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.


Anonymous said...

When you set up Beacon of Light's alert in grid, there is a checkbox for "only show my casts" or something along those lines. It helped me so much to figure it out.

Of course, I don't check that box for sacred shields--I love hoting the tank and a ret pally in 5 mans, then going afk =D.

I, too, love holy shock. But my favorite healing spell has to be sacred shield. It provides a bit of absorbtion, doubles the effectiveness of flash of light, and when I switch to ret spec, lets me solo group quests.

Hana said...

Ah, thanks! :D I'll have to do that. I figured there had to be an option somewhere in there.

I'd only really use it for Beacon. I don't mind seeing other people's Sacred Shields.

Heroics have gotten so boring that I usually try to see how much dps I can do while still keeping people alive, but I like the idea of just hotting a couple people then sneaking away. :)