Holy Paladin Roundtable

Oh my God, it’s a post to do with holy paladins! Shocking, I know. ;)

Back on August 4th, Megacode invited me, JoeEgo and Ophelie to join him for a Holy Paladin Roundtable. I got a chance to listen to it earlier this week and enjoyed how it turned out.

The ever-amazing, fantastically-talented Walks even made a sweet graphic about it. You can click the graphic to take you directly to the post on Mega’s blog.

You can also find the Holy Paladin Roundtable over at iTunes if you prefer!

Thanks again to Mega for putting this together. It was great to talk with him, Joe and Ophelie about holy pallies!

Speaking of holy paladins, fear not, I shall be putting together a “oh crap, 5.0 is here, WHAT DO I DO?” guide, coming soon. :)

Change and Leadership

I remarked on Twitter tonight that it’s awfully strange to go from raiding around 15 hours a week throughout the majority of the expansion to raiding for just over 2 hours a week. It really is strange.

The reason I’m only raiding 2 hours a week is because of two reasons:

1) I’m no longer raiding with Choice
2) Apotheosis is full-clearing 8/8 HM in about two hours

Let’s talk about the first point.

I left Choice just after 4.0 hit.

They struggled a bit in T11 content, mostly due to healing issues.

So I did a stupid thing. I rolled another paladin. It actually came from Matt’s idea to clone myself so I could heal for him and I was like “BUT WAIT. CHOICE NEEDS A HEALER.” So I applied and I started raiding with them in early June.

For over a year, I raided three times a week with Apotheosis and twice a week with Choice. I got a little burnt towards the end, but that’s due to other factors, not playing “so much”. While 15 hours a week for me is probably a bit much, 12 hours a week would have been nice. Anyhow, I don’t regret it. I do not recommend doing what I did (raiding with two progression guilds simultaneously, in essence), but damn me, did I ever get GOOD at fights in Firelands and Dragon Soul! Double the chance each week to refine and better my performances, double the chance to learn how to do something. I got REAL good at Heroic Alysrazor, I was reliable on Heroic Majordomo and basically just knew what I was doing all throughout both those tiers. It felt really good.

Like I said, though, I can’t recommend it. It’s tiring, it can be frustrating and sometimes it’s nice to have a real night off. But I don’t regret it. I wouldn’t do it again, mind you, but it worked well for me.

So why am I no longer raiding with them? Well, after some weeks of being stuck on Heroic Spine and such, combined with weeks of fighting the attendance boss, Choice decided to go to a 10-man format. Fugara knows I loathe 10s, so she basically wrote me off the list. That’s right, I was cut! ;) But I let them know I wasn’t interested in continuing in a 10-man format anyhow, but that I’d stick around for two resets on Wednesdays and Mondays for them, in case of attendance issues/etc.

I did a few solid hours of H Spine and H Madness progression (both on 10m, of course) and good gravy, it totally reinforced how I hate 10s…

That said, I stopped raiding with them last week — and they promptly got H Madness, so grats to them. :)

And now to address the second point: Apotheosis is clearing 8/8 HM in about two hours a week. That doesn’t mean that I’m not still spending a LOT of time with this whole transition thing, though. With me stepping down as GM, Raid Leader and basically the recruitment person, plus Majik stepping down as caster lead… yeah.

We’ve decided that Jasyla will be the new guild master of Apotheosis. Sara will be the recruitment officer. Slout will be the new caster lead. And we’ve gotten Chronis to be the new tank lead (a position left unfilled since Dayden stopped tanking for us back in Firelands).

Sara, Slout and Chronis got promoted on Tuesday before the raid and the raid basically proceeded normally. We’ve got a meeting on Thursday for the role officers and we’ve got some new lootmaster shenanigans to handle on Sunday evening, so I have stuff going on.

But all I’m thinking, now that we have a solid launch date and an equally-solid end-of-raiding date, is that “hey, there’s one more lockout done. Just five to go.” We’re going to stop raiding for the expansion after the reset of September 4th is finished. Since we’re clearing in two hours or so, that means just five more Apotheosis raids.

It’s sad. I mean, it’s good, but it’s sad, too. Not exactly bittersweet, but I’m making a huge change in my life by not being a GM and not raiding in the expansion. It’ll be a good thing for me, personally. This job… well, this hobby, really, has become a more-than-full-time job over the last couple of years. Two years ago, I was psyched and excited about rebuilding my guild and bringing my people back home to Eldre’Thalas.

Now, I’m kind of sad that I won’t be a part of the guild’s future success. I’m kind of wistful that I’ve already accomplished most of the game-related things of which I’ll be proudest. There aren’t any real new adventures awaiting me in Mists of Pandaria. I’ll level Kurn to 90 (may not even bother with the paladin, to be honest!) and see what fun can be had, but no more raiding seriously and, most dramatically, no more leading.

Dramatic? Yes, it’s a big change. I’ve been leading stuff since April of 2006, with a short break while in Choice and a shorter break in a guild with my RL Friend the Resto Druid. What the eff am I going to do with myself with no one to lead? With no goals to strive for?

I’ve always called myself a reluctant leader. I’ve always said that if a group is being led well, I’m more than happy to follow. I used to mean that, but I’m realizing, more and more, that people are usually, in my opinion, doing it wrong. And that means that I feel obliged to step up. I strongly feel that even if I wanted to continue raiding in Mists (which I don’t), I wouldn’t be able to stay in Apotheosis, because my mouth would get me in trouble. (ETA: Not that I think that the new leadership team is going to do badly — quite the opposite — but because I was ALWAYS biting my tongue in Choice, even when things worked out well for them and I’m not sure I could bite my tongue if I disagreed with the leadership in Apotheosis. Which I don’t even know would happen.)

I need to let go. I need to let the new leaders of the guild do things the way they want to do it and be thankful that anyone is crazy dedicated enough to take up the job that I’m leaving. I’m sure I’ll be able to do that, in the coming weeks. With just five more lockouts, it’s inevitable that more and more responsibility will shift from me to the other officers. (ETA: And so far, things have been pretty smooth. I don’t anticipate much in the way of drama or issues.)

And soon, it’ll be time for me to be demoted to the dreaded Member rank, which people are only ever demoted to (or grandfathered into).

Yet, there’s so much to do between now and then. And lots of blog posts to write. :) Stay tuned!

PS: I’m doing a Holy Paladin Roundtable with Megacode, Joe Ego, Ophelie and Chase Christian this Saturday! Email Mega your questions at: healingspec (at) gmail.com!

There’s been talk recently about having account-wide achievements in Mists of Pandaria and it leaves me (and I suspect many others) unsure as to how to feel about this.

I am not the only person who raids with a different character now than she did in Vanilla or Burning Crusade or Wrath or even earlier this expansion. Kurnmogh, my hunter, hasn’t seriously raided current content on a regular basis since Vanilla. I managed to get in for the Tidewalker kill in SSC on the hunter, as well as the Gorefiend kill in Black Temple, but, by and large, since Burning Crusade, I’ve been healing in 25-man raids, while farming and doing silly things on my hunter.

That means that while I still have a huge attachment to Kurn (obviously), all my raiding achievements (and titles) are on Madrana.

It took me a bit of time to accept this, especially the title part of it. I was not so pleased to miss out on getting Hand of A’dal on Kurn, while I was thrilled to get it at all.

As the years went by, the achievements, titles and mounts started piling up on Madrana. Hand of A’dal. Twilight Vanquisher. Astral Walker. Kingslayer. Glory of the Icecrown Raider (25). Defender of a Shattered World. Glory of the Firelands Raider. Destroyer’s End. All of them gotten while the content was current, except for Astral Walker, gotten during Tier 9 content.

In the meantime, Kurn got all the holiday titles and even managed to get the Baron’s mount. Kurn managed to snag of the Nightfall in T10 gear and also got Kingslayer, and Defender of a Shattered World but most of those came when it wasn’t current or was heavily nerfed (30% buff in ICC, zerging Sarth 3D 10-man for fun, post-nerf T11 content).

And then there’s the OTHER holy paladin. I am the same player playing that holy paladin, Madrana of Skywall, as I am playing Madrana of Eldre’Thalas. Madrana of Eldre’Thalas WAS Madrana of Skywall for about six months at the end of Wrath. But the current Madrana of Skywall is a new toon, the baby pally, I call her. She hasn’t earned anything.

I lie, she’s got “the Patient”, “Kingslayer” and “Destroyer’s End” (and the Kingslayer was because I helped out a group of guildies get the Been Waiting a Long Time achievement on LK, then got the kill and the title).

But just because I haven’t earned anything of note, really, on the baby pally, does that mean I’m not capable of having done so? No, because I clearly did all that on the OTHER Madrana.

It makes my head hurt.

So I’m going to say that no, I don’t think achievements should be account-wide. For me, my achievements show a very clear snapshot of what I was doing at a certain time in my WoW career. It reads like a resumé. I am so very proud of so many of my achievements and titles and mounts that I got on Madrana. While it would be nice to have them accessible to me on the baby pally, or ride my Icebound Frostbrood Vanquisher or Corrupted Egg of Millagazor on Kurn, it seems inauthentic.

Terribly strange, isn’t it? I mean, they’re MY achievements, MY titles, MY mounts, but I feel if I didn’t earn them with a specific character, that character shouldn’t get to benefit from them. (Conversely, this does not mean I don’t think arcanums should continue to be account-bound, but that’s more because I’m lazy and hate rep grinds, not because of anything larger.)

I guess it comes down to what do those achievements, titles and mounts mean to me? I find the idea of being able to wear the “Hand of A’dal” title on Kurn to be, well, devaluing the work and time I put in on the Lady Vashj and Kael’thas fights on Madrana. I know, it’s weird.

But let’s take account-wide achievements a step further to maybe illustrate my point.

The baby pally has 525 cooking, as do Kurn and Madrana of Eldre’Thalas. Both Kurn and Madrana of ET have the Chef’s Hat. Having not spent two years in Wrath of the Lich King content, the baby paladin never got 100 Dalaran Cooking Awards and never was able to buy the Chef’s Hat. (WTB one of these for each profession, by the way.) This means that the baby pally’s hearth is currently in Dalaran so she can do cooking dailies efficiently (and also take the CoT port from Dal to get down to Dragon Soul quickly) and I’m at a woeful 52 tokens. (No, she doesn’t have high enough fishing either to do the Dalaran Fishing Dailies in the hopes of a Waterlogged Recipe, either.)

Should I need to grind that up to 100 to get the hat? I have it on two characters, already, shouldn’t I just be able to send that along? In a world where my level 5 bank alt could potentially wear the Hand of A’dal title, why on earth shouldn’t all my characters have access to at least one of the two Chef’s Hats I have?

For that matter, why should I have to level up cooking to 525 on THREE characters? Surely just one character knowing cooking ought to suffice. Same with first aid and, of course, fishing!

But if we go that route, what about “real” professions, like Leatherworking, Inscription and Alchemy? No kidding, I have four characters at 525 Alchemy, three at 525 Inscription, three at 525 Herbalism, two at 525 Mining and basically one of everything at max level save Engineering and Blacksmithing. Shouldn’t that stuff carry over as well? I mean, I’m the one who did all that work, right? I’m the one who sat there and milled ’till my fingers were raw (okay, not quite that bad, but still). I’m the one who did all of that on all kinds of different characters, on a variety of servers.

So if we open the door to account-wide achievements, titles, mounts and pets… where does it stop? Where should it stop? Where do you draw the line between “quality of life improvement” and “completely freaking ridiculous”? Is there even a line TO draw between those two points? I would argue that the Chef’s Hat, for instance, would be a quality of life improvement, but my level 5 bank alt being a Hand of A’dal would be completely freaking ridiculous. But someone else might think that the Chef’s Hat is ridiculous and the level 5 bank alt with that title would be AMAZING.

I strongly suspect that questions like these are the primary reason we haven’t seen much account-wide stuff to date and why they’ll probably “test out” account-wide pets and the like first. The slippery slope is just too slippery. What is completely acceptable to one person is a step too far for another. Taken to the extreme, you could make an argument for throwing out the levelling process because “hey, I got to level 85/90/100 on one character! Make all my toons that level!”

I do agree I’m probably a little strange with my identity issues (“But KURN never killed Vashj and Kael!!!”) but I think my own situation, particularly with the baby pally thrown in the mix, illustrates an interesting conundrum with regards to the value of these rewards and the reasons people attach meaning to them. I think all of these are important questions and situations that need to be looked at before they throw the doors open to account-wide achievements.

(Blatant guild plug: Remember, Apotheosis of Eldre’Thalas is 2/8 HM with Heroic Yor’sahj to 22% and is recruiting!!!)

Apotheosis (A-25m-2/8HM, seeking casters and a resto shaman! </shamelessplug>) got Heroic Hagara down as a server-first and our next target is Heroic Yor’sahj the Unsleeping.

Assuming holy paladins are in the mix, a popular healing strategy is to beacon the tanks and heal the pets in the raid, because heals from Beacon of Light do not stack Deep Corruption and pets don’t receive stacks of Deep Corruption.

The question came up, the other day, about whether or not a hunter should use a Tenacity pet, who has the Blood of the Rhino talent. Would the lower DPS be worth 40% extra healing to a pet and then, ostensibly, 20% extra healing to the tank through Beacon of Light?

This was a popular strategy back on Valithria Dreamwalker. You would park a turtle or some other Tenacity pet with the same +healing talent basically on top of Dreamwalker or right next to her and you’d heal the pet for extra healing done. Unfortunately, this stopped being viable eventually when they fixed Blood of the Rhino to only affect the pet and no copied heals from that (ie: Beacon of Light).

But that was back in 3.3. Did 4.3 mean this was somehow working again?

I bothered Daey to get on his holy paladin, Saerani, while I was on Kurn and we experimented with him beaconing me and healing my pet. The first pet he healed was my cat, Whisper, who has no +healing talents at all, being a Ferocity pet.

So you can see here that Daey hits Whisper for 55355 (crit). This bounces to me for 27677, which is just half of that heal. (Yeah, I miss 100% Beacon transfers, too!) The same with the 27672 hit, that gets me for half — 13836. That is totally expected. This is the control for the experiment. Now let’s look at Daey healing my bear, Fozzie.

First, note that the non-crit heal hits for 40,102. Based on the heals Whisper got, it’s clear that Fozzie has the Blood of the Rhino talent if it hit him for a 40k non-crit.

But then you see that the heal to me was only 14322.

MATH TIME.

14322 x2 = 28644 x 1.4 = 40,101.6 = 40,102.

So the original heal size, without the Blood of the Rhino bonus was 28644. With the 40% extra healing, we get 40,101.6 (rounded up to 40,102). If this +healing did transfer through Beacon of Light, we wouldn’t see me being healed for half of the original heal’s size. We would see it be half of the final heal’s size. The final heal was 40,102, so we would be looking for 20,051 as the heal that I got. But alas, I was only healed for 14,322.

Let’s see how this holds up with the next heal.

Fozzie is healed for 71865. I get healed for 25666.

25666 x2 = 51,332 x 1.4 = 71,864.8 = 71,865

Yup, same deal.

So it’s quite clear — Blood of the Rhino does not transfer any extra +healing from the pet to the Beacon of Light target. As such, on the Heroic Yor’sahj the Unsleeping encounter, I do encourage you to beacon the tanks and heal the pets, but don’t gimp your hunters’ DPS by forcing them to bring a Tenacity pet to the raid. Their regular pet will do exactly the same thing a Tenacity pet will.

4.3 and Holy Paladins

There are quite a few changes for holy paladins as of patch 4.3. Some are nerfs, some are buffs, but either way, part of how we heal is going to change significantly.

According to MMO-Champion, patch 4.3 is dropping this week, as in tomorrow, November 29th, 2011.

Here are all the paladin changes that holy pallies will care about.

HOLY RADIANCE

  • Holy Radiance now has a 3.0-second cast time, no cooldown, and requires a player target. That target is imbued with Holy Radiance, which heals them and all group members within 10 yards instantly, and continues to heal them by a smaller amount every 1 second for 3 seconds.
  • Illuminated Healing (mastery) now also applies to Holy Radiance.

This means that Holy Radiance is now a spell with a target and a cast time, like just about every other spell we have. The healing from Holy Radiance will no longer emanate from us, but rather from the people we heal with the spell. Time to find a keybind or mousebind for Holy Radiance! (I’m still trying to figure that one out!) And our mastery will now also apply to targets healed with Holy Radiance.

As a result, several spells now include or exclude Holy Radiance in their effects:

So instead of a 3s base, it’s 2.5s base, just like Divine Light and Holy Light.

  • Infusion of Light now applies its cast time reduction from Holy Shock critical effects to Holy Radiance, in addition to its current effects.

Sweet, Infusion of Light procs will give us a super-fast cast of Holy Radiance.

  • Speed of Light no longer triggers from Holy Radiance and no longer lowers the Holy Radiance cooldown. Speed of Light now only triggers from Divine Protection.

This only makes sense. Holy Radiance no longer HAS a cooldown, so nothing should lower its non-existant cooldown. And we can’t constantly be casting Holy Radiance in order to get a speed buff. That would be silly. Unfortunately, this is technically a nerf, because now we only have one speed boost.

  • Paragon of Virtue now lowers the cooldown of Divine Protection by 15/30 seconds, up from 10/20 seconds.

But they buffed that, so we can now use Divine Protection every 30 seconds, which is pretty sweet.

  • Tower of Radiance, in addition to its current effects, now also causes Holy Radiance to always generate 1 charge of Holy Power at all times.

So this is a neat change that actually sort of gives us an “AOE rotation”. Cast three Holy Radiance on any target or targets (not just your beacon target!) and you’ll have three Holy Power. Cast Light of Dawn. Rinse and repeat. While no one is going to confuse us for resto druids or holy priests in 4.3, this does make us a little more viable as raid healers.

LIGHT OF DAWN

Yay for a buff! This means that everyone’s Light of Dawn will automatically try to hit 6 people. And if you’re in a 10-man raid group, there’s a change for you, too:

  • Glyph of Light of Dawn now lowers the number of targets to 4, instead of increasing targets to 6, but increases healing by 25%.

So that’s a nice little boost, too, and will be less wasteful. Light of Dawn may actually be worthwhile in 10-mans!

BEACON TRANSFERS

  • Beacon of Light is triggered by Word of Glory, Holy Shock, Flash of Light, Divine Light and Light of Dawn at 50% transference and Holy Light at 100% transference. It does not transfer Holy Radiance, Protector of the Innocent or other sources of healing.

That’s right, you can drop to 2/3 of Protector of the Innocent if you, like me, hate the talent, but felt badly about not sending the maximum amount of tiny heals to your Beacon target. Note that you should still have 1/2 Enlightened Judgements to ensure you hit the 8% melee hit cap to make sure your judgements are always hitting (to maintain Judgements of the Pure), but the small bits of healing from that also will not transfer, so if you were at 2/2 Enlightened Judgements for that reason, you can drop a point there quite safely.

Yes, this is technically a nerf, but I know that I’m actually not going to cringe when I go looking through a parse now, trying to line up all the itty, bitty Beacon of Light heals with whatever the holy paladin in question was doing at the time.

SEALS AND JUDGING

  • Seal of Insight, when Judged, no longer returns 15% base mana to the paladin. Judging Seal of Insight still causes damage, and melee attacks will still restore 4% of base mana.
  • In addition to providing haste, the effect from Judgements of the Pure now increases mana regeneration from Spirit by 10/20/30% for 60 seconds.

These two changes, quite simply, mean that we are no longer judging once every 8 seconds in order to regain 15% of our base mana. We will only need to judge once per minute to keep Judgements of the Pure active, not only for the increased haste, but for increased mana regeneration. Spirit is our friend!

And, well, that’s about it, to be honest. So really, just a change to Holy Radiance and talents that were affecting the old version/should affect the new version. A change to Light of Dawn and its glyph. A change to Seal of Insight and Judgements of the Pure. And a change to what heals transfer through Beacon.

SO WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO DIFFERENTLY?

Make sure you remember to bind the new Holy Radiance to something. You might want to add the Holy Radiance effect to your raid frames (tip: it’s called Holy Radiance!) so you can see how much of the raid is being affected by it. If you’re in a 10m group, you probably want to glyph Light of Dawn. And remember, no need to judge every 8 seconds. And you only have one sprint! But it’s usable every 30 seconds.

Don’t forget to check out my T13 (normal) loot list, too!

Good luck to you, whether you’re heading right for Dragon Soul or into one of the new dungeons!

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