Friday, November 09, 2007
I. The Basics
Blessings are powerful buffs that paladins can cast on allies. In raids, Blessings are the most desired contribution of paladins, and most 25-man raids bring at least 3 paladins in order to maximize the number of Blessings.
A Greater Blessing lasts for 30 minutes, costs a reagent, and is cast upon an entire class at the same time. The normal versions of the Blessings last for 10 minutes and are cast on a individual. A paladin can only cast one Blessing on a player at one time. If she casts another Blessing, it will overwrite her first one. Each player can have a blessing from each paladin. Thus, if there are 3 paladins in the raid, each player should have 3 Blessings.
There are also three "tactical" Blessings: Protection, Sacrifice, and Freedom. These blessings last for 30s or less and will overwrite other Blessings. Paladins often forget about these Blessings, but they are useful in specific circumstances. However, the rest of this guide will only consider the long-term Blessings.
I'm a firm believer that paladins are responsible for determining which Blessing should go on which player. Multiple people crying for different Blessings is tiresome. It's okay to remind a paladin if a Blessing (especially a normal one) wears off.
II. The Blessings
Blessing of Salvation reduces the threat generated by the target. Salvation is the first and greatest of the paladin Blessings and should almost always be the first Blessing cast. Salvation is not a safety net, it is a "damage-enabler". It allows DPS to do up to 42% more damage. They can start earlier, hit harder, and not waste time/energy/mana on threat dumps. Some DPS (rogues, mostly) will try and complain about Salvation, and request Might or Kings instead. My philosophy is that if you don't need Salvation, you aren't doing acceptable damage.
Blessing of Might adds Attack Power, both melee and ranged. It will generally add more damage than Kings, even accounting for the additional crit. Thus it is usually the second Blessing of choice for classes that rely on Attack Power.
Blessing of Wisdom adds significant mana regeneration. Again, the amount of mana returned is generally much more than the extra mana gained through Kings, and it is the second Blessing of choice for the mana-using classes.
Blessing of Light increases the healing done to the target by Paladins. It's usually the second Blessing placed on tanks, and the fourth or fifth Blessing placed on the raid. It does add a large amount of +healing, but only for the paladins, so it's value greatly depends on the number of paladins in the raid. As a rule of thumb for blessing tanks, if you have enough paladins to make Light useful, you have enough paladins to cast both Kings and Light.
Blessing of Kings increases all stats by 10%. It is the 11-point talent in the Protection tree. Most healing paladins will dip into Protection to pick up Kings. Kings is the first Blessing placed on tanks because it increases the tanks' health. It is generally the third Blessing placed on the raid. Kings is a very powerful Blessing, and is the reason most raids use at least 3 paladins. Unlike the other Blessings, Kings scales with your gear. At the very high end, it may be a better choice than Might or Wisdom.
Blessing of Sanctuary reduces incoming damage by a small amount, and deals Holy damage on a block. It is the 21-point talent in the Protection tree. It is important to note that Sanctuary's damage reduction comes before armor. Usually, only a Protection paladin picks up Sanctuary, though a Holy paladin will sometimes go 40/21/0. While it isn't a bad Blessing, it isn't as useful as the other Blessings. It is helpful on a tank handling adds that are to be AoE'd. I also prefer Sanctuary over Light as the fourth blessing on the raid, as it helps dampen the effect of splash damage, which non-paladins are usually healing.
II. Blessing Priority for each Class
Warrior (tank) - Kings, Light, Sanctuary, Might
Warrior (DPS) - Salvation, Might, Kings, Sanctuary, Light
Druid (bear) - Kings, Light, Might, Sanctuary
Druid (cat) - Salvation, Might, Kings, Sanctuary, Light
Druid (other) - Salvation, Wisdom, Kings, Sanctuary, Light
Warriors and druids usually cause the biggest hassles when organizing buffs. DPS warriors do not have ways to drop threat, so Salvation is very important to them. At the same time, putting Salvation on your tanking Warriors ends extremely badly.
As for healers, I generally prefer to put Salvation on them first. It's safest, and you don't want to lose your healers to adds, or if the tank gets incapacitated.
Hunter - Might or Wisdom, Wisdom or Might, Kings, Sanctuary, Light
Hunter (Survival) - Kings, Might or Wisdom, Wisdom or Might, Sanctuary, Light
Because Feign Death is a complete aggro wipe available every 30s, hunters do not need Salvation. Additionally, not having Salvation will give them more control over trapping and improve the effect of Misdirect. Might will usually do more damage on short fights, but Wisdom will do more on long fights.
Hunter pets get the same Greater Blessings cast on the Warrior class. This is a source of great amusement to paladins.
If you have a Survival hunter with Expose Weakness, Kings can provide more DPS for a 25-man raid. The hunter needs at least 800 Agility for this to be the case.
Mage - Salvation, Wisdom, Kings, Sanctuary, Light
Paladin (tank) - Kings, Light, Sanctuary, Might
Paladin (DPS) - Salvation, Might, Kings, Wisdom, Sanctuary, Light
Paladin (healer) - Wisdom, Kings, Salvation, Sanctuary, Light
Paladins are all over the map as well. Since paladin heals are innately low-threat, you can get away without Salvation. As well, paladins wear plate, so if a healer must pull aggro, it's better to let a paladin do so.
Priest - Salvation, Wisdom, Kings, Sanctuary, Light
Shaman (healer/caster) - Salvation, Wisdom, Kings, Sanctuary, Light
Shaman (Enhancement) - Salvation, Might, Kings, Wisdom, Sanctuary, Light
Rogue - Salvation, Might, Kings, Sanctuary, Light
Warlock - Salvation, Wisdom, Kings, Sanctuary, Light
Warlock pets get the same Greater Blessings cast on the Warlock class. If the warlock uses an Imp, make sure that Phase-Shift is turned off while Blessings are being cast. A phase-shifted Imp will not receive any Blessings.
IV. How to Organize Your Paladins
Given all the conditions in the last section, setting up paladin blessings can seem like a daunting task. This is the system that I use to assign paladin blessings. You don't need the full 5 paladins. If you only have 2 or 3, just drop the remaining Blessings.
Paladin 1 (should have Kings and Improved Wisdom)
- Greater Kings on the Warriors. If you have a third paladin, cast Greater Light instead.
- Greater Wisdom on Hunters.
- Greater Salvation on everyone else.
- Cast individual Salvation on the DPS warriors.
- Cast individual Kings on the paladin or druid tanks. Again, if you have a third paladin, cast individual Light instead.
- Cast individual Kings on Survival hunters. If you have a third paladin, stay with Greater Wisdom on all hunters.
This position is the most annoying one in the raid, as you have to make sure that the DPS warriors have Salvation but the various tanks do not. If necessary, you can use Blessing of Sacrifice or Freedom to "clean off" Salvation. If you don't have any tanking warriors, you can cast Greater Salvation on the warriors.
Paladin 2 (should have Improved Might and Wisdom)
- Greater Might on Hunters, Rogues, and Warriors.
- Greater Wisdom on everyone else.
- cast individual Might on Retribution Paladins, Enhancement Shamans, and Feral Druids.
Paladin 3 (should have Kings)
- Greater Kings on everyone.
Paladin 4 (should have Sanctuary)
- Greater Sanctuary on everyone.
If you don't have a paladin with Sanctuary, just use Paladin 5
- Greater Light on everyone.
If necessary, paladin 4 or 5 could also cast individual Wisdom on Retribution Paladins and Enhancement Shamans.
This system makes it easy for paladins to buff. There's only one complex buffing strategy, that of Paladin 1. All the other paladins are responsible for one or two Blessings at most. So give the extra responsibility to your paladin who is best at remembering to rebuff.
Finally, remember that Blessing priority can also change on specific fights. If there's a lot of splash damage, you might want to prioritize Kings over Might/Wisdom. If threat is not an issue in the fight, you should drop Salvation to the bottom of the priority list.
I recommend the mod PallyPower to keep track of your Blessings. You can assign Greater Blessings by class, see the time remaining on each Blessing, and the range of people in each class. You can also see the Blessings being cast by other paladins who are using the mod. You can cast individual Blessing by right-clicking, allowing you to easily rebuff people who die.