Posted tagged ‘healing’

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.
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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.
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An “In-Practice” Take at the Holy Paladin Nerfs

December 15, 2010

By now, pretty much every holy paladin blogger has posted their thoughts, comments, disdain and disgust about Tuesday’s holy paladin changes. In case you’ve been missing out, here’s what happened:

- Holy Light doesn’t pump up your holy power bar anymore when you cast it on your beaconned target.
Light of Dawn, an already weak spell with the exception of how it transferred nicely through beacon, had it’s healing reduced by 40% so the beacon transfers don’t give healing envy to Word of Glory.

The rationale is that paladins have too much mana and are relying too much on the “pump up Holy Power via Holy Light and use Light of Dawn transfers to bomb the tank” strategy.

On the mana part, if you’re rubbing your eyes, I don’t blame you. When I started running heroics a few days ago, the idea of “too much mana” would be have had me laughing until my sides hurt. But, now that I’m decked in heroics gear and running with other heroically geared players, I kind of have to agree. Holy Light, with it’s low mana cost and long cast, becomes basically free with enough passive mana regen.

As for the “Light of Dawn abuse“, well, it was nice while it lasted. According to Tuesday’s raid logs, with a mix of 333-349 ilvl gear and 25 man raid buffs, my Light of Dawn was hitting individual targets for ~ 8k, occasionally critting for ~ 15k. Which looks great, but considering that everyone had over 100k hp and were taking insane damage left and right, LoD was actually crap for raid healing. Where it shone was through beacon. Say my LoD hit 5 targets for 8k for a total of 40k. Half of that (so 20k) was transferred to the tank, which is more than my ~15k World of Glory could heal them for.

How the changes affected my heroics healing

In all honesty, they didn’t. I kept the same “Holy Shock on cooldown, then Holy Light unless massive damage” strategy I used before. I couldn’t use Word of Glory as often, but, meh, other than making me crave haste (the instant cast component of WoG is nice), it didn’t matter. With heroics gear, Holy Light is basically free and Word of Glory is a weak spell. When my group didn’t screw up, I still ended fights at nearly full mana. I even started using Holy Radiance on cooldown.

How the changes might affect 25 man raiding

I raided Sunday and Monday, but I won’t get to test the changes until Thursday night. It’s difficult for me to predict how it’ll affect raiding. At our last attempts, our offtanks were too undergeared and our raid team too undisciplined (we have a lot of new guildies who are on their first raids with us and aren’t used to our ways) for me to get a clear idea of Cataclysm 25 man raid healing. Our attempts on Halfus Wyrmbreaker were under 2 minutes long and my tank was getting smacked with 40k-60k hits every 2 seconds.

To (attempt to) keep up with that kind of damage, I was using Holy Shock on cooldown and otherwise spamming Divine Light. Light of Dawn was a good option when I had at least 4 people in front of me (which didn’t happen often) so I might notice a loss there. Holy Light wasn’t in the equation at all when it came to healing in raids.

A Return to Wrath Healing?

We have too much mana… To which Blizzard responded by attacking the very mechanics they wanted our class to use. With our glorious passive mana regen untouched and with Word of Glory and Light of Dawn being so weak, I can see us going back to single or double spell spamming pretty quickly.

Aunna at Bandage Spec made some excellent suggestions that could solve our problem of being overpowered without ruining our new and improved playstyle. I have some suggestions of my own:

1- Nerf our specialization – 50% of mana regen from spirit is too much? Bring it down to 40%, or 35%.
2- Raise the mana cost and effectiveness of Holy Shock – Right now Holy Shock doesn’t do much beside give us holy power. It helps a little bit with raid healing, but that’s about it. Make it more expensive and more useful and it’ll put a dent in our mana bar.
3- Reduce the mana back from judging Seal of Insight or increase the cooldown on Judgement – Seriously, 3500 mana every time I use an 8 second cooldown spell? For real? No wonder my mana bar is full!
4- Increase the mana cost of Holy Light – It’s too cheap? Make it less cheap.
5- Buff Light of Dawn, but don’t let it transfer through beacon - Light of Dawn is a really week spell without the beacon component. With the amount of health people have, you couldn’t even notice the 8k heal. (Fannon as well as a few others have mentioned this too)
6- Make it harder to stack holy power, but buff Word of Glory – I don’t care how free and instant Word of Glory is, it’s not powerful enough to be worth working for. If it healed, for like, say 30k, I might be tempted to put some effort into getting 3 stacks of holy power.

So final words, if you’ve been worrying about the nerfs, you can relax. They haven’t affected us a whole lot. But! I can see the nerf bat heading our way again shortly, so gear up and farm heroics while we still have it sort of easy.


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