Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ding! 80!

I hit 80 this afternoon on Hana. I'm going to be out most of this weekend, but once I get back it's going to be a heroic spree as my guild prepares for Naxx-10. I'm now the fifth 80, and we're expecting our sixth this weekend. From what we've heard, Naxx isn't frightfully difficult, so we plan on starting as soon as we get eight 80s. Then we'll take along anyone else who's close to make up the ten.

Even though I'm 80, I still haven't switched out all of my gear. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that I'm still wearing my T4 helm.

I just haven't had anything better drop for me in Northrend yet. I know there are BoE upgrades and quest upgrades from the Icecrown quests, but I haven't gotten to them yet. There's also a slew of gear to be had in heroics.

Aside from my helm, I'm still wearing my legs and a spell hit ring from TBC, but those were badge items from the Isle of Quel'danas so it's not surprising those are still good since they'd arrived as part of the Sunwell patch.

Now that I'm finally 80, I'm really looking forward to starting heroics. I also have almost all of Sholazar Basin to finish as well as Icecrown and the Storm Peaks left to quest in. Some of my best in slot gear for Naxx are BoE crafting epics so I'm gonna need the cash to either buy the mats or the items themselves.

And for those in the US, have a Happy Thanksgiving! I'm going to be heading out soon myself. I'm already hungry... hehe...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Loaded Question: What's Your Spec?

Back when I first started leveling in vanilla WoW people actually didn't ask this question. Spec was something people only worried about for raids. I seriously didn't care if the warrior tanking for me was Arms, Fury, or Prot, and honestly it didn't matter.

The Burning Crusade was a bit of a strange animal though. For one thing, classes other than warriors began tanking in earnest, so those paladins and druids that formerly came along as healers or dps could possibly be tanks as well. For another, there were people emerging from a raid environment that expected people to spec for what they do in a party (even a 5-man) and that anything less would be a disservice.

My early levels in TBC I tended to advertise my druid as a balance/resto hybrid whenever someone asked. If they needed a tank I couldn't help them, but I was more than willing to heal, and I got into several pugs that way. By the time I hit 70 I was in a solid guild and pugs were no longer necessary because I typically ran with a guild group. I became full-time moonkin.

Now I'm leveling again in WotLK and some nights it seems the whispers don't stop.

"What's your spec?"

The funny thing is, I don't even know what answer they want. Sometimes they'll specifically ask if I'm feral, but they never ask if I'm resto, even if that's the spec they're actually looking for. And I know they're guys trying to pull me into an instance rather than asking me for spec advice.

Usually I'll just answer balance and let them respond with a wall of silence, but if I might be interested in pugging at the moment (because I consider it good practice to pug) I might say something along the lines of "balance, but willing and geared to heal."

Sometimes they take me, sometimes they don't, but we've finished every run I've healed in Northrend. Which brings me to a couple things I've always believed about playing a hybrid in an instance:

1) Leveling dungeons aren't intended to be an exercise in min/maxing where it's necessary or even strongly desired for people to spec for their role in the party.

2) Any spec should be able to perform any role assuming they are properly geared. Underline the properly geared part.

One of my shaman guildies was kicked from a Azjol-Nerub pug because he wouldn't respec to resto for them. Note that this was not a heroic or even a level 80 instance! So he and another guildie (who was kicked along with him) formed a new pug and they ran the instance in about 20 minutes, everyone at level, and with an enhance shaman healing. Common sense is seriously the most important thing that's needed for a leveling instance.

Spec can make things easier for the group if everything goes to pot, but it's desirable for most groups to avoid going to pot in the first place, and many healers find it easier to level as feral, enhance, shadow, ret, etc. Just because their spec changed doesn't mean they forgot how to heal.

I'm much more likely to answer positively to "Can you heal this instance?" than "Are you resto?" or worse "What's your spec?"

Obviously this changes with heroics and raids, and I don't blame the spec question then, but for leveling instances? Pfft...

The thing I like about hybrids is that there are other options available if my main spec doesn't cut it or isn't immediately necessary. On my druid I can be dps or heals. On my paladin I can be heals or tank. Two of the three party roles I will be available and prepared for. And if really necessary I can even try the third role.

I was trying to solo The Plume of Alystros and found I was dying as a moonkin because I couldn't root the darn bird. So I decided to get creative and try to bear form the bird down. I put on all my tanking gear, buffed myself, and got ready to summon him again.

But before I could, a priest rode up, saw the quest I was about to start, and invited me to his group. A warlock rode up a split second later and was also invited. So here was this balance druid completely dressed up like a tank and a group of three people, two of which were clothies and it was quite obvious neither of them were going to tank for me, and unless they looked at my spec, there's no way they would know I was balance. Every piece of my feral gear was TBC epic or Northrend blue.

So I decided to make the most of it and tanked that bird. It was not the cleanest fight, since I wasn't used to bear tanking, and I was squishier than I'd hoped to be, but even as a balance druid with no points in feral my threat was incredible! It was much better than when I tanked Ring of Blood back in Nagrand. With some more work on my mitigation I think it may be possible for me to bear tank an instance as balance.

And that would be an interesting to reply to "What's your spec?"

"I'm balance, but I could tank or heal if you need me to."


Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Death Knights are Spilling Into PvP

I mentioned before that I have a second druid. This druid is not a twink per se, but is primarily for PvP. That sounds a little odd considering that she was not 70 prior to Wrath, and I don't know if she'll get to 80 before Wrath is over. Rather, she's been a fun diversion as I try out the different brackets, because I find it entertaining to see the differences between the classes as players learn different abilities.

So she spent months being played on and off... 30-39, 40-49, and most recently 50-59. I picked up some honor rewards for her level, but really it was all for fun because I never intended to permanently stay in any one bracket.

I went into one of my off-again phases just prior to Wrath, and now that it's out, naturally I'm been leveling a lot. But I figured I'd take a short break this afternoon and do a little PvP.

What I had forgotten about was that everybody's new favorite class comes out of the Plaguelands at level 58, and they flooded the matches.

Seriously, what's wrong with these people!?

And that screenshot is a little forgiving. I didn't get the one of Warsong Gulch where it was 8 Alliance DKs vs. 7 Horde DKs and a smattering of other classes.

As a druid, I consider one of my most important roles to be flag-running. I can stealth into the enemy flag room and grab it while the defenders are distracted. I can streak across the field faster than anyone who's not mounted and break snares just by shifting in and out (which is macroed so it doesn't even take more than a split second). Then once I'm in base I can go into bear form and take a good amount of hits before going down. Being able to heal myself when the coast is clear is nice too.

I've run the flag dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of times, so I'm used to getting snared, dazed, and all sorts of awful things, but right now I'd have to say that Death Grip has to go down as one of the most annoying abilities ever.

It was almost like tug of war with the travel form kitty. One DK to the left of me yanked me, then less than a second later, another DK to the right of me yanked in the other direction. Getting away is going to be a much bigger pain, no matter what your class really, if these death knights don't start filtering out.

But! I did knock a couple off their high horses.

Despite the fact I like raiding as balance, I PvP as feral. It's been one of the weaker specs, but since the 3.0.2 patch landed it's gotten much better. I have much love for Infected Wounds. It keeps those tasty Alliance from running too far away. And it was also much fun watching this death knight think he was going to finish me off. (Just because, you know, he's a death knight. He thinks he's OP. He's all in blues. Etc.)

I was in bear form and we'd beaten each other quite low. I could practically see him waiting for his cooldowns to come up. So I popped Survival Instincts, Frenzied Regeneration, and topped them off with Barkskin. It was sweet revenge when he died to the wall of bear! Death Grip didn't get him out of that one!

And I could justify all the cooldowns because I was also guarding a node. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

[Druid] Reaching the Level 80 Hit Cap As Moonkin

As I been leveling I find I've yet to replace any of my moonkin gear, but as I transition from my early 70s to my mid-70s, it occurs to me that I'm going to want to start looking out for good gear for myself, lest another [Manimal's Cinch] happen where the pre-raid best in slot is some green that people vendored without knowing better.

As a moonkin, first and foremost on my mind reaching the hit cap. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, but hit is always worth more than damage. Because if you don't hit, how much damage are you doing?

And for the math conscious... 1 point of Hit rating is worth 1.09687 Spell Power courtesy of Graylo of Gray Matter. Sure, it's not a lot, but all else being equal, go for the hit. Hit would be especially important beyond the moonkin's own dps if the raid expects the moonkin to provide a debuff such as Improved Faerie Fire for the rest of the raid.

Most if not all raiding moonkin will talent for Balance of Power which brings the chance to miss down to 13% versus a raid boss. Assuming the raid's lucky enough to have a shadow priest (because goodness knows they were a rare breed on my server), the chance to miss will only be 10%. This means that the hit cap would be 341 or 263 hit rating depending on the presence of a shadow priest.

Now if we go to WoWHead and look at the leather caster gear with hit rating... wow, there is none prior to T7! Well, we're used to being the neglected spec. There's no reason we can't wear some cloth to make up for it.

So here's the list of spell hit gear to watch out for (or grind for). Some slots have more options listed than others since I try to go far enough down the list that there is something reasonably convenient to attain in the event heroics and thus badges are in short supply. I'm also assuming [Veiled Monarch Topaz] for all sockets unless following the socket bonus results in more hit or dps. As always, you can socket for spell hit as an option if your gear does not have it natively.


[The Argent Skullcap]61 hitIcecrown quest - The Crusaders' Pinnacle
[Hat of Wintery Doom]52 hit w/ socketTailoring BoE


[Necklace of Taldaram]43 hitAhn'kahet (H) drop
[Emeline's Locket]37 hit w/ socketIcecrown quest - The Admiral Revealed
[Amulet of the Malefic Necromancer]37 hit w/ socketIcecrown quest - Poke and Prod


[Mantle of the Underhalls]33 hit w/ socketIcecrown quest - Mantle of the Underhalls (Alliance only)
[Spauldors of the Runeseeker]28 hit Un'goro Crater quest - The Activation Rune


[Hateful Gladiator's Cloak of Ascendancy]34 hit 38,000 honor
[Dark Soldier Cape]29 hit Honored w/ Knights of the Ebon Blade
[Cape of Seething Steam]29 hit Halls of Lightning drop


[Water-Drenched Robe]76 hit Violet Hold (H) drop
[Ebonweave Robe]68 hit Tailoring BoE
[Robes of Lightning]55 hitHalls of Lightning quest - Whatever it Takes!


[Fleshwerk Shackles]26 hit Icecrown quest - Killing Two Scourge With One Skeleton
[Soothsayer's Wristwraps]23 hit Zul'Drak quest - Hell Hath a Fury


[Ebonweave Gloves]51 hit Tailoring BoE
[Lava Burn Gloves]36 hit Violet Hold drop


[Girdle of Bane]48 hit Utgarde Pinnacle (H) drop
[Plush Sash of Guzbah]45 hit w/ socket40 Emblem of Heroism
[Belt of Unified Souls]42 hitCulling of Stratholme (H) drop
[Sash of the Wizened Wyrm]40 hitHonored w/ Wyrmrest Accord


Forget it. There aren't any. Find some good DPS pants and socket hit if needed.


[Leiah's Footpads]51 hit Icecrown quest - The Air Stands Still


[Ring of Northern Tears]39 hit w/ socketJewelcrafting BoE
[Brunnhildar Runed Ring]39 hit Storm Peaks quest - Making a Harness
[Shimmering Cold-Iron Band]30 hit Howling Fjord quest - Down to the Wire/Hasty Preparations
[Voodoo Signet]24 hit Gundrak quest - For Posterity


[Mark of the War Prisoner]73 hitViolet Hold (H) drop
[Figurine - Twilight Serpent]58 hit w/ socketJewelcrafting BoP
[Rune of Infinite Power]55 hitDragonblight quest - Mystery of the Infinite, Redux

Two-Handed Weapon

[Grand Staff of Jordan]68 hit 325 Stone Keeper's Shard
[Chilly Slobberknocker]50 hit Zul'Drak quest - The Champion of Anguish
[Stave of Youthful Sorrow]44 hit Icecrown quest - Tirion's Gambit

One-Handed Weapon

[Flameheart Spell Scalpel]34 hit Revered w/ Kirin Tor
[Ritualist's Bloodletter]30 hit Icecrown quest - Time to Hide


[Telestra's Journal]39 hit The Nexus (H) drop

It can take several pieces, but it's definitely possible to reach 263, or even 341 hit rating before Naxx. It's even possible to do it with just quest and rep rewards if random drops just aren't happening or PvP isn't your thing. There's an unfortunate derth of decent hit gear in certain slots (shoulders, wrist, legs, and feet), but those can be focused on for sheer dps with other pieces.

Keep in mind that I just pulled out the gear with highest amount of hit rating I could find so in some cases there are greens listed that might be better passed over in favor of gear with less hit but more damage, but if you're having trouble reaching the hit cap, this is a good list to start with.

Final Note: The arena season is not up yet so I did not include any gear that requires an arena rating or arena points. There are a few pieces of very nice hit gear though if you can swing it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Moonkin on a Siege Tank!

I skipped the midnight launch stuff and opted for hitting Best Buy a little after 10am the next day (due to the luck of having the day off). After travel time, installation, and repatching up to 3.0.3 it was about noon and I was in!

So here's how my first day in Wrath went:

The first thing I did was make my obligatory death knight. Not so much because I wanted to level one to 80 first thing off the bat, but I knew it was still early in the day and I wanted to see the death knight storyline before it got too crowded and before it was rendered completely irrevelent.

It turned out to be a good thing because there is one quest that's made better for having a group of people around. Look at the screenshot below.

There's a quest that involves an attack wave of death knights, and if you'll notice, most of those death knights in the picture are other players. Much, much cooler knowing that there's a whole mob of people with you.

I played my DK until the DK-specific quest material wrapped up and then parked her in Org, where she has been from the start of her play time until the end of it, the only female tauren death knight I've seen.

Then I came back on Hana and sent my druidic butt up to Northrend.

I chose Borean Tundra to start in because I understand the Taunka are there and I figured Hana would be happy to meet her distant bison relatives. I've since found that I don't like their models very much though. The males look like their faces have been pancaked in and the females are just female tauren.

The initial set of quests around Warsong Hold didn't do much for me, but once I got past that they were more fun. I understand Borean Tundra was more crowded than Howling Fjord, judging from my guildies who largely ended up going to HF to avoid the crowds, but after the immediate area around and to the west of Warsong Hold it's not so bad. It's also nice seeing Saurfang put in an unexpected appearance in what would otherwise be just a random quest chain.

The western coastline quests involving the mist? Very cool. The quests themselves aren't so unusual, but the environment in which they take place in is really what does the job. And there are nice touches to other quests where you'll even get transportation form one quest hub to the next.

Borean Tundra also had Hana's first experience with a vehicle. I'd played with them in the Death Knight starting zone, but I can safely say that nothing prepared me for this:

Moonkin on a siege tank! Yes, moonkin will not shift out to caster form when riding a vehicle! It was freaking hilarious running around the Plains of Nasam as a moonkin on a siege tank and literally mowing down Scourge. I'm sure they had no idea what hit them. Now if only I could see a druid doing this in tree form...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Arena Rating and Point Requirements Borked

I'm not sure if this is uniformly the case across all servers, especially since the official forums are quite locked down at the moment due to the mail crisis, but at least on Skywall Horde the arena vendors seem to have gone nuts.

For instance, [Brutal Gladiator's Ornamented Guards] are now a 1850 rated piece of armor, and several of the S4 weapons have no rating at all. I hear of people buying S2 gear completely free.

Personally there's just one item I wanted to get, more as a momento than anything else with my leftover arena points, but now that [Vengeful Gladiator's Ornamented Headcover] is out of reach. What used to be a 1500 point item with no rating requirement is now 1875 with a requirement of 1850.

I know Blizzard has a lot going on right now and really this was just a momento I wanted, but still... I hope this gets fixed before Gillien goes to Northrend. I want my paladin halo! Fortunately I plan on taking Hana up first, so if Blizzard needs a few days hammer out the issues I can afford to wait a while.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Defending Orgrimmar

Snippet of a conversation in game tonight.

I had other things I was going to write about... pre-Naxx gear for balance druids, properly using Beacon of Light as a paladin, and I'm still working on those, but for now they've been derailed by the start of the Wrath of the Lich King launch event.

I remember last time with the Burning Crusade this was a crazy ordeal. Kazzak disappeared, some raid demon went roaming, and demons streamed out of the Dark Portal for us to kill. I earned my [Tabard of the Protector] and I'm proud of it.

So when I was at work this afternoon and the event started going live (me being on the west coast), I was extremely excited. I couldn't wait to get home. Except that I had to pick up a few things from the grocery store first and even then I did get home I still had a few more things to do like prepare for a workshop tomorrow and put out the trash because pick-up's in the morning... Eh, yeah...

I ended up logging on about 10pm server time (go me), but things were still bustling. I ported from Shatt to Org almost immediately and ran for the arena in the Valley of Honor. There were abomination bodies everywhere, but I was lucky. The event wasn't active at the moment and given that it runs on a twenty minute cycle I was fortunate to arrive in time to catch the beginning of it. I even ran into a couple friends along the way.

And so I found a small table with Thrall on one side and a much, much more imposing Garrosh Hellscream on the other. Saurfang and Sylvanus Windrunner stand nearby with their own opinions on the matter at hand. At first I was very excited because I moused over Thrall and saw that he had a quest, but it turns out it was only Hidden Enemies, which I'd never done on Hana. Ah, sad face for me.

Shortly after my disappointment though, the event started up and everyone started spewing text faster than I could read their speech bubbles. Apparently Garrosh has found his prozac since his days in Nagrand and has become an orc among orcs, and for some reason really wants to lead an army of the Horde up to Northrend bad. I'm not sure exactly why he has so much of a personal stake in this, but he thinks he's orc enough to do it and he duels Thrall for the privelege.

Garrosh and Thrall duke it out in the Orgrimmar arena and it's kind of funny watching them go at it. It just makes me wonder if we ever look like that when we're dueling. And in a way it kind does, but no shaman would would waste time casting a Lightning Bolt and suffering all that pushback while a melee opponent is beating on him. And where are his totems?

Sadly, Thrall's Lightning Bolt is the only spell that's actually named in their arsenal, which is too bad since Garrosh has this nifty lightning spewing ability that doesn't look like anything else currently in game.

Their fight is interrupted though before either side can claim a decisive victory (yes, Thrall is down more health when the battle ends, but it's not by a whole lot so I wouldn't say he actually loses) and then when the bystanders run outside the arena the army of frost wyrms and abominations attack!

I was totally ready to go. I moonkined it up and started shooting Moonfire at the nearest one. Thrall, Saurfang, Garrosh, and Sylvanus Windrunner all joined the fray. At one point I found Saurfang already fighting an abomination and pulled aggro off him, which was pretty funny just because of his over-inflated reputation (now immortalized in my screenshot).

But after the initial rush of running into battle... I was a little disappointed, and when I said "I'm a little disappointed honestly" I wasn't really talking about Saurfang. I was talking about the event. The abominations died real easy, and the frost wyrms were annoying because they either flew too high or too far away for me to consistently attack them as a caster. I can only imagine how annoying that would have been for melee.

It was fun watching the named NPCs running around, and they really did a lot of fighting (Sylvanus struts like she means it and if I was her enemy I would totally stay out of her way!), but I didn't really feel like I was making any progress in fighting this invasion. I'd kill abominations and just after it seemed like I was done, another one would pop up over here, or another over there. Frost wyrms kept falling down but I couldn't tell who was killing them because they kept flying around without actually sticking to any one target.

And then... it was over. I barely caught wind of a conversation with Thrall at the end of it. There was no scream saying they'd been beaten back. Just nothing. The named NPCs stood around the table and then faded out, reset as it were, and all was as it was before.

I'm hoping that's not all there will be because I was hoping for something a little more memorable. The fighting's only in the Valley of Honor, making it so easy to miss the carnage entirely. I wasn't expecting another plague of zombies, but really, if that had been run closer to the actual release date I would have been happier with it.

Tomorrow night I'm gonna to hang out on my Alliance alt and watch the Alliance end of things. I won't be online at all on Wednesday, but that will hopefully leave me fresh for Thursday!

Friday, November 7, 2008

[Paladin] Healing with a Sword

There is one side benefit, for arguably cosmetic reasons, that I'm looking forward to now that spellpower has been consolidated, and that is the fact that caster swords that previous benefited mages, warlocks, and even prot pallies will now be worth something to the holy paladin. Sure the shape of a weapon doesn't matter much when it comes to the stats needed to heal, but visually I find the sword more appropriate for a paladin. For a blood elf paladin, it's even their starting weapon.

Back when I was leveling Gillien in Azeroth I used swords almost exclusively. Spell damage and healing didn't exist for most weapons, and stylistically it seemed the most appropriate.

But come Outland, where all healing weapons are either maces or staves, and being that paladins can't use staves, the mace became pretty much the only choice for a holy paladin.

WotLK doesn't have very many caster swords, but compared to the say… zero healing swords available in BC it's better than nothing. Personally I'm hoping to snag a [Jeweled Coronation Sword] once it comes time to replace my [Gavel of Naaru Blessings]. No, it's not the best pre-Naxx healing weapon out there (spirit makes the pally side of me sad), but I certainly won't object to having it.

And then in Naxx itself there's the Grieving Spellblade (10-man), Life and Death (25-man), and The Turning Tide (25-man).

Of course it's not likely I'll see any of that soon, but if I can just get one healing sword and for it to be useful for me for a fair amount of time I'll be happy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

[Druid] Time to Respec… Again

Well, when I get home today I'm going to update to patch 3.0.3 and say good-bye to Typhoon. It was... interesting while it lasted.

The primary changes of interest to moonkin are the reduction of Earth and Moon from 5 ranks to 3 and a similar change made to Moonfury. Eclipse was buffed to do more damage and have a longer duration, but I still don't know if I'll take it just because I know that I'm the sort of person who will need a mod to get any mileage out of it. It is possible I'll spec into it once all the theorycrafting is full bore at level 80, but for now while I'm primarily concerned with leveling I don't see any point to it.

The four points freed up from those talents and the fifth since I'm dumping Typhoon are giving me a surprising amount of flexibility at 80 where I'm now considering between Owlkin Frenzy (for the anti-pushback and extra dps when I get splash damage), Celestial Focus (for the spell haste), and even Eclipse (for extra dps). Since I have points to spare after getting all my must-have talents, this means that in all likelihood I will have one of them. The prospect of having that option is admittedly baffling for me considering that there really was no choice in TBC.

A big part of what I eventually choose will likely depend on my experience with the new dungeon designs as I level up, so I'm going to put off deciding on an 80 spec for now.

When I get home today I'm going to go for this: 45/0/16.

I think it'll be good for leveling. Good regen from Intensity and Dreamstate will keep drinking to a minimum and all the key dps talents are still there. I won't have Earth and Moon or Starfall right off the bat, but they'll come with time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

[Paladin] Forbearance with Your Avenging Wrath

By now it seems just about every paladin blog has touched on the nerf to Avenging Wrath. It causes Forbearance again.

The fact Avenging Wrath had lost Forbearance at all for patch 3.0.2 was a cause for celebration by many paladins because it freed our best damage increasing ability from Divine Shield which also causes Forbearance. When it comes to which ability a paladin would rather take the penalty of Forbearance for the 12 seconds of immunity wins out in the majority of cases.

Prior to 3.0.2 there were two occasions I would use Avenging Wrath, both in PvE.

1) Boss fights while tanking

More damage means more threat and prior to 3.0.2 a tank would never Divine Shield unless it was in the form of a macro to do an emergency breaking of fear and Divine Protection would never be used at all.

2) DPSing in instances

I've done everything with Gillien as holy. What can I say? In order to stay reasonably "competitive" with my guildies while we were running through heroics I learned to use Avenging Wrath every time the cooldown was up. Sure, holy dps wasn't all that, but I could at least beat the tank (and though that's a minor accomplishment, think of how many times you've gone with a pug dps who couldn't even do that).

I never used Avenging Wrath in PvP, even when there was no one around to heal besides myself, because of Forbearance. A dead paladin does no dps so I would always save it for Divine Shield. And besides, it could be Spellstolen and what sane paladin would be comfortable risking the remote possibility of some mage running off with her Avenging Wrath while leaving her with the Forbearance? It's an ugly scenario.

After patch 3.0.2 I still was not comfortable using Avenging Wrath for much other than the two previous examples. Even when I needed to do a crazy amount of healing in a short amount of time I fell back on Divine Illumination to reduce the amount of mana I spent and used the Divine Favor + Holy Shock combo to force a proc of Infusion of Light and give me a quick Holy Light. It might have been because I just wasn't used to thinking of Avenging Wrath as a healing spell, but I still have yet to work it into a healing boost.

I did use it offensively in post-patch PvP though, and did the exact thing that Blizzard has now nerfed the paladin's ability to do. I Divine Shielded myself, popped Avenging Wrath, and then proceeded to demolish a mage who sadly couldn't do a thing to stop me except Blink and try to run away (but with Enlightened Judgements getting out of my range isn't quite what it used to be).

Was it overpowered? Maybe a little, but when someone is fighting me they're fighting a holy paladin who 9 times out of 10 will prefer finding someplace to safely heal someone else in a BG. I rarely dps in BGs (though I will in arena, if they would only start working regularly again). If I was ret and actually specced to do damage I could see this getting out of hand.

I don't want to get on the bandwagon lamenting why Blizzard didn't fix this earlier, considering how much they've been nerfing ret ever since the patch came out, but I find it a little odd that for this particular nerf it seems to be viewed as a nerf to all paladins and not just ret. Yes, as a holy paladin I've used these two in combination, and yes, it is a nerf, but it's not a huge nerf to the entire class.

It will once again remove the use of Avenging Wrath in PvP no matter the paladin's spec. But as far as PvE goes there's not much difference for holy and prot. Sure Avenging Wrath + Divine Shield might be nice if the holy paladin has to go on a healing binge of epic proportions in order to save the life of the party without drawing aggro or taking damage, but that would be a situational instance and blowing them together in such a situation would mean a minimum of three seconds of GCD that the paladin is not healing.

For a tank the paladin would lose the ability to use Divine Protection as an emergency button, but if the tank can't last the two minutes for Forbearance to wear off the fight probably wasn't meant to be won. And in the next attempt the tank could just not use Avenging Wrath to start off the fight. Threat generation is so much better post-patch Avenging Wrath might not even be necessary for all but the best geared parties.

Am I disappointed with this change?

A bit. I have two paladin guildies who are enjoying every bit of being ret while they can. One used to be holy and the other is hot-swapping between prot and ret depending on whether or not we need him to tank. They're having a good time and I'm happy for them.

On a more personal level I was happy with the removal of Forbearance, but honestly I barely used the Avenging Wrath and Diving Shield together and hardly used Avenging Wrath at all, so I won't notice what I missed... much. Probably what bothers me the most is that Forbearance is now two minutes. Pre-patch it was one minute. Then it was changed to three. Given the change to Avenging Wrath I figured it was a fair trade. But Avenging Wrath is back to what it was pre-patch (except with the bonus to healing) and Forbearance has only been shortened to two minutes.