4.3 PTR Notes – Nerfage Ahoy.

According to MMO-Champion, holy paladins are, once again, being nerfed in this latest PTR build. Bear in mind that these changes may not see live servers, but this is what they’ve got going on at the moment.

Beacon of Light is triggered by 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.

So I’m reading that and going “Okay, Holy Shock, Flash of Light, Divine Light, Light of Dawn, Holy Light, that’s fine, that’s normal… no Holy Radiance, okay… wait. No Protector of the Innocent? Probably no Enlightened Judgements either. And no other sources of healing. Okay, fine.”

And then it hit me.

“WAIT A MINUTE. HOLD THE PHONE. WHAT ABOUT WORD OF GLORY?!”

I can live without Protector of the Innocent transferring. I hate that talent and I’ll be able to drop one of those points into Last Word if that’s the case. I’ll still keep one point in Enlightened Judgements for my spirit to hit conversion, of course, and that’s fine.

But did they just forget to list Word of Glory or is Word of Glory really not going to transfer?

Frankly, I’m of the mind that they forgot to mention it. After all, our other Holy Power heal (Light of Dawn) is transferred at 50%, so why wouldn’t Word of Glory transfer?

*** ETA: A blue post clarified that this was, in fact, an oversight and Word of Glory will continue to transfer through Beacon of Light. The rest of this post, written before the clarification, has been left intact. ***

However, Blizzard has done some whacked-out things in the past. I wouldn’t put it past them to have done this deliberately. Obviously, they’re trying to tune us appropriately, and that’s okay, but it’s possible that Word of Glory will be nerfed in that it won’t transfer with Beacon of Light any longer. I’m not saying that’s likely. I’m saying it’s possible. I’m also not saying that this change will make it through to live, even if it is intended, but let’s say, for the sake of argument, that it is intended that Word of Glory no longer gets transferred.

The major question would be “Why?”

Let’s be honest: Word of Glory is a big heal. A 3-charge Word of Glory, that is. In my current gear (ilvl 383) while raid buffed, that’s about 24k on a non-crit. More than that, it’s an instant big heal. Comparatively, Holy Light is about 11.5k, Divine Light is about 30k, Holy Shock is around 10k and Flash of Light is around 23k.

But wait, you say, Flash of Light can be instant with an Infusion of Light proc and heals for about the same.

Right. But Flash of Light costs a ton of mana at the same time. Word of Glory is 100% free.

We currently have the ability to hit someone for a sizeable amount (~24k in my gear level, raid-buffed) as an instant-cast spell that is free of mana cost. And we can do that pretty darn frequently.

If we don’t use it on our Beacon of Light target, that’s ~24k healing to an individual and another ~12k healing to our Beacon. Instantly, that’s ~36k healing on a non-crit, costing us no mana, castable on the move.

So I could see why they would think this is overpowered. Our holy power generation isn’t terribly lacking, at least not from what I’ve noticed (but then, I tend to Beacon my own tank and benefit from Tower of Radiance), so I generally have a lot of Holy Power and, in fact, I do not dump it as often as I should. If used consistently at 3 stacks of Holy Power in higher gear levels, Word of Glory, and its subsequent transfer through Beacon of Light at the moment, is pretty darn overpowered.

I can see their reasoning, if this is an intentional change. Doesn’t mean I like it, but I can see how powerful that can be on a variety of fights.

That said, I am still hopeful that it’s just an oversight and they forgot to mention Word of Glory in the first part of their announcement.

In other news, Apotheosis downed Heroic Majordomo Staghelm on Sunday (and we’re looking for an exceptional retribution paladin and a skilled hunter!), Episode 38 of Blessing of Frost is out and I’ve been nominated for a Stopie Award! Go vote for me in the category: Loudest Voice on Twitter!

Pondering the Glory

So how are people out there dealing with the possibility of getting the Glory of the Firelands Raider achievement?

Back in Wrath, the guild I was in hit 11/12 25-man HM and then immediately did a full reset of achievement stuff. We did Neck-Deep in Vile that week and then the next week, did Been Waiting a Long Time for This, which resulted in getting Glory of the Icecrown Raider.

In Tier 11, we got to 7/13 HM before Firelands came out (Halfus, V&T, Magmaw, Maloriak, Chimaeron, Atramedes, Conclave), so Glory of the Cataclysm Raider wasn’t even a possibility for us, as we were missing, you know, 5 heroic kills.

Due to the nerfs, we will likely hit 5/7 HM tonight or Sunday (Majordomo) and after a break for BlizzCon, we’ll tackle heroic Baleroc. (I think we would have hit 6/7 HM without the nerfs, but it would have taken longer.)

Since six of the achievements required for the meta will be already done (the six heroic bosses) and since we regularly do Share the Pain and Only the Penitent… is really easy to do and isn’t even part of the boss encounter… that leaves four achievements:

Bucket List – Shannox
Not an Ambi-Turner – Rhyolith
Death from Above – Beth’tilac
Do a Barrel Roll – Alysrazor

To me, it’s a no-brainer to take a reset or two (to get everyone covered) and get these guys down on normal to get the achievements. However, the fact remains that Shannox and Alysrazor drop heroic tier tokens and the other bosses drop valuable heroic loot (oh god, I want a heroic Ward of the Red Widow!).

Given that we don’t know when 4.3 will drop (although I’d be surprised if it’s before American Thanksgiving, in late November), we don’t know how many resets we have before the new raid opens up. It’s safe to say that we’ll move on to the new raid once it opens.

Obviously, there is a finite amount of resets left between now and 4.3. Will using two (because, with a roster of ~34, we’ll NEED two) resets to get the meta achievement be worth two resets of heroic loot off those bosses? Better question: do we need to do all of them on normal? Shannox isn’t so hard on heroic, maybe we could get away with kiting him forever, but I know we could do it on normal.

I’m not even going to talk about time spent on that versus heroic Ragnaros. That’s a whole other question in and of itself.

So how are you fine people handling this in your guilds? Are you? Do you even care? I’ve got a poll up on the Apotheosis forums, asking the raiders what they think of the meta, but I’m curious to know how others are dealing with it.

24 pulls is all it took us and Alysrazor collapsed.

It took us 46 pulls to get her down on normal.

Something ain’t right here.

(Yes, I’m still talking about nerfs.)

Do I want to wipe more on a boss like Alysrazor? No, not particularly. But I don’t feel as though we earned the kill. Granted, our kill was near-perfect execution, except for Majik’s Mumble client dying on him and Kaleri dropping her Power Word: Barrier on the other side of town at the pull. ;) And I could have done without some of the deaths we had, to be sure… but it went very smoothly. If we can do that every time, we’ll have no problems killing her every single week on heroic.

However, it just feels as though Alysrazor has been de-clawed, had her wings clipped, whatever.

Tornadoes move just as slowly in heroic as they do on normal.

Firestorm won’t automatically kill you if you don’t line of sight it, not if you’re healed up and use a defensive CD. (Our pally tank app ate a Firestorm while still working on a hatchling. He put up Ardent Defender and blew Lay on Hands and lived with plenty of health to spare.)

The biggest challenge, it seemed, was re-allocating DPS.

I’m sorry, but is that all there is to heroic Firelands bosses?

Let’s examine them, shall we?

Normal Shannox: Some people on dogs, some people on Shannox.
Heroic Shannox: Just about every single person on Shannox, a few people on various dogs for slows and breaking Face Rage.

So that’s a simple reallocation of DPS.

Normal Rhyolith: Some people on Fragments and Sparks, some people on legs.
Heroic Rhyolith: Same as above — stun/slow/blowback Liquid Obsidium.

Another reallocation of DPS, but I’ll admit, this one was effing tricky — at least pre-nerf.

Normal Beth’tilac: Some people on caves, some people on spinners and drones, some people on top of the web.
Heroic Beth’tilac: Same as above — and then blow up the Engorged Broodlings.

Same damn thing, more reallocation of DPS and some healing, but the worst part about this fight was making sure caves were covered. Once we had that down, the boss died.

And now…

Normal Alysrazor: Some people up top, some people on Initiates, some people on hatchlings. Dodge Brushfire, Tornadoes, Lava Spew and Incendiary Clouds.
Heroic Alysrazor: Same as above — plus dodge Firestorm and Meteors and Boulders.

Really? I mean… it’s just not that difficult. I’d say it’s actually easier than normal because the hatchlings die so quickly. The worst part here isn’t even the Firestorm, it’s making sure Initiates die quickly enough that interrupters can interrupt them.

At least Majordomo Staghelm has a “real” new mechanic in Concentration. I’m looking forward to that fight, but am prepared to be “meh” about it.

It makes me sad. It feels very much as though these “heroic modes” are like “normal” modes now that the nerfs have gone through, at least to an experienced raid group. I’m sure Ragnaros will be different, of course, and it’s not like the challenge has completely vanished from heroic Firelands… but I didn’t enjoy heroic Alysrazor. At all. And, prior to our work on heroic Alysrazor, that was my favourite fight. I really didn’t feel as though I was healing with finesse last night — I felt as though all I was doing was praying that my tank wouldn’t get two-shotted or that people wouldn’t fall out of the sky or die to tornadoes.

I spent the vast majority of our time on Heroic Alysrazor just hoping we could execute it, but there wasn’t anything to figure out after the first 10ish pulls. We tried a couple new variations last night and eventually just said screw it and went back to what we’d been doing, essentially, with very minor tweaking to get Initiates down.

And then, on one glorious attempt when most people didn’t die or disconnect or anything… she died.

Totally anticlimactic.

Am I proud? Of course. Am I pleased that we’re 4/7? Absolutely.

But ultimately, I got more of a sense of accomplishment at knowing that we budgeted our raid time this week extremely well (repeat of H Rhyolith and H Shannox, plus first kills of H Beth and H Alysrazor and a full clear and we even did Volcanus!) than I did when we downed Alysrazor.

Sad.

Please, don’t let raiding be this ridiculous in 4.3.

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!)

First Reactions to the Nerfbat

Well, for better or for worse, we repeated our Heroic Shannox kill (3rd kill) without needing Jagged Tear to drop off our Shannox tank at ALL, ending the encounter with 15 stacks on him.

We downed Heroic Rhyolith for the first time, after 46 total attempts, 40 of which were pre-nerf. (That brings us to 2/7 HM, btw.)

And then we flipped it to normal to take out Alysrazor and Baleroc.

Since we had someone working on the charged focus for Alysrazor, we needed two “full powers” from her, so that’s two full cycles.

We had to call “DPS OFF!” several times.

The Initiates who cast Fieroblast? They apparently now cast Fieroblast after every third Brushfire. In fact, it took us several initiates before we realized they even still CAST Fieroblast.

Tornadoes are very slow, now. You can keep ahead of one and actually run into the next one with just a single feather.

Healers were healing Gushing Wound on the tanks because there was basically nothing else to do. I wonder what four healers for that next week would be like.

Baleroc melted. You can COMPLETELY screw up the healing order for the shards and people will probably still live.

I think we’ll be pulling Heroic Beth’tilac and Heroic Majordomo Thursday/Sunday, so we’ll see what they’re like. Those are new (to us) heroic fights, but it’s clear that the normal modes are just so completely ridiculous now, at least for a group that’s done three full clears and probably a few 6/7 weeks.

Really, it’s kind of sad.

Having said that, the raid group was in fine form on Tuesday night. Lots of laughing, lots of joking… for some reason, at one point, people were openly pondering the gestation period for a Smurf.

So we had a “fun” raid night with good spirits and good moods, for the most part, but it feels weird. The Rhyolith kill doesn’t feel hard-fought. The hardest part on Alysrazor was NOT killing her faster.

Normally, for me, the best part of any night is any progression on a boss.

Tonight, it was that I got the Eye of Purification.

Ah, well. We’ll see what the next few months hold for us, eh?

Oh, and don’t forget to listen to this week’s episode of Blessing of Frost! We post a new one just about every Tuesday, so be sure to keep listening. Next week, we’ll reflect on the Firelands nerfs and talk about some of the community’s reactions and you’ll doubtlessly hear me bleeping myself again. ;)

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