Despite that developers have stated that they are happy with what WoTLK has done for Paladin seals, the player base has been seeing this system as inherently flawed since they were released in 2005, and find that the latest expansion has not resolved the problems with the mechanic.
Essentially, the largest problem with seals is that there is far too much empowerment given to a 100% passive mechanic. When added damage on attacks comprises 40% or more of a class' damage, it should be a red flag that something is wrong. Not only does it make the class uninteresting, it makes it difficult to balance.
To a lesser extent, the Paladin's combat suffers from being only moderated by cooldowns and mana. Many players in recent months have brought this to the attention of developers, who have also acknowledged this issue, and attempted to address it to a certain extent in patch 3.2. There are a lot of suggestions for secondary resources for Paladins in order to help with this problem. This post is a list of ideas that turn seals into an active 'resource' mechanic. (NOTE: this is only addressing the Retribution spec of Paladins, I realize these changes have wide sweeping ramifications to both holy and prot as well. If a system such as this were introduced, talents in holy would be modified to accommodate the acquisition of seals from outside of melee combat, perhaps by allowing different heals and judgment to apply different seals or something.)
[SEALS]: All seals have been reworked, they are now instant cast attacks with no cooldown that cost 2% base mana and deal 30% weapon damage as physical damage and place an undispellable no-duration buff on the Paladin. Seal buffs are now used as quasi resources for certain Paladin spells, making use of a mechanic similar to a combination of Rogue combo points and Death Knight runes. These spells consume the seals specified when cast.
To see which Seals are consumed by which Paladin abilities, please refer to:
- Judgments have been changed to always deal damage equal to current JoC damage, and do not require a seal to be cast -
*All of the following include 'instantly strikes the current target for 30% weapon damage as physical damage, placing a seal on the paladin that...'
Seal of Vengeance: * increases weapon damage by 1/2 the Paladin's current level.
Seal of Justice: * increases movement speed by 15% (does not stack with other movement speed increases effects).
Seal of Wisdom: * Grants MP5 = to the Paladin's level
Seal of The Crusader: * Lowers the global cooldown on seal abilities by .5 seconds.
Seal of Righteousness: * causes all melee attacks to deal additional holy damage = to 10% of the damage dealt.
[DIVINE STORM]: removed
[HOLY WRATH]: removed
Instant cast costs 10% base mana Seal of Vengeance, Seal of Justice.
10 second cooldown
Causes [1028 0.15 * SPH 0.15 * AP] to [1146 0.15 * SPH 0.15 * AP] Holy damage to up to 5 enemy targets within 10 yards, and heals up to 3 party or raid members totaling 25% of the damage dealt.
On next melee, melee range
5% base mana, Seal of Wisdom, Seal of Justice.
Causes your next melee swing to deal damage as holy damage.
instant, melee range
5% base mana, Seal of Righteousness, Seal of The Crusader
Instantly strike the target and his two nearest allies for weapon damage + 1 per 100 armor.
Talents for Retribution have remained largely the same. The talent tree for these proposed changes may be found here:
Pursuit of Justice Removed
New 11 point talent*
1.5 minute cooldown
The Paladin calls upon the might and wisdom of the original five knights of the Silver Hand, instantly activating his Seal of Vengeance, Seal of Righteousness, Seal of Justice, Seal of The Crusader, and Seal of Wisdom
New 31 point talent*
Seal of Command
Instantly strikes the target and for 30% of weapon damage as physical damage, placing a seal on the Paladin, increasing the effect of all seals by 10% while active (excluding the GCD reduction of SoTC). This Seal counts as Seal of righteousness, Seal of Vengeance, Seal of Justice, Seal of Wisdom, or Seal of The Crusader.
Art of War changed:
Increases the damage of your Judgement, Crusader Strike and Exorcism abilities by 10%. In addition when your Holy Strike, Templar Strike or Judgment abilities critically hit, there is a 100% chance that your next Crusader Strike cast within the next 20 seconds will require no seals, or your next Flash of Light spell will be instant
Crusader Strike changed:
Requires: Seal of Wisdom, Seal of The Crusader (no cooldown)
An instant strike that causes 75% weapon damage as physical damage.
new 51 point talent:
15 second cooldown Requires Seal of Vengeance, Seal of Righteousness, Seal of the Crusader
Puts the enemy target in a state of meditation, incapacitating them for up to 1 min. Any damage caused will awaken the target. Usable against Demons, Dragonkin, Giants, Humanoids and Undead.
Repentance has been changed in this manner as a means of allowing it to be used more often to interrupt casts, or stay in range in exchange for requiring a bit more set up and a considerable DPS loss.
Hammer of Justice
Requires Seal of Vengeance, Seal of Righteousness, Seal of Crusader, Seal of Justice, Seal of Wisdom