5.0 & You: Talents, Glyphs and Playstyle Changes at 85

*** All content copyright © Kurn’s Corner, 2012. Reproduction of this guide in full or in part without express permission from the author (“Kurn”), represents copyright infringement and violation of copyright law. Please, if you like this guide, link to it, do not copy it. ***

Last updated: Monday, January 21st, 2013. (Live release 5.1.)

The release date of Mists of Pandaria has been announced. The new expansion will launch on September 25th, 2012. Blizzard tends to release a “pre-release” patch about a month before an expansion launches, which is where we’ll see all the new changes to the game that aren’t Pandaren (no monks, either) and nothing over level 85, nor anything of Pandaria itself. This patch was recently confirmed as dropping on August 28th, 2012.

However, the time between the patch and the expansion’s launch can be a difficult time as it means it’s probably time for most people to relearn (yet again) how to play their class or spec.

Holy paladins who primarily raid in PVE content, fear not. I shall attempt to help you through these troubling times!

Please note that all data was accurate as of Wednesday, August 29th, live version 5.0.4. For all of my tests, I was in gear with an average equipped item level of 407, with the following stats: 10,845 spellpower, 32.49% spell haste (2618 haste rating), 16.84% spell crit chance, 4013 combat regen, 13.82% mastery. I was unbuffed for all of the testing.

Please note that all data was accurate as of Beta version 5.0.4 build #15983. For all of my tests, I was in gear with an average quipped item level of 407, with the following stats: 11,044 spellpower, 32.49% spell haste (2618 haste rating), 17.13% spell crit chance, 3890 combat regen, 13.82% mastery. I was unbuffed for all of the testing.

THE SPEC

Congratulations. We have all the spells and abilities we really need already. Next section, please!

Okay, not really. While choosing Holy as your class specialization does mean you get all the basic tools you need, now we get to play with some optional talents and spells. We will only have access to five talent points, not six, when the 5.0 patch comes out. They are granted at levels 15, 30, 45, 60 and 75. The final point is awarded at level 90.

So which should you pick? Bearing in mind that this is tailored for the 5.0 patch (and not for when you reach 90), wherever possible, I’ve made efforts to make the talent and glyph choices specific to Heroic Dragon Soul raiding. (Mostly 25-man, mind, but 10-man holy paladins ought to find it useful as well.)

Tier 1: Speed of Light, Long Arm of the Law, Pursuit of Justice

Speed of Light is an instant cast with a 45s cooldown that increases your movement speed by 70% for 8 seconds. The downside is you have to hit the button.

Long Arm of the Law is a 45% movement speed for 3 seconds. It’s less useful because judging will not be something you *need* to do in the new 5.0 patch, although you can still do so if you wish (see below). The benefit is that you will almost always gain this movement speed boost when you cast Judgment (note the new spelling!), as long as it hits, that is, and can time it to avoid mechanics anytime you judge. (6 second base cooldown, 30y range, by the way, and the CD is affected by haste. In my testing gear, I had a 4.98s cooldown on Judgment.)

Pursuit of Justice is a flat 15% movement speed increase, which is tempting. However, the additional 5, 10 and 15% movement speed buffs all depend on if you have Holy Power. We shouldn’t really be hoarding Holy Power as healers, though, should we?

Heroic Dragon Soul Utility: Since all of them serve the same purpose (movement speed), you can use any of them for… running in or out of Black Blood of the Earth on Morchok, spreading out or collapsing on Yor’sahj, getting to your Black Phase spot on Zon’ozz, getting into position (either frost or lightning phases) on Hagara, no use on Ultraxion, really (unless you REALLY need to get your buff that much sooner), dodging fire and Shockwave on Blackhorn, no real use on Spine, no real use on Madness unless you have the Corrupted Parasite or you’re right NEXT to someone who’s about to drop their Corrupted Parasite.

Kurn’s Comments: I really like Speed of Light. On-demand with a short enough CD, with a really long duration and a whopping 70% speed increase. For those of you who enjoyed Divine Protection’s speed boost and damage reduction at the same time, you can macro these two together, as neither one is on the global cooldown.

Tier 2: Fist of Justice, Repentance, Burden of Guilt

Fist of Justice: This is exactly the same as our current Hammer of Justice, only it’s a 30s cooldown instead of a 1m cooldown. It replaces Hammer of Justice.

Repentance: At long last, any paladin can snag this talent and have the ability to crowd control things! Demons, Dragonkin, Giants, Humanoids and Undead are all susceptible to this. The major exception here would be Beasts. Best part of this? 15 second cooldown, but 1 minute duration. While I do not expect us to be able to Repentance something every 15 seconds and expect others not to break, it’s nice to know that if it breaks early, we are not necessarily screwed. (By which I mean, it’s not an interminably long CD the way Hex is.)

Burden of Guilt: Judgments will basically reduce your target’s movement speed by 50% for 12 seconds. This is what is called a “gap-closer”, allowing a paladin (or their PVP partners, etc) to catch a target.

Heroic Dragon Soul Utility: There is no need for either Fist of Justice, nor Burden of Guilt in Heroic Dragon Soul. To be honest, there’s no need for Repentance, either, unless you feel like CCing some trash for fun.

Kurn’s Comments: Since this is a PVE guide, Repentance is really the best choice for us. We still have Rebuke for interrupts (albeit now on a 15s cooldown, it looks like, and despite there is not a lot of interrupting to do in Dragon Soul), so Fist of Justice isn’t really needed and neither is Burden of Guilt for a PVE setting, probably. But if you’re running dungeons, you may as well snag Repentance. And if the raids have anywhere near the amount of trash that Bastion of Twilight did, this may be useful in a raid setting, as well.

Tier 3: Selfless Healer, Eternal Flame, Sacred Shield

Up until now, the choices you had available to you were not altogether compelling. As of this tier, your talent choices become much more interesting.

Selfless Healer: Every time you successfully judge when you have this talent, you’ll stack a buff on yourself that lasts for 14 seconds. This buff stacks to 3 (and refreshes to 14s every time you add a stack) and will, for each stack, reduce the mana cost and cast time of Flash of Light by 35%, as well as increase its effectiveness by 35% per stack — but only when you heal OTHERS. If you heal yourself, its effectiveness is unchanged, which basically is why it’s named Selfless Healer. (Yes, Kurn, it’s called reading comprehension.)

Here are some sample numbers from beta build #15983, at level 85 with an average equipped ilvl of 407 and 11,044 spellpower.

Flash of Light costs 7560 mana and, with no buffs and 32.49% spell haste (2618 haste rating), takes 1.13 seconds to cast. It healed me for 31,486.

1 stack of Selfless Healer: 4,914 mana, 0.736s cast time, 42,297 (non-crit)
2 stacks of Selfless Healer: 2,268 mana, 0.34s cast time, 52,683 (non-crit)
3 stacks of Selfless Healer: 0 mana, instant cast, 64,318 (non-crit)

Eternal Flame: This basically replaces Word of Glory. Using 1, 2 or 3 Holy Power charges, just like Word of Glory, you can heal a target; but there will be a residual HoT on the individual. At base haste levels, the HoT ticks every 3 seconds for 30 seconds. At my level of haste, 32.49% spell haste (2618 haste rating), it will heal people every 2.26 seconds for 29.43 seconds.

In testing with a 3 HP Eternal Flame, I healed myself initially for 39,212 and then had 13 ticks of it. The ticks were 4098 (5) or 4099 (8). Note that these ticks can crit!

That is 49,183 healing from the HoT and 39,212 from the initial heal, for a total of 88,395 healing.

Untalented, my Word of Glory healed me for 41,255.

What this means is that there is no downside to your upfront heal if you take Eternal Flame, unlike the old Flash of Light Glyph or the Glyph of the Long Word.

Bonuses: The Eternal Flame ticks can crit and each tick adds to your mastery shield on your target, also refreshing it to its 14s duration. Further, the ticks seem to be based on the amount of spellpower you had when you cast Eternal Flame, so if you have your wings up and cast an Eternal Flame with 4s left on your wings, the ticks will continue healing at the same rate as they did while your wings were up.

Eternal Flame does not stack with itself, though, at least not from the same paladin. As such, it’s well-worth putting on your raid frames to make sure you don’t waste the HoT portion. You don’t want to drop a 3-point Holy Power Eternal Flame on your tank while you have your wings up and then, 15 seconds later, do the same without wings. The lesser HoT will overwrite the stronger one. No rolling Eternal Flames like you’re a druid! ;)

Also, currently, the ticks can proc various things like Power Torrent, Seals of the Seven Signs, but will not add stacks to your Heart of Unliving spirit buff, for example.

Sacred Shield: Ah, the old Wrath of the Lich King spell is back, essentially, and is my personal favourite, sentimentally speaking, of course. It’s a buff you can cast on a single person that will absorb damage taken every 6 seconds and lasts 30 seconds. This is affected by haste. Again, with my haste level and spellpower, it will protect my target for 31.70 seconds, absorbing up to 12,729 damage every 4.53 seconds.

Heroic Dragon Soul Utility: While you may want to play with Selfless Healer or Sacred Shield, if you ever heal anyone other than the tanks, Eternal Flame is, at this juncture, the way to go. Period. You don’t lose any healing up front and you add a crapton of healing over time.

Kurn’s Comments: Eternal Flame. Which makes me really sad, because I love Sacred Shield. :( That’s not to say there won’t be times when Sacred Shield (heavy tank-damage fights) or even Selfless Healer won’t come in handy (when you have spare time to judge frequently), but Eternal Flame just adds to your throughput with absolutely no downside, apart from not being able to use Selfless Healer or Sacred Shield. I fully expect Eternal Flame to be nerfed TO THE GROUND. Or something. I would imagine they’ll either make the HoT tick for a shorter period of time or they’ll nerf the upfront heal a bit, if they do decide to nerf it. As of right now, there’s no reason to pick up either of the other talents in this tier for the majority of fights in Heroic Dragon Soul content. IMHO.

Tier 4: Hand of Purity, Unbreakable Spirit, Clemency.

Hand of Purity: 6 second Hand buff on a target that will reduce harmful PERIODIC effects by 70% for that length of time. It sounds good, but then you realize that many dots last upwards of 12 seconds. Shadow Word: Pain, at its base, is 18 seconds. Unstable Affliction is 14 seconds. Moonfire is 14 seconds. So while this might be a semi-useful buffer overall, more than likely, its aim is to buy you a bit of time until you can dispel someone. Cleanse now has an 8-second cooldown, so buying yourself 6 seconds of greatly-reduced dot damage is a bonus. (Don’t worry, we still get Sacred Cleansing, meaning we get the ability to dispel magic effects, it just isn’t baseline for any other paladin spec aside from holy.)

Unbreakable Spirit: Not really sure why this even exists, to be honest. For Divine Protection (1m), using 3 Holy Power brings the timer down by about 2 seconds. For Divine Shield (5m), using 3 Holy Power brings the timer down by about 9 seconds. For Lay on Hands, using 3 Holy Power brings the timer down by about 18 seconds.

In order to reach the maximum of a 50% reduction in cooldown for Divine Shield, you would need to use 50 Holy Power (obviously), but that means about 17 casts of a 3-point Light of Dawn or 3-point Word of Glory/Eternal Flame. Bearing in mind that not every cast of ours will grant us Holy Power, it can take a while to earn up enough Holy Power to make this useful. It may be useful on some fights where you want to us Lay on Hands more or Divine Shield more, but, really, in PVE content, it will be rare that you’ll absolutely need Divine Protection to come up a few seconds earlier, due to the 1m CD.

Clemency: Pretty simple and, also, awesome. You can use Hand of Freedom, Hand of Protection, Hand of Sacrifice and Hand of Salvation twice before their cooldowns come into effect.

Unfortunately, Forbearance is still caused by Hand of Protection, so you can’t BOP someone twice in a row without first waiting for Forbearance to drop off.

Heroic Dragon Soul Utility: Well, Hand of Purity is not really going to do a lot, not even on something like Yor’sahj, because the dot from Yor’sahj lasts a minimum of 12 seconds. So don’t bother with Hand of Purity. Similarly, Unbreakable Spirit is not, well, useful at all, not in comparison to Clemency. Clemency becomes useful because we do use Hand of Sacrifice frequently (at least, I do…) and it’ll be nice to BOP certain aggro-drawing resto druids (ahem, JASYLA) on Heroic Spine twice (over the course of a minute) before the Hand of Protection CD becomes active.

Kurn’s Comments: My choice is Clemency. Hands down. (haha, get it? Hands? Yeah, I blame Walks.) There’s just not much of a downside here. Hand of Purity is underwhelming in its current incarnation (although it would be overpowered if it were much longer) and Unbreakable Spirit seems as though it would be best used in PVP (for the reductions on Divine Shield and, I guess a couple of seconds off on Divine Protection), except that you can’t use Lay on Hands in the arenas… so colour me still confused about this talent.

Tier 5: Holy Avenger, Sanctified Wrath, Divine Purpose.

Holy Avenger: This is a talent that has a 2m cooldown and lasts 18 seconds. During the 18 seconds, any ability that GENERATES Holy Power will deal 30% more damage or healing AND generate 3 charges of Holy Power. It’s really important to note that this is not an overall 30% boost in damage/healing! I tried to test this out and got some pretty odd results. Bear in mind I had my own Beacon on me and was casting all of these on myself, which did generate the proper amounts of Holy Power. However…

No buffs:
Divine Light: 42,827
Holy Shock: 23,310
Flash of Light: 31,789
Holy Radiance: 16818

With Holy Avenger:
Divine Light: 40,756
Holy Shock: 30,452
Flash of Light: 31,712
Holy Radiance: 21,881

You can see that Holy Shock and Holy Radiance both get the appropriate 30% bump. Even though I had Beacon on me and was healing myself with Flash of Light and Divine Light (and getting the extra holy power), neither of those spells were affected by the 30% bump.

Similarly, Crusader Strike (now 15% of base mana, clocking in at 3000 mana at level 85) is affected by Holy Avenger.

Without Holy Avenger, Crusader Strike: 2,766
With Holy Avenger, Crusader Strike: 3,503

If they fix the bug on Flash of Light and Divine Light (assuming it is a bug and not just really stupid design), we can estimate wht those heals would be with the 30% bump.

Estimated non-crit heals with Holy Avenger:

Divine Light: 40,756 x 1.3 = 53,201.2 = 52,983
Flash of Light: 30,712 x 1.3 = 39,956.8 = 41,226

Remember, though — those would only on the beacon target and it may actually be intended that you don’t get a bump to healing with those spells on a beacon.

Sanctified Wrath: Instead of a 20 second duration on Avenging Wrath, it now lasts 30 seconds and while Avenging Wrath is active, your cooldown on Holy Shock is 3s. While this may not be worth it solely for the reduced CD on Holy Shock, the extra 10 seconds of 20% extra healing may propel this forward as the better choice in this tier.

Divine Purpose: When you spend Holy Power, you have a 25% chance to cause Divine Purpose. Divine Purpose means your next Holy Power ability won’t use any Holy Power and will act as though 3 Holy Power were consumed. Lasts 8 seconds. I played around with this a bit and found that it sometimes allowed me to cast Word of Glory twice in a row and it let me cast 2 extra (free) Lights of Dawn at one point. So Divine Purpose can obviously proc off of itself, at least in this build.

Heroic Dragon Soul Utility: Even if Holy Avenger weren’t broken in this particular build (since I imagine it’ll be fixed before August 28th), I’d go with the more-reliable Sanctified Wrath. We’re already used to using Avenging Wrath throughout the instance (hopefully!) so this won’t be a big change for us. We’ll just now be able to spam some more Lights of Dawn or Words of Glory/Eternal Flames. Alternatively, Divine Purpose is pretty decent, especially if it continues to be able to proc off of itself, but I know a lot of people like to get into a rhythm for their holy power generation and such and this might screw that up a bit. You’ll definitely want some sort of Power Aura or audio cue letting you know when this has procced (there’s an in-game one, mind you, but I tend to turn those off and rely on my own cues).

Kurn’s Overall Choice: Sanctified Wrath is probably what I’ll rely on. Note to self: Use Wings more frequently and stop being bad.

UPDATE: This Holy Avenger issue has FINALLY been fixed in 5.2.

GLYPHS

Okay, glyphs are changing. Gone are Prime Glyphs. We’re down to Major Glyphs and Minor Glyphs. Minor Glyphs seem mostly to be just neat little visual things. Major Glyphs are the ones that are really going to change your abilities.

First, let’s look at the differences between the current glyphs and the new glyphs with the same name…

Current Prime Glyphs (that holy paladins would use):
Divine Favor: Increases the duration of Divine Favor by 10s — does not exist in Mists
Holy Shock: Increases the critical effect chance of Holy Shock by 5% — decreases healing of Holy Shock by 50%, increases its damage by 50%
Seal of Insight: While Seal of Insight is active, the effect of your healing spells is increased by 5% — does not exist in Mists
Word of Glory: Increased the healing done by Word of Glory by 10% — Increases your damage by 3% per Holy Power spent after you cast Word of Glory or Eternal Flame. Lasts 6s.

Current Major Glyphs (that holy paladins would potentially use):
Beacon of Light: Your Beacon of Light costs no mana. — Removes the global cooldown on Beacon of Light. (Beacon has a 3s CD on it in Mists and will maintain that, even though it’ll be off the GCD while glyphed.)
Cleansing: Reduces the mana cost of your Cleanse by 20%. — does not exist in Mists.
Divine Plea: Your Divine Plea provides an additional 6% of your total mana. — Divine Plea now has a 5s cast time, but you receive 12% of your total mana instantly and your healing is not reduced. (This cast time is affected by haste.)
Divine Protection: Removes the physical damage reduction of your Divine Protection but increases the magical damage reduction by 20%. — Reduces the magical damage reduction of your Divine Protection to 20%, but adds 20% physical reduction. (This is basically the inverse of what it is right now. Baseline, it’s 40% magical damage. Glyphed, it’s 20% magical and 20% physical.)
Divinity: When you use Lay on Hands, you also gain 10% of your maximum mana. — Increases the cooldown of your Lay on Hands by 2m but causes it to give you 10% of your maximum mana.
Holy Wrath: Your Holy Wrath now also stuns Elementals and Dragonkin. — unchanged (note: categorized as “protection”)
Lay on Hands: Reduces the cooldown of your Lay on Hands spell by 3m — does not exist in Mists.
Light of Dawn: Light of Dawn affects 2 fewer targets, but heals each target for 25% more. — unchanged
Salvation: Hand of Salvation no longer permanently reduces threat over time but instead reduces all threat as long as Hand of Salvation lasts — does not exist in Mists.
Ascetic Crusader: Reduces the mana cost of your Crusader Strike by 30% — does not exist in Mists.
Long Word: Your Word of Glory heals for 50% less up front, but provides an additional 50% healing over 6s. — does not exist in Mists.

Okay, now let’s look at some of the new Major Glyphs. I’ll put in my recommendations at the end.

Avenging Wrath — While Avenging Wrath is active, you are healed for 1% of your maximum health every 2s.
Battle Healer — Using melee attacks while using Seal of Insight heals a nearby injured friendly target, excluding the Paladin, within 30 yards for 30% of damage dealt.
Beacon of Light — as listed above
Blessed Life — While Seal of Insight is active, you have a 50% chance to gain a charge of Holy Power whenever you are affected by a Stun, Fear or Immobilize effect. Cannot occur more than once every 20s.
Denounce — Your Holy Shocks have a 50% chance to reduce the cast time of your next Denounce by 1s.
Divine Plea — as listed above
Divine Protection — as listed above
Divinity — as listed above
Flash of Light — When you Flash of Light a target, it increases your next heal done to that target within 7s by 10%
Harsh Words — Your Word of Glory can now also be used on enemy targets, causing Holy damaged appromiately equal to the amount it would have healed. Does not work with Eternal Flame.
Holy Shock — as listed above
Illumination — Your Holy Shock criticals grant 1% mana return, but Holy Insight returns 10% less mana
Light of Dawn — as listed above
Protector of the Innocent — When you use Word of Glory to heal another target, it also heals you for 20% of the amount.
Word of Glory — as listed above

Heroic Dragon Soul Utility:

Battle Healer: I’m doing 100-200 or so damage with my white melee attacks, which heals a random nearby target for ~30-60. Crusader Strike hit for ~1385 and healed for ~416.

… pass. :P If you go ret and still want to heal, this glyph is probably for you.

Divine Plea: It’s affected by haste and we have plenty of opportunities to stand still for 5 seconds to regen 12% of our mana. It comes down to whether or not you want to heal (or can heal) at 50% effectiveness for 9 seconds or if you don’t bother healing at ALL for ~5 seconds (3.77s cast with my aforementioned haste). It’s all for the same mana return.

Divine Protection: I would only glyph this to add to the physical damage reduced for Morchok (Stomps are physical damage) and Madness of Deathwing if I was assigned to HoSac a tank for Impale, since our tanks each need one external cooldown on the third platform we do. I tend to die if I pop HoSac and either don’t pop my bubble (I prefer not to) or don’t pop a Divine Protection that is going to reduce my own physical damage taken.

Divinity: Well, 10% extra mana at the cost of another 2 minutes on my Lay on Hands… it’s not great, but there’s really not that much in terms of compelling choices.

Flash of Light: Ehhhhhhhhhhh. It would be hard to use this with Selfless Healer, if that’s what you’re thinking. What you would probably do, to get the most healing possible done to the other person, is:

Judge x3 (~10-12 seconds, depending on haste)
Flash of Light the target (full use of Selfless Healer’s 3 stacks) — I healed my target for 68,589.
Cast another heal on that target — I cast a Divine Light that healed for 49,189.
By comparison, without the 10% buff from Glyph of Flash of Light, I healed that same target for 46,343.

So the combination of mechanic and glyph works, but this is basically something that you would probably weave into your rotation after judging 3 times, and probably would be focused on the tank, because hopefully no one else is taking 100k+ damage.

The problem with that idea, though, is that Eternal Flame kind of blows Selfless Healer out of the water at the moment.

Illumination: This lowers the mana return from Holy Insight by 10%. Holy Insight allows 50% of spirit-based mana regeneration to continue while in combat. In the gear I’m in right now, at level 85, my in-combat regen in this beta build is 3890 mana per 5 seconds. Glyphed for Illumination, my regen goes down to 3512 mana/5 sec.

Check out Joe Ego’s Mana Regen post for more information on why the Glyph of Illumination kind of falls flat as spirit on gear scales up.

Light of Dawn: Great choice, still, for 10-mans. Still not a great choice for 25-mans.

Protector of the Innocent: I hated the talent. I still hate the glyph, but it works with both Word of Glory and Eternal Flame (albeit just its initial heal).

Kurn’s Overall Choices for Heroic Dragon Soul Raiding:
– Divine Plea / Light of Dawn (10m)
– Divinity / Divine Protection (for fights where I need 20% physical damage reduction) / Light of Dawn (10m)
– Protector of the Innocent / Light of Dawn (10m)

Uninspiring.

Note that the old Glyph of Divine Plea will become the new one, the old Glyph of Divinity will become the new one, the old Glyph of Divine Protection will become the new one, the Glyph of Light of Dawn is unchanged and Glyph of the Long Word will become Glyph of Protector of the Innocent. As such, all these glyphs should be available to us as of 5.0.

That said, I enjoy some of the new minor glyphs, which are not terribly useful in any raid-like environments we’ve seen in Cataclysm (unsure which, if any of these will be available at 5.0):

Glyph of Concentration: This is fun and, IMHO, pretty paladinesque.
Glyph of the Falling Avenger: No mage or priest handy for slowfall? No worries — pop your wings and gain slowfall!
Glyph of Fire From the Heavens: Judgment and Hammer of the Wrath crits show a Holy Fire effect. It’s cute.
Glyph of Righteous Retreat: When you’ve cast Divine Shield, you cast your Hearthstone 50% faster. So you bubble for 8 seconds and it takes 5 seconds to hearth. Bubblehearth is back!

HOLY PALADIN PLAYSTYLE

All right, worked your way through all that, have you? Good. Now, here are some changes you should be aware of.

1) No more Auras. They’re gone. Poof. As such, Aura Mastery as we know it is gone. All paladins (!) now have Devotion Aura (on a 3m CD): Inspire all party and raid members within 40y, granting them immunity to Silence and Interrupt effects and reducing all magic damage taken by 20%. Lasts 6 sec.

2) In place of our Auras on our bars are our seals — Insight, Truth and Righteousness. No more durations on seals, which is nice.

3) Beacon of Light now has a 3s cooldown, but it no longer has a duration. That sucker will stay on your target until they die or one of you leaves group.

4) Surprise, you can now store up to 5 Holy Power at once! You can still only use 3 Holy Power at a time, though. My new favourite move is to have 5 Holy Power, then Word of Glory / Holy Shock / Word of Glory. BAM.

5) Judging is now optional. If you have Selfless Healer, go for it. If you have Long Arm of the Law, go for it. Otherwise, there is no need to judge. At all.

6) Light of Dawn is no longer directional. No more facing people — it’ll just emanate from you and heal people around you who need it.

7) Holy Radiance has been redesigned: no more HoT component, but there’s still a splash effect.

8) Cleanse now has an 8-second cooldown, but not if you don’t actually dispel something. That means if someone dispels something before you do, you’re not on cooldown.

9) Fixed mana pools. Intellect no longer adds to your mana pool size. At level 85, I had 102,000 mana.

Rohan over at Blessing of Kings covers some of the more general changes in his post.

Kurn’s Conclusions

Overall, if you were comfortable playing a holy paladin in Cataclysm, you should be comfortable playing a holy paladin in Mists of Pandaria. The feel of, well, everything is pretty similar. The major difference for us is no longer needing to judge. Aside from that, Divine Protection doesn’t give you a sprint any longer, but you have access to your choice of speed enhancements in the first tier of the talents, so you’ll want to adapt to that. The fact that Beacon no longer expires is one less thing to keep track of, so you can basically set it and forget it.

I’ve healed a few runs of Temple of the Jade Serpent and Stormstout Brewery on beta and don’t seem to have much issue in terms of adapting to my newer spells/talents. It’ll be interesting to test them out in Heroic Dragon Soul, though. In particular, I am looking forward to hitting both my tanks with Hand of Sacrifice on Platform 3 during Heroic Madness of Deathwing, courtesy of Clemency.

*** All content copyright © Kurn’s Corner, 2012. Reproduction of this guide in full or in part without express permission from the author (“Kurn”), represents copyright infringement and violation of copyright law. Please, if you like this guide, link to it, do not copy it. ***

A Gear Post

I haven’t really spoken a lot about holy paladin gear of late. I think, actually, that the last post I wrote about it had to do with me stacking mastery to see how it would work out.

The Great Mastery Stacking Experiment lasted approximately two and a half weeks.

The whole reason I stacked mastery was because, due to various upgrades I had gotten, there was no way I could continue to stack intellect gems and still hit my ~1860 haste breakpoint to give me that 14th tick of Holy Radiance, given Judgements of the Pure being active, 3/3 Speed of Light (for 3% extra haste) and the 5% haste buff that can be gotten through a moonkin’s aura, a shadow priest’s aura or a shaman’s Wrath of Air totem.

Plus, there was a lot of chatter going on about mastery at the time.

So I reforged, regemmed and re-enchanted all of my gear to mastery. My gems were Artful Ember Topaz (20 int/20 mastery) and the only spot I didn’t have mastery were my boots, because I didn’t want to waste guild bank funds for Lavawalker for a mere 35 mastery rating.

It worked okay. I saw a distinct difference in terms of what I was capable of doing and I saw differences in tank squishiness. I do spend a LOT of my time just healing my tank(s), so why not, right?

However, as soon as I was able to hit my breakpoint again, thanks to more upgrades, I swapped everything back to full intellect gems, reforging to spirit and haste once again.

I did this for two major reasons:

1) I didn’t like the slow casts. While my (much beefier) mastery bubbles were doing okay at preventing tank deaths .5 seconds before my cast would finish, it felt as though I was casting through molasses. It was intolerable for me and it wasn’t something I ever got used to doing in the ~2.5 weeks I was stacking mastery.

2) The knowledge that I wasn’t able to help out with raid healing as much (and I don’t do a whole lot of it as it was or even is) was disheartening. I just didn’t like being pigeon-holed into a tank healing only role, which is hilarious, because THAT’S WHAT I DO.

But go figure, I suddenly felt as though stacking mastery was gimping me beyond what I was comfortable with and I didn’t feel a huge help from the mastery. It helped now and again, sure, but I didn’t feel as though what I was getting from mastery was at all worth all the intellect, spirit, haste and versatility that I was giving up.

So I went back to spirit and haste.

I got my T12 4pc a few weeks ago. It wasn’t my preferred four pieces, mind you.

In my T12 gear post, I had seen a problem. If one goes for the 4pc bonus, which piece should be the offset piece?

I had concluded that the gloves should be the offset piece, electing to pick up the Grips of the Raging Giant from Lord Rhyolith, primarily because the tier 12 Immolation Gloves have no spirit. Since our only 378 ilvl belt option, the Belt of the Seven Seals, also has no spirit, I decided to go with the Rhyolith gloves and aim for the helm, shoulders, chest and legs for my 4pc.

Picking the gloves as my offset meant not using the Clutch of the Firemother, which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is a very pretty piece of equipment, which is sad, but I was determined to have spirit on my gloves and I had plenty of haste to maintain my Holy Radiance breakpoint.

This was all done before I actually set foot into Firelands, mind you.

I ended up getting my T12 Immolation Headguard and then realized that if I bought the gloves, I would have my 4pc. So that’s what I did.

Behold, Divine Flame, our 4pc set bonus!

Too bad it sucks.

Looking over recent logs, over all boss attempts the other night, it did 1.2% of my total healing and overhealed 74% of the time. The most healing it’s ever really done for me was something like 3.3% and that must have been the stars aligning or something, because it’s usually around 1-2% of my total healing.

You can hear my initial reactions to the 4pc (and how underwhelming it is) on Episode 33 of Blessing of Frost.

Still, I figured, it’s free healing. That can’t be bad, right?

Well, when the heroic version of Clutch of the Firemother dropped on Tuesday night, I told Walks it was his if he wanted it, because it had never dropped on normal for him. He was reluctant and we both ended up selecting “Minor Upgrade” for it, which is an option you can choose within our guild that means that “I want this, but let anyone else who hit main spec for it get it before me”.

And I won it, with Walks insisting he wouldn’t use it until he got heroic shoulders off of Majordomo Staghelm — whom we haven’t even pulled on heroic yet.

So with the chest upgrade, I now have a choice: Break 4pc by keeping my Rhyolith gloves or keep 4pc by going back to my T12 gloves?

I’m going to break the bonus.

Let’s be clear: T11 tier was pretty terrible for us, but at least some of the T12 pieces are great. The helm and the legs, in particular, are fantastic from a holy paladin perspective. Your shoulder choices are tier (with crit as a secondary) or the ones from Beth’tilac (with mastery as a secondary), so I’ll go with the tier shoulders any day (slightly preferring crit to mastery). But the tier chest falls flat compared to Clutch of the Firemother if you’re not aiming for the 4pc.

If our 4pc were absolutely fantastic, I would have stuck to my gloves being my offset piece, but it’s really not that awesome. I do have all five tier pieces now, however, so I can swap things around a bit if I like, but really — Divine Flame recently did 27,000 healing total on a 6-minute heroic Shannox fight where I did 1.8 million healing.

I should probably go back to that gear post and plaster all over it that 4pc isn’t worth it, and maybe I’ll get around to that when time permits, but for right now, get your two-piece however you can (because that IS pretty awesome) and aim for your legs and your helm to be the two pieces you really hold on to.

Cataclysm Holy How-To #2: Spells and Abilities

*** All content copyright © Kurn’s Corner, 2011. Reproduction of this guide in full or in part without express permission from the author (“Kurn”), represents copyright infringement and violation of copyright law. Please, if you like this guide, link to it, do not copy it. ***

(Don’t forget to read my Cataclysm Holy How-To #1: Specs and Glyphs before reading this one!)

Once again, welcome to an updated article in my Holy How-To series! Today, we’ll be focusing on the spells and abilities holy paladins have at level 85 and we’ll talk a bit about how best to use each of these spells and abilities in a PVE setting. Please bear in mind that this was written during the time that 4.2.2 was on live realms and, as such, may become outdated with future patches.

Continue reading “Cataclysm Holy How-To #2: Spells and Abilities”

Cataclysm Holy How-To #1: Specs & Glyphs

It’s been almost a full year since I last wrote in my Holy How-To series. A lot has happened to the paladin class and, specifically, the holy spec since then. I decided that I’d go back to basics and re-write a bunch of my old Holy How-To guides from the Wrath era and update them with relevant Cataclysm information. Not all the guides will be re-written and those that will be are going to be written from the ground up. So here’s the first of my re-written guides: Specs & Glyphs. Bear in mind that the guide consists primarily of my own beliefs and opinions and is limited to PVE content at level 85 only.

Continue reading “Cataclysm Holy How-To #1: Specs & Glyphs”

Healing Alysrazor as a Holy Paladin

This isn’t exactly meant as a guide. It’s more along the lines of my personal experience,  so there will be lots of “this is what I do”s and “this is what I think works best here”s. I’m also going to assume you know most of the mechanics of the fight, at least from the ground perspective. That said, I think there’s some decent information I can share with you guys. :)

Alysrazor is one of the more difficult encounters in Firelands. In order to move past Baleroc to Majordomo Staghelm and Ragnaros, Alysrazor must be defeated. (You can, however, do the Alysrazor fight before or after Baleroc, that doesn’t matter.)

The first thing to know is that her name is not “Alice-razor”. It’s “Alysra-zor”. If you do the Molten Front dailies and quests, you’ll see that she was originally named Alysra and, upon being reborn as a firehawk, added the “zor” to her name. (Sorry. That’s totally my pet peeve.)

The second thing to know is that with the help of at least one Molten Feather, you can cast while moving! One feather increases your movement speed by 30% and gives you the casting-while-moving ability. Two feathers increases your movement speed by 60%. Three feathers (avoid this!) will allow you to fly.

If you aren’t asked to grab a feather as a holy paladin during the first molting of Alysrazor (which happens right after the pull), talk to your raid leader about how this will really, really, REALLY help minimize tank deaths. By the end of the second molting phase, everyone should have at least one feather, including tanks, which is hugely helpful for them to move their hatchlings around. However, no one should grab a feather until everyone on the pre-assigned air team gets ALL THREE of theirs to go flying around.

All right, that’s the really important stuff. Now, as to your assignment: as a holy paladin, you will almost certainly be asked to heal a tank. If this is the case, I strongly recommend beaconing your own tank for two reasons:

1) Positioning on the fight is extremely dynamic and the fighting area is quite wide. There are some combinations of placements that will result in the two tanks being more than 60 yards apart from each other.

2) Tower of Radiance Holy Power gains are pretty much wonderful on this encounter and I’ll get to why in a little bit.

Okay, so you should now be armed with the following knowledge:

– pick up a feather as soon as you can without screwing over the air team
– beacon your own tank due to positioning and range issues and holy power gains from Tower of Radiance
– it’s “Alysra-zor”, not “Alice-razor”. Seriously.

Healing the Fight

Right off the bat (assuming it’s not the first pull of the evening), you’ll be blasted backwards. This is a great time to have three Holy Power already charged. I like to hit Divine Favor and Holy Radiance, followed by a Light of Dawn here. There’s a significant amount of raid damage that you can actually help to heal up since your tank won’t be taking any interesting damage for the next little bit.

Move to one side or the other as Alysrazor flies down the middle of the area, because she has a nasty cleave. Run out and around her to pick up your feather.

During this time, your DPS should be collecting feathers to fly up or should be killing (and interrupting) Flame Talon Initiates. Cleanse Fieroblast‘s dot off anyone it hits while you wait for your tank’s Voracious Hatchling to, well, hatch.

Once the hatchlings hatch and are properly Imprinted on their tanks, this is where you start actually getting to do stuff.

For the most part, hatchling damage isn’t too bad on an adequately geared tank. The problems only show up during three situations:

a) When your tank runs out of your range (this happens a lot unless you’re actively watching them — ask for a mark to be placed on the heads of your tanks and keep an eye on them!)
b) When their hatchling throws a Tantrum.
c) When their hatchling applies Gushing Wound to the tank.

Situation A is easily remedied: watch your tank. Know that your tank has to feed their hatchling with Plump Lava Worms that are spawning in various spots in the fighting area. Anticipate where your tank might be going or have him or her communicate that to you. At the same time, you should be able to cast while running, so you should be able to adequately dodge the Brushfires from the Flame Talon Initiates and the Lava Spew from the Plump Lava Worms.

Situation B is also easily remedied: cooldowns! It’s probably best if your tank blows their cooldowns first and then you can pop Hand of Sacrifice when they run out of cooldowns. They can handle four tantrums per ground phase, since feeding a worm to the hatchlings will remove a tantrum, so work out CDs with your tank and/or healing team. Do not be afraid to blow Lay on Hands!

Situation C is probably the trickiest to deal with. Gushing Wound is applied to people standing in front of the hatchling (this should ideally just be the tank) and then bleeds continuously until the tank hits 50% health. The trouble is that they’re still taking melee attacks and can still stand in any of the various fire hazards in the fighting area at the same time.

This is NOT the time for damage-reduction cooldowns. You want to get the tank to drop Gushing Wound as quickly as possible and then need a quick burst of healing to pop him or her back up to a reasonable level of health.

Ideally, this is how it should go, although bear in mind that conditions are rarely ideal:

– Stop healing the tank immediately when Gushing Wound is applied
– Make sure you have 3 Holy Power saved up (by Holy Shocking others if you need to)
– As soon as Gushing Wound falls off, ideally, a disc priest will shield the tank to prevent much more damage for a couple of seconds
– You can then blast the tank with a 3HP Word of Glory. If Eternal Glory (if you have it) procs, hit the tank with WoG again, otherwise, cast a Divine Light (which may or may not have an Infusion of Light haste proc behind it from your slightly-earlier Holy Shocking to make sure you’re up to 3HP.)

The main thing to remember about Gushing Wound is that if you time a casted spell on the tank badly, you can’t interrupt it by moving! You’ll have to hit Escape to stop the cast.

If you get Gushing Wound coupled with a tantrum, don’t hesitate to blow Lay on Hands as soon as Gushing Wound drops off!

And if your tank just decides to stroll happily through fire while they have Gushing Wound or a tantrum on their hatchling, well, there’s pretty much nothing you can do apart from mock them for standing in fire.

And that is the first phase.

The next portion of the fight is all about you and living through fiery tornadoes. The hatchlings should be down by this point, so there should not be any healing for you to worry about.

Here’s a handy-dandy video I made with footage from a learning attempt on Alysrazor with my guild, Apotheosis and it’ll show you exactly how to deal with tornadoes.

Once that’s done, Alysrazor will crash to the ground and start rebuilding her Molten Power.

From 0-50 Molten Power, just make sure everyone’s topped off (especially your tanks who have a job at this point) and make sure to attack Alysrazor directly, since every attack done to her at this point gives you back 10% of your maximum mana!

From 50-100 Molten Power, she’ll pop up off the ground and should be tanked facing AWAY from the raid. This is where you probably have a job. She’ll be blasting the raid with fire damage from Blazing Buffet and so healer/raid cooldowns should be used at this time. I typically go with Aura Mastery, Aura Mastery, Power Word: Barrier, Spirit Link Totem and finish up with a Tranquility. So you’ll likely want to pop Aura Mastery at some point in here as well, depending on what your healing lead/raid leader has asked.

During this time, your tanks are taking damage from Alysrazor herself, so what I do here is I pop my Aura Mastery first, then I use Divine Favor again and Holy Radiance again, all of which is really done to help heal up the raid or help out with mitigation on the raid before focusing on whichever tank has aggro on Alysrazor first. In my raid group, the tanks swap after a few seconds (~10 or so) and so I watch for that and heal the other tank.

When she’s at 100 Molten Power, she throws everyone back, causing 50,000 fire damage and then takes to the air again, leaving behind a pile of feathers, so the air team can get back up there quickly.

After that, it’s essentially the same thing all over again, where you wait for hatchlings to spawn and then heal your tank smartly to make sure Gushing Wound falls off.

Tips:

– Glyphed Divine Protection is great if you’re chasing your tank. It’ll reduce any fire damage you take if you run through some while chasing the tank by 40% AND give you a 4s sprint, courtesy of 3/3 Speed of Light.
– You can bubble through any part of the tornado phase you’re not comfortable with, although I don’t think it’ll be up for the second if you use it on the first. (You should not need to bubble, in all reality.)
– Speaking of tornadoes… don’t worry about healing people through it. Chances are, if the hatchlings aren’t dead by now, it’ll be a wipe. An exception to this is if your tank’s hatchling is nearly dead. You might want to bubble here, cast Hand of Sacrifice and heal your tank through tornado damage so that the hatchling dies.
– You can pop Aura Mastery right as the pull happens to lessen raid damage then, too. It’ll be up for the clump phase once she’s grounded and gaining Molten Power.
– You might want to look into the Glyph of Lay on Hands since this is a long encounter. Chances are, if you use LoH within the first couple of minutes of the fight, you could probably use it again before the fight ends.
– As long as you can hold out until Alysrazor falls to the ground, you can abuse your mana pool, since you’ll be able to get back to full mana pretty easily once she’s burnt out. That might mean using some Flashes of Light here or there and that’ll generally be okay. I’m fine on mana both in a haste/spirit gear set and a mastery-heavy gear set.

Personal Comments

What I like about this fight is that it’s not a brute-healing fight. Tank healers on Alysrazor have to use some finesse! Gushing Wound makes what would ordinarily be a fairly boring encounter (in terms of tank healing) into a much more interesting one. I absolutely love that I get to be that “clutch heal” that gets the tank back up to 80%+ health as soon as Gushing Wound falls off. If I have an Infusion of Light proc while the tank has Gushing Wound, I’ll almost certainly hold on to it and endeavour to get that .8s or whatever Divine Light on to the tank the instant the bleed falls off. It makes me happy. :)

What also makes me happy is that I don’t suck at tornadoes. For once, there is a fire mechanic in this blasted game that I don’t actively suck at! In fact, I am really AWESOME at tornadoes! This also makes me happy.

What makes me less happy is air team members falling out of the sky to their deaths or tanks standing in fire damage, but it’s worth some of the frustration when these things happen because I know that by good play on my part, I am noticeably making the fight easier on other healers and keeping tanks alive.

Well, that’s about it from me on this fight. Hope this was helpful and I wish you all the best of luck in downing Alysrazor!

Ready to Wear: Kurn's Tier 12 Loot List for Holy Paladins

I should have done this probably about two weeks ago, but I can’t stand loot lists. At all. Still, here are the results of my research.

Please bear in mind this is all my own opinion and is skewed as such. This is NOT a definitive best-in-slot guide, it’s merely what I’ll be looking for.

This is the way I will be prioritizing secondary stats:

Spirit > Haste > Crit > Mastery

Why? Well, spirit will take priority in my secondary stats because of the rise in mana costs for Divine Light, Holy Light and Flash of Light, as well as the reduced cooldown on Holy Radiance. We’re going to be spending more mana, so I’m going to want more spirit.

Haste is what permits me to get that cast off just that much sooner. It is a stat that improves throughput by virtue of allowing us to cast more frequently and will also reduce the global cooldown, allowing us to get to casting our next spells and abilities more quickly, if we have enough of it. (We’re not quite there yet through gear and a couple of enchants alone. Maybe at the heroic T12 level or when T13 comes out, but we’re not there yet.)

Crit, despite the fact our crits will hit for double a regular heal instead of 1.5 times a regular heal, still is a bit underwhelming. Crit is also a throughput stat and we still need some of it for maximum uptime on Conviction, but crit is unpredictable at best and another word for overhealing at worst. Granted, it makes mastery look better, since if you crit with a Divine Light, you’ll make a much larger Illuminated Healing shield than you would previously, but it’s still not something I value terribly much.

Mastery, despite its recent buffs, still doesn’t thrill me. Sorry. You can read more about my thoughts here.

Things to keep in mind:

– There is a LOT of gear that is going to be available. I’m going to focus specifically on gear that is item level 378, although will touch on some other item levels.
– If things work the way they did in T11, you will be able to purchase your T12 chest, T12 legs and T12 gloves with Valor Points, as well as get a chance for your legs and gloves to drop from the new Baradin Hold boss, Occu’thar.
– If things work the way they did in T11, we can expect our tier shoulders and helms to be on the last couple of bosses in Firelands.
– The 2-piece T12 bonus is certainly worth it, especially considering our Tier 12 is much better itemized than our Tier 11 was. While the 4-piece hasn’t really been mathed out, let’s assume we’ll want to aim for it. Again, T12 gear is a lot closer to my itemization desires than T11 was, so picking up four pieces will feel a lot better than trying to get 4pc of T11.
– Beth’tilac, Alysrazor, Shannox and Lord Rhyolith are supposed to be done in any order. Once entering Sulfuron Keep, you face Baleroc, Majordomo Staghelm and Ragnaros, in that order. As such, I’ll be referring to drops from the first four bosses as dropping “from (name), one of the first four bosses” or “the fifth/sixth/final boss”.

One of my key research sites, the Best In Slot resource from Vile Pickle, is no longer being maintained and has been replaced by the WoW Best in Slot Resource. However, my holy paladin buddy, Walks, has shared with me and the other raiders of Apotheosis, this fun little site at it.headasplode.net, which allows you to sort by the various stats you’d like to see. I highly recommend it. Thanks, Walks! :)

So, here we go.

Tier 12/ilvl 378 Holy Paladin Loot List

HEAD

Immolation Headguard: Our Tier 12 helm is the best for this slot. Unfortunately, this probably also drops off Ragnaros, the seventh and final boss in Firelands. It’s beautiful, though. Beefy with intellect, spirit and haste, a red socket with a 30 intellect socket bonus… Oh man. I might be drooling.

Casque of Flame: Until you down Ragnaros, you will almost certainly want to grab this helm as an upgrade. The Casque of Flame is quite similar, in fact, to our tier helm. It actually has 19 more Spirit. Unfortunately, it has 211 mastery on it instead of 245 haste. Blah. With reforging to haste from that 211 mastery, you can get 84 haste on it, leaving 127 mastery on it. Still, this is also kind of deep into Firelands, dropping from Baleroc, the fifth boss in the instance. (Now I wish I had the heroic Glaciated Helm to tide me over. Alas!)

NECK

Heartstone of Rhyolith: Dropping off of one of the first four bosses in Firelands, Lord Rhyolith, this is probably your best bet for a 378 neck. You can reforge that mastery to haste and get 53 haste and 80 mastery.

Flowform Choker: Totally sub-par due to the lack of spirit and the presence of mastery. Maybe if you’re desperate? I don’t know. This is almost certainly meant for caster DPS. It drops off Majordomo Staghelm, the sixth boss of Firelands. No, wait, I’m not thinking. This is great DESPITE the lack of spirit because it’s the only one that has a socket and a red one at that. Drop 40 int in there and get a total of 277 intellect. If you’re waiting for an okay upgrade, grab the Heartstone, though, since this does drop from Majordomo Staghelm, the sixth boss of Firelands.

Firemind Pendant: Wow. More spirit/mastery. Roughly equivalent to the raid drop, this will do if you have 1250 Valor Points to drop. In fact, the Heartstone is only “better” in my mind because it has 18 more spirit. It’s a really small difference. Also, there are better things to buy out there with your precious Valor Points if you have access to the raid drop.

SHOULDERS

Immolation Mantle: Our Tier 12 shoulders are our best bet here, but again, they are almost certainly going to drop off Majordomo Staghelm, the sixth boss in Firelands.

Spaulders of Manifold Eyes: Supposedly dropping off Beth’tilac, one of the first four Firelands bosses, these will be a nice upgrade for anyone non-heroic T11 shoulders while they wait for their T12 shoulders. You can reforge that nasty mastery to haste and get 65 haste out of it, leaving 97 mastery on the shoulders.

CLOAK

Flowing Flamewrath Cape: Pretty sad, but this is the only viable option for us. It’s from the Avengers of Hyjal at Friendly reputation.

Who ARE the Avengers of Hyjal? Why they’re the new rep associated with the Firelands raid! This is separate from the new daily quest hub, which will reward Guardians of Hyjal rep. Avengers of Hyjal will work roughly like the Ashen Verdict from Icecrown Citadel in that you’ll only gain rep for it inside the instance. However, a blue post did say that you will NOT be able to grind your way to exalted by killing trash mobs.

CHEST

Immolation Breastplate: This will probably be purchasable for 2200 Valor Points and most likely will not drop from Occu’thar in Baradin Hold. It’s got a spirit/crit mix, but if you’re going for 4pc, you probably want this over the other breastplate we can get this tier. If you’re going for 2pc, this is not one of the pieces you want.

Clutch of the Firemother: Dropping from Alysrazor, one of the first four bosses in Firelands, this is a lovely piece. Its accessibility, since it drops from one of the first four bosses, makes it an easy upgrade, much like how the Breastplate of Avenging Flame from Magmaw was an easy chest upgrade for us in Tier 11. That said, you probably don’t want to wear this when you’re trying for your 4pc set bonus. It’s still a great piece, but you’re better off with your tier chest in the end. (That does not mean you should pass on this beauty!)

WRISTS

Bracer options? Seriously?! Yay! Too bad the itemization is still pretty bad.

Bracers of Imperious Truths: BOE bracers from Valor Points! Hallelujah and screw you, Cho’gall! These will be purchasable with 1250 Valor Points and will be obtainable shortly after the first week of 4.2, if it’s the first thing you’re going to buy with Valor Points. If Cho’gall never showed you love, pick these suckers up. Bear in mind that you should save an alt’s Valor Points for these rather than buy them on your paladin. Save those Valor Points for the BOP items on your paladin and pick these up either through the auction house or using an alt’s Valor Points.

Bracers of the Dread Hunter: Of course, you could also get a slightly worse (due to mastery) drop from Shannox, one of the first four bosses in Firelands.

GLOVES

Well, now, this is certainly interesting…

Holy Flame Gauntlets: That noise you just heard, that sounded like a choir of angels bursting into pitch-perfect, harmonized sound? Yup. That’s because of these gloves. They are fan-freaking-tastic. And yes, they are BOE. That’s because they are crafted and do NOT currently have a heroic version!

Mats are: 10 Hardened Elementium Bar, 40 Volatile Fire, 4 Living Embers, 3 Chaos Orbs and a partridge in a pear tree

The Living Embers are almost certainly a BOE drop from mobs inside Firelands. They may also be purchasable via Valor Points the way Emblems of Frost could buy you Primordial Saronites. But none of that is confirmed. The Chaos Orbs may or may not be BOP come 4.2, although smart money has them still being BOP. That means that these gloves are going to cost a small fortune. We won’t have a good idea of how much the Living Embers and Chaos Orbs will raise the price, but the bars and the fire aren’t cheap, either. At least the Plans: Holy Flame Gauntlets appear to be unbound…

So if you’re not rich, what’s your best option?

Grips of the Raging Giant: These drop from Lord Rhyolith, one of the first four bosses in Firelands. It’s a spirit/crit mix here, which isn’t bad, but they are not as amazing as the Holy Flame Gauntlets. Still, they’re about a hundred times easier to get.

But wait, what about our tier gloves? Won’t those be easy to get?

Immolation Gloves: Almost certain to drop from Occu’thar in Baradin Hold and probably purchasable with 1650 Valor Points, they’re easier to acquire than the Grips listed above… but what’s this? No freaking spirit. None. That’s our belt and our tier gloves with 0 spirit on them so far. So should we really get the tier gloves if we’re going for 4pc?

The possible combinations for maintaining 4pc are as follows. All numbers include reforging crit to haste or spirit, where applicable:

Tier Chest/Holy Flame Gauntlets

Spirit: 473
Crit: 135
Haste: 277

Tier Chest/Grips of the Raging Giant

Spirit: 481
Crit: 241
Haste: 161

Tier Gloves/Clutch of the Firemother

Spirit: 342
Crit: 106
Haste: 436

After looking at everything, I have to recommend you take the Tier 12 Chest and the Grips of the Raging Giant (which WILL have a heroic version) to get as much spirit as possible, with the Holy Flame Gauntlets as a good piece for you if you’re just hitting 85 and want to sort of catch up to current raiders quickly. If you are NOT having trouble with mana, go with the tier gloves and the Clutch of the Firemother.

WAIST

Oh sweet Lord. Our belt choices. Or rather, our singular choice for a belt. Say hello to the ONLY belt we can snag at the 378 level.

Belt of the Seven Seals: No spirit?! Augh! Take that 208 crit and turn it into 83 spirit and 125 crit.

But wait, that’s not all! The belt is only available from the Avengers of Hyjal and only once you hit Honored!

So, wait, let’s look at this. The only 378 belt with intellect in the game:

– lacks spirit
– is only available via raid reputation

Great. So not only is it difficult to get in the sense that you have to be part of a raiding guild or raid group, but it kind of sucks in terms of itemization.

At least there’s no mastery?

LEGS

Oh thank God we can follow up that epic failure with a piece of gear that is awesome.

Immolation Greaves: Intellect? Check. Spirit? Check. Haste? Check. Two sockets? Check. Probably easy to obtain? Check! These are awesome. Probably costing 2200 Valor Points or dropping from Occu’thar in Baradin Hold, they are certainly a very easy item to get in comparison to many others. Truly a huge upgrade for just about anyone not wearing the heroic version of the Legguards of the Emerald Brood and even then, it’s still a good upgrade. These legs are one of the first upgrades anyone should reasonably look at.

Legplates of Absolute Control: Likely dropping off of Shannox, one of the first four bosses in Firelands, I… well. I don’t really know why you’d pick these up unless you got supremely lucky on your first Shannox kill and they would be otherwise disenchanted or something. It’ll take a bit more than two weeks’ worth of Valor Points to get the tier legs or a lucky Baradin Hold drop, so there is a small gap between when these become available through Firelands and when anyone can reasonably attain their Tier 12 legs, but… chances are you want to overlook these, unless you are in 346/359 legs that are NOT the Legguards of the Emerald Brood, or you really prefer crit to haste.

BOOTS

Emberforged Elementium Boots. These amazing boots require 10 Hardened Elementium Bars, 40 Volatile Fire, 4 Living Embers and 3 Chaos Orbs, just like the awesome Holy Flame Gauntlets. These are amazing boots, but again, you’re going to want to be quite wealthy or lucky to get these. Again, they will NOT have a heroic version, so bear that in mind. I’ll also have to recommend these go to a newer 85 holy paladin who is trying to catch up to current raiders.

Treads of the Penitent Man: These are likely what we’ll end up using if we can’t afford the crafted boots and definitely what we’ll need in order to get the heroic versions, someday. They drop from Majordomo Staghelm, the sixth boss in Firelands. (Anyone else muttering to themselves over and over “only the penitent man will pass, only the penitent man will pass, penitent, penintent, penitent…”? No? Just me then? All right.)

RINGS

Quicksilver Signet of the Avengers: This is a ring every raider will eventually be able to acquire, since it’s from the Avengers of Hyjal once you hit exalted. The mastery sucks, but the intellect, spirit, socket and socket bonus are nice. Reforge the mastery to haste and you get 51 haste and 76 mastery.

Soothing Brimstone Circle: Uh, yeah, this is basically the only other ring out there at 378. There’s a caster ring, but there’s neither haste nor spirit on it, so stick with this one. This will cost you 1250 Valor Points.

TRINKETS

Still not much in the way of choices here, ladies and gentlemen.

Fiery Quintessence: Well, the name amuses me because I’ve had my fair share of Aqual Quintessences and still own an Eternal Quintessence. I really like that they’re not redoing Molten Core, but that we still have some references to that time. Anyway, you get this trinket at Revered with the Avengers of Hyjal. I’m not altogether thrilled by this one, but maybe the extra spirit will be useful, given our stupid belt situation. The on-use is also interesting and we may want to have a macro so we can use the trinket to precede Divine Plea’s cast, so we get the extra benefit of ~17k mana for the regen. (Note to self: Don’t forget to do that when you get the trinket!)

Jaws of Defeat: Geez, another on-use. This is a little more interesting, though. “Your next 10 spells cast within 20 sec will reduce the cost of your holy and nature spells by 110, stacking up to 10 times. (2 Min Cooldown)” Not really sure how that’s going to work out, but certainly the 383 Intellect will be very happy making. This drops off of Majordomo Staghelm, the sixth boss in Firelands.

Eye of Blazing Power: Another option is this one, from Alysrazor, one of the first four bosses in Firelands. Unfortunately, it seems to be not an exceedingly awesome choice for a holy paladin UNLESS it procs off all Light of Dawn hits. (Or all Holy Radiance ticks. But I’m not holding my breath.) Comments on Wowhead indicate a 45s internal cooldown (ICD), heals for 16kish, crits for 32kish, procs off HoT ticks, has a 40y range from the target of the original heal and it can heal pets. But if there are no valid targets in range, the ICD goes off, but no heal does.

RELIC

Singed Plume of Aviana: Pretty much the only choice we have here. Spirit and haste, though, so that’s of the happy-making. It’ll cost you 700 Valor Points.

WEAPON

Ko’gun, Hammer of the Firelord: Three guesses as to who drops this baby. ;) That’s right, Ragnaros, the final boss of the Firelands instance. Great itemization for us, too, with spirit and haste.

Eye of Purification: No idea where it drops, but suffice it to say this is AWESOME. A spellpower AXE? Sign me up!!! Pallies and shaman are the only casters/healers who can use axes, so no arguing with the warlocks and mages for swords and priests and druids can keep the maces… this is awesome! Sure, the stats aren’t as good as Rag’s hammer, but COME ON! A caster axe!

Lightforged Elementium Hammer: Yeah, it’s not 378 item level, but if you’re really hard-pressed to get something, there’s this as an option. It’s crafted and does not require any Living Embers.

SHIELD

Ward of the Red Widow: Again, just one real option for us, but at least it’s got good itemization. This drops off Beth’tilac, one of the first four bosses in Firelands. And its existence doesn’t make me so sad that I never got the heroic shield from Atramedes, because it definitely is much better in terms of itemization.

Conclusion

OVERVIEW OF VALOR POINT SPENDING

Okay, so assuming you are terribly unlucky in terms of drops and you’re going for the 4pc T12 bonus (with the chest, not the gloves), this is what you’re looking at:

Firemind Pendant – 1250
Immolation Breastplate – 2200
Bracers of Imperious Truths – 1250
Immolation Greaves – 2200
Soothing Brimstone Circle – 1250
Singed Plume of Aviana – 700

For a total of 8850 Valor Points.

I’d really recommend this order:

1) Immolation Greaves (great piece)
2) Bracers of Imperious Truths (yay bracers! You could also buy these or, better yet, use an alt’s Valor Points for these!)
3) Singed Plume of Aviana (only relic)
4) Soothing Brimstone Circle (one of two rings)
5) Firemind Pendant (if needed)
6) Immolation Breastplate (this can move up if you don’t get the Clutch early on or you get shoulders and want 4pc quickly)

BREAKDOWN BY BOSS

Beth’tilac

Ward of the Red Widow (Shield)

Lord Rhyolith

Heartstone of Rhyolith (Neck)
Grips of the Raging Giant (Gloves)

Alysrazor

Eye of Blazing Power (Trinket)
Clutch of the Firemother (Chest)

Shannox

Bracers of the Dread Hunter (Bracers)

Baleroc

Casque of Flame (Helm)

Majordomo Staghelm

Jaws of Defeat (Trinket)
Flowform Choker (Neck)
Treads of the Penitent Man (Feet)

Ragnaros

Ko’gun, Hammer of the Firelord

AVENGERS OF HYJAL REPUTATION REWARDS

Flowing Flamewrath Cape (Cloak – Friendly)
Belt of the Seven Seals
(Belt – Honored)
Fiery Quintessence (Trinket – Revered)
Quicksilver Signet of the Avengers (Ring – Exalted)

CRAFTED ITEMS THAT WILL MAKE ME VERY JEALOUS OF YOU (NO HEROIC VERSIONS!)

Holy Flame Gauntlets (Gloves: 10 Hardened Elementium Bars, 40 Volatile Fire, 4 Living Ember, 3 Chaos Orbs)
Emberforged Elementium Boots (Boots: 10 Hardened Elementium Bars, 40 Volatile Fire, 4 Living Ember, 3 Chaos Orbs)

Total: 20 Hardened Elementium Bars*, 80 Volatile Fire, 8 Living Ember, 6 Chaos Orbs.

* 1 Hardened Elementium Bar = 10 Elementium Bars (20 Elementium Ore) + 4 Volatile Earth
20 Hardened Elementium Bars = 200 Elementium Bars (400 Elementium Ore) + 80 Volatile Earth

SHOO!

All right, I think that covers just about everything, so get ready to enter Ragnaros’ domain and kick some ass. Remember not to stand in the fire; I’m sure there will be plenty of it!

Trolls and Gear and Paladins, Oh My!

On Friday, one of the tanks in my guild hinted rather strongly that he would like for my “baby paladin” (that is, the newly-dinged 85) to heal him and his friend through a Zul’Aman.

My first reaction was not only “no”, but “hell no”.

Then I realized I might as well. Apart from anything, there are epic bracers in that there jungle!

After completing the instance, I knew I had to write about the loot in the troll dungeons for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of Fetish Greaves. Let’s look at Zul’Aman, then Zul’Gurub.

Zul’Aman Holy Paladin Gear (4.1)

Before we look at the drops, there are two notable quest rewards. The first is a reward from Warlord of the Amani and it’s a pair of shoulders that are actually pretty sweet: Pauldrons of Ambition have spirit and crit and a red socket (10 crit bonus). The crit can be reforged to 59 haste.

The other quest reward is the Fetish Greaves, a reward from The Hex Lord’s Fetish, which requires you to kill Malacrass in Zul’Aman.

I hate these pants.

Yes, they are 353. Yes, they have two sockets. Yes, they have more intellect than any 346 legs.

They are still terrible.

Why, precisely, are they so terrible?

They have no spirit and no haste. As if that weren’t bad enough, they have a stupid amount of crit and mastery.

The person who created this item needs to be flogged. Its very existence insults me.

My top choice consists of the Greaves of the Misguided from Lord Godfrey in Heroic Shadowfang Keep. Spirit! Haste! Two sockets!

The Fetish Greaves have 21 intellect more than the Greaves of the Misguided, 209 crit, 171 mastery, 30 stamina and 60 more armor.

The Greaves of the Misguided, on the other hand, have 202 haste and 162 spirit.

But Kurn, you say, we can just reforge that nasty, nasty mastery off the Fetish Greaves, right?

Wrong. Assuming you want to reforge to spirit, you want as much of it as you can when you reforge. So because reforging is 40% of the stat, you want to reforge the larger stat to get more bang for your reforging buck.

40% of 171 mastery is 68.4, which the game will round down to 68.

40% of 209 crit is 83.6, which the game will round up to 84.

Thus, to optimize the pants by reforging towards a better secondary stat, like spirit, you would want to reforge the crit instead of the mastery, giving you an extra 16 spirit (or haste).

That leaves you with a massive 171 mastery. It makes me feel dirty not to reforge mastery, but reforging the crit here is the right call.

It’s also why those pants are complete garbage when compared with the Greaves of the Misguided. I would even choose the very lackluster Legguards of the Gentle from Justice Points over the Fetish Greaves. Like the Fetish Greaves and the Greaves of the Misguided, the Legguards of the Gentle have two sockets. Unlike the Fetish Greaves, they have 192 spirit and 172 mastery. That mastery can be safely reforged to haste, because we like spirit, so we don’t want to touch the 192 spirit at all. The mastery will end up being about 69 haste, which is still better than the Fetish Greaves, both in terms of spirit and haste.

So avoid the Fetish Greaves unless you are absolutely desperate and then keep running Heroic SFK anyways!

Okay, on to the drops!

Jan’alai drops Boots of Bad Mojo. Surprisingly, these are an outstanding option, what with the spirit, the haste and the gem socket. If you’re poor or don’t have the Valor Points (soon to be Justice Points in 4.2) to afford the Eternal Pathfinders, these are great. Even if you CAN afford the Eternal Pathfinders, these are still great boots.

I personally prefer the Eternal Pathfinders. It’s just a bit more intellect and you won’t find a better pair of boots in regular-mode Tier 11 raid content. Unlike the Eternal Pathfinders, the Fetish Greaves, which have more intellect than the Greaves of the Misguided, will be replaced in T11 raid content. The Eternal Pathfinders will not be, not until you get Heroic Omnotron Defense System down and you feel dirty and guilty for taking the heroic Life Force Chargers.

The spirit that exists on the Boots of Bad Mojo  is lovely, but after reforging the crit on the Valor Point boots, the ~92 spirit should not be terribly missed when using the Eternal Pathfinders, particularly once you’re gearing up in a raid.

The Boots of Bad Mojo are definitely a great piece, but only if you don’t have access to the Eternal Pathfinders or spirit is a serious issue for you.

Up next… Bracers of Hidden Purpose drop from Akil’zon. While gearing up Madrana, I had terrible luck in Grim Batol (both regular and heroic) and the Deadmines when trying to find bracers. Erudax was a stingy bastard for me on Madrana and I only ever saw the Gearbreaker bracers once. As if that weren’t bad enough, it took me nine kills to get the Shackles of the End of Days from Cho’gall. Surprisingly, also a stingy bastard.

Thus, I went from 316 bracers to 359 bracers on Madrana. No joke. (The baby pally was fortunate enough to get the bracers from Erudax on her first heroic Grim Batol after having run it on regular once.) That means that these would be GREAT, even if they sucked. Which they don’t, by the way. Bracers of Hidden Purpose can (and should) get the crit reforged to 48 spirit.

So definitely pick up the Bracers of Hidden Purpose until Cho’gall releases his grip on some sweet bracers for you.

How about rings? Do you need a ring? The Soul Drain Signet is perfect! It drops from Hex Lord Malacrass and is a fantastic ring to take with you into raid content.

Finally, what about a weapon? Daakara drops the Amani Scepter of Rites. A solid piece, despite the mastery. Grab it unless you have something of a higher ilvl.

And that’s about it of interest for us in Zul’Aman.

Zul’Gurub Holy Paladin Gear (4.1)

Ah, Zul’Gurub. My first raid instance outside of Upper Blackrock Spire! How I miss those bijous and coins and hilariously bad loot tables…

Ahem. Sorry. Right, on to holy paladin stuff in ZG!

While it’s not ideal, the Signet of Venoxis is a decent choice. The mastery can, and should be, reforged to  48 spirit. Rings are all over the place, to be honest — there are a lot of choices. This is a fairly cheap one in terms of in-game gold or Justice/Valor Points spent, so if it drops, from Venoxis, of course, snag it.

How about a shield? The Zulian Ward from Jin’do is okay, but it’s strictly okay. Why? No spirit. No gem socket. The Elementium Stormshield blows it away. If there’s no way you can get an Elementium Stormshield, this is a good runner up, but aim for the crafted shield.

Zanzil will drop a helm. The Plumed Medicine Helm is … well, it’s full of mastery is what it is. Sad panda. It’s still not awful, mostly due to the spirit and the fact that it has a meta socket. It’s only one of three pre-raid helms that have a meta socket. I still prefer Crown of the Blazing Sun from the Justice Point vendor, but if you’re short on points or this drops, grab it if you don’t have a 346 or higher helm with a meta socket.

If someone in your run has at least 225 Archaeology, you can summon an Edge of Madness boss. If you get Wushoolay, you have a chance at Troll Skull Chestplate. Given the plethora of choices at the 346 level, plus the fact that the Breastplate of Avenging Flame drops off of Magmaw in Blackwing Descent, the Troll Skull Chestplate is strictly “if you really can’t get lucky on a drop and can’t get to Revered with Earthen Ring” material.

Lastly, if you do ZG, you may come across the Spiritcaller Cloak as a trash drop. This is BOE (Bind on Equip) so even if you’re not in there as your healer, you can try to win it. No haste, but it’s a nice spirit option. Bear in mind that when 4.2 drops and you “need” a BOE, it will become soulbound to you, so watch out for that!

Don’t forget to read up on my pre-T11 loot list and my T11 loot list as well! (Bear in mind both are slightly out of date.) If you want to see what Madrana’s sporting these days, check it out here: http://www.chardev.org/?profile=5305

Tuesday Terrific-ness

Here’s some random news!

1) A commenter named Imak pointed out the flaw in my math/gem selection in my meta gem post from a couple of weeks ago. I double-checked the math and gem selection today (since I finally had a few free minutes!) and have edited the post. It doesn’t change the post substantially, nor does it alter my choice to want to try out the Revitalizing Shadowspirit Diamond, but my math on the Bracing and Revitalizing was wrong. I was thinking of the old green cut that was intellect/spirit instead of spirit/mastery, but basically thought the gem was intellect/mastery. It’s actually spirit/mastery. Whoopsiedoodle. So that’s fixed. Thanks again to Imak for pointing out my error and I’m sorry it took me forever to actually fix it!

2) Episode 4 of Blessing of Frost is out, guest-starring the tank officer of Apotheosis, Dayden. It comes in at a massive 95 minutes (!) and I assure everyone that our aim is no more than 1h15m for most podcasts. We’ve just had a lot to cover and we’re still finding our rhythm. Anyways, go listen and rate us up on iTunes if you like the show! :)

3) Madrana’s at 84 and 16%. Gotta finish up Deepholm and then go to Uldum to start Ramkahen rep. I’m really looking forward to dungeoning with the guildies, both normals and heroics. (I may be horrified at the possibility of heroic Stonecore, mind you.)

4) I was horrified to learn that the top guild on Eldre’Thalas, the Horde guild Echelon, is already 3/12. Gah. Time to get our asses in gear, even on 10-man. I’ve set up an unofficial 10-man raid for next Tuesday and I don’t even know WHERE we’ll go, but chances are we’ll try out Baradin Hold (is that even the name of it?!) and maybe play in Blackwing Descent. Time to make a splash!

And on that note, I should spend the next while before realms come back up studying strats for various entry-level bosses…

Kurn's Holy Paladin Pre-Tier 11 Gear List (4.0.3)

Welcome one and all to Kurn’s Holy Paladin Pre-T11 Raid Gear List. Before we begin, let me warn you that I hate writing gear posts. I don’t do it often and I don’t know if I’ll do a BiS at T11 or T12 or anything else, but I’ve gotten a lot of people asking me about gear and rep and everything that I really felt this would be useful. The biggest reason I don’t do them is that hey, who’s to say that I’m the person who knows exactly what to wear? And also, it’s a pain to insert all the links to all the pieces. ;)

So. Here’s the caveat: These are my opinions only. Please feel free to comment with pieces you’d use instead. Please, let’s not argue about the relative stat values of crit, haste, mastery and spirit. Feel free to say that you’d want more crit, so you’d want X, Y and Z pieces, but I don’t want to moderate an argument over what secondaries are The Best. The expansion’s been out for less than a week and it’ll take a little longer than that for the community as a whole to figure out what’s “The Best”.

Here’s how I’m planning to gear pre-raid. My ideal gearset is based heavily off Vile Pickle’s BiS guide, but tweaked to my own preferences. I’m prioritizing haste and spirit over mastery and mastery over crit. I’m also ignoring anything that wastes valuable item stat points on resilience.

The first thing I did at BiS was select:

Hard Mode
Normal Mode
Available
5-Man
Other Size

That turned up a variety of items, which I then looked at in turn. Note that I didn’t edit the filters and weights, because I like BiS’s weighting intellect and spirit more than haste, which is more than crit and mastery. Basically, the default filters at BiS reflect my own gearing philosophy very well.

Also, remember, do NOT downgrade to mail! This was viable and useful in Wrath of the Lich King and I’m sure we all remember clothadins from Vanilla and BC, but in Cataclysm, you’ll lose out on your Plate Specialization bonus!

Helm: If you’re not an engineer, you may want to save 2200 Justice points for Crown of the Blazing Sun as it’s one of only two pre-raid helms that has a meta socket. It’s either the Crown (guaranteed purchase) or the Helm of Untold Stories from Lord Godfrey in heroic Shadowfang Keep.

Neck: The Quicksilver Amulet is beefy with the stats I want: spirit and haste. You get it from Steelbender in heroic Blackrock Caverns. Of course, the Celadon Pendant isn’t bad either, although it has mastery as opposed to haste, and is much more easily acquired with 1250 Justice points.

Shoulder:
Harp Shell Pauldrons from Ulthok in heroic Throne of the Tides are the clear winner in this slot. Spirit, haste and a socket! A red socket! I’d dump a Brilliant cut in there anyways, and it gives me an extra 10 haste. Sweet.

I wouldn’t really use the Pauldrons of the Forlorn or the Cinnabar Shoulders. Why? The Pauldrons have spirit, a socket and crit, which is my personal least-prioritized stat at the moment. I wouldn’t use the Cinnabar Shoulders because there’s no spirit.

Cloak: Solar Wind Cloak from Rajh in heroic Halls of Origination is pretty much the be-all and end-all of cloaks at this level. Spirit and haste aplenty. It’s such a good cloak that even the regular version is, IMHO, worth using over other 346 items.

If you’re absolutely desperate for a cloak and cannot find one ANYWHERE, get the Cloak of the Dryads which is a rep reward from Hyjal at Honored. Since you’re a healer, you want to be at least revered with this faction, so this is one you can acquire pretty easily. (A note, as a human who did all of Hyjal, I got 8000 rep into Revered after doing the whole zone. Getting to Honored is not an issue if you do all of Hyjal and wearing their tabard at friendly if you don’t feel like doing the zone is a great way to build up rep.)

Chest: If you’re using the selections I did on the BiS site filter and you’re looking at chests, the third one that pops up is the Light Elementium Chestguard. Looks good, right? Pretty and purple and shiny? Well, not so much. There are no sockets, no spirit… and the crafting requires three Chaos Orbs. Right now, Chaos Orbs are BOP, so your crafter has to be the one to acquire them off the last boss of a heroic dungeon. So either prepare to pay through the nose for this or get to be buddy-buddy with a Blacksmith who’ll run with you.

A much better solution is the Peacemaker’s Breastplate from Revered with the Earthen Ring. TWO sockets, spirit and haste. Sweet deal. Don’t feel like grinding rep with Earthen Ring or doing Vashj’ir? A good alternative is the Omega Breastplate from Anraphet in heroic Halls of Origination.

Wrist: Geez, not a lot of options here. I’m going to try to grab Bracers of Umbral Mending (the regular version is also decent) from Erudax in heroic Grim Batol.

Hands: Since I went Hyjal at the start and don’t particularly want to grind Earthen Ring rep, even as a human, I’m going to forego the World Keeper’s Gauntlets in favour of the Gloves of Curious Conscience which are acquired with 1650 Justice points. Yes, there’s a lot more intellect on the WKGs, but the GoCC also have a socket and have haste. And they’re just so much easier to get.

Belt: And here’s the reason I don’t want to grind Earthen Ring rep for a piece with no haste. The Sun King’s Girdle which is an exalted Ramkahen rep reward is clearly best in slot for us pre-raid. Like, it’s not even a question. If you’re a Blacksmith or have easy access to a crafter, Light Elementium Belt (2 Chaos Orbs!) isn’t a bad choice, but I think you’re much better off grinding Ramkahen rep. If you don’t have time for a rep grind like that, Belt of Barred Clouds for 1650 Justice points is pretty good, just not as good as the SKG.

Legs: Another bunch of pretty poor choices here, which means we’re going to have to go kill Lord Godrey in heroic Shadowfang Keep again for Greaves of the Misguided.

Feet: So bearing in mind that we’re going to hit exalted with Ramkahen, the natural choice in boots for us will be the Drystone Greaves which you get at Honored. 333, yes, but better than anything else out there, honestly, at least from my gearing perspective.

Rings: Lots of choices here! So many that it’s kind of overwhelming. But basically the ones I’d probably say are easiest to get are these:

Ring of the Great Whale – a BOE drop out of heroic Throne of the Tides, meaning it should be on the AH
Diamant’s Ring of Temperance – a revered reputation reward from Therazane, with whom you need to be exalted anyways for your shoulder enchant

Trinkets: Man, I’m just drooling over some of these…

Darkmoon Card: Tsunami – The Solace of the Defeated of Cataclysm. Beauty. Unfortunately, this is a Darkmoon Card, so you have to collect the Ace, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven and Eight of Waves or a Tsunami Deck already assembled. This is NOT going to be cheap.

Tyrande’s Favorite Doll – This comes from Archaeology, so this may actually never be something you can actually craft, considering the randomness of the profession.

Okay, let’s stop dreaming. On to stuff that’s much more realistic.

Mandala of Stirring Patterns – This is an interesting trinket that comes from being exalted with your local Tol Barad faction. I’m kind of eh about it, but it’s definitely interesting.

Witching Hourglass – Ascendent Lord Obsidius in heroic Blackrock Caverns.

Rainsong – BOE zone drop from heroic Vortex Pinnacle. Pretty awesome looking, actually.

Tear of Blood – dropped from High Priestess Azil from heroic Stonecore. THIS is something I really want. But I’ve heard the horror stories about heroic Stonecore… :)

What am I going to use? I’m not sure, but one of them will likely be Figurine – Dream Owl since I’m a Jewelcrafter. You get these odd drops as a JC that push you to “restore” various figurines and this is the healer version. I have this one already and like it very much.

Since I’m an alchemist there’s also the Lifebound Alchemist Stone that I may swap in now and again just for the buff to mana potions taken and for the stam. Since World of Logs STILL hasn’t updated things, I still don’t feel I have a firm grasp on how awesome our mastery is, but I feel it’s a decent stat. Just maybe not in the trinket spot. For now, I’m using this with a 35 mastery gem as part of my ret set. (Seriously, Hand of Light -> Templar’s Verdict -> 3HP TV -> Hand of Light -> TV = win.)

Weapon: Forget the Elementium Hammer if only because of the Chaos Orb issue. Go for the Scepter of Power from Setesh in heroic Halls of Origination.

Shield: Elementium Stormshield is a great pickup. With only one Chaos Orb used to craft it, this probably won’t be too bad to get crafted or even to buy. If you can’t pick that up, 950 Justice points will get you the Shield of the Mists.

Relic: This is kind of a tie between three items:

Book of Dark Prophecies, from High Priestess Azil in heroic Stonecore, has spirit, but no haste.

Book of the Well Sung Song, from Vanessa Van Cleef in heroic Deadmines has haste, but no spirit.

Tattooed Eyeball, crafted by scribes, is likely to be much easier to acquire than the other two.

I’ll probably just go with the Tattooed Eyeball since my guild has a 525 scribe.

Other Gear Guides:

Here’s an interesting post by tuutti of Paragon: Holy Paladin 346 Gear Guide

A lot of the options we’ve picked are pretty much the same, although there are differences (and I don’t include PVP points, nor do I assume you have 4000 JP saved up).

Gortlol also linked his or her list here: Holy Paladin Pre-Raid Gear. Cataclysm.

So what does all this mean?

1) Get to exalted with Ramkahen & Therazane, revered with Hyjal
2) Run Halls of Origination and the Stonecore a lot on heroic
3) Check out the AH for those BOE heroic drops

Also, don’t skimp on gems and enchants for your 333/346 gear. This stuff is going to last you into raids. My guildies need to use blue gems and good quality enchants on this gear, and I recommend the same for everyone else reading.

What to gem and enchant? Well, that’s another post entirely…

If you’ll excuse me, I need to finish up Deepholm and haul ass to Uldum to start my rep with Ramkahen!

Lowbie Holy Paladin Guidance

After a discussion I had with Majik and Oestrus on the latest episode of Blessing of Frost, I thought I’d throw some thoughts out here with regards to lower-level paladins who are new rerolls and such. We’ll break this down into 5 sections: 1-25, 26-50, 51-75, 76-80 and 81-85. You can also refer to my 4.0.1/4.0.3 posts for advice at 80 to 85.

In each section, I’ll look at the talents available and the glyphs available. This advice is based on healing in a PVE environment, so levelling through the Dungeon Finder, primarily. You should ideally fill out the talents in the order I discuss them as I’m selecting talents that will help your overall healing output the most.

1-25

Here’s the Wowhead link: 9/0/0

Why those talents:

Tier 1:

– 3/3 Judgements of the Pure because Judgements of the Pure is awesome. Always pick talents that will increase your haste.

– 2/3 Protector of the Innocent because we need to get to Tier 2.

Tier 2:

– 3/3 Clarity of Purpose: Talent that reduces your cast time on two spells, even though you only have one of them at the moment. 3 seconds to 2.5 seconds on Holy Light? Yes, please.

– 1/2 Last Word: Useful talent. We’ll want to fill this out with our next talent point, as well.

Glyphs:

We get one Prime, Major and Minor glyph slot at 25, 50 and 75. Here we’ll go with Holy Shock, Lay on Hands and Blessing of Kings. Holy Shock because you’re using it all the time, Lay on Hands because it’s never a bad thing to reduce that cooldown and Blessing of Kings because our minor glyphs suck and that’s one of the ones that sucks least.

Tips:

– Always have a Seal up so that you can judge so you can get your Judgements of the Pure up! At level 30, use Seal of Insight and feel free to swap to the Glyph of Seal of Insight, or you can wait until level 50 for that, too.

26-50

Here’s the Wowhead link: 21/0/0

Why those talents:

Tier 2:

2/2 Last Word: Fill this out so you can get down to Tier 3.

Tier 3:

1/1 Divine Favor: A real cooldown to use that will increase haste and crit chance. Pop this when you’re in trouble.

2/2 Infusion of Light: Crit Holy Shocks lead to a much shorter cast time on Holy Light and, later, Divine Light. And this talent also gives us 10% extra crit to Holy Shock. Even if this didn’t lead to Speed of Light, this is beautiful.

2/2 Daybreak: A chance to get two Holy Shocks in a row? Yes, please!

Tier 4:

1/1 Beacon of Light: Beacon, also known as Bacon, lets you heal the tank (or another beaconed target, but typically the tank) while healing someone else. This is only 50% of the healing your target gets, mind you.

1/1 Sacred Cleansing: The ability to cleanse magic debuffs. Ecstasy!

3/3 Speed of Light: At this level, it’s just spell haste, yet again reducing the amount of time it takes to cast your heals.

Tier 5:

1/3 Conviction: This is a buff to healing based on your crits, so up to 3% extra healing based on your crits. You’ll want to fill this out with your next two talents.

Glyphs:

Prime: Seal of Insight (or put Holy Shock back in if you swapped it out at 30)

Major: Divinity (why not gain mana when you do use Lay on Hands?)

Minor: Blessing of Might (again, our minors suck.)

Tips:

– Have Seal of Insight up with the Glyph so that your healing is increased by 5%.

– Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse! You are one of two healers who can cleanse three kinds of debuffs, the other being druids. You can magic, diseases and poisons and resto druids can do magic, curses and poisons. So use your cleanse button!

– Typically beacon the tank and do not be afraid to directly heal your beaconed target.

51-75

Here’s the Wowhead link: 31/3/0

Tier 5:

3/3 Conviction: Fill out Conviction to bump up your healing done.

1/1 Aura Mastery: Ultimately, probably not the most useful talent in lower-levels, but play around with 100% extra resistance (with Resistance Aura up) or immunity to silence (with Concentration Aura up) for six seconds. Think of AOE Shadow, Frost or Fire damage. Or if a boss has an enrage and is doing physical damage, use it with Devotion Aura.

1/2 Paragon of Virtue: Divine Protection is a great button to prevent damage to yourself, Hand of Sacrifice is a great button to prevent damage to others and when you get Avenging Wrath, that’s a great button to help your output. This talent reduces the cooldowns on all these things. Pick this up at 1/2, we will definitely come back here.

Tier 6:

3/3 Tower of Radiance: Hooray, another way to generate Holy Power! This is why you shouldn’t be afraid to heal your beaconed target.

Back to Tier 5:

2/2 Paragon of Virtue: Here we go, pick up this remaining talent because it’s awesome and it can help us get down to our 31-point talent.

Back to Tier 4:

1/2 Enlightened Judgements: Now you can step back another 5 yards when keeping your judgement up. This is useful to get you the heck out of melee range.

Tier 7:

1/1 Light of Dawn: Hello, Light of Dawn! Our very own Circle of Wild Dawn! ;) This is our version of the holy priest’s Circle of Healing and the resto druid’s Wild Growth and even the shammy’s Chain Heal. Aim yourself at people. Hit the button (preferably with 3 holy power). Witness awesome group heals.

To the Protection Tree we go!

Tier 1:

3/3 Divinity: 6% increased healing. Bam, done. Eternal Glory is also an option, but mana should not be such an issue that you need the EG procs for more Word of Glory heals.

Glyphs:

Prime: Word of Glory (+healing)

Major: Light of Dawn (extra target, so up to 6)

Minor: Seal of Insight (see what I mean about our minors sucking?)

Tips:

– Get used to using Aura Mastery in various instances because it starts to get useful in BC dungeons and Wrath dungeons.

– Make sure you’re keeping Judgements of the Pure up. The extra haste is really going to come in handy in BC/Wrath dungeons.

– Make sure you’re keeping your Holy Power up and using it appropriately with Light of Dawn or Word of Glory as needed. Remember that 50% of each Light of Dawn heal will go to your beaconed target!

76-80

Here’s the Wowhead link: 31/3/2

To the Retribution Tree we go!

Tier 1:

2/3 Crusade: You’re using Holy Shock basically on cooldown. Increase its healing!

81-85

First, the Retribution tree:

3/3 Crusade: Fill this out for some awesomeness.

Back to the Protection tree:

2/2 Eternal Glory: This is where you end up learning how to use Word of Glory back-to-back when you get procs of EG.

And back to the Retribution tree:

2/2 Improved Judgement: Extra range! You now have a 35y range on your judgements, which is excellent.

So a level 85 spec looks like this:

31/5/5

Additional reading: 4.0.1 post /4.0.3 post

Hope that was useful for anyone who’s embarked upon the challenge of starting a new holy paladin!