Holy Power and More for the Post-Cataclysmic Paladin

Holy Power and More for the Post-Cataclysmic Paladin

Please give a warm World of Matticus welcome to guest-blogger Ophelie, and remember to visit Bossy Pally for more great Paladin posts!

I came home from a weekend in the wilderness to discover my class turned upside down. That’s what happens when you spend two days and a night in the middle of nowhere without internet. You come back and you’re lost.

As I was scrambling to piece together the bits of news, Matt suggested I guest post about it. Guest post about the paladin news, of course, not my scrambling. So I did what I always do when having to talk about Cataclysm news. I grabbed a pen, some paper and called up Google.

And if that wasn’t enough, a new beta build was released between then and now, just for confusion purposes.

So…here’s what I found out, and there’s what I think of it all.

Apparently, last Friday there was a certain Twitter Developer Chat. Apparently, some paladiny stuff was said. Apparently, it was stuff like:

All of the paladin specializations will make use of a new resource called Holy Power. Holy Power accumulates from using Crusader Strike, Holy Shock, and some other talents. Holy Power can be consumed to augment a variety of abilities, including:

An instant mana-free heal: Word of Glory
A buff to increase holy damage done: Inquisition
A massive physical melee attack for Retribution paladins: Templar’s Verdict
Holy Shield’s duration is now extended by Holy Power
Divine Storm’s damage is now increased by Holy Power

We also introduced several new heals for Holy Paladins including Healing Hands (an AoE heal-over-time that is applied to all players standing near the paladin), Light of Dawn (a cone heal with a 30-yard range), as well as a new heal called Divine Light, which is similar to a priest’s Greater Heal, and the new instant heal mentioned above, Word of Glory.

As for the release of new talents builds, for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to witness them first hand, here’s a link to the MMO Champion version.

I’m going to stick with the holy side of the things, because I’m primarily a healer and this, after all, is primarily a healing blog. I’m also going to stick with the big picture and what stood out to me. I figure anyone who really cares about the nitty gritty details has already read (if not tested) them anyway.

Back to the dev chat news, in other words, we get a new bar (like a health or mana bar, and yes it’s currently supposed to be an actual bar and not cute circles on our screen) to record stacked up combo-like points as we cast Holy Shock, as we directly heal our Beacon target (via the Tower of Radiance talent) and possibly as we do other things. We’re then given Word of Glory, a get-out-of-jail free card for when there’s need to fill in one of the gaps caused by Holy Shock cooldowns.

More Bars, More Bars!

When I first heard of a Holy Power bar, I froze for a second, worried that my mana bar was being replaced. But no, they’re actually adding a new bar and not removing old bars. I like that. It gives us something else to keep our eyes on and to make the mental hamster run faster. It’s not too complex, after all, last I heard, Holy Power only stacked up to 3. 3 points is totally something I can keep track of.

Forcing us to use Holy Shock regularly, keeping track of Holy Power stacks and deciding when to use a finishing move is a small but welcome addition to the holy paladin thought process.

EDIT : In the comments, Esh, who’s been playing in the beta, reported that Holy Power is actually a buff icon and not a bar, at least at lower levels. It’s been assumed that Holy Power would be a bar due to a post by Ghostcrawler, but a buff icon certainly makes more sense.

Holy Shock: A Love Story

Personal confession time: I love Holy Shock. I’ve always loved Holy Shock. Holy Shock and I go way back. Holy Shock was the whole reason I specced Holy in the first place (hey I was new to the game and didn’t realize there were more efficient ways to deal damage). Though I eventually discovered it wasn’t the wonderful spell I had imagined, it’s still been there for me through all the hard times. Whenever I needed to quickly save someone without abandoning the tanks, it didn’t hesitate. It was my companion during all those ICC fights that had me casting and running (and cursing!) at the same time.  It listened to all my problems and never laughed at me… Erm. Moving on.

In one sentence, it should come as no surprised that I’m thrilled to see Holy Shock finally getting the game mechanics buff it deserves.

Oh, and if adding importance to Holy Shock wasn’t enough, its mana cost is brought down to 8% from 18% and it helps with all the slow casting via the talents Infusion of Light and Speed of Light, somewhat replacing the current Light’s Grace.

There’s also a new spell, Holy Mending, that gives Holy Shock a small heal over time. 15% of a Holy Shock over 9 seconds seems a little silly, but, um, you know, at least they’re trying.

EDIT: Ryonar left an excellent comment that is unfortunately stuck in pending comment limbo. He pointed out that Holy Mending is already in the game: it’s the tier 8 2p bonus. The MMO Champion Paladin page makes it look like a skill trainable at level 80. It either a bug, or it’s becoming a permanent skill in the expansion.

Addressing the Movement Issue

Remember what I said about casting and running at the same time?

Sorry, I couldn’t heal I was moving.”

How often has an embarrassed paladin said that following a premature tank death? (There’s also the slightly more disturbing “sorry, I couldn’t move I was healing”.)

To me, the new emphasis placed on Holy Shock, and the addition of Word of Glory, another instant heal, looks like an attempt to make movement more manageable. I’m curious to see how much assistance the final mechanics of Healing Hands and Light of Dawn end up providing to the current movement impaired paladin. As of now, both are instant and both seem to allow movement during the spell effect.

Healing Hands even increases movement speed by up to 60% when talented into Speed of Light. Being someone who staged a large protest when she couldn’t fit Pursuit of Justice into all her paladin specs, my stomach did summersaults when I discovers the good news.

Feelin’ Like a Paladin

Like druid healers and their tree forms, like shamans with their skirts, like priests with, um, whatever is meaningful to priests (normally I’d make a joke about priests always being dead, but for some reason, it feels like a bad idea to do that here), us paladins have a sense of identity too.

In our history, we’ve been blasphemized. We’ve been forced to wear certain pieces of mail gear because it was better itemized than plate. (Min/maxers even went as far as equipping the Meteor Chaser’s Raiment, which is made of toilet paper, of all things). Again and again, we’ve been sent to the back of the room with all the casters. Many of us were even deprived of shields, resigning ourselves to carrying orbs or lamps in our off-hands. The horrors just never end.

On top of it all, Cataclysm promises to lessen the differences between the healing classes, in an effort to promote Blizzard’s “blame the player not the class” campaign (or was it, “bring the player, not the class”? I can never get it straight.)

But you know what?

I’m ok with it.

Seriously. Healing Hands and Light of Dawn introduce some multi-target healing beyond the limitations of Beacon of Light and Glyph of Holy Light. Healing Hands and Holy Mending/Holy Shock also flirt with heals over time, another element lacking in paladin healing.

Yet, while the end results are similar from one class to another, our ways to reach those ends are tailored to our unique paladin interests (special little snowflakes that we are). The mechanics of our new spells encourage us to get up close and personal (hopefully, my stubborn plate wearing tendencies will finally be useful) and Holy Power…

Ah! Holy Power!

I can just picture my little paladin puffing up with zealousness as she casts, then unleashing it all in one blow.

Oh, and yes, I do agree with Rohan and a number of others in their preference for the term Zeal. The concept of Holy Power is terrific, the name Holy Power, however, makes me think of energy drinks.

But you know that when we’ve reduced ourselves to complaining about semantics, we’re finally getting some pretty promising Cataclysm news.

Case Study: Anub 10H vs Holy Paladin

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This is a guest post by a Ophelie, a new Holy Paladin who has recently joined Conquest. Check out her blog: The Bossy Pally.

So Monday night, I was formally introduced to Anub 10 man on hard mode and was lucky enough to get his number. Matticus suggested I write about my impressions so that others may be amused, and by amused I mean informed, about how one heals this fight for the first time as a holy paladin. I prefer writing stories to strategies, but for all you practical people, I’ll have a list of things learned the hard way at the end.

Now, had I been clever that night, I would have taken advantage of the pre-fight confusion of “we have to cut down one healer and bring in a dps” to do some last minute reading on differences between the regular and hard mode Anub. Of course, I didn’t think of that until after the fight and I had full confidence in my ability to follow instructions: something about a first ice patch, then running south, then more about ice patches and about not playing hero… Yep, watch what everyone else is doing and copy them, got it.

(Read: Save yourself some confusion and always do your raid homework before trying a new fight.)

Once we were set up, we buffed, I put up frost resistance aura and we pulled.

First phase?

Cake. Beacon on the pulling tank in case he gets out of range during positioning? Check
Nestle myself happily under Anub’s rear end? Check.

I try not to think too much about Anub’s rear end because, you know, not pleasant. Flash of Light (little heal), Holy Light (big heal) heal to taste. Adds spawn, but not my problem. With beacon on my side, I wasn’t worried. It did seem like the adds were zoning in on me though. Hmm. Maybe I should remove Righteous Fury (damage reduction, but threat boost)?.

Second phase?

I breathe a bit while Anub goes underground and plays tag with the raid. Pop Divine Plea? Sure, why not. There’s not much to heal so I might as well regen some mana. I judge some of the many little adds that spawn. Hey, I gotta do my share like everyone else! Suddenly, DBM flashes on my screen, “Anub’Arak is chasing YOU!”

Ooooooo kiting time! …Wait. Why can’t I run? I look down at my feet. I’m on an ice patch. I can barely move. Uh oh.

Tag, I’m it. I was dead before I saw what hit me.

Raid leader: It’s a wipe.
Person X: What went wrong?
Me: My bad, I was standing on an ice patch.
Person Y: Don’t stand on ice patches.
Me thinking: You must be one of those who wait until people fall down to say “it’s slippery”. (Matt’s edit: So true)
Person Z: You should be able to use Hand of Freedom to get off of ice patches.
Me: Good to know.

We run back and try again.

First phase?

Cake.

Second phase?

Same as above until Anub is after me again. This time, I was ready! I run north, he gets stuck, I don’t wipe us. I’m a pro now! I feel rather proud of myself and take a few seconds to secretly gloat.

Third phase hit before I knew it.

Things got real fun, real fast. As one tank dealt with giant bugs and the other with the boss, Anub smacked his lips and started leaching our health. Quick! Bubble, Divine Sacrifice! Let’s slow down the damage as much as possible. I had beacon on the adds tank and was healing the main tank.

Flash of Light, Flash of Li- no! Holy Light, Holy Light, Holy Light, OMG!

Oh, look the rogue is going to die. Holy Shock the rogue.

There’s nothing like a swift instant heal saving you when things get scary. Oh no, the tank! Holy Light! Oh man that was close. Holy Light, Holy Light, Holy Light.

Oh, look, I’m going to die.

Holy Shock myself.

Eeek, the tank! Holy Light! That was close! Holy Light, Holy Light, Holy Light.

I’m going to die again but I can’t risk losing the tank. Holy Light, Holy Light, Holy L- interrupted, I die.

Luckily, I’m not the only one who died: Anub’s lifeless carapace slumped next to me as I hit the ground. Ha! I was overcome by satisfaction, knowing I could get a rez and Anub would have to wait until Tuesday’s reset to run back from the boss graveyard.

So little paladin, what did you learn?

  • Make sure one paladin has frost resistance aura up. The penetrating cold debuff gets nasty towards the end.
  • Your Righteous Fury can help the off tank pick up adds, but check with the tank first.
  • During phase 2, don’t stand on ice patches (ha!) and as much as possible, position yourself so that there’s always an ice patch between you and him.
  • Hand of Freedom should be able help you or someone else in a pinch.
  • Mana shouldn’t be a problem before phase 3, but play it safe and use phase 2 for Divine Plea.
  • If there are other paladins in the raid, coordinate your use of Divine Sacrifice at
  • the beginning of phase 3 so you can stretch out damage reduction as long as possible.
  • On phase 3, you have to trust your raid healer, beacon one tank and spam Holy Light on the other. If your tanks are geared, you can get away with the occasional Holy Shock, but it’s risky.
  • Keep Judgement on Light up on the boss, preferably for the whole fight, but especially on phase 3. Either do it yourself or make sure another paladin in the raid is doing it.
  • If you run out of mana before Anub dies, it’s game over. Don’t run out of mana. Start phase 3 at full, use mana potions, lay on hands, anything, but don’t run out of mana.
  • After the fight, /hug your raid healer because he’s probably sweating buckets.

Oh, and since no epic boss kill tale ends without some sort of cooing over loot, I won Heartcrusher from the Tribute Chest, Crusader’s Glory for my tanking set and a trophy (yeah, I know, I’m spoiled). How I choose gems and enchants for my new gear is epic tale for another day.