Posted tagged ‘holy’

Beacon of Light Strategies

January 27, 2011

A common complaint of holy paladins is about their healing leads. About their healing leads blindly telling them where to put their Beacon of Light (BoL).

When told by a healing lead where to put my BoL, I’ve always retorted with where that healing lead can put my BoL, with proper anatomical references and the issue would be closed for the reminder of my time with that healing lead. (I’m joking of course- the more effective the communication among members of a healing team, the better the team performs. If you have a game plan for your BoL that conflicts with your leads’, just say so.)

Fact is, optimal placement of BoL is strategic. It always has been to an extend, but until recently, you could get away with “beacon the tank and spam heals around“. Most of the time at least. Now that Beacon only transfers half of a heal, getting the most out of its use isn’t as straightforward.

These days, you’ll want to know a few things before deciding where to put your Beacon (or, if you’re a healing lead, before risking being told where to put your Beacon assignments):
– Damage patterns
– Number of holy paladins in the raid
– Everyone else s healing assignments.

If you’re healing with other paladins, you’ll want to make sure you track all the Beacons in the raid. If a teammate isn’t cooperating with the current BoL strategy in place, you need to know so you can adjust according.

A Little Background on Beacon

Beacon of Light is a buff you can put on yourself or on another party or raid member. It transfers half (50%) the value of each of your heals onto the player with the BoL buff. So, if you have Beacon on Mary and cast a 3000 heal on Jack, Mary receives a 1500 heal through Beacon. Beacon doesn’t care about effective and overheal, 50% of the total heal with transfer.

One paladin can only have one Beacon active at a time, but one player can be buffed with several Beacons from several paladins at a time (in other words, Beacons stack).

Most paladin heals (direct heals, Light of Dawn, Protector of the Innocent, Enlightened Judgments and, if you’re reading this before 4.0.6, Lay on Hands) transfer through Beacon. However, heals received by the person with the Beacon don’t transfer. If you cast your 3000 heal on Mary, she’ll only receive the 3000 health from that heal. (I think they did transfer at some point, but we’ve since been hotfixed).

An added feature to BoL is via the Tower of Radiance talent: directly casting Divine Light and Flash of Light on your Beacon target will give you one (1) charge of Holy Power. (The tooltip still mentions Holy Light, but the tooltip is a LIAR.)

Strategy 1: Beacon the tank (or your single target assignment) and heal around

This was the strategy of choice during Wrath, but thankfully we can be a bit more creative now, at least in raids. 5 mans generally don’t give us a lot of options: you’ll almost always want your tank Beaconed so you can stray and heal the dps (or yourself!) as needed and not worry about the tank turning into a smoothie.

In any setting, the biggest advantage of this trick is building up Holy Power faster with the Tower of Radiance talent, given you cast Divine Light or Flash of Light on your Beacon target/tank/singe target assignment. It can also come in handy on fights where you might temporarily be out of direct healing range of your target. The range on Beacon transfers is 60 yards from the target of your heal, while direct heals only reach 40 yards. So if your assignment pops out of range, dumping a Divine Light on someone standing between you and your assignment, can make the difference between a kill and a wipe.

There are two main disadvantages to this strategy. The first is that Beacon of Light only transfers 50% of a heal. Damage in Cataclysm, especially in raids, is intense, so straying from your assigned target is risky. The second is that heals on your Beacon target don’t double up. So by direct healing your Beacon target, you’re wasting a lot of potential healing.

Situations where I like to use this strategy:
– 5 mans.
– When raiding with an uncooperative or communicationally challenged paladins.
– When being out of range of my assignment is very likely (have yet to encounter a fight where this situation applies… maybe Ascendent Council, but I still prefer cross-beaconing for that fight)
– When assigned to raid/melee healing on fights with high tank damage (Magmaw, Valiona)

Strategy 2: Cross-Beaconing

Cross-Beaconing is when you have two paladins, each assigned a separate target. The paladins each direct heal their own target and Beacon their teammate’s target. Alternatively, a solo paladin variant is to direct heal your target and have another tank (or target taking a lot of damage) Beaconed.

While you’ll be getting a lot less Holy Power from Tower of Radiance using this strategy, you’ll get extra healing output. Having some cushion heals on your target from your teammate is also helpful in case you have to move/get out of range/scratch your leg.

Even when I’m the solo paladin (ok, that has yet to happen in Cata, but lets pretend it has), I like having my Beacon on a tank I’m not currently assigned to. Healing my beacon target for reasons other than charging up Holy Power just feels like a waste.

Situations where I like to cross-beacon:
– 2 tank fights, when I’m tank healing
– Raid trash
– Fights with a lot of movement and two paladins.

Strategy 3: Beacon Stacking

You’ll need at least one other holy paladin for this one. Beacon stacking is when two or more holy pallies Beacon the same target and heal a different target. This strategy works by constantly bombarding the target of multiple beacons with small, but very frequent, heals. As you may imagine, this trick is best used on targets taking damage too frequently to be healed at a conventional pace.

Fights where I like to Beacon Stack:
– Halfus (Beacon stack on the drake tank)
– Chimearon, when tank healing (Beacon stack on the main tank)

Strategy 4: DPS Beacon

I rarely use this one, but it has its moments. Instead of putting your Beacon on a tank, you put it on a dps, preferably one who has trouble healing itself.

Sitautions where I’d pick a DPS Beacon target
– When damage isn’t really aggro based (Cookie in Deadmines, those exploding wisps in Vortex Pinnacle before finding high stam Cataclysm gear)
– When perfectly-timed raid healing is crucial (when healing a party on Chimareon)

A Note about Beaconning Yourself

During Wrath, there were a few times when Beaconing yourself was an awesome trick. Last phase of Sindragosa normal mode or Putricide any mode, for example. This doesn’t translate to Cataclysm: unless you’re spamming Divine Lights and pumping out Light of Dawns, Protector of the Innocent offers as much or more self-healing than a Beacon would. Beaconing yourself, therefore, is a huge waste of healing.

Conclusion

The first time we faced Halfus sporting our blues and greens that probably wouldn’t have even gotten us through heroics, we had our arses handed to us. With both hands. Especially our drake tank. When I looked at parses from guilds who had killed Halfus, I discover they were doing something we weren’t, and it wasn’t wearing content-appropriate gear. It was Beacon stacking. The light shone, the little naked angels sung. We Beacon stacked on our drake tank, and Halfus toppled over dead.

The moral of this story is that Beacon strategies can make or break a progression fight. Too often, Beacon positionning is left out of healing discussions, or worse, assigned inappropriately. So be vocal about your Beacon use. Be vocal with your healing lead, with your fellow pallies, with your fellow healers and even with your entire raid team.

It’s like they say, “the better the Beacon brainstorming, the smoother the raid“.

Shared Topic: Fringe Benefits of Bringing Classes to Raid

November 10, 2010

Or, in the perspective I’m going to take, how to make them want you (and your paladin) badly.

Here’s a Shared Topic that’s pretty timely for our class. It was suggested by death knight veteran Shop of Runeforge Gossip and you can see what bloggers from other classes had to say by checking out the grand collection of links thread at Blog Azeroth. Since this post isn’t being written at the last minute (yay!) you can even write about it yourself and post a link to it in that thread.

And while you’re in the Shared Topics forums, please do me a favor and suggest a Topic. PLEEEEEASE!

Right, so I still don’t have a computer. Which means no WoW for screenshots or facts checking. Also means no photo editing, so you’ll be stuck with recycled pictures. I’m sorry. I’ll try to compensate with more dirty jokes.

Meters are Backstabbing Jerks

The day after 4.0.1 dropped, a pally friend whispered me: “We’re still bad at raid healing, and now we’re bad at tank healing too. Anything we can do, every other class can do better. There’s just no point in bringing us to raids anymore.

Even after the hotfix, it’s no secret paladins are looking terrible on the meters. This may or may not have improved since my forced vacation from WoW. In a guild with a strong, knowledgeable healing team this doesn’t matter (I’ve yet to receive a single negative comment from my guildies) but out in wild wild PuGs with under geared tanks and incompetent co-healers, our weaker output on paper (or is it on screen?) makes us the innocent target of much abuse.

Death to the Mediocre Paladin

It used to sadden me (ok, that’s an understatement, it sent me into a blind rage) when people would complain about paladin healing being too easy before 4.0.1.

What is more accurate is that pre-4.0.1, paladin healing was easy to be mediocre at. Any moron could spam holy light and keep a tank up while looking great on the meters. The good holy paladin, however, saved many teammates with the clever use of their Hands and Holy Shock. Prevented wipes with their cooldowns. Could compensate for dead or incapacitated co-healers by creatively adjusting Beacon and Sacred Shield targets. Being good, now, that took perfect reflexes, excellent judgment and a deep understanding of fight mechanics.

I’ve raided with many, many holy paladins in my time. I can count the good ones on the fingers of a single hand.

Ok, so enough about the past, you say. What about now? How do I make them love me now? And, well, more or less the same as before. Except now mediocrity isn’t enough.

How to Really Shine as a Healadin in 4.0.1

1) Expect the worst. Remember that girl at Blizzcon who said dps shouldn’t be taking damage? She wasn’t a healer. Unless you’re raiding with Ensidia or some other high end guild (and you’re probably not if you’re reading this blog), people are going to be stupid and terribad in every possible way. And you’re going to shut up and appreciate the challenge. After sweating buckets healing a tank standing in the fire (or healing a 5 man tanked by a mage), you’re going turn around and say “thank you, may I have another“. Always come prepared for the worst case scenario. It’s the rationale behind stacking mana you won’t use up, behind keeping a cooldown handy, behind watching everyone’s health bar, not only your assignments’. Your job comes first, but preventing a wipe is a close second and is everyone’s responsibility.

2) Gauge each player. The tank in blues will risk being two shotted and will struggle with aggro. The overgeared hunter will pull aggro all over the place. The priest with ungemmed gear will be dead weight. When you regularly run with the same group, notice patterns in their behaviour. The DK tank who often runs out of line of sight. The bear who forgets to use his cooldowns. The priest who gets tunnel vision. The rogue that always runs to the wrong side. Knowing each player’s individual flaws lets you act preemptively, whether it be positioning yourself strategically, hovering your finger over a cooldown at the right moment or being ready to yell “PERSON A! OTHER SIDE!”

3) Use Your Hands You’ve got four of them! Hand of Protection (which you can read about in depth if you click the link) will keep those clothies up all night. Or at least during trash and adds heavy fights. Hand of Salvation, or should I say Handjob of Salv, will earn you the undying love of at least one dps. (I’ve always wanted a macro that whispers my HoSalv target with “Handjob of Salv on you…enjoy the afterglow!“) Hand of Freedom will shut up many whiny tanks who complain they can’t move. Hand of Sacrifice, though inconveniently needing to be paired with Divine Protection or Divine Shield (depending on circumstances), is still a powerful single target damage reduction tool. You won’t use it often, but when everyone else’s cooldowns are used up and all hope is lost, you’ll learn to love it.

4) Use the right Aura. A common oversight that needed to be mentioned. Your raid will remind you if you forget to remove Crusader Aura, but no one will tell you if you leave Retribution Aura up. Resistance Aura for magic damage fights (you can use it for pretty much all of ICC) and Devotion Aura for physical damage fights. Since you’re now the only person with Aura Mastery, you’ll want to keep up the Aura most useful to the current fight.

5) Blizzard gave you cooldowns for a reason. I love cooldowns. I love cooldowns a lot. I keep pictures of cooldowns in my locker. I cried when they took Divine Sacrifice from me. It leaves us with Aura Mastery as our only real mass raid mitigation ability. If you’re expecting a period of major damage (or of mass stupidity), save it. Otherwise give everyone a break and use it on cooldown. Single target-wise, you’ve got your Hands and also your Lay on Hands. With the new short cooldown, you can use it about once a fight now. It’s perfect for those EEKINEEDASPELLBUTNOTIME moments. Save a tank, lay your hands on them.

6) Bubble for the cure Simultaneous need to move and cast Divine Light? Bubble, cast, move. Don’t abuse Divine Shield, but in a pinch, you’ve got an extra 8 seconds of reaction time.

7) Dispell, dispell, dispell What more do I have to say? If you can dispell it, do so. Unless it’s the abom on Putricide. Don’t dispell that unless a wipe is called.

8.) Remember it’s a healing TEAM. If you know you won’t be able to keep the tank up, get a druid to spare some HoTs. If another healer falters, spare an instant cast on their target while they recover. Notice damage patterns. Share your observations. In a PuG, your efforts won’t always be welcome, but more often than not, they will be.

Finally, remember that timing is everything. What holy paladins are currently missing in mitigation and raw output, we make up for in precision. With short but powerful abilities like Hand of Protection or Divine Shield, with several instant spells that can prevent a two-shot and with a mastery that allows a small buffer to cover casting periods, your timing can make or break your gameplay and be the difference between a kill and a run back.

Get the right spells out and the right times, and you’re a machine. You can’t fix meter-obsessed idiots, but you can prevent a wipe.

Numbers for 4.0.1

October 18, 2010

EDIT: As of Oct 19, there were changes made to our spells so the coefficient values might not be correct anymore. The tooltips are no longer accurate, so it’s back to the old fashion method. I’m leaving for Blizzcon Wednesday night, so I don’t know when I’ll be able to update this. I’ll try for tomorrow, but chances are it’ll be next week.

I jotted down my numbers for 4.0.1 and thought that others might want them as a reference. Feel free to double check my math.

Stat Conversions
46 mastery rating = 1 point of mastery
1 int = 0.0075% Crit, 1 SP

Spell Coefficients
WoW automatically calculates the range of each spell and displays it in the tooltips now (screenshots after the cut), so I calculated the coefficients by comparing the in-game numbers to the values on Wowhead.
Coefficients work like this: Base heal value + (Spell power*coefficient) = Heal output

Holy Light = 0.33
Divine Light = 1.04
Flash of Light = 0.77
Holy Shock = 0.69
Word of Glory = 0.22 (calculated for 1 point of holy power, assuming coefficient is independent of holy power points)

(more…)

Keeping Your Head Above Water in 4.0.1

October 17, 2010

Update Oct 19, 2010 – Looks like Blizzard gave in to our begging and gave us a boost. Pretty much everything here still holds true, although the “our output suuuuucks” jokes loose somewhat of their meaning. Because we’re still very much single target healers and mastery still isn’t recorded (I know a few people have found a trick to make Recount show mastery, but I tried it and all it did was crash Recount), we’re still low on the meters, but at least now our spells are smacking for amounts that seem reasonable.

Healing meters in 4.0.1:

Don’t be shocked. It sucks, but that’s the way it is. Keep in mind that the absorbs done by our Mastery, Illuminated Healing aren’t recorded by either Recount or World of Logs, so we aren’t doing quite as badly as we think.

After fooling around in-game, talking to other paladins (<3 Kurn, Anolaana and the paladin formally known as the hunter Grindin) and reading Elitist Jerks, blogs, Plus Heal and even the official forums (most of it is QQ, but there are a few early guides posted), I’ve compiled my notes for Holy, version 4.0.1.

At this point, there is very little agreed upon and most of the Big Thinkers are keeping their eyes on Cataclysm, so any arguing, criticizing, complaining and commiserating is totally welcome.

Spec and Seal

More challenging but probably more efficient: 31/2/3
If you don’t want to give up your old healing style: 31/3/2

For the last two minor glyphs, take your pick. With the exception of Lay on Hands, our minor glyphs are really stupid.

Seal of Insight is the seal you’ll keep up.

Gemming and Stats

Keep your Brilliant Cardinal Rubies for now (+20 Intellect). Can’t go wrong with the more mana, spell power and crit they provide.

Meta gem-wise, I’m having trouble giving up my Insightful Earthsiege Diamond, but Revitalizing Skyflare Diamond is good too.

Enchants are:
Head – Arcanum of Blissful Mending or Arcanum of Burning Mysteries
Shoulders - Greater Inscription of the Crag or Greater Inscription of the Pinnacle
Back – Greater Speed or Wisdom
Chest – Powerful Stats or Greater Mana Restoration (now gives 20 spirit)
Legs – Brilliant Spellthread
Wrists -Superior Spellpower or Exceptional Intellect or Major Spirit
Hands – Exceptional Spellpower
Feet – Tuskarr’s Vitality or Greater Spirit or Icewalker
Rings – Greater Spellpower
Weapon – Mighty Spellpower or Exceptional Spirit or Major Intellect

*Be sure to wear all plate gear (no more of that stinky mail) now, as Plate Specialization now gives us a 5% Intellect boost.

As for other stats beyond Intellect:

Spirit: Often listed as 2nd important stat after Int. Depends on your gear and playstyle. Reports vary from “my mana bar is stuck at 100%” to “I was OOM a few seconds into the first pull”. Personally, I go through my whole mana bar during an ICC 25 HM fight, but I’m not struggling, even after reforging my spirit to mastery. Adjust your spirit according to your mileage. Err on the side of caution: as long there is mana, there can be life.

Haste: Unknown. Soft cap (global cooldown reduced to 1 second) is reported to be 1019 (thanks Auracen) when raid buffed and Judgments of the Pure is up. Opinions vary on whether to bother reaching the soft cap, staying at the soft cap or going beyond. If you’re keeping an old fashion playstyle (big heal spamming) pump up the haste. Otherwise, you’ll be using a lot of instants with a few long casts (Holy Light and Divine Light) thrown in, so my recommendation is keep your haste, but don’t gem or reforge to it either.

Crit:Yes. With the exception of Divine Light (which is expensive and slow), all our heals are pathetic. Crit amplifies healing, triggers Conviction and makes for more Mastery absorbs. A Holy Shock crit triggers Infusion of Light. Embrace crit.

Mastery: Probably good. To my knowledge, the absorbs from Illuminated Healing (IH) aren’t tracked anywhere so I don’t know how it looks in practice. However, IH does trigger after every heal (except Protector of the Innocent, thanks Jeffo), which is good. The duration is too short to be used for raid healing, but on a tank or in PvP, it offers a free mini-heal in the form of an absorb between heals.

Buff, Proc and Cooldown Tracking

Buffs: Set your raid frames to track Beacon of Light and Illuminated Healing.

Procs: Have a notification for Infusion of Light. If you don’t like the default Holy Power tracker, consider finding an addon to notify you when you reach 3 stracks. Some paladins are also tracking Speed of Light, but since it procs every time you use Holy Shock, it seems a bit silly.

Cooldowns: Holy Shock. Keep an eye on Avenging Wrath, Divine Favor, Aura Mastery and Divine Plea as well.

Addons

Holy Trinity: Tracks cooldowns and Holy Power. Not the overly useful for holy pallies, but awesome if you’re polyspectual.

Ristretto Power: Tracks Holy Power stacks.

clcInfo:Seems to keep track of anything you want. Not usable straight out of the box, unfortunately.

Pally Power:
Not as essential as it was… Good if you like the buff timer and Righteous Fury reminder.

Playstyle

See Dreaming’s blog, A Touch of Arcane, for a quick explanation of the Tower of Radiance build.

The idea of a rotation as a paladin healer disturbs me, but the way to wring the most out of our miserable state is this:

1- Any time you have 3 stacks of Holy Power, use Word of Glory.
2- Any time you do not have 3 stacks of Holy Power and Holy Shock is available, Holy Shock.
3- After every Holy Shock, can Divine Light, unless you’re in situation #1 or #2.
4- If Infusion of Light procs, cast Divine Light followed by Holy Light, unless you’re in situation #1 or #2.
5- When waiting for Holy Shock cooldowns and building Holy Power stacks, cast Divine Light.
6- If mana is an issue, swap Divine Light for Holy Light.
7- If time is of the essence, swap Divine Light for Flash of Light. (This shouldn’t happen often.)
8- Avenging Wrath can be used every time it comes off cooldown.

Basically, your rotation looks like HS->HS (if Daybreak prevented the CD)-> DL->HL/DL (depending on mana or Infusion of Light proc)->DL->HS->WoG->WoG (if you’re specced into Eternal Glory and it procs).

Alternatively, you can spam Divine Light/Holy Shock/Word of Glory on your assignment until you run out of mana. You’ll be far from your best, but it is possible to keep the tank up while fumbling with your spells.

Light of Dawn: If there’s a lot of AoE damage and people are closish together, have fun with it. (Also use when feeling the urge to admire new glowy sparkly spell effects -courtesy of @Alice_desu)

Beacon of Light: Keep on your assignment in most situations. To maximize the Holy Power you get, cast Divine Light and Holy Light on your beacon target. Depending on the fight, you may cast Holy Shock and Word of Glory on other targets, but remember that beacon has been seriously nerfed and under most circumstance, it’s not enough to keep a tank up.

Divine Favor: Haste and crit boosting cooldown, use on cooldown or during periods of heavy damage.

Divine Plea: Has been nerfed into the ground, sadly. Like before the patch, if you use it mid-combat try to pop a healing output boosting cooldown to take an edge off the 50% healing penalty.

Conclusion:

Now, if you do everything perfectly and don’t waste a single global cooldown, you should be able to beat the shadow priest on the healing meters. Most of the time ;D.

Don’t get me wrong, healing as a paladin in 4.0.1 is really fun. It’s fast paced, it’s interactive, it keeps you on your toes. Unfortunately, as things are now, our healing style isn’t compatible with healing meters, which is discouraging. Despite what some believe, we are still very capable of keeping a tank up. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Shut off Recount (enjoy the lag reduction from that), take the “Healing Done” page on World of Logs with a grain of salt and just focus on having a good time. From what I’m told, in a couple of weeks we’ll get some better changes when a certain Cataclysm becomes available at a gaming store near you.

World of Logs and Evaluating a Paladin Healer: Some Basics

August 15, 2010

This post will be long, very long, but shorter than it should be. I could do a whole series on using WoL to evaluate a holy pally, but I won’t. See, I’d do one good post and neglect the rest. So I’m going to talk a bit about the first thing I check when we get a new holy pally running with us: buffs cast.

I’m keeping the images small to keep them from stretching my page too much, but feel free to click on them to see them better.

Finding Buffs Cast

To reach the Buffs Cast screen, select a player from the menu on the top screen: Player -> Paladin -> Playername

Then you’ll want to choose a particular fight to audit. Here we’ll pick the longest Sindragosa attempt.

Once you’re in a players’ screen and have chosen a fight, click on the Buffs Cast tab.

It’s as simple as that!

What to look for

In the Buffs Cast menu, the first column on the left lists the buffs cast by the player during the fight. All of them are of some sort of interest, but we’re going to focus on three for now:

Beacon of Light
Sacred Shield
Judgements of the Pure

These are the three basic “buffs” that any pally should have up nearly 100% of a fight, if not the whole fight. To look at them graphically, hit the pound (#) sign next to the buff name. You’ll notice Sacred Shield (SS) is mentionned twice. It’s because the proc that happens when SS is up is also called Sacred Shield. Pick the one with the highest uptime and least amount of applications.

Once you do that, you should see a graph with green bands under it. The graph represents the entire time of the fight and each band represents the uptime of an individual spell.

What to Make of It

Let’s have a look at this paladins buff uptime.

Judgements of the Pure was up for nearly the whole fight, which is good. In healing intensive or in cast restrictive fights, the buff from Judgements of the Pure might fall off. It’s nothing to stress about if it’s quickly reapplied, such as in this case. If, however, a paladin goes for big chucks of the fight without Judgements of the Pure, ask some questions.

Next, let’s look at Sacred Shield. You can see it was up three times, with large chunks of fight in between. This isn’t good. If there are several holy paladins in the fight, this could mean a lack of communication causing the paladins to overwrite each other’s Sacred Shield. To know who was targeted by a buff, mouse over the corresponding green band. You can check on all the holy paladins in the raid to see they’re shielding the same target. You can also check if your paladins are selecting reasonable recipients. The main tank is typically the first choice for an SS, but anyone taking periodic damage can benefit from the spell.

A paladin’s usage of SS will say a lot about their playstyle. After reading a lot of logs, you’ll quickly notice that neglecting the buff is a pretty common fault. A paladin that keeps a Shield up along with their healing is often a sign of someone who goes the extra mile and makes sure they’re wringing every bit of healing out of their character.

Finally, Beacon of Light. I picked this particular log because I know this player struggles with Beacon of Light usage. This Sindragosa attempt is no different. Beacon of Light was used twice and kept up for less than half of the fight. This isn’t acceptable. If there’s a spell that should be up at all times, no exceptions, it’s Beacon of Light. Most of the time, it’ll be on a tank (again, to check who’s being Beaconned, mouse over the corresponding green band). In some healing intensive fights, the paladin will need to direct heal a single tank, but Beacon should still be used.

But This is Heroic Sindypoos!

I’ve yet to try Heroic Sindragosa because I can’t raid these days, but from reading parses from successful guilds, I’ve noticed that it’s not polite to rack of stacks of Instability. One could play devil’s advocate and suggest that maybe this paladin was crippled with Unchained Magic throughout the attempt.

Lets take a look at that. Select the “Buffs Gained” tab. Under the middle column (debuffs), hit the pound sign next to “Unchained Magic”.

The buffs you’ve already selected will stay on the graph, and you’ll add Unchained Magic uptime.

We can see this paladin had Unchained Magic up three times. We can forgive not refreshing JotP/SS/BoL anytime the debuff is up, but any other downtime is fair game for questioning.

Observing debuffs uptimes can come in handy for other fights too. The post-getting-smashed-by-malleable goo debuff on Putricide comes to mind. You can sometimes use this trick to spy on Dreamwalker stacks as well. I’ve frequently caught my guildies lying after the fight… They don’t know that I know. (It’s not always listed as a debuff though. No idea why sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.)

Other Points of Interest

Using the buff list, you can also see whether the paladin was using an appropriate aura (on this parse, notice that Concentration Aura was used, typically you’ll want an aura that fits bests with Aura Mastery, so on Sindragosa, Frost Resistance Aura would be preferable), whether and when they used any cooldowns (check especially for Aura Mastery and Divine Sacrifice, neither were used here) and, in the case of a holy light paladin, how often Light’s Grace was active.

You can also monitor Divine Plea usage. (For you non paladins, Divine Plea regens mana at the cost of a 50% healing reduction.) When was Divine Plea used? Was it offset by another spell? Compare the timing of Divine Plea with healing bonus or mana cost reduction cooldowns such as Divine Illumination, Hospitality and Avenging Wrath.

Remember That Parses Only Tell Part of the Story

I’ll admit I’m guilty of completely ripping players apart by their logs. Then I proceed to get ripped apart for my logs. The thing is, always question before blaming. There’s more going on to a fight than what you can read on paper (or on computer screen). From logs, you can find pointers, repeated mistakes and so on. But they’ll only tell you so much.

I also need to add the disclaimer that this post only goes over a tiny part of what you can get out of World of Logs. For evaluating a paladin, though, I seem to run to the buff pages before I view the heal meters, the damage taken meters and the brute, untouched combat log. I guess one could say the buff page serves as a starting point, as the “once upon a time” part of the story.

Easy to Acquire Haste Gear

July 25, 2010

I was working on a post about haste and why we like it/love it/want more of it. Then I got the stupid idea to make a list of easily acquired gear with haste, to refer complaints about not being able to find haste gear to. To prove that those complaints are unfounded, the list became quite long and ended up better serving as a stand alone post.

So here is a list of regular ICC, Ruby Sanctum and ToC 25 gear that has haste on it. And if you’re all good, maybe you’ll eventually get a post about the goodness of haste itself.

Note that this isn’t a best in slot list in any shape or form. It’s just a reference for those who don’t have access to heroic level gear and who suffer from the whims of pugs, RNG and limited playtime.

Weapons
Lockjaw ~ Rotface 10 ~ 52 Haste ~ Probably your best bet on regular modes.
Quel’Delar, Lens of the Mind ~ Quel’Delar questline ~ 49 Haste ~ Perfect for puggers or those with a lot of money.
Misery’s End ~ Anub-arak 25 ~ 58 Haste ~ Pretty good for ToC gear, if you’re lucky enough to find a ToC 25 pug.
Frost Needle ~ Marrowgar, 10 ~ 54 Haste ~ Is a dps caster weapon, but if you’re desperate…

Shields
Bulwark of Smouldering Steel ~ Marrowgar 25 ~ 60 Haste ~ Yes please.
Lost Pavise of the Blue Flight ~ Sindragosa 10 ~ 53 Haste ~ If you’re not into 25 mans, this is your best bet.
Bastion of Purity ~ Faction Champions 25 ~ 50 Haste ~ If you want to do ToC 25.

Helms
Lightsworn Headpiece ~ Tier 10, badges ~ 80 Haste ~ Upgrade it if you can. If you’re badge deprived, the tier 9 helm is also hastiful.
Judgement Crown ~ Onyxia 25 ~ 87 Haste ~ Not a bad piece.
Ice-Reinforced Vrykul Helm ~ Gunship 10 ~ 88 Haste ~ It’s mail, but well itemized.
Helm/Headguard of Inner Warmth ~ 75 Emblems of Triumph ~ 66 Haste ~ Mail. If you have no other choice.

Neck
Blood Queen’s Crimson Choker ~ Random drop, Blood Wing 25 ~ 53 Haste ~ Best you’re going to get on normal mode.
Bone Sentinel’s Amulet ~ Marrowgar 25 ~ 52 Haste ~ Decent, but good luck convincing the priests and the druids.
Choker of Filthy Diamonds ~ Rotface 10 ~ 53 Haste ~ Good deal.
Soulcleave Pendant ~ Saurfang 10 ~ 43 Haste ~ Also a good deal.
Relentless Gladiator’s Pendant of Subjugation ~ PvP ~ 50 Haste ~ Decent Haste. Lacking on the other stats.
Wail of the Val’kyr ~ Val’kyr Twins 25 ~ 38 Haste ~ If you have no other choice.

Shoulders
Lightsworn Spaulders ~ Tier 10, badges ~ 63 Haste ~ Get them, upgrade if you can. Tier 9 also has haste if needed.
Pauldrons of the Cavalier ~ 45 Triumph badges ~ 67 Haste ~ Decent, but not as good at tier.
Horrific Flesh Epaulets ~ Festergut 25 ~ 64 Haste ~ Mail, but decent.
Shoulderguards of Crystalline Bone ~ Sindragosa 10 ~ 55 Haste ~ Mail, but ok.

Cloak
Cloak of Burning Dusk ~ Halion 25 ~ 64 Haste ~ Awesome cloak, but good luck getting your paws on it!
Frostbinder’s Shredded Cape ~ Dreamwalker 25 ~ 52 Haste ~ Another great cloak that everyone will fight you for.
Wrathful Gladiator’s Cloak of Subjugation ~ PvP ~ 60 Haste ~ It’s pvp, but if you’re desperate…
Abduction’s Cover ~ Halion 10 ~ 57 Haste ~ Good bet if you have access to 10 man Halion gear.
Heartsick Mender’s Cape ~ Blood Princes 10 ~ 45 Haste ~ Decent.
Flowing Sapphiron Drape ~ Onyxia 25 ~ 35 Haste ~ If you’re desperate… but you’re better off going with the hasteless badge cloak.

Chest
Rot-Resistant Breastplate ~ Rotface 25 ~100 Haste ~ Best you can get on normal.
Lightsworn Tunic ~ Tier 10, badges ~ 80 Haste ~ If you’re buying.
Breast/Chestplate of the Frozen Lake ~ Val’Kyr Twin 25 ~ 90 Haste ~ ToC 25 gear, but pretty good.
Mail of Crimson Coins ~ Blood Princes 25 ~ 84 Haste ~ Mail, but decent.
Chestguard of Siphoned Elements ~ Blood Queen 10 ~ 96 Haste ~ Mail, but 10 man accessible.

Bracers
Crypt Keeper’s Bracers ~ Blood Princes 25 ~ 50 Haste ~ Your best bet.
Bracers of Pale Illumination ~ Gunship 10 ~ 45 Haste ~ 10 man gear.
Sunforged Bracers ~ Crafted ~ 50 Haste ~ If you’re desperate
Bloodsunder’s Bracers ~ Rotface 25 ~ 60 Haste ~ Mail
Coldwraith Bracers ~ Marrowgar 10 ~ 49 Haste ~ Mail, 10 man

Hands
Fallen Lord’s Handguards ~ Deathwhisper 25 ~ 64 Haste ~ Your best bet.
Gauntlets of Overexposure ~ 60 Frost Emblem ~ 64 Haste ~ Same as above, only purchasable.
Turalyon’s/Liadrin’s Gloves of Triumph ~ Tier 9 ~ 67 Haste (25 man version) ~ If you’re desperate
Unclean Surgical Gloves ~ Festergut 25 ~ 80 Haste ~ Mail.
Stormbringer Gloves ~ Dreamwalker 10 ~ 74 Haste ~ Mail, 10 man-friendly.

Waist
Belt of the Lonely Noble/Lich Killer’s Lanyard ~ ICC 25 drop/60 Frost badges ~ 64 Haste ~ I’m only linking to one, but they’re identical and easy to get.
Surrogate Belt ~ Halion 10 ~ 60 Haste ~ Not as accessible, but good for 10 man, if you can kill Halion.
Tightening Waistband ~ Blood Queen 10 ~ 71 Haste ~ 10-man-friendly
Split Shape Belt ~ Halion 25 ~ 86 Haste ~ Mail, if you can down Halion 25
Belt of the Blood Nova ~ ICC Random Drop ~ 72 Haste ~ Mail, BoE.
Deathspeaker Disciple’s Belt ~ Deathwhisper 10 ~ 74 Haste ~ Mail, 10 man-friendly

Legs
Lightning-Infused Leggings ~ Crafted LW ~ 100 Haste ~ Mail, but actually better than the plate crafted ones.
Puresteel Legplates ~ Crafted ~ 92 Haste ~ Plate, but not as nice as the mail legs.
Corrupted Silverplate Leggings ~ Marrowgar 25 ~ 87 Haste ~ Decent.
Leggings of Failing Light ~ Jaraxxus 25 ~ 84 Haste ~ If you’re in a ToC 25 pug
Rippling Flesh Kilt ~ Putricide 10 ~ 84 Haste ~ Mail, 10 man friendly
Leggings/Leggards of Concealed Hatred ~ Faction Champions 25 ~ 74 Haste ~ Mail, ToC

Feet
Foreshadow Steps ~ Halion 25 ~86 Haste ~ Awesome, if you have access to Halion 25 loot.
Protectors of Life ~ Crafted ~ 64 Haste ~ Not as exciting as the mail crafted boots.
Boots/Sabatons of the Courageous ~ Northrend Beasts 25 ~ 67 Haste ~ Yeah, there’s not much in terms of plate boots in ICC.
Earthsoul Boots ~ Crafted ~ 80 Haste ~ Mail, but better than the plate crafted boots.
Shuffling Shoes ~ Rotface 10 ~ 60 Haste ~ Mail, 10 man friendly.
Boots of Divided Being ~ Halion 10 ~ 55 Haste ~ Mail.
Boots/Sabatons of Tremoring Earth ~ Faction Champions 25 ~ 67 Haste ~ Mail, ToC gear.

Rings
Ashen Band of Endless Wisdom ~ ICC Reputation Award, Exalted ~
59 Haste ~ No Brainer! If you’re not exalted yet, get the lower ones and upgrade.
Ring of Phased Regeneration ~ Halion 25 ~ 56 Haste ~ If you have access to Halion 25…
Marrowgar’s Frigid Eye ~ Random Drop ICC 25 ~ 60 Haste ~ Quite good. Also BoE if you want to buy it.
Ring of Rapid Ascent ~ Gunship 25 ~ 52 Haste ~ Another good bet.
Cerise Coiled Ring ~ Blood Princes 10 ~ 35 Haste ~ 10 man friendly
Runed Signet of the Kirin Tor ~ Dalaran Vendor ~ 54 Haste ~ If you have a lot of gold.
Signet of Putrefaction ~ Festergut 10 ~ 45 Haste ~ 10 man friendly
Circle of the Darkmender ~ Jaraxxus 25 ~ 50 Haste ~ 25 man ToC

Trinkets and Librams :There aren’t any trinkets or librams that I’d recommend for haste. Stick with a trusty intellect trinket or Solace, keep your Renewal libram if you’re a holy light paladin or your pvp libram if you’re a Flash of Light paladin.

And now I never want to see Wowhead for the rest of my life.

The Secret to Healing Sindragosa as a Paladin

June 18, 2010

I wasn’t going to write this post. When I got back from vacation and thought about post writing and stuff, I told myself, naaaah, no one wants to read about Sindragosa anymore. At least not normal mode Sindragosa, not with all those shiny hard mode guides everwhere. But after talking with other paladins, I discovered that some are still deprived from the Secret. The Secret to healing Sindragosa as a paladin.

Ok, so you know phase 3? The one where the tanks play hot potato with the boss? And you’re TRYING to keep your beacon on the right tank while not dying and not getting too many stacks of everything? Yeah, that phase.

The closest thing I had to a Sindragosa screenshot

Oh, but before I reveal the Secret, here are some other tricks to healing Sindragosa:

1- If you have trouble running from Blistering Cold, you might be standing too far away. You don’t want to be in melee range (you’ll get mana back as you melee but you’ll also take Chilled to the Bone damage), yet you don’t want to be at max range either. The further you are, the more time you waste getting pulled in.

2- When I’m affected by Unchained Magic, I rack up 5 stacks of Instability by casting Holy Light, then count down from 5 before starting over. Everyone has their own strategy, but that’s the one that works for me. 5 stacks means I get decent healing out before having to pause, but there’s still some leeway in case I need to make an emergency cast.

3- On the last phase, when she’s throwing Frost Beacons around and getting poor, good-willing, innocent holy paladins caught in misplaced Frost Tombs, you can get out of the way by getting slightly closer to her. Don’t melee her (you don’t want to be Chilled to the Bone), but snuggling up will keep you out of the path of wayward Frost Beacons who can’t run fast enough dropping their tombs on your face.

As for the Secret…

On the last phase, as the tanks take turns holding Sindy’s interest, as everyone is out of line of sight all the time and as you take tons, oh tons of damage…beacon yourself. Just beacon yourself. Direct heal whichever tank is currently hanging on to the boss and bask in the redirected heals.

(Edit: Only do this on the last phase, when the constant switching of beacon targets becomes a waste of GCDs and mana. For the rest of the fight, just beacon whoever is tanking the boss.)

Suddenly your life becomes so much easier. The constant influx of heals on yourself means you don’t have to drop your stacks as often, you don’t have to blame the raid healers for not healing you, you can just focus on what you do best: delivering ginormous, blissful, toe-curling tank heals.

And, that, friends, is the secret to getting those scary, epic Sindragosa kills that end with only you and the tanks alive, and the rest of the raid groveling in admiration at your feet.

Aura Mastery

March 20, 2010

There’s a lot of things in game, things about my paladin even, that I don’t really stop to think about. Every time I feel like I know my paladin, I discover stuff that I’ve been taking for granted, that I never stopped to wonder if it’s right or wrong.

Aura Mastery is one of those things.

The part about “improve the effect of all other auras by 100%” leads to confusion. Does it affect all other auras that are currently up, or just any aura the paladin casting Aura Mastery happens to have up?

For example, say I have Shadow Resist Aura up and my pally friend has Fire Resist Aura up. I cast Aura Mastery. Will we get a bonus on both Shadow and Fire Resistance or only on Shadow Resistance?

I’ve sorta asked myself the question before. I did a quick search through various guides, but found no answer. Instead of testing it like I should have, I just shrugged it off and forgot about it.

Then yesterday I came across this thread at Plus Heal, where Vine states that Aura Mastery only affects the Aura the casting paladin has up. It reminded me of my past inquiries, so I decided to give it a try.

I tested with a few different paladins. I picked one aura, they picked another. With my character tab open, I hit Aura Mastery.

Sure enough, the stats from my aura increased, but the stats from the other paladin’s aura did not.

So the question revisited:

For example, say I have Shadow Resist Aura up and my pally friend has Fire Resist Aura up. I cast Aura Mastery. Will we get a bonus on both Shadow and Fire Resistance or only on Shadow Resistance?

The answer is: Only on Shadow Resistance.

(Of course, as I go to write this post I discover that both Wowhead and Wowwiki have the answer, but still, nothing like checking it out for yourself.)

What this means in practice

In a fight where Aura Mastery is needed, the paladin(s) with the talent (typically the holy paladin(s)) should be running the aura targeted by Aura Mastery.

Side note about Concentration Aura:

The 3.1 Patch notes read: “Aura Mastery: Now grants anyone affected by Concentration Aura immunity from Interrupt and Silence mechanics”

The spell description in the tool tab (the image at the top of this post) specifies the casting paladin’s Concentration Aura is needed for the silence immunity effect but the patch notes seem to be contradictory. I couldn’t figure out how to properly test this (I don’t know anyone with a horde character willing to silence without killing a pair of paladins for the sake of research.), but judging from how Aura Mastery affects other auras, until someone corrects me, I’m going to assume that the casting paladin’s Concentration Aura is required for the silence immunity effect.

Level 40! Time To Get That Healing Offspec

February 24, 2010

I recently received my first email asking for paladin advice. I was super excited! Strangely enough, I get quite a few emails on blogging and writing styles (which I find both flattering and amusing since I’m a noob to blogging and my English education comprises of a few English Second Language classes back in high school), but for whatever reason, I’m very rarely asked about paladin stuff.

The question was from Mike, who has recently hit level 40 on his retribution paladin and was considering grabbing a healing offspec. He was looking for some recommendations and, in my enthusiasm, I replied with a wall of text he’s probably not finished reading yet.

After I hit the “send” button, I thought it would make for a good blog post. With everyone and their cousin leveling healers in the LFD system these days, I’m sure many players would benefit from some pointers. Plus, the last time I leveled a holy paladin was 4 years ago, so I’m sure you guys have stuff to add that I wouldn’t even have thought of.

So, after the cut is how I would go about building a healer at level 40.
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Holy Specs Debate: The Big Picture as of 3.3

February 1, 2010

Ah, speccing holy! For no other reason but to confuse us, there are two general PvE trends: Holy/Prot, sometimes called Bubble Spec, and Holy/Ret, sometimes called Crit Spec.

Making choices shouldn't be frightning.

There are tiny sparks of discussion floating around the internet, but I have yet to see someone address the issue the way I want it addressed. Ferraro’s holy speccing guide needs to be updated (I think it will be soon). The Holy Paladin does an excellent job of describing both specs, but doesn’t tie them together (here and here). At World of Matticus, @Dtotheug and jeffo briefly skimmed over the topic and left me spectually frustrated (sorry, bad joke, couldn’t help myself). At WoW.com, Chase Christian did a good job on his Holy 101 article, but I’d like to go more in depth. There’s the occasional thread on specs at Plus Heal, but forums are limiting. So I’m taking matters into my own hands.

Here’s the deal with the two holy spec trends.

Bubbles and Crits : An Overview

A Bubble Spec, 51/17/0+3 for example, is all about utility. Divine Sacrifice and Divine Guardian (DS/DG) are considered must haves for progression raids (read about them in 3.3 here!). Your Sacred Shield, a respectable source of damage mitigation, gets a boost via the Divine Guardian talent as well. The lowered cooldown on Hand of Protection is a favorite of mine for keeping those unruly dps (and occasional overzealous healing priest) under control. Stoicism, Improved Righteous Fury and the extra point in Toughness are lovely to have when you want to do some BGs without having to switch to a PvP spec. While they are considered PvP talents, they also shine at the most crucial moments in raids.

A Crit spec, 51/0/15 +5 for example, maximizes healing output and mana conservation/regen. Depending on what you do with your extra points, you can get 5 to 8% extra crit. What does that mean? It means your mana efficient Flash of Light heal and your instant Holy Shock have a higher chance of hitting harder. Harder is good, we like hard. Ok, the crit also boosts your already crazy powerful Holy Light heals, which will likely all go to overheal. Still, a toe-curling Holy Light crit has triggered many sighs of relief in my WoW life and shouldn’t be disregarded.

Who says crit also says Illumination. The more you crit, the more mana back you get. Everyone likes mana back, especially new 80 healers being tortured by merciless dps standing in junnk and pulling aggro left and right.

Other landmarks in the Crit spec are access to Heart of the Crusader and Improved Blessing of Might, should your raid be depending on you to contribute these buffs.

For discussion on debatable or “optional” talents, scroll down some! Also inserting cut due long long long post.
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