Paladins saw a series of changes in the most recent PTR build. The changes seem aimed at toning down Paladin damage, while also incentivizing a playstyle that revolves less around using Frappe du croisé
Paladins have been problematic from a balance perspective for a while now, due to Frappe du croisé
being a part of the core “healing” rotation This has meant that a paladin brings what is called “free” damage. Most other healers can do damage, but it comes at the expense of healing, compared to paladins (and Discipline Priests) who can do damage while doing their optimal healing rotation.
This problem is amplified in high-end raiding and Mythic+ by Venthyr paladin and Bénédiction cendrée
, where paladins are able to do competitive healing and bring more damage than other healers.
To summarize the damage changes, paladins saw a global 8% nerf to all damage abilities, while also receiving an additional 10% nerf to Jugement
, Marteau de courroux
, Bénédiction cendrée
, and Discernement sacré
. This means that those spells saw an 18% total damage nerf.
All in all, this works out to roughly a 14% damage nerf to paladins which seems like a lot. However, paladins were so far ahead in damage, the nerf doesn’t really change anything. Venthyr Paladins were able to do around 1.5k to 2k+ DPS while still doing a large amount of healing. Even Kyrian Paladins were able to do around 1k to 1.2k+ DPS passively. To contrast this with the 0 to 500 DPS of other healers, it simply means paladins are probably more in line with disc priest (once you account for Infusion de puissance
) but doesn’t solve the overall power problem.
The above is assuming you still play as you did before these nerfs as Blizzard is trying to incentivize us to use less Frappe du croisé
s. This was done via an increase in mana cost to Frappe du croisé
, and a nerf to Puissance du croisé
while simultaneously buffing Imprégnation de lumière
. This is aimed to get us to actually use those Imprégnation de lumière
procs. By doing this, we are also spending less time casting Jugement
, Marteau de courroux
, and Frappe du croisé
s which lowers our passive DPS as those spells could be lower on the priority.Éclair lumineux
saw a 20% increase in healing, making it a very mana efficient heal, particularly when used with Imprégnation de lumière
. This seems aimed to help counteract the mana cost increase to Frappe du croisé
and once again get us using less Frappe du croisé
s. It feels like they want to encourage a playstyle where you are using Lumière sacrée
’s for big healing, and Éclair lumineux
’s to conserve mana, which is great. This could become a more dominant play style going forward, particularly if new powers (mostly second legendaries) open up. Especially when you consider that Imprégnation de lumière
now has Lumière sacrée
casts grant you an additional Holy Power, whereas previously it increased the healing of that spell by 30%. The viability of this playstyle is dependent on a few things. First Inflorescence du Puits de soleil
as a legendary, is currently broken. Previously it would increase the healing of Imprégnation de lumière
empowered Lumière sacrée
s by an additional 30%. Now since that effect grants Holy Power, it gives you 31 holy power, which of course you can only hold 5 of meaning this legendary clearly isn’t working correctly and I would expect it to be fixed soon =). Depending on what happens with this legendary, it could be a good option and further incentivize paladins into that “caster” playstyle. This playstyle may also become slightly more popular, as we are getting additional conduit slots, and let's face it Holy Paladin conduits are awful. But Lumière resplendissante
would be useful if you played around Lumière sacrée
However, it all depends on the new raid. Balance and Encounter Design go hand-in-hand. It is entirely possible that fights in 9.1 end up being really short, meaning the mana nerf to Frappe du croisé
isn’t significant. It's possible that the healing profile of bombing Lumière sacrée
s isn’t useful. It's possible we all play Venthyr and just drop Bénédiction cendrée
due to the new legendary. Maybe damage from healers is or isn’t required? All of these are factors, and we just don’t have answers to those questions. We probably won’t know for sure until the final build, or until we get in and sink our teeth into the new raid.
One thing is clear though, paladin needed to change. Being able to do large amounts of healing, bring excellent utility and free passive damage was unhealthy. Its possible the new Venthyr legendary creates just as toxic an environment, but we will discuss that more in an upcoming post covering the legendaries specifically, now that they are testable. Shifting paladins to a more caster-oriented class, or at least presenting that as an option is better overall for the game. The tuning could be off right now, there are still changes to be had and only time will tell. Paladin certainly isn’t dead, you can play the exact same way as you did before but just bring less damage, and go OOM a bit quicker. If you didn’t like being in melee all the time and wanted to cast spells, that playstyle got a lot more attractive in this build.