The DS/DG argument: In one location and what makes it good/how to use it. And a smattering on the discussion of the underutilized utility of the holy paladin. (Because I can’t find anywhere else that is user friendly and easy to understand)
NOTE: This was originally a part of my How To: Holy post, but it became a behemoth in and of itself that it required its own post.
Now you have your basic healing down. I would allow you to come heal with me in my raid. You would do your job as needed. You would be better than 80% of the paladins out there. What makes you a top-notch player you ask me? Well the rest is understanding the finer points of your class. I chant my boots with runspeed and forego the 15% in ret for the wondrous magnificent beautiful Divine Sacrifice/Divine Guardian.
Couple of notes about the differences of specs, the ret spec gives you these benefits:
1. 15% runspeed AND free boots to enchant. Note that the 15% is up from the 8% of the enchant.
2. 8% crit
3. 3% crit to the raid on the boss, if your raid doesn’t have this already.
4. Imp BoM (if you are giving it out)
5. 10% reduction in instant cast spells
Just so you know, I listed them in importance of most valuable to least imo. Disagree if you like but I’ll share my rationale why you don’t need these things after I tell you the advantages to the DS/DG subspec:
1. DS. A still awesome RAID WALL. Truly unique in the game, I have saved entire wipes with this one button and it got nerfd because it is THAT good. It’s safer to use than before with its current form and a little less potent.
2. DG-Means your SS lasts 30 seconds longer which can be converted into saved mana as you cast SS ½ the time you were before (assuming you are not a baddie and you keep it up on the tank at least 80% of the time)
3. 6% personal damage reduction with RF, plus your other heals should absolutely LOVE you. Adds spawning go to healers, with RF up you know WHICH they will go to and if your tank can’t out-threat you with RF up (which is like 1-2k threat… I mean come on… that’s when I’m bombing fully effective HLs!) you need new tanks, not a new spec.
4. 6% healing when touched by your aura, doesn’t stack with tree of life, so I guess if you didn’t have a tree it’d be nice?
5. Divinity, 5% healing increased (nominal amount for us) and 5% healing received (actually can make a difference!).
Now, the runspeed from ret is actually AWESOME. Truly, but I get half that from boots. When it comes down to it though, a raid wall IS better than run speed increase. Prot 1-0 Ret
8% crit? Well being as if you tell me crits help you heal more… I say FALSE. Crit is an unreliable stat for healing. Healing is about “this spell heals X” when it crits it’s a bonus and if the crit is effective healing it saved you your next cast. Win. But Murhpy’s law clearly says if you rely on crit, it will bend you over like a little boy from MJ (Too son?) and your tank will get gibbed when you fail to crit 3-4 times in a row. I know, crits are awesome and 25k+ HLs are cool, but you cannot seriously tell me you rely on it. As for mana regen since blizz nerfd illumination in Naxx mp5 is a better stat pound for pound… and you get about the same mana back from DG and your less applications of SS. No mana regen argument here folks!
3% crit to the boss? Well if your raid doesn’t have this… I can see why you would want it. But this can be brought by many many classes. Which leads me to my next point… Imp BoM, also if you don’t have this or imp bshout then it would probably be really good to pick up, if you do… then it’s pretty much worth nil. In a 10man hmode guild I could totally see a pally specing into these for the raid, because they ARE worth it. In a 25man where these buffs are nearly guaranteed it’s a true waste.
After that the talents you are getting are very slim, the 10% from instants really doesn’t net to much, unless you are chain casting HS… which you should not do! 6% damage reduction and RF can be debatable depending on your players, divinity CAN save a life, but you wouldn’t really feel it… and aura healing is obviously brought by the trees.
When it comes to using DS btw, you really do need to figure think it through beforehand when would be nice to use it. The best situation I believe is when you have your bubble ready, don’t think you will need it during the fight, and the whole raid is about to take massive damage (I.E. Hodir frozen blows, Anub hmode P3 after tank CDs are down to name a few) but it has a short CD of 2 min and your bubble is 5. This being said if the melee or even the tanks are about to be punished and you can heal yourself or call to the other heals to help you out, then you can really help there as well. Just think though- if there is major raid AoE and you are taking that damage, you are also taking the channeled damage and can bring yourself low with DS and then off yourself quite quickly while that pulsing AoE nails you like a 5 copper hooker.
I have no idea how many times I’ve saved a raid with this talent… 15? 20 times? Granted I’ve also wiped us from dying to my own stupidity before as well… Just make sure you don’t kill yourself to much using this CD, or it may just really not be for you.
Hand of Sacrifice is not used enough. It’s another tank CD you can use, just announce it to your other heals, and then make sure you are not in fire to add to that damage as well. With the DG it does pretty well.
Make sure your dpsers love you by giving out buddy bubbles when they pull threat. The shorter CD helps here becuase it really can save their life. And it doesn’t hinder casters at all. Frequently in ICC already my buddy the DK knows I have his back and he doesn't mind pulling aggro... Knowing I'll BoP him pretty swiftly.
Hand of Salvation is also really nice. Make nice with a feral kitty and you just got yourself a keen CD swap. Create a whisper macro to scream at them when you want their innervate and they do the same when they are about to pull. With both on relatively short CDs you can swap them back and forth many times in fights. Also eating innervates allows you to use less FoL and more HL. (A note about this, if you really want to be awesome and get your dps loving you, tell that druid on any fight where you think you won’t need it to feed the arcane mages innervates it really will boost their dps a LOT. Allowing them to 4 stack arcane barrages and be ok with their mana levels makes bosses die a lot faster.) I find I actually eat innervates when we are down on tank heals or when bosses are progression and there is a lot more damage on the raid that will later be avoidable with understanding the fights better.
Conclusion on the Specs debate:
Really if you are looking to HL bomb, I'm not one to see a lot of value in the ret subtree. As much as I like crit for the big bombing numbers, I still sit just below 50% raid buffed, which is generally *enough* for throughput. Then again, if you need throughput, haste is your better friend than crit...
At the end of the day, do what you like, this is just what the theorycrafting pans out as. I will tell you experience weighs in a lot more... (More on this later)
A few notes on utility as a Holy pally:
Seal of wisdom procs. This one here used to be the bread and butter in naxx fights. On most of the bosses you could step up to the bosses unnoticed by him and just swing away feeling all warm and fuzzy with no care or worry about getting eaten. Now blizzard likes to keep us at range for many fights with things like knockdowns, interrupts, and random AoE in close proximity to the bosses. Well, when those are NOT there. Get right up on his ass and laugh as you realize your swing timer will go off between casts and is not reset by casts. Truly an amazing way to get “free” mana. AND remember that 40k mana you have with buffs? Yeah, your SoW procs give you mana based off of that sucker. So that int helped you out AGAIN. Just be careful, there is a reason why ranged stay at RANGE usually…
Be aware and use your CDs. With the short CDs of raid wall and AM, it should be used once, twice every fight. Get used to using your CDs on trash... As a healer I always found it difficult to pop CDs, but doing it more on trash really helps by conditioning you to check when they are on CD and when not, keeping them more on CD. They will be back up for bosses, I promise.
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