Daily Thoughts: Raid Healing

For those who haven’t read much of this blog so far, my main is and has always been a Paladin, raiding mostly as Holy. Also, my raiding experience is almost entirely limited to Wrath content. To summarize my credentials as a healer: Tank Heals. I’ve healed tanks through multiple pack trash pulls, bosses that could easily two shot the tank, and many other challenges. A Holy Paladin in wrath though, isn’t really expected to heal the raid. Of course as a good little healer, I help with raid healing when the tank isn’t in a high damage phase, particularly helpful when I had the Glyph of Holy Light that added a healing “splash” to nearby players. Last night I took my Shaman into VOA 25 and, as one of only 4 healers, discovered more toons than just tanks take a lot of damage.

Ok, so I was aware that there can be plenty of incoming raid damage, but as a Paladin it was never really my responsibility. I probably floundered a little on that first raid on my Shaman. Fortunately it was VOA and not really difficult for a raid with today’s gear and talents. As a first time raid healer, I had a little bit of trouble prioritizing the people to heal. I also spent a decent amount of time on the tanks since we didn’t really have healing assignments, not helping my overall certainty of what to do. Essentially I went with a priority healing target rotation of tanks > everyone with low health > everyone else. Since I’m sure the other 3 healers probably operated with a similar plan in mind, this caused a lot of overhealing. I suspect the healing assignments during a progression raid would limit a lot of those wasted heals. Even in a more organized 25 man raid though, there could easily be 3-4 raid healers. I usually don’t see specific group assignments so I wonder what limits that wasted overhealing?

Overall it was pretty fun. There’s really a lot more going on when I’m personally worried about 23 players as opposed to 1 or 2 of them. I especially enjoy not wasting globals on the guy who absolutely won’t move out of the fire, particularly when the boss is dead and the guy stands in the fire from 100% health to dead. I just stood there, watching. Is it that hard to get out of the fire?

Daily Thoughts: The Resto Shaman

If I were standing in front of a crowd of WoW players, instead of writing a blog, and posed the question, “Who here likes getting Halls of Reflection as a random queue with a pug?”, I’d probably hear crickets. Except maybe the one masochist of a player near the back whose cries of agreement would quickly be snuffed out by lamentations of those around him. I’ve heard of those who suffer from severe flash backs of wipes cause by people who physically are unable to understand “line of sight” or those who still believe if you just wait behind the Lich King, he’ll leave without killing you. Maybe I’m being a little over dramatic with the description, but most players, myself included, at least groan a little when they chance into one of the hardest and least pug friendly of WotLK instances.

Then here’s me. Fresh resto shaman rocking a mix of cloth/leather/mail instance drops (very few from ICC 5-mans) and a PVP shield. My gear sports sparkling green quality gems and is completely void of enchantments. Go ahead and cry ‘cheap’ all you want, but I’ll be upgrading every piece within a few hours of playing. You’d think perhaps the gods of WoW and RNG might have some pity on this noob shaman, but no. Halls of Reflection will be my very first test of healing…

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Daily Thoughts: Fears of the Cataclysm

I must admit; I’m a little bit afraid of the coming end of the world.  No, I’m not afraid of 12/21/12. I am though, somewhat, of 12/07/10 – the Cataclysm release date. Although the recent patch 4.0.1 brought about most of the major mechanical changes, Cataclysm will see the effects of those realised along with a host more. I going to talk here about healing/mana regen, sky rocketing health totals, and a couple other things.

I probably should add potential spoiler disclaimers to my posts, so here’s one for this. If you don’t want to risk spoilers for Cataclysm, you probably shouldn’t continue.

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Daily Thoughts: Why I Rolled a Paladin

I was going to write a little about healing on the new resto shaman, but I didn’t really play the resto shaman any today. Well, I did one wintergrasp, but it doesn’t really count towards getting a grasp on my class and spec. I have a different topic in mind, inspired by a post made by a guild member that you can find the link Corath’s Blog – Melee State of Mind. I started to wonder, since it’s been a few years now, why a Paladin?

My very first Warcraft toon was actually a warrior, who since has become my 6th and most recent level 80. I played him to about level 26 back in the middle of Burning Crusade and quickly lost interest. Despite the heavy armor, I took a lot of damage and had to stop and eat often or waste gold on potions. I don’t much like stopping or wasting gold so I moved on to a class that felt like everything my warrior was – with heals. I tend to play plate-wearing burly monstrosities of power when I can in a game. Now I had a character that could not only wield a great 2 handed weapon, he wore heavy armor, hit really hard, and could keep himself alive. Perfect. This Paladin became my first max level character shortly after Wrath launched. I played him almost exclusively for a nearly a year, dabbling only occasionally in alts.

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A Few More Random Thoughts About 4.0.1

This actually was going to be used for something else a week or so ago, but it didn’t end up going that way and I wanted the article to be read.

On the whole, it feels like Deathwing has already brought a personal cataclysm and world-changing chaos to each of my characters. I don’t mean to say that this change is all bad. Like the revamping that will hit each zone of Azeroth come Cataclysm; many talents, abilities, interfaces and more have been added, improved or plain removed from the game.

The Good:

  • 310% flying is now in reach of everyone with 5,000 gold (4,000 rep discount). A lot of people, myself included, haven’t been lucky in getting a group to finish hard mode runs to get their 310 drake before patch.
  • 100 Gold for dual spec. Been wanting to try healing but haven’t wanted to cough up 1,000 gold or lose that DPS main spec? At 100 gold, dual spec is now available to most players who want to diversify their characters.
  • No more spell ranks! Finally we have reached a point where that one alt with an off spec will no longer get spammed with RankWatch every time it joins a group. Once you learn a spell or ability it will scale as you level so you don’t have to remember to make sure the most recent version is sitting on your bars.

The Bad:

  • Shorter talent trees just feel a little bit empty. Not getting a point every level is a bit disappointing while leveling. Also, due to the shorter trees, characters under level 69 cannot get their “31” point talent. This leaves several classes and spec’s somewhat gimped of spells they used to have while leveling. My 64 warlock greatly misses haunt. As of 4.0.1 and before cataclysm, as level 80’s we’re unable to reach very helpful talents in other trees.
  • The time for healers getting dungeon queues is higher than before. The time it takes to replace a tank is also delayed as tanks are hesitant to join instances with threat being somewhat inconsistent still and a general unfamiliarity with new abilities. Although not as bad as the 40+ minute que times to get into a battle ground the first couple weeks of the patch, most times I’m trying it’s still 25-50% longer than it was before. Maybe people are just unconcerned about PVP until rated bgs?
  • Bugs, glitches and lag. All this is normal with large or content patches, but a couple of weeks or so after patch and I’m still experiencing random bugs. My warrior’s +5% crit buff has not displayed since patch and the inability to load dungeons at random, for examples.

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Daily Thoughts: More Paladin Changes Incoming

Here’s some changes from one of the latest beta builds. Playing around with my holy spells a little bit and checking the tool-tips, these seem to be in place on the live servers as well. So what does this mean to you Holy Paladins? 30% increased base healing from all of your main heals. Read the changes and I’ll get to some explanations after.

  • Holy Radiance‘s effectiveness now diminish on targets farther than X yards away.
  • Divine Light base healing has been increased by 30 percent, from 8,538-9,512 to 11,100-12,366.
  • Holy Wrath now scales from 61 percent of spellpower, up from 30 percent. Base damage is reduced by 22 percent, from 3,122 to 2,435.
  • Exorcism now scales from 34.4 percent of spellpower or AP, up from 15 percent. Base damage increased by 15 percent from 2,343 to 2,741.
  • Flash of Light base healing has been increased by 30 percent, from 5,313-5,961 to 6,907-7,750.
  • Lay on Hands no longer restores mana.
  • Holy Light base healing has been increased by 30 percent.
  • Beacon of Light now lasts 5 minutes, up from 1 minute.
  • Mastery: Illuminated Healing now absorbs 10 percent of the amount healed, up from 8 percent. Now lasts 8 seconds, up from 6 seconds. Each point of mastery increases the absorb amount by an additional 1.25 percent, up from 1 percent.
  • Holy Shock base healing has been increased by 30 percent, from 3,033-3,285 to 3,943-4,271.

Outside of large base healing buffs to FoL, HL, DL, and HS, there’s a handful of other small nerfs and important buffs. Small nerf to the range on Holy Radiance, though who really cares? We want big tank heals, not weakish AoE heals on CD. We also lose the mana return from Lay on Hands. While this is technically a nerf to the spell, the new glyph allows for the spell pretty much puts it right back in, so we’re sitting good still. The biggest news here is the buff to our mastery. Not only does it absorb more than before up to 10% of the healing done from 8, it lasts two seconds longer. Each point of mastery is 25% more effective as well, potentially making it pretty worthwhile to stack some mastery through reforging.

Although Holy gets some use out of the buff to exorcism should help rets dps out pretty well with about a large increase to its scaling and base stats. Hopefully I can take these and test them out, but I’ve been a little more focused on gearing my new resto shaman. Having a lot more fun there than his other spec, enhancement. Probably some updates on that tomorrow!

Daily Thoughts: Ret Paladin Is Beast

I know I mentioned yesterday about getting more into warrior or DK dps but, I didn’t play my DK at all (other than doing the Headless Horseman Daily) and didn’t really learn anything new about the warrior. Actually, I did learn I should watch my threat on my warrior now that he has decent gear, because dying sucks.

What I did want to talk about today is Retribution Paladins and how awesomesauce they are right now. Yesterday was my first time taking ret into a raid since the big patch. With 2 slight upgrades (251 to 264 boots and back) and the changes from 4.0.1, my ret pally went from ~9k dps on Toravon 25m in VOA to 11.5k dps on the same fight. We actually wiped once on him because a tank and heal went offline, though it gave me a chance to see a neat little comparison of my own dps. The first attempt I was using Seal of Righteousness because I forgot to turn it off after trash. This is the seal designed to be slightly bursty and hit multiple targets with the seal of command talent. I was a little under 9k dps using that seal. At first, I didn’t notice the wrong seal since my damage was comparable to the raiding damage I was used to doing.

After the first wipe and during the replacement of the offline players and ragequitters, I used my proper Seal of Truth. Truth, much like the former Seal of Corruption, leaves a stacking dot on the target which also increases the damage of your judgement. Checking recount after the second attempt and kill, Censure (the name of the Dot damage) was responsible for about 15% of my damage. This should give you an idea of how important it will be to maintain 100% uptime of this DoT. On single target, low movement fights it shouldn’t be an issue. In fights like Marrowgar where he moves away from you or in rotface that could require you to take a slime to the off tank, you should be very aware and keep the debuff up if at all possible.

The other important changes are too our cooldowns. Avenging Wrath (as I mentioned in my Top 5 New Paladin Talents post) now allows hammer of wrath to be used outside of the normal enemy < 20% health rule. This means, outside of tank threat issues, you open up boss fights with wings and your rotation changes to HoW usage on CD. Our new cooldown timing is a point of contention so far for ret paladins. Zealotry can be used when you have 3 holy power and for its duration makes each Crusader Strike grant 3 holy power instead of 1. Rotation during Zealotry should be Crusader Strike > Templar’s Verdict > CS > TV and so on til the buff wears off. The issue comes with the normal standard of stacking cooldowns. Using AW and Zealotry at the same time would mean buffed CS and TV along with the HoW, but you’ll be doing less of everything during that time. If you follow the CS > TV rotation during Zealotry, you’ll miss precious extra HoW hits, though if you do HoW on cool down like you should, you wont get as many CS > TV combinations off during the time.

I haven’t seen enough data into this to say definitively which is the right way to go. Personally, I open with AW and have a rotation something like  HoW > CS > Judge > HoW > CS > TV > HoW, depending on Holy Power generation. HoW on cooldown, only delaying it if I have a Mastery proc for TV or full HP for TV. Immediately after my AW buff ends, I use Zealotry and am able to maintain very high DPS for the duration of both of my big cooldowns. On Toravon I was only able to use Zealotry once this way while getting 2 Avenging Wrath off. During a slightly longer fight I’d probably be able to get two of each even with this method.

Daily Thoughts: Random Comparison – Fury vs Frost

Fury v. Frost – Sounds like an epic boxing match about to begin. As it isn’t a boxing match, it is probably unclear why I’d go out of my way to compare to unrelated specs on two different classes. Well, those specs are all I really had time to play yesterday so that’s what I’m going to talk about today.

Fury:

I’m two-handed fury. None of these little rogue / insta-dead enh shaman one hander things for me. I’m a fury warrior; a raging beast dual wielding two small trucks, excited to bash just about anything. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. My fury warrior is my freshest 80. He’s decently geared at this point through mainly heroics and one lucky ICC-10. He’s wielding Ramaladni’s Blade of Culling from ICC 10 and the Edge of Ruin from the ToC 5 man heroic. The rest of his gear is pretty representative of those. A mix between ilevel200 and ilevel264 pieces. He’s only partially enchanted and gemmed with mostly rare quality gems. In heroics, I do an easy 7-8k dps on trash pulls and single target bosses with cooldowns. With the right string of crits, i’ve neared 9.5k dps single target in a heroic. The rotation is mostly button mashing, then button mash whatever is flashing. Raging Blow during enrage > Slam when it procs > Bloodthirst > HS when at high rage. I’m not amazing at prioritizing my rotation so mines mostly faceroll. AoE packs are even easier, cleave > whatever > cleave. It’s fun, its easy. I do want to learn a little more about what I should be doing for a tighter rotation and stat preferences for gems so, read along with me:

Wow Insider – Warrior Search   ,   From the Wow Forums

Looks like people aren’t completely sure about stat weights and such. Ej doesn’t have anything definitive currently. Hit/Exp caps are a must though.

Frost:

My death knight is a burly risen dead orc soldier. He brandishes a two-handed weapon and controls deaths icy powers. The new rune system adds a bit more downtime during a DK’s rotation than the global cooldown mashing fest that was in place before 4.0.1, at least for non dual-wielders. To compensate for this, blizzard made everything hit really hard. My main attacks in heroics – frost strike, obliterate, and howling blast – all crit for 13k+ regularly. The DK is using Tyrannical Beheader out of heroic Pit of Saron, he has 4 piece tier 10, and almost completely ilvl 251/264 gear in total. He has all the best enchants and gems. Frosts big hits of howling blast lead me to an easy 8k+ dps on trash pulls but I’m only sitting around 5-6k dps on single target boss fights. I can only assume that my rotation is sloppy, though Frosts rotation and needs are a bit more intensive than a Fury warrior. Frost must lay down both diseases on the target, use Obliterate as often as possible and during the 100% crit procs, Festering Strike to refresh diseases (they really need 100% uptime), frost strike to bleed off all that runic power, and blood strikes to use the blood runes that you’ll otherwise be wasting. Doing festering strike too often is a dps loss as it doesn’t hit as hard as your other strikes. Using FS not often enough causes diseases to fall off, wasting runes and cooldowns to reapply them. It’s a pretty fun spec with some procs to watch for and an interesting rotation, now I just need to get my stuff in order. Lets check out some resources for this and maybe I can find out why my lesser geared warrior does more single target than frost dk.

Elitist Jerks – Frost DK

Wow Insider – DK Search

Both EJ and WoW Insider seem to agree that I could use more haste on my two-handed frost DK. I’ll try reforging that in the next couple days. The EJ link is a GREAT resource for rotation, gemming, glyphs, etc. Hopefully I can tone that DK up a bit and get his damage on par with his gear.

Fury Warriors and Frost Death Knights are both very fun and dynamic specs leaning on procs for best dps. Fury is a bit easier to do well, but if you want a more challenging spec to play and have (or might level) one of these two-handed weapon monsters, Frost might be your best bet.

Top Lists: 5 Best New Paladin Talents of 4.0.1

With Top Lists, I bring you the classic past-time of listing the best/worst of any subject. On this blog, naturally, Warcraft themed topics will be the focus.

Today: Best New Paladin Talents of 4.0.1.

5. Rebuke – Ret – Finally we have a legitimate interrupt. Of course, this will lead to ret paladins actually having a job on boss fights besides facerolldps.

4. Divine Guardian – Prot – Raid wall that doesn’t require another cool down to use. Being able to hit a button to help protect 20% of raid damage for 6 seconds is a big deal on any high raid damage fights.

3. Long Arm of the Law / Improved Judgement – Ret (IJ in range of Holy/Prot) – Wait! Paladins got an interrupt and a gap closer? Both things most of us didn’t think we’d see in this expansion. Improved judgement gives us an additional 20 yards of range on our judgement giving us a ranged attack that doesn’t have a cast time. The long arm talent improves judgements even further by increasing our run speed by 45% for 6 seconds if the target is more than 15 yards away. This is useful when chasing down another player, to keep downtime minimal on trash (especially if your tank has a charge ability), and on raid bosses that might be high movement periods that require you to be more than 15 yards from your target (Professor Putri and his slimes for example).

2. Sanctified Wrath – Ret – This talent reduces the cool down of Avenging Wrath (wings) by 20/40/60 seconds, increases the crit chance of Hammer of Wrath by 20/40/60%, and the new most important function – HoW can be used during AW regardless of the health of the enemy. This is great to open up on a boss (watch tank threat) in order to get 2, possibly 3, periods of HoW during a fight for a huge dps increase. Right now, it’s a little bit over powered in PVP as hammer can easily hit a target without amazing resilience for 15-18k and two-shot them. It does make up for our weaker judgements in PVP.

1. Protector of the Innocent – Holy (in range of ret/prot) -This first tier talent from the Holy tree is straight amazing with no downside. It’s a permanent Beacon of Light on yourself. All heals done by the Paladin also heal the Paladin, including self heals. These are healing my Paladin somewhere in the range of 5-9k each. It’s one of the best survivability talents in the game for both PVE raiding and PVP play.

Do you have any thoughts of what should have been on my top 5 list? Comment your own top 5 paladin talent list or suggest a new list topic I could write up!

Daily Thoughts: Hallow’s End and Bad Queues

I spent most of my WoW time last night working on achievements for the Hallow’s End holiday and hopefully the “the Hallowed” title this year.

See WoW Insiders Guide to Hallow’s End 2010

I got my GNERD Rage (50 honor kills with the candy buff active) achievement almost entirely in one wintergrasp. Horde is pretty over populated on my server, so we farm the alliance back to their flight path most times. Poor ally. Most of my time though, was spent getting the Tricks and Treats of Azeroth. That requires you to run around to most of your factions Inns in Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms and Outlands and loot their pumpkin. It’s a lot of running/flying. Each pumpkin does give 6 or so gold, so my friend and I were up 200 gold after the night.

The quests that require horde players to run into south shore and cause shenanigans were pretty fun because there was a bunch of alliance there trying to kill us. My 1100 resilience paladin and my friends 1k resilience warrior said, “No ally, you can’t kill us”. I didn’t claim our battle taunts were creative. Not much better than some open world PVP while getting achievements. Today I’m going to have to do the achievements that rely on drops, including the Sinister Squashling pet and the pumpkin helm.

…And the bad queue part

During the course of this adventure to gain my holiday achievement, my questing parter and I were constantly queued for random battle grounds. Over the course of 3 hours or so of questing/running around, we got only 3 battle ground queues. Do the math, it’s taking forever. I’d love someone to comment if they happen to know why for certain. I had heard before the patch that battle groups were supposed to expand or function as if they had, though after seeing the limited server selection inside the battle grounds we were in, other possibilities such as smaller battle groups make more sense. Any ideas?