Wednesday, July 7, 2010

31 is the new 51

There's no reason to still be upset about RealID publishing your real name and your WoW habit to the world, on the forums and via addons. Look, here, it's shiny new Cataclysm information!! Just forget about what happened yesterday...

(I told Blizzard a minor played on my account, problem solved).

I'm actually a bit excited about this 31-point tree business. Not so sure if I like having to commit at level 10 (that's great for my alts, but when I was new to this game I had no idea what I was doing.), but the idea of talents being more buttons to push and changes to how our buttons work is so much better than "for the next five levels, enjoy your +1% bonus to something". This sounds refreshing and great and awesome (and all of that).

We still haven't seen paladin previews. Against my better judgment, I am hopeful that the information delay is because Blizzard is hard at work on holy paladins, purifying our talent trees and creating new fun ways for paladins to heal.

Even without the blinders of optimism on, I still see the talent point reduction as a positive thing for holy paladins, in fact, we're already in pretty good shape assuming they cut the right things. We only have a handful of "talents" worth taking, especially once the +healing, +crit, and +intellect are purged. I didn't mind these talents, but we've been warned for a while now that they are going to disappear.

The bread-and-butter talents from our current tree...


Holy Shock. In a world where spell selection is key, we might find a use for this spell. If anything, see "stuff to do while not healing" below under JotP.

Infusion of Light.

Divine Illumination. I'm a huge fan of extra buttons to push, especially mana-saving ones.

Judgements of the Pure and Enlightened Judgements. I think it's important that holy paladins have a compelling reason to judge, and need the extra range to judge while not in melee. If Blizzard is encouraging healers to do stuff other than heal, this is the place to start (that, and an instant cast exorcism-come on!)

Aura Mastery
. Unique to paladins and full of flavor! My biggest complaint about this ability is how situational it is: overpowered when the damage/ability matches my aura, and useless when when it doesn't.

Beacon of Light. I'm sure we aren't getting its current incarnation, but this is still a neat talent.

Light's Grace. This talent is awesome.

Divine Favor. It's mandatory, I don't use it as often as I should, but since its off the global cooldown there's really no reason not to have it macro'd to something.

I count 10 different talents for a total of 24 talent points spent on meaningful things. The rest is "boring" by Cataclysm design goals, or PvP talents (I pvp on my priest, not my paladin, so my experience with paladins is "he bubbled dispel it now dispel it now"). I'm not opposed to this change. Holy wouldn't look half so bad with only 31 talents.

Misplaced Meditation

I almost didn't notice that the initial priest and druid cataclysm talent previews were lacking Meditation and Intensity, while blue posts indicated that shamans and paladins would be getting similar abilities. It left me confused, but with the revelation that the talent trees are going to be far smaller, I wonder if this is three points we won't have to spend. I didn't like the idea of all four healers just having the same mana-savings mechanic, especially since it seems that every caster (dps and healer alike) has talents to help manage the blue bar. Instead of straining our mana via global mechanics then allowing everyone to spend talents to increase it, it makes more sense just to balance mana pre-talents and have our talents do other, more active, things. Is it too late to pray for an in-combat, out-of-combat mana system?

And what about this whole "paladins will want spirit" thing... Oh Blizzard! So much new information, but so much information you have yet to give us!!

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