworms, etc), Word of Glory is really lackluster. And it still requires me to build up three Holy Power before it is strong enough to be noticed.
Of course, there wouldn't be patches and hotfixes without paladin nerfs!
Our blocking will be nerfed. As soon as I had installed the patch, I went to reforge my tanking gear. With very little effort, Arnax was block-capped (102.4% combined miss-avoidance-block). I know that ratings will suffer when we get to 85, but that was just ridiculous. Raid buffed, it turned out I had TOO much Mastery. When the block cap is reached, Mastery turns into complete crap for protection paladins (is there any other class that has a problem like this?).
Blizzard's solution to this was to nerf both Holy Shield (from 15% to 10%) and Mastery (from 3% per point to 2.25% per point).
Edit: I read the Holy Shield change wrong. Holy Shield no longer increases block chance, but increases the amount of damage blocked. So tankadins lost 15% block chance, but gained 10% block "value."
Blizzard also nerfed our Shield of the Righeous. It now scales a lot less with attack power (from 120% to 60%, ouch), but gets a bigger base damage. The issue they are solving is the massive damage that can be reached with full stacks of Vengeance up. I know some tanks got a hard-on when seeing 100k+ crits on Festergut, but that was obviously broken.
Our main damage reduction cooldown Guardian of Ancient Kings will also get nerfed (from 60% damage reduction to 50%). With a nerf both to our block mechanic and our main damage reduction cooldown, tankadin survivability just took a hit.
Protection is still on a rollercoaster ride, but is probably at about the same state as two weeks ago.
TL;DR Blizzard is still tuning paladins, and the tuning won't stop until we hit 85 and they see real numbers from a larger population than on beta. Holy paladins got buffed. Retribution paladins got slightly buffed. Protection paladins got mostly nerfed.
I'm All About That Boat, Bout That Boat
2 weeks ago