Thanks to some updated beta patch notes, the changes to the Seal and Judgement system for Paladins is becoming fairly clear.
Here are some highlights:
- Seals last 2 minutes, and they aren’t used up when you Judge
- “Judgement” has been replaced with three different types of judgement – Light, Wisdom, and Justice
- All Seals deal damage when Judged (even Wisdom!)
- Light and Wisdom scale with AP and Spell Power
Pretty much all of these are great things for Paladins. They’re better for Prot and Ret Pallies, but Holy Paladins can reap some benefits, especially if they take Enlightened Judgements at the end of the Holy Tree.
2 Minute Duration, No Longer Used Up
As a Protection Paladin, I’m thankful for one reason: mana efficiency.
As it stands, Seals are consumed when you Judge. You Judge every 8-10 seconds, depending on global cooldowns. That means that you need to re-cast your Seal roughly every 10 seconds – using up a couple hundred mana every time.
In Lich King, the cost of Seals seems to be going up a tad (14% of Base Mana, or ~413 mana at level 70), but it’s more than offset by the duration. Essentially you’re spending ~400 mana every 2 minutes, instead of 260 mana every 10 seconds. Tough choice.
The only problem, as Rohan of Blessing of Kings notes, is that you need to remember to re-cast your Seal every 2 minutes. Doh.
Three Different Judgements
One of my main frustrations with the current Seal system is that I have to sacrifice threat in order to place Judgement of Wisdom on a mob. In Heroics and some raids, I don’t take enough damage to be self-sufficient – so throwing Judgement of Wisdom on a boss helps out. It also helps the healers/ranged regenerate some mana.
However, in using a Judgement cooldown to Judge Wisdom I’m skipping the opportunity to Judge Righteous – and giving up 1000+ threat.
In the new system, the Judgement has been separated for the most part from the seal. The debuff put on a mob depends on which Judgement you cast, and the damage caused depends on the Seal you have active.
This means that I can judge Wisdom on a boss right away without sacrificing any threat. I’ll get the best of both worlds – a helpful debuff and burst threat.
All Seals Cause Damage When Judged
This is less helpful as a tank, but certainly helpful as a Protection Paladin out farming. In order to maintain sufficient mana to AoE farm, a Prot Pally usually uses Seal/Judgement of Wisdom. The damage comes from Consecration, Holy Shield, and Ret Aura.
Now, you can Judge with Seal of Light or Seal of Wisdom active and do damage. It is somewhat lower than the amount of damage dealt while using Seal of Righteousness, but it’s certainly better than nothing.
Combined with the duration of Seals and Hammer of the Righteous, this should help quite a bit with Protection farming.
Wisdom and Light Scale
This change really piqued my interest. The effect of Light and Wisdom (both as a Seal and as a Judgement) will scale with the Paladin’s attack power and spell power.
For example, let’s look at Judgement of Wisdom. A proc will grant 9% of the Paladin’s spell power and 9% of the Paladin’s attack power.
I’d love to estimate the impact of that using some current gear, but it looks like that won’t mean very much. Prot Paladins are undergoing a radical change to itemization, favoring Strength over Spellpower (more on that later). Holy Paladins will see a big reduction in their + Healing, as it’s brought in line with the new Spell Power stat.
Retribution is the only branch that’s likely to stay similar. A T5/T6 Retribution Paladin could have ~2000 Attack Power. That’d translate to ~180 Mana returned with every Judgement of Wisdom proc.
Unfortunately, they’ve also added a 4 second hidden cooldown on procs. Bleh.
Taken as a whole, these changes will increase the usage of Judgements.
Currently, most situations dictate that you avoid them. A Prot Pally isn’t going to judge anything on trash. On a boss, a Prot Pally may want to use Crusader for extra threat, and a Ret Pally will definitely use Crusader. Opting for Wisdom or Light means giving up threat, both in the loss of Crusader and in the choice of Judging Wisdom/Light over Righteousness.
Now, with Crusader eliminated and damage added to Judgement of Light/Wisdom, it’ll be rare to find a mob that isn’t Judged with a debuff. Justice will probably become much more popular for those silly mobs that run away, and I’d predict that Wisdom gets used the rest of the time.
As an added bonus, bringing along two Paladins (a Tankadin and a Retadin) means you’ll get most of the Judgements. You can easily keep Wisdom and Light up, without relying on making the silly Holy Pallies Judge anything.
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