Friday, December 11, 2009

Beacon of Light and You

          First of all, this whole post must be read in a 50's informational-health class voice.  Ready? GO!  Beacon of Light is the Paladin's strongest and most versatile tool when it comes to healing.   Although the spell has a sizeable upfront mana cost, it pays for itself quickly.  To a new healer this spell can be a little confusing, so let's break it down.  Blessing of Light basically mirrors any heal you cast within range of its target onto that target.  This now includes overhealing and critical heals.  The spell has a 1 minute duration, but with Glyph of Beacon of Light that is increased to 1:30.  It gives you a free heal essentially for 0 mana cost and allows a Paladin, usually regarded as a "single target" healer to cover a group.  Let's look at three general scenarios where this is used most effectively

Scenario Number 1:  I am healing a 5-man with significant group damage or AoE.  Good examples include The Black Knight in Trial of The Champion and some of the trash in the new Icecrown 5 mans.  "But without any AoE spells Paladins are useless!!!!!!!11one" you say, "Nay" I respond.  Placing BoL on the tank allows the healer to use Flash of Light around the group to quickly get them back up and at the same time, all of those heals go onto the tank keeping them alive through the boss damage.

Scenario Number 2:  I am healing a 10 or 25 man raid where the tanks are constantly switching roles to take damage or splitting up to tank adds and boss.  Good examples include The Northrend Beasts in Trial of the Crusader, Koralon the Flame Watcher in Vault of Archavon, and basically every other raid boss ever in the history of ever.  In these situations you should NEVER be the raid healer, always a tank healer.  If your Raid Leader puts you on raid healing GTFO now.  Anyway you should be assigned to one of the two or three tanks.  Put BoL on the other tank and make that healer's job just a little bit easier.  Also make sure you have Sacred Shield on the tank you are healing to get that free Flash of Light proc as well.  You'll start saving mana left and right.

Scenario Letter C (for all you perfectionists):  I am PvPing all over the place and keep getting targeted by rogues and hunters that have a brain larger than a pea.  They have somehow figured out that NO ONE WILL DIE UNDER MY WATCH!!!  *ahem*  There is an easy solution to this that will keep them attacking you and keep you alive until your friendly neighborhood DPS can get them.  Place BoL on yourself and just heal as usual.  It will definitely keep you alive and throw them off at the same time.  Also don't forget to throw Sacred Shield on another target taking heavy damage to get the FoL proc off them.

          So that's all I got about Beacon.  It's probably one of the more unique and useful healing spells and definitely what makes Paladins unique.  Check back later for some more specific strategies in the new Icecrown 5-mans.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Bare Bones of Paladins

For an aspiring healer a Paladin is probably the best place to start. They are, in my opinion, the most straightforward of the healing classes. We have a few tricks up our sleeves, but for the most part pallys utilize their big heal, Holy Light, and their small heal, Flash of Light. These two will be your bread and butter. My personal strategy consists of using Flash of Light consistently to keep the tank as high as possible. When combined with Sacred Shield, Flash of Light places a HoT (Heal over Time) on the target for 100% of the Flash of Light heal, basically giving you a free FoL heal. This makes it crucial to have Sacred Shield on your tank at ALL TIMES. It will save you mana and time. Holy Light is less mana efficient but heals a great deal more than FoL. This is usually used when your tank takes a large amount of damage in a short time and then does not take more for a while. Its long cast time also makes it more difficult to use effectively. Another trick in the bag is Holy Shock. This spell is an instant cast "medium heal" that usually does between 3000 and 7000 at level 80. This is a great tool to use in an "oh-shit" situation where the tank takes a huge, unexpected hit. When this happens I will usually use Holy Shock followed by a quick FoL to get them back up and a Holy Light to top them off. There's the basics, now lets talk about gear.
A Paladin's main stats as of now are (in order of importance) Intellect, Spell Power, Critical Strike Chance, Haste, and MP5 or Spirit. Lets start with Intellect. This stat will increase your Spell Power, Crit Chance, and Mana. It is the most important thing to a Paladin because it has such a wide effect. An important note for low-level players, Intellect does not raise your Spell Power directly, but rather through the 35-point talent, Holy Guidance. The second on our list is Critical Strike Chance (usually abbreviated Crit). This is more important for a Paladin than any other healing class. Paladins are called a crit-centric healing class because thanks to the 10-point talent Illumination, Paladins regen Mana after a critical heal. This is also what causes Spirit and MP5 to be so low on the list. If you use a great amount of Intellect and have a high Crit Chance, you will likely NEVER run out of Mana. Ever. Finally lets talk about Haste. Haste is like a delicious candy that tastes great but can only be eaten after your gefilte fish (which is Int and Crit). Haste deducts from your cast time as a percentage of 100. So, for example, if you have 394 haste rating like me right now that reduces all of your cast times by 12.02%. It is helpful but hardly essential. If you find yourself always above halfway on Mana and confident that your Mana Pool is sufficient I would definitely use gems and enchants to increase Haste, but only after the latter is achieved.

So in conclusion, Intellect GOOD, Spirit BAAAAAAAD, Sacred Shield is your friend and use the Mana efficient, small heals first. [I had a teacher that told me to never use that phrase to sum up a paragraph. That was for you Mr. Johnson]

An Introduction

Healing as a Paladin has given me both the most rewarding and frustrating experiences I have had in WoW. I hope to use this blog to help others interested in starting or continuing healing on their Pally and to begin discussion about the finer points of Pally healing.
Before I dive in however, here's a little about myself. I play a level 80 Paladin named Sonzak on the Cenarion Circle US server. I am an officer in a small 10 (and recently 25) man guild called Of Sins and Shadows [or OSAS for short :] I absolutely love my class and my role, although I partially despise blood elves. WoW and I have had a love/hate relationship that began a few months after the game was released in 2004. I also played a paladin then, although I couldn't tell you his name or accomplishments because he had none. I stopped about a month later because I didn't have any friends online and was tired of soloing. After Burning Crusade I also started a new, Space-Goat Paladin and also got bored. I tried a Blood Elf Priest and hated that too. I stopped again for the same reasons as before.
However, there is a happy ending to our love story. Around July of 2008 I tried WoW again and on a random chance found a guild of hardcore raiders that seemed to like me despite my level. I was the only player below level 70 but by November I had gotten to 80 along with them. I raided with them for about 6 months on their 25 man team with my Dwarf Paladin named Orcath. The guild unfortunately had a violent ending and right before Ulduar was released, I stopped playing for about 2 months. It was then that I discovered many of my real life friends were playing on a server together and transferred my Paladin to their server, changed factions and became who I am today.