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.
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