Half a Kingslayer

August 2, 2010

I’ve promised myself that I wouldn’t start with the “the King is dead, long live the King” line. It’s getting old and it’s not exactly a world-first kill. Besides, I’m late with this post due to real-life swamping me with work.

However!

On 18-07-2010 my wife managed to down the Lich King with her guild! Note that this wasn’t a guild-first kill, though. Nonetheless, I am very proud of my wife, who performed excellently during this night. She really deserves the kill and title.

I’m impressed by how fast she picked up on the mechanics of the fight. After three-shotting Sindragosa (and you don’t want to know how many times she’d wiped on Sindy before) they managed to down the Lich King in only 5 attempts. Of course, this is all still on normal mode, but it’s impressive anyway. Most of the rest of her group had already downed the Lich King before, I imagine that helped quite a bit. On the other hand, it’s really easy to screw up and wipe the entire raid with one simple mistake. I actually saw a Defile cover the entire platform, that was hilarious!

So, even though some may argue that she was carried through, I still believe she truly deserves to have killed the Lich King. Now, all that’s left are heroic modes and the Lich King kill for her resto shammy alt.

Congratulations Danice!


So much to do – so little time

July 29, 2010

I’m terribly sorry that I haven’t updated in a while, but I’ve been incredibly busy with work and whatnot! I promise that I’ll put up a proper post when I have the time!

Some topics I plan to post on:

  • Q&A – some search terms, since I’ve begun to get some (miraculously)
  • ICC progres
  • Guild related stuff (not spoiling anything just yet!)

In addition, I’m trying to put a post together on analyzing healer performance through combat logs. I’m not entirely sure if I can finish it, but I’ll try.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to stop blogging yet. I just have a lot of stuff I need to take care of first. Until next time!


Advice isn’t worth shit

July 14, 2010

… If you don’t listen to it.

There have been a few posts recently on people who make up some kind of excuse to not take advice from somebody else. I’m okay with that, on the surface. But it makes me want to cry deep within.

To be honest, I’ve been in pretty much the same situation. I’ve been in denial about my spec, gear and gems. I was absolutely certain that But not anymore. I’ve gone and changed as much as was needed to get my little pally as good as possible. Sure, I still have some things that are on my long todo list. But as I stand right now, I’m at least going in the right general direction. And I know that I at least have enough knowledge about Holy paladins to last me through the rest of this expansion.

So naturally, when I come across another Holy paladin (and by that, I mean “raid with”) I like to see what makes them tick. Sometimes it’s because they’re so awesome, sometimes because they’re failing horribly. Sometimes, it’s just out of curiousity. Most of the times, however, I’m shocked, horrified by what I see. I’ll go through some of my latest.. discoveries.

Fail #1

Suppose you’re applying for a guild as a Holy paladin. You would suspect that your application is reviewed by somebody who is at least knowledgeable of the spec. I was looking around on some guild sites, looking for Holy paladin applications to see how they’re judged, what they are rejected for and if they’re accepted or not. Now, I see a Holy paladin applying to one of the top guilds on my realm. I see somebody, assuming he knows what he’s doing,  asking a question in the application thread.

“Why are you specced in Divinity?”

I mean, come on! Why? Granted, this is a Holy paladin with a 51/5/15 spec applying. But it’s a pretty common talent to pick. So what do you mean, why? A straight-up 1-5% healing increase, how is that not good? There’s plenty of room for discussion on other aspects of his build. So I’m asking, why ask such a pointless question if you could’ve asked why this particular Holy paladin has specced in Ret at all? I’ve had some interesting discussions on this very topic with a few knowledgeable people and to be very honest, for a high-end raiding guild such as that, they should’ve at least asked the right questions. In my humble opinion.. FAIL.

Fail #2

The Holy paladin app who thinks he can get away applying half-prepared. This is a classic, really. I can give you an estimate, based solely on the apps that I’ve seen, that about 70% of the Holy paladin apps are not prepared to app for a high-end guild. I’m not talking about progression or gear level. I’m talking about basics. Making sure you have PvE gear, for example. Or at least have everything enchanted properly. And gemmed properly. And have a decent talent build. None of this all seems to matter to some. I could cry with shame to be honest. Faults like these are not fixable. It’s not a matter of fixing your shit after you’ve gotten feedback from the guild you’re applying to. It’s a matter of making sure that you have done everything within your power to fix your shit so that guilds will actually be happy to see you apply there. It can’t guarantee a spot, but it can guarantee that your app will be taken seriously.

A piece of advice from me: if you’re looking for feedback on how to do it right, do not apply to a high-end raiding guild.

Fail #3

Not having a clue how Holy paladins work. Allright, so you have a Holy paladin, you may have even looked up a cookie-cutter build and you know you’re supposed to gem Intellect all the way. Maybe you even know that having 2 piece T10 is a good thing.

You continue to spam Flash of Light. Which is okay, by itself. There are plenty of Holy paladins doing the same thing. Most, however, haven’t got a clue what they’re doing. Some do, they make sure to have a good talent build to go with their playing style, they try to match their gear to fulfill their very specific needs and they even gem very specifically to reach certain goals. This is what makes a good Holy paladin. Not knowing why you’re gemming Intellect or what you’re supposed to do with all that glorious mana, makes a bad Holy paladin. And I’ve seen plenty.

Keep in mind that, if you’re going to spam Flash of Light, you have entirely different needs than a standard Holy Light spamming paladin.

I’m not kidding. Read some more if you wonder why.

Fail #4

This is the reason why I started this post, actually. When I raid with another Holy paladin, I have the nasty habit of inspecting them, checking out their talent build, gems and enchants. Maybe I’ll look at the gear. Based on this information, I’ll try to figure out whether this Holy paladin is healing HL-style or FoL-style. I’ll also check if he or she has Divine Guardian or Aura Mastery. When I’m done, I should have a fairly accurate idea of his/her playstyle and available cooldowns.

Of course, it happens often enough that I come across horrible talent builds, suboptimal gems or mediocre enchants. When I do, I’ll usually wait and see how the raid goes before commenting on it. What I can’t seem to understand is, why do these people pretend to know what they’re doing? If I do decide to whisper some well-meant advice, it never seems to occur to them that they could be doing so much better so easily. Most thank me for the advice, but continue to do the exact same thing over and over. Please, for the love of the Light, if you don’t agree with advice I give, just fucking say so! I am so sick and tired of Holy paladins who fail miserably without even knowing it, ignoring my advice entirely. If you say you appreciate the advice and are going to change things, then damnit, stop slacking and do it! It’s not all that hard!

If you’ve read my previous posts, you may have noticed that I’ve switched from FoL to HL myself. This was a complete overhaul of my gear, gems and enchants. I did it in a single night, spending less than 300g in total. The most important reason for that was that I felt I wasn’t carrying my own weight in raids. Now, it’s the other way around. I feel like I’m carrying other people. At least when it comes to tank healing. I haven’t encountered a single Holy paladin that could actually keep up with me. This is not because I’m awesomesauce or something. I don’t mean to be pretentious here. But the usual Holy paladin I raid with (not all of them, though!) just fail so bad that it makes me want to cry.

On a side note: something that has surprised me is the amount of FoL healers I encounter. Most of the Holy paladins heal using FoL spam, but I’ve only seen a few HL-style Holy paladins. I would seriously like to find another HL-style Holy paladin.

If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to distract myself with some cool new anime I’ve found.


Tanking goes Hollywood

July 11, 2010

I just watched the Prince of Persia movie together with my wife. As a fan of the old DOS-based games and even the 3D sequels, I just had to see this one. And quite frankly, I’m not disappointed. Knowing Hollywood, it definitely could’ve been a LOT worse.

SPOILER ALERT!

If you still haven’t seen the movie but are planning to, and you don’t want any potential spoilers, please don’t read any further.

Now, I figure some of you might wonder what this has to do with the (extremely lame, I admit) title of this post. I won’t explain directly. I’d rather explain how I came up with it while watching the movie.

It (not the movie, but my train of thought) starts with a scene where Dastan is trying to convice his brother of the power of the dagger and the Sands of Time. Princess Tamina is watching them from behind a curtain on the outside of a window. Directly after Dastan convinced his brother Tus, the new king of Persia, the bad guy (Nazim) comes walking in the room to find out that Dastan has indeed returned. He also notices the dagger in Tus’ hands. Now we get to the actual part where I LOL’ed for a bit.

Tus is killed by Nazim, and the main Hassansin bad guy knocks Dastan to the ground and keeps him pinned down. His sword is near him on the ground, but he can’t reach it. He didn’t kill him yet, as ordered by Nazim. Boy, what a mistake that was. Picture this. Just when Nazim left the room and the Hassansin is about to kill Dastan, Princess Tamina comes screaming from her hiding place, with a dagger. Of course, this is plenty enough reason for the Hassansin (trained assasin, or did you expect otherwise?) to divert his attention from the knocked down Dastan (with his sword almost in reach, remember?) to Princess Tamina (with her dagger, remember?) and turn his back to Dastan.

One word: ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as tanks, somehow convincing a raid boss to turn his undivided attention to them while a number of others kill him slowly. Because, of course, those guys with shields, bucketloads of health and high armor make much more sense as kill-first targets than those cloth-wearing mages who inflict massive amounts of magic damage. Right?

That’s exactly what was going on in the movie. Dastan, dangerous and only temporarily knocked down and disarmed. Temporarily, as in, only as long as the bad guy keeps him down actively. Which he (the Hassansin) stops doing while Tamina charges at him. Can you follow? Bad choice.

Dastan doesn’t think twice, picks up his sword and backstabs the Hassansin while he’s distracted by Tamina.

Kudos to Tamina for good intention though, it didn’t seem like she was really thinking about it, or even considering the possibility that she might’ve been one-shot by the Hassansin if Dastan wasn’t quick enough.

To me, this seems like a typical scenario one might see during a raid boss encounter. The tanks try their best to keep the attention of the boss focused on them, no matter who is most dangerous. Somehow, raid bosses keep falling for it. They’re getting themselves killed while the tanks keep their attention. How stupid is that, right? I mean, just look at what happened to the Hassansin!

By the way, I didn’t intend this to be a rant about tanking mechanics. I’m completely fine with it, from a gaming mechanic perspective. I just think it’s not very realistic. Which it shouldn’t be anyway.


Late again – no more RealID!

July 9, 2010

Just a short post, I promise.

I was going to put up a post about Blizzard’s latest RealID fiasco, but it seems I’m already too late!

Blizzard has announced that, instead of using real names (RealID) for their new forum system, users will be able to post using a unique handle. Much better, no?

Are we done with it now? Good.

On to the next topic. As most of you will probably have noticed (who am I kidding? Do I even have readers?) I’ve been pretty busy lately. Hence the lack of posts. But I’m planning a few posts that will probably be up soon.

So please, don’t go away. I’m working on some actual content here, please be patient!


Holy/Prot explained

June 26, 2010

Recently I’ve had to defend my talent build to justify a couple of choices I made. Not because I have a really exotic build or anything. But because some people just don’t know about Holy paladins. Unfortunately, this includes other Holy paladins. In this post, I intend to clarify why I have chosen certain talents. I won’t get into the Holy tree, as I have a cookie-cutter build that can be found on almost any Holy paladin.

Divinity

Well, there’s no point trying to explain this. A straight-up healing increase is perfect for healers. Spending 5 talent points for a 5% healing increase and to get to the next tier seems obvious.

Guardian’s Favor

Because I want to spec into Divine Guardian, I need to spend some talent points in the second tier of Protection. Guardian’s Favor reduces the cooldown on Hand of Protection by 2 minutes and increases the duration of Hand of Freedom by 4 seconds. Now, I’m no huge fan of Hand of Freedom. To be honest, increasing its duration seems only useful for PvP or highly situational in PvE at best. But decreasing a cooldown on a helpful spell is always nice.

Stoicism

Even though this talent really smells like PvP, it’s useful enough to pick up instead of the other remaining talent in this tier of the Protection tree. Reducing stun duration gets you back to healing quicker, effectively increasing the time during which you can heal. It also reduces the chance that your helpful spells will be dispelled. This includes Sacred Shield and your Hand spells. Even though that’s pretty much PvP oriented or highly situational in PvE, the talent as a whole is useful enough to pick up.

Maxing out both talents brings you to the next tier in the Protection tree. We’re getting there!

Divine Sacrifice

This talent is required for Divine Guardian. Even without knowing what it does, you should know you need this. But let’s look at the effect for the sake of argument. During its duration, 30% of the damage of all raid members within 30 yards is redirected to you. This seems scary, no? The effect breaks when you get damage that reduces your health below 20% though, so it really isn’t that bad. Besides, as I’ll explain later, using this talent with Divine Shield prevents you from getting any damage at all, even the redirected damage from Divine Sacrifice! Neat, huh?

Improved Righteous Fury

This talent reduces all damage you take by 6%. This may not seem like much, but is actually really helpful if you think about it. For example, just having Righteous Fury on during the Saurfang fight decreases the rate at which he will gain Blood Power, at least from you. Which is helpful for the entire raid. On other fights with persistant damage auras, like Professor Putricide, this talent will reduce the damage you take so you have more time to heal other people.

However, using Righteous Fury increases your threat by 80%. So having it on may seem like a bad idea. Luckily, our healing spells only generate around half the threat that a DPS will generate. Not to mention a tank. To be honest, if you have Righteous Fury on and you somehow pull aggro, it’s not you who’s doing something wrong. The only exception I see here are on fights where adds spawn out of range of the tank. But even then it should be easy enough to get the adds off of you.

A good example of when using Righteous Fury is on the Saurfang fight. Yes, him again. Not only do you delay his Blood Power gain without doing anything at all, if you manage to pull healing aggro from the Blood Beasts, who do you rather see take a hit or two? You, who is wearing plate armor, or some cloth wearing ranged DPS? I thought so.

Toughness

In order to get to the next tier in the Protection tree, you need to spend one extra talent point. This goes here, in Toughness. I personally value the damage decrease from Imp. Righteous Fury more than the straight armor increase from Toughness. This is because armor only mitigates physical damage, but Imp. Righteous Fury mitigates all kinds of damage. I see no reason to spend more than one talent point in this marginally useful talent.

Now we’re cookin’! We’ve finally arrived at the fourth tier in the Protection tree! Time to pick up the talent which is the sole reason to spec so deep into Protection.

Divine Guardian

Do yourself and your raid a favor, spend a solid 2 points into this talent right away. This will give you a tool to decrease raid damage by 20% when Divine Sacrifice is activated. The thing is, Divine Sacrifice doesn’t have to be active all the time for Divine Guardian to remain active. So basically, you can macro Divine Sacrifice to activate and cancel the Sacrifice aura immediately, keeping Divine Guardian active without the extra damage redirecting to you. Another way to use this is to macro Divine Sacrifice together with Divine Shield. This will cause you to be immune to all damage being redirected to you, effectively giving you a massive temporary damage mitigation within 30 yards.

From this point on, you can pretty much choose where to put the remaining 3 talent points. Some people prefer to pick up Benediction in the Retribution tree, for cheaper instant cast spells. We have quite a few, so this might be a good idea.

Improved Devotion Aura

I’ve chosen to pick up Improved Devotion Aura, as I’m not always raiding with a paladin tank. The extra armor and healing increase are really nice to have. Especially if you also don’t have a resto druid with you. I’m still considering to change this to 3 points in Benediction though. It’s a personal preference to have this talent and it highly depends on what kind of group you’re raiding with.

So there you have it, the reasons why I have the talent build that I have.


To Use, or Not To Use

June 25, 2010

Since I’ve started going through some logs recently, I realized that I’m still not using my cooldowns when I should. Because of this, I’ve decided to write a post about our cooldowns as Holy paladins.

Now, there may be more Holy paladins that often forget to pop their cooldowns or use them at the exact right time. Sometimes, a raid leader may be calling to use cooldowns. At other times, we may need to remember to use them ourselves. If you’re anything like me, you’ll forget plenty of times. And you’ll remember when the boss is down. When it’s too late. And you’ll forget it at the next few wipes.

If you’re raiding, you should know what cooldowns you have at your disposal. Sometimes using them at the right time can make the difference between a wipe and a kill. Wouldn’t you rather see the boss dead than your entire raid wiped? The key to making optimal use of cooldowns is correct timing.

Aura Mastery

Often mistaken for a pure PvP talent, Aura Mastery can bring a very nice situational cooldown to the raid. The key here is the part of the tooltip that says: “and improve the effect of all other auras by 100%”. Unfortunately, as some people have tested, this doesn’t actually mean all other auras, just your own. The good news, however, is that for 6 seconds, you can double the amount of resistance from any of your resistance auras. Or double the amount of armor from Devotion aura. In fact, this also works on Crusader aura, even though that won’t be much help during a raid.

I know that 6 seconds doesn’t seem like a lot of time, and it isn’t. This is why using this particular cooldown at the exact right time is so important. It won’t do you much good if you time it wrong. Luckily, there are plenty of addons that can help you time stuff like this. I personally use Deadly Boss Mods and it really helps to watch the times for boss abilities where Aura Mastery can be helpful.

Divine Sacrifice / Divine Guardian

I know, I know. Two names, one spell. Divine Guardian is an extra effect of Divine Sacrifice, when you have the talent points spent in it. Divine Sacrifice is the actual spell. What this does, is effectively transfer certain percentage of the raid damage to you, the Holy paladin. Divine Guardian activates too, which reduced all raid damage by 20%. Considering the amount of damage flying around in ICC nowadays, this is a considerable amount.

There are two possible uses for this cooldown. The first is to macro Divine Sacrifice with Divine Shield (our awesome bubble). This enables you make full use of both Divine Sacrifice and Divine Guardian while being immune to the damage that’s being transferred to you. The downside is, of course, that this causes both Forbearance and puts your bubble on cooldown.

Another option is to macro Divine Sacrifice to cancel immediately when triggered. This will trigger Divine Guardian, but cancel out the Divine Sacrifice effect of damage being transferred to you. Without any other downsides, this would mitigate 20% raid damage for a short period of time.

Now doesn’t that sound neat? You can do all sorts of stuff with this! There have been several suggestions all over the web as to how these cooldowns can be used. I personally recommend finding a good moment to use both Aura Mastery and Divine Sacrifice for each fight, as the cooldowns are short enough to be available again for the next fight. When exactly is either up to you or your raid leader.

Both cooldowns are only available when you have spent talent points to get them. You can see why I recommend getting them. There are also cooldowns available to any paladin that should be used more as well.

Hand of Sacrifice

Remember what I said about Divine Sacrifice? Can you see the link here? Even though Hand of Sacrifice is only useful for a single target, it’s really good to split up the damage taken between you and the tank. I’m not sure if you can use this together with Divine Sacrifice, but it may be a good idea to test that sometime.

Hand of Protection

Even though this spell only prevents all physical damage, it’s still a good tool to have. When a DPS isn’t careful or gets aggro from an add, you can cast this on them to both prevent incoming damage and stop their DPS for a few seconds so their aggro drops. There are more uses for this, as with Saurfang you could cast Hand of Protection on yourself when you get Blood Boil (which is physical damage). You can still heal with Hand of Protection on yourself. Remember Aura Mastery? Combined with Devotion aura (preferably Improved Devotion Aura) you can mitigate the incoming damage by a substantial amount. This decreases the rate at which Saurfang gains Blood Power.

Hand of Freedom

To be completely honest, I haven’t ever used this spell before. I know there are a couple of good uses for it, but I can’t seem to remember using it on any occasion. Does anyone have a good suggestion on when to use Hand of Freedom? And on who?

Hand of Salvation

Very useful if you have a DPS gaining aggro too fast. If you run with Improved Righteous Fury and you’ve got it on, you may want to cast this on yourself if you gain healing aggro too fast as well.

There are many more spells in our arsenal, but I think I’ve at least managed to touch the most important abilities.

Moral of this post: Learn from my Fail and use your cooldowns when the situation calls for it.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.