New challenge: serious Paladin healing!

After the toc25 run I did two days ago, I felt that I needed a new challenge. I’m still not in a raiding guild, because I’m probably too demanding: wanting a relaxed and civilized atmosphere, with a coordinated and professional attitude, but room for some fun too. A guild seems to be rare! If they exist at all on my server. Yesterday I helped a guild called “Nice” who needed a tank. With a name like that you’d expect them to be nice, right? I kinda had my eye on them as possible option, they’re not hardcore, but doing ok, so this was a good test. They seemed decent enough at first, did Ony10 and Voa10 with ‘m, but when they didn’t need me anymore for their next raid I got kicked out of the raid without even a thank you, or goodbye. Bah. I’m almost getting used to behavior like that on my server, but what’s more annoying is having to scratch yet another guild from the list of options.

Anyway, looking for some new challenges without a good raiding guild, I decided to take my paladin and burry his DPS spec – because quite frankly, if I was asked to dps I  always felt disappointed anyway. I just don’t like dpssing (not melee anyway); I’m probably weird – and pick up a fresh new holy spec. I decided to do what I’ve always wanted anyway: have all healing classes and specs tried in raid situations. I spend a bunch of my emblems on some healing pieces, bought some stuff from rep and AH, and I was ready to go.

I thought to be smart by testing my fresh spec on a normal dungeon first. I figured I could hardly do any damage there, while learning my new specs. My first random was HoR normal.. crap!! That one is harder than a normal HC, but I figured what the hell, and I just went for it. I had some nice 245 pieces of gear already, a crappy rep mace, the darkmoon card:illusion which I had in my bank, and still some tanking pieces. But that should have to do I figured.

It worked out pretty well! No wipes, some mana problems, and I learned all kinds of new stuff on the way. First 5 minutes I was just using flash of light, holy light, beacon and sacred shield (like how I imagined paladin healing). Then I remembered holy shock (quite an epiphany ;)), and finally judgments of the pure. I had completely forgotten about that, but when I started judging and got the 15% haste buff, I felt healing became much more fun and I was actually enjoying it now!

I figured I’d try some more normals to get in the flow. I got UP normal first, which was the hardest of them all, because it’s not much easier than the heroic one, while the group is geared 1/2 of the average 80 (also, the tank pulling way more than he could handle didn’t help). I still thought I was doing fine, so after that I continued doing HC’s. Luckily I didn’t get one of the new ones, though I think I could actually handle them in the end.

First impressions: this is far more engaging than I thought it was. I have to admit I never seriously tried holy before, I did some offspec healing in leveling dungeons before with some crappy healing gear. That went ok by it self, but I could never believe that adding Holy Shock and Beacon of Light would add much to the experience. I was pretty convinced I already knew what paladin healing was all about. My bad.

Keeping yourself buffed seems to be one of the more important parts of being a holy paladin, by judging the targets like I mentioned, but also learning to using Avenging Wrath, Divine Favor, Divine Illumination as effectively as possible. Then there are all the other utilities that also make this class so interesting: Divine Sacrifice (canceled for just Divine Guardian, or with bubble), Aura Mastery, Hand of Protection, Hand of Salvation. I even used Hand of Sacrifice with good effect. This works great combined with Beacon of Light.

There’s definitely more to do than spamming flash of light and holy light.

What I miss is a good panic button. Holy shock doesn’t quite cut it and Lay on Hands has a much too long cooldown. Priests have Guardian spirit, divine hymn, penance, shields, but CoH on it’s own is pretty good. Druids have tranquility, nature’s swiftness, swiftmend. Shamans have nature’s swiftness too, which combined with Tidal Force and Ancestral Awakening almost tops a group back up. When I see two people at 5%, there’s nothing else I can do but hope they both live for either 1.2 second more, or one for 3 seconds, and not taking too much damage soon after that also.

What I like is that besides the obvious healing/protection utilities, a paladin can do some nice offdpssing and helping also. Throw in a Consecrate, rebuff Judgment of Light every cooldown, Hammer of Justice on anyone being a pain, and with all the undead mobs going around, holy wrath is great to throw as a healer every now and then to give everyone a breather.

All I can say right now is that paladin healing is far from boring. At least in 5 mans is it. I’m going to try and get myself in some crappy raid just to see how that works out. Tank healing might bore the crap out of me still, though have a better feeling about paladin healing already, I doubt very much it can become as bad as it was before again. In all honesty, I wouldn’t recommend paladin healing to a beginning healer like I might have done before, there’s way too much buffs to juggle, which is pretty hard without good addons.

Blizzard did a good job making this class interesting for healing, that’s my verdict for now. More later!


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March 2010
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