Holy Avenger and EF Blanketing – The Results

As I was researching yesterday’s post (and by researching, I mean creepy stalking top Holy Pally parsers on World of Logs), I noticed that every one of them was using a healing technique I hadn’t tried:

Holy Avenger on CD, Holy Power built through Holy Radiance and Holy Shock and sunk via Eternal Flame blanketing over as much of the raid as possible.

I checked both 10s and 25s, under the Heroics tab. Both used this trick, though 25s players seemed more likely to blow Divine Favor and Avenging Wrath at the same time as Holy Avenger (time for a macro?) while 10s generally staggered their CDs out more.

So it seems I’m well behind the times (that’s what happens when WoW takes the backseat for months), but I’m sure I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE.

Plus before and after screenshots are always tons of fun.

The Changes

On top of using the Holy Avenger trick, I also started tracking Illuminated Healing (Mastery). I doubt it made a significant difference but it did lightly influence where I would cast my Holy Radiance/Holy Shock/Eternal Flame.

Our healing comp was a bit different than last week too. Last week my Copally was away, and this week we were missing our Monk and Druid S. This would have an effect on how each of us heal in comparison to one and other, but I really don’t think it would account for a drastic change. After all, we rarely use the same healing comp on a given fight from week to week anyway.

In terms of gear, if you look at the past few weeks, my gear will have improved, but between this week and last, the only differences were how I found two pieces that made me to think “I could have sworn I’d reforged these!“, and my weekly VP gear upgrading. So, some influence on my stats, but less than a clear change.

Notes on Throughput and Functionality

This is obviously a post on throughput. Throughput has its place. After all, if healers can’t keep up with the damage or with their teammates, they’re holding the raid back. Plus, guild and healing leads from all brackets (yes, I’ve seen leads from guilds who can’t kill normal Horridon obsess over healing meters) don’t see past meters and HPS. So meter milking is a good skill to have if you want some peace and quiet.

However, throughput is not a replacement for functionality.

A healer’s first priority is to keep the raid (or healing assignment, depending on the team and the fight) alive through every mechanic. Standing still and spamming heals isn’t a luxury most of us have access to. (And even if it were, it doesn’t sound very fun, you know?)

My poor copally, who ended up, without his knowledge (if this were real science, this experiment would never make it past the ethics committee) being a control subject, is by far a better healer than I am. I spend more energy looking up techniques, but he makes less mistakes than me, and doesn’t panic and freeze up the way I do. When it comes to choosing a paladin for exploratory fights, he is the obvious choice.

Once your priorities are covered, though, there’s nothing wrong with taking your art to the next level and squeezing extra out of your character.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Holy Avenger to a freshly-pressed, new paladin. I’d like to see a new paladin healer master Beacon healing, Holy Power cycling and cooldown management before adding yet another CD. Once those are down, then by all means.

For your amusement, here is a list of my screw ups last night as I tried to fit the new technique into my routine:

1- On H-Jin’Rokh, dropped a fissure in the middle of raid.
2- On H-Horridon, almost got eaten by my pink dino (have really no idea how I survived that)
3- On H-Council, drowned in Quicksand
4- On H-Iron Council, got 3 stacks of flame lines, had to bubble, then had no bubble left to mask my inability to handle tornadoes. Also missed my pre-tornado Aura Mastery.

While on the average raid night, I earn no shortage of “that’s not good” and “Rykga, Rykga, Rykga“, the above aren’t mistakes I typically make (except for pre-tornado Aura Mastery. I always screw that one up.)

But enough chitchat. Here are the preliminary results of my healing with Holy Avenger experiement. (Also keep in mind that I was very clumsy with the technique. Imagine what this would look like if my CD timing were perfected!)

Heroic Jin’Rokh

Before

jinroknbefore

After

jinroknafter

I actually didn’t have any logs for last week’s Heroic Jin’Rokh, so I used the logs from two weeks ago (which, I believe, was also the nerf week). There maybe have a few upgrades since then, but enough to account for twice as much healing?

Everyone else increased their output only a little and the difference between Copally (who, for the sake of science was not using Holy Avenger) and I increased far more than you’d expect from simple gear upgrades.

Heroic Horridon

Before

horridonbefore

After

horridonafter

The lower HPS in the After shot is due to 5 healing last week and 6 healing this week. I also had a lot of trouble balancing mana and my pink dino with the Holy Avenger technique. Still, Holy Avenger gave me enough oomph to pull ahead of our Shammies and gave me a significant advantage over Copally.

Heroic Council

Before

councilbefore

councilbefore2

After

councilafter

We’ve got a 5-9k HPS improvement in comparison to the stagnation you can see for most everyone else (Shaman M being the exception). I also went from being solid bottom to being, well, not solid bottom. If this were the only fight I was looking at, I wouldn’t consider the difference to be significant, but since every fight shows a level of improvement, I will give credit to Holy Advenger.

Normal Durumu

Before

durumubefore

durumubefore2

After

durumuafter

Again a 5-10k difference and a solid advantage over Copally. I think Holy Avenger has even more potential on this fight, but since this was my first time using it for Durumu, my timing really wasn’t ideal.

Normal Animus

Before

animusbefore

animusbefore2

After

animusafter

At barely 2 minutes long, Animus may be too short a fight for the results to mean anything, and I think we would see far more difference had I been able to use up a second Holy Avenger. Animus healing is also very position dependant, but since I’ve had the same assignment every week, I figured I might as well look at the logs. Copally and I have mirrored assignments (I’m back left, he’s back right), so perhaps the fact that he beat me on first week and I did better this week may have something to do with Holy Avenger.

Heroic Iron Qon

After

ironqonafter

I sadly don’t have reliable Before logs for Iron Qon. Last week was our first kill and I had my face on the floor for the most healing-intense phase of the fight. Still, I was much stronger than I’ve been in past weeks in comparison to my teammates and I had a distinct advantage over Copally. I was, however, really out of mana at the end and my CD timing was a bit off. With some refinement, I can see Holy Avenger being super powerful here.

Discussion

I purposely left out 4 fights, each for unique reasons.

1- Heroic Tortos: Crystal Shell makes healing too weird for me to draw conclusions from the logs.
2- Heroic Ji-Kun: Not sure if the combat log recording has been fixed for this fight (the extreme range made it screwy), but I don’t trust it enough to look at Ji-Kun meters.
3- Heroic Megaera: The end result wasn’t consistent with the other fights and I thought the reasons were interesting enough to merit their own blog post.
4- Normal Primordius: While the end result did support the use of Holy Avenger, I find that taking or not taking buffs on that fight skew results too much for them to be worth looking at.

On every fight, there is a difference of varying importance between Before and After logs. On some of fights, I wouldn’t consider the end result significant on its own, but in light of the other fights, it seems that switching from Diving Purpose to Holy Avenger consistently increased my throughput. Keep in mind, as well, that I was pretty clumsy with CD timing and building Holy Power while Holy Avenger is active. With practice, the difference between Before and After could be become much, much larger.

Conclusion

I’m quite positive the Holy Avenger offers a distinct advantage over Divine Purpose, and I suspect this holds true for any fight (except maybe an uber short fight like Animus).

For a new paladin, especially one who always forgets to use CDs, I would suggest learning paladin basics and fight mechanics before trading in Divine Purpose, however, tying Holy Avenger, Avenging Wrath and Divine Favor into a macro could make using throughput cooldowns a no brainer. (I don’t really like using macros- just a personal preference, but I might try it tonight, just to see. We’re working on Heroic Consorts and I think this combo will be especially fantastic.)

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10 Comments on “Holy Avenger and EF Blanketing – The Results”

  1. Theck Says:

    Just FYI, you don’t need to blank out my names on any screenshots if you don’t feel like it. I’m OK with any badness people may (will?) discover. :)

    • Ophelie Says:

      I blank out everyone’s name except mine. No one is allowed to get attention on my blog except for me!

      But if you were wondering, both “Pally Tank” appearances on the healing meters were you ;D

      I’ve just always blanked out names, saves surveying to find out who’s ok with being named and who isn’t. I find it makes more sense when heal meters are concerned too since class is mainly what influences how I look at them. I wouldn’t have left an initial for our druids and shaman either, but I figured it would make things simpler if I had refer to this post in the future.

      EDIT: It looks like only one of the screenshots has a “Pally Tank”. The other must have been on log I decided not worth posting.

  2. Joe Ego Says:

    HA + EF is a great way to heal off the pull on Dark Animus. Some people are just too squishy while taking a beating from their mob. Throw in the Protector of the Innocent Glyph and you don’t need to watch yourself.

    • Ophelie Says:

      We haven’t gotten around to Heroic Animus yet! On normal mode, popping HA + EF seemed like total overkill, and by the time my little mob shut down and I could be in range of more than 6 people, HA was long gone. Then, when HA came off CD and I hit it again, I barely got a single EF out before the fight was over. Since I really only have time for one HA during that fight, I think I would get far more out of it if I pop it right after the little mobs shut down.

      I bet Heroic is a completely different story!

  3. Talarian Says:

    Controlled burst versus random burst. Holy Avenger basically allows you to choose when you get your Divine Purpose profs, in a sense. Not to mention for Holy Power producing heals it’s like popping wings at the same time. I’m still getting used to the fact it’s a 2 minute cooldown rather than 3 minute.

    I would agree with your learning analysis though. Divine Purpose works awesome if you’re terrible with cooldowns, and is probably fine to stick with until you have a better handle on other healing techniques.

    I’ve been thinking about pairing Holy Avenger with Divine Favor. You could eke out a couple extra Holy Radiance casts, which would give you a couple more 3HP casts, potentially. Also, EEternal Flame ticks.

    • Talarian Says:

      Stupid iPad. But given the large number of instant casts (Holy Shock, Eternal Flame) I wonder if pairing the two cooldowns really gives much benefit over staggering them.

    • Ophelie Says:

      My basic math skills aren’t powerful enough for me to say what, if any, benefit there is to using all one’s CDs at the same time vs staggering them. I can only speculate. One advantage to hitting them all at the same time is to make sure they’re all getting used. Plus, when you’re casting hots, especially when anticipating a period of heavy damage, you want the strongest HoTs on the most people possible. (And thanks to Beacon and Mastery, even if it’s all overheal, nothing is completely wasted.)

      From an observation perspective, and granted my sample size was pretty small, the top 25s parsers seemed to link their CDs (so they’d pop everything on the first and third HA) while the top 10s staggered their CDs.

      Which leads to 2 possibilities:

      1- Someone, somewhere, proved that this was the highest HPS strategy for 10s and 25s respectively, so everyone who is someone is healing that way.
      2- This strategy has the potential of being the highest HPS strategy for 10s and 25s respectively, and thus, the highest ranking WoL HPallies are those who use this technique.

      For those of us who heal in non-ideal settings, I imagine this would vary from fight to fight based on whether we want to prepare for a period of intense damage or if we’re just routinely refreshing our Eternal Flames on the raid.

      As for Haste bonuses during HA, I can see the use. In a perfect, perfect setting, you MIGHT get 4 Holy Shocks out: at 0,6, 12 and 18 seconds. But that’s pretty much impossible, so you’ll get 3. In between, you’re casting Holy Radiance, or if your tank is shakey, Divine Light, both for which you’ll really want a Haste bonus. I think it may do something to coordinate Holy Radiance and Holy Shock better too. With regular raid gear Haste, there were a lot of times where I was sitting on less than 2 seconds left on my Holy Shock CD, debating whether to Holy Radiance or not to Holy Radiance.

  4. Kyaza Says:

    I’ve definitely found HA to be a stronger healing boost than Divine Purpose. I use it for every fight and usually pop it with Divine Favor And Avenging Wrath or with just Divine Favor. Lining up cds or staggering them (I heal 10 mans) seems to be pretty fight-dependent.

    It’s interesting to see just how much of a difference HA makes over Divine Purpose. I like that we get to see both before and after logs so we can see what that difference really looks like.

    • Ophelie Says:

      It was a pretty fun experiment to do, I surprised myself with how smooth the results were.

      I wonder how this will play out in 5.4 since Blizzard seems determined to get rid of our Eternal Flame abusing ways!

      • Kyaza Says:

        From what I’ve been reading (I’m currently installing the PTR so I can do some testing of my own), EF is still going to be the optimal talent choice. Not sure how the rework of it is going to affect HA usage, though, if it does at all.


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