Posted tagged ‘healing’

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.

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.

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

Love is in the Paladins: Updating the Blogroll

December 16, 2011

The ol’ blogroll was due for a good scrubbing.

I did the sad task of deleting all the blogs that hadn’t been updated for a bit over a month, then took on the daunting mission of finding the new and promising paladin blogs waiting to be discovered.

I swear that finding new pally blogs gets harder and harder. I do come across exciting new blogs…only to have them die before they’ve been around long enough to link to.

Don't DIE! (Note: No paladins were injured in this screenshot. Character is not a paladin.)

And it seems that new bloggers are getting shyer about advertising themselves.

New pally bloggers, I beg of you, stop making my blogroll task so difficult dammit. I want to find you, so quit it with the hiding!

The Goodbyes

I was pretty merciless in my pruning. Whether they were friends, or bloggers I didn’t know too well, I hit the “delete” button for when I noticed that their last post was over a month ago.

The one blog that did make me do a double take was Paladin Shmaladin. Notice I didn’t link to it? I had noticed their lack of posts, but I wasn’t expecting to find a “page does not exist” when checking the blog.

I never liked Ferraro (oh yes, I am totally mean girls!). The content was often questionable, and, mostly, the writing style had always been a little…off… To the point that when it was revealed that the writer(s) behind Paladin Shmaladin had been stealing someone elses identity, I couldn’t understand why anyone was surprised.

But, in all fairness, Paladin Shmaladin had some excellent moments.

I have to give at least some respect to the person who posted the rotations of every spec of every dps class using game icons, to prove that ret paladins weren’t the most faceroll class out there. I can’t imagine how many hours that took. The guides, while usually not very accurate, were still the best illustrated and easiest to read in the blogosphere. And, most of all, Paladin Shmaladin provided us with the most fascinating blog drama I’ve ever witnessed in the WoW community.

So in thanks for the countless hours of entertainment, I give a goodbye salute to Ferraro and Paladin Shmaladin.

Welcoming the new general paladin bloggers

In the general paladining category, you can now find a link Ask Mr Robot. Mr Robot isn’t paladin exclusive, and I’ve yet to really use the resource myself, but it comes highly recommended as a starting point reference. New to your class and want a basic idea of how to build it before giving yourself a headache deciphering Elitist Jerks? Ask our friend Mr Robot.

I also added Miri’s blog Guarded by the Light. I’m actually not sure why it wasn’t already there… She was our pally tank rep on The Double O Podcast’s Tanking Roundtable, and is fluent in both Protection and Holy. She writes about general WoW topics as well, making her an excellent addition to any feedreader, paladin centric or not.

Welcoming the new Holy bloggers

As usual, Holy is the most active link list. I’m not sure if I just stumble across Holy blogs more than Ret or Prot blogs because I’m Holy, or if it’s just that us healer-types are chattier.

I added the podcast My Epic Heals. It’s not paladin centric, but Eade is a paladin (his blog, My Pally Heals, used to be on my blogroll, but I had to take it off for inactivity. Don’t panic though, the podcast is still going strong!), and they are healing-centric.

We’ve also got Amowrath joining our ranks with The Light’s Wrath. Out of all the holy bloggers who’ve opened shop since my last update, Amowrath is one of the two that are still among us. Head over to his page, give him some love, and convince him to stick around!

The other holy paladin blogger is Dreamy from Drunkard’s Regalia. Her style is completely unique, and, in my opinion, a refreshing change from the many more formal blogs out there. She’s fun, bouncy, and a tad gory. If you’re looking to add some spice to your blog reading, Drunkard’s Regalia is a good place to start.

Oh, and I fixed the link to the Paladin forum at Plus Heal. You can now use it again!

Welcoming our new Retribution brother

We have a new retribution blogger! And a good one at that! Chronicles of a Casual (and don’t let the name fool you, he is a raider, a dps paladin, and informative) fills in a huge gap in the paladin community by writing, with a teachy approach, about his adventures as a ret pally, both in raids and with the target dummy. Considering that I’ve slowly been learning retribution as an offspec myself, I’ve been following his blog in earnest, excited to see what he’ll show me next.

I added a link to Rel Pal too, a great resource for beginner Ret pallies (like me!) as well as more intermediate ret pallies.

Welcoming our new Protection sister

Bravetank is, well, bravely, leveling a tank through Azeroth’s deep dark dungeons. She shares her observations, be they about tanking or about the people she meets or about the general game in frequent, juicy, meaty posts. If you’re leveling a tank too and want some chicken soup for your soul, or if you just like to read solid blog posts, you’ll love Bravetank.

And non-Paladin links!

I don’t usually do a lot of maintenance on the non-pally blogs. Deciding which ones I’m going to link is always frustrating. My paladin blogroll is already quite long and if I added all the blogs I read, we’d have the list that never ends (yes, it goes on and on my friend). I aim for active blogs on general topics and/or blogs of more personal friends (because, yes, it’s my blog and if I want to play favorites, I’m totally allowed).

So I added Clockwork Bard. If you’re a long time WoW blog reader, you might recognize the writing style of More Bars Than You‘s Skip Cocoa. He’s a close irl friend of mine, and more importantly, a fantastic writer with an endless imagination. And thus Clockword Bard appeared on the blogroll.

The other blog I added is Healer by Nature by my guildy, raid leader and friend (I hope!) Thespius. Normally I’d require a tad more frequent posting for a blogroll listing, but because Thes is awesome, he gets to be an exception.

Know other Pally blogs that I need to list?

As mentioned in my intro, I’m totally open to shameless self promotion. Us pallies need to stick together and the only way we can do that is if we know each other.

As long as a blog is written in a paladin perspective, has been alive for a couple of months and has been active in the past month, there is a spot on my roll for it.

By the Light!

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

September 24, 2011

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

How do I get my numbers up?

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

Obligatory Side Note on Healing Meters

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

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

Let’s look at this snapshot:

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

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

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

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

Your numbers are low because…

1) You’re not casting enough

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

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

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

Random Pally:

You:

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

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

Get the idea?

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

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

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

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

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

Your numbers are low because…

2) Your Beacon Strategy Needs Tweeking

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

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

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

Your numbers are low because…

3) You’re Not Using Cooldowns

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

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

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

Your numbers are low because…

4) You’re Using the Wrong Spells

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

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

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

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

Your numbers are low because…

5) You’re Not Judging Enough

Random Paladin:

You:

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

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

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

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

So Cast, Judge and be Merry

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

Holy Paladin 4.1 Mastery with World of Logs Pictures

May 5, 2011

Patch 4.1 brought on some changes to our Mastery. Two changes:

1) Shields last 15 seconds instead of 8.
2) Each point of Mastery increases the amount absorbed by 1.50%, up from 1.25%

These changes triggered the following question: Should I still avoid Mastery?

My generic response was: “I don’t have any logs to look at and I haven’t had the chance to read about others’ experiences, but the changes look pretty minor to me.

Now that I have looked at the discussions on Elitist Jerks and Plus Heal, or rather the lack-thereof discussions, my answer is pretty much the same. I find that, with the exception of intellect/spell power which pwns them all, the value of all our throughput stats is somewhat subjective. Haste is generally preferred as the few extra casts during a fight are more practical than unreliable Crit procs or the mini-heals during global cooldowns Mastery shields offer.

One person on EJ brought up logs of someone who was getting some nice bang for his buck out of Mastery, which I felt like talking about.

(more…)

Spending those hard earned Valor Points (Holy Edition)

February 22, 2011

Now that I’m not raiding on a regular basis, I’m suddenly very, very conscious of my valor points. While I wasn’t lucky with the RNG in the month and a half I was killing a lot of raid bosses (I didn’t see a single plate drop, not one!), I still hoped. Now my mantra is: If you’re a good girl and do your random heroic every day and pug your Baradin Hold once a week, every month or so you can choose a new piece of gear.

Since every Valor Point is precious to me, I’ve been very, very careful with the order I spend them in. Don’t want to buy a piece of gear I might replace later on in the week. Eventually I was able to make a list of the items I wanted, in the order I wanted, as an occasional raider who has intermittent access to raid loot.

(more…)

Cataclysm Heroics Sanity Preservation Guide for Healers

December 28, 2010

You’re pugging heroics? What are you? A sadist?
– Guildie upon discovering that I PuG my heroics more often than not.

I think he meant masochist (my guildies a tough time keeping their fetishes straight)… unless he knows me better than I thought.

Once I got over my initial feeling of being left out (dissolved when other healers got tired of running heroics causing me to receive 3 whispers asking for heroic heals every time I log in), I fell in love with pugging. I’ve also learned to handle myself in PuGs, which has turned me into quite the slave driver, and yes, has really helped developed my sadistic side.

Introduction: What to expect

There are beliefs of varying levels of truth to the rumours going around about PuGs. Let me attempt to clarify them by drawing from my own experience.

Belief #1 – Heroics are too long for casual players.
Answer: Apparently the official forums are overrun with players accusing Blizzard of ruining casual play. Unfortunately, if you’re going to PuG heroics, you need to be prepared to spend at least 2 hours in there. At least. Most people are getting pretty good with the fights now, but during the first week of Cataclysm, I could easily spend 4 hours with a group in a heroic.

Belief #2
- People are jerks in heroics.
Answer: You always run the chance of being paired with the scum of humanity. Stories like this one tell of things you have to be prepared to face. But fortunately, they’re pretty rare. Most of the time, the people you’ll be paired with are just like you: looking to get their valor points and leave.

Belief #3 – Heroics are too hard to PuG.
Answer: They’re not. I pug a lot. And I mean, a lot. It’s only happened to me twice that I didn’t make it to the end: first group tried Corborus in Stonecore a few times then fell apart, second group wiped on Corla in Blackrock Caverns a few times, until I had to leave to run something with my guild. With every other PuG I’ve done, even my very first ones, where I cheated to get a 329ilvl, the final boss went down. Now maybe I’m on the ultimate battlegroup of excellence, but maybe a strategic approach paired with a lot of patience goes a long way.

So how does a healer cope with, as a guildie of mine puts it, “playing Russian Roulette with 5 bullets“? Let me tell you.
(more…)

Holy Paladin Reforging

December 22, 2010

Don’t we all love questions with no clear answers?

I’ve had a few people ask about reforging. Each time, I make my way to Elitist Jerks.

At first, the answer I got from there was “Definitely Haste. All Haste all the time OMG yes.

Then I went back and got the answer “Haste is nice, but Crit packs a better punch.

When I looked closely, I also saw “How about Mastery? Can we give Mastery a try?

Then I spoke with paladins who don’t frequent the various resources and received an overwhelming: “Moar Spirit plz!


For the time being, reforging isn’t a black and white issue. And I hope it stays that way- I love paladin healing right now: it feels as if each successful paladin has their own style and adapts in their own way to different content. Which is how healing should be. I don’t know about the rest of you, but the constant adjustments to fit each unique situation is the whole reason I fell in love with healing in the first place.

Love story aside, I’m going to take a look at the different reforging options. If you want a “do this” answer, scroll down a bit and you’ll find some reforging suggestions to fit your paladining lifestyle. And if you read all the way to the end, I’ll let you in on my personal strategy.

I’m going to inspire myself from the debate in the Holy Paladin thread on Elitist Jerks as well as use my own experiences to weigh the pros and cons. Two Three weeks into the expansion, I’ve done countless heroics, with pugs of all skill (and common sense) levels as well as guild groups, I’ve killed Conclave of Wind on 10 man, 25 man kills are Halfus (X2) and Argaloth (I’ve done quite a bit of log parsing from other guilds for Halfus too, to see how other healing teams are handling the fight), with a some wiping experience on a few other 25 man bosses. The only area I haven’t investigated much is the world of PvP, so you die hard PvPers are unfortunately on your own for this.
(more…)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,969 other followers