Shared Topic: Fringe Benefits of Bringing Classes to Raid

Or, in the perspective I’m going to take, how to make them want you (and your paladin) badly.

Here’s a Shared Topic that’s pretty timely for our class. It was suggested by death knight veteran Shop of Runeforge Gossip and you can see what bloggers from other classes had to say by checking out the grand collection of links thread at Blog Azeroth. Since this post isn’t being written at the last minute (yay!) you can even write about it yourself and post a link to it in that thread.

And while you’re in the Shared Topics forums, please do me a favor and suggest a Topic. PLEEEEEASE!

Right, so I still don’t have a computer. Which means no WoW for screenshots or facts checking. Also means no photo editing, so you’ll be stuck with recycled pictures. I’m sorry. I’ll try to compensate with more dirty jokes.

Meters are Backstabbing Jerks

The day after 4.0.1 dropped, a pally friend whispered me: “We’re still bad at raid healing, and now we’re bad at tank healing too. Anything we can do, every other class can do better. There’s just no point in bringing us to raids anymore.

Even after the hotfix, it’s no secret paladins are looking terrible on the meters. This may or may not have improved since my forced vacation from WoW. In a guild with a strong, knowledgeable healing team this doesn’t matter (I’ve yet to receive a single negative comment from my guildies) but out in wild wild PuGs with under geared tanks and incompetent co-healers, our weaker output on paper (or is it on screen?) makes us the innocent target of much abuse.

Death to the Mediocre Paladin

It used to sadden me (ok, that’s an understatement, it sent me into a blind rage) when people would complain about paladin healing being too easy before 4.0.1.

What is more accurate is that pre-4.0.1, paladin healing was easy to be mediocre at. Any moron could spam holy light and keep a tank up while looking great on the meters. The good holy paladin, however, saved many teammates with the clever use of their Hands and Holy Shock. Prevented wipes with their cooldowns. Could compensate for dead or incapacitated co-healers by creatively adjusting Beacon and Sacred Shield targets. Being good, now, that took perfect reflexes, excellent judgment and a deep understanding of fight mechanics.

I’ve raided with many, many holy paladins in my time. I can count the good ones on the fingers of a single hand.

Ok, so enough about the past, you say. What about now? How do I make them love me now? And, well, more or less the same as before. Except now mediocrity isn’t enough.

How to Really Shine as a Healadin in 4.0.1

1) Expect the worst. Remember that girl at Blizzcon who said dps shouldn’t be taking damage? She wasn’t a healer. Unless you’re raiding with Ensidia or some other high end guild (and you’re probably not if you’re reading this blog), people are going to be stupid and terribad in every possible way. And you’re going to shut up and appreciate the challenge. After sweating buckets healing a tank standing in the fire (or healing a 5 man tanked by a mage), you’re going turn around and say “thank you, may I have another“. Always come prepared for the worst case scenario. It’s the rationale behind stacking mana you won’t use up, behind keeping a cooldown handy, behind watching everyone’s health bar, not only your assignments’. Your job comes first, but preventing a wipe is a close second and is everyone’s responsibility.

2) Gauge each player. The tank in blues will risk being two shotted and will struggle with aggro. The overgeared hunter will pull aggro all over the place. The priest with ungemmed gear will be dead weight. When you regularly run with the same group, notice patterns in their behaviour. The DK tank who often runs out of line of sight. The bear who forgets to use his cooldowns. The priest who gets tunnel vision. The rogue that always runs to the wrong side. Knowing each player’s individual flaws lets you act preemptively, whether it be positioning yourself strategically, hovering your finger over a cooldown at the right moment or being ready to yell “PERSON A! OTHER SIDE!”

3) Use Your Hands You’ve got four of them! Hand of Protection (which you can read about in depth if you click the link) will keep those clothies up all night. Or at least during trash and adds heavy fights. Hand of Salvation, or should I say Handjob of Salv, will earn you the undying love of at least one dps. (I’ve always wanted a macro that whispers my HoSalv target with “Handjob of Salv on you…enjoy the afterglow!“) Hand of Freedom will shut up many whiny tanks who complain they can’t move. Hand of Sacrifice, though inconveniently needing to be paired with Divine Protection or Divine Shield (depending on circumstances), is still a powerful single target damage reduction tool. You won’t use it often, but when everyone else’s cooldowns are used up and all hope is lost, you’ll learn to love it.

4) Use the right Aura. A common oversight that needed to be mentioned. Your raid will remind you if you forget to remove Crusader Aura, but no one will tell you if you leave Retribution Aura up. Resistance Aura for magic damage fights (you can use it for pretty much all of ICC) and Devotion Aura for physical damage fights. Since you’re now the only person with Aura Mastery, you’ll want to keep up the Aura most useful to the current fight.

5) Blizzard gave you cooldowns for a reason. I love cooldowns. I love cooldowns a lot. I keep pictures of cooldowns in my locker. I cried when they took Divine Sacrifice from me. It leaves us with Aura Mastery as our only real mass raid mitigation ability. If you’re expecting a period of major damage (or of mass stupidity), save it. Otherwise give everyone a break and use it on cooldown. Single target-wise, you’ve got your Hands and also your Lay on Hands. With the new short cooldown, you can use it about once a fight now. It’s perfect for those EEKINEEDASPELLBUTNOTIME moments. Save a tank, lay your hands on them.

6) Bubble for the cure Simultaneous need to move and cast Divine Light? Bubble, cast, move. Don’t abuse Divine Shield, but in a pinch, you’ve got an extra 8 seconds of reaction time.

7) Dispell, dispell, dispell What more do I have to say? If you can dispell it, do so. Unless it’s the abom on Putricide. Don’t dispell that unless a wipe is called.

8.) Remember it’s a healing TEAM. If you know you won’t be able to keep the tank up, get a druid to spare some HoTs. If another healer falters, spare an instant cast on their target while they recover. Notice damage patterns. Share your observations. In a PuG, your efforts won’t always be welcome, but more often than not, they will be.

Finally, remember that timing is everything. What holy paladins are currently missing in mitigation and raw output, we make up for in precision. With short but powerful abilities like Hand of Protection or Divine Shield, with several instant spells that can prevent a two-shot and with a mastery that allows a small buffer to cover casting periods, your timing can make or break your gameplay and be the difference between a kill and a run back.

Get the right spells out and the right times, and you’re a machine. You can’t fix meter-obsessed idiots, but you can prevent a wipe.

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12 Comments on “Shared Topic: Fringe Benefits of Bringing Classes to Raid”

  1. shopshopshop Says:

    Woo, I’m a veteran!

  2. Jen Says:

    “People would complain about paladin healing being too easy before 4.0.1.”
    After healing on a druid for most of Wrath, a paladin was SO hard. Even after leveling a shaman and a priest to 80, paladin healing still felt extremely stressful to me. If I miss one HL the tank is dead? No buffer? Aaaaaaa! I haven’t even specced my paladin since the patch, it was that bad. Maybe if it’s changed so much it won’t feel like a nerf to me… maybe I’ll enjoy her again. (Though, reading your post, I’m still overwhelmed by all the cooldowns… I don’t love them.)

    • Ophelie Says:

      Nooo, don’t be intimidated by the cooldowns!

      Integrate them one at a time: start with Aura Mastery.

      Then move on to Hand of Protection.

      Then Lay on Hands.

      You’ll have it together in no time!

      • Jen Says:

        It’s just… ugh. Paladin spells have always confused me, even when I was ret and leveling (why do they all have the same name?!) and then I never got the hang of the healing cooldowns – i.e. thing that made your next spell crit, thing that made your next spells cheaper, Sacrifice thing you had to use together with another thing. I don’t think I even know what the Aura Mastery icon looks like πŸ˜› (but HoP is Clique-bound, so I do use that \o/)

        Either way, I’m still deciding what my paladin is going to do. Ret, for leveling and PvP? Holy, because you can never have too many healers? Prot, because my guildies will need someone to tank while leveling? My druid will be first to 85 anyway, probably followed by the shaman… so I’ll count on some nice people posting new healing pally guides before I give it another try πŸ˜€ I do like the new flashlight spell…

        • Ophelie Says:

          I’m thinking of leveling ret with a holy offspec, just because I really love soloing as ret. If I find I’m getting ganked or waiting too long for instances, though, I’ll go prot.

  3. Saz Says:

    “Even after the hotfix, it’s no secret paladins are looking terrible on the meters.”

    It’s been a while for me, since I too have been on a forced WoW vacation, but it’s always amazed me to see Holy Pallies catch up to or surpass the AoE healing power houses that have been Resto Shaman/Resto Druid/Holy Priest with their direct healing prior to ICC content. While I had been healing 10 mans though on my Shaman during ICC, I could easily surpass a Holy Paladin on the meters, seeing as though I was not only raid healing, but also keeping my shield and riptide up on the MT. Perhaps I was just a bit bored with the lack of healing to be done raid wise and ended up stepping on the Paladin’s job a bit. I did get my butt whomped on Dreamwalker though, pretty royally.

    I suppose in my eyes I’ve always taken healing meters with a huge grain of salt, mainly because unlike the “almighty” DPS meter, healing numbers simply have too many factors to be able to represent a player or even a class properly. Timing, incoming damage, mitigation factors (Priestly Disco bubbles FTW!), and sometimes RNG factors themselves almost never seem to show properly. In my mind it’s more of “Did I do everything I could to prevent so-and-so’s death?” Though, I am curious, if that is a shot of one of your meters, what types of plug ins do you use to show Power Word: Shields effectiveness?

    I really wish you had done this post about 6-8 months ago and I had stumbled upon it then! All of this info would have been incredibly precious for when I was forced to learn how to Holy Paladin heal, crash course style, in an ICC 25 (I was locked out of my account, I was supposed to lead a raid containing my guild and another, the boyfriend didn’t want to raid anyways…oh boy). All in all this has been a great read!

    • Ophelie Says:

      Thank you.

      That meter picture is photoshopped, it’s not an actual shot ^_^. With World of Logs, you can see the absorbed numbers of a Disc Priests shield by mousing over the player’s name.

      Healing meters always have been really fight and other healer dependent. After all, the amount you can heal is always capped by the amount of damage taken. Paladins shone when there was a lot of tank damage and druids/disc priests shone when there was a lot of raid damage. It’s just that from now until Cataclysm, paladins will look worse on the meters regardless, unless their co-healers are really, really bad.

      It’s great when you can take healing meters with a grain of salt. My guild doesn’t consider meters much either (other than for joking purposes), but whenever I hear horror stories from people in guilds with weaker healing teams or from people who pug, I get very sad inside.

      • Saz Says:

        Aww schucks, here I thought it was some awesome new(er) meter system! I keep meaning to look into WoL more, but I suppose with my lack of raiding these days it just continuously slips my mind.

        /Agree completely on healing meters. For some odd reason a lot of the AoE healing classes are beginning to have more tank healing abilities, while you Paladin folk still more or less still have just your direct healing set up. I’m really not sure about where Druid healing is going, seeing as though apparently they’re making a slight shift towards tank vs raid healing. I also still scoff a bit at Resto Shaman who brag about tank healing…it just doesn’t feel like the classes’ place to be doing such a thing. I guess Blizz is trying to homogenize healing a bit, kind of like what they’re doing with DPS, but sadly Pallies haven’t seemed to quite hop on the wagon. Some of these new changes have definitely been odd, to say the least.

        I’ve been fortunate enough to be apart of some pretty awesome healing teams (despite my certain lack of interest in the act…I love my wolves!), but I also have had the experience of “carrying” some pretty awful ones as well in PuGs. Those horror stories? They make me sad inside as well.

        • Ophelie Says:

          Actually, Resto Shaman were very strong tank healers throughout Wrath. Not as strong as pallies, but they made up for it by being better at raid healing than pallies. Druids have been versatile for as long as I’ve been raiding, but I’m not too familiar with class subtilities since I can’t seem to keep any interest while playing other classes!

          I’ve had some terrible co-healers too. I don’t notice them much in pugs (probably because I only pug content that I’m super comfortable with), but when I was in a casual guild I saw some pretty…interesting… things. Luckily, even in my casual guild, our healing leads were always very good.

  4. AliPally Says:

    …and don’t dps just love HoP now that they can’t click it off? No? Good! HoP – coming to an OP DK near you (and again, and again).

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