DPSing vs. Healing

I started playing World of Warcraft in October of 2005, as a hunter named Kurnmogh. I primarily raided as a hunter throughout Vanilla, although I was certainly asked to swap to my alt holy paladin, Madrana, for several raids. (I remember healing Sulfuron and Golemagg in MC as Madrana, in particular, not to mention a couple of ZG clears and some AQ20 partial runs.)

When Burning Crusade came out, I dinged 70 on my hunter first. And then I didn’t really have any place to raid. So I dinged Madrana 70 and promptly got snatched up by a guild that was looking for healers. When that situation didn’t work out (8 of the 12 people on the main raid team in that guild got poached by another guild on the server), Majik, myself and a bunch of old Fated Heroes members (our Vanilla guild) formed Apotheosis.

Here’s the thing — I was so well-geared as Madrana, and we had so few healers, that I basically didn’t have a choice but to continue to heal as Madrana in raids.

It was okay. I wasn’t upset. It was very weird to me to progress as a healer, mind, but it wasn’t a problem for me. I just hadn’t really had the ability to choose what I wanted to do during BC. I mean, I wanted my guild to succeed, so I healed because I had the gear and because we needed healers. As time went by, I could have recruited another healer or two in order to replace me, but I didn’t. Over time, I’d made the decision that Kurn would get all the holiday titles and such (primarily for the free epic flying that came with the violet proto-drake) while Madrana would get all the raid titles and mounts and stuff. I’d made my peace with Kurn being my non-raiding character.

When Wrath of the Lich King came out, I was on the fence over what to do. I really enjoyed playing Kurn. I always had. So while I levelled Kurn to 80 first (as always, Kurn is the first to hit level cap), I was debating whether or not I’d raid as Kurn. Almost as soon as I dinged 80 on Kurn, I started levelling Madrana to 80. But I also dipped my toes into casual 10-man Naxxramas runs that my guildies were doing — as Kurn. I figured that it would be a good way to see if I wanted to change how I played the game.

It was the Abomination wing that made up my mind for me. We were trying to down Grobbulus. I’m sure most people in the 10-man raid were undergeared, not hit-capped and such, but we were dying to stupid things. People weren’t dropping things where they were needed to be dropped, adds were running amok and the like.

It was then that I realized that I was just one DPS. No matter what I did, I could not, single-handedly, kill everything. I was doing everything right and still, that was not enough. More to the point, it would never be enough. I, as a single DPS, would never, ever be enough to make up for all the other DPS in a raid situation.

By contrast, a single healer can make a huge difference. A massive difference. Our very first Vashj kill happened because I threw Lay on Hands on our sole remaining tank and it crit, buying us the precious few seconds we needed to get the kill. A well-timed cooldown here, a clutch heal there… Even one healer out of six or seven can make a huge difference, at least compared to one DPS out of 17. And, personally, I like being someone who really makes a difference on a fight.

Why am I talking about this?

I’ve been on a bit of an LFR binge. As of this writing, I have done all the LFRs relating to Tier 14 once. (And gained 5 Sigils of Wisdom and 8 Sigils of Power or something like that.) Of course, I’ve been doing these on my hunter, who has gotten a chunk of gear over the last few days. Madrana, much as I love healing with her, is still sitting pretty at 85, although it’s tempting to start the grind to 90.

We were on Wind Lord Mel’jarak and both tanks were dead by the three-minute mark. The fight continued for another four and a half minutes (total time was 7:22!) and I was literally mashing my buttons and trying to do anything I possibly could to get more damage out. At one point, I realized that was it: I could not put out any more damage. Everything (Rapid Fire, Murder of Crows, Stampede, agi potion, even my cat’s Rabid) was on cooldown and all I could do was wait for something to come back up and try to keep a perfect rotation while I waited.

As we whittled the boss down, I sat there thinking about how I could have made a difference as a healer. Maybe I could have kept at least one of the tanks alive. Maybe a druid would have given me Symbiosis, granting me a battle rez, allowing me to rez one of the tanks. The boss’ health kept dropping, I kept mashing my buttons and watching as OmniCC’s 1m started counting down in seconds on a couple of my abilities, rather than minutes.

Throughout it all, I knew that even that boost granted me by Rapid Fire and Murder of Crows was, ultimately, not the make-it-or-break-it portion of the fight. Even if the fight were extended by another 15 or 20 seconds, we would probably down it. Of course, it was LFR. In a normal or, more likely, heroic version of a fight where there are unforgiving enrage timers, DPS makes more of a difference. They have to put out a lot of damage or the entire raid will die. But even in those cases, I don’t think that I can ever feel as though I, personally, made a difference. Anyone can do damage. The fact that I’ve ranked on World of Logs on the majority of my LFR excursions, after not playing for 13 months, attests to that. ;)

There have always been jokes in my guild, and among my friends, that I’ve always wanted to raid as my hunter. I got teased a lot about it in Cataclysm as new people would join the guild and go “what the fuck, you don’t raid as Kurn but you want us to call you that and you refer to your non-raiding character as your main? What is up with THAT, you freak?!” (Well, perhaps they were a bit more polite than that, at least until they’d been in the guild for a while.) People made the assumption that because I wanted them to call me Kurn and because Kurn was my so-called “main”, that I wanted to raid as Kurn.

Nope. Healing is my preferred raid role. I could easily blame it on being used to healing, but that wouldn’t really be honest. I like being someone who is a difference-maker. That’s not to say DPS can’t make a difference, because they can — we had lots of people in Apotheosis whose presence would be the key to downing a new fight. But individually, I personally feel a lot more useful as a healer than as a DPS.

The fringe benefits (shorter queues for various content) are nice, too, but, for me,  it’s really all about keeping those other people alive so THEY can do crazy amounts of damage, as a solid group of 17ish DPS. As for myself, I’ll take being part of a kick-ass team of healers over disappearing into the huge group of DPS any day of the week.

As for my plans for the last three days of this trial: I have one mob left for the Glorious! achievement and I plan to try to do all of Throne of Thunder and Siege of Orgrimmar’s LFRs over the course of the weekend. (Wish me luck!) And I’d also like to get Gold Proving Grounds, too. :)

What are you doing in WoW this weekend?

What's New with Kurn

Hi, folks! I have had a heck of a weekend, first watching my brother (aka Fog) get married and then skipping his reception to fly to Toronto where I stayed overnight before grabbing a flight to Newark, whereupon Daey and Toga picked me up and then I got dropped off at the lovely golf club where Majik was going to get married — and I was a bridesmaid.

I’ll write up a post later, I’m sure, about meeting Daey, Toga, Dar, Kam and all the others, but I’m still exhausted from my 4 airports, 3 flights and two weddings in the span of 72 hours. (Add 11 hours of sleep in that time span to get a really good idea of how tired I still am.) Short version: Everyone was awesome and excellent and the 21 hours I spent in NY were not enough.

Also, I have a short recording from the post-reception afterparty that I will be using in a super special BONUS episode of Blessing of Frost! It is hilarious and I can’t wait for you guys to hear it.

In the meantime, I’m still writing up that how to be a kick-ass GM guide. Not done yet and I’m at nearly 27,000 words for the whole thing. The first module (about actually starting a guild and getting things in place) is just over 5,000 words and I think most modules average 5,000-7,000 words, although the How to Recruit module is almost 11,000 words and I am still adding to it, because recruitment sucks a LOT.

Anyhow, this is really going to be a complex, in-depth, modular guide and I hope you guys will enjoy reading it and learning from it as much as I’m enjoying writing it.

Oh, speaking of the guide… From this weekend’s post-reception afterparty: Dar told me that Daey was telling her that the only thing I need to include in my guide section about loot is “/roll”. Oh, Football. Never change.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this game called Healer that Megs pointed me to. Dar and I were talking about how we missed healing and I said that this game was really the solution to healing without playing WoW. It’s very, very similar to WoW healing and there’s even an Onyxia-type encounter. Dar ended up playing the game on my iPad post-afterparty for like, 20+ minutes and this game is the sole reason she actually wants a tablet now. (I think the game is only available for iPad, not iPhone or any other platform.) Time to start up a Tabletfordar fund. ;) The game is really neat and I quite enjoy it. Check it out if you have a healing itch. (Note, it’s $4.99, but I think it’s pretty well worth it.)

Okay, I should wrap this up as I have some errands to run and, clearly, lots of guide-related and Blessing of Frost-related work to do! Enjoy your 5.3 patch day, folks. :)

Better Late Than Never

Ladies and gentlemen of the holy paladin community… hello.

You are probably all caught up on this stuff, but since it was a lingering issue throughout the Pandaria beta and well into live, I thought I’d actually update here. Thanks to Ophelie’s post that reminded me I hadn’t updated the situation!

Shortly after 5.1 came out, I sent a note to Jacii, a holy paladin in Apotheosis. I was like, “dude, can you please do me a favour and see if they actually fixed Holy Avenger like GC promised they would?”

He happily obliged, for which I thanked him profusely. Then I got caught up in holidays and family and junk.

So here, now, are the results of Jacii’s testing:

Holy Avenger will now grant 30% extra healing to Flash of Light and Divine Light on the Beacon of Light target while active.

Additionally, they will continue to give you three Holy Power when benefiting from Tower of Radiance, when Holy Avenger is active.

Here are the averages of about 10 casts WITHOUT Holy Avenger active:

Holy Shock – 34,755
Holy Radiance – 25,674
Flash of Light – 46,791
Divine Light – 62,204

And here they are WITH Holy Avenger active:

Holy Shock  – 45,147
Holy Radiance – 33,421
Flash of Light – 60,999
Divine Light – 80,516

Jacii kindly also included the percentage differences, which means I don’t have to do math. Yay!

Holy Shock – 29.90%
Holy Radiance – 30.17%
Flash of Light – 30.36%
Divine Light – 29.44%

Obviously, the offsets here and there are due to heals healing for a RANGE of healing and not always, say, 35k, 25k, 47k and 62k. It seems as though Holy Avenger now properly grants 30% extra healing to all heals that grant Holy Power, as the tooltip indicates! Yay!

If you want to see the screenshots from Jacii, they’re all available here: http://imgur.com/a/pD0qr

Anyhow, my apologies to being late on this, but that pesky “real life” thing tends to get in the way an awful lot. :) Thanks again to Jacii from Apotheosis for getting me the info (like, six weeks ago) and thanks again to Ophelie for reminding me, however unintentionally. ;)

Lastly, Majik and I are still plotting planning our grand finale episode of Blessing of Frost. We’re looking for YOUR comments on what you liked best about Episodes 43-74! Recording will likely occur in early February, so get your comments in now! Tweet us @kurnmogh and @majjity or email us at podcast [at] blessingoffrost [dot] com. :)

 

BREAKING NEWS: Holy Avenger and Holy Paladins

Back in preparation for 5.0, I wrote a post where I talked about talents, including Holy Avenger. In it, I said:

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.

[…]

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.

So let’s look at Holy Avenger’s tooltip:

Abilities that generate Holy Power will deal 30% additional damage and healing, and generate 3 charges of Holy Power for the next 18 sec.

For a holy paladin, we can generate holy power in the following ways:

– Casting Holy Shock on any target
– Casting Holy Radiance on any friendly target
– Using Crusader Strike on an enemy target

… but we can also cast Flash of Light or Divine Light on a target with our Beacon of Light on them to gain holy power, via the Tower of Radiance baseline holy passive ability.

Now, if you were to use Flash of Light or Divine Light on a beacon target, you WOULD get the three holy power. Great. But you would NOT receive the 30% extra healing.

Since late beta testing and early 5.0.4 testing when I noticed this, I’ve been asking (bug report forum, beta forum, tickets, even tweets to Ghostcrawler) which behaviour is intended? The way I saw it, the Tower of Radiance heals were either incorrectly giving the extra holy power (if those kinds of heals are not supposed to benefit from Holy Avenger) or they were incorrectly not benefiting from the extra 30% healing bonus (if those kinds of heals are supposed to benefit). And I could not get an answer about it. Either way, it was buggy. Half of the tooltip worked on those heals, half of the tooltip did not. You see the issue, right?

Finally, today, Ghostcrawler responded to a tweet I included him in with the holy paladin in my guild, Jacii, who had been lamenting that he had accidentally kept Holy Avenger as a talent through last night’s raids after testing to see whether or not the Tower of Radiance heals did or did not benefit from it.

So he said it wasn’t intended to work with Flash of Light and Divine Light on a beacon target. Okay, that’s fine, that makes sense — but why, then, does it grant extra holy power?

I tested it on live servers and screenshotted the combat log and you can clearly see it IS giving me 3 holy power due to Tower of Radiance and Holy Avenger.

So there you have it, holy paladins. Holy Avenger WILL work with Tower of Radiance heals in 5.1. As to right now? Nope, still not working.

The first two heals are without Holy Avenger. Flash of Light hits for about 31k, Divine Light (non-crit) for about 40k. (Bear in mind this is on my pally at level 85 in heroic Dragon Soul gear.) The next three are with Holy Avenger and you can see that there isn’t a substantial difference between the first two heals and the last three heals (barring the crit, but if a crit is an increase of 100% from a non-crit heal, you can do math and see that the crit Divine Light wasn’t empowered either, since half of 82k is 41k).

You can see that though I’m gaining the extra holy power through Holy Avenger and Tower of Radiance, Flash of Light is still hitting for about 31k and Divine Light is still hitting for 40-41k, all before Holy Avenger fades.

CONCLUSION

Holy Avenger is still broken in terms of the healing bonus on live right now, but Ghostcrawler says it DOES work in 5.1.

So there you have it, holy pallies — don’t completely discount Holy Avenger once 5.1 goes live. I’m glad I was able to get in one last piece of important holy paladin information for you guys before my subscription ran out. :)

UPDATE: This has been fixed in 5.1.

First 5.0.4 Raid as a Holy Paladin

All right, I’ve had a night in Heroic 25-man Dragon Soul. I’ve also redone some of my testing and updated some numbers and such in my 5.0.4 guide.

The first thing I did after I recovered from the addon explosion in my UI was try to do an LFR. I zoned in and died on Ultraxion trash because, oh look, my addons were still exploding. (TipTac seems to have been my primary culprit, your mileage may vary.)

Once I got that sorted, I went back into LFR and zoned in for Spine and Madness. Apart from a wee bit of lag whenever the Burning Tendons popped up, things went fairly well. However, I realized two things:

1) Holy crap, I was burning mana FAST.

2) My UI was still insanely unhelpful.

So I did the following before my real raid:

– swapped to Heartsong on my Heroic Maw
– took out my 3x 67 intellect JC-only gems, replaced them with epic reds
– since I wasn’t getting the socket bonus on my pants anyhow, I gemmed all three sockets in my pants with the 67 spirit gems

Without Heartsong active and without any external buffs, that’s 4006 mp5 in combat, according to my character sheet.

With 10 stacks of Heart of Unliving and Heartsong active, that goes up to 4698 mp5 in combat.

I figured I was good to go.

Wrong. I still felt the pinch when I healed a bit too aggressively on Heroic Hagara (frost phase) and Heroic Blackhorn, not to mention Heroic Spine. We didn’t actually kill Heroic Madness last night, although we’ll be finishing that up tomorrow, but on our longest attempt, I felt the pinch on the fourth platform and into P2.

Part of it, at least on Madness, may have been our comp. We didn’t have a disc priest in the raid, so no barrier means more overall damage done since we had fewer people with damage-reduction CDs. (We could have bothered our rets or our prot to use more Aura Mastery Devotion Aura, but I know I didn’t think of it.)

Speaking of Devotion Aura, it’s better than Aura Mastery was, although we pay for that with an extra minute on the cooldown (DA is 3m vs. AM’s 2m). Why is it better? It works on Watery Entrenchment on Hagara. It works on Hour of Twilight on Ultraxion. These are two areas where Aura Mastery did zip.

Back to the instance… I think that it was more challenging than I suspected it would be, to be constrained to 100k mana (102k with the meta gem that grants you 2% extra mana) and to be careful not to overextend myself. I found myself in trouble a number of times. Thank goodness for Hymn of Hope sticking around as well as Mana Tide Totem!

Of note, with the redesign to Blessing of Might, I think all pallies need to bear in mind that we have a crazy amount of mastery just by virtue of being fully raid-buffed now. Illuminated Healing did a LOT of healing/absorption. Part of that might also be because I was making great use of Eternal Flame, which contributes to Illuminated Healing on each tick. (Remember not to overwrite a stronger Eternal Flame with a weaker one!)

I forgot, several times, that Light of Dawn is now a circle around you, not a cone, and I still have Judgment (new spelling) on my bars, although I should throw it away at some point. I’m not sure what I’d put in its spot, though!

So those were my experiences — I loaded up on more Spirit (but maintained an intellect flask with intellect food) and had a couple of sticky situations. I would recommend people be conservative to start their regularly scheduled content until they get the “feel” of the new size of their mana pools, too.

How was your first experience raiding in 5.0.4?

Deep Diving for Deep Corruption

On the Heroic Yor’sahj the Unsleeping encounter, you will certainly find yourself not wanting to kill the purple slime, or the Shadowed Globule, as it is properly named. (I’ll still be calling it “purple slime”, because I’m a rebel. Or something.) Allowing Yor’sahj to absorb the purple slime will cause him to affect the whole raid with one stack of Deep Corruption. This means that if you heal after that debuff has been placed on the raid, they will gain stacks of Deep Corruption. If they hit five stacks of Deep Corruption, they will do a lot of raid-wide shadow damage to the raid. On the 25-man Heroic version, that person will promptly deal around 95,000 shadow damage to each person in the raid.

Naturally, unless you’re trying to wipe, this is inadvisable.

The good news is that about 25 seconds into any phase where purple has been absorbed, the debuff resets itself, so you technically can heal someone more than just a couple of times over the entire course of the phase. One of the best ways to deal with this is to assign healers to specific people in the raid.

You may have already known all of this, but I appreciate you bearing with me, because now I’m going to talk about how to get a World of Logs parse to show you who That Guy (or That Girl) is who is stubbornly cross-healing or healing themselves or someone else when they shouldn’t be, which will stack Deep Corruption during a purple phase and will therefore explode. Every raid group has people who cross-heal or heal someone when they probably shouldn’t, so it’s important that you be able to ascertain who screwed up to nip that problem in the bud, or at least identify the actual problem, rather than insist everything will be fine if everyone just does what they’re told to do.

Plus, your healers (or DPS with self-healing abilities, or people who click the Lightwell when Deep Corruption is up) will be like “holy crap, how did they know it was me?!” when you whisper them and go “Stop cross-healing” or whatever. ;) It’s actually really quite simple, so let’s get started.

First things first, you need to be using World of Logs for these step-by-step instructions to work. It’s likely that you can figure it out with Recount or Skada, but I’m a logs geek, so that’s what I’ll deal with here.

Second, you’ll need to figure out if Deep Corruption ever blew up your raid. If you’re using something like Fatality in the raid, this will tell you why people died and who caused that damage, but I did say we were going to deal with World of Logs, so let’s start there.

Find an attempt in World of Logs where you’re fairly certain Deep Corruption went off. You can determine this by seeing if Deep Corruption caused any damage to your raid on the Dashboard page of a specific attempt.

Then go to the Friendly Fire screen for that attempt. Hover over the top-most person and if it says Deep Corruption, bingo.

In this case, there was a hunter who blew up the raid. But this is almost certainly NOT the fault of the individual who blew up the raid. How do you determine who did the healing to that hunter? Was it specifically the person who was on that group or was there cross-healing happening? Or something else?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… The Log Browser.

First thing to do is click “remove” on that Show all events query because otherwise you’re going to have every single thing that happened to your raid sitting in there.

Then, click on Add Query. You’ll see this pop up.

First thing to do is type in Deep Corruption in the Spell box, then hit Save. You’ll now see this on the main log browser page:


Next, hit Add Query again. This time, tick the “Heal” box in the upper half and then, in the Target box, type in the name of the person who dealt all that damage. While it wasn’t Kurnmogh, I’ll use my own name there to show you where to place it.

Hit Save. Your log browser screen should now look like this:

Now hit Run!

The lower half of your log browser window is now jam-packed with information. Here’s what you need to do.

1) Find when Yor’sahj casts Deep Corruption and it afflicts everyone in the raid. This may happen multiple times.
2) Find when Deep Corruption fades from someone and that person appears to hit people with Deep Corruption.
3) Look at the heals that person received between being afflicted by Deep Corruption and when it fades from them and they hit everyone in the raid with shadow damage.

Here’s what my log looked like:

I know, that looks like a LOT of healing. But it’s not.

The hunter receives 5 heals that add to his stacks before he blows up:

1) Priest’s Holy Word: Serenity
2) Priest’s Prayer of Healing
3) Priest’s Prayer of Healing
4) Druid’s Wild Growth
5) Priest’s Greater Heal

Boom.

For the record, Echo of Light (holy priest mastery) doesn’t add stacks, nor does Prayer of Mending, nor does the Glyph of Prayer of Healing, nor do the ticks of Wild Growth — just that initial hit of it.

While this post is mostly intended for 10-man tanks, it’s an amazing guide to what does and does NOT stack Deep Corruption on the Heroic Yor’sahj encounter: A Sunnier Bear: Heroic Yor’sahj Tanking Guide, so that’ll help. Also of note, apparently the heal from the Eye of Blazing Power Firelands trinket (and its heroic version) called Blaze of Life, is apparently currently causing stacks.

Anyhow, hope that helps diagnose some of your Heroic Yor’sahj wipes!

Late Night Math: Pets, Beacon and Heroic Yor'sahj

Apotheosis (A-25m-2/8HM, seeking casters and a resto shaman! </shamelessplug>) got Heroic Hagara down as a server-first and our next target is Heroic Yor’sahj the Unsleeping.

Assuming holy paladins are in the mix, a popular healing strategy is to beacon the tanks and heal the pets in the raid, because heals from Beacon of Light do not stack Deep Corruption and pets don’t receive stacks of Deep Corruption.

The question came up, the other day, about whether or not a hunter should use a Tenacity pet, who has the Blood of the Rhino talent. Would the lower DPS be worth 40% extra healing to a pet and then, ostensibly, 20% extra healing to the tank through Beacon of Light?

This was a popular strategy back on Valithria Dreamwalker. You would park a turtle or some other Tenacity pet with the same +healing talent basically on top of Dreamwalker or right next to her and you’d heal the pet for extra healing done. Unfortunately, this stopped being viable eventually when they fixed Blood of the Rhino to only affect the pet and no copied heals from that (ie: Beacon of Light).

But that was back in 3.3. Did 4.3 mean this was somehow working again?

I bothered Daey to get on his holy paladin, Saerani, while I was on Kurn and we experimented with him beaconing me and healing my pet. The first pet he healed was my cat, Whisper, who has no +healing talents at all, being a Ferocity pet.

So you can see here that Daey hits Whisper for 55355 (crit). This bounces to me for 27677, which is just half of that heal. (Yeah, I miss 100% Beacon transfers, too!) The same with the 27672 hit, that gets me for half — 13836. That is totally expected. This is the control for the experiment. Now let’s look at Daey healing my bear, Fozzie.

First, note that the non-crit heal hits for 40,102. Based on the heals Whisper got, it’s clear that Fozzie has the Blood of the Rhino talent if it hit him for a 40k non-crit.

But then you see that the heal to me was only 14322.

MATH TIME.

14322 x2 = 28644 x 1.4 = 40,101.6 = 40,102.

So the original heal size, without the Blood of the Rhino bonus was 28644. With the 40% extra healing, we get 40,101.6 (rounded up to 40,102). If this +healing did transfer through Beacon of Light, we wouldn’t see me being healed for half of the original heal’s size. We would see it be half of the final heal’s size. The final heal was 40,102, so we would be looking for 20,051 as the heal that I got. But alas, I was only healed for 14,322.

Let’s see how this holds up with the next heal.

Fozzie is healed for 71865. I get healed for 25666.

25666 x2 = 51,332 x 1.4 = 71,864.8 = 71,865

Yup, same deal.

So it’s quite clear — Blood of the Rhino does not transfer any extra +healing from the pet to the Beacon of Light target. As such, on the Heroic Yor’sahj the Unsleeping encounter, I do encourage you to beacon the tanks and heal the pets, but don’t gimp your hunters’ DPS by forcing them to bring a Tenacity pet to the raid. Their regular pet will do exactly the same thing a Tenacity pet will.

Co-operation vs. Competition

Anyone who’s healed with me, particularly with me as their healing lead, knows that I do not put a huge emphasis on numbers while healing. I don’t care who’s topping the healing meters, I don’t care who’s at the bottom. I take those numbers in stride and I don’t sweat it, so long as people are not dying due to lack of healing.

This is because I care more about defeating the encounter as a team than topping the meters. I don’t even have Recount or Skada up most of the time because I don’t want to focus on numbers. If I have it up, it is almost certainly as a quick diagnostic tool for after the pull, so I can see if people were respecting their assignments.

Please bear in mind that I’m not saying it’s not important to do your best on an encounter, but it’s not doing your best, for example, to allow Gushing Wound to stay on the tank during Alysrazor, just so you’ll have more healing to do. That’s padding the numbers and artificially inflating them at the risk of killing your tank.

At this point in the expansion, after having raided for several months with my own healing team in Apotheosis (up to a year in some cases), I just flat-out don’t care which of us tops the meters or which of us (that would be me) is occasionally outhealed by our DK tank. (Actually, that was all of us on Baleroc, sometimes…!)

My healing roster in Apotheosis currently consists of: 2 holy paladins, 2 resto druids, 1 disc priest, 1 holy priest and 2 resto shaman (one is in his trial). But I don’t look at them and say “oh, holy priest, huge buffs, God, I hate Sara for having a more powerful healing cooldown!!” Nor do I look over at Walks and curse at him for grasping holy paladin raid healing better than myself. Nor do I gripe about Kal and her amazing bubbles on the tanks when my “bubbles” are pathetic and miniscule, even with a hefty amount of mastery. (Okay, I gripe a little, but screw mastery anyway.)

I don’t get upset when Kit saves the day with a well-timed Spirit Link Totem. I don’t get angry when Jasyla or Featherwind manage to squeeze in another Tranquility for an extra few hundred thousand healing. I don’t begrudge any of my healers their successes, because when they succeed, my whole team succeeds.

On December 6th, the Holy Paladin 4pc set bonus was nerfed in a hotfix. No longer would our 4pc set increase healing done by Holy Radiance by 20%, it would now only increase it by 5%.

In the PTR notes for 4.3.2, the change is mentioned because the tooltip will now read 5% instead of the incorrect-since-December-6th 20%.

I noticed a few tweets and such about the nerf, from people who had not read the hotfixes (or perhaps they had and it just didn’t register as anything interesting at the time), basically cheering that holy paladins were being nerfed and they thought that holy paladins were being nerfed from the level they’re at now.

My question here is why?

Why on earth would you be glad to see your teammates be nerfed?

When resto druids got a 20% nerf to WG’s healing and a glyph change that is ridiculous, I didn’t cheer, I didn’t express my sheer joy. I was upset on their behalf. When holy priests complained of not having a really viable raid cooldown during 4.0-4.2, I was right there with them, saying yes, it would make so much sense for holy priests to have a real raid cooldown that matters! When they got their Divine Hymn buffs, I was thrilled!

When resto shaman got Spirit Link Totem, I was really pleased for them, same with when resto druids got the reduced CD on Tranquility. And in the early days of T11, I got spoiled rotten by having not one, but two Power Word: Barriers at my disposal, thanks to Kal and Num.

My question here is… why does the success of my class make people feel so angry that they then feel HAPPY when my class gets nerfed?

This isn’t a new thing, not at all, but I feel as though the inter-class arguments have gotten worse in recent times. I feel as though many players just no longer care about the team aspect of the game and are only out to make sure that they’re topping the meters.

Can you top meters while being a good team player? Sure. Does that happen often? No. Generally, in my six years of playing, if a healer was concerned about topping the healing meters, that healer would not follow their assignment and their assigned people would die. That’s why I don’t care about the meters. If I top them, great. If I don’t, well, did my target or targets live? If so, good. If not, then we have a problem.

I feel strongly that the WoW community has become too fractured and divisive. Tanks argue that other tanks are OP, pure DPS argue about hybrids being too competitive and healers… healers lose sight of the fact that we’re all on the same team and that, ultimately, we all want the raid to live and bosses to die.

I heal as a holy paladin because I like the class, overall. I can’t imagine relying on hots, I am bad with the large priest toolkit and the idea of chain heal is still pretty foreign to me, despite the fact I’ve done some ICC 10/25 on my shaman (and several dungeon runs/heroic dungeons since).

I won’t reroll a healing class because a certain class is OP and I won’t shelve my paladin if we’re completely ineffective. I play the class because I enjoy my capabilities within that class. (Although I miss Divine Intervention. A lot.)

So it boggles my mind when I see other healers, good healers, rejoice at a nerf to a class they feel is overpowered. It makes me disappointed in them and the community at large. It makes me wonder what happened to team spirit and being happy and pleased about the successes of your team members. When did it all become about the self?

I feel, more and more, as though my team-first attitude is endangered. I feel as though 25-mans are endangered. I feel as though the game, somewhere, changed forever and the community it’s built up since that change is filled with “gogogo” people who are obsessed with their own personal performance.

Again, I will reiterate that there is nothing wrong with maximizing your own performance, so long as the team comes first. But I have to question if other people even understand what a team is anymore. Sadly, I think a lot of people view their fellow healers as competition and not as teammates.

I celebrate the successes of my team. You, almost certainly, cannot solo-heal raids. You do it with a partner or two or five or six. I ask that you show them some respect, no matter how badly you may be outhealed or no matter how badly you outheal them. For better or for worse, they are your teammates, even in LFR, and if you don’t show respect to your fellow healers, those poor people in the trenches with you as you struggle to keep that death knight or warrior alive, then how on earth can you be a team player?

We’re all on the same team, with the same goal. Let’s remember that the next time a series of nerfs or buffs come down, shall we?

4.3 and Holy Paladins

There are quite a few changes for holy paladins as of patch 4.3. Some are nerfs, some are buffs, but either way, part of how we heal is going to change significantly.

According to MMO-Champion, patch 4.3 is dropping this week, as in tomorrow, November 29th, 2011.

Here are all the paladin changes that holy pallies will care about.

HOLY RADIANCE

  • Holy Radiance now has a 3.0-second cast time, no cooldown, and requires a player target. That target is imbued with Holy Radiance, which heals them and all group members within 10 yards instantly, and continues to heal them by a smaller amount every 1 second for 3 seconds.
  • Illuminated Healing (mastery) now also applies to Holy Radiance.

This means that Holy Radiance is now a spell with a target and a cast time, like just about every other spell we have. The healing from Holy Radiance will no longer emanate from us, but rather from the people we heal with the spell. Time to find a keybind or mousebind for Holy Radiance! (I’m still trying to figure that one out!) And our mastery will now also apply to targets healed with Holy Radiance.

As a result, several spells now include or exclude Holy Radiance in their effects:

So instead of a 3s base, it’s 2.5s base, just like Divine Light and Holy Light.

  • Infusion of Light now applies its cast time reduction from Holy Shock critical effects to Holy Radiance, in addition to its current effects.

Sweet, Infusion of Light procs will give us a super-fast cast of Holy Radiance.

  • Speed of Light no longer triggers from Holy Radiance and no longer lowers the Holy Radiance cooldown. Speed of Light now only triggers from Divine Protection.

This only makes sense. Holy Radiance no longer HAS a cooldown, so nothing should lower its non-existant cooldown. And we can’t constantly be casting Holy Radiance in order to get a speed buff. That would be silly. Unfortunately, this is technically a nerf, because now we only have one speed boost.

  • Paragon of Virtue now lowers the cooldown of Divine Protection by 15/30 seconds, up from 10/20 seconds.

But they buffed that, so we can now use Divine Protection every 30 seconds, which is pretty sweet.

  • Tower of Radiance, in addition to its current effects, now also causes Holy Radiance to always generate 1 charge of Holy Power at all times.

So this is a neat change that actually sort of gives us an “AOE rotation”. Cast three Holy Radiance on any target or targets (not just your beacon target!) and you’ll have three Holy Power. Cast Light of Dawn. Rinse and repeat. While no one is going to confuse us for resto druids or holy priests in 4.3, this does make us a little more viable as raid healers.

LIGHT OF DAWN

Yay for a buff! This means that everyone’s Light of Dawn will automatically try to hit 6 people. And if you’re in a 10-man raid group, there’s a change for you, too:

  • Glyph of Light of Dawn now lowers the number of targets to 4, instead of increasing targets to 6, but increases healing by 25%.

So that’s a nice little boost, too, and will be less wasteful. Light of Dawn may actually be worthwhile in 10-mans!

BEACON TRANSFERS

  • Beacon of Light is triggered by Word of Glory, Holy Shock, Flash of Light, Divine Light and Light of Dawn at 50% transference and Holy Light at 100% transference. It does not transfer Holy Radiance, Protector of the Innocent or other sources of healing.

That’s right, you can drop to 2/3 of Protector of the Innocent if you, like me, hate the talent, but felt badly about not sending the maximum amount of tiny heals to your Beacon target. Note that you should still have 1/2 Enlightened Judgements to ensure you hit the 8% melee hit cap to make sure your judgements are always hitting (to maintain Judgements of the Pure), but the small bits of healing from that also will not transfer, so if you were at 2/2 Enlightened Judgements for that reason, you can drop a point there quite safely.

Yes, this is technically a nerf, but I know that I’m actually not going to cringe when I go looking through a parse now, trying to line up all the itty, bitty Beacon of Light heals with whatever the holy paladin in question was doing at the time.

SEALS AND JUDGING

  • Seal of Insight, when Judged, no longer returns 15% base mana to the paladin. Judging Seal of Insight still causes damage, and melee attacks will still restore 4% of base mana.
  • In addition to providing haste, the effect from Judgements of the Pure now increases mana regeneration from Spirit by 10/20/30% for 60 seconds.

These two changes, quite simply, mean that we are no longer judging once every 8 seconds in order to regain 15% of our base mana. We will only need to judge once per minute to keep Judgements of the Pure active, not only for the increased haste, but for increased mana regeneration. Spirit is our friend!

And, well, that’s about it, to be honest. So really, just a change to Holy Radiance and talents that were affecting the old version/should affect the new version. A change to Light of Dawn and its glyph. A change to Seal of Insight and Judgements of the Pure. And a change to what heals transfer through Beacon.

SO WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO DIFFERENTLY?

Make sure you remember to bind the new Holy Radiance to something. You might want to add the Holy Radiance effect to your raid frames (tip: it’s called Holy Radiance!) so you can see how much of the raid is being affected by it. If you’re in a 10m group, you probably want to glyph Light of Dawn. And remember, no need to judge every 8 seconds. And you only have one sprint! But it’s usable every 30 seconds.

Don’t forget to check out my T13 (normal) loot list, too!

Good luck to you, whether you’re heading right for Dragon Soul or into one of the new dungeons!

Comfortable with my Class

On Tuesday night, Apotheosis got Heroic Beth’tilac 25 down.

Dar, one of our resto shaman, had posted to say she wasn’t going to be there, which left me with a difficult decision: who was going to heal Dar’s people in the northwest? For 28 attempts, Dar had dutifully healed that particular corner.

In order for it to go as smoothly as possible, I wanted to make as few major changes as I could.

What did that mean? That meant that I was going to take her spot.

I got to heal our moonkin, Hitoku and, lucky me, Majik, my caster officer and my co-host over at Blessing of Frost.

(The “lucky me” was sarcasm. If you couldn’t tell. ;))

So, for 28 attempts prior to Tuesday, I was essentially healing the ground tank, keeping an eye on Dar and other healers, taunting spinners down and generally watching everything, as a raid leader is prone to doing. I had never assigned myself to a cave and, to be honest, I would be happy if I never had to do so again… But I digress.

It took us 10 pulls to kill Beth’tilac Tuesday, bringing us to 3/7 25-man heroics. For each of those 10 pulls, I was healing my cave group, although my cave group migrated from northwest to southeast at one point. Jasyla said she liked that little northwest corner better and I could totally see why. The southeast corner is cramped and crowded!

Anyhow, during the first attempt, I lost Majik. Then, several other people died. So it wasn’t totally my bad, but I vowed to do better.

In the span of 10 pulls, ladies and gentlemen, I became a cave-healer pro. I kicked some ass. Not only did I keep my targets alive, but on try 10, our kill, approximately 97% of the Engorged Broodlings that spawned wanted to blow me up. I am not joking. Better still, I have it all frapsed and it’s embedded below. (Bear in mind that in P2, my computer suddenly decided to violently revolt and I experienced some tremendous lag and loss of framerate. It’s not the best video ever, but it is our first kill.)

 

Kurn, you may be wondering, what on earth does any of this have to do with being comfortable with your class?

Good question!

On the kill attempt, I was constantly the target of the broodlings, as I mentioned. Walks was healing up in the northeast and one thing he had been saying earlier in the night was that if a broodling was heading for someone at southeast, there was no way he could stop them, since they’re up on some damn ledge. So he took to calling out “ledge”.

Of course, on the kill attempt, his broodlings came at me frequently. So I was always calling out “got it”, while running to the ledge where the spiders come down from, while ALSO trying to heal Majik and Hitoku and, you know, trying not to kill myself while doing so.

I think it was only after the whole raid was over for the night that I realized that there was no way in hell I would have been able to manage all that crap (seriously, FOURTEEN broodlings hit me!) AND keep Maj and Hitoku alive if I weren’t extremely comfortable with how my class works.

It’s almost instinctual after a certain point. Granted, my instincts aren’t always spot-on or great or whatever, as you can tell since I do let Judgements of the Pure drop off and don’t use my Guardian and the like on the kill (which I’ll blame on the fact that my computer was about to throw up on me) but they really served me well over the whole raid night. At various points during the entire night, I popped cooldowns appropriately, even using Lay on Hands on Hitoku at one point. I figured out where my Beacon of Light was best put to use (sadly, on Majik) and basically, that was all the real thinking I had to do about how to heal my group.

Venom Rain? Aura Mastery. I’m low on health? Pop my bubble to buy myself some extra time to heal up my group members before turning to myself. Need to regen mana? Use my shiny Fiery Quintessence and pop Divine Plea. See 3 bright orange beams on me from Engorged Broodlings? Don’t panic, use instant heals like Holy Shock and Word of Glory until I’m in position to interrupt one and can start casting again.

Paladins have changed substantially since the original World of Warcraft game came out. Holy paladins have changed and evolved right along with the other specs. While we still need to stand still and cast to be most effective, Holy Radiance (well, the current iteration, not the 4.3 version!), Holy Shock, Word of Glory and a Flash of Light with Infusion of Light proc are all things we can do on the run. Even a 1-2 point Word of Glory can be useful (you can see in the video I made some use of that) if you’re on the move and someone needs a heal ASAP.

Giving Divine Protection a shorter cooldown for Holy (due to Paragon of Virtue) is great and it came in handy all through the night when magical damage (which includes nature damage, which is what those nasty little Engorged Broodlings emit) was troubling me. No problem — Shift-A (my keybind for Divine Protection) to the rescue!

During the night, apart from maybe the first pull or two, despite having absolutely no experience healing where I was healing and healing the people I was healing, I felt calm and in control of myself.  I really do attribute my ability to adapt to cave healing to knowing what all my buttons do. The only thing I didn’t use duing the night was Hand of Freedom and I could have used it when I was stuck in the Volatile Poison on the ground at one point on our kill.

I encourage everyone to take a second look at all your abilities. Not just the ones in the holy tree, look at prot and ret as well. Read through your spellbook and be sure you understand what your abilities do. Armed with that knowledge, you can walk into a fight and adapt much more quickly than you would otherwise. Don’t forget about your Hand spells, your procs, your set-it-and-forget-its (like Holy Radiance and Guardian of Ancient Kings).

Paladins are very strong healers and not restricted to tank healing. Not only that, but we have a ton of utility, so don’t forget to use those utility spells! Once you know exactly what you’re capable of doing, you’ll react with your instincts, leaving your brain to sit there and worry about where you should be standing, rather than what spell to use.

(And you can always read through my second revamped Holy How-To Guide to help you out!)