June 25, 2009 – 7:12 am
This is Part of Angrethar, the story of The Battle for the Wrathgate from Aelflaed’s point of view. You can see all of the posts in this story on the Story Archives page, by searching for the Wrathgate category, or through this link. There will, in fact, be one more post – an epilogue of sorts – to get some of the lingering ends tied up.
From the small cluster of tents south of Angrathar, few people realized that Jol had left camp – wheeling up through the snow on the great bronze drake that he so frequently sparred with. His return, however, was noticed by a few – particularly that there was a second form with him on the drake, and he was flying fast.
‘Pigshite’ – which he would not dare call it again after the help the female drake had given him – hit the hard-packed snow hard when she landed, conveying the urgency of rider and drake with a trio of low, deep-throated bellows. Jol wasn’t far behind in calling out for bandages and a healer, cursing relegated to an afterthought as he clambered down carefully with a well-wrapped Aely in his arms.
“Oi! Git Tarquin an’ tell ‘im ah foun’ ‘er! An’ move yer feet an’ fine Shad! Ah need ah feckin’ healah ovah ‘eah!” he bellowed, carrying the half-frozen paladin quickly to the nearest tent that had a fire roaring.
Shad was not far off, emerging from another tent at the sound of his name and rustling quickly towards the two paladins and the fire. The tent was unoccupied, but judging by some of the oddities it probably belonged to Ilarra Stormrunner. A quick glance over the blue-tinted paladin was all he needed for an initial diagnosis. “Get her out of her armor and anything wet. She will need to be out of the wind, wrapped in blankets, and near enough the fire but not too near. Also, warm liquids. Tea. I will return.”
He creaked off in search of boiling water while Aely drowsily helped with peeling off her dented armor and drenched padding, her fingers nearly useless against the leather buckles. The shivering started again, feeling as though she’d rattle her teeth out of her head.
Shad forced a warm, fragrant mug into her hands … when had he come back? She nearly dropped it, spilling the honey-sweetened tea over cracked lips. “Th-th-th-thank you, Sh-shad.”
“Shhh,” he urged, forcing a woody smile. “Do not talk. Shivering is good, it will help you warm yourself. You may feel sleepy, but do not go to sleep. Can you move your fingers and toes?”
She did both, grimacing. Twigs carefully prodded at the wound in her shoulder. “This is clean, but may not heal well due to the cold. Parts of your shoulder are frozen.” Aely winced, attempting to grit her teeth. “There is goldthorn in that tea; it will help with the pain. For now I am just going to bandage it.” He tore a bit of bark from his chest, adding it to a sort of poultice that he tapped onto the gash. “I will need to see how much damage the frost has done before I attempt any major healing, for now though…” A soothing warmth spread through her shoulder, followed by the soft wool and solid feeling of bandages.
Shad stepped back and looked at Jolstraer, nodding soothingly. “She will be all right, but she needs to get warm – especially her extremities – before she can sleep.”
“Ayeh. Warm. Ah’m oan ‘et.” Ducking out of the tent almost like a worried father, he wandered only far enough to wrangle through his own belongings and nearly burst back into the tent with another pair of blankets from his own packs. “Oi, Kaidos’d be buildin’ up tha fiah. Sommat’s runnin’ tae git Geny tae see if’n she ken keep it clos enou’ tae tha ten’ wi’out settin’ it aflame. ‘Et’d nae dae us annah good, ayeh?” he chuckled nervously, piling the blankets on the younger paladin. “Oi, ‘ow’s ‘et?” he asked, near to fretting.
She attempted a reassuring grin, chattering. “‘s… warmer. Laigh’. ‘m feelin’ bout like a wee woolly caterpillar.” As Aely nestled back into the blankets, her face, fingers and feet all started to tingle again, and then burn. She reached up gingerly to touch her cheeks. “Oi… ‘s wrong wi’ my face?” She looked at the druid, who had edged carefully away from the side of the tent with the fire.
“You have frostbite on your face and hands. Likely your feet as well. They are not entirely frozen, as you can still move them, but I imagine they will be uncomfortable for several days at least.” The bark around his mouth twisted into what must have been a sort of smirk. “I do not think I need to tell you that you are not going back out to fight anything for awhile.”
Aely nodded, wrapping her fingers back around the warm mug.
The druid nodded back, satisfied. “I am going to go continue my rounds; I should be by again in an hour or less. Do not go to sleep yet – you need at least two more mugs of that tea and to stop shivering before you can even think about it.” He pointed at the kettle sitting nearby and creaked out of the tent, his branches catching just enough of the door flaps that Tarquin could be seen outside, making note that she was back and alive.
Aely looked up at Jolstraer, who was, in fact, hovering. She nodded over at a chair on the other side of the tent – “Sit ye down, Jols. I’ll… Ayeh… I’ll mend. Nivvir agin, righ’?”
June 24, 2009 – 9:18 am
This week’s Ask Anna comes from someone you may remember – Illi’s posted here before, and is currently leveling a little paladin. He’s opted for a holy second spec for that paladin, and – as a part-time druid healer at 80, ran into some trouble:
My “secondary” main is a Resto druid – she’s currently in (irregular) Naxxramas and Ulduar runs, usually providing “main raid healing” in ten-man runs. Now, one of the many, many alts I have is a blood elf paladin, a tankadin I have gotten to level 71. After patch 3.1 hit, I decided to spend the 1K gold and pick up dual talent specialisation on the paladin. The way I see it, being able to both tank and heal instances will give me double the opportunity to instance as I level. Now, the only problem is that aside from emergency instance healing I have /no idea/ how to heal as a paladin.
To use an analogy, if my Resto druid brings an entire toolkit to a fight, then it seems like the paladin brings two power-drills with a whole belt of attachments. To me, it looked like the game provided me with two core healing spells (Holy Light and Flash of Light, or Big Heal and Little Heal, or Big Bear and Little Bear, or Yogi and Bubu, or Simon and Garfunkle, or…), a talented “special case” healing/damage spell (Holy Shock), a Cleanse (otherwise known as “I Wish I Had A Decurse”), and a whole slew of various spells, cooldowns, procs and abilities that altered the various spells in various ways. At first glance, it looks simple – “Big Heal” when a lot of healing is needed, “Little Healing” when it’s not so much. Cleanse then comes in, adding a debuff-removal facet to the role. Then it starts getting more complicated. Judgement – from range? Which one? Which seal do I use, and what aura? What about Aura Mastery?
So I guess my question is this: how would you advise and help a player who has recently respec’d a (near-) endgame paladin to Holy, who is familiar with endgame healing on another character class?
Oi! GREAT question.
First things first though – you’ve got the basic idea.
Holy Light for big heals. Flash of Light for little heals. Holy Shock for on the run heals – and because it frequently crits and is instant cast, it’s useful immediately after refreshing all those judgements and cooldowns. You’ll probably want to keep Holy Shock as part of your normal rotation – it’s great for smacking on a wayward DPSer when you can’t take your eyes off the tank for more than a GCD.
As for Seals - You’ll want to use Glyph of Seal of Wisdom with Seal of Wisdom for now – as you’re leveling, mana will be more of an issue than it is at true endgame. Since you only have two major glyph slots, you’ll want Glyph of Seal of Wisdom and Glyph of Holy Light – and once you hit 80 you can pick up a third – usually either Divinity or Holy Shock. I like Divinity, but your mileage may vary.
Judgements are a little different than you’d expect. If you’re the only paladin in the group, judge light – unless you’re meleeing to get mana back, in which case judge wisdom temporarily. If there are TWO paladins, let the other paladin judge light (especially if that pally is ret!) and you judge wisdom. Particularly with Retribution, JoL gets buffs from their attackpower, making it more efficient than your spellpower. Silly, yes – and likely changing in a few months, but stick with that for now. The most important thing about Judgements is to make sure you keep Judgements of the Pure up – I use the addon Power Auras for this, but you can use any cooldown/buff monitor.
Auras are going to be more situational, and again will depend on whether you’re the only pally around. If it’s just you, run whatever you think is best – concentration if you’re taking a lot of kickback from AoE, devotion if you’re not to help your tank, fire/frost/shadow resist if you need the extra oomph to get past something nasty. This one leaves a lot up to your discretion, just don’t be caught with crusader aura up.
Ok – now let’s take a closer look at some individual spells, combos, and cooldowns.
Beacon of Light -
1 min cooldown. Basically you put the beacon on a target, and any healing you do within 40 yards that /is not overheal/ will transfer to the beacon target. (In 3.2 overheal may transfer as well, but it’s still early on those changes.) You’ll usually want to beacon either tank/offtank (for things like Tympanic Tantrum) or yourself (like phase 2 Mimiron) depending. Beacon is dangerous, and frequently lags – but it has its benefits. It’s also a high mana cost spell, so choose wisely on when to cast it.
If you use Bigwigs or Deadly Bossmods you can macro Beacon of Light to include a “local” countdown bar that will show up.
Macro for Deadly Bossmods:
/cast Beacon of Light
/dbm timer 60 Recast Beacon!
Macro for Bigwigs:
/cast Beacon of Light
/bwlcb 60 Recast Beacon!
In fact, this syntax will work with any spell you want a countdown bar for, like Judgement, just substitute in the spell name and the “length” of the bar – in this case 60 seconds.
Sacred Shield –
You won’t get this spell until level 80, but I think it deserves a place here. With few exceptions, this should be on a tank. Sometimes GCD doesn’t make instant refresh smart (obviously tank survival > sacred shield), but you want as much uptime as possible on this spell. Probably my greatest weakness as a Holy Paladin right now, as for some reason the 30 second refresh is harder to track than the 1 minute Beacon.
Aura Mastery –
Particularly useful anytime you have OMGFIRE! This buffs any aura you or any paladin in your group has running, so even if you’ve got concentration up and the other paladin is running fire resist, it’ll still give you the extra burst of resist. Frost Aura on Keristrasza’s enrage or Hodir’s Frozen Blows comes to mind, or Concentration Aura for Ignis’ Flame Jets. Much like with what aura you run, this will largely be a discretionary thing, unlikely to make or break a fight, but definitely can take the edge off.
Pally BubbleSac –
This is your “save the tank” button – with one caveat. Hand of Sacrifice will only absorb 100% of your total health and then it will go away. Sometimes it bugs and drops early, due to client lag – sometimes it bugs and lasts too long, due to server lag. Either way though, this is the closest to a “win button” a holy paladin has for a tank.
There are two incarnations of this spell – one with Beacon of Light, and one without. The basic idea is this (I don’t macro this, since both are on the GCD):
Cast Hand of Sacrifice on tank
Cast Divine Shield
Watch the tank take 30% less damage instantly. I end up using this on most of the bosses that have a “nasty” component as the fight goes on – Thorim, Hodir during Frozen Blows, anything that has a “soft enrage” where the boss just hits harder and doesn’t oneshot everything. This can be combined with beaconing the tank and healing the melee to help with aoe damage, though I generally already have a beacon going somewhere, and in a 25 man you may still have enough tank damage that (without overheal on beacon transferring) you need to heal the tank anyway – see Mimiron’s Plasma Blast or Vezax’s Surge.
You can, of course, use Hand of Sacrifice without Divine Shield. However, I’d be /very/ careful, since this can, and will, oneshot you if the tank gets hit hard or fast enough – particularly if you’re missing ANY of your total health. Sometimes choosing your own death over the death of the tank is alright – but most of the time you’ll want to stay alive.
Divine Illumination –
This frequently forgotten cooldown reduces the mana cost of all your spells by 50% for 15 seconds, on a 3 minute cooldown. I try to use this once per fight, especially if it’s got a “OH CRAP” spam section – phase 2 Mimiron comes to mind, as does Tympanic Tantrum, Gluth, any time you’re going to cast a fast chain of Holy Lights with no pause for anything else.
Put this spell somewhere you will SEE it – it’s easy to forget with all the other stuff going on!
Divine Favor/Holy Shock/FoL –
When you’ve got to run away and heal the tank at the same time, can’t afford to stop and cast a Holy Light, but the tank really needs some healin…
Cast Divine Favor
Cast Holy Shock – which crits, and causes
Instant Flash of Light
This little combo dumps a lot of healing on the target in a hurry without you having to worry about staying in one place. You can definitely macro the Divine Favor/Holy Shock part of this, though I have that macro combined with a Divine Plea trick.
Lay on Hands –
For this to be really useful, you need both Glyph of Divinity and the Improved Lay on Hands talent. The result? Every 11 minutes, a free mana potion. Obviously this is a great “save” button for a tank – and usually will be available once per fight in Ulduar. However, I will hit a mana user that’s low on mana and has taken some damage if the tank is looking solid, just for the mana back for both myself and the target. Can be used on yourself. (costs no mana)
Divine Plea -
This is a blessing/curse type of spell. It’s new to you at level 71, and gives you 25% of your mana back over 10 seconds… at a cost of 50% of your healing efficiency. You’ll want to use this one – but carefully. Getting a feel for a particular tank will help, but PUGs don’t usually offer that kind of group synchronicity, so you’ll have to get used to the individual bosses and their abilities.
Because Plea is 15 seconds, it’s an excellent time to refresh Beacon of Light, Sacred Shield, and your Judgements of the Pure – you won’t have the healing “hit” on those abilities – but make sure you pay attention to your tank’s health while you’re doing so! There are some fights where you just won’t be able to use Plea and will end up chugging a mana potion.
However, half a heal is better than no heal at all, so if it’s really hairy, sometimes you’ll end up popping Plea and praying. Fortunately, there are a few tricks for Divine Plea:
Cancelaura/Holy Shock Macro
/cancelaura Divine Plea
/cast Divine Favor
/cast Holy Shock
Used when you thought you could get away with a Divine Plea and the boss decided that would be a good time to experiment with Winterfall Fire Water (make sure you have the tank – or whomever you want to heal – targeted). You’ll lose your Divine Plea – but you won’t lose the tank. This will also proc an instant Flash of Light, since Holy Shock will crit – added bonus for the fast-healing you’ll need in this kind of situation. The other trick involves making judicious use of yet another one of your many cooldowns.
Winged Divine Plea –
You’re going OOM faster than a rollercoaster off the first hill, the tank is getting beaten to a pulp, the DPS are struggling, you’ve already burned off a mana potion, and you need to Divine Plea… but you can’t take the healing hit. What do you do?
Avenging Wrath/Divine Plea Macro
/cast Avenging Wrath
/cast Divine Plea
/bwlcb 60 Divine Plea Ready!
Poof, now a 50% healing reduction is now 20%, and you get the same mana regenned. Only works once every 3 minutes, but it’s worth it in a pinch. Using the Macro while Avenging Wrath is on cooldown just means you have to punch it twice (I just have the macro on my bars instead of a Divine Plea button by itself). The last line is the cooldown bar to let me track visually my cooldown on Plea.
Remember that Avenging Wrath locks out Divine Shield for 30 seconds, but the majority of the time it’s worth it.
Whew! That’s quite the list, eh?
Keep in mind that you don’t have to use all of these things on every fight (well, ok – SOME of them you want to), but that you should always have them mentally ready. Unlike Druid or Priest healing, where you have a lot of options for which heal to use, and what kind, and for how long – Paladin healing is largely two buttons, or three if you include Holy Shock… what separates a good paladin healer from a mediocre one is not the ability to “push 2 harder”, but to have all the modifiers under control, to know and use cooldowns effectively and efficiently and seamlessly.
It’s not the easiest thing to master – and I’m certainly far from the best Holy Pally out there – but it’s worth striving for!
So good luck, have fun, and may the Loot-Fu be with you! (’cause we all know that good loots makes the healing better!)
If you have a question or conundrum you want Anna to answer, here’s how to send in your questions!
June 23, 2009 – 7:33 am
To celebrate the Midsummer Fire Festival and to encourage all of you amazing writers out there, we – the bloggers of Too Many Annas, Lorecrafted, and WTT:RP – are hosting a writing contest!
How’s this work?
Well, it’s pretty simple. All you have to do to enter is write a 500-1000 word entry describing an in-character reaction to, or a participation in, a quest or lore event found in World of Warcraft. No, the quest / event isn’t required to be a part of the Fire Festival. It can be anything found in WoW around which you feel you can craft a suitably creative bit of fiction.
Submit your entry between Tuesday, June 23, 2009 and Monday, July 6, 2009 by emailing it to email@example.com. When you send in your entry, please include at least your character name and server, and use an email address that you check regularly so that we can get in touch with you if we need to do so! (also – please only submit ONE entry.)
The swag? Well, we’ve not nailed down /exactly/ what all the prizes will be, but the loot chest currently contains anything from novels to comics to loot cards to other assorted doodads. Regardless, the winners will receive goodies that are appropriate for such a story contest!
We’re still working out exactly how judging will work, but for now, rest assured that we will read all entries and that we’ll let you know as we work out the details beyond that!
So good luck, have fun, and may the Writing-Fu be with you!
June 22, 2009 – 10:18 am
So – I’m tired of just having the two healers at 80.
Unfortunately, I’m also strongly against purchasing characters and paying for power leveling (it’s against the TOS, it’s unsafe, don’t do it).
Which means I either need to get over it… or I need to level. In Northrend. But! I want an 80 priest, and now’s the time to do it, since with the Midsummer Fire Festival going, I can get a 10% XP buff that stacks with the 10% XP shoulders (woo!) plus all of the experience from the various fire quests.
I’ll be using Pookie’s guide to hitting the various fires (Alliance guide, Horde Players can find an excellent rundown on WoWwiki), if only because at level 73, I get around 12K experience for each Alliance fire, and nearly 25K for each Horde fire. Which is quite a lot, especially considering how slowly Northrend feels like it’s going, and how rested experience buffs are going to be at a premium for a bit.
So wish me luck, and we’ll see how long this goes. Maybe with a bit of momentum, this’ll go along better.
Oh also – I need a bit of advice. I’m leveling with a combination of group stuff (with my husband’s rogue) and on my own. Leveling with the rogue and priest, when I’m specced shadow, is a pain in the butt, since I’m dropping in and out of shadowform. But on my own, shadow was much better than discipline, at least in terms of speed, the last time I was working on it. What spec do you folks suggest?