All right, I’ve had a night in Heroic 25-man Dragon Soul. I’ve also redone some of my testing and updated some numbers and such in my 5.0.4 guide.

The first thing I did after I recovered from the addon explosion in my UI was try to do an LFR. I zoned in and died on Ultraxion trash because, oh look, my addons were still exploding. (TipTac seems to have been my primary culprit, your mileage may vary.)

Once I got that sorted, I went back into LFR and zoned in for Spine and Madness. Apart from a wee bit of lag whenever the Burning Tendons popped up, things went fairly well. However, I realized two things:

1) Holy crap, I was burning mana FAST.

2) My UI was still insanely unhelpful.

So I did the following before my real raid:

- swapped to Heartsong on my Heroic Maw
- took out my 3x 67 intellect JC-only gems, replaced them with epic reds
- since I wasn’t getting the socket bonus on my pants anyhow, I gemmed all three sockets in my pants with the 67 spirit gems

Without Heartsong active and without any external buffs, that’s 4006 mp5 in combat, according to my character sheet.

With 10 stacks of Heart of Unliving and Heartsong active, that goes up to 4698 mp5 in combat.

I figured I was good to go.

Wrong. I still felt the pinch when I healed a bit too aggressively on Heroic Hagara (frost phase) and Heroic Blackhorn, not to mention Heroic Spine. We didn’t actually kill Heroic Madness last night, although we’ll be finishing that up tomorrow, but on our longest attempt, I felt the pinch on the fourth platform and into P2.

Part of it, at least on Madness, may have been our comp. We didn’t have a disc priest in the raid, so no barrier means more overall damage done since we had fewer people with damage-reduction CDs. (We could have bothered our rets or our prot to use more Aura Mastery Devotion Aura, but I know I didn’t think of it.)

Speaking of Devotion Aura, it’s better than Aura Mastery was, although we pay for that with an extra minute on the cooldown (DA is 3m vs. AM’s 2m). Why is it better? It works on Watery Entrenchment on Hagara. It works on Hour of Twilight on Ultraxion. These are two areas where Aura Mastery did zip.

Back to the instance… I think that it was more challenging than I suspected it would be, to be constrained to 100k mana (102k with the meta gem that grants you 2% extra mana) and to be careful not to overextend myself. I found myself in trouble a number of times. Thank goodness for Hymn of Hope sticking around as well as Mana Tide Totem!

Of note, with the redesign to Blessing of Might, I think all pallies need to bear in mind that we have a crazy amount of mastery just by virtue of being fully raid-buffed now. Illuminated Healing did a LOT of healing/absorption. Part of that might also be because I was making great use of Eternal Flame, which contributes to Illuminated Healing on each tick. (Remember not to overwrite a stronger Eternal Flame with a weaker one!)

I forgot, several times, that Light of Dawn is now a circle around you, not a cone, and I still have Judgment (new spelling) on my bars, although I should throw it away at some point. I’m not sure what I’d put in its spot, though!

So those were my experiences — I loaded up on more Spirit (but maintained an intellect flask with intellect food) and had a couple of sticky situations. I would recommend people be conservative to start their regularly scheduled content until they get the “feel” of the new size of their mana pools, too.

How was your first experience raiding in 5.0.4?