19 October, 2006

Crusader Strike - Its Place in the World

Now that a lot of the initial excitement has abated, people are starting to sit down and examine how exactly this new and long overdue talent will work. As I have not been fortunate to be a part of the beta, I can only speculate. Based on the feedback of beta players and analysis of the expansion Retribution tree, however, I can venture to explain how I believe Crusader Strike will factor into the 2H wielding Paladin's playstyle.

First, let's look at the description of Crusader Strike:

An instant strike that causes weapon damage plus 40% of your Holy spell damage and refreshes all judgments on the target.

It's still up in the air at the moment whether or not the weapon damage element is or isn't normalized. What will really help this abilty scale, though seems to be one's spell damage stat. The description is unclear, as it specifically enumerates holy spell damage - something which is only specifically enhanced by Sanctity Aura and Judgment of the Crusader (spell damage and healing found on armor and such is general spell damage, not just holy). If one takes the narrow interpretation, we might conclude that Crusader Strike won't scale very well at all with gear like Judgement Armor. I'm still waiting on a blue post to clear this matter up.

Regardless of how well it scales, I believe it will still only hold a ministerial as opposed to a magisterial place in a Retribution Paladin's playstyle. If you're going to pick up Crusader Strike, chances are you'll also be grabbing Fanaticism. We know for certain that our existing means of dealing damage benefit from general spell damage. Fanaticism, and many other talents in the Retribution tree are designed to increase our holy damage output more than physical.

I find this phenomenon to be more than just coincidental. While Retribution Paladins will still want to enhance their critical strike rating, Blizzard has helped ease our conflict with Warriors, Rogues, and Hunters by ensuring that the best way to scale our damage is through both crit and spell damage.

Alright, enough farting around. What's your point already?

My point is that in the Burning Crusade, Retribution Paladins with Crusader Strike will still want to stock up on a substantial amount of spell damage gear. One of the most significant benefits of Crusader strike is that not only is it instant cast, but it will not reset the swing timer. Reading the Paladin forums, I'm getting the impression here and there of the notion that Crusader Strike will be the new damage dealing dynamo for Retribution Paladins. I don't find this to necessarily be the case. Our talent tree tells us that the real meat and potatoes of our damage output will come from holy damage with SoC procs and various judgments enhanced by Sanctity Aura, JotC, Fanaticism, etc. What Crusader Strike does is give us an edge that Holy and Protection Paladins won't have - added damage on demand that we can squeeze in between regular weapon swings. Crusader Strike is the green stuff - the asparagus - on our plate, rounding out the meal called pwnage. It's the vitamins that give us that extra punch, or keep us swinging through counterspells and the like that would leave a Holy Paladin impotent.

I haven't necessarily been set back by the news of greens and blues blowing raid gear away. If for no other reason, I'm endeavoring to complete my Judgement Armor because it looks badass. I'm hoping to pass through the Dark Portal on release day, in full Judgement with melee crit accessories, and strike faces - but mostly to enhance the big 1 - 2 punches I'm throwing around with my SoC procs and judgments.


Blogger Glam of Proudmore said...

Don't know much on the Crusader Strike ability. However, from talking with others that have been involved in the alpha & beta testing, Righteous Defense is pretty much a worthless ability. Once casted on someone that has the aggro (say a mage that sheeped for the pull) the paladin only has aggro for 3 seconds. Also, with the lack of mana regen in gear, the paladin uses up his mana reserves quickly trying to maintain that aggro. Seems as if Blizz fell through again. Great concept, poor follow through.

12:03 AM  
Anonymous snow said...

Hmm, I've heard the exact opposite. In fact, Kalgan responded to my question on the forum about Righteous Defense, saying it's identical to Taunt in that it puts you at the top of the aggro list(not like Challenging Shout). Instead of using it on a sheep pull, why not use conscecrate first and save the cd in case someone pulls off of you.(If the mage is the only one on the aggro list with 0 aggro, taunting gives you.. 0 aggro). I've also heard tanking paladins usually have more mana than necessary with Spiritual Attunement. Now only one of my guildies knows someone in the beta, so most of this information I'm getting from the EJ forums. Who are your sources?

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No... crusader strike is just like mortal strike. At 60, MS is weapon damage +160. CS is weapon damage +X, X being 40% of your +damage. Read that part, "weapon damage" you will need some STR to back up that swing damage the BONUS damage is calculated based on spelldamage stat.

Why not just go ahead and say that MS isn't an intergral part of an arms warrior? Why not just say MS doesn't scale well? In fact it scales worse than CS by that logic because the bonus damage component is completely static.

There is a reason why Blizzard made the bonus damage recieve bonuses from spelldamage... so we can benefit from pally gear (physical stats and spell stats).

I hope you realize, blizzard is making a push to differentiate pally gear and warrior gear ever since the 1.9 patch. This is so pallies can do everything with just 1 set of gear. The +damage component on your gear helps healing and damage. The STR on a lot of pally gear helps your swing damage (physical damage).

This is already true for SoC, whose BASE DAMAGE is defined by your swing damage (i.e. physical stats), but comes out as holy and thus receives bonuses from spelldamage.

11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Also, with the lack of mana regen in gear, the paladin uses up his mana reserves quickly trying to maintain that aggro."

You won't need regen gear when your healers will be restoring it for you:

Spiritual Attunement - Rank 2
A passive ability that gives the Paladin mana when healed by other friendly targets. The amount of mana gained is equal to 10% of the amount healed.

If you ever tanked before you will see you get a LOT of heals. If you have scrolling combat text, you see nothing but green most of the time. A greater heal that costs 800 mana will restore 80 mana each time it is cast.

I predict that most pallies will stay at full mana with this ability. It's not uncommon for MTs to generate more rage than they can spend (due to being hit for 1000s of damage). So I supposed Blizzard is trying to imitate that affect.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Vaelin said...

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Crusader Strike isn't a potent ability. It will most certainly increase the DPS potential of a Retribution Paladin. Ideally, you'll want gear with strength or attack power, crit rating, and spell damage.

11:39 PM  
Anonymous snow said...

There's a paladin dps calculator (excel format) with crusader strike here:

I played around with it and added Seal of Command to Crusader strikes to see what kind of a difference it would make... let's just say if paladins want to be taken seriously as potentially high dps, we need to make sure that crusader strike can proc command. It's a very sizable difference.

10 extra attacks per minute could mean (weapon speed*1.16) extra SoC procs per minute... so if your SoC normally hits for 700 you are looking at a ~50 dps increase... to say nothing of the burst potential.

Lobby the forums! Even if the idea is rejected as overpowered at least we could get a response on it.

Also lobby for avenger's shield to interrupt spells... Us prot pallies need something worthwhile too :D

11:50 PM  
Anonymous snow said...

Oh, it also adds 10 more chances to proc windfury :D

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Davaeorn said...

Crusader Strike is there to justify bringing a retnoob along for a raid seeing how every judgement is limited to a 10 second duration with the removal of Lasting Judgement - it refreshes -all- judgements, meaning that the healnoobs and tanknoobs can leave their judgement problems to the retnoob with good faith.

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Vaelin said...

Actually, Davaeorn, they've increased the duration a judgment will stay on a target to 20 seconds now, to make up for the loss of Lasting Judgment.

1:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where are you seeing that they increased Judgements to 20 seconds?

2:06 AM  
Anonymous Vaelin said...

Latest screenshots put out by players, showing the seal spell descriptions show the change to 20 second judgements.

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Crusader strike video for the curious. Looks fun.

2:42 AM  

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