April 23rd Season of Discovery Class Tuning: Physical Shamans and Twisting Paladins

April 23rd Season of Discovery Class Tuning: Physical Shamans and Twisting Paladins

Community Manager Kaivax has shared the class adjustments that will go live with the weekly maintenance for Season of Discovery tomorrow. Following the team’s request for feedback on certain classes, we can see some attempts to address the issues in question along with a few that weren’t previously mentioned.

First in the request for feedback were Shadow Priests, who have seen a marked decline in their relative DPS this phase due to poor scaling at this level. For the moment the developers have compensated with a 10% buff to Shadowform.

Holy Paladins were also cited as needing something new in their rotation, but for now they’re just getting a buff to their Sacred Shield, which has had its duration doubled. Retribution Paladins are also seeing buffs to Seal of Righteousness damage, which can now crit, and Crusader Strike, which now refreshes their judgement effects. But perhaps the biggest change for Paladins is to Seal of Martyrdom, which Blizzard recently buffed to keep Alliance and Horde raids more in line with each other in terms of mana regeneration. You’ll now be able to “seal twist” in Season of Discovery, alternating Martyrdom with another seal to gain the effects of both.

Sword Rogues were also slated for some attention, and they are getting it in the form of multiple buffs to Saber Slash. The ability’s bleed effect will now deal slightly less damage per tick, but it will stack up to 5 times, with each stack Increasing the damage done by Sinister Strike and Saber Slash.

Not included in the hotfixes are Warriors or Hunters, who were also mentioned in the feedback request.

Classes not previously mentioned that were included in the tuning are Druid and Shaman. Balance Druids will see a buffs in the form of a change to their Natural Weapons talent, which will now increase all damage done rather than just physical damage. Gale Winds will also now reduce the mana cost of Hurricane by an additional 40%. Restoration Druids get a boost too: Swiftmend will no longer remove a Rejuvenation or Regrowth when used, although it does still require one of them to be active before you can use it.

Shamans will see a change as well through Mental Dexterity, which will now last 3 times as long, although it will only trigger from Stormstrike and Lava Lash. This is intended to restrict the ability to Enhancement Shamans. To compensate for this loss for Elemental Shamans, their Burn will also double Flame Shock‘s damage and increase its duration by 6 seconds, as well as striking 2 additional targets.

The list of changes closes with a note that changes are planned for Hunters, Mages, Shamans, and Warlocks in the coming weeks.

Kaivax – (Source)

Tomorrow, during each region’s normal maintenance period, we will apply the following adjustments to classes in Season of Discovery.


  • The Natural Weapons talents now increases all damage done by druids in Season of Discovery, instead of just physical damage.
  • The Gale Winds rune now reduces the mana cost of Hurricane by 60%.
  • Swiftmend no longer consumes a Rejuvenation or Regrowth effect on the target when used.
    • Developers’ notes: Please note that it does still require Rejuvenation or Regrowth to be on the target to be used.


  • Seal of Righteousness damage can now be critical hits.
  • Sacred Shield’s duration is extended to 60 seconds (was 30 seconds).
  • Crusader Strike has now gained an additional effect: Crusader strike now refreshes all judgement effects active on the target to a 30 second remaining duration.
  • Seal of Martyrdom can now “twist” with other seals, including Seal of Command.
    • Developers’ notes: Seal “twisting” was an interesting emergent effect that became popular during the original Burning Crusade, that utilized the slower server messaging system used in early versions of WoW to slightly extend the duration of the Paladin’s active seal for a short time whenever a second seal was cast. This effectively allowed paladins to momentarily gain the benefit of two seals at once if they timed the application of a new seal to line up perfectly just before their weapon swing. This is something we would have considered a bug at the time, but for many players, it became a popular feature of the class, allowing skilled players to increase their output with precision gameplay.
      We recreated this playstyle in Burning Crusade Classic and since then it’s been a popular request in other versions of original WoW, including Season of Discovery. We had concerns about allowing Martyrdom and Command specifically to be twisted together in Season of Discovery for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the playstyle is highly mana inefficient, it largely requires addons such as a weapon swing timer to function properly, and twisting can be unintuitive for less experienced players. As the game matures and we continue to listen to player feedback however, we recognize that for some, this is part of the charm and uniqueness of playing a paladin during those early eras of WoW’s history. We consider this change to be experimental and we will watch the performance and behavior of Retribution closely after this change. Should it prove problematic, we may revert this change or apply additional adjustments later. We greatly appreciate the feedback we’ve received about this thus far.
      With this change to allow twisting, we do not expect to see a major change in the “optimal” way to play Retribution right away. Due to the interaction between Art of War, Martyrdom, and Exorcism, we’ll likely need a larger redesign and changes to that interaction to truly add more diversity to the Retribution playstyle. We’re evaluating options here for potential changes we can make either via hotfix during Phase 3 or as part of a larger effort for Phase 4.


  • Shadowform now increases all shadow damage done by 25% (was 15%).


  • Saber Slash bleed now stacks up to 5 times.
  • Saber Slash bleed now also increases the impact damage done by Sinister Strike and Saber Slash by 15% per stack for the rogue who applied the bleed.
  • Saber Slash bleed now deals 3% of the rogue’s Attack Power in damage per tick (was 5%).


  • Mental Dexterity now only triggers from dealing damage with Stormstrike and Lava Lash, and it now lasts 30 seconds (was 10 seconds).
  • Burn now increases Flame Shock Damage by 100% and flame shock DoT duration by 6 seconds, and causes Flame Shock to strike up to 5 targets (was 3 targets).
    • Developers’ notes: We’ve received a lot of feedback about the overall usability of mental dexterity, particularly for Elemental Shamans. This ability was not intended to be used by elemental, so the adjustments we’ve made are to help ensure its usage is a bit more enhancement-centric. To compensate, we’ve increased the output and usability of the Burn rune, with a slight quality-of-life improvement in the form of a Flame Shock duration increase which allows two Lava Burst casts to be used within a single Flame Shock duration. This is likely not going to be enough to overall bring elemental up to the level we want, so we intend to continue to make other tactical adjustments in future class adjustment updates as needed.

In the Weeks to Come

We’re carefully planning for more adjustments to Hunters, Mages, Shamans, and Warlocks in future updates. We really appreciate the feedback we’ve received since the start of Phase 3 and look forward to sharing more about our next round of adjustments with you soon.

About the Author


I've been playing World of Warcraft on and off since vanilla, usually as a healer or caster and often as a guild leader. I play both retail and classic. I also love RPGs, sandboxes, and sims.

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