Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Words in the World

Daily Writing Tips - Don't Waste Decimate had a blog post on proper usage of the word decimate. I thought it was interesting, because I already have a pretty good idea of what decimate means in the modern sense, but I'm also an avid reader and a gamer.

As raiders, we've seen three different fights with a game mechanic called "decimate". It's aptly named because it all but kills everyone in your raid group, leaving everyone vulnerable to death. It's a healer-challenge, as it creates the need to fill up health bars, and quickly. After learning those encounters, I have a clear visual of "decimate". It's not as serious as the real life implications of the word - the plague decimated the tribe, the tornado decimated the small town, or the bunnies decimated the garden, but it's still deepened my sense of the word - decimation is a serious thing, indeed.

There are other words in the game that can have the same effect, if I let them. Beacon of Light is a fantastic example, specifically #5 and #6 (since we often beacon our tanks, who are charging into battle leading the way).
bea·con -noun
1.a guiding or warning signal, as a light or fire, esp. one in an elevated position.
2.a tower or hill used for such purposes.
3.a lighthouse, signal buoy, etc., on a shore or at a dangerous area at sea to warn and guide vessels.
4.Navigation. beacon. b.a radar device at a fixed location that, upon receiving a radar pulse, transmits a reply pulse that enables the original sender to determine his or her position relative to the fixed location.
5.a person, act, or thing that warns or guides.
6.a person or thing that illuminates or inspires: The Bible has been our beacon during this trouble.
Or Penance, spell specific to Priests that can heal or deal damage to the enemy? (Pet Peeve: There's only one n!)
pen·ance - noun
1.a punishment undergone in token of penitence for sin.
2.a penitential discipline imposed by church authority.
3.a sacrament, as in the Roman Catholic Church, consisting in a confession of sin, made with sorrow and with the intention of amendment, followed by the forgiveness of the sin.
There are many more: if you're a dps, you surely know the difference between your bolts, strikes, volleys, barrages, and stings. But even though I really don't know much about mages or hunters, I can take a guess that a bolt (or strike) is quick short attack while a barrage (or volley) indicates a quantity of hurt. What about a sting (a wound from a sharp object that irritates) considered with Viper Sting?

The language of WoW is amazing. Do you have words in World of Warcraft that you find special?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

One Paladin, Two Judgements? tells us how to be all-star healers (or tries to). He states obvious things like resurrecting your dead party/raid members (wouldn't it be better to not let them die in the first place?). But anyways. I'll digress and ask the serious question that cropped up in my mind after I read this:
With a 20 second duration (30 seconds with our T9 set bonus) and only a 10 second cooldown (less if retribution sub-spec), you can keep two different Judgement effects on two different targets at the same time.
I was a bit confused, since the tooltip for Judgement of Light reads "Only one Judgement per Paladin can be active at any one time." I had always interpreted that to mean, (brace yourself here) "only one judgement per paladin can be active at any one time." So am I missing something here? I really could have sworn that if judged one thing, it erased the judgement I had on another.

I mean, if this opens up new worlds to me, I'm all about new possibilities. Is it really that simple, that one paladin can have two judgements, or is this some serious misinformation?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Places to Go, People to See

It's been a long week, but Happy Friday! I could list all the things that kept me from posting/writing/theorycrafting, but I'll spare you the details. Sometimes life sucks, but without the suck there would be no joy. And sometimes the suck needs to happen to nudge people into the direction they need to go.

I have felt devoid of inspiration. I'm to a point where I feel anything I could say about paladin healing has been said. In a way, I'm sure it has. That can't be entirely true, though, because there are a lot of paladin bloggers out there and our "only three heals" doesn't seem to limit the content, information, and stories they come up with.

So for this week, I'd just like to share with you some links. If you're an avid blog reader, these links are probably not new to you. But these bloggers (and many more out there) are my heroes, I started blogging only after I started reading blogs.

Codi from Moar HPS talks about theorycrafting and its importance. If you've ever wondered at what gear level Blessing of Kings becomes more mana than Improved Blessing of Wisdom, you'll find your answer here. Quite awkwardly, this was my first theorycrafting experiment, although I used max mana (calculating raid buffs, etc), working backwards. Codi, of course, has more grace, and does the numbers so you don't have to (but she thinks you should, anyways. And so do I).

Flow is a Resto Shaman who asks us to consider the conflict between progression and community in your guild. There aren't easy answers to be had for the problems that crop up, but Wugen is open-minded and offers us good reading.

Bellwether at 4Haelz explains her take on "it's just a game". Raiding's a team effort, but we knew that, right?

Duct Tape and a Prayer pursues excellence and questions if "it's just a game". Short posts are powerful.

Pugnacious Priest ponders personas, personalities, and profiles. The internet has created this question of personas and identities online. Have you considered how you present yourself or how you manage all the ways to "be" online? I've found that since I've developed my blogspot persona, I've grown as a person. I'm more willing to take the high road and less willing to complain. It started on my blog, but I've found it spreading to other parts of my life. Thanks, PP, for encouraging me to reflect.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thanks for the Memories!

Dear Elder Nurgen,

You're welcome for the visit. I'm glad you know you aren't forgotten, however, I feel that perhaps I am not the one with the memory problem. Don't feel bad, I had a guildie call me Elwood for the first four weeks I was in the guild, and at the very least I do appreciate your honesty. Thanks for the fireworks!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Heal the.... Boss?!

Sunday night in 10 man my raid group completed the Valithria encounter. She's alive! Hurray for green dragons!!!

When I first head about the "encounter where we have to heal the boss" I was excited, like most healers. I read about the fight, but I was disappointed when I actually got into the encounter. I feel too far removed from what's actually happening to the rest of the raid during the encounter. It's no more gimmicky than most gimmick fights, but Holy Paladins are the most logical choice and Holy Light is ridiculously good for this fight.

Here are some do's and don't's. For more general "how-to", check out the videos over at and If you can handle the slow load times of, I like that their videos show the encounter through several different UI's and have really nice explanations.

Use Seal of Light and Glyph of Seal of Light. Mana regen will not be an issue.

Use Libram of Veracity if you have it. Again, mana is moot.

Focus of maintaining your stacks of the buff throughout the fight.

Use Holy Light.

Use Divine Illumination at least twice in this fight if you have 2t10. If you don't, use it at least once anyways before the first Dream to save on mana before you get stacks.

Use Divine Favor.

Use Avenging Wrath.

Beacon Valithria and spam your raid. Re-Beacon her every time you have to move, since moving is non-healing ("wasted") time.

Maximise Holy Lights while not inside the Dream.

Make sure your boss mod is visible and shows you the time left inside the dream, and grab an orb in the last five seconds of Dream time.

Get to your portal before it's open, and be ready to jump in.

Share orbs instead of stealing them. The range is large enough to cooperate.

Use your spellpower gear if you have it, but remember that haste is important. My FoL set is balanced at only having "haste cap" for Flash of Light, while my main spec gear totes almost 300 more haste. I chose my main spec gear for noticeably faster HLs for the most possible casts.

Remember to keep the haste buff up from Judging at least once a minute. Like Beacon, re-Judge any time you have to move and make use of "wasted" time.

Keep Hand of Freedom handy (har har) for yourself if you are immobilized by the frost debuff and have to move.

Have a macro to focus Valithria. If you /focus her before the fight begins, she'll be added to Healbot (if you use it). You will also have to refocus her after each Dream phase, so be prepared and keep the macro handy.
/target Valithria Dreamwalker
Be zoomed too far out. It can hurt depth perception inside the dream and have you fly right "through" (past) an orb.

Drop your stacks. Three or four well-timed orbs inside the dream is better than five or six too soon and having to start over.

Run around healing people out of your range. Focus on as many holy lights in your raid as possible in your time outside of the dream. If you can, collect orbs in the front while in the Dream so you can be in front when you are out, helping heal the raid.

Take excessive falling damage from being high up in the Dream when you get kicked out. Use your mod timer and start your descent in the last second or so.

Portal jack from your other healers. Mark everyone up and be aware of where they are. Take the high road.

Cop an attitude "because Holy Paladins are gods in this fight I'm teh awezomez". It takes 10 (or 25) people to complete this encounter, and those 9 (or 24) people will remember that you're a jerk long after this fight's on farm. In the same vein, no one needs to see your meters.
Good luck!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hands on II

This is Part II of a post I started last week detailing my experiences trying to add Hand of Sacrifice into my healing. It's long so if you want the TL;DR version here it is: HoS is still a work in progress for me, but there are some really good opportunities to use it in current tier raiding.

I had big dreams before we started raiding on Thursday nights. I thought I could work in this ability on cooldown through every fight in Icecrown. I did manage to get some uses out of the ability but not nearly as often as I had planned.

Let's just say that for Marrowgar and Lady Deathwhisper, I totally forgot. Because I did. I fell into the terrible habit of thinking that because this fight won't be hard, I don't need to be on my toes.

However, I had been prepared to use HoS on Marrowgar right after Bone Storm, but before Spike Graveyard. This ability could be dangerous to the user if you get spiked before the effect wears off, as you'd be unable to do anything and completely at the mercy of your other healers. A good time to use it would be right after a Spike (when it's still on cooldown).

Lady Deathwhisper doesn't have severe tank damage to the point where a paladin would find trouble keeping up. It brings up an interesting question for theorycrafting, since most discussions we have for paladin healing are for progression. When a fight is easy and situational-use cooldowns aren't necessary, is it bad play to not use them, or is it overkill?

For Deathwhisper, I wonder if the disadvantages of HoS outweigh the benefits. The tank isn't in danger from the damage he's taken, however, I am in danger from encounter specifics. DnD, Frostbolts and Ghosts all eat a decent chunk of health and could be fatal in combination with HoS, or even with each other.

For the Airship, I remembered to use HoS and I got in four uses. (If you just did the math of four uses every two minutes and are wondering how we managed to have an airship fight that long...). We had some serious lag. Everyone in the raid suffered five second delays for the first half of the fight. After the away team hopped over for the fourth time, I realized something was severely amiss. Both ships were at 50%! I shuddered in fear - how embarrassing to wipe on the airship, even if we could blame lag (but blaming lag is weak). Somehow, we all started lagging less and started killing more. The plus side is, I did manage to HoS the away tank as he flew over a few times. The downside? We lagged so bad I had no idea if it actually helped and I never really saw if what kind of damage I took from it. Bah!

(As an aside, the range on healing spells is forty yards, while the range on Hands is 30. To HoS your tank across the way, you'll need to pop it while he's in the air or fly over yourself. Sadly it means we won't be able to mitigate when the tank is taking more damage).

For Saurfang, I got in two uses of HoS and it worked just like I thought it would. Once on the tank, early, and one later in the fight on a Mark at Frenzy. We all lived!

For Festergut, I believe I snuck in two uses of HoS although the second one was the "we're at 5% like hell the tank is dying now" type of use during the second inhale phase (I did that, Divine Sacrifice, and bubbled). Otherwise, using HoS during Phase III (massive tank damage) works like a charm. I had the active tank Beaconed, HoS, and spammed myself twice with Holy Light before resuming HL spam on the tank.

Rotface was still a newer fight for us so there were more than one attempt. Our first attempt, the MT died due to some RNG (my very own pet ooze during ooze explosion). Anyways, HoS works pretty well for this fight especially later when there are more oozes out and the tank will be eating more than 5 oozes. Sometimes it seems like he takes no damage at all earlier in the fight, but later as Rotface is throwing out oozes faster and faster, HoS and DS are very handy tools and you'll have the opportunity to keep both on cooldown.

Our next attempts were on Valithria Dreamwalker. As I'm more focused on my orb stacks, I am less in touch with what's happening in the raid. I find I don't have time to do anything but spam holy light. I'll save that rant for another day.

Ophelie (one of my blogging paladin idols) commented on my first Hands post asking when I would consider using HoS in place of DS. Since I'm always in the healer party and no amount of begging/pleading/cajoling has been able to change the RL's mind, I've resorted to focusing on the raidwide mitigation aspect of the talent and using it during things like Bonestorm and Festergut Phase I. I still do use it as a tank mitigation cooldown but I rely on the 20% reduced damage (raid-wide) instead of the 30% damage transferred (party only). 20% reduced damage on tanks for six seconds is still not a bad cooldown, and saves me worrying about my dipping health. With this in mind, for fights with heavy tank damage, they can be used back to back. For example, Festergut. Each inhale phase lasts 30 seconds, which means the total cycle is one and a half minutes. The "OMG HEAL THE TANK" phase lasts thirty seconds. Divine Sacrifice lasts six. Hand of Sacrifice can last up to 12. For progression, I think there's enough time to use both.

Hand of Reckoning: I found a use for it!
In our ten man this week we had two new ranged who had never even seen ICC. For Saurfang, we had a couple of tense moments. Our feral tank had forgotten to unglyph Maul so he attracted the attention of a beast. He called it out on vent, I used HoR, and calmly replied "It's ok, I taunted." I found it extremely satisfying. From then on, I helped the ranged by taunting the beasts on the far side when I thought they might get hit. Being a paladin is fun!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hands on Training

There's a tool in my holy paladin "toolbox" that hasn't gotten much of my attention. For a class with two and a half heals and a whole lot of utility buttons, utility is king. That tool is called Hand of Sacrifice. I'm guilty of going most of the expansion without using it.

What's ironic is that once I went bubblespec (Divine Sacrifice), I fell in love with the ability as a tank-mitigation cooldown. And all this time I've been ignoring a similar ability I had baseline.

Perhaps it was fear. As a new holy paladin I was terribly guilty of not casting anything but healing spells. It's quite possible that I read the tooltip for the ability, and thought to myself: hey that might get me killed!, and ignored it. I was so afraid to use cooldowns and was awkward using them when I did try to add them into my playing. I did some limited playing in BC as a priest, a class with lots of spells and few cooldowns. Making the transition was slow for me. When WotLK came out, I was a new paladin and I was very bad. I could describe to you the depths of my badness, but instead I'll just say it nicely: I've come a long, long way. I have learned so much and even now I'm looking for ways to up my game. I've spent so much time talking about the new expansion but I'm still not even utilizing core abilities introduced in this one!

At some point I realized that cooldown management was key to loving life as a holy paladin. A well placed Hand of Protection on an overzealous mage (or if you want to win some brownie points, your healing lead) not only feels good, but saves a life. As paladins, we have a lot of emergency buttons like these, and it's hard to be able to use them all with enough fluid grace to use them well. My clickbindings for Holy Light, Beacon of Light, and Sacred Shield no longer require brainpower, they are firmly in my fingers. I don't have to reach for them, they are there.

The same can't be said for a lot of my other abilities. I might have them keybound or clickbound, but I don't use them often enough that my fingers alone can use them. They aren't instinctual, not yet. The tricky part, for me, is that these abilities do need to be instinctual, or it's too late. It's hard to work something into a routine, and it's hard to get used to doing something if it's not in your routine. At least for me (is that a Taurus thing?).

To break this cycle of spamming holy light and hoping for the best, I started going through all my abilities and defining good times to use them in each boss fight in current raiding. If I can't play instinctually, I might as well play prepared. For a while now I've been using Divine Sacrifice, Hand of Protection, Hand of Salvation, and Aura Mastery as circumstantially appropriate (mana regen cooldowns are their own beast and I've discussed them to boredom in earlier posts). This week in raiding, I'm adding Hand of Sacrifice boldly to my healing. It's always had a place on my clickbind reference chart but I'm going to use it until I can do it without thinking about it.

With a two minute cooldown, I'm aiming for two uses on each boss fight in ICC25 this week, with the exception of 3 on Rotface (I think that's the only fight that will last more than five minutes).

The damage-transfer aspect of the ability scares me a little but I have to remind myself it only transfers 100% - which means if I plan to Holy Shock myself soon after using it, that should be enough buffer to keep myself alive. I've had no problems using Divine Sacrifice thus far (although I'm always using it from the healing party), and I'm prepared to pop Divine Shield if things even start to look shaky. So what am I afraid of?

I'll follow up with the results of my "Hands" on training!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Single Abstract Noun

Single Abstract Noun is a blogging communities guild being hosted both on EU and US servers. Miss Medicina and Tam have the full scoop. Check it out, and make a character on Argent Dawn Server!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Achievement Spam (Uld 10HMs)

Last night we went into Ulduar to start doing hardmodes in 10 players.

I have not had that much fun in a raid in a while. We wiped several times on Levi but in a good group, I could care less if we were wiping. We were still making improvements every time. Honestly, at least one of those wipes was me, and I learned from the experience.

I am excited about the way that the RL set up the group. We go in for an hour (maybe two if everyone has time) on Monday nights, get a couple of bosses down, and go about our merry ways. This is perfect - most of us didn't want to add yet another four hour raid session to our raid schedules (four is plenty), but I still wanted a chance to get into Ulduar. I've never really been there on my paladin (my "declared main" was priest through most of Naxx and Ulduar, and that was back when we were sticking strictly to 10 man progression on a fairly casual level). We drastically outgear it, but there will be some challenges there. Ulduar trash can still kick our asses if we pretend we can't possibly fail. There are some fights I've only seen on 25 after my guild already had it on farm, so I never got to learn them the same way.

It was quite delightful to get Leviathin down and have all ten of us get four different achievements. That was quite some nice achievement spam!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Farewell, Gorilla!

Blue post containing incoming cataclysm gear changes

We knew it was going to happen sooner or later, but here's a post outlining some of the details we can expect to see with the massive gear and stat overhaul coming with the new expansion. I'm excited... with these changes, paladin and shaman healers are going to want spirit.

Earlier in the expansion I appreciated that shamans and paladins functioned without spirit. It makes for nice contrast that with four healers (and five healing specs) we have five different ways to play and gear (more if you count the ways that shamans and druids can focus on single target healing or raid healing). However, these overhauls are going to redesign the paladin holy tree and I could not be more excited about that. I am optimistic: I do not think that all the problems in the holy tree are going away, but I do think that some of the problems with the holy tree will disappear.

There's some really good news for Boomkins and Elemental Shamans, as well. Caster DPS leather and mail is disappearing because the hit rating on this gear is disappearing. Instead, shamans and druids will have talents converting spirit to hit rating. Less gear cluttering loot tables and more leather and mail being useful for more types of druids and shamans! Hurray!

Oh... and check out this tidbit:
Many lower-level items with nonsensical combinations of stats, such as Agility and Spirit, will be changed. We're also updating quest rewards, trade skills, and loot drops to support better itemization for class builds that weren't widely available or used prior to The Burning Crusade (such as Balance druids).
Hurray for a better leveling experience for hybrid casters! Perhaps our inability to need on cloth will be offset by leather and mail we can use!
Gems - We are changing the gem colors of a few stats as a result of these adjustments. For example, Hit is likely to be blue instead of yellow. We'll have more details on this in the future.
It's about time that all those blue sockets got some love for dps!

I'm grateful to Blizzard that they have been open in communication regarding these changes. I'm excited to see what they have in store, even if these announcements herald changes we won't see for months. And I do hope it's at least a couple of months away - there are far too many of us still pounding away towards our Lich King kill.