Friday, July 31, 2009

PVE Healing = Prot Vs Holy

I've mentioned previously that my little 10 man guild is intent on getting hard modes. One of those next on our list is I Love the Smell of Saronite in the Morning, which is the General hard mode. We also intend on 2 healing it as we really don't have many options though my partner is a kick ass priest.
General Vezax 10s
General Vezax is a mana control fight as there is basically no way for me and my partner to regen mana via normal means such as Illumination, Arcane Torrent, Replenishment, Divine Plea or Shadowfiend. While researching the fight, I learned that you can use a pot so that will be the sole way for us to regen mana and has to be used as a last resort after the Saronite Animus comes out. I also learned that healers can use Spark of Hope to minimize the cost of spells.

In the course of my research, one really interesting thing I discovered was that holy paladins actually resort to an extreme spec to minimize mana usage as it makes FoL extremely viable as the sole healing spell in the General fight. It is also this spec that has gotten attention in the healing forums as a potentially viable raiding spec in 3.2 in the face of our regen nerfs, particularly by a top raiding paladin named Eloderung.

In my experience, my prot healing spec is unbelievably better than my normal raiding spec when it comes to healing the General fight. I used it in General and I didn't have to use one saronite vapor at all.

Usually as holy in General, I use 4 piece T7 and the libram to minimize Holy Light cost while cancel-casting on the tank. As prot healing in General, I use 4 piece T8 and all I do is maintain SS while casting FoL if the tank goes below 50% HP. I do not even need to judge because I do not have the haste buff talent while as holy, I would have to maintain it so my HL would cast faster. Both my healing specs have Divine Sacrifice, Aura Mastery and Improved Devo Aura.

There is a HUGE difference in mana usage between the 2 specs as FoL is not even 300 mana while HL is at least 1100 mana even with modifiers to cost (keep in mind that this is with SoW up). The HPS of FoL is also solved by being prot as I have higher SP (~23-2400) and extra 6% crit as well as extra 30% healing when I do crit. My SP would be higher if I had changed out all my gems but I maximized my mana pool for General. To give you an idea of the healing, my normal FoL as prot will be ~4k and I crit for ~8-10k! So it is not strange at all that I could easily end phase 1 with 20k mana left for when the Saronite Animus comes out.

We had other issues that prevented us from getting the achievement such as perfect avoidance of Shadow Crash and Life Leech but healing was not an issue for me with spec. It was almost upsetting how much easier it was healing as prot than holy for that fight. My priest partner, who went disc for that fight, had to go back holy when we did normal mode or else we would've activated hard mode since we were using so little mana. That's how easy the fight became with me as prot healing spec.

With my experience as prot, I can really see how healing prot pallies are equally viable in 3.2 along with the usual holy pallies. As I've mentioned before in a previous post, 2 schools of paladins will appear - those that stack intellect and those that stack spellpower. I erroneously asserted that I felt the paladins stacking intellect would be a little bit more flexible but with the advent of the prot healing paladin in PVE, the stacking of stam/SP will actually be very viable.

The only trade off for being prot instead of holy is losing Beacon of Light and Holy Shock for incomparable mana efficiency. In terms of throughput, prot and holy healing specs should actually be very close depending on the skill and gear of the paladin.

Another caveat is that that holy paladins will value haste more than crit due to HL usage while prot paladins will value crit WAY more than haste due to the short cast time of FoL and the benefit to HPS from critting FoL.

I just feel it is sad that paladins must spec into the tanking tree to overcome their impending mana issues. I suppose I can think of it as the priests disc tree for paladins but no matter what paladins are still shoe-horned into single target healers. Despite that fact, it is becoming ever more clearer that we are going to get pushed out of raid spots due to heavy raid damage incurred in raiding content. We are just not very flexible healers compared to other healing classes.

Again, I will try to be successful as a holy paladin in 3.2 but I really do think that many holy paladins will still reroll because it is just disappointing to be treated/handled badly due to your class. I hope to see paladins successful in 3.2 so please prove me right!

P.S. The prot spec I use can also be used for PVP (though it is not perfectly PVP).


  1. I use the prot spec in PVP but haven't tried it in PVE. I have Hard mode Vezax tonight with a Druid partner so I will report on how that goes using the prot spec.

    HP...check your email account tied to this blog.

  2. Oh and it is absolutely AMAZING in pvp. You just need to be a bit more agressive. If you stack full stam gems and stam enchants on your PVP gear it becomes pretty hard to die and your SP goes up too. Glyph into Salvation for an extra 20% dmg reduction. I use seal of justice + judge justice. You have an extra interupt with avenger's shield, and a 20 second HoJ. Mana is not an issue, as you can keep 100% uptime on plea if you keep meleeing. Since your FoL hits for 9-10K, plea won't hurt too much and you will still be critting for 4-5K (most of the time it is crits too with Sacred Shield up). I rarely use Holy Light but it does come through when needed.

    In 2v2 I lost my rogue partner at one point, and was able to sruvive 2v1 for 10 minutes straight vs a DK/druid (dont forget aura mastery + conc aura). We were able to beat teams we never beat as my other holy spec, such as druid/warr and druid/dk. We can even beat priest teams. The only team so far that has proven difficult is priesy/warlock.

  3. Time for a follow-up! We successfully downed 10 man vezax in hard mode about 10 minutes ago. I used the prot spec and it worked wonders!!

    I 2 healed it with a druid. Since I didn't alter it from my pvp prot holy spec, I only had 1 point in Divine Intellect. Usually I sit at 31999 mana fully buffed. I was at 29210 for this. We had a blood specced DK and decided not to kite during surges. He was specced imp rune tap so he got his own health back frequently. I would only heal if he dropped below 50%, keeping 100% uptime on Sacred Shield. Depending on RNG on how often he got hit, I could go a while without healing thanks to the rune tap. I had about 17K mana once Phase 2 hit. Phase 2 I kept on the MT and spot healed the OT, while the druid (who didn't have to heal once in P1) covered the OT primarily and the add. Near the end I aura mastery'd shadow aura (though i used devo up to that point) and popped bubble and divine Sacrafice. By the end of P2 I had 3000 mana left and Vezax was at 20%, ~10 heals left in the tank. He died and I had enough mana for 2 more heals, while the druid still sat at 40%.

    Long story short, this spec makes vezax a joke.

  4. We usually do Vezax HM with three healers, discpriest/druid/paladin or druid/druid/paladin... I first considered respeccing but thought I'd just give it a try with my normal gear/spec and it worked out for me...
    The normal rotation is that the druid and priest take care of the MT and I remain passive (just shielding or flashig when damage spikes hit the tank) until the Animus spawns at which point I just go all out and pop aura mastery as well as bubble/sacrifice...

  5. Seems like a huge waste of mana and resources though if it is possible with 2 healers using the other spec.

  6. If you 'really' want to make this a joke - especially with a druid partner - you can do this (we 2 heal it this way now, or use a disc priest - same theory).

    The Druid can jump into a shadow crash pool and pump out a ton of Lifeblooms. While the tick heals for less - the bloom isn't affected (IIRC). What I do know is that when it blooms - he gets back the full mana return. So it costs him less to cast the spell, but he gets the full mana return back.

    Same is true for a Disc priest. Their bubbles cost less to cast in the shadow ink, but the bubble returns the full mana when used up. Add in your SS and FoL (get the Arena Libram for extra goodness - and the PvP gloves give 2% more crit to FoL) and you have a tank that won't die. We also run with a spriest and shaman with our retadin juding light. Even if someone eats a crash we don't worry about them. Reduced lifeblooms and raid healing effects take care of them.

  7. @ Adgamorix

    I believe the druid Lifebloom thing was fixed in 3.2 and is no longer viable.

  8. Prot spec is getting killed in 3.2.2.

    The extra spell power will scale off STR instead of STA.

  9. well your totally wrong but it depends on gear i guess i have larger heals with fol then prot specs do and i crit more 51/5/15 but for the general hard mode you can go into the ret tree and pick up judgements of the wise and stay in melee range and you will gain mana problem is most palys think holy light is the way to go but its really not efficient if you go beacon and gear properly you can shield a dps and fol and get ticks off it while healing the tank bad paladins rely on holy light thats why i out heal druids priests and shammies and holy light 3 times a boss fight max

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