I am told that many or all beta posters are unable to post in the LK beta forums for some reason. I'm not trying to duck you or prevent responses, so I'll cross-post my beta post here. The same rules below exist for replying to the thread.
- 2008/10/26 07:19:59 PM
Sorry we didn't get a chance to pre-announce these changes before the data were pushed to the beta. I won't try to sugarcoat it -- these are nerfs.
As I tried to explain before, we concluded a couple of weeks ago that Retribution was doing too much damage in PvP. We tried to nerf the burst damage through the previous changes to Divine Storm etc. Unfortunately, those changes didn't prove sufficient. Not only were paladins still destroying other classes in PvP, but we also found their PvE damage, even at level 80, was too high. Many classes were concluding they were too weak based on comparing their numbers to paladin numbers (and to be fair, hunters and in some cases mages and warriors).
Here are the new changes:
1) Judgements of the Wise: Mana gained reduced from 33% to 15% of base mana. We spent many hours arriving at this number. For example, we did a lot of Patchwerk fights, watching the mana bar to see when and if it ever went down. In BGs, we were seeing paladins able to go from target to target without pausing even when unleashing all of their attacks. While we don't want you to go OOM in a few seconds, we don't want you to ignore the mana bar either. Mana is not rage -- warriors can't typically start a battle with a full bar.
2) Judgement of Wisdom: mana gained reduced to 1% of maximum mana and proc frequency cut by 50%. This ability was flat out better than Vampiric Touch when the mana provided between the two really needs to be close in order for the decision between Shadow priest and Retribution paladin to be a real one.
3) Judgement and Seals: Damage reduced by 20%. This is the major damage adjustment -- a lot of damage was coming from these. We do realize this hurts Holy and Protection as well, and that is something for which we are prepared to offer compensation (particularly if it hurts Protection's threat generation).
4) Hammer of Wrath: Now can’t be used until the target is below 20% health. Our rule of thumb is that core "Execute-style" abilities work at 20% and talented abilities work at 35% health. We originally had Hammer at 35% based on some other limitations of the spell.
5) Art of War: Increased damage bonus to Judgements, Crusader Strike, and Divine Storm. I'll report back on the exact numbers here when we've settled on them.
I also want to add that the token Blessing of Might change wasn't intended as a joke -- it is designed so that Battle Shouts won't cancel the longer and more expensive Blessing of Might in a group setting.
These seem like pretty severe nerfs, but that was the intention. It is difficult for some players to ever be truly objective with issues surrounding their class, but in this case we felt Ret was severely overpowered. This was not in the realm of small tweaks to fix (though we did try originally). We overhauled the paladin class for Lich King, so it is unfortunate but not too surprising that the numbers for the dps spec require a lot of iteration. The mistake is ours, not the fault of the player base or beta testers.
Nerfing a spec or class is never fun. It means that our initial estimates of numbers were off and we know that the community is going to react negatively (to put it mildly). But we have to try and keep the game in a relatively balanced state and that is going to mean making decisions that are unpopular sometimes. If you need to blame someone for the nerfs, blame me.
As always, if we over-compensated, we'll adjust the numbers again. But as I said, our initial round of nerfs wasn't sufficient. Lest you fear that Lich King is upon as and you won't see any additional changes, that is not our point of view. We changed a lot in the game and we need to be able to rectify problems. I would expect early patches or even hotfixes to deal with class or balance problems, and hopefully these will slow down as we get closer to major content releases. But nothing is off the table after we ship, down to rearchitecting talent trees if we think that is called for. This isn't to suggest we aren't happy with the state of the game. Rather, my word that we will continue to iterate on problem areas as they come up.
I also want to stress that we do not make balance decisions based on the QQ of other classes. At most, if there is a pretty vocal outcry that will encourage us to rerun the numbers to see if something is amiss. As vocal, and sometimes passionate and even logical as forum posts can be, they represent a fraction of the entire fanbase and it would be foolish for us to clobber one group of players solely based on the whining from another group.
Go ahead and vent if you have to. We won't delete posts or ban posters in this thread unless they are overly offensive. We do ask that you not launch a thousand other threads so that other paladin issues can still be discussed. Likewise, we have no problem with other classes engaging in the discussion but outright gloating or trolling will be frowned upon.
And I do apologize for putting you through this.