Hotfixed! And Retribution Feedback

Hotfixes abound. We are now one week post-launch, and the bug fixes are coming in at a startling rate. I almost want to give Blizzard a little flak for as many bugs as there are… but on the other hand, I have to applaud their effort to get them fixed, and fixed quickly.

In Paladin news…

“Tower of Radiance no longer grants Holy Power from Holy Lights cast on a target buffed with Beacon of Light. It continues to work as the tooltip describes for Flash of Light and Divine Light. Please note the tooltip may not be updated to reflect this change until a client-side patch is applied.”

December 14th 2010 Hotfix

Apparently, Holy Paladins were absolutely destroying dungeon encounters by being able to heal indiscriminately and keep a high mana pool. Blizzard was quick to jump on that. I personally do not plan to go Holy at any point, but it is interesting to see how creative players can identify and then effectively exploit a goof or oversight in game mechanics.

On the Retribution front… the official forums are on fire with feedback from new and old paladins alike. Many players do not like the changes made to the Retribution spec, in whole or in part. A particular gripe is that the gameplay is too “random” and relies heavily on a Random Number Generator (RNG) — basically, any time you have a talent that says “X% to do effect Y,” that’s RNG.

And it is true — Retribution has a lot of this style of play. Art of War has a percentage chance to “proc” (go into effect) on your regular attacks (autoattacks). Divine Purpose awards Holy Power at a 20/40% chance when certain abilities are used. Our Mastery, Hand of Light, is a percentage to award 3 Holy Power (above and beyond your existing Holy Power) on your regular attacks — 8% at base, then increasing in 1% increments as your Mastery goes up.

This all can lead to periods of feast or famine, where you are without an Art of War proc and waiting for abilities to come off cooldown before you can do anything, or you are overloaded with tons of Holy Power and/or the Hand of Light buff. Many players liken this style of playing to “casino” gameplay, where you’re hoping to hit it big but you may lose out.

Other complaints focus around a “ramp up” time before we can do acceptable amounts of damage, thanks to Seal of Truth and how it stacks Censure on an enemy. Many players feel the Zealotry talent is poorly thought out, seeing as it awards 3 Holy Power when we can already be overloaded with it thanks to Divine Purpose or Hand of Light. Others still say that their DPS in Level 85 Heroic Dungeons is too low, and Templar’s Verdict simply isn’t doing enough damage, or that the Inquisition ability/buff is not very fun.

I agree on many points. Templar’s Verdict does feel like it isn’t hitting hard enough. Divine Storm also feels underpowered as a talented AOE ability. I like Art of War’s randomness, but the other randomness is a little off-putting — and Hand of Light is just too much. Zealotry is uninteresting — yes, it is effective, but less so in times when Holy Power is already coming in quickly. Zealotry, our 31 point Retribution talent, should be a far more exciting button to push, and not “you can use Templar’s Verdict more! yay!” Inquisition, similarly, is dull — you spend 3 Holy Power for a 30% Holy Damage buff, for 30 seconds. Yawn. It is helpful when we get our Art of War procs, since Exorcism is Holy Damage, but otherwise? I repeat my yawn. It’s a talent we have to keep running whether we like it or not, for the damage boost it does provide, like Slice and Dice for Rogues.

I hope some of the randomness to the gameplay can be smoothed out.

There are many other complaints, some stemming from poor PVP performance. I can’t comment there. I will say that Retribution is fun to play, but the gameplay has hills and valleys. Many other Cataclysm classes have very reliable damage throughput — they hit a button and it does X, every time, all the time, whereas with Retribution our buttons rely more on a spin of a roulette wheel. Some of our “big damage” is also split across multiple cooldown abilities like Zealotry, Avenging Wrath (which allows Hammer of Wrath during its duration), Inquisition, and Guardian of the Ancient Kings (which has its own craziness going on), and there is pressure to save these up and “stack them.” The problem there is, we’re hitting 4 or so buttons to stack them up, wasting time and global cooldowns to do so.

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