Friday, May 15, 2009

Dual-Speccing into DS

There was an interesting thread over at about What do Healers Want Their Healing Leader to Know.

Each class weighed in with their strengths and weaknesses as healers (great to look at so you know what the other healers in your party will be doing, even if you are not a "healing leader").The general consensus is two well-known facts for anyone who has rolled a Holy Pally. Fact one: Holy Paladins are great at single target healing. Fact two? We suck at Raid healing.

This has been a source of constant consternation for me. Thankfully, in 3.1 Holy Paladins got some nice talents in the protection tree that can help with AoE healing, that seems to be under-utilized.

While many people will choose to play a different role with their off-spec, an overlooked possibility seems to be staying Holy, but going from a standard 51/2/15 +3 to a 51/17/0 +3 with your offspec. The advantage of this? The new talent Divine Sacrifice has given Paladins an ability that does a spectacular job of mitigating raid-wide damage. Coupling Divine Sacrifice with Divine Guardian can make Divine Sacrifice even stronger (and the boost to Sacred Shield is an awesome bonus). Naturally, when you pop Divine Sacrafice, you will have to bubble as well so as not to get yourself killed (quick tip: make sure you pop Divine Shield before you use Divine Sacrifice).As AoE damage seems to be the name of the game in Ulduar, this seems a very attractive spec to go to during AoE-heavy fights.

Lets take a quick look at what you will lose during the fights were you go into a Divine Sacrifice build. You will lose some of the 10% reduction in instant casts (affecting your Judgements and Holy Shock),the 3% critical strike debuff from Heart of the Crusader , and the 5% critical strike rate of your own healing spells from Conviction . You will also lose the 3% critical strike bonus from Sanctity , but you will have put a full 5 points into Divinity in the protection tree when you pick up Divine Sacrifice. Looking at this, the main downside of going to a Divine Sacrifice build seems to be the loss of critical strike potential, which could be a deal-breaker for some Paladins, or a non-factor for those who gem for crit.

If anyone has given this a try, please leave a comment. I am currently going the Holy/Prot route myself, but if this is as good as it sounds I might need to give 51/17/0 a trial run next time through Ulduar.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Will Judgement of Light proc BotAK?

That is the question.

The blues have done a really nice job of trying to clear up an area of much contention concerning the Legendary healing mace Val'anyr, Hammer of Ancient King.

I talked yesterday about how I thought Val'Anyr was a weapon that would be most effective in the hands of a Paladin because of the chance to proc off of Judgement of Light. After tossing the idea around multiple blogs and message boards some good points have arisen, but there has been no consensus. Lets take a look at what we know about the proc.

Lets start with the tooltip itself. "Your healing spells have a chance to cause Blessing of Ancient Kings for 15 seconds." Now, Judgement of Light is definitely a healing spell. If you look at your combat log or recount, that much is pretty clear. JoL heals can stack up to a sizeable chunk of overall healing at the end of the day. However, it is not a direct healing spell, and it is not cast on a player. That is an issue. Lets see if Bornakk can clear it up.

Bornakk says "The way this works is that when the proc happens (which is a 10% chance whenever a hot or direct spell heals, with a 45 sec internal cooldown) you gain a buff (the Blessing) on yourself." Since JoL is neither a Heal-over-Time or a direct spell heal, it seems as if JoL would not proc BotAK. Bummer.

Ghostcrawler has been good enough to shed some light on the issue as well. Here is what he has to say

"If it helps to explain it, the blessing is triggered by healing being done. If you cast a heal on a fully-healed target, you are doing no healing. The bubble itself is triggered by a heal spell being cast."

Aha! If the blessing is triggered by healing being done, JoL WILL proc it, but, since it is not a healing spell being cast, it will not lend itself to creating a shield.

While the language is no doubt a bit vague and inconclusive, I have no reason not to be excited that JoL could proc the blessing. Until we see otherwise, I will continue to hold out hope that it will, and believe in my heart that Val'anyr is most effective in the hands of a Paladin.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Why Val'anyr is for Paladins

Now that we have had the proc explained , a real discussion on who should be the first healer in your raid to get the Hammer of the Ancient Kings can arise.

The basics of the proc is this: any heal, as long as it is not 100% overheal, generates a 10% chance for the proc to occur. Once the proc occurs, and the healer gains the Blessing of the Anicent Kings buff, the the shield absorbs 15% of the total amount (including overheal) of healing. So there are two parts to the question of who should get the mace. 1: who can get it to proc the most? 2: who can put up the biggest shields.

The most important thing is getting the proc to occur. Because of this, many have been saying that Druids, with their use of Wild Growth, will get the most procs, and the mace should go to them. But, what many non-Paladins might not know (and many Paladins as well) is how much Judgement of Light heals for in 25 man raids. Besides your spam of choice (FoL or HL) your Judgement of Light will be the spell that has the most effective healing behind it. Let us compare the two spells.

Judgement of Light Unleashes the energy of a Seal spell to judge an enemy for 20 sec, granting attacks made against the judged enemy a chance of healing the attacker for

Wild Growth Heals up to 5 friendly party or raid members within 15 yards of the target for 1442 over 7 sec. The amount healed is applied quickly at first, and slows down as the Wild Growth reaches its full duration.

Think of the opportunity for the proc to occur with Judgement of Light. Every time an attacker, ranged or melee, who has lost even the most miniscule bit of health hits the judged enemy, the proc will have a 10% chance to occur. Given that everyone in the raid is hitting the boss besides the healers, this amounts to about 20 characters giving you a chance for the proc, multiple times a second. Wild Growth effects only 5 characters, and can only proc once per second. On top of the Judgement's heals, you have the chance to proc on any of your "regular" heals. Oh yeah, and it looks as if your beacon heals count, so your normal heals have twice the chance to trigger the proc.

Once the proc occurs, it is obvious that Paladins can create the most absorbtion from the shields, with the mammoth amount of healing done from Holy Light. And since overheal is no factor in the amount the shield absorbs, Holy Pallies can quickly produce the strongest of shields. Couple that with the fact that any Holy Paladin worth his weight in plate will have Glyphed for Holy Light, and all the melee should be getting a shield as well. Some quick fuzzy math. In 15 seconds you can get off about 10 Holy Lights, at a conservative estimate of 15,000 each, equals a shield with an absorption of about 22,500 damage (even though 20k is the max absorbtion) for your direct target AND your beacon (remember once the proc occurs, overheal goes into the shield's absorbtion) and about a shield absorbing 2,250 points worth of damage for anyone getting the effects of the Glyph of Holy Light. And that's just from Holy Light!

So with apologies to Druids, and without apologies for any bias, that epic mace should find its way into the hands of your raid's Holy Paladin, all other things being equal.

Val'Anyr's Proc Illuminated

On Monday, Bornakk was so kind as to provide some explanation about Val'anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings and its proc chance over on the official forums. From his post,

"The way this works is that when the proc happens (which is a 10% chance whenever a hot or direct spell heals, with a 45 sec internal cooldown) you gain a buff (the Blessing) on yourself. Now all of your heals for the next 15 sec cause an 8 sec damage shield. The shield stacks with itself. It includes healing done by subsequent ticks of existing hots on the target. Note that the spell has to actually heal, so hots ticking on a fully-healed target cannot cause the proc. However the shield is based on the size of the heal itself, not the amount healed – i.e. 100% overhealing will not proc the Blessing on the healer, but the shield itself includes overhealing once the Blessing is active. The shield can grow to a maximum size of 20,000 damage absorbed."

Which, in simple terms, breaks down into two parts.

1. Getting the buff

Any of your heals, HoTs or otherwise, that does healing (not 100% overheal) has a 10% chance to proc the Blessing of the Ancient Kings buff on the healer.

2. Putting up the shield
Once you have the Blessing of the Anicent Kings, your heals will grant your target a shield lasting 8 seconds that will have the damage absorbtion of 15% of you heals (including overheal). creates a shield around your target.

While the 45 second cooldown is a bit of a letdown after what Matticus was expecting , I am still really happy with the proc and its explantion. Part of this is because the mace becomes most useful to Paladins based on this explanation, which I will go into in a later post.

3.1 Holy Healing Specs

I wrote this post right after 31. hit, and after seeing some posts from World of Matticus and A Touch of Arcane , I figured I would throw my hat into the ring and give me perspective on speccing your Holy Pally in 3.1. At this point in the game, there seems like there is no “best” spec, simply ones that are more useful to some raids than others, depending on what your raid expects out of you.


First off is the 51/5/15 build. This build is the most popular build around Azeroth post-3.1 according to (in fact, six out of the top ten builds are some iteration of 51/5/15). The reason for the multitude of 51/5/15 builds is the fact that a there are several different points which can be allocated differently, depending on what your raid expects from you. For most Holy Paladins, some iteration of this spec will get the job done, while going deep into the Retribution tree with a 51/0/20 or going deep into the Protection tree with a 51/20/0 build can work depending on your raid needs. We are going to deal in generalities here, and some iteration 51/5/15 seems to have the most flexibility for most Holy Paladins.

Starting out, you are going to put full points into Spiritual Focus, Divine Intellect, and Healing Light. The first point of contention arises in tier 3. You are going to put five points into Illumination, but you have a decision about whether to put points in Aura Mastery or Improved Lay on Hands. The increase in raid-wide damage in 25-man Ulduar becomes much more manageable with the 100% increase in resistance to fire, frost, and shadow damage from Aura Mastery, and can take a lot of pressure of you and your fellow healers on some of the tougher fights. For one point, this seems like a steal, and I would keep a point in Improved Lay on Hands, with the possibility of putting another point in by passing on a few talents deeper in the tree.

The talents choices are pretty obvious from tier 4 to 9, and you are going to put full points into Divine Favor, Sanctified Light, Holy Power, Holy Shock, Light’s Grace, and Holy Guidance.

Patch 3.1 broke a lot of things, and unfortunately for Holy Paladins, one of those things was Infusion of Light. It was no secret that Holy Pallies were overpowered in PvP, thanks mainly to .5 second Holy Lights coming from the Infusion of Light proc. Yes, they were awesome, and alas, for Paladin’s of all persuasions, they are no more. Infusion of Light will still give you an instant Flash of Light, but now will only increase the crit chance of your Holy Light, saving you no time, and more than likely contributing to your overheals. What was once a staple for Paladins now becomes almost optional, depending on your playstyle. If you still use Holy Shock+instant FoL combo for raid heals, this could be worth picking up. If you focus exclusively on tanks, Infusion of Light loses much of its usefulness, and could be passed up entirely. Here is where you can go back and put points in Improved Lay on Hands, Improved Blessing of Wisdom, or Improved Concentration Aura.

If you need to move a few more talent points to increase your raid utility, sacrificing one or two points from Judgements of the Pure in tier 9 seems to be your best bet. As it becomes easier and easier for Paladins to approach the soft haste “cap,” the 15% haste increase is superfluous and points can be re-arranged into either Aura Mastery, Blessed Hands, Improved Blessing of Wisdom, Improved Concentration Aura, or Improved Lay on Hands.

In the protection tree, most people are putting 5 points in Divinity. At first look the 5% healing increase seems as if it would simply increase your overhealing, a bane for the Holy Light spammers. But, the reliability of the spell power increase (and its utility with Sacred Shield) led to my taking full points in Divinity. Those points are coming out of Sanctity of Battle, so unless that increased crit is exceptionally important to you for regen reasons, putat least two points in Divinity.

The Retribution tree holds fewer options for Holy builds, and full points in Benediction, Improved Judgements, Heart of the Crusader, and Conviction are the best use of the rest of your talent points.

Personally, my spec ended up being 51/5/15, taking a point from Judgements of the Pure and putting it into Aura Mastery. Again, the expectations of your raid leader could lead you in moving points from Infusion of Light or more points from Judgements of the Pure into tier three or tier four.


Secrets of Ulduar brought us some new glyphs, and Holy Paladins are especially spoiled for choice when choosing their Major Glyphs.

Major: Some great options out there, with some flexibility as well depending on your raid composition.

  • Glyph of Holy Light – The one must-have glyph for Holy Paladins. Seeing all the little green numbers scroll up from my melee DPS makes me a very happy healer.

  • Glyph of Seal of Wisdom or Glyph of Seal of Light – Take Wisdom if you need to conserve mana, take Light if you want to increase your healing.

  • Glyph of Flash of Light – Makes the Holy Shock+FoL combo much more powerful, if you are stuck raid healing for some reason, definitely worth it.

  • Glyph of Divinity – If you’re raiding with warriors or druids this glyph loses much of its utility, but if your tanks are Paladins, this becomes an awesome way to quickly regenerate mana.

  • Glyph of Beacon of Light – This glyph will save you mana overall, and is useful if you forget to reapply beacon or never seem to have the time to reapply.

  • Glyph of Holy Shock – more Holy Shocks in less time means more Infusion of Light procs which would have been amazing before 3.1. Excuse me while I wipe away my tears.

Minor: not as many options here, and these are pretty interchangeable, but two are worth noting.

Do you run with some version of 51/5/15? Or have you found more utility going deeper into Protection of Retribution? Let me know in the comments.