Paladins and buffs and groups, oh my!

So I realized today that it’s been forever since I updated this blog and didn’t talk about my guild. Back when I started it, I had all KINDS of conversational topics that I wanted to use to inform people about various misconceptions and such.

But I promptly forgot them all.

Until tonight! Tonight, I was reminded about paladins and their blessings and how they work completely differently from any other buff in the game, basically. I don’t generally think about this, because, well, I play a paladin daily. So I know how it works, and take for granted that others do too, because my guild was basically built on holy paladins being the core of the healers. So every learned about pally buffs early on.

But now, you see, I’ve taken my holy priest and gone forth and joined a raiding guild on Proudmoore. Without giving up my guild on Eldre’Thalas. In fact, Apotheosis (my E’T guild), is still my priority, but I thought I could relax and have fun with the priest by raiding content I already know in a guild that’s trying to work its way back to being 3/4 in TK and 5/6 of SSC.

The inspiration for today’s post came when I heard a mage calling for Salv on “Group 1” over Vent.

Ladies and gentlemen, paladin buffs, also known as blessings and greater blessings, just plain don’t work like that.

Unlike every other buff in the game which can be applied to a group with a reagent, greater blessings get cast on all the members of a single class in that party or raid, REGARDLESS of what group they’re in.

The nightmare for paladins is, say, one or two paladins in a raid and then resto, balance AND feral druids or elemental, enhancement AND resto shammies or even ret, prot AND holy pallies, because you don’t have enough paladins to cast the greater blessings that would be most useful to each spec of those classes.

We can, of course, buff anyone with a single, 10-minute regular (simple) blessing. It’s can be a bit of a pain to keep refreshing, though, if your pally isn’t a whiz with PallyPower, or isn’t using it, so paladins want to figure out who is going to benefit most from various blessings regardless of spec and then give out those greater blessings before replacing them with the simple blessings that are more appropriate for that person’s spec.

Example: Two paladins in the raid and three warriors — two tanks and one DPS.

Kings, obviously, to increase the health to the tanks and increase their dodge, armor, etc, which will also increase strength and crit (through a slight agility boost) to boost the DPS warrior’s damage.

Light is sort of out of the question here, because only two paladins would benefit from it and no other healers would. So we think about Might. Might would work okay to help increase threat for the tanks and damage for the DPS warrior too, right? Right.

But the DPS warrior most definitely needs Salvation. So we cast Kings on the warriors and Might on the warriors and keep refreshing a simple Salvation on the DPS warrior. (Smart DPS warriors will choose Kings over Might because they should have enough strength and agility stacked that the 10% bonus to both will override a basic boost to AP.)

Example: One paladin in the raid and two druids — one resto, one moonkin.

Since druids, like priests, can have aggro issues with regards to healing (Subtlety talents are NOT all they’re cracked up to be!), perhaps the wisest choice here would be to buff the druids with Salvation. The moonkin won’t pull aggro through critting a billion times and the tree shouldn’t pull aggro even with rolling lifeblooms on several targets. Of course, if you’re going into a mana-intensive fight, there’s always the possibility that Wisdom would be better for the druids, but most of the time, Salvation is the buff you don’t want to do without on any class except hunters. (Because they pull with misdirects and have a 30 second cooldown on a full aggro dump.)

So before you go off half-cocked and make your paladins wish they had rolled a class that never buffs (<coughroguescough>) by calling for a blessing by group number, take a look at your raid. Take a look at your situation. Are you a hybrid? Is there another of your class performing a different role than you?

Alternatively, if your paladin just plain isn’t buffing and refuses to after being asked politely, tell him or her to go roll a rogue if they don’t want to buff and go find yourself a new pally. Many of us know what buffs would be most beneficial in many situations and are happy to hand out buffs. You should trust our judgment unless you’re absolutely positive that you know better. :)

Long Story Short (too late):

Pally buffs go by CLASS, not by GROUP, and we hate hybrids (yes, even other paladins) for performing different roles because it screws with our blessings.