Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Light of Dawn

First, to quote the inimitable Jong:

Also, holy pallies are shooting lazers out of their hands.

On the first night of raiding post-patch we went to Icecrown Citadel. I tried using Light of Dawn, but I just wasn't impressed by it. It didn't seem to do anything, and was always on cooldown.

But then last night, we went to Ulduar. And I fell in love with the spell.

The thing is that raid damage is fundamentally different in ICC than it was in Ulduar. In ICC, raid damage is constant and heavy. Aura damage fights and many random sources of damage abound. In this environment, Light of Dawn seems exceedingly feeble, and the long cooldown just makes it pointless.

But in Ulduar, raid damage generally follows a pattern. The boss does a special move and the entire raid takes damage. The raid damage is not constant. In this environment, Light of Dawn shines. XT has a tantrum; all the paladins bust out Light of Dawn in response.

And that interaction is just incredibly fun to me. Perhaps it was because those points used to be the worst part of healing for a paladin. Sure, once in a while you could use Aura Mastery or Divine Sacrifice, but most of the time you were frantically single-targeting the people with the lowest health, cursing your lack of tools.

The best analogy I could come with was back when I played Magic: the Gathering.
Opponent: I Fireball you for 7,000,000 damage.
Me: Counterspell.

Light of Dawn feels like our counterspell:
Raid Boss: Ha, ha. Eat my super-move of mega raid damage.
Holy Paladin: Light of Dawn.

Obviously, it's not a complete panacea, you still have to heal everyone up. But it feels fun when I use Light of Dawn in Ulduar.

It even makes the choice of glyphing Light of Dawn more obvious. Does the move you want to counter occur every 20-30 seconds? If yes, glyph Light of Dawn. If it occurs every 30+ seconds, glyph something else.

Now, we don't really know what raid damage in Cataclysm will be like. Hopefully it will be more like Ulduar than ICC.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Odds and Ends

Ghostcrawler on Holy Paladins

Nice long post by GC on the state of holy paladins. Very interesting read.

Right now, I think we're a little skewed because mana restrictions aren't in yet. With infinite mana at 80, the other classes are able to put out a lot of healing to multiple targets, which is our weak point. We don't get our main AoE spell until 83, and Beacon got drastically weakened. However, when mana restrictions become stronger, things may be more equal.

Cataclysm trailer

The Cataclysm trailer is online. It's pretty good, but I think the Wrath trailer was just more elegant.

Lord of the Rings Online

Since Lord of the Rings Online went F2P, I've been giving it a whirl. I've been levelling a Guardian. It's fun, but I'm approaching the point where I need to decide whether to pay for stuff or not.

Reforging

As predicted, Reforging has become mandatory for endgame raiding. Kind of honestly, it's a serious annoyance. I haven't reforged my Holy gear, because I'm not having mana problems, and the theorycraft on the other three stats is all over the place.

But then I reforged Ret gear, and trying to maximize stats while hitting the hit cap, expertise cap, and haste softcap was a trying exercise.

Ahh well, I expect someone will make a program to tell you what the optimal reforging pattern is.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Holy Paladin Spec and Glyphs in 4.0.1

Well, 4.0.1 is almost upon us, and with it comes the biggest shakeup in the game systems that we've seen in a long time. Here are some thoughts on Holy's new spec and glyphs for level 80. For the glyph's section, I'm looking at the Holy-focused glyphs only.

Talent Spec

Looking at the talent trees, I think there are two major decision points for Holy Paladins:

Long-range or short-range Judgements?

Judgment gives a 9% haste buff, but you need to spend 4 talent points if you want to be able to judge effectively from range. If you think you can survive without long-range Judgements, that frees up 4 points which you can spend on other talents.

Divinity or Crusade?

Divinity gives +6% to all your heals. Crusade gives +30% to Holy Shock. At 80, you don't have enough talent points to get both.

You will be using Holy Shock a lot, and 30% is a large enough buff that it can actively change how you use the spell. With Crusade, maybe you'll be able to Holy Shock in a place where you would have had to use Flash of Light.

In contrast, Divinity adds 6% to all your healing. It's constant and works with everything.

My thoughts

Right now, I'm leaning toward taking Long-range Judgements and Crusade. I'll have to relearn how to play Holy Paladin, and not needing to mess around with range, and being able to judge like normal will reduce the learning curve.

As for Crusade/Divinity, at 85 we will be taking both talents. There's a risk that if I don't take Crusade, I may end up not using HS like I should, because it will be much less powerful than it will be at 85.

Sample Builds

LR+Crusade: 31/0/5
LR+Divinity: 31/3/2

SR+Crusade: 31/2/3
SR+Divinity: 31/3/2

Prime Glyphs

Divine Favor - Increases the duration of Divine Favor by 10 sec.
Holy Shock - Increases the critical effect chance of Holy Shock by 5%.
Seal of Insight - While Seal of Insight is active, the effect of your healing spells is increased by 5%.
Word of Glory - Increases the healing done by Word of Glory by 10%.

My choices are Holy Shock, Seal of Insight, and Word of Glory. Those are the spells that will get used all the time.

Major Glyphs

Beacon of Light - Increases the duration of Beacon of Light by 30 sec.
Cleanse - Reduces the mana cost of your Cleanse by 20%.
Divine Plea - Your Divine Plea provides an additional 5% of your total mana.
Divinity - Your Lay on Hands grants twice as much mana as normal and also grants you as much mana as it grants your target.
Light of Dawn - Reduces the cooldown of Light of Dawn by 10 sec and the amount healed by 20%.
Hand of Salvation - Hand of Salvation no longer permanently reduces threat over time but instead reduces all threat as long as Hand of Salvation lasts.
Long Word - Your Word of Glory heals for 50% less up front, but provides an additional 50% healing over 6 sec.

My choices are going to be Beacon of Light, Divinity, and Long Word.

I don't think we need to worry about mana just yet, so Cleanse is out. As for Divine Plea, I don't think we will use it on cooldown. If it turns out that paladins are using it on cooldown, I expect it to be nerfed until we only use it in emergencies. Or possibly by macro'ing '/cancel Divine Plea' to all our healing spells.

Light of Dawn is a 20% increase in effectiveness if you are using it on cooldown. But it feels like the type of spell you save for exactly the right time, not a spell that you use every chance you get. Hand of Salvation is interesting, but I think that permanent threat reduction is going to be more useful. Temporary threat reduction can save someone after they pull, but we already have Hand of Protection for that.

Long Word makes WoG different than HS, and I think that will be important, rather just having WoG be a HS clone.

Minor Glyphs

Blessing of Kings - Reduces the mana cost of Blessing of Kings by 50%.
Blessing of Might - Reduces the mana cost of your Blessing of Might by 50%.
Seal of Insight - Reduces the mana cost of Seal of Insight by 50%.
Lay on Hands - Reduces the cooldown of your Lay on Hands spell by 2 min.

I think our Minor glyphs are the most boring out of all the classes. I'm taking Lay on Hands and Seal of Insight. Kings and Might is a toss up, but I'll take Kings for style.