Posted tagged ‘raiding’

Holy Avenger and EF Blanketing – The Results

June 15, 2013

As I was researching yesterday’s post (and by researching, I mean creepy stalking top Holy Pally parsers on World of Logs), I noticed that every one of them was using a healing technique I hadn’t tried:

Holy Avenger on CD, Holy Power built through Holy Radiance and Holy Shock and sunk via Eternal Flame blanketing over as much of the raid as possible.

I checked both 10s and 25s, under the Heroics tab. Both used this trick, though 25s players seemed more likely to blow Divine Favor and Avenging Wrath at the same time as Holy Avenger (time for a macro?) while 10s generally staggered their CDs out more.

So it seems I’m well behind the times (that’s what happens when WoW takes the backseat for months), but I’m sure I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE.

Plus before and after screenshots are always tons of fun.

The Changes

On top of using the Holy Avenger trick, I also started tracking Illuminated Healing (Mastery). I doubt it made a significant difference but it did lightly influence where I would cast my Holy Radiance/Holy Shock/Eternal Flame.

Our healing comp was a bit different than last week too. Last week my Copally was away, and this week we were missing our Monk and Druid S. This would have an effect on how each of us heal in comparison to one and other, but I really don’t think it would account for a drastic change. After all, we rarely use the same healing comp on a given fight from week to week anyway.

In terms of gear, if you look at the past few weeks, my gear will have improved, but between this week and last, the only differences were how I found two pieces that made me to think “I could have sworn I’d reforged these!“, and my weekly VP gear upgrading. So, some influence on my stats, but less than a clear change.

Notes on Throughput and Functionality

This is obviously a post on throughput. Throughput has its place. After all, if healers can’t keep up with the damage or with their teammates, they’re holding the raid back. Plus, guild and healing leads from all brackets (yes, I’ve seen leads from guilds who can’t kill normal Horridon obsess over healing meters) don’t see past meters and HPS. So meter milking is a good skill to have if you want some peace and quiet.

However, throughput is not a replacement for functionality.

A healer’s first priority is to keep the raid (or healing assignment, depending on the team and the fight) alive through every mechanic. Standing still and spamming heals isn’t a luxury most of us have access to. (And even if it were, it doesn’t sound very fun, you know?)

My poor copally, who ended up, without his knowledge (if this were real science, this experiment would never make it past the ethics committee) being a control subject, is by far a better healer than I am. I spend more energy looking up techniques, but he makes less mistakes than me, and doesn’t panic and freeze up the way I do. When it comes to choosing a paladin for exploratory fights, he is the obvious choice.

Once your priorities are covered, though, there’s nothing wrong with taking your art to the next level and squeezing extra out of your character.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Holy Avenger to a freshly-pressed, new paladin. I’d like to see a new paladin healer master Beacon healing, Holy Power cycling and cooldown management before adding yet another CD. Once those are down, then by all means.

For your amusement, here is a list of my screw ups last night as I tried to fit the new technique into my routine:

1- On H-Jin’Rokh, dropped a fissure in the middle of raid.
2- On H-Horridon, almost got eaten by my pink dino (have really no idea how I survived that)
3- On H-Council, drowned in Quicksand
4- On H-Iron Council, got 3 stacks of flame lines, had to bubble, then had no bubble left to mask my inability to handle tornadoes. Also missed my pre-tornado Aura Mastery.

While on the average raid night, I earn no shortage of “that’s not good” and “Rykga, Rykga, Rykga“, the above aren’t mistakes I typically make (except for pre-tornado Aura Mastery. I always screw that one up.)

But enough chitchat. Here are the preliminary results of my healing with Holy Avenger experiement. (Also keep in mind that I was very clumsy with the technique. Imagine what this would look like if my CD timing were perfected!)

(more…)

Holy Paladin Notes for Throne of Thunder: Tortos

April 10, 2013

So. I’ve had the chance to see Throne of the Thunder a few more times since part 1. I started writing part 2, but got as far as Tortos before my blogging juice ran out. After sitting for 3 days on a Tortos write up, I figured I might as well post it. I can do the next fights, well, if I ever get a day off work or something.

(Also realized that April 7 was my fourth bloggiversary! 4 years since I wrote my first post here. It feels just like yesterday, yet like an eternity at the same time. So much has happened since then, so much, so fast! A huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who’s ever read this little corner of the internet, linked to my posts, commented, offered me advice, RTed me on Twitter, hung out with me, invited me to their blog or podscast, got drunk with me or put up with me in any way. And a special cheers to all the guildies and friends over the years who’ve been such good sports about being featured as characters on this blog. You guys are the best – whether it was by or against your will. Here’s to 4 more years of being big grown up kids.)

Tortos

Icy Veins overall strat: http://www.icy-veins.com/tortos-detailed-strategy-wow

Predominate damage type: Physical (Though the raid will smacked by Nature damage from Rockfall)

Suggested Spec and Glyphs: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#l!^N|cnr

Track on your frames: None!

CD timings:
Devotion Aura – If you use it right after the first Quake Stomp, you can probably fit it in again near the end.
Guardian of Ancient Kings – Might be able to fit in twice if you use it right away. You’ll definitely want it off CD for the end.
Divine Favor/Avenging Wrath – You can use them on CD, or right before (or after) a Quake Stomp.
Divine Shield/Hand of Protection – Can be used to evade the stun from Quake Stomp. Hand of Protection can be used on a co-healer while you have Forbearance. Nice for 10s groups who 2-heal.
Divine Protection – Can be use for Quake Stomp or in combination with Hand of Sacrifice on the tanks, if Glyphed. If not Glyphed, use after Quake Stomps.

Move if: You are standing in swirly circles (Rockfall) or a spinning turtle is heading toward you.

Positioning: Kinda spread out. You’ll be moving and dodging most of the fight.

Discussion:

Quake Stomp (physical damage) happens about every 50 seconds. Before Quake Stomp, Rockfall will hit about once every 10 seconds, after Quake Stomp, it’ll be twice per second for 8 seconds, hence all the post-Quake Stomp cooldown suggestions. Toward the very end of the fight, Tortos kind of goes nuts with his little turtles so you’ll like to have some CDs available for that.

For glyphs, I opted for Glyph of Divine Protection to use during Quake Stomp and to help with Hand of Sacrifice. If you’d prefer to use Divine Protection to ease Rockfall’s Nature damage, you can pick another favorite Glyph.

Talentwise, Pursuit of Justice seems the most logical speed increase since you’re constantly running short distances. I haven’t actually tried Burden of Guilt, but I’m told that it can help slow the spinning turtles. I prefer Eternal Flame for level 45, but if you always use Light of Dawn on this fight, you could consider Sacred Shield. Clemency is nice for extra Hands of Protection, though Unbreakable Spirit works well too for more selfish healers (like me). Since there is constant damage throughout the fight, I’d go with Divine Purpose. And, Holy Prism is helpful since most of the raid will be spread out (though on 25 Light’s Hammer still does pretty good healing when used on the melee).

Happy turtle hunting!

This Guild has No Tabard! (Or, I couldn’t think of a title)

March 27, 2013

I keep writing these posts in my head but promise myself I’ll post them once I post all the other things I want to write about. Then I go do something like valor cap. By then I’m out of time.

It’s been, what, six weeks now since I joined Cadenza? Two of those weeks (which happened to be the two first weeks of patch 5.2 – worst timing ever but beggars can’t be choosers) I couldn’t raid due to visiting family, and since I hadn’t seen family in almost two years, putting family first was the obvious choice.

This guild has no tabard!

This guild has no tabard!

On a tangent, having families, especially moms, around is both awesome and exhausting! She kept doing my dishes, laughed at all my jokes and helped me cook. Having another person in the house, though, was a lot harder on me than I expected. I have no idea how some (most?) people live their entire LIVES with other people! By the end of the visit, I was falling asleep everywhere and couldn’t talk coherently. Took me two 13-hour sleeps to recover!

But anyway, this platform is more for WoW talk than for analyzing my sleeping habits.

So I joined Cadenza six weeks ago. The way it happened was kind of surreal. I was on Twitter QQing about how I wasn’t getting enough raid time with Conquest and how I was mockingly looking for a guild that lets me raid. (My actual plans were to wait until after my mom’s visit, reassess the situation with Conquest and shop for a new home if it hadn’t improved.) And, well, sometimes complaining is an effective way to a solve a problem. I got a DM from Theck (yes, Theck) who let me know that his guild had recently lost of couple of healers to real life.

Now I knew of Cadenza. After Occasional Excellence disintegrated, I really wanted to find another (alliance) progressive 25 guild with a two nights/week schedule. So I had checked out the guilds of that demographic. All, like, 4 of them.

During my post-OE searching, I didn’t think I could make Cadenza’s schedule (they raid Fri-Sat – Saturdays are ok, we close early that day, but I didn’t think I could take Friday nights off work). Plus, I figured the break I was forced to take from raiding (due vacation then to all hell breaking loose at work) would have set me too far back on progression (which was probably true). And (because scheduling and being behind on progression aren’t enough), they were a step up from OE, and while I performed ok in OE, I was far from being one of their stars.

Then flash forward to the DM from Theck. By then, work had settled down. I could think of a way to tweek the schedule to give me Friday nights off. I was decently progressed. I wasn’t sure if I had the talent to make the cut, but you know what? If you spend your life limiting yourself by saying “I can’t do this“, “I’m not good enough for this“, “My health/natural abilities/etc aren’t up to par” without even trying, you end up becoming on of those sad middle aged people who amount to nothing and pass their slow, agonizing days posting tacky “motivational” messages on Facebook.

I wanted to raid, I wanted to play with this guild and I really don’t want to post cheesey crap on Facebook for the rest of my life. So I took a deep breath and transferred to Tichondrius.

Six weeks later, I haven’t passed my trial but they haven’t told me to leave and never come back either.

And the raids?

The raids, they are freaking amazing.

I was expecting a guild similar to OE. After all, similar schedule, similar progressiveness, similar demographic of players.

But no. Not similar to OE at all. I like both (as long as I’m treated fairly and the raids are good, I’m usually happy, I guess), but while OE was extremely structured, disciplined and followed every decent guild-leading advice in the book, Cadenza’s raiding environment goes against anything you’d expect from a guild with so much progression in so little time. There are no forums to discuss in, the loot system is “whisper the raid leader if you want anything” (extremely efficient, only downside, really, is that often people try to out-generous each other and all the excess passing wastes time), there are no dedicated breaks (if you need time, you just ask and go) and because we raid weekends, raid end time is just a suggestion. They don’t even have a tabard! (I suppose they never stooped so low as to spam “we have guild bank and tabard!” in trade/general to recruit back in the day.)

But it works.

I was curious as to how a high stress all the time ultra perfectionist freak like me would react to that kind of environment. So far, it’s been almost therapeutic. Since I work a fast-paced, intense job where every detail matters, the simplicity of the guild structure is a breath of fresh air.

Oh and we killed so many bosses! So many bosses! It was so exciting.

It’s funny how it happens. Right when I had decided I was satisfied with Conquest-level middle of road progression, I suddenly get to the opportunity to raid at an even higher level. It’s not what I expected to happen, but I’ll take it. I’ll definitely take it!

And the Insecure Nervewreck?

In case you are wondering, I’m still uber shy. I thought I had gotten over it – after all when I went back to Conquest, I felt at home almost immediately. Apparently it was just the familiarity of Conquest.

My first few raids with Cadenza, I took a lot of deep breaths and fought the urge to run away. I missed Conquest (as much as I had complained about the healing environment!), I missed OE (which, of course, doesn’t exist anymore so there’s no going back there), I questioned my whole raider identity. Who was I, I thought to myself, to believe that I had what it takes to join a group of strangers who play better than me? Silly, silly pretentious girl, I mocked myself.

The team was kind to me. I was briefed on raid strats, on how to ask for loot and on raid customs. I was offered food and flasks. Anything I would logically need, they gave to me right away. Yet, what I was more urgently stressing about was not something I was willing admit. What was eating a big nasty hole in my belly… was…well…heh… It was not knowing what to say when I entered healer chat. Should I say hi? Should I say thank you? Should I just say nothing? Yes, people. That is how my pathetic mind works.

If you think that’s bad, you should have heard the discussion in my head when I had to remind my raid leader that I would be taking two weeks off. There’s no signout forum. Should I just whisper him? Which of his toons should I whisper him on? What if he’s busy? Should I say something on Vent instead? It took me about a week to decide to just send him an in-game mail on his main raiding character.

Yep. I may have grown as a person and has a player, but the insecure nervewreck from nearly four years ago has not grown at all.

And now?

I mentioned earlier that I haven’t passed my trial yet. My fears that I would make more mistakes and learn slower than every one else? They ended up being founded. I think I keep up healing-wise, but on actual execution I’m clearly behind the curve.

All those slow people I’ve ever rolled my eyes at or lost patience with? Karma came around and suddenly I feel like I’m one of those people.

I haven’t been kicked yet though, and until they kick me, I’ll keep showing up for raid.

I hear the word “awareness” a lot. It’s rarely awareness (in the early raids, it was sometimes – at first I physically and mentally couldn’t handle 4-6 hours of concentrating after a tough day at work, but practice makes perfect and last raid I managed almost 6 hours before reaching the end of my focus). If only it were so easy to fix as turning off the TV or music, or not getting drunk during raids. (I raid in complete silence because I know concentration is a problem for me. And while I love to drink during raids, I’ve avoided fueling my raids with alcohol since joining Cadenza.) No, it’s not usually awareness. Usually, I know I’m getting hit. I also almost always know how I died. (I always use my combat log.) It’s the reaction time and dexterity that I’m lacking. Which I suppose I could improve by doing a lot of BGs. Yet the only way I could really find time for BGs is either to ignore VP (bad) or quit my job (badder).

I’m at peace though. At this point, I’ve become attached to my guildies. I really enjoy the raids. Every now and again, I even type something in /raid or /g! I had a long chat with the other holy paladin in the guild and got all excited about making a friend. Even more, Logan, Conquest bro and of Leetsauced fame, joined me around my third week, which really helped me relax during raids. It’s been wonderful having a friend going through the trenches with me, someone to exchange triumphs/frustrations/remarks with.

If they do eventually tell me that I’m just not on par, I’ll be sad to leave, but I’ll be grateful for the experience. While OE’s raids taught me to wring out all the healing my paladin can handle, Cadenza’s raids are teaching me focus and precise execution. And I’m sure having a lot of fun, which, in video games, is really what matters.

A Type Out of my Notes for the First Part of Throne of Thunder

March 27, 2013

Today on Twitter, ‘mogging artist (and holy paladin!) Mia (from Mogalicious Mia) asked me whether I’d be writing about holy paladining one’s way through Throne of Thunder.

I’m always up for a challenge so I said “sure, why not!

Obviously there’s a reason I should not be writing tips to Throne bosses. Notably that I missed the first two weeks of patch 5.2 due to my mom visiting (as guilty as I felt for not raiding, I would have felt even guiltier about ignoring my mother whom I hadn’t seen in two years) and that by the time I was ready to go again, my guild was just wizzing through most of the fights, with me not knowing too much what was going on. I haven’t even seen Jin’Rokh on normal. I can write all about wiping on heroic (my raid did eventually get him down, but it was while I was busy performing my bench duties) or winging it on LFR, but normal mode is all educated guessing for me.

Still want to read my notes?

If you haven’t left yet, here’s a nice and tidy (IMO) version of my raid notebook scribblings for the first three bosses. If nobody throws icky tomatoes at me, maybe I’ll do write ups for the other Throne sets as well.

Jin’Rokh

Icy Veins overall strat: http://www.icy-veins.com/jin-rokh-the-breaker-detailed-strategy-wow

Predominate damage type: Magic (Nature)

Suggested Spec and Glyphs: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#lP]|Inr

Track on your frames: Static Wound (optional)

CD timings:
Devotion Aura – Half the pallies in the raid can chain it during Lightning Storms 1 and 3, the other half can do #2.
Guardian of Ancient Kings – Can use twice if your raid is really bad outside of Lightning Storm. If the only time you really take damage is during Lightning Storm, then you can use it once, your choice of Storm. (Depending on your timing, you may be able to use it right after the first Thundering Throw then during Lightning Storm #3)
Divine Favor/Avenging Wrath – I popped one shortly after the pull and the other after the first Thundering Throw, then as they came up. Alternatively, you can use them when your raid takes spiky damage, notably during Lightning Storm.
Divine Shield – (Heroic mode only) Consider bubbling halfway through a Lightning Storm so you stop moving and cast some yummy heals. Pairs well with Guardian. If you’re specced into Unbreakable Spirit, you may be able to squeeze this in on Storms 1 and 3.
Divine Protection – (Heroic mode only) With my weak gear, I found this was the only way I could survive dispelling Ionization on myself. (Sometimes I’d die anyway – Ionization sometimes ticks twice when dispelled, not sure why.) When there’s no Ionization coming up, this is a good one to use on cooldown.

Move if: You are targeted by Focused Lightning, someone is dragging a Focused Lightning through you (I died to this a lot and felt very stupid), you need to dispel Ionization (heroic mode only) off yourself, Lightning Storm is about to start.

Positioning: Grouped up on the left side of the pool (if dropping Focused Lightning on the left). Lightning Storm is probably grouped up on normal (not sure!) and more spread out on Heroic (easier to dodge lightning balls).

Discussion: I went with what I would call my “default” glyph set. Talent wise, I hesitated between Speed of Light and Pursuit of Justice, but in the end I found that occasions where I had to run were far enough apart that I did fine with Speed of Light. You don’t really need a speed buff anyway, but it does help if you’re distracted and need to prevent an oopsie in a hurry. Next relevant tier, I went with Eternal Flame because I almost always go with Eternal Flame. I suppose you could take Sacred Shield if it’s more your style. Next tier gets interesting. I did my attempts with Hand of Purity for Static Wound, but when I forgot to cast it I noticed zero difference. That said, if your tanks are going squish, definitely track Static Wound and use Hand of Purity. Otherwise, reduced cooldowns, especially for Divine Protection are very nice. Next tier, I’ve seen Holy Avenger recommended, and I would agree if your team is having trouble surviving Lightning Storm. Personally, since you can only really used it on Lightning Storms 1 and 3, I wasn’t willing to give up bonus Eternal Flames from Divine Purpose. (Next time I do heroic Jin’Rokh, though, I will try Holy Avenger.) And finally, I’ve only really tried Light’s Hammer. Since everyone should be grouped up during Fludity phases (and on normal mode, I imagine Lightning Storms are grouped) it is the logical choice.

Horridon

Icy Veins overall strat: http://www.icy-veins.com/horridon-detailed-strategy-wow

Predominate damage type: Physical (tanks), Physical (raid, less progressive teams), Magic (raid, more progressive teams)

Suggested Spec and Glyphs: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#lTN|cnr

Track on your frames: Triple Puncture. (Also, if Magic/Disease debuffs and Stone Gaze if they don’t show up by default – these are to be dispelled, dispelled, dispelled!)

CD timings:
Devotion Aura – Can probably squeeze it in 2-3 times. All troll phases deal significant magic damage, so use it wherever your team seems to be struggling.
Guardian of Ancient Kings – Can usually use twice. Depending on how your team takes damage, maybe use it during troll phase 1, then near the end. Adapt as needed.
Divine Favor/Avenging Wrath – Might as well use on cooldown.
Divine Shield – Use when you want to hide a screw up.
Divine Protection – Can probably fit it in once or twice per troll phase. Use whenever big damage goes out, or (only if Glyphed) when Hand of Sacrifice is going on the tanks.
Hand of Sacrifice – Sexy for tank damage. Can be especially helpful if cast right before Triple Puncture if the tank has a lot of stacks. (Use Glyphed Divine Protection on yourself.)
Hand of Protection – Can help non-pally tanks remove Triple Puncture while Horridon is stunned. Warn your tank if you plan to use this.

Move if: You are standing in Sand Traps, in Living Poison, near Frozen Orbs (they weren’t cast by your mage), near a Lightning Nova Totem, in front or behind Horridon, you are targeted by Charge. In other words, move if you are standing in shit that makes your health drop.

Positioning: On the side of the boss. Not in front or behind him. On the fourth troll phase, you’ll want to spread out by 5 yards as much as possible.

Discussion: I opted for Glyph of Divine Protection since I like Hand of Sacrifice a lot on this fight. Less progressive teams may also like this glyph to help mitigate melee damage that might occur for mobs that aren’t picked up fast enough. Someone who takes a lot of magic damage might want to leave out this glyph. On the talent front, the first tier doesn’t matter. In the second tier, Fist of Justice can help interrupt/stun unruly adds. Third tier, whichever you like best. I opted for Eternal Flame, as usual. Fourth tier, Clemency is great for Hand of Sacrifice, and if you’re helping a tank remove his (or her) Triple Puncture stacks, Hand of Protection. Fifth tier, there aren’t really any major damage phases, so Divine Purpose is ok. Sixth tier, I’ve yet to try it, but I’ve heard wonders about Holy Prism.

Council of Elders

Icy Veins overall strat: http://www.icy-veins.com/council-of-elders-detailed-strategy-wow

Predominate damage type: Magic (all types)

Suggested Spec and Glyphs: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#lTN|pnr

Track on your frames: Ensnared/Entrapped, if not tracked by default (dispel or Hand of Freedom!), Frostbite (optional)

CD timings:
Devotion Aura – Especially useful during Sandstorm. Can also help during Frostbite. And Overloads (Kazra’jin).
Guardian of Ancient Kings – Can be used once. Or twice if you pop it really early in the fight.
Divine Favor/Avenging Wrath – Might as well use on cooldown.
Divine Shield – Can use to get rid of aggro on Living Sands. Or clear Frostbite (though I wouldn’t waste it on that unless you’re having a lot of trouble keeping yourself up).
Divine Protection – Good during Frostbite and Sandstorm for sure, but not crucial. Can save it for those phases, or use it on cooldown.

Move if: You’re standing on a Quicksand or on some grey smoke (Kazra’jin’s Reckless Charge). Also if you’re targeted by a Shadowed Loa Spirit (don’t let it come close to you!)

Positioning: Kind of spread out. You can group or spread for Frostbite depending on the strat you’re using.

Discussion: Constant raid damage with rare moving gives a lot of opportunity to use Glyph of Divine Plea, but Beacon of Light could work too (especially if your tanks like to die a lot). Or Battle Healer or Avenging Wrath. On the talent front, Fist of Justice is helpful for stunning Loas (or pesky Living Sands), Clemency is nice for Hand of Freedom (for those Ensared), Hand of Protection (if your squishies are being eaten by Living Sands) and Hand of Sacrifice (tanks usually appreciate). Hand of Purity can take the edge of Frostbite, but keep in mind that the 70% DoT reduction does not work. I haven’t tried Holy Prism, but I’m told that with the spreading on this fight, it is very effective.

Yay that’s part one!

With these helpful pointers you should at least be able to understand why your raid finder groups are wiping.

All my thanks to my references: Plus Heal, MMO Champion’s raid forum and Icy Veins Holy Paladin Throne of Thunder Tips. Also lots of love to the guilds Cadenza (25m progression), Conquest (25m moderate progression) and Team Sport (10m casual) whose “damage taken” log section I borrowed to see where different types of guilds were getting smacked hard.

Holy Pally 4eva Continued: 5.2 Excellent Gear List

March 5, 2013

EDIT: Fixed a few pieces now that 5.2 is out. List should be slightly more accurate.

Yay, it’s almost time for 5.2! (Or not yay – I could have used a few more weeks of Tier 14)

And even though I’m sure there are computer generated gear lists out there that could save me time, I compiled, BY HAND, a gear list for myself. Note the emphasis on the by hand part. My hand makes mistakes sometimes, so if the order is screwed up, or there’s a wonky link, I deeply apologize. I did double check the list before I posted, but every now and again, I miss things. If you point out a mistake, it will be my immense pleasure to fix it.

Note that I’m also writing this with PTR data so the databases are a little buggy and not all the items listed have known sources. I have full intentions of updating this once 5.2 is live for a bit, but we all know how I am with updating posts.

Stat Priority

I went with a loose stat priority of Spirit >/= Intellect > Mastery > Haste >/= Crit, assuming that 5.2 doesn’t dramatically change our playstyle. Nothing from the patch notes suggests a Holy Paladin stat revamp, but I have been surprised before.

Since healing isn’t black and white, the order of gear on the list isn’t the uber ultimate truth. Quite often, choosing the order I was going to put them in was a question of deciding between 10 extra Intellect in exchange for, oh, I dunno, 20 Mastery. Trinkets are particularly bad since 1)they’re so situational, and 2)there hasn’t been a ton of testing on them yet.

Tier 15

I’m not too sure what I think of the bonuses. Extra healing on Daybreak is interesting – I really enjoy playing with Daybreak during raids – but its actual effective healing isn’t that exciting. I don’t know how much effect buffing it will have. I’m also looking forward to trying out the 4 piece. Honestly, I don’t really miss the big Beacon transfers from days past, but extra transfers from Eternal Flame ticks (I’m an incorrigible Eternal Flame blanketer) and/or more flexibility when simultaneously healing two tanks could have some fun effects on healing assignments.

If aiming for the 4 piece, I would suggest going with the Helm, Shoulders, Legs and Gloves. I don’t like the itemization the Chest, not one bit. Other options would be the Gloves (Iceshatter Gauntlets are sexy. If I only I knew where they come from.) or the pants (Matter-Swapped Legplates are nice.).

More About This List

I should probably mention that I only listed gear with an ilevel of 522. The Raid Finder/Heroic/Thunderforged gear was mocking me so I ignored it. I figured listing normal mode gear should be enough to steer us all in the right direction. If normal mode gear drops off a specific boss, guess what boss the Raid Finder and Heroic versions drop from! As for gear below 522, I wasn’t overly interested in it and thus left it out. The only item that stood out to me was Dragonmaw, Reborn (available for Blacksmithing), an option for those who didn’t get lucky with Sha Touched weapons in LFR.

And with that, please enjoy the following copy-and-pasting headache.

Head

1- Lightning Emperor’s Headguard (Tier 15 – Twin Consorts – 11th Boss)
2- Crown of Potentiated Birth (Ji-Kun – 6th Boss)
3- Haunted Steel Headcover (Blacksmithing)

Neck

1- Necklace of the Terra-Cotta Mender (Throne of Thunder Drop)
2- Horridon’s Tusk Fragment (Horridon – 2nd Boss)
3- Soul Prism of Lei-Shen (Lei-Shen – 12th Boss)
4- Choker of Stygimolochy (Oondasta – World Boss)
5- Passionfire Choker (Twin Consort – 11th Boss)
6- Mender’s Battletags (Shadow Pan Assault Rep – Neutral)

Shoulders

1- Lightning Emperor’s Mantle (Tier 15 – Iron Qon – 10th Boss)
2- Spaulders of Primordial Growth (Primordius – 8th Boss)
3- Shoulderguards of Potentiation (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Exalted)
4- Reconstructed Holy Shoulderplates (Durumu – 7th Boss)

Back/Cloak

1- Drape of Booming Nights (Jin’rokh the Breaker – 1rst Boss)
2- Dreamweaver Drape (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Honored)
3- Constantly Accelerating Cloak (Dark Animus – 9th Boss)
4- Shimmershell Cape (Tortos – 4th Boss)
5- Deadly Glare Cape (Unknown – probably Throne of Thunder Zone Drop)

Chest

1- Scorched Spiritfire Drape (Oondasta – World Boss)
2- Hauberk of Gleaming Fire (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Revered)
3- Lei-Shen’s Grounded Carapace (Lei Shen – 12th Boss)
4- Ionized Yojamban Carapace (Jin’rokh the Breaker – 1rst Boss)
5- Lightning Emperor’s Breastplate (Tier 15 – Dark Animus)

Bracers

1- Softscar Armplates (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Friendly)
2- Bonemender Bracers (Primordius – 8th Boss)
3- Armplates of the Vanquished Abomination (Horridon – 2nd Boss)

Gloves

1- Iceshatter Gauntlets (Durumu – 7th Boss)
2- Lightning Emperor’s Gloves (Tier 15- Council of Elders, also Nalak – World Boss)
3- Tortos’ Shellseizers (Tortos – 4th Boss)
4- Touch of Soothing Mists (Shado Pan Assault – Honored)
5- Skullsmashing Gauntlets (Oondasta – World Boss)

Belt

1- Waistplate of Channeled Mending (Shado Pan Assault – Revered)
2- Refreshing Abalone Girdle (Tortos – 4th Boss)
3- Waistband of Furious Stomping (Oondasta – World Boss)
4- Abandoned Zandalari Greatbelt (Throne of Thunder Drop)

Pants

1- Matter-Swapped Legplates (Dark Animus – 9th Boss)
2- Lightning Emperor’s Greaves (Tier 15- Ji-Kun – 6th Boss, also Nalak – World Boss)
3- Legguards of Renewal (Shado Pan Assault – Honored)
4- Legplates of Reemergence (Durumu – 7th Boss)

Boots

1- Ice-Scored Treads (Megaera – 5th Boss)
2- Haunted Steel Greaves (Blacksmithing)
3- Vaultwalker Sabatons (Throne of Thunder Drop)

Ring

1- Petrified Eye of the Basilisk (Horridon – 2nd Boss)
2- Durumu’s Captive Eyeball (Durumu – 7th Boss)
3- Ring of Shamuru (Oondasta – World Boss)
4- Ring of the Shado-Pan Assault (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Friendly)
5- Ro’shak’s Remembrance (Iron Qon – 10th Boss)
6- Eye of Oondasta (Oondasta – World Boss)
7- Signet of the Shado-Pan Assault (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Friendly)

Trinket

EDIT: There has been some analysis done on the trinkets. At the time of this update I haven’t read into details, but check out Therya’s 5.2 Healing Trinket Compendium.

Intellect with mana regen:
1- Horridon’s Last Gasp (Horridon – 2nd Boss)
2- Soothing Talisman of the Shado-Pan Assault (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Friendly)

Which of these two is better will depend on the internal cooldown on Horridon’s Last Gasp (see Cianxo’s comment on the Wowhead page). Either way, the raiding trinket has an advantage over the rep trinket in that it procs on its own and doesn’t require you to remember to hit it whenever it’s up. (Probably not an issue for advanced players, but often problematic for new healers.)

Spirit with damage mitigation:
1- Stolen Relic of Zuldazar (Primordius – 8th Boss)
2- Inscribed Bag of Hydra-Spawn (Megaera – 5th Boss)

At first glance, the Relic seems leagues ahead of the Bag (28018 damage, really?) but, again, it’ll depend on how often the Bag and the Blessing of Zuldazar each proc. It’ll also depend on whether the Bag only procs on single-target direct heals or on all heals, including Eternal Flame ticks and AoE heals.

Straight throughput:
1- Lightning-Imbued Chalice (Lei-Shen – 12th Boss)

While I probably wouldn’t use this as my first choice on mana-intensive progression fights, I’m really excited to play around with it during farm raids or in LFR.

Weapon

1- Torall, Rod of the Shattered Throne (Lei-Shen – 12th Boss)
2- Soulblade of the Breaking Storm (Jin’rokh the Breaker – 1rst Boss)
3- Jerthud, Graceful Hand of the Savior (Jin’rokh the Breaker – 1rst Boss)

5.2 also introduces an alternative to a One-Hand Weapon and Shield with the 2-Hand Caster Mace, Invocation of the Dawn. The lack of Spirit makes me cringe, especially with Shield of Twinned Despair being so sexy (though like all holy pally shields, it probably doesn’t really exist). But! On the bright side, if you do want to give the 2-Hander a try, you’ll only have Druids and Shaman to compete with.

Shield

1- Shield of Twinned Despair (Twin Consort – 11th Boss)
2- Tortos’ Discarded Shell (Tortos – 4th Boss)

If you like stealing candy from children and making your non-shield wearing co-healers (and casting clothie raidmates) sad, Orb of Arcing Lightning, a random Throne of Thunder drop, is a passable offhand, and Lei-Shen’s Orb of Command (Lei-Shen – 12th Boss) can do if you’re desperate. Or if you really hate your co-healers (and casting clothie raidmates).

How I’m healing in MoP – Holy Pally 4eva: Your Cooldowns. Use Them.

January 16, 2013

Second last post of the guide! (Not counting update notifications – of which should start, like, the day after I finish.)

You remember the three component of paladin healing?

1- Beacon Usage
2- Holy Power building and sinking
3- Cooldown management.

Even back when Holy Paladins were (wrongfully) accused of “one button healing”, proper use of cooldowns distinguished the decent Paladin healer from the good Paladin healer. Between mana buttons, output enhancing buttons and fight manipulation buttons, we had a lot of control over what happened during a fight.

Now that we have more healing buttons, we also have more cooldown buttons (including talents and excluding potions, I counted 17) and, more than ever, using cooldowns properly will take your playstyle to the next level.

What is a Cooldown?

Basics first!

A cooldown (or CD) is a spell or ability of considerable power which, when used, has a timer before it can be used again.

For the purpose of this post, the time between uses has to be at least 20 seconds (so Holy Prism can qualify). While Holy Shock does have a cooldown, I don’t think of it as a Cooldown Spell.

So how do I know to use a Cooldown?

First, make sure your UI clearly shows which cooldowns are ready to be used and how much time is left on those that are not.

Then, you’ve got two choice:

DPS Style: Use your CDs the second they’re ready, goals being to squeeze in as much healing as you can and to lower mana requirements for the fight.

Saviour Style: Save your CDs for specific moments, either to react to a predictable burst of damage, or to prevent a wipe in case of an emergency.

Both styles have their place and the wise Holy Paladin knows when to use each approach based on three elements:

1- The Nature of the Cooldown: There’s no point in using a specific damage reduction cooldown if that type of damage isn’t present, just like it’s silly to use a threat manipulation cooldown if threat isn’t a concern.

2- The Cooldown Timer: When a timer only allows one use per fight, the cooldown is best saved for an emergency or for the last minute of the fight. Abilities with very short cooldowns can be used more freely since they’re likely to be ready again by the time they’re really needed.

3- Knowledge of a Fight: If you know the types (magic vs physical) and patterns (burst vs periodic, single target vs raid-wide) of damage in a fight, you can plan your cooldown usage to get the most out of all your spells.

Cooldown use is also influenced by the strategy your raid or healing lead has in mind. It’s always a good idea to use your guild’s strategy threads to make sure you’re on the same page as your leaders when it comes to cooldown usage on specific fights. Prevents screaming matches.

I’ll also point out that on new progression fights, aka, fights where your team is just starting to learn the mechanics, aka, where you expect to wipe within the first 3-4 minutes, it makes sense to blow all your extra healing CDs early. They’ll help keep the team alive longer during the mechanics-learning process and they should be ready for use again by the time you recover from the wipe.

Output Enhancing Cooldowns

Divine Favor: (3 minutes) Increases haste and crit for 20 seconds.
Avenging Wrath: (3 minutes) Increases healing output. Can by modified with Sanctified Wrath (talent) and Glyphs of Avenging Wrath and the Falling Avenger.
Trinket with on-use Intellect: Empty Fruit Barrel was the only one I could find with an on-use Intellect boost.
Holy Avenger: (Talent only – 2 minutes) Increases healing output of certain spells and builds Holy Power.
Potion of the Jade Serpent: (Potion – Once per fight, may also use an extra one right before pull) Increases intellect for 25 seconds, which in turn increases healing output.

All of these cooldowns increase your throughput somehow.

I included a potion for completeness’ sake. You can only use one potion, total, per fight so only use a Potion of the Jade Serpent if you’re positive you won’t be needing a potion for mana later on. If a fight has a lot of damage right at the start, you can do like a dps player and pre-pot (drink a potion right before the pull to avoid triggering the once-per-fight restriction), however most fights in Tier 14 start off slowly damage wise, making pre-potting a waste. (However, as Talarian suggests in the comments, if a fight doesn’t start off with steep healing, you’re tight on the enrage timer and you don’t think mana will be an issue, you can pre-pot and use your damage spells for some smooth healer dps.)

All the other buttons (and the trinket), however, have a 2-3 minute cooldown, meaning you should use them at least twice on any fight longer than 6 minutes. On most fights they can be used DPS Style (as soon as they come up), but if a fight has conveniently spaced bursts of damage (think Empress in Heart of Fear), you can time your cooldowns to help you mop up after the bursts.

These throughput cooldowns also have a fantastic side effect: since they make your spells harder and/or faster, you can use lighter spells, saving mana. (Thank you Sol for the comment!)

Unless you need a biiiiig burst of healing, avoid having more than one cooldown active at a time. Hitting Divine Favor and Avenging Wrath together will, more often than not, result in 20 seconds of overheal. It’s much less of a waste to use one, wait for it to finish, then use another.

Extra Heals Cooldowns

Lay on Hands: (5-12 minutes) Heals the target for the amount of your maximum health. This is the tank saver. Can be modified with Glyph of Divinity for a bonus mana-return and with the Unbreakable Spirit talent for a cooldown reduction.
Guardian of Ancient Kings: (5 minutes) Adds to 5 of your single target heals and splashes healing onto nearby players.
Execution Sentence: (Talent only – 1 minute) Single target heal over time.
Holy Prism: (Talent only – 20 seconds) Can be used a cheap single target heal or as a small area of effect heal.
Light’s Hammer: (Talent only – 1 minute) Puts an area of healing on the ground for 17.5 seconds.

Lay on Hands and Guardian of Ancient Kings have fairly long CDs. On long, long, long fights they can be used twice (maybe three times if a fight goes over 15 minutes) but on most fights they can only be used once.

Lay on Hands is such a powerful tank savor that I like to save it for emergencies, regardless of fight length, unless I’m positive that our tanks won’t need it. As for Guardian of Ancient Kings, it’s nice to use twice on long fights, once early on and once at the end, unless you feel you might need to prevent a wipe halfway through. Never finish a fight with Guardian off CD. It’s such a great healing bonus that if the fight is almost over and you haven’t needed it yet, just use it. USE IT.

The other three are the level 90 talents. You pick one. They’re on short timers, so use them whenever they’re available, unless you have a perfect opportunity coming up within the next few seconds.

Raid-wide Cooldown

Devotion Aura:
(3 minutes) Reduces magic damage (AND ONLY MAGIC DAMAGE) for 6 seconds. Also prevents Silences and Interrupts for those 6 seconds, which is more useful in PvP than in Tier 14 raiding.

This time around, Devotion Aura (or, affectionately, Devo Aura) is our cooldown that affects the entire raid. It (only) lasts 6 seconds and is useless against physical damage.

There are still a lot of fights where Devotion Aura is lovely, though, so check the types of damage caused by different boss abilities. If there’s magic damage that affects more than 2-3 people at once, you’ve got a Devo Aura opportunity.

You can usually fit it in twice a fight, but check with your raid or healing lead – most teams like to coordinate raid-wide CDs for maximal benefit.

Fight Manipulation Cooldowns

Hand of Sacrifice: (2 minutes) Transfers some damage from the target over to you.
Hand of Purity: (talent only – 30 seconds) Reduces damage from (most) periodic effects on the target. Check out Gina’s list of HofPurity opportunities.
Hand of Protection: (5 minutes) Prevents all physical (AND ONLY PHYSICAL) damage on the target (also usually removes bleed effects) for 10 seconds, but prevents the target from using physical attacks (melee and hunters don’t like this). Has added affect that melee mobs will stop attacking the target and go elsewhere (squishies like this, tanks to do not).
Hand of Salvation: (2 minutes) Removes the targets threat. Hunters appreciate the thought. Tanks, not so much.
Hand of Freedom: (25 seconds) Removes/prevents movement impairing effects. Useful on the trash to Elegon.

Hand CDs are called Hands for a reason: they give you some control over fights.

Hand of Sacrifice can be used DPS-Style, however some teams like to coordinate usage for certain fights. Check with your leaders before keeping Hand of Sacrifice on CD. Same goes for Hand of Purity, on fights where HofPurity is helpful.

Note that while Hand of Sacrifice on its own should not be able to kill you, if you have Hand of Sacrifice active while intense raid damage is going out, your face might meet the floor. I speak from experience. Be wise when you use it, and if you think you might die, get a damage reduction CD on yourself (scroll down this post to read about Divine Protection and Divine Shield). Also note that damage transferred through HofSac keeps its type. So physical damage to your target means physical damage to you.

Hand of Protection is really handy (oh the bad pun!) during trash, or for fights with lots of adds, if your team is a little clumsy. I’ve also used it to clear nasty Wind Steps on Heroic Blade Lord. The CD timer is long, though, so you’ll rarely get to use it more than once a fight. Choose your opportunity wisely.

I’ve yet to use Hand of Salvation, but if your team is a little clumsy, some of your trigger-happy dps might appreciate a good Salv. As for Freedom, in PvE, it is very situation specific, but does have occasional uses. Both have a fairly short timer and can be used rather freely.

If you really like your Hands, look into the Clemency talent, which lets you use all Hands (except Purity) twice before triggering the CD.

Mana Cooldowns

Divine Plea: (2 minutes) Returns mana for 9 seconds but lowers healing output during that time. Can be modified via Glyph of Divine Plea to negate the healing penalty in exchange for a 5 second cast time.
Trinket with on-use Spirit or Mana: Scroll of Revered Ancestors, Jade Courtesan Figurine, Vial of Ichorous Blood, Price of Progress all have on-use Spirit or Mana return.
Master Mana Potion/Potion of Focus: (Potion – Once per fight) Potions that restores mana.

Unless you’re drowning in a pool of your own mana, Divine Plea can (and usually should) be used DPS-Style starting when you reach about 80% mana. Be smart about it though, if you’re approaching a point in the fight where the healing penalty (or cast time) might be a problem, wait a little bit. Same goes for if a point in the fight where the healing penalty or cast time doesn’t matter is coming up.

As for your on-use mana-returning trinkets, they have no penalty associated with them, so if you have a such a trinket, you’ll want to use it right after your first few casts, then whenever it makes itself available.

Again, I put some potions in for completeness. The Master Mana Potion only restores a little bit of mana, but can be used instantly. Potion of Focus, on the other hand, restores more mana but requires that you drop what you’re doing to sit and drink. You only get to use one potion per fight, so choose wisely.

Personal Damage Reduction Cooldown

Divine Protection: (30 seconds to 1 minute) In it’s original state, reduces magic (AND ONLY MAGIC!) damage for 10 seconds. You can add a physical damage reduction component via Glyph of Divine Protection, and you can reduce the CD via the Unbreakable Spirit talent.
Divine Shield: (2.5-5 minutes) Makes you invulnerable (with some exceptions) for 8 seconds and removes most debuffs. The CD can be reduced via the Unbreakable Spirit talent.

Divine Protection has such a cute little CD that it can be used DPS Style for fights with regular raid damage, unless there’s a big burst of damage coming up. Check damage types before each fight to know whether or not to add the physical damage reduction Glyph.

While Divine Shield coupled with Unbreakable Spirit can have a fairly short CD, this spell is such a powerful oopsy-fixer that you’ll want to almost exclusively use it Savior Style. If you screw up and are about to be killed (and humiliated) by avoidable damage, you want this spell to be available to save your face. I mean your life. You’ll probably only get to use it once per fight, but you’re a good pally who doesn’t make many mistakes, right?

AND THAT ENDS THE HOW-TO PORTION OF THIS GUIDE!

Oh yessssss.

Next post is the one I’ve been looking forward to since day one! I get to update my links and point all you avid pally-info readers to some awesome resources and fantastic members of the paladin community.

But for now I need to rest my sore fingers.

How I’m healing in MoP – Holy Pally 4eva: Healing with Beacon

January 7, 2013

That’s right! The end of this series is in sight and it’s time to talk about, you know, real healing spells!

As I see it, there are three components to paladin healing:

1- Beacon of Light Usage
2- Holy Power building and sinking
3- Cooldown Management

Since this is healing technique post #1, we’re going talk about Beacon.

beacon

The official description is rather clear. You put a buff, Beacon of Light, on a player of your strategic choosing, and the healing you do on other players transfers to your Beacon target.

The amount transferred varies based on spell used. So if Beacon is on Mary and you cast a Holy Light on Jack for 300 (numbers used in this post do not reflect actual in game averages), Mary would also receive a 300 heal. But if your Holy Radiance hits 5 people for 300, then Mary would be healed for 5 X (15% of 300) = 225.

You can move your Beacon of Light to different players during a fight, if you feel that’s the best strategy. If you plan on doing that often, consider Glyph of Beacon of Light to remove the global cooldown, making Beacon swapping faster.

Note as well the 60(!!!) yard radius on Beacon. Meaning Beacon can heal a player who’d be out of range by normal standards (40 yards), as long as they are within 60 yards of the person you’re direct healing.

Add Beacon to your frames

beacontracking

You’ll want to track your Beacon.

Since the Beacon buff doesn’t expire – the only ways to get rid of it is for the target to die, for the target to remove it (why would they want to do that?) and for you to cast it on a different target, Beacon tracking isn’t as crucial as it once was. However, since you, the player, are a human being, you sometimes make mistakes. Sometimes your target dies and you don’t put their Beacon back on. Sometimes your mouse slips a little and you cast Beacon on the wrong person. Sometimes you think you’re moving your Beacon to a new target but the cast doesn’t go off. Sometimes YOU EVEN FORGET TO CAST BEACON AT ALL! Tracking your Beacon is the fastest way to catch signs of your humanity and hide them before anyone else notices.

You’ll want to track the Beacons of other paladins in the raid.

But I run 10 man/don’t raid!” you say. You also look at me with that “I know you’re heavily biased toward 25 man raiding” eye. Yes, I do intend to be the last 25 man holy paladin standing. But! Even if you don’t typically run with other holy paladins, you still might run LFR, you might do some Battlegrounds, you might pug a raid.

Knowing what the other holy paladins are doing helps a lot with making strategic decisions as well as predicting where the fight is going. It only takes a second to set up your frames to track other Beacons and you’ll almost certainly discover that you enjoy spying on your fellows.

Choosing a Beacon Target

I wrote about Beacon strategies awhile back. The post is rather outdated, but you might find some ideas for creative Beacon use, if you’re into that sort of thing.

1- Beacon the Tank (or, your Assigned Tank): If you’re just getting started and are running 5 mans, Beacon the tank. In Mists, I believe the only time I Beacon a non-tank in a 5 man is if the tank dies and I decide to save the group. In a raid setting, Beaconing the tank, or the tank you’re assigned to heal, has been my strategy of choice this expansion. It allows for the most freedom, letting you choose between direct healing your Beacon target (which builds Holy Power as we’ll see next post), or healing around and letting those heals transfer through Beacon.

2- Beacon the other Tank: In a fight calling for 2 simultaneous tanks, you can either use strategy #1, or choose to Beacon the tank you’re not assigned to, and spam heal your tank. This is more mana consuming and doesn’t let you help out the raid healers as much, but in a fight that is high on tank damage and low on raid damage, this strategy makes it easy to keep both tanks alive if you don’t trust the person healing the other tank (and might help you climb the meters a little bit, if you’re into that). If you’re healing with another paladin, this choice allows for cross-beaconing (each paladin is assigned a tank, and gives Beacon to the other pally’s tank)

3- Switch from Tank to Tank: I’d only seriously use this strategy on fights where tanks alternate. Assisted by Glyph of Beacon of Light, plop Beacon on whichever tank is currently taking the most damage.

4- Beacon on Someone Else: I can only think of three occasions where I’d use this in Mists so far – healing kiters on Garalon, healing in Gara’jal’s spirit world (thank you Repgrind!) and extreme raid healing. Extreme raid healing was described to me by Cebrafin on my glyph post and involves Beaconing a player before casting Divine Light or Flash of Light on them to build Holy Power. While I’ve never come across this strategy (and I read A LOT of healing logs), and you would rarely use big heals when raid healing, this strategy could be used if you do need a big heal on a non-tank, or as a fun distraction in LFR or during a boring fight.

Next post: That Holy Power you keep hearing about.

Chibi Rykga says hi! (Thank you Rades for the link!)

Chibi Rykga says hi! (Thank you Rades for the link!)

Till next time!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,028 other followers