Archive for the ‘Paladinning Info’ category

Healing Garalon as a Holy Paladin

December 17, 2012

I interrupt my sequence of Holy Paladin Guide posts to whip out a boss healing strat. You see, since my last post, a number of people have sent me healing logs to look at (which is totally fine, I love analyzing logs, they make me happy) and too often the healing strat used on Garalon has made me yell out “NOOOOOOOOOooooooOOOOO!”

garalon

Curious as to how I would it?

I hope so.

Here’s how I would distribute healers for this fight:

Kiters (and backup tanks): Holy Paladin
Tanks: Disc Priest or second Holy Paladin
Raid: Everyone else

I’ve yet to try the fight on 10, but my instinct would say have the Holy Paladin on Kiters and Tanks and the second (and third, if applicable) healer on the entire raid.

Why a Holy Pally to heal Kiters?

So far, Garalon is my absolute favorite fight to heal. The mechanics of a kiter taking huge amounts of damage and two tanks taking sporadic damage play into our strengths with so much precision that it’s almost as if the fight itself were designed to pay tribute to our class.

My guild at the time first tried using a Druid on the Kiters (where they got THAT idea, I have not a clue). It was quite disastrous, with both the Kiter and the Druid dying frequently. Then I started pitching in despite being assigned to the tanks (I’m a pally dammit, I can handle a Kiter and two tanks). While I wasn’t even the official Kiter healer, I still ended up doing most of the healing. By next raid I was begging to be the official Kiter healer. Garalon bit the dust a few attempts later.

With a proper healing technique, keeping the Kiters alive (while still doing significant healing on the tanks) is totally possible, and actually pretty easy. Which is why I encourage you Holy Pallies out there to campaign for your right to heal Garalon kiters.

Recommended Talents and Glyphs

Level 15: Doesn’t matter
Level 30: Doesn’t matter
Level 45: Eternal Flame (if you are healing the kiters, don’t even try anything else)
Level 60: Unbreakable Spirit or Clemency (Purity won’t work on this fight. I tend to side with Clemency because Hand of Sacrifice is so good here, but there could be use for US as well.)
Level 75: Divine Purpose (any could work here, but there will be a lot of use for Divine Purpose)
Level 90: Light’s Hammer if you want an AoE or Execution Sentence if you want to boost your single target healing (I originally thought Holy Prism cast on the boss every 20 seconds would do a lot more healing overall, but testing revealed otherwise.)

Glyphs: Beacon of Light. (The rest is up to you, though I find Protector of the Innocent especially useful on this fight because of the constant raid damage. I tried Battle Healer since I like to melee for mana but it does very little actual healing. Another option would be Glyph of Divinity for the extra mana.)

Debuffs to track on your raid frame

Pungency. (Make sure that you can see the number of stacks.)

Positioning

All hail my mad Paint skillz!

All hail my mad Paint skillz!

Assuming Garalon will be moving in a clockwise position, stand to the right of his front right leg.

In this position, you should be in range of the Kiter and both tanks and close enough to melee for mana (and Battle Healer) on the front right leg. You can possibly reach Garalon himself. As our big bug turns, keeping a proper position should only take minimal movement, giving you plenty of time to cast to your little heart’s content.

Pre-Pull Prep

Have a Beacon of Light on your first Kiter (generally this will be one of your tanks). If you have time, get a maxed out Mastery bubble on your Beacon target, then toss a 3 Holy Power Eternal Flame on them to keep your Mastery from falling off.

If your guild takes forever to pull, use that time to put maxed out Mastery bubbles with 3 Holy Power Eternal Flames on both tanks.

If you still haven’t pulled yet, dump Eternal Flame on yourself, then on everyone else.

During the Fight

Keep Beacon on the current Kiter. Have 3 Holy Power Eternal Flames rolling on the Kiter and both tanks. If you have some wiggle-room, get an Eternal Flame up on yourself. If you’re bored, put as many Eternal Flames as you can on people in range, but be careful to not let it fall off the Kiter or the tanks.

To build up Holy Power, use Holy Shock on CD. You should be in range of the front right leg (and sometimes of the boss) so you can use Crusader Strike too. There’s a lot of raid damage going on so Holy Radiance is never a waste (use it on a non-tank, non-kiting melee if possible) but it can use up your mana bar pretty fast. And since your Kiter will be taking a lot of damage, a Divine Light will also be helpful to charge your Holy Power.

Hand of Sacrifice is to be used a lot on this fight. You can choose to use it on cooldown, or time it to help out on Kiter transitions. (When I was learning the fight, we had a Warlock who was squishier than the rest. I always made sure I timed my Sacrifice for it to be available to keep him alive during his transitions.)

Handling Transitions

Watch the stacks on the Kiter. When it is almost time to change Kiters (most guilds aim for a transition at 20 stacks, in which case you’d begin your process at about 16 stacks), get a 3 Holy Power Eternal Flame on the receiving Kiter, and transfer your Beacon. Make sure Eternal Flame doesn’t fall off your original Kiter until the transition is completely over and they are safely back in range of the raid healers.

By the time the new Kiter gets his first stack of Pungency, he should have Beacon and a 3 HP Eternal Flame on him.

If a transition is difficult, time your Hand of Sacrifice and Aura Mastery to be available for it.

Keeping yourself alive

If you are positioned right, you should in be in range of the raid healers. But to help them out, keep an Eternal Flame going on yourself whenever you can, and use Divine Shield and Divine Protection whenever they’re off CD.

Staying alive should be easy.

Now go out to play!

Like any fight use your CDs right and use them often, follow the strat and you should have a blast on Garalon!

EDIT: I made some changes to the post in light of some of the points raised in the comments. Huge thanks to everyone who left some input. It’s players like you guys who make it so much fun to be a holy pally.

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

December 9, 2012

Yay it’s finally time for part 2!

For once I don’t feel like writing a really long general intro so I’m just going to skip to the really long specific intro.

Intro to MoP Talents

I was amused when MoP Talents were released and guide-writers painfully treated them like old fashioned talents, mapping them into “you should do this” cookie cutters. The new talents don’t work that way. The new talents are fluid.

In theory, this means you switch them around based on fights and strategy. In practice, this means you experiment with most of them and eventually settle on a combination that works for you 98% of the time.

Originally I was going to include Glyphs in this post, but it turns out there’s an awful lot to say about talents. Glyphs will have to wait for their own post.

overall talents

Specialization VS Talents VS Glyphs

I’m writing this fairly late into Mists, so most of you know the difference between talents and specializations and can safely skip to the next section. But say you’re just coming back to the game after a hiatus. Or! You’re completely new to the game altogether (in which case, yay! We love you!). This section is for you.

Specialization or “spec”, as a paladin, defines your role. Holy is for healing, Retribution is for damage, Protection is for tanking. With me being primarily a Holy Paladin, I’m really only qualified to talk about that spec.

Talents are a completely different feature. At levels 15, 30, 45, 60, 75 and 90 you’re given the choice between three “talents” (if you’re using the default settings, use “N” to bring up talents). Talents can be either new abilities, or modifications on existing abilities. The difference between the old (and the more traditional RPG) talent system and this one is how every character in a given class (so in our case, all Paladins), regardless of spec, choose between the same talents (though some talents might behave differently based on spec).

Glyphs are a similar (but distinct) feature: extra abilities or ability modifications you can choose from. Again, all specs have access to all glyphs, but some glyphs may be useless to certain specs.

Glyphs and talents can be individually swapped around using Tome of the Clear Mind, which can be purchased from a variety of NPCs or made by Scribes. Gone are the days of spending 15 minutes mapping out your choices, only to have to start all over if you catch a mistake.

Level 15: Speed Boost

level15

You get to choose between a running speed cooldown (Speed of Light), a speed boost after Judging (Long Arm of the Law) and a small speed boost that increases with Holy Power (Pursuit of Justice).

I played with all 3, using Long Arm of the Law when doing dailies in ret spec and Pursuit of Justice for long runs back after wipes. In the end, though, Speed of Light ended up being the most convenient, both for raiding and for wandering around Pandaria. Your mileage may vary.

Level 30: Your Crowd Control

level30

Here you get a choice between a longer range and shorter cooldown to Hammer of Justice (Fist of Justice), a solid 1 minute crowd control (Repentance) and a debuff slowing enemies’ movement speed (Burden of Guilt).

As a PvE healer, I honestly don’t use any of these very much. I run with Fist of Justice most of the time but only really use it in 5s heroics when running with a clumsy tank.

When I’m doing my dailies in ret spec Repentance helps for “free the mind controlled guards” type quests and Burden of Guilt is nice for killing mobs who flee (think vermin during Tillers dailies)… I could see Burden of Guilt having use in PvP, but my knowledge of PvP too limited for this paragraph.

Level 45: The Interesting Level

level45

Selfless Healer makes Flash of Light stronger and cheaper after you Judge, Eternal Flame adds a HoT (heal over time) component to Word of Glory and Sacred Shield adds an absorb shield to a target.

Understanding this level takes a good knowledge of our healing spells, so if you’re a brand new holy paladin, you might want to come back to this section after reading the (to-be-written) “basic healing technique” section.

Unless you have a weird Flash of Light based style, you won’t be giving Selfless Healer a test drive. (It could maybe have some use if you’re having trouble healing the Spirit World on Gara’jal, but as a general rule Eternal Flame is really nice on that fight.)

Eternal Flame is the preferred talent of most. It’s fantastic in small groups or for tank/single target healing, and it allows for a technique called “Eternal Flame blanketing” that I’ll cover later on.

Sacred Shield has less healing potential on its own than Eternal Flame, but it is sometimes used in 25s raids (or world bosses) in situations where you tend to use Light of Dawn over Word of Glory as your Holy Power sink.

If you’re a beginner and/or if you’re running 5s, go with Eternal Flame. If you’re running 10s, Eternal Flame will generally be your go-to talent (with maybe the occasional exception). If you’re running 25s, you can choose between Eternal Flame and Sacred Shield based on your healing style, your assignment and the fight.

Level 60: Damage mitigation Cooldowns

level60

This level is a lot of fun because your choices really let you adapt to different situations.

Hand of Purity is ideal for bosses who put DoTs (damage over time) on your healing targets (think Heroic Stone Guard – this might also work during Titan Gas phase on Will of the Emperor though I haven’t tested it, note that it does NOT work for Garalon’s Pheromones as counter-intuitive as that seems. Thank you to @Miskat0nic for clarifying.). One of my favorite tanks once described it as “6 seconds of love”.

Unbreakable Spirit reduces the cooldown on Divine Shield, Divine Protection and Lay on Hands based on your Holy Power usage (which should be high). Since it’s a passive ability (in other words, you don’t have to think about it), it’s nice to have as a baseline talent, especially if you’re new to paladin healing and are already suffering from cooldown-induced ulcers.

Clemency lets you use your Hands of Sacrifice, Freedom, Protection and Salvation twice before triggering the cooldown. This is especially wonderful for dealing with bad tanks in random groups since your Hands help you manipulate tank damage and aggro. Otherwise it comes in handy for bosses who deal REALLY BIG HITS (Sacrifice), for dispelling on the trash before Elegon and Will of the Emperor (Freedom FTW!) and to flirt with Warriors, Death Knights, Rogues and Retribution Paladins (Protection always gets their attention).

Level 75: Your Healing Boosts

level75

Your choices at 75 are between a Holy Power (and select heal) boosting cooldown (Holy Avenger), an added effect to Avenging Wrath reducing the cooldown to Holy Shock while Avenging Wrath is active and increasing the uptime of Avenging Wraths (Sanctified Wrath) and a passive ability that will sometimes give you a free full strength Light of Dawn or Word of Glory (Divine Purpose).

To beginners, I say start with Sanctified Wrath. Since it modifies an existing cooldown, it doesn’t add ANOTHER button to worry about. And you can’t go wrong with more Holy Shock casts and longer Avenging Wraths.

Holy Avenger is a somewhat complex talent (Kurn breaks it down here), and one I haven’t played much with. It’s an extra cooldown to think of, but it allows for strategic healing.

Divine Purpose would be lovely except that, like all random-proc abilities, it never procs when you need it too.

Personally, I primarily play with, as odd as it might sound, Divine Purpose. Because of my playstyle (which I’ll describe in a future post), the randomness generally doesn’t bother me and I like not having yet another cooldown to worry about. But, like I mentioned earlier, beginners should go with Sanctified Wrath. And if you’re an absolute control freak, you’ll probably enjoy Holy Avenger.

Level 90: Your Fun AoE Spell

level90

Holy Prism, when cast on an ally will give you a cheap (but not free), instant single target heal. Strength-wise it’s about equivalent to a Divine Light. You also get a bit of AoE damage on nearby enemies. When cast on an enemy, you get some damage on the enemy (nice for challenge runs, scenarios, dps races and when you’re bored) and a moderate (between a Holy Shock and a Flash of Light in strength) heal on 5 nearby teammates. This is nice for fights with burst AoE damage (Elegon and Blade Lord Ta’yak come to mind), especially in 10s. It looses power in stationary fights with small, periodic damage. The 20 second cooldown can be inconvenient as well since you have to monitor it.

Light’s Hammer has a very cool graphic (always important) and provides a nice area of periodic healing on the ground for about 20 seconds. The spell is mana-free, can be cast every minute and will heal any teammate standing in the effect. As a 25s raider, I use this talent most of the time. On 10 man, it loses some of its potency, with perhaps the exception of stacking fights with small, periodic damage (think Titan Gas on Will of the Emperor). Fights with constant movement tend to take away from Light’s Hammer’s usefulness as well.

Execution Sentence, while great as an offensive spell for doing dailies, is less attractive than the other two options. As a single target heal over time with a burst at the end, it doesn’t compliment our already super-strong single target healing style the way the AoE-ish Holy Prism and Light’s Hammer do.

Go Forth and Experiment

The best thing about these talents is how much room there is for experimenting. If you don’t like your current setup, it only takes a second between fights to switch a talent. You can also jot down potential talent choices for individual fights while doing your pre-raid boss strat learning. For example:

- Massive DoT on the tank(s) (or on a various raid members): Think Hand of Purity (level 60)
– Need to help with crowd control: Repentance (level 30)
– Fight required sudden quick movement: Speed of Light (level 15)
– Small, but constant AoE damage on the raid: Consider Light’s Hammer (level 90)
– Massive, predictable damage spikes on the tanks: Clemency (level 60) and Eternal Flame (level 45)
– Need to run fast for extended periods of time: Pursuit of Justice (level 15)

Feel free to share your own and I’ll add them to the list (with credit given)!

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

November 2, 2012

Miss me much? I would have updated sooner, but I was too busy doing dailies.

(I actually kind of like not mind the dailies, but then my first three weeks of Mists coincided with a nightmare at my real life job. I was grateful to lose myself in dailies here and there, whenever I could spare a few hours.)

You and me, we’re going to play a little game called Can Ophelie churn out an entire MoP Paladin healing guide (which will undoubtedly be outdated before it is even finished) before flying off to Hawaii? I predict a lot of excitement and suspense. Ok, not really, but holy pally talk is always a good time.

Lighthearted comments aside, I’ve been meaning to write this for awhile, as I’ve been telling the many people who’ve asked for my advice. And you know that when people are resorting to asking an absent blogger who always was a little behind on the news, info the holy paladin world must indeed be scarce.

Surprisingly, things are not as dire as one may think: when I did my research for this series of posts, I found several very resourceful writers/bloggers that I wasn’t familiar with. These resourceful people need to start advertising!

I will share these secret links, but only AFTER my own guide is complete (unless references are necessary). So lets gets started.

Short Second Intro

I’m writing the posts in the order I would want to receive the information, if I were a newly 90 pally looking to get started with 5s. To my greatest satisfaction, this order also tends to coincide with the order that other pallies ask me questions in. Therefore we’ve got:

- Stats (with gems, enchants and reforging)
– Talents and Glyphs
– Basic healing (base spells)
– Intermediate healing (cooldown useage)
– Advanced healing (tricks and techniques)

This is the post on stats.

How Will I Know if My Stats Really Love Me?

This is the general consensus on holy paladin stats in MoP:

Spirit > Intellect > Mastery > Haste > Critical Strike

I say general consensus because healing is all about adapting to new situations, and because you’ll always find that one player who maxes out the least favoured spec and just rocks every fight that comes along. But, as my writing teachers always told me, make sure you master the ground rules before breaking them.

Lets have a closer look at these stats.

Spirit – We love you now

With our newly fixed mana pools and Intellect no longer affecting spell regen, your ol’reliable pal is now Spirit. Love it, stack it, show it off.

Especially at first, you’ll want to collect as much Spirit as you can. Try to pick up gear with Spirit on it, if you fail, reforge to Spirit. Enchant for Spirit when available, gem for Spirit.

As you gear up and feel less mana-starved, you can relax a little (but not much) and do things like gem for socket bonuses. But even at that, while a lot of pallies gem for socket bonuses, I still come across some high end holy paladins who ignore socket bonuses and go pure Spirit.

Intellect

Intellect is your strongest throughput stat. It’ll always be on your gear, so don’t let it keep you up at night.

I wouldn’t gem for pure Intellect, but if you do want to match a red socket bonus, a Purified stone (Intellect and Spirit) is pretty sexy.

There’s also some debate between Intellect food/flasks and Spirit food/flasks. I’ve tried both and didn’t notice much of a difference, but I do tend to prefer the Intellect stuff because, as Derevka details brilliantly here, point-per-point, Intellect costs more than Spirit, and thus 300 Intellect is much harder to acquire via gear than 300 Spirit. (Derevka explains it very well, so if you want to know more, I highly recommend his post.)

Mastery? But my Heals Are Taking Too Long!

Mastery has pretty much established its reign as our current top secondary stat. It’s been tried and tested and now all the cool kids are reforging to Mastery.

But I haven’t seen a whole lot of math backing this up (Getsu does do a very good job on his guide at MMO-Champion though), and I’m a translator, not a theorycrafter.

What our Mastery does (just in case you’re a new paladin) is put an absorb shield on your target whenever you heal them. Mastery affects the percentage (%) of the heal that becomes the shield and the shields do stack. There is a maximum strength the shield can reach, however, that seems to be dependent on Intellect (I experimented with some reforging and gear removing). Other than pre-shielding before a pull, though, it’s unlikely you’ll max out your Mastery shields. The shield is called Illuminated Healing, if you’re looking to track it, or find it on logs.

The nice things with Mastery are that it’s mana friendly, makes our overheals worthwhile (as a Divine Light-happy pally I get a lot of overheal) and it allows for a lot of strategic healing.

The complaint I hear most often about choosing Mastery over Haste is that it feels like spells take forever.

This actually gets a lot better as your gear level increases and Haste finds its way to you, but until then, unless you’re a highly competitive player, it’s totally viable to follow a “Haste until comfortable, then Mastery” rule. (I’ll admit I personally have a lot of trouble reforging away from Haste.)

A Summery just for you!

Enchants:

Head: None! Yay!
Shoulders: Greater Crane Wing Inscription (Crane Wing Inscription is the cheap alternative, but usually the inscriptions aren’t expensive. Scribes can use Secret Crane Wing Inscription)
Cloak: Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
Chest: Enchant Chest – Mighty Spirit (Glorious Stats can work too but I prefer Spirit)
Wrists: Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect (Mastery works too, if you’re cheap.)
Gloves: Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery (Greater Haste is an alternative if you can’t give up Haste.)
Belt: Living Steel Belt Buckle
Pants: Greater Pearlescent Spellthread (Cheap alternative: Pearlescent Spellthread)
Boots: Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step (Again, Greater Haste if you’re stuck on Haste.)
Main Hand: Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit (Cheap alternative: Windsong)
Off Hand: Enchant Off-Hand – Major Intellect

Gems:

Sparkling (Spirit) gems can be used in any socket, if you don’t care about bonuses.

Meta: Revitalizing or Ember Primal Diamond (Burning exists too, but it’s really not as good.)
Blue Socket: Sparkling (Spirit)
Red Socket: Purified (Intellect and Spirit)
Yellow Socket: Zen (Spirit and Mastery)

Consumables:

Food: Mogu Fish Stew (Way of the Pot – for Intellect, my preference) or Steamed Crab Surprise (Way of the Steamer – for Spirit)
Flask: Flask of the Warm Sun (Intellect – my preference) or Flask of Falling Leaves (Spirit)

Potions: Potion of Focus (if you have time to use it) and Master Mana Potion (for when there’s no time). Potion of the Jade Serpent (for Intellect boost) and Darkwater Potion (or any other running speed boost) have occasional situational use.

Stats in Action Notes

I went into heroic 5s without paying too much attention to my stats (I even forgot to reforge some pieces to Spirit) and I did fine. So I wouldn’t stress about finding Best-in-Slot gear right from the getgo. Start by getting the best Intellect plate you can, to increase all your stats. Once you’re comfortable with your mana and the strength of your heals, you can start funneling toward better itemization.

Raiding requires a crapton (which is more than just a ton) more mana regen than 5s, mainly because the fights are 3x times longer. Don’t be surprised if your previously never ending mana bar gives you a wakeup call after you make the jump. In terms of differences between 10s and 25s, I didn’t feel much regarding stats. I feel them equally mana demanding, and Mastery tends to be the preferred secondary stat for both types of raiders.

LRF, as opposed to typical raiding, depends on how much effort you put into the fights. I run out of mana in LFR, but I like to pad the meters. The healers who tend to just stand there (typically LFR consists of 2 active healers and 4 healers who just stand there) are always at full mana.

AND THAT CONCLUDES STATS! Back to teh dailies!

Some Links

September 11, 2012

Double O Podcast Special Edition

The rumours are true! Oestrus and I got together last night and recorded a shiny new episode of The Double O Podcast!

With Mists coming out in a few weeks and both of us anxious to be raid ready as soon as possible, we thought it would be fun to interview a Realm First – Level 80 feat of strength holder (and remember! While the grind to 85 was accomplished by many in under 15 hours, the grind to 80 took a solid 48 hours, if not more, making the achievement even more impressive).

So! For a tad over an hour, we chat with the awesome Serrath (who, in addition to being quite knowledgeable about productive and healthy gaming marathons, is also a really fun guy. You can’t help but want to be friends with him.) about how to get to 90 as quickly as possible, without risking our health or our sanity.

If you haven’t heard it yet – the Holy Paladin Roundtable

I promised a link and I didn’t deliver… I hang in my head in shame.

Hopefully you’ve all (yes, including non-holy paladins… the awesomeness of the Light must be experience by EVERYONE) found your way to the show, maybe via Twitter, maybe via another blogger. But just in case, just in case you haven’t, before Mists comes out, treat yourself to the sweet delight that is The Holy Paladin Roundtable.

If you prefer a more visual link, consider clicking this:

Big thanks to Walks for the gorgeous collage! (ps. It’s almost scary how much I look like myself and like my character in that image!)

Mists is almost here, have you found your guild yet?

My guild, Occasional Excellence, still has a few spots open on our roster. We’re a high efficiency guild, raiding 2 nights (or 7 hours) a week, but making the most of every second. (And you know that if they manage to satisfy an impatient, detail oriented, perfectionist like me, they’ve got to be good people!) We do 25s, we’re all adults and we were killing Heroic Madness before it was cool.

We’re especially looking for a resto shaman and a shadow priest, but we’d welcome most dps classes (except maybe hunters and ret pallies because everyone plays hunters and ret pallies these days).

Our standards are pretty high, so the application process can be demanding, but, trust me, it’s worth the effort! We’ve got a solid team, a highly organized leadership and a very positive raid environment. And while we only raid 2 nights a week, there are a lot of optional events every week for those who just can’t get enough.

Sound like a group you’d be interested in? Find out more on our website: http://occasional-excellence.com/.

You can get in touch with me via email as well, and add our guild on Twitter: @OExcellence
(Our Twitter page is still a work in progress, but I’m hoping to make it more active soon)

And even if it doesn’t sound like a group you’d be interested in, I highly encourage you to read our About Us page. (I wrote it and worked hard on it, so I want to show it off ^_^)

’till next time!

*returns to the offline world*

MoP Holy Paladin Pre-Raid (Almost) Comprehensive Shopping List

August 26, 2012

When I found out that I was to spent Mists of Pandaria release week in a hotel room on the other side of the country, with a stranger looking over my shoulder at all times, I could have cried. I so wanted to be raid ready as soon as Vaults became available. Whether I’ll pull it off or not, I don’t know, but, the Light as my witness, I will put all chances on my side.

First step, easing the gearing process with a shopping list. And since I’m not going to spend 24+ hours making a list without bragging about it, the list is getting a front page spot on the blog.

How The List Works

Gear is divided by slot (logically) and is listed more or less in order of desirability. I have a stat priority of:

Spirit > Intellect > Haste > Mastery > Crit

I suspect that mana regen (which grants wonderful mana freedom) will be the sexiest stat when it comes to pre-raid gear. Once we get more geared, once we get more in tune with our mana supply and, kind of importantly, once the rest of the raid gets more geared, I expect the throughput stats will be more interesting. Whatever happens, though, gearing will always be about finding that sweet spot between bigass heals and the eternally replenishing mana bar.

Not All of This Will be Available at Launch

Right. But overlooking the unavailable items until they’re released is a heck of a pile easier than updating the post every few weeks. And you guys know me. I hardly ever update a post.

How do I get the Reputation or Crafting Items?

You’ll have to either find a reliable guide or discover for yourself once MoP goes live. I dug around a bit, but the information relating to Reputation and Crafting is a little nebulous at the moment. (It sounds like the currency formally known as Valor/Justice points is now used to purchase Rep.) I’m expecting the clouds to have lifted by the time I’ve hit level 90 and am ready to use my own shopping list.

What About PvP Gear?

I included the pieces that you can get (according to Beta’s Dungeon Journal) from the World Bosses (Sha of Anger looks like the new Vault of Archevon while Salyis’ Warband seems like a regular raid encounter but I included loot from both, just in case) but I left out the rest because I really, really, really doubt I’ll be PvPing to gear myself to raid. Besides, everyone knows where to find PvP gear.

Some of the PvP pieces, even the craftable PvP pieces, are surprisingly kind of not bad. I know that raiding with any kind of resilience on you is dirty and shameful, but honestly, some of the PvP gear is better than some of the non-PvP gear.

Is This a Best In Slot (BIS) List?

It is not. This is a pre-raid shopping list. It’s not even a pre-raid BIS list. Without any MoP raiding experience, it’s very hard for me to guess exactly what’ll be the bestest of the best for stepping into Mogu’Shan Vaults. I listed everything in order of what I’d try, but think of it less as a rigid “You must do this” and more as a spectrum ranging from “Impress your team with this piece!” to “If you’re down on your luck, you can show up with this and not get flayed. Much.”

Now on with the show.

Head

1- Six Pool’s Open Helm (Rep: Shado-Pan – Revered)
2- White Tiger Headguard (Tier Raid Finder: Terrace of Endless Spring – Sha of Fear)
3- Crown of Keening Stars (Raid Finder: Mogu’Shan Vaults – Elegon)
4- Casque of Expelled Corruption (Raid Finder: Terrace of Endless Spring – Protectors of the Endless)
5- Crown of Ranging Invasion (Pandaria World Boss – Salyis’ Warband)
6- Crown of Holy Flame (Heroic Scarlet Monastary: High Inquisitor Whitemane)
7- Masterwork Lightsteel Helm (Blacksmithing)

Note: Engineers also have access to Specialized Retinal Armor

Neck

With Spirit
1- Stomphowl Pendant (Pandaria World Boss: Salyis’ Warband)
2- Mending Necklace of the Golden Lotus (Quest Reward: Vale of Eternal Blossoms – The Final Power)
3- Links of the Lucid (Rep: The Klaxxi – Revered)
4- Korven’s Amber-Sealed Beetle (Raid Finder: Heart of Fear – Wind Lord Mel’jarak)
5- Zian’s Choker of Coalesced Shadow (Raid Finder: Mogu’Shan Vaults – The Spirit Kings)
6- Mindcapture Pendant (Heroic Mogu’Shan Palace – Xin the Weaponmaster)
7- Necklace of Disorientation (Heroic Shado Pan Monastary – Sha of Violence)
8- Mindcapture Pendant (Normal Mogu’Shan Palace – Xin the Weaponmaster)
9- Tiger Opal Pendant (Jewelcrafting)
10- Pendant of Endless Inquisition (Rep: Golden Lotus – Honored)

Without Spirit
1- Worldwaker Cachabon (Raid Finder: Mogu’Shan Vaults – Will of the Emperor)
2- Dorian’s Necklace of Burgeoning Dreams (Unsure…Random Drop?)

Shoulders

1- White Tiger Mantle (Tier Raid Finder: Terrace of Endless Spring – Lei Shi)
2- Spaulders of the Emperor’s Rage (Raid Finder: Mogu’Shan Vaults – Will of the Emperor)
3- Shoulderguards of Painful Lessons (Heroic Scholomance – Darkmaster Gandling)
4- Masterwork Lightsteel Shoulders (Blacksmithing)

Other (no spirit): Paleblade Shoulderguards (Rep: Golden Lotus – Revered)

Back/Cloak

With Spirit
1- Sagewhisper’s Wrap (Rep: Shado Pan – Revered)
2- Malevolent Gladiator’s Drape of Meditation (Pandaria World Boss: Sha of Anger)
3- Cape of Three Lanterns (Raid Finder: Mogu’Shan Vaults – The Stone Guard)
4- Drape of Gathering Clouds (Raid Finder: Heart of Fear – Blade Lord Ta’yak)
5- Dirl’s Drafty Drape (Unsure, probably random world drop)
6- Cloak of Hidden Flasks (Heroic Stormstout Brewery – Hoptallus)
7- Pressed Flower Cloak (Rep: The August Celestials – Revered)

Without Spirit
1- Cloak of Overwhelming Corruption (Raid Finder: Terrace of Endless Spring – Protectors of the Endless)
2- Malevolent Gladiator’s Drape of Prowess (Pandaria World Boss: Sha of Anger)
3- Malevolent Gladiator’s Drape of Cruelty (Pandaria World Boss: Sha of Anger)

Chest

1- Chestplate of Limitless Faith (Blacksmithing)
2- Battleguard of Guo-Lai (Rep: Golden Lotus – Revered)
3- White Tiger Breastplate (Tier Raid Finder: Heart of Fear – Grand Empress Shek’zeer)
4- Chestplate of the Forbidden Tower (Raid Finder: Heart of Fear – Imperial Vizier Zor’lok)
5- Chestguard of the Unbowed Back (Pandaria World Boss: Salyis’ Warband)
6- Living Steel Breastplate (Blackmithing)
7- Bonded Plate of the Golden Lotus (Quest Reward: Vale of Eternal Blossoms – Battle Axe of the Thunder King)
8- Swarmbringer Chestguard (Heroic Gate of the Setting Sun – Raigonn)
9- Mind’s Eye Breastplate (Heroic Mogu’Shan Palace – Xin the Weaponmaster)
10- Swarmbringer Chestguard (Regular Gate of the Setting Sun – Raigonn)
11- Masterwork Lightsteel Breastplate (Blacksmithing)
12- Mind’s Eye Breastplate (Regular Mogu’Shan Palace – Xin the Weaponmaster)

Bracers

With spirit
1- Malevolent Gladiator’s Bracers of Meditation (Pandaria World Boss: Sha of Anger)
2- Bindings of Ancient Spirits (Raid Finder: Mogu’Shan Vaults – Gara’jal the Spiritbinder)
3- Inlaid Cricket Bracers (Unsure, likely random raid drop. Linked to Raid Finder version here but also exists in regular and heroic version)
4- Masterwork Lightsteel Bracers (Blacksmithing)
5- Siegeworn Bracers (Heroic Siege of Niuzao Temple – General Pa’valak)

Without spirit
1- Fallen Sentinel Bracers (Rep: The August Celestials – Revered)
2- Bracers of Inner Light (Rep: Golden Lotus – Honored)

Gloves

1- Gauntlets of Unbound Devotion (Blackmithing)
2- Gauntlets of Jade Sutras (Rep: The August Celestials – Revered)
3- White Tiger Gloves (Tier Raid Finder: Heart of Fear – Wind Lord Mal’Jarak; non-raid finder version also drops from Pandaria World Boss: Sha of Anger)
4- Grasps of Panic (Raid Finder: Heart of Fear – Garalon)
5- Living Steel Gauntlets (Blacksmithing)
6- Malevolent Gladiator’s Ornamented Gloves (Pandaria World Boss: Sha of Anger)
7- Mindbinder Plate Gloves (Heroic Shado-Pan Monastery – Taran Zhu)
8- Masterwork Lightsteel Gauntlets (Blacksmithing)
9- Gauntlets of Restraint (Rep: Shado-Pan – Honored)
10- Mindbinder Plate Gloves (Regular Shado-Pan Monastery – Taran Zhu)

Belt

1- Mender’s Girdle of Endless Spring (Raid Finder: Terrace of Endless Spring – Tsulong)
2- Malevolent Gladiator’s Clasp of Meditation (Pandaria World Boss: Sha of Anger)
3- Girdle of Delirious Visions (Raid Finder: Mogu’Shan Vaults – The Spirit Kings)
4- Quivering Heart Girdle (Heroic Shado-Pan Monastery – Master Snowdrift)
5- Girdle of Soothing Detonation (Heroic Siege of Niuzao Temple – Vizier Jin’bak)
6- Masterwork Lightsteel Belt (Blacksmithing)
7- Quivering Heart Girdle (Regular Shado-Pan Monastery – Master Snowdrift)

Pants

1- Ambersmith Legplates (Rep: The Klaxxi – Revered)
2- Legplates of Sagacious Shadows (Raid Finder: Mogu’shan Vaults – Feng the Accursed)
3- Sudsy Legplates (Heroic Stormstout Brewery – Yan-Zhu the Uncasked)
4- Valiant’s Shinguards (Rep: The August Celestials – Honored)
5- Masterwork Lightsteel Legplates (Blacksmithing)

Note: The Tier legs White Tiger Greaves are a little odd with no spirit. I wouldn’t go for them as my first resort, but if you want them to complete a set bonus, you can find the token on Amber Shaper Un’sok in Heart of Fear and the non-raid finder version drops from Pandaria World Boss: Sha of Anger.

Boots

1- Firerider Treads (Pandaria World Boss: Salyis’ Warband)
2- Bramblestaff Boots (Rep: The August Celestials – Revered)
3- Sollerets of Instability (Raid Finder: Terrace of Endless Spring – Tsulong)
4- Intemperate Greatboots (Quest Reward: Townlong Steppes – Remnants of Anger)
5- Malevolent Gladiator’s Greaves of Meditation (Pandaria World Boss: Sha of Anger)
6- Barreldodger Boots (Heroic Stormstout Brewery – Ook-Ook)
7- Glintrok Sollerets (Heroic Mogu’Shan Palace – Gekkan)
8- Masterwork Lightsteel Boots (Blacksmithing)
9- Glintrok Sollerets (Regular Mogu’Shan Palace – Gekkan)

Rings

1- Steaming Seal of Flame (Pandaria World Boss: Salyis’ Warband)
2- Malevolent Gladiator’s Band of Meditation (Pandaria World Boss: Sha of Anger)
3- Watersoul Signet (Raid Finder: Terrace of Endless Spring – Protectors of the Endless)
4- Circuit of the Frail Soul (Raid Finder: Mogu’shan Vaults – Gara’jal the Spiritbinder)
5- Seal of the Profane (Raid Finder: Heart of Fear – Amber-Shaper Un’sok)
6- Wicked Witch’s Signet (Unsure, likely Halloween event)
7- Feng’s Ring of Dreams (Raid Finder: Mogu’shan Vaults – Feng the Accursed)
8- Viscous Ring (Heroic Gate of the Setting Sun – Commander Ri’mok)
9- Beastbinder Ring (Heroic Scarlet Halls- Houndmaster Braun)
10- Band of Blood (Jewelcrafting)
11- Sorcerer-King’s Seal (Rep: Shado-Pan – Honored)
12- Mending Mark of the Golden Lotus (Quest Reward: Vale of Eternal Blossoms – The Secrets of Guo-Lai)

Trinket

1- Relic of Chi Ji (Darkmoon Card of the Mists)
2- Qin-xi’s Polarizing Seal (Raid Finder: Mogu’shan Vaults – Will of the Emperor)
3- Spirits of the Sun (Raid Finder: Terrace of Endless Spring- Tsulong)
4- Scroll of Revered Ancestors (Rep: Shado-Pan – Revered)
5- Jade Courtesan Figurine (Unsure. It comes in Raid Finder/Normal/Heroic, but it is not listed in the dungeon journal. The name sounds like Jewelcrafting)
6- Empty Fruit Barrel (Heroic Stormstout Brewery – Ook-Ook)
7- Vial of Ichorous Blood (Heroic Siege of Niuzao Temple – General Pa’valak)
8- Price of Progress (Heroic Scholomance – Darkmaster Gandling)
9- Thousand-Year Pickled Egg (Brewfest Event)
10- Blossom of Pure Snow (Rep: Shado-Pan – Revered)
11- Jade Magistrate Figurine (Unsure. It comes in Raid Finder/Normal/Heroic, but it is not listed in the dungeon journal. The name sounds like Jewelcrafting)
12- Mountainscaler Mark (Unsure)

Note: Don’t take the trinket order too seriously. I ranked them using the very sophisticated technique of eyeballing. If someone were to test and theorycraft these trinkets, the results might be somewhat different.

Weapon

With Spirit
1- Kri’tak, Imperial Scepter of the Swarm (Raid Finder: Heart of Fear – Grand Empress Shek’zeer)
2- Tihan, Scepter of the Sleeping Emperor (Raid Finder: Mogu’shan Vaults – Will of the Emperor)
3- Carapace Breaker (Heroic Gate of the Setting Sun – Raigonn)
4- Masterwork Forgewire Axe (Blacksmithing)
5- Carapace Breaker (Regular Gate of the Setting Sun – Raigonn)

Without Spirit
1- Loshan, Terror Incarnate (Raid Finder: Terrace of Endless Spring – Tsulong
2- Amber Saber of Klaxxi’vess (Rep: The Klaxxi – Exalted)

Shield

1- Eye of the Ancient Spirit (Raid Finder: Mogu’Shan Vaults – Gara’jal the Spiritbinder)
2- Masterwork Lightsteel Shield (Blacksmithing)
3- Metanoia Shield (Heroic Scholomance – Jandice Barov)
4- Shield of the Protectorate (Heroic Gate of the Setting Sun – Raigonn)
5- Shield of the Protectorate (Regular Gate of the Setting Sun – Raigonn)

Happy hunting!

Frames Layout, Bossy Pally style

March 16, 2012

I have good news! My badass, sex fiend of a Sith Warrior finally proved herself to the Dark Council and earned her Darth title! (And because her timing is always impeccable, the second she returned to the ship, the companion she’d been hitting on the whole game decided at last to put out. She was getting a little worried there, after choking him then hooking up with another companion…but it all worked out. She had a great night. I’m happy for her. Really, I am.) What all that means is I can go back to living a normal life. Normal life which includes vacuuming popcorn off the carpet, washing away the orange stuff that oozes through my bathroom walls when I take showers and updating the blog.

It’s been a long time since I’ve sat to write and had to think “um, what should I write about?” The hesitation I have about writing pally posts these days is that I really don’t want to spend 6-8 hours writing something that will be totally outdated in a couple of months. Then I got an idea. Lately, I’ve been exchanging some emails with a fantastic leveling holy paladin (also resto shaman). We got onto the topic of raid frames and buff/debuff tracking and she raised a lot of excellent points. Plus, raid frames is a fairly timeless topic. And thus, you’re now reading (or quickly scrolling through) a post about my sexy (IMO) raid frames.

Raid Frames

Raid frames are a totally personal thing and I don’t push any addon in particular. I say go with what your friends are using. It’s easier to get help that way. Buff/debuff tracking is also a personal thing and I’m not here to force my frames layout down anyone’s throat. But if you’re looking for ideas, then this post is for you.

I use Grid (or more specifically, Grid 2), but I have played around with the other addons (Vuhdo and Healbot) and I recall being able to configure them similarly.

In a 25 raid, my frames look kinda like the shot I posted above. It dates back to ICC, in Wrath (and most of these characters don’t exist anymore/have changed names, so don’t even TRY to stalk my ex-guildies!), but my (timeless!) frames still have the same features:

- Vertical groups (arranged by party)
– Pets on the far right
– Horizontal health bars
– Colours according to class

Here’s snapshot of a single box, with a bunch of things on it:

Lets break it down!

How I’ve got tracking set up

You’ve got a lot more possibilities when it comes to where you want your shiny colours or icons to appear, but this image shows the spots I use.

And now I’ll entertain you all by listing what goes where, as well as what kind of indicator I use. (In order words, whether I use an icon, a colourful square or text.)

Top Left: My Beacon of Light (icon)
Top Center: Other Beacons of Light (or as I say it, Beacon of Lights – icon)
Top Right: My Holy Radiance (icon), any Hand (Sacrifice, Protection, Freedom – icon)
Center Left: Raid markers (icon)
Center Text: Offline status, Death, Names
Health Bars: Health (by class colour), Out of range (fades out at 40 yards)
Center (Extra Large!) Icons: Awaiting resurrection, Any important buffs or debuffs that I need to pay special attention to in a fight, Dispellable debuffs (magic, poison, disease)
Bottom Left: My Judgement of the Pure (icon)
Bottom Right: Forbearance (red square), Other Holy Radiances (yellow square), Low Mana (blue square), Undispellable debuffs (curse – purple square)
Border: Aggro

Notes and Points of Interest

1)My spells vs Others’ spells: The feature’s been around in Grid for as long as I can remember, but I only started using it recently. I love it! It really comes in handy when you have other holy paladins in the raid. I was having troubles with my Beacon falling off due to being buried under other Beacon indicators. But no more! I also use the split for Holy Radiance. And I only track my own Judgement of the Pure since I’m not a raid leader and really don’t care if other pallies have their Judgement of Pure up.

2)Priorities: I think this may be a newer feature, but it’s lovely if you limit the number of indicator locations on your frames. When I listed my indicators above, I went in order of priority. So if someone had Forbearance and Low Mana, I would see the Forbearance square, not the Low Mana one. The places in my settings where priority is a concern are Center Text, Center Icons and Bottom Right.

3)Buffs/Debuffs in the middle: I find that I don’t act quickly on special statuses if they’re not obvious. I experimented with a few locations and eventually settled with big, obnoxious icons in the middle. In a raid environment, you rarely have to deal with more than 1 or 2 debuffs or statuses per fight, so it works perfectly. However, this setup is probably not ideal in pvp or even 5 man dungeons.

And there you have it

That’s how I big brother the raid. I’m often looking for new ideas and layouts, myself, but at the same time, it’s also good to limit what you track to what’s really useful. Too much noise in your frames will draw your attention away from the important elements.

And, if you were wondering, yes, I genuinely screwed up that image because I don’t know my left from my right. Don’t laugh.

Making the Jump from 10s Casual to 25s Progressive

March 2, 2012

My silence about transitioning to a new guild wasn’t exactly intentional. I’ve written a few drafts, but can’t get them sounding the way I want. I tweak them until I get angry and have to go for walks to calm down. I get a lot of exercise, but no post about guild searching and guild joining.

I do love the new guild. The raids are fun, the environment is motivating and the officers do an amazing job of making sure everything runs smoothly and yet still found time to go out of their way to make me feel at home.

What I want to talk about, though, is my performance and the adjustments I made in transitioning from Teamsport, a 10s casual guild, to this team, a 25s hard mode guild.

It’s been over a month now. I wish I could say I’m awesome and the transition was easy and that I got 25s heroic healing mastered on the first click. Well, I guess I could say it, but I’d be lying. It took me several raids and a lot of advice from my heals lead as well as the other holy pally in the guild before I could perform at the same level as the other healers. And, over a month later, there are still fights where my logs are totally embarrassing.

A 10s casual group and a 25s progressive group have different needs and call for a style of healing that is unique to them. I hate the terms “harder” and “easier” because I don’t find one style inherently harder or easier than the other. 10s casual demand you compensate for the weaknesses or indifference of others if you expect to kill anything, 25s progressive require that you push to take your place or else you’ll find yourself carried for a short while and eventually dropped.

Let’s define “Casual” and “Progressive”

It’s like philosophy class! “To each essay, each word’s meaning

“Casual” and “progressive”, in the raiding sense, have very relative meanings.

When I think “casual” I think of this: teammates show up and play well, but most don’t go out of their way to review logs, talk strat, minmax. Raids are less time efficient with waits between pulls and random afks. Fights are done on normal mode with maybe one or two heroic kills at the very end of the tier. Motivations are mostly social, with some loot bonuses.

“Progressive”, to me, means that every individual on the team has kills as their top priority. (They can have secondary priorities too, of course.) Motivation is mostly kills, with some loot bonuses. Teammates do go out of their way to enhance their performance and the pace between pulls is more, lets say, dynamic.

Casual to progressive (or hardcore) is a spectrum with a handful of guilds on each end and most somewhere in the middle. What I’m doing, and what I’m talking about, is moving along the spectrum from a position leaning more toward casual, to a position leaning more toward progressive.

Your job and how it changes

No matter which environment you’re playing in, your job as a healer is this: first keep your assignment alive and secondly, when you can, help others keep their assignment alive.

How this translates into practice depends on the environment you’re playing in. In a less focused team, you’ll be dealing with a lot of extra damage due to mistakes, slow reaction time and, if you’re unlucky, a tank (or fellow healer) who went to the bathroom during the fight and didn’t tell anyone. In a team aiming for progression, there’s less damage going around, and if you falter, other healers will jump to back you up. However, if you falter and are covered for often, you will quickly find yourself expelled from the team for not doing your part.

Then, in 10s, you’re dealing with limited bodies. If your fellow healer goes down (or to the bathroom), you’re on your own. In a 10 man group, you need to be able to work well as a team, but you also need to know how to cover the entire raid should you find yourself in the, very likely, position of single healing. In a 25 man group, you’ll rarely be on your own, so developing team skills tops the to-do list.

Communication, the key to all relationships

During my first raid with Teamsport my tank died.

He got out of range and no one covered for me.” I complained.

The reply I got?

Why didn’t you say anything?

I came to Teamsport from a 25s progression guild. I was used to having people automatically jump in when they saw a need. Eventually I learned to speak up again (and my fellow healers in Teamsport did get better at reading healthbars). When I went back to 25s progression raiding, I was delighted to have people jumping in when they saw a need again, before I had to say anything.

Don’t get me wrong, communication is always important. But in 25s, voice chat gets overwhelmed quickly, so you have to prioritize. Do this absolutely need to be said out loud or is there another way I can communicate this? Can it be typed in healer chat after this fight?

In 25s, you communicate a lot via raid frames. I can tell if fellow pally is having trouble healing her tank by how he’s gone a few seconds without being topped off. I can tell fellow healer is out of mana because the blue light on her healthbar came on. I know who the Beacon targets are in the raid, because my little Beacon icon is showing. Since you can’t afford for everyone to crowd vent with details of their situations, we can rely on addons (and macros, which I need to get working on, myself) to communicate for us, leaving us with only select information to share via voice chat.

Cooldowns

On my application I wrote “one thing that I’m very proud of is that I use my cooldowns on, well, cooldown.

After my first raid with the guild, the majority of the feedback I received was that I needed to improve my cooldown usage.

No, I didn’t lie on my app. What happened, and this took me by surprise, is that with Teamsport, I used my cooldowns based on need. So whenever I sensed my fellow healers falter, whenever I felt the tank slacking on his cooldown usage, whenever there was a potential for extra damage, the cooldown buttons were pressed. This happened so often that my cooldowns were getting used as soon as they came up.

With the new guild, that sense of urgency never came (my first few raids with them were 10s alt runs, so this is a casual vs progressive thing, not a 10s vs 25s) and thus I had to make a mental effort to use them.

The key in 25s progressive is to get the cooldowns going early on to boost healing and save mana and, most importantly, ensure they’ll come up again before the end of the fight so you can use them more than once. Lay on Hand, I save for OMG moments and Aura Mastery, I make sure not to use within the 2 minutes before I’m called upon to pop it, but everything else now gets pumped out as early as possible, and again as soon as it’s ready.

Last week I won an award for “best use of healer cooldown” (which was an awesome surprise!) so it seems that the mental effort is paying off, but I still have to actively think about cooldown usage.

Single targeting vs HOLY RADIANCE LOVE BAYBEE!

The first time I did Heroic Ultraxion, my numbers were terrible. They were terrible because I was conditioned to thinking “the tank will die if I don’t OMG spam Diving Light on him ALL THE TIME“.

This was another lesson.

Damage in Firelands, at least on 10s, went like this: one person takes damage, then someone else takes damage, then someone else takes damage. My Divine Light finger became twitchy and I came down with a fear of not spamming Divine Light. Dragon Soul is more “everybody taking lots of damage all together, like friends“. Still, in 10s, I concentrated on the tank with the occasional raid heal while my cohealers took care of the non-tanks.

In 25s, though, there is so much splash healing that the tanks rarely need Divine Light spam. Divine Light spammers like me end up with a lot of overheal and very little effective healing.

The key?

Holy Radiance all the time.

Ok, maybe not all the time. Heroic Blackhorn, from the logs I’ve read, is not primarily a Holy Radiance fight. Heroic Ultraxion and Heroic Zon’ozz (two fight where I found myself way below the other healers on the meters) are Holy Radiance fights. I checked my shitty H-Zon’ozz log against another paladin’s awesome H-Zon’ozz log. The major difference? I used Holy Radiance 14 times. The other pally used theirs over 114 times. I think we’ve found a problem!

Mana Management

114 Holy Radiances“, you say, “but what about the mana?!?!

Interestingly, I rarely run out of mana anymore, even when overdoing it on the Holy Radiance. And when I do, I can regen it no problem.

I can think of a few reasons for that. First, when you’re running with a progressive group, you’re killing more things, which means you get more gear. I have more mana regen now simply because I’m better geared. The fights are also a lot shorter. Fights that took up to 12 minutes with Teamsport only take 6 minutes with this team.

Then, because in 25s there are at least 4 other healers pumping out awesome heals, there are more opportunities to use cheaper Holy Lights, or melee a bit, or pop Divine Plea, or drink a Concentration Potion.

So while I still shouldn’t be wasteful with mana, I do have more ressources now to really milk the Holy Radiances.

Conclusion

To each essay, its conclusion.

There are certainly other differences I’ve adjusted to in transitioning from wiping all night on Zon’ozz to wiping all night on Heroic Zon’ozz (though Heroic Zon’ozz went down pretty fast last week…it seems like my Zon’ozz curse may end!). However, communication, cooldown usage, spell selection and mana regenaration are those that stood out to me and that I constantly think about as I’m raiding.

I still have good fights and bad fights. I still make a lot of mistakes. I even started making mistakes I’d never made before (I had never died to Hour of Twilight until I joined this guild, and now I die at least once a week. How embarrassing!). But I’m determined to push myself as far as I can go, and to eliminate the bad fights.

Holy Radiancing our Heroic Ultraxion kill

Troubleshooting – “Help! Why are my numbers low?”

September 24, 2011

I don’t get questions very often. Not blogging much anymore will do that. But over the years, there’s been one question that’s come up a lot:

How do I get my numbers up?

Its cousin question is worth mentioning too: “This paladin is new to my guild and their numbers are terrible, what are they doing wrong?

Obligatory Side Note on Healing Meters

Do I really need to say that healing meters should be approached with caution? After so many essays around the WoW community about how healing meters work, I’m probably wasting my typing energy, but to avoid having to clarify things later on, here’s your basic “how to look at healing meters“.

When looking at healing logs, look at the big picture. Healing meters are a detail in that big picture.

Let’s look at this snapshot:

The random pally is slightly behind the random druid. Not a big enough gap to send out alarm bells. Different fights and different healing strategies might give one player more healing done than another. Heck, I’ve seen Baleroc logs where the Death Knight tank was way ahead of any healer on the meters.

But there could be a problem. The random pally could have let their assignment(s) die while goofing around, blowing cooldowns. They could have kept healing after a wipe was called. They could have been spamming healing on themselves while standing in crap. The recorded segment might even have been too short to get a clear image of the general healing output.

The random pally’s numbers aren’t a problem, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that random pally is problem-free.

As for “You”, You’s numbers are a problem. But maybe You died early. If it’s a one-time occurrence, it’s nothing to be concerned about. But if all of You’s healing meters look like this, then this post is for You.

Your numbers are low because…

1) You’re not casting enough

I’ve got Codi‘s cheerful voice stamped in my head from the Raid Warning Holy Paladin Roundtable: “ABC! Always be casting!

This is the main problem with low numbers. You’re not going to get any healing done if you’re not casting heals. (Duh)

Case in point, lets look at the amount of casts from each paladin from the above snapshot:

Random Pally:

You:

You cast 7 Flash of Lights while Random Pally didn’t, but otherwise:

Random Pally cast 21 Divine Lights while You only cast 8.
Random Pally got 163 Beacon of Light transfers while You only got 69.
Random Pally cast 28 Holy Shocks while You only cast 14.

Get the idea?

Lows cast numbers are usually cause by one or more of the following:

- Waiting for damage: This is super common in new holy paladins. Don’t wait for damage. Unless you’re pressed for mana or you’re clearly not expecting any damage, you should have holy lights and holy shocks going at pretty much all times. Also learn each fight’s damage patterns to anticipate when to start reving up those massive heals.

- Bad healing frames: You need frames that leave enough room on your screen to see the fight, that make targeting heals easy and that let you see the buffs/debuffs you need to track. If you want a big selection, Grimmtooth wrote a fantastic frames comparison series. Otherwise, I suggest using whichever addon the other healers in your team use. That way, if you need help, you’ll have a few experts at your disposal.

- Bad computer/internet: It sucks, but you wouldn’t play hockey with a broken stick and broken skates, would you? If your equipment is so bad that you’re not able to do anything in raids, hold off on the raiding until you can get some functional equipment. (The good news is that the equipment requirements for raiding 10 mans at a casual level aren’t that high.)

- Low haste: Actually, when huge discrepancies occur on healing meters, gear differences will be the most minor factor. I mean, gear will up your numbers, that’s why we get gear and gem it and reforge it. But among the other low healing output culprits listed here, gear will have the least effect.

Your numbers are low because…

2) Your Beacon Strategy Needs Tweeking

Now that you’re casting more, have a look at who you’re casting Beacon on. If you’re unsure of how to visualize Beacon (and other buff/debuff) uptime, I’ve got a detailed how-to at your disposal.

- Keep it up: On the picture here, Beacon fell off. Beacon should be up at all times. All times. If your Beacon is falling off, find some frames that show you clearly how much time you have left on Beacon.

- Choose your target carefully: Beacon of Light targets should fit in with your healing strategy. When you’re talking about strategy in your healer chat pre (or post)-pull, bring up your reasoning for your Beacon target so your teamates can work with it. While Beacon alone won’t keep a tank up, it’ll still be a major part of your healing and it’s very important to do it right. You can read about choosing a Beacon target here (it’s a bit dated and was written with 25s in mind, but the gist of it is still applicable).

Your numbers are low because…

3) You’re Not Using Cooldowns

When briefing new paladins, I often stress the cooldown rotation aspect of paladin healing. We’re like tanks that way: we’ve got so many cooldown that we’re not healing anywhere near our full potential if we’re not using them regularly.

The cooldown usage for “You” here was actually pretty good (especially considering this was a 4 minute Ragnaros attempt). Divine Favor or Lay on Hands didn’t show up on the list, but otherwise, You was using their toolbox pretty extensively.

When remembering to use cooldowns is an issue start practicing. Run some 5 mans or some battlegrounds and hit your cooldowns whenever they come up. Once they become second nature, reflect on the opportune moments to use them. But get in the habit of actually using before you start sitting on them “just in case”. We have so many cooldowns that you’ll usually have at least one available for emergencies.

Your numbers are low because…

4) You’re Using the Wrong Spells

This is the least likely to responsible for low healing numbers. After cooldown and Beacon usage is out of the way, our healing is pretty straightforward: Holy Shock on cooldown, Holy Light as a base heal and Divine Light as a major-damage heal. Some paladins use Flash of Light when in an emergency. (I’ve seen some use Flash of Light as their base heal, but I wouldn’t. It’s a lot of mana wastage.)

But if you want to get technical, lets look at “You”‘s spell breakdown again.

Holy Shock wasn’t used on cooldown. Holy Light should have been cast a lot more. A lot more. There was mana wastage with 7 uses of Flash of Light – if there were truly 7 emergencies during that attempt, at least several could have been avoided with a more consistent use of Holy Light.

As for Holy Power sinks (Word of Glory vs Light of Dawn), Word of Glory is the typical option in 10s and when healing a non-Beacon target. Light of Dawn is fantastic in 25s (though there has been some tweeking with the Holy Power sink spells so I don’t know if Light of Dawn still offers more tank healing via Beacon than Word of Glory) and has some leverage in 10s when the team is grouped up for major splash damage.

Your numbers are low because…

5) You’re Not Judging Enough

Random Paladin:

You:

Unless there’s an excruciatingly healing-intensive moment, Judgement should be used on cooldown. On cooldown.

The first paladin here judged 12 times, the other judged 7. Something’s not right.

While Judging won’t directly increase your healing done (the tiny self heal you get from judging is insignificant) the effect it has on mana during the fight is noticeable. More mana means more freedom to use bigger heals and less Divine Pleas, which will influence your output (and usefulness).

I keep a button with Judgement on my bars so I can see when it comes off cooldown, but you’ll find that with some practice, you’ll feel the rythm of paladin healing and will just know when you can cast it again. Keep the attack target targetted (or have a Judgement macro that assists the tank) and bind Judgement to an easy key (I move with ESDF, so I have Judgement bound to “R”, it’s super easy to hit).

So Cast, Judge and be Merry

There you have them: the keys to keeping up with your teammates in terms of healing done. Don’t stop casting, put some thought into your Beacons, use your Cooldowns, pick your spells properly and judge. That’s all there is to it.

Holy Paladin Pre-Raid Gear You Don’t Need Luck For

June 23, 2011

I know this is kind of strange timing what with 4.2 just around the corner and all, but I’ll do my best to integrate the new gear in this list and I’ll (hopefully, ha!) update as I get more information.

In case you were wondering, this list was spawned from another post I was writing, where I caught myself listing every single piece of non-instance gear. So if you’ve just dinged 85, are rolling in gold and rep and want to give yourself a head start for heroics, this post is for you.

Or if you’re just loocking to replace a sticky piece and want a quick reference, this post is also for you.

As for the post that spawned this one, it may or may not see the light of day, depending on my motivation.

How this list works

This is all gear that doesn’t come from dungeons or raid bosses. There are some BoEs from raids, but you should able to get your hands on any of these through having a lot of gold, gathering rep, crafting or PvPing. (I did, however, include quest rewards that may involve killing a 5-man boss.)

Each slot is sorted by 4.2 PvE, current PvE, PvP (4.2 and current mixed) and gear requiring a profession. Each subsection is more or less sorted by ilevel. The pieces are not listed in order of usefulness. You’ll have to use your own judgement to decide which ones you prefer. (General rule for PvE is that Spirit and Haste are preferred over Crit and Mastery. If you don’t know whether you want Spirit or Haste, you probably want Spirit.)

As usual, if you notice any mistakes or linkage errors, you’re welcome to yell at me. (But only a little bit.)
(more…)

A Look at 4.2 and Holy Paladins as of May 19, 2011

May 19, 2011

I totally don’t have time to do this because my death (or more realistically, sanity) sentence is less than a week away and I still have infectious diseases and the rest of oncology and endocrinology and pain management and tons of other stuff to review and OMG I can’t handle this.

So I’ll make this short. Let’s see what we’ve got with the new patch.

Links:
http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/2307-Patch-4.2-PTR-Build-14133
http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/2300-Patch-4.2-PTR-Build-14107
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/patch-notes/ptr-patch-notes#paladins

Divine Light mana cost has been increased to 35% of base mana, up from 30%.
Flash of Light mana cost has been increased to 31% of base mana, up from 27%.
Holy Light mana cost has been increased to 12% of base mana, up from 10%.

Like I said on Episode 3 of the Double O Podcast (which you should totally listen to if you haven’t already!), I totally predicted this!

I don’t know how paladins in hard modes are faring these days since I’m still on normal modes. And yeah, in 10 mans, normal modes, mana isn’t too much of an issue. I like having to think about my mana, so I don’t mind the nerfs at all. Besides, we’ve had our spell costs jacked up and down a few times already this expansion and, while I’ll notice the difference right after the fact, adjusting is never a big deal.

In hard modes…from looking at logs, it seems that Divine Light Spamming (along with it’s inseparable best friend, Haste Stacking) is pretty common. Whether this is because of the damage intensity or because Divine Light is just spammable, I can’t say. Blizzard seems to think the latter, but I suspect it’s a bit of column A and a bit of column B. Even on normal modes, tank damage is intense and spiky. This “triage healing” thing Blizzard was so excited about is somewhat true for raid healing, but not tank healing. Which is a shame because paladins are such good single target healers that our talents tend to be wasted when we want to try something different.

Holy Shock mana cost has been decreased to 7% of base mana, down from 8%.

Um. Ok. Whatever.

Beacon of Light can no longer be dispelled.

This is clearly for PvP, but there are some mobs in the new Troll instances that dispell my Beacon, which is kind of a pain. This change better apply to NPCs or I will be cranky.

Speed of Light now increases movement speed when Holy Radiance or Divine Protection are cast. In addition, this talent now reduces the cooldown of Holy Radiance by 13/26/40 seconds, up from 10/20/30.

I like this a lot. It’s not earthshattering, and more Holy Radiances means more mana drain, but I like Holy Radiance. It’s the closest we get to a HoT, the proximity based factor is totally paladinny, and it does a notable amount of healing. The cooldown and high mana cost of it doesn’t encourage us to become sensational raid healers, but it’s a wipe-saver during periods of mass raid damage. And if you’re running a lot of 5 mans (like me, I’m running a lot of 5 mans), this spell is incredible.

As for the run bonus on Divine Protection… I never argue with run bonuses. Plus, Divine Protection tends to be forgotten a lot (because, clearly, all paladins are me and if I forget to use Divine Protection, ALL paladins forget to use Divine Protection), so this is an extra incentive to use it. And if that wasn’t enough, when is Divine Protection most useful? When you’re standing in crap that will take you a few seconds to get out of. When are run bonuses more useful? When you’re standing in crap that will take you a few seconds to get out of. Oh yeah.

Beacon of Light now heals for 100% of the amount when Holy Light is used.

There was a lot of buzz about this on Twitter last night. This change is both very interesting and very boring, all at the same time.

You can see an attempt from Blizzard, combined with the increased mana costs, to nudge us away from the Divine Light spamming.

Looking at this from my personal healing strategy perspective, which is healing my tank, and beaconing the other tank to give that tank’s healer a chance to pitch in with the raid or do dispells, all this change does is make my strategy more efficient. Same goes for single tank fights – I’ll direct heal my Beacon target if I have to, but mostly I’ll cast big heals, or small heals, on the raid. Letting my tank get bigger small heals is nice, but not earthshattering.

I hope this change is a sign of more to come because I love strategy adjustments.

Infusion of Light now also affects Flash of Light.

As Walks pointed out on Twitter last night, this is mostly a PvP change. And while I don’t PvP these days, this still seems incredibly powerful for PvP.

In PvE, for the, um, once or twice a night I use this spell (unless we do Chimaeron), I guess it doesn’t hurt. Since Infusion of Light is crit dependent and thus unreliable, you can’t use the very-fast-if-not-instant Flash of Lights as cooldowns. Which is lackluster. But I guess that if you get fights with periods of high damage alternating with periods of low damage, having an extra, sometimes instant spell in your pocket would be quite helpful.

I like Infusion of Light as a talent. And while I love my Haste as much as the next person, stacking one stat to the detriment of the others bores me to death. I hope Blizzard nudges us a bit more towards become well-rounded paladins with a multitude of useful stats.

And just as I thought I was done, I came across this from Blizzard:

We increased paladin mana costs because they were too efficient at healing. In raid encounters, for instance, paladins were sitting at 40% of their mana while the other healers were flat out of mana. Paladins were casting Divine Light as their main heal because they didn’t need the efficiency of Holy Light. You personally may not have been in that situation, but when looking at the overall picture, as well as running plenty of tests, this was our conclusion overall. It is entirely possible this will hurt Holy paladins in PvP, where mana can be harder to come by. It is our hope that the recent Speed of Light change as well as another change or two coming will help offset that.

We did not make these mana cost changes because of the change to critical heals or because of any upcoming set bonuses (which are still being designed, by the way). We made the changes only because paladins were too efficient compared to druids, priests and shaman.

As a postscript, we see a lot of paladins advocating a strategy of Beacon the tank, heal the off-tank with Divine Light, and never ever do anything else… and if you ever heal the Beacon target, you fail. That’s just not a realistic goal. Stuff is going to happen that is unpredictable, or else you’d probably win every fight. You should make the most of Beacon, absolutely. It’s a great tool. But you shouldn’t consider anything that doesn’t maximize Beacon to be a class design or personal performance failure. Sometimes you’re going to want to heal the Beacon target directly. It happens.

Hey, hey, what’s wrong with paladins behind more efficient than druids, priests and shamans? Who needs those guys? ;D

I’m not sure where they got the idea that paladins were advocating OMG NEVER HEAL YOUR BEACON TARGET FFS (they should know by now to never trust anything posted on the official forums), but it is true that beaconing the tank that you’re not currently healing is the best way to maximize your healing output. Healing your Beacon target when you don’t have to is a waste of healing.

Logs are showing extensive Divine Light usage, which is pushing us back to our old “Stack Haste and Mana and Spam Our Biggest Spell” motto. Which was boring. It seems like Blizzard still has a way to go with the changes, but I think their intentions are to keep paladin healing interesting, which I’m fully in support of.

OMG so I just totally wasted an hour, maybe two hours of cramming. *panics* Quick, quick, back to the library! *hyperventilates*


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