Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & UBRS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gloves: Not too much in the way of gloves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s it for UBRS!

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

Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & Stratholme (Undead)

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

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

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

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

Classic Loot for a Holy Paladin in Stratholme (Undead)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Off-hand: Nothing.

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

Trinkets: Nothing here.

Next time…

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

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

Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & Stratholme (Live)

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

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

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

Okay, let’s enter the City of Stratholme.

Classic Loot for a Holy Paladin in Stratholme (Live)

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

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

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

Neck: Nothing of note in Strat Live.

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

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

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

Bracers: Nothing of note.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next time…

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

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

Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & LBRS

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

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

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

Into the spire we go, folks!

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

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

Helm: Literally nothing in LBRS.

Neck: Nothing.

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

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

Cloak: Nothing.

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

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

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

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

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

Main Hand: Nothing here.

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

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

Trinkets: Nothing of interest for a holy paladin.

Next time…

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

Next time — Stratholme (Live)!

Classic Countdown – Holy Paladins & BRD

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

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

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

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

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

Classic Loot for a Holy Paladin in Blackrock Depths

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

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

Neck: Absolutely nothing of use for a holy paladin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next time…

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

Next time — Lower Blackrock Spire!

DPSing vs. Healing

I started playing World of Warcraft in October of 2005, as a hunter named Kurnmogh. I primarily raided as a hunter throughout Vanilla, although I was certainly asked to swap to my alt holy paladin, Madrana, for several raids. (I remember healing Sulfuron and Golemagg in MC as Madrana, in particular, not to mention a couple of ZG clears and some AQ20 partial runs.)

When Burning Crusade came out, I dinged 70 on my hunter first. And then I didn’t really have any place to raid. So I dinged Madrana 70 and promptly got snatched up by a guild that was looking for healers. When that situation didn’t work out (8 of the 12 people on the main raid team in that guild got poached by another guild on the server), Majik, myself and a bunch of old Fated Heroes members (our Vanilla guild) formed Apotheosis.

Here’s the thing — I was so well-geared as Madrana, and we had so few healers, that I basically didn’t have a choice but to continue to heal as Madrana in raids.

It was okay. I wasn’t upset. It was very weird to me to progress as a healer, mind, but it wasn’t a problem for me. I just hadn’t really had the ability to choose what I wanted to do during BC. I mean, I wanted my guild to succeed, so I healed because I had the gear and because we needed healers. As time went by, I could have recruited another healer or two in order to replace me, but I didn’t. Over time, I’d made the decision that Kurn would get all the holiday titles and such (primarily for the free epic flying that came with the violet proto-drake) while Madrana would get all the raid titles and mounts and stuff. I’d made my peace with Kurn being my non-raiding character.

When Wrath of the Lich King came out, I was on the fence over what to do. I really enjoyed playing Kurn. I always had. So while I levelled Kurn to 80 first (as always, Kurn is the first to hit level cap), I was debating whether or not I’d raid as Kurn. Almost as soon as I dinged 80 on Kurn, I started levelling Madrana to 80. But I also dipped my toes into casual 10-man Naxxramas runs that my guildies were doing — as Kurn. I figured that it would be a good way to see if I wanted to change how I played the game.

It was the Abomination wing that made up my mind for me. We were trying to down Grobbulus. I’m sure most people in the 10-man raid were undergeared, not hit-capped and such, but we were dying to stupid things. People weren’t dropping things where they were needed to be dropped, adds were running amok and the like.

It was then that I realized that I was just one DPS. No matter what I did, I could not, single-handedly, kill everything. I was doing everything right and still, that was not enough. More to the point, it would never be enough. I, as a single DPS, would never, ever be enough to make up for all the other DPS in a raid situation.

By contrast, a single healer can make a huge difference. A massive difference. Our very first Vashj kill happened because I threw Lay on Hands on our sole remaining tank and it crit, buying us the precious few seconds we needed to get the kill. A well-timed cooldown here, a clutch heal there… Even one healer out of six or seven can make a huge difference, at least compared to one DPS out of 17. And, personally, I like being someone who really makes a difference on a fight.

Why am I talking about this?

I’ve been on a bit of an LFR binge. As of this writing, I have done all the LFRs relating to Tier 14 once. (And gained 5 Sigils of Wisdom and 8 Sigils of Power or something like that.) Of course, I’ve been doing these on my hunter, who has gotten a chunk of gear over the last few days. Madrana, much as I love healing with her, is still sitting pretty at 85, although it’s tempting to start the grind to 90.

We were on Wind Lord Mel’jarak and both tanks were dead by the three-minute mark. The fight continued for another four and a half minutes (total time was 7:22!) and I was literally mashing my buttons and trying to do anything I possibly could to get more damage out. At one point, I realized that was it: I could not put out any more damage. Everything (Rapid Fire, Murder of Crows, Stampede, agi potion, even my cat’s Rabid) was on cooldown and all I could do was wait for something to come back up and try to keep a perfect rotation while I waited.

As we whittled the boss down, I sat there thinking about how I could have made a difference as a healer. Maybe I could have kept at least one of the tanks alive. Maybe a druid would have given me Symbiosis, granting me a battle rez, allowing me to rez one of the tanks. The boss’ health kept dropping, I kept mashing my buttons and watching as OmniCC’s 1m started counting down in seconds on a couple of my abilities, rather than minutes.

Throughout it all, I knew that even that boost granted me by Rapid Fire and Murder of Crows was, ultimately, not the make-it-or-break-it portion of the fight. Even if the fight were extended by another 15 or 20 seconds, we would probably down it. Of course, it was LFR. In a normal or, more likely, heroic version of a fight where there are unforgiving enrage timers, DPS makes more of a difference. They have to put out a lot of damage or the entire raid will die. But even in those cases, I don’t think that I can ever feel as though I, personally, made a difference. Anyone can do damage. The fact that I’ve ranked on World of Logs on the majority of my LFR excursions, after not playing for 13 months, attests to that. ;)

There have always been jokes in my guild, and among my friends, that I’ve always wanted to raid as my hunter. I got teased a lot about it in Cataclysm as new people would join the guild and go “what the fuck, you don’t raid as Kurn but you want us to call you that and you refer to your non-raiding character as your main? What is up with THAT, you freak?!” (Well, perhaps they were a bit more polite than that, at least until they’d been in the guild for a while.) People made the assumption that because I wanted them to call me Kurn and because Kurn was my so-called “main”, that I wanted to raid as Kurn.

Nope. Healing is my preferred raid role. I could easily blame it on being used to healing, but that wouldn’t really be honest. I like being someone who is a difference-maker. That’s not to say DPS can’t make a difference, because they can — we had lots of people in Apotheosis whose presence would be the key to downing a new fight. But individually, I personally feel a lot more useful as a healer than as a DPS.

The fringe benefits (shorter queues for various content) are nice, too, but, for me,  it’s really all about keeping those other people alive so THEY can do crazy amounts of damage, as a solid group of 17ish DPS. As for myself, I’ll take being part of a kick-ass team of healers over disappearing into the huge group of DPS any day of the week.

As for my plans for the last three days of this trial: I have one mob left for the Glorious! achievement and I plan to try to do all of Throne of Thunder and Siege of Orgrimmar’s LFRs over the course of the weekend. (Wish me luck!) And I’d also like to get Gold Proving Grounds, too. :)

What are you doing in WoW this weekend?

5.4 PTR Holy Paladin Changes

Admittedly, I haven’t kept up on all kinds of patch notes in the last several months, but several of the changes noticed in the 5.4 PTR struck me as really interesting.

My instinct is to cringe and brace for impact whenever I see “Paladin” in the patch notes or the noted datamined changes. Rarely when you see a class name are they actually buffing the class. It’s usually some form of nerf.

So what are these changes that I strongly suspected would be nerfs?

1) Eternal Flame initial healing has been reduced by 30%. Boom. Nerf.

2) Sacred Shield stuff that is unlikely to actually be implemented on live. Would have been potentially interesting but probably still would feel like a nerf compared to current Sacred Shield.

3) Sanctified Wrath: Holy: now also increases the critical strike chance of Holy Shock by 20%. Buff!

4) Selfless Healer stacks now also work on Divine Light in addition to Flash of Light. Buff to this talent, no question.

5) Mastery: Illuminated Healing no longer activates from periodic healing effects. HUGE, HUGE NERF. (They’ve mentioned that this really is aimed at Eternal Flame and level 90 talents won’t be punished by this.)

6) Divine Plea no longer reduces the amount of healing done by 50%. A long-overdue change, in my opinion.

After reading the post by Rygarius in the official forums, you can better understand what on earth the devs are thinking here. What you can glean from the post is that too many Holy paladins were taking Eternal Flame, so they nerfed it (directly and then indirectly due to the fact that mastery shields will no longer proc off periodic healing effects) in the hopes of people taking some of the other talents at the level 45 mark in the tree. They admit that they don’t like the new version of Sacred Shield and that they will likely revert it. But they buffed Selfless Healer to give people what they think is a viable choice at that talent level. I’m also certain that they’ll screw more with Sacred Shield to ensure that prot paladins don’t ALL take the shield.

Blizzard has said, time and again, that if a talent is “mandatory”, the choice in the situation has been removed. As such, all three choices should be viable and should be able to be swapped around. That’s likely why Sanctified Wrath got a boost to Holy Shock’s crit, so that it would be better represented next to Holy Avenger and Divine Purpose. It seems as though Holy Avenger is getting a lot of use in fights with high-damage phases. Pop Holy Avenger, throw out a Holy Shock, gaining 3 Holy Power, then Light of Dawn, then Holy Radiance, gaining 3 HP, then Light of Dawn, etc, while Divine Purpose is better for fights without a ton of incoming damage… or for those who aren’t so good at remembering to hit a cooldown but still want a benefit. It seems that Blizzard devs felt that Sanctified Wrath could use a bit more incentive for holy paladins.

So I’m unsure that Sacred Shield will remain the way it is on live realms today. As to Eternal Flame, they said that because they’re nerfing it to no longer work with mastery, they’ll probably bump the initial healing back up, but that there are no plans to revert the change in how it works with the mastery, because it’s just too dominant for the holy population. They said, though, that if it’s needed, they’ll compensate by buffing healing elsewhere, because they think holy healing is at a good level, even with all the healing people were doing through Eternal Flame and the mastery shields it created. They’re not nerfing it because holy paladins are too good — they’re nerfing the talent to make it less attractive because there’s basically not another compelling choice for holy paladins on that tier.

I’m really glad we got a blue post about it, to be honest. It sucks to try to guess why something’s happened, so props to Blizzard for being so open about what they feel is a holy paladin problem. I strongly suspect we’ll see even more information about the level 45 talents in the coming weeks.

Better Late Than Never

Ladies and gentlemen of the holy paladin community… hello.

You are probably all caught up on this stuff, but since it was a lingering issue throughout the Pandaria beta and well into live, I thought I’d actually update here. Thanks to Ophelie’s post that reminded me I hadn’t updated the situation!

Shortly after 5.1 came out, I sent a note to Jacii, a holy paladin in Apotheosis. I was like, “dude, can you please do me a favour and see if they actually fixed Holy Avenger like GC promised they would?”

He happily obliged, for which I thanked him profusely. Then I got caught up in holidays and family and junk.

So here, now, are the results of Jacii’s testing:

Holy Avenger will now grant 30% extra healing to Flash of Light and Divine Light on the Beacon of Light target while active.

Additionally, they will continue to give you three Holy Power when benefiting from Tower of Radiance, when Holy Avenger is active.

Here are the averages of about 10 casts WITHOUT Holy Avenger active:

Holy Shock – 34,755
Holy Radiance – 25,674
Flash of Light – 46,791
Divine Light – 62,204

And here they are WITH Holy Avenger active:

Holy Shock  – 45,147
Holy Radiance – 33,421
Flash of Light – 60,999
Divine Light – 80,516

Jacii kindly also included the percentage differences, which means I don’t have to do math. Yay!

Holy Shock – 29.90%
Holy Radiance – 30.17%
Flash of Light – 30.36%
Divine Light – 29.44%

Obviously, the offsets here and there are due to heals healing for a RANGE of healing and not always, say, 35k, 25k, 47k and 62k. It seems as though Holy Avenger now properly grants 30% extra healing to all heals that grant Holy Power, as the tooltip indicates! Yay!

If you want to see the screenshots from Jacii, they’re all available here: http://imgur.com/a/pD0qr

Anyhow, my apologies to being late on this, but that pesky “real life” thing tends to get in the way an awful lot. :) Thanks again to Jacii from Apotheosis for getting me the info (like, six weeks ago) and thanks again to Ophelie for reminding me, however unintentionally. ;)

Lastly, Majik and I are still plotting planning our grand finale episode of Blessing of Frost. We’re looking for YOUR comments on what you liked best about Episodes 43-74! Recording will likely occur in early February, so get your comments in now! Tweet us @kurnmogh and @majjity or email us at podcast [at] blessingoffrost [dot] com. :)

 

BREAKING NEWS: Holy Avenger and Holy Paladins

Back in preparation for 5.0, I wrote a post where I talked about talents, including Holy Avenger. In it, I said:

You can see that Holy Shock and Holy Radiance both get the appropriate 30% bump. Even though I had Beacon on me and was healing myself with Flash of Light and Divine Light (and getting the extra holy power), neither of those spells were affected by the 30% bump.

[…]

Remember, though — those would only on the beacon target and it may actually be intended that you don’t get a bump to healing with those spells on a beacon.

So let’s look at Holy Avenger’s tooltip:

Abilities that generate Holy Power will deal 30% additional damage and healing, and generate 3 charges of Holy Power for the next 18 sec.

For a holy paladin, we can generate holy power in the following ways:

– Casting Holy Shock on any target
– Casting Holy Radiance on any friendly target
– Using Crusader Strike on an enemy target

… but we can also cast Flash of Light or Divine Light on a target with our Beacon of Light on them to gain holy power, via the Tower of Radiance baseline holy passive ability.

Now, if you were to use Flash of Light or Divine Light on a beacon target, you WOULD get the three holy power. Great. But you would NOT receive the 30% extra healing.

Since late beta testing and early 5.0.4 testing when I noticed this, I’ve been asking (bug report forum, beta forum, tickets, even tweets to Ghostcrawler) which behaviour is intended? The way I saw it, the Tower of Radiance heals were either incorrectly giving the extra holy power (if those kinds of heals are not supposed to benefit from Holy Avenger) or they were incorrectly not benefiting from the extra 30% healing bonus (if those kinds of heals are supposed to benefit). And I could not get an answer about it. Either way, it was buggy. Half of the tooltip worked on those heals, half of the tooltip did not. You see the issue, right?

Finally, today, Ghostcrawler responded to a tweet I included him in with the holy paladin in my guild, Jacii, who had been lamenting that he had accidentally kept Holy Avenger as a talent through last night’s raids after testing to see whether or not the Tower of Radiance heals did or did not benefit from it.

So he said it wasn’t intended to work with Flash of Light and Divine Light on a beacon target. Okay, that’s fine, that makes sense — but why, then, does it grant extra holy power?

I tested it on live servers and screenshotted the combat log and you can clearly see it IS giving me 3 holy power due to Tower of Radiance and Holy Avenger.

So there you have it, holy paladins. Holy Avenger WILL work with Tower of Radiance heals in 5.1. As to right now? Nope, still not working.

The first two heals are without Holy Avenger. Flash of Light hits for about 31k, Divine Light (non-crit) for about 40k. (Bear in mind this is on my pally at level 85 in heroic Dragon Soul gear.) The next three are with Holy Avenger and you can see that there isn’t a substantial difference between the first two heals and the last three heals (barring the crit, but if a crit is an increase of 100% from a non-crit heal, you can do math and see that the crit Divine Light wasn’t empowered either, since half of 82k is 41k).

You can see that though I’m gaining the extra holy power through Holy Avenger and Tower of Radiance, Flash of Light is still hitting for about 31k and Divine Light is still hitting for 40-41k, all before Holy Avenger fades.

CONCLUSION

Holy Avenger is still broken in terms of the healing bonus on live right now, but Ghostcrawler says it DOES work in 5.1.

So there you have it, holy pallies — don’t completely discount Holy Avenger once 5.1 goes live. I’m glad I was able to get in one last piece of important holy paladin information for you guys before my subscription ran out. :)

UPDATE: This has been fixed in 5.1.

5.0 & You: Talents, Glyphs and Playstyle Changes at 85

*** All content copyright © Kurn’s Corner, 2012. Reproduction of this guide in full or in part without express permission from the author (“Kurn”), represents copyright infringement and violation of copyright law. Please, if you like this guide, link to it, do not copy it. ***

Last updated: Monday, January 21st, 2013. (Live release 5.1.)

The release date of Mists of Pandaria has been announced. The new expansion will launch on September 25th, 2012. Blizzard tends to release a “pre-release” patch about a month before an expansion launches, which is where we’ll see all the new changes to the game that aren’t Pandaren (no monks, either) and nothing over level 85, nor anything of Pandaria itself. This patch was recently confirmed as dropping on August 28th, 2012.

However, the time between the patch and the expansion’s launch can be a difficult time as it means it’s probably time for most people to relearn (yet again) how to play their class or spec.

Holy paladins who primarily raid in PVE content, fear not. I shall attempt to help you through these troubling times!

Please note that all data was accurate as of Wednesday, August 29th, live version 5.0.4. For all of my tests, I was in gear with an average equipped item level of 407, with the following stats: 10,845 spellpower, 32.49% spell haste (2618 haste rating), 16.84% spell crit chance, 4013 combat regen, 13.82% mastery. I was unbuffed for all of the testing.

Please note that all data was accurate as of Beta version 5.0.4 build #15983. For all of my tests, I was in gear with an average quipped item level of 407, with the following stats: 11,044 spellpower, 32.49% spell haste (2618 haste rating), 17.13% spell crit chance, 3890 combat regen, 13.82% mastery. I was unbuffed for all of the testing.

THE SPEC

Congratulations. We have all the spells and abilities we really need already. Next section, please!

Okay, not really. While choosing Holy as your class specialization does mean you get all the basic tools you need, now we get to play with some optional talents and spells. We will only have access to five talent points, not six, when the 5.0 patch comes out. They are granted at levels 15, 30, 45, 60 and 75. The final point is awarded at level 90.

So which should you pick? Bearing in mind that this is tailored for the 5.0 patch (and not for when you reach 90), wherever possible, I’ve made efforts to make the talent and glyph choices specific to Heroic Dragon Soul raiding. (Mostly 25-man, mind, but 10-man holy paladins ought to find it useful as well.)

Tier 1: Speed of Light, Long Arm of the Law, Pursuit of Justice

Speed of Light is an instant cast with a 45s cooldown that increases your movement speed by 70% for 8 seconds. The downside is you have to hit the button.

Long Arm of the Law is a 45% movement speed for 3 seconds. It’s less useful because judging will not be something you *need* to do in the new 5.0 patch, although you can still do so if you wish (see below). The benefit is that you will almost always gain this movement speed boost when you cast Judgment (note the new spelling!), as long as it hits, that is, and can time it to avoid mechanics anytime you judge. (6 second base cooldown, 30y range, by the way, and the CD is affected by haste. In my testing gear, I had a 4.98s cooldown on Judgment.)

Pursuit of Justice is a flat 15% movement speed increase, which is tempting. However, the additional 5, 10 and 15% movement speed buffs all depend on if you have Holy Power. We shouldn’t really be hoarding Holy Power as healers, though, should we?

Heroic Dragon Soul Utility: Since all of them serve the same purpose (movement speed), you can use any of them for… running in or out of Black Blood of the Earth on Morchok, spreading out or collapsing on Yor’sahj, getting to your Black Phase spot on Zon’ozz, getting into position (either frost or lightning phases) on Hagara, no use on Ultraxion, really (unless you REALLY need to get your buff that much sooner), dodging fire and Shockwave on Blackhorn, no real use on Spine, no real use on Madness unless you have the Corrupted Parasite or you’re right NEXT to someone who’s about to drop their Corrupted Parasite.

Kurn’s Comments: I really like Speed of Light. On-demand with a short enough CD, with a really long duration and a whopping 70% speed increase. For those of you who enjoyed Divine Protection’s speed boost and damage reduction at the same time, you can macro these two together, as neither one is on the global cooldown.

Tier 2: Fist of Justice, Repentance, Burden of Guilt

Fist of Justice: This is exactly the same as our current Hammer of Justice, only it’s a 30s cooldown instead of a 1m cooldown. It replaces Hammer of Justice.

Repentance: At long last, any paladin can snag this talent and have the ability to crowd control things! Demons, Dragonkin, Giants, Humanoids and Undead are all susceptible to this. The major exception here would be Beasts. Best part of this? 15 second cooldown, but 1 minute duration. While I do not expect us to be able to Repentance something every 15 seconds and expect others not to break, it’s nice to know that if it breaks early, we are not necessarily screwed. (By which I mean, it’s not an interminably long CD the way Hex is.)

Burden of Guilt: Judgments will basically reduce your target’s movement speed by 50% for 12 seconds. This is what is called a “gap-closer”, allowing a paladin (or their PVP partners, etc) to catch a target.

Heroic Dragon Soul Utility: There is no need for either Fist of Justice, nor Burden of Guilt in Heroic Dragon Soul. To be honest, there’s no need for Repentance, either, unless you feel like CCing some trash for fun.

Kurn’s Comments: Since this is a PVE guide, Repentance is really the best choice for us. We still have Rebuke for interrupts (albeit now on a 15s cooldown, it looks like, and despite there is not a lot of interrupting to do in Dragon Soul), so Fist of Justice isn’t really needed and neither is Burden of Guilt for a PVE setting, probably. But if you’re running dungeons, you may as well snag Repentance. And if the raids have anywhere near the amount of trash that Bastion of Twilight did, this may be useful in a raid setting, as well.

Tier 3: Selfless Healer, Eternal Flame, Sacred Shield

Up until now, the choices you had available to you were not altogether compelling. As of this tier, your talent choices become much more interesting.

Selfless Healer: Every time you successfully judge when you have this talent, you’ll stack a buff on yourself that lasts for 14 seconds. This buff stacks to 3 (and refreshes to 14s every time you add a stack) and will, for each stack, reduce the mana cost and cast time of Flash of Light by 35%, as well as increase its effectiveness by 35% per stack — but only when you heal OTHERS. If you heal yourself, its effectiveness is unchanged, which basically is why it’s named Selfless Healer. (Yes, Kurn, it’s called reading comprehension.)

Here are some sample numbers from beta build #15983, at level 85 with an average equipped ilvl of 407 and 11,044 spellpower.

Flash of Light costs 7560 mana and, with no buffs and 32.49% spell haste (2618 haste rating), takes 1.13 seconds to cast. It healed me for 31,486.

1 stack of Selfless Healer: 4,914 mana, 0.736s cast time, 42,297 (non-crit)
2 stacks of Selfless Healer: 2,268 mana, 0.34s cast time, 52,683 (non-crit)
3 stacks of Selfless Healer: 0 mana, instant cast, 64,318 (non-crit)

Eternal Flame: This basically replaces Word of Glory. Using 1, 2 or 3 Holy Power charges, just like Word of Glory, you can heal a target; but there will be a residual HoT on the individual. At base haste levels, the HoT ticks every 3 seconds for 30 seconds. At my level of haste, 32.49% spell haste (2618 haste rating), it will heal people every 2.26 seconds for 29.43 seconds.

In testing with a 3 HP Eternal Flame, I healed myself initially for 39,212 and then had 13 ticks of it. The ticks were 4098 (5) or 4099 (8). Note that these ticks can crit!

That is 49,183 healing from the HoT and 39,212 from the initial heal, for a total of 88,395 healing.

Untalented, my Word of Glory healed me for 41,255.

What this means is that there is no downside to your upfront heal if you take Eternal Flame, unlike the old Flash of Light Glyph or the Glyph of the Long Word.

Bonuses: The Eternal Flame ticks can crit and each tick adds to your mastery shield on your target, also refreshing it to its 14s duration. Further, the ticks seem to be based on the amount of spellpower you had when you cast Eternal Flame, so if you have your wings up and cast an Eternal Flame with 4s left on your wings, the ticks will continue healing at the same rate as they did while your wings were up.

Eternal Flame does not stack with itself, though, at least not from the same paladin. As such, it’s well-worth putting on your raid frames to make sure you don’t waste the HoT portion. You don’t want to drop a 3-point Holy Power Eternal Flame on your tank while you have your wings up and then, 15 seconds later, do the same without wings. The lesser HoT will overwrite the stronger one. No rolling Eternal Flames like you’re a druid! ;)

Also, currently, the ticks can proc various things like Power Torrent, Seals of the Seven Signs, but will not add stacks to your Heart of Unliving spirit buff, for example.

Sacred Shield: Ah, the old Wrath of the Lich King spell is back, essentially, and is my personal favourite, sentimentally speaking, of course. It’s a buff you can cast on a single person that will absorb damage taken every 6 seconds and lasts 30 seconds. This is affected by haste. Again, with my haste level and spellpower, it will protect my target for 31.70 seconds, absorbing up to 12,729 damage every 4.53 seconds.

Heroic Dragon Soul Utility: While you may want to play with Selfless Healer or Sacred Shield, if you ever heal anyone other than the tanks, Eternal Flame is, at this juncture, the way to go. Period. You don’t lose any healing up front and you add a crapton of healing over time.

Kurn’s Comments: Eternal Flame. Which makes me really sad, because I love Sacred Shield. :( That’s not to say there won’t be times when Sacred Shield (heavy tank-damage fights) or even Selfless Healer won’t come in handy (when you have spare time to judge frequently), but Eternal Flame just adds to your throughput with absolutely no downside, apart from not being able to use Selfless Healer or Sacred Shield. I fully expect Eternal Flame to be nerfed TO THE GROUND. Or something. I would imagine they’ll either make the HoT tick for a shorter period of time or they’ll nerf the upfront heal a bit, if they do decide to nerf it. As of right now, there’s no reason to pick up either of the other talents in this tier for the majority of fights in Heroic Dragon Soul content. IMHO.

Tier 4: Hand of Purity, Unbreakable Spirit, Clemency.

Hand of Purity: 6 second Hand buff on a target that will reduce harmful PERIODIC effects by 70% for that length of time. It sounds good, but then you realize that many dots last upwards of 12 seconds. Shadow Word: Pain, at its base, is 18 seconds. Unstable Affliction is 14 seconds. Moonfire is 14 seconds. So while this might be a semi-useful buffer overall, more than likely, its aim is to buy you a bit of time until you can dispel someone. Cleanse now has an 8-second cooldown, so buying yourself 6 seconds of greatly-reduced dot damage is a bonus. (Don’t worry, we still get Sacred Cleansing, meaning we get the ability to dispel magic effects, it just isn’t baseline for any other paladin spec aside from holy.)

Unbreakable Spirit: Not really sure why this even exists, to be honest. For Divine Protection (1m), using 3 Holy Power brings the timer down by about 2 seconds. For Divine Shield (5m), using 3 Holy Power brings the timer down by about 9 seconds. For Lay on Hands, using 3 Holy Power brings the timer down by about 18 seconds.

In order to reach the maximum of a 50% reduction in cooldown for Divine Shield, you would need to use 50 Holy Power (obviously), but that means about 17 casts of a 3-point Light of Dawn or 3-point Word of Glory/Eternal Flame. Bearing in mind that not every cast of ours will grant us Holy Power, it can take a while to earn up enough Holy Power to make this useful. It may be useful on some fights where you want to us Lay on Hands more or Divine Shield more, but, really, in PVE content, it will be rare that you’ll absolutely need Divine Protection to come up a few seconds earlier, due to the 1m CD.

Clemency: Pretty simple and, also, awesome. You can use Hand of Freedom, Hand of Protection, Hand of Sacrifice and Hand of Salvation twice before their cooldowns come into effect.

Unfortunately, Forbearance is still caused by Hand of Protection, so you can’t BOP someone twice in a row without first waiting for Forbearance to drop off.

Heroic Dragon Soul Utility: Well, Hand of Purity is not really going to do a lot, not even on something like Yor’sahj, because the dot from Yor’sahj lasts a minimum of 12 seconds. So don’t bother with Hand of Purity. Similarly, Unbreakable Spirit is not, well, useful at all, not in comparison to Clemency. Clemency becomes useful because we do use Hand of Sacrifice frequently (at least, I do…) and it’ll be nice to BOP certain aggro-drawing resto druids (ahem, JASYLA) on Heroic Spine twice (over the course of a minute) before the Hand of Protection CD becomes active.

Kurn’s Comments: My choice is Clemency. Hands down. (haha, get it? Hands? Yeah, I blame Walks.) There’s just not much of a downside here. Hand of Purity is underwhelming in its current incarnation (although it would be overpowered if it were much longer) and Unbreakable Spirit seems as though it would be best used in PVP (for the reductions on Divine Shield and, I guess a couple of seconds off on Divine Protection), except that you can’t use Lay on Hands in the arenas… so colour me still confused about this talent.

Tier 5: Holy Avenger, Sanctified Wrath, Divine Purpose.

Holy Avenger: This is a talent that has a 2m cooldown and lasts 18 seconds. During the 18 seconds, any ability that GENERATES Holy Power will deal 30% more damage or healing AND generate 3 charges of Holy Power. It’s really important to note that this is not an overall 30% boost in damage/healing! I tried to test this out and got some pretty odd results. Bear in mind I had my own Beacon on me and was casting all of these on myself, which did generate the proper amounts of Holy Power. However…

No buffs:
Divine Light: 42,827
Holy Shock: 23,310
Flash of Light: 31,789
Holy Radiance: 16818

With Holy Avenger:
Divine Light: 40,756
Holy Shock: 30,452
Flash of Light: 31,712
Holy Radiance: 21,881

You can see that Holy Shock and Holy Radiance both get the appropriate 30% bump. Even though I had Beacon on me and was healing myself with Flash of Light and Divine Light (and getting the extra holy power), neither of those spells were affected by the 30% bump.

Similarly, Crusader Strike (now 15% of base mana, clocking in at 3000 mana at level 85) is affected by Holy Avenger.

Without Holy Avenger, Crusader Strike: 2,766
With Holy Avenger, Crusader Strike: 3,503

If they fix the bug on Flash of Light and Divine Light (assuming it is a bug and not just really stupid design), we can estimate wht those heals would be with the 30% bump.

Estimated non-crit heals with Holy Avenger:

Divine Light: 40,756 x 1.3 = 53,201.2 = 52,983
Flash of Light: 30,712 x 1.3 = 39,956.8 = 41,226

Remember, though — those would only on the beacon target and it may actually be intended that you don’t get a bump to healing with those spells on a beacon.

Sanctified Wrath: Instead of a 20 second duration on Avenging Wrath, it now lasts 30 seconds and while Avenging Wrath is active, your cooldown on Holy Shock is 3s. While this may not be worth it solely for the reduced CD on Holy Shock, the extra 10 seconds of 20% extra healing may propel this forward as the better choice in this tier.

Divine Purpose: When you spend Holy Power, you have a 25% chance to cause Divine Purpose. Divine Purpose means your next Holy Power ability won’t use any Holy Power and will act as though 3 Holy Power were consumed. Lasts 8 seconds. I played around with this a bit and found that it sometimes allowed me to cast Word of Glory twice in a row and it let me cast 2 extra (free) Lights of Dawn at one point. So Divine Purpose can obviously proc off of itself, at least in this build.

Heroic Dragon Soul Utility: Even if Holy Avenger weren’t broken in this particular build (since I imagine it’ll be fixed before August 28th), I’d go with the more-reliable Sanctified Wrath. We’re already used to using Avenging Wrath throughout the instance (hopefully!) so this won’t be a big change for us. We’ll just now be able to spam some more Lights of Dawn or Words of Glory/Eternal Flames. Alternatively, Divine Purpose is pretty decent, especially if it continues to be able to proc off of itself, but I know a lot of people like to get into a rhythm for their holy power generation and such and this might screw that up a bit. You’ll definitely want some sort of Power Aura or audio cue letting you know when this has procced (there’s an in-game one, mind you, but I tend to turn those off and rely on my own cues).

Kurn’s Overall Choice: Sanctified Wrath is probably what I’ll rely on. Note to self: Use Wings more frequently and stop being bad.

UPDATE: This Holy Avenger issue has FINALLY been fixed in 5.2.

GLYPHS

Okay, glyphs are changing. Gone are Prime Glyphs. We’re down to Major Glyphs and Minor Glyphs. Minor Glyphs seem mostly to be just neat little visual things. Major Glyphs are the ones that are really going to change your abilities.

First, let’s look at the differences between the current glyphs and the new glyphs with the same name…

Current Prime Glyphs (that holy paladins would use):
Divine Favor: Increases the duration of Divine Favor by 10s — does not exist in Mists
Holy Shock: Increases the critical effect chance of Holy Shock by 5% — decreases healing of Holy Shock by 50%, increases its damage by 50%
Seal of Insight: While Seal of Insight is active, the effect of your healing spells is increased by 5% — does not exist in Mists
Word of Glory: Increased the healing done by Word of Glory by 10% — Increases your damage by 3% per Holy Power spent after you cast Word of Glory or Eternal Flame. Lasts 6s.

Current Major Glyphs (that holy paladins would potentially use):
Beacon of Light: Your Beacon of Light costs no mana. — Removes the global cooldown on Beacon of Light. (Beacon has a 3s CD on it in Mists and will maintain that, even though it’ll be off the GCD while glyphed.)
Cleansing: Reduces the mana cost of your Cleanse by 20%. — does not exist in Mists.
Divine Plea: Your Divine Plea provides an additional 6% of your total mana. — Divine Plea now has a 5s cast time, but you receive 12% of your total mana instantly and your healing is not reduced. (This cast time is affected by haste.)
Divine Protection: Removes the physical damage reduction of your Divine Protection but increases the magical damage reduction by 20%. — Reduces the magical damage reduction of your Divine Protection to 20%, but adds 20% physical reduction. (This is basically the inverse of what it is right now. Baseline, it’s 40% magical damage. Glyphed, it’s 20% magical and 20% physical.)
Divinity: When you use Lay on Hands, you also gain 10% of your maximum mana. — Increases the cooldown of your Lay on Hands by 2m but causes it to give you 10% of your maximum mana.
Holy Wrath: Your Holy Wrath now also stuns Elementals and Dragonkin. — unchanged (note: categorized as “protection”)
Lay on Hands: Reduces the cooldown of your Lay on Hands spell by 3m — does not exist in Mists.
Light of Dawn: Light of Dawn affects 2 fewer targets, but heals each target for 25% more. — unchanged
Salvation: Hand of Salvation no longer permanently reduces threat over time but instead reduces all threat as long as Hand of Salvation lasts — does not exist in Mists.
Ascetic Crusader: Reduces the mana cost of your Crusader Strike by 30% — does not exist in Mists.
Long Word: Your Word of Glory heals for 50% less up front, but provides an additional 50% healing over 6s. — does not exist in Mists.

Okay, now let’s look at some of the new Major Glyphs. I’ll put in my recommendations at the end.

Avenging Wrath — While Avenging Wrath is active, you are healed for 1% of your maximum health every 2s.
Battle Healer — Using melee attacks while using Seal of Insight heals a nearby injured friendly target, excluding the Paladin, within 30 yards for 30% of damage dealt.
Beacon of Light — as listed above
Blessed Life — While Seal of Insight is active, you have a 50% chance to gain a charge of Holy Power whenever you are affected by a Stun, Fear or Immobilize effect. Cannot occur more than once every 20s.
Denounce — Your Holy Shocks have a 50% chance to reduce the cast time of your next Denounce by 1s.
Divine Plea — as listed above
Divine Protection — as listed above
Divinity — as listed above
Flash of Light — When you Flash of Light a target, it increases your next heal done to that target within 7s by 10%
Harsh Words — Your Word of Glory can now also be used on enemy targets, causing Holy damaged appromiately equal to the amount it would have healed. Does not work with Eternal Flame.
Holy Shock — as listed above
Illumination — Your Holy Shock criticals grant 1% mana return, but Holy Insight returns 10% less mana
Light of Dawn — as listed above
Protector of the Innocent — When you use Word of Glory to heal another target, it also heals you for 20% of the amount.
Word of Glory — as listed above

Heroic Dragon Soul Utility:

Battle Healer: I’m doing 100-200 or so damage with my white melee attacks, which heals a random nearby target for ~30-60. Crusader Strike hit for ~1385 and healed for ~416.

… pass. :P If you go ret and still want to heal, this glyph is probably for you.

Divine Plea: It’s affected by haste and we have plenty of opportunities to stand still for 5 seconds to regen 12% of our mana. It comes down to whether or not you want to heal (or can heal) at 50% effectiveness for 9 seconds or if you don’t bother healing at ALL for ~5 seconds (3.77s cast with my aforementioned haste). It’s all for the same mana return.

Divine Protection: I would only glyph this to add to the physical damage reduced for Morchok (Stomps are physical damage) and Madness of Deathwing if I was assigned to HoSac a tank for Impale, since our tanks each need one external cooldown on the third platform we do. I tend to die if I pop HoSac and either don’t pop my bubble (I prefer not to) or don’t pop a Divine Protection that is going to reduce my own physical damage taken.

Divinity: Well, 10% extra mana at the cost of another 2 minutes on my Lay on Hands… it’s not great, but there’s really not that much in terms of compelling choices.

Flash of Light: Ehhhhhhhhhhh. It would be hard to use this with Selfless Healer, if that’s what you’re thinking. What you would probably do, to get the most healing possible done to the other person, is:

Judge x3 (~10-12 seconds, depending on haste)
Flash of Light the target (full use of Selfless Healer’s 3 stacks) — I healed my target for 68,589.
Cast another heal on that target — I cast a Divine Light that healed for 49,189.
By comparison, without the 10% buff from Glyph of Flash of Light, I healed that same target for 46,343.

So the combination of mechanic and glyph works, but this is basically something that you would probably weave into your rotation after judging 3 times, and probably would be focused on the tank, because hopefully no one else is taking 100k+ damage.

The problem with that idea, though, is that Eternal Flame kind of blows Selfless Healer out of the water at the moment.

Illumination: This lowers the mana return from Holy Insight by 10%. Holy Insight allows 50% of spirit-based mana regeneration to continue while in combat. In the gear I’m in right now, at level 85, my in-combat regen in this beta build is 3890 mana per 5 seconds. Glyphed for Illumination, my regen goes down to 3512 mana/5 sec.

Check out Joe Ego’s Mana Regen post for more information on why the Glyph of Illumination kind of falls flat as spirit on gear scales up.

Light of Dawn: Great choice, still, for 10-mans. Still not a great choice for 25-mans.

Protector of the Innocent: I hated the talent. I still hate the glyph, but it works with both Word of Glory and Eternal Flame (albeit just its initial heal).

Kurn’s Overall Choices for Heroic Dragon Soul Raiding:
– Divine Plea / Light of Dawn (10m)
– Divinity / Divine Protection (for fights where I need 20% physical damage reduction) / Light of Dawn (10m)
– Protector of the Innocent / Light of Dawn (10m)

Uninspiring.

Note that the old Glyph of Divine Plea will become the new one, the old Glyph of Divinity will become the new one, the old Glyph of Divine Protection will become the new one, the Glyph of Light of Dawn is unchanged and Glyph of the Long Word will become Glyph of Protector of the Innocent. As such, all these glyphs should be available to us as of 5.0.

That said, I enjoy some of the new minor glyphs, which are not terribly useful in any raid-like environments we’ve seen in Cataclysm (unsure which, if any of these will be available at 5.0):

Glyph of Concentration: This is fun and, IMHO, pretty paladinesque.
Glyph of the Falling Avenger: No mage or priest handy for slowfall? No worries — pop your wings and gain slowfall!
Glyph of Fire From the Heavens: Judgment and Hammer of the Wrath crits show a Holy Fire effect. It’s cute.
Glyph of Righteous Retreat: When you’ve cast Divine Shield, you cast your Hearthstone 50% faster. So you bubble for 8 seconds and it takes 5 seconds to hearth. Bubblehearth is back!

HOLY PALADIN PLAYSTYLE

All right, worked your way through all that, have you? Good. Now, here are some changes you should be aware of.

1) No more Auras. They’re gone. Poof. As such, Aura Mastery as we know it is gone. All paladins (!) now have Devotion Aura (on a 3m CD): Inspire all party and raid members within 40y, granting them immunity to Silence and Interrupt effects and reducing all magic damage taken by 20%. Lasts 6 sec.

2) In place of our Auras on our bars are our seals — Insight, Truth and Righteousness. No more durations on seals, which is nice.

3) Beacon of Light now has a 3s cooldown, but it no longer has a duration. That sucker will stay on your target until they die or one of you leaves group.

4) Surprise, you can now store up to 5 Holy Power at once! You can still only use 3 Holy Power at a time, though. My new favourite move is to have 5 Holy Power, then Word of Glory / Holy Shock / Word of Glory. BAM.

5) Judging is now optional. If you have Selfless Healer, go for it. If you have Long Arm of the Law, go for it. Otherwise, there is no need to judge. At all.

6) Light of Dawn is no longer directional. No more facing people — it’ll just emanate from you and heal people around you who need it.

7) Holy Radiance has been redesigned: no more HoT component, but there’s still a splash effect.

8) Cleanse now has an 8-second cooldown, but not if you don’t actually dispel something. That means if someone dispels something before you do, you’re not on cooldown.

9) Fixed mana pools. Intellect no longer adds to your mana pool size. At level 85, I had 102,000 mana.

Rohan over at Blessing of Kings covers some of the more general changes in his post.

Kurn’s Conclusions

Overall, if you were comfortable playing a holy paladin in Cataclysm, you should be comfortable playing a holy paladin in Mists of Pandaria. The feel of, well, everything is pretty similar. The major difference for us is no longer needing to judge. Aside from that, Divine Protection doesn’t give you a sprint any longer, but you have access to your choice of speed enhancements in the first tier of the talents, so you’ll want to adapt to that. The fact that Beacon no longer expires is one less thing to keep track of, so you can basically set it and forget it.

I’ve healed a few runs of Temple of the Jade Serpent and Stormstout Brewery on beta and don’t seem to have much issue in terms of adapting to my newer spells/talents. It’ll be interesting to test them out in Heroic Dragon Soul, though. In particular, I am looking forward to hitting both my tanks with Hand of Sacrifice on Platform 3 during Heroic Madness of Deathwing, courtesy of Clemency.

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