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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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One comment

  1. /sigh oooh the memories… I think good tanks realize when they have a good healer and when they don’t. I’ve had some whispers here and there (back in the day of course) when the tank and I pulled off some fancy damage control. So, if you have a good tank, he will appreciate you, if your good.. like me. =)



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