My Chimaeron Job, Spec & Glyphs

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

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

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

So why give the paladins group assignments?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to Wear? Kurn's T11/359 Loot List

Well, here we go with another loot list post. Why? Because I find myself in 25-man raids with bosses dying and loot dropping and I have absolutely no idea what I WANT.

So I decided to go researching and write up the results of my research for you fine people. Please bear in mind that this is all my opinion and is skewed towards what I prefer on my gear. This is not a definitive best-in-slot guide!

Secondary stats I want to prioritize, in a rough preference from most-preferred to least:
Spirit: God help me, I never thought I’d want spirit as much as I do now, but, dangit, I need more spirit.
Haste: Things are just so damn slow, it feels like I’m healing through molasses.
Crit: Given very little overheal these days, crit’s a fine stat. I’ll equip it, but I don’t like to seek it out.
Mastery: While World of Logs more or less handles our mastery nowadays, I don’t think we’ll see too much from our mastery until our gear naturally has more on it, so I won’t turn down mastery gear, but I’ll probably reforge it to add spirit or haste, if I can.

Things to keep in mind:
– Our 4pc T11 bonus is pretty awesome. It’s Radiant: Grants 1620 Spirit while Holy Radiance is active.
– Our T11 gloves and legs can drop from Pit Lord Argaloth in Baradin Hold OR can be purchased via Valor Points (2200 for legs, 1650 for gloves)
– Our T11 chest can be purchased via Valor Points (2200)
– Our T11 shoulders and helm require tokens that drop from Cho’gall at the end of Bastion of Twilight and Nefarian at the end of Blackwing Descent

Once again, I’ll be relying heavily on Vile Pickle’s Best in Slot guide to help me with my decisions, as their stats are, by default, weighed fairly close to what I’m looking for.

So, the first thing I did was head to Vile Pickle and remove Hard Mode and 10-man from the list, since I’m not doing hard modes and I’m only doing 25-man raids. (Even though the loot’s the same.) This has the unintended consequence of removing heroic 5-man options from the list, but since this is a look at 359 gear, this shouldn’t pose too much of an issue.

Helm: Well, I’m not an engineer, so that leaves me with Glaciated Helm, which has some AWESOME stats. Look at that, 178 haste, 30 spirit socket bonus… really nice. It drops from the Twilight Ascendant Council, the third boss in Bastion of Twilight.

The alternative here is our tier helm, the Reinforced Sapphirium Headguard. But the helm requires that pesky token that drops off Nefarian. Hm. Third boss in Bastion of Twilight or sixth boss in Blackwing Descent… Yeah, I’ll probably aim for the Glaciated Helm and try to pick up the token off Nefarian when we get there, depending on how the rest of my gear looks.

Also, note that the non-set helm has haste versus the tier helm’s crit.

Neck: Wyrmbreaker’s Amulet, from Halfus Wyrmbreaker in Bastion of Twilight, has 127 spirit and crit, vs. Valiona’s Medallion (from Valiona and Theralion in Bastion of Twilight) which has 127 haste and 127 mastery. I think I’ll be aiming for Wyrmbreaker’s because, as I was saying earlier, I need more spirit. But also, think of all the casters who will want the Medallion. Resto and Ele shaman, Balance and Resto druids, mages, warlocks, all kinds of priests… yeah. I’m going to stick to spirit where at least I don’t have to fight with mages and warlocks.

Shoulders: Burden of Mortality from Chimaeron in Blackwing Descent versus our tier shoulders from that token from Cho’gall. Both pieces are roughly equivalent, but the Burden of Mortality won’t add to a really nice 4pc bonus. Since the off-set isn’t absolutely outstanding, I may just wait for the tier shoulders.

Cloak: This is actually what forced me to get on the whole loot list thing, because I found myself with enough Valor Points to buy a cloak.

Heavenly Breeze is the cloak you can buy with 1250 Valor Points. Yay spirit! But… mastery. Blah.

Drape of the Twins, on the other hand, drops from Valiona and Theralion, the second encounter in Bastion of Twilight, and has spirit AND haste. This is definitely my preferred cloak and since we’ve downed Halfus, this is just about accessible to me. So I’m definitely going to save my Valor Points for something else and aim for this. If the weeks go by and this never drops for me or I just never have the priority with our EPGP system, I’ll pick up the Heavenly Breeze.

Chest: Another slot which is prompting me to do my research.

You see, on Magmaw 10, I got the Breastplate of Avenging Flame. It’s perfectly itemized, in my mind. Spirit, haste, two sockets… Beautiful piece.

Compare it with our T11 chest and you’ll see there’s 30 more spirit on the tier, along with 188 more Mastery, whereas the non-set piece has 218 more haste.

The choice, to me, is clear: if I’m going for a four-piece bonus, I’m not going to get the chest. I’m going to keep my Breastplate of Avenging Flame. No way am I giving up 218 haste for 188 mastery and 30 more spirit.

Bracers: Oh God, please let there be decent bracers… And they’re not awesome, but they’re not terrible. And they drop from Cho’gall. Awesome. So I have to clear Bastion of Twilight to get a chance at the Shackles of the End of Days? Peachy.

Whoever was in charge of designing plate bracers REALLY fell down on the job and needs to be fired. And then we need more bracers available. Also, wands, because my poor guildies are suffering through Deadmines over and over again. But I digress.

Gloves: Maloriak, one of the possible third bosses of Blackwing Descent, drops the Flash Freeze Gauntlets which are very pretty and worth picking up unless you already have your tier gloves through Valor Points or from Argaloth. You’ll probably want both of them, to be honest, for different gear sets, with the 4pc T11 bonus on fights where you’re using a ton of Holy Radiance, just to help offset the cost. The Flash Freeze Gauntlets are beautifully itemized and our gloves… well, maybe less so. Again, I think it’ll take some time for data on our mastery to really let us know at what level, if any, our mastery will be important.

The World Keeper’s Gauntlets are a great rep reward from being exalted with the Earthen Ring, but the Flash Freeze are, IMHO, better itemized and the tier gloves add to the tier bonuses, leaving this pair of gloves out.

Belt: Are you exalted with Ramkahen yet? Get to it, if you’re not. The Sun King’s Girdle is the best ilvl 359 belt you can get, IMHO. It’s also the easiest one to acquire, unless you can buy or craft a Light Elementium Belt but the Sun King’s Girdle has better stats than the crafted one and has a socket.

Legs: Man, oh man, the Legguards of the Emerald Brood, which drop off of Halfus Wyrmbreaker, are great! Two sockets, spirit, haste… and they’re not our set legs. I think that you ought to either pick these legs or the chest from Magmaw to be your non-set piece, whichever you end up seeing drop first. Our tier legs cost 2200 Valor Points or can drop off Argaloth. They’re not bad, but I really think the haste over the crit make the non-set pants better.

Ideally, I’d wear the non-set chest, gloves and legs, with just the helm and shoulders equipped for the 5% extra crit on Holy Light and, on fights when I’m running out of mana or need to pop Holy Radiance on cooldown, no question, I’d equip the set legs and gloves. I think, anyways.

Boots: Eh, you know, Life Force Chargers, which drop from the Omnotron Defense System, leave me cold. 169 spirit is great, but 149 mastery? Feh. The Eternal Pathfinders have no spirit, but have haste and crit, and are available from the vendors for 1650 Valor Points. I’m seriously considering picking these up as soon as I can. (Me? Bitter about never getting the non-existant Forehadow Steps from Halion? Never.)

Rings: Eesh, there’s a bunch of choices. Here are my top three.

1) Security Measure Alpha from Omnotron. I got this the other night and am pretty pleased with it.

2) Ring of the Boy Emperor from Archaeology is identical to the Signet of the Fifth Circle from Cho’gall and neither are a bad choice.

3) Band of Secret Names is bought with 1250 Valor Points.

Obviously, your choices may vary. Your rings are a great place to either boost a stat you might be lacking or to even out your stats if you’re going for a “less stacked, more balanced” approach to your gear.

Trinkets: A lot of choices here, too.

Before we get into stuff, it should be noted that the Mandala of Stirring Patterns from exalted Tol Barad rep is changing from 321 Spirit and a proc for mastery to a proc for intellect in 4.0.6, according to the patch notes.

Here are my top three choices:

1) Fall of Mortality off of Cho’gall. This is amazing. 321 intellect and a passive equip chance for 1926 Spirit for 15 seconds, which appears to be on a 45s internal cooldown. This is pretty amazing.

2) Darkmoon Card: Tsunami from the Darkmoon Faire. I’m told that although it’s “a chance” to stack the buff, it’s a very short internal cooldown and so keeping the stacks up is pretty easy. This can be likened to Solace of the Defeated from Jaraxxus in Trial of the Crusader.

3) Core of Ripeness is purchased with 1650 Valor Points and is basically an upgraded version of the Figurine – Dream Owl that’s available to Jewelcrafters.

Why not the Jar of Ancient Remedies? It doesn’t have any stats on it. Sure, it grants up to 515 spirit and has an on-use effect, but there’s no passive stats on it at all. I don’t think I’m quite so hard up for spirit that I need 515 spirit at the cost of 321 intellect in one of my trinket slots. Your mileage may vary depending on your regen and bear in mind this is my preference and only my preference!

Weapon: Our weapon choices are limited until we get to Cho’gall or Nefarian or Al’akir, basically. Unless we want to take on the final boss of an instance, we’re stuck hoping for this: Maldo’s Sword Cane. It drops off Blackwing Descent trash.

Or, we could bite the bullet and get the Vicious Gladiator’s Gavel for 2450 Conquest Points, without any arena or battleground rating required.

I shall pass on the latter, pray for the former and settle in for a good long wait for Twilight’s Hammer off of Cho’gall.

Shields: Another bunch of piss-poor selections, to be honest. The Elementium Stormshield is the best, IMHO, at the 359 level, edging out Kingdom’s Heart due to the haste on it, versus the crit from KH. KH drops off Atramedes in Blackwing Descent, by the way.

Relic: We have two major choices here — haste (Relic of Norgannon) or spirit (Relic of Eonar). Both are available for 700 Valor Points.

So there you go, all the gear I’m looking at getting for a 359 gear set.

4.0.6 PTR Changes

Boubouille over at MMO-Champion has listed a bunch of changes for the new PTR, which is testing out 4.0.6.

The changes that directly affect holy paladins are few (as in, 1) but it’s a buff, at least, not a nerf.

* Divine Plea now gives you 12% of your total mana over 9 sec, up from 10% of your total mana over 15 sec.

* Light of Dawn base healing has been reduced by 40%, from 1008 – 1124 to 605 – 675.

* Tower of Radiance no longer affects Holy Light.

The change to Divine Plea is a good one, probably meant to encourage us to remember that it doesn’t completely suck. The increase in mana gained is nice enough, but packing it into 9 seconds is the real buff. That’s only 9 seconds with 50% reduced healing done. This can mean a great reduction in the use of /cancelaura macros AND a reduction in cooldowns being blown in order to counter Divine Plea’s healing reduction. 9 seconds isn’t very long; there are several moments where you can easily take 9 seconds to do less healing if you need the mana back. If you feel that you can’t do that, for example in the early phases of Halfus, that’s when you blow your cooldowns, since the fight after the first couple of minutes gets easier.

Also, the actual patch notes are out. Here’s a link to them at MMO-Champion.

Of particular interest to us:

Glyph of Divine Plea now adds 6% mana, for a total of 18% over 9 seconds.

So that’s 18% mana over 9 seconds, glyphed, instead of 15% mana over 15 seconds.

That’s a positive change and I’m pleased to see it on the PTR.

*** Edit *** For crying out loud, three separate updates with paladin stuff? Really?

There was another push of updates last night while I was raiding.

General Paladin Stuff:

* Inquisition is no longer dispellable.
* Rebuke can now be trained by all paladins at level 54. Existing characters will need to visit their trainer, even if they had talented Rebuke before.

We rarely use Inquisition, but there are some cases where we probably should (Halfus post-enrage when you’re spamming the crap out of Exorcism?). But Rebuke? That’s the new-with-Cataclysm retribution talent that is an interrupt. Baseline now? That’s EXCELLENT news. I know pally tanks are OVER THE MOON about this. I’m pleased to have the utility, myself.

Holy
Denounce now has a spell overlay.

I don’t spec for Denounce, although I’m thinking of having a second spec with it for burn phases on Magmaw, for instance. A spell overlay (“power aura”) for it could come in handy.

With regards to the other listed changes, no worries, we are NOT being nerfed again. The Light of Dawn nerf is simply the official change for what they’ve already implemented. Same with Tower of Radiance.

So it’s a pretty boring PTR for us PTR that’s not too game-changing for holies, but it’s definitely a positive PTR for paladins as a whole, particularly with the decision to make Rebuke baseline.

Busy! Productive!

Monday morning, I woke up and promptly recorded Episode Five of Blessing of Frost with Majik, which I need to edit after I do this post.

Then, I went out to meet Ophelie from The Bossy Pally and the Giant Spoon for coffee. She was in the area visiting friends and was kind enough to ask me if I wanted to hang out, so we settled on Monday afternoon. 48 minutes after I finished the podcast with Majik, I arrived at the coffee shop and just a couple of minutes later, Ophelie arrived.

We had a great chat — from Canada and Quebec and Newfoundland to TV shows, from holy paladin mechanics to guild stuff, from Matticus and Conquest to Oestrus and Apotheosis. ;) It was a good time!

FOUR hours later, I realized I needed to get going, so I hauled ass and got home in time for my officer meeting which lasted over two and a half hours. It’s our first of the expansion and we got ALL the EPGP crap ironed out by virtue of doing a random regular, which ended up being Stonecore. And we played with the loot mods through the instance.

I’m shocked that it took Daey almost two hours to make the “Why don’t we just frigging /roll for loot?” suggestion that he’s basically famous for. (He suggests it multiple times EVERY expansion and gets shot down… every single time.) I bust out laughing at it, though. It felt like I was home.

So we finished up with EPGP – decided what loot mods to use, precisely, worked out the figures for EP awards and then, the most miraculous thing happened.

Dar actually said she’d update the EPGP post on the forums (which basically had how we do loot organized, but very out of date and not complete — lacking details that we had JUST hammered out tonight).

I nearly fell over in shock. One of my officers. Volunteered. To write an official post on the guild forums. Why I didn’t make Dar an officer during Wrath, I don’t know, but I’m sure as hell glad she threw her name in the hat for Cataclysm!

So she updated and edited my original post, created a new thread, which I just added a couple of things to, then replied to and gave a couple of additional details on standby and such… and that was it for all the EPGP stuff! Ecstasy!

I’ve gone another check of the people who weren’t QUITE up to snuff on my weekend check and written to them, reminding them of what they’re missing. Mostly it’s just enchants that are lacking. I think almost everyone is at the appropriate ilvl of gear we’re requiring (338+) and the ones who are lacking enchants, I put on standby as a temporary measure to remind myself to check their missing enchants before I invite them to the raid tomorrow.

Tomorrow!!!!

The plan:

If we have Tol Barad, Baradin Hold to start with.

Then, Magmaw in Blackwing Descent. If the big worm dies, we go to Omnotron. If Omnotron goes down as well, it’s off to play with Halfus in Bastion of Twilight!

Why those bosses? We have experience, albeit limited, with all of those bosses, so the learning curve won’t be terribly steep. Hopefully.

Anyways, it’s 4:14am and I need to edit Blessing of Frost before I try to get some sleep and then write more stuff on the guild forums. Busy day on Tuesday!

Once a hunter…

This happened back on Thursday, but I felt compelled to write this down somewhere because it delighted me so very much.

We took a ten-man group into Bastion of Twilight to play with Halfus Wyrmbreaker (worst. combo. ever. Slate, Storm and Whelps.) and we got to the enrage, which I view as a moral victory.

The trash, the initial trash, was painful. We wiped a few times on it. The first group, not a problem. But we had trouble pulling the second group without pulling either side.

Finally, I watched my tanks as they pulled and I realized what the issue was. They were cheating to the left side and pulling the left side of trash as well as the second group of central trash.

We released. We ran.

“Stand back,” I said. “I’m pulling.”

“Wait. YOU’RE pulling?!” exclaimed my brother, one of our tanks.

“Yes.”

“Okayyyyy.”

Well, why not, right? I have a 35y range on my judgements, I have a bubble.

So I was on the steps, smack dab in the middle of the staircase and ran up to pull the pat as they turned away.

Et voila. Just pulled those four (or five?) mobs. Ran back and bubbled and that trash group died quickly.

Playing a hunter for five years, even if I don’t raid as one most of the time, has instilled in me good pulling habits. I can pull off “risky” pulls that others dare not attempt because I know how to pull properly. Not to say that my guildies or my tanks that night don’t, but there’s a certain something about knowing the angles and typical mob behaviour that can’t really be adequately communicated. It’s just something you learn.

There was a pull I loved (and hated) in Strat Live. I don’t even know if the pull still exists. It was after the rat cage. There was an Abomination that patted left and right and if you pulled it at the wrong time, you’d get a group of trash as well as the Abom and, back in the day, that was almost certainly a wipe. Nailing that pull took me a long time and a lot of practice, but at a certain point, I was able to snag that Abom perfectly every single time.

I know WHY my tanks kept pulling the sides. They didn’t want to stand right in the middle and risk getting both sides. In their defense, I think the safe zone at the top of the stairs in the beginning of Bastion of Twilight is maybe 5 yards wide. Too far left, you get the left group. Too far right, you get the right group. I was definitely taking a chance in standing in the middle, but my hunter instincts were like “just stand in the middle”. I couldn’t even explain why. I just knew.

There’s a certain je ne sais quoi that you get after playing this game for a while. You might not know the trash at all, but you learn to watch for healing spells on mobs with mana bars. You learn to watch for cleaves on mobs with large weapons. You learn how to position yourself and your group and the mobs for a pull.

It’s like you’re playing pool and you see your opponent trying to sink a ball from across the table. And you know the angle’s not right. It looks okay, but you KNOW that the 4 is not going to get sunk. You KNOW it’s just going to ricochet off the side.

It’s about instincts.

I may not have been on my hunter on Thursday and I don’t even know when or if Kurn will ever see the inside of Bastion of Twilight, but, by golly, making that pull is why I still call myself Kurn. :)

It felt pretty damn awesome. :)

A Word About Lay on Hands

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

I did want to mention something, however.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Open Letter Regarding Armor Class

Dear Citizens of Azeroth,

If you can wear leather, mail or plate, you may have noticed that you could train something called Leather Specialization (or Leather Specialization), Mail Specialization (or Mail Specialization) or Plate Specialization (or Plate Specialization or Plate Specialization) at your trainer. The point of this is to strongly encourage people to wear their maximum armor class, so that warriors no longer desire leather or mail, paladins no longer want mail, druids no longer want cloth and other such things.

Similarly, cloth-wearers may have noticed they have something like Wizardry, which exists solely to allow cloth-wearers to not be penalized for only being able to wear cloth.

Obviously, they never had problems with tanks wanting lower armor class gear. But hunters would use rogue leather, moonkins and resto druids would use priest cloth, holy paladins would constantly use resto shammy mail and such like.

So they fixed it. Add the specializations, bam, problem fixed, because there is NO WAY that any amount of lower armor class gear would ever trump 5% bonus strength, stamina, agility or intellect.

Seriously, think about that. 5% bonus to whatever your most-desired stat is.

So why am I, and others, still seeing holy paladins running around wearing CLOTH and LEATHER and MAIL?!

Stop it.

Right now.

I mean it.

You would be better off wearing three pieces of ret or prot gear, so long as they’re plate, than three well-itemized healing pieces that are cloth, leather or mail. That’s how good the bonus is. 5% intellect not only gets buffed by Blessing of Kings and Mark of the Wild, but also adds to your spellpower and crit. It’s not just adding to your mana pool. Intellect is what we’re made of, people. Take anything you can to add to your intellect. It is your primary stat. And being dressed all in plate? Well, that’s part of what a paladin should be doing.

The same goes for anyone else who isn’t wearing their max armor class in all their slots. Why are you purposely gimping yourself? Why are you losing out on 5% of your best stat?

Sadly, it seems rampant among uneducated holy paladins, though. We can equip all armor classes, so it’s not horribly unusual to see one sporting mail AND plate AND cloth. Which is sad. And tragic.

Like I said before, STOP IT.

Thank you. That is all.

A Tale of a Heroic PUG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crap.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then I realize that Quake spawns adds. Peachy.

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

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

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

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

Everything goes beautifully until Corla, the second boss.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mage apologizes, we give it another shot.

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

Wipe.

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

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

Apologies once more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tower of Radiance Nerf is Intentional

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does this mean?

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

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

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

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

For that matter, why bother getting Tower of Radiance?

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what does this change?

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

In conclusion…

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

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

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

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

Tuesday Terrific-ness

Here’s some random news!

1) A commenter named Imak pointed out the flaw in my math/gem selection in my meta gem post from a couple of weeks ago. I double-checked the math and gem selection today (since I finally had a few free minutes!) and have edited the post. It doesn’t change the post substantially, nor does it alter my choice to want to try out the Revitalizing Shadowspirit Diamond, but my math on the Bracing and Revitalizing was wrong. I was thinking of the old green cut that was intellect/spirit instead of spirit/mastery, but basically thought the gem was intellect/mastery. It’s actually spirit/mastery. Whoopsiedoodle. So that’s fixed. Thanks again to Imak for pointing out my error and I’m sorry it took me forever to actually fix it!

2) Episode 4 of Blessing of Frost is out, guest-starring the tank officer of Apotheosis, Dayden. It comes in at a massive 95 minutes (!) and I assure everyone that our aim is no more than 1h15m for most podcasts. We’ve just had a lot to cover and we’re still finding our rhythm. Anyways, go listen and rate us up on iTunes if you like the show! :)

3) Madrana’s at 84 and 16%. Gotta finish up Deepholm and then go to Uldum to start Ramkahen rep. I’m really looking forward to dungeoning with the guildies, both normals and heroics. (I may be horrified at the possibility of heroic Stonecore, mind you.)

4) I was horrified to learn that the top guild on Eldre’Thalas, the Horde guild Echelon, is already 3/12. Gah. Time to get our asses in gear, even on 10-man. I’ve set up an unofficial 10-man raid for next Tuesday and I don’t even know WHERE we’ll go, but chances are we’ll try out Baradin Hold (is that even the name of it?!) and maybe play in Blackwing Descent. Time to make a splash!

And on that note, I should spend the next while before realms come back up studying strats for various entry-level bosses…