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What’s this mean for me?

June 16, 2010

So now that we’ve heard a bit more about Cata and what we can expect. Some are feeling pretty down about the expansion now. Alot of friends I’ve talked to have said that they don’t feel like Blizzard is giving them enough to warrant an expansion, at least at full price. Let’s take a look at what Cataclysm offers a Level 80 raider.

Cataclysm

  • Level cap increased 5 levels
  • Re-designed talents (and two classes)
  • New dungeons
  • Some new spells
  • Mastery system (seems to add about as much as a glyph at this point)
  • Medium glyphs
  • 2 new PvP BGs with similar objectives to old BGs, also, rated BGs
  • 4.0-4.9 worth of Raid patches
  • Heroic Deadmines and SFK
  • Guild Talents Guild Levels..
  • Path of the Titans
  • Archeology will be a secondary profession like fishing and cooking
  • Underwater mounts

Now, you may saying.. “Umm, hey buddy, you kinda missed some stuff.” Well, actually I didn’t. Cataclysm offers the above to a current Level 80. Nothing more.

Why did I decide to list it this way instead of the full feature list? Because there are some folks out there who simply don’t care. They have their main and don’t plan on levelling any more toons. This isn’t unheard of, even though Blizzard promotes multiple characters.. some of us are quite fond of our mains and, well, that’s why we play the game.

So.. is this actually an ‘expansion’? I would have to say no. Many of whats listed above is added into other games usually by free content patches. With the exception usually being raid content and/or increased level cap.

“But they are revamping the entire old world!?!?”

Yes, they are. But players who don’t pickup Cata will be able to see all the revamped zones and complete all the quests, sans Goblin and Worgen stuff. It has not been determined yet if you will need the expansion or not for Azeroth flight.

Normally, a MMO that has been running as long (or longer) than WoW comes across a problem over time. Old content not being used. So, the devs decide to revamp. It’s not a bad thing and makes for interesting story-arcs. However, typically this is done one or two zones at a time, and givin’ for free to the playerbase. Blizzard is revamping a very high portion of the old world. Taking out much of the old content and adding in new. It’s been toughted that there is over 3,000 quests added.

But.. everyone will get to play at least (rough estimate) 1,500 of the quests, regardless of if you bought Cataclysm or not. Blizzard has obviously spent alot of time on this. That’s good, getting people back into old/new content is a good thing.

But.. there is an issue. What about the decent percentage of your playerbase that is really only here for Raiding.. or high end PvP. A player who has no interest in levelling a new Goblin, or playing through the new Cata revamp quests? Does this person just get the short end of the stick?

Let’s backtrack a bit. All expansions up until Cata have only extended the high end of the game. It wasn’t until Wrath that added something (DK) for non-maxxed out players.

Now.. it’s the other way around. If you’re a raider, and you only have a desire to play one character, you may feel like you are getting hit in the head with a baseball bat for shelling out $50.

New raids are always good.. no complaints there. But now you’re only going to be able to do half the raiding you normally would have with the new raid/lockout system.

5 more levels.. meh, sweet deal.

If you’re a pvp’er I’m sure you have something, bad or good, to say about the new stuff.

Medium glyphs? *scoff* We don’t know what these are yet, but the entire Glyph system is kind of a joke. At least from what it was supposed to be. (Even GC says they screwed it up)

Guild levels? Cool, but not really a expansion highlight in this dwarf’s opinion.

Is all of this worth $50 though? Depends on the person. To me.. sure. I got money to burn. More importantly though.. is Cataclysm going to keep people around?

It’s all too personal to say. For me.. I’m just not sure if there is going to be enough in Cata to keep me around for 1 patch cycle. It really all depends on the difficulty level of the expansion. If I gear out within 4 weeks of hitting 85 (like I did in Wrath), I will be sorely dissapointed.

The doomsayers have already come out and said “This is WoW’s version of Luclin.” For those who may not know, Shadows of Luclin was an expansion for EQ1 that changed the game alot. Many people left, but the mass exodus wasn’t until a few years later with Gates of Discord. Luclin did have a large effect on the game though. It put a dent in the population.

Will Cata bring WoW down a notch? At first I don’t think so.. but as we can see now, there is a major lull in the WoW-verse. Some are trying to stay positive, others negative.. and then there are the people who just don’t even know what’s going on.

Personally I fall into the category of “Just hanging around here to keep myself somewhat occupied until something better comes out”

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Quests the way I want them?!

June 15, 2010

Final Fantasy XIV has just made me spin in my office chair with glee.

All the talk I do about scaling content, and giving the players the choice in how they want to see their content.. while scaling rewards based off of the situation. Now there is a game that’s going to give it. Yay!

“Once a Guildleve is accepted by a character, they’re directed to an Aetheryte crystal to begin the quest. Touching the crystal fully restores HP and MP, as well as starting a time limit and making the targets of your quest visible. A given battle can be tuned based on party size, desired difficulty, and party level, giving players a variety of options for playstyle”

OPTIONS!?!?!? I loves me some options. SE.. keep the good stuff coming.

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Musings on the WoW news over the weekend.

June 14, 2010

In case you’re unaware, Blizzard had a press even over the weekend and released a lot of information about the current status of Cataclysm and also answering questions that the players have been confused about. I wont kill you with a wall of text of recap. Just highlight some points that I found interesting. If you want the full news head on over to your favorite WoW news site.. the details are everywhere. Let’s dive in..

Heroic Shadowfang Keep and Heroic Deadmines should be shipped in Patch 4.1

Seriously? All I was expecting was a 85 heroic scaled version of the same instance. That shouldn’t take very long to do. So why the delay until 4.1? Could be that they are completely re-designing the dungeons, or it could be that they are trying to refrain from releasing too many dungeons at once. I don’t really know, but I think that this is pretty stupid. Not a big deal though.

Path of the Titans Removal
Okay.. now it just seems like they are cutting features all together. Instead of this we’re now getting “medium” glyphs. Which will be in between Major and Minor. These glyphs are “for fun” only, so they *should* have no effect on your character’s output.

Much more boring but serves almost the same purpose and takes 1/2 the time to develop. Sure.. cool by me. Give me my Libram graphic dangling from my hip!

Guild Talents are gone

Makes it much more boring, but I can understand why. They have enough trouble balancing the class talents. To make sure the guild talents weren’t too over-done they just got rid of them all together. Now we get abilities handed to us based on our guild’s level. Much as in other games. It’s basically the same thing, they just took choice out of the equation. *shrug*

Raid Changes

Here’s the bread and butter (to me) of the press release. We knew 10′s and 25′s were going to be equalized but we didn’t have the details really. Now we do. You can break down your 25 man raid into 3 separate 10m raid ID’s if you choose. Also, a change to how the lockouts work. Basically it doesn’t tag yourself to the zone, it tags what bosses you have killed. Therefore streamlining managing your Raid IDs. Especially if you do a lot of PUG raids.

25′s will drop approx. 50% more loot than 10′s. Which is good. Most of this 50% was strongly hinted at just being extra emblems. That’s kind of boring but ah well.

It’s been stated before that 10′s will be brought up in difficulty to be along the same challenge of 25′s, now we have official confirmation that this IS in fact the plan. This makes me giddy. Being someone who simply doesn’t want to deal with attendance issues, or that one bad player that just wont get better no matter how much you talk to them.. this is an awesome thing for me. 10 man cuts down on the stupid, which is good for my blood pressure. Up until (seemingly) now 10 mans have always been insanely easy compared to 25 mans. A good majority of this comes from the simple fact of their being less people. Less chaos.

If they are ramping up the difficulty on 10m, I’m curious to see how far they take that. Will it be easier because there is less people? Or will they tune the content right and make 10/25 equalized in difficulty? It’s hard to equalize something that gets harder the more players you throw at it. No matter how hard a boss hits, things will always be easier if you only have 10 people to worry about vs. 25.

The ONLY thing I can see as a downside here is the confusion that could come about with the 25 lockout being split in to 3 different 10 man lockouts. I’m not quite sure I understand how this works. Does it take groups 1 and 2 and give them a lockout, 2-4, 5-6, and such? If it does, that could be a raid balance and administrative nightmare.

Also.. in your typical 25m raid you generally have 3 tanks and 4-5 healers. Split the group up into 3 10′s and you don’t have proper raid balance for any more than 1, maybe 2 teams.

Basically, how I see it, is.. someone’s going to get shafted every week. And while Blizzard is implementing this for guilds like mine, who have full raids on Tuesday, but then struggle Wednesday and Thursday to get numbers. I still don’t think this is a good option for that type of group. It’s basically no different from how guilds handle 10/25 now. You have your 25 team, and an “A” 10m team, and possibly another “B” team.

But this causes a lot of animosity as we’ve all seen in the past in various different guilds. My guild has an “A” team that runs 10m on the weekends, they’ve killed LK10 and are working on heroics (and we have yet to kill LK25). It’s typically always the same people. We don’t have enough support/attendance to gather a “B” team on the weekends. So.. half of us that would like to raid usually end up sitting out. Bad policy imo.. but.. what else are bored people gonna do?

What I don’t understand is.. instead of Blizzard jumping through all of these hoops with the Raid IDs and coming up with all this crazy stuff. Why not just have the raid instances scale up or down based off of how many people you have?

10 people = 10m difficulty

14 people = 10m difficulty scaled up a tad

25 people = 25m difficulty

23 people = 25m scaled back a little

..you get the idea I think. This seems more easier to me than what they’re doing. Surely it’s not an easy task, but I don’t think it requires too much more work than what they are doing now.

I guess what I’m saying is.. make a raid just that. A raid. Minimum 10 players, max 25. Have the instance(and loot) scale off the number of people you bring in. There is quite a many games that use (or have used) some sort of auto-scaling (or manual scaling) for their instances. It’s worked out pretty well for them. Why wouldn’t it work in Azeroth?

The last thing I would like to touch on is the happenings with rated Battlegrounds. I’m no PvP’er.. but even I notice that not many people make pre-mades anymore. Or if they do, teamwork is usually pretty scarce. I like teamwork. If there was more of it in BGs I would enjoy them a lot more. Thats why I like the idea of making a BG team.. it sounds awesome and maybe.. just maybe.. it will turn my view of WoW PvP around.

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Healer C-c-c-combos!

June 11, 2010

Blizzard released previews of the Cataclysm talent changes for a few classes yesterday. I haven’t gone over any of the trees in-depth too much so far except the Druid and Priest healing trees. It seems to me like healers may actually have something resembling a rotation. Some of the new talents they’ve added or changed give you certain stackable buffs after using a certain spell or spell type, and both classes have a way to “release” stored up power.

To me, it appears that they are trying to make healing more about choice and less about spam.. which is a great thing. What remains to be seen is if these abilities are/will be tuned correctly in order to make them worth using over spam tactics.

With the talks of inflated HP numbers across the board for players in Cata.. maybe healers will have more thinking to do and less “Oh crap heal, heal, heal”

I am pleased so far. The new expansion excitement continues!

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Let’s move along now, shall we?

June 10, 2010

Over the past few years, how many AAA MMO titles have we seen get hyped up, release, and shed 50%+ of its population within the first few months? 3? 5? I’m sure there is more to come as well.

I think first it started off as everyone trying to tackle Blizzard, or at least get a chunk of their cake. Games like LotRO, and WAR that were marketed by the eagerly waiting players as “the next WoW killer.”

After that I think companies started backing down to the almighty Blizzard, and decided to not shoot for 10 million subscriptions and would be happy to settle with 1 million. But even that didn’t seem to help, with games like Aion, Champions Online, and Star Trek Online.. all of which have pretty much bombed almost into the “life support” category. (In Aion’s case.. in the US/EU)

So what does a company who wants to design a AAA MMO title have to do to have a successful launch and retain it’s players after the initial flood?

There is a few things I can think of. I’m not too familiar with the development process on the inside of a studio, things like Publisher pressure and deadlines can really screw up an MMO. But that’s about all I really know about what goes on internally. To possibly gain a bit more insight I’ve emailed Brian “Psychochild” Green, online game designer and blogger and asked him to chime in on this post if he has anything to add.

Back to what I think Dev studios could do in order to make the Dev process, testing, launch and post-launch go smoother.

Shrink it!

Most AAA MMO titles feature a large world. Multiple continents, large zones and etcetera. But why does it have to start out large? Maybe the bigger companies can learn a lesson from the indie F2P developers and make your world smaller at first, but have speedy development rotations on adding new content. We all want a bigger world sure, but.. would you rather have a huge world with all sorts of problems in it, or a smaller world with drastically less problems, evolving into a bigger world with time. Vanguard is a great example of what not to do here. The world was beautiful, and enormous. And empty. Not just void of players, but even the wilderness didn’t feel very wild.

Along with shrinking your world, I never quite understood why these MMO’s ship with 15+ servers. Big worlds and tons of servers are great if you’re Blizzard. But not if you’re anybody else. The dreaded server merge announcements that we see doesn’t mean that the game is dying exactly, but anytime one is announced the doomsayers come out of their holes. Usually server merging is a sign of a slowly dying MMO, or at least one that isn’t going to be picking up steam.

So, how about trying something different for once. Start with the minimum amount of servers, and if your game grows, add more. The problem with that idea is usually launch is when you have the highest populations, thus needing the extra servers. My take on server merging is that it’s better done sooner rather than later. If you launch your game and see 500k subs the first month, but at the 3rd month mark you’re down to 400k, it might be time to start thinking about server merging. There is nothing worse than the post-launch exodus that is bound to happen, and then feeling like your left with an empty server. That’s just going to push more players away.

As your game gets older I think watching your servers is important, and knowing when to time server merges before the problem gets too bad. Take EQ2 for example. It does have a healthy population, though the majority of the community are at the top end of the game. EQ2 has had 2 rounds(or maybe just 1, I can’t recall) of server merges in the past, and in this guys opinion.. is well overdue for another. I’d go as far as to say EQ2 needs to drop down to about 8 servers total. 3 normal servers, 1 bazaar server, 1 pvp server, 2 EU servers (I don’t know what the EU population of EQ2 is like), and a RP server. If you’re starting fresh in EQ2 with no friends, it is a very, very silent and quiet game. Very lonely. Not good if you’re trying to attract new customers.

But if EVE online can have 1 server with its healthy subscriber base, why can’t other games? Yeah.. EVE is a special case because it fills a specific niche, but it’s still something to be thought about.

Target Audience?

I think it may be safe to say now that trying to market your MMO to every player type doesn’t work that well. Blizzard was able to pull it off I think because of their timing. Every MMO to come out since that’s tried this has not reached the goals they originally set for themselves and their game. I think if you build your game towards a certain niche of players and stay there, maybe adding on other features later on, you would end up with a smaller population, but a much more stable one. EVE Online does this pretty well as do a few other niche titles.

Are you trying to attract new-to-the-genre players? Harcores? Casuals? PvP, PvE? Social aspects?

Scale?

I never understood why the bigger MMO companies are drawn to making a game capable of supporting millions of people, only to have it flop after release for x reason. Instead of doing that why not set a lower target for your populations. How about 500k instead of 1 million?

I would think that once you set a goal for your customer base, it would make it must easier to design the rest of the game’s size, how many servers you’ll need, and what features you can or can’t use. Also, it would give your publisher a better idea. (Or maybe the publisher is the one who dictates what the target customer pool size will be *shrug*)

Deadlines

Now.. I’m fairly certain that deadlines are set by whoever is funding the project, which is usually the publisher. If publishers used their heads a little bit, and gave the Developer the time that they actually need, we would probably see less MMO’s fall into the sub-200k club.

Then you have the option of “self-publishing.” Which is what Cryptic studio’s original intent was. Looking back over the course of the development of Champions Online, things seemed to be going very well until Atari showed up. You would also have to have the money to back yourself. Not an easy thing to come up with hehe.

What’s worse is when something like that happens, it’s usually the Dev house that gets all the negative press, not so much the publisher. When I first played Champions Online, I was sorely disappointed. Nay. I was pissed. At Cryptic. Even though I knew the game shipped the way it did because Atari shoved it out their doors. Ok.. I don’t know that for a fact, but that’s what the speculation is.

The same thing happened to Vanguard. All was going well (so we think) up until Sony was announced to be the new publisher. Which was right around open beta if I remember right. Then all of a sudden, the game was on store shelves. Oh the cries of the fanboi’s (myself included)

What else could a AAA MMO company could do for itself to ensure the game’s success? Aside from the obvious answer of “make a good game”

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Telon, the last stand.

June 9, 2010

News coming in today that Vanguard, the long and slowly dying MMO from Sony, will be dropping from 3 to 1 server soon. It’s always sad to watch games slowly die, but this one has a special place in some people’s opinion.

I wont dive into the backstory of what was Vanguard, or how Brad McQuaid completely betrayed his fans and did the ONE thing he said he wouldn’t do. Sold to Sony, who then pushed the game out about 1 year before it should have been.

The game had so much potential, and really.. it still does. It’s a great game, it’s just empty and has a bit more of the hardcore aspects than a game like WoW would offer. has so much more depth than most other MMO’s.

What happened with that game was one of the big turning points in me losing faith in MMO development. It’s not the game designers fault, or the programmer.. it’s the suits. The CEO’s. Continually they push out shoddy products and loads of false advetisement. Some flat out lies. I understand that things happen over the course of making a game, and some things need to be cut but sometimes they go a little too far.

So, here’s to you Vanguard. Enjoy your final days as 1 server. So much potential in a game, a team, and a community… and Sony let’s it rot away into nothing.

/sadpanda

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How to Holy

June 9, 2010

So you wanna be a healer? If this is your first time playing a healer type, know that it can get pretty stressful. Often times in a raid when the tank screws up.. people tend to just shrug it off and continue. DPS is always laying on the floor so no point in talking about them. Healers, the thankless job. Being a Healer in many MMO’s I’ve played is one of those “Puts in a ton of work for little recognition.” In WoW Tanks get recognition when they do their jobs well because they are in the spotlight. DPS gets recognition based on DPS scores (bonus epeen too) Healers however have a lot riding on their shoulders, but nobody (except other healers, and maybe raid leaders) is paying attention to your performance. You have one task. Keep people alive. If the raid wipes and it wasn’t an obvious reason, 9 times outta 10 the raid leader will be saying “Healers gotta step it up” even though we’re all probably mashing the crap out of our keyboards already.

A great Healer though can stand out and get recognition, but it takes time to prove your worth to your guild. I was Holy in BC and Wrath up to TotC. When we were pushing through Naxx at level 80 nearly 2 years ago, we weren’t having much troubles. Not many guilds were lol. Half the time in raid I would either be meleeing or tabbed out reading something else. There was just nothing for me to heal, and I’m not a fan of overhealing… it’s a waste.

So as time went on I got more and more bored, and started chain pulling for the tanks. The raid leader hated it at first, but once he understood that I was trying to get us to move faster he let me go. I knew what I was doing. What does that have to do with healing? Nothing. But, it showed my Raid leaders that I (and we, as a guild) are capable of more. After time building a relationship and trust with my tanks and leadership, I was able to convince them to let us try more tricky setups and strats.

I convinced them to let me solo-heal. All of our other healers went DPS and we started charging through the wings. We cleared all 3 wings, only leaving Military. The only fight I needed help from another healer on was Loatheb. It was that day I knew that I was a skilled healer. Yeah, cool story bro, what’s this got to do with being a Holydin?

The point I’m trying to make is that a good healer will always try to push his or her raid to use the least amount of healers possible. Maximize the DPS, and run your raid as efficiently and quickly as possible. In order to do this, you have to build trust with your leadership. We don’t always need 5 healers for 25′s.. as you progress you should (In my opinion) try to cut down on the amount of healers, and increase your amount of DPS classes.

Now that my little epeen introduction is complete, we can continue with the actual guide. Just as with my guide to Retribution, I’m not going to go into serious detail for two reasons. EJ’s already got all the info you need, and 4.0 is going to change a lot of the content in this guide. So I will give a link, and then just chime in with a few of my own words of wisdom.

Holy Paladin Thread for 3.3 curteousy of Elitist Jerks

First and foremost, there is two different ways to play a Holy Paladin. You have your Holy Light builds or your Flash of Light builds. They are equal in ability, but vary in play style is all. The FoL build concentrates on inflating Spellpower as high as possible and typically assigned to raid healing w/ Beacon on the tank.

The Holy Light build is for a Tank healing position. Though you can still raid heal with HL build, it’s less efficient than an FoL build. Chances are also that if you’re an FoL build, you wont have the HPS required to keep a tank alive. So your first decision should be what position you’ll be taking in your raids.

Stats

These are going to change based off of the build you choose. Priorities are pretty simple though:

HL Build – INT>INT>INT>Haste to cap>Crit.. you won’t be needing Mp5, so avoid it as best as you can. Gem for INT, strictly, unless it’s to nab a socket bonus of 4 int or higher, then you should use int + haste or int + crit gems, depending on what you need. You’ll get all the spellpower you need just by picking up gear.

FoL Build – SP>Haste>Mp5>INT>Crit. You want to stack as much SP as you can possibly get. Stack haste until AT LEAST your FoL’s are down to 1.0 second cast times. Rely on MP5 vs. large mana pool due to the efficiency of FoL.

A few things to clear up about the builds before we continue. Whichever build you choose, that is pretty much going to be your primary spell. Either way your going to be spamming 1 spell for the most part. It’s just up to you which spell you like to use more. If you’re the only Holy Paladin in your raid group, avoid the FoL build. Holy Paladins are arguably the strongest Tank healer in the game and should be a priority over a FoL Pally until you have one.

Abilities

Sacred Shield – Keep it on the tank you’re assigned to. When you see the shield proc try to throw a FoL at the tank with the shield to get the HoT rolling on him. This goes for both builds. FoL build just toss a quick one to the tank, HL build is a bit trickier. If you’re in complete spam HL mode, it will be hard to fit in a FoL to get the HoT up on the tank. Luckily for you the HoT wont matter that much compared to your raw HPS from HL spam. Still, if you find a opprotunity, take it.

Beacon of Light – When they introduced this spell with 3.0, it was a godsend. It’s one of the coolest parts about being a Holy Paladin and in my opinion is still largely overpowered. You can frikken heal 2 people at once! Overheal transfers as well. This is also why Holy Paladins make the best tank healers. Beacon the main tank, who will be taking the most damage, and HL spam the OT/Raid. Even if they aren’t taking any damage.

There are so many different and interesting things to do with this ability. It can transfer healing without Line of Sight. Meaning you can Beacon the tank and hide behind a corner and heal yourself while still keeping the tank plenty alive.

Or in a situation where things go wrong you can mix it up a bit. Beacon yourself and spam the tank/other party members. I’ve survived numerous almost wipes in 5 man dungeons (and some 10 mans) with just myself and the tank left standing because I was able to throw up Conc. Aura and just spam HL bombs on both of us at the same time. Another example is Faction Champions. I like to put my Beacon on a Resto druid during that fight because it always seems that that pesky Rogue is going after my trees.

It also works great while levelling if you like to have a partner around. Enough of Bacon though. Great ability, learn to use it smart!

Judgements of the Pure – You best be keeping this buff up on yourself, it’s a HUGE haste increase. You want to be judging Light, regardless of what build you are due to JoL proc heals scaling with Divinity.

Divine Plea – Another game changing ability we got with 3.0. Regens mana, scales off of INT. Decreases healing, so make sure you either use it during a pause in the fight, or use it in conjunction with Avenging Wrath to negate the healing debuff.

Holy Shock – Still pretty crappy. Good in a pinch because it’s instant, but it’s not efficient and doesn’t heal for very much more than a FoL. It’s great for 5 mans though, using the “Shock + Infusion” combo you can pretty much get through the dungeon just using that. Depending on your tank.

Divine Illumination – Yes, use it. As much as possible. Don’t wait to use it either, it can usually be used multiple times during a boss fight. Be weary of using it while tanks, or other healers are using their defensive cooldowns as it would be wasteful. Time it for when you’re going to be spamming for its duration.

Aura Mastery – 1 point for this talent? Yes. It does make a large difference too. It’s a defensive heroism. Pump up a tank’s armor, or the entire raids resists! Plenty of places to use this. Make sure if there is any other Holy pallies you coordinate.

Divine Sacrifice – Typically this will be taken by only Holy Paladins since it’s been changed so much from its original use. Not nearly as good as it used to be, but still a powerful ability. It should be fairly obvious when you should use it.

Seals – This is mostly a personal choice as it depends on which Glyph you choose. 5% increased healing with SoL glyph, or 5% mana reduction with SoW glyph. I think the SoW glyph is the best option due to being able to whack bosses with my stick and have infinite mana. There are quite a few fights where Paladins have infinite mana and most people don’t even realize it. Just a few.. Gluth, XT, Icehowl, Jaraxxus, Anub.. the list goes on. Pretty much if you can hit the boss a few times in between heals, it’s impossible for you to run out of mana. Always judge Light though.

Divine Favor – It’s a free crit, good to use in a pinch but, meh. If you’re a HL build, chances are you’re going to have pretty high crit ratings as is. I don’t keep this one on my bars, I feel it’s a practically worthless ability when you’re at 50%+ crit rating already, and spamming spells.

Gear

Short and sweet. The only Libram you will ever need is the Libram of Renewal. Yes, the T7 Libram. Best in the game by far. Get some good trinkets too.

Addons (Specific to Holy mostly)

Class Timers – For monitoring Beacon/Sacred Shields. There is a Paladin specific addon out there that does the same thing, but the reason I choose Class Timers is that it’s not specific to Paladins and it’s very minimalistic and customizable.

Grid + Clique – Before I started using Clique I thought my healing was fine. Then I started using it with Pitbull Unit Frames. I liked that a lot and it made me way more efficient and faster to react. Now I use Grid + Clique because Grid has a lot of different Plugins to show you a myriad of information. But Clique is the real key to healing success. It doesn’t matter which Raid Frames you choose.

A few examples from my Clique binds:

Left click – FoL, Shift+LClick - HS, Alt+LClick - HL, Shift+Rclick - Cleanse. I could go on, but I have nearly all of my abilities bound to mouse clicks as I like a minimalist UI, I only have 1 bar of abilities. The rest is hidden-keybinds or bound via Clique.

PowerAuras – This one isn’t as needed as the others are, but still handy to have. You can set up aura’s to follow Beacon, Sacred shield.. trinket procs, JotP.. anything.

PallyPower – A Paladin without this addon is just a DK in disguise.

General Tips

- Currently, no matter what healer you play, it’s just like a game of whack-a-mole. Health bars go down, you fill em up. The default interface doesn’t give you the proper tools to handle the load put on healers, so you have to be sure to make use of the tools available to you via addons.

- Try to train your eyes to watch the raid frames with your peripheral vision and keep your main focus on the other important aspects of the fight. This takes time and good UI positioning. Try to put your raid frames in the center of your screen, towards the bottom, or top.. whichever is easiest on your eyes. Practice on not looking directly at the raid frames. This will keep your eyes available to dodge things like fire on the floor, or malleable goo’s.

- If it’s time to move, it’s time to move. Remember that. If you’re mid-cast on a big heal that a tank needs, and a fire spawns beneath you, you have to make the choice and make it quick. You have to use your judgement on whether or not to finish the cast and move, or just move. BIG TIP: This goes for everyone. If a fire or some such spawns underneath you, DO NOT JUMP OUT OF IT. Just run out of it. The reason for this is the servers don’t register that you’ve left the fire until your feet hit the ground. Which means you could take an extra 1 or 2 ticks of fire.

That’s about that. I’m sure I’m missing a few things, or possibly have got a few things wrong seeing as I haven’t been main spec Holy since late Ulduar. So, I urge you to refer to the EJ thread if you have any other questions.

I will do a full re-write of this guide once we have more solid information on Cataclysm.

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