Thursday, July 23, 2009

Grid & Healbot are good for you

If you're considering healing seriously and don't use an alternate unit frame to the Blizzard basic UI, then rush read this post by Keeva on Tree Bark Jacket. It's an illustrated (a lot, and I mean lot of screen captures) comparison between Healbot and Grid, the two most used healers UI replacement frames.
I personally use Grid on both my paladin and priest, and I really like it. I've recently discovered all the options that you can use to check your buffs on the raid, it's really a huge help to maintain your shields & hots and other short duration buffs up. If you need help with grid configuration, I like this post by Kae on Dreambound.

In case you don't know where to find them, give a look to the curse add-on website.

Much thanks to the druid blogging community that is so active.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Patch 3.2 will change just everything ...

I've told you before I was going to say what I think about the changes awaited in patch 3.2, here it is. I have waited to see if they were final, and they seem to be as they've not been changed for a few PTR updates now.

Let's rewrite here the main changes for us:
  • Beacon of Light: The healing amount on the Beacon of Light target is now based on the total healing done (including over-healing) instead of the effective healing done. Radius increased to 60 yards. Multiple Paladins can now have this active on the same target. Buff indicating a player is within range of the Beacon target is no longer displayed.
  • Divine Intellect: This talent now gives 2/4/6/8/10% increased intellect instead of 3/6/9/12/15%.
  • Illumination: This talent now returns 30% of the mana cost of the spell instead of 60%.
The changes to Divine Intellect & Illumination will strongly hurt our mana. It won't be possible to spam Holy Light and probably hard to outmana other healers and be this mana battery that can spam heal the tank during the last % of a boss (Patchwrek before nerfs & increase in gear comes to mind as the classic example of that).
This will be compensated by the changes to Beacon of Light that clearly turns this skill as something so strong that it will be a mandatory talent that you will have to use it at all times.

Why do I think some change is necessary ?
I've already talked about that in a previous post. Paladins generate too much overhealing, they have mostly timed casts, which result in a lot of our heals being sniped by other healers (which is, I agree, very frustrating). That result is a bad "score" on the healing meters (I have already said how much I hate the weight these have in a player "efficiency" evaluation). That is often strenghtened by our main role as tank healers.

What is our role right now, and why ?
Overall we are mostly tank healers, as we have the ability to spam Flash Light on them nearly undefinitely, what no other healer can really do. That allows for a constant flow of heals at the costs of a large overhealing. But that sort of play protects your tank from rng damage spikes and as you are giving him a lot of attention (like all your attention) you can react fast to spikes with an addition Holy Shock or switching to Holy Light.
Though this role will result in a lower score on the healing meters (that is true for any class assigned to tank healing), it is a necessary role, one healer will have to pay real strong care to the tank, or he/she will die. This is simply due to the nature of the challenge that blizzard is giving us about tank healing, that challenge being mostly rng spike damage.

Is Beacon of Light used before 3.2 ?
My answer is yes, I've already discussed it in this post. At the moment, Beacon of Light has for me 2 main possible uses: used on you, it will ensure your survival and avoid you wasting cooldowns to heal yourself; used on your tank, it will allow you to do some raid healing at the expense of some speed reaction to heal your tank (though this is absolutely necessary in some cases).

What will change ?
I have concluded earlier, and I think everyone will agree. BoL will be mandatory to use, and use on your tank as the one and only use for it. Taking that as a premice, paladins will not be tank healers anymore, simply because they won't be the most effective that way.
We are going to be raid healers, with support to the tank through BoL. Our role on the tank will be to lower the impact of the rng, by providing a "free" regular healing stream, while we are healing the raid (that makes me think that we can expect even more raid damage in the next content).

So we are going to endure a 180 degrees change in our gameplay, we're changing from tank healers with long mana survavibility to raid healers with tank support.

What I don't really like about that is that: I like to tank heal, I won't be able to react as fast on the tank if I'm asked to, just because my attention will be on the raid (as I have experienced when I am raid healing with BoL at the moment).
These changes are not the ones I hoped for, and the gameplay changes that they imply are not ones I want to play with. Hence I'm rerolling priest ...

As always, comments are welcome.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

News from the web, holy paladin & disc priest

A very interesting post on Banana Shoulders (up again yay !), about Epic Gems in patch 3.2. And a good post about Burnout on Causal Hardcore.

About myself, getting ready for the 3.2 patch, getting used to play priest with my dranei alt. Discipline Priest is so much more fun to play than a paladin, I've yet to really get experience in raids with her, but have played a few hours in Nax 25, done a few tries with Malygos 10 (but phase 3 kills pick-up groups that don't know it), killed Sartha 10, cleaned Nax 10. Not much ulduar but she's a bit underdressed for that.
In the end, raiding clearly reduce the number of skills you use, you tend to go for effectiveness and drop all the "fun but not optimum" skills depending on your talents.
What are the skills I use as a paladin more than one each 2mn ?
Flash Light, Holy Light, Holy Shock, Judgement, Sacred Shield, Beacon of Light.
What are the ones I use as a disc priest ?
Power Word Shield, Penance, Renew, Flash Heal, Prayer of Mending.
Surprisingly I'm using more skills on my paladin on a very regular basis. But if you look at them, only 3 are heals, one urgent, one big one "continuous". There is very little thinking to do, you just react in urgency. The Sacred Shield compared to the priest shield is near to useless from a healer point of view (even if it has a very good mitigation in the end, it does not prevent someone from dying in an urgent situation as a priest shield does, and it is limited to one target now).
I'm experiencing a much more diverse and fun healing game with a priest than with a paladin. Just because I have to think, to chose, before using a skill, what I don't do much with my paladin. It is the difference between a bazooka and a sniper rifle :P

Do you have experience with different healing classes ? Do you have opinions on them ? Please share your thoughts with me :)