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Friday, June 3, 2011

Healing Heroics for Holy Priest

Recently I've been able to finally heal some heroics on my priest. His average item level is around 338 and is lacking in the mama regen department, but I managed to keep everyone alive pretty well.

Overall, I feel very comfortable with healing as Holy. Compared to my Paladin, I feel like healing on the priest has a slower pace to it. I don't have to constantly cast spells on a normal pool because I can let Renew and Prayer of Mending do most of my work. Staying in Chakra: Serenity makes Heal even better with the improved chance to critical, and having my Heal spells refresh Renew is a great tool for keeping it up on targets without having to spend more mana.

As far as overhealing goes, the main culprits were Renew, Prayer of Mending, and Prayer of Healing. There are times when Renew is ticking before the tank has taken damage, and Prayer of Mending heals for over 10k when the target only took a hit of 7k. But, those heals are always going to contribute to overhealing, my problem is Prayer of Healing. I've found few situations where all five party members require me to use Prayer of Healing (and Circle of Healing for that matter). It's gotten me thinking that if this spell is only going to heal 3/5 group members (at best), then I should just cast a Heal on everyone instead. Obviously time becomes the limiting factor here, but I think that I'm going to start limiting my use of Prayer of Healing so that it's not overhealing so often. Circle of Healing may be in the same boat, but it doesn't heal for as much and it's cheap and instant.

All in all I am really enjoying how healing on my priest feels. I feel comfortable with my mana and my output (providing a fight is not going terrible), and with tools like Lightwell, Leap of Faith, and Body and Soul I really like the utility that I can bring.

I'm going to try to test more on the PTR and post about how Mastery is for Holy Paladins in 4.2, so we'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Holy Paladin 4.2 Changes. Some fun possibilities

After looking at the patch notes for 4.2 the changes to holy paladins for PVE and PVP healing.

Starting with the nerfs

  • Divine Light mana cost has been increased to 35% of base mana, up from 30%.
  • Flash of Light mana cost has been increased to 31% of base mana, up from 27%.
  • Holy Light mana cost has been increased to 12% of base mana, up from 10%.

These obviously are aimed at reducing our efficiency, and while the increased mana costs don't look great, I don't see them making us any less viable. This nerf is really just making other healers more able to compete with our awesomenss. 

Now to the Talent Changes
Denounce has been redesigned. It still reduces the mana cost of Exorcism. However, it no longer has a chance on Holy Shock of making Exorcism free and instant. Instead, it has a 50/100% chance to prevent the Exorcism target from causing critical effects for the next 6 seconds. This effect can be dispelled.

This is pretty interesting. I talked previously about possible pvp specs that I was going to go with Denounce. This talent allows us to put out some damage without sacrificing to much mana to do so. It still makes us able to use Exorcism liberally, but now the debuff applied can be pretty powerful. Casting Exorcism every 6 seconds will prevent the target from landing a critical. While this is obviously great for pvp, I'm thinking about the possibilities in dungeons and raids. This talents could allow Holy Paladins to tank (potentially). Better yet, if there is a dps trying to tank, the holy paladin could make it so they don't need to worry about being critted on. The change is probably more designed for pvp, but the other option is fun to think about. 

Some other interesting changes
  • Infusion of Light can now lower the cast time of Flash of Light by 0.75/1.5 seconds, in addition to Holy Light and Divine Light. In addition, the old Denounce spell overlay effect has been transferred to Infusion of Light since Denounce is no longer a proc.
  • Speed of Light now increases movement speed when Holy Radiance or Divine Protection are cast. In addition, this talent now reduces the cooldown of Holy Radiance by 13/26/40 seconds, up from 10/20/30.
The Infusion of Light changes are very interesting. Making Flash of Light instant is rather amazing. I don't really see how this is going to be balanced, but I have no problem with it being overpowered. Flash of Light does have a hefty mana cost, but it will be interesting to see how it works out being instant cast. 

I am looking forward to the speed boost from casting Divine Protection, that will definitely come in handy. And on top of that, being able to cast Holy Radiance more often will definitely help our Raid healing ability, but it could hurt our mana if it's used too often. 

Current outlook
As it stands I think think that Patch 4.2 will be a positive one for holy paladins. We may receive a heavy mana increase, but the changes to some of our core talents should help us to forget about the nerf,. I am looking forward to these tweaks, and I am interested to see what changes manage to go live with the patch.

I know I haven't posted about holy priests for a while. I haven't been able to play that character very much lately, and there aren't any interesting changes coming to holy priests in the newest patch. I hope that I'll have some good material to post about with regards to holy priesting so stay tuned. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Am I fickle or what

My last post was all about my new pvp spec for my holy paladin. After running a dungeon with that spec, I changed it getting rid of Denounce, and later I ended up reverting back to my original healing spec. I tend to do this often, I try something new and then end up changing back to the original spec. Often times I find out that what I tried didn't work, or I decide that I just liked what I had before better.

The way that I figured it is this; I spend most of my time healing in heroics, why change my spec so that I can better heal in pvp when I only do that once a week or so. If I end up finding out that my current set up isn't working you might see me post again about a new pvp spec, but until then I'm going to keep Light of Dawn and see how it goes.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Trying out my Holy Paladin PVP spec

Yesterday I decided to change my spec to suit a PVP playstyle. I chose to go with a hybrid between PVE talents and PVP talents because I still plan to heal dungeons and such. I am planning on organizing

Here it is  and I think it will work pretty well for me.

I think that the spec is pretty solid. it all came down to a choice between Tower of Radiance and Enlightened Judgments and Improved Judgment. Tower would have increased my holy power generation, but I really like the longer range on my judgments. I also decided to go with the increased healing from Conviction and Divnity instead of going with the bonus holy power from Pursuit of Justice. Most of these decisions stem from keeping the PVE in mind.

I decided to go with Denounce as a way for me to add some fire power to the mix. With that talent I feel more confident when I am going one on one with someone.

All in all I feel pretty good about the spec. I might find that Tower of Radiance and Pursuit of Justice are more  needed than I thought, but we'll see.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Holy Paladin Mastery, is it really that bad?

I know that for my holy paladin that I go for Intellect> Spirit> Haste> Critical> Mastery. That set up seems to be the accepted best way to go, but I like to think about other options. Could Mastery end up being our best stat (if we're able to get a ton of it?).

What does it do?
Our Mastery is Illuminated Healing. At level 80 our direct healing spells will give a shield that absorbs damage. It lasts for 15 seconds (as of Patch 4.1), it starts at absorbing 10% of the heal, and increases at 1.5% per point of mastery (also as of Patch 4.1). Essentially this replaced Sacred Sheild for holy paladins, and I find it to be an interesting mastery compared to other healers.

Why is it so bad for us?
There are a few reasons. First, the sheild isn't terribly powerful. Absorbing for 10% of a 7k heal is only 700 damage absorbed, and that's pretty lackluster. Second, in comparison to Haste, Mastery appears to be very weak. To give you an idea, If I have a Shadow Priest, Boomkin, or Elemental Shaman in my heroic group I am sitting around 30% haste. That's right around where my haste was at in Icecrown. Heals are faster, the global cooldown is smaller, and Holy Radiance ticks more often. A lot of positives going on, all at once. Mastery isn't really keeping up.

What to do now?
The buffs to Mastery in 4.1 are going to help it out. Currently it is pretty even with Critical, so I would gague the buff to push it behind haste. I want to see if it can pass haste, and maybe even spriit. If the shields can become powerful enough to prevent us from casting as many heals, then we won't need the mana regen from spirit because we aren't casting as often.

So, I plan to head over to the Public Test Realms. While Blizzard is still testing for patch 4.2, I'm going to copy my paladin, and make a premade one to see how powerful Mastery can be. I'm going to gem exclusively for it, gear and reforge for it, and test my skills as healing with it. I'll be sure to record my numbers on recount, and I'll report my results as soon as I am finished.

Everything is better when you have a ton of it. I hope to find that with a ton of Mastery you can be completely viable. If I am wrong, well it wouldn't be the first time.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Holy Paladin Healing,

As my guild has gotten closer to leveling to 25, my girlfriend and I have jumped back into running guild heroics. This has allowed me to heal heroics again, and I have really enjoyed it. So, I wanted to share my strategies for healing heroics, and healing in general. 

Holy Powah....err Power
Holy Power is your friend. You want to generate Holy Power as much as you can, so you'll want to use Holy Shock as much as you can. Being able to generate Holy Power often, allows you to use Word of Glory more often. More Word of Glory means more free heals, and that is always good. You can also use Light of Dawn with your Holy Power, but unless you're going to heal at least three of your group members with it the output isn't as good. I compare Light of Dawn to my priest's Circle of Healing, only it's a lot less useful. 

Beacon of Light is a must 
Always, always, always put this spell on someone who is going to take high amounts of consistent damage. Typically this target will be your tank, and you will be so glad that it is. I remember when this spell went live near the end of Burning Crusade, and it was a lifesaver when I was healing heroics then. While it will provide the majority of your overhealing, if have the glyph all of that healing is free. Even without the glyph since it lasts for 5 minutes if you cast it before a fight the mana cost won't really be an issue. Use it, use it, use it, you'll forget about it when it is up, and notice your tank dying when it's not. 

Holy Light is your friend.
Holy Light is your least expensive heal, and it will be your most used spell after every run. If my target is above 40% health, I'm going to use Holy Light (unless I can use Holy Shock of course). I also won't heal my target unless they've lost 10 thousand health. Even though Holy Light is cheap, I still want to reduce my overhealing whenever I can. 

Divine Light
Divine Light is our biggest heal. I use this whenever the tank is getting below 50% health, and whenever Holy Light won't be enough for one of the dps. Be careful not to rely on its potency unless you need to, it is very easy to spam in a pinch, but if you're not careful you will run out of mana before you know it. 

An added bonus to Divine Light is its ability to grant a charge of Holy Power when you heal a target who has Beacon of Light. This is very helpful for charging up your Holy Power, and really helps you pile on the Word of Glory. 

Flash of Light 
Flash of Light  is our fastest heal, and should only be used when you target is going to die. When Holy Light and Divine Light aren't fast enough, Flash of Light is a must. Like Divine Light, you will need to limit your use of this spell. It is very expensive, and will run your mana into the ground if you're not careful. 

When you need to bring someone back from the brink of death Flash of Light is great. Don't forget about Holy Shock and Word of Glory, though. Holy Shock may not do much healing, but Word of Glory is and they are both really cheap and instant. Sometime 1.5 seconds still isn't fast enough, and if you can send a Word of Glory instead it could mean the difference between life and death. 

We can raid heal now right?
With the addition of Light of Dawn and Holy Radiance combined with Beacon of Light, our ability to heal multiple targets has tripled in strength. Holy Radiance is a must have for certain fights, and while it won't do all of your healing it will serve as a much needed health buffer while you're casting your heals. I like to use this with my cooldowns whenever possible. Making the healing from this spell more powerful really helps when the boss is dealing massive damage to your whole group. Don't be afraid to use it on trash, and combine it with Light of Dawn whenever you can. Don't use it on cooldown though, it has a hefty mana cost and a 30 second cooldown. If you use it at a time when you don't really need it, you're going to miss it when people start dying. 

Using Cooldowns 
I try to save all of our cooldowns for boss fights. We have so many to choose from that it is always best to have a lot of options when we need to keep people alive. Whether you're increasing your haste and crit, increasing your healing done, or summoning a shiny winged guy with a sword to help you heal we have three tools to help us heal more. On top of that we can reduce the damage that we take, reduce the amount of damage someone else takes, protect someone from physical damage, and protect ourselves from all damage . And if you choose to you can increase the power of your auras. So many ways to save people on top of our healing spells. Do not use them lightly, but don't be afraid to save a life when you can. Too often I forget to use a lot of these, and at the end of a fight I think about how much easier it could have been if I could have remember to press the button. 

I think that about covers everything that I wanted to mention, and I hope it is helpful. The best way to heal, is always the way that you find to be most useful, and never forget it. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Healing Dunegons as a Holy Priest

Jumping back into talking about some healing. Yesterday I was dpsing with a guildie who is new to healing as holy, and as we went through he reminded me that finding the right balance of spells to use is not easy by any means. This is not meant to limit your spell usage only to those I have mentioned. The key to effective healing is always through trial and error. Learn what your spells do and evaluate how you can best use them. This is meant to be a starting point for anyone unsure about what to do.

Chakra, learn it, live it, love it
So to start off, for most dungeons you'll spend a lot of time in Chakra:Serenity. For the excetion of trash and bosses with heavy groupwide damage, your main healing spell will be Heal, and being in Serenity just makes the most sense.

Lightwell is your Friend
Before I jump into spell usage, I want to add that casting Lightwell before every boss fight is important. Even if no one else uses it, if the only healing doe to you is through the Lightwell, it has saved you from casting heals on yourself, which is totally worth it.

After a few nights of running dungeons I was able to see just how much of my healing is coming from my spells. The winner by far is Prayer of Mending. I use it every chance I get always on the tank, and it is by far my leader in healing done. Always use Prayer of Mending!

Healing slow with Heal
Next up is Heal. I use this whenever my targets have 50% or more health, and only if they have taken enough damage (normally around 7,000) first. I like to try to keep Renew on the tank as much as I can. This isn't too hard as long as I'm in Serenity as the Heals refresh its durration.

Emergency use only
I only use Flash Heal if someone is in danger of dying, or if I have a Surge of Light pop up. It is an expensive heal, and while it grants Serendipity, it's not really needed outside of emergencies. Typically if someone needs a big heal Greater Heal will have enough time to land, so casting Flash of Light outside of Surge of Light to maintain Serendipity isn't needed.

Group Healing at its Finest
If atleast 4 members of the group have taken significant damage, I use Prayer of Healing and Circle of Healing. If I have to use these spells often, I should be in Chakra: Sanctuary so their potency is buffed. The same goes for Holy Word: Sanctuary, I try to only use this when the group is stacked up so that it is healing to its fullest. These three spells can cause the most overheal, so don't waste them if you don't have to.

Renew and PW:S
There are times when Renew is really awesome and great to spam on the group, but there aren't many of these times. I've found it's most use to come on the tank. The same goes for Power Word: Shield. With its steep mana cost I try to only use it to give someone the Body and Soul speed boost.

Wraping up
In general try to reduce your overhealing as much as you can. Ideally you should be able to stay below 10% overhealing. Remeber Prayer of Mending, and don't forget about your Chakra and the Lightwell.