Posted tagged ‘5.4’

On Playing my Holy Paladin in 5.4

October 6, 2013

Alright. It’s a been a couple of weeks since 5.4 and I’ve had time to experiment with our shiny new features. I promised everyone I’d sum up my observations, so here it goes.

Note that these are just observations, not hard science. Your experiences may vary, so if you have something to share or advice to give your fellow holy pallies (especially if you raid 10s!), please! There’s a section at the bottom of the post for comments. Everyone will love you if you type useful stuff in there and press the “send” button!

My Healing Environment

This patch seem especially sensitive to raiding styles and healing team makeups, so for context purposes, here’s what healing in my raids is like.

I mainly heal 25s. Unless I count the odd annoying flex raid boss that everyone drops group for, I don’t have any recent experience with 10s and can’t offer a whole lot of tried-tested-true advice. I would imagine that for flex/normal/early heroics, anything that applies to 25 could be used in 10s and keep people alive just fine, though I suspect that cutting edge 10s raiding would require different specifics for optimal results.

Cadenza usually runs with 4 to 6 healers depending on the fights. Our complete healing team consists of a druid, a shaman, two priests and two paladins (including me!). Our guild culture emphasises perfect mechanics execution over raw numbers so we’re not pressured to max out our HPS potential. I mean, we’re encouraged to have good throughput, but meter padding should never interfere with proper movement, task execution and CD usage. On a personal level, our shaman loves his numbers (really, really loves them – I swear the only times I’ve heard him talk about something other than healing numbers, it was about his offspec dps numbers. And he talks a lot.) and I suspect one of our priests takes his HPS seriously as well (but uses a more silent approach). So no matter what the rest of us do, those two will usually (but not always!) dominate on our meters.

My Eternal Flame Build

Bouchbaguette has done a lot of theorycrafting with results supporting Haste as the emerging secondary stat for Eternal Flame users. So before my first 5.4 raid, I reforged and regemmed to get my Haste on.

Then I hated it and hated the results. I got on Skype with my Holy Pally guildie and off to World of Logs we went.

World of Logs (and the Armory) revealed this trend (at the time) among the top HPS Eternal Flame Holy Pallies: Mastery > Intellect/Haste > Spirit.

Orly” I thought. I gave it a try.

I slowly replaced my spirit gems and enchants (slowly, so I could see how spirit dependent I was). To my surprise, I was able to stray completely away from spirit for most fights. (I recently picked up Dysmorphic Samophlange of Discontinuity to assist with mana heavy fights.) It probably helps that my ilvl is fairly high – I suggest that if you want to try eliminating spirit, you go slowly as well. Experiment until you discover your mana comfort zone.

My healing improved considerably and I’m pretty satisfied with where I am. My throughput varies from fight to fight and my place on the meters is sometimes skewed from the combination of shaman and priests having higher HPS potential and of our shaman and priest actually caring about raw numbers performances, but I’m comfortable in my ability to keep the raid alive.

I spent a few hours on World of Logs and the Armory today to see what the current top HPS 25s Holy Paladins are doing. Interestingly, no two paladins are gemming exactly the same. Some go all out Mastery like me, some do a little Haste then go Mastery, some use the traditional Intellect/Spirit build and some are so inconsistent in their stat prioritization that I have no idea how they manage to heal at all. Prioritizing Haste beyond around 16% unbuffed, however, does not seem to be conducive to high HPS performance, at least not on 25s.

Spell choice-wise, I’ve been blanketing the raid with 1-Holy Power Eternal Flames, using Holy Shock and Holy Radiance, with constant use of CDs (Holy Avenger, Guardian of Ancient Kings, Divine Favor and Avenging Wrath – I also try to use Hand of Sacrifice whenever it’s available). When I want to and time it right, I could almost have one CD active at all times.

I compared my results with Holy Paladins who were performing better than I was, and it seems they were more inclined to use 2-Holy Power Eternal Flames (maximizing their use of Holy Radiance and Holy Shock), but it’s hard to say. It seems that each fight had different top Holy Paladins. And no matter what, on the overall meters, for all 25s fights, Holy Paladins rarely overtake the other classes in raw HPS.

My usual glyphs: Glyph of Sacrifice, Glyph of Beacon of Light, Glyph of Divinity
My usual talents: Speed of Light, Fist of Justice, Eternal Flame, Clemency, Holy Avenger, Light’s Hammer
My gems: Artful (Int/Mastery – Red), Zen (Mastery/Spirit – Blue), Fractured (Mastery – Yellow)

Acorn’s Selfless Healer

My copally has always hated Eternal Flame blanketing and jumped at the opportunity to do something different. This was very convenient to me, since it gave me the opportunity to familiarize myself with both styles and compare them.

I obviously have less experience with Selfless Healer, though, but here’s what I’ve picked up from watching my copally and reviewing lotsa lotsa logs with him.

1- Haste is the way to go. Intellect too I think. Spirit holds you back. Even if you have a low ilvl, you don’t need spirit.

2- Spell usage is along the lines of Judgement-Holy Radiance-Light of Dawn (one or two Holy Power, not three), with Holy Shocks thrown in whenever possible.

3- You have CDs too. They’re meant to be used.

And contrarily to what many theorycrafters predicted, Selfless Healer is totally okay when it comes to throughput, at least on 25. The top ranking HPS 25s Holy Paladins are a good mix of Eternal Flame and Selfless Healer users, so if you want to get away from HoTs and try a fast-paced, super fun healing style but are afraid to try, rest assured that you’ll do just fine with Selfless Healer.

As for our own performances, Acorn and I, despite our very different healing styles are usually pretty close to each other on the meters, with him passing me on some fights and me passing him on some fights.

Conclusion

When choosing between Selfless Healer and Eternal Flame, I suggest basing your decision on whichever healing style makes you happiest. The two kinda call for different stat prioritization and gemming, so I would not recommend going back and forth between the two on a single raid week. (If you really, really, really want to, perhaps running with a strong Haste/Int build would be ideal, but you’d probably find Eternal Flame in Haste gear will drain your mana pretty fast.)

Sadly, I have no experience whatsoever with Sacred Shield, and have never come across it on World of Logs for 25s Holy Pallies and can’t offer any advice.

Other than that, um, I guess Siege of Orgrimmar is a pretty fun raid. Lots of fight variety. Lots of trash though. Less fun. Also very little Orgrimmar. And very little siege. Almost makes me want to tweet “Siege of Orgrimmar is neither a siege nor Orgrimmar. Discuss.”

Anyway, I’ll stop rambling now. Happy healing!

WoW… Oh hei! I still play that!

June 14, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Of Tier Gear 14 and 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mastery Nerfs and healing styles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m going to try this tonight.

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

5.4, Flex Raiding, Minor Changes and Beyond

The Holy Paladin of the Future

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

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

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

And Flex Raiding!

Flex Raiding

Why is everyone so upset about Flex Raiding?

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

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

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

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

What else is coming up in 5.4? Virtual realms?

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

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

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

There! A WoW post at last!

I think that sums my recent thoughts on the game.

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

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

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

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


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