Archive for the ‘Paladinning Info’ category

Holy Paladin Notes for Throne of Thunder: Tortos

April 10, 2013

So. I’ve had the chance to see Throne of the Thunder a few more times since part 1. I started writing part 2, but got as far as Tortos before my blogging juice ran out. After sitting for 3 days on a Tortos write up, I figured I might as well post it. I can do the next fights, well, if I ever get a day off work or something.

(Also realized that April 7 was my fourth bloggiversary! 4 years since I wrote my first post here. It feels just like yesterday, yet like an eternity at the same time. So much has happened since then, so much, so fast! A huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who’s ever read this little corner of the internet, linked to my posts, commented, offered me advice, RTed me on Twitter, hung out with me, invited me to their blog or podscast, got drunk with me or put up with me in any way. And a special cheers to all the guildies and friends over the years who’ve been such good sports about being featured as characters on this blog. You guys are the best – whether it was by or against your will. Here’s to 4 more years of being big grown up kids.)

Tortos

Icy Veins overall strat: http://www.icy-veins.com/tortos-detailed-strategy-wow

Predominate damage type: Physical (Though the raid will smacked by Nature damage from Rockfall)

Suggested Spec and Glyphs: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#l!^N|cnr

Track on your frames: None!

CD timings:
Devotion Aura – If you use it right after the first Quake Stomp, you can probably fit it in again near the end.
Guardian of Ancient Kings – Might be able to fit in twice if you use it right away. You’ll definitely want it off CD for the end.
Divine Favor/Avenging Wrath – You can use them on CD, or right before (or after) a Quake Stomp.
Divine Shield/Hand of Protection – Can be used to evade the stun from Quake Stomp. Hand of Protection can be used on a co-healer while you have Forbearance. Nice for 10s groups who 2-heal.
Divine Protection – Can be use for Quake Stomp or in combination with Hand of Sacrifice on the tanks, if Glyphed. If not Glyphed, use after Quake Stomps.

Move if: You are standing in swirly circles (Rockfall) or a spinning turtle is heading toward you.

Positioning: Kinda spread out. You’ll be moving and dodging most of the fight.

Discussion:

Quake Stomp (physical damage) happens about every 50 seconds. Before Quake Stomp, Rockfall will hit about once every 10 seconds, after Quake Stomp, it’ll be twice per second for 8 seconds, hence all the post-Quake Stomp cooldown suggestions. Toward the very end of the fight, Tortos kind of goes nuts with his little turtles so you’ll like to have some CDs available for that.

For glyphs, I opted for Glyph of Divine Protection to use during Quake Stomp and to help with Hand of Sacrifice. If you’d prefer to use Divine Protection to ease Rockfall’s Nature damage, you can pick another favorite Glyph.

Talentwise, Pursuit of Justice seems the most logical speed increase since you’re constantly running short distances. I haven’t actually tried Burden of Guilt, but I’m told that it can help slow the spinning turtles. I prefer Eternal Flame for level 45, but if you always use Light of Dawn on this fight, you could consider Sacred Shield. Clemency is nice for extra Hands of Protection, though Unbreakable Spirit works well too for more selfish healers (like me). Since there is constant damage throughout the fight, I’d go with Divine Purpose. And, Holy Prism is helpful since most of the raid will be spread out (though on 25 Light’s Hammer still does pretty good healing when used on the melee).

Happy turtle hunting!

A Type Out of my Notes for the First Part of Throne of Thunder

March 27, 2013

Today on Twitter, ‘mogging artist (and holy paladin!) Mia (from Mogalicious Mia) asked me whether I’d be writing about holy paladining one’s way through Throne of Thunder.

I’m always up for a challenge so I said “sure, why not!

Obviously there’s a reason I should not be writing tips to Throne bosses. Notably that I missed the first two weeks of patch 5.2 due to my mom visiting (as guilty as I felt for not raiding, I would have felt even guiltier about ignoring my mother whom I hadn’t seen in two years) and that by the time I was ready to go again, my guild was just wizzing through most of the fights, with me not knowing too much what was going on. I haven’t even seen Jin’Rokh on normal. I can write all about wiping on heroic (my raid did eventually get him down, but it was while I was busy performing my bench duties) or winging it on LFR, but normal mode is all educated guessing for me.

Still want to read my notes?

If you haven’t left yet, here’s a nice and tidy (IMO) version of my raid notebook scribblings for the first three bosses. If nobody throws icky tomatoes at me, maybe I’ll do write ups for the other Throne sets as well.

Jin’Rokh

Icy Veins overall strat: http://www.icy-veins.com/jin-rokh-the-breaker-detailed-strategy-wow

Predominate damage type: Magic (Nature)

Suggested Spec and Glyphs: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#lP]|Inr

Track on your frames: Static Wound (optional)

CD timings:
Devotion Aura – Half the pallies in the raid can chain it during Lightning Storms 1 and 3, the other half can do #2.
Guardian of Ancient Kings – Can use twice if your raid is really bad outside of Lightning Storm. If the only time you really take damage is during Lightning Storm, then you can use it once, your choice of Storm. (Depending on your timing, you may be able to use it right after the first Thundering Throw then during Lightning Storm #3)
Divine Favor/Avenging Wrath – I popped one shortly after the pull and the other after the first Thundering Throw, then as they came up. Alternatively, you can use them when your raid takes spiky damage, notably during Lightning Storm.
Divine Shield – (Heroic mode only) Consider bubbling halfway through a Lightning Storm so you stop moving and cast some yummy heals. Pairs well with Guardian. If you’re specced into Unbreakable Spirit, you may be able to squeeze this in on Storms 1 and 3.
Divine Protection – (Heroic mode only) With my weak gear, I found this was the only way I could survive dispelling Ionization on myself. (Sometimes I’d die anyway – Ionization sometimes ticks twice when dispelled, not sure why.) When there’s no Ionization coming up, this is a good one to use on cooldown.

Move if: You are targeted by Focused Lightning, someone is dragging a Focused Lightning through you (I died to this a lot and felt very stupid), you need to dispel Ionization (heroic mode only) off yourself, Lightning Storm is about to start.

Positioning: Grouped up on the left side of the pool (if dropping Focused Lightning on the left). Lightning Storm is probably grouped up on normal (not sure!) and more spread out on Heroic (easier to dodge lightning balls).

Discussion: I went with what I would call my “default” glyph set. Talent wise, I hesitated between Speed of Light and Pursuit of Justice, but in the end I found that occasions where I had to run were far enough apart that I did fine with Speed of Light. You don’t really need a speed buff anyway, but it does help if you’re distracted and need to prevent an oopsie in a hurry. Next relevant tier, I went with Eternal Flame because I almost always go with Eternal Flame. I suppose you could take Sacred Shield if it’s more your style. Next tier gets interesting. I did my attempts with Hand of Purity for Static Wound, but when I forgot to cast it I noticed zero difference. That said, if your tanks are going squish, definitely track Static Wound and use Hand of Purity. Otherwise, reduced cooldowns, especially for Divine Protection are very nice. Next tier, I’ve seen Holy Avenger recommended, and I would agree if your team is having trouble surviving Lightning Storm. Personally, since you can only really used it on Lightning Storms 1 and 3, I wasn’t willing to give up bonus Eternal Flames from Divine Purpose. (Next time I do heroic Jin’Rokh, though, I will try Holy Avenger.) And finally, I’ve only really tried Light’s Hammer. Since everyone should be grouped up during Fludity phases (and on normal mode, I imagine Lightning Storms are grouped) it is the logical choice.

Horridon

Icy Veins overall strat: http://www.icy-veins.com/horridon-detailed-strategy-wow

Predominate damage type: Physical (tanks), Physical (raid, less progressive teams), Magic (raid, more progressive teams)

Suggested Spec and Glyphs: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#lTN|cnr

Track on your frames: Triple Puncture. (Also, if Magic/Disease debuffs and Stone Gaze if they don’t show up by default – these are to be dispelled, dispelled, dispelled!)

CD timings:
Devotion Aura – Can probably squeeze it in 2-3 times. All troll phases deal significant magic damage, so use it wherever your team seems to be struggling.
Guardian of Ancient Kings – Can usually use twice. Depending on how your team takes damage, maybe use it during troll phase 1, then near the end. Adapt as needed.
Divine Favor/Avenging Wrath – Might as well use on cooldown.
Divine Shield – Use when you want to hide a screw up.
Divine Protection – Can probably fit it in once or twice per troll phase. Use whenever big damage goes out, or (only if Glyphed) when Hand of Sacrifice is going on the tanks.
Hand of Sacrifice – Sexy for tank damage. Can be especially helpful if cast right before Triple Puncture if the tank has a lot of stacks. (Use Glyphed Divine Protection on yourself.)
Hand of Protection – Can help non-pally tanks remove Triple Puncture while Horridon is stunned. Warn your tank if you plan to use this.

Move if: You are standing in Sand Traps, in Living Poison, near Frozen Orbs (they weren’t cast by your mage), near a Lightning Nova Totem, in front or behind Horridon, you are targeted by Charge. In other words, move if you are standing in shit that makes your health drop.

Positioning: On the side of the boss. Not in front or behind him. On the fourth troll phase, you’ll want to spread out by 5 yards as much as possible.

Discussion: I opted for Glyph of Divine Protection since I like Hand of Sacrifice a lot on this fight. Less progressive teams may also like this glyph to help mitigate melee damage that might occur for mobs that aren’t picked up fast enough. Someone who takes a lot of magic damage might want to leave out this glyph. On the talent front, the first tier doesn’t matter. In the second tier, Fist of Justice can help interrupt/stun unruly adds. Third tier, whichever you like best. I opted for Eternal Flame, as usual. Fourth tier, Clemency is great for Hand of Sacrifice, and if you’re helping a tank remove his (or her) Triple Puncture stacks, Hand of Protection. Fifth tier, there aren’t really any major damage phases, so Divine Purpose is ok. Sixth tier, I’ve yet to try it, but I’ve heard wonders about Holy Prism.

Council of Elders

Icy Veins overall strat: http://www.icy-veins.com/council-of-elders-detailed-strategy-wow

Predominate damage type: Magic (all types)

Suggested Spec and Glyphs: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#lTN|pnr

Track on your frames: Ensnared/Entrapped, if not tracked by default (dispel or Hand of Freedom!), Frostbite (optional)

CD timings:
Devotion Aura – Especially useful during Sandstorm. Can also help during Frostbite. And Overloads (Kazra’jin).
Guardian of Ancient Kings – Can be used once. Or twice if you pop it really early in the fight.
Divine Favor/Avenging Wrath – Might as well use on cooldown.
Divine Shield – Can use to get rid of aggro on Living Sands. Or clear Frostbite (though I wouldn’t waste it on that unless you’re having a lot of trouble keeping yourself up).
Divine Protection – Good during Frostbite and Sandstorm for sure, but not crucial. Can save it for those phases, or use it on cooldown.

Move if: You’re standing on a Quicksand or on some grey smoke (Kazra’jin’s Reckless Charge). Also if you’re targeted by a Shadowed Loa Spirit (don’t let it come close to you!)

Positioning: Kind of spread out. You can group or spread for Frostbite depending on the strat you’re using.

Discussion: Constant raid damage with rare moving gives a lot of opportunity to use Glyph of Divine Plea, but Beacon of Light could work too (especially if your tanks like to die a lot). Or Battle Healer or Avenging Wrath. On the talent front, Fist of Justice is helpful for stunning Loas (or pesky Living Sands), Clemency is nice for Hand of Freedom (for those Ensared), Hand of Protection (if your squishies are being eaten by Living Sands) and Hand of Sacrifice (tanks usually appreciate). Hand of Purity can take the edge of Frostbite, but keep in mind that the 70% DoT reduction does not work. I haven’t tried Holy Prism, but I’m told that with the spreading on this fight, it is very effective.

Yay that’s part one!

With these helpful pointers you should at least be able to understand why your raid finder groups are wiping.

All my thanks to my references: Plus Heal, MMO Champion’s raid forum and Icy Veins Holy Paladin Throne of Thunder Tips. Also lots of love to the guilds Cadenza (25m progression), Conquest (25m moderate progression) and Team Sport (10m casual) whose “damage taken” log section I borrowed to see where different types of guilds were getting smacked hard.

Holy Pally 4eva Continued: 5.2 Excellent Gear List

March 5, 2013

EDIT: Fixed a few pieces now that 5.2 is out. List should be slightly more accurate.

Yay, it’s almost time for 5.2! (Or not yay – I could have used a few more weeks of Tier 14)

And even though I’m sure there are computer generated gear lists out there that could save me time, I compiled, BY HAND, a gear list for myself. Note the emphasis on the by hand part. My hand makes mistakes sometimes, so if the order is screwed up, or there’s a wonky link, I deeply apologize. I did double check the list before I posted, but every now and again, I miss things. If you point out a mistake, it will be my immense pleasure to fix it.

Note that I’m also writing this with PTR data so the databases are a little buggy and not all the items listed have known sources. I have full intentions of updating this once 5.2 is live for a bit, but we all know how I am with updating posts.

Stat Priority

I went with a loose stat priority of Spirit >/= Intellect > Mastery > Haste >/= Crit, assuming that 5.2 doesn’t dramatically change our playstyle. Nothing from the patch notes suggests a Holy Paladin stat revamp, but I have been surprised before.

Since healing isn’t black and white, the order of gear on the list isn’t the uber ultimate truth. Quite often, choosing the order I was going to put them in was a question of deciding between 10 extra Intellect in exchange for, oh, I dunno, 20 Mastery. Trinkets are particularly bad since 1)they’re so situational, and 2)there hasn’t been a ton of testing on them yet.

Tier 15

I’m not too sure what I think of the bonuses. Extra healing on Daybreak is interesting – I really enjoy playing with Daybreak during raids – but its actual effective healing isn’t that exciting. I don’t know how much effect buffing it will have. I’m also looking forward to trying out the 4 piece. Honestly, I don’t really miss the big Beacon transfers from days past, but extra transfers from Eternal Flame ticks (I’m an incorrigible Eternal Flame blanketer) and/or more flexibility when simultaneously healing two tanks could have some fun effects on healing assignments.

If aiming for the 4 piece, I would suggest going with the Helm, Shoulders, Legs and Gloves. I don’t like the itemization the Chest, not one bit. Other options would be the Gloves (Iceshatter Gauntlets are sexy. If I only I knew where they come from.) or the pants (Matter-Swapped Legplates are nice.).

More About This List

I should probably mention that I only listed gear with an ilevel of 522. The Raid Finder/Heroic/Thunderforged gear was mocking me so I ignored it. I figured listing normal mode gear should be enough to steer us all in the right direction. If normal mode gear drops off a specific boss, guess what boss the Raid Finder and Heroic versions drop from! As for gear below 522, I wasn’t overly interested in it and thus left it out. The only item that stood out to me was Dragonmaw, Reborn (available for Blacksmithing), an option for those who didn’t get lucky with Sha Touched weapons in LFR.

And with that, please enjoy the following copy-and-pasting headache.

Head

1- Lightning Emperor’s Headguard (Tier 15 – Twin Consorts – 11th Boss)
2- Crown of Potentiated Birth (Ji-Kun – 6th Boss)
3- Haunted Steel Headcover (Blacksmithing)

Neck

1- Necklace of the Terra-Cotta Mender (Throne of Thunder Drop)
2- Horridon’s Tusk Fragment (Horridon – 2nd Boss)
3- Soul Prism of Lei-Shen (Lei-Shen – 12th Boss)
4- Choker of Stygimolochy (Oondasta – World Boss)
5- Passionfire Choker (Twin Consort – 11th Boss)
6- Mender’s Battletags (Shadow Pan Assault Rep – Neutral)

Shoulders

1- Lightning Emperor’s Mantle (Tier 15 – Iron Qon – 10th Boss)
2- Spaulders of Primordial Growth (Primordius – 8th Boss)
3- Shoulderguards of Potentiation (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Exalted)
4- Reconstructed Holy Shoulderplates (Durumu – 7th Boss)

Back/Cloak

1- Drape of Booming Nights (Jin’rokh the Breaker – 1rst Boss)
2- Dreamweaver Drape (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Honored)
3- Constantly Accelerating Cloak (Dark Animus – 9th Boss)
4- Shimmershell Cape (Tortos – 4th Boss)
5- Deadly Glare Cape (Unknown – probably Throne of Thunder Zone Drop)

Chest

1- Scorched Spiritfire Drape (Oondasta – World Boss)
2- Hauberk of Gleaming Fire (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Revered)
3- Lei-Shen’s Grounded Carapace (Lei Shen – 12th Boss)
4- Ionized Yojamban Carapace (Jin’rokh the Breaker – 1rst Boss)
5- Lightning Emperor’s Breastplate (Tier 15 – Dark Animus)

Bracers

1- Softscar Armplates (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Friendly)
2- Bonemender Bracers (Primordius – 8th Boss)
3- Armplates of the Vanquished Abomination (Horridon – 2nd Boss)

Gloves

1- Iceshatter Gauntlets (Durumu – 7th Boss)
2- Lightning Emperor’s Gloves (Tier 15- Council of Elders, also Nalak – World Boss)
3- Tortos’ Shellseizers (Tortos – 4th Boss)
4- Touch of Soothing Mists (Shado Pan Assault – Honored)
5- Skullsmashing Gauntlets (Oondasta – World Boss)

Belt

1- Waistplate of Channeled Mending (Shado Pan Assault – Revered)
2- Refreshing Abalone Girdle (Tortos – 4th Boss)
3- Waistband of Furious Stomping (Oondasta – World Boss)
4- Abandoned Zandalari Greatbelt (Throne of Thunder Drop)

Pants

1- Matter-Swapped Legplates (Dark Animus – 9th Boss)
2- Lightning Emperor’s Greaves (Tier 15- Ji-Kun – 6th Boss, also Nalak – World Boss)
3- Legguards of Renewal (Shado Pan Assault – Honored)
4- Legplates of Reemergence (Durumu – 7th Boss)

Boots

1- Ice-Scored Treads (Megaera – 5th Boss)
2- Haunted Steel Greaves (Blacksmithing)
3- Vaultwalker Sabatons (Throne of Thunder Drop)

Ring

1- Petrified Eye of the Basilisk (Horridon – 2nd Boss)
2- Durumu’s Captive Eyeball (Durumu – 7th Boss)
3- Ring of Shamuru (Oondasta – World Boss)
4- Ring of the Shado-Pan Assault (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Friendly)
5- Ro’shak’s Remembrance (Iron Qon – 10th Boss)
6- Eye of Oondasta (Oondasta – World Boss)
7- Signet of the Shado-Pan Assault (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Friendly)

Trinket

EDIT: There has been some analysis done on the trinkets. At the time of this update I haven’t read into details, but check out Therya’s 5.2 Healing Trinket Compendium.

Intellect with mana regen:
1- Horridon’s Last Gasp (Horridon – 2nd Boss)
2- Soothing Talisman of the Shado-Pan Assault (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Friendly)

Which of these two is better will depend on the internal cooldown on Horridon’s Last Gasp (see Cianxo’s comment on the Wowhead page). Either way, the raiding trinket has an advantage over the rep trinket in that it procs on its own and doesn’t require you to remember to hit it whenever it’s up. (Probably not an issue for advanced players, but often problematic for new healers.)

Spirit with damage mitigation:
1- Stolen Relic of Zuldazar (Primordius – 8th Boss)
2- Inscribed Bag of Hydra-Spawn (Megaera – 5th Boss)

At first glance, the Relic seems leagues ahead of the Bag (28018 damage, really?) but, again, it’ll depend on how often the Bag and the Blessing of Zuldazar each proc. It’ll also depend on whether the Bag only procs on single-target direct heals or on all heals, including Eternal Flame ticks and AoE heals.

Straight throughput:
1- Lightning-Imbued Chalice (Lei-Shen – 12th Boss)

While I probably wouldn’t use this as my first choice on mana-intensive progression fights, I’m really excited to play around with it during farm raids or in LFR.

Weapon

1- Torall, Rod of the Shattered Throne (Lei-Shen – 12th Boss)
2- Soulblade of the Breaking Storm (Jin’rokh the Breaker – 1rst Boss)
3- Jerthud, Graceful Hand of the Savior (Jin’rokh the Breaker – 1rst Boss)

5.2 also introduces an alternative to a One-Hand Weapon and Shield with the 2-Hand Caster Mace, Invocation of the Dawn. The lack of Spirit makes me cringe, especially with Shield of Twinned Despair being so sexy (though like all holy pally shields, it probably doesn’t really exist). But! On the bright side, if you do want to give the 2-Hander a try, you’ll only have Druids and Shaman to compete with.

Shield

1- Shield of Twinned Despair (Twin Consort – 11th Boss)
2- Tortos’ Discarded Shell (Tortos – 4th Boss)

If you like stealing candy from children and making your non-shield wearing co-healers (and casting clothie raidmates) sad, Orb of Arcing Lightning, a random Throne of Thunder drop, is a passable offhand, and Lei-Shen’s Orb of Command (Lei-Shen – 12th Boss) can do if you’re desperate. Or if you really hate your co-healers (and casting clothie raidmates).

Preparing a Fight with World of Logs

January 28, 2013

When I want to really prepare for a fight, I don’t watch dozens of videos, I don’t compare various guides. Nope. When I want to go above and beyond to prepare for a fight, I go to World of Logs.

It can be more time consuming, but the depth of information is priceless. Plus, for those of us who need to apply knowledge in order to learn (if you were the kid who taught themselves math in high school by doing the exercises before reading the theory, WoL fight preparation is for you!), I find it’s the only way to get a solid idea of the fight before the pull.

Since I’ve been studying WoL a lot lately (and spamming posting my findings on my guild forums), I figured I’d share my approach, in case some of you would like to give this method a try.

Note that my strategy for tackling logs varies a bit from fight to fight depending on whether I want to observe general damage patterns, tank healing strategy or boss mechanics. It also depends on how much I already of the fight (learning the heroic version vs a completely new fight).

Together, you and I are going to prepare for Heroic Imperial Vizier Zor’lok.

1- Decide what we’re looking for

If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you won’t find it!

Let’s figure out our needs:

1) We (I) already know this fight on normal so we’re not too concerned about mechanics.
2) We know that this is a “heal through Force and Verve and don’t get hit by disks” fight so we’re not too interested in general healing strategies.
3) We do, however, want to get an idea of the overall damage patterns so we can choose our glyphs, talents and plan our cooldowns.

Now that we’ve figured out what we’re looking for, we’ll know not to waste time on individual healer spell breakdowns or incoming tank damage logs.

Instead, we’ll probably spend a lot of time looking at the “Total Damage Taken” graph and matching the spikes with the boss abilities from the Log Browser. We’ll probably also look at the “Deaths Overview” page to see what attacks tend to kill players. We might also want to compare a tank and a non-tank’s Damage Taken graphs with the Total Damage Taken graph.

If this is gibberish to you, don’t worry, I’ll explain it all in time.

2- Collect some background information

It does help to review a strat guide to get an idea of spell names (and general mechanics if this is a completely new fight) before perusing the logs. Even if you can’t understand general strat guides (I usually don’t), keep them opened in tabs for references.

Let’s open the Icy Veins strat and Pardeux’ strat.

3- Find some Logs

findinglogs

To find logs, select the fight (1), the size/difficulty (2) then the link to the kills (3).

To get a decent idea of what you’ll be facing, you’ll want to pick the logs of:

1) A recent kill (patches and hotfixes constantly change fights).
2) A kill in your language (it’s a lot of extra work to decode a foreign spell names).
3) A kill from a guild with comparable dps/healing strength.

findingguild

There are 106 pages of Vizier kills and I know my guild struggles a bit with dps performance, so I’m going straight to my URL bar (1) and to enter page 101 (if you’re not sure of the URL, go to the very bottom of the page and click on the “next” link on the far left. That will bring you to page 2. Then go back to your URL and replace “2” with “101”.)

The “US Guild!” logs seem perfect – fairly recent, in my language and probably in my guild’s dps range.

I’m going to choose logs from another guild in the same range as well for comparison purposes. I’m also going to pull up logs of a recent kill by a top notch guild (in the first 10 pages of the kills list) so I can see how the fight looks when executed perfectly.

4- Note the Length of the Fight

Our “comparable” fights:

fightlength1
fightlength2

And our “top notch” fight:

fightlength3

Building our strat: Knowing the fight varies between 7 and 10.5 minutes is important for cooldown planning. Because the fights are long, we know we can use our “long” cooldowns like Guardian of Ancient Kings twice, and our “medium” cooldowns like Avenging Wrath or Divine Favor at least twice, preferably 3 times.

5- Look at Damage Taken

findingdmgtaken

If you choose Damage Taken from the dropdown bar, you’ll get a graph with a lot of lines. Scroll down to the list below the graphs and uncheck every box. You’ll end up with graphs like this:

dmgtaken1
dmgtaken2
dmgtaken3

The first two are our comparable guilds, the last is the top notch guild.

These graphs make me giddy because they are very much alike. Which means the damage patterns will look like this: spiky at first, then a lull with possible minor spikes, then several intense spikes for the last ~1/3 of the fight.

See the 5 buttons on the top right corner, just under “Total”? You can play with those to check who died to what and when, verify when adds die (not shown in the images I posted, but there are 2 adds in the fight) and show/hide heroism (heroism is shown in the images as the large blue bar).

Building our strat: This fits perfectly with our cooldowns! We’ll pop Guardian of the Ancient Kings and another cooldown for the first major spike. We can use other cooldowns if there are spikes during the “lull” phase, and all cooldowns should be ready for use by the time the final spiky phase comes along. As well, spikes mean we’ll probably want to spec into Holy Avenger for the yummy burst healing.

6- Match up Damage Spikes to Boss Abilities

findinglogbrowser

Open the log browser.

logquery

Once you’re in the log browser, remove the current query (1) (I’m not sure why “Show all events” comes up by default. It did take me a long time to figure out how to use the log browser because of that.) then hit “Add Query” (2). Once you’ve entered your query, hit “Run” (3).

addquery

When you hit “Add Query”, the “Add Query” window pops up. The log browser only shows a limited number of lines so you have to be specific in what you’re looking for. It does take a little practice to become good at finding what you’re looking for but once you figure it out, it’s simple.

For this analysis, I want to look at spells cast (1) by the Source Imperial Vizier Zor’lok (2) (note: spelling is important when using the log browser). Then I hit save.

zorlokcasts

After running the query, the log shows all of Zor’lok’s casts.

The rest is just matching up the spells to the Damage Taken graph. Note that there is often a 5-15 second difference between the timestamps on the log browser and the timestamps on the graph, which can be frustrating and confusing.

We can conclude that all the first minor spike is probably Pheromones of Zeal damage (I would guess comparable guild #2 started the fight on the first platform, hence why they only have one spike at the beginning while the other guilds have 2 spikes), the second is Force and Verve, small spikes in between are people getting hit during Attenuation, medium spikes are likely Converts and the major spikes at the end are Force and Verve during the final phase.

Building our strat: Force and Verve is going to hurt a lot, so we should be ready with our cooldowns as soon as he starts casting it. We also know that Force and Verve and Attenuation are physical damage so Devotion Aura will be useless against them (Devo Aura might be helpful would be during the transition between platforms or MAYBE during Convert, since those are the only times any Magic damage will be going out). Hand of Protection, however, might be nice making Clemency an interesting talent choice. We should glyph Divine Protection, and we could combine it with Unbreakable Spirit instead of choosing Clemency as well. Because Force and Verve is AoE damage while we’re grouped up, Light’s Hammer is a good talent choice too. Holy Prism may also be an option, though I’m feeling more Light’s Hammer.

7- Peak at the Deaths Overview

deathsoverview

The deathlog is probably my favorite part of logs because it shows you who dies to what and when. During post-raid analysis it quickly tells you who’s dying to avoidable damage. In a pre-raid analysis, it tells you which abilities to be ready for, and helps you differentiate deadly abilities from abilities that just hurt a lot.

In this kill, 10 players died to Attenuation, 10 died to Force and Verve and one tank died to normal melee damage.

Building our strat: This just re-enforces what we already know: Force and Verve is going to hurt (so all CDs, talents and Glyphs toward burst healing and reducing physical damage), and we should concentrate extra hard during Attenuation.

Conclusion!

There you have it! We’re set for Imperial Vizier Zor’lok!

And for your enjoyment, attached is a copy of what I posted on our guild forums. (more…)

How I’m healing in MoP – Holy Pally 4eva: Links and Ressources

January 21, 2013

So. Many. Words.

When I started on this project back in November, I set out to do a quick FAQ/Pally 101. I discovered pretty fast that there’s no way to do justice to paladin healing which a simple model like that. 11 817 words later (counting this post), I’m finally wrapping up with links to the resources I consulted and thank yous to everyone who helped with this project.

Alright, so either you’ve read every word in this series (HAHAHAHA) and you’re begging for more, more, more pally chat. (Shoot me an email, I’m always looking for fellow pallies to share my never-ending enthusiasm with!) Or oppositely, you found my verboseness overwhelming (or you hate my writing style) and you’re looking for something more…concise.

You’re in luck!

There is plenty of Holy Pally reading material out there for all tastes and levels of nerdiness.

Other Holy Paladin Guides

MMO-Champion’s [MOP] Holy Paladin Guide 5.0: Crafted by the most excellent Getsu (Kerfax on the MMO-Champion forums) with input from the folks at MMO-Champion, this guide manages to be both comprehensive and brief. It was huge source of inspiration to me and I used it quite a bit to double check my facts and ideas. You can also find Getsu’s guide on his blog.

Icy Vein’s Holy Paladin Healing Guide (WoW MoP 5.1): I’ve only skimmed through this guide, but it seems rather accurate and very complete. Build with the intelligent page layout that we’ve come to love and expect from Icy Veins.

Taillias’ [Holy] Moar Light – 5.1 PvE healing guide: I came across this official forums guide as I was researching this post. I read a few excerpts and it seems solid.

Pardeux Raids’ Holy Paladin Class Guide: Pardeux’ guide has probably the most fun layout I’ve ever encountered. It was written either right before the expansion or very early on in the expansion so some of the wording might seem weird now, but it’s still very accurate work from a highly experienced holy paladin and raider.

Athlios’ Holy Paladin Guide: While I question its accuracy (Haste over Mastery in PvE with no explanation?), Athlios’ guide over at WoWHead is short, sweet and easy to navigate for quick references.

Shorter Articles Referenced for this Series

5.0 & You: Talents, Glyphs and Playstyle Changes at 85, by Kurn at Kurn’s Corner
Holy Paladin Talents part 1 and part 2, by Rohan at Blessing of Kings
How to Holy Paladin in Patch 5.0 including my first ever flowchart!, by Gina at Healbot
BREAKING NEWS: Holy Avenger and Holy Paladins (and its update), by Kurn at Kurn’s Corner
How to not fail at healing T14 Heroics, by Gina at Healbot
On Mana and the Glyph of Illumination at Level 85, by JoeEgo at Leveling Holy
Eternal Flame Blanketing, by Rohan at Blessing of Kings
Eternal Flame Blanketing, by Getsu at Getsu’s Sanctuary
Why I love <3 Hand of Purity, by Gina at Healbot

Active Holy Paladin Blogs

Getsu’s Sanctuary: If you want a holy paladin guide, a fight-specific guide, reflections on patch changes, or even some insightful non-WoW musing, Getsu’s your blogger.
Healbot: For a long time, Gina spoke of paladin healing in a 10s setting. It appears she’s now jumped ship to heal 25s, like, well, all of us holy pally bloggers. I’m positive, however, that her writing will continue to be excellent with all the enthusiasm and energy we expect when reading her blog.
Healing Spec: If you prefer to listen to your bloggers over reading them, you’re in luck! Megacode produces fantastic regular short podcasts on paladin healing. He’s also very active and friendly on Twitter so make sure you fin him there too!
Blessing of Kings: Rohan only occasionally speaks on the topic of holy paladins, but everything he writes is interesting, so if you haven’t added him to your reader yet, you should get on that.
Healing Mains: Elunamakata isn’t exactly a paladin, but she does write on topics of interest to all healers, including paladins. Definitely worth adding to your reader.
Orcish Army Knife: While he doesn’t write about paladins specifically, Rades’s posts have had a delicious holy pally flavour to them lately. And anything Rades writes is pure gold, so you should add him to your reader regardless.
High Latency Life: Once a mage, Rivs is now a holy paladin. And not just a PvE holy paladin like the rest of us, no, he’s one of the rare bloggers to venture into the mysterious realm of PvP. While he doesn’t write theory posts, he has a unique writing style and chooses topics that provide a nice break from the raiding-raiding-raiding posts we see everywhere. (Warning, NSFW!)

Occasionally Updated Holy Paladin Blogs

Leveling Holy: JoeEgo doesn’t update often, but when he does, it’s guaranteed to be informative and relevant. Add him to your reader so you don’t miss out.
Pardeux Raids: Pardeux hasn’t updated for about 2 months, but his series (on raid management, on healing technique among others) are still very relevant. Keep an eye on him for when he returns with his next series of posts. And if you stray off the blog and onto the rest of the site, you’ll find a wealth of information on classes, boss strats, videos and more.
fullspectrumholypally: I only discovered this blog as I was researching this very post, which is a shame as Bouchbagette has written a number of pieces that would have been useful to me for past posts. He (I think)’s been very quiet lately, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that he’ll return with some new juicy numbers.
Kurn’s Corner: Kurn, who dominated the holy paladin blogging scene during Cata, has unfortunately left us for the scary Outside World, but does stop by once in awhile to say “hi“.
Dwarven Battle Medic: Fannon is another holy paladin blogger who spends most of his time in the Outside World, but I’m not ready to give up on his blog yet. (Also, I get to babysit his daughter sometimes!)
Holy Shock: Ruthra updates in splurts, and from what I can tell, he’s still running as a holy paladin.

Holy (and Multi-Spec) Paladin Message Boards

MMO-Champion Paladin Forum:
This was probably my number one reference for writing this series. Lots of great conversations going on over there. Worth hanging out at, even if all you do is read.
Elitist Jerks Holy Paladin Thread: Not as active as it used to be, but on the bright side, it’s easier than ever to keep up with the thread. What little holy paladin theorycrafting is happening can be found within.
Wowhead Paladin Forum: Not the most active of paladin forums, but it’s there if you want to share your thoughts with Wowhead members.
Plus Heal Paladin Forums: Deceptively quiet. While there’s little chitchat going on, there are very friendly members who watch the forum like hawks. If you post a question, you’re very likely to receive a solid answer.
Official Paladin Forums: It’s the official forums! Very lively, with some good conversations going on.
Official Healing Forums: Less paladin centric, but the perfect place to hang out if you want to get into Holy Paladins vs everyone else discussions.

Biiiig Hugs and Thank yous

To Talarian, Trading Post, Ngita, Fearana, ithilyn, Boranos, Joe Ego, Rades, Sol, Saif, Megacode, Viktory, Rohan, cebrafin, grimmtooth, Shy, Malva, repgrind and Ace;

Thank you so much all of you for taking the time to read and comment on the Holy Pally 4 eva series (and/or the Garalon post). Whether it was to report a mistake, offer an alternative view or just say a “hi, I read this!“, your help, advice and support has been invaluable.

Huge thanks as well to everyone who retweeted me, who posted links on their guild forums or Facebook or who shared my blog on their own corners of the internet. You kept me motivated and excited while writing all these words about paladins.

Haters can say what they want about WoW players and the WoW community, but, me, I am constantly amazed at how much support and positivity go around in our circles.

And with that, cheers to WoW’s Holy Paladins, and may we never run out of internet dragons to slay (or heal)!

How I’m healing in MoP – Holy Pally 4eva: Your Cooldowns. Use Them.

January 16, 2013

Second last post of the guide! (Not counting update notifications – of which should start, like, the day after I finish.)

You remember the three component of paladin healing?

1- Beacon Usage
2- Holy Power building and sinking
3- Cooldown management.

Even back when Holy Paladins were (wrongfully) accused of “one button healing”, proper use of cooldowns distinguished the decent Paladin healer from the good Paladin healer. Between mana buttons, output enhancing buttons and fight manipulation buttons, we had a lot of control over what happened during a fight.

Now that we have more healing buttons, we also have more cooldown buttons (including talents and excluding potions, I counted 17) and, more than ever, using cooldowns properly will take your playstyle to the next level.

What is a Cooldown?

Basics first!

A cooldown (or CD) is a spell or ability of considerable power which, when used, has a timer before it can be used again.

For the purpose of this post, the time between uses has to be at least 20 seconds (so Holy Prism can qualify). While Holy Shock does have a cooldown, I don’t think of it as a Cooldown Spell.

So how do I know to use a Cooldown?

First, make sure your UI clearly shows which cooldowns are ready to be used and how much time is left on those that are not.

Then, you’ve got two choice:

DPS Style: Use your CDs the second they’re ready, goals being to squeeze in as much healing as you can and to lower mana requirements for the fight.

Saviour Style: Save your CDs for specific moments, either to react to a predictable burst of damage, or to prevent a wipe in case of an emergency.

Both styles have their place and the wise Holy Paladin knows when to use each approach based on three elements:

1- The Nature of the Cooldown: There’s no point in using a specific damage reduction cooldown if that type of damage isn’t present, just like it’s silly to use a threat manipulation cooldown if threat isn’t a concern.

2- The Cooldown Timer: When a timer only allows one use per fight, the cooldown is best saved for an emergency or for the last minute of the fight. Abilities with very short cooldowns can be used more freely since they’re likely to be ready again by the time they’re really needed.

3- Knowledge of a Fight: If you know the types (magic vs physical) and patterns (burst vs periodic, single target vs raid-wide) of damage in a fight, you can plan your cooldown usage to get the most out of all your spells.

Cooldown use is also influenced by the strategy your raid or healing lead has in mind. It’s always a good idea to use your guild’s strategy threads to make sure you’re on the same page as your leaders when it comes to cooldown usage on specific fights. Prevents screaming matches.

I’ll also point out that on new progression fights, aka, fights where your team is just starting to learn the mechanics, aka, where you expect to wipe within the first 3-4 minutes, it makes sense to blow all your extra healing CDs early. They’ll help keep the team alive longer during the mechanics-learning process and they should be ready for use again by the time you recover from the wipe.

Output Enhancing Cooldowns

Divine Favor: (3 minutes) Increases haste and crit for 20 seconds.
Avenging Wrath: (3 minutes) Increases healing output. Can by modified with Sanctified Wrath (talent) and Glyphs of Avenging Wrath and the Falling Avenger.
Trinket with on-use Intellect: Empty Fruit Barrel was the only one I could find with an on-use Intellect boost.
Holy Avenger: (Talent only – 2 minutes) Increases healing output of certain spells and builds Holy Power.
Potion of the Jade Serpent: (Potion – Once per fight, may also use an extra one right before pull) Increases intellect for 25 seconds, which in turn increases healing output.

All of these cooldowns increase your throughput somehow.

I included a potion for completeness’ sake. You can only use one potion, total, per fight so only use a Potion of the Jade Serpent if you’re positive you won’t be needing a potion for mana later on. If a fight has a lot of damage right at the start, you can do like a dps player and pre-pot (drink a potion right before the pull to avoid triggering the once-per-fight restriction), however most fights in Tier 14 start off slowly damage wise, making pre-potting a waste. (However, as Talarian suggests in the comments, if a fight doesn’t start off with steep healing, you’re tight on the enrage timer and you don’t think mana will be an issue, you can pre-pot and use your damage spells for some smooth healer dps.)

All the other buttons (and the trinket), however, have a 2-3 minute cooldown, meaning you should use them at least twice on any fight longer than 6 minutes. On most fights they can be used DPS Style (as soon as they come up), but if a fight has conveniently spaced bursts of damage (think Empress in Heart of Fear), you can time your cooldowns to help you mop up after the bursts.

These throughput cooldowns also have a fantastic side effect: since they make your spells harder and/or faster, you can use lighter spells, saving mana. (Thank you Sol for the comment!)

Unless you need a biiiiig burst of healing, avoid having more than one cooldown active at a time. Hitting Divine Favor and Avenging Wrath together will, more often than not, result in 20 seconds of overheal. It’s much less of a waste to use one, wait for it to finish, then use another.

Extra Heals Cooldowns

Lay on Hands: (5-12 minutes) Heals the target for the amount of your maximum health. This is the tank saver. Can be modified with Glyph of Divinity for a bonus mana-return and with the Unbreakable Spirit talent for a cooldown reduction.
Guardian of Ancient Kings: (5 minutes) Adds to 5 of your single target heals and splashes healing onto nearby players.
Execution Sentence: (Talent only – 1 minute) Single target heal over time.
Holy Prism: (Talent only – 20 seconds) Can be used a cheap single target heal or as a small area of effect heal.
Light’s Hammer: (Talent only – 1 minute) Puts an area of healing on the ground for 17.5 seconds.

Lay on Hands and Guardian of Ancient Kings have fairly long CDs. On long, long, long fights they can be used twice (maybe three times if a fight goes over 15 minutes) but on most fights they can only be used once.

Lay on Hands is such a powerful tank savor that I like to save it for emergencies, regardless of fight length, unless I’m positive that our tanks won’t need it. As for Guardian of Ancient Kings, it’s nice to use twice on long fights, once early on and once at the end, unless you feel you might need to prevent a wipe halfway through. Never finish a fight with Guardian off CD. It’s such a great healing bonus that if the fight is almost over and you haven’t needed it yet, just use it. USE IT.

The other three are the level 90 talents. You pick one. They’re on short timers, so use them whenever they’re available, unless you have a perfect opportunity coming up within the next few seconds.

Raid-wide Cooldown

Devotion Aura:
(3 minutes) Reduces magic damage (AND ONLY MAGIC DAMAGE) for 6 seconds. Also prevents Silences and Interrupts for those 6 seconds, which is more useful in PvP than in Tier 14 raiding.

This time around, Devotion Aura (or, affectionately, Devo Aura) is our cooldown that affects the entire raid. It (only) lasts 6 seconds and is useless against physical damage.

There are still a lot of fights where Devotion Aura is lovely, though, so check the types of damage caused by different boss abilities. If there’s magic damage that affects more than 2-3 people at once, you’ve got a Devo Aura opportunity.

You can usually fit it in twice a fight, but check with your raid or healing lead – most teams like to coordinate raid-wide CDs for maximal benefit.

Fight Manipulation Cooldowns

Hand of Sacrifice: (2 minutes) Transfers some damage from the target over to you.
Hand of Purity: (talent only – 30 seconds) Reduces damage from (most) periodic effects on the target. Check out Gina’s list of HofPurity opportunities.
Hand of Protection: (5 minutes) Prevents all physical (AND ONLY PHYSICAL) damage on the target (also usually removes bleed effects) for 10 seconds, but prevents the target from using physical attacks (melee and hunters don’t like this). Has added affect that melee mobs will stop attacking the target and go elsewhere (squishies like this, tanks to do not).
Hand of Salvation: (2 minutes) Removes the targets threat. Hunters appreciate the thought. Tanks, not so much.
Hand of Freedom: (25 seconds) Removes/prevents movement impairing effects. Useful on the trash to Elegon.

Hand CDs are called Hands for a reason: they give you some control over fights.

Hand of Sacrifice can be used DPS-Style, however some teams like to coordinate usage for certain fights. Check with your leaders before keeping Hand of Sacrifice on CD. Same goes for Hand of Purity, on fights where HofPurity is helpful.

Note that while Hand of Sacrifice on its own should not be able to kill you, if you have Hand of Sacrifice active while intense raid damage is going out, your face might meet the floor. I speak from experience. Be wise when you use it, and if you think you might die, get a damage reduction CD on yourself (scroll down this post to read about Divine Protection and Divine Shield). Also note that damage transferred through HofSac keeps its type. So physical damage to your target means physical damage to you.

Hand of Protection is really handy (oh the bad pun!) during trash, or for fights with lots of adds, if your team is a little clumsy. I’ve also used it to clear nasty Wind Steps on Heroic Blade Lord. The CD timer is long, though, so you’ll rarely get to use it more than once a fight. Choose your opportunity wisely.

I’ve yet to use Hand of Salvation, but if your team is a little clumsy, some of your trigger-happy dps might appreciate a good Salv. As for Freedom, in PvE, it is very situation specific, but does have occasional uses. Both have a fairly short timer and can be used rather freely.

If you really like your Hands, look into the Clemency talent, which lets you use all Hands (except Purity) twice before triggering the CD.

Mana Cooldowns

Divine Plea: (2 minutes) Returns mana for 9 seconds but lowers healing output during that time. Can be modified via Glyph of Divine Plea to negate the healing penalty in exchange for a 5 second cast time.
Trinket with on-use Spirit or Mana: Scroll of Revered Ancestors, Jade Courtesan Figurine, Vial of Ichorous Blood, Price of Progress all have on-use Spirit or Mana return.
Master Mana Potion/Potion of Focus: (Potion – Once per fight) Potions that restores mana.

Unless you’re drowning in a pool of your own mana, Divine Plea can (and usually should) be used DPS-Style starting when you reach about 80% mana. Be smart about it though, if you’re approaching a point in the fight where the healing penalty (or cast time) might be a problem, wait a little bit. Same goes for if a point in the fight where the healing penalty or cast time doesn’t matter is coming up.

As for your on-use mana-returning trinkets, they have no penalty associated with them, so if you have a such a trinket, you’ll want to use it right after your first few casts, then whenever it makes itself available.

Again, I put some potions in for completeness. The Master Mana Potion only restores a little bit of mana, but can be used instantly. Potion of Focus, on the other hand, restores more mana but requires that you drop what you’re doing to sit and drink. You only get to use one potion per fight, so choose wisely.

Personal Damage Reduction Cooldown

Divine Protection: (30 seconds to 1 minute) In it’s original state, reduces magic (AND ONLY MAGIC!) damage for 10 seconds. You can add a physical damage reduction component via Glyph of Divine Protection, and you can reduce the CD via the Unbreakable Spirit talent.
Divine Shield: (2.5-5 minutes) Makes you invulnerable (with some exceptions) for 8 seconds and removes most debuffs. The CD can be reduced via the Unbreakable Spirit talent.

Divine Protection has such a cute little CD that it can be used DPS Style for fights with regular raid damage, unless there’s a big burst of damage coming up. Check damage types before each fight to know whether or not to add the physical damage reduction Glyph.

While Divine Shield coupled with Unbreakable Spirit can have a fairly short CD, this spell is such a powerful oopsy-fixer that you’ll want to almost exclusively use it Savior Style. If you screw up and are about to be killed (and humiliated) by avoidable damage, you want this spell to be available to save your face. I mean your life. You’ll probably only get to use it once per fight, but you’re a good pally who doesn’t make many mistakes, right?

AND THAT ENDS THE HOW-TO PORTION OF THIS GUIDE!

Oh yessssss.

Next post is the one I’ve been looking forward to since day one! I get to update my links and point all you avid pally-info readers to some awesome resources and fantastic members of the paladin community.

But for now I need to rest my sore fingers.

How I’m healing in MoP – Holy Pally 4eva: Holy Power Healing

January 8, 2013

Review time!

The three components of paladin healing:

1- Beacon of Light Usage
2- Holy Power building and sinking
3- Cooldown Management

Yesterday we explored Beacon, today we’re doing Holy Power.

holypower

Holy Power: The Basics

Like a Rogue’s combo points, different spells you cast will give you points of Holy Power, which you can sink on a fun mana-free heal of your choice. You can use either Holy Power sink whether you have one, two or three points, but the more points you have, the stronger the spell.

Since Mists, the game lets us collect up to five points at a time, but a full strength sink will only use up 3 points. (The extra points are there so if you overshoot your Holy Power building, the casts aren’t wasted.)

Gaining Points Through Healing

We’ve got two healing spells that will always give us points and two spells that will give us points if we cast them on our Beacon target.

Holy Shock: Holy Shock (or, affectionately, HS) will give one point of Holy Power per cast. Since it’s very mana efficient and of decent strength, you should be using it on cooldown. I’m not kidding. The first thing I do when someone hands me their logs is whip out my calculator and check their HS per minute.

Holy Radiance:
Holy Radiance (HR) is cast on a target and AoEs to heal nearby allies. Unlike it’s previous incarnation in Cataclysm, it does not heal over time. It’s still a useful spell, but very expensive, so use it wisely.

Divine Light (DL):
This is our strongest single target heal. Slow and relatively expensive, this is a spell you’ll use on most, if not all fights, but that you have to use wisely if you don’t want to find yourself gasping for mana. You’ll gain a charge of Holy Power if, and only if, you cast Divine Light on your Beacon target.

Flash of Light: Flash of Light is our highest heal per second spell, but unfortunately, also our highest mana drain per second spell. Like DL, it grants Holy Power if you cast it on your Beacon target. As a general rule, you’ll only want to use it in emergencies or for gimmicky fights. (I’ll use it on Tsulong paired with Glyph of Flash of Light. I also used it early in the expansion as I was trying to heal through Gara’jal’s Spirit World in my quest-green gear.)

Healing Spells that Will Not Give Holy Power

Because I’m trying to squeeze a full spell guide into this post, I needed to find a way to include Holy Light.

Holy Light:
This is our small, cheap heal with the same cast time as Divine Light. It won’t generate Holy Power, but it does have the advantage of completely transferring (that’s 100%!) through Beacon. Good for when you’re waiting for Holy Shock to come off cooldown, don’t have the mana to cast Holy Radiance and aren’t close enough to the boss to cast Crusader Strike.

Non-Healing Ways to Build Holy Power

“When you cast Word of Glory using 3 Holy Power you will gain 1 Holy Power.”
– PvP 4 piece bonus

While you’ll usually build up your Holy Power by healing, there are a few other ways to squeeze in a point.

Crusader Strike:
If you’re in melee range, Crusader Strike is a fast, cheap, easy way to get some extra Holy Power during times of more relaxed healing. I do find this tier to be unfriendly to healing in melee, but if you’re able to pull it off, you’ll be rewarded in Holy Power.

PvP 4 piece:
For awhile, even the blue pvp set was considered better than raid gear because of how amazing the 4 piece bonus is (all this time, instead of doing dailies, you should have been doing BGs!). The 4 piece is still used quite frequently, especially by those who don’t run with the pve tier 4 piece.

Level 75 Talents:
Holy Avenger is a powerful cooldown that, when active, will make your Holy Power generating spells produce 3 points per cast instead of one. Sanctified Wrath will let you use Holy Shock more often when Avenging Wrath is active (and it lets Avenging Wrath be active longer) and Divine Purpose will sometimes give you a free 3 Holy Power strength spell after using a points sink. Which talent is best is debatable and more or less up to personal preference. See Talent section for more details.

Glyph of Blessed Life: I’m only adding this for the sake of completion. In PvE, you’ll never be feared, stunned or immobilized enough for a 50% single point proc to be useful.

Sinking Your Holy Power

As soon as you get 3 points of Holy Power, sink them. You’re allowed to bank two extra points if you go over, but going over should really only happen by accident. There’s no point in sitting on Holy Power.

You get two choices of where you sink your power.

Word of Glory/Eternal Flame: A strong, mana-free single target heal. The level 45 talent Eternal Flame adds a heal over time (HoT) component to it as well.

Light of Dawn (LoD): A multi target one-time heal. Can be modified with Glyph of Light of Dawn if desired. If someone chooses to heal with LoD as their primary Holy Power sink, they should consider taking Sacred Shield as their level 45 talent, as Eternal Flame is wasted if you never cast Word of Glory.

Opting for Light of Dawn as your primary Holy Power sink is often referred as “traditional” or “normal” healing: you rack up Holy Power, and at three points you hit your “Light of Dawn” button. Your Beacon target receives 15% of the healing you emit and you can use Sacred Shield as a bubble on your healing target.

Eternal Flame healing involves having as many Eternal Flame HoTs rolling on different players at a time. In addition to, well, healing them over time, the HoTs contribute to Mastery bubbles meaning those players will take less damage, AND the total healing (including overheal) transfers 50% through Beacon.

Raw healing potential wise, as far as I can tell, Eternal Flame healing beats Light of Dawn healing. Period.

In practice, though, both styles can be strong and viable. In the guild I’m raiding with now (they’re middle of road in terms of progression), I’m an Eternal Flame healer and one of my co-pallies uses Light of Dawn/Sacred Shield and we put out roughly the same numbers (however, I am just coming back from a month-long hiatus and am new to the team, which means I’m rusty, less geared and still learning the damage patterns. I’ll get back to you once I’m healing at full strength!)

Sinking at One Holy Power vs at Three Holy Power

I’ve been experimenting with this and reviewing logs from top guilds, and it does seem that sinking at 3 Holy Power beats sinking at 1, despite how much long it takes to build up that power. Though the paladins in the logs I’ve been reading likely used the PvP 4 piece. If you use the PvP 4 piece, you should definitely only be casting at 3 Holy Power – anything less would defeat the purpose.

However, as Talarian points out in the comments, the Eternal Flame HoT scales linearly (so if your 1 hp EF ticks for 200, your 2 hp EF will tick for 400 and your 3 hp EF will tick for 600), 3 people (non-tanks) with 1 Holy Power EF should come out to the same as one person with a 3 Holy Power EF. Better perhaps, because you’ve got 3 people getting little heals, rather than one person getting overhealed. Exception may be in certain 10 man fights where it is possible to have 2-3 Holy Power on the entire raid at once (this never happens on 25 man unless, by some godly intervention, you get 25 consecutive Divine Purpose procs).

And as Rades points out, the more times you cast Eternal Flame, the more chances you have of procing Divine Purpose, if you’re specced into it. Then, there’s also that emergency situations where you’re almost mana dry, need to get a heal out AT THAT VERY SECOND, Holy Shock is on cooldown and all you have is one flimsy Holy Power. That one Holy Power might be what prevents the wipe.

So one Holy Power or three? If you’re using the PvP bonus, three. On the tanks, three if possible. Other than that, use your discretion.

(Thank you to Talarian and Rades for your imput!)

And that completes another section of Holy Pally 4eva!

Tune in next time for cooldowns!

How I’m healing in MoP – Holy Pally 4eva: Healing with Beacon

January 7, 2013

That’s right! The end of this series is in sight and it’s time to talk about, you know, real healing spells!

As I see it, there are three components to paladin healing:

1- Beacon of Light Usage
2- Holy Power building and sinking
3- Cooldown Management

Since this is healing technique post #1, we’re going talk about Beacon.

beacon

The official description is rather clear. You put a buff, Beacon of Light, on a player of your strategic choosing, and the healing you do on other players transfers to your Beacon target.

The amount transferred varies based on spell used. So if Beacon is on Mary and you cast a Holy Light on Jack for 300 (numbers used in this post do not reflect actual in game averages), Mary would also receive a 300 heal. But if your Holy Radiance hits 5 people for 300, then Mary would be healed for 5 X (15% of 300) = 225.

You can move your Beacon of Light to different players during a fight, if you feel that’s the best strategy. If you plan on doing that often, consider Glyph of Beacon of Light to remove the global cooldown, making Beacon swapping faster.

Note as well the 60(!!!) yard radius on Beacon. Meaning Beacon can heal a player who’d be out of range by normal standards (40 yards), as long as they are within 60 yards of the person you’re direct healing.

Add Beacon to your frames

beacontracking

You’ll want to track your Beacon.

Since the Beacon buff doesn’t expire – the only ways to get rid of it is for the target to die, for the target to remove it (why would they want to do that?) and for you to cast it on a different target, Beacon tracking isn’t as crucial as it once was. However, since you, the player, are a human being, you sometimes make mistakes. Sometimes your target dies and you don’t put their Beacon back on. Sometimes your mouse slips a little and you cast Beacon on the wrong person. Sometimes you think you’re moving your Beacon to a new target but the cast doesn’t go off. Sometimes YOU EVEN FORGET TO CAST BEACON AT ALL! Tracking your Beacon is the fastest way to catch signs of your humanity and hide them before anyone else notices.

You’ll want to track the Beacons of other paladins in the raid.

But I run 10 man/don’t raid!” you say. You also look at me with that “I know you’re heavily biased toward 25 man raiding” eye. Yes, I do intend to be the last 25 man holy paladin standing. But! Even if you don’t typically run with other holy paladins, you still might run LFR, you might do some Battlegrounds, you might pug a raid.

Knowing what the other holy paladins are doing helps a lot with making strategic decisions as well as predicting where the fight is going. It only takes a second to set up your frames to track other Beacons and you’ll almost certainly discover that you enjoy spying on your fellows.

Choosing a Beacon Target

I wrote about Beacon strategies awhile back. The post is rather outdated, but you might find some ideas for creative Beacon use, if you’re into that sort of thing.

1- Beacon the Tank (or, your Assigned Tank): If you’re just getting started and are running 5 mans, Beacon the tank. In Mists, I believe the only time I Beacon a non-tank in a 5 man is if the tank dies and I decide to save the group. In a raid setting, Beaconing the tank, or the tank you’re assigned to heal, has been my strategy of choice this expansion. It allows for the most freedom, letting you choose between direct healing your Beacon target (which builds Holy Power as we’ll see next post), or healing around and letting those heals transfer through Beacon.

2- Beacon the other Tank: In a fight calling for 2 simultaneous tanks, you can either use strategy #1, or choose to Beacon the tank you’re not assigned to, and spam heal your tank. This is more mana consuming and doesn’t let you help out the raid healers as much, but in a fight that is high on tank damage and low on raid damage, this strategy makes it easy to keep both tanks alive if you don’t trust the person healing the other tank (and might help you climb the meters a little bit, if you’re into that). If you’re healing with another paladin, this choice allows for cross-beaconing (each paladin is assigned a tank, and gives Beacon to the other pally’s tank)

3- Switch from Tank to Tank: I’d only seriously use this strategy on fights where tanks alternate. Assisted by Glyph of Beacon of Light, plop Beacon on whichever tank is currently taking the most damage.

4- Beacon on Someone Else: I can only think of three occasions where I’d use this in Mists so far – healing kiters on Garalon, healing in Gara’jal’s spirit world (thank you Repgrind!) and extreme raid healing. Extreme raid healing was described to me by Cebrafin on my glyph post and involves Beaconing a player before casting Divine Light or Flash of Light on them to build Holy Power. While I’ve never come across this strategy (and I read A LOT of healing logs), and you would rarely use big heals when raid healing, this strategy could be used if you do need a big heal on a non-tank, or as a fun distraction in LFR or during a boring fight.

Next post: That Holy Power you keep hearing about.

Chibi Rykga says hi! (Thank you Rades for the link!)

Chibi Rykga says hi! (Thank you Rades for the link!)

Till next time!

How I’m healing in MoP – Holy Pally 4eva: The UI

December 31, 2012

You have your gear (note that the gear post is somewhat outdated) and reforging in mind and you’ve picked out the Talents and Glyphs you want to start with. You’re ready to start pressing buttons!

Almost.

Before getting to the pressing buttons part, I want to make sure your UI (User Interface) needs are met. To heal effectively you want a proper interface. One that tells you what you need to know yet cuts down on useless, overwhelming information.

A good healer knows exactly what’s happening to each person in the raid at all times as well as what their own character is doing, while following the fight.

The key to that, friends, is a proper UI.

What to Add to the Addon Shopping List?

Here’s a screen shot of my UI (click on it on few times to make it bigger). This is obviously just an example and you are free (in fact, I encourage you!) to use your imagination to build your own interface.

raidui

1- Raid Frames

You want to see what’s going on in your raid. The more popular frames for healing are VuhDo, Healbot, Grid and Grid2. Shown in the above picture is Grid2.

Grid and Grid2 require an extra addon if you want to use the mouse to interact with the frames (Clique is the only one I’m aware of). The original Grid may require extra addons to track certain buffs and debuffs as well. For an elaborate breakdown of the major frame addons, check out Grimmtooth (the series may be a little outdated but the general gist is there).

Having tried all of the popular healing frames, I found them equally good, so go with whichever you find prettiest or whichever your friends use (so it’s easier to get answers if you have questions).

As a Holy Paladin, you want to track:

- Your Beacon of Light as well as the Beacons of other Holy Pallies in the raid (indicated separately)
Eternal Flame
Sacred Shield (If you are using the spell, otherwise it is optional)
– Your Illuminated Healing (Optional – nice to have but may be overwhelming)
– Range (Fade out at 40 yards)
– Aggro (Optional but helpful)
– Rezzed but not yet taken the rez (Called Resurrection on Grid2. Most players don’t track this, but I find it super helpful.)
– Fight specific buffs and debuffs (Such as Pungency on Garalon)
– Magic, Poison and Disease debuffs (Curse debuffs can be shown separately if desired)

As a side note, in the screenshot you can see the tanks on the default WoW frames. I do this in LFR to keep track of who the tanks are. I would hide the default frames in a guild raid.

2- Bar Organizer

The popular addons are Bartender 4 (shown in screenshot) and Dominos.

A good bar organizer will keep your game from vomiting buttons all over your screen. If you look closely, you can see my keybound abilities on the bottom (I rebound my movement keys to ESDF and use the surrounding keys to tap abilities) and my cooldowns (mostly) on the top. My mounts, professions and others are faded out to the right of my main bars, my seals are to the left, and my system buttons (Raid Finder, Raid Journal, Character, etc) are to the top left (hidden behind the WoW frames on the screenshot).

(The screenshot was taken during a time of winter cleaning so the layout isn’t ideal – there are a couple of suboptimal buttons and even an empty space. I am still working on perfecting my bars, so please don’t copy the screenshot.)

Ideally, I would have my cooldowns larger and more in the middle of my screen, but there are so many cooldowns and so little room on the screen. I’ve just gotten in the habit of glancing at my CDs as part of my regular screen visual sweep.

3- Personal Frames (Heads Up)

While you can keep track of yourself using your raid frames, many of us find it easier to track ourselves separately. I use mine for mana and Holy Power (it shows health too, but out of habit I tend to look at my raid frames for my health).

Shown in the picture above is IceHUD, but there are a lot of options to choose from. Once again, the awesome Grimmtooth has reviewed and cataloged the main ones (again, may be a little outdated but still relevent, see Grimmtooth’s comment on this post for some updates).

I have the bars set to fade out of combat so they are hard to see, but in the left circle is my mana bar, my health bar and my pet bar (not shown). On the right side, if I had a target, you’d be able to see my target’s health and mana.

In the bottom circle is my Holy Power bar. I love the location – right on my character, above my healing frames. I always know how much Holy Power I have!

Even if you choose not to use frames for yourself, you will have to track Holy Power near the center of your screen somehow. The tiny bar at the top left of the screen is too out of the way. You’ll waste a lot of time if you extend your visual sweep all the way up there just to look at your Holy Power.

4- Scrolling Battle Text

Some players will say this is optional, but I can’t play without battle text. On the rare occasion that my addon crashes, the difference in my healing output is noticeable.

I use MikScrollingBattleText (you can’t see it in the shot since I wasn’t doing anything at the time) and I have used Parrot in the past as well.

There are a lot of cool things you can do with your battle text, such as sounds for when your cooldowns come up, or when you have 3 Holy Power. You can also use it (mostly) out of the box, to keep an eye on your numbers or to notice when Beacon isn’t transferring heals.

5- Pally Power

Pally Power is truly optional, but I find it helpful for rebuffing after a rez or swapping a Seal. And it’s so small and cute that it doesn’t cause me any problems.

6- Combat Log

Not an addon, but a valuable part of an interface.

I love my Combat Log so much that I moved it to the right side of my screenkeep, separating it from my chat box. You can customize your Combat Log, but Blizzard has done a really good job fixing it up so that the default “What happened to me?” is all you really need.

It’s fantastic for diagnosing deaths (nothing sets me off more than people who don’t know what killed them…the Combat Log SPELLS IT OUT TO YOU DUMBASSES /fume), verifying damage type (physical/shadow/nature/etc) and seeing if the raid healers are slacking.

A Note on the Addon-Free School of Thought

Occasionally you’ll come across healers who refuse to use addons, for a variety of reasons. What they might not tell you, though, is that, if they are successfully healing in a competitive raid environment, they’re using other aids, like macros and optimized keybindings. If you choose to use macros instead of addons (addons are essentially, after all, pretty and precoded macros), you can heal well, however I won’t be able help you.

If you’re hesitant about adding to your game, think of it this way: designing an interface that’s both pleasant on the eyes (you’ll be staring at it a lot, it needs to be sexy) and informative is a skill in itself.

Building a super efficient UI does not take away from your talent as a player. Rather it highlights your ability by reflecting your understanding of the game and of your personal playstyle. A bad player who doesn’t know where or what to look for won’t be able to build a proper UI.

So stop worrying and start addon shopping.

How I’m healing in MoP – Holy Pally 4eva: Glyphs

December 30, 2012

Better late than never, right? I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can finish this guide by the next expansion. (2 years, is it? I can do this in 2 years.)

So now that we’ve explored Stats and Talents, the next logical step is Glyphs. Glyphs, actually, are fairly similar to the new talent system, but add an extra fun dimension to building a character. We get two types of Glyphs: Major and Minor. Major Glyphs directly affect existing abilities while Minor Glyphs, for the most part, just make abilities look cooler.

I won’t go into Minor Glyphs since they have very little effect on gameplay (though Glyph of the Falling Avenger can help during Tillers Dailies). I do, however, highly recommend Glyph of the Luminous Charger because, you know, we’re shiny paladins and our mounts should reflect that.

I divided the Major Glyphs into possible uses to make the post more efficient. I left out the ones that affect retribution- or protection-only abilities but included everything else, for the sake of completion.

Healing Style

These glyphs all affect how you’ll be healing. I fit Divine Plea into this category because the nature of the Glyph has very little effect on mana regen and a lot of effect on how you’ll fit the spell into your healing.

Glyph of Light of Dawn: Light of Dawn heals for more, but hits less targets. I’ve yet to find a use for this. In 5s and 10s, I get better results by putting Eternal Flame on everyone than by casting Light of Dawn, while in 25s, if I’m using Light of Dawn then I want to hit as many people as possible. Feel free to experiment and share your discoveries, though. Rating: Your mileage may vary.

Glyph of Flash of Light: If you cast Flash of Light, your heals for the next 7 seconds will heal for more. For the most part, unless you’re a weird Flash of Lighting paladin, this Glyph is a wasted slot. I have found use for it, however, on Tsulong’s Day Phase where Flash of Light can be a smart spell choice. Rating: Situational.

Glyph of Beacon of Light:
Removes the global cooldown on Beacon of Light, making this Glyph lovely for tank or target switching fights. Feng and Garalon come to mind as fights where I like to use this Glyphs. Also, if you’re running with a less experienced team where the tanks tend to die (or fight over aggro), this Glyph can be handy. Rating: Situational.

Glyph of Divine Plea: Removes the healing penalty from Divine Plea but adds a (freaking long) cast time. If you’re new to paladin healing, are just gearing or running with a less experienced team, this Glyph sucks. The healing penalty is a little annoying, but the cast time is deadly. I’m sure it becomes less of a pain as Mastery shields and Eternal Flame ticks become powerful enough to keep targets alive during the 5 second cast and quite a few commenters stopped by to say they loved the Glyph (so do try it) but I’m hesitant to go back to it. Rating: Your mileage may vary.

Glyph of the Battle Healer: You heal the raid a little when you melee. It does very little healing, but if I can melee on a fight and I can’t find a third useful Glyph, I’ll use it. A teeny bit of healing is better than no healing. Rating: Filler glyph.

Mana

These Glyphs are all about mana. Because we like our mana.

Glyph of Illumination: Affect mana regen via manipulation of Spirit and Holy Shocks. To see if you’d benefit from this Glyph, Joe Ego (theorycrafter at Leveling Holy and Elitist Jerks) made a spread sheet. To use, make a copy of the spread sheet, plug the appropriate numbers in the blue squares and look at your graph. Basically, those who’d get use out of the Glyph run with low Spirit and never miss a Holy Shock. Which isn’t many of us. It might make a good Glyph for someone wanting to try an all-Intellect gemming style combined with a Tier 4-piece. Rating: Rarely useful.

Glyph of Divinity: Increased the cooldown of Lay on Hands but adds a 10% mana return. Good in combination with the Unbreakable Spirit talent. I’ve come to use this Glyph as baseline, since I rarely want to use Lay on Hands more than once or twice per fight, and an emergency mana button is always appreciated. Rating: Go for it.

Self Preservation

These Glyphs affect self-healing or incoming damage reduction. Sometimes they add a bonus to your healing, other times they just keep you from having to blindly trust your raid healers.

Glyph of Divine Protection: Adds a physical damage reduction component to Divine Protection but lowers the magical damage reduction component. For fights with a lot of physical damage, this Glyph is like a ray of light shining through the clouds (with, you know, naked baby angels singing and stuff). Wind Lord Mel’jarak’s Rain of Blades comes to mind. But if a fight is mostly magical, leave this Glyph at home. Rating: Situational.

Glyph of Avenging Wrath:
You get some health back while Avenging Wrath is active. If you’re using Avenging Wrath on cooldown, most of the health back will be overheal, but I could see the use on fights with constant raid damage (like Garalon or Tsulong) if you can’t think of anything better to use as a third Glyph. Use in combination with the Sanctified Wrath talent for maximum effect. Rating: Rarely useful.

Glyph of Protector of the Innocent: You get some health back every time you use Word of Glory (and it works with Eternal Flame too). This Glyph is a waste if you’re using primarily Light of Dawn as your Holy Power sink, but if, like most Holy Pallies, you use a lot of Word of Glory/Eternal Flame this is a fantastic Glyph, especially on fights with a lot of raid damage. Rating: Common Situational.

Damage

These are all Glyphs that affect damage output. You’ll rarely use them for raiding (though they might come in handy to beat an enrage timer), but you’ll love them if you want to do your dailies in Holy spec, run challenge modes or are bored in 5s heroics or Scenarios. I couldn’t find any solid numbers for dps increases per Glyph and my napkin math was inconclusive, so I’ll just explain the Glyphs and let you decide which respond best to your dps needs.

Glyph of Word of Glory: After healing with Word of Glory, your damage output increases by 3% for 6 seconds. Our dps is pretty low, so on it’s own, this Glyph won’t make miracles.

Glyph of Double Jeopardy: Judging a different target does double damage. I did the math with my spellpower and the Glyph gave me a 1400dps increase. Take that as you will.

Glyph of Denounce: Holy Shock has a 50% change to reduce your Denounce cooldown. Which means that, on average, every 12 seconds, your Denounce will take 0.75 seconds to cast instead of 1.5 seconds (or slightly less, depending on your haste).

Glyph of Harsh Words: Lets you use your Word of Glory offensively, provided you don’t have the Eternal Flame talent. Since I always end up with tons of Holy Power I can’t use when trying to kill things in Holy spec, I would probably go with this as a Holy DPS Glyph. I’d use it in combination with the Sacred Shield talent if soloing, or possibly Selfless Healer if running instances.

PVP and/or CC

Glyph of Blessed Life: You have a 50% chance to gain a charge of Holy Power when stunned, feared or immobilized. There is no situation in PvE where you will be any of these states frequently enough for this Glyph to useful (half a chance to gain a single charge? Really?) but perhaps it would have its use in PvP.

Glyph of Rebuke: Increases the cooldown on Rebuke but lengthens the effect. Again, I doubt it’ll ever come in handy in PvE, but PvP adepts might enjoy this Glyphs when quickly killing certain classes.

Glyph of Turn Evil: Instant casts on Turn Evil, but longers cooldowns. I’m not sure how many Demons, Aberrations and NPC Undead are in Pandaria, but this Glyph is available if you want to fear those types of mobs.

Glyph of Blinding Light: Blinding Light knocks down opponents for 3 seconds instead of blinding them for 6. Since damage breaks the blinding effect, this Glyph would let you damage your opponents right after using Blinding Light. I could see uses in PvP or soloing, but rarely for anything else.

And that completes the section on Glyphs. Tune in next time (whenever that might be) for another exciting chapter of Holy Pally 4eva!


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