Raid: Your numbers suck on Thok. Make them not suck.
We’ve been working on Heroic Thok for a few weeks now. The strategy has been worked and reworked, we’ve gotten into the flow of the fight and we’ll probably kill that big hungry (thirsty?) dinosaur on Saturday.
It was brought to my attention, frustratingly, that my healing numbers on that fight were, well, abysmal. I haven’t been looking at numbers lately – now that most of my cohealers consist of three disc priests and a shaman, looking at numbers is just asking for misery. (When all the disc priests are away or healing as holy, I can often squeeze into second place behind our shaman on the meters, but there’s no way I can get any impressive healing in with 3 disc priests in the raid. One cannot heal nonexistent damage and Illuminated Healing just doesn’t do the job.) But I’ll take their word for it. I’m silenced more often than not on that fight. I’ll believe any accusation of fail healing.
So. Paladin problem or player problem? And can I fix it?
Paladins and 25 Heroic Thock
The first thing I did was head over to World of Logs to see how the fight is going for everyone else. (See this post if you’re curious about my World of Logs searching procedure.)
I got rid of the Asian servers, because, well, their playing conditions are too different from ours and their logs are written funny. Then I had a look at how Holy Paladins measure up there in the US and EU.
As of today, Dec 13, 2013, in the top 800 parses, 22 were paladins (2.75%…If all healing specs were made equal, one would expect around 17% – 1 in 6 – representation). And here’s how the top 5 pallies did:
#363 with 326k hps, Dec 4.
#380 with 324k hps, Nov 27.
#561 with 299k hps, Dec 12.
#634 with 289k hps, Dec 3.
#645 with 288k hps, Dec 3.
If you look at the top 150 all pally ranks, HPS varies from 326k to 233k. Let’s have a look at other classes:
Disc Priests: 515k to 356k
Shaman: 458k to 314k
Druids: 380k to 278k
Holy Priests: 432k to 276k
Monks: 354k to 264k
It seems pretty clear to me that we are lagging behind, significantly when compared to Disc Priests and Shaman, and moderately when compared to the other specs. Which leads to the next question, what are the most performing Holy Paladins doing to avoid the bench?
Selfless Healer vs Eternal Flame
Out of those 22 paladins who made it to the top 800, 18 of those used the Selfless Healer style.
Honestly, having tried to heal the fight with Eternal Flame for a few weeks, I’m surprised any Eternal Flame users made it into the top. Silence much, anybody?
Quickly, I switched my talents. Then I was faced with another question. How, in the name of the light, do I heal like this?
I took the top 5 paladins (forever more known as “The Top 5”) and checked out their cast log. Thankfully, it was pretty unanimous and consistent throughout the fight:
[20:59:19.598] Light of Dawn (HoPo = 0)
[20:59:20.647] Judgment on Thok the Bloodthirsty (HoPo = 1, SH = 1)
[20:59:21.621] Holy Shock (HoPo = 2, SH = 1)
[20:59:22.644] Holy Radiance (HoPo = 3. SH = 0)
[20:59:23.506] Light of Dawn (HoPo = 0)
[20:59:24.444] Judgment on Thok the Bloodthirsty (HoPo = 1, SH = 1)
[20:59:25.454] Holy Shock (HoPo = 2, SH = 1)
[20:59:26.458] Holy Radiance (HoPo = 3. SH = 0)
[20:59:27.503] Holy Radiance (HoPo = 4. SH = 0)
[20:59:29.149] Light of Dawn (HoPo = 1)
[20:59:30.148] Judgment on Thok the Bloodthirsty (HoPo = 2, SH = 1)
[20:59:31.146] Holy Shock (HoPo = 3, SH = 1)
[20:59:32.289] Holy Radiance (HoPo = 4. SH = 0)
[20:59:33.269] Light of Dawn (HoPo = 1)
Regardless of whether the Jailer was up, or how far along they were in Thok’s screeching phase, each Light of Dawn was cast with 3 charges of Holy Power. The Judgement-Holy Shock-Holy Radiance rotation was flexible based on what was off CD (and possibly the needs of the raid). I noticed, as well, that Holy Radiance was usually cast with only one stack of Selfless Healer. (Two paladins, #2 and #3, I believe, were using two stacks of Selfless Healer during Holy Avenger. As far as I could tell, nobody else was doing that. #5 didn’t even use Judgement during his first Holy Avenger).
The Cooldown Usage
I picked this particular screenshot because it illustrates pretty much every cooldown strategy I noticed among The Top 5.
1- Beacon of Light Swapping: 3 out of 5 moved their Beacon from tank to tank, although at different paces. Note, however, that all 5 were the only paladin healers in their raid.
2- Pre-potting: Two of them (and maybe others, WoL doesn’t always catch buffs that are cast before the fight starts) pre-potted with Int potions. 3 of them used Int potions later on, during the second or third Screech phase.
3- All the Throughput CDs, ALL OF THEM. After Heroism/Bloodlust/Timewarp (BHT): Everyone waited for HBT to wear off, then blew their Holy Avenger-Divine Favor-Guardian-Avenging Wrath combo. Based on how long their kite phase was, some (such as the paladin above) used all 4 again on the second Screech phase. Those who had shorter kite phases used only Holy Avenger and Divine Favor during the second Screech, and everyone used everything again for the third Screech. Note that all the top pallies killed Thok during or right after the third Screech phase.
Another note on the throughput CDs – my copally and I experimented with CD timing last week and it is essential to wait for BHT to wear off before popping everything. You won’t heal worth shit of you pop anything during BHT.
4- Selfless Healer Stacks: The paladin on the screenshot hit 3 stacks of Selfless Healer twice. Which, as I mentioned in the last section, seems typical among the top 5. No one seemed to really worry about SH stacks.
5- Devo Aura: I suck and forgot to show Devo Aura on the screenshot. If you wondering, this paladin used it for each Screech phase. As for everyone else, it seemed to depend how fast they moved through the fight. Those who phase changed too quickly used their Devo during First and Third, or during Second. This is something to be agreed upon among all the paladins in the raid since Devo Aura really makes or breaks this fight.
On the condition that I am not benched this week in favor of one shaman and six disc priests, here’s the improvement plan:
1- Selfless Healer with Light of Dawn cast at 3 charges of Holy Power. Judgement-Holy Shock-Holy Radiance-type rotation.
2- Pre-pot FTW!
3- Wait until AFTER HBT to cast ALL THE CDs.
Wish me luck!