The Long Word :: 10/22/2010

Well, here’s my first shot at my weekly post called “The Long Word”.  Interestingly, I’ll probably be hitting both Holy AND Retribution this time.  In fact, probably hit Retribution a little more, since I’ve had a chance to play it lately.

The Long Word

The Long Word

But first, some general news:

ANZUUUUUUU!!!!
According to what I’ve read as of late, it appears that Anzu the Raven Lord is now a regular spawned boss in Sethekk Halls (Heroic of course). I overheard this while wandering through Dalaran and wanted to be sure. So I looked it up, and sure enough, he is.  So, I made my way on down to Shattrath (Oh I miss that place), and darted over to Auchidoun. Entering Sethekk Halls, I was wondering how difficult this would be, and began making my way through. It was easy as pie…. or so I thought.  Turns out after the patch was pushed, my default 5man setting was still on regular… *sigh* So I just cleaned the place up (Lower City rep is still on my list anyway), and popped out and hopped in on Heroic.  Upon entering, I saw the status text about the Eagle Hawk and Owl spirits returning to their stones, meaning that yes Anzu was there.

Anzu the Raven Lord

Anzu the Raven Lord

Started clearing through, easy enough, takes a little bit to take out groups as ret, but doable with the right CC.  But suddenly I hit a brick wall. Sethekk Ravengers…. these guys come in pairs, just like the normal doorway guards, but attack with such a vengence that it is hard to keep the HP up and still get damage out. I was sitting on about 30k HP in my ret set (both PvP and PvE), and they were eating through it like crazy. Sadly though, I couldn’t use Repentance, as they are Immune to it. So wipes were had, and cooldowns were blown, and eventually I was able to burn through the 3 or 4 sets of these guys and make my way to Anzu himself.  Fortunately, his room is empty, allowing me to get straight at him.

The fight is easy enough. Just start pouring on the pain, using Word of Glory if your life get’s about a quarter of the way down, using the other spots where your Holy Power is full to slap him with a hard hitting Templar’s Verdict. Then he’ll toss up a shield mitigating all damage, and starts summoning a ring of ravens to attack you.  They’re pretty easy, after you clear yourself of his initial stomp (he stuns you as soon as the birds are attackable). Just top yourself off, and start using your Holy Power points on Divine Storm and tossing a few Holy Wraths to burn the adds down. Once they’re gone, it’s back on Anzu, and pouring on more damage.  If you’re lucky he should only summon one more group of adds.  At least in my case, I was able to burn him down enough to take him out before anymore.  Unfortunately, the mount did not drop, though it has been confirmed that it does, in fact, still drop.

So, get your tails out there and have some fun in a nice “new classic” instance and have a chance at a really nice looking mount.

Speaking of mounts, be sure to hit Zul’Gurub every few days to be sure that you have a chance at the Zulian Tiger and Zulian Raptor before Zul’Gurub get’s flushed into the Great Sea.

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Naming Conventions and Updates

Hi all, I’m still here, and have a little bit more information for the paladin class. First up being the official GUI update for Holy Power.  it looks like a little bronze dog tag hanging below your player portrait. It provides you with a visual of how many charges of Holy Power you have. Another change were some naming changes for spells such as Healing Hands.  Now known as Holy Radiance, it makes me feel much less pervy if I had to use it.

Holy Power

Holy Power GUI change.

Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of things that I can test, because I am still yet to be in the beta 😦  The major thing that I want to test is the new Masteries. With the removal of Sacred Shield, several folks wondered what was going to take its place.

Basically the Holy Paladin Mastery will be doing that.  Each heal that you provide will be creating a “Divine Shield” and providing a mini version of the Sacred Shield based on the strength of the heal used. This is a really interesting addition, and in a way gives me a sense of Discipline Priest bubbling, except it’s happening automatically. Currently there is a bug that is replacing the shield with the next spell’s shield, no matter if it is less powerful or not. An example being, you cast a Divine Light that crits; this would put a substantial shield on the target. However, if you happen to have Holy Radiance running, it’s heals will overwrite the shield with its own shield, based on the power of the spell. This has been noted though, and marked as a bug.

There is a ton more that has been updated, in fact more that I’d be able to put into this post… yay for a busy RL.   But, I will begin breaking out some of these changes in future posts.

In other news, I went back Ret… yup, again.  I was actually on with some friends and we ran Heroic Halls of Reflection, and simply didn’t have the DPS to complete the final walk.  So, I hearthed out, and respec’d real quick into ret and grabbed my gear.  Needless to say, I actually hit near 5k dps and was able to help my buddies get the achievement for that run. Seeing that damage kind of excited me, so I decided to keep it and see how often I’d have a chance to get some instances in.  After a few runs, and also tweaking my gear to meet the hit cap, and maximize strength, I decided that it would be fun to continue this offspec… again.

Well, the next day, I was asked by a friend if I still had my tank gear.  Of course, I said yes, and ended up respecing AGAIN to go tank a couple of bosses in ICC. What sucked though is that I had just bought the T10 shoulders for my Retribution set… *sigh* Oh well.  So after that run was over, I swapped back.  I balanced the set out again, as changing the shoulders had dropped a good bit of +hit, and went looking for some raids. Fortunately I caught wind of a VoA 25, and decided to join as DPS. What a fortunate move that was, as the Sanctified T10 legs dropped, and I was the only Paladin DPS in the raid! So, I guess in a away, I had a bit of payback from helping my friends out earlier… ah, gotta love karma.

Haven’t really thought of a way to close this up, but will end it by saying that I plan to map out the latest changes for Paladins and provide some posts on the recent updates.  It’s difficult to keep up with, as they are changing almost daily, plus not being in the Beta, I’m having to look up the changes from other sites/blogs, and not blatantly plagiarise them.

So, until next time, Light be with you.

Holy Haste Batman

Morning all…

This. Is. CONFUSING!!!

This. Is. CONFUSING!!!

I have begun to step back and look at the stats that I’ve recently been stacking for my Holy set. You see, I am the epitome for a casual 10 man raider. If you look at my gear, you will see pretty much all 10 man level gear for the current tier (except for a couple pieces). Because I usually only run 10 man raids, I have geared and gemmed slightly differently. However, going into ICC has really changed my perception of what stats should really be used.

I subscribed to the Spellpower/MP5 mentality early on, and have really held onto it for what I feel is too long. Don’t get me wrong, I do loves me some SP as well as some mana regen, but I have begun to shift my stat allocation more towards the current cut and dry preferences. Intellect and Haste are king now, and I think that I’m finally coming to terms with that.

As of right now, I’m sitting at a little over 600 haste, and a mana pool nearing 32k. I don’t think that I ever realized how helpful these stats really were until I first pugged Torvalon in VoA 25, and lost one of the tanks, simply because I couldn’t get the heal off fast enough. Also, I had not realized how hard the Deathbringer really hit, until a tank died because I was OOM from all the Holy Lights I was tossing out.

Haste is a really interesting stat, in that you have to have sooo much of it to really notice a difference. I now really notice the difference. I have learned that Flash of Light is great, but Holy Light is king in several situations. I guess that I just didn’t want this to be true, but I feel that it is. With my new stat allocation, and gemming mentality, I can now spam Holy Light, keeping Light’s Grace up, as well as popping a Judgement every once and a while for Judgements of the Pure, increasing my haste (for Holy Light) even further.

There’s one thing though. Once you begin to get so much haste, you begin casting longer spells much quicker. And because you are casting them quicker, you are casting more of them. Unless you really pay attention, and keep your mana regen abilities rolling, you will go OOM very quickly. Yet another thing that I’m learning the hard way.

From what I have read, the base haste cap to shoot for, as a Holy Paladin is around 700. This is easy to reach with talents and abilities, but it is better to reach that number with stats alone, allowing talents and abilities to increase that amount even further. With haste affecting the spell casting speed, it also affects the global cooldown as well, at least down to a minimum of a 1 sec GCD. I did some research and found some info on the Maintankadin site with some further calculations for the haste effect on spells.

Source: DisRuptive1 (on Maintankadin)
For those people above who aren’t sure, to get the 1-second Flash of Light (and 1.33-second Holy Light) you need:

20.6% Haste from gear
15% Judgement of the Pure
3% Retribution Paladin’s Swift Retribution
5% Shaman’s Wrath of Air Totem

Cast Speed / Haste Effect = New Cast speed

Flash of Light
1.5 / (1.206 * 1.15 * 1.03 * 1.05) =
1.5 / (1.49993235) =
≈ 1-second Flash of Light

Holy Light

2.5 – Light’s Grace / (1.206 * 1.15 * 1.03 * 1.05) =
2.5 – 0.5 / (1.206 * 1.15 * 1.03 * 1.05) =
2 / (1.49993235) =
≈ 1.33-second Holy Light

To get Holy Light to 1 second cast time (fun!) you would need 60.8% haste from gear instead of 20.6% (proof below)

1-second Holy Light
2.5 – Light’s Grace / ([1 + x%] * 1.15 * 1.03 * 1.05) = 1-second Holy Light
2.5 – 0.5 / ([1 + x%] * 1.243725) = 1
2.0 / ([1 + x%] * 1.243725) = 1
2.0 = [1 + x%] * 1.243725
2.0 / 1.243725 = 1+ x%
(2.0 / 1.243725) – 1 = x%
x% = (2.0 / 1.243725) – 1
x% ≈ 60.8% haste from gear

This shows that it is even possible to get a Holy Light down to a 1 second cast, though the sheer amount of haste to achieve that is steep. There is a way to push spellcasting speed to the sub-1sec level; however, it is not necessarily beneficial, as your spell will cast faster, but you can only cast that spell once avery second due to the 1 second GCD.

Well, there you have it. Some good info on Haste, and why it is slowly becoming my best friend. Just remember, the faster you cast, the more you cast, the more you cast, the faster you can go OOM, so keep an eye on your mana bar, as it’ll disappear quicker than you think.

How to Homogenize Healing

How far is too far?

How far is too far?

I think that the chemistry definition describes it best.

In Chemistry, mixtures may be homogeneous. In other words, mixtures have the same proportions throughout a given sample or multiple samples of different proportion to create a consistent mixture.

It has been said by the boys at Blue that healing classes are going to be homogenized further, to pull some classes out of their restricted niches. There are folks on both sides of this fence. There are those who fear that all healing classes will be so similar, that there will not be a defined niche for any certain type of healer. There are also those who fear that it may actually push some classes further into a defined niche, lessening their chances at a raid spot.

Personally, I believe that it isn’t a problem of the generality or specificity of the classes, but rather a problem with how Blizzard may plan to keep healing interesting. I do get a bit tired of playing whack-a-mole after a large raid wide damage spike happens.

Whack-a-mole.. err cat.

Whack-a-mole.. err cat.

In addition, there is more than just the spell selection that is being homogenized, as stats will be a difining factor as well, no matter the class.

Blizzard Says:

Homogenization is a risk. Totally. It’s something we try and fight against. In the case of healing, we don’t want to erode the unique aspects of the 5 talent specs. We just want to move the non-unique parts closer together. If you need an analogy, we’re not going to mess with the flowers or the fruit or the shape of the leaves. We just want everyone to have similar roots. Spells like Circle, Chain Heal and Beacon will continue to be an important and unique part of your repertoire. We just want to make sure everyone has the basic tools so that they aren’t in a situation where they’re trying to tighten screws with a hammer.

Now having said that, there are a couple of exceptions. If you are a Disc priest who loved to use PW:S and nothing else or a Resto druid who loved to use Rejuv and nothing else, then you will probably need to use more of your buttons again. We don’t want to promote the strategy of trying to pre-heal as many people as possible without really worrying about who is actually taking damage. There’s not a lot of decision-making or coordination or reactive gameplay there. Disc priests will need to actually cast heals (and Penance can certainly be one of them) and druids will have to mix in some direct heals along with their hots. (Source)

Healing in Cataclysm
I take a different view on a couple of your points here. Healers won’t be forced to spam their most efficient heal because the encounters will be less threatening early on. Later on when your mana regen as at its highest you will need to use your highest throughput spell because the damage is higher. You’ll also need to use your fast heal sometimes for the same reason. Fortunately fully raid buffed and in good gear, you’ll have more mana regen. I don’t think any of these changes encourage players to blame healers more. Bad players are always going to deflect their failures onto someone else. That is why they are bad players. The alternative is to make healing so simplistic that there is almost no chance of failure (i.e. nobody would ever die). You’d never get blamed for anything but you’d probably also be pretty bored.

Minus gaming coefficients, we pretty much had this model with downranking and it largely worked.

My fear is that if they over shoot the homogenization of the healing classes by to far, it will cause healing to become far more boring than it already is. Don’t get me wrong, healing isn’t always boring, in fact it can get pretty frantic at certain points. However, it is still the same spells with the same priorities, on the same targets.

Cataclysm looks to be pulling the Paladins out of their Tank heal only niche, and providing them with tools to provide raid healing. Now this isn’t necessarily efficient or effective raid healing, but we have yet to actually get our hands on it to see. Along with pulling each class out of their niche, it also appears that their stats are becoming far more homogenized as well. If you think about it, a Paladin would have NEVER consciously purchased or rolled on anything with spirit; however, come Cataclysm, it will be a very important addition to their healing repertoire.

I do agree that the stat homogenization is a good thing. There were so many Elemental Shamans and some Balance Druids who were left out of upgrades, simply because they shared stats with their healing equivelant. This appears to be going away with Cataclysm, as +Spirit is now going to be a “healer only” stat, while incentives will be provided to each class to incist on using the armor type appropriate. Grouping this together will make it that much easier for RL/GL to distribute gear accordingly.

It is good to hear, though, that they don’t plan on passing spells around like a mixed drink. Instead leaving Beacon, Chain Heal, PW: Bubble, etc. to their respective classes. This is also apparent with the new “AoE” heal for the paladin, as there has never before been a “moving totem” type spell like that, well at least not for healing.

Gnome demonstrating Healing Hands

Gnome demonstrating Healing Hands

Here’s to hoping that they continue with their current design philosophy, and don’t overdo the homogenization of the healing classes. Also, here’s to hoping that the new spells are worth the wait.

To respec, or not to respec

I’m having a bit of a crisis.. ok, not a crisis, but a bit of a conundrum.

To Ret, or not to Ret, that is the question.

To Ret, or not to Ret, that is the question.

I’ve got some decent ret gear… sitting in the bank, all kinds of fancy two-handers to choose from, and some Tier 9 level gear to top it off.

I’ve recently been debating whether or not to change out my tank spec for a little while and have some fun as a DPS spec. I have definitely enjoyed having no wait time, and really enjoy tanking, but it’s been a while since I got to look really evil in my Dragonsteel Faceplate.

I’ve also thought about the time that it would provide me. If I decided to go Ret, then I could do my Daily LFD as DPS, and only DPS, this would enact the wait time that most DPS have.  Because of this wait time, I would then have time to fart around in Sholizar (I keep forgetting to pick up an egg from the Oracles), or finishing up my Explorer and Loremaster achievements that I wanted to get before Cataclysm.

I think that it is a point of discipline. Right now, I will simply get on, hit the button and do the daily dungeon real quick (nearly no wait time), then be lost as to what to do next, and just log off, or get on an alt. The reason that I just log off is because I have nothing to look forward to, or fill in the wait time, because there is none.

I also feel it’s a bit of the OCD in me.  I want to try to get the best gear that I can get as a casual raider/dungeon runner, and do the DPS that I feel that I should be able to do. I was ret before, and it was fun, but I felt that I didn’t match up to those who had done it for a while before, much like I felt when I started tanking. If I decide this, I’d have to have the determination to keep my off spec Ret for a decent period of time to get used to the feel of the spec. This is the discipline part that I talk about. I’d likely swap specs back to Protection if asked by the guild for a run, but would need the determination to go back afterwards.

Lastly, I feel that it would be good for the blog as well. There aren’t a whole lot of Ret DPS blogs out there (at least that I haven’t found yet), and I would like to try it out. Often big Yellow numbers can be more fun to post about than big Green numbers.

What are your suggestions readers? I’m willing to change, should I?

More Paladin Healing

Looks like some more updates and clarifications came down the pipe this weekend. I’m going to go ahead and post the blue post below and follow it up with some of my commentary, and hopefully follow it up with some of your commentary, haha. Anyway, this little tidbit seems to be focusing on the Paladin’s AE healing abilities.

Paladin Class Changes

For Tarinae 🙂

Our goal is for paladins to be able to raid heal. Don’t look at the designs for spells that none of you have even been able to try and conclude those mechanics can’t possibly allow you to raid heal and therefore our goal can’t possibly be met and will therefore be abandoned. It’s fine to raise concerns — that’s one of the reasons we announce stuff like this early — but some of you are trying to get a spell buffed that you haven’t even cast yet.

I will say our vision for the AE spell though is not that the paladin runs around constantly, but that you position yourself where you can do the most good. Sometimes that will be back with the healers. Sometimes that might be in the melee. Sometimes you’ll have to spread out and your group healing won’t be as efficient (in the same way a shaman’s group healing isn’t as good in the same scenario).

Tranquility is on a very long cooldown. It is not the way druids AE heal. We want to shift it from 5-person group to raid because we’d like to do that with every spell. Having to organize players by arbitrary group is a strange concept since it doesn’t actually manifest itself in the real world (in the way distance from you on the battlefield does).

We aren’t going to give paladins anything resembling Circle of Healing. One (or two) of those spells in the game is plenty.

Spirit will be a good stat to stack but only to a point. Once you can heal say a six minute boss fight without going out of mana, then any additional Spirit is pretty much wasted. At that point stats like crit start to look pretty attractive because they increase your spell’s throughput without increasing the mana cost. Maybe you’ll be able to heal someone with one cast, allowing you to swap over and heal another player. In today’s healing environment, where a lot of that excess healing will be wasted overhealing, getting a huge crit on a spell isn’t nearly as valuable.

We’ll have to see how raid healing goes. We might be okay with the tendency for groups to still assign paladins to tank healing because they are particularly good at it. What we want to avoid are those cases where a group feels like they can’t possibly keep tanks alive because they lack a paladin or they can’t possibly keep groups alive because they have too many paladins.

Wow, that was a good bit of info right there. Sadly it makes my visualization of Hands of Healing null and void, as it stresses that HoH isn’t going to have  you running around like mad, but instead having you place yourself where the heals are needed, limiting the efficiency of the AE healing in cases where players are spread out.  They allude to Shaman raid healing as an example, and how it is limited by range as well.

I do agree that it would be beneficial and a change in tactics for groups to actually group up depending on what healing is needed.  I also really like the idea that paladins will be moving closer to the melee area in some cases, and not always in the background with jazzhands.  However, I disagree with the comparison to Shaman healing.  The disagreement comes with the fact that a shaman can target where it heals bounce from.  While standing in the back of the room, the Shaman can still throw a chain heal into the melee group, and let it do the bouncing; while on the other hand, a Paladin will need to mosey on up to the melee group and start farting heals.  The time lost getting up there could be a factor.

Farting Heals

HoH under Thermal Imaging

Now, the Blizzard poster does have a point.

Don’t look at the designs for spells that none of you have even been able to try and conclude those mechanics can’t possibly allow you to raid heal and therefore our goal can’t possibly be met and will therefore be abandoned. It’s fine to raise concerns — that’s one of the reasons we announce stuff like this early — but some of you are trying to get a spell buffed that you haven’t even cast yet.

The point is well taken.  We can’t really determine how the spell will work if we’ve never seen it yet. I would, however, appreciate what ideas they have for range/strength of the heal being emitted. However, again, we really can’t determine what kind of use it will have until we can use it… maybe this post will catch Blizzard’s attention… and get me a beta key! 😛

Another not pointed out in this blue post was the mention of stacking spirit.  It’s stated that stacking spirit is a good idea, up to a point.  An example being healing a 6 minute fight without running out of mana.  I’m assuming that this includes using all of our normal mana regen cooldowns (if they exist come Cataclysm), on top of the stacked spirit. A sentence did stick out a bit, and maybe I’m just reading into things:

At that point stats like crit start to look pretty attractive because they increase your spell’s throughput without increasing the mana cost.

What did they mean by “without increasing the mana cost” in the statement above? Obviously crit is going to increase the throughput of your heals by doubling (think Critical Healing Effect Mastery) their output, but are they meaning “increasing the mana cost” by having to cast more heals? I can only assume that is the case, but could there be a new mechanic being added that allows increased throughput with increased mana usage (think Arcane Power, more power for more mana).  Again, maybe I’m just reading to much into this, but it does pop some light bulbs above my head.

In conclusion though, it does appear that the powers that be, don’t mind letting us fill the Tank healing niche. They just hope that having more than one paladin healer isn’t a hinderance in AoE healing.  As usual, time will tell.

What do you think about the paladin AoE heal? Will you still be running around like mad anyway?

Paladin Cataclysm: Holy Clarifications

Ceontemplating the new changes

Contemplating the new changes.

After the release of the Paladin Class Preview, Blue Poster Nethaera put out some clarifications.  These answered some of the questions that I had about the suggested changes, and brought up a few more questions.  This post will deal mostly with the Healing aspect, and hope to put together another post about some of the Tanking and Ret changes as well.

First up, some clarification of the Flash of Light/Holy Light/Big ‘ol Holy Light change.  According to the post.

Flash of Light remains a fast heal, but will be more expensive to justify the cast speed.  Holy Light will be the go-to heal that has average efficiency and throughput.  Beacon of Light needs to be changed so that its benefit is letting the paladin heal two targets at once, not letting the paladin get two heals for the mana cost of one. It’s intended to save GCDs and targeting time, not mana.

In addition we’re changing the paladin heal design to match that of the other healers. Holy Light is the middle heal. It’s very efficient, but not particularly fast and doesn’t have a lot of throughput. Flash of Light will be the faster heal that costs more mana. (Currently paladins sort of flip the model around by having a fast, efficient heal.) Holy paladins can talent into an additional heal tha tis like a giant Holy Light. It might take three of these big heals (or two crits) to get a tank from death’s door back to 100% health.

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