Light & Leafy

Archive for the ‘paladin’ Category

A few days ago, Professor Beej posted a guest post at World of Matticus asking readers which of the healing classes they chose, and why they felt it was the right match for them. The answers were insightful, and got me thinking.

Do I feel like any of my healers suite me better than others?

I couldn’t really answer this question. There are some I feel more comfortable with, sure. But if I were to go with familiarity, well then Edainne in her discipline spec would probably be on par with Nesme. My reaction time feels about the same for both, and I’m still forgetting some spells that I really should try to use more consistently.

“Why I love healing” is a topic for another post another day. Simply stated though, I do. And though I’m not sure if I can ever suffer from “healing burnout,” I think one of the things keeping healing fresh for me is the ability to switch from one healer to another and have a completely different experience. In the end, I’m just using a different spell to keep the green bars verdant, but haven’t we always been told it’s not about the destination but about the journey?

My healers can reflect my mood, my inspirations for playing at any particular point in time. They each bring something unique to the table, and have lessons to teach me.

Edainne

She is indisputably my main, and as far characters go, I’m most comfortable with her. I like keeping her holy spec versatile so that I can fill whatever role is most needed at the time. She has all my really exciting achievements, all my nostalgic mementos. When I created her, I put a lot of my heart into the process. Before I even got the game, I researched names that would be appropriate (hers is a re-spelling of a Celtic goddess of healing), created her back story and a central idea for the character, and decided that if she was going to be a healer, I was going to pick the class that had the most options (this was before Wrath when most of the healing classes had only a few spells while the priest had, like, a bajillion).

When I’m on Edainne, I love that I have the versatility to do, well, anything! I can blow bubbles, I can punch people to heal them, I can even jump around casting holy nova! Sure, she’s hella squishy in PvP, but I like to think that it was just encouragement to react more quickly than they could kill me.

I learned to heal on Eda. She was my springboard, and as a character she still has loads for me to learn and improve on. Right now, learning to play as a discipline priest has got me thinking about healing in a completely different way: prevention is as important, if not more so, than response. I’m learning to expect damage instead of just fixing it after the fact. I feel like it’s a nice correlation to outside the game experiences. And because of being that priest who always takes lightwell and that priest in Burning Crusade who took Circle of Healing rather than spec into Divine Spirit, I’ve learned to be ok with being different, that I can be just as effective and knowledgeable without being the same as everyone else. Funny how a video game could teach a life lesson…

Sairyn

What I love about Sairyn is that I feel like I could heal through any kind of AoE damage if I casted chain heal fast enough. I love that I can make pulls easier just by knowing which totem is the best for the job. Also, chain heal just LOOKS fun. And the idea of healing everyone by linking them together just fits my mentality nicely.

I tried for a long time to force Sairyn into being my damage-dealer. Everyone else was going to be a healer, but Sairyn just HAD to be elemental; I think I truly felt that people would think I was crazy if all I did was heal on each character. Through lack of practice, no doubt, whenever I dps’d on her I felt like she was underperforming. So, I wouldn’t play her as often, which would lead to her gear falling behind, which would lead to even more performance issues. A pretty nasty cycle I had gotten myself into, no?

Just before 3.3 came, I decided it was time to stop pretending that I was some well-rounded, can play anything well sort of player (like Osy is). I’m happiest when I’m tossing chain heals, and that’s ok.  Sairyn encouraged me to be honest with myself, and I appreciate her so much more for it. I no longer toss her to the side to play with other characters first, which also helps me deal with guilt I felt after abandoning her at 70 until Wrath came out.

Fluffikins

Fluffi never fails to make me smile. She was the first character I leveled completely by myself, and I’m really proud of that. When I started playing her, I thought moonkins were the most adorable thing in the game, and I couldn’t help but want one. Around 70, though, I had watched Osy’s druid heal for long enough to know that I wanted a tree too!

After playing a priest for so long, having multiple hot’s and instant casts was something I really had to get used to. Fluffi taught me the value of having patience, and I learned a lot about timing. She gave me a lot of experience in preparing for in-coming damage since I could hot everyone up before a pull even began.

I think I enjoy party healing the most on her. I feel almost as versatile as I do on Edainne; Fluffi has tremendous capacity for healing output, even if her gear isn’t as tricked out as others’. And having tree form lets me focus on healing 100% time; the cost of shifting in and out of tree form is too great to want to dps while bored.

Then, of course, there’s the bouncing. And the fact that everything I heal with looks like a flower. But, oh god, the bouncing!!!!! I feel like I’m a little kid again skipping down the cold, Scourge infested hallways of Ice Crown!

Nesme

Nesme is kind of like the final piece of an abstract jig-saw puzzle: with her, I can finally see the entire picture, though I still might not understand exactly what I’m looking at. She has helped me understand that paladining requires so much more than binding holy light to every key then unceremoniously rolling my head against the keyboard. Which of my spells will save the person with aggro? Which will save the person entombed? How fast does my holy light actually get after I’ve casted it the first time, and how long until my haste buff wears off and I need to judge again?

She makes the game feel new to me again. I know nothing about paladins, really, except that I can spam holy light on a tank like nobody’s business. And that Patchwerk becomes the most funnest fight evar when you’re a holy pally. Hellooooo beacon!

I’m not comfortable playing with her yet (zomgwings!), but that’s what makes her such a breath of fresh air every time I do. I have to work to save people from their own stupidity! And it made me give much more credit to other pallies who I thought had the easiest job in the world.

Maybe I’ll play Eda when I need to have the fast reaction time, or Fluffi when I’m exuberant and just want to bounce. Maybe Sairyn will come out when I’m feeling kind of enchanted by nature, and Nesme when I want a challenge and learning experience. Each of my healer’s has a special place in my heart. And I’m lucky enough to feel that, in some way or another, they’re appropriate for me.

I’m luckier still to have enough friends to let me heal on as many characters as I want. ❤

So, what about you? Does a particular character, healer or not, resonate more with you than others?

<Drum Roll Please>

May I present, Nesme, level 80 Holidin! Healadin? Shockadin, or am I just dating myself now?
The last few weeks, Nesme has diligently pushed her way through Northrend (and remembering why it’s so awesome to be a paladin in a land rife with undead), until finally dinging the big eight-oh late Saturday night.

She had a bit of a rough start, up in the chilly north, though. I thought it would be incredibly fun to use the new dungeon finder tool to level her a bit quicker (and gain some much sought after emblems before she hit 80). The first Utgarde Keep I healed was…deplorable.

Sure, Nesme was rocking level 60ish blues. But still, she shouldn’t feel so underpowered. After every pull, I needed to drink. But the pull happy deathknight tank would frequently just race to the next pack of mobs, and start smashing his face into their chests. People died. A lot. My holy lights seemed to heal only for about an eighth of everyone’s health. My mana didn’t last trash pulls, let alone the boss. After numerous attempts flailing about (only stopped when I was entombed in ice), I dejectedly left my party. I vowed not to heal another dungeon again until Nesme had more Northrend level equipment.

Fast forward 2 levels. Nesme hasn’t been in a dungeon since her last healing fiasco. Chats with a holy pally friend of mine leave me to believe that the tank was just silly, but I’m still convinced that I need better gear to heal anything.

At my trainer, I recognize that it’s time to train my holy shock once more. Since I normally gallivant around in my retribution spec, I swapped over…

And something hit me like a truck. As I’m moving around my buttons, trying to make everything fit on my bars just a little more neatly,  it dawns on me that for the past 2 levels, Nesme’s holy spec didn’t have the highest rank of her flash of light, holy light, or holy shock spells.

I stared at my screen for a bit. Not only had I been healing for WAY less than I was capable of, I was healing for way less while using more mana…


/facepalmbear

We remember him. He’s the cute little image I have floating in my head whenever I did anything particularly…precious.

After I put the RIGHT spells on my healing bar, it really was smooth sailing getting my daily emblems of triumph. And, between the saved up emblems and the midnight “Let’s drag Eda through every heroic under the sun”,  I managed to get her Tier 9 Shoulders and gloves.

Oh, and since this week’s Raid Weekly on Terenas was Razorscale, I managed to convince my loverly guildies to let me swap in my little Pally for a quick XT Kill, which promptly resulted in pretty new bracers and a gorgeous shield.

Side note on Razorscale: While you might have mega-leet healers, you still want two tanks on her grounded phase. While we were farming Ulduar, we never really saw (or cared) what happened if the tank got too many stack of her debuff. But, because Ulduar is so last year, we thought we’d be fine if we only had one tank eating her flame breaths. We even had contingency healing plans for when he would be immobilized if he got to 5 stacks. Well, he got to 5 stacks alright. And was promptly unable to do ANYTHING, including basic auto-attacks. For a good 3-4 seconds, Razorscale was ping-ponging between the dps section until the debuff wore off and Osy could pick her back up again. So Razorscale:5, DnR:1. GG, Razor, GG.

I don’t know how to put this in a nice way. I’m a crappy 61 holy paladin.
It all started about 2 weeks ago. The whole point of leveling Nesme was to play a healer of each class at max level, now and after the new expansion. So why not buy her dual spec and heal some instances between now and end game. I had a productive couple of days in the last two weeks where I got her up from 54 all the way to 61. Sure, some guildies were sweet and helped me along the way (i.e. ran me through instances I had quests for). I even *gasp!* tanked a Sunken Temple!  
I was prancing around Hellfire Pennisula, slaughtering Crust Bursters (and muttering under my breath when I found I couldn’t skin them), when I get a tell from 64 Warlock wanting to know if I could heal Blood Furnace. Sure! I’m a healer! I’ve played my druid, shaman, and priest long enough! I know what I’m doing!
Wrong.
I felt sorry for that group, I really did. I wanted to bring Edainne in just to prove I didn’t suck monkey toes, but any 80 healer would probably be able to handle keeping people alive (and killing the boss simultaneously -_-).  They were really sweet about it though, and stuck through it. After hitting some rough spots, we eventually found out pace and knocked out the instance with smiles and some pretty new gear.
What struck me as interesting was I used to believe paladin healing to be boring because of the lack of spells. I mean, I have 4 at my disposal, and that’s counting Gift of the Naaru. But then you have to remember about beacon, judging for haste (man, when I started working that in did that make my life a little easier), hand of (insert freedom, protection, salvation).
Oh, and did I forget to mention when I reinstalled WoW after updating my operating system that I made it so that all my healers have mouse-over macros? All, except Nesme that is. I spent the first 15 minutes thinking I was healing the tank when in reality I was just spamming holy light on myself.
Yea, I’m that special.
So, now I realize that I can’t just fart around for the next 19 levels. I actually am going to have to practice (zomgnowai!)…

Luckily, a guildie decided she wanted to level her death knight while taking breaks from grinding out her Insane in the Membrane achievement. She doesn’t like the quests in Outland, so we’ll have plenty of instance runs for me to become accustomed (again) to healing.
And that makes me excited. Like a puppy seeing his human walking up the driveway. With a steak. For said puppy…
/getslostincuteimagery.

“Omaigawd-it’s-so-cute-Ethan-wake-up-you-need-to-see-this-look-how-adorable-OH.MY.GOD.-she-deep-breathed!”
That was pretty much my stream of consciousness first thing Sunday morning when I logged onto my paladin and saw the zomgsoadorable Onyxia whelping sitting in my mailbox. Actually, I saw the whelping first running after some level 11 warrior in Stormwind, but I was still sufficiently sleepy to think it was just a twinked alt with a Dark Whelping. Either way, the giddiness made me so hyper that I was reminded why I never, ever drink coffee.
Here she is just twirling around:
When she’s bored, she’ll just bounce around in a circle. I love it. ANDLOOKATTHOSEBIGEYES!!! *coos*
Nesme, my protadin extraordinaire, is now 55!! Only 3 more levels until she’s big enough to start questing in Hellfire. She was INCREDIBLY lucky on Sunday morning. Minding her own business, trying to get scent glands from one of the mean raptor’s mates, she stumbled across a Ravasaur Matriarch protecting one of the nests. So, as a way of thanking her priestly suga-momma (aka Edainne) for all the start up cash, Nesme passed along the Ravasaur Hatchling. He’s green, and his head’s too big for his body, and I’m in love. Besides, Nesme already has a new pet that follows her everywhere. Evie the Onyxia Whelping! (Yes, I named her. Whelping is too generic) Evie likes to deep breath while Nesme has a pack of 3-5 mobs to attack. She’s such a good little helper!
So, why do I love non-combat pets so much? It’s only a vanity item, after all. And a lot of people would argue that they’re more or less a gold sink (just like mounts). It just happens to be a reflection of my choices as a person, inside the game and out. As much of a whiner I can be, I do love life and try appreciate whatever comes my way. I choose not to ignore the cute things because it’s “immature.” I like being happy and giggly, and those things give me the warm fuzzy feelings from my head to my toes. Cute is its own brand of beautiful; you wouldn’t begrudge me appreciating a gorgeous sunset or picturesque mountain vista, would you? Plus, I think everyone could use a few more smiles =) So, I buy all the pets I can and send all the extras to my alts so no matter where I go or what I’m doing, I have a cute fuzzy friend to accompany me: Long quest line? Never fear, Mr. Wiggles is here! Boss wiping the raid? Please, not while my White Kitten is around!
TL;DR – Life’s too short to not giggle. Take out your cute friends and goof it up a little =) And creatures who have a disproportionately large head or eyes are too cute for words.

I honestly had hoped to spend more time leveling my paladin this weekend. Between installing Windows 7 (I ❤ the slideshow feature for my desktop!) and reinstalling all my games (and setting up UI’s…),  I ended up only playing little Nesme for a few hours on Sunday. She’s now 52 (yay!) and a bit scratched up from doing a few battlegrounds.

Sunday night, before I logged, I did do one last thing I had promised myself I wouldn’t do until Nesme was at least in Northrend: I spent the 1000 gold and bought her second talent set. I had gotten into a bit of a rut while questing and thought maybe some instances or battlegrounds would liven things up for me. Apparently, no one actually runs lower level instances anymore. So, battlegrounds it was! Prot-ing it up probably wasn’t the best choice for BGs, but I really didn’t want to respec since protection was making questing noob-level easy. The problem with PvP, when you’re on the low side of the bracket, is not really being able to do much of anything.

“LOL i just killed the 52 pally”

“L2play nub”

So, what did I do? I hopped on my shaman, sent Nesme 1000 of Sairyn’s hard earned gold and then got on Fluffi to buy the BoA Mail Spellpower chest….

I gave my paladin a healing spec. And did a single AV where I was busting out holy lights and holy shock.

Now, I can’t wait to get 8 more levels so I can have Beacon of Light to play around with. So, now I just need to remember where a good place for questing would be. I miss questing with Osy; he made everything so much more fun since we were doing it together. And he has a much better memory for quest hubs than I do….

Last night, while doing my Argent Tournement dailies (I want a unicorn, dammit!), a friend whispered me. Originally, I excitedly thought he was going to invite me to Vault on my resto shaman when he wanted to make sure I had one, but that was quickly put to rest with his next queston: “how do you play a resto  shaman?” Because I knew he had a discipline spec on his priest, I went directly to specifics (keeping up earthshield, chain healing, etc.). But then it struck me that he might not have been asking for himself. His girlfriend had recently gotten her shaman up to level 80 and decided she wanted to try healing. I started to consider what would be good suggestions for anyone playing a healer for the first time….

Know your healing priorities
Getting used to being a healer can take some time. You’re not always going to have a lot to do, and you’re always playing to suit the needs of the group. Unlike dps, you can’t always focus on one target and then move to the next. I find it helpful to keep in mind a heirarchy of heals, especially during times when the pull may not have gone as smoothly as you would have wished.
      1. Tanks – If the tank dies, it’s not a done deal that everyone around you will die. But, it will make healing a LOT harder on you, and everyone may in fact die, especially if the tank is dead soon after the pull. In a raid situation, you may not be assigned to be a tank healer, but even so it’s a good habit to keep track of their health bars and help out if you notice them hovering close to death or if their healers have died.
      2. You! Yep, you’re the second highest priority when it comes to healing. A lot of healers, old hats included, often forget to heal themselves. Maybe their player bar isn’t in a place they normally look, or they’re so focused on their target that they neglect themselve. No matter how you look at it though, if you die, no one is getting your heals. And that can lead to a lot of wiping, especially in 5 mans.
      3. DPS. You DO want them alive. They sure do make killing things easier. But if you heal them at the expense of killing yourself or the tank, you may want to reassess your priorities.

Mana Regeneration Tools!
Every healer has them. And most are really good about making the most out of using them. But in the heat of battle, it can be really easy to forget to use them. I like having Scrolling Combat Text’s sound turned on to give me audio warnings, but you can also pay attention to your mana bars just as much as you pay attention to health bars. The cooldowns, no matter which healer you play, are in the 3 minute – 5 minute range, so there’s really no excuse for saving them for any particular fight. I’m not advocating wasting them every time they’re off cooldown, but if you’re sitting at a quarter of your maximum mana at the beginning of a pull, it probably behooves you to get some of the pretty blue stuff back quickly. And don’t be shy to ask for mana regeneration tools from the druids and priests in your party; even if they’re dpsing, they can still innervate you and cast hymn of hope.

Using HoT’s/Shields
Using your heal over time and shielding spells can be one of the more difficult skills to learn as a new healer. Even though I had been playing my priest for over 2 years, when I started healing on my druid I found that I was constantly renewing my HoT’s much sooner than I needed to and was wasting a ton of mana in the process. On my shaman, I started having the same problem with my earthshield, but when I tried to stop the unnecessary overwriting I started to have periods where the tank didn’t have it at all. What this boils down to is creating a way to track your set-it-and-forget-it heals. I found setting up Power Auras and Grid for those specific spells  made it move visible to me to keep track my heal-over-times , but just keeping a sharp eye on  the buffs in your regular party frames also can do the trick. Patience, above everything else, is key to using spells that do not instantly heal your targets. I know it can be nerve-wracking to see people slowly regenerating health, but if you’re tossing the HoT’s around and then using larger single heals immediately after the fact, you’re probably overhealing a lot and not being very efficient with your mana consumption.

Dispel!!!!
Healers come with dispels. Depending on the class you play, you can only dispel certain types of the four dispellable debuffs (poison, magic, disease, and curses). Druids can dispell poison and curses, priests get magic and disease, shamans get poisons diseases and curses, and pallies have poison, disease and magic effecs. A lot of healers I know don’t usually think about dispelling diseases; they just heal through the damage. That’s  not necesarrily a bad thing I take that back. It is a bad thing. These debuffs aren’t always just things you can gloss over by healing people through. Sometimes they’ll leech mana or explode doing damage to everyone nearby. Knowing what you can dispel and dispelling it quickly can keep you from having to heal so hard and it can get rid of nasty debuffs that can mess with other people’s playing (slowing their attack/movement speed, interrupting them, draining their power source, etc.). Granted, there are a few things you DON’T want to remove (Grobbulus’ poison injection, a warlock’s unstable affliction), but those are exceptions to the general rule of dispelling everything to make your job and the jobs of your teammates, easier.

Yay for spell books!
If you have your spell descriptions turned on, you might find that reading them through will give you a better understanding of what you have in your arsenal of heals. Take some time to really look at all the spells you can use and think a little bit about how each might be valuable in a combat situation. When would you use rejuvination over regrowth? If only the tank needs a heal, is chain heal really the best spell to use? If the entire party is taking damage, when’s a good time to use circle of healing and when’s a good time to use prayer of healing? Getting to know your tools is kind of like getting to know friends; it might take some time, but when you really need them, you can count on them.

Cooldowns are important!
A lot of the really powerful, save your patootie spells have cooldowns. You probably won’t use them frequently, but they do exsist and you should be mindful of them. It might be worthwhile for some of them to see what glyphs and talents are out there to reduce the cooldowns and get you to use them more. Even if you were to keep them at their standard cool downs, it’s still pivotal to learn what each of your “special” moves can do and make sure you have them easily accessible in case you do need to use them.

Start small and move up!
Chances are if your a new healer, the first instance you go into should not be something like Trial of the Champion. The level 78-80 dungeons do have a bit of a ramp for players to practice in. Utgarde Pinnacle and Gundrak are a bit easier, while Culling of Stratholme, Halls of Ligthning and Trial of the Champion are a bit more difficult. Starting in a place with a lot of trash can also help you warm up before you start healing through boss encounters. Once you’re comfortable with these, moving onto heroics shouldn’t be a problem. It’s easy to get into heroics now that you don’t have to be keyed, but learning to walk before you run has its benefits. The same thing can be applied to raid healing. You may be a pro at healing 5-man dungeons, but sometimes it takes a lot of getitng used to when you start healing in raids. Even if you’ve geared yourself up nicely from an assortment of badges, you might want to step into a Naxx10 or Naxx25  before you go into Onyxia or Trail of the Crusader just to get the feeling of what its like relying on other healers as your teammates, rather than being the single person responsible for the lives ove everyone around you. 

Take some time to gear up!
When you first hit 80, it may be a good idea to try to find a group you can dps in to get your gear a little more situated before you start healing yourself. Another way to optimize this “gear” time would be to try to run with a healer of the same class and watch them as they heal. They may provide you with insight before you start throwing around heals yourself. =)

Like with any kind of new role, you’ll get better at healing the more you practice it. Playing with friends and guildies can help you overcome some of the anxiety it can bring (it is a pretty big responsbility) and can provide you a safe place to practice without others having high expectations of how the instance should run. Recognize that sometimes others will die, no matter how hard you try to save them, and don’t be too hard on yourself while you’re still learning. Every other healer had to start at square one as well, and with time and practice became the talented players they are now.

Every time I’ve leveled, I’ve done it in exactly the same way. I’ve picked a hardy spec (Enhancement, Boomkin/Kitty — Edainne was different because she had a warrior at her side), and I breezed through the typical route of Darkshire, Thousand Needles, Stranglethorn. With patches easing the requirements of leveling, and bind on account shoulders that increase the experience gained by 10%, my little paladin, Nesme, seems to go through her levels more quickly. Which is great, if only because the recent paladin change of making exorcism a 1.5 second cast make it feel even more like all I do is sit there and wait for things to die by the virtue of my large sword.

I decided to make things a little bit more interesting for myself by allowing my guildies to choose my questing destinations and my leveling spec. Now my little ret pally is finding herself ankle deep in Syndicate corpses amongst the ruins of Alterac. When Alterac was suggested to me, I didn’t realize that a. all the quests originate in South Shore, and b. there are all of 4 quests. The ogres infesting the ruins are a problem, so you’re asked to show them who the dominant species is in the valley and shoreline south of the mountain’s base. Really, it’s a pretty easy set of extermination quests that make you feel as if the situation is no better under control than it was before you started slaughtering the dim-witted humanoids. The other quest line that leads you into the mountains concerns the Syndicate, a rogue group of displaced Lorderon citizens led by the former nobles of Alterac City. Again, it finishes with a sense of wanting — you kill a few of the organization’s leaders and the constable in Southshore pats you on the head and leaves you be. If these desposed nobles were really a threat, wouldn’t there be more of a follow up?

I’ve finished all of Southshore’s other quests, and will be making my way into either Desolace or Stranglethorn next (Haven’t decided, though the idea of leveling somewhere new is appealing; I just hope it’s not as ho-hum as Alterac and Southshore were).

A few days ago, a friend with achievements on the brain ran me through all the Scarlet Monastery instances and Razorfen Downs; the rampant slaughter he wrought was enough to get me most of the way to level 35. I’m hoping to find some more time this week to get her up to level 40 and maybe re-spend her talent points in the Protection tree. Tankadining it up could be a lot of fun!