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.

1 comment:

  1. Hiya GK,

    All paladins will agree with your statement that we suck at raid healing. Very few instant heals, no aoe heal, and the nerf of sacred shield do ensure that. Beacon of light can be used for tank healing & raid support, but it won't ever replace a chain-heal or a circle of healing.

    Now, sacred shield is a damage prevention, more than a heal, which means it is used very differently. You have to use it preemptively to damage, so you need to know when the damage will happen. You won't be able to use it without Divine Shield too, most of the time, which means it'll have a 5mn cooldown.
    It is much much more situational than a good raid healing spell, and should not be considered as a regularly used ability (but for the sacred shield enhancing part).

    Now ... it has some very very good uses. All raiders having played with Mimiron know that it can be one of the required damage reduction tools mandatory for phase 2. It was also very very useful on XT tantrums, though XT nerf made it less mandatory now.

    I think most of the time you won't see much use to it compared to a regular 51/2/15+3 spec. It'll result in less heal from you for a 5mn great CD that will sometimes be wasted or not that necessary.
    But Mimiron phase 2, Auriaya pull, Thorim arena when it goes bad ... can be tough spots where you really appreciate it.