In Wrath, Resto Druids were arguably the most over powered healing class in PVP. While that title is now often thrown at Resto Shamans or Holy Paladins, we former trees of HoT-ty goodness can still definitely hold our own. Aside from that, playing a resto druid in PVP is fun as all hell. There’s almost nothing like jumping into a large mass of players fighting, rolling HoTs on your team and turning the tide as, suddenly, the enemy can’t kill your teammates. Combine that with having a host of instant-cast spells and being able to break snares when changing form (something only resto druids can do now) and they can be really, really hard to bring down. (more…)
I’ve spent a lot of posts recently talking about zones (and yes I’m still going to do that Twilight Highlands review at some point), factions, and other such things and not much time on the actual playing my class. The big changes specifically to Paladins in cataclysm (if you don’t count Holy Power from 4.0.3) are the new spells:
Inquisition is our new self buff. It increases all holy damage by 30%. Retribution gets a talent that extends the duration of this buff to 10 seconds per Holy Power used to trigger it. This is meant to be kept up as much as possible similar to Slice and Dice for combat rogues and is a pretty significant DPS loss if not used.. Holy Radiance is pretty much making us a moving healing stream totem, and does an AOE heal to nearby targets. I haven’t got much play testing with this spell, as I’m running ret main now, but I really haven’t heard anything too exciting about from those doing Holy main spec. Finally, Guardian of Ancient Kings is amazing. This buff has a long (5m) cooldown, but skyrockets a ret paladins DPS when used. From what I hear from the other specs, it seems it’s a better friend to ret than the other uses. Each spec gets a specific purpose, one for taking, extra heals for holy and more damage for ret. Follow me after the break for some more…
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?
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…
Well, another day of healing as a Holy Paladin and still Flash of Light is stronger than Holy Light and very expensive. Maybe I was half expecting my massive Holy Lights to be back – they weren’t.
Today I ran a couple of heroics and killed Ignis in Ulduar for the weekly quest. Definitely do not feel as powerful as I used to. Not to say that it was very hard to heal that content nor did anyone die. I suppose the shaman who pulled before the tank died but, don’t enhance shamans always die? I’m not sure that counts. No, it definitely doesn’t count. Regardless, it takes a lot more attention to make sure that people don’t die (shamans aside). Prior to 4.0.1, there was really no need to do anything other than hit Holy Light, especially with the Glyph of Holy light which added a splash heal to nearby players. Finally, I’m picking up on the idea that I have to use Holy Shock on cool down. Outside of HS, FL spam is still the way to go for most fights without huge incoming damage. This is making me want to go after more haste than I had before. Yes, haste was always a go to stat for Holy, but now that HL doesn’t hit like a bus, I need it to hit more often to even attempt a comparable throughput. I see reforging in my future.
Without the Illumination talent which gave mana return on crits, crit is even less valuable than it was. Spirit is still a decent stat as a high damage fight could tax our mana regen after the severe nerf to Divine Plea (10% mana down from 25% mana gained). Proper spell use, AKA Holy Light/Holy Shock, will help negate that mana regen nerf to make sure we can keep casting through out a long fight. I’ll probably reforge a fair chunk of crit into haste so that my little HL’s can do the job still.
The other big factor in mana conservation is Word of Glory. Word of Glory is the Holy Power outlet for Holy. Unlike other HP outlets, Word of Glory scales linearly and each point of Holy Power is worth the same amount of healing. For example, 1 holy power might equal 2,000 healing, while 3 holy power will just equal 6,000 healing. This is an instant cast, mana free heal. Without huge cheap mana regen, free heals are a big deal. What about our other two new spells? Light of Dawn is alright for helping out with incoming AoE damage. If you have a Resto Shaman or Druid, you’re better of letting them do the raid healing. I still haven’t found much use for Divine Light – Paladin’s new big heal. Considering that Flash of Light ends up being a little more throughput and Holy Light is cheap, I just can’t find the right Niche for Divine Light.
One thing that is keeping Holy Paladins a contender for big tank healing is our Mastery – Illuminated Healing, which adds a 8% of the healing done as a bubble that lasts 6 seconds. If your tank is taking consistent damage the bubble will constantly being used, adding a lot of effective healing. The other nice part of Illuminated Healing, it is affected by Beacon of Light Heals. So all healing you do to the raid adds 50% of healing to the tank which constantly places that 8% bubble onto the tank. Keep in mind though, this bubble doesn’t stack, each new heal replaces it and resets the 6 second duration.
That’s all for tonight. I’m thinking about taking Holy into PVP tomorrow, though I might end up focusing on gearing my Fury warrior. As always, comments are welcome. Feel free to ask questions or give feedback/suggestions.
Sorry for the short post tonight, but here goes:
I’m going to need a couple more rounds in ICC and some random dungeons before I can give my full opinion of Holy healing post 4.0.1. This new healing model seems a bit wonky to me. I’m really not used to Holy Light spam being so weak. HL is down to about 40% of the effectiveness compared to its previous incarnation. Flash of light, which used to be the small heal, is now a bigger heal than HL. It’s fast and expensive and can’t be spammed recklessly. Right now, Holy Power seems to be on the verge of useless since Holy Shock is still better overall than a 3 point word of glory. There’s also this relatively weak AOE heal ‘Light of Dawn’ that is on a 30 second CD and therefore can’t be used very often.
So what does a Holy Paladin use to heal? Everything! Holy Light is the go to heal for the most part because of its relative efficiency. You’ll also want to throw in Holy Shock almost on cool down because of its chance to provide a 1.5 second reduced cast time on HL as well as 30% reduced cast time of next heal if you talent into it. Use Light of Dawn for when the raid takes some AOE, naturally, and flash of light if someone is taking heavy damage. Honestly, I didn’t much use the new big heal, Divine Light. High incoming damage is better responded to with Flash of Light.
Other than that, use the normal spells as before 4.0.1. Judge to get a haste buff and Beacon the tank. Mana isn’t much of an issue still, stack int/haste and cast away. Healing Dreamwalker is still a blast. I have no idea what’s coming tomorrow, but I’ll see you next time!