3.2 is just around the corner (I'm betting on the 4th of Aug) and soon it will be time to say goodbye to my T8 goodness and start building on my T9...whatever it is. I can't say that I'm all that excited about it, but maybe something in the writings will cheer me up.
While we all know that from a min/max standpoint, hard core raiders will dress like clowns with propeller head hats if it means eeking out that next percentage of DPS/Healing/whatever. I remember seeing a comic around the time WotLK was being announced showing a warlock in full T6, and then in clown costume(esque)outfit 10 min after landing in Northrend. We all remember what BC was like. Trading in our hard earned T2 gear for a green quest reward.
My point here is, we want to look good, but we want to be the best we can. If we can't do both, looks gets sacrificed every time. Just look at how many feral Tauren kitties stuck it out (FUGLY is too nice a word for that cat form).
WoW.com recently did a great comparison of the Paladin gear looks on Horde vs. Alliance. I believe they gave the overall victory to the Alliance, but personally, I'm not in agreement. I think the Horde Pally set looks amazing, and is the perfect BEfl gear. It has one major problem though.
The gear doesn't match.
Horde legs are like bloody capris - and with the color difference - how will they make the offset pieces match up? It's bad enough when you're mixing different levels of tier gear (Red chest, white legs ftl), but now we're just going to look all kinds of silly.
Then again, we are paladins. We've been looking silly since day one. Loves me some banana shoulders. I am going to miss the kilt/skirt though. Even tanking in it, I look pretty BA. I can see where the retadins might not like it though.
Now to the meat of it.
Tanking Set Bonuses
2pc - 2 sec off hand of reckoning and 5% more damage with Hammer of Righteousness.
4pc - 30 sec reduced CD on Divine Protection and forbearance.
Faster taunts never hurt, especially when dealing with AoE packs you might not have fully under control. In the new arena style instance, I think this might come into play quite a bit. 30sec off our 50% damage reduction is just pure win. It helps bring us in line with those darned OP DKs.
Healing Set Bonuses
2pc - Increases the duration of your judgement by 10 sec.
4pc - Increases the critical strike chance of your Holy Light by 5%.
I'm mixed on this. 10 sec on the judgment is huge, especially in 10 mans where you probably don't have another paladin putting up your judgement. It also gives you more flexibility in your timing. 5% increased crit on HL is nice, but our crit is so hight anyway, this is kind of a wash.
Or is it....
Blizzard has done, at least in my opinion, an amazing job at predicting the style of healing and healing direction of Paladins. Even if it doesn't look like it on the outside (or is an accident). Let's look at our progression so far.
T7 bonuses were a 10% increased crit on Holy Shock and 5% mana reduction for Holy Light. Coupled with the Seal of Wisdom glyph, and a fairly cheap libram, this made our Holy Lights a non-stop cast. Genius. Many paladins, myself included, kept using the 4pc T7 over T8 for this reason alone. It was the perfect setup to carry us into Ulduar and the hardmodes.
T8 changed gears a little, giving us a HOT from our Holy Shock crits. While it didn't scale for beans, if you went with both 2pc bonuses you got an extremely effective 1/2 punch - with a HOT thrown in for good measure. We've all had those pucker moments where the tank suddenly takes a ton of damage we have to get out from under (Fusion punch anyone?), and having a good chance of two instant cast crits is a great "OH NOVOS" tool. The odds are good that if your target took that much damage, SS would be up, and you'd now have an instant HS with high crit, followed by what was probably an instant FoL, and you now have a small HoT ticking while you crank up your HL. Not a bad combo.
As our gear improved, more and more paladins began shifting to the 51/20/0 build, sacrificing what was already a very high crit chance for more healing and stronger shields - especially once they had the 4pc T8 bonus. This build, plus the Glyph of Seal of Light, gives some great quick healing (and relatively cheap) for fights like Vezack where mana is a big issue. It also works well on Hodir 3min kills where your healing is stretched pretty thin.
Now while this doesn't match our current "Spam HL till we win" healing style, it does fit in perfectly with the healing Blizzard wants us doing in 3.2. Longer judgments, FoL HoTs (fairly weak, but still), and less dependence on HL spam. I'm not saying it's going to work, but I am saying that the gear is designed to help us with this. Now, if they would just let us put SS back on more than one target, the 51/20 build with 4pc T8 would be amazing.
I'm really looking forward to some new raids, and the double lockout looks promising. At this stage I'm actually kind of glad that I won't be doing 25s right off. 4 lockouts of Arena, plus Ulduar cleanup...many raids...
Here's to keeping our tradition of excellence in our new home.
20 legendary tears. If only I could roll in them.