Posted tagged ‘paladin healing’

How I’m healing in MoP – Holy Pally 4eva: The UI

December 31, 2012

You have your gear (note that the gear post is somewhat outdated) and reforging in mind and you’ve picked out the Talents and Glyphs you want to start with. You’re ready to start pressing buttons!

Almost.

Before getting to the pressing buttons part, I want to make sure your UI (User Interface) needs are met. To heal effectively you want a proper interface. One that tells you what you need to know yet cuts down on useless, overwhelming information.

A good healer knows exactly what’s happening to each person in the raid at all times as well as what their own character is doing, while following the fight.

The key to that, friends, is a proper UI.

What to Add to the Addon Shopping List?

Here’s a screen shot of my UI (click on it on few times to make it bigger). This is obviously just an example and you are free (in fact, I encourage you!) to use your imagination to build your own interface.

raidui

1- Raid Frames

You want to see what’s going on in your raid. The more popular frames for healing are VuhDo, Healbot, Grid and Grid2. Shown in the above picture is Grid2.

Grid and Grid2 require an extra addon if you want to use the mouse to interact with the frames (Clique is the only one I’m aware of). The original Grid may require extra addons to track certain buffs and debuffs as well. For an elaborate breakdown of the major frame addons, check out Grimmtooth (the series may be a little outdated but the general gist is there).

Having tried all of the popular healing frames, I found them equally good, so go with whichever you find prettiest or whichever your friends use (so it’s easier to get answers if you have questions).

As a Holy Paladin, you want to track:

- Your Beacon of Light as well as the Beacons of other Holy Pallies in the raid (indicated separately)
Eternal Flame
Sacred Shield (If you are using the spell, otherwise it is optional)
– Your Illuminated Healing (Optional – nice to have but may be overwhelming)
– Range (Fade out at 40 yards)
– Aggro (Optional but helpful)
– Rezzed but not yet taken the rez (Called Resurrection on Grid2. Most players don’t track this, but I find it super helpful.)
– Fight specific buffs and debuffs (Such as Pungency on Garalon)
– Magic, Poison and Disease debuffs (Curse debuffs can be shown separately if desired)

As a side note, in the screenshot you can see the tanks on the default WoW frames. I do this in LFR to keep track of who the tanks are. I would hide the default frames in a guild raid.

2- Bar Organizer

The popular addons are Bartender 4 (shown in screenshot) and Dominos.

A good bar organizer will keep your game from vomiting buttons all over your screen. If you look closely, you can see my keybound abilities on the bottom (I rebound my movement keys to ESDF and use the surrounding keys to tap abilities) and my cooldowns (mostly) on the top. My mounts, professions and others are faded out to the right of my main bars, my seals are to the left, and my system buttons (Raid Finder, Raid Journal, Character, etc) are to the top left (hidden behind the WoW frames on the screenshot).

(The screenshot was taken during a time of winter cleaning so the layout isn’t ideal – there are a couple of suboptimal buttons and even an empty space. I am still working on perfecting my bars, so please don’t copy the screenshot.)

Ideally, I would have my cooldowns larger and more in the middle of my screen, but there are so many cooldowns and so little room on the screen. I’ve just gotten in the habit of glancing at my CDs as part of my regular screen visual sweep.

3- Personal Frames (Heads Up)

While you can keep track of yourself using your raid frames, many of us find it easier to track ourselves separately. I use mine for mana and Holy Power (it shows health too, but out of habit I tend to look at my raid frames for my health).

Shown in the picture above is IceHUD, but there are a lot of options to choose from. Once again, the awesome Grimmtooth has reviewed and cataloged the main ones (again, may be a little outdated but still relevent, see Grimmtooth’s comment on this post for some updates).

I have the bars set to fade out of combat so they are hard to see, but in the left circle is my mana bar, my health bar and my pet bar (not shown). On the right side, if I had a target, you’d be able to see my target’s health and mana.

In the bottom circle is my Holy Power bar. I love the location – right on my character, above my healing frames. I always know how much Holy Power I have!

Even if you choose not to use frames for yourself, you will have to track Holy Power near the center of your screen somehow. The tiny bar at the top left of the screen is too out of the way. You’ll waste a lot of time if you extend your visual sweep all the way up there just to look at your Holy Power.

4- Scrolling Battle Text

Some players will say this is optional, but I can’t play without battle text. On the rare occasion that my addon crashes, the difference in my healing output is noticeable.

I use MikScrollingBattleText (you can’t see it in the shot since I wasn’t doing anything at the time) and I have used Parrot in the past as well.

There are a lot of cool things you can do with your battle text, such as sounds for when your cooldowns come up, or when you have 3 Holy Power. You can also use it (mostly) out of the box, to keep an eye on your numbers or to notice when Beacon isn’t transferring heals.

5- Pally Power

Pally Power is truly optional, but I find it helpful for rebuffing after a rez or swapping a Seal. And it’s so small and cute that it doesn’t cause me any problems.

6- Combat Log

Not an addon, but a valuable part of an interface.

I love my Combat Log so much that I moved it to the right side of my screenkeep, separating it from my chat box. You can customize your Combat Log, but Blizzard has done a really good job fixing it up so that the default “What happened to me?” is all you really need.

It’s fantastic for diagnosing deaths (nothing sets me off more than people who don’t know what killed them…the Combat Log SPELLS IT OUT TO YOU DUMBASSES /fume), verifying damage type (physical/shadow/nature/etc) and seeing if the raid healers are slacking.

A Note on the Addon-Free School of Thought

Occasionally you’ll come across healers who refuse to use addons, for a variety of reasons. What they might not tell you, though, is that, if they are successfully healing in a competitive raid environment, they’re using other aids, like macros and optimized keybindings. If you choose to use macros instead of addons (addons are essentially, after all, pretty and precoded macros), you can heal well, however I won’t be able help you.

If you’re hesitant about adding to your game, think of it this way: designing an interface that’s both pleasant on the eyes (you’ll be staring at it a lot, it needs to be sexy) and informative is a skill in itself.

Building a super efficient UI does not take away from your talent as a player. Rather it highlights your ability by reflecting your understanding of the game and of your personal playstyle. A bad player who doesn’t know where or what to look for won’t be able to build a proper UI.

So stop worrying and start addon shopping.

How I’m healing in MoP – Holy Pally 4eva: Glyphs

December 30, 2012

Better late than never, right? I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can finish this guide by the next expansion. (2 years, is it? I can do this in 2 years.)

So now that we’ve explored Stats and Talents, the next logical step is Glyphs. Glyphs, actually, are fairly similar to the new talent system, but add an extra fun dimension to building a character. We get two types of Glyphs: Major and Minor. Major Glyphs directly affect existing abilities while Minor Glyphs, for the most part, just make abilities look cooler.

I won’t go into Minor Glyphs since they have very little effect on gameplay (though Glyph of the Falling Avenger can help during Tillers Dailies). I do, however, highly recommend Glyph of the Luminous Charger because, you know, we’re shiny paladins and our mounts should reflect that.

I divided the Major Glyphs into possible uses to make the post more efficient. I left out the ones that affect retribution- or protection-only abilities but included everything else, for the sake of completion.

Healing Style

These glyphs all affect how you’ll be healing. I fit Divine Plea into this category because the nature of the Glyph has very little effect on mana regen and a lot of effect on how you’ll fit the spell into your healing.

Glyph of Light of Dawn: Light of Dawn heals for more, but hits less targets. I’ve yet to find a use for this. In 5s and 10s, I get better results by putting Eternal Flame on everyone than by casting Light of Dawn, while in 25s, if I’m using Light of Dawn then I want to hit as many people as possible. Feel free to experiment and share your discoveries, though. Rating: Your mileage may vary.

Glyph of Flash of Light: If you cast Flash of Light, your heals for the next 7 seconds will heal for more. For the most part, unless you’re a weird Flash of Lighting paladin, this Glyph is a wasted slot. I have found use for it, however, on Tsulong’s Day Phase where Flash of Light can be a smart spell choice. Rating: Situational.

Glyph of Beacon of Light:
Removes the global cooldown on Beacon of Light, making this Glyph lovely for tank or target switching fights. Feng and Garalon come to mind as fights where I like to use this Glyphs. Also, if you’re running with a less experienced team where the tanks tend to die (or fight over aggro), this Glyph can be handy. Rating: Situational.

Glyph of Divine Plea: Removes the healing penalty from Divine Plea but adds a (freaking long) cast time. If you’re new to paladin healing, are just gearing or running with a less experienced team, this Glyph sucks. The healing penalty is a little annoying, but the cast time is deadly. I’m sure it becomes less of a pain as Mastery shields and Eternal Flame ticks become powerful enough to keep targets alive during the 5 second cast and quite a few commenters stopped by to say they loved the Glyph (so do try it) but I’m hesitant to go back to it. Rating: Your mileage may vary.

Glyph of the Battle Healer: You heal the raid a little when you melee. It does very little healing, but if I can melee on a fight and I can’t find a third useful Glyph, I’ll use it. A teeny bit of healing is better than no healing. Rating: Filler glyph.

Mana

These Glyphs are all about mana. Because we like our mana.

Glyph of Illumination: Affect mana regen via manipulation of Spirit and Holy Shocks. To see if you’d benefit from this Glyph, Joe Ego (theorycrafter at Leveling Holy and Elitist Jerks) made a spread sheet. To use, make a copy of the spread sheet, plug the appropriate numbers in the blue squares and look at your graph. Basically, those who’d get use out of the Glyph run with low Spirit and never miss a Holy Shock. Which isn’t many of us. It might make a good Glyph for someone wanting to try an all-Intellect gemming style combined with a Tier 4-piece. Rating: Rarely useful.

Glyph of Divinity: Increased the cooldown of Lay on Hands but adds a 10% mana return. Good in combination with the Unbreakable Spirit talent. I’ve come to use this Glyph as baseline, since I rarely want to use Lay on Hands more than once or twice per fight, and an emergency mana button is always appreciated. Rating: Go for it.

Self Preservation

These Glyphs affect self-healing or incoming damage reduction. Sometimes they add a bonus to your healing, other times they just keep you from having to blindly trust your raid healers.

Glyph of Divine Protection: Adds a physical damage reduction component to Divine Protection but lowers the magical damage reduction component. For fights with a lot of physical damage, this Glyph is like a ray of light shining through the clouds (with, you know, naked baby angels singing and stuff). Wind Lord Mel’jarak’s Rain of Blades comes to mind. But if a fight is mostly magical, leave this Glyph at home. Rating: Situational.

Glyph of Avenging Wrath:
You get some health back while Avenging Wrath is active. If you’re using Avenging Wrath on cooldown, most of the health back will be overheal, but I could see the use on fights with constant raid damage (like Garalon or Tsulong) if you can’t think of anything better to use as a third Glyph. Use in combination with the Sanctified Wrath talent for maximum effect. Rating: Rarely useful.

Glyph of Protector of the Innocent: You get some health back every time you use Word of Glory (and it works with Eternal Flame too). This Glyph is a waste if you’re using primarily Light of Dawn as your Holy Power sink, but if, like most Holy Pallies, you use a lot of Word of Glory/Eternal Flame this is a fantastic Glyph, especially on fights with a lot of raid damage. Rating: Common Situational.

Damage

These are all Glyphs that affect damage output. You’ll rarely use them for raiding (though they might come in handy to beat an enrage timer), but you’ll love them if you want to do your dailies in Holy spec, run challenge modes or are bored in 5s heroics or Scenarios. I couldn’t find any solid numbers for dps increases per Glyph and my napkin math was inconclusive, so I’ll just explain the Glyphs and let you decide which respond best to your dps needs.

Glyph of Word of Glory: After healing with Word of Glory, your damage output increases by 3% for 6 seconds. Our dps is pretty low, so on it’s own, this Glyph won’t make miracles.

Glyph of Double Jeopardy: Judging a different target does double damage. I did the math with my spellpower and the Glyph gave me a 1400dps increase. Take that as you will.

Glyph of Denounce: Holy Shock has a 50% change to reduce your Denounce cooldown. Which means that, on average, every 12 seconds, your Denounce will take 0.75 seconds to cast instead of 1.5 seconds (or slightly less, depending on your haste).

Glyph of Harsh Words: Lets you use your Word of Glory offensively, provided you don’t have the Eternal Flame talent. Since I always end up with tons of Holy Power I can’t use when trying to kill things in Holy spec, I would probably go with this as a Holy DPS Glyph. I’d use it in combination with the Sacred Shield talent if soloing, or possibly Selfless Healer if running instances.

PVP and/or CC

Glyph of Blessed Life: You have a 50% chance to gain a charge of Holy Power when stunned, feared or immobilized. There is no situation in PvE where you will be any of these states frequently enough for this Glyph to useful (half a chance to gain a single charge? Really?) but perhaps it would have its use in PvP.

Glyph of Rebuke: Increases the cooldown on Rebuke but lengthens the effect. Again, I doubt it’ll ever come in handy in PvE, but PvP adepts might enjoy this Glyphs when quickly killing certain classes.

Glyph of Turn Evil: Instant casts on Turn Evil, but longers cooldowns. I’m not sure how many Demons, Aberrations and NPC Undead are in Pandaria, but this Glyph is available if you want to fear those types of mobs.

Glyph of Blinding Light: Blinding Light knocks down opponents for 3 seconds instead of blinding them for 6. Since damage breaks the blinding effect, this Glyph would let you damage your opponents right after using Blinding Light. I could see uses in PvP or soloing, but rarely for anything else.

And that completes the section on Glyphs. Tune in next time (whenever that might be) for another exciting chapter of Holy Pally 4eva!

How I’m healing in MoP – Holy Pally 4eva: Talents

December 9, 2012

Yay it’s finally time for part 2!

For once I don’t feel like writing a really long general intro so I’m just going to skip to the really long specific intro.

Intro to MoP Talents

I was amused when MoP Talents were released and guide-writers painfully treated them like old fashioned talents, mapping them into “you should do this” cookie cutters. The new talents don’t work that way. The new talents are fluid.

In theory, this means you switch them around based on fights and strategy. In practice, this means you experiment with most of them and eventually settle on a combination that works for you 98% of the time.

Originally I was going to include Glyphs in this post, but it turns out there’s an awful lot to say about talents. Glyphs will have to wait for their own post.

overall talents

Specialization VS Talents VS Glyphs

I’m writing this fairly late into Mists, so most of you know the difference between talents and specializations and can safely skip to the next section. But say you’re just coming back to the game after a hiatus. Or! You’re completely new to the game altogether (in which case, yay! We love you!). This section is for you.

Specialization or “spec”, as a paladin, defines your role. Holy is for healing, Retribution is for damage, Protection is for tanking. With me being primarily a Holy Paladin, I’m really only qualified to talk about that spec.

Talents are a completely different feature. At levels 15, 30, 45, 60, 75 and 90 you’re given the choice between three “talents” (if you’re using the default settings, use “N” to bring up talents). Talents can be either new abilities, or modifications on existing abilities. The difference between the old (and the more traditional RPG) talent system and this one is how every character in a given class (so in our case, all Paladins), regardless of spec, choose between the same talents (though some talents might behave differently based on spec).

Glyphs are a similar (but distinct) feature: extra abilities or ability modifications you can choose from. Again, all specs have access to all glyphs, but some glyphs may be useless to certain specs.

Glyphs and talents can be individually swapped around using Tome of the Clear Mind, which can be purchased from a variety of NPCs or made by Scribes. Gone are the days of spending 15 minutes mapping out your choices, only to have to start all over if you catch a mistake.

Level 15: Speed Boost

level15

You get to choose between a running speed cooldown (Speed of Light), a speed boost after Judging (Long Arm of the Law) and a small speed boost that increases with Holy Power (Pursuit of Justice).

I played with all 3, using Long Arm of the Law when doing dailies in ret spec and Pursuit of Justice for long runs back after wipes. In the end, though, Speed of Light ended up being the most convenient, both for raiding and for wandering around Pandaria. Your mileage may vary.

Level 30: Your Crowd Control

level30

Here you get a choice between a longer range and shorter cooldown to Hammer of Justice (Fist of Justice), a solid 1 minute crowd control (Repentance) and a debuff slowing enemies’ movement speed (Burden of Guilt).

As a PvE healer, I honestly don’t use any of these very much. I run with Fist of Justice most of the time but only really use it in 5s heroics when running with a clumsy tank.

When I’m doing my dailies in ret spec Repentance helps for “free the mind controlled guards” type quests and Burden of Guilt is nice for killing mobs who flee (think vermin during Tillers dailies)… I could see Burden of Guilt having use in PvP, but my knowledge of PvP too limited for this paragraph.

Level 45: The Interesting Level

level45

Selfless Healer makes Flash of Light stronger and cheaper after you Judge, Eternal Flame adds a HoT (heal over time) component to Word of Glory and Sacred Shield adds an absorb shield to a target.

Understanding this level takes a good knowledge of our healing spells, so if you’re a brand new holy paladin, you might want to come back to this section after reading the (to-be-written) “basic healing technique” section.

Unless you have a weird Flash of Light based style, you won’t be giving Selfless Healer a test drive. (It could maybe have some use if you’re having trouble healing the Spirit World on Gara’jal, but as a general rule Eternal Flame is really nice on that fight.)

Eternal Flame is the preferred talent of most. It’s fantastic in small groups or for tank/single target healing, and it allows for a technique called “Eternal Flame blanketing” that I’ll cover later on.

Sacred Shield has less healing potential on its own than Eternal Flame, but it is sometimes used in 25s raids (or world bosses) in situations where you tend to use Light of Dawn over Word of Glory as your Holy Power sink.

If you’re a beginner and/or if you’re running 5s, go with Eternal Flame. If you’re running 10s, Eternal Flame will generally be your go-to talent (with maybe the occasional exception). If you’re running 25s, you can choose between Eternal Flame and Sacred Shield based on your healing style, your assignment and the fight.

Level 60: Damage mitigation Cooldowns

level60

This level is a lot of fun because your choices really let you adapt to different situations.

Hand of Purity is ideal for bosses who put DoTs (damage over time) on your healing targets (think Heroic Stone Guard – this might also work during Titan Gas phase on Will of the Emperor though I haven’t tested it, note that it does NOT work for Garalon’s Pheromones as counter-intuitive as that seems. Thank you to @Miskat0nic for clarifying.). One of my favorite tanks once described it as “6 seconds of love”.

Unbreakable Spirit reduces the cooldown on Divine Shield, Divine Protection and Lay on Hands based on your Holy Power usage (which should be high). Since it’s a passive ability (in other words, you don’t have to think about it), it’s nice to have as a baseline talent, especially if you’re new to paladin healing and are already suffering from cooldown-induced ulcers.

Clemency lets you use your Hands of Sacrifice, Freedom, Protection and Salvation twice before triggering the cooldown. This is especially wonderful for dealing with bad tanks in random groups since your Hands help you manipulate tank damage and aggro. Otherwise it comes in handy for bosses who deal REALLY BIG HITS (Sacrifice), for dispelling on the trash before Elegon and Will of the Emperor (Freedom FTW!) and to flirt with Warriors, Death Knights, Rogues and Retribution Paladins (Protection always gets their attention).

Level 75: Your Healing Boosts

level75

Your choices at 75 are between a Holy Power (and select heal) boosting cooldown (Holy Avenger), an added effect to Avenging Wrath reducing the cooldown to Holy Shock while Avenging Wrath is active and increasing the uptime of Avenging Wraths (Sanctified Wrath) and a passive ability that will sometimes give you a free full strength Light of Dawn or Word of Glory (Divine Purpose).

To beginners, I say start with Sanctified Wrath. Since it modifies an existing cooldown, it doesn’t add ANOTHER button to worry about. And you can’t go wrong with more Holy Shock casts and longer Avenging Wraths.

Holy Avenger is a somewhat complex talent (Kurn breaks it down here), and one I haven’t played much with. It’s an extra cooldown to think of, but it allows for strategic healing.

Divine Purpose would be lovely except that, like all random-proc abilities, it never procs when you need it too.

Personally, I primarily play with, as odd as it might sound, Divine Purpose. Because of my playstyle (which I’ll describe in a future post), the randomness generally doesn’t bother me and I like not having yet another cooldown to worry about. But, like I mentioned earlier, beginners should go with Sanctified Wrath. And if you’re an absolute control freak, you’ll probably enjoy Holy Avenger.

Level 90: Your Fun AoE Spell

level90

Holy Prism, when cast on an ally will give you a cheap (but not free), instant single target heal. Strength-wise it’s about equivalent to a Divine Light. You also get a bit of AoE damage on nearby enemies. When cast on an enemy, you get some damage on the enemy (nice for challenge runs, scenarios, dps races and when you’re bored) and a moderate (between a Holy Shock and a Flash of Light in strength) heal on 5 nearby teammates. This is nice for fights with burst AoE damage (Elegon and Blade Lord Ta’yak come to mind), especially in 10s. It looses power in stationary fights with small, periodic damage. The 20 second cooldown can be inconvenient as well since you have to monitor it.

Light’s Hammer has a very cool graphic (always important) and provides a nice area of periodic healing on the ground for about 20 seconds. The spell is mana-free, can be cast every minute and will heal any teammate standing in the effect. As a 25s raider, I use this talent most of the time. On 10 man, it loses some of its potency, with perhaps the exception of stacking fights with small, periodic damage (think Titan Gas on Will of the Emperor). Fights with constant movement tend to take away from Light’s Hammer’s usefulness as well.

Execution Sentence, while great as an offensive spell for doing dailies, is less attractive than the other two options. As a single target heal over time with a burst at the end, it doesn’t compliment our already super-strong single target healing style the way the AoE-ish Holy Prism and Light’s Hammer do.

Go Forth and Experiment

The best thing about these talents is how much room there is for experimenting. If you don’t like your current setup, it only takes a second between fights to switch a talent. You can also jot down potential talent choices for individual fights while doing your pre-raid boss strat learning. For example:

- Massive DoT on the tank(s) (or on a various raid members): Think Hand of Purity (level 60)
– Need to help with crowd control: Repentance (level 30)
– Fight required sudden quick movement: Speed of Light (level 15)
– Small, but constant AoE damage on the raid: Consider Light’s Hammer (level 90)
– Massive, predictable damage spikes on the tanks: Clemency (level 60) and Eternal Flame (level 45)
– Need to run fast for extended periods of time: Pursuit of Justice (level 15)

Feel free to share your own and I’ll add them to the list (with credit given)!

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.

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“.

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.


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