Posted tagged ‘wow’

WoW… Oh hei! I still play that!

June 14, 2013

You know you’ve fallen out of the loop when you come across lists of Holy Paladin bloggers… and your name is nowhere to be found. Which is fair enough – I haven’t written anything substantial since that guide from two patches ago, which I never even polished up. It’s just. That. Time. Goes by. So fast. SO FAST. Didn’t I write that last guide post YESTERDAY? OMG.

But have no fear! Newcomer bloggers Paladiner and Lucy have got you covered, especially when it comes to Heroic Mode info. Super busy Getsu also finds the time to post some Holy Paladin thoughts as well (I complain that I can’t update because I’m busy, but he’s like 200 times busier than me and still finds time for Holy Pally philosophy /shame).

And if Heroic raiding and patch notes aren’t your thing, the awesome Megacode is still going strong with his regular podcasts on Normal modes, basics and other must-knows. He’s also done some fantastic interviews with high profile players. (Speaking of Megacode’s podcasts, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say it yet, but I wasn’t told not to say anything and I’m super super excited so I’m going to say it anyway: he has another round table coming up! I can’t wait! I think we should do like a holy paladin cafe once a month, where a bunch of us grab mics, a bunch more get into the chat channel and we just pally talk. No prep, no editing. Just glorious, glorious pally talk. Would anyone else be interested in that?)

So we’re digesting 5.3 sideways, 5.4 is on the horizon (already? WTF) yet all I want to talk about are Bioware games and nerd conventions. That’s just how I am. But still, I will not be left out during these kinda-difficult-but-we’ve-been-through-worse Holy Paladin times.

5.3 and The Great Mastery and T14 4-pc Nerf of 2013

Of Tier Gear 14 and 15

Unlike most, I made the switch from T14 4pc to T15 as soon as I had enough T15 to get a 2pc. The reasoning was that my T14 gear came from a mix of LFR and Normal mode while my T15 was nice and shiny Normal and Heroic stamped.

I experimented by switching back and forth, and once I got used to both, I could get roughly equal numbers. T14, for me, was all about the EF blanketing, while T15 lets me go crazy with Holy Radiance. (Holy Radiancing – something I know many of my fellows are ticked off about. But what can you do? Perhaps it’s just our overachieving tanks, but it seems like the only T15 fight where we need any kind of tank healing assignments is Heroic Mags and MAYBE SOMETIMES Heroic Council. For everything else, there’s Holy Radiance.) As I shifted toward T15 and got deeper in heroic content, I found that my old T14 set just didn’t have the mana regen necessary for today’s modern boss fights. So off to the vendor we went.

Paladiner suggests skipping the T15 4pc. His experience with specific fights doesn’t reflect my own, probably because he runs with a different healer team makeup, and, more likely, he does 10s while I do 25s. But! As stubborn as I am about keeping my shiny 4pc, I do agree that the extra stat bonus from an upgrade from normal-mode T15 piece to a heroic (or better, a Heroic THUNDERFORGED!) non-T15 piece would probably give your healing more oomph than a boost to Beacon.

There are some exceptions – my copally and I cross-beacon on Heroic Mags and we each get a lot of healing out of it. A lot. While we don’t seem to get the same kind of Beacon numbers on Heroic Council, I suspect that when we switch to direct healing Frostbite targets, our Beacons (again, cross-beaconing) have made other healers lives much easier. Otherwise, it seems the other fights in Throne are more raid damage typed, where extra Mastery and extra Spirit to support shiny Holy Radiances would go further than a boost to Beacon.

That said, I creepy stalked some of the highest HPS pallies in the US, and the vast majority (but not all!) were using T15 4pc. Note, though, their healing situations might not reflect that of the average raid. Plus they might swap gear around between fights.

And, what else? Oh yes, Mastery nerfs. Ouch.

Mastery Nerfs and healing styles

I checked my logs after the nerf and I half expected to find myself booted from my guild. It hurt my healing that bad. My copally was healing just fine, though, so I think the numbers may have had more to do with me than with the nerf. I tried harder the next week, and while I couldn’t get to where I was before the nerf, I did manage to not be rock bottom of the meters on every fight.

A couple of pallies asked me if they should change their stat priorities given the changes to Mastery. I don’t do much experimenting with things that extreme – but if anyone wants to give it a try, I’d be happy to look at the results.

I went to World of Logs again and went through a dozen of the highest ranking paladins (for 25 Heroic, mind you) and Mastery was a unanimous priority.

Another unanimous trait was the healing style of Holy Shock/Holy Radiance to generate Holy Power, followed by Eternal Flame blanketing. I swear most of them don’t even have Light of Dawn in their spell book.

(I try to heal like that, but apparently I fail pretty hard. In a fight 90 seconds shorter, Envy’s Finella gets more than twice the Holy Radiances and EFs out than I can!)

A strategy they use and that I hadn’t come across in discussions, is to take Holy Avenger (remember Holy Avenger, the level 75 talent?) and use it on CD. Combine with Divine Favor and Avenging Wrath for extra sexiness.

Simple and brilliant. For 18 seconds, you can get a lot of badass Eternal Flames out. Then you have 72 to 102 seconds to generate EFs the old fashion way.

I’m going to try this tonight.

As for meter rankings for the pros since the nerf, it seems that those pallies who were topping the meters before are now only slightly behind their Disc Priest buddies. Their healing environment is kinda different than the average raider (they have less healers, which spreads damage differently, and their healing aims more for numbers than functionality and bare survival), but the rest of us still have no excuse.

5.4, Flex Raiding, Minor Changes and Beyond

The Holy Paladin of the Future

I was happy to find no trace of those Eternal Flame nerfs everyone’s been panicking about. (Those aren’t hidden somewhere, are they? I’m scared!)

Our class changes are pretty minor. Paladiner’s wringed as much analysis out of our set bonuses as possible. Dedralie at Healiocentric has some discussion on our general changes on her blog as well.

If you want a TL;DR of our predicted changes, here it is: some wording on talents and some tiny number adjustments on Hand of Purity. At the time, I doubt anything will actually be noticeable in game. (Other than, obviously, T16 gear.)

And Flex Raiding!

Flex Raiding

Why is everyone so upset about Flex Raiding?

I think my guildy had the best reaction to the announcement: “Will I be getting an achievement for Flex Raiding?

I can see how a third lockout would be annoying to guilds in the upper-but-not-raiding-24-hours-a-day bracket. Even so, it only takes a couple of weeks for these guilds before everyone has everything they need from pre-normal raid lockouts, weeks where most of us are chained to our computers anyway. And adding a third lockout would probably reduce the number of weeks it takes to get saturated with pre-normal gear.

Personally, I’m super happy about this. I doubt, however, I’ll use it much. For me, I think, Flex raiding is coming too late. For the longest time, I wished there were some way I could help my off server friends with current tier fights without having to built a raiding alt. I also wished there was a way we could have scaling fights, so we didn’t spent more time looking for pugs than actually playing. By now, though, most of my off servers friends have scattered. I’ve lost touch with too many of them and don’t feel comfortable sending a “hey, wanna Flex Raid with me?“. But still, I’m happy the opportunity will be there, should I get the call.

It might also be a way for me to connect with my own guild. During regular raids, I still freeze up whenever someone talks to me (and with my fluttery attention span, it’s very hard for me to concentrate on the raid and chat to guildies at the same time). I tried running LFR with them, but it’s not the same with a bunch of a strangers in our group. So even though I’ve been in the guild for months and am quite happy (the raids are efficient, fair and entertaining, what more could I ask for?), I’m not as engaged as I usually am. Flex raiding would perfect for drunken, no stress guild fun.

What else is coming up in 5.4? Virtual realms?

Virtual Realms or Are we really just looking for an excuse to overreact?

I play on Tichondrius, which, I think, has become the most populated realm after last week’s character service discount. Why everyone wants to move to a server where there are up to 40 minute queues in the evening and where you have to get up at 5 am to do dailies if you don’t want to spend more time getting ganked than playing the game, I have no idea. But long story short, I don’t think I’ll be affected by virtual realms.

As for everyone else, it sounds like virtual realms will help somewhat with the challenges of playing on a low pop server, namely guild recruiting and finding fun things to do with strangers on offnights. Perhaps I’m missing something huge, but I can’t see where the problem is.

There! A WoW post at last!

I think that sums my recent thoughts on the game.

I do still play, I assure you. Cadenza is now 7/13H in 25s. Thankfully, Throne of Thunder calls for waaaay less twitchy movement than, um, that other dungeon who’s name I apparently blocked from my memory. I still die enough to worry about getting kicked. Every time I see an in-game mail from my GM I get all “oh noes!“. (It’s usually just a shipment of raid food, though. Why he does this, I’m not sure. I wonder if his food Auction House alt has a name similar to Rykga and I’m getting them by accident. Or perhaps it’s a quiet hint that I need more spirit. But, you know, I won’t turn down free raid food.)

The mic port on my desktop blew so now I can’t talk on Vent or Skype or Mumble. Not sure if there’s a way to fix that without having to change my whole motherboard. (While I did build this computer with my own two hands, I’m still pretty clueless about how everything fits together.) I’m quite sad about it but not enough yet to dare rip my tower apart. The laptop still works, anyway.

And, um, I’m really trying to find things to write about here. It feels like when I write to my mom: “Dear Mom, I am still alive. I work a lot. Sometimes I go hiking but not very often because it rains all the time. We got snow last week too. I went to the SPCA this morning and walked a dog. I made soup in my slow cooker overnight and it tasted funny. Do you know what I am doing wrong? My computer is being buggy again. You should try Granville Island Brewery’s Summer Mingler pack. It’s quite delicious. That’s all I can think of. Love, Jenn.”

Alright, time to shut off the computer so my eyes don’t hurt for raid. Talk to you all again in like a month!

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)!

Some Links

September 11, 2012

Double O Podcast Special Edition

The rumours are true! Oestrus and I got together last night and recorded a shiny new episode of The Double O Podcast!

With Mists coming out in a few weeks and both of us anxious to be raid ready as soon as possible, we thought it would be fun to interview a Realm First – Level 80 feat of strength holder (and remember! While the grind to 85 was accomplished by many in under 15 hours, the grind to 80 took a solid 48 hours, if not more, making the achievement even more impressive).

So! For a tad over an hour, we chat with the awesome Serrath (who, in addition to being quite knowledgeable about productive and healthy gaming marathons, is also a really fun guy. You can’t help but want to be friends with him.) about how to get to 90 as quickly as possible, without risking our health or our sanity.

If you haven’t heard it yet – the Holy Paladin Roundtable

I promised a link and I didn’t deliver… I hang in my head in shame.

Hopefully you’ve all (yes, including non-holy paladins… the awesomeness of the Light must be experience by EVERYONE) found your way to the show, maybe via Twitter, maybe via another blogger. But just in case, just in case you haven’t, before Mists comes out, treat yourself to the sweet delight that is The Holy Paladin Roundtable.

If you prefer a more visual link, consider clicking this:

Big thanks to Walks for the gorgeous collage! (ps. It’s almost scary how much I look like myself and like my character in that image!)

Mists is almost here, have you found your guild yet?

My guild, Occasional Excellence, still has a few spots open on our roster. We’re a high efficiency guild, raiding 2 nights (or 7 hours) a week, but making the most of every second. (And you know that if they manage to satisfy an impatient, detail oriented, perfectionist like me, they’ve got to be good people!) We do 25s, we’re all adults and we were killing Heroic Madness before it was cool.

We’re especially looking for a resto shaman and a shadow priest, but we’d welcome most dps classes (except maybe hunters and ret pallies because everyone plays hunters and ret pallies these days).

Our standards are pretty high, so the application process can be demanding, but, trust me, it’s worth the effort! We’ve got a solid team, a highly organized leadership and a very positive raid environment. And while we only raid 2 nights a week, there are a lot of optional events every week for those who just can’t get enough.

Sound like a group you’d be interested in? Find out more on our website: http://occasional-excellence.com/.

You can get in touch with me via email as well, and add our guild on Twitter: @OExcellence
(Our Twitter page is still a work in progress, but I’m hoping to make it more active soon)

And even if it doesn’t sound like a group you’d be interested in, I highly encourage you to read our About Us page. (I wrote it and worked hard on it, so I want to show it off ^_^)

’till next time!

*returns to the offline world*

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.

Finding that Balance

October 1, 2010

I don’t talk about my health much beyond the occasional bitching and whining about how tired I am. Which is the entire reason I don’t talk about it much: there’s not a whole lot to add to the QQ. I’ve been more emo than usual on twitter and a few comments I’ve left on other blogs have been delightfully cringe worthy. I must say, you’ve all very kind in humoring me and I really appreciate it. Say what you will about WoW players, those of you I’ve had the honour of interacting with have almost always been far too nice to me.

Anyway, since I’m sore and tired and feel like chatting about it (Light help us all), I’ll talk a bit. I’ve had crappy health since I was 16. Before that I was super athletic (but I hated team sports, so I didn’t know I was athletic) and ran around and climbed walls all the time and stuff. Then, in early January, I woke up on the floor one morning after a party and noticed that whenever I moved my head, it felt like my legs were getting electrocuted. I could even hear the buzzing. Yep, I party that hard.

Actually it was just coincidence. After spending the rest of the year getting shipped from hospital to hospital and spending thousends of dollars on MRIs (I could have gotten them done for free, but the first neurologist I ended up with was a crazy bitch- I’m not exaggerating, even other doctors roll their eyes when they hear her name- who wouldn’t let me go through the public system so I had to go private), I ended up with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Unusual for a kid my age, but then again, I’ve never been one to abide to statistical rules. I’ll be that lady getting pregnant at 70.

Before you all go “oooo poor you“, I want to point out that the extreme shyness that has plagued me my entire life has cost me more friendships, more scholarships and more opportunities, caused more arguments and has made me miss more social events and classes at school than my physical limitations ever have.

Everyone feels for the girl who has trouble walking for a few months here and there. The shy girl, however, has many memories of being forgotten at random locations during school trips as a child. If I have a desperate fear of being left out or being left behind somewhere, it’s because it happened way, like way, too often. I’m sure that many of you reading this have had similar experiences. Us shy and/or introverted people tend to slide under the radar of even the most attentive individuals.

And before you all go “oooo poor you” this time, I want to point out that I actually live a pretty good life. School is a struggle and I hate it (I like what I’m studying, it’s the concept of classrooms and stuff that doesn’t work for me) but somehow I survived and after 10 years of college, I’m finally graduating this May, on condition that this constant feeling of tiredness doesn’t make me miss too much class. I’ve had fantastic jobs. I travel all the time, going to wherever my whims take me. When my body cooperates, I’m still fairly active, I walk at least an hour a day and I’ve done dancing, cheerleading, surfing, kayaking, rock climbing, canoe camping and the list goes on. As for being a quiet person, it’s taught me to listen and to be observant, two skills that have saved my arse countless times.

Escapism: A Friend or…?

Oh yes, this is a WoW blog, so I have to plug in WoW somewhere.

It’s no secret that escapism, and MMOs in particular, is used by many to cope with the limitations life has thrown at them.

Sometimes it’s a good thing. I’ve even had one of the therapists at school send me home with a prescription of emergency WoW time. (I must have looked pretty messy that day!) I’m no expert on the manner so don’t quote me on this, but rumor has it that gaming causes some dopamine (a brain chemical) release which triggers the brain’s reward pathways. An activated reward pathway is what you feel when you do something you’re proud of, when you have an orgasm, when you eat really good food or when you do drugs. That’s the main feeling behind psychological dependence, or addiction- the terms are more or less interchangeable. No, not all of these stroke the reward pathway as intensely as others. Obviously, it’s lot easier to become addicted to meth than it is to get addicted to spaghetti.

Anyway, I know firsthand that gaming can work as a painkiller (that’s actually what I do for that time of the month cramps when my prescription meds don’t work. WoW works better for me AND doesn’t put me at risk for stomach bleeds and kidney failure!) . For anyone, it’s a distraction from the tedium of every day life. For those who, for whatever reason, can’t leave the house as often as they’d like, MMOs serve as a gentle portal to the rest of the world.

But like anything, there’s got to be some sort of balance. While all of us here will swear on the Light that we’re not addicted, somewhere, out there, certain individuals lost that balance.

DENIAL is an acronym for Don’t Even kNow I Am Lying

When this fatigue wave first hit me, my thoughts immediately went to WoW. Am I playing too much? Is that why I’m exhausted?

I still don’t know for sure. I limit my gaming as much as possible to weekend evenings and raid times. I raid late at night: 10:30 pm to 1:30 am, but it’s only 3 nights a week and I nap 2 to 4 hours on most raid days. Yet, I usually (but not always) do feel better on the days after offnights. To which my reaction is OMG I COULDNT RAID ALL SUMMER I DONT WANT TO HAVE TO GIVE IT ALL UP AGAIN.

And what about the social?

There was an article in our school newspaper where the author spoke a bit about her internet addiction. Except she was addicted to news sites which is clearly more educational and socially acceptable than playing video games too much. Her criteria for addiction was “you’re late or no-showing to parties because of your online activity“. (Note, that has nothing to do with the real criteria for addiction/dependence)

Oh no! I thought in a panic. I no-show to parties more often than not! Then I consoled myself with the fact that I always show to parties held by people I genuinely enjoy spending time with. And when I do go to rare social-chore parties, I spend most of the evening hiding in the bathroom which is an embarrassing and relatively unpleasant experience, much, much less fun than playing video games.

I was feeling really relieved about that until I had my latest lecture (as in school lecture, not someone lecturing me) on addiction. The speaker, a former user in recovery, was explaining how, at the peak of her addiction, she didn’t care for a social life because the drugs did that for her. I asked my classmate if she thought that maybe WoW made me not like parties. She gave me a classic “how do you even come up with these things” looks.

A Caution about Judging Others

I don’t show many offline people my blog. And I go to great lengths to hide it from my mother. Not because I’m ashamed of my gaming, but because I love to stretch and abuse gamer stereotypes when talking about myself. Other WoW players recognize the exaggeration and distinct lack of seriousness. My mother, however, upon reading my blog, would panic and not sleep for about a week, then drag me by my ear to the nearest detox center.

I wouldn’t blame her for it: how I talk about the game just isn’t something that can be understood without some background.

But same goes for each other. Whenever a larger gaming site features an article about gamers who play a lot as a way to cope with mental or physical limitations, there’s always a debate between readers. Some say it’s great that MMOs can fill in the gaps caused by the player’s conditions, others say that such a huge amount of gaming would slow down or even prevent that person’s recovery.

Who’s right?

Either could be right, but there’s no way of knowing which. None of us know this person, none of us are this person and none of us have any idea of what they person is really experiencing. So none of us have any right to play doctor and pass judgment.

Yes, sometimes it’s a little hard. I’ll admit I once had a guildie I nicknamed Clara (from The Guild) because she played 20 hours a day and kept typing things like “my kids r so funny lol they thikn i no wat theyre saying wen they us babytak lol“. But still, not knowing her or what was going on behind the computer screen, it wasn’t right for me to make assumptions.

The Current Energy Budget

I wish I could pull off the 3 posts a week schedule I had last year. I wish I could play on the PTR and come back with armfuls of news. I wish I could play more hours outside of raid time. I was sure I’d be able to once I started school again because I finally have a lot of time to myself. Unfortunately, almost all of that time is spent asleep.

I’ve also picked up this annoying habit of being extremely long winded, so a single blog posts takes at least 4 hours to write. I have lots and lots and lots of post ideas, but I’m running low on ideas for posts that can be done in 1000 words or less. Yes, QQ moar.

Despite it all, though, I still want to blog and I still want to raid. I’m also determined to graduate this May no matter what. So I’m walking on that tightrope and I really hope that I keep my balance.

WoW on the First Date? A geeky chick’s take

September 11, 2010

My guildie Redhawks wrote a post about dating as a WoW player a few days ago. I’ve always found the stereotype of the WoW player who can’t find a girlfriend (or boyfriend! let us not be sexist or homophobic) to be silly in itself, because, as a singleton WoW player, I’ve encountered way, like WAAAY more players who are romantically committed than players who are single. The rare fellow singletons I’ve met tend to be either very young or, like me, too overwhelmed with life to have energy left over to give another person.

It’s been so long since I’ve had the urge to be completely silly. And what better way to be silly than to exaggerate one’s misadventures while exploring Western (and other) society’s 2vs2 team ideal. Smug marrieds (the term, as well as the term “singleton”, belongs to Helen Fielding but is so appropriate) can feel even more smug about having married their high school sweetheart at the age of 18 (because, you know, EVERYONE was attracted to other people and had a sweetheart in high school! …there were a total of 2 remotely attractive guys at my high school and I was too shy to talk to either of them) and other singletons can feel satisfaction in the fact that, no matter how hard they fail, there’s always someone failing harder.

The UI Theory

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty open about gaming. I’m just as open about my other hobbies. My rational is that we’re either compatible or we’re not. 98% of the time, I’m very satisfied with my IRL default UI. If I’m going to download an addon for it, it better meet my system requirements. No point in risking a wipe by teaming up with someone who’ll send my real life FPS through the roof.

And from what gamer guys say, you’d think that, as a girl, uttering the words World of Warcraft on a first date would equal instascore. To illustrate this, I’ve unscientifically guestimated the following statistics:

Yeah, you’d think that, as a girl, uttering the words World of Warcraft on a first date would equal instascore.

I won’t lie and say WoW’s never gotten me anywhere. There was that one time I crashed at a WoW friends’ house while on trip a few years ago…he offered to show me his WoW, I showed him my WoW, one thing led to another. What can I say? Neither of us could resist a well designed UI. I’ve also had a number on longstanding non-romantic friendships in real life! come from gaming discussions.

Buuuut, in general, WoW hasn’t gotten me very far.

This summer, it dawned on me that I was about to turn 26. I had a couple of collegues who were 26. They often talked about their husband, their children (yes, with a ren on the end), their permanent residence and their year-round job. Forgetting for a moment that I don’t even want any of that (ok, I do I want children, but pregnancy is NOT my thing, I’ll adopt, tyvm…and a year-round job would be pretty nice eventually, I am sometimes curious as to what it’s like to live above the poverty line), I panicked: “Oh noes! I haven’t even dated in years! I should give it a try again!

The WoWophobe

You’d be amazed what you can find on Craigslist.

Next thing I knew, I was face to face with someone who was slightly too young for me, but not enough for it to be creepy. He was cute, we had mountain biking and hiking in common and we were both casual about other outdoorsy sports. Then I cleverly brought up WoW.

Me: I saw the Prince of Persia movie last week. It actually reminded me a lot of the game.
Him: Yeah, movies based off of video games are pretty cool.
Me: I wonder how the World of Warcraft movie will turn out.
Him: My buddy had a girlfriend once who used to play World of Warcraft for like 9 hours a day. All she did all day was was play the game.

We awkwardly stared at each other for moment as we watched our rep with other person go down.

He did send me an email that night, but I never heard from him after that. I suspect he found my Twitter account and subsequently, my blog. (If you’re reading, hi!)

The WoWoholic

Of course, not everyone associates WoW with “crippling time wasting addiction”. Sometimes, the opposite happens.

Me: I play video games.
Him: Me too. I mostly play WoW.
Me: Awesome! I play a pal-
Him: I don’t really have a main though. I raid with one of my hunters, with my shaman and with two of my druids.
Me: Oh, I just raid with my pal-
Him: I’m not finished. I also have a level 80 rogue I used for pvp, and an 80 shadow priest, dual specced warrior, DK-
Me: Oh, I-
Him: and a 78 mage, and two warlocks that I’m levelling through LFD.

Jerk didn’t let me talk AND HE DIDNT HAVE A PALADIN. Like WTF.

The Geekier-Than-Thou Attitude

Sometimes it’s also hard to have both WoW AND other hobbies in common.

Me: That’s so cool that we both play WoW! What else are you into?
Him: I deeply appreciate extreme left wing eastern european cinematography.
Me: That’s interesting! I love learning about new cultures and languages.
Him: Negative, I possess no desire to aquire such knowledge, my primary concern is despair determined from the failings of our unscrupulous and inadequate politicians. I firmly believe in the revolutionary power of anarchy…
Me: Zzzzz.

Ok, he used way more words than that, but I kinda fail at bullshit speech. Besides, I lied in that description. My game crashed (read: I fell asleep) way earlier on. (I can’t be too critical though, I talk boys to sleep fairly often too.)

There’s also the geek who took his geekness a tad bit too seriously. He didn’t like that I played WoW, oh no. Apparently, WoW is to gaming what Lady Gaga is to music and what Twilight is to literature. Since I rather enjoy dancing to Lady Gaga and haven’t read Twilight, I’m not sure where he was coming from.

Sometimes it’s not you they want anyway

By the end of the summer, I was pretty discouraged. As lovely as a real life default UI can be, IRL guildies tend to pressure you in to getting relationship addons and nastily hint that maybe the reason you haven’t even had a fling in a year and a half might be because there’s something wrong with you. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense since there are a whole lot of ugly and not very nice people who are blissfully married.

Fortunately, I randomly met Gropey McGroperson one day. He wasn’t a gamer, but really didn’t care whether I was or not. He didn’t care about much, now that I think of it.

Him: Here, come stand closer, I can’t reach you.
Me: I like to play video games.
Him: You wanna come over to my place? My family’s gone for awhile, we’d have the place to ourselves.
Me: Oh, you probably shouldn’t put your hands there, it’s a little awkward with all these little kids running around. Anyway, yeah, I’m really into raiding, but I haven’t had a lot of time to play lately.
Him: You have such a nice ass, I can’t believe you don’t have a line of guys hitting on you already.
Me: I have 3 paladins. Um, no, don’t undo that button, we’re in public and it holds my pants up.

He got a little offended when I didn’t let him stay the whole night and wasn’t interested in seeing him again.

Him: But we have such a good connection!
Me: Sir, you and I have at least 4k latency. At least. That is NOT a good connection.

On the bright side, that probably extinguished my sex drive for the next year and a half. I’m no longer worried about there being anything wrong with me and I’ll certainly save on batteries.

As usual, Candace Bushnell has the answer

In the introduction to the edition of Sex and the City I read this summer, Candace Bushnell talks a bit about being single, dating, fantasies and eventually concludes that deep down inside, those of us who are single are single because we want to be.

I don’t think mentioning WoW makes a difference in dating either way, regardless of gender. All of my experiences have just reinforced my notion that we’re either compatible or we’re not. Human beings are way too complex to just be classified as WoW player and non-WoW player. To me, though, having a lot of common hobbies is really important so I still have no issues with bringing up WoW on the first date, whether it gets me anywhere or not. And not getting anywhere makes for better stories anyway.


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