Five Tips for Holy Paladin Healing in 4.0.1

We are at a horrible point in between expansions where we have new mechanics and are forced to try them out in Wrath content, where there’s a ton of AOE damage, where tanks can, and will, be two-shotted…

Here, then, are five tips for healing through WotLK content with our fancy-shmancy new Cataclysm healing mechanics. Please bear in mind that this advice is valid only for 4.0.1 and will likely be rendered useless come 4.0.3.

1) Flash of Light is Good. After a lot of playing around in the limited raid content I’m doing at the moment, and some advice from Chase Christian and Felomena, both of whom commented on this post of mine, Flash of Light is my go-to spell. Kind of.

I abuse Holy Shock and I cast Holy Light when I have a lull (and whenever I get an Infusion of Light proc) and most of the rest of the time, I cast the hell out of Flash of Light.

It’s expensive. Unbuffed, I have 383 mp5 in combat. That’s not a whole lot, either, although my Solace of the Defeated with 8 stacks, with Blessing of Might, ends up bumping that up to 602. (607 with a Flask of Distilled Wisdom, FYI.) Flash of Light, however, costs 1186 mana. So without Replenishment or Kings/Mark, both of which should be present in a raid setting, I just barely regen half of the cost of Flash of Light every five seconds. I have a 1.04s cast time on Flash of Light with Judgements of the Pure up and no other haste buffs.

See the problem here? If I’m casting a lot of Flash of Light, say 3 times in a 5-second window, I am spending 1186 x 3 mana, which is 3558 mana and in that same window, my regen is about 600, not including procs from my Insightful Earthsiege Diamond (which procs 600 mana back on a 15-second internal cooldown and can be assumed to be about 75mp5).

So while I highly recommend lots of Flash of Light use, don’t forget that it costs an arm and a leg, now! Hasted Holy Lights and Holy Shocks are good alternatives, as is Word of Glory, of course.

Flash of Light is also the spell of choice for a holy paladin for Valithria Dreamwalker, given the quick cast and the fact that, with a lot of stacks of Emerald Vigor or Twisted Nightmares, mana doesn’t matter. (Divine Light probably wins out in the heroism/burn phase at the end of the fight, though, given enough haste, since Flash of Light will almost certainly be under a 1s cast, so you’ll lose casting time due to the hard cap of a 1s GCD.)

2) Glyphed Light of Dawn is for Infest. Again, thanks to Chase (and other paladins commenting on LoD these days in general), I’ve managed to be the Infest healer on two 10-man Lich King kills in the last week by virtue of glyphing Light of Dawn, which reduces its healing done, but also reduces it to a 20s cooldown from a 30s cooldown. Guess what else has a 20s cooldown? That’s right, Infest.

If you stand just behind your ranged groups as Infest gets cast and you’re watching your bars, you can get rid of the Infest on all of your ranged, including yourself, plus your beacon target, who is the beneficiary of all your Light of Dawn heals. Yes, that’s ridiculous, but yes, that’s happening right now.

[21:33:50.890] Madrana Light of Dawn Hunter +*5937*
[21:33:50.890] Madrana Light of Dawn Shammy 1 +4043
[21:33:50.890] Madrana Light of Dawn Shammy 2 +4162
[21:33:50.890] Madrana Light of Dawn Druid 1 +3822
[21:33:50.890] Madrana Light of Dawn Druid 2 +3466
[21:33:50.890] Madrana Light of Dawn Treant +*0* (O: 5650)
[21:33:50.890] Madrana Light of Dawn Treant +*0* (O: 5360)
[21:33:51.671] Madrana Beacon of Light Beaconed Tank +0 (O: 2968)
[21:33:51.671] Madrana Beacon of Light Beaconed Tank +0 (O: 1758)
[21:33:51.671] Madrana Beacon of Light Beaconed Tank +0 (O: 1810)
[21:33:51.671] Madrana Beacon of Light Beaconed Tank +0 (O: 1911)
[21:33:51.671] Madrana Beacon of Light Beaconed Tank +0 (O: 1733)
[21:33:51.671] Madrana Beacon of Light Beaconed Tank +0 (O: 2825)
[21:33:51.671] Madrana Beacon of Light Beaconed Tank +0 (O: 2680)

Of course, Light of Dawn is changing in a big way come Cataclysm, healing for much more than it currently does, but will be limited to 5 targets, 6 with the glyph. But for right now, boy, this is actually fun! :)

You can see this in action in our guild-first LK10 killing. I actually missed the first Infest, but at about the 30s mark, look at the tank’s Grid on the right. You’ll see every box get a debuff (the Infest one) and then you’ll see my shiny Holy Flashlight, er, Light of Dawn, and almost all of the debuffs vanish. Beautiful.

I highly recommend trying out being the Infest healer in a 10-man if you can manage it between now and Cataclysm. Make use of our 31-point talent before it’s changed forever!

I do not, however, recommend being the Infest healer when you’re also the designated cleanser of Necrotic Plague as I was on Sunday evening. That was more than a little stressful and I suddenly cursed myself for never actually having been the Necrotic Plague cleanser before. Still, it worked out all right, but messing with two new things on a fight I’ve done a couple dozen times was… interesting.

Anyways!

3) Beacon Smartly! In 3.3 content, we tended to do one of two things with our beacon:

a) Beacon the other tank and heal our tank.

b) Beacon our tank and heal the raid.

What you did depended primarily on the fight, if it was 10 or 25-man content and any healing assignments by your healing lead.

Now, due to Tower of Radiance, it’s less clear as to who gets our beacon in a raid setting. It might be hard to assign one holy paladin to two tanks due to the change in Beacon of Light (from 100% of a copied heal to 50% of a copied heal) but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be using our beacons on *something* to benefit from the increases in Holy Power.

So here are my suggestions, although I always recommend listening to your healing lead if they give you specific beacon instructions.

a) Beacon Your Tank: Do this in situations where your tank is taking a substantial amount of damage and you can really, really benefit from the extra charges of Holy Power for Word of Glory. Also, do this in situations where there’s just one active tank (whom you’re probably healing) so that you can sprinkle Word of Glory heals around as needed.

b) Beacon the Other Tank: Do this in situations where your tank isn’t taking a ton of damage and you don’t feel you particularly need Word of Glory to be used a ton. It can still be used for extra healing on, say, the Keleseth tank on the Blood Prince Council fight, too, which helps get extra heals on a tank that is running around the room and may run out of range of their healer’s heals. I most recently used my beacon on the tank tanking the Lich King on LK10 while I healed Infest, dealt with Necrotic Plague and healed the OT through Shambling Horrors and some Raging Spirits. That allowed my beacon target (the MT) to gain all my LoD heals, then allowed me to gain Holy Power by directly healing him when the OT wasn’t tanking anything.

Really, the decision depends on how often you want to be using Word of Glory and if another tank needs the extra healing.

4) Don’t Forget About Divine Plea. Okay, it’s been nerfed. 15% (glyphed) of mana back every two minutes instead of 25% every minute. That doesn’t mean that it’s not at all useful. We should all have slightly larger mana pools now and, unbuffed (with about 43k mana), I’m getting about 1300 mana back per tick for about 6500 mana back per use. It’s not fantastic, but it’s something, at least, and will keep you casting just a bit longer. Similarly, don’t forget about mana potions!

5) Don’t Get Married to These Tips! These tips will be outdated extremely soon, perhaps even as soon as this coming Tuesday, when MMO-Champion reports that Patch 4.0.3 will be released. When Cataclysm comes out, or perhaps in a patch before that, like 4.0.3, 4.0.3a or some other patch, Light of Dawn changes, judging Seal of Insight changes to give us 15% of maximum base mana back and a variety of other things will change. I stress, again, that this is a temporary thing that will be hopelessly out of date by December 7th, 2010 at the latest!

Still, I hope it helps you feel better about healing as a holy paladin for the next little while. While I was pretty depressed about how ineffective I was, switching up my spell use quite a bit basically solved most of my issues and, therefore, alleviated a lot of my concerns.

Cataclysm Beta Builds 13221 & 13241

As always, thank you to MMO-Champion for listing the patch changes!

I never did talk about the last beta build (13221) so I’ll talk about those changes here as well.

13221:

* Holy Radiance’s effectiveness now diminish on targets farther than x yards away.

That’s cool. It was a little OP for someone 20 yards away to get the entire benefit of something that comes from us in a pulsing wave thing.

* Divine Light base healing has been increased by 30%. From 8538-9512 to 11100-12366

* Flash of Light base healing has been increased by 30%. From 5313-5961 to 6907-7750.

* Holy Light base healing has been increased by 30%. From 3202-3567 to 4162-4637.

* Holy Shock base healing has been increased by 30%. From 3033-3285 to 3943-4271.

Holy crapsicle. Buff time! Hooray! Maybe now I won’t feel like my heals are completely ineffective.

* Lay on Hands no longer restores mana.

That’s okay! No worries! The new Glyph of Divinity means that anytime you cast Lay on Hands, you gain 10% of your maximum mana. That’s on a 7m cooldown with the new Lay on Hands major glyph.

* Beacon of Light now lasts 5 min, up from 1 min.

Well, that’s handy. We can now remove the major glyph of Beacon of Light which reduced its mana cost to 0 and put in that snazzy new Lay on Hands glyph. :)

* Mastery: Illuminated Healing now absorbs 10% of the amount healed, up from 8%. Now lasts 8 sec, up from 6 sec. Each point of mastery increases the absorb amount by an additional 1.25%, up from 1%.

Effing. Awesome. 8 second shield that’s a minimum of 10% of your heal and mastery givs you even more absorption? This is amazing.

All around, 13221 was a huge buff to holy paladins.

13241:

* Holy RadianceĀ  20 yards range added to the tooltip.

Good to know.

* Light of Dawn now uses Holy Power instead of Mana. Now heals up to 5 targets. No longer has a cooldown – Consumes all Holy Power to send a wave of healing energy before you, healing up to 5 of the most injured targets in your party or raid within a 30 yard frontal cone for 1008.96 to 1124.15 per charge of Holy Power.

Okay, this is NOT a nerf, I repeat, this is NOT a nerf! Walks was telling me about this earlier tonight (guild stuff has me buried, so I haven’t tested anything yet). Here’s what he has to say:

Walks: The new Light of Dawn is kind of amazing.

Kurn: The lack of cooldown is really that good, eh? Is it a smart heal? (That would be asking too much, I imagine.)

Walks: Yes to both. 3 stacks of HP will heal for about 8.5k non-crit. It is a smart heal, but the players must be in front of you.

Kurn: Wait, SERIOUSLY?! A directional, smart heal, that heals for 8.5k non-crit? SS or it didn’t happen!!!

Walks: I will later! <3 Raid time. Oh, the LoD glyph lets it hit a sixth target.

So here we have an ability with a variable “cooldown”, that is a smart heal! It’s our version of Wild Growth and Circle of Healing! Complete with the glyph that will add another target to the heal. This is, to be blunt, awesome. And is finally a 31-point talent worthy of its spot. IMHO.

* Blessed Life now cannot occur more than 8 seconds (up from 2 seconds).

PVP talent for sure.

* Protector of the Innocent now affects heals on any target except yourself.

Small nerf, but it makes sense. Why proc a heal on yourself after you’ve just healed yourself?

Overall, holy paladins are looking AWESOME.

But basically, you want to go out there and hit full raid groups of people with Light of Dawn while you still can. ;) My record is 26 people, not including myself.

Kurn's Healing Lead Philosophy

Tonight, November 2nd, 2010, Apotheosis will step into ICC 25 for the first time as a guild. Indeed, this will be the first 25-man raid we’ve run together since Naxxramas and Obsidian Sanctum back in February of 2009.

For the first time since then, I’ll be a raid leader in a 25-man group. And for the first time since April or so of 2010, I’ll be the healing lead.

I’m not the most fantastic raid leader. I am, however, a pretty darn good healing lead. I’m good at distributing resources, I’m good at identifying issues the healers may be having and I try my best to assign people based on their strengths both as a class and as a player.

So tonight, I get to test out my healing lead skills (along with the raid leading skills — gah! Suddenly, I’m glad that I did some ICC10s with the guild pre-4.0…) and get to look at (and thus, evaluate) some players for the first time.

While thinking about how I’m going to work things tonight, I thought I’d share a bit about my healing lead philosophy, which seems so different from many others I’ve seen or heard about.

1) Clarity of Instructions. I’m going to give you clear instructions as to who your target is. I will rarely say “you two, you’re on tanks, everyone else on raid”. I will assign you a tank and, taking a cue from my most recent healing lead, if you’re “on raid” I will probably assign you a group or two. If there’s confusion as to where to stand, I’ll assign that as well. (My healers from my Bronzebeard guild may recall the detailed guide I had for where to stand on Freya!)

2) Asking for Feedback. After a new fight (wipe or not) I will generally ask the healers how that was. Was anyone too stressed? Was anyone bored? Does anyone have any suggestions for the next time that would make things a little easier or better spread out? Back when my Bronzebeard guild was learning Yogg, this kind of feedback was invaluable. Same with when my RL friend’s guild was learning LK. Remember that feedback from healers doesn’t mean you have to take their suggestions or anything. It just means being aware of their perceptions of the fight. Remember that sometimes people will see things you won’t.

3) Having a Sense of Humour/Being Understanding. People make mistakes. It’s exceedingly difficult to wrangle 25 people together and do something “right” on the first attempt. The raid group is made up of people, too. I don’t have too much of a problem wiping the first few pulls on a boss, so long as we learn from each mistake. And as long as we’re learning, it’s all cool. If someone stands in fire for the third pull in a row, I’m less understanding. But for the most part, I’m a fairly understanding raid leader and healing lead. Perhaps a little too forgiving, but I don’t want to have an environment where people are afraid. Fear is a terrible motivator. I want to motivate people to do better because they want to do their best for the team, not because they’re scared Kurn is going to yell. (Although when I yell, you better freaking watch out… ;D)

Perhaps the best example of having a sense of humour about things is this one time on Yogg-Saron, where one of our healers didn’t get inside before someone started the fight. I was laughing so hard I was crying, particularly as this priest was using /say to crack us all up. Like /say Knock, knock? and such.

I mean, at that point, you already know the attempt will be more difficult than it should be, and may even result in a wipe, so why not laugh about it?

4) Understanding How the Classes Work Together. This is actually what’s got me a little worried about tonight, since I don’t really feel all that comfortable with the various changes. Obviously, I know how paladin healing has changed and I know chunks about how holy priests and disc priests have changed, but resto druids remain a little bit mysterious to me and I’m basically hoping that shammies haven’t changed much at all. ;)

When approaching a fight, you need to know how to divide your resources, though. Six healers? Who’s on the tanks? Who’s on raid? How do you make that decision? Part of it is what the classes are capable of, obviously. In the pre-4.0 world, you never would have put a holy paladin on anything but a tank (or a single target who is taking obscene amounts of damage). Now, however, druids can do some outstanding single-target healing, so while you probably still won’t want a holy paladin on “the raid”, you can probably put a druid on a tank to help pick up the slack from a paladin’s gimped Beacon of Light, which will allow the druid to help out on the raid as well.

(Probably.)

5) Understanding How Your Players Like to Play. No matter what’s more efficient or what’s “better”, you will undoubtedly run into healers who are not team players and will grumble and complain about how you’re wasting their awesome talents by assigning them to X or Y instead of Z. Usually this behaviour is seen in those who place a great deal of importance on healing meters instead of on their job, which is to keep people up.

If a shaman does terribly at doing anything but spamming Chain Heal, but does BRILLIANTLY at that, then they’re obviously going to be happier spamming Chain Heal and will probably look for ways in order to do that and “cheat” on their assignments. So head it off at the pass and, if you value them as a team member, assign them to what they’re going to do anyways. Of course, if you can swap them out for someone more team-oriented, that’s probably the best choice, but if you can’t (and who has a plethora of spare healers?) then try to work with them.

6) Know What You’re Seeing When Examining Parses. The worst thing to do in terms of evaluating a healer is to look at where they stand on the full report of healing, or even just the boss fights. It’s terrible. It doesn’t take into account anything like movement, assignments, cleansing, etc. What I look at, in order:

a) All healing done during all bosses: Just to get an idea of things. If all my healers are clustered nicely around 15% of healing done, sweet. But they probably aren’t. Looking at this doesn’t mean whoever tops it is godly. Rather, a large spread means that there may be problems in assignments or how the healer followed assignments. It’s telling you what to look at when you look at the individual fights.

b) Healing done on individual fights: Did we lose people? If so, how? Was it DPS failing to move out of the fire or was a healer slacking? Was it a tank death? What was that tank’s healer doing? This is where I get an idea of where the fight went wrong and if it was preventable and what healers were doing at that time. I will dig into the log browser and expression editor here. Was a healer locked out of all their spells thanks to Curse of Torpor and THAT’S why their tank died? If so, it’s a mage or druid or resto shammy fail for not cleansing the curse in time. That sort of thing.

c) Overhealing: Was overhealing a problem? Were people sniping other people’s heals? Overhealing can show if people are respecting assignments or not and can also show you if your assignments aren’t right. For example, if you have 7 healers and all of them have 65%+ overheal, drop a healer!

d) Abilities used: What were the primary spells your healers were casting? Is what they were doing right? Wrong? Unsure?

e) Uptimes: If your paladins aren’t keeping Judgements of the Pure up over 90% of the time during boss encounters, that’s a fail, for example.

7) Communicate With Your Team. If you see issues with your healers, tell them about it! Don’t just assume it’s going to fix itself. And be specific. Don’t be all “yo, dawg, don’t be fail”. Say something like “You know, I noticed that your Prayer of Mending use wasn’t very high, but it’s really something you should endeavour to use on cooldown as much as you can.” Being tactful here is key. And if you don’t understand why they’re doing something, ask them! “Hey, I was wondering, why are you using X glyph instead of Y? I’d love to hear the reasoning. From what I’ve read, X is more efficient, but I’d love to know if it’s not the recommended one!”

Basically, my healing lead philosophy is one that encourages teamwork, feedback, communication and specific instructions. It’s also a lot of work for the healing lead because you have to do your research and talk to your healers, which is something a lot of people don’t have time for, nor do they bother to make time.

I tend to either have the time or make the time for it and all the healers I’ve worked with in this game have noticed it. Trust me, healing leads — that extra five minutes you spend with a healer of yours can be the difference between them thinking you’re a snob who never has time for them or thinking that you’re pretty awesome and you know your stuff.

Trial of the Idiotic Crusader

There are three things anyone who’s read this blog for any length of time knows about me:

1) I hate 10-man raids.

2) I’m a pretty decent holy paladin who is very familiar with the changes to the class, given time on beta and such.

3) I’m pretty damn well-geared. (Bear in mind that chardev isn’t all the way up to date, but at least the gear I’m wearing there is what I’m wearing on live.)

Tonight, a certain priest was asking in guild if anyone was up for TOGC10. I didn’t say anything. I purposely didn’t say anything. Until like, the third time she asked and I was like, well, crap.

So I sighed and let her know that if she desperately needed me, I’d heal. But I had a few things to do first — update a website, take a phone call… it would be 15 minutes at least, probably closer to 20. Ended up being about 30, but anyways.

It was mostly a guild group. 2 tanks (both paladins), two healers (me and O), then a hunter, an ele shammy, a warlock and an enhancement shaman all from our guild, with a ret paladin and a DPS warrior as pugs, rounding out the group.

I don’t know what anyone else was assuming about it, but I assumed the following:

People aren’t going to know what to do and this is going to be painful.

By and large, I was right. I wasn’t horribly frustrated by that. I expected it. I did not expect 7 wipes on heroic beasts. Nor did I expect a Jaraxxus one-shot.

This isn’t a blog post about how my guildies and I (well, mostly my guildies) got Tribute to Skill or got the TOGC 10 achievement. (I’d never done it all the way before.) It’s not even a blog post about how I still hate the warlock and felhound on Faction Champs or the pain that Light Vortex can bring. Nor is it about how we didn’t even actually get a burrow on our first Anub attempt.

It’s about my experience healing.

Fuck that place.

It dawned on me, perhaps on our fourth wipe on heroic beasts, that we are at that stupid time of the expansion where:

a) we are not tuned in our abilities,

b) the environment has not changed so that our abilities have even a SEMBLANCE of being tuned.

You can get away with this in ICC with 30% more health, more damage, more healing and more absorption.

It is very much a different story when attempting to do content that is a little more challenging than your average dungeon without a buff.

O and I are good healers and both very experienced in TOGC. We’re both 4/5 TOGC 25 (stupid Anub…) and, between us, we have 33 kills of heroic beasts on 25-man. Granted, she had those kills on her druid instead of her priest, but hey. Experience, you know? It matters.

So while I anticipated some problems, I was, in no way, prepared for the amount of problems we had.

First of all, I kept losing my tank on Northrend Beasts.

I didn’t know why. I STILL don’t know why, except for two attempts.

Seriously, I’m looking at the logs right now.

Barring attempts where I got Paralytic Toxin on the worms… and barring the attempt where someone got trampled and so Icehowl enraged (and no tranq shot was cast!)…

So attempt 1: Paralytic Toxin, which means running, which means not casting.

Attempt 2, Trample/enrage.

Attempt 3, not sure why, but my tank (as opposed to my brother, who was also tanking) ended up with both Molten Spew AND Acid Spit. Ow.

Attempt 4, ah yes, there I was standing around, casting, minding my own goddamn business and someone runs past me with a Snobold on their head. No, they didn’t run past me. They ran right next to me. So that the Snobold was actually IN RANGE of me.

[22:04:52.365] Madrana begins to cast Divine Light
[22:04:52.365] Snobold Vassal casts Batter on Madrana
[22:04:52.365] Snobold Vassal’s Batter interrupts Madrana’s Divine Light
[22:04:52.469] Snobold Vassal Batter Madrana 992 (O: -1)
[22:04:52.771] Madrana Retribution Aura Snobold Vassal 284 (O: -1)
[22:04:53.971] Gormok the Impaler Impale PallyTank 7046 (O: -1)
[22:04:54.377] Gormok the Impaler hits PallyTank 7474 (O: 7941)
[22:04:54.785] PallyTank dies

Dead tank.

Attempt 5, Paralytic Toxin.

Attempt 6, I tried to squeeze a heal out to a DPS who had stood in the fire just a touch too long and then got caught with the long cast time on Divine Light. Even with over 1000 haste, it’s just SUCH a long cast. My instincts definitely betrayed me here. Divine Light may be the spell the most similar to the old Holy Light and it may even have the same Clique bind as my old faithful HL… but the cast time ALONE needs to set it far, far apart from Holy Light. 2.5 second talented base cast time. That’s crap is what it is. In this world of content where your tank can and WILL die within 1-2 GCDs, that’s a death sentence.

Attempt 7, at least it wasn’t my tank who died. O got a Head Crack from a Snobold and couldn’t adequately cast, so Fog went down.

It’s not all bad RNG, but it looks like a lot of it was. If only I hadn’t been silenced. If only O hadn’t been silenced. If only Icehowl hadn’t trampled someone. If only…

We one-shotted Jaraxxus, though, mostly because hi, it’s a healing fight and O and I could probably both heal our way through that fight in our sleep, having a combined 29 kills on 25-man heroic Jaraxxus.

We wiped twice on Faction Champs before O had to go (she hadn’t anticipated taking so long with the issues we’d had on the beasts) and we pulled in my favourite BC-era priest, E.

Faction Champs down on the first try. At least this fight hasn’t changed much. I still hate Unstable Affliction.

Also, the Horde (or, I guess, Alliance, if you’re Horde) druid is still in perma-tree form. FYI.

On to Twin Valks!

This was the suck. Mostly because it felt like I couldn’t do anything EXCEPT spam Divine Light in order to keep up the tank. We’d gone with a one tank setup wherein the DPS all get dark aura and burn the crap out of the white Valk, leaving the tank to just use passive AOE and such to hold aggro on the black Valk. It was fine… unless I wanted to judge or something. So I judged on the pull on the third attempt and spammed Divine Light, so that it was more than half my healing done and I had pathetic use of the other spells in my arsenal.

Now, while this is somewhat an unorthodox method of doing it (I would have been much more comfortable with Fog and the pally tank on one mob each) it’s still ridiculous that due to the insanely high cast time (at least, relatively speaking), I can’t even afford to judge once a minute on that fight and have to use my other instants very sparingly.

Holy paladins are very broken here and I would submit that Holy Light should have a medium cast time. When they talked about a three-heal system, here’s what I thought:

FoL: Short cast, very expensive, average throughput

HL: Medium cast, medium cost, average throughput

DL: Long cast, expensive cost (not very, but higher than medium), huge throughput

Instead, we have:

FoL: Short cast, very expensive, average throughput

HL: Long cast, very cheap cost, less than average throughput

DL: Long cast, expensive cost, huge throughput

There HAS to be a step between FoL and HL/DL. That’s what we’re really missing. A two-second (talented) cast time on a casted spell. Like the old HL with Light’s Grace up.

Anyways. Anub’arak went smoothly, surprisingly, despite poor positioning. We had one wipe but we learned that, with hero, we could push him into P2 without a burrow.

Naturally, we pulled him a second time without first checking to make sure hero was up. Whoops.

We kited him around in the burrow phase without issue and then burned him down. Props to E for being a kick-ass healer, as per usual.

So that was most of my evening. I hate that instance. I never, ever, EVER want to do it again, not on normal 10 or 25 and certainly not on heroic 10 or 25. It’s just not meant to work with our current abilities and talents.

After getting down to a 1.3s Holy Light, having Sacred Shield and things like Divine Sacrifice/Divine Guardian and running TOC/TOGC with those tools and that speedy cast, I could do anything. Running it tonight (well, technically last night) was a painful reminder that I am gimped far beyond what I recognize and that I am nowhere near as good a healer as I was three weeks ago.

What sucks is that it’s not that I’m not a good healer. It’s that my mechanics make me a worse healer than I was. I could reliably do my job, three weeks ago. This raid picked away at some of my confidence.

See, I KNEW that I could do what was required of me in there. Or I thought I could. Now, I’m not so sure. And I’m not so sure it’s even that I’m not making the right decisions, because I think I AM making the right decisions, just about all of the time.

The mechanics, especially when matched against that particular instance on that particular difficulty, are just flat-out going to lose against TOGC10. Did we get the achievement and finish the instance? Yes. But would it have gone about 10 times more smoothly back in the world of 3.3.x? Hell yes. I wouldn’t have had any problems. None. I know my capabilities.

And what I saw in TOGC10 really hit me hard.

We have an ICC 25 coming up on Tuesday and perhaps one on Thursday. Guild runs, predominently. I was feeling pretty good about maybe flipping the switch to heroic Marrowgar and maybe BQL and maybe even Dreamwalker.

After the TOGC run? Not so much.

I’ll post more pally stuff soon, btw. I’ve been lax, I know. Guild stuff is always beckoning!

(By the way, still recruiting for Cataclysm!)

Kurn's Q&A #27

Wow, folks, it’s been a long, long time since I last had enough search terms to pull off one of these posts!

Looking over the last month, I have, oh, 2,927 search terms that brought people to my site. Hi, 4.0.1, thanks for the bump in traffic! ;)

1) Let’s consolidate all the “holy pally 4.0.1” stuff, shall we?

Go read my What Holy Paladins Need to Know for 4.0.1 post.

2) madranah + server

Interesting. Someone from one of my old guilds is looking for me? Sorry, people, I’m kind of doing this “GM of a guild for Cataclysm” thing, so I’m not going to join your reformed guild, even if one of my RL friends is in it. ;)

3) base mana paladin 85 kurn

I believe that would be 24,732 mana.

4) divine favor 4.0.1

Divine Favor has definitely changed. Once upon a time, hitting it gave us a guaranteed crit on Holy Light, Flash of Light and Holy Shock. Now, it’s a buff that lasts 20 or 30 seconds (depending on whether or not you’re glyphed for it) and increases your spell haste AND your spell crit chance by 20%. Not only that, but because Divine Illumination is gone (15 second buff that used to halve the cost of all spells for the duration), our 2pc T10 bonus has changed. Whenever Divine Favor is active, your healing spells are 35% stronger. So not only do you have 20-30 seconds of increased haste and crit chance (both of which strongly increase your throughput) but if you pop it while wearing two pieces of Tier 10 gear, you’ll have a bonus 35% healing going on as well.

While I still like to use this to offset Divine Plea, this is a fantastic utility spell for us. Either you use it to cover Divine Plea usage or you pop it when your targets are about to eat dirt. Or as often as possible on Dreamwalker. ;) Beautiful!

5) do improved judgements and enlightened judgements stack

Yes, Improved Judgement and Enlightened Judgements stack and so, with the base Judgement range of 10yd, you can get a maximum of 40yds as the rangeĀ  on your Judgement spell.

You should not concern yourself with Improved Judgement yet, though. Enlightened Judgements is handy for the hit and a bit of extra range, but we have very few points to place at 80, so don’t waste two of them on Improved Judgement until you’re at 84, looking for a talent to spend a point on. I recommend 3 in Divinity and 2 in Crusade, then I’d fill out Crusade (3/3) and Eternal Glory (2/2) at 82 and 83, then Improved Judgement at 84 and 85.

6) does sacred shield use gcd

It certainly used to. That said, it’s gone. They got rid of it in 4.0.1. Rest in peace, Sacred Shield. You will be missed.

7) divine intervention gone in patch 4.0?

Also gone, yes. Don’t ask me why. Shaman still have Reincarnation (30m cooldown), druids still have Rebirth (although one druid popping it will put everyone’s on the 30m cooldown!) and warlocks still have Soulstones on a 15m cooldown. And yet, paladins lose their wipe-prevention ability entirely. Way to go, Blizzard.

8) lifeblood 4.0.1

It’s godly. I wish I still had Herbalism on my paladin. Lifeblood now grants 240 haste rating at 450 Herbalism, as well as producing a small heal. Sick! :)

9) addon for speed of light procs paladin holy

You don’t need an addon for this. At 3/3 Speed of Light, every time you cast Holy Shock, you get 4 seconds of 30% spell haste on Flash of Light, Holy Light and Divine Light. You also don’t need an addon for this because it will be changing to a flat spell-haste percentage (1% per talent point). So, for the time being, count to four after using Holy Shock. There’s your addon. ;)

10) 4.0.1 judgement 4% mana

I believe it was Walks who pointed this out to me, but right now, Judgements will not proc Seal of Insight. I tested this out myself today and got absolutely 0 procs while judging. That’s okay, though. Soon enough, we’ll be getting 15% of base mana back when judging with Seal of Insight up. Mana is, by and large, not a problem for us right now anyways.

And a bonus one!

11) holy paladin eternal glory vs paragon of virtue

Because mana isn’t a huge problem right now, I would advise against Eternal Glory for the moment. You basically have to take at least one point in Paragon of Virtue when building a PVE holy spec, so PoV wins over EG at this point in time. When we hit 85, especially considering that PoV will also reduce the cooldown of Hand of Sacrifice, I’ll seriously consider 1/2 Enlightened Judgements and 2/2 PoV when building my holy tree.

And just to pimp out a rockin’ resource, don’t forget to take a look at Oestrus’ Guide to the Chakra Sutra! Oestrus will be healing in Apotheosis in Cataclysm, on her little d0rf priest. :)

Finally, Apotheosis is recruiting for Cataclysm! Sadly, we are not in need of any holy paladins at this time. However, if you want a great raid group who DOES need a holy paladin, definitely check out Choice of Skywall, the guild I spent the last four months in. I can’t say enough good stuff about these people!

Cataclysm Beta Build 13202 & Live Hotfix

Let’s chat a bit about the reported changes affecting holy paladins from Cataclysm Beta Build 13202. Thanks to MMO-Champion, as always, for detailing the changes so quickly.

Holy

* Seal of Insight – Unleashing this Seal’s energy now also restores 15% of the Paladin’s base mana.
* Mastery: Illuminated Healing now only affects your direct healing spells, instead of all healing spells.

Both a buff and a nerf, really.

The Seal of Insight buff is pretty huge. Every time we judge, we will regain 15% of base mana which, at 85, is in the realm of 3500 mana back. That’s instead of a CHANCE of 4% base mana (936ish mana) back when we judge. However, I believe we still maintain the chance to regain 4% of base mana back with this active, but we are guaranteed to get 15% of base mana back when we judge.

This means judgements — and not missing them — just became way more important. Judgement is an 8-second cooldown. Ideally, we are busy doing other things and are busy enough (though not overwhelmed) to not cast this on cooldown, but rather 2-3 times a minute, the way we did in most of Wrath. Remember that this seems like a lot of mana back right now, but with something like Flash of Light costing over 6000 mana at 85, this isn’t a ton of mana. It has the potential to be a lot of mana regen, however, when used wisely.

As to the mastery nerf, this is likely a direct result of the beta-realm raids where holy paladins apparently were using the hell out of Holy Radiance. It only makes sense. We’re not “the shielding spec”. We’re direct healers, primarily. There’s no way they want us to put tiny shields on 25 people with one GCD from Holy Radiance or Light of Dawn when it would take a disc priest a lot more time to do similar absorption (barring Power Word: Barrier).

I’m okay with these changes.

Let’s talk about the live server hotfix for paladins.

Source, Ghostcrawler, via MMO-Champion’s Blue Tracker:

Holy Paladin Hotfix
Yes, we buffed the 5 paladin direct heals (FoL, HL, DL, HS, WoG). This is a change for both level 80 and 85. We are going to tone down Holy Radiance as I described in the other thread. It can be powerful without being 75% of paladin healing.

I know it’s customary for players to classify everything as either overpowered or garbage, but we believe there are actual numbers in between say 1 and 100, so give the changes a chance before you dismiss them.

It is possible we will nerf Word of Glory for Prot and Ret at 85 to compensate for this buff since they probably don’t need stronger Words.

This went live late on Monday/early on Tuesday and pre-empted my rant about what a horrible time I had on Monday’s unofficial ICC 25 raid.

Just as an example, we had a resto druid, a resto shammy and Walks and myself go into portals on regular Dreamwalker, collecting orbs. We were also doing portal jockey. We wiped a few times. Obviously, the holy paladin method has changed here — Glyph of Holy Light is dead, so there’s no reason to beacon the dragon and heal a target near the dragon (be it yourself, a Tenacity pet for bigger splashes, etc). You just heal the dragon directly. (Oddly, Flash of Light worked better than Divine Light spam here, but that was pre-hotfix.)

I had 34 stacks of Emerald Vigor, more than anyone else. I came in fourth out of the four of us in the portals. And that includes a 600k+ crit Lay on Hands. Pathetic. Walks was just above me and then MILES ahead of us was the resto shammy and the resto druid at the top. Now I know that we’ve been supremely overpowered on this fight, but good Lord, that was embarassing. The entire night was an exercise in frustration. I couldn’t do what I was previously able to do, but not only the whole “handling two tanks alone” thing. I mean that I was unable to do my job with even half the effectiveness as before.

However, after the hotfix, I now feel better. NOW I feel as though I’m adjusting to the class changes. NOW I feel as though I’m fighting myself and my old habits to learn new tricks and tips, like #1 over at this bubblespec post, instead of fighting the new mechanics.

Is it a buff? Yes. Is it too much of a buff? Maybe. But it allows me to worry less about whether or not I CAN keep a target up, which lets me acclimate to the new ways of keeping my target up. Right now, that’s the priority for us — learn how to heal with expensive short heals and long heals, but a mana free heal and oh wow, need to generate holy power and all that jazz, too!

I feel that, since the hotfix, I’m playing smarter on the paladin. True, I haven’t raided on her, but I have recovered confidence in my spells and abilities just by virtue of playing with the heals alone and in heroic dungeons.

Is this the answer for all that ails holy paladins? No. But it’s about as good as it’s going to get at 80 before Cataclysm, probably. They’ve fixed us so that we can continue in our niche for the rest of 4.0.1 and still acclimate to working outside our niche with new mechanics.

Does this still terrify me for 85? Yes. But I do feel more hopeful and I think that while we’ll have to share single-target healing with others (and others will have to share some of the raid healing responsibilities with us!) it no longer feels as though an extra shadow priest can make up for our healing.

I do not think that paladins have gotten even remotely enough cool stuff. Still no Evangelism, Archangel, Atonement, Chakra, Holy Word: Chastise. We get Holy Radiance (at 83) and Light of Dawn and Word of Glory and then they screwed with each of our pre-patch heals, but nothing full of synergy, nothing really cool, although I definitely do like Holy Radiance. It has an unfortunately huge mana cost and 30 second cooldown, if you’re specced “properly”, so we can’t just slam on that button every time it’s up. I imagine it’s for those moments in Cataclysm that can be best related to XT-002. Quake? Holy Radiance. In other words, occasional heavy raid damage, but not an “on cooldown” ability, due to the prohibitive mana cost.

Still, there’s time yet and there will be patches in the future that will change talents and abilities. I hope to see more from Blizzard in terms of holy paladin attention, at least, if not new and exciting spells. This hotfix is a great step for us maintaining our raid spots and not screwing our raids over, at least until Cataclysm’s launch.

Busy, busy!

What with all this patch nonsense and various RL issues, which include me staying at my parents’ house to dogsit and such, I have had remarkably little time to play or respond to comments or anything like that. By “remarkably little time to play”, I mean that I’ve run three heroics on the hunter and one on the paladin.

However, I’d like to ask you all, those of you who have raided since the patch:

How is raiding? Many of the blogs I’ve read indicated that people wiped repeatedly to heroic Lord Marrowgar. I’m curious to know how people feel, how strategies have or haven’t changed. How’s raid healing on heroic BQL or Sindragosa? How’s tank healing on Blood Prince Council or Festergut?

Initial 4.0.1 Thoughts

I followed my own advice from my 4.0.1 post. Specced for 3/3 Divinity and 2/3 Crusade after 31 into Holy. Glyphs of Word of Glory, Seal of Insight and Holy Shock for primes, with Divinity, Beacon and Divine Plea for majors and Seal of Insight, Kings and Lay on Hands for minors.

I healed a heroic Nexus without Grid and without getting Clique configured right and felt fine. No mana issues at all.

The major issue was that the tank couldn’t hold aggro from the ret pally, from a DK or even from me, on occasion.

I also had zero confidence in my ability to heal someone quickly from low health. Cases in point, the ret pally and the DK and myself. :P

The 20yd range on judgements really wasn’t too bad, although I did have to shuffle forward here and there.

Overall, it was quick and relatively painless. No mana issues whatsoever. I did keep half-expecting Eternal Glory to proc and kept wanting to hit Holy Radiance, but apart from that, it was okay.

And yet, I’m thoroughly depressed about it. I just don’t feel like “myself”. Blah.

New beta build thoughts sometime tomorrow. I like what they’re doing with Holy Radiance.

How was your first day with 4.0.1?

The End of the World as We Know It

Extended maintenance is well underway on US servers and patch 4.0.1 will be implemented on live servers by the time they come back up.

While alternately exciting and depressing, depending on with whom you’re speaking, the one thing the everyone can agree on is that the pre-Cataclysm patch can be described as game-changing.

I both love and hate expansions. I love them because of the new challenges to face and I hate them because I go from knowing basically everything pertinent about my classes to knowing zip. Nada. Zilch. Niente. Rien. Nothin’.

Or, at least, very little. I feel fairly prepared with regards to my paladin, although I’m still feeling “not ready” to let go of my big Holy Lights or my 100% beacons or my 25% mana/1m Divine Plea… But I’m unprepared for all my other classes.

That, however, is a whole other post.

Expansions also mean changes in terms of guilds. Changing toons, specs, even changing guilds. Rosters go through insane amounts of changes between expansions.

Last night, I may have had my last raid with the guild I’ve been in since June. We’ve had a hell of a few months, let me tell you. I joined when they were 7/12 HM in ICC25 and now we’re 11/12 ICC25 HM.

This last reset, Thursday, we finally got heroic Sindragosa. It was the messiest kill ever that involved a bubble taunt by the sole remaining tank and only four people were alive at the end. She had enraged. And yet, she died. Finally. That got most of the raiders their heroic Frostwing Halls achievement, towards their Glory of the Icecrown Raider (25) achievement, which is excellent. That’s been their goal for several months and so most of them are one step closer to that drake. Most were just missing Been Waiting a Long Time for This, All You Can Eat and Neck Deep in Vile.

The guild may or may not continue raiding into 4.0.1. I’m personally of the mind that we will not be able to do half the stuff we do now if all healers are as screwed changed as I think we are. Combine that with parry’s nerf (50% mitigation instead of 100% avoidance), (apparently, I still don’t know how to keep up to date on that “tanking thing”…) changes to block (30% mitigation)… I don’t think that getting rid of Chill of the Throne is really going to do enough to compensate. Anyways, it’s possible that I’m wrong and things are not completely borked and we’ll be able to continue raiding. So things are kind of uncertain.

Man, I hate uncertainty…

Anyways, I walked in to the raid last night knowing we had Putricide, LK and Halion up. I walked in there knowing that this could be my last raid with this guild. I have had a LOT of fun with these people. And before 4.0.1 hits, we got to 11/12 ICC 25 HM. It’s not my first time doing these things, but let me tell you something — when we killed Putricide on heroic 25-man for the second time for this guild, it felt fantastic. It was a beautiful kill. 24 people alive (the 25th had the plague and sacrificed himself for us) and some flawless transitions.

It also ensured five more people in the raid got their heroic Plagueworks achievement, including our primary raid leader, who has always been kind and has always listened to my suggestions, even if my suggestions weren’t always implemented. I was so psyched to get this for her that I even did a silly little fist pump when Putricide died tonight and those five people spammed us with their achievements. Even though that was… probably my 7th heroic Putricide kill, it was definitely in my personal top 3 kills. The top was my own first kill, the second was this guild’s first kill and tonight’s kill is just behind those two.

So faced with an ICC instance where we had killed Saurfang, BQL, Putricide and Sindragosa, all on heroic… we had to look at heroic Lich King.

When one of the officers started detailing the strat for P1 and dealing with Shadow Traps, I paused for a moment.

“The person marked will run out and drop it outside of the raid.”

I blinked.

I have spent, oh, about 30ish attempts on heroic Lich King. That’s not a lot of time or energy. It also happened back in May.

But that still didn’t sound right to me. And then I remembered how my last guild did it, how we split up into one melee group and two ranged. Like this (click for a larger version):

So I let the RL and the GM know that I was pretty sure the strat we were about to try wasn’t going to work and why, but told them I wasn’t 100% sure.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, Shadow Trap gets cast and most of the raid goes flying. Hilarious! I wish I’d frapsed it! We lasted 43 seconds. That is less time than the opening speech portion takes. I laughed.

We tried one more attempt on heroic, just for fun, which went a little bit better, before switching it to regular and trying Been Waiting a Long Time For This.

I warned the healers that it was mana-intensive. I even called for an Innervate, which I nearly didn’t get because our bear druid was busy tea-bagging someone who had died. :P (The same thing actually happened to me in my last guild.)

Also a messy kill, but a kill and achievement nonetheless.

On to Ruby Sanctum!

We cleared through fairly easily. And no. The boots did not drop. Which means that Walks and I are stuck with our 245 or 258 Boots of the Courageous or stuck crafting the plate 264 healing boots. Ah, well. Would have been nice to have an upgrade instead of downgrading or staying at the same item level. Killed that dragon 11ish times and still, no 271 plate boots.

Overall, though, a productive night. Got lots of people at least one achievement, got a few people two. Played with heroic Lich King. Cleared Ruby Sanctum.

And through it all, I knew it was a good chance this was the last time I’d ever raid with these people. I knew that soon, it’ll be time for me to lead, to raid with the newly-reformed Apotheosis of Eldre’Thalas.

I’m not going to lie — I’ve enjoyed being a member. No leadership responsibilities, no healing assignments. (Okay, so I took over organizing judgements, but when no one’s judging light and you have five pallies in the raid, someone has to!) (Okay, I also organize who beacons who and who shields who with Walks, but that’s just common courtesy so we don’t always overwrite each other, although Walks consistently does overwrite my damn shield on Sindragosa. ;D)

But I’ve also had to rein in my leadership skills a few times and my poor raid leaders and GM have probably heard enough from me to last them forever! ;) It’s a difficult thing to do, keeping your mouth shut and giving another strategy a chance when you’ve seen another one work flawlessly.

Like I said, though, I’m awfully glad that I got to finish out Wrath with such a great group of people. I’m moving my paladin back to Eldre’Thalas as soon as the guild’s leadership calls it an expansion, basically. That could be as soon as this week or next week or the week before Cataclysm launches.

I may have raided for the last time with these people and honestly, while I won’t miss a couple of them, I’ve had a great time. I feel like I accomplished something by helping them get to 11/12 and a stone’s throw from their drakes. So if this is where we part ways and this is where Madrana goes home… I’m satisfied. Last night was a great way to end raiding, if that is, indeed, the end. Some hilarity on LK, some success with HPP and Been Waiting and a Halion one-shot.

And now, it’s the end of the world as we know it and, though I’ll roll with the punches, I don’t quite feel altogether fine.

PTR Build 13156 – Quick thoughts.

According to MMO-Champion, holy paladins are getting buffed.

  • Divine Light base healing increased by 10%
  • Flash of Light base healing increased by 10%
  • Holy Light base healing increased by 10%
  • Holy Shock base healing increased by 10%
  • Walk in the Light (Passive) now increases healing by 15%, up from 10%.

So, 10% more base healing to all three of our casted spells, plus Holy Shock (our most-used spell) AND 5% more healing to everything we cast.

There’s nothing wrong with any of this. In fact, for months, I’ve been saying that the Walk in the Light passive we get that increases our healing vs. a prot or ret in healing gear, has been pretty lame at 10%. 15%… well, it’s an improvement, to be sure, and when added to the extra healing we’re now getting on FoL, HL, DL and HS, it’s going to feel like a bit more.

I’m definitely happy about these changes, although since they’re happening on the PTR, I won’t be able to play with them until they make it over to beta. (The beta client is supposedly acting as a PTR client, but mine isn’t working and I’m not installing 13+ more gigs of WoW on my computer.) I imagine this will make us more willing to use some of these casted spells instead of relying on Holy Shock and Word of Glory so very much.

I still think there’s something just very wrong with holy paladin healing right now in the beta. Is it just the change to a three-heal system? I don’t think so. Is it just the overall weakness of our healing, which these changes are trying to alleviate? I don’t think so.

I think there’s something very “wrong” with relying so extensively on Holy Shock and its clone, Word of Glory.

I feel like they’ve taken the paladin and not only turned it upside down, like all other healers (poor freaking druids) but also inside out. FoL is expensive, contrary to what it’s always been. HL is cheap, contrary to what it’s always been. Paladins are suddenly going to be a very mobile healer, contrary to what we’ve always been. We’ve lost some raid utility (JoL, JoW) and we’ve always BEEN the “utility” class for the Alliance.

I’m almost certainly going to play a holy paladin in Cataclysm. Apart from anything else, I KNOW the class and I KNOW the changes.

But it feels to me like we’ve been changed beyond recognition. Paladins in Cataclysm barely resemble paladins when I first started playing, and even those paladins are somewhat removed from how they were at launch.

Anyways. I’m rambling and I should get to sleep. It’s been a long day and tomorrow promises to be even longer.