Holy Light of Dawn Nerf, Batman!

I was having a pretty good Friday. Thursday night, Apotheosis killed the Twilight Ascendant Council, so I was feeling pretty good going into Friday. In the afternoon, a friend called me up and we made plans to get dinner and a movie. While at dinner, I discover that my best friend gave birth to her second child earlier in the day. It was a great Friday.

I got home and see this:

Beacon of Light no longer triggers from Light of Dawn.

(Source: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2259389)

(Please note that this change was reverted. You can read more about it here at Kurn’s Corner: Post 1, Post 2.)

For those holy paladins who made frequent use of this mechanic, this is a crippling blow to their healing numbers and their overall style of healing that has had a few months to develop.

Kurn, slow down. What the hell are you talking about?

Right, sorry. Let me talk about the style a little bit before I explain how this change deserves the term “crippling blow”.

In Cataclysm (and since the 4.0 patch), holy paladins have had two real methods of healing.

Method 1: Beacon a target (likely a tank) and heal the beacon directly, making use of Tower of Radiance to build up holy power in order to use spells like Word of Glory and Light of Dawn.

Method 1 is close to old-school healing and paladins still do really well when it comes to single-target healing. The major difference between this style and Wrath-style healing is that we are generally beaconing the target we are directly healing. Since 4.0, Beacon of Light has only transferred 50% of our heals (including overheals) to our beaconed target, so it’s not as though we can heal one target and beacon another and not have to worry about the beaconed target any longer. No more “set it and forget it” healing when we have a second target to heal, especially if it’s a tank. In current content, I’m pretty sure I can’t keep two tanks up all by myself. And that’s okay. I can still mostly keep one tank up on my own.

Method 1 is my preferred style. I’ve spent my whole WoW career focused on healing single targets and tanks. This is what feels comfortable to me. It’s also fairly clear that Blizzard intends for us to do things this way because of the very existence of the Tower of Radiance talent.

Method 2: Beacon a target (likely a tank) and heal the raid, making use of Holy Shock and likely Blessed Life procs and possibly using Crusader Strike (or, on occasion, directly healing the beacon if you’re even specced into Tower of Radiance, which you may not be!) to get Holy Power in order to cast Light of Dawn (preferably glyphed) to heal the living crap out of the beacon target, while doing some moderate raid healing.

In this way, you are still doing a great deal of healing to the beacon target, but the heals tend to spike; low heals here and there, then a big spike when you get 3 holy power for a Light of Dawn.

Here’s an example of some heals my fellow holy paladin cast during one of our recent raids, with some annotations to show where the beacon heals are coming from and where the holy power is coming from.

[22:42:26.717] Holy Paladin Divine Light Fury Warrior +30777
[22:42:26.993] Holy Paladin Protector of the Innocent Holy Paladin +*826* (O: 5877)
[22:42:27.412] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +0 (O: 18147) — from the DL
[22:42:27.756] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +0 (O: 3952) — from the PotI

[22:42:28.535] Holy Paladin Holy Shock Kitty +*4418* (O: 10545)
[22:42:29.067] Holy Paladin Protector of the Innocent Holy Paladin +4162 (O: 198)
[22:42:29.367] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +0 (O: 7793) — from the HS (1 HP)
[22:42:29.736] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +0 (O: 2571) — from the PotI

[22:42:30.686] Holy Paladin Enlightened Judgements Holy Paladin +*0* (O: 4414) — judgement
[22:42:31.519] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +0 (O: 2602) — from EJ

[22:42:32.532] Holy Paladin gains 1 from Holy Paladin’s Blessed Life — 1 HP

[22:42:35.419] Holy Paladin Holy Light Hunter +12396
[22:42:35.847] Holy Paladin Protector of the Innocent Holy Paladin +5310
[22:42:36.054] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +6198 — from HL
[22:42:36.537] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +2505 — from PotI

[22:42:36.537] Holy Paladin Holy Shock Hunter 2 +10011 — 1 HP
[22:42:37.116] Holy Paladin Protector of the Innocent Holy Paladin +4987
[22:42:37.591] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +2420 (O: 2586) — from HS
[22:42:37.926] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +0 (O: 2352) — from PotI

[22:42:39.400] Holy Paladin Light of Dawn Enhancement Shaman +0 (O: 8401)
[22:42:39.400] Holy Paladin Light of Dawn Ret Paladin +7402 (O: 955)
[22:42:39.400] Holy Paladin Light of Dawn Fury Warrior +0 (O: 8596)
[22:42:39.400] Holy Paladin Light of Dawn DK Tank +*12149*
[22:42:39.400] Holy Paladin Light of Dawn Rogue +8935 (O: 928)
[22:42:39.400] Holy Paladin Light of Dawn Frost DK +8300
[22:42:39.813] Holy Paladin Protector of the Innocent Holy Paladin +0 (O: 5272)
[22:42:40.250] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +4200 — from LoD
[22:42:40.250] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +4178 — from LoD
[22:42:40.250] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +4055 — from LoD
[22:42:40.250] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +4109 — from LoD
[22:42:40.250] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +4150 — from LoD
[22:42:40.688] Holy Paladin Beacon of Light DK Tank +2487 — from PotI

Over ~13 seconds, the paladin did a lot of healing to the raid and did about 86k in healing to the beacon target, a DK tank.

This is how it broke down, via timestamps:

22:42:27: 22099 — Big chunk from a DL beacon
22:42:29: 10364 — small
22:42:31: 2602 — smaller
22:42:36: 8703 — small
22:42:37: 7358 — small
22:42:40: 12149 (direct LoD heal) + 23179 — huge

So while it was “only” about 86k to the tank, he healed a lot of raid members, too.

Meanwhile, this is what my ~13 seconds looked like:

[22:42:28.083] Madrana Holy Light Prot Pally +*3433* (O: 14287)
[22:42:28.524] Madrana Protector of the Innocent Madrana +*0* (O: 6877)
[22:42:29.367] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +0 (O: 3438)

[22:42:30.688] Madrana Holy Shock Prot Pally +0 (O: 8780) — 1 HP
[22:42:31.021] Madrana Protector of the Innocent Madrana +0 (O: 4163)
[22:42:31.717] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +0 (O: 2082)

[22:42:34.200] Madrana Divine Light Prot Pally +2801 (O: 26806) — 1 HP
[22:42:34.200] Madrana Holy Shock Prot Pally +0 (O: 8787) — 1 HP
[22:42:34.643] Madrana Protector of the Innocent Madrana +*7077*
[22:42:35.419] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +3538

[22:42:36.902] Madrana Light of Dawn Madrana +7240
[22:42:37.116] Madrana Light of Dawn Resto Shaman +8038
[22:42:37.116] Madrana Light of Dawn Fire Mage +6838
[22:42:37.116] Madrana Light of Dawn Shadow Priest +7013
[22:42:37.116] Madrana Light of Dawn Moonkin +*10750*
[22:42:37.591] Madrana Protector of the Innocent Madrana +*6355*
[22:42:37.591] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +3620
[22:42:37.926] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +3705
[22:42:37.926] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +3625
[22:42:37.926] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +3717
[22:42:37.926] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +5697
[22:42:38.238] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +0 (O: 3177)

[22:42:40.250] Madrana Divine Light Prot Pally +21437 (O: 9401)
[22:42:40.688] Madrana Protector of the Innocent Madrana +0 (O: 4278)
[22:42:41.510] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Pally +0 (O: 2139)

130470 healing to my beacon target in ~13 seconds, broken down this way:

22:42:29: 21158 — big
22:42:31: 10862 — small
22:42:35: 41932 — huge
22:42:38: 23541 — big
22:42:41: 32977 — huge

So while my heals on my beacon target, a paladin tank, were generally bigger and more regular than my fellow holy paladin’s heals, I also didn’t really do a lot of raid healing. In fact, I’m sure that if you add it all up, he did more healing than I did in that span, especially because a lot of my heals overhealed my tank.

You can see that these are two distinct styles with different focuses. There are different specs for them, different glyphs and it changes how you generate holy power.

So, what does this Light of Dawn/Beacon of Light change mean?

It means that Method 2, which is beaconing a target like a tank and going to town on the raid, becomes a lot less viable. Light of Dawn was that guaranteed big, instant heal. 20k, easily, as long as people were in front of you and you had three stacks of holy power. You really need that extra oomph to help steady out your beacon target. If you could time it well so that just as soon as your target needs that hit, you had that 3 charges of holy power and were properly placed to maximize the number of people Light of Dawn would hit, you were golden. My fellow holy paladin is AWESOME at this and that’s why I put him on the raid and assign him a beacon target and I balance the healing on that target knowing how good he is at getting that LoD to go off at the right time.

With this change, I COULD continue to have him on the raid, but would have to compensate for the lack of big heals from LoD. It would probably be easiest to stick him on a tank full time, which I don’t think he’d like very much. (We’ll talk about it, buddy!)

So can paladins still raid heal?

Eh. Kind of? There’s no excuse not to pick up Tower of Radiance and Eternal Glory now, since our use of Word of Glory should skyrocket since we’re not going to be using our holy power on Light of Dawn very much anymore.

If your paladin is good at using Holy Radiance and is willing to make sure they’re raid-healing using Word of Glory (which will still transfer to the beacon) and direct heals, there’s no reason they can’t raid heal, but I can’t help but think that all priests are better at it than paladins are, with Prayer of Healing, plus Circle of Healing and Sanctuary. Druids can use Wild Growth more frequently now and get extra healing via their mastery by layering Rejuvenation on top of Wild Growth, not to mention, they have Efflorescence. And then shaman are still able to use Healing Rain and Chain Heal… it’s going to be a tough job to raid heal going forward without relying on Light of Dawn for those little spikes on the raid and the cumulative effect on the tanks.

I would be more inclined to put holy paladins on the tanks, but a good player should be able to still raid heal. It’ll just be more difficult.

Any ideas for how to fix paladins, if, indeed, you think they’re broken?

I’m not a numbers person. I don’t look at the healing meters and go “ZOMG I R GUD” if I happen to top them. (Which rarely happens because I’m focused on my tank.) If I did my job, I’m satisfied and my job will mostly consist of healing a tank. I like that job and I feel I’m still able to do it.

However, removing this more dynamic style of healing is going to suck. Why even bother to cast Light of Dawn now? The healing it provides is pretty low at 6-8k a person. With 130k or so raid-buffed, even 10k hits aren’t all that huge. Part of the fun of being a paladin in early Cataclysm was the ability to help out on the raid while healing the tank or helping out on the tank while healing the raid. It seems as though we will be able to do one or the other, but not both — and we’re heavily slanted towards single-target healing with our current spells.

What I would do:

– Restore Holy Light’s Holy Power generation via Tower of Radiance: More holy power to use leads to more LoD use, even if it doesn’t benefit the beacon any longer.
or
– Restore Light of Dawn’s power back up to its level before it got nerfed in terms of strength (either 40 or 60%, I can’t keep all these numbers straight): A stronger LoD means we won’t NEED to cast it as often to still help out on the raid.
or
– Lower the cooldown (and possibly slightly lower the mana cost) of Holy Radiance: If Holy Radiance is used more often, we won’t need to keep trying to use up holy power in order to help out on the raid.
or
– Give us a mastery that actually doesn’t suck.
or
– Chuck Beacon of Light and Light of Dawn and completely redesign the Holy tree in a way that makes us WANT to spend points in it: No details on this because I don’t even know what I’d like to see. I do know that when I look at resto druid trees and holy priest trees, I get jealous, because I can see where it’s an actual choice to pull points from their main trees and put them in disc/shadow or feral/balance. I resent having to spend 31 points in the holy paladin tree and would go another 5 points deep in ret if I could (without losing my 5 in prot). I feel like I should want to drop as many points in holy as possible and really have to make a tough choice to drop talents into prot or ret.

That’s all my opinion, mind you.

But wait! Kurn, what’s this about a Conviction nerf?! Two nerfs in one day?

Sadly, this is true. Holy Radiance crits no longer trigger Conviction. This will lead to less uptime on Conviction, which leads to lower healing overall. Granted, even in 346-level gear, I had about 80% uptime on Conviction. Nowadays, I have about 90% uptime on it and I don’t abuse Holy Radiance on cooldown, so I don’t expect to see too much of a difference in my overall numbers due to this.

Crappy day to be a holy paladin?

So what else is new?

The funniest thing about all this is that when Holy Light was changed to no longer grant holy power through Tower of Radiance, Nethaera was like:

It is intended that Protector of the Innocent and Light of Dawn transfer healing through Beacon of Light. Furthermore, we didn’t feel that changing either of those would have fixed the problem.

(Source: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/1532043235?page=70#1386)

Yeah. You guys got some ‘splainin’ to do.

My Chimaeron Job, Spec & Glyphs

I mentioned the other day that I have myself on group healing for Chimaeron. A commenter, ambient, asked this:

You haven’t group healed on your paladin in ages…is there a reason you put the druid and priest on tank duties and gave both the paladins group assignments?

I put the resto druid and one of my disc priests on the two tanks because we’d tried resto druids on groups on our first night on Chimaeron and it didn’t work out amazingly. I like to have one disc on a tank on any given fight because she prefers tank healing while the other prefers raid healing.

So why give the paladins group assignments?

Walks, the other holy paladin in Apotheosis, loves group healing. I stick him on the raid and tell him to beacon a tank and while he’ll need some help to keep the tank up, he’s excellent at using Light of Dawn and Holy Radiance to their maximum effects to keep up raid healing. He’s also just a great healer in general and a very strong player. So I gave him the melee group (group 2). While he wasn’t going to use Light of Dawn on them, he was comfortable with healing a group.

I, on the other hand, was not, but, by golly, if Walks could do it, so could I! Or so I reasoned.

I went in to our second night of Chimaeron attempts (where we killed him) with a really sub-par spec for the encounter. I have two specs. My “primary” is one I don’t use often, actually, and is the one I use to switch up things. My “secondary” is a very safe tank healing spec where I don’t presume that all my Holy Power will go to Light of Dawn and where I have Eternal Glory and all that jazz.

My spec last week that I used for Chimaeron didn’t have Eternal Glory. Which is pretty fail. We won anyways, but I knew I could do better.

So this week, this was my spec: 31/5/5

A Tower of Radiance-less, Aura Mastery-less spec with Blessed Life, of all things, that still had Last Word, Eternal Glory and a bit of extra judgement range, since I knew I’d be standing with a ranged group. My glyphs were Holy Shock, Seal of Insight and Word of Glory, plus Divinity, Divine Protection and Salvation. I made a macro to bind my Divine Protection use to Holy Radiance, which I used on every Feud, so that I wouldn’t be a complete idiot and FORGET to use Divine Protection, as I am prone to doing. It happens when you see EVERYONE IN THE RAID at one health, you know?

With Word of Glory, Holy Shock, Infusion of Light procs for faster Holy Lights/Divine Lights and Daybreak procs, it’s really not too hard for a paladin to group heal. Your attention CANNOT waver, though. No blindly clicking your heal button on a single target while you look around the screen at various timers or indicators, nothing like that — at least, not for me. As soon as my attention would slip, people would die. (I did apologize to my party beforehand.)

So I was a lot more prepared last night, thanks to my screwy spec. I kept Light of Dawn over Aura Mastery because my plan was to have some Holy Power saved up to blast a Light of Dawn now and again on Feuds, but hey, that didn’t work out. At least I remembered my Holy Radiance!

Anyways, I did want to share that. And I do want to talk more about the state of paladin healing, but I’m not ready to tackle it yet. Part of that post will expand on the answer I’m about to give for the second of ambient’s questions:

Why is it that you hate PotI? Did you mean to say that you love it? Cos I can’t see what the downside of it is.

I hate passive healing. I loathe it. Can’t stand it. I think every single heal that I cast should be something I meant to cast. I resent that Protector of the Innocent automatically heals me and I hate that it transfers through the beacon. I am a huge fan of pre-emptive healing and reactionary healing, but passive healing? Not something I dig. I feel strongly that my heals should be measured, careful, decisions, not “oh here, here’s a free heal for you AND your beacon target!!!”.

And I’ll get into that some more when I eventually tackle a post about some different ways of paladin healing in Cataclysm. :)

Updates, Kills, Nerfs and Stress!

What I like about blogging is that your blog is always there when you want to write. I’ve actually wanted to write a lot in the last week, but I rarely have the time these days. Being a GM means a LOT of your free time (and some of your non-free time!) goes to guild stuff.

It’s not even in-game stuff, it’s out of game stuff. Planning. Reading parses. Dropping notes to people. Figuring out promotions. Oh, and then what to do about Cauldrons? And how can we incent the raiders to give us Lavascale Catfish?!

I have a break in my day today that allows me to post here because a lot of the stuff that’s been consuming me over the last week has been dealt with. Our first batch of promotions went out this morning to those with whom we’re happy concerning performance and if they’ve been to all 9 of our raids thus far. Welcome to Raider rank, kids. :)

Aside from that, I’m pretty pleased with our raids thus far. Every week, we’ve killed everything we killed the week before AND a new one.

Week 1: Argaloth, Magmaw, Omnotron, Halfus, V&T
Week 2: The above plus Maloriak
Week 3: The above plus Chimaeron

And we also got Atramedes to 28% on Sunday. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Chimaeron.

We did it with the following group of healers:

2 holy paladins, 2 disc priests, 1 holy priest, 1 resto shaman and 1 resto druid

The individual assignments:
Group 1 – minus the two tanks: resto shaman
Group 2 – melee: holy paladin (not me)
Group 3 – casters on left side of the room: holy paladin (me)
Group 4 – most of the healers: holy priest
Group 5 – mostly ranged on the right side of the room: disc priest
MT – resto druid
OT (double-attack tank) – disc priest

First of all, let me just state for the record that prior to Chimaeron, the last time I healed a GROUP in a 25-man raid was almost certainly on Naj’entus in Black Temple. You know. Back in 2008.

Second of all, huge props to one of our discs for digging up this little nugget of awesomeness from the PlusHeal Chimaeron 10m thread:

Way we did this was to add Low Health debuff to Center Icon on Grid and the other debuff (Caustic Slime) to Border indicator (set the aura to a yellow colour).

That made things SO much easier, at least for me.

So the groups were more or less taken care of. The tanks were more or less taken care of.

How to deal with Feud and the multiple Caustic Slimes the entire raid had to absorb?

Well, I looked at our lineup and I coordinated everyone’s cooldowns/abilities. Like, every single one. I assumed the following:

– Feuds would happen an average of 1m apart with the occasional one 30s after the last and the occasional one 90s after the last
– We would have no more than 5 Feuds

This was sparked by Beruthiel and Vixsin‘s comments on this post of mine (so many awesome suggestions there!!! Thank you, everyone!):

Vixsin: Surviving Feud is all about coordinating raid CDs and having all your non-healers use their group healing spells. Ret and Prot pallies should be hitting HR. Elemental and Enhance Shaman should be dropping Healing Rain. Feral druids should use Tranq. Personal CDs also make a huge difference, along with a raid leader who screams “click the lightwell!!”

Beru: during feuds have them work out a Tranq/ToL cycle. They should not utilize both CDs for the same feud. For example: Feud 1: Druid 1 Tranq, Druid 2 ToL, Beru ToL; Feud 2: Beru Tranq, Druid 1 ToL, Druid 2 heal; Feud 3: Druid 3 Tranq – the other two ToL when it’s up and if it’s needed.

I also seriously considered making two healers be a “Slime Team”, as per Vixsin’s suggestion:

For quick and easy topping, handle “Low Health” like you did Penetrating Cold–assign healers to specific groups. (Priests on ranged, R-Sham on melee).

It was definitely still in my mind as a possibility if what I came up with just flat-out didn’t work. But… it did. And here’s how we did it.

First off:

1) ALL Paladins should hit Holy Radiance when we’re clumped up.
2) ALL Shaman should get Healing Rain down on the clump spot ASAP.
3) ALL Resto Druids should get an Efflorescence up on the clump spot ASAP.
4) ALL Holy Priests should get a Sanctuary on the clump spot ASAP.

Then we did this:

Feud 1:

– 1x Power Word: Barrier
– 1x Lightwell
– 1x ToL and LB/WG spam, using Regrowth w/ OOC procs and keeping Swiftmend on CD for Efflorescence
– 1x Mana Tide Totem (and again on cooldown anytime we’re clumped up)

Feud 2:

– 1x Divine Guardian
– 1x Barkskin/Tranquility (resto druid)

Feud 3:

– 1x Power Word: Barrier (other disc)
– 1x Divine Hymn (shadow priest with PI and Lifeblood for maximum ticks)

Feud 4:

– 1x Divine Guardian (other pally tank)
– 1x Barkskin/Tranquility (feral DPS druid)
– 1x Lightwell (should be back up)

Feud 5:

– 1x Power Word: Barrier (first disc)
– 1x ToL and LB/WG spam, using Regrowth w/ OOC procs and keeping Swiftmend on CD for Efflorescence (same resto)
– All kinds of personal cooldowns, including Healthstones

I know what you’re all thinking. “Wow, Kurn, that’s some serious overkill and overplanning!”

On our kill, we had 13.3% overhealing. So not a lot of overkill. And while it was a lot of planning, I think it was just the right amount of planning. So far as I can tell, everyone did what they were supposed to do when they were supposed to do it on all 8 of our attempts. We never had more than 5 feuds.

What is something that really surprised me is this:

182823 raid DPS
85376 raid HPS (effective, not raw)
98423 raid HPS (raw)

The average DPS and HPS on a kill, according to World of Logs:
228673 DPS
88908 HPS

I’m pretty sure the average HPS is raw, because otherwise I don’t know how we won, basically. I’m chalking it up to our outstanding healing, which allowed us to overcome the issue of having substantially lower DPS than the average.

That’s the sort of thing that makes a healing lead proud of her team. :)

For reference, here’s what my Grid looked like throughout the vast majority of the fight.

Chimaeron is not for the faint of heart! You can clearly see that five people have the Low Health debuff and that they also have Caustic Slime on them (yellow border). My groups go from 1 on top to 5 at the bottom so there I am in the second position in Group 3 benefitting from Protector of the Innocent. Lord, I hate that talent. Having said that, it was usuallyNOT enough to keep me alive. I had to watch my health carefully, lest I die. And for that fight, I was definitely specced 3/3 PotI. (I’m normally 2/3.)

And speaking of talents. And being a paladin. And such.

There are nerfs a-plenty in the new PTR patch, including a likely live hotfix to our passive Walk in the Light, which now supposedly only adds 10% to our healing spells instead of 15%. I am so tied up in my paladin that I don’t think I have any choice but to continue as my paladin, even if I’m unhappy about a variety of changes. I’m hoping 4.1 will show us more love than 4.0.6 is, thus far.

With regards to stress, I find myself remembering why being the GM sucks. It’s not just the work, although there is that. It’s not just the constant stream of whispers and PMs, although sometimes that does get tiresome. It’s the loneliness. I’m surrounded by great officers and we do a lot of things by vote/committee/etc. I’m not a dictator, I’m not a monarch. I’m the representative of the officers that takes what’s said behind closed doors and announces it. I’m the one who pushes the officers to discuss things. Basically, I’m a facilitator.

But I’m still the guild master. And even though it doesn’t mean a whole lot as compared to my brother or Majik or any of our other officers, I’m still “the face” of the guild.

People act differently around me. I have to wonder how to act around various people. Can I shoot the breeze with a guildie about stuff that’s going on or is that best left within /o? Am I allowed to make mistakes like a moron or is that going to reflect horribly on my ability to lead? It’s as though I’m always putting on a public face that’s there “for the betterment of the guild and the raid group” and I don’t get to relax in-game at all. As such, I haven’t been in-game a lot over the last few days. I’ve been working hard to get all these promotions and attendance things taken care of and help plan out our progression route (right now, Atramedes, Council, Cho’gall, Nefarian and Throne somewhere in there), so it’s not like I’m sitting here doing nothing. Oh, and I’m recruiting, too. (Resto shaman, resto druid, balance druid! Apply now!)

But it’s still lonely.

Toga, one of our officers, was the original GM of Apotheosis when we formed. We signed the charter that Majik bought, decided upon officers and the officers basically voted unanimously (there were like, 10 of us at the time) to make Toga the GM.

I’m pretty sure Toga has never forgiven us for that. ;) I thought that as the primary raid leader back in BC, I got a lot of whispers and messages. I thought wrong. When I became the GM when Toga stepped down midway through SSC due to RL stuff, I was flooded, inundated. And I realized that I was the go-to person people would come to about stuff that would impact their raiding.

“Kurn, I can’t go to the raid on Tuesday, I’m sorry.”
“That’s okay, thanks for letting me–”
“My mom’s… well, this is hard to say, but…”

And the person would launch into an extremely personal story that I didn’t need to hear. I mean, you can’t make the raid. Okay. Thanks for the heads up. I don’t need to know more.

But I knew the people coming to me with these things needed to tell me. There’s something about telling someone you kind of know over the Internet some personal things, so you can vent about how you’re feeling without any RL repercussions.

This is when I realized that I needed to start sharing my WoW stuff with my RL friends. One of them is extremely kind to listen to me babble. She knows the names of many of my guildies, past and present. She doesn’t play at all and has no interest, but when I told her I got the Kingslayer title, back in the day, she was thrilled for me!

I also talk to my RL Friend the Resto Druid, because it’s always nice to have an objective opinion from someone who knows the game and how guilds work, first-hand.

So it’s lonely in-game sometimes, but, thanks to some of my awesome friends, I get to vent to them about the in-game frustrations I have and no one in Apotheosis needs to be witness to that. Which is probably a good thing.

Anyways, invites in less than 6 hours. I need to comb through the Atramedes log from Sunday and figure out why it looks like I failed so badly the parse doesn’t seem to be picking up various things and counting others as double damage and the like. I’ve been very pleased with WoL in T11 content, but DAMN, Atramedes is messy as hell.

Sorry for the long-winded update, but not writing for a week totally meant this was going to happen sooner or later. ;)

Exit Maloriak, Enter Chimaeron

Tuesday’s raid ended with us wiping at 1% on Maloriak, mostly due to two disconnects (one by a healer, one by a DPS) and a lack of Remedy dispels.

On our second attempt on Thursday, we kicked that guy’s ass.

And then, it was time to face Chimaeron.

It’s sort of like the worst parts of heroic Anub’arak, plus the insanity of healing the ENTIRE raid to full like with Gluth, in Naxx.

I tend to sort of “adopt” a fight, each instance or tier, that I just *KNOW*. I mean, I know all the fights, but there’s usually one that sticks out for me that I know every single detail about. It was Sindragosa in ICC, it was Anub’arak in TOGC (that damn tank who insisted on solo-tanking those adds… MAN, that still pisses me off!), it was probably Hodir in Ulduar, it was… maybe Heigan? Or Loatheb in T7.

I have a feeling that Chimaeron will be That Fight for me in T11, or at least in Blackwing Descent.

After the first wipe, I asked my healers how they felt.

Me: Okay, how’s it feeling for everyone? hahaha
Disc priest: FML
Me: Apart from panic inducing?
Resto druid: I need a pancake
Disc priest: All I use is GHeal
Disc priest: And I’m sad

15 attempts, we got from “oh god FML” to getting the boss to 40%. Not easy. The worst part is when he casts Massacre and there goes the Bile-o-Tron. I just don’t know if we have the healing, to be honest. Not a knock against my healers, but maybe we need more time before worrying about him? I don’t know. Maybe we’re getting to the point where the class really is making a difference. Maybe resto druids just aren’t cut out for this fight, maybe I should stack priests. I’m not even sure. It’s going to be fun to do research on that fight over the next few days.

Sunday, it’s back to Bastion to knock out Halfus and Valiona & Theralion again, with any luck. And maybe even pull Council, if we’re lucky? I should probably put up info on that fight before Sunday. (read: I should actually look at the fight myself before Sunday.)

I’m seriously proud of the Maloriak improvement between Tuesday and Thursday. There was some outstanding work by everyone on that fight. And some kick-ass healing on Chimaeron, don’t get me wrong. Just not quite enough.

In other news, we’re definitely looking for a resto shaman — one who will drop their Mana Tide when assigned, unlike the one we currently have. ;D — so please do app if you’re around 338 ilvl equipped in your resto gear, have a desire to push content and be challenged and don’t mind a holy paladin as your healing lead. Oh, and can make our raids! We’re swapping people around and are pretty good at it, so you might not be in for every single fight ever, but you should be in fairly often, depending on your level of play, of course.

Apply today, shammies!

(Fad, Fug, I miss you both desperately!)

Healer Evaluations

(Note: This is probably one of the weirdest posts I’ve ever made. I sound like I have multiple personalities.)

Early this week, I started in on healer evaluations. I really wanted to take a look at what my healers were doing and give them some feedback and some direction. I felt I’d been a little too busy leading raids to really chat with my healers during raid time, so I decided to evaluate all of them based on the week’s raids. I was grumbling about doing so on Twitter and a LOT of people were curious about what these evaluations entailed, and could they see an anonymous one?

Rather than compromise any of my actual healers’ privacy, I decided to evaluate myself so that I can post my own evaluation here. I didn’t learn a whole lot while combing through the parses, but I thought I’d share with you a taste of what my healers got from me. I had to basically pretend that I was addressing a healer who wasn’t me. *I* knew various justifications and reasons for various things, but I had to pretend that “my healing lead” had no idea, and then write from that perspective. Thus, I’m writing as Kurn to Madrana. I feel very weird doing so!

Apotheosis’ logs are free for people to view, since I think it’s important for prospective apps to see logs for good and bad nights. Here are our logs. I’m reviewing January 4th, January 6th and January 9th (Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday).

Okay, here we go.

Hey Madrana! :) Here’s a quick evaluation based on our first three raids. You’re being evaluated on attendence, respecting assignments/healing appropriately and not dying to dumb shit. That’s the technical term, yes. ;) There’s also a bonus category of “being awesome”. There’s also a section for “things to improve” at the bottom.

1) Attendence: 5/5

Perfect attendence. You were on-time, prepared and were available for the full duration of the raid.

2) Respecting Assignments/Healing Appropriately: 4.5/5

Magmaw: Healing was primarily distributed over both tanks during the five attempts. The only time tanks died was on a called wipe or when the DPS weren’t able to adequately chain Magmaw, thereby extending the Mangle and killing the tank. You were on tanks, so this is fine and entirely what was expected. 91.7% uptime on Beacon of Light on all Magmaw attempts, 86.2% JOTP uptime, which could use a little work. Good use of regen abilities and trinkets in order to regain mana during the DPS burn phases. Good use of Aura Mastery to help combat the Ignition. Didn’t make any use of Hand of Sacrifice (range issues?) or Hand of Protection for a DPS (not watching them at all?).

Omnotron (Tuesday): Very strong healing on your assigned tank, who received almost 50% of your total healing over all 10 attempts. Beacon uptime was strong, but again, JOTP uptime could be better. Good use of Aura Mastery to combat Magmatron’s flames, good use of Hand of Sacrifice to mitigate damage on various raid members. Good use of Hand of Salvation on over-eager DPS!

Omnotron kill: Strong healing on your assigned tank again, good stuff. While Beacon of Light doesn’t show up as a buff cast (likely cast pre-combat), this means that when it fell off, you neglected to refresh it. Since most of your heals were directly to the tank you were beaconing, you lost out on a LOT of holy power.

Halfus: Excellent work on the tanks, helping out on Fog while focusing on Dayden. On the kill, your uptimes for Beacon and JOTP were both in the 80% range, so that needs work. Good use of CDs such as BOP, Divine Plea, Divine Protection, Aura Mastery, Hand of Sacrifice, Divine Favor. The only thing that could have improved here is if you hadn’t died in the first minute.

Valiona & Theralion: Great focus on Dayden here, although why Toga got 8.7% of your total healing is an interesting question… On the kill, he received 12.2% of your healing. Again, Beacon isn’t showing up for half the fight, but I know there was an issue with it on this fight for some reason. That said, great JOTP uptime (over 96%), good to see a HoSac use, a BOP, a Divine Shield, Divine Favor… Good job here.

3) Not Dying to Stupid Shit: 3.5/5

Magmaw: On the early fights (possibly called wipes), you got hit with a couple of Parasitic Infections. Just wanted to make sure you were aware of that. You ALSO got beaned with Massive Crash three times. I know it’s hard to heal the tank if he’s being Mangled without risking this, but maybe throw HoSac on him and run back out? Or use Divine Protection or Divine Shield here when you run in on a Mangle. Over all the attempts, you took a fair amount of damage from Pillar of Flame: 460705, with 112096 coming on the kill. Definitely need to work on that.

Omnotron: You did an all right job in avoiding Poison Bombs, coming in at the middle of the pack with 2 hits over all the learning attempts on Tuesday. Could be better, but not horrible considering the lack of experience we all have with the fight. You got hit 0 times on the kill, which is great to see.

Halfus: Fireball Barrage. We all died to it more than once and there was no way we could dodge it some of the time that it was in use, but you died to it on the kill and had to use your soulstone to pop back up. Knowing that you have a crappy integrated graphics card, you’ll just have to watch more carefully for the effect, as faint as it might be for you. It would be great if there were a projected texture for it, but there isn’t. Boss mods will come in handy when they’re fully up to date to help you know when you’re standing in it, but until then, you really need to watch your feet on this fight.

Valiona & Theralion: You spent 6.6 seconds in the Twilight Realm, most likely on called-for wipes, as you were dying, since your time there was so low. Good job dodging the mechanics of the fight. Your friendly fire from Engulfing Magic was middle of the pack, but could be better, particularly since unless Holy Radiance is active, you don’t have anything ticking to cause damage. On the kill, you had Engulfing Magic and caused 0 friendly fire, which is great. Looks like you bubbled EM off, which is probably a good plan. Good positioning to avoid damage from Devouring Flames, too.

Overall, apart from the Fireball Barrage and Pillar of Flame (admit it, you’re a closet pyromaniac and this is how you indulge yourself safely, right?), you did a great job in dodging most of the environmental issues we saw in last week’s fights.

4) Being Awesome: 4/5

– While you were WOEFULLY unprepared to raid lead for Omnotron on Tuesday, you got your shit together and had everything prepped for people to read for Thursday. Good work on Magmaw, Halfus and the double dragons, though.
– Listening to your healers for feedback for healing assignments is great — use them as a resource for information!
– You did a lot of work towards ensuring everyone was ready to raid and had made the same efforts to prepare themselves. It did not go unnoticed!

Total: 17/20

Pleased overall, although you definitely want to watch for some of the environmental stuff.

Specific Things to Improve:
– Pillar of Flame, Fireball Barrage. Basically, anything to do with fire, since you were fine with the shadow damage and poison/electricity stuff on other fights.
– Beacon uptime was good except on that Omnotron fight. I know you told me that you had refreshed it on Valiona and the logs confirm it, despite the low uptime, oddly enough.
– JOTP – gotta make sure that is up over 90% each fight.

Thank you for being a great addition to the healing team. I’m really looking forward to working with you through this content!

So there you go, that’s what most healers got a version of. It took me around an hour to 90 minutes for each, depending on the various issues I saw with the healers. Not something I want to do every week, but definitely something to do once a month or so.

A Word About Lay on Hands

I have a lot of comments to respond to, I know. I’m sorry! Responses coming Soon(tm) to a blog near you.

I did want to mention something, however.

Last night, I did a 10-man Blackwing Descent run. More new people in for Magmaw, to get a handle on it, then a lot of Omnotron attempts.

On the entire night, trash included, I hit Lay on Hands 10 times.

I never used to use Lay on Hands on myself for mana regen back in Wrath of the Lich King. And with its crazy cooldown of 40 minutes to an hour, back in the day, along with the fact that it drained ALL your mana for using it, I didn’t use it very often at all in Vanilla and Burning Crusade. I’m sure I used it a bunch of times in raids and stuff, but I only have one really strong memory of using it in Burning Crusade and that was well-documented in our Vashj kill video when my LOH crit the tank for 15k and it was only 9% overheal.

But I used it a lot last night. I probably used it more last night than I would have in three weeks of Wrath raiding.

Used properly, it’s an amazing tool. You can pop it on someone, anyone, who’s about to die and half of that will transfer to your Beaconed target, which is great. Sometimes you have to use it on your Beacon itself, sure, but you can save two lives with one keypress a lot of the time. Plus, appropriated glyphed for it, it’s on a 7m cooldown and you get 10% of your maximum mana back.

I used to think that having to use Lay on Hands had meant that I had screwed up. That my inattention had meant that my target had gotten that low. To use Lay on Hands felt, to me, as though I had failed.

Not the case, not in Cataclysm. In fact, it probably was never the case and that’s just my own neuroses talking. I never hesitated to blow it when I thought my targets needed it, but I always felt as though things could have gone better to prevent my using it.

Now, I love Lay on Hands more than I ever thought possible. It is NOT an indication of failure — at least, not yours. It’s an indication that you are in a tight position and you used the tool best suited for the job. Using Lay on Hands is almost always a great thing to hit. With a 7m glyphed cooldown, with the mana you get back from it, there’s almost never a downside to using Lay on Hands.

So use it more. EVERYONE should use it more. Paladin tanks especially — do not hesitate to pop it unless you need to bubble or BOP something off during a fight, since Divine Protection no longer causes Forbearance.

The moral of the story: Using Lay on Hands should be a point of pride; that you used The Big Heal when you had to. So make sure you’re using it!

A Tale of a Heroic PUG

I’ve done quite a few heroics lately, as I expect most of us have. I could tell you about my healing in heroic Halls of Origination, on the Setesh fight that lasted almost 7 minutes because we pulled by mistake when still fighting trash. (Hymn of Hope + even a feral innervate + tranquility + every effing cooldown in the book = win, apparently)

I could tell you about how I “healed” (I use the term loosely, because we died an AWFUL lot) heroic Stonecore yesterday. But I won’t. What I’ll say about that run here is what I tweeted yesterday about Ozruk, which should help out holy paladins everywhere:

I don’t know if this is a hotfix or something, but I found that I got the melee bleed debuff when I’d appropriately judge when he had his Elementium Bulwark up.

When Ozruk says “Break yourselves upon my body. Feel the strength of the earth!” judge at “Feel”. This will give you the bleed debuff for four seconds and you’ll break yourself out of Paralyze.

This was while using Seal of Insight, FYI, and I was at range the whole fight. I knew I wouldn’t survive the shatters if I was in melee range, so I came prepared with Sulfuron Slammers (again, drink them at “Feel”!) which also worked. Bubble works, Every Man works and Hand of Sacrifice (you can cast it on the tank at any point during the “Break yourselves” emote, I believe). But then I noticed I had the bleed debuff and realized it was my judgement that had caused it. So go forth, paladins, and heal Ozruk knowing you can get out of Paralyze very easily with just a bit of timing. :)

Having said all that, I will not regale you with my tales of heroic SFK (two Godfrey kills, no legs yet) or heroic Deadmines (Ripsnarl isn’t really that bad, though).

What I will say is that I did most of H Deadmines in a guild run yesterday as my holy pally and then swapped out to my hunter for the last boss (allowing one of our healers to actually heal the last fight instead of OS DPS) so I could snag the Chaos Orb for the crafting of a guildie’s gear.

I probably should have just stayed in on the paladin because then I would have gotten another 100+ Justice Points. And then would have had enough for my helm, the Crown of the Blazing Sun.

I logged back on to Madrana to see… 2143. 57 points shy of my damn helm.

Crap.

ALL of my heroic runs to date have been with the guild. I don’t know if it’s because I’m the GM or because I’m a healer or because my hunter can actually CC or what, but I’ve never had an issue finding a group in-guild. This is opposed to most of my guildies who complain constantly about the fail pugs/dungeon finder groups they’re in.

So I decided I’d go try a heroic random, all by myself.

Blackrock Caverns. Which I haven’t done on heroic.

Thankfully, at least to my eyes, I get a group of four people all from the same guild on the Akama server. I figure this should be less painful than most, even if the tank hasn’t done this on heroic before.

They’re really good at pulling the trash around the first boss, there’s great use of CC (sheep and sap and repentence) and things are going great.

We pull the first boss properly, after clearing most of the trash and the first thing I realize is the boss occasionally puts on a 25% reduced healing debuff on the tank. Peachy.

Then I realize that Quake spawns adds. Peachy.

All of this is handled okay, we kill the adds easily and then get chained.

We break the chains. I pop Holy Radiance to GTFO… and three people, including the tank, die to the thing the boss casts after he chains you. Sigh.

So I’m like “gotta run out of that, guys. :)” and the tank was like “lol I usually stay in on regular guess I can’t here!” I’m fine with that, no worries.

We go back in and take down the boss properly, now that we’re all aware that there are these crazy-ass adds and that we have to run out, etc. Goes fine.

Everything goes beautifully until Corla, the second boss.

Now, on beta, she had three adds. The way we did it on beta was have people rotating in two beams to prevent those zealots from evolving and just let one of them evolve at a time. But the version I tested didn’t have Corla fearing, nor did things hit quite as hard as they were hitting on live.

The Evolved Twilight Zealots, if you were unaware, have an ability called Gravity Strike and, in conjunction with Grievous Whirl and Shadow Strike, all of this will totally destroy the tank. It was actually a bit hairy to heal them separately in the trash leading up to Corla. So my group was basically planning to ignore the beams, evolve all three adds and I’m like, “I can’t heal that.”

“I’ll interrupt the strike,” said the rogue.

“That’s not the issue,” I said and linked them Gravity Strike.

“oh wow that sucks,” one of them says.

So I tell them I’m going to handle the stacks on the right-most add, which I marked with a circle. The mage says he’ll take the left-most add. The ret pally says he’ll do the middle one.

About thirty seconds into the encounter, the mage’s target evolves.

We wipe, despite a heroic effort by yours truly. The tank also popped his CDs appropriately, using Shield Wall and Last Stand. But the damage was just overwhelming.

Mage apologizes, we give it another shot.

This time, the mage himself evolves. He didn’t watch his debuff and got stacked to 100.

Wipe.

Mage apologizes again. They now inform me that they’re all on their vent and that they’ve got it all worked out.

So we go again. This time, the ret paladin’s target evolves. Apparently, there had been some confusion and he thought the rogue was going to get that target.

Apologies once more.

At this point, I’m like… I have my Justice Points. I literally only came in with the hopes of doing one boss to get the points that I need.

Then they suggest they let the zealots evolve in a controlled fashion. Bear in mind that I’ve had ZERO issues controlling my stacks and the stacks of my zealot in these three attempts, even when things went to hell.

Based on my mana and such on the previous attempts, I reiterate that there is no way I can heal through a zealot up along with the boss at this point, but that if they want to boot me and replace me with another healer, I’d completely understand, since it’s a guild run, basically.

They were like “no, no, that’s okay,” so we tried it again. And promptly died when the mage transformed because he, again, wasn’t watching his debuff and stepped in too soon, refreshing his stacks.

So at this point, it was clear to me that we weren’t going to get the encounter down. I had wiped five times with these people. Throughout it all, I’d been patient and calm. I’d been clear about how to go about doing the encounter. I had used buff food after every wipe.

On the run back to the instance, I basically said, “I think I’m going to take off, guys. Thanks for the run and I wish you the best of luck with the rest of the instance. Take care.”

And I dropped group, grabbed my body, then ran out, got my new helm and that’s all she wrote.

I feel badly about leaving. I feel badly about not being able to heal through an evolved zealot. But I’d gotten what I wanted and I gave it a really good try, educating the group about the evolved zealot’s abilities, giving them the opportunity to replace me to try their strat and basically being very patient with them.

I still feel badly, though. Shouldn’t I be able to heal through an evolved zealot? Maybe, maybe not. I mean, the issue isn’t that I can’t heal through one for 30 seconds, but I can’t continually heal through one up during the entire encounter. 85k mana goes FAST if you’re casting Divine Light and the occasional Flash of Light all the while praying Eternal Glory procs more often. Even with my Big Angry Man out (Guardian of Ancient Kings), I can’t maintain that kind of healing. Not even with a variety of both my cooldowns and the tank’s.

My paladin was always my alt. I’d be pulled into raids if we needed healers, back in Vanilla, but my main was always Kurn. As such, since then, I’ve always been lacking a bit of confidence. “This is my alt,” I used to think, “I have no business healing Molten Core!!”

Obviously, healing through Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King has alleviated the confidence problem. I had no problems being the strongest single-target healer in WotLK ICC25HMs. I had no problems shouldering the responsibility of healing two tanks at once or being the primary reason Valithria Dreamwalker got healed to full.

When I came back to Eldre’Thalas, I knew I was one of the most geared and experienced people in Apotheosis and so I was fine with taking a lot of responsibility on myself in our little excursions to ICC.

So it’s a little humbling to sit there in a heroic 5-man and be like “Yeah, I can’t heal through that.”

Should I be able to? I mean, assuming that the fears and Shadow Strikes are interrupted properly, assuming good cooldown usage by the tank, should I be able to heal through the Corla encounter with a single evolved zealot up at all times? If so, why can’t I? Is it gear? Spell selection? Oh, God, is it really because I’m just not good enough of a healer?

One half-hour spent working on Corla and all my WotLK confidence has flown out the window.

MMOMeltingPot linked to a great post about how healers have no instant gratification from casting a heal and seeing it actually DO something. The poster says “Random dungeons are a front for blamestorms and negativity that make folks discontent, and it’s a bit worse than I expected, but that is just one element in the shitstorm.”

While I wasn’t blamed by my group (they seemed to mostly understand that Gravity Strike is a Bad Thing), I came away from my pug feeling very negative and discontent and, worse, blaming myself. Questioning myself.

So I ask you, my fellow paladins, my fellow healers, my fellow dungeon-runners…

How have YOU done the heroic Corla encounter in Blackrock Caverns? And what kind of a healer did you have?

Well, I Don't Feel Very Heroic…

So I dinged Madrana to 85 early on Wednesday morning. I have effectively lapped several of my guildmates in that they’re still 83-84. This is hilarious to me. And I’m also done levelling anything for a while, yet.

Anyways, with just a couple of pieces, including the Gloves of Curious Conscience from the Justice Point vendor, I found myself at the 329 ilvl threshold for heroic dungeons, even with two pieces of Wrath gear. I’m still wearing heroic Corrupted Silverplate Leggings, which are ilvl 264, and the heroic Rot-Resistant Breastplate, which is ilvl 277.

Tip of the day: You cannot reforge resilience.

I got myself an Ornate Pyrium Belt for 91 gold to replace my Lich Killer’s Lanyard, since the intellect boost is just such a blowout, even taking 3 gem slots into consideration. I figured I could reforge the resilience into haste or spirit, but alas. So I reforged 56 crit into 56 haste.

I picked up Diamant’s Ring of Temperance from Therazane, with whom I am revered.

Of course, during the day, most people have these things called “jobs”, so I decided not to go on any heroics until my brother, Fog (a very nicely decked out tank), got home. Instead, I ran a couple of regulars. I got Vortex Pinnacle, Halls of Origination… Picked up Band of Life Energy out of regular HoO.

So when Fog got home and Majik got in, we took about 15 minutes to boost Majik’s item level substantially. He maaaaaay have 420 resilience in his new gear… But it got him to 329. I am not amused at the fact that so much of the blue gear crafters can make is PVP gear, and even then, in many cases, you have to pay out the nose in resources (leather, bars of metal, cloth bolts) in order to just get the patterns.

But anyways.

So Majik and Sephden (Maj’s brother), Fog and me and our friend Tia queued up for a random heroic.

Heroic Shadowfang Keep.

Horrifying.

My experience with SFK is pretty much on the exceedingly slim side. Like, I think I’d done it four times, total, in the preceeding five years.

So we get to Baron Ashbury.

Whose BRIGHT idea was it to have a mob who brings everyone down to ONE HEALTH in this new healing regime?

Having said that, I’m sure we were doing the encounter wrong and interrupting the wrong spell. We didn’t let Stay of Execution tick much, if at all and we definitely missed out on interrupting Mend Rotting Flesh. Naturally, seeing my ENTIRE PARTY WITH NO HEALTH led to panic on my part.

My advice is to let Stay of Execution tick 1-2 times just to make sure no one gets one-shotted, then interrupt it and DPS him down. If you have a Mortal Strike ability (we had Widow Venom), use it — not sure if it works, but it certainly can’t hurt.

Anyways, just as we thought we might be getting the hang of it (well, the rest of the group thought so. I wanted to curl up in the fetal position and cry.), Tia had to go since she had to work.

We then pulled in a shadow priest guildie to replace her and since we weren’t sure if he’d get the 70 Valor Points if he just zoned in and we cleared SFK, we elected to requeue for another random.

Total time spent in SFK: Close to an hour

Total JP/VP earned: 0

On the bright side of things (there’s a bright side?) I discovered that I can last an inordinate amount of time with under 10k mana, if I’m playing well. Do not underestimate the importance of the following combination:

1 Holy Shock on the tank -> 1 Holy Power Light of Dawn on the group

When you literally do not have enough mana to cast anything else, this is godly. Holy Light would have had consideration in Holy Shock’s spot, except that it no longer generates Holy Power, so it was HS to generate Holy Power. I also could have used Crusader Strike, except that, due to our positioning, it would have been difficult for me to get the whole group (including Sephden, the hunter) in line for Light of Dawn hits. So I was standing on the stairs, basically, with the entire party in front of me and willing my cooldowns to finish faster.

I used Divine Plea with Divine Focus to offset it (I know, this is Wrath-era thinking, but if you’re oom, you’re oom), I used my Dream Owl Figurine to boost my spirit, I used my “big angry man”, as I call him, but most paladins know him as the Guardian of Ancient Kings. I even blew Lay on Hands JUST for the mana return since I’ve got Glyph of Divinity.

Obviously, this attempt (which lasted close to five minutes, since I could ALMOST use my bubble again) went horribly awry and I shouldn’t have been so completely out of mana. But it was really interesting to see how long I could keep everyone at basically just enough health to live. Things went from bad to worse when I didn’t have enough mana to cleanse the Pain and Suffering off, but it was astounding to realize that I’d healed for close to three minutes without having more than 10k mana at any given time. (Note to self: make up a bunch of the new mana potions.)

Anyways. We requeued with the shadow priest and got Vortex Pinnacle.

I’ve basically been running this place for the last five days on normal. It’s actually old hat to me now on both my hunter and my paladin. Heroic? Not quite so much. I was pleased that we were making good use of CC. The thing that pissed me off the most was that my brother and Sephden were being all covert about something and wouldn’t effing tell me what was going on. “Just let it be a surprise,” they said. I don’t know about YOU, but when I’m in a heroic run for the very first time, and I’m the healer, the LAST THING I WANT is a damn surprise!

It was for a stupid achievement. Extra Credit Bonus Stage. Woo-freakin’-hoo.

Anyways, the first boss, High Vizier Ertan, is basically the same on heroic, except that I think the tornadoes slow your cast speed now. (Did they before?) So we ran out and I had a hell of a time trying to get everyone to stack up on me for Holy Radiance (which I popped each time we ran out). Fine, you don’t want my heals, you can die. :P

You also get a Lurking Tempest who’ll show up sometime during the fight. Just look at him to scare him away like you do with the others.

The second boss, Altairus, is also very similar to the normal mode of the fight… except you get FREAKING TORNADOES EVERYWHERE.

And the last boss, Asaad, is the same except he now does this Static Cling cast. It roots you to the ground and is a magic debuff, so it can be dispelled. Not a big deal. There’s an achievement if you manage not to get the debuff at all during the fight and that’s doable by virtue of jumping at the right instant while he’s casting it. I didn’t care to jump like a moron when I’m supposed to be casting, although I tried it once and avoided the debuff. Hooray.

So we finished the heroic and I promptly logged off to go have dinner and watch the hockey game.

I was drained. I didn’t even log back in until much later (I may or may not have fallen asleep while watching my Montreal Canadiens lose 5-3 against the Philadelphia Flyers. >.>) and I have pretty much zero desire to do another heroic anytime soon. Not because it’s HARD, though it’s challenging, but because it’s challenging in a way that saps me of my energy and desire to perform this role.

Throughout our attempts on Baron Ashbury, I kept thinking to myself, “You knowww… Focus really isn’t THAT bad. And is it really a bad thing to bring a useful pet to a raid? And you DO have an awful lot of healers…”

It’s ridiculous, I know, and it’s more of a function of gear and what my party is or is not doing than it is of my healing ability. That said, it’s very hard to go from being one of the best-geared and most-experienced players in the guild who could literally save the entire encounter if needed, to what I am now — a moderately undergeared healer who feels as though she has no real control over whether or not her group lives or dies.

I know that I’ll feel better in a week or in a couple of days or even tomorrow. But my first encounters with heroic dungeons are reminding me way too much of the insanity that was the Kael fight in heroic Magister’s Terrace.

Players are now extremely responsible for themselves and their lives. The mechanics out there are really deadly. Maybe in two tiers, we’ll be able to faceroll through this stuff with any old pug, but I can’t save you if you stand in the lightning in Vortex Pinnacle. I can’t save you if you pull aggro and Blessing of Protection is on cooldown. It’s like I see all this stuff happening that I just can’t stop and it’s one of the more frustrating parts of being a healer. The thing is, I’m sure it’s frustrating for a good tank, too. And I’m sure it’s frustrating for a good DPS, too.

What they’re doing it trying to bring people back towards being team or group-oriented. Which is awesome.

But everyone who played through Wrath of the Lich King picked up some awful habits and, in my case, some attitudes that are now out of date, and we now need to be broken of them. It’s not a pleasant feeling, but there’s nothing to be done except work through it and adjust. All the wishing in the world won’t bring us back to pre-Wrath so that we can skip two years of sloppy runs and bad habits.

Despite my knowing that it’s a necessity, it doesn’t make the process any easier.

Feh.

Tower of Radiance Nerf is Intentional

Nethaera just confirmed that a change to Tower of Radiance‘s functionality is intentional. There’s also been a change to lower the overall healing done by Light of Dawn (although it now seems to not have a target cap. Whether that’s intentional remains unclear, but is likely a bug.).

The change to Tower of Radiance means that healing your Beacon of Light target with Holy Light no longer results in any Holy Power being gained.

Here’s the text of the forum post by Nethaera.

These hotfixes were intentional and we wanted to share more information about the “why” for you all here:

Mana is supposed to matter for healers, and in the case of Holy paladins, that just wasn’t happening. We were seeing raid groups attempting to learn new bosses where the other healers were out of mana while the paladins were still at 90% of mana. We also thought the experience of paladins healing harder heroic dungeons was inconsistent with that of other healers, or our design intent. We thought it was only a matter of time before groups started going out of their way to stack paladins for raids or recruit them for dungeon runs, which of course is not our intent. For this reason, we thought it was important to address this point now rather than sitting on it until a future patch.

The main culprit for the increased paladin efficiency this was Holy Power from Tower of Radiance. We were seeing a strategy develop where paladins would cast Holy Light on a Beaconed tank, and then cast Light of Dawn on the raid (and use very few other spells). This strategy was remarkably successful considering how simple it is. The Holy Power-based heals are supposed to be an important component of the paladin kit, but because Holy Light is designed to be super efficient, the overall strategy was too efficient. The intent of Tower of Radiance was to make directly healing a Beacon of Light target less punitive, but instead it was becoming the only smart way to play. You can still generate Holy Power by using Flash of Light or Divine Light on a Beaconed target, or through a variety of other ways. Remember, overall it isn’t balanced if paladins are just as mana efficient as other healers and have several mana-free spells.

Light of Dawn was adjusted because it was completely eclipsing Word of Glory. We lowered the healing of Word of Glory late in development, but also redesigned Light of Dawn. They had fallen out of sync, and Light of Dawn was just too good.

So now, we have 3 points in Tower of Radiance and four of our six direct-healing spells do not give us holy power when we directly heal the beacon target. Holy Shock won’t give us holy power through Tower of Radiance (because it already gives us one charge for using it), Word of Glory doesn’t give us holy power through ToR, nor does Lay on Hands and now nor does Holy Light. Only Flash of Light (our fast, very expensive spell) and Divine Light (our long, very expensive spell) will give us charges of holy power through Tower of Radiance.

What does this mean?

For one, it means that, unless we want to resort to standing in melee range and attacking with Crusader Strike, we will rarely be generating more than 3 holy power in the span of 12 seconds. (00:00 – Holy Shock, 06:00 – Holy Shock, 12:00 – Holy Shock)

For another, it means  Blizzard hates us that Holy Light, our most efficient direct heal and the one that heals for the absolute least, won’t be cast as much because it really does very little in terms of healing someone up at all. With 125k tank health pools, is 7k actually going to make a difference? Not so much. We’d use it a bit as a filler, to get some healing out while Holy Shock was on cooldown, and also to generate holy power. Now? Well, I suppose it’s better than standing around doing absolutely nothing between Holy Shock casts.

The more important thing to realize here is that we’re now being punished for casting Holy Light on the tank instead of Flash of Light (which is stupidly expensive) and Divine Light (which is stupidly expensive and also stupidly slow). We’re actually being punished for keeping our tanks (or our beacon targets) at a relatively high level of health and are being encouraged by Blizzard’s mechanics to let them drop to a significantly low amount to justify casting things like Flash of Light and Divine Light. After all, no reason to cast a quick Flash of Light on the tank when they’re not in danger of dying really quickly, right? And there’s no reason to cast a long, big Divine Light when the tank’s over 75%, right?

So why bother casting Holy Light on the tank? Why bother keeping the tank at 75%+?

For that matter, why bother getting Tower of Radiance?

In thinking about it, the best reason I can think of to get Tower of Radiance is because we have nothing better to get. This is ridiculous. That’s five talent points (3 from Tower of Radiance, 2 from Protector of the Innocent) that I don’t feel benefit me particularly much, but we NEED them to get down the tree.

What else would we put the three points in? Fill out 3/3 Protector of the Innocent, 2/2 Enlightened Judgements and then… 1/2 in Blessed Life?

So take it. Besides, we’ll almost certainly have to use Flash of Light and Divine Light to save the tank’s ass now and again, so we can be pleasantly surprised to get a charge of holy power. :P

Does this mean we shouldn’t beacon the tank? Or shouldn’t take Beacon of Light?

Beacon of Light should always be part of a holy paladin PVE build and should be placed on a target who is tanking a lot of damage, which is typically a tank. Beacon is what allows us to heal the party plus keep the tank alive in a five-man setting, and allows us to attend to other wounded allies in a raid setting without leaving the tank without a heal for several seconds on end. Keep beaconing the tank. Keep taking Beacon of Light.

Besides, what else would you take? You’d end up with a build like this one.

So what does this change?

A lot less use of Light of Dawn. A lot less use of Word of Glory. Thought you were starved for mana before? Think again. I didn’t even use WoG and LoD all that much and I was still going through my mana like mad in regular instances. I assume at least some of it is because I’m still in a bunch of 264/277 gear, but if I still have these issues at 85 in heroics and in raids, it’ll be time to stack a ton of spirit.

In conclusion…

Clearly, a bunch of paladins who were stacking holy power through Holy Light have wrecked things for the rest of us who weren’t healing like cheap-ass chumps. Thanks a bunch. :P

Honestly, we should be using a variety of heals, and those who are will now find the overall healing choices they make to be very similar to what they were using before, only using less of the “free” heals. It SHOULD be only those who were exploiting this strategy who find themselves in trouble.

It doesn’t mean that the fix Blizzard has implemented doesn’t hurt us all, because it does, but it means that if you weren’t overly reliant on Light of Dawn and Word of Glory, you should be okay.

You can still be angry that a few morons who aren’t as talented and skilled as you are got Tower of Radiance nerfed and therefore really changed how holy power is earned and used drastically, though. I know I’m pretty livid at them and I’m ticked off by how Blizzard elected to “fix” the problem.

Lowbie Holy Paladin Guidance

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

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

1-25

Here’s the Wowhead link: 9/0/0

Why those talents:

Tier 1:

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

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

Tier 2:

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

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

Glyphs:

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

Tips:

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

26-50

Here’s the Wowhead link: 21/0/0

Why those talents:

Tier 2:

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

Tier 3:

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

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

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

Tier 4:

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

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

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

Tier 5:

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

Glyphs:

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

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

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

Tips:

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

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

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

51-75

Here’s the Wowhead link: 31/3/0

Tier 5:

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

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

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

Tier 6:

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

Back to Tier 5:

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

Back to Tier 4:

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

Tier 7:

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

To the Protection Tree we go!

Tier 1:

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

Glyphs:

Prime: Word of Glory (+healing)

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

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

Tips:

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

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

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

76-80

Here’s the Wowhead link: 31/3/2

To the Retribution Tree we go!

Tier 1:

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

81-85

First, the Retribution tree:

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

Back to the Protection tree:

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

And back to the Retribution tree:

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

So a level 85 spec looks like this:

31/5/5

Additional reading: 4.0.1 post /4.0.3 post

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