Comfortable with my Class

On Tuesday night, Apotheosis got Heroic Beth’tilac 25 down.

Dar, one of our resto shaman, had posted to say she wasn’t going to be there, which left me with a difficult decision: who was going to heal Dar’s people in the northwest? For 28 attempts, Dar had dutifully healed that particular corner.

In order for it to go as smoothly as possible, I wanted to make as few major changes as I could.

What did that mean? That meant that I was going to take her spot.

I got to heal our moonkin, Hitoku and, lucky me, Majik, my caster officer and my co-host over at Blessing of Frost.

(The “lucky me” was sarcasm. If you couldn’t tell. ;))

So, for 28 attempts prior to Tuesday, I was essentially healing the ground tank, keeping an eye on Dar and other healers, taunting spinners down and generally watching everything, as a raid leader is prone to doing. I had never assigned myself to a cave and, to be honest, I would be happy if I never had to do so again… But I digress.

It took us 10 pulls to kill Beth’tilac Tuesday, bringing us to 3/7 25-man heroics. For each of those 10 pulls, I was healing my cave group, although my cave group migrated from northwest to southeast at one point. Jasyla said she liked that little northwest corner better and I could totally see why. The southeast corner is cramped and crowded!

Anyhow, during the first attempt, I lost Majik. Then, several other people died. So it wasn’t totally my bad, but I vowed to do better.

In the span of 10 pulls, ladies and gentlemen, I became a cave-healer pro. I kicked some ass. Not only did I keep my targets alive, but on try 10, our kill, approximately 97% of the Engorged Broodlings that spawned wanted to blow me up. I am not joking. Better still, I have it all frapsed and it’s embedded below. (Bear in mind that in P2, my computer suddenly decided to violently revolt and I experienced some tremendous lag and loss of framerate. It’s not the best video ever, but it is our first kill.)


Kurn, you may be wondering, what on earth does any of this have to do with being comfortable with your class?

Good question!

On the kill attempt, I was constantly the target of the broodlings, as I mentioned. Walks was healing up in the northeast and one thing he had been saying earlier in the night was that if a broodling was heading for someone at southeast, there was no way he could stop them, since they’re up on some damn ledge. So he took to calling out “ledge”.

Of course, on the kill attempt, his broodlings came at me frequently. So I was always calling out “got it”, while running to the ledge where the spiders come down from, while ALSO trying to heal Majik and Hitoku and, you know, trying not to kill myself while doing so.

I think it was only after the whole raid was over for the night that I realized that there was no way in hell I would have been able to manage all that crap (seriously, FOURTEEN broodlings hit me!) AND keep Maj and Hitoku alive if I weren’t extremely comfortable with how my class works.

It’s almost instinctual after a certain point. Granted, my instincts aren’t always spot-on or great or whatever, as you can tell since I do let Judgements of the Pure drop off and don’t use my Guardian and the like on the kill (which I’ll blame on the fact that my computer was about to throw up on me) but they really served me well over the whole raid night. At various points during the entire night, I popped cooldowns appropriately, even using Lay on Hands on Hitoku at one point. I figured out where my Beacon of Light was best put to use (sadly, on Majik) and basically, that was all the real thinking I had to do about how to heal my group.

Venom Rain? Aura Mastery. I’m low on health? Pop my bubble to buy myself some extra time to heal up my group members before turning to myself. Need to regen mana? Use my shiny Fiery Quintessence and pop Divine Plea. See 3 bright orange beams on me from Engorged Broodlings? Don’t panic, use instant heals like Holy Shock and Word of Glory until I’m in position to interrupt one and can start casting again.

Paladins have changed substantially since the original World of Warcraft game came out. Holy paladins have changed and evolved right along with the other specs. While we still need to stand still and cast to be most effective, Holy Radiance (well, the current iteration, not the 4.3 version!), Holy Shock, Word of Glory and a Flash of Light with Infusion of Light proc are all things we can do on the run. Even a 1-2 point Word of Glory can be useful (you can see in the video I made some use of that) if you’re on the move and someone needs a heal ASAP.

Giving Divine Protection a shorter cooldown for Holy (due to Paragon of Virtue) is great and it came in handy all through the night when magical damage (which includes nature damage, which is what those nasty little Engorged Broodlings emit) was troubling me. No problem — Shift-A (my keybind for Divine Protection) to the rescue!

During the night, apart from maybe the first pull or two, despite having absolutely no experience healing where I was healing and healing the people I was healing, I felt calm and in control of myself.  I really do attribute my ability to adapt to cave healing to knowing what all my buttons do. The only thing I didn’t use duing the night was Hand of Freedom and I could have used it when I was stuck in the Volatile Poison on the ground at one point on our kill.

I encourage everyone to take a second look at all your abilities. Not just the ones in the holy tree, look at prot and ret as well. Read through your spellbook and be sure you understand what your abilities do. Armed with that knowledge, you can walk into a fight and adapt much more quickly than you would otherwise. Don’t forget about your Hand spells, your procs, your set-it-and-forget-its (like Holy Radiance and Guardian of Ancient Kings).

Paladins are very strong healers and not restricted to tank healing. Not only that, but we have a ton of utility, so don’t forget to use those utility spells! Once you know exactly what you’re capable of doing, you’ll react with your instincts, leaving your brain to sit there and worry about where you should be standing, rather than what spell to use.

(And you can always read through my second revamped Holy How-To Guide to help you out!)

7 Replies to “Comfortable with my Class”

  1. Our raid has ended up using paladins as cave healers as well. We’re well suited to spot healing multiple targets taking spike damage and our utility is helpful in a variety of “oh, crap” moments which are not uncommon with all the movement and fixated Broodlings.

    I must say, however, that healing the web team – solo – on Heroic Beth 25 is the most satisfying thing I’ve done this tier, even if it wasn’t part of the comp used on our kills.

  2. Joe Ego – I was really reluctant to go, but I felt obliged to put myself in a cave healer’s shoes for at least one night of attempts when one of them wasn’t there. While I wouldn’t say it was satisfying, I am pretty pleased with myself and how it turned out.

    Hang on, you solo-healed the web team?! How many people did you have up there? On our kill, we had 4 DPS, the tank and a disc priest solo-healing up there (along with an enhancement shaman using healing rain and such).

    For most satisfying moment so far this tier… For me, it’s got to be getting Alysrazor down on normal, back when she wasn’t a pushover for my raid team. I LOVE the finesse of tank healing on that. It makes me happy. :)

  3. Grats on H Beth’tilac!

    Cant wait to start on Heroic this errr next lock out. Unfort due to RL (aka key people not being available) we hit the nerf…

    The nerfs made the Rag kill very very…unmemorable. Oh well.

    But Heroics should add the challenge back :)

    It’s funny you mention comfortable with one’s class. On our Rag kill raid lock out…I think i healed 1 fight that entire night. Due to the changes….many of the fights are a waste 3 healing them almost.
    Shannox, Beth, Baleroc, Rhyo, Rag – I went Shadow…now…I can play it in Heroics but in a raid I think i did ok. But it defintely thru me off. I definitely at points tunnel visioned into rotations etc…I got knocked off a ledge in Rag lol.

    However I did get to heal Domo…and I was like night and day. I was not worried about rotation or soaking dmg with dispersion. I thru out PoH’s etc and it was wonderful.

    Also nerfed Alysrazor….so sad….I think at one point we had 3 DPS and a tank in the air cause the hatchlings died so fast…

  4. Does Aura Mastery work on venom rain?
    I don’t think we are even going to try heroic Bethtilac. Our target right now is to try to complete the Legendary Staff for our Boomkin before 4.3 comes out. That means we are having a go at heroics, but making sure we clear everything including Raggy every week, rather than have a lot of wipe nights on heroic setting.

  5. I’ve commented a bit on this on the Melting Pot (yeah, you’re featured again :) – going live at 1am GMT), but this is a really interesting post.

    It seems to me that you’re talking about Unconcious Competence, basically – the final stage of learning a skill, as with the level that most people get to on driving or walking. Before that level, where I think most players are, you can perform well, but you don’t have the spare awareness left to focus on your surroundings and be creative with your ability. After you get to the point where your core abilities are unconcious, you can do pretty stunning things.

    I suspect the phrase “comfortable with your class” is going to be well-used in future :)

  6. Apologies if I’m talking up the damage intake on Beth. We’ve been working on Heroic for a couple weeks and took the kill in a few pulls after the nerf. We figured to be a day or two from the pre-nerf kill.

    @AliPally: Aura Mastery does work on Beth’s rain. The issue becomes where you’re positioned when you use it. Cave teams will likely be out of range the entire time, so their healers are still poorly off. NOTE Aura Mastery DOES NOT work on Ember Flare in phase 2. I’d bet it doesn’t work up on the web in phase 1 either, but it is much more useful for the rain anyway.

    @Kurn: Our web team commonly consists of a tank and 3 dps. We wanted to make sure the Drones died before they had a chance to go back up. We healed with 3 cave healers, 1 middle raid healer, and 2 web healers.

    On a few of the pre-nerf pulls I solo healed the 5man web team (sometimes accidentally when the 2nd healer fell through). I managed to work my mana consumption down to 1/3 a bar per session. I think I could have done it with another couple dps if everyone positioned well for me, and definitely now post-nerf.

    Beacon of Light and self-healing are just so much hax for the web. DL on the tank and HL on everyone else. Radiance & LoD for well positioned DPS. It is mana intensive and you’ve got no backup, but it is a huge rush.

    Until your tank falls through. :P

    I was surprised so many guilds stuck with Normal Beth the week of the nerf. For anyone who was killing Heroic Shannox and progressing on later bosses, the difference after the nerf is huge. Before the nerf we were 2/7 Heroic and about a week from 3 or 4/7. That last week when killing Beth Normal we were seriously telling the RL we would 3 heal the fight. He made us take 4 to play it safe.

  7. I’ve just been getting back into healing on my paladin in PvE – I’ve not done any since Wrath – however I have been healing battlegrounds. It is amazing how comfortable with paladin healing has become largely from doing it in PvP – I use most of the toolset (although likewise I under-use my cooldowns).

    Not quite at the same level but I hit that comfort point in a ZG on the weekend on the pull before the panther boss which requires some cc – we had one boomkin with entangling roots and that was it – and they put that on the hunter… we didn’t wipe – it ended up just the tank and I – me running around like mad healing with instants where I could, stunning, interrupting and adding what damage I could. I think I even remember to use Hand of Sacrifice!

    I’m actually really glad I followed the path I did i.e. going from PvP to PvE – there is still an adjustment of the mindset (i.e. holy light instead of FoL… and that Holy Radiance is not just about run speed). I still have a lot to learn particularly about healing AoE damage and learning the damage intake of tanks – but it has invigorated my paladin again (although I’ve also learnt why my guildies hate healing in LFD 5 mans – I’ve not yet learnt the art of healing players through stupid and really poor dps)

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