No new changes for holy pallies this last build.
As per usual, doing LFR is a huge pain in the tush. I personally had really no idea what I was doing, where I was going and pretty much just followed the trend of something’s under you, move out of it and don’t stand near the tank and it pretty much kept me alive through the whole thing. Between keeping myself alive and playing with terrible add-ons I was able to do a few hours of PTR testing (did bosses 1 and 2). If you want to do your own testing first and foremost, I’d advise copying over at least your basic raid addons. Lastly, make sure you copy you macros over (hopefully you’re using mouseover macros or something similar). There are several possible builds I wanted to try out varying the amount of either mastery or haste mostly with the Selfless Healer talent. Here are some I thought would be interesting to try out. I only ended up really trying the third point.
Gearing Strategy -> Talents
- Full Int/Spirit, Secondary Mastery -> EF, SS: Typical 10-man build currently with EF. Would be interested in trying this gearing strategy out with SS as well. Feel like this strategy doesn’t meld well with SH though, would probably drop spirit if going SH.
- Full Mastery (Only Gemming/Enchants) -> SH, SS: Current 25-man gearing strategy. Don’t think this gearing strategy works well with EF as full on mastery doesn’t benefit use of EF. Would however consider trying this with SH or SS as those don’t require as much spirit.
- Balanced Haste/Mastery (Reforge out of spirit) -> SH, SS: I’m hesitant to say this but personally I believe at least some haste gearing is required for SH to be truly viable. Otherwise, we would be forced to cast more HRs to keep our HP generation up. This means less LoDs and more uses of a weakly buffed HR. Casting more HRs also doesn’t work with this gearing strategy of low spirit as you will quickly run out. I was especially interested in trying this build out with SH.
- Full Int/Spirit, Secondary Haste -> SH, SS: Not really optimistic of this one but worth giving it a shot.
Balanced Haste/Mastery (Reforge out of Spirit)
Disclaimer: I want to say something because I hate interpreting results from an incorrectly performed testing method. I haven’t fully tried out the build in every way that I would like. It’s possible that there are talents which I could’ve taken which would’ve made it better. Also I wasn’t used to the play and played sub-optimally which further decreased my numbers.
The idea of this strategy is to not use your HR without at least one stack of SH. It’s not to wait for 3 stacks of SH to use HR. You still want to try to get LoD off at 3 HP. This means always using Judgement before HR (which as you can imagine provides a crutch). To build 3 HP you would go:
- HS + J + HR(1) + LoD
- J + HS + HR(1) + LoD
- J + HR(1) + HS + LoD
With my shoddy enchanting gemming, in the 496 scaled gear I was a little above 30% of each (haste/mastery) with 6.1K spirit. For the major healing talents I chose to use Selfless Healer, Holy Avenger, and Light’s Hammer/Holy Prism depending on fight.
The first boss in SoO is this giant black water elemental sitting in the middle of a giant room. This room is probably similar in size or larger than the Will of the Emperor room in Mogu’shan Vaults. I think the art and everything looks pretty cool, the only visual or mechanics related issue I found was that the boss’s hitbox is humongous and the red circle on the ground when targeting him is entirely distracting and makes seeing things on the ground very difficult. This fight is kind of similar to a fight like Viscidus where he progressively loses power or size as you take away more and more of his health. Periodically when he “dies” he splits up into several globules which shoot out in an arc to the edges of the room which then progressively move towards the center and then combine to form the boss again. For the phase where he’s in the middle of the room, the only things I noticed were tons of circle things on the ground and pillars of smoke which moved around the room. Avoid these since you will either get damaged or punted in the air. I think he will also do this breath in a circle around the room which I basically just stood through and didn’t notice a whole lot of damage taken. I believe he also dos a frontal cone spell which means you can’t sit next to the tank as usual. I don’t think there was much more to this. After he “dies” and splits into the globs which move towards the center, there are two different types of globs. One type is a dark blue globule which needs to be killed and one type is a light blue glob which needs to be healed to full. When these globs reach the center, depending on how much damage they have been dealt or healed, they will explode for a certain amount of damage. You can see what kind of globes they are when they shoot out towards the edges so you can be in position when they land. The idea isn’t really that hard at all. They can also be movement impared or CCed. After a few phases of this he just dies. Overall the fight doesn’t seem too hard once you know what to do. After the first time he “dies” the globs moving back to the center cause him to reform again and he loses 20% of some type of power bar. After 4 such intermission phases and 5 phases of him being alive, he dies.
Healing on this boss is weird because everyone is spread out. The holy prism’s radius so enormous because of his hitbox and pretty much will hit anyone no matter where they are and it’s really epic seeing the beams shooting out to everywhere. Even in 25 man, you rarely have two people within 8 or 10 yards of each other. It might be possible and probably more intelligent to stand in one quadrant and move to the right or left as a group to keep the circles on the ground in one place. With our current healing toolkit, it would be fairly easy to keep the EFs rolling on at least a few people however with the SH playstyle, I was just constantly using my HS and Judgement on cooldown and using LoD wherever I could since the radius on that is still decent. More so because I think with the buff to LoD and nerf to EF it made LoD much stronger. In fact for pretty much the whole time I would just use LoD instead of EF. Eventually I looked at the dungeon notes which was where I found out about the healing globs and began to watch for the lighter blue adds flying in the air and being ready to heal them and we finally killed it. Definitely choose Holy Prism for this fight. Holy Avenger or Divine Purpose, not as important which one but personally go for Divine Purpose since I don’t see any periods for a lot of quick healing depending on how many globs I’ll have to heal. As per usual the SH playstyle felt really weird to be spending one GCD every 4-5 seconds on no healing just generating holy power. I was healing with another holy paladin on this fight and I noticed his healing breakdown was essentially 40% LoD, 40% IH and the rest was our usual random stuff and that he was healing more than I was pretty significantly. After following more closely to the healing rotation I was eventually able to keep up with him. The shaman in our group was just insane.
So I never successfully killed this boss because apparently people don’t understand what “they all need to die around the same time means” (one at 80%, the other near 0%) but it still seemed like a fun fight. I think this is kind of akin to the Council fight in ToT or Spirit Kings where each Protector has some special ability during a certain phase depending on how much life they have. It will definitely be interesting to learn. Two main things to prevent death is 1, if you get a red circle around you, stack up with other people, it’s kind of like a static shock mechanic. The second is during certain parts of the fight, the whole floor except for the center of the room will light up with this black smokey thing which does damage. Everyone needs to run to the center of the area and stand inside the bubble to prevent damage or something like that. Also, one of the male pandas (maybe Softfoot?) does a frontal cone damage which was a whole lot of fun having people stacked in the dome and the tank pointing him at the raid. Whole fight seems super chaotic but looks fun. It’s also outside!
The damage on this fight is mostly I believe AOE while there are a few more heavy hitting damage abilities. I saw a lot of DoTs on people so you’ll have to deal with that, and the black swirly cloud phase will need to be dealt with AOE stacked healing (which shamans are currently leaving everyone else out in the dust for). I was just targeting one person the whole time and going through my rotation. Not sure what’s better for this fight but I was using primarily LoD with SH. I don’t see a clear benefit to taking SS over SH. Probably use Light’s Hammer for this fight as there are periods of long duration raid damage. On the longer attempts I was in the top but generally I’d take rankings in LFR with a huge block of salt.
General thoughts so far about holy paladin 5.4 PTR changes…
Just to get a general hopefully unbiased by my own comments opinion, please answer the following:
I got decent numbers on my healing after I reforged out of spirit to pure mastery and haste but I’m not convinced the changes made us better healers. The SH rotation is new and flashy and exciting and everything, but it’s revamping the whole style of healing we’ve used up to this point. It’s something we need to tinker around with and get used to before determining what the best way to utilize it is and whether it’s better than what we’re doing currently. I am really tired of seeing everywhere people complaining about the changes, saying nothing’s gonna happen or just in general insulting the people at Blizzard for doing a horrible job at everything. Lets state that the changes are terrible and leave it at that, act like professional adults and don’t turn your discontent at a game into personal attacks. It’s not worth it and quite frankly you just paint yourself in a bad light.
I dislike the mechanics changes just as much as the next person but do I think they don’t care about our class as a whole? Absolutely not.
Do I think they may be misguided in some of their choices for changes? Absolutely, but do I think that I’m slightly biased and that they’ve got the whole game in consideration rather than just one class? Yes.
But enough ranting (ironic I know). Things like the comment today from Lore are troubling to me. The whole holy paladin forum at MMO is up in flames amount how the changes are poor. Paladins on the Blizzard forums are stating (albeit in a more civilized manner) that they don’t think the changes will make up for the EF nerf, etc. etc. Sure, the changes allow us to keep up with our current self but what about all the changes in 5.4 to other healing classes that boosted their healing? From what kind of evidence did they draw the conclusion that the mechanics are fine or is it just a personal preference? The whole post just kind of left me in the dark, as if I didn’t know what was going on or couldn’t see the whole picture. I’m not a great player (hell I boosted my paladin to 80 with the Scroll and have only raided since MoP) but I’d like to think I know the basics mechanics of playing a paladin and that I have the sufficient mental capability to draw out logical predictions about changes.
I personally disagree with the statement he posted for several reasons. I think the Judgement change is a crutch because casting Judgement 1, requires absolutely no thinking (just hit something) and 2, doesn’t provide any healing the instant it’s cast. I’ve already talked about in previous posts about how the Selfless Healer change is fundamentally a mana-regen boost and doesn’t provide any more healing than our current set-up. Does Blizzard really like the healing rotation of thoughtful spell – mindless spell – semi-mindless spell – mindless finisher? That doesn’t really seem fun to me at least to me. I agree that Illuminated Healing on Eternal Flame was getting ridiculous but at least it requires some thought as to which targets to put it on (hello discipline priests?). Nerfing the scaling of mastery or implementing some mastery proc only on effective healing would both have been easier changes to comprehend and possibly implement. I am also of the mind that paladins in a 25-man state are performing poorly. Every other class now has a 12-target spell and I can remind Blizzard of their mistake in introducing EF in the first place (gave it, it was too powerful, regretted it for a whole 4 patches before nerfing it). Well now that they’ve done that, they should at least give something similar to a classes who has almost no spread healing utility after 5.4. Not to mention that Paladin spells other than EF are terrible at spread healing spells in the first place (okay not talking to you holy prism).
Unlike restoration shamans who have great raid cooldowns despite low HPS this patch, holy paladins don’t have anything really specific to their class role which benefits the raid more than other heals. The thing we had going for us was Illuminated Healing and shield stacking. The other thing we had going for us in 5.3 was the fact that some bosses had certain mechanics which could be bypassed using Hand spells. It’s silly to think that this would be the reason to bring paladins. Boss mechanics change, our healing mechanics don’t. The cooldown changes such as sacrifice are cool but they are things other classes also have some form of, with less of a penalty to using it (ever tried saccing someone on H Dark Animus?).
The root problem to all of this is that fixing the problem of taking away IH is hard. I think that the team has put a lot of thought and probably had numerous ways to change the class to compensate it, some of which were too weak and some too strong. I understand that looking at the meters is not a good way of gauging how good someone is but for some classes (like paladins) they are more accurate. We don’t have mana return cooldowns or really nice damage reduction cooldowns that we could use which wouldn’t show up on the meters. Furthermore, increasing our healing spells from a numbers standpoint is not going to fix our mindless play and make the class fun. Fixing numbers is not going to make us better healers than absorb classes or classes with HoTs which don’t require a ramp-up time. Fixing numbers it not going to give us a healing niche.
On the bright side, to try to understand fully the changes in place which is something as mentioned, the devs have been working on for weeks, is hard to do in just a few PTR tests. I’m optimistic in trying to get the mechanics changes to work if indeed they are the final form and the devs are happy with it. I can live with it whereas other may not be able to. The first few weeks are going to be rough because 80% of the people who try something new and have bad results attribute it to the fault of what they tried and rather than themselves but my hope is if there is indeed something drastically wrong with the playstyle (which I think there will be), a mechanics rather than numbers-based change will be in store. I think a large number of the people like the PTR changes because they’re new, not because they work.
The question which hasn’t been answered throughout is what is the idea behind the design of the paladin changes. Blizzard seems to have concrete goals behind other heal changes in the form of what they want certain classes to excel at. But what is that goal for holy paladins? What is the idea behind the change to selfless healing and having judgement give holy power but not actually heal the raid? Does it make sense for the spell to be part of our healing rotation and not do healing immediately? Does it make sense for the healing rotation at all that is necessary upon taking selfless healer? Do they think eternal flame will live up to the other talents in the tier if it doesn’t apply the illuminated healing shield? What is the gearing strategy that they have in mind to work best with SH or SS and does it make sense for a healing class which relies heavily on spirit prioritize haste for instant class spells and not cast-time spells?
The comments today indicated that there will be no more changes to the current mechanics and simply numbers changes will be in place. They can obviously come out with whatever kind of numbers to balance the healing and as long as our numbers are similar to other classes, we might complain less. The fundamental problem is that if our class has mechanics problems (which I think we do) buffing the numbers is not going to increase HPS and only overhealing. Unfortunately we’ll probably go live with something similar to our current state and will just have to find a way to make it work for the first few weeks. Every healer is bound to take a lower spot on the totem pole at some time or another. If you feel that since your class got nerfed and now you’re not longer performing as well as other healers and that in itself makes you want to quit the game then you can do so without making a scene about it.
This is the main source of concern though. I raid in a really close knit group. There’s really no one who will replace me other than if I voluntarily take myself out if my class is bad. But the majority of guilds out there are random people who’ve come together and formed some kind of online bond so lets consider someone in one of these. In these guilds, their raid leaders will still replace classes who they think aren’t performing well. There are raid leaders who will still take people who play poorer classes because they’re more competent. In hard progression guilds though, everyone is competent. There’s no reason to bring a poorer performing class. They can ask you to leave really nicely and everything but at the end of the day, you’re still not raiding. But you love how your class works, you just think the numbers should be increase in certain places so you don’t decide to reroll. You get in on some of the bosses maybe and as expected you don’t do super well but it’s fine with you because you’re still playing something you love to play.
But the SH style of healing is not fun to play. It’s not fun to work your butt off to be last on the meters and have other classes wondering if you’re doing it right and at the same time provide little to no raid utility a retribution or protection paladin can. It’s not fun to not know what your class should excel at because you can’t tell from your spell toolkit.
Changes that fix these things needs to happen before the patch goes live not after.
But maybe I’m overreacting and not understanding the situation with my limited raid testing. Have you guys looked at the PTR? Have you found successful ways to play the class? What are you thoughts?