FEEDBACK: Paladin Class Changes

I leveled my Paladin a decade ago when they healed from range like every other healer. Now I’m told that’s no longer my identity or fantasy. Can I get a transfer on all my unobtainables since you’ve completely rewritten my class?


The topic I wanted to discuss now is Retribution/Paladin design as a whole.
A few notes before I begin.

  • This is viewing the spec without talents, so just base gameplay

  • This also does not take any of the legendary/conduits/covenants into account

  • I wanted to sort my feedback in the following order: Negative, Mixed, and Positive.

The Negative
This section will focus on some of the issues that are entirely negative for Paladin/Retribution.

  1. Baseline Defensives
    With the unpruning and standardization of the paladin class as a whole, Divine Protection was a missed opportunity. It used to be available to all three specializations and has the potential for easy to design talents which improve the baseline version. Currently, the paladin has Divine Shield, Blessing of Protection, and Lay on Hands baseline. For Ret, you add in Shield of Vengeance. 75% of those spells mention are high cooldown, high impact spells, which are valuable. We are one of two melee specs (the other is Survival Hunter) which does not have a % damage reduction. This is not as much of an issue in PvE, but the problems come to light in PvP where the higher dampening goes, the more effective % DRs are. Also Divine Shield/Blessing of Protection are situational and counterable (Purge for BoP and Mass/Shattering Throw for Divine Shield). They are deservedly high cooldown abilities, BUT we need a competitive defensive option that is of a medium to low cooldown. We also suffer heavily against magic damage.

  2. Baseline Mobility
    Paladin without talents is tied for Death Knight as the slowest melee class. While being slow is not inherently problematic, if you have other tools to augment it (defensives/utility/healing/crowd control). Retribution does not have acceptable Defensives or crowd control. All the healing in the world doesn’t matter when you cannot even connect with a target. Mobility allows the melee to be able to connect spells in both PvP and PvE and respond to mechanics and situations accordingly. It is a big moment for player agency. You use the tools given to react to the situation. Paladin suffers because baseline you only get to use Divine Steed once every 45 seconds.

As a comparison here are the other melee specs baseline mobility over a 45 second duration:

Ret Paladin - x1 Divine Steed
Death Knight- x1 Death’s Advance + not being able to be slowed below 70%
Demon Hunter - x1 Vengeful Retreat (25 sec cd), x4 Fel Rush + Passive movespeed from Mastery/Demonic Presence
Feral - 30% baseline movespeed from Cat Form, +15% movespeed from Feline Swiftness, x1 Stampeding Roar, x3 Skull Bash,
Survival - x1 Aspect of the Cheetah, x2 Harpoon
Windwalker - 10% from Windwalking, x1 Flying Serpent Kick, x1 Transcendence, x2 Rolls
Assassination - x1 Sprint, x1 Shadowstep, 15% from Fleet Footed
Outlaw - x1 Sprint, x1 Grappling Hook, 15% from Fleet Footed
Subtlety - x1 Sprint, x1 Shadowstep, x1-2 Shadowstrike (rotational movement), 15% from Fleet Footed
Enhancement - x1 Spirit Walk, Ghost Wolf (35% Movespeed when active plus low suppression)
Fury - x2 Charge, x1 Heroic Leap, x1 Intervene, 5% if using Single Minded Fury
Arms - x2 Charge, x1 Heroic Leap, x1 Intervene

There are talents for all specializations to add EVEN MORE mobility. It is an arms race of who can connect to the target the fastest and frequently. Retribution just loses that unquestionably with no positive trade-off for the current lack of mobility. Cavalier should be baseline at a minimum with other considerations taken to add further mobility options in the talent tree.

  1. Baseline Crowd Control

Retribution provides a single, dispellable stun on a 1 minute cooldown.
We can talent for a minimal amount of additional CC, but every other melee brings more CC baseline. I won’t go into an exhaustive comparison. We used to have some great tools like Repentance baseline. Other melee have similar tools like Hex, Freezing Trap, Fear, etc… This is another category where Retribution just suffers. We can’t keep up with targets, we can’t look after ourselves with our defensives, and now we only have one form of CC on a medium/high cooldown.

It suffers from a high cooldown and that it is dispellable. The duration make the dispel warranted, but having an option to talent or PvP talent into a nondispellable version would be welcome.


  1. Unpruning
    Paladin as a whole did benefit from SOME of the unpruning from a thematic perspective, but it brought along some gameplay concerns.

Auras look cool and offer a small bit of utility. They do have some problems though.

They have a normalized GCD. A half GCD would be reasonable here.
Crusader Aura removed our Heart of the Crusader passive, making divine steed 20% less effective. This is a problem.
Retribution Aura - I like having an aura which focuses on damage, however this is not the way to do it. I DO NOT want to benefit offensively from my party members dying. I’d prefer to save them from death. This does not fit with our class fantasy. Let this aura provide a small bonus in damage to the raid, maybe apply a magical damage debuff (Demon Hunter’s debuff) to enemies within 15 yards, or something similar.

Word of Glory is great to have back in the original form, but it is VERY weak and came at the cost of losing on of our best party utility tools of the talented Word of Glory from BFA. Just replace healing hands with the talented Word of Glory so we can choose to enhance this spell when needed.

Consecration should be a welcome addition to our kit, but falls short. It doesn’t generate Holy Power, so it isn’t even usable as an AoE builder. It also does a very low amount of damage. It is useful to have in PvP to help break stealthies out. The talented version from BFA would be a better option. A 30 or so second ability with reasonable cleave/AoE.

  1. Damage Allocation is currently problematic. Some of TV’s damage should be reallocated into Judgement, Blade of Wrath, and Crusader Strike.

  2. Crusader Strike needs an overhaul. It should have no cooldown, and do holy damage so it scales with our mastery. It is lowest on the priority list and should hit more than an auto attack.

  3. Also it would be nice to see Blade of Justice shift into holy damage as well. Or just have it leave a burn baseline (holy damage) like the old talent. This would provide more value to our mastery, and give us a slightly different damage pattern.

The Positives

  1. Blessing of Sacrifice is amazing to have back
  2. Moving Hammer of Wrath and Wake of Ashes baseline was necessary and welcome
  3. Light’s Decree (Sanctified Wrath) is also a nice addition to Avenging Wrath as a talent, but fills the same niche as crusade (see my previous posts for more info).
  4. Turn Evil is thematic and occasionally useful. Could we glyph it for so we can fear in place?


  1. Retribution/Paladin needs an addition, revision, or enhancement of the current baseline defensives
  2. Ret needs some form of additional baseline mobility
  3. Ret needs some additional baseline crowd control
  4. Some abilities that were unpruned need to be updated to fit the current paladin gameplay
  5. Damage allocation by ability should be reviewed
  6. Some of the baseline additions are welcome.

Thinking about this more, I really think that Holy mastery just doesn’t make sense anymore, with theorycrafters thinking that there will be both a range and melee option for builds, it’s just poor design at this point because Rule of Law is a stupid talent. And why should I either reduce my ability to move quickly if a fight dictates by skipping cavalier or not taking Unbreakable Spirit for the start of the expac when everyone is weak and maybe bubble or an extra LoH could make a difference?

The way it is now, you have no choice in that row.

I really think that we need illuminated healing mastery back so it doesn’t feel like you’re sacrificing how you want to play because of poor design in the current mastery.

Sorry to harp on this but I actually hate this “healers must dps to provide value in a raid” mindset (totally agree for M+ and pushing keys that is critical) and I hate this mastery that was forced on us. I think someone else made this point too that the melee healer change felt very jarring after years of Holy Paladin not having these distance limitations and I totally agree!


LoL can we keep anything going good for paladins?! It is starting to get just get in your face disrespectful. The cool down they added to Kleia’s “Valiant Strikes” that made us heal after 40 crits is way too long. Ability went from real good to useless in a instant.

It’s funny to me how they always see the good things to go nerf so swiftly, but blind to all the broken stuff we have or dead talents for 3 expansions straight. I guess I can go with whatever covenant I want now. I plan on maladraxus now I always liked the views they have, but Blizzard can you fix the hammer ability they get Because it’s trash or atleast take away it needing 1 holy power to use it.


The next topic to discuss is twofold. This includes Conduits and Legendaries from a Retribution Paladin perspective.


It is a wonderful change to be able to target and craft our own Legendaries. This change is such a benefit for player choice.

I think there are three criteria that should be required from each legendary item.

  1. It should provide a noticeable change to gameplay
  2. It should fill a niche or specific role
  3. It should not lead to degenerate gameplay

Using those three criteria, I will sort the Legendaries into three categories and evaluate them accordingly. This is from a gameplay perspective, numbers tuning can go alongside this to make sure they are in alignment:


Badge of the Mad Paragon - This enables an extension of wings, which is a direct change to gameplay. More time in cooldowns = more time to use Hammer of Wrath. It fills a cooldown focused niche.

Final Verdict - An excellent addition which gives us Hammer of Wrath as a proc as well as giving some additional range to Templar’s Verdict. This changes gameplay and it fills a single target niche.

Needs Improvement

The Magistrate’s Judgment - This one is almost there. I think the % chance should go and just make it a 100% chance. This provides consistency with a noticeable gameplay change. It fills a niche where it is effective for all three specs of paladin.

From Dusk till Dawn - On paper, this seems reasonable, but it does not provide any noticeable change to gameplay. It just happens.

Relentless Inquisitor - This is a carbon copy of a BFA Azerite trait. The 7% haste increase is barely noticeable and loses value any time there is a period of semi-frequent downtime. It does not fill a specific role and comes with a potentially large downside.

Tempest of the Lightbringer - I was excited to see this return. This provides a fair amount of nuance when using Divine Storm. However, it falls flat in comparison since Divine Storm is capped at 5 targets. The 20% damage increase should be baseline and this legendary could do something like increasing the target cap for Divine Storm.

Back to the Drawing Board

Liadrin’s Fury Reborn - This legendary needs to be reworked. It sacrifices utility and defensives for damage and is downright degenerate. It cannibalizes using Divine Shield, Lay on Hands, and Blessing of Protection in your opener. This removes one of the reasons you bring a paladin, Utility. The Holy Power generation on Wings is fine, but this one needs to be revamped.

Uther’s Guard - This is currently a pure utility option. Cooldown reduction is fine, but traditionally throughput is more useful. I’d like to see this legendary add Avenging Wrath to the list of spells that have the cooldown reduced. This could allow wings to have a shorter cooldown, which may be useful for some fights which allows it to fill a specific niche.

Other Legendary Thoughts

I expect that we will eventually be able to wear two of these, but currently the choice is either Badge or Final Verdict. It will likely come down to a math problem on which choice to go with. That isn’t a particularly fun choice. The other legendaries should be brought up to the power and gameplay engagement the other two options are at.


Currently, these are almost entirely single target options. When that is the case, it comes down to what maths out to be the best and that is the only choice. Also, remove as much of the randomness in these traits as possible. The covenant specific conduits feel mandatory since the current Covenant abilities are so weak as is.


Virtuous Command - This one is just odd. It is a 10% chance in a 4 second window to do 10% additional holy damage. Why is there even a chance component? Just make it a guaranteed chance and lower the damage component. It would give the same results, just consistently. It also would vary widely on ability usage alone. 10% additional damage on a Crusade Strike or Blade of Justice is not much, but a Templar’s Verdict is something that would have an impact.

Truth’s Wake - It is a fine trait, just needs to be tuned up. It is equal to about half a crusader strike. It has some AoE and single target usage, which is a positive.

Templar’s Vindication - A 15% chance to do 15% additional damage on a TV just needs a change. Compared to one of the Arms warrior conduits, Mortal Combo, it is a scaling % chance to duplicate the hit while ours is a low chance to do low damage. To compare to a Crusader strike again, it is a 15% chance to deal about half of a Crusader Strike. It is practically worthless.

Light’s Reach - Being able to shift damage into BoJ is welcome and the additional range is a positive. It still feels weak, but better tuned than the other options

Righteous Might (Necrolord) - The healing component is great here! However, this feels mandatory to even make Vanquisher’s hammer usable. It still hits less than a Templar’s verdict with the 100% damage increase from this conduit.

Ringing Clarity (Kyrian) - Here is another situation where there is a chance to benefit from this conduit. Remove the chance, add some consistent damage.

Hallowed Discernment (Venthyr) - I think the Venthyr covenant ability needs to be reworked, so any thoughts I share on this are not useful.

The Long Summer (Night Fae) - It is boring. Simple as that. It just increases one of your blessings (Summer) duration.


Divine Call - I think this is reasonable, but why can’t it be flat cooldown reduction. Consistency is very important when it comes to planning immunities.

Shielding Words - This seems better for Prot and Holy more than Ret. It is about a 2% health shield with Word of Glory usage. That is very low.

Golden Path - This also seems very low. It is estimated at 1% of your health for every consecration cast (12 second duration) with a single target. IF they stand in it. It has the potential to be decent with large AoE packs, but it is just trickle healing.


Stalwart as a Crusader - This is so incredibly niche. You’d likely only want this for Warlock or Shadowpriest in PvP and VERY niche usage in PvE. Since the Conduit system is locked on a weekly basis, this conduit slot would be wasted the majority of the time.

Wrench Evil - This feels pointless. We rarely would cast Turn Evil as is. If it was usable on non undead/aberrations/demons it would be better.

Light’s Barding - This is practically mandatory. Anything from World Questing, to Raiding, to PvP, to Mythic Plus, it is all improved by being able to move faster. We already suffer from low mobility as is.

Echoing Blessings - Part of this conduit effect confuses me. The delayed movespeed on freedom is silly. When you use freedom, you usually need the movespeed immediately, not 8 seconds later. You also can be slowed again after freedom expires, so the movespeed would be rendered useless. The defensive component after Blessing of Sacrifice and Blessing of Protection is really great.


The most prominent changes in an upcoming build will be two new talents for Retribution.

–A redesigned Execution Sentence brings back the iconic falling hammer, and delayed burst of large damage, on a 1 min cooldown.
–As discussed previously, Inquisition was slated for replacement, due to having its role largely supplanted by the classwide talent Seraphim. Look on row 50 for an entirely new active damage talent, Final Reckoning.

More minor changes:
–Ashen Hallow slightly reworked to be more normal AoE damage, as well as providing a stronger buff to Hammer of Wrath.
–Healing Hands (Ret) redesigned to buff both Lay on Hands and Word of Glory, and to have it effect scale continuously with target health rather than having a cliff.
–Bestow Faith (Holy) generates 1 Holy Power
–Light’s Hammer (Holy) healing substantially increased


Thank you for the good news.

I probably speak for many of us when I say while the changes today were certainly nice, we look forward to hopefully seeing more as the changes come out in the near future.

Edit: Posted this later in the thread, but updated this to be a quick info source for anyone looking to keep up-to-date when sorting jumping to Blue Posts.

Current state of Paladin Problems
New Talents near the bottom. [Labeled “New Talent”]
[Last updated 9/9] Checked back 10/21, no significant changes.

Covenant Class Abilities

  • [All] Blessing of Seasons: Buffs are interesting, but the “buffing” gameplay needs a rework. Micro-management / Ownership of Ability / Control over rotation issues

  • [All] Vanquishers Hammer: HP cost feels awkward. Forced “A then B” lacks flexibility
    (Remove Cost/“Doublecast” Instead)

  • [Ret/All] Divine Toll: Low value for Ret. Single target needs improvement for all specs: HP/Dmg. *Not sure if the new Conduit is an attempt to fix this, but a change at the base ability level would be better. New Conduit has design issues of its own.
    (Always cast 5 divided over targets)

Core Abilities

  • [All] Aura’s still very lackluster overall

  • [All] Crusader Aura/Retribution Aura are better as personal passives. Retribution Aura detrimental to class/ability goal.

  • [All] Mobility still behind other melee
    (Cavalier Baseline)

Spec Problems - Ret

  • [Ret] PvP Talent Aura of Reckoning: Loss of control over activation makes this ability much worse.

  • [Ret] Expurgation was the only “Interesting” Conduit, then the bonus range got taken away. All others can be replaced/retuned heavily. Damage on this trait was heavily nerfed with the change, now all conduits feel weak.

  • [Ret] All conduits feel pretty uninteresting/uninspired. All of them are only damage modifiers, whereas other classes get buff/cd/rotation interactions. There’s literally no reason not to just sim them for the best, there’s no “decision”. None of these warrant a 1 week lockout.

  • [Ret] Would like to swap Shield of Vengeance for Divine Protection. We are surprisingly squishy, would rather have more reliable defensive than 2min % HP Shield.

  • [Ret] Execution Sentence: Better than previous iteration. Combo’s well with new “Final Reckoning”.

    • Currently Judgment/Final Reck passive are consumed on cast? Shouldn’t it be on hit?
    • *Currently, when combo’d with Final Reckoning, we no longer get the benefit of double dipping our spenders. Is this a bug, or a convoluted nerf?
    • *Prior to this build, it seemed like to have ES benefit from the Final Reckoning, you needed to cast ES first. Now that seems to be reversed (FR before ES), is that a bug or a convoluted nerf?
  • [Ret] Fires of Justice: Still dead talent. Crusader Strike not important button
    (Replace talent. It’s ok for CS to be unimportant)

  • [Ret] Empyrean Power: Higher proc-rate good, but attaching to CS has potential issue. Lowest priority button means lower proc frequency. Raising Proc rate to compensate would over-value Crusader Strike as a generator.

  • [All] Mobility Row needs improvement.

  • [Ret] Eye for an Eye: Dead talent

  • [Ret/All?] Holy Avenger: For a cooldown focused class, a talent that doesn’t line up with main cooldown is awkward. *Now off GCD. Not sure who was asking for this ability off in particular, but the main concern is the CD lineup issues.
    (Move to 2min but slightly weaker/ Move to 4min but add more dmg)

    • For Prot in particular, this is a dead talent as casting 1 Sotr per GCD is worthless when mitigation caps at 3 uses.
  • [Ret] Justicar’s Vengeance: Dead Talent

  • [Ret] Healing Hands: Better than previous iteration. Still only 1 Lay on Hands for most raids/ 0 Hands for Arena. Maybe M+ will find value? Word of Glory bonus healing is “ok”. Feels better on Live where Word of Glory has a CD but does large group healing.

    • *Strength of WoG heal bonus now reduced, not sure if its worth the cost anymore
  • [Ret] Sanctified Wrath: “Ok” talent. Would suggest replacing. Functionally too similar to Crusade “Adds 5 Seconds, deal more Damage in Wings”.
    (Maybe replace with something that changes CD of Avenging Wrath? I.e. 1.5min cd 20sec duration, or 3min duration 30sec + stronger effect?) Could Fix Holy Avenger issue by adding variety here

  • [Ret] Final Reckoning: Very interesting ability. Plays very well with Execution sentence. Would be nice if both had an extra second or so to compensate for GCD’s. Overall very good first iteration.

    • Issue to address: Not really obvious what the passive is for, almost feels like the passive could be it’s own talent. Tested to be about 6ppm. Seems reliably less damage than using the ability on CD. Maybe resolved with tuning? Would honestly be fine if passive just replaced Fires on 25 Row
    • Issue to address: Ability only buffs “Holy Power Abilities”, would feel more naturally buffing all holy damage. 8 Seconds does not leave much time for multiple Holy Power Spenders using template gear.
    • After playing with this ability, it might be better as an “on-target” ability than “ground targeted”

Other Specs

  • [Prot] - In an “ok” spot, please no more major mechanical changes

    • If anything, maybe look at removing the 3x mitigation cap (boogeyman ironskin no longer exists)
  • [Holy] - To my awareness, Holy issues revolve around reintroduction of Holy Power. “Glimmerdin Melee” build is ok, but alternative “Caster” holy paladin has HP issues. Have also heard calls for a new Mastery.
    (Would benefit strongly from Infusion Granting HP, maybe default that is disabled when Crusader’s Might talent selected)


Nice, you guys about half way there. Just need some reworking of the other covenant abilities, buffing our conduits, and a few more talent replacements and we will be lookin good.


Appreciate the blue post, and attention on Paladin, specifically the ret spec, it’s talents, and it’s covenants.


Step in the right direction, but we need more changes to Retribution to make it an appealing class to play. Gore above posted some things I’d like to see changed/altered, probably with more Conduit changes since we’re going the “borrowed power” route from now on.


Too early to comment on the changes, but I just want to point out that the falling hammer is not iconic to execution sentence (which hasn’t existed or been a staple pick for that long), but to judgment which had its falling hammer graphic replaced with a very dinky looking little thrown hammer.

Judgment having the falling hammer graphic returned would make Divine Toll look visually impressive, if nothing else.


Hey, I asked for one of these things! I did the thing guys!

I appreciate you posting in here letting us know of changes!

Edit; No, this is not what i asked for, its still got a HoPo cost :frowning:

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The issue with Light’s Hammer isn’t it’s healing, Its the fact we can’t guarantee the raid to be in it for its duration, The healing was already amazing if you could get the raid in it for its entire duration (Varimathras was one of these) at the moment no fight really gives us this. If it was more like Healing Rain or Efflo it would be used more (reduce its mana cost and healing obviously)


Fs in chat for night fae being killed off for paladins


Please consider making Infusion of Light generate holy power. Bestow faith is too clunky with having to wait for the cd and for the heal to go off. I guess it might be ok if it gave more holy power or did more healing, but holy will probably still be forced to stick with the melee playstyle.


I’m at work and unable to check any of this out. What’s final reckoning???

Blessing of Autumn: Bless an ally for 30 sec, causing their cooldowns to recover 30% faster (50 to 30).
ok :upside_down_face: what did holy and prot do wrong?

So now that ashen hallow is an aoe I think you guys forgot to update the conduit that goes with it. That conduit no longer makes sense in an aoe context. Additionally Night fae and badge of the mad paragon both have gotten completely nurfed to the ground to the extent of being unusable for ret paladins.

Also you guys didn’t really fix Word of Glory. Healing hands is still terrible. Making a bad heal do up to 30% more is still a bad heal.


Thanks for the blue post!, Been waiting a long time for it! Changes look pretty good, can’t wait to test them.

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Final Reckoning: Call down a blast of heavenly energy, dealing (250% of Attack power) Holy damage to all targets in the target area and causing them to take 50% increased damage from your Holy Power abilities for 8 sec.
Passive: While off cooldown, your attacks have a high chance to call down a bolt that deals (50% of Attack power) Holy damage and causes the target to take 10% increased damage from your next Holy Power ability.
from wowhead