Thursday, September 02, 2010

Advice From a Loyal Reader

I was surprised the other day when I logged in and found that I had advice in the mail from a long-time, though anonymous, reader:

I thought I'd go through this faithful reader's concerns, and talk about my choices about my current gear. (Points slightly rearranged for ease of response.)
Your armory makes me cringe. Drop the MP5 and SP gems and the MP5 enchants. Utter garbage. Gem pure int with 1 Nightmare Tear in the helm.

This is the major point where I differ with what I see as established Holy paladin theorycraft. Most high-end paladins gem, and even enchant, pure intellect. Personally, I like getting socket bonuses, so I use SP/Int, Int, and Int/MP5 gems. So far I haven't had any issues with mana. But if I was to change anything, this would be it.

I'm not really sure what MP5 enchants are being discussed. The only MP5 enchants I have are the faction head/shoulder SP/MP5 ones. As far as I know, MP5 is considered better than crit, so these enchants are the ones to use.
Get the 245 libram from Triumph Emblems. It's BiS.

I use [Libram of Renewal]. My loyal reader suggests using [Libram of Veracity] instead. I am somewhat puzzled by this. The point of gemming full Intellect is to spam Holy Light. Holy Light spam costs a lot of mana, and reducing the cost of HL by 10% is very powerful. Plus HL spam tends to have high overheal, so extra spellpower often just increases your overheal.
Pick up another 400 Haste. Stop wearing MP5 gear. Crafted legs are BiS. 60 Frost gloves are BiS. Crafted boots are BiS

These are pretty good suggestions. To be honest, I kind of just take gear as it drops. I don't do 10-mans, though, so I'm relatively behind on badges.
Consider a 51/5/15 spec for better HPS and efficiency.

I use a 51/20/0 spec for Divine Guardian. I think Divine Guardian is a really powerful cooldown that is extremely useful.
Drop Glyph of BoL, it's garbage. HS or FoL is the way to go.

I disagree here, Glyph of Beacon of Light is a better choice. It saves a bit of mana, saves a GCD every so often, and most importantly, staggers your BoL and SS refreshes. Taking two GCDs in a row to refresh buffs is a long time between heals. As for the other two, HL is the spell of choice, so buffing the other two is less valuable. Better to buff the spells you use most often, and Beacon is always up.
Drop enchanting for JC.

My second profession is already Jewelcrafting. Seems kind of silly to drop Enchanting at this point.
Seriously, after you got denied from Reclaimed I thought you would at least try to fix your !@#$. It just bothers my soul that you have a blog and give people advice when your own character is such a wreck. I feel bad for your guild. You at least owe it to them to research your class and play correctly.

Heh, Reclaimed was two years ago. I'm somewhat surprised that someone would remember and consider it important enough to reference. Or take time to look up my armor, make notes, create a character on my server and send me an anonymous mail with advice.

Still, the "bothers my soul" line is a tad over-wrought.

It's always useful to see what better players are doing. Let's take a look at Diamondtear of Paragon.

The immediate difference I see is that Diamondtear gems and enchants pure intellect, and does gear for haste (though she uses the same legs that I do). Otherwise, we use the same faction enchants, use the same libram, and have similar specs and glyphs.


  1. Hah.

    I used to do stuff like that all the time (Well, not log onto alts and write in game mail to bloggers, but critique other priests) until I spent a few years raiding and came to a simple conclusion: for most of us mortals, it doesn't matter. Sure, *really* bad gear and gem choices will cripple a build, especially some specs at some gear levels. I can think of a half dozen DPS specs which are simply terrible without some threshold level of haste or crit (usually haste). However, "bad" DPS is always relative as is "bad" healing performance. Unholy 3.2 required a small amount of haste and then rewarded gemming strnegth. On top of that, you had to hit cooldowns and not miss runes in order to max DPS. For unholy before the 'nerf', the difference between great DPS and ok DPS could have been huge--2k to 5k difference, depending on how bad the ok DPS was. But in a raid, that difference doesn't always matter. You can't replace raiders with their ideal class representative. If you could, most of us would be on the bench. You can only choose among real humans and only among those humans who show up. And odds are for every gem/gear/spec idiosyncracy you have, they have another.

    So the appropriate comparison is between you and another random player. And in that comparison, absolute maximization is not as helpful as it seems on the EJ forums.

    Now there are a lot of rationalizations for min-maxing. You hear "well, player skill can be random, but you need to make up for that as much as possible" or other more social arguments. But most of them relate to presentation, not effect. Apart from DPS meters, the raid group has almost no way to tell how well or how poorly you play. sure there are anecdotal methods: so and so stands in the fire all the time, etc/ But for the most part they have no way of knowing whether or not you have parked a bonobo chimp in the chair. One thing that happens when organizations are denied a signal of quality is that they focus on all the remaining signals and over-prioritize them. We can't tell if you are a bad, but we can endlessly scrutinize your gear to catch any whiff of bad. No matter that you can look up your class and see "get mp5 to X, then gem SP" (or whatever) and foil our test, it is all we have (mutatis mutandis for the GS debate).

    Once you realize that, you tend to chill out a bit on harping over gear. Maybe you're secret admirer will realize it someday.

  2. While your anonymous reader has a couple of points, he is, for the most part, an idiot. The 245 libram as BiS? ahahaha! I would agree with the haste and int suggestions (getting to 676 haste just for the 1s GCD, which is godly), but you're absolutely right (IMHO) for using the glyphs you do. Glyph of BoL is something I can't consider being without. The mana savings and the staggering of the BoL/SS refreshes (as you mention) are amazing.

    I think your reader has trouble understanding what "BiS" means, to be honest.

    The legs you're wearing are definitely contenders. They are the best level 277 pants. For myself, I prefer the heroic legs off Marrowgar 10 (Corrupted Silverplate Leggings) or the *mail* legs crafted by a Leatherworker. They're better than the plate crafted ones by a mile.

    Honestly, I'm glad you shared this. I definitely got a chuckle out of this.

    And really, if you don't have a problem and you're not losing tanks or running oom with your current spec and in your raid group in the content you're doing, then there's not a lot of need to change what you're doing.

    Having said that, I cannot imagine Heroic LK attempts without a certain amount of haste, just because there is a stupid amount of damage going out, but if you're able to manage, props to you. :)

  3. When I was running a guild I used to browse other people's recruitment forums and saw this kind of thing a lot. Someone goes to EJ, gets half the point into their head, or takes the golden rule without the caveats, and then proceeds to trash every applicant of their class because of it.

    It would put me right off applying to that guild.

    The thing that amazes me is how long someone can persist in telling every applicant they're wrong without questioning their own assumptions.

  4. Methinks the anonymous guy needs to grow up a bit and stop with the anonymous e-mails. If you're going to send e-mails like that, you'd better stand up and defend them rather than parrot something you read in E-J.


    As for your gear, what works for you works. The truest test of your gear is whether groups wipe because you couldn't keep up. If you're fine there, your gear is fine.

  5. It really gets me when people assume that a single spec/playstyle is one size fits all.

    The only (and I mean only) thing my holy pally has that your reader suggests is the 51/5/15 spec he(she?) suggests. I'm working on getting the haste he suggests as well, but in my current raid situation, I just don't have the luxury of only spamming holy light on the tank. We run only two healers in a 10 man, and often the second healer is a pug or an alt. Consequently I'm FOL focused so I can cover the raid if necessary, and that means many of the BIS items just aren't that good for me.

    If my raiding situation changed you can bet I'd need to make some changes. But with the build I have now I've solo healed both Festergut and Rotface 10 successfully (after early co-healer deaths) and if that isn't adequate performance, I don't know what is.

    Also, I fail to see any way that FOL would be a better glyph than BOL for the style he's describing.

  6. Definitely with you on pretty much everything.

    20 in the prot tree? Check. There's precious little point heading into the Ret tree at the moment when the crit is of negligible use and Divine Guardian is so powerful.

    Libram of Renewal? Double-check. Virtually everyone is running with this or one of the FoL PvP librams (or mixing between the two as I do), so how the 245 libram can be considered BiS is beyond me.

    Socket bonuses? *shh* Quiet-triple-check. *shh* Yeah I do this too. Some say yay, some say nay, I say what's not to like about a free +7sp? It all adds up to extra heals and a stronger SS, and I'm also not going to complain about additional mp5 here and there. The only time I'd be mildly irked is if the socket wasn't filled with a variation of Int (Tear aside). But really, something to QQ about? I think not.

    Oh and finally, the glyphs. Holy light splash for a high-healing holy-light oriented playstyle (at the moment)? Yes please! Extended Beacon cooldown to avoid trip-ups with SS? Sounds perfect, a LOT of problems before putting this one in place.

    As for everything else, CALM DOWN dude! BoK is still up there when it comes to worthwhile opinions. Don't diss it when the only person it is adversely affecting is you. You do know you can just, well, not read it?

  7. You've got some weird readers Rohan!

    I have a link to my armory at my blog, but I don't think anyone ever looks at it; otherwise they would have pointed out that I was completely fail glyphed for a long time due to a mistake.

    But in your case... logging in just to write an e-mail like that. Strange. Is it a sign of love or hate?

    I think I would be flattered and take it as a complement, even if the tone in the letter is sadly aggressive and annoying.

  8. I guess that is kind of "constructive" criticism, but if anyone ever used that kind of attitude I would immediately go on the defensive and probably not change anything.

    Some people seems to assume that everyone should be same spec and wearing the same gear. My mage was fire long before most people would recommend going fire ("you need at least XXXX GS before you go fire"), simply because I enjoyed it over arcane. Yeah, I probably lost some DPS over it, but it wasn't much, and I stuck with it because it was fun.

  9. I think I'm with Larisa. It's sort of nice he cared?
    But I'd also be really narked if someone sent me that..
    I don't care if I'm doing it *wrong* as long as that isn't screwing my raid over.

  10. Quite a bit of the "standard wisdom" is based around the assumption that what a Holy Paladin will be doing a pure Holy Light spam. In 10-strict, especially, what your gearing should look like is dictated by what you will be casting, which is again based on the other members of the healing team, what the dynamic between these team members is, and what the timing windows for plea will look like. A perfectly legitimate setup is based around very fast and hard hitting Flashes, and that would involve lots of haste and MP/5. In 10-strict you also are less likely to be able to set up a plea rotation, so you have to plan around not getting to plea (these are the dangerous edge cases) and for that MP/5 is superior.

    Knowing what your plan is and gearing accordingly is the key. Mindlessly copying the flavor of the month from Elitist Jerks only makes sense if their assumptions about your assignment and situation holds, and while it's better than just randomly slotting gems, it's not much better.

    My wife's paladin mostly went yellow slot = haste, blue = MP/5 and red = spellpower, matching mixed colors as appropriate while our guild went top-100 in the world on GuildOx's 10-man strict achievement ratings. I kind of scoff at the idea that she doesn't know what she is doing and why, or that we'd be doing better if we regemmed her and changed up her role in the healing team to match the experiences mostly found in 25-man raiding.

  11. Wow. I'd say this person just loves throwing out unsolicited advices in condescending tones. I am a faithful reader too, and I like the just the way you are.

  12. Won't he have to switch a lot of what he has anyways, when healers start having mana issues in cataclysm (as was promised by GC)?

  13. Well guys, what are we so surprised about? It's the internet. I'm not justifying his attitude, but concepts like privacy, respect or even basic diplomacy are totally unknown. If it looks like a troll, smells like a troll, and acts like a troll... it must be a troll.
    However, I do think his advice isn't incorrect: Even if I live DG's utility, in any other boss 51/5/15 would provide more throughput/mana efficiency.
    Also, on the Veracity vs Renewal discussion: I can't remember the last time I saw a healer having mana problems, can you? I think Renewal was awesome pre 30% buff, but now we can just rely on Veracity for some extra throughput.
    And on the crit/mp5 part; theorycrafters said that mp5 is better than crit only (emphasis on only) on mana regeneration; that doesn't mean that crit is an awesome stat for you, as it also adds throughput.
    Just as Rhii said, you can't have "The One Spec"; boss fights are different and require different specs; hell, we should even have different sets of gears just as tanks, but that didn't hit off as a tradition with healers (at least not in my server).
    This guy is gently proposing the tried and true "OMFG YOUR HPS IS HIGH THEREFORE YOU'RE AWESOME AND I WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND". If you want to stick with it, it's only up to you. I like and choose being really usefull on a few bosses because it feels a lot more fun than just spamming HL, but hell, that's just me, I had more discussions on HPS than I could count.
    (sorry for any mistakes, english isn't my first language)

  14. Not having the courage to sign the message is reason enough to disregard it, regardless of the level of usefulness of the content.

    If the tanks are living and the internet dragons are dying with your current gear setup - it ain't broke and doesn't require fixing.

  15. To be fair, the haste is a worthwhile point. I used to have a lot more Haste, but I guess I traded it away bit by bit as I upgraded to ICC gear. I really did not notice that I had lost so much haste.

  16. Having read your blog for awhile i would say that the posts you received are rather harsh. Your general advice and points i have found to be very helpful and have made sense. i find it very odd that many Holy pala's insist on gemming for pure intell when its virtually impossible to run out of mana. I run only 10 man raids and the odd 25 man and find that spamming FOL works fine as my crit rate is over 50% and i dont need to often use Holy light for extended periods.

    The posts you received are imo the word of a coward as they are anonymous. I know this maybe a little rich as my post is too but i cant be bothered to set up an account.

    Any way keep up the good work as your blog is good and informative

  17. What Kurn and Maltheus said.

    I'm all about players giving each other advice, but that idiot needs to learn his class before he starts looking at others.

  18. What a bizarre mix of conventional (gem straight int, haste is awesome) and unconventional (245 libram, crit subspec) advice!

  19. maybe the person who sent you that mail should've put their armory info up so we could see if they had any guess is that he/she is probably not nearly as geared as you are.

  20. I think Rohan deserves a fair bit of credit as an author for posting something that is distinctly critical and addressing it in a transparent and (imo) objective manner. I think it could have been all too easy to get one's back up and say "Nope, I'm right and this is why!". Accepting that a critic might be right regardless of tone shows great maturity, but taking the time to think about think critically about why he does what he does show some strength of character. My apologies if that was a bit gushing, but a strong, reasoned approach to the game is why I read this blog.

    Good post, and thank you,


  21. And, sorry for the confusing wording there. Should have read: "but taking the time to think critically about why he does what he does.."

    LF Max lvl Proofreader, list mats and price, pst. ;)

  22. Anonymous reader expects you to be perfect.
    Anonymous reader's advice isn't (anywhere near) perfect.

    Just laugh it off. :)

  23. Is this guy joking? For Hardmodes, Divine Sacrifice is a godsend. Try getting into a HM raiding guild without it and see what I mean. As Rohan said, HL spec overheals a lot... so I'm not sure how 51/5/15 is gonna increase our HPS and Efficiency, since the extra crit will only result in even more overhealing. Also, HL spec doesn't really use many of the other spells, so wasting a glyph on FoL or HS is ridiculous, whereas BoL glyph saves mana and global cooldowns. To the person who sent this in-game mail, please post here with your armory link. We would just love to see if you can put your money where your mouth is.

  24. I have a relatively new lvl 80 Paladin, which I dinged a month or two ago who is very quickly becoming my main. This blog, along with Kurn and EJ (to a degree... very strangely organized site) were the primary sources I used to learn how to actually play the class. This truly is an excellent resource.

    That being said, all of the theorycrafting and opinions can't really tell you how to play your character. Healing styles will differ from person to person and each persons gear choices will depend on both their play style and what gear they have access to. The most important critera is if the player has put some thought into how they play, and geared themselves accordingly. You can't determine playstyle from the Armory.

    I believe that it is always a touchy thing when you're giving unsolicited advice. Regardless of the intent, it almost always comes across as being negative criticism, especially when it comes from out of the blue and from a completely unknown source. I'm sure the original "Loyal Reader" had nothing but good intentions, but he came off sounding like an arrogant fool.

    Keep up the good work, Rohan. And get more haste. :)

  25. I don't ever want to do heroic Saurfang as a holy pally without glyph of beacon. You're fine. This was pretty rude and much of it subjective and influenced by playstyle. Ugh to that guy.

  26. I find the advice from long time anonymous reader to be humorous in a way for taking the time to send the mail yet wired at same time in the advice and remain anonymous.

    As a very long time reader i've followed your blog a long time and though not currently playing WoW i still read your blog to keep me informed somewhat on things since if its important enough in WoW chances are you will comment on it and I can read intelligent comment on the issue. In all that time i've read i know you to be a very competent author in your read and analysis of things and playing a Paladin.

    I'm also smart enough as well to know if your choosing a certain spec and gem/enchant that you have a reason why your doing so that makes sense to you and how you play at that point vs not having a reason why. My question if i ever had one wouldn't be that you or anyone else is wrong, but more to find out why if your spec a certain way to inquire why in case i'm not aware of something.

  27. As a lot of people are saying, I find it hilarious that this idiot is giving such bad advice.

    MP5 enchants are better than crit, the mp5 is worth around 3 times as much as crit. The mana you save from casting sacred shield is around the same as you get back from the extra crit in the ret tree, and BoL saves heaps of mana too.

    If anything, it looks like he's still doing 10man normal modes, and
    has no idea what it's like in heroics. Thanks for the laugh Rohan, it's good to see there are bad paladins around to make fun of.
    I'd pay money to see his armory.

  28. If someone is unwilling to assign a name with a comment, then it is not worth the time of day.

    I have enjoyed your blog and I would say keep on doing what you do. It has worked well for you and you are a wonderful resource for players to look up information on.

  29. Personally as soon as someone mentioned 245 libram as bis I would have just switched off.

    I would consider your haste a litle low. But then I run at 1050 or so using the Marrowgar H 10 legs. I passed on your legs a couple of weeks ago but in retrospect I could/should have taken them.

  30. I've found that people act this way for one reason. They were once made to feel stupid for spec/gear/gem/enchant choices that might not have been considered optimal by the spreadsheet of the month, but still could be argued for. Then they see someone else not following the spreadsheet of the month and actually feel a bit of jealousy at your freedom which is expressed as superiority. Especially since you're in a relative position of recognition in the WoW community and not lining up like a good pally, it stings him extra bad. He feels it's his duty to try and make you feel stupid for your choices because you have the audacity to think for yourself and not really care if it's what is considered correct.

    I'm just not sure where he got the libram idea though.