Kurn's Cataclysmic Adventures 1

So. Beta.

Over the last several hours, I did not complete a single instance. I did advance significantly in terms of quests and subzones in Vashj’ir, mind you, and I also dinged Kurn 81. It took me less time to ding Kurn 81 than it did for me to get a third of the way to 81 on Madrana.

I also spent a crapton of time uploading and organizing 200+ screenshots from Beta, which are available here:


And I even made a couple little videos, which I’ve uploaded to YouTube. Spoilers below!

Continue reading “Kurn's Cataclysmic Adventures 1”


Thanks to the amazing people at Curse (and to Rilgon at Stabilized Effort Scope for recommending me), I have been given a beta key.

Maybe this will prevent me from long-winded diatribes about fail holy paladins for a few days. ;D

Now to get my paladin in tip-top beta shape by copying her over with 13k gold.

Expect a LOT of Cataclysm talk and photos, primarily for the holy paladins among us, but I also will be playing around a bit with my hunter and some of my other toons.

For spoilerish stuff (ie: not the actual talents/skills/etc), I’ll definitely use a “More…” tag, so you can read it if you want, but if you don’t want to spoil yourself, you won’t be spoiled accidentally.

Build 12644, Holy Build(s).

So just a slight change in the Holy tree that I can see. They tossed out Improved Lay on Hands. To which I say, “You bastards.”

However. The talent replacing Improved Lay on Hands allows us to play with other builds.

Last Word (2/2) is now sitting in the second tier of Holy.

Here’s the question I have: how often are we actually going to use Word of Glory?

Word of Glory, if you don’t recall, is an instant, mana-free heal that will utilize the new secondary resource system of Holy Power. Presumably, it increases in potency depending on if we have 1, 2 or 3 charges of Holy Power.

How do we gain Holy Power? Crusader Strike (which is now baseline) will give you a charge. Holy Shock will also give you a charge. And so will healing your beaconed target, if you have any points in Tower of Radiance (33%/66%/100% chance to grant you a charge of Holy Power). Question: Will healing your beacon with Holy Shock grant you two charges?

So it looks to me like we’ll have ample methods of gaining Holy Power. I don’t imagine we’ll be using Word of Glory more than every 10 seconds or so, depending on how gaining Holy Power goes.

The question that comes to mind now is, do we even want Last Word?

Here’s a build with no Last Word:


It picks up all the PVE talents in Holy, maxes them all out. That means .3 seconds off Holy Light and Divine Light (Clarity of Purpose) and the full three points in Tower of Radiance.

It picks up all the healing talents in the Retribution tree on the first two tiers that we’d want: Rule of Law (15% extra crit to Holy Shock and Word of Glory), Crusade (30% extra healing to Holy Shock), Conviction (3% extra healing after critting, stacks 3 times) and maxes all of them out, too.

Honestly, this is a really pretty-looking tree. No half-filled talents (which is awkward due to the 2 and 3 point talents versus 5 point talents, but still requiring five talents to advance to the next tier) and, do my eyes deceive me? No useless talents…

But if Last Word is actually useful in PVE, maybe we want to go back to something like this:

32/0/9 (with Last Word)

This steals a point from Clarity of Purpose and a point from Tower of Radiance and puts those points into Last Word. It leaves the healing talents in Retribution intact. Conviction is just too good.

But if we’re talenting into something that buffs Word of Glory (Last Word), does it make sense to gimp our Holy Power generation? Maybe not.

32/0/9 (Last Word, Tower of Radiance)

This will only lower your Holy Light and Divine Light cast times by .1 seconds instead of .2 or .3. I’m a huge fan of haste and anything that makes you cast anything faster, so this hurts to even consider, but I can only imagine that you’ll want to maximize your Holy Power Generation.

So, my dear readers, here’s my question to you if you’re in beta:

With Tower of Radiance (3/3), do you gain 2 charges of Holy Power if you use Holy Shock to heal your beacon target?

I think that if you do, you’ll want to maintain 3/3 Tower of Radiance and if not, you can probably drop to 2/3 Tower and get 2/3 Clarity of Purpose.

Anyone have an answer for us?

Or a beta invite for moi? ;)

ETA: I am now in Beta. Holy Power seems to be generated from:

– Crusader Strike

– Holy Shock

– Healing your beacon target with 3/3 Tower of Radiance (100% chance)

And yes, Holy Shocking your beacon target DOES grant you two charges of Holy Power.

Q&A Delayed

The Q&A of the week is being pushed back by a week due to lack of Qs. Seriously, only 59 different search terms over the last week. Hello, summer slump. How are you?

In lieu of my typical Q&A, here are a couple of nifty posts I’ve read in the last week or so.

1) Dealing with the Deplorable Drape by Codi at Moar HPS! Great post about all the different options you have before you go wasting 50 Emblems of Frost on the Drape of the Violet Tower.

2) Easy to Acquire Haste Gear by Ophelie at Bossy Pally. Great post, well-researched, about where to find yourself some haste. (I disagree about the Ony cloak vs. the Drape of the Violet tower, but, as Codi says in her post, it’s okay if it’s used responsibly.)

3) A Light Show by Cassandri at HoTs & DoTs. I’ve been that hunter. I’ve been that shaman. This made me laugh. I’d already read it before, but ecclesiasticaldiscipline linked to it today and I laughed my ass off again.

Short post, I know. Kind of rare. Enjoy it. ;)

Tuesday, Tuesday, So Good to Me

Actually, I’m not sure how Tuesday’s going to treat me this week, but hey, thinking positively is good, right? :)

On the agenda for today:

– Q&A post

– new poll

maybe finishing up my key run stuff/extra boss stuff in Strat Live and actually uploading said videos, now that I’ve snagged a halfway decent microphone from my father after the tragic death of mine (that had nothing to do with an unfortunate incident with mayonnaise, FYI, unlike my last microphone’s death.)

– definitely being excited about a non-fail holy paladin app, who reads this very blog, with whom I’ve been emailing back and forth for a couple of weeks. Seriously, in the same week, we have:

1) Terribly, hideously bad applicant for a 9/12 HM ICC 25 guild.

2) Stupendously amazing applicant for a 9/12 HM ICC 25 guild.

Crap. The first one is gone from the armory so I can’t even chardev him. Suffice it to say, he had 350 haste, was wearing two pieces of T9, was using Glyph of Flash of Light, wasn’t using a Nightmare Tear (and not getting a socket bonus or anything by using a Dazzling Eye of Zul and a Luminous Ametrine), was using 8 stats instead of 10 to chest, was using 15 haste instead of 23 to cloak, was Honored with the Ashen Verdict, had a cloak with spirit on it from the vendor (I think I would have preferred the Drape of the Violet Tower in this situation…), had Icewalker to boots but no run speed talent, had no Improved Righteous Fury, only had 1/2 Imp Lay on Hands…

Anyways. You get the picture. Someone who was hideously undergeared for things like normal Sindragosa and normal Lich King.

And then you have someone like Applicant #2, who not only obviously reads this blog, but also takes what I say to heart. 994 haste? That is almost three times the haste Applicant #1 had. My GM said, and I kid you not:

“Wait. Hold the phone. Is it Christmas?”

A warrior tank:

“Another holy pally?  And Madrana likes him?  Christmas has indeed come early this year.”

And a rogue in the guild who has a very decent holy paladin alt:

“Excuse me, mister drug-induced hallucination, but I need to sober up now so you can go away, because you’re OBVIOUSLY much too good to be true… right?”

So maybe Tuesday is going to be good to me? :)

So let's make it clear…

I’ve been publishing things on the web since 1996. I am no stranger to people lifting my stuff. That doesn’t mean that it’s okay or that I’ll take it lying down.

You may notice a new copyright notice in the sidebar to the right, which is designed to be easily seen, as opposed to the © 2008-2010 Kurn’s Corner notice at the bottom of each and every single page, which is a copyright notice nonetheless, but seems to be ignored by many.

What prompted this? I had my heroic Putricide strategy posted, verbatim, on a guild’s forum over a month ago. I discovered it today and requested it be removed. After some initial hesitation on the poster’s part, someone from the guild stepped in and pointed out that I am in the right to assert that my intellectual property should be removed if I didn’t grant them permission.

They edited the post to remove the text and left the link to the original content very promptly, which I greatly appreciate.

However, the initial hesitation on the part of the poster is troubling.

Here is the text of my request:

Hi there, my name is Kurn and I’m the author of the written Putricide strategy posted in this thread.

I appreciate the link to my website, but my strategy as-written is copyrighted material and I would appreciate you removing it from this forum. You can feel free to leave the link to the post in question intact, but I was never asked for permission to repost it. Given the fact there is advertising on this website that either your host or your guild benefits from, I have to ask you to remove the text of the post, as it means that someone is profiting financially from my work without my permission.

Thanks for your cooperation in this matter and best of luck to you with Professor Putricide.

The reply:

This is a guild forum there is no money being made I don’t see a copywritten thing on your page you posted a blog with the strategy found it through google perhaps you should post that on your webpage prior to me removing this. This is a free website that nor me nor anyone else profits from.

Of course, the poster in question is wrong. The webhost serves ads to offset the cost of the forums. Thus, every time someone in the guild visited the thread with my content (the strat), the webhost was financially benefiting from my work.

I refuted the poster’s response and eventually another guild member stepped in and said that they had no choice but to respect my wishes and take it down.

This incident has made me cranky and I will be going through all my important content and tracking down other people who are stealing my content. If there are a significant amount of people who are stealing, reposting and redistributing my content, I’ll have to re-evaluate posting such content at all.

To be absolutely clear, everything I write here is copyrighted, which means that I am the sole owner and copyright holder and I don’t want you distributing my content elsewhere. If you want to post my stuff elsewhere, ask me. We’ll talk.

Wrath of the Lich King Blues

It’s no real secret to those that know me that I don’t particularly want to be a guild master again. Don’t get me wrong; I will move heaven and earth in order to play with my beloved Apotheosis folks again. I will be a GM again, a raid leader again, a healing lead again, whatever is required of me. I’ll heal or I’ll DPS and yes, I’m even considering tanking if I have to. I am dedicated to the idea of many of my long-term in-game friends playing together again in Cataclysm.

It doesn’t mean that I like the extra work or that I like being the one everyone comes crying to when they don’t get a raid spot, when they get outbid on loot, when we don’t kill a boss, when we do kill a boss but it’s not the one that’ll drop loot for someone. It’s a crappy job and, unfortunately, someone’s got to do it. Somehow, that ends up being me within Apotheosis because I’m the only one stupid enough to volunteer. ;)

What particularly drives me nuts is trying to recruit.

I am not as dedicated at recruiting as my current GM is. She’s a champ.

Recruiting sucks. It’s the single biggest timesink related to running a guild. Not only do you have to figure out what your needs are, which is bad enough, but you then have to go hunt down people who might fill those needs.

Even if you do find someone who can make your raid times, is the appropriate role or class, is the appropriate level, is wearing the “right” gear, is willing to transfer to your server and faction, what if they’re a complete jackass?

Then you go back out there and try to find a person who fits all of the above-mentioned criteria and pray they’re not only not a jackass but that they can actually play.

There is not an unlimited pool of talent out there all begging to be part of your guild.

For the majority of this expansion, it has been a seller’s market; that’s to say that people who want to join a guild have all the power. Guilds have very little to offer their members these days. Titles, mounts, achievements, many of these in-game incentives are being offered by and acquired through pugs. The guild, in Wrath of the Lich King, has become superfluous. My hunter is in a RL-friends guild. There are four people active in it besides myself. I have 3/5 T10, a 264 helm, Leggings of Northern Lights, Zod’s and I’m about 30 Emblems of Frost away from getting myself 4pc T10. I’m also Revered with the Ashen Verdict.

I have done this without a guild, per se, and without going further than 4/12 in ICC 25. Pugs and GDKP runs and daily random dungeons have allowed my hunter to get pretty decked out even though I barely get to play my hunter.

I also fear that Wrath of the Lich King has brought with it some horrible changes in the player population of WoW. This is going to make me sound elitist and all I can say to defend myself from such accusations is that I just want people to know and understand the basics of their class and role.

When you are level 80 and you select “tank” as a role for a heroic dungeon, the expectation is two-fold:

1) You can hold aggro against similarly-geared players.

2) You won’t get smashed in the face by a mob or a boss that will lead to your instant, or near-instant, death.

When you are level 80 and you select “healer” as a role for a heroic dungeon, the expectation is also two-fold:

1) You will be able to heal an appropriately-geared tank through the instance.

2) You will be able to keep the majority of the group alive even in somewhat trying circumstances, within reason, given a tank that will keep things off of you. (Unexpected patrol, someone pulled another group, etc.)

When you are level 80 and you select “damage” as your role for a heroic dungeon, there are also two expectations:

1) Do your fair share of the damage. This means doing more damage than an adequately-geared tank.

2) Don’t make your healer’s job harder than it already is. This means not standing in void zones or not pulling additional mobs.

That’s all I really expect from people. That means that tanks wear tanking gear and are not able to be crit by heroic mobs and bosses. That means that the healers have the foggiest clue as to what their healing spells do. That means that DPS should know how to string their abilities together to greater effect (like putting up Serpent Sting and THEN using Chimera Shot, for example).

I don’t think this is too much to ask. I don’t think that it’s too hard to learn some of the basics after playing this game for 80 levels. There are just too many resources out there.

I honestly don’t care if my tank has 25k health in a random, as long as they’re not crittable. I can lower my DPS to match the threat output, or I can feign or go invisible on my mage.

I honestly don’t care if my healer has to drink after every pull or two, so long as they keep us up over the course of the instance.

I don’t care if the DPS is low, as long as we have people doing their best to get the mobs down.

Why am I talking about people I run into in random groups if I’m talking about guild stuff?

My fear is that Wrath of the Lich King has dumbed down the entire player population significantly.

I’m terrified to start recruiting for Cataclysm, when I eventually start doing so, and discover that hey, everyone applying to Apotheosis is terrible. I don’t really care about achievements and I definitely don’t care about gear score; I care about how you play and why you make the choices you make.

There was someone who applied to my current guild the other day. Nice guy, disc priest. I asked him, out of curiosity, why he didn’t snag Desperate Prayer with his 14 talents allocated to his holy tree.

He said he’d try it out.

And promptly removed all his points from Inspiration to fill out Spell Warding and Desperate Prayer.

It’s like… why? Why would you do that?

He also rescinded his application, deeming us to be a little too hardcore for him, before anyone even mentioned the respec.

We’re not that hardcore.

Everyone’s got a right to play the game in the way that suits them best, but if this guy, who is probably the best disc priest app I’ve seen in a while, can make the choice to drop out of Inspiration and think that’s okay, then we have a problem with the playerbase.

The players, by and large, are not educated.

The players, due to the fact that it’s a seller’s market, don’t want to learn.

The players, due to the ease with which you can gear yourself, figure they can get into a decent raiding guild based on gear alone and then get more shinies and achievements and titles.

This is the playerbase from which I will be recruiting?

I am praying that Cataclysm dungeons and content will be difficult. I want crowd-control abilities to come back. I don’t want my hunter to get swapped out for a mage, mind you, but I want crowd-control to be required for most dungeons.

I want epics to feel epic again.

I want raid content to be designed to be cleared by guilds, not pugs.

I don’t want content to be facerollingly easy.

I want people to learn how to play again.

If this doesn’t happen, I’m genuinely afraid for the quality of applicants to any given guild, including my own.

Beta Talents, Take 2

There was a new beta build released last night, so you get a new post about it from me today.

Upon selecting the holy tree to place your talents, according to this latest beta build, you get:

– Holy Shock
– Meditation (Allows 50% of your mana regeneration to continue while casting.)
– Healing Bonus (Increases the effectiveness of your healing spells by 10%.)
– Spiritual Focus (Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting Flash of Light, Holy Light and Divine Light by 70%.)

The first thing to do when faced with the talents is to read everything in holy and everything in the first two tiers of prot and ret. There’s a lot of reading. Here are some of my thoughts.

Holy Tree

Tier 1

Sanctified Light (2) : Accessible to prot and ret, this talent is attractive for increasing Judgement crit chance, but is also good for us for 12% increased chance to crit on Holy Shock and Word of Glory — which is that Holy Power instant heal I discussed yesterday. More crit is almost certainly a good thing.

Divinity (3): Check it out, two less talent points to gain 1% extra healing (3 points/6% instead of the current 5 points/5%). Nice.

Judgements of the Pure (3): Since this is also accessible to prots and rets, I suppose that I can live with losing my 6% haste. I don’t want a ret pally smashing me in the face 15% faster, do you? I would prefer this to be a deep holy talent back to 15%, of course, but the last beta build had this on Tier 2 and now they’ve made it more accessible to everyone by putting it in Tier 1. So I can say goodbye to my 15%.

Tier 2

Clarity of Purpose (3): After years of seeing “0.5” seconds off various casts, Clarity of Purpose seems awkward. .3 seconds off Holy Light and Divine Light? I’m concerned too, because Light’s Grace is nowhere to be found. Anyways, still a talent that seems like we should be taking it.

Improved Lay on Hands (2): Hasn’t changed, still a great raid-saver.

Healing Light (3): 12% bonus healing to FoL, HL, Divine Light, Word of Glory and Holy Shock. Yes, please. I like that this is actually 22% more effective than our prot and ret cousins, due to the Healing Bonus you get just for being holy.

Tier 3

Now we get into areas that the other pallies can’t touch. This is our domain entirely.

Illumination (3): Non-bloated Illumination stays. Three points that are probably well-worth the mana return. Again, bumping this back to 100% or even 60% would be my personal preference. Alas!

Divine Favor (1): Despite the Divine Illumination icon, this is our old, dear friend. No-brainer here, even if it weren’t linked to other talents down the line.

Infusion of Light (2): A change! Holy Shock crits reduce Holy Light’s cast time by .75/1.5 seconds. So let’s see if I’ve got this straight. 2.5 second base cast time for Holy Light. -.3 seconds = 2.2 seconds. = 1.5 seconds = .7 second cast time on Holy Light after a Holy Shock crit, before Judgements of the Pure and before haste gear/raid buffs?

Anyone else think they screwed up and meant to put Flash of Light in there? That seems way too good, although I’d miss my instant FoL.

Enlightened Judgements (2): No-brainer, let’s get that extra range.

Tier 4

Beacon of Light (1): I’m sure this isn’t the right Beacon of Light spell. It says “each heal” and isn’t limited to certain heals. I expect this to be changed.

Speed of Light (3): Har, har, cute name. :P 30% spell haste for FoL, HL, DL, lower cooldown on Healing Hands and an increase in movement speed when we cast Healing Hands. I don’t see a downside.

Sacred Cleansing (1): Gotta grab this to ensure you can dispel Magic!

Tier 5

Aura Mastery (1): Again, worth getting even if it didn’t lead to anything else.

Denounce (2): PVP talent, it looks like. A free, instant Exorcism anytime you get a Holy crit.

Improved Concentration Aura (3): Same as today. Again, a little boring if not for use in PVP.

Tier 6

Tower of Radiance (3): Aha, another way to generate Holy Power and a reason to cast directly on your beacon target! I don’t know what the percentages are, but I would assume 33/66/100%?

Blessed Life (2): 5/10% chance for attacks to cause half damage. PVP talent in Cataclysm as it is in WotLK.

Tier 7

Light of Dawn (1): 21% of base mana, instant cast, 30 second cooldown, Send a wave of healing energy before you, healing all friendly targets up to 30 yards away for 1.

Well, assuming it’s for more than “1”, yowza. This might actually be a worthy 31-point talent.

I went to my RL friend the resto druid’s today, but she hadn’t patched in a couple of builds, so I didn’t get to mess around with beta. Maybe this weekend, though. In her words, though, just by the description, Light of Dawn is “OMG SO OP AND SO UNFAIR!” hahaha.

Okay, so let’s look at prot and ret and talents that may help us out there.

Protection Tree

Tier 1

Toughness, nah. Seals of the Pure? Meh. Improved Hammer of Justice, ick.

Tier 2

Judgements of the Just, not really for holy.

But wait!

Protector of the Innocent (3): +6% healing to those the Aura covered and -3% damage to you, personally. Maybe not a bad idea. That extra healing probably doesn’t stack with what was Tree of Life aura, although they don’t seem to have a persistent healing increase aura anymore. However, the resto druids don’t look anywhere near finished — Swiftmend is what they get when they spec resto and it’s still a talent in the tree.

Not a bad idea here, though. If there’s no prot pally or ret pally taking this, this isn’t bad.

Guardian’s Favor (2): If I’m speccing for Protector of the Innocent, I am definitely grabbing Guardian’s Favor. I love this ability.

Retribution Tree

Tier 1

Eye for an Eye, not for holy.

Rule of Law (3): Ooooh. Now this is interesting. 5/10/15% increased critical strike chance on Holy Light and Crusader Strike. Huh. Definitely something a holy paladin wants.

Crusade (3): Increases the damage and healing of Crusader Strike, Hammer of the Righteous, Templar’s Verdict and Holy Shock by 10/20/30%. Interesting. Probably want to grab this since it looks like Holy Shock will be a key part of our toolbox.

Tier 2

Improved Judgement, probably not for holy.

Conviction (3): Gives you a 1/2/3% bonus to damage and healing for 30 seconds after causing a critical effect from a weapon swing, spell or ability, stacks up to 3 times. Sooooo… just by critting, you want to give me 9% extra healing? Uh. Okay!

Pursuit of Justice (2): Run speed is always good, but you can just enchant your boots. Dealer’s choice here, really.

So, having looked at all of those talents, here’s what I predict the optimum PVE Holy Paladin build will look like, depending on the % chance to generate Holy Power from Tower of Radiance:

32/0/9 – This drops .2 seconds from your Holy Light and Divine Light instead of .3 seconds and also only goes 2/3 for Tower of Radiance in favor of getting all the healing skills in ret. Conviction is just stupidly good if there’s no internal cooldown on it. Rule of Law will help to make up for the ever-so-slightly longer HL cast time by adding 15% crit to it and since Holy Shock is clearly going to be very important to us, 30% extra healing from it in Crusade is probably going to be very important.

I imagine a prot support tree would be more support/utility-oriented:

31/10/0 – This would pick up two fillers in prot (Seals of the Pure and Improved Hammer of Justice) just to grab Protector of the Innocent for a raid buff and Guardian’s Favor for utility.

Anyways. My thoughts. What are yours? What build would you go with? Would you choose another entirely?

Madrana the Actress

Yesterday, one of my guild members linked me to a video (Nub Tales 5.2) which was quite a clever video about how the 30% ICC buff essentially hands people their achievements, loot and titles. It was amusing.

Unfortunately, the image of Madrana as a Kingslayer, which I posted on this very blog in the wee hours on March 29th, was included in the video as the epitome of someone who’s been freely handed their title. (Around the 37-second mark.)

“Kingslayer titles? We’re practically giving them away!” (free tities!)

And then there is my image of my paladin as a Kingslayer.

(Yes, it says free tities and not titles in the video.)

Apart from the fact that everything on this blog is my copyrighted material, making the inclusion of my image in the video without my permission ethically wrong, if not legally wrong, I don’t particularly mind the implication that I got handed my title. I know how hard I worked on that fight. I know how much effort I put in. What I do mind is the implication that the 24 other people, most of whom I don’t speak to any longer or even really ever liked (healers being an exception), did not work their asses off to get Arthas down. My then-guild’s name is obscured (I did the obscuring), though my tabard is still clearly visible and, initially, my character’s name was visible until the creator threw up an annotation to cover Madrana.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s a pretty unique name in WoW, so it’s pretty obvious that it’s me and it would be extremely obvious to anyone I’ve raided with that it’s me. With more than 60,000 views on the video, you perhaps begin to understand my annoyance.

So, for the record, so that anyone viewing it knows that my guild at the time was not just handed their titles…

We got him down with the 5% buff on Sunday, March 28th. Our kill was the 105th attempt on him, the result of 104 wipes over eight raid nights, spread out over four weeks. It took more than 20 hours of working on the fight. It took everyone’s efforts over that  time to troubleshoot everything from healing to dealing with Soul Reaper to dealing with Harvest Soul, not to mention learning how to collape for Valks then running out of Defile or vice-versa.

The Lich King is a difficult fight when you’re learning it. It’s a difficult fight in terms of mechanics even with the ICC buff. The buff only helps to cover mistakes to do with healing and DPS output. It doesn’t move you out of Defile, it doesn’t help you interrupt the spirit in Frostmourne or cleanse Terenas. It doesn’t prevent you from falling off the edge or getting blown back by an orb. The coordination required for the Lich King fight is beyond anything else in this expansion, with the possible exception of heroic Sindragosa and definitely heroic Lich King.

After some discussion with the video’s creator, he’s agreed to link to this blog post from the video page on YouTube, rather than remove the image and re-render the video, which I initially requested. While my image was used without my permission in the creation of the video, I have granted permission for it to be used so long as a link to this post exists on the video page.

So welcome to those from YouTube. Thanks for stopping in and I hope you’ll stick around if you enjoy posts about WoW, particularly holy paladin stuff and healing. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

Cataclysm Information and More Thinking

I’m not typically an alarmist. I’m not typically someone who looks at something and goes “OMG I HATE THIS CHANGE”. I don’t love change in general, mind you, but typically, I don’t overreact. I take a LOT of changes very much in stride. (Obviously, I think the “new” Judgements of the Pure that was in the talent tree was craptastic, but I don’t feel like I was overreacting. I do cling to my precious haste. I will admit that right away.)

One of the big adjustments I have to make in this game, on a personal level, is accepting the fact that this is not MY game and that I am subject to the whims and desires of the developers. This is probably why I really like doing Stupid Crap(tm) on my hunter, to push those boundaries. Anyways.

Here’s what we know about holy paladins in Cataclysm:

Not a whole lot. This post is not, by the way, going to be a comprehensive “ALL PALLY CHANGES HERE!!!” post or anything, so don’t get cranky if I leave stuff out, please. There’s just way too much stuff that’s up in the air.

We do know that we’re getting a new spell, Healing Hands, which is an instant-cast spell that heals all friendly targets within 10 yards for 10 seconds.

There’s also that Guardian of Ancient Kings thing we’re supposed to get at 85:

Guardian of Ancient Kings (level 85): Summons a temporary guardian that looks like a winged creature of light armed with a sword. The visual is similar to that of the Resurrection spell used by the paladin in Warcraft III. The guardian has a different effect depending on the talent spec of the paladin. For Holy paladins, the guardian heals the most wounded ally in the area. For Protection paladins, the guardian absorbs some incoming damage. For Retribution paladins, it damages an enemy, similar to the death knight Gargoyle or the Nibelung staff. 3-minute cooldown. 30-second duration (this might vary depending on which guardian appears).

We also know that the beta talent trees are very, very much a work in progress for paladins in particular. “I’m going to regret saying this, but the paladin trees are the most changed in the game. There are only a few of the current beta talents that survived the, um, cleansing.”

So we’ll take a step back and not think about that particular tragedy.

We know they’re tossing Judgement of Wisdom and rolling Judgement of Justice in with Judgement of Light.

I hear rumours about Divine Intervention getting removed, but as I’m not in beta, I know very little. I also know that they haven’t heard from me yet about various changes. I am an extremely vocal person (hi, you do read this blog regularly enough to know that, right? ;)) and I will fight to keep certain things in the game like DI, because it’s a staple paladin ability. Even if it was mostly useless in this expansion, it’s a great spell.

We also now know about a secondary resource system called Holy Power. That means that, like Death Knights, who have runic power and runes, paladins will have mana and Holy Power.

All of the paladin specializations will make use of a new resource called Holy Power. Holy Power accumulates from using Crusader Strike, Holy Shock, and some other talents. Holy Power can be consumed to augment a variety of abilities, including:

* An instant mana-free heal: Word of Glory
* A buff to increase holy damage done: Inquisition
* A massive physical melee attack for Retribution paladins: Templar’s Verdict
* Holy Shield’s duration is now extended by Holy Power
* Divine Storm’s damage is now increased by Holy Power”

So, this means that Holy Power will allow us to use a new mana-free heal called Word of Glory and we get Holy Power by using Holy Shock and potentially some other abilities.

“We also introduced several new heals for Holy Paladins including Healing Hands (an AoE heal-over-time that is applied to all players standing near the paladin), Light of Dawn (a cone heal with a 30-yard range), as well as a new heal called Divine Light, which is similar to a priest’s Greater Heal, and the new instant heal mentioned above, Word of Glory.”

So Healing Hands, Word of Glory, Divine Light (the uber Holy Light) and Light of Dawn.

(Wait, isn’t Light of Dawn your title when you defeat LK on heroic? Oh, right, that’s the Light of Dawn. My bad.)

That’s in addition to changes to Sacred Shield (supposed to last 30m?) and Beacon of Light (only mirrors Holy Shocks and Holy Lights), plus Flash of Light and Holy Light, plus judging.

Suffice it to say that the game will be changing in ways we probably can’t even anticipate at this point. The Vanilla to Burning Crusade change wasn’t too bad; deeper talent trees, some shuffles, some changes, but it was basically the same game for a lot of people, which got refined over time. BC to Wrath changed a lot of things radically, but having 3.0 drop in the middle of October gave us a month to play around with things before Wrath came out. It’s changed a lot since it’s dropped, too.

With the changes to talents alone, never mind new spells, gear changes, all that jazz, the game is going to change faster than it ever has before. In what I presume will be the 4.0 patch, everyone will not only get a free respec (or two, with dual spec) but your basic understanding of the class will change. All the stuff I’ve talked about in my Holy How-Tos will probably be rendered useless. We are going to have to relearn our classes, relearn what races can even be what classes (gnome priests? human hunters? dwarven shaman?) and relearn the geography of the Old World.

Cataclysm will really be the biggest game-changer of them all.

So all I can really say here is speculation, until I get my hands on beta. All I can really say here is that, from my nearly five years of playing this game, maybe this is a good idea, maybe that’s a bad idea. I like to think that I have a solid understanding of how the devs want us to play the game and I like to think I have enough experience to give out a first impression that might be accurate.

Having said that, here are my thoughts on some of the new things we learned from the Twitter Dev Event and some of the stuff we knew about heals beforehand.

Holy Power: Well. Okay? A secondary resource is going to be interesting. I’m assuming, from the Twitter Dev Event that you will be able to stack to 3 Holy Power. Ghostcrawler has said this will be a second bar and it was implied it would be below the mana bar. That’s cool. I’m going to be more interested in knowing what is going to rely on Holy Power and how we can generate it besides Crusader Strike and Holy Shock.

Word of Glory: It sounds cool. Instant heals are a good thing regardless of the class that you play. Instant heals are ones that mean you can use them while moving. Paladins and shaman feel chained to the ground in many circumstances, so another instant heal sounds good. Maybe I won’t have to blow my Divine Favor at a pull to ensure I get a crit Holy Shock that procs the instant Flash of Light. I like the idea that we might be able to “save up” our holy power and let this Word of Glory loose when adequately charged. This is all based on the assumption that Word of Glory gets stronger based on our Holy Power we have stored.

Light of Dawn: This could be interesting. Another freaking “light” in the name, though… Still, not the worst-named spell ever. I would love to see a screenshot of someone with “the Light of Dawn” title displayed casting Light of Dawn. Things I want to know about this spell include duration, cast time (I imagine it’s a channel, probably 6 seconds) and cooldown (I imagine a 3-5 minute cooldown). Oh, and mana cost. I imagine this is going to cost a chunk.

Divine Light: The Uber Holy Light. This will be the heal to cast when your tank is going to die in 3+ seconds. I’m looking forward to it, to be honest. I expect it to be a reasonable cost, a long-ass cast and it better be a deeper-sounding Holy Light cast. ;)

Flash of Light: I’m so sad that this is going to get expensive. This will be the “oh shit, tank needs SOME form of healing ASAP!” spell. Crit Holy Shock + FoL + Word of Glory combo?

Healing Hands: “an AoE heal-over-time that is applied to all players standing near the paladin”. So that’s interesting. It’s a button to hit when lots of people are around us and it stays on them for the ten seconds even if we move or they move?

Without a lot of context, particularly without a talent tree that is even mostly in place, we don’t have a lot to say. What we can say is that, from our experience in this game, various things sound neat or lacklustre. We can say that, in the game environment as we know it, certain things might work nicely or not so nicely. I mean, who wouldn’t want Healing Hands on Twin Valks in TOC/TOGC? Who wouldn’t want Light of Dawn on Infest on LK?

To me, the core of understanding new talents and abilities is taking past experiences and thinking about how those apply to the old content you’ve done. That way, when you recognize familiar elements in a new fight, you can think about using the new abilities in a way that would have been able to help you in the old fight.

For example, the priests are getting Leap of Faith (also known as Life Grip) which will pull a person to you.

In current content, where would you use this?

Off the top of my head, I can think of three times to use this in a raid situation:

1) Pulling someone with a spore from melee into a ranged group on Festergut (assuming you have a priest at range).

2) Yanking someone to the center area on Blood Queen Lana’thel when they have Pact of the Darkfallen and aren’t moving.

3) Hauling someone’s lagging ass out of Defile on Lich King.

I’m going to be giving a lot of thought to how to play a paladin in Cataclysm with Cataclysm trees and mechanics, as the information comes out, and will definitely be sharing my thoughts here as both the information and my thoughts become available. ;)

Like I said, I’m not in the beta yet, so I can’t tell how different it’s going to be, but it WILL be different. How it’s going to be different will be the make-it-or-break-it for me. I have six level 80s. I may not play the paladin in Cataclysm. I may not even play the hunter. We’ll have to see how it goes.