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The Light and How to Swing It: Essential addons and macros for holy

Every Sunday, Chase Christian of The Light and How to Swing It invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. This week, we examine the addons and macros that can be used to make your life easier.

Holy paladins have come a long way since our days in vanilla WoW. Back then, we were a three button class: Cleanse, Flash of Light, Holy Light. The infamous addon Decursive even did all the dispelling for us, leave the human user simply casting Flash or HL for hours on end. Seals and Judgments were for retribution and protection: we were standing 40 yards away filling up life bars. Things didn't improve much in TBC either: while Holy Shock was fun to finally use, we ended up being purely FoL bots in most raid situations.

Blizzard took a new approach to healing in Wrath, including completely revamping each existing healing tree to make sure each one was balanced, viable, and most importantly, enjoyable. Holy paladins now enjoy a complexity that is multiple times more entertaining to play than anything that we've seen in the past. However, with this added functionality comes added complexity. To help us lighten the load, we can use a few amazing addons and macros manage our "holy 3.0" paladins; this allows us to focus on keeping people alive.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Healer survey contains a wealth of information about healing

If you've ever wanted a close-up look at the game's healing zeitgeist, Miss Medicina has it -- she recently started up a survey/meme of healers around the WoW blogosphere, and the answers are now in and posted on her site. They make for some interesting weekend reading, especially if you're interested in healing and what healers think of it. I'm sure there's lots of conclusions that could be drawn out of this (I'll let you all come up with some in the comments as well), but just reading through them on my own, it seems like there's a few threads between them. The majority of healing seems to be done in 10-mans, which probably isn't too surprising, given that's where most of the endgame players are right now as well. There's no clear winner on class or spec (all four healing classes are represented pretty evenly, though I didn't really crunch the numbers), though there are quite a few priests, and of those, things seem to be split between holy and disc.

In terms of a favorite spell, there's almost no crossover at all -- people are all over the place, from Beacon to Penance to Circle of Healing. To hear these guys tell it, healers have all kinds of fun spells to play with. In terms of a weakness to healing, two main answers appear: mana regeneration (always an issue with mana-heavy classes like healers) and mobility. Shamans and druids have problems with big burst healing, and paladins say they need more group healing strength, but almost everyone mentions either mana or movement. There's a lot more to look through, too, in terms of how healers evaluate their performance and addon recommendations from everyone. As a look inside the healer "scene," there is a ton of information in there about what healers are up to out on the realms.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Classes, Buffs

World of Warcraft Patch 3.2 Paladin Guide


WoW.com has covered patch 3.2 extensively. Everything from the surprising changes to flying mounts, to the latest and greatest loot, and all the changes in between. In our patch 3.2 class, raiding, and PvP guides we take a look at exactly what changes and how the changes will affect your playing.

More than any other class, I think, Paladins underwent significant changes in Patch 3.2. There were changes across all three specs that palpably impact gameplay and challenge players to take a different approach to the way they play their class. I went through most of the changes in detail in an older post, and many of those initial thoughts still hold true, albeit tempered with some experience on the PTR and changes over the past weeks.

There are buffs and there are nerfs, but the main thing to keep in mind is that this is Blizzard's constant balancing act. As the game progresses, I feel that they're finally honing in to the proper vision for the class. We won't go through all the changes here, but we'll break them down according to what impacts the class in general and according to spec. Let's bathe in the Light after the break...

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Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion

The Light and How to Swing It: Patch 3.2 and the Paladin


Ok, we've got quite a bit of information on Patch 3.2 now, and even though this major content patch isn't introducing too many new things to the class, it does shake it up a bit. Nothing too big, but it should keep everyone on their toes. But first we'll talk about one thing that isn't related to class skills or nerfs or anything like that... first I'd like to encourage everyone to get chummy with the Argent dudes. Do their mind-numbing daily quests and all that, get the Crusader title if you want... and along the way collect 100 Champion's Seals.

According to the PTR, the new Paladin-exclusive Argent Charger is available on the Tournament Grounds for a mere one hundred seals. Of course, Blizzard is also giving away Tier 9 gear for free during the testing phase, so that cost could still change. Still, here's that pony that Ghostcrawler promised all of us. It's a fitting item for an entire faction run by Paladins, right? Anyway, enjoy that pony because not everything in Patch 3.2 is as nice a ride.

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Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Ghostcrawler's tips on Loken


We've known that heroic Loken is currently the hardest mob in the game for a bit now. Alex broke the story a couple weeks ago, and Loken is currently killing approximately 1.8 times as many players as the next hardest boss, Sapphiron. That statistic is skewed a bit too, considering Sapphiron is a 10/25 man fight, and Loken is only a 5 man.

One of the chief complaints about Holy Paladins has been their relative lack of AoE heals. This becomes particularly evident when a Paladin attempts to heal Loken in the Halls of Lightning. It should be noted however, as Ghostcrawler does and I can attest to, it can be done with a Paladin healing.

It's on this note that Ghostcrawler has provided some tips on the strategy used to defeat heroic Loken. And while these appeared in discussion about Holy Paladins, they apply to any class equally well.

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Filed under: Paladin, Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Instances, Bosses

Loatheb 2-manned by Die Uberspitzen

Here at WoW Insider, we still love to see quirky ways of killing things, and I think the above video definitely qualifies. Pai and Smiliey of the guild Die Überspitzen on Todeswache-EU have duo'd the raid boss Loatheb from Naxxramas. Let me be more specific: Heroic Loatheb, meaning the 25-man version of the boss.

Am I surprised by this? No, not really. I definitely give these two huge props because fighting one boss for 3 hours would drive me insane, but Loatheb is not exactly challenging. In fact, I think bringing fewer people to the encounter would make it dramatically easier for a Healer. This isn't the first time Loatheb has been knocked down a peg by a hilariously small group, either. Back at level 60 when Naxxramas was a 40-man dungeon, Loatheb had been 5-manned by a Warrior, a Warlock, and 3 Shadow Priests.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King

Patch 3.0.2 primer for Holy Paladins


This was supposed to go up before the servers did, but as you probably already know, Patch 3.0.2 wasn't quite what we all expected. Now that servers are starting to go back up online, I can better write up this handy guide for the brave new world. Let's try to get as much of this right as possible. If you were as excited as I am -- and you should be -- you probably logged on as soon as your Realm went up, picked out all those cool talents you've been drooling over these past months, and went off reveling in your newfound power.

Good for you. Even though Patch 3.0.2 had a few hiccups, most of the important class changes made it through. I had to delete a lot of my macros and change a few. For one thing, Judgement and a Seal can no longer be cast within the same macro. This is because Seals aren't consumed by Judgements anymore, so they now share the same GCD. If you have macros for your Blessings of Freedom, Protection, and Sacrifice, you should edit them to cast Hands instead of Blessings. Lots of little things. I'll probably talk about that in The Light and How to Swing It. For now, we'll take a look at the talent trees and how we'll settle into the 3.0.2 world.

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Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Paladin changes in Beta build 8982


The nerf bat swung and we got grazed a little bit. I didn't cover the last build's changes because they were somewhat minor, and most of them were reverted in this latest build anyway except for the change to Beacon of Light's duration to one minute (and all ranks work now). That's a buff, just in case you were wondering. On the other hand, the rest of the news is not so good.

Seals were nerfed again. The coefficients for Seal of Vengeance / Corruption, Seal of Blood / of the Martyr, and Seal of Command were lowered. I don't really have much to say about this other than that I'm disappointed but confident that it's all balanced. I haven't done as extensive a test of the Beta as I probably should, so if these damage nerfs were based on hard numbers that Blizzard has gathered, then they're probably right. I have to believe that.

Melee hits no longer refresh Judgements, which means that in order for the debuff to stay on opponents, Paladins will actually have to continuously Judge them. With the change to Crusader Strike some time back removing its Judgement refresh feature, this means Judgements will be every Paladin's responsibility. This also means Blizzard is forcing Holy or healing Paladins to insert Judgements into their rotation. With Judgements eating up the GCD now, I'm not so keen on the idea.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

The Light and How to Swing It: Bracing for change


We know a second pass is coming. As good -- or bad -- as everything might seem right now, Paladins have yet to get another look from the developers and as Ghostcrawler mentioned on the forums earlier, they're nearing finalizing those changes soon. A few days back, Blizzard asked the players for feedback on all three trees, and it looks like all those constructive comments are finally going to see some results.

The good thing is that, despite all our misgivings about how the class has been handled all these years, it seems that Blizzard is finally listening. Holy wanted ways to be more mobile and have group healing utility... the Wrath Beta brings creative ways to solve that with instant Holy Lights and double duty healing. Protection needed stat consolidation badly, for starters, and it's slowly moving that way with Stamina granting spell power through Touched by the Light. Retribution needed raid utility among other things, and Blizzard is shaping up the spec to be a mana battery like Shadow Priests (and Survival Hunters). It's not everything players have wished for, but it's pretty darn close and there's no doubt that we're moving in the right direction.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It, Wrath of the Lich King

Ghostcrawler's late night Paladin news

Ghostcrawler displays her dedication yet again as she popped up on a few of the Wrath of the Lich King Beta forums in the wee hours of the morning today. Or would that be late last night? What does 2 AM qualify as, again? Anyway! Ghostcrawler popped into the Paladin forums to check in with some concerned players, and brought some fun news. She says herself that it may not be 100% what Paladins want, but it should prove to be good stuff regardless. Let's dig right into it, shall we?

From Ghostcrawler:
  • We'd like to do something else with Kings. I don't know that a core ability is the answer, but burying it deep in Prot, when Prot paladins would just as soon play with BoSanc, doesn't feel great either.
  • We'd like to mess around with the top 2 tiers of all 3 trees, still encouraging you to cross-spec a little, but making that initial bite into the upper tier more tasty instead of just an icky appetizer to get the what you really want down deeper

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

Paladin changes in Beta build 8885


Three major changes were implemented for Paladins that affect all three specs in the latest Wrath Beta build. Beacon of Light was reworked, Blessing of Sanctuary was buffed, and Retribution was nerfed through changes to Blessing of Might and Judgements of the Wise. The nerfs aside, the two other changes make a significant difference in gameplay, particularly the change to Beacon of Light.

Beacon of Light
The target becomes a Beacon of Light to all targets within a 40 yard radius. Any heals you cast on those targets will also heal the Beacon for 100% of the amount healed.
The promised rework of Beacon of Light is finally here and it's absolutely amazing. It fits better with the Paladin's kit, which is -- still -- cast heals vs. HoTs and single target healing. Paladins are the best single target healers in the game and the new Beacon of Light capitalizes on that by adding a secondary target to the primary heal. It's not quite the group heal we've been asking for, but it does the job quite nicely. In fact, it's like the now retired Blessing of Light's great granddaddy for heals because when you heal the Beacon of Light's target, the heal is doubled. I don't know if that's intended or a bug because when you cast Beacon of Light on yourself, it won't work.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask a Beta Tester: PvP questions and random things


Let's get right into the meat of things. Meethan asked...

Does Bone Shield stack with Earth Shield? If so can I see a screenshot?
Yes and yes.

There's been an idea going around about using a large group of Death Knights to continuously use "Death Grip" to lock players and keep them from running. Does this work?
I'm not able to convince enough Death Knights to try out this silly little trick, but it could work in theory. Death Grip is currently of the Physical school and does not suffer diminishing returns. It's like having several Warriors alternating Hamstring for a permanent snare, except more evil.

What's with the presences and auras? Do they count separately? Stack? Passive?
As of the current build, presences and auras are no longer connected (e.g., you no longer have to have Blood Presence up to have Blood Aura) and thus count separately. However, neither presences nor auras currently display as buffs (unlike Paladin or Hunter auras) which can be a little confusing, although Blood Aura has the Death Knight emanate an inappropriate green gassy mist [EDIT: Discograndpa correctly points out that this is a bug from the Bloodworms talent, and not Blood Aura. Thanks for the correction!]. Presences and auras stack and are passive effects.

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Filed under: Wrath of the Lich King

Where is Blizzard going with Paladin changes?

"Like I promised, the paladin changes were more sweeping than most changes. As such, it's going to take us some time to go through a second pass on the abilities and get everything polished up enough to evaluate the shiny, new paladin." - Ghostcrawler, on the Paladin forums

The Paladin changes we've seen so far have been pretty massive. There's been a reworking of our Seal and Judgement system, a shuffling of our talents, and the addition of interesting baseline spells like Divine Plea, a much needed mana recovery mechanic. The important thing to remember, though, is that this is Beta -- meaning a lot of things can still change from now until Wrath of the Lich King goes live. And as Ghostcrawler indicated, a lot of things will change.

In fact, some spells we might love now could change or be scrapped. The Art of War, a talent I raved about and was wreaking havoc in the Beta, was fundamentally changed. From a pure DPS talent usable by raiding Paladins, it has become a utility spell more geared towards PvP. Some old spells such as the poor man's Divine Shield, Divine Protection, was reworked to actually be more usable. While we won't go through all the changes one by one -- there are a lot and I expect more in the future -- we can examine some key changes and try to figure out what Blizzard wants to do with the class.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath Beta patch notes: Paladin part III - the Holy tree


Finally. We get to the most exciting -- albeit also most likely to change -- part of our Paladin abilities analysis. The new Wrath of the Lich King talents! Readers who have been keeping watch on the expansion's Alpha and all the rumors and leaks know only too well that Paladins have had nothing significant throughout the entire Alpha stage. That all changed with the sudden release of the Beta yesterday, however, and a flood of overwhelming Paladin information came streaming in. You can read the list of changes in my first post, and a general review of baseline abilities and existing talents in my follow-up post.

Paladin talents have been greatly reworked, with some talents jumping from one tree to another, and other talents scrapped completely. The general vibe from the new talent trees is that Blizzard, after so long, has finally given the class some much needed love. I don't think I've gotten this excited about the class -- or heck, about the game -- in a long time. We'll take a look at each tree, the new talents, and what they could mean for Paladins in Wrath after the break.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King

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