First of all, I want to apologize for not writing anything for the past two weeks. I was traveling from home to school and then went through RA training. It was definitely a fun experience and I’m glad to be back at school, but I had NO free time whatsoever. Days blended into each other and just kind of dragged on… But anyways…
As anyone who has been playing recently is aware, the Pre-MoP expansion dropped on Tuesday. With it came many of the changes that are a part of the Mists of Pandaria expansion such as account wide mounts (which by the way is the coolest thing that has happened in a long time). It also brought on the talent revamps that are a part of MoP and that bring sweeping changes to every class. The changes specific to Holy Paladins for this patch are outlined in my guide, so I’m not going to go into specifics here. I’m going to use this opportunity to talk about my take on the patch and then how it seems to have affected Holy Paladin healing.
General 5.0.4 Thoughts
I personally think that this is one of the best patches that has been released as long as I’ve been playing (Which for reference is late BC). The patch brought with it so many features that I found to be very interesting and fun.
As I stated already, account wide mounts and achievements are two of the best things ever implemented. EVER. I may be extremely biased because I switched mains and had all my fancy mounts and titles on my druid, but I have a lot of friends who feel the same way. It is really just awesome to have my rare mounts and titles available to me across all my characters. My level 20 characters have their choice of fancy mounts instead of running around on their basic racial mounts or Tyrael’s Charger. Consolidated achievements also did a lot for me since I had quite a few scattered achievements on all my characters. I think my druid (who formerly had most of my achievement points) jumped almost 1000 points just from me logging onto all my characters. I know it may not be that big of a deal to people who don’t like to play alts, but this is my favorite change that was brought by the patch.
I think that another huge thing for me was the talent revamp that changed up so many classes drastically. I haven’t had too much of a change to play because of my training, but the time that I have been able to play has been spent exploring all of my alts. Every class that I enjoyed playing seems to have changed
I raided on my druid through H DS on Wednesday and to my surprise was near the top of the damage for most of the fights. Balance has been changed up so much and given quite a few different mechanics that may not have changed general gameplay much, but that gave the class a serious single target damage boost. It was also fun to have some cooldowns to watch on a spec that never really had anything going on except the Eclipse rotation. I also got a chance to set up my PvP gear and do a chain of BGs. I have to say, the mobility, survivability, and control mechanics that we got are amazing. I can literally kite any melee class until I can kill them off. It’s feels great to not have to sit and cast at someone to get into Eclipse as well. In general I’m going to say Balance is a success after this patch.
I’ve played through a few of my other characters, but since those are still leveling their way up to cap I don’t think there’s anything too important to say there. Warlocks and Hunters are definitely fun and play well at lower levels. I think that Priests area also very interesting, but I was mostly healing 5 mans so I didn’t get a decent look at questing on that character.
Holy Paladin Healing in 5.0.4
On Thursday I got the chance to get into H DS and heal through it. Before raid I went through and switched my gearing to try to get as much Spirit as possible. This meant gemming Ember for my Meta gem, straight Spirit in Prismatic and Blue sockets, Int/Spirit in Red sockets and Int/Mastery in Yellow sockets (to keep socket bonuses and Meta active). I also already ran with Heartsong, so I kept that the same. As far as trinkets go, I was running with Heart of the Unliving and the Jaws of Defeat for the sake of regen. I ended up using a feast (Int) and and Int flask because I forgot to get the Spirit versions of each before raid. With all this added up, in combat my regen was just about 5.2k mana per 5.
My spec changed a lot throughout the night. I ran with Speed of Light, Unbreakable Spirit, and Fist of Justice all night, but I switch around a lot for the other tiers. I tried to give SS/EF and HA/SW/DP each a decent amount of testing time to see how they worked for me. I will discuss in a bit how exactly I felt about each of them. As for my glyphs, I ran with Flash of Light, Divinity, and Light of Dawn on most fights. I did switch in Beacon of Light for Spine, but other than that I kept those three Glyphs the entire raid.
As for the raid, I think I should state what our plan for the night was as it sets some perspective. Our healers were myself and Fumsy (a Resto Druid), and our tanks were a Guardian Druid and a Protection Paladin. We two healed every fight except for Spine, which we also used a Discipline Priest for. We ran the raid on Heroic mode with the 35% debuff active.
Morchok: The fight seemed to be just about the same as it had been. Fumsy and I each healed a side with 5 people per side. We each had to soak shards, so there was a bit of running around. I found it a little hard to keep up at the beginning, but once I got a hang of healing the instance with my new abilities I had no issue keeping my side up. I felt like I could have done a better job with cooldowns here, but I was a little overwhelmed by new abilities and a new UI to really keep up with cooldowns that I really didn’t need.
Yorsaj: Also worked out just as it always had. During Purple phases Fumsy and I would each take a group to avoid stacking the debuff unnecessarily and my Beacon heals kept up the tank without me having to actually toss her a direct heal. I definitely loved using the my new cooldowns during the non-Purple phases on this fight. Holy Avenger’s burst healing is insane for AoE and when used with Jaws didn’t burn much mana at all. I also enjoyed trying to weave HRs between my DLs during GoAK. That mechanic is definitely one of the more interesting additions to our toolbox.
Zonozz: This fight was a little more difficult than I remember. Our strategy was to have two groups, a ranged and a melee group, to bounce the orb. Damage ramped up rather quickly here and I found myself having to pop cooldowns before Black phase to heal through the tank damage. It was a little surprising, but Black phases seemed to actually be easier than they were before. That may have just been due to our dps killing all the adds very quickly, but for the two Black phases I popped cooldowns out of habit and not really necessity.
Hagara: I was a bit surprised by this fight. I actually let the tank die when Fumsy was in an Ice tomb. The Focused Assault mechanic was doing more damage than I remember, so I was really surprised when it hit the tank so damn hard. Other than that it felt just like it usually does. We stacked in the center for Frost, and with a cooldown the damage was very manageable. I popped my Devotion Aura for Lightning Phase and that damage didn’t seem to bad either. The thing I do remember here is that I was specced into DP for this fight and felt a little underwhelmed by its procs. It procced very rarely for me, although when it did proc I seemed to get strings of procs all at once.
Ultraxion: We two healed so that fight felt a lot easier than it used to be. Between Fumsy and myself there wasn’t any difficulty in healing through the damage that was going out. We also managed to kill it before the Blue buff came out though, so that may contribute to the damage feeling so light. This fight definitely made me realize that I can’t spam HR anymore though. It made me HR>HS for a majority of the AoE ticks so that I didn’t feel strained on mana. Again, DP seemed to proc very poorly on this fight. It seems very unrealiable to me and I don’t like how it seems to happen in strings and not spread out over a fight.
Blackhorn: This fight also posed more of a challenge than I expected. The first phase wasn’t too bad as far as damage went, and it gave me a very good opportunity to make use of Fist of Justice. At times the fire got very out of hand, but the damage felt very limited even when it did. The second phase of the fight is what really ramped up the damage output. We didn’t have very many cooldowns that could help mitigate the Shout damage for the raid, and to me it seemed like the tanks were getting hit much worse than they ever did before. On this fight I also went back to Holy Avenger and the burst that it provided was amazing after Gariona’s attacks.
All in all I feel like Holy Paladins are in a very good place. My mana felt a little strained, but I was able to make it through every fight without going OOM. I also feel like all of our abilities have a place in our toolbox and a definite place that they can be used. I personally feel that we have a bright future ahead of us come MoP and all the opportunities that it will provide to test our class.