Cataclysm PTR

(Updated 9/15/10) Cataclysm PTR and Khor is in!  Of course, anyone can be in the Cataclysm PTR if they want to!  This gives me an excellent chance to try out some of the new Ret Paladin talents and abilities, as well as experience some of the changes come Cataclysm launch.

Cataclysm PTR 4.0.1 is the current version, and the content is only what we would get if we DID NOT buy the expansion, but continued to play on live servers.  So, the current PTR is what players will experience until they actually purchase and install the Cataclysm expansion.

There is no new content in terms of the destruction Cataclysm caused, and there is no leveling, etc.  But the new talent trees, abilities, and glyph changes, etc. are live on the PTR, so there is plenty to experience.

Retribution Paladins in Cataclysm PTR

There are many changes for Ret Paladins currently, so many that I found myself a bit lost.  Since I use the default WoW user interface normally, there wasn’t a huge transition for me in terms of combat.  Players who do not use it, however, may experience a more difficult transition.

FCFS priorities are indeed all but gone.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  In a way, Crusader Strike and Templar’s Verdict will always take priority, but we’ll get to that later.  Every other attack seems to be a gap filler, and my burst DPS feels slightly under par.

Self-healing has also been slightly gimped, and I see our solo adventuring becoming a bit more of a challenge.

Did you like Divine Storm and Consecrate in your single target DPS rotation?  Hope you weren’t too attached, because these just got demoted to full time AoE attacks.

From my experience thus far, let’s break it down into smaller categories.

Attacks and DPS Rotations

Like I said above, FCFS is all but gone.   Divine Storm and Consecrate either don’t cause enough damage, or are huge mana sinks.  They are gone from our main rotation.  Holy Wrath also falls into this category.

Crusader Strike

Crusader Strike is our main attack now, and it packs a pretty decent punch. Haste does affect its cooldown, and it is available often enough that there is very little downtime between any of our attacks.

Judgement

Biggest surprise for me is that Judgement is nowhere near as powerful as it is in WotLK.   I only used it when Crusader Strike was on cooldown, and Holy Power wasn’t at 3 stacks for Templar’s Verdict.

Exorcism

Exorcism also seems to be less potent, causing far less damage than I am used to seeing.  I ran around soloing undead mobs in Icecrown, with my max Exorcism critting at 3774.  Art of War in it’s current state wasn’t giving me the instant Exorcism proc as often as it does on live, so waiting for that as one of my main attacks was a little frustrating at first.  What I do love is the UI addition that notifies you when Art of War is procced.

Templar’s Verdict

Templar’s Verdict hits like a truck.  And when Zealotry is active, you can pretty much expect a rotation of CS > TV > CS > TV etc.  With only Blessing of Might buffed, Templar’s Verdict was critting for 11,000+ damage.

Self-Healing and Survivabilty

One of the best characteristics about a Paladin is the ability to solo content with strong self-healing combat mechanisms.  This changes drastically in Cataclysm.  Based on what I have seen, the loss of Judgement of Light, Divine Storm, and Flash of Light from Art of War procs, cripples our once titanic self-healing ability.

When attacking single targets, Templar’s Verdict is your clear choice DPS-wise when Holy Power reaches 3 charges.  You can take Divine Storm instead, but for 75% less damage.  That’s IF you decide to use a DPS attack with your Holy Power.

Healing has changed so dramatically for us, and among those changes, is the fact that Art of War no longer procs Flash of Light as an instant heal.  It doesn’t trigger Flash of Light at all any more.  So in the middle of combat, when you feel you need to insta-self heal, think again.

Instead, you now have Word of Glory, which is an instant heal, that costs no mana, but heals in 3 ranks based on stacks of Holy Power.  At level 80, my normal self-heals were in the 5-6k range.  Crits were around 7700.  This seems awesome, but you have to take into account you pass up both Divine Storm and Templar’s Verdict to do this.  While this is a great PvP tool, I see our solo fights taking a bit more time since we will be forced to Word of Glory instead of taking our DPS attacks.

Mana Usage

(Updated 9/15/10)

After spending 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and 10 minutes on dummies in Stormwind, I never ran out of mana using CS > Judge > Ex > TV.  In fact, my bar never left full mana status.  Seriously.  However, throw Consecrate into the mix, and I did use a bit more.  Nothing to cause me to run out of mana, but it seems adding Consecrate won’t hurt as badly as I initially thought.  This, of course, is at level 80, which could be very different from 85.

Now, adding a Flash of Light to the mix is a completely different story.  If I want to forego Word of Glory for Templar’s Verdict, then that leaves me with the re-designed and very powerful Flash of Light.  Flash of Light now packs a huge punch, but at a huge mana cost.  In tackling some level 82 elite mobs, I tested out using Flash of Light, and did have some mana issues there.  In longer fights, one or two FoL may be okay, but extensive usage like we are sometimes used to, especially in soloing more difficult content, may not be viable.

More to Come

I will be adding more as I delve deeper into the PTR.  Still waiting on my Beta invite Blizz!

Here are some addition pics of my first romp in the PTR:

Comments

  1. Trioxis says:

    The way you put it, it seems like paladin DPS is going to get nerfed big time? I’m all for more interesting mechanics, but with DS and Cons now being pretty much useless will we be seeing a more difficult rotation or is it going from FCFS > Priority?

    I’m still not sure about the changes coming in cata (in general), it seems like Blizz is going to make us work instead of facerolling.

  2. Badpaladin says:

    @ Trioxis

    They’re not even finished with mechanics, so they’re completely ignoring numbers right now. For PvE, numbers are simple as hell to mess with — just adjust a few percentages on coefficients and bump up base damage of some ability and you’re golden — takes all of maybe two hours to get it “right”.

  3. Khor says:

    Correct, the DPS numbers are nowhere near final, and our attacks and abilities will continue to get finely tuned over time.

    That said, toying with the numbers now doesn’t hurt, because it can give a general idea of where we are headed. For instance, self-heals are pretty much gone in raiding unless you swap Word of Glory for Templar’s Verdict.

    Also, it’s pretty clear Crusader Strike and Templar’s Verdict will be the meat of our attacks and DPS. Judgement and Exorcism will find their places, and from the looks of it, they have room to move upwards.

    Also, these abilities at 80 is very different than what they will be at 85. And let’s not forget we don’t have mastery skill yet either.

    Regardless, if you make your way to the PTR, you can still get a good handle on the basic changes that have been made.

  4. Cloudruler says:

    keep in mind this patch will release before cata as well. Just as 3.0 did before WotLK. So even if u don’t jump on the ptr now you will have more time to see the new stuff before release. There are alot of bugs still.

  5. Nate says:

    Ret got raped with the nerf-bat. But… this is PTR it’ll prolly get buffed by Wednesday.

    Zealotry should be free.

    Templar Verdict should do a hell a lot more damage, perhaps less while Zealotry is active.

    All Judgment’s need to do more base damage.

    AoW needs to trigger more often and the alert needs to go away. I much rather have the alert to let me know when I have 3 Holy Power active ready.

  6. Handera says:

    What’s the word on self cleansing? I’m on the ptr, but didn’t try it yet. thought I read somewhere that non-holys wouldn’t be able to do it anymore.

    Oh, and I agree with Nate that we need an alert to let us know when Holy Power is fully stacked.

  7. Keeles says:

    Why no mention of holy shock? I thought it became one of our core pally abilities. It could possibly become sort of our replacement for the instant heals we direly need with the loss of the instant flash of light that comes with our AoW proc.

  8. Xav says:

    Graphically, do you see an improvement? If you see it how is performance? (Worse, better, etc.)

  9. Sànctus says:

    The game performance is much better, things seem clearer in the PTR, but there are a lot of butt hurt players (Primarily Melee DPS) (Specifically Ret Pallys (5-8k DPS with Shadowmourne), Fury Warriors(4-5k DPS with SM / BIS OH from LKH), Kitty Druids (4-7k DPS), Enh shaman (2-4k DPS), Arms Warriors (5-7k DPS), Non- BM Hunters (2-4k DPS). On the other hand; All casters (Mages(Except Arcane), Warlocks (Except Aff), Moonkins, BM Hunters, Ele shamans) are pulling well over 12 – 15k DPS with improper rotations…

    I hope they fix this build soon.

  10. Khor says:

    @ Keeles – Holy Shock is part of the talents you get when you elect to go into the Holy Tree. Sadly we can’t have it 🙁

    @ Handera – We still have our cleanse, but it only removes poisons and diseases.

    @ Xav – The improved graphics are a part fo the Cata xpac, so we won’t see it in the PTR.

  11. Theld says:

    @Nate
    You can turn off the new spell alerts in the options menu. But I agree with having one that shows when you ge 3 Holy Power.

  12. Slimjim says:

    Khor,

    certain things that I noticed about your spec that will help with your damage.

    Seals of the pure is 15% more to just seal proc damgage, but that’s for only one ability that is doing a lot less damage. Seals have been nerfed so hard that this damage increase is almost useless, while 12% crit to Templar’s Verdict and Judgement would seem more… effective. Also haste from talents and gear affect Crusader strike not the outside mechanics, so using 3 points in Judgments of the pure for 9% haste instead of 6% haste will be another 3% faster cd on Crusader strike.

    I also found out that you would need 1340 haste rating to hit the necessary amount of haste to drop CS to 3 seconds. This is doable just means you need haste in just about every piece of gear (which is easier to do since arp = haste now). If i converted all my gems to str+haste and got the haste trinket from frost emblems i would be able to obtain enough haste. My attack power might drop like a rock but if you look at what is affected by haste its almost the same as str.

    Haste
    – melee white hits which in turn affects seals, AoW – more exorcism, Hand of Light – more Templars Verdict.

    – shorter Crusader Strike cd, meaning you can get more Holy power more often

    – You will not have free ‘time’ with nothing to do

    – Seals of the pure’s (dot) which does considerable damage since it now crits, and scales with haste.

  13. Slimjim says:

    Oh I forgot to mention,

    We arent going to see many changes to these talents and their damage.

    why you might ask? Because GC even said that they arent balancing damage around level 80 but level 85. So the mechanics that you see here are not likely to change because we will get inquisition later and our damage goes up… but not like some of the other classes that are currently doing 2x more damage than us.

  14. Khor says:

    Hey Slim, thanks for the tips! I have been hoping that we will see a shift in numbers at 85 compared to 80. I know that some of the newer changes are geared more towards that level anyways.

    Definitely a ton of new changes, and I’m anxious to see how the stat priorities evolve.

    The one thing I am still researching is the 2HP vs 3HP Templar’s Verdict arguement, and which will yield more DPS. The topic is evolving on EJ and other forums, so we’ll see if it has any merit.

  15. Rob says:

    I did test out the 2 stack TV vs 3 stack TV, and I seemed to be doing incrementally more dps with 2 stack. I think this is for a number of reasons. First, more yellow damage more often. We have procs like crazy that generate holy power for us, but I’ve noticed that fishing for that third proc can take a disproportionate amount of time when compared to that second proc or the second CS. I believe the current optimal priority as discussed on Elitist Jerks is TV>CS>Judge>Exo>HW, and each one of those moves (aside from CS itself) has a 40% chance to generate 1 holy power.

    Assuming you’ll be using each move by itself, Judge will statistically generate 2.8 HP per minute. Exo, assuming a 3 second swing timer on auto attacks, will be procced by AoW roughly 4 times per minute, with a holy power proc rate of 1.4 per minute. HW (Holy Wrath) can be cast 4 times per minute, with a proc rate of 1.4 HP per minute. Assuming no haste, CS can be cast roughly 13 times per minute, guaranteeing 13 HP per minute. Assuming no timer conflicts, you will gain (2.8+1.4+1.4+13)= 18.6 HP per Minute. That would leave either 6.2 TV casts per minute with 3 HP stacks, or 9.3 with 2 stacks.

    My paladin’s full stack TVs were hitting for roughly 5.6k normal, 11k crit (Meaning my weapon damage is measured at roughly (5600/2.25) = 2489), with a 31% chance to crit and the additional 12% to crit from talents, for 44% chance to crit with TV. Statistically speaking, and assuming non-discrete numbers, with three stacks of HP my TV should crit 2.728 times per minute, normal hit 3.472 times, and do roughly 49,451.2 damage per minute.

    With 2 stacks of HP, TV should crit 4.092 times, and hit 5.208 times. Given the multiplier 110% for two stacks of HP a piece, and assuming the crits are around double damage, this would equate to roughly 36665.9568 damage per minute.

    Given all the above assumptions, 3 stack TV is still more dps than 2 stacks. However, these results are far removed from practical-use data. I was testing out 2 stacks vs 3 stacks on the dummies in Orgrimmar, and I saw a very minimal dps increase when I used 2 stack TV. This brings me to my second point, which has significantly less mathematical analysis. I seem to waste holy power due to being unable to divide my attention to the three or four places on the screen that could indicate my procs. Using TV at 2 holy power stacks not only allows me to luckily discover my Hand of Light has procced (which hits as if I had 3 stacks and leaves my HP up), but also gives me a 1 holy power barrier from wasting a divine purpose proc. I don’t know what other people’s experiences amount to with regard to this debate, but I think, in terms of real world application, 2 stacks may be marginally better than 3 stacks.

  16. Rob says:

    Oh, and apparently Holy Power has a .3 second lag on the PTR before showing up. This could also cause retadins to waste holy power waiting for 3 stacks. (sorry for double post)

  17. Khor says:

    Rob, awesome info! Thanks for posting! My results testing the 2HP vs 3HP have been mixed. The RNG is like a rogue missile at times. That said, wouldn’t it be funny if it was actually more DPS to go the 2HP route? Kinda defeats the whole purpose imo. I’m sure this will be changed in some fashion, this discussion is far from over 🙂

  18. Typhron says:

    I remember pulling up the 2 HP thing a couple days before that commenter with a couple other rets on the PTR. Can’t believe it spread like that.

    Procs (from weapons, like Brynntroll and Shadowmourne) tend to make the numbers a bit fuzzier than usual. And there’s no telling what’ll happen when Inquisition is thrown into the mix.

    Going back to sulking now.

  19. David says:

    Is there a macro that can be used that will only use TV at 3 HP? Doesn’t seem like the coding would be too difficult, but I am far from an expert in this field.

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