With the new alpha build in place for World of Warcraft: Legion, it seems a good time to check out some of the significant changes coming to every class with the arrival of the expansion in Summer 2016. While the Demonology Warlock, Outlaw Rogue and Survival Hunter are undergoing the most drastic changes, all other classes and specs have also been revamped in one way or another to fit what Blizzard calls the “core fantasy” for each.
Today we’re going to take a look at the Retribution Paladin, an iconic character that is going to be wielding what can doubtless be said to be the most well-known of two-handed swords, Ashbringer. Up to the point where players themselves are given Ashbringer, it has been safely in the hands of Tirion Fordring, a beloved and much-emulated Paladin of the Light. How players will end up with Ashbringer will remain unknown for now (though that information is definitely out there).
Retribution Paladins are ferocious warriors that utilize the powers of the Light to bring destructions on enemies via the use of 2-handed weapons. Up to Legion, Retri Paladins have been, surprisingly enough, fairly adept at the use of several strong ranged and healing abilities. In Legion, that will change to make them, as seems to fit the fantasy better, into close- and short-combat melee crusaders.
A new ability, Blade of Justice (along with several new talents) will impact gameplay significantly, bolstering the inherent Retribution themes. Separating them from the other types of Paladins, Retribution Paladins continue to use Holy Power, serving as a strong mechanic for building interesting gameplay.
Let’s take a look at the traits that will come to Retri Paladins via Ashbringer. Of course, not all of these traits will be active at any given time and will depend on how the player chooses to level the weapon and it needs to be pointed out that this is based on a very early alpha build of Legion and there will be significant changes over the coming months. In addition, the look of Ashbringer will change based on the unlocking of new talents on the weapon itself.
What is interesting to note about the traits is the sheer number that will exponentially increase the amount of damage that the Retri deals, something that is sure to be good news (or bad, depending!) for players.
But it’s in the overhauled Talents that it becomes apparent how differently current Retri Paladins will play once Legion arrives. For comparison’s sake, the existing talent tree as it is in Warlords of Draenor can be found below alongside the current alpha talent tree.
One fascinating thing in the new talents is the addition of at least two that are nearly identical to skills in the Diablo 3 Crusader book: Divine Hammer (Level 60) and Divine Steed (Level 90). It seems that the WoW team took a page right out with these two!
In the list below, only the new or realigned talents are included.
Level 15: 1 new, 1 realigned, 1 ability turns talent
Execution Sentence: Moved from Level 90
*Turalyon’s Might: Flings a blade of holy light dealing 40% of attack power Holy damage instantly and every 2 seconds to enemies within 8 yards. Lasts 8 seconds
Consecration: Moved from a core ability to a talent
Level 30: 3 new talents
*Fires of Justice: Increases damage done by Crusader Strike by 25%
*Crusader Flurry: An instant strike that causes 105% physical damage
*Zeal: An instant strike that causes 100% physical damage and increases attack speed by 20% and causes Zeal to chain to an additional nearby target per stack
Level 45: No new talents, 3 realigned
All three talents in this tier currently exist as level 30 healing talents and have been shifted here, essentially removing inherent healing abilities from Retribution Paladins
Fist of Justice, Repentance, Blinding Light
Level 60: Three new talents to increase damage
*Virtue’s Blade: Increases damage done by Blade of Justice by 25%
*Blade of Wrath: Strikes an enemy with the Blade of Wrath dealing 85% Holy damage and generating 1 Holy Power
*Divine Hammer: Divine Hammers spin around the Paladin damaging enemies within 8 yards for 40% Holy damage instantly and every 2 seconds for 8 seconds. Generates 1 Holy power
Level 75: Three new talents
*Judgments of the Bold: Increases the damage bonus effect of Judgment by 10%
*The Might of Virtue: Judgment ability generates 1 Holy power
*Mass Judgment: Judgment spell affects all enemies within 8 yards of the target and increases the duration by 100%
Level 90: Three new talents of a more defensive nature
*Blaze of Light: A quick & powerful heal, healing a friendly target for 575% of Spell power
*Divine Steed: Summons your Holy Charger to ride for 4 seconds increasing movement speed by 100%. Useable indoors or in combat
*Eye for an Eye: Instantly counterattack any enemy that strikes in melee for 12 seconds. Melee attacks made from behind cannot be counterattacked. Maximum 10 counterattacks
Level 100: 2 new talents, 1 remains as-is
Final Verdict: Currently exists in Level 100 talents
*Seal of Light: Draws on the Paladin’s Holy energy to increase attack speed by 35% and movement speed by 10%. Lasts 30 seconds.
*Holy Wrath: Fires holy bolts at the target causing 525% of Spell power in Holy damage and restoring 5% of the Paladin’s health over 2.25 seconds. Deals 50% additional damage to stunned targets
One of the clear messages that Blizzard is sending to Retribution Paladins is that they will truly fulfill their given spec name: Retribution. They will become less hybrid-based and more direct in damaging enemies in front of them. With fewer healing abilities and ranged skills, Retri Paladins will become an even bigger force to deal and will have to rely less on talents that added survivability, some say overpowered survivability, to stay in the game.