Sorry Paladins, but the Word of Glory nerf takes a backseat to upcoming Hunter changes. 4.1! Zul’Gurub revamp! Zul’Aman revamp! Woo!
So, what’s the big deal? Well, it’s not all that big, really — Pet Happiness is going away. Yes, that final vestigial remnant from Classic WoW is going the way of the Loyalty system, pet “training points,” learning new pet abilities/ability ranks, and pet leveling. Oh! And speaking of pet leveling, pets now match your level when tamed! They’re not 3 levels lower, not 25 levels lower, but right up there with you. FINALLY. Blizzard has realized that these mechanics only confounded or annoyed and did nothing to improve the gameplay experience for any Hunter, anywhere.
Pets will be dealing damage as if they were ‘Happy,’ as a baseline. 125% of their previous damage will be the norm, or 100%, now. The Happiness system is gone, and Feed Pet will give an immediate 50% health boost when used (only Out of Combat). The only thing that will affect your pet’s damage output will be time on target and it’s being alive — dead pets do no damage.
Okay, okay, but this is first and foremost a blog about my Paladin, so what’s happening Paladins? Well, to be honest, not that much. Word of Glory is getting a 20 second cooldown. This is huge news for some, as Retribution’s ability to heal teammates with WoG in competitive play was a major boon given to their teams, and Protection could do a lot of self-healing with it, so I won’t marginalize this change completely — it simply doesn’t have much impact on my playstyle. I PVE as Ret and dabble in PVP (BGs), so Arena play — where Word of Glory and things like Selfless Healer are all the rage — is off my radar.
What’s Blizzard’s rationalization here? They don’t want you to spam Word of Glory as Ret or Prot. They feel Ret was being valued for their off-healing more than their damage in certain gameplay scenarios, and Prot was doing less tanky-things and doing more self-healing than they should be. So, 20 second cooldown on Word of Glory — it’s cooling down, go do something else until it’s done.
I can’t say it’s an elegant solution — if Ret was “brought along” because they had powerful off-healing, will they still be viable in Arena matches? If they’re going to be sat because of this, that’s bad. Protection tanks will always have their place in PVE, but those who PVPed with the spec will also be punished by this nerf. I hope it doesn’t impact Ret and Prot’s Arena representation too much, or we’ll see a huge paradigm shift toward Holy.
I suppose that would be in keeping with some of the recent design philosophies being tossed about in Blizzard Q&A Sessions. Back to Hunterville for a moment: in the recent Q&A, a question came up regarding PVP balance. The answer?
We are pretty happy with PvP balance overall. We think this season may be the best overall in terms of balance. There are definitely some areas where we can improve. Remember that part of our goal with Cataclysm was to encourage more players to try Rated Battlegrounds as an alternative to Arenas. Some classes that struggle in Arena, like hunters and Balance druids, perform very well in Battlegrounds.
If your class or spec is struggling in Arena, go do something else.
That’s a pretty bold statement to make, really. Rated Battlegrounds differ from Arenas, and it may not be a competitive player’s cup of tea. To hang a sign on the Arena door that says “Hunters and Balance Druids, you may not do so great in here. Everyone else, come on in!” is not something I, as a paying customer and highly loyal fan, would like to see. I may not play Arenas, but that doesn’t mean I do not feel for my fellow Hunters when their representation there is low.
I am glad that they realize there are places where they can improve, but the second part of that answer seems like a cop-out. “We tried, but…” Really, there shouldn’t be a “but” or an “out” — you start doing that, and you can do it when other classes or specs aren’t up to par in PVE, or a profession isn’t giving as great a benefit as others. Imagine. “Well, we are always trying to improve Engineering, but you could also try Blacksmithing or Inscription and you might have a better time there.” “But… I really want to be an engineer…” <sad face>
4.1 isn’t out yet, so Blizzard still has time to make changes.