Even so close to the launch of Cataclysm, Blizzard make rather big changes to the classes. I thought build 13221 was overwhelming enough! Seems Blizzard are now instead looking at the discipline tree and decided some things need to be fixed there as well. Looking at the changes I can understand some of them, but not all;
Rapture now cannot occur more than once every 12 sec, down from 6 sec.
It should say "up from 6 seconds" of course, but let's not split hairs (I hadn't noticed it was only 6 seconds though, but that would explain some things). I can definitely see where this is coming from, discipline healing right now means never ooming. We have so many great mana management tools that even in healing heavy fights I rarely go below 90% mana, and that's not even bragging - that's facts. And I understand if Blizzard don't want it to be that easy. I always thought that things would change once Cataclysm comes, but maybe they've noticed that it hasn't and they have to fix this now. We've got Archangel and Inner Focus still so I still think that mana will be way less of an issue for Disc than it is for Holy right now.
Atonement (Rank 1) now heals for 50% of the damage dealt, down from 100%. Rank 2 remains unchanged.
This one confuses me, doesn't rank one already only heal for 50%? If not I can't see what differs rank 1 from rank 2.
Inner Focus no longer affects Heal. Now affects Binding Heal.
Inner Focus is funny. I usually only ever used it when casting Divine Hymn and that means I still try to use it whenever I use DH. But since those two don't interact anylonger it only means I run around with Inner Focus active for a while, notice it and try to find a good opportunity to use it with a Prayer of Healing. Some things are more difficult to train away than others it seems. I also try to use it when Holy, and well that doesn't work at all. To me this change won't make any difference at all. I always felt like Inner Focus was too valuable a cooldown to use on something like a Heal, and maybe Blizzard agreed and did this change. I could see myself using it with Binding Heal since BH is more expensive and you usually only use it in a pinch and some extra crit could really come in handy in pinches.
Rapid Renewal has been removed as a talent and is now a passive skill.
Blizzard took the last step from build 13221 and just simply made this passive. I think it is set beyond doubt that holy priests are supposed to spam renews now.
I didn't write anything about paladins in my last post on the 13221 build, mostly because all they said were "we've buffed your healing by some percent". The 13241 changes have more interesting implications however.
Light of Dawn now uses Holy Power instead of Mana. Now heals up to 5 targets. No longer has a cooldown - Consumes all Holy Power to send a wave of healing energy before you, healing up to 5 of the most injured targets in your party or raid within a 30 yard frontal cone for 1008.96 to 1124.15 per charge of Holy Power.
This is a really interesting change. I always felt like I wanted to be able to do something else with my Holy Power, and this is the answer. It also makes healing in raids a little bit tougher I can imagine, since holydins now have to choose between using their Holy Power on Word of Glory or Light of Dawn. I heard Word of Glory wasn't really cutting it in endgame raiding, so maybe the choice is easy, but I still think the loss of always having it handy will be felt. All in all I still think this is a good change - collecting Holy Power is fairly easy after all. It now "only" heals 5 targets instead of all targets and that could seem like a nerf of course. But I think we should see it this way instead - Blizzard noticed it was too good and wanted to lower its healing. They could've either just lowered its healing output, but still have it heal all targets, or keep it like it is, but have it heal fewer targets. I like the second option more, especially since it is "smart" in the sense that it picks those who need healing most, just as Circle of Healing and Prayer of Mending does. This way it will still be valuable to use when you want to aoe-heal people without making it too powerful (especially now that it has no cooldown).
Blessed Life now cannot occur more than 8 seconds (up from 2 seconds).
Just the other day I was talking with Love about how crazy holydins are in pvp right now. I was going through the various talents that make holydins unkillable and well, this is one of them. This is a nerf to holydins in pvp, but honestly definitely not enough to make them killable yet. I am sensing this is just the tip if the iceberg.
Protector of the Innocent now affects heals on any target except yourself.
And there we have it! The rest of the iceberg I mean. This is a bigger nerf to holydins, since healing themselves usually resulted in instant full-hp heals thanks to Protector of the Innocent. This is of course a big nerf for a dueling or maybe even 2v2 arena-pvping paladin where there often is no other target to heal but yourself, but I'm still not entirely sure this will bring holydins down to killable levels. But we're definitely getting there. All in all these are nice tweaks to bring pvping holydins down without ruining for pveing holydins.
Were protadins too good? Apparently, we're seeing nerfs across the board in the latest build. All the changes are made to how we block, and if you've read any of my previous posts on tanking you'll know that I'm no fan of the blocking system. If Blizzard feel the need to nerf it like this, it can only mean they've made it work like a real tank-stat, finally.
Mastery: Divine Bulwark now increases your chance to block melee attacks by 18%, down from 24%. Each point of Mastery increases block chance by an additional 2.25%, down from 3%.
It's hard for me to imagine Block being so good that they have to nerf it like this, but then again I haven't played anything at all in the Betas.
Shield of the Templar now reduces the cooldown of Guardian of Ancient Kings by 45/80/120 sec, down from 1/2/3 min.
This is a level 85 skill and as such I don't know exactly how it works. I know it does different things depending on your spec and for protadins it will work as a sort of shield wall. Nerfing it like this is interesting since I heard protadins were unhappy with their arsenal of cooldowns in endgame right now. Maybe they've just been spoiled - apparently Blizzard thinks so since they're nerfing one of their cooldowns like this.
Holy Shield now increases the amount your shield blocks by an additional 10% for 20 sec instead of increasing your block chance by 15%.
This doesn't have to be a nerf really. Like I've said before - blocking often is useless if you only block for measly amounts of damage. Increasing the amount of damage you block for might actually be alot more valuable, especially in endgame were we rather block alot of damage seldom than very little damage often - which was the case in Wrath and was one of the reasons Block didn't work very well. I think this change is a rather good one actually.
We're seeing the block changes here too.
Shield Block (Passive) now increases your chance to block by 25%, down from 100%. In addition, if your total chance to block or avoid an attack exceeds 100%, your chance to critically block is increased by the excess.
I don't know why it says "passive", does this mean Shield Block is a passive skill in Cataclysm? that would be an interesting change to the skill. If it's just a writers error however this is a -huge- nerf. When I wrote my lowbie tanking guide I noted that Shield Block on low levels basically works as an immortality bubble, as long as you're fighting mobs that aren't casters and are facing them. Blocking actually means reducing damage taken by 100% on low levels, because the mobs you fight are way weaker than later on, and it made lowbie warriors rather good tanks. Maybe that was a little too good, especially since the cooldown was only 40 seconds when properly talented. But this was far from the case in endgame, and I strongly doubt Blizzard would have changed this skill because it made warriors too good on low levels. I see where this is coming from if the skill really is made into a passive one though. That would be a whole lot of block chance Blizzard gives us, just like that. In that case, thank you!
Mastery: Critical Block now increases your chances to block by 12%, up from 10%. Increases your chance to critically block by 12%, down from 20%. Each point of mastery now increases your chance to block by an additional 1.5%, and your chance to critically block by an additional 1.5% (Down from 2.5%).
Just as they've tweaked the mastery for paladins, they've made some changes to the mastery of warriors. It's clear Blizzard aren't happy with how Block works in the Betas right now, and I am saying it again - it really amazes me to see such huge nerfs to something as block. Maybe stacking mastery simply made block too good.
All the changes can be found over att mmo-champ as always!