Archive for the ‘Teh paladin’ category

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!

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!

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!

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


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