Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holier Than I Was Before

Late last week I dropped my protection off-spec in favor of two Holy specs. I've really wanted to get deeper into theory-crafting with my paladin recently so I've been researching what other paladins are doing. My guild has run into a couple of fights were I feel damn useless as a HL paladin (don't get me wrong, when I don't feel useless in gimmick fights, I'm feeling pretty powerful) and decided to salvage what gear I could into producing a FoL spec. I picked up the PvP libram, reglyphed for Flash, and wham - my FoL is hitting a few hundred harder (almost 5k - holy cow!) and critting more often than not. I picked up a couple of upgrades for my main spec and re-gemmed my old pieces with spellpower. I'd still like to collect some better trinkets and a second helm so I can at least get a better meta going. The whole FoL/HL discussion has been happening anywhere holy paladins are talking about healing. A lot of bloggers have made posts on it, particularly, I would like to link the one that inspired me the most:

Paladin Schmaladin: Flash of Light Vs. Holy Light

I specifically loved the talent selections and thought they were pretty accurate for the way the builds work. I was a HL paladin specced 51/2/18 before I joined CM. They asked me to change to bubble-spec (
52/19), so I did (and I kept all grumbling to myself). I thought that the transition would leave me longing for more mana (I lost all that yummy crit, and had to "waste" a whole bunch of points to get to Divine Sacrifice). I honestly didn't notice the lost critical strike rating. I didn't miss any lost mana (I can judge Light or Wisdom with no problems, although I prefer Wisdom). The only thing I have really missed is Improved Judgements, and it's only noticeable during those burn phases where I would be judging and meleeing for SoW/JoW procs. Instead of getting to judge twice, I may only get to judge once. That's still pretty minor, and I am enjoying bubble-spec for my HL build. I have been using Divine Sacrifice (in combination with Divine Shield) as called for by the raid, but I'm also finding uses for it outside of Plasma Blast and Frozen Blows. Anytime there are a handful of people taking damage - to things as obvious as Tantrum to more subtle things like a tank gets too many stacks of -well, anything-, or even just a quality of life spell... ignoring a major boss attack, giving myself a few seconds to move, or offering the healers a few seconds of air. I love it a lot more than I had expected to.

Now that I have a 51/5/15 talent build as my secondary spec, I am finding it's a bit more friendly to non-raiding situations than bubblespec. It does a little bit more damage (more judging, more shocking); it's not DPS level DPS by any means, but it's still a better healer quality of life than bubble-spec for dailies and farming. I also raided with this spec a bit last week... I was definitely weaker because half of my gear is still gemmed with Intellect so my FoL spec isn't ready for cutting-edge use. However, I feel its ready for situations like the General and Faction Champs. The mana efficiency of FoL is awesome in situations where mana actually counts. The mobility of the FoL build is refreshing for fights like Faction Champs... I find there isn't a lot healing, but a need for the utility spells I bring as a paladin - I have my Hands all over the place during this fight and it helps! Paladins also have a very flexible defensive dispel so while our priests are focused on offensive dispelling, I focus on keeping our healers and interrupters free of nasty things that keep them from doing their jobs. While any paladin can do that, I find it easier to keep these things rolling while being able to kite, throwing out Holy Shocks and insta-FoLs as I'm trying to drop the tauren or troll who is trying to do me in.

I'm sure the argument could be made that for fights like the Faction Champs, someone else is doing something wrong if I'm getting focused, if I have to kite, if I don't have time to cast a Holy Light. What it comes down to is that I actually enjoy this fight in this spec, and that, to me, is huge. Much like the time that people spend perfecting their UIs for their characters, knowing how you are going to handle specifics in an encounter and making your keybindings/action bars/addons/talents tailored to the role you play is a large part of the MMO-healer experience for me. I feel a lot more prepared for anything knowing that I have that flexibility with a button press- now to stock up on more Black Jelly...

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