Tuesday, November 24, 2009

[Paladin] Finding a Brother in Heals

So I'm a guild leader these days. And we want to do ToGC. So when I recruit someone, I need to evaluate how they perform. As dps it's easy. Can they put out a minimum amount of dps while following instructions and not dying in fires. Both Recount and World of Logs tells me their output, and when and why they died early. Following instructions is a little harder to spot, except by watching them visually.

Even tanks aren't too bad. Health is one measure, but put in a simpler fashion, an undergeared tank leaves healers gasping to keep them alive. If the tank blows cooldowns and still gets pancaked either they're not geared enough or they're doing something wrong. (And of course, following instructions is good.)

Healers though… I have a harder time evaluating them. Recount/WoL is good for telling who is doing most of the healing, and between classes it might show who's slacking vs. who's not, but there are variables like what kind of damage is being thrown around. I don't know what good output for a resto druid or a disc priest, because I don't play those specs, but I know how to heal as a paladin.

There is also the matter that instructions (beyond don't stand in the fire) are more flexible for healers. If healer A is the tank healer, but dies, then healers B and C should start healing the tank even if that wasn't their original assignment. Also, for some fights tank healing is easy, and other fights raid healing is easy, so someone's performance looks skewed based on assignment or the particularities of their class (druid hots not having enough time to tick).

But for the first time since I started the guild, I've found a new healer that I have a lot of confidence in, and he's another paladin.

Last night we were short a healer for our ToGC attempts. We'd never downed heroic Northrend Beasts before, but I was pretty sure we could do it if we had a solid group. But our resto druid didn't show for some reason. So there was our disc priest, and the new paladin who just joined us this weekend.

I know some guilds can two-heal ToGC, but based on prior experience I doubted this would be possible for my guild. So I hopped on my holy pally and we brought in a mage.

The other pally and I worked out our beacons and tank assignments, and set to work. And though we wiped, and wiped, and wiped, something beautiful emerged.

Though the other paladin and I are specced differently (I went down prot for DG and he down ret for the extra crit), our spell breakdowns are almost identical; our percentage of total healing from each spell like looking into a mirror. This was a guy who played like me! And while it can be argued that I'm not the greatest paladin healer either, knowing that I now have another healer with output similar to mine and makes casting decisions similar to mine feels like an incredible relief.

I've joked about wishing I could clone myself so I could heal while dpsing. Now I feel like I have something even better (since the new pally is fully specced for PvE and my paladin is hybrid because I use his spec for both PvE and arena). I think we'll be in good shape with our new paladin, and it'll be fun to have someone to talk shop with.

I just can't get over how identical our performance was. I've raided with other holy paladins before, but never have I been matched so closely with one of them. It was a fabulous sense of synergy.

And aside from that, last night we managed our guild firsts of downing Heroic Northrend Beasts and Heroic Jaraxxus (woohoo!).

Friday, November 20, 2009

Raid Attunements - Are We Missing Something Without Them?

I was reading a post over at Big Bear Butt Blogger about how easy it is for people to enter raids these days and how he misses attunements. The remarkable thing was not the comment itself. Goodness knows there are plenty of people ready and willing to whine on the forums about how the unwashed (and ostensibly unqualified) masses are able to enter the highest level content if they so choose.

The remarkable thing is that the Big Bear Butt is a casual player, who raids on occasion but takes pains to make sure his readers are aware that his guild is not a raid guild by any stretch of the imagination. He is the kind of player most enabled by the removal of attunements.

Bear doesn't seem to miss attunements for purposes of elitism. He misses them because they told a story, of why we were doing what we did. Not everyone watches game trailers. I'm sure there are plenty of people who have no idea why they're going into Ulduar other than it was the raid that was released in 3.1. Whereas if there had been an attunement of sorts people would at least understand someone of the situation because there would have been a quest to go there.

I didn't raid in vanilla, but I'd heard about attunement, and was quite proud of having gotten attuned to MC. It was one of those just in case things. During TBC I eventually did the Onyxia attunement quest with an old school raiding group, and it was quite epic.

And of course I did the Kara key quest, twice, on both my druid and my pally. It wasn't really a pain, though I could see that being the case if someone really needed their alt ready to go now, but for a casual alt it was fine.

But I can see where the attunement mechanic broke down in TBC vs. vanilla. In vanilla not everything was attuned, and attunement difficulty varied. MC and BWL attunements were puggable, since they were in BRD and UBRS. AQ and ZG didn't have any. Naxx's attunement could even be solo-ed without ever stepping in an instance.

In TBC Kara was a bit of a run, but still 5-man material. The hard part was SSC/TK, and then MH and BT.

For SSC one had to beat both Nightbane in Kara (10-man raid) and Gruul (25-man raid). Like 25-man OS, people stopped going to Gruul once they didn't have to because it's a short raid without a lot of drops… that unfortunately requires a lot people; too many people for too little reward.

For TK one had to do a bunch of hard quests in SMV and then do several of the harder heroics, and TBC heroics were nothing like today's heroics. They were hard. I remember I was trying to ask some guildies if they would run heroic Sethekk with me so I could get my epic flight form, and they wouldn't even though we were in Kara at the time because heroic Sethekk was considered too hard. Heroic Sethekk was nothing compared to heroic Arc.

MH and BT required killing both the final bosses in SSC and TK, who were atrociously difficult (people still have their tainted core macros on my server… it was so bad even rank and file raiders made use of them). When the attunements were lifted guilds skipped past Vashj and Kael'thas to the T6 content and cleared a lot of it, because those two gatekeeper bosses were so hard in comparison to the fights that followed.

I admit there was something nice to knowing the Black Temple guilds from the still stuck in SSC guilds, you knew who was in a guild that got things done, and I think Bear misses that as well, but I only need to look at Ulduar to know what would have happened on my server if Tirion Fordring had only allowed guilds that had defeated Yogg to progress.

My server is not very advanced Horde-side. We do all right, but we've always been casual. Even our most advanced guild still considers itself more hardcore casual than hardcore period.

So when 3.2 landed it happened that out of the half dozen or so 25-man guilds that were at the end of Ulduar, only one of them had actually defeated Yogg. If Yogg had been part of a ToC attunement, very few people would have been enjoying the ToC loot piƱata. Of course we've had guilds go back and beat Yogg after 3.2 landed, but they were sporting their ToC gear.

With TBC-style attunement you couldn't go back to old content and beat it by outgearing it. You either beat it with what you had, you accepted that your guild would go no further, or you broke up and found another guild that you hoped would do better.

What would have happened to those five or so guilds that had stone-walled on Yogg? Maybe a couple of them would have eventually beaten it post-patch, but there's a good chance the rest would cease to try, either settling for being "casual" or breaking up entirely.

There was much flak given to guilds that had skipped into MH and BT, because they weren't doing it the "real" way, they didn't earn it, but in WotLK, guilds aren't put down for skipping Yogg for ToC. Almost every Horde guild on my server did it. And those guilds that might have broken up for lack of progress… didn't.

I find that I like the idea that the gating process is the gear. ToC still hits hard enough that it's a gear check. It's not necessarily hard in terms of execution, but needs a greater level of gear than Ulduar or Naxx, so the fresh 80 still has no place in it. This allows more people to see the content if they really want to.

But Bear has a point with the lack of story, the lack of epic-ness leading into the raid itself.

Icecrown is coming up and it's a huge point of lore. But will it have any quests to lay out the story, or will we just walk in there while Tirion Fordring gives a nice little VO that we end up not listening to because we're too busy discussing raid strats?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

[Paladin] Arthas, Tacos, and Murlocs, Oh My!

It feels like time for a light-hearted name for a topic after my last post and not writing anything for a while. I've been busy with work, busy recruiting for my guild, and busy with Dragon Age (why yes I play games other than WoW). But rather than talk about the busy stuff, let's talk about what Arthas, tacos, and murlocs have in common, mainly that they're a component of my new arena team's sense of humor.

I hadn't been trying very hard to find a 5v5 team. I probably should have, but I've never been very good at pimping myself out in Trade; "Holy pally looking for 5s team. Experience at 1750+." It just makes me feel desperate and a bit sleazy. "I'm so hard up I have to resort to Trade!"

A former guildie of mine decided to pull the trigger though and start up the 5s team he'd been talking about. It sounded like it would be mostly a just-for-fun team, as he wasn't talking comps, strats, or anything, but I said okay. My last fun team did well enough for my Challenger title after all, and it's more fun playing with friends than strangers.

We ended up with a DK, a hunter, a ret pally, a holy pally, and a priest. We were thinking this could be good. The priest raids as disc so we were having sweet snacky dreams of Penance and Pain Suppression. Three dps and two healers. All good.

First order of business was to choose a name. And as anyone who's ever made an arena team knows, choosing an arena team name can be srs bzns. The DK suggested Be Your True Wipe, as a play off our guild name of Be Your True Mind. We were at one point considering Arthas Took My Candle as a guild name, so the ret pally suggested something to do with Arthas. The DK came back with Eat My Taco, which morphed into Arthas Ate My Taco, and then Murloc Ate My Taco, to Arthas Ate My Murloc's Taco.

Yes, arena team names are never glamorous.

There were many permutations involving Arthas, tacos, and murlocs until finally we ended up with Arthas Ate My Taco, and only because Arthas Ate My Murloc's Taco was two letters too long (can't say we didn't try).

Then we stepped into the arena, and we got plastered.

No problem. New team, just getting the kinks worked out. Priest has got to get better at staying alive so I'm not solo healing.

Rounds 2 and 3 saw us getting wiped again. Priest keeps dying and I don't mean worn down. I mean insta-gibbed. I'd seen him PvPing in BGs while outside of raids, but when I finally looked at him he's the only team member who is primarily in PvE gear. His resilience is probably less than 100. Apparently he's just getting back into PvP and hadn't done it since TBC.

Well, it's a just-for-fun team, I figure. I'll deal.

It's then that our hunter whispered to me. He'd noticed in the last fight that the priest was in shadowform. Turns out that yep, his PvP spec is shadow. Somehow this hadn't come up while we were putting the team together. I'd been solo-healing this whole time. Not that being shadow instead of disc really would have changed that. He still gets gibbed right off the bat and I don't think it would have mattered what spec he was with the gear he had.

We manage a few wins, priest is dead at the end of every single match except for one, which he said he lived through because he never got off his mount (I didn't check whether or not he was joking). We're essentially 4-manning every win and I'm solo-healing the whole thing.

On the bright side, it's surprisingly not too bad being a solo-healer, even as a paladin. The rest of the team is pretty sturdy. The rest of us already have 2s and/or 3s teams and sport a decent amount of resilience. We didn't have too many matches where we totally got blitzed down, even when we ran into a 2000 rated team and our priest was predictably dead in the first five seconds. But there are more issues to work with as a solo healer on a 5v5 team.

First of all, it's harder to keep track of everyone. I have no backup. My team members have to be more aware of what they're doing when they run away from me to chase after someone else. The worst instance was in Blade's Edge where half the dps jumped off the bridge to chase and the other half did not or could not. I can't heal people underneath the bridge while I'm healing people on top of it.

So I did what any good healer should and brought it up between matches in vent. It's all part of getting the kinks out of the system. If people want to jump off they just need to be aware of what it's potentially costing them and to let me know so I understand where they've gone. I try not to fall into tunnel vision, but sometimes it's hard to stay situationally aware of the locations of four teammates, five opponents, and who I have LOS on, and if I get a LOS error message I want to know what I can do to correct it, or know if it can afford to be corrected under current circumstances.

I'm not sure this team will amount to anything, the priest definitely needs better gear no matter which spec he uses for PvP, and it might be interesting trying a 4 dps, 1 healer setup, but for now it's just for fun. Arthas, tacos, murlocs, and all that good stuff.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Incredibly Disappointed

This is a WoW guild leadership post. I don't normally do them, but I was… well… incredibly disappointed and I'm stuck at work where I can't talk to the guy who started it and I need an outlet before I end up verbally punching someone in the gut who might not realize he deserves it.

So… the backstory is that after the breakup of my 25-man guild, about a half dozen or so of us reformed as a 10-man with help from our ex-guildies and new recruits. Everyone who came from the old guild knew the terms. We would raid 10-mans only, no hope of our new guild ever becoming a 25-man. The underlying subtext was, don't come if you're not going to be happy with 10-mans.

At this time, there was a relatively new 80 who only went to maybe one or two 25-man runs before the old guild broke up. He was in blues, totally unsuited for Ulduar and ToC, and was only in the guild because he was a friend of another raider. He hadn't raided before, but he was interested in coming to the new guild. I wasn't sure what to make of him, but we needed people so I gave him a shot.

He worked hard on his gear, running 5-mans day and night (only a mild exaggeration), and was in tip-top shape for 10-man ToC so quickly that we didn't feel we were carrying him. He turned out to be a very enthusiastic raider who watched videos, read up on fights, and wasn't afraid to ask for help to improve his ability to play. He went from a nobody to one of our best dps, a fantastic backup tank, and the makings of backup raid leader. I had figured in a few more weeks I'd probably make that designation official.

Then on Tuesday night he confessed to me that he wanted something more. He had been running with a couple other guilds in their 25-man spots, which I knew about and had told him he could do, but even though he was going with them on a semi-regular basis, he was tired of being "benched" when their own guildies were online and able to go. He decided that he really liked the 25-man raids, so he wanted to go to another guild.

Of all our guildies, he's the one I'd be most forgiving of this. He was new to raiding when he joined us, so he hadn't done the 25-mans unlike the rest of us who actually retired from it. The rest of us have no intention of going back. Some of our newer recruits have even asked to be sure there was no intention of trying to scale up to 25s.

So I told him that I understood, and he said he didn't want to leave us in a lurch so he hadn't applied to anyone yet, but he thought we were in pretty good shape now. I begged to differ, since we're still in active recruitment even two months after we started (need healers) and we even had to pug a couple people on Monday because we couldn't cover the expected absences of two guildies on vacation when a couple other people were unexpectedly absent as well. I told him that and asked him to wait so we could see what things looked like on Saturday once our vacationers came back.

I also thanked him for talking to me rather than just /gquitting and he said he something to the affect of not wanting to do that since he considered this to have been his first real guild. He said if we were ever short-handed after he left he'd be happy to fill in, and that was fine. I have no trouble keeping friendships with ex-guildies who leave in a classy way and it seemed like he was going to do that.

Fast forward to this morning (less than 48 hours later). I went to our guild forums and found a good-bye message from someone else, a friend of this guildie. The friend was quitting because the guildie who I had talked to had already left the guild and the friend didn't see a reason to stay around. Now, what gets me is that the friend, who is a non-raider, bothered to stop by and leave a good-bye message and the guildie did not. I shouldn't have to find out second hand from the guild web site that this guildie who said he wasn't going to leave until he was sure we were in a good spot has already left the guild!

I was not on Wednesday night since I have a weekly RL get-together, so pretty much he could not wait more than 48 hours to tell me before jumping guilds? Am I wrong for being upset?

A part of me wants to not only tell him how disappointed I am that he didn't wait, but that because of his actions I don't think it would be appropriate to extend him an invite to future raids even if we are short a raid spot. But he was well-liked in guild, and since I haven't been on since Tuesday night I don't know how other people feel or if anyone was even on when he left. Maybe they're less upset and more forgiving. He'd only talked to me about sticking around until we were in a good spot.

I have a suspicion that he doesn't actually think he's doing a bad thing. He might not have even been trying to sneak out. My thinking is that when I told him it was okay to start looking around he put in an app, got accepted right away, and the 25-man guild extended him an invite with the expectation that he would immediately join them (since that is usually the way of things) and he did. He probably figured that if he saved his 10-man raid IDs for us he could still be available "as promised" while enjoying his new 25-man guild.

I don't think he's being a jerk so much as he's being thoughtless, which in a way is more hurtful. Because if he was a jerk we'd sign off on him. But this way makes it harder. For instance, do I keep his alts in the guild or do I kick them? Will there be fallout with the other guildies for kicking his alts?

Then there are the logistics in that we will have to replace him. I hate recruiting, but we'll need another dps now. We can't have anyone be absent at this point or we just won't have enough to fill our dps spots. This was not in any way a good time for him to quit!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

[Paladin] Saving on Repair Bills in 3.3!

Come on, I can't have been the only paladin to look at the latest patch notes and think about how I can now save on repair bills once every 10 minutes!

Divine Intervention: Cooldown on this ability has been reduced from 20 minutes to 10 minutes. Cannot be used in Arenas.

I've made good use of this during pug raids. I had nights where after four or five wipes I've only had to pay a single death's repair bill thanks to judicious use of DI by myself or other paladins. With the ability to use it every 10 minutes I'm going to have to stock up on Symbol of Divinity.

It's practically a given that if the raid's going to be a wipe I reach over for that Divine Intervention button and give it a click.

Okay, maybe I wasn't always that bad.

Back when I raided reasonably often with Gillien it seems I hardly ever used it. When it was a guild run things typically went well, or I would give everything I had because I had faith that somehow even when things went crazy we could make a recovery, and sometimes we did.

But now that the vast majority of raids I go on with him are pugs, it seems like I've been clicking DI way more often than should be healthy. Considering I die every time I cast it, maybe healthy really shouldn't be a word for it anyway.

My most amusing failed ToC 10 pug went something like this:

Attempt 1: Fail. I DI and save a repair bill.

Attempt 2: Fail. I eat it.

Attempt 3: Fail. I DI and save a repair bill.

Attempt 4: Fail. Bubble hearth and save the repair bill!

I would've felt bad about the last one except that as we were wiping the raid leader called it and other people were trying to hearth out as well. I was a little slow getting my cast started, so I had to bubble first, and by then I was the only one still alive and in the room. It's actually pretty scary seeing Acidmaw and Deadscale looming over you when you're a healer, but bubble lasts just a smidge longer than a hearthstone cast so off I went!

It still feels a bit like I'm a horrible person for bubble-hearthing out of a raid, but it makes for a good story. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

[Paladin] Healing Survey

I haven't been tagged with this to my knowledge, but Bellwether of 4Haelz said to consider her readers tagged if they hadn't been already, and why not contribute to the greater knowledge of healing?

This questionnaire was put together by Miss Medicina and you can find links to everyone's answers here.

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?

Gillien, Holy Paladin.

What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)

Pretty much whatever I can get into these days. Typically a mix of 10-mans, 5-mans, and arena.

What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?

Without a doubt it's Holy Shock. I know the typical bread and butter spells are Flash of Light and Holy Light, but really that's just cheap, fast, small heal versus expensive, slower, big heal.

Holy Shock is instant sexiness. No cast time and I have the cooldown glyphed to 5 seconds, mostly for PvP purposes, but it doesn't stop me from leaving the glyph on while I raid. It's even better when paired with Divine Favor to make it an automatic crit. It's like getting an instant Holy Light on damage that also boosts your next heal by making it instant (if FoL) or giving it a higher chance to crit (if HL).

I first started healing back in TBC when Holy Shock was still too expensive to use regularly, but now I use it all the time and I can't imagine going back to just FoL and HL. In fact I tend to get very disappointed when I look at other paladins' healing parses and see that they don't use it. You can really save a player from the brink of death with one of those.

What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?

It's a bit sad to say it, but I would probably say Holy Light. I know, I know, I'm a paladin, but I don't go on progression raids these days so most of my casts are FoL. I need to face some tougher content to really get back into HL bombing. I'm just not in a situation that warrants it often enough.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?

This is probably going to sound odd, but I think it's that we can be competent tank healers while simultaneously contributing to overall raid healing. Yes, I'm looking at you, Beacon of Light. Ever since the change was made to allow overhealing to contribute to the Beacon there's no reason a paladin shouldn't be helping out with the raid while still keeping the tank up. Being able to help raid heal without risking the survivability of the tank (because all heals are copied over to him via the Beacon) is a fantastic ability.

It still boils down to us being great tank healers, but I've always wanted to be something more than just "the tank healer." Beacon of Light lets me do that.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?

I think quite a few paladins would say the lack of an AoE heal, but really that doesn't bother me. Beacon already lets me heal one other person without risking the tank, and I'm fine with what Blizzard considers the paladin "kit" for healing. What does bother me is when I have to move, because if I'm moving I'm not casting. It's another reason I like Holy Shock, because I can use it on the go, but even glyphed, those 5 seconds are murder when you need it and it's on cooldown.

Tank healer got a snobold at a bad time? Tank healer had to move out of the fire at a bad time? I do use Lay on Hands from time to time, but sometimes it ends up being "Aw crap…" with the tank dead and I just LoH-ed myself because I was a second too slow. I think our biggest weakness as a healer is having a safe way to protect our targets when we can't cast. The best we have is Sacred Shield, but I would like a stronger bubble, maybe one with a longer cooldown so we only use it in those kinds of emergencies.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?

Without a doubt it's tank healing. Beacon one tank, heal the other. Heal the raid if there's only one tank. When Naxx was still newish it was a lot of fun healing Patchwerk because it was so built for paladins with Beacon.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?

Probably a holy priest, due to fond memories of duo-healing Karazhan with a friend of mine, but really anything that can raid heal is good company.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?

Another paladin. Seriously. It's mostly because there's less room for an additional tank healer than an additional raid healer. It used to be only one Beacon of Light would work at a time so two paladins meant that they would be overwriting each others Beacons if there was only one tank, and even now there's some overwriting of Sacred Shield. I've yet to figure out a way to display my Beacon of Light (and mine only) on Grid so sometimes I think I have Beacon of Light up and it's someone else's.

It's not so bad in an organized raid, but in pugs it's not uncommon for paladins to end up stacking Beacons. One 10-man VoA pug I ran with even had three holy paladins at once, which was a bit much.

What is your worst habit as a healer?

Reactive healing. Most of the content I go to now is too easy. FoLs all over the place. 90% of the time reactive healing is okay and proactive healing is just wasted effort. But because I don't have a solid group I regularly raid with I don't know my tanks' capabilities, so I have a tendency to get blindsided when I suddenly find out that the tank isn't as sturdy as I thought he was.

I can deal with wind-up boss moves, because DBM will let me know when they're coming, but sometimes the tank just gets plastered faster than I expected and I won't have an HL ready because I didn't realize it was going to happen.

I'm admittedly a bit concerned that this habit is going to get ingrained if I don't heal something harder soon.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?

People who complain about the healing. Sometimes it's a legitimate concern. If the dps are doing everything right and are dying to unavoidable raid damage, then something's wrong with the heal team or the healing assignments. But usually the complaint comes across as very personal as in "Why didn't I get heals?" as if saving that one person's butt would have made all the difference.

I remember one run, which was only a 5-man, in which we got adds and the tank was too slow to pick them all up. The healer died first and one of the dps had the temerity to ask (as we were running back to the instance) why he didn't get heals. I promptly told the guy that the healer was already dead by then, at which point he said, "oh." /facepalm

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?

I don't think of paladin healing as being balanced with the other classes due to the fact we have a particular niche that the others don't (except possible disc priests). It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it makes us different in that the other three classes can more easily shift between raid healing, perhaps even tank healing, whereas paladins are pretty much tank healers first and do so-so with raid healing. It's doesn't mean that a good paladin can't raid heal, but it's not in the class design.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?

I use a mix of Recount and World of Logs. When I raided with my old guild on Gillien I always had WoL reports to look at, but since I don't take my paladin to guild raids anymore I usually just stick to Recount.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?

That we're only good as tank healers. Yes, it's our specialty, and skill being equal a druid, shaman, or holy priest is going to beat the pants off me raid healing, but it doesn't mean I can't raid heal. I know I just mentioned that it's not in our class design, but a good player can still perform adequately.

Back during TBC, I ended up solo-healing Moroes in Karazhan when my priest friend died to a loose add, and this was back before Beacon of Light existed. I ended up healing nine people using single target heals (all with cast times, because Holy Shock sucked at the time) and we somehow got out of it alive. It's not particularly pleasant, but it can be done.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?

It's hard for me to center on any one thing, because there are a lot of things that a good holy paladin should be doing in a fight, so I'd probably say anything other than casting Holy Light and Flash of Light. Multi-tasking is the word. Paladin healing is supposedly simple, but there are actually other things that a good holy paladin should be doing.

Judging from what I've seen in raids, one of them is refreshing Beacon of Light and Sacred Shield. I knew one paladin who was particularly bad about it. He would do both at the start of the fight, and maybe he would refresh them later on, but more likely he wouldn't, and because he was a tank healer, he usually healed the Beacon target, which meant that every advantage he could have gained by Beaconing the tank in the first place was generally lost.

Another issue is judging. I judge every free moment I get that it's not on cooldown. Aside from maintaining the Judgement of the Pure buff, if we're short paladins the better uptime I can keep on JoL or JoW the more health or mana the raid gets.

Finally, it's recognizing and using Holy Shock. Some paladins don't seem to use this spell at all. Perhaps they never got in the habit of it, but as a clutch heal I don't see how a holy paladin could ever totally ignore it. Nothing's going to beat its speed, and though it's more expensive than a FoL, mana is rarely an issue for a paladin.

If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?

They'd see a lot of overhealing for certain. I tend to sport somewhere in the ballpark of a 50% overheal ever since patch 3.2 landed. This is partially because of the change to Beacon, but also because I tend to use Judgement of Light now that it's no longer based on attack power.

The casual observer will probably think I heal just fine since I'm normally #1 on the meters for pug raids. I have my blindspots of course, but meters have been very kind to holy paladins post-3.2, so it looks very good to those who don't know better. I do take a bit of joy though in destroying other healers on the meters if they're meter braggarts though. It's probably the wrong attitude to take (my dps heritage I suppose), but it's satisfying.

Haste or Crit and why?

I used to really love Haste, but I think I have enough of it now that Crit is more helpful. From a healing standpoint (and not a paladin one) I can't count on getting a crit unless it's from my Divine Favor macro, so if I get more healing it's just a bonus. It's more important that I land the heal when I need to than for the heal to be big. Bad RNG will give me several normal heals in a row, so wouldn't it be better for those heals to be faster?

But my Haste is pretty good now so I can afford to give Crit another thought. For paladins Crit tends to be nice for the mana return aspects of it, but I generally don't have mana issues so I haven't felt the need to focus on it.

What healing class do you feel you understand least?

Priests for the most part. It's the only healing class I haven't played. I have a rough idea of all their core abilities, but I can't rattle off their spell names the way I can a druid's, paladin's, or even a shaman's.

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?

I have a Divine Favor + Holy Shock macro that I love for raids and arena. It gives me a big instant heal and then an instant Flash of Light or boosted chance for a crit Holy Light. I've tried a couple other macros, but really that's the only one I keep using regularly.

As for add-ons I use Grid, just by itself, without Clique. I try not to be too add-on dependant, though more of them seem to be creeping into my Add-Ons folder than I would like. I've been thinking of adding some of the support modules to display raid specific debuffs and mana bars, but I've been too lazy to do so at this point.

Generally I just pay attention to DBM for raid specific healing needs like Incinerate Flesh and the like.

Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?

I prefer a balanced approach, because I'm not raiding enough where I'm exposed to a particular need that will always be there. I do have a bit of a preference towards spellpower on my gear, just because I tend to FoL heal so much, but it's just a mild preference. Lately I've been adding more Int than I have in the past, but it may be a moot point if I can't get into any pugs doing hard enough content for me to need the regen.