On Friday nights my guild often holds a 10-man Naxx run under the banner of "gear the less geared." The people who go to these raids are a mix of well-geared guildies who are helping to gear the less geared, and the less geared themselves, who are primarily friends and family who aren't raiders or have difficulty making the usual raid schedule.
Most of these people are dps-specced, and since I recently hit 80 on my paladin I was asked to help heal. Being a dutiful guildie I read up on every fight to see what I needed to know as a healer that I didn't learn as dps, and I found that there wasn't much in the way of healing-oriented guides, let alone anything paladin-specific, and thus the birth of this five part series.
My paladin's starter stats? About 1400 spell power and 12% crit unbuffed.
Prior heroic healing experience? Gundrak, Drak'Tharon, and Nexus.
Undergeared? Probably, but gear matters less if you and your raid know what you're doing.
First things first: Work out blessing, aura, and judgement assignments with the other paladins (if there are any). Auras are usually easy to arrange, and the PallyPower mod is fantastic for blessings. Even if other mods such as Healbot let you manage your blessings, PallyPower allows the raid leader to assign blessings for everyone, and that alone is quite helpful. Arranging judgements is probably the last thing paladins talk about, but if you have multiple paladins as I did then this is important.
Ret paladins should judge Light since it scales better with attack power. If there is no ret, then prot, then holy, should do it. The second paladin should judge Wisdom, which is not reliant on any stat. The holy paladin should judge Justice if there are already two melee (ret or prot) paladins judging, the reason being that they will regularly be keeping up their judgements, whereas a holy paladin will not, and as a holy paladin we don't want to risk overwriting a stronger Judgement of Light or a prot paladin's Judgements of the Just.
With multiple holy paladins, it's important to work out Beacon assignments since duplicate Beacons of Light will not stack. Worse, they overwrite each other and no one wants to negate a heal that was intended for the Beacon! Fortunately I did not have to worry about this my first night out.
As a final note, some guilds are big on healing assignments. Mine is not (unless we're looking at something like Sarth 3D). If your guild uses healing assignments, it's best to follow them, but otherwise use your judgement. Just because paladins are excellent tank healers doesn't mean we can't heal anyone else.
Most guilds start in the Arachnid Quarter. It's commonly considered the easiest and this seems warranted because it's the only wing of the instance that doesn't drop a piece of T7. The trash consists mostly spiders that can easily be killed by AoE with little danger to the raid.
Anub'Rekhan is a big ugly crypt lord who likes to welcome people to his parlor. This is a two tank fight since one tank will be on the boss and the other will be on the adds.
During the first phase of the fight it's pretty close to tank and spank. An add will occasionally come out and have to be off-tanked and then killed by the dps, but as far as healing is concerned, it's primarily the tanks and anyone hit by Impale that we have to worry about. Impale will hit everyone in its path, so it's a good idea to warn the raid to spread out.
In phase 2 Anub'Rekhan will cast Locust Swarm and what the tank will generally do is kite him in a circle around the room to avoid it. We like to pair the tank with a hunter with Aspect of the Pack turned on for this, but it's not a requirement and depending on tank and hunter skill this could be disasterous if either of them get dazed. As a healer it is important to stay away from Anub'Rekhan while he's being kited because Locust Swarm will also silence anyone within 30 yards of him.
As a holy paladin it sucks having to move in the middle of a fight, but that's what Holy Shock is for. If it's off cooldown and you have to move, feel free to use it. Try to say in the middle of the room, slightly away from him, to avoid the swarm.
I Beaconed the tank for this fight and threw Flash of Lights with the occasional Holy Shock on the rest of the raid, only directly healing the tank if he needed a heal immediately or if there was no one else with enough of a heal defecit to be worth healing at the moment. (This was done to maximize the usefulness of Beacon of Light.) With three healers there wasn't much of a need for Holy Light so I rarely used it. With two healers I probably would have used it more often.
Grand Widow Faerlina
This fight is a lot less complicated on 10-man because there are fewer adds and there is no need to mind control any of them. For 10-man this is a two tank fight, again with one tank on the boss and another on the adds.
As a healer the primary things to watch out for are people standing in the Rain of Fire, including yourself, because it inevitable that it will happen at some point, and also the Poison Bolt Volley, which will poison three members of the raid. If you have a shaman with poison cleansing totem available this makes the fight much easier. Otherwise, cleanse the old-fashioned way.
I Beaconed the main tank again and splashed FoL and the occasional HS on the rest of the raid. A good 45% of my healing done ended up going to the main tank, but 25% of my healing done was through Beacon of Light. That's a good portion of healing the tank through healing someone else! After the main tank I healed the OT the most with the raid of the raid coming out about equal.
This spider is not friendly to paladin healers due to her Web Spray ability which incapacitates the entire raid for 6 seconds. Fortunately, she uses this on a timer and if you have Deadly Boss Mods up it will tell you when she is about to cast it.
Maexxna is a one tank fight, though it's good to have a second tank available to pick her up should the main tank die during an enrage. During my guild's early progression runs we once ran through three tanks due to enrage and a lack of healers with hots.
So...! Things to watch out for:
Every 40 seconds she does Web Spray, so it's important to keep the tank topped up.
In addition to that she does a Web Wrap also on a 40 second timer (but staggered with Web Spray, so every 20 seconds you will get one or the other) which will fling a raid member against the wall and cause damage to them until they are freed.
We typically assign two dps to web duty on 10-mans (three on 25) and they are responsible for freeing the webbed people. If they are doing their job the trapped people should come back to the rest of the raid a little injured, but otherwise alive. There should be no reason you need to run with the web duty dps to heal someone the instant they come out of the Web Wrap.
Maexxna also will periodically spawn spiders. They can be killed by AoE relatively easily, and if you have Concentration Aura up you shouldn't notice any pushback as a paladin, but they're annoying for a different reason. Maexxna and her spider spawn can inflict a Necrotic Poison effect that must be cleansed because it reduces healing by a whopping 90%! So make sure that anyone with an AoE is getting rid of the little bastards as soon as possible.
At 30% health Maexxna will enrage. If possible, my raid usually holds back dps at around 35% (to give a buffer for dots to wear off) and allow her to do one more Web Spray. Then once everyone is free, we burn all cooldowns and try to finish her off before another Web Spray can go off. If Maexxna is enraged and there are no hots on the tank during the 6 seconds of Web Spray there is a good chance the tank will die and we want to minimize the chance of that happening.
Being paladins, we have no hots, so if our tank must eat a Web Spray, there's still one thing we can do: Hand of Sacrifice.
I used this for Maexxna's final Web Spray to eat some of the damage being done. This was not particularly necessary since we had a resto druid in our raid, but I figured it would be good practice since we do not usually have one. On 25-mans we've managed to save tanks by doing this.
For this fight I Beacon the tank and largely raid heal unless the tank specifically needs it.
Healing 10-man Naxx Overview - Part 2 - Plague Quarter
Healing 10-man Naxx Overview - Part 3 - Military Quarter
Healing 10-man Naxx Overview - Part 4 - Construct Quarter
Healing 10-man Naxx Overview - Part 5 - Sapphiron and Kel'Thuzad