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Posts with tag holy-paladin-the-light-and-how-to-swing-it

The Light and How to Swing It: Remembering our first year of holy power

holy paladin
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

As I looked forward to this year last December, I wasn't sure holy paladins were going to survive 2011 in one piece. We were just learning to adapt to the three-heal model and figuring out how to manage our holy power properly, and I had serious doubts about our AoE healing and mastery bonus. Luckily, I was wrong, and we have thrived in Cataclysm. We started by focusing on our specialty, powerful tank healing, and then expanded to take over the raid healing role as the year progressed.

While holy power and the new healing model were the big topics of early 2011, AoE healing has clearly been the topic that defined this era in holy paladin history. Holy Radiance's first beta version, Healing Hands, was loudly trumpeted when the Cataclysm NDA was lifted. Light of Dawn's struggle to find a place in our arsenal has caused more lines of paladin patch notes than any other ability. Learning to AoE heal has been our biggest challenge this year but also our greatest success.

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The Light and How to Swing It: 5 clever tricks for maximizing your Dragon Soul healing

seal of insight
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

If you're a holy paladin with a pulse, there's no reason not to be raiding Dragon Soul. The Raid Finder allows us healers to find groups in minutes, with no strings attached if you have to leave early. The normal versions of the bosses are all accessible for guilds across the spectrum of dedication levels. Healing a raid in Dragon Soul gives you access to the best gear available and provides us with the greatest challenge we can face today.

I was looking at my World of Logs parses from the old days, and I was surprised to see how bad my HPS looked then when compared to more recent parses. The first step in preparing yourself to heal in Dragon Soul is to realize that the instance isn't built like Bastion of Twilight or Firelands. While the Ascendant Council repeatedly punished the raid for clumping and Baleroc crushed our tanks, many fights in Dragon Soul involve tight stacking and tons of AoE healing. Optimizing our AoE healing has become a key to succeeding in Dragon Soul.

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The Light and How to Swing It: Juggling Yor'sahj's oozes

yorsahj
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

While Ultraxion is definitely the most unique fight for healers in this tier, Yor'sahj the Unsleeping is a close second place. The boss' abilities are simple for the DPS classes and tanks, but healers will constantly be reacting to the summoned oozes and their various effects. These globules cause us to shift our healing strategies with each new wave, and learning to handle the globules will be the key to mastering this encounter.

Every raid group is going to handle the ooze packs differently. You need to familiarize yourself with what each ooze can do, and then combine the effects based on your raid leader's preference. You'll be faced with three oozes at a time on Raid Finder and normal difficulties, with the option to kill one ooze out of each wave. On heroic difficulty, there are four oozes per wave, for a total of three effects on the boss after you've killed one of the oozes.

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The Light and How to Swing It: Blinding Ultraxion with the Holy Light

ultraxion
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

As the fifth boss of Dragon Soul, Ultraxion is the gateway boss to pursuing Deathwing and stopping the second cataclysm. While Thrall and the dragon aspects are busy with the Dragon Soul itself, we're tasked with defending Wyrmrest Temple from Ultraxion's assaults. Simple, right?

Ultraxion is an incredibly simple fight for tanks and damage dealers. In fact, it's already being called the Patchwerk-fight of this tier. Aside from a few extra button presses, non-healers are simply tasked with bringing Ultraxion down as quickly as possible. Healers, on the other hand, play a very special role in this fight. We're fighting against rapidly increasing AoE damage to the raid, and the aspects themselves step in to help us accomplish our task. Ultraxion is the healer-centric fight of this tier, like Baleroc and Chimaeron before him.

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The Light and How to Swing It: The best patch 4.3 gear for your holy paladin

tier 2 paladin set
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

The itemization team at Blizzard has been especially stingy when it comes to holy paladin drops in Dragon Soul. While there were hundreds of items added in patch 4.3, very few of them are ideal for holy paladins. We're used to this sort of treatment though, as we're the only special snowflake spec that requires its own set of gear. No other class wants to wear intellect plate, and there's nothing more frustrating for a raid group than seeing the same plate healing gloves drop every single week. A few character slots have a limited number of items available, but there's an upgrade for every single piece of gear you have today.

Between blacksmiths, the valor points vendor, and Dragon Soul bosses, there are still plenty of gear for us to lust after. There are also new epic gems available from the Dragon Soul bosses that we can adorn our gear with, making us more powerful than ever. Our overall gearing strategy hasn't changed much since the last patch, although mastery rating is a bit better due to the new design of Holy Radiance. I am favoring spirit as the best secondary stat, with haste close behind. Critical strike rating and mastery rating are a toss-up; you can pick your favorite.

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The Light and How to Swing It: Latest holy paladin preview for Mists of Pandaria

paladin talents
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

The official Mists of Pandaria talent calculators were released by Blizzard recently, including a list of each talent tree's abilities. By diving into the skill list and analyzing the talents, there is a lot of information available. Most of the information is old, as we learned about many of the changes at BlizzCon and in the developer question and answer sessions.

It's hard to draw any concrete conclusions from the talent preview because the Blizzard team has stated that everything is still up in the air. Since the information is still in a pre-alpha state, I can guarantee you that what we're seeing today will be changed dramatically by the time Mists of Pandaria is released. While we can't make any firm predictions, we can gain some insight into the direction that holy paladins are headed, and we can offer feedback to the developers on that direction.

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The Light and How to Swing It: Adjust your healing in patch 4.3

holy radiance
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

With patch 4.3 looming on the horizon, holy paladins need to be prepared for all of the changes that are headed our way. Both of our AoE healing options have been significantly altered, along with several of the talents and glyphs that support these abilities. Retribution paladins are also looking forward to a few buffs to their sustained DPS, but their ability to help with AoE healing is being greatly reduced.

Our core mana regeneration mechanic is about to be completely scrapped. In fact, if we continue using Judgement without making any adjustments, we'll actually have less mana in patch 4.3 than we do today. We've been healing with holy power for nearly a year now, but many of the habits we've picked up along the way will need to change.

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The Light and How to Swing It: Putting our Hands to work

paladin bubble
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

If healers were defined by their heals, then holy paladins would be the strong, silent type. Our roster of healing spells has always been meek. The three-heal model of Cataclysm and the introduction of our holy power heals definitely increased our selection, but we have nowhere near the healing spell diversity of a priest or druid. We're only now receiving a true AOE heal in patch 4.3 with Holy Radiance's redesign.

Rather than leaning on a variety of healing options, holy paladins like to keep it simple. We're able to compensate for our undiversified healing tool box by drawing on our numerous other abilities. We might not have as many healing spells as the other guys, but we certainly have more utility spells than they could ever dream of. Our "Hand of" spells allow us to go further than any other healer can.

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The Light and How to Swing It: How to use holy cooldowns efficiently

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

Holy paladins are blessed with a robust selection of cooldown abilities, which improve our performance for a short period of time. Other classes like the restoration shaman have far fewer options for increasing their healing output on demand, which makes holy paladins one of the most flexible healing classes. In addition to boosting our single-target throughput, our cooldowns can also vitalize our AOE healing and reduce incoming damage.

When faced with such a large number of cooldown options, it can be difficult to pick the right ability for the job. Each of our cooldowns works in a unique way, with different strengths and weaknesses. By choosing the right opportunities to use each of our cooldowns, we can maximize our healing and minimize the chance of someone dying. Because of how powerful our cooldowns are, you should be using them on every boss encounter. They become especially important on heroic fights, as our healing capacities will be put to the test.

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The Light and How to Swing It: Dissecting the melee healer myth

holy radiance
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

Back in the day, the paladin and shaman classes were exclusive to the Alliance and the Horde, respectively. The two classes were designed to be polar opposites, highlighting the differences between the factions. Paladins were designed to be defensive melee hybrids with tanking as one of their talent trees and no true ranged build. Shaman, of course, were offensive ranged hybrids with a caster DPS option. Because of this original bifurcated design, paladins have inherited several traits and abilities that have caused us to be typecast as the melee healers.

While the truth is that holy paladins don't need to stay in melee range to get the job done, the ideal has always persisted that paladins should be getting down and dirty with their foes. The gap between that dream and reality hasn't been a serious issue for us, but Mists of Pandaria might change that. The new mistweaver healing spec for the upcoming monk class has been described as a unique healer that relies on melee attacks to do their job efficiently. With another healer moving into our melee territory, do we have any reason to be jealous?

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The Light and How to Swing It: Throttling holy paladins in PVP

pvp healer
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

Last year, Nethaera, a Blizzard community manager, informed us that the interaction between Protector of the Innocent and Beacon of Light was completely intentional. Holy paladins were still feeling out the new spells and talents that we received in Cataclysm, so it was nice to know that at least one thing was working as intended. Now, some ten months later, we're seeing Beacon of Light and Protector of the Innocent disconnected from each other on the patch 4.3 PTR. Why break a mechanic that's worked right since its inception?

The developers aren't happy with healers in PVP situations. The massive Holy Radiance changes were a nerf to PVP holy paladins, and the PotI nerf affects them more than raid healers. The devs are also buffing Mortal Strike effects to allow them to cut our healing down by 25%, up from the 10% healing debuff that we've been working with for months. The Seal of Insight/Judgement changes also affect us negatively in PVP environments. Removing Holy Radiance from our Speed of Light talent reduces holy's mobility.

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The Light and How to Swing It: Working with a single school of magic

interrupted
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

Holy paladins have several features that make them powerful healers in PVP environments. Our diverse utility spells provide us with capabilities that our rivals can only dream of, and we have plenty of cooldowns that can counter our opponents' actions. While holy paladins are generally considered to be strong PVP healers, we aren't without our weaknesses. Our most notable flaw is our complete reliance on a single school of magic -- holy.

All of our spells and abilities are tied to one school of magic, which means that interrupts are incredibly potent at shutting down holy paladins. Even Judgement, which feels like a physical attack, is tied to the holy school. Interrupts are obviously potent against any caster, but holy paladins are especially hurt since we don't have any alternative spells to fall back onto. Mages can still cast Frost Nova if their Arcane Blast gets Kicked, and shaman can use any of their fire spells after getting a heal hit by Pummel. Holy paladins are useless when interrupted, which provides us with a unique set of challenges.

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The Light and How to Swing It: The AOE heal we deserve

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

From launch until Cataclysm, holy paladins survived on just a handful of heals. We traded healing complexity for unique utility, gaining Aura Mastery instead of Wild Growth or using Hand of Freedom instead of Prayer of Mending. Holy paladin healing was so simple for so many years, as we tended to gravitate toward a single spell like Flash of Light or Holy Light in each expansion. While any other healing class could have complained that their class had become stagnant, holy paladins had literally been playing the same game of whack-a-mole for years.

Cataclysm's massive retooling of paladins and introduction of the three-heal model helped breathe new life into playing holy. Holy power gave us a unique mechanic to manage and gave us additional choices to make when healing. The three-heal model ensures that we're forced to choose between throughput and efficiency, and now we're challenged with managing our mana as well as our healing. Even though these changes drastically shifted the way we play our paladins, we were still relying on the same single-target heals we had always been. Healing Hands, now known as Holy Radiance, was the spell designed to upset the status quo.

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The Light and How to Swing It: Radical changes to holy paladins on the 4.3 PTR

holy radiance
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

When I first checked out the official PTR change list for the upcoming patch 4.3, I wasn't expecting many holy paladin changes. We've been performing admirably in Cataclysm, comfortably straddling the line between obsolescence and ubiquity. Upon the reading the changes, I was shocked to see such radical changes to our talents, spells, and playstyle. Patch notes like these are always scary, as we don't know if we're being gutted or reinforced. I immediately downloaded the latest PTR client and got to work.

Holy Radiance
was completely retooled into a cast spell that we use on a friendly group member, with talents changed to reflect the new design. We gained two new holy power sources, and Light of Dawn had its target count shifted. Our bread-and-butter mana regeneration mechanic, the Seal of Insight and Judgement system, was also scrapped in favor of a flat regeneration buff that scales with our spirit.

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The Light and How to Swing It: Healing by the numbers

divine light chart
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

Every raid encounter is designed to challenge the players attempting it. Tanks can be faced with controlling several mobs at once, while DPSers often have enrage timers to race against. Blizzard's developers have a few different tricks for putting healers to the test. The first and most obvious danger that healers face is the rate of incoming damage, which we have to counter with spells that are appropriately powerful. We are also often tasked with reacting quickly to stimuli, like instantly dispelling or bringing a raid group's life back to full before another incoming attack lands.

With the release of Cataclysm, the developers specifically focused on a mechanic that had been sidelined for quite some time -- mana management. Our spells' mana costs have been tweaked and mana regeneration capabilities have been altered to ensure that we focus on choosing the right spells. We used to be able to spam Holy Light carelessly in Wrath, but now we can't sustain nonstop Divine Lights for more than a minute or two without emptying our mana bar completely. Learning to live with a limited mana supply is paramount to being a successful holy paladin in Cataclysm.

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