The 2.3 Patch Notes are out. Some first impressions follow.
Expertise: We have added a new stat and associated rating called expertise and expertise rating. Expertise rating converts to expertise at the same rate that weapon skill rating formerly converted at. Each point of expertise reduces the chance for your attacks to be dodged or parried by 0.25%.
Weapon Skill: All items and abilities that granted weapon skill have been changed. In most cases, they were converted to expertise or expertise rating. Ranged attacks do not benefit from expertise, so ranged weapon skill has generally been replaced by critical strike bonuses or hit bonuses. In a few cases, talents have been changed to other effects to avoid granting players excessive amounts of expertise
Bah, I have to go rewrite my +Hit Caps guide. Basically, this removes the disparity between the first 5 points of weapon skill and the subsequent points, which is a good thing. Hit caps will generally rise across the board for physical damage classes. At first glance, expertise rating is roughly equal to hit rating for melee dps classes, and twice as good for tanks. It also raises the possibility of capping out both hit rating and expertise rating, and always hitting/critting the mob.
Healing: Almost all items and enchantments that provide bonus healing now also provide a smaller number (approximately 1/3) of bonus spell damage. There are a few items and enchantments where this was not possible, such as random-stat items and Zul'Gurub enchantments, but this is now the case on virtually all other items.
Awesome! Simply awesome. I can solo in my raiding epics, and even add extra damage in between heals. Heck, I might even be able to disenchant my spelldamage set now and free up a entire bag worth of bank space!
Blessing of Light: Lower ranks of Flash of Light and Holy Light are now properly penalized when used with this Blessing.
This nukes downranking Holy Light pretty hard. Which is how it should be. In my opinion, costs are what maintain balance, and messing around with costs leads to degenerate gameplay. To be honest, I think Blizzard should do away with down-ranking entirely, not even offering it as an option. I think the game would be better for it.
Cleanse and Purify range increased to 40 yards.
Another great change. No more healing and then finding out you're out of range of a Cleanse.
Crusader Strike (Retribution) cooldown reduced from 10 to 6 seconds.
Exorcism mana cost reduced.
Hammer of Wrath mana cost reduced.
Holy Wrath mana cost reduced.
Improved Seal of the Crusader (Retribution) benefits folded into the base spell. This talent now gives the benefits of the Sanctified Crusader talent instead.
Judgement of Light: The combat log will now show the mana gained from rank 5 of this ability as Judgement of Light instead of Seal of Light.
Pursuit of Justice (Retribution) is now 3 ranks and increases movement speed by 5/10/15% and also reduces the chance you'll be hit by spells by 1/2/3%.
Sanctified Crusader (Retribution) renamed Sanctified Seals, which now increases your chance to critically hit with all spells and melee attacks by 1/2/3% and reduces the chance your Seals will be dispelled by 33/66/100%.
Vengeance (Retribution) duration increased from 15 to 30 seconds.
Vindication (Retribution) frequency and duration increased and now reduces all attributes by 5/10/15%, not just Strength and Agility.
Various Retribution buffs that seem aimed at PvP for some reason. I'm sure that it will help there, but threat reduction seems a curious omission, given that DPS warriors and Enhancement Shamans got extra threat reduction.
Weapon Expertise (Protection) renamed Combat Expertise, now increases expertise by 1/2/3/4/5 and total Stamina by 2/4/6/8/10%.
Solid change. I predict that the standard Protection build will drop Reckoning for Weapon Expertise. As well, with the changes to Improved Seal of the Crusader and Pursuit of Justice, the new challenge will be bleeding enough points from Protection to fill out Retribution.
Corpses that belong to someone in your party, but that you cannot loot will say in the corpse mouseover who has loot rights on that corpse. This will help skinners who want to know who to talk to in order to skin their corpse, as well as master looters when special loot drops on a normal monster. Everyone will then see that there is a monster that the master looter has loot rights on.
It comes late, but no raid shall ever be faced again with an unlooted Core Hound. Let us mourn the passing of the defining experience of Molten Core: "Loot the Hound!"
Lowered the fireball damage of Defias Pillagers.
Their unholy reign of terror has finally come to an end.
Elite mobs outside of pre-Burning Crusade dungeons have been changed to non-elite.
The burning question of 2.3: Has Hogger been nerfed?
Other than that there's a lot of UI cleanup changes, new low level content, a new 10-man, and guild banks. There's also some crazy Arms/Fury warrior changes which I don't really understand. All in all, a very full content patch. I don't think PvE Retribution paladins are going to be too happy, but it looks fairly decent otherwise.