WoW… Oh hei! I still play that!

You know you’ve fallen out of the loop when you come across lists of Holy Paladin bloggers… and your name is nowhere to be found. Which is fair enough – I haven’t written anything substantial since that guide from two patches ago, which I never even polished up. It’s just. That. Time. Goes by. So fast. SO FAST. Didn’t I write that last guide post YESTERDAY? OMG.

But have no fear! Newcomer bloggers Paladiner and Lucy have got you covered, especially when it comes to Heroic Mode info. Super busy Getsu also finds the time to post some Holy Paladin thoughts as well (I complain that I can’t update because I’m busy, but he’s like 200 times busier than me and still finds time for Holy Pally philosophy /shame).

And if Heroic raiding and patch notes aren’t your thing, the awesome Megacode is still going strong with his regular podcasts on Normal modes, basics and other must-knows. He’s also done some fantastic interviews with high profile players. (Speaking of Megacode’s podcasts, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say it yet, but I wasn’t told not to say anything and I’m super super excited so I’m going to say it anyway: he has another round table coming up! I can’t wait! I think we should do like a holy paladin cafe once a month, where a bunch of us grab mics, a bunch more get into the chat channel and we just pally talk. No prep, no editing. Just glorious, glorious pally talk. Would anyone else be interested in that?)

So we’re digesting 5.3 sideways, 5.4 is on the horizon (already? WTF) yet all I want to talk about are Bioware games and nerd conventions. That’s just how I am. But still, I will not be left out during these kinda-difficult-but-we’ve-been-through-worse Holy Paladin times.

5.3 and The Great Mastery and T14 4-pc Nerf of 2013

Of Tier Gear 14 and 15

Unlike most, I made the switch from T14 4pc to T15 as soon as I had enough T15 to get a 2pc. The reasoning was that my T14 gear came from a mix of LFR and Normal mode while my T15 was nice and shiny Normal and Heroic stamped.

I experimented by switching back and forth, and once I got used to both, I could get roughly equal numbers. T14, for me, was all about the EF blanketing, while T15 lets me go crazy with Holy Radiance. (Holy Radiancing – something I know many of my fellows are ticked off about. But what can you do? Perhaps it’s just our overachieving tanks, but it seems like the only T15 fight where we need any kind of tank healing assignments is Heroic Mags and MAYBE SOMETIMES Heroic Council. For everything else, there’s Holy Radiance.) As I shifted toward T15 and got deeper in heroic content, I found that my old T14 set just didn’t have the mana regen necessary for today’s modern boss fights. So off to the vendor we went.

Paladiner suggests skipping the T15 4pc. His experience with specific fights doesn’t reflect my own, probably because he runs with a different healer team makeup, and, more likely, he does 10s while I do 25s. But! As stubborn as I am about keeping my shiny 4pc, I do agree that the extra stat bonus from an upgrade from normal-mode T15 piece to a heroic (or better, a Heroic THUNDERFORGED!) non-T15 piece would probably give your healing more oomph than a boost to Beacon.

There are some exceptions – my copally and I cross-beacon on Heroic Mags and we each get a lot of healing out of it. A lot. While we don’t seem to get the same kind of Beacon numbers on Heroic Council, I suspect that when we switch to direct healing Frostbite targets, our Beacons (again, cross-beaconing) have made other healers lives much easier. Otherwise, it seems the other fights in Throne are more raid damage typed, where extra Mastery and extra Spirit to support shiny Holy Radiances would go further than a boost to Beacon.

That said, I creepy stalked some of the highest HPS pallies in the US, and the vast majority (but not all!) were using T15 4pc. Note, though, their healing situations might not reflect that of the average raid. Plus they might swap gear around between fights.

And, what else? Oh yes, Mastery nerfs. Ouch.

Mastery Nerfs and healing styles

I checked my logs after the nerf and I half expected to find myself booted from my guild. It hurt my healing that bad. My copally was healing just fine, though, so I think the numbers may have had more to do with me than with the nerf. I tried harder the next week, and while I couldn’t get to where I was before the nerf, I did manage to not be rock bottom of the meters on every fight.

A couple of pallies asked me if they should change their stat priorities given the changes to Mastery. I don’t do much experimenting with things that extreme – but if anyone wants to give it a try, I’d be happy to look at the results.

I went to World of Logs again and went through a dozen of the highest ranking paladins (for 25 Heroic, mind you) and Mastery was a unanimous priority.

Another unanimous trait was the healing style of Holy Shock/Holy Radiance to generate Holy Power, followed by Eternal Flame blanketing. I swear most of them don’t even have Light of Dawn in their spell book.

(I try to heal like that, but apparently I fail pretty hard. In a fight 90 seconds shorter, Envy’s Finella gets more than twice the Holy Radiances and EFs out than I can!)

A strategy they use and that I hadn’t come across in discussions, is to take Holy Avenger (remember Holy Avenger, the level 75 talent?) and use it on CD. Combine with Divine Favor and Avenging Wrath for extra sexiness.

Simple and brilliant. For 18 seconds, you can get a lot of badass Eternal Flames out. Then you have 72 to 102 seconds to generate EFs the old fashion way.

I’m going to try this tonight.

As for meter rankings for the pros since the nerf, it seems that those pallies who were topping the meters before are now only slightly behind their Disc Priest buddies. Their healing environment is kinda different than the average raider (they have less healers, which spreads damage differently, and their healing aims more for numbers than functionality and bare survival), but the rest of us still have no excuse.

5.4, Flex Raiding, Minor Changes and Beyond

The Holy Paladin of the Future

I was happy to find no trace of those Eternal Flame nerfs everyone’s been panicking about. (Those aren’t hidden somewhere, are they? I’m scared!)

Our class changes are pretty minor. Paladiner’s wringed as much analysis out of our set bonuses as possible. Dedralie at Healiocentric has some discussion on our general changes on her blog as well.

If you want a TL;DR of our predicted changes, here it is: some wording on talents and some tiny number adjustments on Hand of Purity. At the time, I doubt anything will actually be noticeable in game. (Other than, obviously, T16 gear.)

And Flex Raiding!

Flex Raiding

Why is everyone so upset about Flex Raiding?

I think my guildy had the best reaction to the announcement: “Will I be getting an achievement for Flex Raiding?

I can see how a third lockout would be annoying to guilds in the upper-but-not-raiding-24-hours-a-day bracket. Even so, it only takes a couple of weeks for these guilds before everyone has everything they need from pre-normal raid lockouts, weeks where most of us are chained to our computers anyway. And adding a third lockout would probably reduce the number of weeks it takes to get saturated with pre-normal gear.

Personally, I’m super happy about this. I doubt, however, I’ll use it much. For me, I think, Flex raiding is coming too late. For the longest time, I wished there were some way I could help my off server friends with current tier fights without having to built a raiding alt. I also wished there was a way we could have scaling fights, so we didn’t spent more time looking for pugs than actually playing. By now, though, most of my off servers friends have scattered. I’ve lost touch with too many of them and don’t feel comfortable sending a “hey, wanna Flex Raid with me?“. But still, I’m happy the opportunity will be there, should I get the call.

It might also be a way for me to connect with my own guild. During regular raids, I still freeze up whenever someone talks to me (and with my fluttery attention span, it’s very hard for me to concentrate on the raid and chat to guildies at the same time). I tried running LFR with them, but it’s not the same with a bunch of a strangers in our group. So even though I’ve been in the guild for months and am quite happy (the raids are efficient, fair and entertaining, what more could I ask for?), I’m not as engaged as I usually am. Flex raiding would perfect for drunken, no stress guild fun.

What else is coming up in 5.4? Virtual realms?

Virtual Realms or Are we really just looking for an excuse to overreact?

I play on Tichondrius, which, I think, has become the most populated realm after last week’s character service discount. Why everyone wants to move to a server where there are up to 40 minute queues in the evening and where you have to get up at 5 am to do dailies if you don’t want to spend more time getting ganked than playing the game, I have no idea. But long story short, I don’t think I’ll be affected by virtual realms.

As for everyone else, it sounds like virtual realms will help somewhat with the challenges of playing on a low pop server, namely guild recruiting and finding fun things to do with strangers on offnights. Perhaps I’m missing something huge, but I can’t see where the problem is.

There! A WoW post at last!

I think that sums my recent thoughts on the game.

I do still play, I assure you. Cadenza is now 7/13H in 25s. Thankfully, Throne of Thunder calls for waaaay less twitchy movement than, um, that other dungeon who’s name I apparently blocked from my memory. I still die enough to worry about getting kicked. Every time I see an in-game mail from my GM I get all “oh noes!“. (It’s usually just a shipment of raid food, though. Why he does this, I’m not sure. I wonder if his food Auction House alt has a name similar to Rykga and I’m getting them by accident. Or perhaps it’s a quiet hint that I need more spirit. But, you know, I won’t turn down free raid food.)

The mic port on my desktop blew so now I can’t talk on Vent or Skype or Mumble. Not sure if there’s a way to fix that without having to change my whole motherboard. (While I did build this computer with my own two hands, I’m still pretty clueless about how everything fits together.) I’m quite sad about it but not enough yet to dare rip my tower apart. The laptop still works, anyway.

And, um, I’m really trying to find things to write about here. It feels like when I write to my mom: “Dear Mom, I am still alive. I work a lot. Sometimes I go hiking but not very often because it rains all the time. We got snow last week too. I went to the SPCA this morning and walked a dog. I made soup in my slow cooker overnight and it tasted funny. Do you know what I am doing wrong? My computer is being buggy again. You should try Granville Island Brewery’s Summer Mingler pack. It’s quite delicious. That’s all I can think of. Love, Jenn.”

Alright, time to shut off the computer so my eyes don’t hurt for raid. Talk to you all again in like a month!

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7 Comments on “WoW… Oh hei! I still play that!”

  1. Rades Says:

    We’re in different situations (25 vs 10, heroics vs normals) but I still find Mastery a huge portion of my healing. Usually 25-35%. It works out pretty good numbers-wise? Usually 90%+ or ranking on WoL, or 90-95% percentile on raidbots.

    I also find myself loathing Light of Dawn, even on stacking fights, because it just seems to contribute so little in the end. I’m wondering if spending the HP on individual EFs isn’t a more effective way of dealing with AoE dmg, as contrary as that seems.

    As for Beacon…I never used the Glyph of Beacon before getting my 4pc, but I find it really nice now. Do you hotswap Beacon frequently? ie, Boomkin & Mage both low on HP, Beacon the Boomkin and pour some heals into the Mage to top them both up, then Beacon back on tank. I’ve tried it and while it’s a bit ungainly, it seems to work pretty well for me. Beacon usually did 7-10% of Healing, now it’s usually around 15%.

    (Again, our differences in raiding might make this all n/a.)

    Holy Avenger for EF blanketing is interesting! I’m so in love with Divine Purpose, but it does sound potent. Will have to try that out sometime. :)

    • Ophelie Says:

      I had this super long reply typed out and then Firefox got all screwy and I lost it. Dammit. Will try to recap it all.

      After your comment, I checked the 10s ranking on WoL and (unsurprisingly) all the paladins I looked up were geared and healing very similarly to the 25s. All Mastery, all the way. They were using the Holy Avenger trick as well, but they tended to stagger their Divine Favor/Avenging Wrath more than the 25s.

      There’s no doubt that our Mastery is always our top heal, the question is whether stacking it increases overall healing more than stacking another stat. The answer is probably yes, but I’m not enough of a mathy type or a daring enough experimenter to test it.

      A note of caution on throughput numbers, though, especially when Normal vs Heroic is concerned. I like looking at the top HPS pallies because they have a system that obviously works well for them. Plus, with many guild and heal leads looking at meters to judge their teammates, meter milking is a good skill to have. The environment that top tier healers play in, though, is different from what most people play in. In those guilds, tanks are min-maxed, random damage is minimal, everyone is (originally) undergeared, fights are shorter, there are less healers and each healer knows exactly what to do. In that kind of environment, throughput probably is the determining factor between success and failure. For everyone else, the circumstances are less perfect. Healers who can think on their feet, cover for others’ mistakes and adapt at a seconds notice are the ones who’ll make the difference between success and failure. In normal modes, those healers are probably more likely to top their meters too, regardless of whether they’re copying the top players.

      Hmm, writing that makes me kinda miss normal modes, haha. There was certainly less glory, but it was more engaging.

      On Beacon swapping – I do run with Glyph of Beacon on fights where I don’t need Glyph of Divine Protection. I don’t move my Beacon around much, though, but that’s probably a trait of 25s. Most fights have both tanks taking considerable damage at all times so my copally and I cross-beacon. I keep track of what he’s doing and I adapt. Usually he’ll move his around early in the fight (so I will too), then he’ll forget about it and leave on a tank (so I’ll leave mine on the other tank). We’ve experimented with moving Beacon onto Frostbite targets for HCouncil, but I find they die before I can start healing them. Then a tank dies because he doesn’t have my Beacon. So in the end, I mostly just use my Glyph of Beacon as a recovery tool in the rare occurrence of a tank going down.

      As for LoD/EF – I would imagine that LoD would rarely be useful in 10s, with so few targets, less intense raid damage and increased likeliness of being too spread out. Plus it’s usually fairly simple to have most (if not all) of the raid blanketted in EFs, even without the T14 bonus. Personally, I tended to use LoD in sudden raid damage bursts (like Magara’s rampage) when I didn’t have time to get enough EFs out on the raid. The Holy Avenger trick should help with that though, and remove the need for LoD…

      • Talarian Says:

        We just downed 10M Normal Megaera (hooray for us! We only raid 3 hours a week so it’s actually not that bad, only took 13 total pulls), and yeah, I figured out moving to Holy Avenger and mass EF blanketing. Easy to hit about 6 – 7 people in a single HA cast, which on 10M is clearly most of the raid. I was using LoD before, but my throughput wasn’t high enough (we have 0-off heals because all our DPS are pures). Also, HA is up every other Rampage and is a huge mana saver. I kinda want to try again and see if LoD is really less healing over a HA period, need to go do some math on it.

        • Ophelie Says:

          Grats on your kill! 3 hours a week? Very impressive!

          Yeah, on HA+EF thing, I kind of feel like I’m late to the party. How did I miss out on so much awesomeness for so long?

          If you ever want to contribute a guest post with math, I’ll happily offer my services at a host!

          • Talarian Says:

            Thanks!

            We’ll see. I think I’m going to subject my raid to a pull or two of HA+LoD on Megaera and see how the logs parse. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  2. Rades Says:

    Yeah, until some of the brainy mathadins say GO HASTE or something, I’m going to stick with just enough Haste for the EF breakpoint, then all Mastery. Delicious, juicy Mastery.

    Also, just checked some logs, and on Megaera, a fight where I used LoD a fair bit, it was only 6% of my healing. I think I’m going to revert back to t14 mentality (when the PVP 4pc meant always EF, never LoD) and remove LoD from my ‘rotation’ altogether.

    When I got the T15 4pc I briefly tried a macro combination that placed Beacon on my low-health desired target while starting to cast Holy Light on the target of my target (ie, the tank) to get full tank Mastery shielding and low-health Beacon healing…but this just ended up far too annoying to deal with, haha. ;)

    I actually heard some vague whispers of Sacred Shield replacing Eternal Flame due to gear in Throne? But I haven’t been able to find ANY support for this. I’m pretty skeptical.

    Finally, links to other Paladin bloggers, oooh! /bookmarks to read later

    • Ophelie Says:

      Sacred Shield? Where did that come from?

      If someone can use SS + LoD and keep the raid up, then why not, but I haven’t come across any SS users recently. Granted I only spied on a handful of top parsers, there might be some SS+LoD number pushers hidden out there. With most ToT fights having very little consistent single-target damage, I can’t see how SS would be all that useful. Perhaps when breaking in a new, undergeared tank?


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