Feedback: Paladin Updates

In this thread, we’ll be testing and talking about Paladins in The War Within. Look here for posts from the development team as adjustments and bugfixes are made throughout the testing period.

Please note that off-topic or inappropriate posts will be strictly removed.

Thank You

Before we continue testing The War Within, we’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who read and responded to the Hero Talent previews we posted over the last few months.

Looking to the Alpha

In this first Alpha build, every single class has at least one new Hero Talent tree available for testing, with the rest coming in the following weeks. We’re asking testers to initially keep several things in mind:

  • There are UI elements on the talent panel that are placeholder, including things like talent icons, text, or final UI art.
  • Some talents may not be functioning yet, or may be marked as not yet implemented (NYI)
  • New spell visuals and audio for several new Hero Talent trees are still a work in progress. Many trees are using placeholder assets for now that will be updated over the course of Alpha.
  • There are some talents that are not fully tuned yet. This is expected, and we will implement tuning adjustments throughout testing.

The combat design team has two big areas of focus right now that we are prioritizing over other concerns such as tuning or generic class updates/maintenance:

  • Finish building the remainder of the Hero Talent trees that are not yet available.
  • Fix bugs that are blocking testing of new talents.

With the Alpha build being playable and all of the discussion that will occur around the flood of data, we wanted to reiterate that the responses to our blog previews were highly valuable. The feedback we received allowed us to make some early improvements or revisions while we didn’t yet have a public test environment. It allowed us to take some big early swings on certain trees, and then react to early feedback quickly.

Going forward, we aren’t planning to publish any additional Hero Talent previews in blog form, since we’ll add the remaining classes to the Alpha as soon as they reach their ready-to-test state.

Working from Feedback

Several Hero Talent trees have received changes after reading feedback to the blog posts. Some of these were tuning changes to ensure that the Hero Talent tree felt competitive, while others were significant design changes. The feedback thus far has been of great benefit to us.

Going into Alpha, we feel good about the shape of the Hero Talent tree designs. Keeping a consistent number of utility and defensives nodes across all trees, having parity between number of choice nodes, and the overall structure of the trees are things we’re confident in.

We’re also working on tweaking some core class designs as well. In some cases, it was necessary to make adjustments to the class or specialization talent trees before significant work was done on a Hero Talent tree. In other cases, we did work seeking to improve base class talent tree designs.

Alpha Feedback

Now that we’re in Alpha, we’re looking for feedback on how it feels to playtest these trees. We’re specifically curious about:

  • Hero Talents that you feel are “required” for your spec in a type of content, such as raiding or Mythic+, or that push you towards picking a specific tree.
  • Hero Talents that create frustrating or unsatisfying gameplay or rotations for your spec.
  • Hero Talents whose functionality is confusing, unclear, or difficult to track during gameplay.

Throughput comparisons of Hero Talent trees are helpful, but we’re more interested in gameplay, feel, and choice feedback at this stage. Also, when possible, we appreciate it when you focus posts or articles on a single spec and Hero Talent tree, rather than combining feedback about multiple issues.

Again, Thank You

We greatly appreciate all your feedback on Hero Talent trees and are very excited for you to see everything else we’re working on. Thank you!

The World of Warcraft Combat Design Team

Retribution Paladin

Hello Champions of the Light!

In The War Within, we have several updates to Retribution that we’re excited for you to test in the Alpha, and we’d like to highlight some of our goals and philosophy here.

Secondary Stat Scaling

Our initial goal is to explore how we can make secondary stats more appealing to Retribution, to allow a natural progression of scaling throughout an expansion. Due to the nature of many talents offering guaranteed critical hits, it was difficult for us to make Critical Strike a stat that felt valuable. To address this, we’ve reworked and rebalanced these talents to not automatically crit. They will instead gain value when you do crit, such as increasing their critical strike damage.

This type of design has been applied to other aspects of Retribution to increase critical strike value. Most notably, Art of War has been updated so its chance to proc is increased when you critically hit or the new cap stone Burn to Ash that increases the duration of Truth’s wake and makes your other damage over time effects more powerful when you critically hit.

A more subtle-but-effective change is an update to Mastery’s coefficient to scale better with the secondary stat. We’ve also updated Mastery with a passive proc that gives you a chance to blast your target with holy damage when you cast Judgment. The damage and chance are both increased as your Mastery is increased. Alongside these baseline changes, we’ve introduced several new talents that interact with Mastery to make it a bit more engaging and flavorful.

AOE versus Single Target

One of the sources of frustration we’ve seen when it comes to the Retribution spec tree is that there is a large amount of friction between Single Target and AoE builds, leaving very little wiggle room for any sort of hybridization. We’ve done some restructuring to alleviate some of this tension, to create more room to explore hybrid type builds for when the scenarios might call for it.

We look forward to hearing your feedback especially as it relates to our goals for Retribution in The War Within.

Here are some questions we have for you:

  • Do these changes open up new build possibilities?
  • Are Crit and Mastery more exciting as stats now?
  • Do talent choices feel more meaningful?
  • Is there anything unforeseen that these changes created, such as degenerate builds or rotations?

Holy Paladin

Our goals are to replace Light of the Martyr with a passive spell but keep the same thematic sacrifice theme, move more of their throughput from Beacon of Light into their baseline spells, and redesign Blessing of Summer to feel more specific to their role.

Blessing of Summer will now work as an external buff that converts healing to damage or damage to healing ability depending on which specialization you place it on. We’re hoping this offers a dynamic and more interesting way to use the spell. This effect will have a slight cap in order to allow us to tune it between AoE and single target scenarios, similar to Ancestral Guidance.

Beacon of Light represents a very large amount of throughput and we’d like to move more of that budget out into the base spells. We believe this gameplay feels better to use as your direct healing will be punchier while still offering around the same total output.

Light of the Martyr felt a little too separated from the Paladin kit as well as being an additional keybind eating up space when talented. The intent of its update is to keep the thematics in place while moving its power into a passive.


Hello, Retribution Paladins.

This week’s update is about quality of life improvements.

Wake of Ashes
Retribution Paladin relies on Wake of Ashes for both of their Hero Talent trees, and it is core to Retribution’s rotation. With these in mind, we moved Wake of Ashes before the 2nd gate. Additionally, we’ve noticed that aiming Wake of Ashes caused frustrations when strafing and we’ve made changes to make it feel good while strafing as well.

Expurgation and Templar Slash
Blade of Justice and Templar Strikes are deeply connected to the Holy Power economy, and they both have talent and stat interactions that makes you press them more often. The damage over time effects from these abilities were losing value due to being reapplied in a short cadence. Which in return made pressing your core buttons feel worse. We’ve decided to make the damage over time effects roll over their remaining damage value into the next application.

Templar Strikes
We’re increasing the cooldown of Templar Strikes because it requires you to press more buttons than your usual rotation. We’re compensating by increasing its damage. We believe this change will be beneficial to the health of the rotation.

Alpha Feedback - Holy Paladin

Firstly, I want to point out that there have been several tuning changes to the spec that either, were not posted in the official change notes, or are simply different from those notes. It is important to establish whether these changes are intended or not before we can start commenting on how the spec feels to play as they have a significant impact on our rotation.

This list consists of changes that were not posted as official changes or are simply not equal to what was posted.

  • Holy Light and Merciful Auras have been buffed by 25%. I assume this is as a result of our Spec aura being reset from negative 20% healing to 0%, and that Holy Light and Merciful Auras were simply overlooked for re-tuning.

  • Tyr’s Deliverance was buffed by 10% when it was supposed to have been nerfed by 15%. I believe this is a result of overlooking that Tyr’s Deliverance was not being affected by the negative 20% spec aura.

  • Flash of Light healing has been nerfed by 20%.

The Flash of Light nerf and the Holy Light buff will majorly change our playstyle as it will change how we prioritize spending our Infusion of Light. I know that it is early to worry about tuning like this, but as it affects major aspects of the spec and when it does not align with the official notes, it makes it hard to provide good feedback on other things such as hero talents as how these feel are directly impacted by this, and clarification on whether these changes are intended or not would be greatly appreciated.

Herald of the Sun Feedback - Holy Paladin

Herald of the Sun is an incredibly fun Hero Talent that offers a lot opportunities for min-maxing and skill expression. However, there are some factors that could create frustration and unwanted playstyles.

  • The first point of frustration relates to how Light of Dawn applies Dawnlights after casting Holy Prism or Barrier of Faith. As things stand, it always seem to apply the Dawnlight to the first target registered in the combatlog. This results in the Dawnlight being applied to the Paladin themself a majority of the time, as we are always the first target hit by Light of Dawn when we are hit, which we are a lot as we are always a viable target option for it.

  • Suns Avatar works with Awakening, which is great, after further consideration I think it would dictate our playstyle too heavily for Suns Avatar to be working with Awakening, and should perhaps be reconsidered. but it also means that you need to align your Holy Prism or Barrier of Faith usage with these wings procs. This is going to be frustrating as it will force us to not use these spells for extended periods of time to make sure we have the Dawnlights up for a Wings window.

I think a solution to both of these issues could be to only make Dawnlights applicable with Eternal Flame. This would allow us to use Holy Prism and Barrier of Faith as we saw fit while spending our Holy Power on Light of Dawn without worrying about wasting our Dawnlights on our self or out side a Wings window.

This however runs into the issue that Light of Dawn is an extremely annoying, if not impossible spell to get good use out of, especially in Mythic+ and Arena. The healing of Light of Dawn, in no way justifies its limited range or narrow frontal cone, and having to commit 2 Talent points in a very competitive section of our talent tree, to increase its range and make it somewhat usable, is honestly not a viable option.

Lightsmith Feedback - Holy Paladin

Lightsmith is a Hero Talent tree that has a lot of issues. Least of which is the keystone talent. I won’t spend much effort on this tree at the moment as I am expecting a pretty major overhaul to it soon as several of the other talents in the tree do nothing or are so niche that they might as well do nothing. Some of the talents such as, Blessed Assurance and Divine Guidance have no function as Holy and do not make any sense as they increase the healing of spells that do not do any healing in the first place.

The keystone ability was changed to not be ground targeted any more, which makes it significantly less frustrating to use than its initial iteration, and it could have potential with changes to the rest of the tree.

Holy Light and Awakening

Again, I realise it is still early to speak much about playstyle concerns, but as the capstone talents in either Hero Talent tree work with Awakening, we are very likely going to have this fact dictate our playstyle to an unwanted degree.

What worries me most is the potential that we are going to have to spend as many of our Infusion of Light procs on Holy Light as possible to maximize our Wings uptime with Awakening. This is due to Holy Light granting 3 or 4 Holy Power when used with an Infusion proc, and the fact that it has been buffed by 25%.

After the spec rework we got with Patch 10.1.5, we saw a shift in playstyle that had us hard cast a lot more than previously. This was in the form of Flash of Light. This change already pushed a lot of veteran Holy Paladins players away from the spec as they had gotten used to the spec almost entirely consisting of instant spells.

I fear that a further shift to Holy Light would be the straw that breaks the camels back for even more players. Holy Light has way too long a cast time to expect Holy Paladin players to receive such a playstyle well.

With the increased power of Holy Power spenders, and the increased power of Awakening, I think it is very warranted to reduce the amount of Holy Power that Holy Light can generate, and perhaps to have a second look at the cast time of the spell.

Bug List

I have taken the time to compile a list of bugs that I have been able to confirm so far on the Alpha. I will try to keep this list up to date over the course over the course of the Alpha and Beta cycle.


Holy Paladin Core Rotational Feedback

With the rework we got in Patch 10.1.5, the foundations of an amazing playstyle were laid. The core rotation of; maximising Holy Power spent and generated, by casting as many Holy Shocks as possible, while making use of the Holy Shock cooldown reduction provided by consuming Infusion of Light, is fantastic.
It flows well, is very synergistic, and is intuitive. It reminds me of the good old Crusaders Might playstyle, where you have just replaced Crusader Strike with Infusion of Light spells that actually do healing so you actually feel like a healer.

But what has caused this rotation to not work out so far?

The answer is twofold. The first problem is the strange tuning of our spells. Holy Power spenders and Holy Shock have been comparatively weak, and Infusion of Light spells have been comparatively strong. Secondly, it has proven impossible to sustain this rotation manawise, and as such we have had to resort to an exorbitant amount of Flash of Light casts, even at the cost of wasting Holy Power and Holy Shocks, just to save mana.

If we ignore the issue of Holy Light being too strong mentioned in my previous post, then the first issue is being remedied in The War Within, where Flash of Light is being nerfed, and Holy Power spenders and Holy Shock are being buffed. This is great, but without mana changes on top, we will still be forced to cast Flash of Light at the cost of Holy Power and Holy Shock.

How can we address these issues?

Ignoring Holy Lights strength, the first issue is already being addressed. As for the mana issues, just as I don't like to tell a chef how to cook my food, I don’t want to tell class designers how to design my spec. But, I still want to bring some ideas to light to show that it really does not necessarily take a large overhaul to fix this issue.

The idea I have been entertaining in my mind for a while now, would be to simply shift a lot of the mana consumption of Holy Shock and Holy Power spenders, to our Infusion of Light spenders. This would be in the form of Holy Light, but with the old version of Infusion of Light that made Holy Light a fast cast. This would allow for much more rotational mana management, as we would be choosing between spending Infusions on Flash of Light to conserve mana, or on Holy Light when we had excess mana and needed to do more healing.

To facilitate this only a few changes really need to be made.

  • Reduce the mana cost of Holy Shock and Holy Power spenders.
  • Make Infusion of Light grant significant cast time reduction to Holy Light.
  • Rebalance Holy Light, how much Holy Power it generates, and its mana cost.
  • Make sure that healing output of our spells would make it so our spell priority from a hps perspective looks like this: Holy Power Spenders > Holy Shock > Infused Holy Light > Infused Flash of Light.

I realise that the last point is much harder to achieve than it looks at a glance due to all the modifiers, such as Blessing of Dawn, our spells have and due to the power Awakening being impossible to quantify. Awakening alone is why it’s necessary to normalise the Holy Power granted by Holy Light to 1 so it does not skew the balance.

Closing Thoughts

I want to state how happy I am with the initial changes we have seen so far, and it truly feels like feedback is being heard and acted upon. I genuinely think the spec is so close to being amazing. With further reductions to or removal of fluff and passive healing like Tyr's Deliverance, Glimmer of Light, and Merciful Auras, we can possibly return to our roots of being strong spot healers designed to move the healthbars of the people we choose to target, so there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I would like to ask once again whether these changes are intended as they have never been listed in the patch notes and will have a major impact on our gameplay.

  • Holy Light and Merciful Auras have been buffed by 25%. I assume this is as a result of our Spec aura being reset from negative 20% healing to 0%, and that Holy Light and Merciful Auras were simply overlooked for re-tuning.

  • Tyr’s Deliverance was buffed by 10% when it was supposed to have been nerfed by 15%. I believe this is a result of overlooking that Tyr’s Deliverance was not being affected by the negative 20% spec aura.

  • Flash of Light healing has been nerfed by 20%.