Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The foolproof way to be awesome at holy paladin-ing:

This will also be known as my "How To: Holy" Post

Covered in this post:
• Gearing goals/choices
• Talent choices (but not the discussion on DS/DG, that is another post entirely)
• Spell choices/”rotations”

Main points:
1. You are a single (dual) target healer, don’t try to be more than that.
2. Int.
3. Holy Light.
4. Int.
5. Intellect.
6. Haste is very very nummy, and crit has gone away for the most part… kind of.
7. Int.
8. Utility is nice, and you can bring a lot of it.
9. Int.

Now, before I get into the meat and potatoes of how to get ‘er done, I just want to clarify to those who are reading to see WHY you will be gemming/gearing/chanting towards these specific goals. If you have illusions of being some monster raid healer who tops everyone off whenever they get hit with any damage, think again. Roll a holy priest, a resto drood, or a chealing shaman. They all do very well at that job in different ways. CoH is fast, hits hard among many people and a 3 stack serendipity hasted PoH will unload on more people (even more so when glyphed). The pure HPS potential of the raid healers is just inherently higher than ours in current raiding situations. That being said, they can’t even come close to single target bombing a tank (or two!) to keep them alive for as long as we do. If you do this right you will be able to fully unload on your target (or two!) for well over 2 minutes self buffed, and with raid buffs you will near 5 minutes going at full bore.

The end goals for being that monster tank healer:
Currently I aim to at these goals for healing as a pally-
-The 2500 spellpower (raid buffed) minimum.
I used to consider the minimum at 2000, but with ICC having things hit slower and more consistently, our HLs have become more effective and I have seen more times where one is landing and not topping off the target (or the beacon target) which means more spellpower could have been utilized. This being said 2500 spellpower is still quite low and I generally sit above 3k in raid buffs. If you hit the other minimums and can’t tote 2.5k spellpower you are probably doing something wrong.
-The haste softcap.
670 haste (I think it’s actually 677? I’ll math it out after I post this and edit it up). This pulls your FoL to 1 second and your GCD at 1 second (which makes you using your other abilities faster too… I.E. reapplying your SS, beacon, or hitting the magical DP button.
Just so you know, wear more haste when you don’t have full buffs in your raids, meaning you need shaman for wrath of air (5%) and a ret pally (ret aura 3%) OR boomkin (3%) to make sure you hit that cap. I have 2 sets of gear that I actually raid in consistently, one sits around 800 haste for our 10mans where I don’t get all my favorite buffs, and another that sits at 668 which is close enough to cap for me in 25mans. The one with less haste has about 1.5k more mana on my bar for it.
-Intellect, as high as that sucker can go.
After you hit your other two minimums, the rest is pretty much stacking int. There are many reasons why you do this, but the first being that above all else, it makes you able to cast longer and longer the more mana you have. More int=more mana=more mana back with DP. DP is wonderful, it scales with your MAX(ask your friendly priests to hymn sometime, its amazing) mana. Also, Int is fantastic because A. it scales with kings B. it gives you extra spellpower via talents C. it gives you extra crit from naturally being int D. its sexy

Now, those are the basics for gear and what you want on it. Honestly past that it doesn’t matter *AS MUCH*
Here is where many people scoff at me for not talking up crit and mp5. I say that they are “not great” but clearly they are good stats for us, just not even as close to as good as Int/Haste. I’d take free crit or mp5 over extra SP, sure. But, really mp5 and crit just kind of “happen” on your gear choices when you gear for Int and haste. (if you stay in mail and plate that is) Really though, my sword currently is awesome, it’s absolutely stellar, so nice… And some of our caster dps hate me for having hit on it. I don’t care about it, it’s truly a wasted stat (Hey! I judge!) but the other stats make the weapon better than most of what was available in T9 for sure.
If you didn’t get it already, the meta to use is insightful earthsiege (Int plus mana back!) and all your gems should be yellow Brilliant King’s Ambers with one Nightmare tear for the meta activation (10 int!) or a purple with spellpower and Mp5. Almost every socket bonus is not worth dropping some int for like 8 spellpower, or haste, or crit, or mp5. It just isn’t even close.

Now you know how to gear!

Let’s put those talents into place!

For the most part we will all agree that beacon is one of your best assets and maybe your most valuable talent point spent. I have seen some fun combo specs that could probably do decently well, but beacon (not-effectively) doubles your healing output for 1 GCD every 60 seconds. I suggest taking it…

So you go into the talent choices and find that for the most part it’s pretty easy to see what is for PvP and what is for PvE, you get your cookie cutter going in the tree and find you can spend 51 points easy. There are only a few real choices:

Aura mastery- I have seen a lot of people tell me this isn’t that great because holy pallys usually have Concentration aura up…. I don’t get why people think we need to only use that aura?? If a fight has no pushback on the ranged, it is useless. Literally zero use, throw up ret aura if you have nothing better to throw, or a resist if there is some form of resistible damage… which MEANS! You now have a 6 second CD to double that resistance. Last I checked it gives something like 40% resistance to your aura’s defense at level 80, which is nice being as blizz now loves to send predictable AoE onto your whole raid which has to be healed through. Truly an underrated talent. I have found so many uses for this and all smart raiders will as well.

Imp Conc aura- This is a raid buff, not for you. With conc aura up and your holy talents you cannot be pushed back, at all. Realize this. Also- if you have one paladin with this in your raid there is simply no reason two need to have talent points in it. Why would you stack conc auras? I can think of a handful of fights where you could claim that the raid breaks up into groups… but really? You will break up the paladins and NEED that extra help from pushback where you wouldn’t rock a resist aura?? You have got to be kidding me.

Spell rotation!!

Now, it’s difficult to claim that healing has a “spell rotation,” but really we can describe what using different spell rotations will net you as each and every one will change in your HPS output, the speed of your output and your mana usage.

Ideally we’d be just chain casting flash of light. Coupled with SS on a target FoL is in my opinion (at 1second cast time 1 second GCD) just a really big hot ticking for like 7k a second. This sounds powerful because it is at high gear levels. Unfortunately though, it is not always big enough. In 25man ToC and above even with much ICC gear you will still have tank deficits far greater than what your FoL can do. And let’s face it… if the raid wanted a big hot-casting machine they would put a geared resto druid in your role and have 6k hots ticking on multiple targets, not just one. BUT with an understanding that in our “downtime” or when tank damage has slowed down for a moment there really is no need to queue up monster HLs (unless you know the pain is coming down the rails and your tank is standing in the tracks) and then cancel-casting them or even worse burning mana on pure overhealing. Also with small tank defecits you can do some decent healing with FoL. During the majority of the fight though you will fall into HL spam and the length of your mana pool will be extended by squeaking FoLs between HL casts and relying on your other healers to be actively healing that target as well for those moments.

So there you have your best case scenario, FoL spam, with your most likely scenario, HL spam, but both of those require you to stand almost perfectly still to execute. Due to Blizz enjoying tossing fire at you frequently you will be on the move, a lot. How do we keep tanks up during this arduous task of NOT EVER USING YOUR S-KEY WHILE HEALING (more on that later) well they gave us the wonderful Holy Shock!! It is our most mana-consuming spell per healing which makes it BAD to use on CD if you care about not ooming. BUT it is our only spell that is instant which heals. This means people can die during cast times of FoLs and HLs, but you can use HS to keep someone up if they are on the verge of death, but that’s about it. Either moving, or your cast time is just not going to cut it.

Getting used to using all of these in their correct ways simply takes feel and practice, but once you get it down you end up being a monster. Just remember that HL is the only spell that allows you to continue to tank heal WHILE DPing. FoLs cut in half hit like wet noodles, while HLs cut in half hit like small vehicles, instead of cement trucks. Understand when you need a cement truck do NOT DP. Also try to use your wings or trinket during DP phases as it is about the only time when you can say you need a boost in oomph in your heals. If you need to boost your non-DP’d heals… then you need more gear to be in the instance anyway and should just leave. (or get better healers to heal with you.)
The most wonderful thing to ever happen to paladins- DP. With the inception of DP we became infinite mana machines until Blizz nerfd us (rightfully so) to where we are competitive with the spirit based healing classes and the shaman who has the mighty mighty water shield. I get asked more often than not about healing the most simple question- When do you use DP? My answer for this All the time. My first DP is when I get somewhere between 80-90% mana. Yes, 90% mana. I’d rather stay topped off at 100 for the first 45 seconds of a fight and have DP come back off of CD early to keep me up in mana than to chain spam HL and melt my own mana pool during a heavy tank healing phase. If I’m healing ANYTHING during DP I try to use a healing increasing item per DP to make the healing reduction slightly less. I also note before I hit it with the quick thought of “is this an awful time to plea?” If the answer is even remotely yes, do NOT hit that button, but use it at your next available moment. After that every time it comes off of CD you need to be finding a moment to use DP for as long as you can (you can always let it tick for a few seconds and cancel it so you keep your tanks alive). Currently I don’t have an addon to tell me it is off of CD, omniCC/Bartender4 aside. I’ve been in the market for one, considering PowerAuras.

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