Raiding as a Holy Paladin in Classic

Yesterday’s post was about dungeon healing as a holy paladin in Classic. Today, we talk about raiding.

The major difference here is that you are not the sole person healing and responsible for everyone’s health. You have like, 10+ other healers with you for a 40-man raid, and probably at least 4 other people with you for a 20-man raid.

More, you are almost certainly not the only paladin!

As such, the big change here is one of coordination, as well as a subtle shift of responsibility.

Blessing Organization

PallyPower was the gold standard for blessings, back in the day. This allowed you to easily bless everyone appropriately, in coordination with other paladins in the raid, and also kept timers for those buffs. But PallyPower is: a) defunct, b) not going to work anyway because you didn’t have to target people directly to cast on them.

As such, barring any new plugins (please do let me know if any exist!), you’ll have to go old-school on this.

The low-tech way is to write down which class gets which of your buffs. Then buff yourself first and then buff your way down the list of druids, hunters, mages, priests, rogues, warlocks and warriors, as paladins have already been buffed when you buffed yourself. By buffing yourself first, you have a visible timer. When your buff is running out, that’s a great time to rebuff everyone.

The higher-tech way is to use your raid frames to show you the buffs. Whether you use the in-game frames or something like Grid, you can probably figure out how to get them to display. For myself, I’m thinking of giving a yellow border to people who have my buff, but that’ll be something I’ll explore in the future, assuming an addon doesn’t come out before then.

As to who should buff what in a raid situation: make sure if anyone has an improved buff or otherwise talented blessing that they’re casting that one. You have someone who has improved wisdom? Great, they cast that across the raid. Someone with improved might? Same. Someone with kings? Perfect, they cast that on everyone. Let the people with unimproved talents cast Salvation. I definitely suggest you have a paladin channel for pallies to organize themselves here.

What about Blessing of Light?

In a raid situation, most of your paladins are probably going to be healing. That’s sort of what paladins do in raids in this era we’re revisiting. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a prot pally as an off-tank, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a ret pally doing some damage, but, by and large, pallies are used to heal. So if you have a lot of pallies healing, yes, by all means, throw Blessing of Light on the raid, if you’ve got Salvation, Kings, Might and Wisdom covered. Whoever’s blessing Salvation can be the one to throw Light on the tanks at the very least.

Healing Organization

A good rule of thumb is one healer per group and 2-3 healers for the main tank and, if you can spare it, a couple tanks for the off-tank. This depends on the fight, of course. We always liked to have a variety of healers on the main tank — so a priest, a druid and a paladin. You had the priest with the nice, sweet Greater Heals, the druid with Rejuvenation and Regrowth spam, while the paladin would cast Flash of Light pretty much non-stop. Repeat this setup as possible for any off-tanks.

Additionally, there are lots of things to dispel in raids, so it’s a good idea to organize whole cleanses what group. Paladins can dispel all but curses with one click, so even if you have DPS paladins, assign them to a group to dispel so that the priests in the raid can keep healing. Try not to make the MT’s priest do too much dispelling. It’s a lot easier for a paladin to dispel and resume Flash of Light spam.

Speaking of dispelling, mages and druids are the only ones who can remove curses, so yes, even mages are going to need to decurse. Assign each mage or druid a group to decurse and have a backup plan for the main tank’s group in case someone eats it unexpectedly and then your main tank has two curses, a magic effect and a poison on them. ;)

Mana Management

Classic brings with it the concept of multiple potions and such while in combat. That means you can drink a mana potion every two minutes while in combat. But did you know that there are other things that can grant you mana?

  • Dark Rune: This non-bind-on-pickup item drops in Scholomance and is super useful for gaining a bit of mana while your potions are on cooldown. It shares a cooldown with healthstones, but not potions. Also, since there are no soulwells, you probably won’t even have a healthstone, so this shouldn’t be an issue.
  • Demonic Rune: This is a BOP item that drops off of virtually any demon, so it’s much easier to acquire than a Dark Rune, even though it’s BOP. While it basically does the same thing as a Dark Rune, the main difference is that a Demonic Rune can crit when it takes your health away. As such, always be aware of your health when you take it. A badly-timed use of a Demonic Rune that crits can absolutely kill you. That said, it’s shadow damage, so you might want to make sure you have Shadow Resist Aura up.

 

Of course, there are also other raid consumables. We’re talking Flask of Distilled Wisdom, Mageblood Potion and Nightfin Soup. These are pretty much the basics for a holy paladin. Also, load up on those Major Mana Potions.

There’s also downranking, but I’ll talk more about that in another post. Essentially, it’s the concept of using less-than-max-rank spells on purpose for the purpose of saving mana, particularly in periods of low raid damage. I’ll need to play around with things once I get to a decent level, but in some situations it’s perfectly okay to use, say, Rank 4 of Holy Light for only 190 mana instead of Rank 9 of Holy Light for 660 mana if you just need a small heal of 400-500 health, rather than 1600-2000 health. This really depends on your gear, though. At base levels, Rank 4 of Holy Light is equivalent to (and slightly more expensive than) max-rank Flash of Light. But if you have a lot of +healing… You can see where I’m going with this. In some cases, based on gear, you can do a lot of effective healing with lower ranks of spells.

The Five-Second Rule

Your mana doesn’t regen in combat (outside of any buffs that grant mp5, like Blessing of Wisdom) unless you haven’t spent mana for a full five seconds. One reason a lower Holy Light rank would be more useful than a max-rank Flash of Light is you can more easily interrupt a 2.5s cast than a 1.5s cast. So if your heal is no longer needed, you can hit escape or just move to prevent the cast from going through. This can enable you to hit the five seconds required to allow in-combat mana regeneration. Even a tick or two is helpful on some fights or if you’re a bit undergeared.

Aura Management

If you have at least three paladins, you want a resist aura, plus improved Devotion Aura, plus Concentration Aura and then you’re pretty much good. If you don’t need a resist aura, or there’s a large pack of mobs the tanks need to hold on to, toss up Ret aura.

Seal Management

Pick a seal to judge. Always judge that seal in the raid. You may want to double-up on wisdom and light to ensure that these are always being cast.

Divine Intervention Management

Don’t have all the pallies in your raid cast DI on the same wipe. With an hour-long cooldown, it’s best to spread out Divine Intervention. Decide who uses it in a rotation and make sure you’re clear on it before each pull. If you die before you can cast DI, call it out for the next person. This isn’t a huge deal, but if you’re deep inside Molten Core, you definitely do not want to have to run back, so DIing someone (preferably a priest or another paladin), is a good time-saver. Just don’t use all of them on the same wipe!

Questions? Bueller?

Well, that does it for this guide on how to raid as a holy paladin in Classic! Am I missing anything? Do you have any specific questions? Let me know in the comments below!

Dungeon Healing as a Holy Paladin in Classic

Folks, it’s been a long, long, long time since I healed in Vanilla. Healing has changed so much, and so often, that it’s hard for me to really remember what it was like. I didn’t get a chance to play on beta, outside of the stress tests, so please take my advice here with a grain of salt for now.

I healed dungeons from Scarlet Monastery onwards in Vanilla. Heck, I levelled holy. (Don’t do this, you will regret it when it takes you 12 minutes to kill a Kurzen Medicine Man in northern Stranglethorn Vale.)

For the lower level dungeons, it’s as you might expect – heal the tank and yourself primarily, cleanse people and try not to let them die (but not at the expense of you and the tank), don’t stand in bad.

Once you hit about level 50, it gets interesting, though. The dungeons you’ll be running are also run by level 60s, so things get a bit more challenging — your tanks get hit harder, dots tick for more damage, all that sort of thing.

This is a reasonable level 50 dungeon-healing build:

https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/paladin/05503022521351–052

This is a reasonable level 60 dungeon-healing build:

https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/paladin/05503020521351-5002-552

Both of these builds try to increase your utility by giving you improved Blessing of Might, plus Improved Devotion Aura, plus Guardian’s Favor and decreased Judgment cooldown.

Healing “Rotation”

Fun fact, there’s no healing rotation. You have three, count ’em, three healing spells. You have Flash of Light, which is fast, doesn’t cost much mana and subsequently doesn’t heal for much and you have Holy Light, which is a bit longer to cast, costs more mana but heals for more. Oh, and then every thirty seconds you have Holy Shock.

Now, this doesn’t touch on downranking, which is a more complex subject, but basically, those are your three castable heals. That’s it. No Beacon of Light, no Holy Radiance, no Light of Dawn. That. is. it.

Someone is missing a bit of health? Flash of Light.

Someone is missing a LOT of health? Holy Light.

Someone is ABOUT TO DIE and can’t wait for Flash of Light to cast? Holy Shock, then Flash of Light, then Holy Light. (Or Lay on Hands — see below.)

The Oh Shit Button

Divine Favor is a talent and it is glorious. It forces your next Flash of Light, Holy Light or Holy Shock to be a crit. And, IIRC, it’s not on the global cooldown, so you can macro it to something like:

/cast Divine Favor
/cast Holy Shock

You need a target in there somewhere, but it should instantly cast Holy Shock and force a crit. If you have any on-use trinkets that would be helpful that are also off the global cooldown, you can use them here, too, to chain a nice big instant heal.

Note that Divine Favor does NOT force Lay on Hands to crit.

Seals and Judging

Of course, you also have Seal of Light and Seal of Wisdom and you can judge them both. How does judging work? Well, you put up a seal (like Light) and then you judge, then the seal is no longer up. So you would need to recast Seal of Light in order to judge it again. Read the tooltips on the seals to know what the judged effect is. So attacking someone with Seal of Light up gives me, the paladin, 94 health when it procs. When I judge it, anyone attacking the mob who has it on them has a change to get 61 health when it procs. If you’re close enough to attack the mob yourself, your melee hits refresh the duration of the judgment. I’m definitely fuzzy on this — not sure if it’s you or anyone in your group, but I’ll come back to this. I was more someone who stood 30y back and mostly judged from there.

So Seal of Light is nice to judge on a boss because then everyone is attacking the boss and everyone is getting health back. However, Seal of Wisdom is also nice to judge if you have a bunch of mana users (and if you, yourself, are running out of mana). You can judge Wisdom, then put up Seal of Wisdom on yourself again, then attack the mob and get a crapton of mana back as both the seal and judgment will proc.

Blessings

Contrary to popular belief, Blessing of Kings is not the best buff. It’s Blessing of Salvation. That alone can allow you to live through a not great tank or allows a monstrous DPS to control their threat. Here’s how you should buff people.

Tank: Kings, if you’re specced into it, if only for the boost in stats and stam. If not (as you may not be, given my recommended builds above), give them Blessing of Might or, if they’re squishy, Blessing of Light. This only increases a paladin’s healing done to the target, so if you’re ret or prot in a dungeon and have a priest healing you, don’t buff this. (If you’re in some spec that allows you Blessing of Sanctuary, go for it on the tank.)

Yourself: As a holy paladin, you should give yourself Blessing of Wisdom. You naturally cause less threat than any other healer. If your tank is Not Good with the aggro, give yourself Salvation. However, you have a bubble. You should not need to Salv yourself.

All DPS: Give them Salvation. They may complain. Give them Salvation anyway.

Exception: Hunters! You may instead want to give hunters Blessing of Kings if you have it, or Blessing of Wisdom. Hunters can feign death every 30 seconds to completely eliminate any threat, so they can be in charge of managing their threat on their own. And no, do not give them Blessing of Might, no matter how much they think they want it. It is only good for melee attack power and hunters use ranged attack power. So if they don’t want Salv and you don’t have Kings, give them Wisdom. They do use mana, after all!

How Blessings Work

I think it’s at 60 you get all the Greater Blessings which last 15 minutes. Don’t be cheap. Use the Greater Blessings that use Symbols of Kings. Period. Do it. Not only do you not want to rebuff everyone every five minutes but no one else wants you to pause to rebuff and then drink every five minutes.

Finally, as they worked in more recent expansions, you are buffing an entire CLASS when you use a Greater Blessing. So if you have 3 warriors and one is tanking, buff them all Salv and then hit the warrior tank with the simple Blessing of Light or Blessing of Might. Got three mages in the group? Peachy, throw Greater Blessing of Salvation at them all and be done with one cast.

Utility Blessings

Okay, so, blessings are crazy in Vanilla/Classic. First, and I don’t think I’m wrong about this (but I could be), Blessing of Protection, Blessing of Freedom, etc, ALL OVERWRITE your actual Greater Blessing of whatever. One blessing per paladin per person! So if you have to cast BOP on an overzealous melee, don’t forget to hit them with Salvation again.

That said, so many of these blessings are useful. Do not hesitate to cast Blessing of Protection on someone with a bleed. If it’s a melee, once the bleed drops off, hit them with their normal blessing so they can continue attacking. If a clothie is being attacked, keep BOP on them and re-bless them after, as they don’t do physical damage and aren’t prevented from casting while BOPped.

Blessing of Freedom is great to avoid slows. Don’t hesitate to use it on your tank if they need to get to a mob casting Frostbolt at them.

Blessing of Sacrifice is not as good as it is currently, but hey, it’s some damage mitigation.

Auras

Which aura to use? You have A LOT. You have the elemental resist auras, Frost, Fire, Shadow (though no arcane!), so if you’re expecting damage of any of those schools (Baron Rivendare’s Shadow Aura, Alexei Barov’s Shadow Aura, Lord Incendius’ fire attacks), use that resist aura.

Concentration Aura: if you and/or your casters are being interrupted a lot by damage, use this to prevent you from ever being interrupted. (Pretty sure you start at base 70% chance not to be interrupted in casting when damaged?)

Retribution Aura: mostly used while soloing to inflict more damage on anything hitting you.

Devotion Aura: The go-to standard. Who doesn’t want more armor?

Cleansing

Guess what? You have an overpowered ability. Well, to be fair, you have several. However, one of the best utilities you have is your Cleanse ability. At level 8, you get Purify, allowing you to dispell a disease and a poison. At 42, you get Cleanse which adds a magic effect to that. So with one click, you can remove a poison AND a disease AND a magic effect from someone. And there’s no cooldown. This is incredibly important. The only thing you can’t get rid of is curses. (Bring a mage, bring a druid.)

Cleansing is one of the most important things to do in the game, period. Get all the bad crap off your healing target and then heal them, for the most part.

Lay on Hands

Oh, that’s right, you do have Lay on Hands… except it literally is a 40 minute cooldown (when talented for it! 60 minutes otherwise!) and it literally uses all of your mana, so make sure to have a Major Mana Potion ready and judge wisdom and put up Seal of Wisdom and go hit the boss after you use it.

Turn Undead

You’re a paladin. A champion of the light. As such, you can Turn Undead. Note that this later became Turn Evil and included demons, but this is just for undead and not the Forsaken, either! This can be an effective form of crowd control. That said, just like a warlock’s fear, your dude can go running off pretty far in 20 seconds and may come back… with friends. Still, this is super handy on, say, the two adds in Scholo on Alexei Barov.

Divine Intervention

Known as “DI”, Divine Intervention is one of my favourite spells. It kills you instantly. But you don’t take durability damage. It requires a target, so target someone who can resurrect (priest, other paladin, druid, engineer with jumper cables) and cast it if you’re about to wipe. It removes the other person from combat (so make sure they’re in a good place and won’t pull when they click it off!) when it kills you, so they don’t die and can rez the group. However, druids have a 30m cooldown on their rez and it’s an in-combat resurrection, so they should be your last choice. Always try to DI a priest. This will rarely be an opportunity for you in a dungeon, though.

TL;DR:

  • There is no healing rotation. Flash of Light for small heals, Holy Light for big heals, Holy Shock when moving as it’s your only instant, Divine Favor for forced crits, Lay on Hands once every 40 minutes.
  • Buff wisely and use Salvation for everyone except you and the tank.
  • Judge Light to heal and Judge Wisdom to regen mana. Feel free to run into melee with either of those seals up to gain health and mana yourself as well.
  • Don’t forget to cleanse.
  • You can CC for about 20 seconds with Turn Undead.
  • Use auras as needed and go Devotion Aura if none of the others are required.
  • DI a priest or paladin before a druid. Engineers with jumper cables are also valid options!

 

All righty, I’ll end things on this note, but will come back to talk about raiding. Any questions? Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments below!

Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & UBRS

This is the last in a series of posts (for now) which focuses on things of interest to you in dungeons starting around level 50. Once Dire Maul is released, I’ll tackle DM East, West and North (plus Tribute Runs!), too.

Overall, intellect is your best stat for a paladin healer, followed by crit. Why? At Rank 5, Illumination gives you a 100% chance to regain the mana cost for a spell if it crits. Crit is great for a holy paladin’s output, but it’s also great for your mana regen. +healing and mp5 are decent stats too, but intellect also increases your healing done and gives you chance to critically strike with your spells and crit gives you mana back, so that’s generally the direction we should go. (That said, there’s nothing wrong with a ton of +healing if you’re not running out of mana, and you should always endeavour to have SOME +healing.)

Some (all?) of these mail recommendations may not drop for an Alliance group, so please be aware of that possibility. I’ll update these posts when I’ve been able to confirm this.

Listen, I freaking love my Lightforge Armor, but it’s not for healing. It just isn’t. It never will be. Believe it or not, some of the pieces don’t have any intellect! But pick it up anyway. First, it looks awesome, particularly when paired with the Stormpike Battle Tabard. Second, the Tier 0.5 armor, Soulforge Armor, is not as tragic. All the pieces have intellect and +damage/healing on them. When Phase Five comes out, in order to get the Tier 0.5 armor, you need to do a ton of things, including exchanging your T0 pieces for the Tier 0.5 pieces. Make sure you grab all your Lightforge so you’re able to exchange it for Soulforge.

All righty, let’s see what Rend, the Beast and General Drakkisath have for us in UBRS, as we follow in Leeroy Jenkins’ footsteps!

Classic Loot for a Holy Paladin in Upper Blackrock Spire (UBRS)

Oh, by the way, you need a key. The key is a ring, the Seal of Ascension. The ring is forged through a long and annoying quest chain. I’ll definitely outline that At Some Point In The Future. ;)

General Drakkisath drops all of the Tier 0 chests. It took me over 60 kills over the course of Vanilla, Burning Crusade and Wrath in order to get my Beaststalker’s Tunic. My paladin was much more fortunate and got it after like, maybe a dozen runs. I had never even seen it drop on my hunter. 60+ kills. Do not take someone’s tier chestpiece from them. I beg of you.

Helm: There are a few helms of note that drop in UBRS, mostly off Rend’s dragon, Gyth. Of particular interest is the Tribal War Feathers helm, requiring level 55. While leather, it’s exclusively +healing and has a good amount of intellect. The Spellweaver’s Turban, requiring level 60 and dropping from Drakkisath, is cloth and has +hit, so ignore that, despite the slightly higher +damage/healing. Also off Gyth, also requiring level 55, is Gyth’s Skull of randomness. As always, look for of Intellect, of the Eagle, of the Owl, of Healing or of Concentration. Or, for tanking aspirations, anything with more stam, strength or defense.

Neck: The only neck of note drops from General Drakkisath himself, the Tooth of Gnarr, requiring level 58.

Shoulders: First up, the Lightforge Spaulders, requiring level 55, are your tier 0 shoulders. Get them. They drop off The Beast. They actually do have intellect, but are not the best healing shoulders. Hilariously, Leeroy Jenkins wanting the Devout Mantle is actually legit, it’s a pretty great choice! But that’s the priest tier 0 shoulder piece, so let the priests get it first. That piece drops from Solakar Flamewreath in the Rookery.

Chest: As mentioned, General Drakkisath drops all the tier 0 chests. Yours is the Lightforge Breastplate. Any of the caster robes would also work, but the Magister’s Robes would be the best in terms of pure +intellect. Again, let the mages have their tier piece. Chests all require level 58.

Cloak: The Frostweaver Cape drops from The Beast and requires level 58. It’s the only cloak worth mentioning.

Bracers: Nothing of note, though some tier 0 bracers are zone-wide drops and there are some green bracers that could be interesting if they’re of Intellect, of the Eagle, of the Owl, of Healing or of Concentration.

Belt: Lots of tier 0 belts drop here as zone-wide drops, possibly including the shaman’s Cord of Elements. The Crystallized Girdle drops from Solakar Flamewreath and requires level 56. It’s leather and moonkin gear to be sure, but has a nice amount of intellect and some +dmg/healing.

Gloves: Not too much in the way of gloves.

Legs: Nothing fun in terms of legs, either, although the Warmaster Legguards, requiring level 58, drop from Rend, and are useful if you want to tank. +2% to dodge is great.

Feet: More cloth! The Faith Healter’s Boots require level 58 and drop from Rend.

Main Hand: While not as great as other options in other dungeons, the best option for a paladin healer in UBRS is the Mastersmith’s Hammer, requiring level 55. It drops from Goraluk Anvilcrack, who is upstairs from the Rookery. Take the first left, not the second.

Off-hand: The Tome of the Lost, requiring level 58, is okay. It drops from General Drakkisath. If your shield-wearing tanks don’t want Draconian Deflector and it drops from Drakkisath, you should snag it for tanking purposes.

Rings: Ooh, Band of Rumination, requiring level 58 and dropping from Rend, is really nice. Some mp5 plus crit!

Trinkets: Though there are absolutely zero stats on it, the Draconic Infused Emblem, which requires level 58 and drops from Drakkisath, is amazing. +190 healing for 15 seconds every 75 seconds. You will have competition. Doesn’t matter. This is definitely something you will want as a holy paladin. The other trinket here, Briarwood Reed, drops from Jed Runewatcher, a rare spawn in the same general area as Goraluk Anvilcrack. This is a little more of a grey area. It’s passive +29 dmg/healing, but it’s not pure +healing. Still, if you have crappy trinkets, this is valuable for you. Certainly, until Dire Maul and the Royal Seals of Eldre’Thalas come out, it’s very good for you.

That’s it for UBRS!

Thanks for reading! I’ll have more holy paladin guide stuff in the next few weeks, but hopefully these blog posts have been helpful. Next time, I’ll have more general Classic tips and tricks.

Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & Scholomance

This series of posts focuses on things of interest to you in dungeons starting around level 50. Intellect is your best stat for a paladin healer, followed by crit. Why? At Rank 5, Illumination gives you a 100% chance to regain the mana cost for a spell if it crits. Crit is great for a holy paladin’s output, but it’s also great for your mana regen. +healing and mp5 are decent stats too, but intellect also increases your healing done and gives you chance to critically strike with your spells and crit gives you mana back, so that’s generally the direction we should go. (That said, there’s nothing wrong with a ton of +healing if you’re not running out of mana.)

It’s also possible that some of these mail recommendations may not drop for an Alliance group, so please be aware of that possibility. I’ll update these posts when I’ve been able to confirm this.

My paladin’s life-long transmog is Lightforge Armor, but it’s actually really super terribly bad for healing. Some of the pieces don’t even have intellect! You should collect it, though, because the Tier 0.5 armor, Soulforge Armor, is not as tragic. All the pieces have intellect and +damage/healing on them. When Phase Five comes out, in order to get the Tier 0.5 armor, you need to do a ton of things, including exchanging your T0 pieces for the Tier 0.5 pieces. Make sure you grab all your Lightforge so you’re able to exchange it for Soulforge.

Let’s take on the Barovs and Gandling!

Classic Loot for a Holy Paladin in Scholomance

I’m going to be mentioning the pieces of the Deathbone Guardian set in this post, if you have any tanking aspirations. Please let any plate-wearing tank take these before you do if you’re healing the instance.

Darkmaster Gandling drops all of the Tier 0 helms. Back in the day, I killed Gandling 26 times on my hunter before I got my helm and I only saw the Beaststalker’s Cap twice in that entire time. My brother never got his Wildheart Cowl.

Helm: The Lightforge Helm requires level 57 and drops from Gandling. Do not, and I cannot express this enough, take any other class helm over any class that needs it. That said, the Magister’s Crown has a beefy 30 intellect. But don’t be a jerk. Let the mages have their helm.

Neck: Nothing particularly useful here.

Shoulders: While I’m not sure if this mail piece will drop from Jandice Barov for an Alliance group, the Royal Cap Spaulders are level 57 and have intellect and +healing. The cloth Burial Shawl, requiring level 56, is a zone-wide drop and have more intellect and some +dmg/healing and would be a decent piece. Certainly, better than the mage and warlock shoulders that also drop here. Oh, and if you have any tanking aspirations and your tank either doesn’t wear plate or doesn’t need them, grab the Stoneform Shoulders, requiring level 56, from Kirtonos the Herald. Again, let’s not be a jerk.

Chest: Really nothing of note for a holy paladin here. That said, the Deathbone Chestplate is a great tanking chest, particularly for a paladin with the mp5. Of course, if your tank needs it, let them have it. Yes, even if it’s a warrior. +17 defense is HUGE. If you have any desire to tank and your tank doesn’t need it, snag this chestpiece, which requires level 56 and is a zone-wide drop.

Cloak: Nah, nothing here.

Bracers: The Lightforge Bracers are a zone-wide drop here. Aaaaand there’s no intellect on them, so don’t use them to heal. Best would be the Loomguard Armbraces, if they drop for an Alliance group. They require level 56 and drop from Kirtonos the Herald. Otherwise, look at the Necropile Cuffs, but let clothies have dibs on these bracers that require level 56 and are a zone-wide drop.

Belt: In terms of belts, the Detention Strap is a mail belt requiring level 57 that drops from Darkmaster Gandling, but may not drop for Alliance groups. You can consider the Clutch of Andros, requiring level 56 from Kirtonos the Herald, but it has spell hit on it. Do not steal this from clothies. For real. There’s also the Wildheart Belt, requiring level 53, which is a zone-wide drop, but dibs to the druids. Finally, for you wanna-be tankadins out there, the Deathbone Girdle (a zone-wide drop) is godly. Again, dibs to the plate tanks. Do not be a jerk!

Gloves: The only gloves that should interest you here are the Magister’s Gloves but, all together now, let the mages have their gloves! Two sweet tanking gloves drop here, too: Boneclenched Gauntlets, requiring level 57 and dropping from Ras Frostwhisper, and the Deathbone Gauntlets, requiring level 56 and are a zone-wide drop. Let your plate-wearing tanks get either before you!

Legs: The best legs in Scholomance for you are the Ghoul Skin Leggings, a zone-wide drop made of leather that require level 56. They’re straight-up +healing, so a moonkin shouldn’t want them. If they drop, the mail Maelstrom Leggings off Ras Frostwhisper are decent, requiring level 57. Tanking pants include the Deathbone Leggings, a zone-wide drop, requiring level 56, and the Wraithplate Leggings, which has no +defense, but adds a full percent of parry.

Feet: The Death Knight Sabatons, requiring level 54, drop from Marduk Blackpool. They’re actually plate and have intellect on them, what craziness is this!? This NPC is in the Viewing Room with Vectus. And, of course, for the tanks among you, the Deathbone Sabatons drop in the zone and they require level 56. A nice +10 defense rating here! Make sure your plate-wearing tank passes on these before you snag them.

Main Hand: Well, pallies can’t use staves or daggers, so there’s nothing of interest for us here.

Off-hand: The Rattlecage Buckler, which requires level 57 and drops from Rattlegore, is a pretty decent intellect shield. The Spellbound Tome, requiring level 57 as well, dropping from Ras Frostwhisper, is a good OH, too, but clothies might want that instead.

Rings: Don Mauricio’s Band of Domination is great for a holy paladin and requires level 58. It drops from Gandling. The Dimly Opalescent Ring is a zone-wide drop and requires level 56. It’s got random enchantments, so look for of Intellect, of the Eagle, of the Owl, of Healing or of Concentration.

Relic: Assuming we have relics in this patch, and I think we do, the Libram of Divinity is basically the only one you need until you get to AQ or Naxxramas. It’s a zone-wide drop in Scholomance and requires level 60.

Trinkets: Absolutely nothing.

Next time…

And that’s Scholomance for you! If you’re having trouble with Alexei Barov, you can fear one of the adds with Turn Undead, though that will only give you 15 seconds (and the cooldown is 30 seconds). Hopefully you’re done with one of the adds by the time it comes back! Also, Shadow Resistance Aura will be very useful here, or if you’ve got a lot of casters in the group, go with Concentration Aura.

Next up: we follow in the footsteps of Leeroy Jenkins and enter the Rookery and down The Beast and General Drakkisath in search of Lightforge pieces in Upper Blackrock Spire!

Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & Stratholme (Undead)

All of these posts focus on things of interest to you in dungeons starting around level 50. Intellect is your best stat for a paladin healer, followed by crit. Why? At Rank 5, Illumination gives you a 100% chance to regain the mana cost for a spell if it crits. So crit, for a holy paladin, is not only good for your output, but it’s great for your mana regen. +healing and mp5 are decent stats too, but intellect also increases your healing done and gives you chance to critically strike with your spells and crit gives you mana back, so that’s generally the direction we should go. (That said, there’s nothing wrong with a ton of +healing if you’re not running out of mana.)

It’s also possible that some of these mail recommendations may not drop for an Alliance group, so please be aware of that possibility. I’ll update these posts when I’ve been able to confirm this.

My paladin’s life-long transmog is Lightforge Armor, but it’s actually really tragically bad for healing. Some of the pieces don’t have intellect! You should collect it, though, because the Tier 0.5 armor, Soulforge Armor, is not terrible. All the pieces have intellect and +damage/healing on them. When Phase Five comes out, in order to get the Tier 0.5 armor, you need to do a ton of things, including exchanging your T0 pieces for the Tier 0.5 pieces. So make sure you grab all your Lightforge so you’re able to exchange it for Soulforge.

Ready to face the Baron? Let’s do it. (Even better if you can do it in 45 minutes!)

Classic Loot for a Holy Paladin in Stratholme (Undead)

As I mentioned in my last post, Stratholme Live and Undead are the same instance and you can get from one to the other and, in fact, unless you have the Key to the City (Strat UD key) or a rogue or someone else who can open doors, that’s the only way you can get in. The Key to the City drops from Magistrate Barthilas towards the end of Strat UD. This is likely a green item you can roll on.

Helm: While it should go to clothies first, the Crimson Felt Hat is the only helm of note in Strat UD. It’s cloth and requires level 54 and drops off Magistrate Barthilas.

Neck: Animated Chain Necklace, requiring level 57, drops off Ramstein the Gorger.

Shoulders: Two pieces of cloth of interest here, one of which, the Shroud of the Nathrezim, I mentioned in my last post, because it’s a zone-wide drop. Of particular interest is it gives you 1% to crit on spells. Another interesting piece, though should go to cloth DPSers first, is the Thuzadin Mantle, requiring level 58 and dropping from Baron Rivendare.

Chest: Two interesting drops from the Baron: Robes of the Exalted, cloth and requiring level 58. This chestpiece is +healing, which means no other cloth-wearing person in your group should want it if you’re healing. However, there’s also Tunic of the Crescent Moon to consider. Sure, it’s less +healing (and is made for moonkins), but it’s got way more intellect and it has +crit. Which one you go for is really going to be dependent on what else you’re wearing at the time. Need more mana regen? Go for the tunic. Need more raw +healing? Go for the robes. Also, let moonkins have first dibs on the tunic.

Cloak: Only one drop of note here and that’s Royal Tribunal Cloak. It requires level 54 and drops from the Magistrate.

Bracers: The only thing of remote interest is Magistrate’s Cuffs, requiring level 54 and made of leather. No intellect, but 4 mana per 5 seconds. Truly sub-par.

Belt: There’s one belt that doesn’t totally suck and it’s from Nerub’enkan: Thuzadin Sash. Of course, it’s cloth and should go to DPSers first, but 12 intellect on a belt is nothing to sneeze at. Requires level 56.

Gloves: The Wildheart Gloves are a zone drop requiring level 54, but are underwhelming and belong to druids. Better gloves exist elsewhere. Shadowy Laced Handwraps require level 55 and are cloth, dropping from Baroness Anastari, but again, dibs to the cloth-wearers. They are not phenomenal, though 15 int is nice.

Legs: Baron Rivendare drops all of the class legs. We’re talking Lightforge, Beaststalker, Valor, everything. So, obviously, get your Lightforge Legplates from him, requiring level 56. However, these are not great for healing. (They’ll do in a pinch.) Instead, the best legs for healing that are available here are the Chitinous Plate Legguards, off of Nerub’enkan, requiring level 56 as well. 20 int, 5mp5, these were made for holy paladins.

Feet: The Lightforge Boots, requiring level 54, are a zone drop. However, they suck for healing. Verdant Footpads, which should go to a druid before you, do have some straight-up +healing, but nothing else of value. On the other side of things (+int, but no +healing), the Devout Sandals and Dreadmist Sandals drop from Baroness Anastari and Maleki the Pallid respectively, but, of course, should go to priests and warlocks before you.

Main Hand: Ramstein the Gorger drops the Felstone Reaver, which has a random enchantment. Pretty useless but you could get lucky and get of Intellect, of the Eagle, of the Owl, of Healing or of Concentration, all of which would be, at the very least, interesting, depending on what you already have. I should note that there’s a level 58 2H mace called Hammer of the Grand Crusader, which is a zone-wide drop. This is definitely made for paladins but is worse than a 1H/shield or off-hand combo for sure.

Off-hand: Nothing.

Rings: The Baron drops a nice level 56 ring: Seal of Rivendare.

Trinkets: Nothing here.

Next time…

That’s it for Strat UD! Don’t forget the Chitinous Plate Legguards and your Lightforge Legplates and Lightforge Boots.

Next up: The Barov family, Darkmaster Gandling and tier 0 helms as we tackle Scholomance!

Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & Stratholme (Live)

All of these posts will focus on things you start picking up in dungeons starting around level 50. Intellect is your best stat for a paladin healer, followed by crit. Why? At Rank 5, Illumination gives you a 100% chance to regain the mana cost for a spell if it crits. So crit, for a holy paladin, is not only good for your output, but it’s great for your mana regen. +healing and mp5 are decent stats too, but intellect also increases your healing done and gives you chance to critically strike with your spells and crit gives you mana back, so that’s generally the direction we should go. (That said, there’s nothing wrong with a ton of +healing if you’re not running out of mana.)

Also, it’s possible that some of these mail recommendations may not drop for an Alliance group, so please be aware of that possibility. I’ll update these posts when I’ve been able to confirm this.

My paladin’s life-long transmog is Lightforge Armor, but it’s actually terrible for healing. Some of the pieces don’t have intellect! You should collect it, though, because the Tier 0.5 armor, Soulforge Armor, is not terrible. All the pieces have intellect and +damage/healing on them. When Phase Five comes out, in order to get the Tier 0.5 armor, you need to do a ton of things, including exchanging your T0 pieces for the Tier 0.5 pieces. So make sure you grab all your Lightforge so you’re able to exchange it for Soulforge.

Okay, let’s enter the City of Stratholme.

Classic Loot for a Holy Paladin in Stratholme (Live)

Like LBRS and UBRS, Stratholme Live (or Scarlet Strat, Red Strat, etc) and Stratholme Undead are technically the same instance. Unlike them, you can get from one to the other and, in fact, unless you have the Key to the City (Strat UD key) or a rogue or someone else who can open doors, that’s the only way you can get in. You get the Key to the City by killing Magistrate Barthilas towards the end of the dungeon. This is likely a green item you can roll on.

Okay, okay, enough, back to Strat Live and gear for a holy paladin!

Helm: The Postmaster’s Band, requiring level 56, is part of a 5-piece outfit that is meant for cloth DPS folks. So pass on it unless they don’t want it. I should note I’m not sure how the Postmaster spawns in Phase 1. I know that in Phase 5, it was much easier to do so (or so legend had it). I’m not certain if this guide at Wowhead is how to do it in Phase 1. I’ll update this when I can confirm. A piece you’ll have less competition for is the leather Helm of the New Moon, from Cannon Master Willey, which requires level 56, but doesn’t require the whole summoning of the Postmaster and isn’t cloth. (Take that, Matticus!)

Neck: Nothing of note in Strat Live.

Shoulders: Shroud of the Nathrezim, while cloth, is a great piece for this slot. It requires level 58 and is a zone-wide drop, so it can drop in Live or Undead. Part of why it’s so great is that it gives you a full percent more crit on spells. You may have cloth-wearing competition for this, though, and the nice thing to do is to let the clothies have it. Possibly as good is the Mantle of the Scarlet Crusade, also cloth, requiring level 56 and dropping off Cannon Master Willey. It’s got straight-up 20 +healing, which is good, because no caster should be interested in that.

Chest: The Postmaster’s Tunic is part of that cloth DPS set I talked about that, of course, drops from The Postmaster and requires level 56. Nothing else of value in Live, really. But wait ’till you see what Baron Rivendare has in Undead!

Cloak: Archivist Cape of the something or another, drops from Archivist Galford in Live and requires level 56. This is not the most amazing cape, but it’s interesting because of the 4mp5 (4 mana per 5 seconds) on it. If you see an Archivist Cape of Intellect, of the Eagle, of the Owl or of Healing (or even of Concentration), snag it!

Bracers: Nothing of note.

Belt: Rainbow Girdle drops from Hearthsinger Forresten, a rare spawn in Strat Live. I only mention it because it’s plate with some intellect. There are better belts, but you won’t have competition on this one. If it drops for the Alliance, the Barrage Girdle, from Cannon Master Willey, which requires level 56, would be better for you. You could also get lucky with a Foresight Girdle of an interesting kind — if it drops for the Alliance off the Archivist. (Also requiring level 56.)

Gloves: Ugh, just the Devout Gloves here worth mentioning. It’s a priest’s tier set, so dibs go to priests. They require level 54 and drop from the Archivist. Another possibility is the Wildheart Gloves, also requiring level 54, and dibs to the druids. Don’t be a jerk. Better gloves exist elsewhere.

Legs: The Postmaster’s Trousers, dropping from The Postmaster, are cloth and require level 56. Now I swear that I’ve seen this next item drop: Woollies of the Prancing Minstrel. They drop off of Hearthsinger Forresten, that rare spawn, and require level 53. But they’re mail. So even though I know I’ve seen them drop, I’m not sure when. Was it after the 2.0 patch? Maybe? Why was I still running Strat Live after the 2.0 patch? Anyway. There are better legs in Undead, but snag either of these if you can.

Feet: The Postmaster’s Treads, which obviously drop from The Postmaster and, yes, are cloth. They require level 56. Magister’s Boots claim to be a “boss drop” but I’m pretty sure they used to drop off the Postmaster and then they moved them to Hearthsinger Forresten. Mages get dibs! They require level 54.

Main Hand: Nada, though I should note that there’s a level 58 2H mace called Hammer of the Grand Crusader, which is a zone-wide drop. Still, you’ll get more bang for your buck with a 1H and shield or off-hand combination.

Off-hand: Ugh, just the Tome of Knowledge, which is kind of lame, requiring level 56 and dropping from the Archivist.

Rings: Seriously, just The Postmaster’s Seal, which requires level 56 and, of course, drops from The Postmaster. If you don’t have at least 3 pieces of this set already, there’s no point in grabbing this, really. The 4-piece gives you +12 dmg/healing and the 5-piece bonus gives you +10 int and +5% run speed (?), so not really worth collecting for the bonuses, but if you’re already wearing three or four pieces, go for this ring to add another set bonus.

Trinkets: Nothing of note and do everyone in Azeroth a favour and disenchant the Piccolo of the Flaming Fire if it drops.

Next time…

All right, that’s it for the live side of Strat. Don’t forget to pull all the way back so you can kill runners before they go get another bunch of mobs!

Next time — Strat Undead, with all tier pants from Baron Rivendare and more sweet loot.

Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & LBRS

All of these posts will focus on things you start picking up in dungeons starting around level 50. Suffice it to say, intellect is your best stat for a paladin healer, followed by crit. Why? At Rank 5, Illumination gives you a 100% chance to regain the mana cost for a spell if it crits. So crit, for a holy paladin, is not only good for your output, but it’s great for your mana regen. +healing and mp5 are decent stats too, but intellect also increases your healing done and gives you chance to critically strike with your spells and crit gives you mana back, so that’s generally the direction we should go.

Also, it’s possible that some of these mail recommendations may not drop for an Alliance group, so please be aware of that possibility. I’ll update these posts when I’ve been able to confirm this.

While I love the armor, Lightforge Armor is actually really awful for healing. Some of the pieces don’t even have intellect on them! However, it’s worth it to collect it, because the Tier 0.5 armor, Soulforge Armor, is not terrible. (It’s not fantastic, but it’s not awful. The 4-piece set bonus is pretty great and all the pieces have intellect and +damage/healing on them.) Later on, come Phase Five, in order to get the Tier 0.5 armor, you need to do a ton of things, including exchanging your T0 pieces for the Tier 0.5 pieces. So make sure you grab all your Lightforge so you’re able to exchange it for Soulforge.

Into the spire we go, folks!

Classic Loot for a Holy Paladin in Lower Blackrock Spire (LBRS)

It’s important to note that LBRS and UBRS are technically the same dungeon at this point in time, but you can’t get to UBRS without the Seal of Ascension. That ring is the end result of, what else, a long quest chain that starts with the drop of the Unadorned Seal of Ascension. You’ll need to get the three gems that drop from three bosses in LBRS (War Master Voone, Highlord Omokk and Overlord Wyrmthalak) and then talk to Vaelan within LBRS and then you’ll need to get Emberstrife, a dragon in Dustwallow Marsh, to forge it for you. Then you turn it in and you’ll get the ring. (More or less.)

Helm: Literally nothing in LBRS.

Neck: Nothing.

Shoulders: Wildheart Spaulders, the druid tier 0 shoulders, requiring level 55. They drop off Gizrul the Slavener, which is the big dog that comes running down the hallway after you kill Halycon. Another option is Sunderseer Mantle, requiring level 56 and dropping from Crystal Fang, the rare spider. (Not Mother Smolderweb.) Bear in mind that you should let any druids have the Wildheart Spaulders and any clothies get the Sunderseer Mantle, otherwise you’re just being a jerk.

Chest: Plate of the Shaman King, requiring level 55, drops from Highlord Omokk. It’s plate, with nice intellect and some damage/healing, so this should be all yours.

Cloak: Nothing.

Bracers: Brazecore Armguards, requiring level 55, drop from War Master Voone. They’re mail with 11 intellect and 3mp5 (3 mana restored per 5 seconds), so these are totally reasonable for you. As mentioned, these may not drop for Alliance groups. A potentially better alternative are the leather Bleak Howler Armguards, requiring level 56 and dropping from Gizrul the Slavener. They’re straight-up +healing, so if you’re healing the instance, these should be yours.

Belt: Devout Belt, the cloth belt that’s part of a priest’s tier 0 set, is a zone-wide drop within Blackrock Spire. Priests should have dibs, but if they pass, go for it. Additionally, the shaman’s tier 0 belt, Cord of Elements, is also a zone-wide drop and may be something that drops for an Alliance group.

Gloves: Fallbrush Handgrips, requiring level 56, are leather +healing gloves that drop from Crystal Fang, that rare spider. Gilded Gauntlets, requiring level 55, are mail intellect + 4mp5 gloves that drop from Mother Smolderweb. As mentioned previously, these may not drop for Alliance groups.

Legs: Highlord Omokk drops two different items that might be useful for holy paladins. Skyshroud Leggings and Tressermane Leggings, both requiring level 55. They’re definitely for cloth casters and moonkins, though. Still, if no clothie or moonkin wants them, snag them. Gizrul the Slavener drops Wolfshear Leggings, which are cloth, yes, but straight-up +healing.

Feet: Alas, the only thing really worth it for a holy paladin would be the Wildheart Boots, dropping from Mother Smolderweb. Let a druid get them before you do. They’re really not amazing.

Main Hand: Nothing here.

Off-hand: There’s a nice shield, the Rhombeard Protector, that requires level 56 and drops from Gizrul the Slavener. There’s also an off-hand, the Globe of D’sak, that requires level 54 and drops from the rare spawn Spirestone Lord Magus, who is, by the way, an ogre, who is in Highlord Omokk’s room, if he spawns.

Rings: The best one of the bunch is Rosewind Circle, requiring level 55, which drops from the optional, summonable boss, Urok Doomhowl. See how to summon Urok Doomhowl here. The Magus Ring, requiring level 54, is decent, and drops off the rare spawn Spirestone Lord Magus.

Trinkets: Nothing of interest for a holy paladin.

Next time…

Well, that’s all that’s worth looting for a holy paladin in Lower Blackrock Spire. Upper Blackrock Spire has some nice drops, but we’ll tackle that in the future. Do you think I missed anything here? Let me know in the comments.

Next time — Stratholme (Live)!

Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & BRD

During Vanilla, I spent a lot of time raiding on my hunter, it’s true. But I also spent a lot of time doing stuff on Madrana. It was these experiences in Zul’Gurub, AQ20 and Molten Core that helped me to make the decision that I would heal full-time as a paladin in raids, starting in Burning Crusade.

These posts will focus on things you start picking up in dungeons around level 50. Suffice it to say, intellect is your best stat for a paladin healer, followed by crit. Why? At Rank 5, Illumination gives you a 100% chance to regain the mana cost for a spell if it crits. So crit, for a holy paladin, is not only good for your output, but it’s great for your mana regen. +healing and mp5 are decent stats too, but intellect also increases your healing done and gives you chance to critically strike with your spells and crit gives you mana back, so that’s generally the direction we should go.

Also, it’s possible that some of these mail recommendations may not drop for an Alliance group, so please be aware of that possibility. I’ll update these posts when I’ve been able to confirm this.

Additionally, while I love the armor, Lightforge Armor is actually terrible for healing. Some of the pieces don’t even have intellect on them! However, it’s worth it to collect it, because the Tier 0.5 armor, Soulforge Armor, is not terrible. (It’s not fantastic, but it’s not awful. The 4-piece set bonus is pretty great.) Later on, come Phase Five, in order to get the Tier 0.5 armor, you need to do a ton of things, including exchanging your T0 pieces for the Tier 0.5 pieces. So make sure you grab all your Lightforge so you’re able to exchange it for Soulforge.

All right, all of that said, let’s get on with it!

Classic Loot for a Holy Paladin in Blackrock Depths

I freaking love this dungeon. There’s so much to do here. How about a bar run? Or Jailbreak? Let’s get attuned to Molten Core. Feel like an Emperor run? And so much more. That said, let’s focus on what’s of interest for a holy paladin here. There’s a lot of stuff. You are going to spend a lot of time here doing All The Things, though, so don’t worry if you don’t get everything you’re seeking in a couple of runs. I should note that, at least back in Vanilla, there was very little need to wear all plate. There was no bonus to doing so. As such, shaman-type mail and even some leather or cloth pieces are recommended. However, I’m not saying that just because you can wear all armour types that you should get dibs on everything listed here. Don’t be a jerk, please be considerate of the people in your group.

Helm: Foreman’s Head Protector, requires level 50. This helm drops off of Fineous Darkvire who you need to kill in order to get the key for BRD. That said, if there’s no cloth-wearer in your group, don’t be afraid to snag the Chief Architect’s Monocle! Sure, it’s cloth, but it’s 27 intellect, which is superior to the Foreman’s Head Protector. This is probably best for a priest, mage or warlock, but if none of them need it or there’s no cloth-wearer, go for it. Also, a note, if you intend to do any tanking and you see Golem Skull Helm drop from Phalanx, grab it if your tank is a plate-wearer who doesn’t want it, or if your tank isn’t a plate-wearer.

Neck: Absolutely nothing of use for a holy paladin.

Shoulders: Frankly, I don’t like most of the options here, just because there are better ones out there, but the Earthslag Shoulders drop from Lord Roccor and require just level 47. The mail Lead Surveyor’s Mantle is clearly shaman gear, but since the Alliance doesn’t have shaman, you can call dibs on this item, if they drop for Alliance groups. The shoulders require level 50 and drop from Fineous Darkvire.

Chest: Spiderfang Carapace, requires level 49. This chest drops off Hedrum the Creeper in the Ring of the Law event, which has random different mobs, so this isn’t always a guaranteed boss you’ll kill.

Cloak: Spritecaster Cape, requires level 47, drops from High Interrogator Gerstahn or the Houndmaster (currently uncertain — probably the Houndmaster, though). This is legitimately the only cloak of note in here for a holy paladin, unless you get a Nightshade Cloak of Intellect, of the Eagle, of the Owl, of Healing or of Concentration.

Bracers: Lord Incendius drops a variety of randomly-enchanted bracers of different armor types. As with the Nightshade Cloak, if you can snag of Intellect, of the Eagle, of the Owl, of Healing or of Concentration, those would be decent.

Belt: Chillsteel Girdle, requires level 52. This mail belt drops off of Warder Stilgiss, who’s in the Vault room. Again, this may not drop for Alliance groups!

Gloves: Hands of the Exalted Herald, requires level 54. They’re cloth gloves, but have intellect and +33 healing. Can’t really say no to that. They drop off Moira on an Emperor run. Additionally, your Lightforge Gauntlets drop off the Emperor. Get them, if only because why not? But they’re not something you should be using to heal with. When Phase Five of WoW Classic rolls out, these will no longer drop off the Emperor, mostly because that’s a serious PITA for some gloves that are not amazing. When Phase Five rolls out, they will drop off of Timmy the Cruel on the live-side of Stratholme. Also, I’m not sure how Classic is handling this, but the tier 0 gloves, belts and bracers were all Bind on Equip after a certain point.

Legs: Senior Designer’s Pantaloons, require level 50 and are cloth +healing pants with some intellect on them. They drop off Fineous Darkvire. Another option would be Leggings of Frenzied Magic, from Gorosh the Dervish in the Ring of the Law event.

Boots: Entrenching Boots, require level 50. These drop off of Grizzle in the Ring of the Law event. Yes, there’s agility on them, but 10 int and +7 damage/healing. Another option, requiring level 52, are the Firemoss Boots, which are basically resto druid boots since they’re leather and +healing, but if you’re healing and these are an upgrade, go for it. They drop from Hurley Blackbreath in the bar.

Main Hand: The Hammer of Grace, no, there’s no intellect on it, but it’s one of the best pre-60 healing maces in the game with a beefy +31 healing done. It’s one of the possible rewards from the event of The Seven.

Off-hand: Thaurissan’s Royal Scepter is a nice reward for an Emperor run, as it has some intellect and a pure +22 healing on it.

Ring: Bloodclot Band, requires level 52. Great healing ring, drops off Gorosh the Dervish in, you guessed it, the Ring of the Law event.

Trinkets: Second Wind requires level 54 and drops from Golem Lord Argelmach. Yes, it has an absurdly long cooldown of 15 minutes, but it also has a passive +22 healing, which is solid. Another option you have is Burst of Knowledge, which requires level 53 and drops from Ambassador Flamelash. This is more of a caster DPS trinket. However, the mana savings (albeit with an insanely long cooldown) is useful, as is +12 damage/healing. Also, if you’re doing any tanking at all and you see Force of Will drop AND your tank doesn’t want it, grab it.

Next time…

There you have it, pretty much anything I’d consider equipping as a holy paladin that comes from Blackrock Depths. Any surprises here? Any questions? Let me know!

Next time — Lower Blackrock Spire!

6 Levels, 22 Hours, 1 120 Shaman

For the first time ever, my second toon to max level in an expansion is not my paladin. Rather, it’s my shaman.

And, for the first time in several expansions, I actually felt pressured to get to level 120 by a certain point. That point was by June 25th, the day of Patch 8.2.

The reason for both of these is that my shaman is my herbalist and scribe, while Madrana, the paladin, is a jewelcrafter/alchemist.

For whatever reason, it didn’t dawn on me until like, Sunday evening, that I would need to be level 120 to get to Nazjatar, one of the new zones in Battle for Azeroth. And that the profession trainers are in Nazjatar. As such, I “wasted” my weekend getting Kurn through almost all the requirements for Pathfinder Part 1 (just missing some rep) because I figured that flying is The Most Important Thing.

Except it’s not.

I went to bed early (for me) on Sunday and then woke up with a bad sinus headache at like, 3:45am. So naturally, I took headache meds and then logged on to WoW, whereupon I realized that:

a) My shaman was 114

b) My mage (miner) was 113

c) My paladin was 111

I wasn’t going to be able to benefit from any new profession stuff on any toon except Kurn. And, let’s be fair, I did not make millions of gold at the launch of the expansion on Kurn, who is a skinner/leatherworker. I made millions of gold on my shaman, making Darkmoon Cards and decks.

So by 4am on what was technically Monday morning, I queued up to heal dungeons on my shaman, something I haven’t done since probably getting through the last couple of levels in Mists or maybe Warlords of Draenor. Typically, since my shammy was my dual gatherer for quite some time, I just herbed and mined my way to max level most of the time.

Wearing the heirloom helm, cloak, shoulders, chest, pants and the Dread Pirate Ring (god, I love that I once won the fishing competition), I had 50% extra XP. I was also rested. So I went for it.

I hit 116 before going back to bed around 7:30-8am. Then I napped for three hours, then worked ’till 7pm and then cracked my knuckles and was like “LET’S DO THIS”.

My brother logged on to his rogue (114ish?) and we queued up for a couple of dungeons. By and large, these went fine and I got to 117.

However. There was this one dungeon we ran that I feel I must absolutely discuss: Tol Dagor.

Let us be very clear, neither my brother, nor I, know anything about this dungeon and its mechanics. I’d run it maybe twice before, once on the shaman and once on my hunter, maybe. My brother had also seen it once.

The run was off to a not amazing start when our tank ran and pulled a ton of stuff right before the Sand Queen, the first boss. And said in chat, “lust”.

I was like “wtf is lu—-ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, bloodlust. Meaning, heroism.” Because, of course, I’m a shaman and I apparently have that ability. So I blew it and we finished this insanely large pack of mobs and then dude pulls the boss without pause. Great. Anyway, we move on and it’s on the third floor, I want to say, where we run into trouble. We’ve done three bosses so it’s some trash on our way outside to the ramparts where we wipe… and our tank leaves. The group is composed of me healing, a moonkin, and two rogues, my brother and someone else. We got a tank and then proceeded towards the ramparts, but no one knows what they’re doing re: cannons. So we wipe and the tank leaves. Something bugged out and we weren’t in the queue for a new tank. I tried to leave the queue and requeue, like I used to be able to do, but I couldn’t do that, either. It was very weird. So now we’re in a room right before the ramparts part, literally five mobs from the boss, but have no tank. Oh, and the dudes see through stealth, so my brother can’t whatever the AOE stealth thing is to get me through.

TIME TO GET CREATIVE.

I told my brother to just run for the cannon, while I’d run in and drop my Earth Elemental (Josh!) and then we’d just take down the mobs with the help of the cannon. Boom, we succeed. Then the moonkin goes BEAR and we get the last two overseers with the cannon and some great heals. ;)

And then, the last boss, Overseer Korgus.

Everyone except the tank died on this fight. First the other rogue. Then me. Then my brother. Then the moonkin REZZES ME and we kicked some ASS and finally got him down! VICTORY.

It’s these hard-won victories that remind me of Vanilla. Like, in those days, I would have wanted to invite the moonkin to my guild.

Anyway, while we were doing this, our favourite football, Daey, shows up on Discord and is like “haven’t you done island expeditions?” and I’m like “what are island expeditions?”

Insert EZ mode here. Daey takes my brother and I on like, three (?) island expeditions on his demon hunter, and I’m like, midway through 118 by the time my brother goes to bed around 11ish or so. Daey and I kept doing them and next thing you know, I’m 119. And there’s an assault up in Stormsong Valley, so heyyyyyyyyy, yes, I would like another 10% XP, THANK YOU KINDLY.

So I went and did those quests, got my buff and we got Daey done with his demon hunter and pally (almost) for the expeditions. Dude, I am not kidding, it took three island expeditions to get 18 bars of XP with my 60% XP buffs. DISGUSTING AND AMAZING ALL AT ONCE.

And for the last expedition of the night, I queued up with Daey on his pally and on Kurn, since I hadn’t done one on my hunter yet. So Daey got all his expeditions done on the pally, I got one done on Kurn (on Heroic, no less!) and my shaman is level 120 and ready to go herbing in Nazjatar.

More than that, though, my shammy is ready to learn the Inscription trinkets from Nazjatar.

And I am ready to make a crapton of gold.

Hopefully. :)

And that, my friends, is how I got from 114-120 in less than 22 hours (owing to sleep and work) primarily through sick XP boosts and island expeditions!

Give me the Energy achievement
So many expeditions!

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?