Cataclysm Holy How-To #2: Spells and Abilities

*** All content copyright © Kurn’s Corner, 2011. 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. ***

(Don’t forget to read my Cataclysm Holy How-To #1: Specs and Glyphs before reading this one!)

Once again, welcome to an updated article in my Holy How-To series! Today, we’ll be focusing on the spells and abilities holy paladins have at level 85 and we’ll talk a bit about how best to use each of these spells and abilities in a PVE setting. Please bear in mind that this was written during the time that 4.2.2 was on live realms and, as such, may become outdated with future patches.

Continue reading “Cataclysm Holy How-To #2: Spells and Abilities”

Cataclysm Holy How-To #1: Specs & Glyphs

It’s been almost a full year since I last wrote in my Holy How-To series. A lot has happened to the paladin class and, specifically, the holy spec since then. I decided that I’d go back to basics and re-write a bunch of my old Holy How-To guides from the Wrath era and update them with relevant Cataclysm information. Not all the guides will be re-written and those that will be are going to be written from the ground up. So here’s the first of my re-written guides: Specs & Glyphs. Bear in mind that the guide consists primarily of my own beliefs and opinions and is limited to PVE content at level 85 only.

Continue reading “Cataclysm Holy How-To #1: Specs & Glyphs”

Healing Alysrazor as a Holy Paladin

This isn’t exactly meant as a guide. It’s more along the lines of my personal experience,  so there will be lots of “this is what I do”s and “this is what I think works best here”s. I’m also going to assume you know most of the mechanics of the fight, at least from the ground perspective. That said, I think there’s some decent information I can share with you guys. :)

Alysrazor is one of the more difficult encounters in Firelands. In order to move past Baleroc to Majordomo Staghelm and Ragnaros, Alysrazor must be defeated. (You can, however, do the Alysrazor fight before or after Baleroc, that doesn’t matter.)

The first thing to know is that her name is not “Alice-razor”. It’s “Alysra-zor”. If you do the Molten Front dailies and quests, you’ll see that she was originally named Alysra and, upon being reborn as a firehawk, added the “zor” to her name. (Sorry. That’s totally my pet peeve.)

The second thing to know is that with the help of at least one Molten Feather, you can cast while moving! One feather increases your movement speed by 30% and gives you the casting-while-moving ability. Two feathers increases your movement speed by 60%. Three feathers (avoid this!) will allow you to fly.

If you aren’t asked to grab a feather as a holy paladin during the first molting of Alysrazor (which happens right after the pull), talk to your raid leader about how this will really, really, REALLY help minimize tank deaths. By the end of the second molting phase, everyone should have at least one feather, including tanks, which is hugely helpful for them to move their hatchlings around. However, no one should grab a feather until everyone on the pre-assigned air team gets ALL THREE of theirs to go flying around.

All right, that’s the really important stuff. Now, as to your assignment: as a holy paladin, you will almost certainly be asked to heal a tank. If this is the case, I strongly recommend beaconing your own tank for two reasons:

1) Positioning on the fight is extremely dynamic and the fighting area is quite wide. There are some combinations of placements that will result in the two tanks being more than 60 yards apart from each other.

2) Tower of Radiance Holy Power gains are pretty much wonderful on this encounter and I’ll get to why in a little bit.

Okay, so you should now be armed with the following knowledge:

– pick up a feather as soon as you can without screwing over the air team
– beacon your own tank due to positioning and range issues and holy power gains from Tower of Radiance
– it’s “Alysra-zor”, not “Alice-razor”. Seriously.

Healing the Fight

Right off the bat (assuming it’s not the first pull of the evening), you’ll be blasted backwards. This is a great time to have three Holy Power already charged. I like to hit Divine Favor and Holy Radiance, followed by a Light of Dawn here. There’s a significant amount of raid damage that you can actually help to heal up since your tank won’t be taking any interesting damage for the next little bit.

Move to one side or the other as Alysrazor flies down the middle of the area, because she has a nasty cleave. Run out and around her to pick up your feather.

During this time, your DPS should be collecting feathers to fly up or should be killing (and interrupting) Flame Talon Initiates. Cleanse Fieroblast‘s dot off anyone it hits while you wait for your tank’s Voracious Hatchling to, well, hatch.

Once the hatchlings hatch and are properly Imprinted on their tanks, this is where you start actually getting to do stuff.

For the most part, hatchling damage isn’t too bad on an adequately geared tank. The problems only show up during three situations:

a) When your tank runs out of your range (this happens a lot unless you’re actively watching them — ask for a mark to be placed on the heads of your tanks and keep an eye on them!)
b) When their hatchling throws a Tantrum.
c) When their hatchling applies Gushing Wound to the tank.

Situation A is easily remedied: watch your tank. Know that your tank has to feed their hatchling with Plump Lava Worms that are spawning in various spots in the fighting area. Anticipate where your tank might be going or have him or her communicate that to you. At the same time, you should be able to cast while running, so you should be able to adequately dodge the Brushfires from the Flame Talon Initiates and the Lava Spew from the Plump Lava Worms.

Situation B is also easily remedied: cooldowns! It’s probably best if your tank blows their cooldowns first and then you can pop Hand of Sacrifice when they run out of cooldowns. They can handle four tantrums per ground phase, since feeding a worm to the hatchlings will remove a tantrum, so work out CDs with your tank and/or healing team. Do not be afraid to blow Lay on Hands!

Situation C is probably the trickiest to deal with. Gushing Wound is applied to people standing in front of the hatchling (this should ideally just be the tank) and then bleeds continuously until the tank hits 50% health. The trouble is that they’re still taking melee attacks and can still stand in any of the various fire hazards in the fighting area at the same time.

This is NOT the time for damage-reduction cooldowns. You want to get the tank to drop Gushing Wound as quickly as possible and then need a quick burst of healing to pop him or her back up to a reasonable level of health.

Ideally, this is how it should go, although bear in mind that conditions are rarely ideal:

– Stop healing the tank immediately when Gushing Wound is applied
– Make sure you have 3 Holy Power saved up (by Holy Shocking others if you need to)
– As soon as Gushing Wound falls off, ideally, a disc priest will shield the tank to prevent much more damage for a couple of seconds
– You can then blast the tank with a 3HP Word of Glory. If Eternal Glory (if you have it) procs, hit the tank with WoG again, otherwise, cast a Divine Light (which may or may not have an Infusion of Light haste proc behind it from your slightly-earlier Holy Shocking to make sure you’re up to 3HP.)

The main thing to remember about Gushing Wound is that if you time a casted spell on the tank badly, you can’t interrupt it by moving! You’ll have to hit Escape to stop the cast.

If you get Gushing Wound coupled with a tantrum, don’t hesitate to blow Lay on Hands as soon as Gushing Wound drops off!

And if your tank just decides to stroll happily through fire while they have Gushing Wound or a tantrum on their hatchling, well, there’s pretty much nothing you can do apart from mock them for standing in fire.

And that is the first phase.

The next portion of the fight is all about you and living through fiery tornadoes. The hatchlings should be down by this point, so there should not be any healing for you to worry about.

Here’s a handy-dandy video I made with footage from a learning attempt on Alysrazor with my guild, Apotheosis and it’ll show you exactly how to deal with tornadoes.

Once that’s done, Alysrazor will crash to the ground and start rebuilding her Molten Power.

From 0-50 Molten Power, just make sure everyone’s topped off (especially your tanks who have a job at this point) and make sure to attack Alysrazor directly, since every attack done to her at this point gives you back 10% of your maximum mana!

From 50-100 Molten Power, she’ll pop up off the ground and should be tanked facing AWAY from the raid. This is where you probably have a job. She’ll be blasting the raid with fire damage from Blazing Buffet and so healer/raid cooldowns should be used at this time. I typically go with Aura Mastery, Aura Mastery, Power Word: Barrier, Spirit Link Totem and finish up with a Tranquility. So you’ll likely want to pop Aura Mastery at some point in here as well, depending on what your healing lead/raid leader has asked.

During this time, your tanks are taking damage from Alysrazor herself, so what I do here is I pop my Aura Mastery first, then I use Divine Favor again and Holy Radiance again, all of which is really done to help heal up the raid or help out with mitigation on the raid before focusing on whichever tank has aggro on Alysrazor first. In my raid group, the tanks swap after a few seconds (~10 or so) and so I watch for that and heal the other tank.

When she’s at 100 Molten Power, she throws everyone back, causing 50,000 fire damage and then takes to the air again, leaving behind a pile of feathers, so the air team can get back up there quickly.

After that, it’s essentially the same thing all over again, where you wait for hatchlings to spawn and then heal your tank smartly to make sure Gushing Wound falls off.

Tips:

– Glyphed Divine Protection is great if you’re chasing your tank. It’ll reduce any fire damage you take if you run through some while chasing the tank by 40% AND give you a 4s sprint, courtesy of 3/3 Speed of Light.
– You can bubble through any part of the tornado phase you’re not comfortable with, although I don’t think it’ll be up for the second if you use it on the first. (You should not need to bubble, in all reality.)
– Speaking of tornadoes… don’t worry about healing people through it. Chances are, if the hatchlings aren’t dead by now, it’ll be a wipe. An exception to this is if your tank’s hatchling is nearly dead. You might want to bubble here, cast Hand of Sacrifice and heal your tank through tornado damage so that the hatchling dies.
– You can pop Aura Mastery right as the pull happens to lessen raid damage then, too. It’ll be up for the clump phase once she’s grounded and gaining Molten Power.
– You might want to look into the Glyph of Lay on Hands since this is a long encounter. Chances are, if you use LoH within the first couple of minutes of the fight, you could probably use it again before the fight ends.
– As long as you can hold out until Alysrazor falls to the ground, you can abuse your mana pool, since you’ll be able to get back to full mana pretty easily once she’s burnt out. That might mean using some Flashes of Light here or there and that’ll generally be okay. I’m fine on mana both in a haste/spirit gear set and a mastery-heavy gear set.

Personal Comments

What I like about this fight is that it’s not a brute-healing fight. Tank healers on Alysrazor have to use some finesse! Gushing Wound makes what would ordinarily be a fairly boring encounter (in terms of tank healing) into a much more interesting one. I absolutely love that I get to be that “clutch heal” that gets the tank back up to 80%+ health as soon as Gushing Wound falls off. If I have an Infusion of Light proc while the tank has Gushing Wound, I’ll almost certainly hold on to it and endeavour to get that .8s or whatever Divine Light on to the tank the instant the bleed falls off. It makes me happy. :)

What also makes me happy is that I don’t suck at tornadoes. For once, there is a fire mechanic in this blasted game that I don’t actively suck at! In fact, I am really AWESOME at tornadoes! This also makes me happy.

What makes me less happy is air team members falling out of the sky to their deaths or tanks standing in fire damage, but it’s worth some of the frustration when these things happen because I know that by good play on my part, I am noticeably making the fight easier on other healers and keeping tanks alive.

Well, that’s about it from me on this fight. Hope this was helpful and I wish you all the best of luck in downing Alysrazor!

Masterful Madrana?

So there’s been all this talk about mastery gemming, enchanting and stacking.

Given that I was in an awkward position for gear, having received gloves from Rhyolith and legs from Shannox, I felt limited in my choices for what I should pick up from the Valor Point vendor.

I could have gotten my tier 12 chest, which has nowhere the amount of haste as my heroic Breastplate of Avenging Flame, or I could have gotten my tier 12 gloves, which have no spirit and aren’t in my planned 4pc, or I could have gotten my T12 pants, except that I just got those pants from Shannox.

I was already pretty well below the 1859 breakpoint for Holy Radiance’s extra tick and my heals felt sluggish.

We were struggling with Alysrazor and part of the problem was tank deaths. I almost always assign myself to a tank anyway, and we have some amazing raid healers, so I was like… Fine. FOR SCIENCE, I would try out this mastery stuff.

So I bought my T12 chest (oh why is it a robe? Dear God, why?) and regemmed everything to Artful Ember Topazes except for my 3 Jewelcrafter’s gems, which I replaced with 3x Fractured Chimera’s Eye.

And then I went reforging.

Basically, I ripped out all my haste and a bit of crit (as opposed to some spirit) and got to 26% on my shields.

1737 mastery rating. No kidding. 722 haste rating. My very soul ached!

But, FOR SCIENCE, and based on a bit of my own experience with a bit more mastery than I normally run with, I decided to stick with it.

So what experience was that?

Well, I raid with Apotheosis of Eldre’Thalas on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and then on Mondays and Wednesdays, I play the baby paladin with Choice of Skywall. Both guilds are 4/7 in Firelands 25-man mode and though the baby pally didn’t have any heroic gear (and still only has a 353 helm, actually), a lot of the stats she had were just like the original Madrana’s, only a bit lesser. A little less haste, a little less crit, a little less spirit and a little less spellpower. But due to the nature of the drops and items I was able to acquire (and when you’re gearing up a new 85, you can’t always be picky!), I ended up with a lot more mastery than I wanted, even when it was reforged. 473 mastery rating was what the baby pally had, which was a far cry from the 100-some that Madrana had.

And yet, while healing Shannox with Choice, I realized that even that very little amount (473) I had was pretty freaking effective.

I literally stared at that for several minutes and went “what the hell is going on?”. I then compared it to a similar Shannox kill Apotheosis had done:

Yes, I had healed with Divine Light less on Madrana than the baby pally and that will absolutely make a difference in the Illuminated Healing. The fight was also shorter. But could it really explain away over 300,000 in absorption? Nope. That mastery was really working for me. Both my assignments were the same — heal the Shannox tank. And I played very similarly throughout those fights.

So when I got to the point with my gear that I didn’t have enough haste to be comfortable in my regular playstyle, despite having actually upgraded gear, I decided that I’d try out this mastery stuff, at least until I can get my haste back up.

It helped out on Alysrazor, or at least it felt like it. And we got Alysrazor down, by the skin of our teeth. So I stuck with it for last night’s Occu’thar, Shannox, Beth’tilac and Rhyolith kills. Here’s the result from Shannox, to keep things consistent:

Are you kidding me? Almost a million damage absorbed by Illuminated Healing? 34% of my “healing” was done by my MASTERY?

So, it’s effective. Quite effective.

However, I lost a lot of stats. I lost a TON of Intellect by virtue of gemming 20 mastery/20 int instead of 40 int, and the 67 mastery gems instead of intellect, too. I lost a LOT of haste. It’s just … gone. My casts take FOREVER and they don’t hit for as hard! But… they shield for a chunk.

[21:57:59.760] Madrana Word of Glory [Tank] +*0* (O: 48629)
[21:58:00.353] [Tank] gains Illuminated Healing from Madrana (Remaining: 12936)

Like, whoah. That’s significant.

However, I have effectively gimped myself for anything other than tank healing. Which shouldn’t be a big deal, because that’s almost all I tend to do anyway, but I felt weak and I felt gimped. I didn’t have the mana pool I was used to, so Divine Plea helped, but still felt less than I’m used to. Replenishment wasn’t hitting for as much. I keenly felt the smaller mana pool and I knew that I was relying more on the raid healers to spot heal people that I would normally toss a Holy Shock on or whatever.

In short, it hurt me, but it’s effective enough and I’m in a 25-man guild that can sustain a “specialized” tank healer. As soon as I can, I’m probably going to go back to stacking haste — but might come back to mastery for certain heroic fights.

I tell you, though, I felt absolutely useless in P2 of Beth’tilac and throughout the entire Rhyolith fight.

So, basically, I concur with Enlynn: it’s not fun and it gimps you, but it can be super effective if done correctly.

I much prefer having the possibility of being flexible and versatile to the reality of not being able to really deviate at all from my standard assignments. But my gear is essentially making me do this for a couple of weeks, so we’ll see how that goes, shall we?

Next up, Baleroc. Should be fun. I’ll keep you guys posted.

4.2 & You: Holy OOM, Kurn!

I walked into Firelands on Tuesday, June 28th and proceeded to heal exactly as I usually do in a 25-man raid. In so doing, I discovered three things.

  • I was constantly out of mana.
  • Barring mana issues, I didn’t have much trouble solo-healing a tank on Shannox.
  • No, SERIOUSLY, I was really out of mana.

The thing was, I didn’t feel as though I was lacking mana, I just felt as though I wasn’t as efficient as I could have been. I felt as though I wasn’t using all the tools at my disposal.

Guess what? I wasn’t. Given the increase in the cost of our casted heals, given my overconfidence in not only my own abilities, but the level of content (hey, these are NORMALS!), I was playing poorly.

If you feel that you’re constantly out of mana too, are you sure that you were doing everything you could to maintain/regenerate mana?

Here’s what I am trying to do, and be aware of, to combat being out of mana, in a rough order of importance:

a) Judge more. Smart paladins will judge on cooldown. I got into the bad habit of not judging on cooldown. I was definitely judging more frequently than once a minute, since my Judgements of the Pure uptime was usually very good, but I freely admit that as soon as things get hairy, I stop judging as often as I should. So I walked back in there on Thursday and, while downing Shannox, proceeded to judge approximately four times as much as I did on our best attempt on Tuesday. And that was probably still half of what I COULD have judged. Granted, sometimes you just can’t use that GCD on a judgement, but every time you don’t judge, that’s 3513.1 mana you are losing out on. (Hilariously, when healing on my baby paladin, I judge ALL THE TIME because I know I’m not that well-geared and my mana regen is, how you say, “le crap“!)

b) Use Divine Plea more. On an 8 minute fight, I can reasonably expect to use Divine Plea three times (assuming I use it at the 1m mark or so, then again at 3m, 5m and 7m). I used it, uh, once on Tuesday. I used it twice on Thursday, so that’s an improvement, but not ideal.

c) Use the Jar of Ancient Remedies more. On our second-to-last heroic Maloriak kill, I picked up the Jar of Ancient Memories. So I’ve been playing around with it. While I don’t like not having the 321 intellect that the Darkmoon Card: Tsunami offers, I definitely get more spirit from the Jar versus the Card. My other trinket is too valuable for me to swap out at the moment, being the Vibrant Alchemist Stone. (The haste, the excellent amount of intellect and the 40% more mana from potions are all amazing.) So I ran with Jar + Stone on both Tuesday and Thursday. On Tuesday’s best attempt, I used it once. ONCE. Bad Kurn! No cookie! It has a 2m cooldown, so I really had zero excuses. On Thursday, I did better and used it four times in that 8m17s fight. Since it only gives back 7160 mana per use, it’s really easy to be missing that much (and more!) early in the fight to make sure you’re not losing out on mana back. Cast a Holy Radiance and a Divine Light or two and you’re down a chunk already.

d) Use Mythical Mana Potions or Potions of Concentration more. Well, by “more”, I mean once a fight. With my Vibrant Alchemist Stone equipped, I’m getting ~14k mana back from a Mythical Mana Potion and ~31k mana back from a Potion of Concentration. I took neither on Tuesday and then TRIED to take a Potion of Concentration on Thursday, but then Shannox dropped an Immolation Trap on my face and I had to move, thereby breaking the effect.

e) Use Word of Glory more. I’m a weird holy paladin. I strongly dislike using LoD on the raid to funnel heals to my beacon target. I MUCH prefer using Word of Glory. And it got buffed! And yet, I didn’t use it often enough either on Tuesday or Thursday. That means I’m not taking advantage of having full holy power and I really need to be aware of when I hit 3 HP and then USE it. (Because hey, I wasn’t using LoD either. Because I am apparently bad. /facepalm)

Basically, it’s all about using the tools available to us. That means regenerating mana (judging/Divine Plea/Jar/Potions) and making use of mana-efficient (or mana-free) spells are all important parts of our job, almost as important as healing. If we don’t do those things well enough, we run into trouble while healing and can’t continue healing for as long as we otherwise could.

(I didn’t even MENTION Angry!Man (er, Guardian of Ancient Kings), but don’t forget that he’s free healing, too, just on a longer cooldown.)

How’s YOUR mana pool holding up?

Ready to Wear: Kurn's Tier 12 Loot List for Holy Paladins

I should have done this probably about two weeks ago, but I can’t stand loot lists. At all. Still, here are the results of my research.

Please bear in mind this is all my own opinion and is skewed as such. This is NOT a definitive best-in-slot guide, it’s merely what I’ll be looking for.

This is the way I will be prioritizing secondary stats:

Spirit > Haste > Crit > Mastery

Why? Well, spirit will take priority in my secondary stats because of the rise in mana costs for Divine Light, Holy Light and Flash of Light, as well as the reduced cooldown on Holy Radiance. We’re going to be spending more mana, so I’m going to want more spirit.

Haste is what permits me to get that cast off just that much sooner. It is a stat that improves throughput by virtue of allowing us to cast more frequently and will also reduce the global cooldown, allowing us to get to casting our next spells and abilities more quickly, if we have enough of it. (We’re not quite there yet through gear and a couple of enchants alone. Maybe at the heroic T12 level or when T13 comes out, but we’re not there yet.)

Crit, despite the fact our crits will hit for double a regular heal instead of 1.5 times a regular heal, still is a bit underwhelming. Crit is also a throughput stat and we still need some of it for maximum uptime on Conviction, but crit is unpredictable at best and another word for overhealing at worst. Granted, it makes mastery look better, since if you crit with a Divine Light, you’ll make a much larger Illuminated Healing shield than you would previously, but it’s still not something I value terribly much.

Mastery, despite its recent buffs, still doesn’t thrill me. Sorry. You can read more about my thoughts here.

Things to keep in mind:

– There is a LOT of gear that is going to be available. I’m going to focus specifically on gear that is item level 378, although will touch on some other item levels.
– If things work the way they did in T11, you will be able to purchase your T12 chest, T12 legs and T12 gloves with Valor Points, as well as get a chance for your legs and gloves to drop from the new Baradin Hold boss, Occu’thar.
– If things work the way they did in T11, we can expect our tier shoulders and helms to be on the last couple of bosses in Firelands.
– The 2-piece T12 bonus is certainly worth it, especially considering our Tier 12 is much better itemized than our Tier 11 was. While the 4-piece hasn’t really been mathed out, let’s assume we’ll want to aim for it. Again, T12 gear is a lot closer to my itemization desires than T11 was, so picking up four pieces will feel a lot better than trying to get 4pc of T11.
– Beth’tilac, Alysrazor, Shannox and Lord Rhyolith are supposed to be done in any order. Once entering Sulfuron Keep, you face Baleroc, Majordomo Staghelm and Ragnaros, in that order. As such, I’ll be referring to drops from the first four bosses as dropping “from (name), one of the first four bosses” or “the fifth/sixth/final boss”.

One of my key research sites, the Best In Slot resource from Vile Pickle, is no longer being maintained and has been replaced by the WoW Best in Slot Resource. However, my holy paladin buddy, Walks, has shared with me and the other raiders of Apotheosis, this fun little site at it.headasplode.net, which allows you to sort by the various stats you’d like to see. I highly recommend it. Thanks, Walks! :)

So, here we go.

Tier 12/ilvl 378 Holy Paladin Loot List

HEAD

Immolation Headguard: Our Tier 12 helm is the best for this slot. Unfortunately, this probably also drops off Ragnaros, the seventh and final boss in Firelands. It’s beautiful, though. Beefy with intellect, spirit and haste, a red socket with a 30 intellect socket bonus… Oh man. I might be drooling.

Casque of Flame: Until you down Ragnaros, you will almost certainly want to grab this helm as an upgrade. The Casque of Flame is quite similar, in fact, to our tier helm. It actually has 19 more Spirit. Unfortunately, it has 211 mastery on it instead of 245 haste. Blah. With reforging to haste from that 211 mastery, you can get 84 haste on it, leaving 127 mastery on it. Still, this is also kind of deep into Firelands, dropping from Baleroc, the fifth boss in the instance. (Now I wish I had the heroic Glaciated Helm to tide me over. Alas!)

NECK

Heartstone of Rhyolith: Dropping off of one of the first four bosses in Firelands, Lord Rhyolith, this is probably your best bet for a 378 neck. You can reforge that mastery to haste and get 53 haste and 80 mastery.

Flowform Choker: Totally sub-par due to the lack of spirit and the presence of mastery. Maybe if you’re desperate? I don’t know. This is almost certainly meant for caster DPS. It drops off Majordomo Staghelm, the sixth boss of Firelands. No, wait, I’m not thinking. This is great DESPITE the lack of spirit because it’s the only one that has a socket and a red one at that. Drop 40 int in there and get a total of 277 intellect. If you’re waiting for an okay upgrade, grab the Heartstone, though, since this does drop from Majordomo Staghelm, the sixth boss of Firelands.

Firemind Pendant: Wow. More spirit/mastery. Roughly equivalent to the raid drop, this will do if you have 1250 Valor Points to drop. In fact, the Heartstone is only “better” in my mind because it has 18 more spirit. It’s a really small difference. Also, there are better things to buy out there with your precious Valor Points if you have access to the raid drop.

SHOULDERS

Immolation Mantle: Our Tier 12 shoulders are our best bet here, but again, they are almost certainly going to drop off Majordomo Staghelm, the sixth boss in Firelands.

Spaulders of Manifold Eyes: Supposedly dropping off Beth’tilac, one of the first four Firelands bosses, these will be a nice upgrade for anyone non-heroic T11 shoulders while they wait for their T12 shoulders. You can reforge that nasty mastery to haste and get 65 haste out of it, leaving 97 mastery on the shoulders.

CLOAK

Flowing Flamewrath Cape: Pretty sad, but this is the only viable option for us. It’s from the Avengers of Hyjal at Friendly reputation.

Who ARE the Avengers of Hyjal? Why they’re the new rep associated with the Firelands raid! This is separate from the new daily quest hub, which will reward Guardians of Hyjal rep. Avengers of Hyjal will work roughly like the Ashen Verdict from Icecrown Citadel in that you’ll only gain rep for it inside the instance. However, a blue post did say that you will NOT be able to grind your way to exalted by killing trash mobs.

CHEST

Immolation Breastplate: This will probably be purchasable for 2200 Valor Points and most likely will not drop from Occu’thar in Baradin Hold. It’s got a spirit/crit mix, but if you’re going for 4pc, you probably want this over the other breastplate we can get this tier. If you’re going for 2pc, this is not one of the pieces you want.

Clutch of the Firemother: Dropping from Alysrazor, one of the first four bosses in Firelands, this is a lovely piece. Its accessibility, since it drops from one of the first four bosses, makes it an easy upgrade, much like how the Breastplate of Avenging Flame from Magmaw was an easy chest upgrade for us in Tier 11. That said, you probably don’t want to wear this when you’re trying for your 4pc set bonus. It’s still a great piece, but you’re better off with your tier chest in the end. (That does not mean you should pass on this beauty!)

WRISTS

Bracer options? Seriously?! Yay! Too bad the itemization is still pretty bad.

Bracers of Imperious Truths: BOE bracers from Valor Points! Hallelujah and screw you, Cho’gall! These will be purchasable with 1250 Valor Points and will be obtainable shortly after the first week of 4.2, if it’s the first thing you’re going to buy with Valor Points. If Cho’gall never showed you love, pick these suckers up. Bear in mind that you should save an alt’s Valor Points for these rather than buy them on your paladin. Save those Valor Points for the BOP items on your paladin and pick these up either through the auction house or using an alt’s Valor Points.

Bracers of the Dread Hunter: Of course, you could also get a slightly worse (due to mastery) drop from Shannox, one of the first four bosses in Firelands.

GLOVES

Well, now, this is certainly interesting…

Holy Flame Gauntlets: That noise you just heard, that sounded like a choir of angels bursting into pitch-perfect, harmonized sound? Yup. That’s because of these gloves. They are fan-freaking-tastic. And yes, they are BOE. That’s because they are crafted and do NOT currently have a heroic version!

Mats are: 10 Hardened Elementium Bar, 40 Volatile Fire, 4 Living Embers, 3 Chaos Orbs and a partridge in a pear tree

The Living Embers are almost certainly a BOE drop from mobs inside Firelands. They may also be purchasable via Valor Points the way Emblems of Frost could buy you Primordial Saronites. But none of that is confirmed. The Chaos Orbs may or may not be BOP come 4.2, although smart money has them still being BOP. That means that these gloves are going to cost a small fortune. We won’t have a good idea of how much the Living Embers and Chaos Orbs will raise the price, but the bars and the fire aren’t cheap, either. At least the Plans: Holy Flame Gauntlets appear to be unbound…

So if you’re not rich, what’s your best option?

Grips of the Raging Giant: These drop from Lord Rhyolith, one of the first four bosses in Firelands. It’s a spirit/crit mix here, which isn’t bad, but they are not as amazing as the Holy Flame Gauntlets. Still, they’re about a hundred times easier to get.

But wait, what about our tier gloves? Won’t those be easy to get?

Immolation Gloves: Almost certain to drop from Occu’thar in Baradin Hold and probably purchasable with 1650 Valor Points, they’re easier to acquire than the Grips listed above… but what’s this? No freaking spirit. None. That’s our belt and our tier gloves with 0 spirit on them so far. So should we really get the tier gloves if we’re going for 4pc?

The possible combinations for maintaining 4pc are as follows. All numbers include reforging crit to haste or spirit, where applicable:

Tier Chest/Holy Flame Gauntlets

Spirit: 473
Crit: 135
Haste: 277

Tier Chest/Grips of the Raging Giant

Spirit: 481
Crit: 241
Haste: 161

Tier Gloves/Clutch of the Firemother

Spirit: 342
Crit: 106
Haste: 436

After looking at everything, I have to recommend you take the Tier 12 Chest and the Grips of the Raging Giant (which WILL have a heroic version) to get as much spirit as possible, with the Holy Flame Gauntlets as a good piece for you if you’re just hitting 85 and want to sort of catch up to current raiders quickly. If you are NOT having trouble with mana, go with the tier gloves and the Clutch of the Firemother.

WAIST

Oh sweet Lord. Our belt choices. Or rather, our singular choice for a belt. Say hello to the ONLY belt we can snag at the 378 level.

Belt of the Seven Seals: No spirit?! Augh! Take that 208 crit and turn it into 83 spirit and 125 crit.

But wait, that’s not all! The belt is only available from the Avengers of Hyjal and only once you hit Honored!

So, wait, let’s look at this. The only 378 belt with intellect in the game:

– lacks spirit
– is only available via raid reputation

Great. So not only is it difficult to get in the sense that you have to be part of a raiding guild or raid group, but it kind of sucks in terms of itemization.

At least there’s no mastery?

LEGS

Oh thank God we can follow up that epic failure with a piece of gear that is awesome.

Immolation Greaves: Intellect? Check. Spirit? Check. Haste? Check. Two sockets? Check. Probably easy to obtain? Check! These are awesome. Probably costing 2200 Valor Points or dropping from Occu’thar in Baradin Hold, they are certainly a very easy item to get in comparison to many others. Truly a huge upgrade for just about anyone not wearing the heroic version of the Legguards of the Emerald Brood and even then, it’s still a good upgrade. These legs are one of the first upgrades anyone should reasonably look at.

Legplates of Absolute Control: Likely dropping off of Shannox, one of the first four bosses in Firelands, I… well. I don’t really know why you’d pick these up unless you got supremely lucky on your first Shannox kill and they would be otherwise disenchanted or something. It’ll take a bit more than two weeks’ worth of Valor Points to get the tier legs or a lucky Baradin Hold drop, so there is a small gap between when these become available through Firelands and when anyone can reasonably attain their Tier 12 legs, but… chances are you want to overlook these, unless you are in 346/359 legs that are NOT the Legguards of the Emerald Brood, or you really prefer crit to haste.

BOOTS

Emberforged Elementium Boots. These amazing boots require 10 Hardened Elementium Bars, 40 Volatile Fire, 4 Living Embers and 3 Chaos Orbs, just like the awesome Holy Flame Gauntlets. These are amazing boots, but again, you’re going to want to be quite wealthy or lucky to get these. Again, they will NOT have a heroic version, so bear that in mind. I’ll also have to recommend these go to a newer 85 holy paladin who is trying to catch up to current raiders.

Treads of the Penitent Man: These are likely what we’ll end up using if we can’t afford the crafted boots and definitely what we’ll need in order to get the heroic versions, someday. They drop from Majordomo Staghelm, the sixth boss in Firelands. (Anyone else muttering to themselves over and over “only the penitent man will pass, only the penitent man will pass, penitent, penintent, penitent…”? No? Just me then? All right.)

RINGS

Quicksilver Signet of the Avengers: This is a ring every raider will eventually be able to acquire, since it’s from the Avengers of Hyjal once you hit exalted. The mastery sucks, but the intellect, spirit, socket and socket bonus are nice. Reforge the mastery to haste and you get 51 haste and 76 mastery.

Soothing Brimstone Circle: Uh, yeah, this is basically the only other ring out there at 378. There’s a caster ring, but there’s neither haste nor spirit on it, so stick with this one. This will cost you 1250 Valor Points.

TRINKETS

Still not much in the way of choices here, ladies and gentlemen.

Fiery Quintessence: Well, the name amuses me because I’ve had my fair share of Aqual Quintessences and still own an Eternal Quintessence. I really like that they’re not redoing Molten Core, but that we still have some references to that time. Anyway, you get this trinket at Revered with the Avengers of Hyjal. I’m not altogether thrilled by this one, but maybe the extra spirit will be useful, given our stupid belt situation. The on-use is also interesting and we may want to have a macro so we can use the trinket to precede Divine Plea’s cast, so we get the extra benefit of ~17k mana for the regen. (Note to self: Don’t forget to do that when you get the trinket!)

Jaws of Defeat: Geez, another on-use. This is a little more interesting, though. “Your next 10 spells cast within 20 sec will reduce the cost of your holy and nature spells by 110, stacking up to 10 times. (2 Min Cooldown)” Not really sure how that’s going to work out, but certainly the 383 Intellect will be very happy making. This drops off of Majordomo Staghelm, the sixth boss in Firelands.

Eye of Blazing Power: Another option is this one, from Alysrazor, one of the first four bosses in Firelands. Unfortunately, it seems to be not an exceedingly awesome choice for a holy paladin UNLESS it procs off all Light of Dawn hits. (Or all Holy Radiance ticks. But I’m not holding my breath.) Comments on Wowhead indicate a 45s internal cooldown (ICD), heals for 16kish, crits for 32kish, procs off HoT ticks, has a 40y range from the target of the original heal and it can heal pets. But if there are no valid targets in range, the ICD goes off, but no heal does.

RELIC

Singed Plume of Aviana: Pretty much the only choice we have here. Spirit and haste, though, so that’s of the happy-making. It’ll cost you 700 Valor Points.

WEAPON

Ko’gun, Hammer of the Firelord: Three guesses as to who drops this baby. ;) That’s right, Ragnaros, the final boss of the Firelands instance. Great itemization for us, too, with spirit and haste.

Eye of Purification: No idea where it drops, but suffice it to say this is AWESOME. A spellpower AXE? Sign me up!!! Pallies and shaman are the only casters/healers who can use axes, so no arguing with the warlocks and mages for swords and priests and druids can keep the maces… this is awesome! Sure, the stats aren’t as good as Rag’s hammer, but COME ON! A caster axe!

Lightforged Elementium Hammer: Yeah, it’s not 378 item level, but if you’re really hard-pressed to get something, there’s this as an option. It’s crafted and does not require any Living Embers.

SHIELD

Ward of the Red Widow: Again, just one real option for us, but at least it’s got good itemization. This drops off Beth’tilac, one of the first four bosses in Firelands. And its existence doesn’t make me so sad that I never got the heroic shield from Atramedes, because it definitely is much better in terms of itemization.

Conclusion

OVERVIEW OF VALOR POINT SPENDING

Okay, so assuming you are terribly unlucky in terms of drops and you’re going for the 4pc T12 bonus (with the chest, not the gloves), this is what you’re looking at:

Firemind Pendant – 1250
Immolation Breastplate – 2200
Bracers of Imperious Truths – 1250
Immolation Greaves – 2200
Soothing Brimstone Circle – 1250
Singed Plume of Aviana – 700

For a total of 8850 Valor Points.

I’d really recommend this order:

1) Immolation Greaves (great piece)
2) Bracers of Imperious Truths (yay bracers! You could also buy these or, better yet, use an alt’s Valor Points for these!)
3) Singed Plume of Aviana (only relic)
4) Soothing Brimstone Circle (one of two rings)
5) Firemind Pendant (if needed)
6) Immolation Breastplate (this can move up if you don’t get the Clutch early on or you get shoulders and want 4pc quickly)

BREAKDOWN BY BOSS

Beth’tilac

Ward of the Red Widow (Shield)

Lord Rhyolith

Heartstone of Rhyolith (Neck)
Grips of the Raging Giant (Gloves)

Alysrazor

Eye of Blazing Power (Trinket)
Clutch of the Firemother (Chest)

Shannox

Bracers of the Dread Hunter (Bracers)

Baleroc

Casque of Flame (Helm)

Majordomo Staghelm

Jaws of Defeat (Trinket)
Flowform Choker (Neck)
Treads of the Penitent Man (Feet)

Ragnaros

Ko’gun, Hammer of the Firelord

AVENGERS OF HYJAL REPUTATION REWARDS

Flowing Flamewrath Cape (Cloak – Friendly)
Belt of the Seven Seals
(Belt – Honored)
Fiery Quintessence (Trinket – Revered)
Quicksilver Signet of the Avengers (Ring – Exalted)

CRAFTED ITEMS THAT WILL MAKE ME VERY JEALOUS OF YOU (NO HEROIC VERSIONS!)

Holy Flame Gauntlets (Gloves: 10 Hardened Elementium Bars, 40 Volatile Fire, 4 Living Ember, 3 Chaos Orbs)
Emberforged Elementium Boots (Boots: 10 Hardened Elementium Bars, 40 Volatile Fire, 4 Living Ember, 3 Chaos Orbs)

Total: 20 Hardened Elementium Bars*, 80 Volatile Fire, 8 Living Ember, 6 Chaos Orbs.

* 1 Hardened Elementium Bar = 10 Elementium Bars (20 Elementium Ore) + 4 Volatile Earth
20 Hardened Elementium Bars = 200 Elementium Bars (400 Elementium Ore) + 80 Volatile Earth

SHOO!

All right, I think that covers just about everything, so get ready to enter Ragnaros’ domain and kick some ass. Remember not to stand in the fire; I’m sure there will be plenty of it!

Holy Paladin Mastery: Still Underwhelming

The News

People have been mentioning a change lately on the PTRs regarding the holy paladin mastery, but it was only today that Blizzard mentioned it in their updated patch notes:

Illuminated Healing (Mastery) has been adjusted slightly so that if a paladin refreshes an existing copy of his or her own Illuminated Healing on a target, the new absorption amount will be added into the old absorption amount and the duration will be reset. The total absorption created can never exceed 1/3 of the casting paladin’s health.

… huh.

That is a lot of information for two sentences.

1) The paladin must refesh their OWN copy of Illuminated Healing on a target. That only makes sense, but they clearly wanted to be sure that two paladins couldn’t stack the same Illuminated Healing shield on someone, either to build it up doubly quick or get double the effect.

2) The shield rolls! That’s to say that if you put up a 2k shield and heal enough for another 2k shield, that becomes a 4k shield (without accounting for damage done to it, of course).

3) The shield rolls up to one-third (33.3333~%) of the casting paladin’s health. Right now, unbuffed, I have 121,761 health. 33.3333~% of that is: 40,586.9594. Let’s just call it 40,587 or about 40k. I’m in all 359s plus 5 372 pieces. The “baby” paladin is at 113,123 health, unbuffed, and is mostly in 346s with some 359s and a couple 353s, so her cap, unbuffed, is 37,707.629 — or about 37-38k.

These are not insignificant potential shields values they’re talking about, here.

4) Mastery rating will not increase the shield’s maximum size; it will simply allow more of our healing done to become a shield.

The Math Section

Now, having said all that, there are still things we need to look at. Bear with me, there is a LOT of math coming up and I am not a math wizard. These numbers could be completely wrong, but I’m reasonably confident they’re okay.

a) A 40k shield will take a LOT of healing to build up. Why? I have 8.92 Mastery on my gear on Madrana. That gives me 12% + 1.38% (13.38%) of each heal turned into a shield. If my average, raid-buffed, non-crit Divine Light hits for ~30k, let’s see how many times I’ll have to hit Divine Light on that one target to get to a 40k shield.

30k x 0.1338 = 4014

40k / 4014 = 9.965

I would have to throw 10 Divine Lights at that one target in order to max out the shield and that’s IF the target wasn’t already taking any damage (and assuming no crits).

While I could certainly scrounge up some mastery gear, most of my gear doesn’t have any mastery on it at all. I have it on my Heroic Burden of Mortality shoulders and my Maldo’s Sword Cane.

If I restored these pieces that I currently have reforged AWAY from Mastery, I would have 14.3% of my heals turned into shields.

30k x 0.143 = 4290

40k / 4004 = 9.324

So I’d still have to cast ten Divine Lights to hit the shield cap, assuming no crits.

b) Not all of our heals generate Illuminated Healing effects. Of particular note, Holy Radiance, Protector of the Innocent, the Guardian of the Ancient Kings and Beacon of Light heals do NOT proc our mastery. That’s an awful lot of healing that doesn’t cause mastery shields.

Right now, without having tested things out, without having looked too closely at Firelands loot, I’m not sure that Illuminated Healing’s change does a lot for us. Certainly it’s not as good as it sounds at first, not when you realize just how much healing you have to do to cap out on the shields. Of course, as we get more gear and we get more stamina, that shield cap will grow.

So what would happen if we walked into 4.2 stacked with mastery on heroic raid gear? Would even that make much of a difference?

Let’s find out!

The first thing I did was go through the Wowhead database to find all heroic-level items that a holy paladin can reasonably equip. That means all plate gear with intellect, although it also includes a cloak and a neck and a ring with no spirit.

Here’s the list:

Neck – Valiona’s Medallion – 143 mastery rating
Shoulders – Burden of Mortality – 171 mastery rating
Cloak – Shadow of Dread – 143 mastery rating
Chest – T10 – Reinforced Sapphirium Breastplate – 217 mastery rating
Gloves – T10 – Reinforced Sapphirium Gloves – 171 mastery rating
Boots – Life Force Chargers – 171 mastery
Ring – Signet of the Fifth Circle – 143 mastery rating
Weapon – Andoros, Fist of the Dragon King – 110 mastery rating

All of that mastery adds up to 1269 mastery rating.

Now, one MASTERY (1.5% absorption) is equal to 179.28 mastery rating (source: Wowpedia). So we can take the following equation:

1269/179.28 = x/1.5%

Thus, 1269 mastery rating is equal to 10.6174% absorption, since 1269/179.28 = 7.0783

7.0783 = x/1.5%

So 7.0783 x 1.5 = 10.6174.

Now, our base mastery is 8, which is 12% absorption.

12% + 10.6% = 22.6%

Let’s go back up to our example of my average heals.

Average Divine Light non-crit: 30k

Absorption = 22.6%

30000 x 0.226 = 6780

40k / 6780 = 5.899

So even with all the best-quality pieces with mastery rating on them, I would STILL have to cast 6 average Divine Lights (not including crits or absorbed damage between the casts) to cap out the possible shield size.

But Kurn, you ask, what if we reforged everything else to mastery? And gemmed for it? And enchanted for it?

Crap. You had to ask that, didn’t you?

<deep sigh> Okay, here we go.

I’ve created a profile at chardev that is in full 372s, all reforged for and gemmed for mastery. I feel vaguely dirty.

We start with a base 8 Mastery, which is 12% absorption.

2136 Mastery rating gives us 11.91 Mastery, which we add to that 8. 8+11.91 = 19.91 Mastery.

19.91 Mastery x 1.5% = 29.865%

30000 x 0.298 = 8940

40000 / 8940 = 4.47 Divine Lights (not including crits or absorbed damage between the casts) to cap out the possible shield size.

Now, this isn’t exactly 100% accurate, because the size of the average Divine Light will change by virtue of the fact that we lose a lot of intellect (and therefore spellpower) by gemming straight-up mastery. In fact, that profile has only 6533 spellpower as compared to my current 7282 spellpower. But hey! Do you know who has 6560 spellpower? The baby pally! That’s a pretty good comparison, right?

My average Divine Light heals for 26k on the baby paladin.

26000 x 0.298 = 7748

40000 / 7748 = 5.1626

So in order to cap out with full 372 gear reforged, gemmed and enchanted for mastery, one would still need to cast 6 average Divine Lights (not including crits or absorbed damage between the casts) to cap out the possible shield size.

BUT WAIT! Due to all the stamina gained by being in 372 gear, the cap rises!

126,857 health x 0.333333 = 42,285.6244

So now let’s say the new cap is 42k instead of 40k.

42000 / 7748 = 5.420

Okay, still 6 average-sized Divine Lights, not including crits or absorbed damage between the casts, are still needed to cap out.

Whew. (Don’t you complain. I warned you it was math-intensive!)

Conclusions

– We will not be able to prepare for Firelands by equipping all mastery gear and gemming and enchanting for mastery in the hopes of being able to get a capped out shield on a target in a couple of casts.

While mastery will be changed for our shields to roll, this may not be as effective for healing as critical strike rating may become. With the change to crit going from 150% of a regular heal to 200% of a regular heal, which benefits just about all of our heals (ticks of Holy Radiance can crit, all our casted heals can crit, Protector of the Innocent heals can crit). Especially in view of the fact that Holy Light’s transfer through to our Beacon of Light target will be 100%, crit might move up the ranks a bit more than mastery will.

So, there you have it. Mastery is still not going to be particularly good or impressive, although the way it works will certainly improve with the patch. However, given the changes to healing crits, and the fact that crit affects most all of our abilities, mastery may well still be dead last in our stat priority come Firelands and the 4.2 patch.

ETA: My apologies, I got caught up in the math that I forgot to mention the reason WHY I focused on maxing out our shiny new rolling shields.

If we cannot reasonably attain the shield’s cap in a small number of casts, then what use is the stacking and rolling functionality?

Even if we stack a LOT of mastery, even over intellect, we’ll still need at least 6 DL non-crit casts to cap our shield. With almost 8k of absorption per non-crit Divine Light, we could conceivably stack 20k worth of absorption in 2-3 casts, but that can easily be eaten up quickly, in a single blow.

The point is that in order for the shields to really matter, we need to be able to achieve a substantial shield in a short period of time/low amount of casts.

Right now, my shields are about 4k. Even with the change to our critical heals, I cannot hope to get more than 8-10k absorption on my tank between melee swings. While that’s still better than the 4k I’m getting now, it’s not substantially better. The shield still vanishes too quickly for us to really care. And even at high levels of mastery, that doesn’t change.

Thus, I expect high absorption from our mastery in 4.2, but this is not, in my opinion, a huge game-changer.

Trolls and Gear and Paladins, Oh My!

On Friday, one of the tanks in my guild hinted rather strongly that he would like for my “baby paladin” (that is, the newly-dinged 85) to heal him and his friend through a Zul’Aman.

My first reaction was not only “no”, but “hell no”.

Then I realized I might as well. Apart from anything, there are epic bracers in that there jungle!

After completing the instance, I knew I had to write about the loot in the troll dungeons for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of Fetish Greaves. Let’s look at Zul’Aman, then Zul’Gurub.

Zul’Aman Holy Paladin Gear (4.1)

Before we look at the drops, there are two notable quest rewards. The first is a reward from Warlord of the Amani and it’s a pair of shoulders that are actually pretty sweet: Pauldrons of Ambition have spirit and crit and a red socket (10 crit bonus). The crit can be reforged to 59 haste.

The other quest reward is the Fetish Greaves, a reward from The Hex Lord’s Fetish, which requires you to kill Malacrass in Zul’Aman.

I hate these pants.

Yes, they are 353. Yes, they have two sockets. Yes, they have more intellect than any 346 legs.

They are still terrible.

Why, precisely, are they so terrible?

They have no spirit and no haste. As if that weren’t bad enough, they have a stupid amount of crit and mastery.

The person who created this item needs to be flogged. Its very existence insults me.

My top choice consists of the Greaves of the Misguided from Lord Godfrey in Heroic Shadowfang Keep. Spirit! Haste! Two sockets!

The Fetish Greaves have 21 intellect more than the Greaves of the Misguided, 209 crit, 171 mastery, 30 stamina and 60 more armor.

The Greaves of the Misguided, on the other hand, have 202 haste and 162 spirit.

But Kurn, you say, we can just reforge that nasty, nasty mastery off the Fetish Greaves, right?

Wrong. Assuming you want to reforge to spirit, you want as much of it as you can when you reforge. So because reforging is 40% of the stat, you want to reforge the larger stat to get more bang for your reforging buck.

40% of 171 mastery is 68.4, which the game will round down to 68.

40% of 209 crit is 83.6, which the game will round up to 84.

Thus, to optimize the pants by reforging towards a better secondary stat, like spirit, you would want to reforge the crit instead of the mastery, giving you an extra 16 spirit (or haste).

That leaves you with a massive 171 mastery. It makes me feel dirty not to reforge mastery, but reforging the crit here is the right call.

It’s also why those pants are complete garbage when compared with the Greaves of the Misguided. I would even choose the very lackluster Legguards of the Gentle from Justice Points over the Fetish Greaves. Like the Fetish Greaves and the Greaves of the Misguided, the Legguards of the Gentle have two sockets. Unlike the Fetish Greaves, they have 192 spirit and 172 mastery. That mastery can be safely reforged to haste, because we like spirit, so we don’t want to touch the 192 spirit at all. The mastery will end up being about 69 haste, which is still better than the Fetish Greaves, both in terms of spirit and haste.

So avoid the Fetish Greaves unless you are absolutely desperate and then keep running Heroic SFK anyways!

Okay, on to the drops!

Jan’alai drops Boots of Bad Mojo. Surprisingly, these are an outstanding option, what with the spirit, the haste and the gem socket. If you’re poor or don’t have the Valor Points (soon to be Justice Points in 4.2) to afford the Eternal Pathfinders, these are great. Even if you CAN afford the Eternal Pathfinders, these are still great boots.

I personally prefer the Eternal Pathfinders. It’s just a bit more intellect and you won’t find a better pair of boots in regular-mode Tier 11 raid content. Unlike the Eternal Pathfinders, the Fetish Greaves, which have more intellect than the Greaves of the Misguided, will be replaced in T11 raid content. The Eternal Pathfinders will not be, not until you get Heroic Omnotron Defense System down and you feel dirty and guilty for taking the heroic Life Force Chargers.

The spirit that exists on the Boots of Bad Mojo  is lovely, but after reforging the crit on the Valor Point boots, the ~92 spirit should not be terribly missed when using the Eternal Pathfinders, particularly once you’re gearing up in a raid.

The Boots of Bad Mojo are definitely a great piece, but only if you don’t have access to the Eternal Pathfinders or spirit is a serious issue for you.

Up next… Bracers of Hidden Purpose drop from Akil’zon. While gearing up Madrana, I had terrible luck in Grim Batol (both regular and heroic) and the Deadmines when trying to find bracers. Erudax was a stingy bastard for me on Madrana and I only ever saw the Gearbreaker bracers once. As if that weren’t bad enough, it took me nine kills to get the Shackles of the End of Days from Cho’gall. Surprisingly, also a stingy bastard.

Thus, I went from 316 bracers to 359 bracers on Madrana. No joke. (The baby pally was fortunate enough to get the bracers from Erudax on her first heroic Grim Batol after having run it on regular once.) That means that these would be GREAT, even if they sucked. Which they don’t, by the way. Bracers of Hidden Purpose can (and should) get the crit reforged to 48 spirit.

So definitely pick up the Bracers of Hidden Purpose until Cho’gall releases his grip on some sweet bracers for you.

How about rings? Do you need a ring? The Soul Drain Signet is perfect! It drops from Hex Lord Malacrass and is a fantastic ring to take with you into raid content.

Finally, what about a weapon? Daakara drops the Amani Scepter of Rites. A solid piece, despite the mastery. Grab it unless you have something of a higher ilvl.

And that’s about it of interest for us in Zul’Aman.

Zul’Gurub Holy Paladin Gear (4.1)

Ah, Zul’Gurub. My first raid instance outside of Upper Blackrock Spire! How I miss those bijous and coins and hilariously bad loot tables…

Ahem. Sorry. Right, on to holy paladin stuff in ZG!

While it’s not ideal, the Signet of Venoxis is a decent choice. The mastery can, and should be, reforged to  48 spirit. Rings are all over the place, to be honest — there are a lot of choices. This is a fairly cheap one in terms of in-game gold or Justice/Valor Points spent, so if it drops, from Venoxis, of course, snag it.

How about a shield? The Zulian Ward from Jin’do is okay, but it’s strictly okay. Why? No spirit. No gem socket. The Elementium Stormshield blows it away. If there’s no way you can get an Elementium Stormshield, this is a good runner up, but aim for the crafted shield.

Zanzil will drop a helm. The Plumed Medicine Helm is … well, it’s full of mastery is what it is. Sad panda. It’s still not awful, mostly due to the spirit and the fact that it has a meta socket. It’s only one of three pre-raid helms that have a meta socket. I still prefer Crown of the Blazing Sun from the Justice Point vendor, but if you’re short on points or this drops, grab it if you don’t have a 346 or higher helm with a meta socket.

If someone in your run has at least 225 Archaeology, you can summon an Edge of Madness boss. If you get Wushoolay, you have a chance at Troll Skull Chestplate. Given the plethora of choices at the 346 level, plus the fact that the Breastplate of Avenging Flame drops off of Magmaw in Blackwing Descent, the Troll Skull Chestplate is strictly “if you really can’t get lucky on a drop and can’t get to Revered with Earthen Ring” material.

Lastly, if you do ZG, you may come across the Spiritcaller Cloak as a trash drop. This is BOE (Bind on Equip) so even if you’re not in there as your healer, you can try to win it. No haste, but it’s a nice spirit option. Bear in mind that when 4.2 drops and you “need” a BOE, it will become soulbound to you, so watch out for that!

Don’t forget to read up on my pre-T11 loot list and my T11 loot list as well! (Bear in mind both are slightly out of date.) If you want to see what Madrana’s sporting these days, check it out here: http://www.chardev.org/?profile=5305

New computer, baby pally update and such.

Well, one thing Archaeology has going for it is that I get time to write stuff (blog posts, forum posts, responses to people’s PMs and emails) while flying back and forth across Kalimdor in search of Tol’Vir sites for the Ring of the Boy Emperor.

At any rate, I ordered a new computer in early April. It arrived on May 25th. It’s an Alienware from Dell and I will, at this time, ask you to refrain from criticizing my decision to get a pre-made (albeit custom-built) machine and for choosing to get it from Dell. (I know all of the above can be polarizing topics.)

I adore it.

I have two 23″ screens, 9 GB of RAM, dual 1GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 (SLI enabled), a regular 1TB HD and a 300GB 10k RPM HD (Dayden – I was obviously wrong and was looking at one of the 17 different builds I’d assembled before placing the order.).

It’s awesome.

Let’s be clear, here. I have been playing WoW on a laptop with an integrated video card for pretty much the entirety of the last five and a half years. Exceptions have included stints of housesitting for my parents and two short periods of time where I raided from an internet cafe because my laptop(s) had to go to the shop for various reasons.

Playing with spell details up is insane. Water is GORGEOUS in this game and I never knew! How smooth things are, when I can experience them at 60 FPS or higher as opposed to my traditional 7-12 FPS! And SHADOWS.

So, as you can imagine, I am super excited about my purchase and even MORE excited to raid on this thing!

So far, I’ve done Magmaw, ODS, Chim, Maloriak  on official raid nights on the pally (all but ODS on heroic) and Halfus, V&T and Council (with many Cho’gall attempts) on Monday night on the hunter. (Hilarious! I am not completely huntarded!)

The changes are amazing. Dark Sludge is really easily visible. Blaze and shadow crash are easy to avoid. I cannot WAIT to do Atramedes and Nefarian on my new computer. CANNOT WAIT.

And in the meantime, I’ve hit 85 on my baby paladin. I basically did Uldum for the Ramkahen rep and have ignored any other quests (except the various quests to open the portal to Twilight Highlands, plus Crucible of Carnage) and have randomed my way to 85 by way of healing.

A lot of groups are filled with fail. Fail failfailfailfailfafwftgtwfgishf.

Ahem.

People who can’t do Corla’s beams, people whose pets are on aggressive, people who don’t understand how the pyramid packs (damn you, Majik) work in Vortex Pinnacle…

However, there are the occasional groups who are AWESOME. Tanks who ask about my mana and ask if I need CC, skilled DPS who can zerg the last guy in Blackrock Caverns while pulling the adds off JUST long enough for me to heal the tank…

Some very pro groups and some very fail groups.

The baby pally, who still needs a self-deprecating nickname, is gearing up nicely and has 7 346/359 pieces already.

Erudax, in Grim Batol, has already denied me his bracers (333 on normal) once. We’ll see if this gets to be a trend…

So that’s going nicely. I’ve even livestreamed a few times: http://www.livestream.com/kurnmogh

In other news, Apotheosis had a rough week last week, failing to repeat on heroic Magmaw or heroic Atramedes. The former due to a lot of mistakes, the latter because we ran out of time.

This week, we walked in and one-shot heroic Magmaw.

I’ll take it. >.>

And speaking of Apotheosis, June 1st is a fourth anniversary! Granted, we weren’t really a guild, per se, during most of Wrath, but we’ve been a guild since October or November of 2010 and we were certainly kicking back in Burning Crusade. So it’s time to celebrate what we’ve accomplished together and remember the laughter we’ve had during the last several months. I’m planning a retrospective that includes videos (!) and the like. I just need to get videos to render properly and finish going through some screenshots. Should be fun and hopefully done this weekend at the latest.

Having responded to most of my outstanding PMs and emails and having done about as much archaeology as I can stomach for now, I’m going to head to bed, but that’s what’s up with me, lately.

Upcoming blog post topics include: keys/attunement, ZA/ZG gear and T12 gear. Probably not in that order.

4.2 PTR Update – Word of Glory Buffed

While I have my own personal thoughts about how 4.2 will make T11 content easier by modifying a ton of encounters and the like, the major thing for holy paladins in this latest update from Blizzard is a single sentence long:

Walk in the Light now improves Word of Glory healing by 30% in addition to its current effects.

Walk in the Light is one of the passives we get for choosing the holy specialization, so all holy paladins will have this.

My first thought upon reading the update was “well, there goes LoD/Beacon healing!”

But then, I decided to do the math.

Of course, I ran into a snafu with the math, as is what usually happens to me when I attempt to do “math stuff”.

I wanted to go back in the logs and pull the numbers for a 3HP Light of Dawn cast on six targets and being redirected to the Beacon and add that up, then look at a 3HP Word of Glory heal and then look at what a 3HP Word of Glory heal + 30% would look like. (Bear in mind that the LoD is cast while glyphed, as is the WoG.)

Only, when I went to look at the logs, the numbers didn’t add up. There’s all kinds of math that is not making sense, primarily because of Divinity and Field Dressing. So bear in mind that although the transfer heals are NOT exactly 50% of the LoD heal, this is due to the tank’s talents and the amounts are correct, although I’m not sure why certain heals are double-dipping and certain heals are not.

[23:41:34.945] Madrana Protector of the Innocent Madrana +3992
[23:41:35.218] Madrana Light of Dawn Enhancement Shaman +6506
[23:41:35.218] Madrana Light of Dawn Feral Druid +7943
[23:41:35.218] Madrana Light of Dawn Resto Shaman +6670
[23:41:35.218] Madrana Light of Dawn Disc Priest +6608
[23:41:35.218] Madrana Light of Dawn Frost DK +*9951*
[23:41:35.218] Madrana Light of Dawn Frost DK +6506
[23:41:35.452] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Warrior +0 (O: 1996)
[23:41:35.890] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Warrior +0 (O: 3448)
[23:41:35.890] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Warrior +0 (O: 3508)
[23:41:35.890] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Warrior +0 (O: 3535)
[23:41:35.890] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Warrior +0 (O: 3503)
[23:41:35.890] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Warrior +0 (O: 5274)
[23:41:35.890] Madrana Beacon of Light Prot Warrior +0 (O: 3448)

So on that one Light of Dawn, the following healing went to the raid: 44,184

The following healing went to the tank, including Protector of the Innocent’s transfer: 24,712

Now a look at a 3HP Word of Glory on a target that also has a 6% buff to healing received:

[23:39:33.759] Madrana Word of Glory Prot Paladin +20306

So a 6-target, 3HP Light of Dawn heal will hit the beacon target for more than a single 3HP Word of Glory. This much, we already knew, and many people, including my buddy and fellow holy paladin, Walks, do this very well.

If, however, we add a flat 30% extra healing to Word of Glory (and this could be the way it’s calculated — but it may not be!) we get:

20306 x 0.3 = 6091.8

6091.8 + 20306 = 26397.8 = 26398 healing to the Word of Glory target.

This dwarfs that 24712 heal via Beacon transfer, even with the Protector of the Innocent thrown in. This is 26398 without factoring in another 2k (1996) from Protector of the Innocent.

For healing on your beacon target, assuming this change stays in the game through the PTR period into live, and assuming I’ve done my math right, Word of Glory will become the best way to get the most healing done to your Beacon target.

Word of Glory will not be the best way to get the most overall healing done, as you’ll still do a good amount of healing to your beacon target AND heal the raid, using Light of Dawn. If the raid is taking damage, that is.

So, a Word of Glory buff is almost certainly going to be viewed as a “nerf” to the LoD/Beacon style of healing. Leave it to paladins to see a buff as a nerf, eh? ;)