Raiding on Live, Updates

I’ve been in my current guild now for seven weeks. Throughout that entire time, I have basically been the only holy paladin. More to the point, all the holy paladin apps have pretty much made me want to cry.

We’re talking people specced into Retribution for support even though they clearly have all intellect gems, we’re talking people with under 500 haste, we’re talking the Drape of the Violet Tower… There has been all KINDS of failure. It’s so varied, but the end result is the same — sucktastic is a generous word for most of the pally apps.

Coming from a more progressed guild with what is more or less a set roster (you are expected to make every single raid for its full duration unless you give notice and even then, it’s frowned upon to take too many nights off) to a guild who hadn’t gotten Dreamwalker healed on heroic yet, with a very large roster, in comparison, has been an interesting experience.

I knew that I could help them with Dreamwalker. I knew that I could help them repeat heroic Saurfang. I knew that I could help them with Lady Deathwhisper. God knows I’ve wiped enough to Putricide and Sindragosa that I can certainly offer my experience and brain to the raid leaders.

On the first reset, bam, Dreamwalker healed to full. We’ve done her on heroic every week since except for when we got them Portal Jockey, I think. (I say “them” not to set myself apart from the rest of my raid group but rather because I already had it, as well as all the other required achievements for my 25-man drake.) That’s satisfying.

I’ve also been a key part for heroic Saurfang kills, taking on the first two ranged marks, for the most part.

I helped them to retool the Deathwhisper strat to one that worked twice before people seemed to stop caring about adds and Vengeful Shades. (Which is roundabout the time we lost the one decent healing priest we had, who wasn’t all that decent, but hey, Renewed Hope and Mass Dispel are nothing to sneeze at.)

It’s been a really good experience for me, learning how to integrate myself into this team that hasn’t had a single decent holy paladin for months. I cannot imagine how they did half of what they did without a holy paladin, much less two.

It’s been pretty clear to the leadership, I think, that we need a second holy paladin. Certainly my GM has been recruiting like crazy and levelling her pally alt with the intention to switch over if we can’t find someone. I mean hell, I’m good, but I’m not a miracle worker. I can’t imagine really working well on heroic Sindragosa without a second holy paladin.

We’ve done a LOT of heroic Sindragosa attempts to try to get us used to the mechanics, if nothing else. We’ve had a lot of practice on things like Frost Bombs and Ice Tombs and Unchained Magic (I think I may be the person currently in the guild who has spent the most amount of time in her life with her pathetic magic betraying her.). This is good stuff, I’m GLAD we usually take a few whacks at her on heroic to make sure people understand the mechanics. You never know when you’ll get lucky on an attempt, either.

Still, we were definitely lacking a holy paladin and really, a decent discipline priest. We don’t even have a holy priest right now and just pulled a disc priest app in this week (who is doing AWESOMELY and we’ve only raided with him once!).

Last week, we brought in a holy paladin app, who learned of my guild’s need for a holy paladin through this very blog.

I was totally excited… until I realized his internet was lame, meaning that he couldn’t stay connected through Marrowgar. He got disconnected and couldn’t return and we didn’t see him again until the weekend and he explained his internet issues. Thankfully, the internet issues turned out to be something that was more or less temporary and not even his fault. We raided together on Monday for a little bit on heroic Putricide until the battlegroup died on us and it wasn’t enough for me to really make any kind of judgement on how this guy was doing.

I have to say now, after raiding with him for just over three hours on Wednesday night (we called it early after getting Halion down), this guy is the real deal.

We got heroic Lady Deathwhisper down for the first time in a month. The pally app ate one Vengeful Shade at the end of our first (of two) attempts and that’s it. He cleansed at least adequately, used cooldowns appropriately and healed like mad, which is what you need to do on LDW.

And then, after way too long, I got to heal Saurfang with another holy paladin. I asked the healing lead if he would mind if the two pallies took care of the first four marks and so when he gave out assignments, he told the other pally that I’d explain to him what it was we would do. It was spectacular. The first attempt was hilarious, actually. The first mark got killed by a blood beast and then our healing lead rezzed him. Whoops.

Our mulligan out of the way, we got ourselves organized and blasted through Saurfang in just over four minutes, with only five marks, which is a first for us, I believe. I think we usually get six.

It was awesome; the pallies took care of the marks, there was great uptime on beacon and judgements of the pure… We both used BOP on casters pre-first mark, he even found time to hit DS/DS at the Frenzy and also bopped one of his marks again. Win all around.

To Blood Wing, where I may throttle most of my fellow raiders if I get thrown across the room on Council again. Seriously. The guild’s major flaw (every guild has one, IMHO) is that they are very bad at range issues. That means that we get people hurled across the room due to Empowered Shock Vortex, we occasionally get people chaining Ice Tombs on Sindragosa, people dying to Bloodbolt Splash on BQL. You know. That kind of stuff.

Still, craziness ensued and we WON. What happened?

The Keleseth tank died. He didn’t have enough shadow orbs on him and had literally 98 stacks of Shadow Prison on him, plus Keleseth was basically wailing on him… so the Valanar tank picked him up — and was one-shotted by an empowered shadow lance or something. This is bad. That was my tank who picked him up and then died. I hate losing my tanks. So I did what any good paladin did, I swapped to the last tank and healed as best I could. I was low on mana, Divine Plea was always on cooldown… But the pally app, whose tank it was, had no issues and basically was the person responsible (well, along with the tank) for bringing the Council down.

Way impressive.

Off to BQL where the app unfortunately got penned in by some DPS and died to a Bloodbolt Splash (see? That was totally foreshadowing up there!) but got a battle rez and still managed to get his DS/DS and Aura Mastery off for the second fear.

Add to that the fact that he LISTENS with regards to beacon/shield/judgement/aura/blessing assignments… Uses his cooldowns…

<3

As if I didn’t love raiding with this group before, I now get to raid with them plus someone who obviously has a similar mindset to me when it comes to holy paladin healing. It’s pretty glorious and, assuming his internet issues are more or less resolved, it’s going to be a huge benefit to the guild to have him available.

Also, I didn’t mention this last week, but I FINALLY picked up Heroic Marrowgar’s Frigid Eye. Here’s my chardev link which is also linked in the top-right box here on my website and that’s updated as soon as I get a new piece of gear. Check the updated date to see if I’ve gotten any new loot lately. :)

I should get back to beta and try to get through to level 83. Talents are seriously busted this build, though. I can’t learn Art of War in my ret spec no matter what I try. I mean, if I have the talent preview on, I can click three times on it and pick up my other spells, but because it won’t learn Art of War, I cannot get more than 19 talent points in ret that way. I had to go learn Pursuit of Justice and 1/2 Eye for an Eye or something in order for my talents to “stick”. If I had to guess, I’d say things are more broken today than they were yesterday. Alas, such are the highs and the lows of beta. :)

Beta Build 12694, Quick Notes

I was excited to log in to WoW after patching (I didn’t like the streaming patch) to see if anything changed for holy paladins.

Near as I can tell, two things have changed. And also, I don’t know if something is intended or not, but good gravy, there’s an interesting mechanic to talk about.

1) Infusion of Light still reduces the cast time of Flash of Light by 1.5 seconds. But now it ALSO, as advertised, reduces the cast time on Holy Light by 1.5 seconds. So your FoL is instant, which isn’t in the tooltip (we are told the tooltips are borked), but Holy Light’s cast time reduction works, where it did not previously.

Edit: Wow, I need to play less beta and get more sleep. I was wrong. I read that I was going from a 2.3 second cast to a 1.8 second cast as a 1.5s cast time reduction. What I am actually seeing, however, is the Speed of Light haste bringing it down that 0.5s.

Sleep deprivation is bad, mkay?

2) Rule of Law in the first tier of the ret tree has been changed from a 3-point talent to a 2-point talent. The tooltip now reads:

Increases the critical chance of your Crusader Strike, Holy Shock and Word of Glory by 5/10%.

That’s 5% crit gone from Holy Shock and Word of Glory, unless they’ve changed the talent to be 7%/15%. I can’t tell; my crit rating is terribly low at 82.

And the interesting mechanic is this…

As long as you have a beacon on someone and even one charge of Holy Power, you can heal that person for free indefinitely.

Check it out.

Edit: I’m totally late to the party on this, btw. ElitistJerks was talking about this the other day.

Edit: Also, guild ranks are saving! I don’t know if all the associated rank stuff is being saved, but I was able to promote people in my guild to officer without, you know, promoting them to GM first!

Beta Screenshots

Okay folks, I have almost 700 screenshots from beta up at my gallery:

http://kurn.apotheosis-now.com/cataclysm/

They’ve been reorganized:

Madrana – This gallery is my paladin questing or being in instances or screenshotting cast times/mana costs/talent trees and the like.

Kurnmogh – same as for Madrana, just on my hunter.

The other stuff is mostly random and is very little actual content, just a few profession things, a couple random screenshots taken on my shaman.

Planned for today (Wednesday, August 4th):

A look at instances, specifically those “OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL” moments that you will doubtlessly encounter in your journeys through Throne of the Tides, Blackrock Caverns and The Stonecore.

Obviously, this look at the first three dungeons available to us will be from my perspective of a holy paladin, but I hope for the post to be useful to all players. Understanding various mechanics is pretty key.

The one thing everything shares in common is what I consider to be the basic rule of World of Warcraft:

IF THE FLOOR CHANGES COLOUR, GTFO.

Just as a brief example, I was in The Stonecore on Tuesday and noticed something swirling at my feet. I stopped casting and strafed the hell out of there before a puddle of lava appeared.

You can see the gallery shot of that here.

Anyways, that’s what’s coming up.

Also, I know, I know, I’ve been lax at talking about “current content”. I will definitely get a new Holy How-To up in the next week or so, once the beta-mania has calmed down. My goal is to get Madrana to 83 ASAP (I’m already a quarter of the way through 82) so I can play with Healing Hands and report back on that.  Then I’ll feel more able to talk about Wrath content and such.

In the meantime, if you have questions concerning holy paladins or perhaps instance questions, drop a comment and I’ll try to respond to them either in the comment or in my upcoming post. :)

Welcome to everyone from World of Raids, by the way! Hope you’ll stick around. :)

Pally Healing in Cataclysm, Firsthand

Okay, time for a post that talks not only about stuff I’ve done, but allows me to explain a few things about Cataclysm holy paladin healing in a way that might actually be useful to others entering beta and perhaps even useful in 4.0 itself.

I’ve made reference in a lot of past Holy How-To Guides about “paladin instincts”.

While they are very important to hone and to make use of in Wrath content, you can basically throw the book out the window when it comes to Cataclysm dungeons. Seriously, get used to the idea that we will, in all likelihood, completely change how we heal. Entirely.

I made a huge mistake Friday night/Saturday when I first got into beta. I remembered what Blizzard said about Holy Light being our go-to spell. Combined with the low cost at level 80 (263 mana without the Libram of Renewal, 150 mana with), despite its 3s cast time, I was making use of it often, not even paying attention to various numbers floating over people’s heads.

In my defense, I don’t usually play with scrolling combat text (Blizzard’s or anyone else’s, really) on my paladin. I’ve got Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text that’ll show me mana returns and damage I’ve done (judgement hits/misses, the occasional Holy Wrath or Hammer of Wrath) but that’s it. So I have to chalk it up to sleep deprivation and relying on old paladin habits when I tell you that I was very wrong to continue using Holy Light.

Without Speed of Light active and Judgements of the Pure, it’s foolish to cast Holy Light when you need to heal someone. The heal just isn’t going to land in time and, even if it does, it’s not going to heal for very much. Thus, it requires multiple casts. I have 1026 haste and, especially once you ding (so the haste needed per percent changes drastically), that’s STILL not enough for Holy Light to be a heal you want to use all that regularly, because you just plain do not have the throughput needed.

Of course, it’s exceptionally cheap. Even after swapping the Libram of Renewal out for the Libram of Veracity and now, the Libram of Blinding Light (yes, I really AM using Holy Shock enough that this makes sense! I still do not recommend you pick it up unless you have Emblems of Frost to waste, because who knows what Cataclysm librams will be like?) and gaining a level (which seems to have upgraded my spells in cost and potency?), it’s still cheap. And yet, there is an undeniable truth here:

Using Holy Light is bad.

What’s more, using Flash of Light is bad, since it’s terribly expensive. And so’s using Divine Light. Geez, what are we supposed to USE? If Holy Light is too long a cast and not powerful enough to even rival something like Holy Shock or Flash of Light, but HS has a cooldown and FoL is stupidly expensive, what do we do?

I’ve been using a lot of Divine Light. It’s the one that feels most like current Holy Light does — about the same output, about the same cast time, even about the same mana cost. It’s expensive, so I’m using Divine Plea more than I indicated I was earlier.

I’m not having a LOT of mana problems, but if the group isn’t using CC much (or at all), someone’s going to die because I just can’t keep up with the incoming damage. Taking 20 stacks of Lacerate from certain naga in Throne of the Tides is almost certainly going to mean a death; either the tank will die or, if I can get a BOP off, followed by a Hand of Freedom (to wipe off the BOP — only one Hand can be active on a target, per paladin), a DPS may die.

There’s a lot of incoming damage and I don’t imagine it’ll be THAT much easier on any healer to keep up. For me, that’s both mana-wise and GCD-wise. I’m really looking forward to Healing Hands, although that’s going to be an expensive spell with a cooldown, too. Hopefully, it’ll heal more than Light of Dawn, though. Don’t get me wrong, Light of Dawn is the coolest new spell we have thus far, but it’s healing people for like, 4k.

I’m sorry, have you SEEN the health pools? The sheer amounts of stamina everywhere? Without buffs, I’m at about 35k health in my holy gear. 4k to a maximum of 4 people (since it doesn’t hit you as well) every 30 seconds is less than a drop in the bucket. It’s sort of like a molecule of water in a small lake. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. Let’s say a large pond.

I also have to admit that without my pretty little clcbpt addon (that shows timers for my Beacon, my Judgement, my Sacred Shield and my Flash of Light hot), I’m sucking at keeping my Judgement up. That means I’m sucking at keeping Judgements of the Pure up. In my defense, though, there’s very rarely TIME when I can go “oh look, I have a free global — judge!”. It’s very much “OH GOD TANK IS GOING TO DIE OH THANK YOU SWEET JESUS OH NO WHAT IS THAT IDIOT DPS—” followed by a lot of muscle-memory healing.

Which is another thing that’s screwing me up. Thumb-clicking on the party frame does nothing — it does not cast Holy Shock on someone. :P Granted, when I raided on live tonight (Monday), I kept hitting my ` key to cast Light of Dawn and kept hitting G for Word of Glory, so maybe just practice makes perfect, eh?

Kurn, you’re rambling. How the hell am I supposed to heal in Cataclysm, or at least the beta?

Right. Sorry.

My advice:

– Use Divine Light. Make use of Holy Shock a LOT. Watch for your stacks of Holy Power, make use of Word of Glory.

– Use your Beacon. I still beacon the tank but this really might not be efficient. Maybe I should be beaconing myself. I still worry about leaving the tank alone for more than one GCD without beacon on them, though.

– When Infusion of Light procs, you currently don’t get a Holy Light haste. It does reduce the cast time of Flash of Light by 1.5 seconds, like it does on live.  And you’re almost always critting on Holy Shock. On this Throne of the Tides run that I actually finished, I had a 76% crit chance on Holy Shock, judging from the parse. Anyways, I was constantly using the instant FoL + 3-stack Holy Power Word of Glory. WoG not as often as I should have, but if I was moving, I was using it, usually on the tank, so that I could get more Holy Power charges.

– Glyph for Holy Shock. No, really.

– Use your cooldowns. Seriously. BOP, Hand of Sacrifice, Hand of Salvation. USE THEM. Use Divine Shield, Divine Sacrifice and Divine Protection. Use every spell at your disposal.

That’s basically the advice I have for you guys and what I plan on doing myself; very little Holy Light casting, lots of Divine Light casting, LOTS of Holy Shocking.

Here’s the parse, such as it is. Remember that some spells aren’t found because they don’t exist on live yet and Seals of Insight has the same spell ID as Seal of Light (so I might try glyphing for it and see if that still works!) and obviously, there’s no boss/trash/etc breakdowns because, well, none of this is live, yet. Most of the spells are available at cata.wowhead.com, though.

Also, Protien only took so much damage because of a debuff from the last boss. At the end, he had something like 132 stacks of this crap on him and was healing himself through it while DPSing the last boss. Hilarious.

Anyways, off to go try to get Madrana to level 82. I want 83 badly so I can test Healing Hands.

I’m questing as ret, by the way. I amuse myself with my own lameness at melee DPS.

Kurn's Cataclysmic Adventures 2

I spent a lot less time in beta today than I did on Friday night into the wee (and then large) hours of Saturday.

After dealing with that pesky “real-life” thing, I came back to beta and decided to try out that whole “guild” thing. ;)

Apotheosis was born on Lost Isles (US/PVE) this afternoon, with much thanks to four (no longer nine) random people who were kind enough to sign my charter.

I’m not actively recruiting random people, but I did tweet about it. Before I knew it, the awesomesauce Kody from WorldOfRaids (aka, the super awesome person from Curse who extended me a beta invite) was whispering me.

Thus, Kody and I embarked upon a journey, the likes of which have probably never quite been seen before and may never be seen again. At least, I kind of hope this journey won’t be seen again.

Guilds are totally broken in beta. Which is okay. It’s beta. It’s supposed to be broken. I get it.

But, among the issues:

– Guild masters have no permissions, thus their ability to do things (officer chat, invite, etc) is severely limited.

– Promotions (and probably demotions) aren’t saved.

– New ranks don’t work properly.

I’ve got a low-level Worgen as GM of Apotheosis at the moment and this is the result of a bug that meant Kurn couldn’t speak or read guild chat.

The only way to promote Kurn and Madrana was to make each of them GM in turn and then hand it back, since this action, by default, places a GM who gives GM to someone else in the spot right below the GM in the guild ranks.

Kody was extremely patient with me as I hopped over around all three toons and gave him GM and asked him to ginvite me and give me GM back and such.

On the plus side, Apotheosis has Fast Track! I’m not randomly inviting the world at large, but if you read this little old blog and have an Alliance toon on Lost Isles, let me know, either in-game at Kurnmogh or Madrana (or Kurnbank) or via twitter, and I’d be happy to extend you an invite.

Okay, so that was the guild excitement. On to instances…

Continue reading “Kurn's Cataclysmic Adventures 2”

Kurn's Cataclysmic Adventures 1

So. Beta.

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

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

http://kurn.apotheosis-now.com/cataclysm/

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

Continue reading “Kurn's Cataclysmic Adventures 1”

Q&A Delayed

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beta Talents, Take 2

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

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

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

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

Holy Tree

Tier 1

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

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

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

Tier 2

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

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

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

Tier 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tier 4

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

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

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

Tier 5

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

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

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

Tier 6

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

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

Tier 7

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

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

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

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

Protection Tree

Tier 1

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

Tier 2

Judgements of the Just, not really for holy.

But wait!

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

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

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

Retribution Tree

Tier 1

Eye for an Eye, not for holy.

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

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

Tier 2

Improved Judgement, probably not for holy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cataclysm Information and More Thinking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In current content, where would you use this?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kurn's Q&A #26

Tuesday! A day off from raiding, a day to center myself and get caught up on a bunch of things, including weekly search terms that seem interesting.

1) what is raidwalled

“Raidwalled” is when a paladin with the talent Divine Sacrifice and Divine Guardian casts Divine Sacrifice, which activates Divine Guardian. This name comes from the warrior cooldown called Shield Wall, although Divine Guardian will not mitigate anywhere near as much damage as Shield Wall. However, it does affect the entire raid, whereas Shield Wall only affects the warrior.

2) bop remove cleave armor debuff ruby sanctum

That’s an awesome question. Next time I do RS, I’ll BOP an inactive tank for a second before freedoming them to see if that works.

3) do elixir mastery proc on potions

It astounds me that, more than three years since alchemy specializations were introduced, people still don’t get it.

No, Elixir Mastery alchemists proc on elixirs and flasks. Potion Mastery alchemists proc on potions. Transmute Mastery alchemists proc on transmutes.

4) drape of the violet tower holy paladin

DON’T DO IT DON’T DO IT DON’T DO IT BY ALL THAT IS HOLY DO NOT DO IT.

Okay, I may have exaggerated. But you have other options.

Fluttering Sapphiron Drape (10m Ony)
Flowing Sapphiron Drape (25m Ony)

And if you got lucky, Ahune dropped Shroud of Winter’s Chill for you and you didn’t get rid of it.

Honestly, I’d rank the cloaks thusly, from best to worst for a holy paladin:

25m Ony then Ahune then 10m Ony then Drape of the Violet Tower.

Seriously.

5) stormbringer gloves

I admit, I had no idea what the hell these were. The 251 Stormbringer Gloves are nice 251-level gloves. I would recommend the badge gloves over them, though, for a holy paladin. The Gauntlets of Overexposure are better — more int, more haste. They’re also available for 60 Emblems of Frost. Ultimately, I like the Unclean Surgical Gloves and the heroic Unclean Surgical Gloves better.

Here’s a comparison.

6) +casting +”beacon of light” +threat

I’m pretty sure that you do get some measure of threat merely by casting Beacon of Light. The Lich King looked at me last night after I cast Beacon of Light on an OT. It’s likely not much, probably the equivalent of a face pull, and would probably need to be done right when the boss becomes active (in the case of the Lich King, for example) in order to cause any significant threat.

Does the mirrored heal from Beacon of Light cause threat? I honestly don’t know. I’ll see if I can figure that one out.

7) any way to parse halion log

I use World of Logs, but the last I saw, it wasn’t able to parse both the shadow realm and the physical realm, since you’re only logging for your active realm.

I love WoL dearly and have no doubt they’re working on this issue.

8) halion beacon of light

What I like to do is beacon the tank here and raid heal, including myself. However, I never, ever hesitate to directly heal the tank, even if beacon is on them. I do this on most single-tank portions of fights. Will the beacon go through the realms? I do not think so.

9) holy paladin multiple beacon

You can have an unlimited number of beacons on a single target. The only limitation is how many holy paladins you have around.

10) is the weekly on the same lockout as the regular raids

Yes. That means if your weekly is Lord Jaraxxus and you go into TOC10 to kill him, you will be saved to TOC10. Same if it’s XT-002 Deconstructor and you go in to Ulduar 25, you are then saved to Ulduar 25.