Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Don't Steal the Bacon!

Who gets your Bacon?

Part I: How I use Beacon of Light

I'm not sure why, but our guild has this custom where our two holy paladins (because our guild insists on using two) are assigned one to each tank, and to Beacon the other paladin's tank. I never said much about it, although I've always felt it constricting. I could understand this type of setup with the original Beacon of Light when it didn't transfer overheal. But now that it does, it's much more reliable and can be used on anyone who needs constant heals, making it better to decide by fight who gets your Beacon.

I suppose it comes down to the most simple of theorycrafting: I'm a tank healer. My sole purpose in the raid is to keep my assignment alive. When any triage becomes necessary my focus becomes the survival of two entities: me, and my assignment. Beacon of Light is a great asset for survival. Any healing I do is transferred to that player. If I'm assigned to keep someone alive, it makes the most sense for me to Beacon my assignment, allowing me the freedom to cast on members of the raid.

During hard moments, Beacon of Light on my assignment is the safest practice. If I take damage I can heal myself while still doing my job. If a healer is spiked/charmed/diseased I can heal the healer and his assignments while still doing my job. If I have to move and get more than forty yards from my Beacon I can heal anyone in range while still doing my job.

There are other times where I might choose to Beacon someone else's assignment. On fights like Saurfang, I Beacon a tank (someone else's assignment) until my assignment gets the first Mark. When we did Lady D last week with the weekly 25 raid quest, I Beaconed the tank in the back holding Darnavan knowing he would be taking damage the whole fight, most of it out of my range. On tank-swap fights like Festergut, I Beacon whichever tank is taking damage, and switch my Beacon around their swapping. On Marrowgar, I Beacon the main tank regardless of my assignment.

For a fight like Rotface, I Beacon my healing assignment. If I'm assigned to the ooze tank, I want him Beaconed because he will often be out of range. I can focus my direct heals on the Main Tank but if I'm diseased I need my holy pally mobility cooldown (Divine Favor + Holy Shock + Insta-FoL) that I cast on myself to also be transferred to my assignment. If I have someone else Beaconed, it puts the ooze tank in danger any time I have to stop casting and have to catch up. If I have to move, the very next heal I cast must be on my assignment if he is not my Beacon. It's a world of difference in playstyle if I Beacon my assignment - I can perform valuable triage throughout the raid without taking chances on my tank.

Part II: In which attempts are made to steal my Bacon

Last week we hit a brick wall on Rotface in more ways than one. First, our main tank couldn't survive through the angry poo poo because he wasn't getting enough heals. Holy Paladin A tells me in the healing channel that I need to Beacon his assignment and he would beacon mine. "No thanks", I say. "The ooze tank is often out of range and Beacon is the perfect solution to that problem". Paladin A whispers me, demanding I do as he says. I say no. He doesn't reply, so I know what's coming...

The healing lead, in the healing channel, says "Hey Enlynn do what A just told you to do with your Beacon." (As a side note, we've had this problem before. When I don't Beacon or help heal his assignment, his assignment goes splat).

"No, thanks. Beacon is the safest way to keep the ooze tank alive, he goes out of my range otherwise."

We wipe again, and I get a whisper from the healing lead. Please? Please can I Beacon the main tank? He keeps dying.

I'm normally not a snottydin, but my response was clear. "You gave me an assignment, and I'm using all the tools I have at my disposal to do what you've asked me to do. If you want to switch around the assignments and give me the tank that's taking more damage, that's fine, but I can't carry Pally A through this fight."

Strong words, I know. Normally I'm all about cooperation and teamwork but if one person is failing at one specific point of one fight, the answer isn't to have me change what I'm doing, it's to have that person change what he or she is doing.

The raid was called early and the officers were asked to drop to the officer chat channel in vent. I couldn't believe it - this Beacon debacle cost us raid time and caused an officers meeting! Did I just cause... drama?!

The next night, we get to Rotface, the healing assignments are doled out. I'm still healing the ooze tank, but things have changed. A holy priest is assigned to the main tank, and Pally A is assigned to the raid. As an aside, our healing lead quickly threw out: paladins use Beacon at their discretion.

Victory for Enlynn! Hurray!

I'm quite sure I made some people unhappy but after giving it some serious thought, I am glad I stuck to my instincts. I don't think it's fair for someone to tell anyone else what to do like that. I've never made demands on anyones buffs or spells - I trust the healers in my raid to do what they need to do. And if I can't trust them, why am I raiding with them?

As an aside, any healer who thinks we need 9 healers for Rotface needs to drop raid and let us get a real healer, or even another DPS.

I am curious how other holy paladins (and raids) handle assignments. Do healing leaders even think about Beacon when they tell holy paladins to handle tanks? Or is Beacon a standard part of assignments given out? If that's acceptable, what other spell "assignments" get tracked: Earth Shield this tank, keep up Inspiration on this guy, Regrowth on this tank, Rejuv on that tank? At some point, it gets pretty ridiculous. Most of us don't need to be told exactly what to do to what we do best. I want to use all my abilities for the best of the raid, and I know when and where to use them.

And don't you try to steal my bacon!


  1. My healing lead will sometimes assign Beacon, but we kind of ignore it (shhhh don't tell him!). The other holy paladin in our team and I will sometimes discuss our choice of a Beacon target, but we never tell the other what to do. As long as our assigned tanks stay alive, it's up to us to decide how to use our tools best.

  2. This is a great question you raise, Enlynn. When I was a healing lead, through Ulduar and early TOC, I would always assign beacon if it was to be used on that fight. If I didn't assign it, it meant use it as you see fit, if you want to use it.

    My current healing lead, a resto druid who is a RL friend of mie, assigns beacon on most fights. The one fight she doesn't is on Saurfang, where she asks us to organize ourselves. So I get beacon on the first Mark of the Champion, the other pally gets it on the second, then I start healing the third, and he'll heal the fourth mark, if needed.

    I find that, on progression fights, we might have issues keeping the tank(s) up if we're not beaconing both of them. Having both of us on both tanks (there are generally two holy pallies in each raid) also frees up the other healers a little bit as most others are generally assigned to the raid, with druids and priests keeping hots and shields on the tanks, and resto shammies divvy up their earthshields.

    I agree that there's a very thin line that can be crossed while doing healing assignments. I think it really depends on the group. When I was healing lead in my last guild, I HAD to assign beacon, or it just plain wouldn't be used. :P

    Anyways, just my two cents. :)

  3. Great article. Glad you stuck to your guns.