Paladin Healing in 10 man Ulduar

This is a guest post by Adgamorix, who’s launched his own blog: Divine Plea.

So last week I wrote a post talking about Paladin healing in Heroic Ulduar, and voicing my opinion that I thought Paladin healing was spot on. I was open about my lack of 10 man Ulduar experience, and was told to come back when I’d experienced that pain – with the expectation that my opinion would change.

Taking that to heart, the next day I rounded up nine of my fellow guild mates and began my assault. This week has been an absolute blood-bath of raiding, seeing me log six days of straight raiding (no less than three hours a day) when I normally log two or three. Why did I throw my schedule to the side and perform this atrocious attack on my sanity you ask? Simple. I thought maybe I was missing something.

So 9 hours of 10 man raiding later and we’re staring at General Vezax and laughing at how the trash was essentially mini-bosses. We’re now one boss away from Yarg himself, and of course a whole slew of bosses on hard mode to go. I believe that I’ve tasted the cool-aid, and I have a response for those who still say Paladin healing is broken.

What’s the fuss?

Yeah, it’s not a real adult reaction, but it fits in my opinion. Our raid makeup was fairly balanced, with a Resto shaman, and the Holy/Disc priest from my 25 man group. We used a Druid/DK tanking combo, two rogues (our hunter is suffering from severe wife agro), ret paladin, a shadow priest, and a balance druid. Yes, we could have had a better raid makeup for buff purposes, but this group is a solid core of players and we did our 10 man Naxx together.

We had our share of wipes and pain (Mimiron alone took 2 or 3 hours), but the overall experience was enjoyable. We learned new bosses, we got to hear the “I thought the button started the encounter!” cry from a curious rogue, and we learned some things to help with our 25 man raid. I learned that more than ever, I have to trust my fellow healers, and trust my raid mates to know when to use cool-downs and consumables. I felt the agony of no mana return with Illumination on Vezax, and I may have actually shed a tear the first time I tried casting a Holy Light while under the effects of Thorim’s Defaning Thunder (75% increased cast time). Overall though I felt like the raid was tuned beautifully, and it was a lot of fun actually being challenged.

So what’s different between me and those that think we’re broken?

I will concede that our group is the x factor in this equation. Are the healing problems coming from Paladins in unbalanced groups? Are they trying to two heal, or heal content beyond their gear/experience level? Maybe it’s the synergy between the healers, in that we know the role we play, and can accurately predict the actions of our fellow healers. For example, I know that on Mimiron while I’m healing the MT through the Plasma Blast, if someone gets Napalm Shelled I can toss them a quick Holy Shock to absorb the base damage while the tree HoTs them up and the Disc priest keeps the MT alive. We don’t have to talk about it, it just happens. Would it be awesome if I could still throw a Sacred Shield on them to help with the damage absorption? Of course it would, but we seem to be making it through ok as it is.

Canceling out the X factor

So after healing a lot of 10 man (and more 25 man), I decided to take the x factor out of the equation. I couldn’t down rank my gear (short of taking a piece off) to simulate healing in blues , but I could put myself in the LFG channel and heal any PUG that came along. I tossed aside any gear/instance standards I had, and went willy-nilly into the groups. After getting through Gun’Drak, VH, UK, and UP – I decided Paladin healing still isn’t broken. Yes it’s slightly tougher, the lack of multiple SS and Glyph crits huts some, but it’s still doable (and fun).

I’m going to stick by original statement that Holy Paladins are in great shape right now, and while we could use another tool in our kit, or maybe some kind of decent raid heal, we’re still really strong.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. manatank says:

    I’m fairly certain that holy paladins are one of the strongest healing classes in Ulduar.

  2. Here’s what I see as a problem with Paladins – I would reckon that we could take three priests, three druids or three shamans to Ulduar 10 and manage. Good luck with three paladins. It’s not about a paladin fulfilling their role well but about flexibility of healing – a disc priest can still help heal the raid far better than a paladin can if the shit hits the fan and has more tools for saving a tank if it comes to it so why take another paladin when you can have a more diverse healer?

    /hug

  3. Aurik is right. It’s not that we aren’t good. It’s that our value drops off much more rapidly than the other healing healing. In a 10-man, I would much rather have a 2nd shaman/druid/priest than have a second paladin. In a 25-man, I would much rather have a 3rd shaman/druid/priest than a third paladin. However, the first two paladins are great.

    Paladin-heavy guilds are at a disadvantage compared to shaman/druid/priest-heavy guilds.

  4. manatank says:

    “In a 25-man, I would much rather have a 3rd shaman/druid/priest than a third paladin.”

    And I would rather have a 3rd paladin than a 3rd shaman/druid/priest. Many of the perceived strengths of the other classes do not stack well in a lot of encounters. On the other hand, a quick, large direct heal on a target that needs it is always useful.

  5. You have put forth the claim now that you do not agree with the conclusion put out by many others, that Paladins are suboptimal in a 10 man enviroment. How would you explain the genesis of those complaints?

    Honorshammers last blog post..Ulduar Spoils

  6. For lack of a better term – Paladin’s got ‘soft’ in Naxx at the start of WoTLK. Anyone who healed through pre-nerf BT/MH/SW remembers the pain of being a paladin. Spots were given to those that could raid heal, especially CoH and CH. WotLK gave us new toys and tools to play with, but even the most jaded of paladin healers would probably admit that healing H HoL was a sever test of skill and luck.

    The insane mana regen from Divine Plea, mixed with the 60% mana return from Illumination, coupled with the overall low(er) damage done as we geared, meant that pallies could spam HL bombs without worry. This has changed, and I believe that it’s simply growing pains that cause the complaints.

    BTPNTC has led us to believe that any healers should work – and this will be the case again as we see more Ulduar gear (and nerfs) rolled out. For now though, balance is the key. I wouldn’t want an overload of any class in my raid – paladin, priest, or other – just as I wouldn’t want all my tanks to be warriors and my DPS to be all rogues and mages.

    I know I’ve gotten many comments from my 10 man groups that it just feels ‘smoother’ when there’s a pally in the healing mix. Knowing that they can be at 25% health, and that an incoming HL will fill them up removes some of the tension.

    Of course – these are just my experiences. As they say, your mileage may vary.

    Adgamorixs last blog post..Giddy about Innervate

  7. cringer says:

    I’ve been considering rerolling Paladin lately because I’m bored with my Druid, and it looks lik Adgamorix is the guy I’m going to for advice. Nice post.

    And as far as the “I would rather have a 3rd ___ than a 3rd ___” comments, as long as you have one of each class to start you’ll be fine no matter what you pick as long as the raider is spec’d correctly and knows what they are doing. I hate it when I see a comment like “Druids can’t MT heal.” Every class should be able to perform adequately in every position. Some may have an easier time than others, but the job can be completed regardless, at least thats my feeling.

  8. First of all, Great post Adgamorix thanks for sharing with us here at WoM.

    Secondly I couldn’t agree more. People who complain about paladin’s not being a strong healing class I feel are truly unfounded complaints. In the 10 man’s we run its usually 1 shaman, 1 paladin and 1 druid. The class lends itself well to multiple roles now if played to its fullest. Honestly the same can be said of all the healing classes.

    Keep up the good work, look forward to seeing more of your writing.

  9. Thanks Lodur. I’ve really enjoyed starting my own site – and I really appreciate the opportunity I’ve gotten to submit guest posts here.

    Adgamorixs last blog post..Giddy about Innervate

  10. While Paladin have their strengths I am not sure I 100% agree with you, while our ideal make up if for 10’s is holy priest/shaman/paladin for healers, its quite noticable the increased wipes when we run Shaman/paladin/paladin or shaman/shaman/paladin. For Hodir and Mmiron I found it easier to swap to my lesser geared resto druid, similar hps but much its a lot easier to heal on the move.

  11. Too much of anything is bad, and yes stacking classes will gimp your progression. Paladin’s aren’t as flexible as we were pre-3.1 but we’re still in great shape, and as said it’s probably just growing pains.

    I often have thoughts of rolling a Shaman or Druid to try out that healing style, but a lot of the draw of the Paladin is the role I’m placed in: Main Tank healing. I like the importance of it, and the pressure to perform well. I’m not at all saying raid healing is any less important, but I enjoy the focus required.

  12. Honorshammer writes : How would you explain the genesis of those complaints?

    If you recall, when Beacon of Light first made it to live, there were TONS of complaints on the O-boards about how terrible the spell was — too much mana, it’s not effective, too short a duration, on and on. After a few weeks the cries died down a lot. I think much of the initial fuss was because people just didn’t have a handle on how to use Beacon properly. I think we may be seeing some of the same thing with Ulduar: people just aren’t used to the kind of damage we’re seeing, and they’re giving a big old Knee jerk reaction to it. Personally I’m having a blast, mainly because I actually feel like I’m doing something useful again.

  13. Salviad says:

    I find that Paladin healing in WoTLK isn’t as bad as many people say it is, the real problem is the lack of good Paladin healers. Skill is a definite must in healing Ulduar. You can’t just spam HL and expect everything to be O.K.

  14. Masterbum says:

    I enjoy healing as a pally. I have noticed one thing though. Most groups that do EoE will take no more than one holy pally MAX (and that is to heal the MT), and usually would prefer another healing class.

    I see it constantly in trade chat as well.

    Other than that encounter we are all good.

  15. with my holy pally i find myself beacon of light on MT if the OT isn’t taking alot of dmg i find myself healing the group more than the raid healers are, helps to have alot of haste (not extremely well geared raid wise) but with my amount of haste i just press and hold “4” (flash of light) with continuous heals going out via flash of light, i’m able to keep up those who are about to die as well as keep the MT at almost/if not full health. personally i’d much rather raid heal, but as a paladin your not very desirable for that role. although considering my haste rating i’m able to hit atleast 7-9 people within about say 3-5 seconds, all depending on dmg intake from OT. often find myself at top of healing meter without even attempting to be.

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