A few words on talent tree design
Rather than derail threads on individual classes or specializations, I thought I would address some common questions or misperceptions in this one thread.
We don't consider "bloat" a bad word. Players typically say that when there are more talents than they can possibly get. That's the whole idea. When you run out of interesting talents, then that's when we think we have a problem.
Related, if we do our jobs right, you are going to run out of dps talents (or healing talents if you're a healer, or mitigation talents if you're a tank). We don't want every talent to feel mandatory since you are prohibited from getting them all. We want you to have choices.
We don't consider every talent that doesn't directly lead to higher dps to be a "PvP talent." Survivability is a big deal in Cataclysm. In that vein, talents that keep you alive (or help healers conserve mana) are indirectly dps talents.
Related, many trees lost a lot of true PvP talents, such as dispel resistance or mechanic duration reductions. These are the kind of talents I describe as "arms races," where you need a counter to the ability someone else is using to try to counter you. We'd rather reel the whole thing in a little and make things like crowd control or dispels as powerful or as weak as they need to be baseline rather than assuming you have talents that make them less powerful.
We are providing some damage talents for healers. For the most part, those are optional talents for leveling, soloing, PvP or times in dungeons or raids when you don't need to heal.
Likewise, we don't assume tanks need to pick up every single dps talent in order to generate sufficient threat. You'll likely need some threat talents, but since you're probably dipping into a dps tree to get some of those, you're going to find way more than you can afford.
In most cases, raid buff talents are cheap and often have selfish bonuses. If they lack a selfish bonus, it's because we consider the talent so compelling that you'd probably want it when solo anyway. We see a lot of "I'll skip that talent, because someone else will bring that buff," but obviously that logic starts to fail when everyone comes to that conclusion. Also make sure you're familiar with how some of the buffs and debuffs have changed for Cataclysm. We are trying to make it even easier to get the big ones, especially for 10-player raids.
We aren't designing PvP vs. PvE trees. Ultimately, we consider a talent specialization to be a stylistic choice. However, given the challenges of nailing both PvP and PvE balance, as a consolation prize it's nice when at least there are no dead trees. If Frost and Arms weren't raiding juggernauts, at least they did have a place in the game in Lich King. But Cataclysm represents an opportunity to try again, so we hope to see Arms and Frost raiding, and Fury and Fire in PvP.
We aren't overhauling every single class. We are changing paladins quite a bit, and the resource systems for hunters and warlocks and Balance druids have changed. I get the sense some of you are waiting for that magical build in which half of your talents have been scrapped in favor of new ones, and in many cases, those changes just aren't coming. That's not to say we're done with any tree.
We haven't been super concerned about numbers yet, and we aren't at all concerned about glyphs yet. It's helpful if you note abilities that seem to have lost a lot of damage compared to live, just so we can make sure it's intentional (as it is for many AE abilities). If you think you won't use some core spell just because it doesn't hit or heal for enough yet, then it's fine to bring that up, but you can also assume that the numbers just aren't quite right on it yet. Of course this also means that you may feel underpowered (or rarely overpowered, though players almost always feel underpowered) compared to someone else. This does not mean you're doomed in Cataclysm or that you need to SCREAM REAL LOUD to make sure the developers don't overlook it. Numbers are much easier to adjust once we're happy with the basic mechanics.
We've gotten a ton of great feedback already, and I want to personally thank you for that. We make changes every day that are the direct result of the feedback we receive, and that certainly includes this forum, the live forums, and many of the great websites out there were players discuss World of Warcraft design.
Quality of Beta Posts on Official Forums
I hate to go all forum moderator on you guys, but we've seen a recent downward spiral in the quality of some of these threads and posts here on the beta forum.
Story time: I started posting heavily in the Lich King beta forums. It was a great experience and lot of players enjoyed the opportunity to be able to have intelligent conversations directly with the developers. I've heard over and over ever since then what a positive experience that was for a lot of players. It's for that reason that I am going to be fiercely protective of the quality of posts here in the Class Discussion forum.
If you see a locked thread, chances are we thought it crossed the line. If you keep making the kinds of threads that get locked, then you'll be removed from the beta and we will replace you with someone who can provide intelligent feedback. Sorry to sound like a jerk -- I hate making these kinds of posts. But we want participating in the beta to be a positive experience.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Shield of Righteousness removed from Beta
We have temporarily disabled Shield of Righteousness.
We're working on the basic Prot rotations right now, and with Shield of Righteousness in addition to Crusader Strike, Hammer of the Righteous, Consecrate, Avenger's Shield and Holy Wrath, there was just a lot going on. Shield seemed like the least interesting of those abilities -- really Shield and Hammer just seem to be single-target and multitarget versions of the same ability, especially without block scaling. Shield also felt like a duplicate of Shield Slam, which doesn't help in trying to differentiate the two Prot trees. Frankly, we'd rather make Avenger's Shield and Hammer of the Righteous cooler than they are today.
It's too early to call this a permanent change. We still have a lot to consider, such as the damage of Hammer vs. Shield, how different we want the AE vs. single-target Prot attacks to be, and how much Holy Power considerations occupy a Prot paladin.
If we keep Shield of Righteousness, we need to figure out its role relative to Hammer. We don't want it to be just swap one button for another for AE fights, and we don't want you to have to use both on cooldown since we are giving Prot paladins more things to manage in Cataclysm. (Source)
As far as the paladin changes go, we have made no secret that we haven't happy with the paladin gameplay on live, of all three trees, and the class was headed for a pretty radical redesign. There can be very few sacred cows as part of that process or we're not going to have the design space we need to fix the problems.
The current Cataclysm rotation is far from static and was in fact so frenetic that we had to scale back on some of the random procs and Holy Power generation or paladins were never going to have the bandwidth to do things like position the boss. It was far away the most complex tank rotation, and that's not what we were going for.
We're trying a lot of new ideas and it's going to take some iteration before we're happy with them. The current snapshot you are getting in beta is just a snapshot -- it's whatever the data happened to look like at the time when we made a build. (Source)
Righteous Fury / Threat
We recently made a change, that I suspect you don't have yet, to make Righteous Fury improve all threat and not just Holy threat. It's also possible attacks like Judgement, Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous just don't hit hard enough yet. You lost a lot of passive Strength and damage in the talent trees and we haven't baked all of that back in yet. (Source)