Level 40! Time To Get That Healing Offspec
I recently received my first email asking for paladin advice. I was super excited! Strangely enough, I get quite a few emails on blogging and writing styles (which I find both flattering and amusing since I’m a noob to blogging and my English education comprises of a few English Second Language classes back in high school), but for whatever reason, I’m very rarely asked about paladin stuff.
The question was from Mike, who has recently hit level 40 on his retribution paladin and was considering grabbing a healing offspec. He was looking for some recommendations and, in my enthusiasm, I replied with a wall of text he’s probably not finished reading yet.
After I hit the “send” button, I thought it would make for a good blog post. With everyone and their cousin leveling healers in the LFD system these days, I’m sure many players would benefit from some pointers. Plus, the last time I leveled a holy paladin was 4 years ago, so I’m sure you guys have stuff to add that I wouldn’t even have thought of.
So, after the cut is how I would go about building a healer at level 40.
I assume that all healing will be done in instances/group quests. In other words, not PvP. I would love to offer PvP leveling advice, but that would land me my first very angry email.
Also assuming the spec won’t be used for solo questing/soloing, I’d recommend this kind of talent point spending at level 40:
with the next talent point to be put in holy power (to get 5/5 holy power).
If you find that you’re always using Blessing of Kings and not Blessing of Wisdom, you can take the two points from Improved Blessing of Wisdom and put them in Aura Mastery and/or Improved Concentration Aura.
Glyphs are flexible, but the ones in the link are the ones I’d start with. Obviously, you don’t have all your glyph spots open yet so feel free to switch them around based on whether you need more output or mana. I prefer Seal of Wisdom as a first Major and Lay on Hands as first Minor, but your mileage may vary.
As you move down the holy talent tree, you’ll want talents that increase your casting speed (Light’s Grace, Judgements of the Pure, Infusion of Light), your output (Holy Guidance, Beacon of Light) and reduce mana cost (Divine Illumination). Also take Enlightened Judgements to make judging easier. After you have the Judgement of the Pure talent, you’ll want to judge at least once a minute to keep up a haste buff.
Once you reach the bottom of the holy tree, you can either go down the Protection tree (Divinity is nice while you level) or the Retribution tree for the crit talents (nice for 5 mans, especially if you run out of mana a lot).
2- Spells/Healing style
Level 40 is a good time to start getting familiar with reading green health bars and practicing your basic healing spells since you won’t be getting the gimmicky spells until way later on. Right now, you’ll have Flash of Light (little heal), Holy Light (big heal) and, with the spec I suggested, Holy Shock (instant but mana expensive heal). The key is to experiment with them to see how much they heal for and how big a dent they put in your mana bar. At lower levels, your spell choice will really depend on who ends up in your group. Low level players are all over the skill/common sense map, so you’re in for a great healing workout.
Also don’t forget to Purify (remove poison/disease) or Cleanse (remove magic/poison/disease after level 42) whenever you can. Makes healing sooo much easier.
Other spells at your disposal that you should have hotkeyed are:
Hand of Protection – Makes someone immune to physical damage but prevents them from dealing physical damage. It’s good to use on mages/warlocks/priests the second they pull aggro on physical mobs. I tend to keep mine on CD. Never use it on a tank (there are a few raid exceptions, but general rule is never, ever use it on a tank) and only use it on melee if you’re trying to teach them a lesson.
Hand of Salvation – You can put it on someone to reduce their threat. Good for melee that pulls aggro as well as clothies if your hand of protection is on CD.
Another cooldown you can use is Divine Sacrifice to transfer some of the party’s damage to yourself. You’ll get the most effect from it if you cast it when you bubble, but you don’t need to bubble to use it. A single target version of the spell is Hand of Sacrifice, but you’ll want to bubble for that one!
I’m assuming that by level 40, all paladins are in touch with their Lay on Hands spell (I would have lost my mind levelling my ret pally without it). Just in case, though, Lay on Hands restores the targets health based on your maximum health. It’s lovely. Use it and rejoice.
Keep a seal up at all times. Seal of Wisdom (especially if you’re using the glyph) will probably be your best bet, but if you find you never run out of mana, you can glyph for Seal of Light and keep that up instead. If you stand near mobs and melee them as you heal with Seal of Wisdom up, you’ll get some extra mana back. This is a controversial and often misunderstood trick, so expect some groups to protest. Also, play it smart, if on a specific fight being in melee range will hurt you, don’t stand there.
Adjust your aura as needed. Devotion Aura is the default. If your group isn’t taking much damage, you can use Retribution Aura. If the other auras are covered and/or the casters are getting beat on a lot, you can do Concentration Aura.
4- Building a UI
The most important part of a healer UI is your frames. In 5 mans, you can do fine with the default UI, but it’s a lot easier with addon frames. The most popular frames are:
I use Grid+Clique and I love it because I use it for my tanking abilities too, but others have had great experiences with Vuhdo or Healbot.
In a nutshell, Grid is just your frames, it tracks everything going on in the raid. You configure it so it shows what you want and how you want it. To cast spells by clicking/mousing+keying on someones name, you need to either make mouseover macros (my macros never work so I can’t help there!), or get the Clique addon which will let you can spells by simply clicking on someone’s name.
Whatever frames you use, you want to configure them to show the following:
- Health (they’ll all do that automatically)
- Aggro warning (super important, and good to have as a tank as well)
- Dispellable debuffs: Disease, Poison and Magic (Magic is after level 42) (ideally you’ll want those as an icon)
- Undispellable debuffs: Curses (just so you know to give a cursed person some extra attention)
Dristanel wrote a guide to configuring Grid
You should hotkey your spells to however is more comfortable to you. You should have your 3 healing spells on hand, plus HoProtection and HoSalv. You can bind HoSacrifice too, I don’t use it much, but I probably should. Later on, you’ll want Beacon and Sacred Shield nearby as well.
Some paladins choose to have Lay on Hands bound. I have a bad habit of hitting it by accident so I don’t have it bound to my mouse. If you never fat figure your spells, keep it close too.
Pally Power is another must have, but it’s not holy specific. If you don’t have it already, download it here:
Later on, it’s recommended to get a Beacon of Light/Sacred Shield timer (I use BOLT – http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/bolt-beacon-light-timer/download/408351.aspx) but you won’t need it for a few more levels.
I’m also a huge fan of Scrolling Battle text. It’s not necessary, but I personally can’t play well without it.
Layout wise, most healers like to have their raid frames at the bottom of the screen, below feet level, so they can watch their frames and the fight at the same time. I keep Power Power to the right of my screen, but you can put it anywhere, as long as its out of the way. I keep my BoL/SS timers next to my frames so I don’t have to move my eyes as much.
The rest is all practice
There’s only so much you can get out of a guide, the rest is exploring and experimenting. Healing is very much a personal thing. There are guidelines but every healer has their idiosyncrasies that make no sense to anyone else. Low level healing especially requires flexibility and willingness to adapt. No two groups are alike and you’re subject to the whims of the strangest players.
At any time, if you all alone and discouraged, I suggest you look to Vidyala at Pugging Pally to find a kindred spirit.Explore posts in the same categories: Baby Paladining, Teh paladin