It feels weird writing about current stuff while everyone is so gung-ho about Cataclysm. Me, I don’t really care about Cataclysm. I would if I were in the beta, but I’m not. Nor do I care enough to try to get a beta key. (I am on the PTR but it’s ugly and funny looking and scary and overwhelming)
Besides, after discussing it with a few people, I came to the following conclusions:
- With the game being in a lull, a lot of people are playing alts.
- Just because Cataclysm is coming out in about a month in a half is no excuse to be playing badly now.
So today’s topic: Hand of Protection (HoP, or BoP after it’s former name, Blessing of Protection).
And according to MMO-Champion, this is a spell we’ll keep in Cataclysm so no writing off this post as ancient history museum content!
During ICC trash a few nights ago, we had a couple of mobs come up on us from behind and started chomping on a healing priest and a warlock. I slapped the priest with my Hand of Protection and the warlock died.
The question: We had 3 other paladins in the raid, one of which was a fellow holy paladin. Why didn’t anyone HoP the warlock?
Hypothesis 1: Maybe they don’t understand how Hand of Protection works
Hand of Protection protects the target from all physical damage for 10 seconds. It’ll also drop aggro from the target since the mob thinks to itself: “Oh, I can’t eat this guy (or girl – mobs are very politically correct), I guess I’ll go eat this other guy (or girl).”
Another thing to note is that someone under the influence of HoP can’t do any physical damage either. So unless you absolutely must save a melee dps or a hunter (or you just want to be annoying), save your HoP for casters. Note that in dire circumstances (for example, you have a massive crush on the ret pally and want to impress them with your life saving skills) an aggro breaking HoP can be quickly followed by a Hand of Freedom, allowing the melee player to resume dps as soon as the mobs get off their face. (Thank you Mally and Daniel.)
The aggro dropping and no doing physical damage things are the reason you shouldn’t ever HoP someone who’s currently tanking (with a few exceptions that I’ll get into later).
Note that HoP is useless against magic damage, so it won’t help a target being roasted by a caster.
Hypothesis 2: They don’t know when to use Hand of Protection
To make an informed decision concerning your Hand of Protection usage, you will need the following:
- Knowledge of the physical damageness mobs you’re facing (you can tell which are physical damage mobs by the way they eat the faces of their victims as opposed to melting said faces)
- Raid frames with aggro warnings turned on.
ICC has very few boss fights that involve physical damage adds. With the exception of Lady Deathwhisper and Gunship (and Dreamwalker for non portal paladins), you’ll mostly be using HoP during trash. I usually use mine during the trash before Marrowgar and for the Valks after Saurfang.
On 25 man Lady Deathwhisper, you’ll want to use your HoP as soon as possible and keep it on cooldown since there is that chance of being mind controlled and HoPing the boss… (Thank you Daniel- funny story, the day after you left your comment, the other holy pally in my raid got MCed and HoPed the boss.)
You know to use HoP when a purple (warlock), white (priest) or light blue (mage) square on your frames lights up with an aggro warning. In some cases, a dark blue (shaman) or orange (druid) squares are also suitable targets. Just make sure it’s a caster type of druid or shaman.
When a target lights up with an aggro warning, keep your eye on it. As soon as they start taking damage, BAM! Hand of Protection.
Hypothesis 3 : They’re afraid of “wasting” their Hand of Protection
This could be true in certain instances.
In ICC, though, the places where you could use HoP are rather far apart. Depending on the casting paladin’s spec, the cooldown on HoP is 3 to 5 minutes, nothing to worry about. I prefer to use HoP as soon as I need it. I won’t know whether I’ll need it again and I’d rather save someone now than let someone die now out of concern that someone might die later.
If a caster gets eaten while my HoP is on cooldown, well, tough for them.
Hypothesis 4: They might have HoPed the same target.
Causing forbearance means your target can’t be smacked by a Hand of Protection again for the next two minutes. So if someone beats you to a target, you won’t be wasting your cooldown. If you get an error message trying to HoP the priest, get that HoP on the warlock.
Hypothesis 5: They don’t have an appropriate UI
(Thank you Enlynn!)
As healer, you should have your UI set up in a way that you can access your spells very quickly. Unless you have jedi reflexes (and it does happen, I’ve seen some), this means either mouse-over macros or use of a Clique-like system.
HoP is part of your tools and should be just as accessible as Flash of Light or Holy Light. See Fictional Question #3 for some tips on choosing a proper key binding for your HoP.
Your fictional question: Are there other uses for Hand of Protections?
Glad you asked!
While most of the time, I use my Hand of Protection for loose trash mobs or boss adds, it can also remove a bleed effect. The fight that comes to mind is Saurfang, where HoP removes the Boiling Blood debuff. On heroic, when all the paladins in the raid use their HoP on a caster or healer with Boiling Blood, it can make a pretty big difference in the fight outcome.
Your fictional question 2: I’m not a healing paladin, can I still use HoP?
It’s a trainable ability, so yep.
In a raid setting, it’s easiest for a holy paladin to use, but any paladin who wants to rescue a clothie in distress is free use their Hand if they can spare the global cooldown.
In 5 mans, I love, and I mean LOVE getting my HoP out as a tank. I know the trend is to let those who pull before you die, but I frequently use it to get mobs off hormonal casters. I also use it to teach impatient melee players a lesson, but, um, please don’t tell anyone.
Your fictional question 3: What’s this about exceptions to never using Hand of Protection on a tank?
General rule is, using Hand of Protection on a tank, even by accident is a bad, bad thing. My guildies still constantly remind me of a certain keybind mishap involving a tank and a few undesired HoPs… To prevent these embarrassing moments, make sure your HoP isn’t bound to anything that would include your press-to-talk button or any buttons bound to spells frequently used on tanks.
There may be times, however, when you’ll be asked to use your Hand of P on a tank. To assist in certain tank switches, for example, or to remove a bleed effect (Gormok the Impaler in ToC comes to mind). During the trash before Blood Council, a quick HoP immediately canceled by a Hand of Freedom can erase that annoying Bloodboil debuff. (Thanks Daniel!)
Different raid teams have different strategies, though, so even if you think it’s a good idea to help out by HoPing a tank, I caution you to wait until you’re asked. This isn’t the place to take initiatives. An unsuspecting HoPed tank might not immediately realize what happened, which could throw off their next move. The tank might also have used one of their own cooldowns and your Hand will be wasted.
Your Fictional Question 4: Is Hand of Protection useful in PvP?
I confess I’m not experienced enough in PvP to give a really good answer here.
In Battlegrounds, I love it. It’s great for protecting your caster buddy from annoying meleers buzzing around them. I believe, however, that it can be spellstolen by mages, dispelled by priests and purged by shaman.
In all logic, it would be useful in arena as well. All the arena junkie holy paladins I’ve raided with, however, never use their HoP. So I dunno.
Your Fictional Conclusion: Wow! What a fascinating spell! I promise to use Hand of Protection at all the right times! Thank you!
No, thank you.
Speaking of thanks, lets go back to the original scenario. When I used HoP on our priest that night, she thanked me. Which was very polite of her, but it sort of made me sad as well.
As a holy paladin, pulling our utility spells out of our toolbox is our job just as much as keeping Beacon up and casting Holy Light is our job. She shouldn’t feel the need to thank me for a HoP anymore than thank me for casting my regular, direct heals.
But so many holy paladins don’t go beyond their easiest task, then have the nerve to complain that paladin healing is boring. Of course it’s boring when you’re not using most of your spells!
A few weeks ago, we had a trial holy paladin bragging on our vent about how he only healed with one button. I wonder how if he knew how close to his head the Giant Spoon came…
But in conclusion, remember that, with Hand of Protection, YOU CAN save a squishy clothie TODAY! What are you waiting for?