Saturday, May 22, 2010

Raid Optimization for Holy Paladins

I always felt that speccing, gearing and gemming a holy paladin is pretty straight forward. We had only a few spells and it is absurdly easy to pick up how to heal on a holy paladin due to our small toolbox of direct healing spells.

The true mastery of the holy paladin I feel comes with learning the tricks of the trade and managing the CDs, ensuring you can pump out the healing numbers as well as keeping on top of mana regen - just like every other class.
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I really believe that half of the holy paladin's ability to perform in raids is preparation, even more so than other healing classes. You have to gem right, gear right, talent right and glyph right. This is because of the weird dichotomy of our healing arsenal - a big, inefficient heal or a small, efficient heal - so we must optimize for usage of 1 spell over the other (though not used to all exclusion). The other half of the equation is execution, which takes practice depending on the difficulty of the fight along with experience to get a hang of healing.

So here I am, reading Rhidach's post about this site called Armory Datamining. I like these types of websites because they tend to compile information in WoW in a different way, revealing things that are new or from a different angle.

Anyway, I went to look at the holy paladin data, expecting there not to be much deviation. Lo and behold, I was wrong.

I may be presumptive but I really want anyone reading this that is not preparing properly as a holy paladin to sit up and take notice! There is leeway if you want to do things differently but there is still such a thing as wrong gems/glyphs/talents/etc for holy paladins to do! So here is my little troubleshooting attempt.



Gems
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About the only thing that didn't have much deviation were holy paladin gems but to be fair, this just indicates a huge majority of holy paladins are HL paladins. The surprising thing was that despite the huge popularity of Brilliant gems in general, Nightmare Tear was not as popular. This is perplexing because usually, the best gemming strategy for HL paladins are all Brilliant + Nightmare Tear.

If you are trying to activate the Insightful Earthsiege Diamond as a meta, you don't need to gem with a Luminous and Dazzling in 2 sockets. You can just use 1 Nightmare Tear (or I guess a purple cut though Nightmare Tear is better imo) to activate it with just 1 socket. When I was really new to WoW, I used to think that you needed separate gems of the red and blue type coloring to activate it but that is just not the case.

So for those of you gemming with all Brilliant with one Dazzling/Luminous combo just to activate the meta, don't do it! Just pop a Nightmare Tear in a socket and tada~ done! (Usually, best place for Nightmare Tear is helm as you get socket bonus too, which is also usually one of the best bonuses on top of it) If you really want to get all the socket bonuses, then that's your choice and I'm not stopping you.

Also, don't use Ember Skyflare Diamond as your meta. It won't beat out the Insightful in terms of mana regen, not at the int levels provided by gear/gems. (For numbers, here is the info)

Glyphs

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It seems glyphs aren't that straightforward as I thought considering the popularity of the FoL glyph. The gemming results point to many holy paladins being HL paladins so what is the FoL glyph doing here? Even if you are a FoL paladin, the FoL glyph is really subpar imo as a glyph since you won't care about 5% extra crit chance as you are likely healing a SS'ed target already. (FoL paladins ensure a steady stream of healing on tanks compared to the spiky healing of HL pallies)

I have no freaking clue what glyph of Judgement, Exorcism, Seal of Vengeance, Consecration, Hammer of the Righteous and Divine Plea are doing in this section. It better be people in ret/prot spec logging out in holy gear for whatever reason. If you are actually using these glyphs as a holy paladin, please do me a favor and change them out immediately!!

As for the minor glyphs, since there aren't many of them, there's not much variation. Glyph of LoH is the only real important one imo.

Talents
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The general population was pretty straightforward when it came to talents with a few exceptions.

Purifying Power was unexpectedly popular. The only real application of it that I know of was for Anub'arak in TOGC to help stun the adds when they came out. If you have this talent in your build, please save the points! It is also not helpful in PVP!

Pure of Heart and Blessed Life are purported to be PVP talents really but even then I don't think they can really compare to Sacred Cleansing. Pure of Heart can be useful if you really don't want to get hexed for the full duration in PVP. If you have these talents for PVE, save your points!

Also, if you have points in Seals of the Pure, take them out right away! Holy paladins do not  and should not need to worry about DPS!

Now I understand that maybe you had some extra points and didn't know where to spend them. You don't need to blindly put them anywhere, those points can be put to good use!

I would suggest putting them in Blessed Hands, but only if you actually use Salve and HSac often enough. LoH is a great talent to spec into along with improved BoW if your raid needs it. Another alternative is putting more points in your secondary tree, whether it be prot or ret like maybe going for Improved Devo Aura.

Bottom line is that all the points in your spec should be to improve your healing potential or your utility

Professions
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I've been posting about JC as a profession in my recent posts. To me, hands downs, BS/JC is the best combo since JC gives you more of the stat you like (int for HL or SP/mp5 for FoL) while BS gives you more gem sockets to stack more of your particular stat regardless of what it is exactly. The other professions are more limited as they only give you a certain type of stat and you are not as free to pick and choose what stats you want to stack. I will admit that not all holy paladins are BS and/or JC, which is still feasible though not as optimal.

However, no holy paladin main should be a tailor! The perks that you get are not optimal at all. You get an embroidery that either gives you a whopping ~17 mp5 or  50-60 SP. Not worth it!

Leather working is a sub-optimal profession for HL paladins though the perk may be worth it for FoL paladins. There is a lack of flexibility here though if you like to switch it up and play as both a HL or FoL paladin since the 76 SP to bracers is the only feasible option.
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If you are serious about raiding as a holy paladin, none of the "gathering" professions should be one of your professions. These professions are mining, herbalism and skinning.

I know herbalism gives you a HoT but it is on a long CD and does not heal for much, not worth it imo! Skinning gives you a crit buff but tbh, that is not the best stat for us. The stamina buff from mining is also not optimal but it might be allowable since it does increase your survivability slightly (especially if taking huge raid wide damage).

There are a lot of what you call "farming" alts but with the popularity of certain combinations of professions that seem to be mains, I really think that people are selling themselves short.

People with a crafting profession in combination with a gathering profession should drop their gathering profession. I am guessing a lot of people went mining in order to level up their particular crafting profession and didn't bother to drop it to level up another crafting profession. It can also be a pain since it is a time/gold sink to power level another crafting profession, especially if you don't have a gatherer alt. Even so, it is sad to see that JC/BS is really unpopular though it is a very good combination for holy paladins.

In the end, it really depends on the type of raider you are, the guild you are in and if you really need to min/max.

Enchants

Don't get the cheaper enchant! I know it might be expensive but if you are apping to a decent guild, having the best enchant possible is the norm, not the exception.

There wasn't much variation in enchants but there were glaring exceptions.
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For example, mainhand weapons seem to only be either +63 or +50 SP even though the TBC int enchant is perfectly viable.
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Another thing that was really weird to me was that in terms of enchanting for boots, 7 hp5/mp5 and Icewalker were more popular than Tuskarr's Vitality. I understand Icewalker but not the 7 hp5/mp5 since 7 mp5 is barely a buff (7 hp5 is not even anything to consider)!

I would rank the enchants in the following way: Tuskarr's, Icewalker and then 7 hp5/mp5 yet that is clearly not the case in the general population. If you have 7 hp5/mp5 on your boots, please at least change to Icewalker!

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The final point of contention for me in enchants was that some people used Sanctified Spellthread. It may be cheaper but it makes you look bad if you use it! Holy paladins do not need spirit and you're jumping the gun here for Cataclysm.

Self-Check

If you don't even know where to start optimizing your gear, you can go to many websites that will basically let you know if you're missing enchants, gems, etc. Here are a few to get you started off:
  • Elitist Armory - I like this because it actually checks for your JC-only gems too (via MMO-Champion)
  • Be-imba - A quick diagnostic for your character, one of the first sites out there offering this function
  • WoW-Heroes - This site doesn't really tell you what you have done wrong but it gives you a great overview of your character so you can easily see all your gear, gems, enchants, stats and raiding info all on 1 page. This is my preferred go-to site.
  • Warcrafter - Is similar to WoW-Heroes but displays it differently
  • Quick Armory - Also similar to Warcrafter and WoW-heroes but it allows you to search for common specs. Again, different way to display information, pick whatever floats your boat

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Hope this helped out! Till next time!

P.S. In regards to my Cataclysm To-Do List, I have already checked some stuff off! You can see one of those things here in the screenshot on the left =P I also added some things to the list. Will I ever get things done before Cataclysm?!

P.P.S. If you want to ogle a holy paladin, I got the goods here.

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