Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Preparing to Raid: A Slacker's Guide to Holy Paladins

When I rolled the paladin I intended him to tank. But reading blogs and seeing some of the fights in ICC, notably valithria,  I found myself being enthused with the idea of healing. So I read up more, pestered my guildies who play the spec, looked longingly at loot lists and generally tried to absorb as much as I could. Below is what I did and how I did it.

Basically my first stop wasn't really a surprise. Its the holy pally compendium on Elitist Jerks. It's an incredible resource so I recommend anyone rolling a holypally pick it up and read it. I should also point out that I had a very clear vision of how I was aiming to play and it wasn't Flash of Light even though it's easier to go that way to begin with. I'll explain a little about what I see are the two percieved methods of healing as a holy paladin and how the people who play them tend to spec.


Now basically theres two main playstyles each based around which healing spell you more commonly use, Holy Light and Flash of Light. Holy Light paladins are incredible tank healers, whereas Flash of Light is more suited to raid healing. Personally I'm of the opinion that Flash of Light is suboptimal because you have other healers that are far better at filling that niche. HL tends to be focused on healing the tanks, is a bit easier to play and really uses the strengths of the paladin. Again the EJ compendium has an excellent breakdown of the pros and cons of each playstyle.

Now armchair experts might tell you that FoL pallys go Holy/Ret and HL pallys go Holy/Prot. This isn't the case always. It's said because the FoL style requires more crit for throughput generally because they can't cast many HLs due to their much smaller mana pools (at least this is my interpretation) but to be quite honest you can perform well in either spec and Holy/Prot has some very nice utility.

Spec wise I went straight into the Holy/Prot raid spec but you may find it easier to go holy/ret, at least to begin with, and pick up the crit talents because you may struggle in blues especially with the amount face tanking aggro whores in the LFD system these days.

At this level with your mana pool tiny you'll be using FoL more so its better to glyph for it now then once your mana pool is bigger swap the glyph to Glyph of Holy Light.


Working back from what stats benefit me the most you basically want these things:
  • Int
  • Haste for throughput
  • mp5 (regen)
  • Crit (regen)
  • Spellpower
Typically any healing plate will have int plus one of the other three. In terms of regen mp5 is on the whole better than crit so bear that in mind when selecting gear.


With my DK a Scribe (or inscriptioneer/inscriptivist as trade chat seems to call them) I churned out the following glyphs
Then craft but don't use:
As I mentioned above I swapped from Glyph of Flash of Light to Glyph of Holy Light once my mana pool could handle it. Some people also use Glyph of Seal of Light instead of wisdom but personally I don't think 5% healing it's worth the mana wisdom saves you

    Ok so you've read up a little, got the basic shit down and are sitting in blue gear with a thumb in your anus. Here's the way I believe is best to gear up.

    Do a couple BGs or a wintergrasp. Acquire the paltry some of 12k honor and buy the pvp libram. It buffs your FoL and will help you out.

    Hit TOC5 Normal - you should be getting reasonable queue times, if not beg your pals to come help because you're running this instance for Tears of Vanquished. Any other plate healing loot you might as well pick up and chuck rare quality yellow int gems into them. Once you've got this trinket you should have motley collection of gear in addition to it.

    Hit ICC Normals - You're after the Shield in normal Pit of Saron and there's some other fairly nice stuff to pad out your gear.

    This is when the heroic grind starts. If you really want to go for 4parts t9 then go ahead. But personally I think it sucks complete ass in general and you'd be better off picking up other things. Now you want to maximise benefit from the badges you get so we're going for the shit you will not replace for a while.

    First off grab the trinket Talisman of Resurgence for 50 badges. This is incredible and you should macro the Spell power "on use" effect to your Avenging wrath (you want to use Divine Plea because it gives mana back, but "Oh no - my heals suck because it reduces healing" so you pop your AW and they suck slightly less).

    Then go for the badge ring Heartmender circle. It's not ideally itemised but for your buck it gives you a solid item that doesn't require you to gem or enchant it.

    Now you suck slightly less, so you continue doing heroics - the weekly etc until you have enough badges. Unless you're an asshole like me and bully guildies in to helping you in TOC25 you will not be picking up trophies and so you will not be able to upgrade your t9. So the best course here is to go for the 245 MAIL (omg) helm from badges and the 245Plate shoulders (UNLESS YOU WANT THE 4SET BONUS). The mail helm quite frankly is incredible and the shoulders are similar to t9 shoulders but a higher iLvl and so have better stats so if you must drop one of them for the bonus lose the shoulders. Once you have these pick up the t9 gloves and chest. The gloves are very good and the chest is ok, the only other achievable chest outside of raids drops from Falric in Halls of Reflection so you may find it easier to just go with the tier one.  Legs wise you have a similar choice so if you can't get Legguards of the Frosty Depths or Blackened Ghouls Skin Leggings to drop from Pit of Saron it might be better to just take the tier set again. I go for the cheap option so I just queued for the ICC heroics I felt comfortable doing.

    You should basically be trying to run at least the first two ICC heroics every day as 2good necks, a weapon some boots and the above legs and chest all drop there. I'm just going to whack a list of all the reasonable items you can find from those instances because quite frankly its the fastest and cheapest way to gear up.

    Forge of Souls:
      Pit of Saron:
      Halls of Reflection:
      Bracers - I broke with tradition here and crafted the ToC ones. "Reasonably cheap" but if you want something else pretty much any mail or plate mp5/haste/crit ones will do not that you'll find anything approaching 232 ilvl thats decent.
      Waist - lot of people argue for going craftable - I had a mail belt for a while that I got from a TOC10. There one in TOC5HC which is passable
      Cloak - Pvp! Its 50+k so it might be a bit of a slow burner if you detest pvp.
      Ring - theres a load of reasonable rings out there. Anything with haste/mp5 int is good but you're more liable to find a crit one. Hold off on buying anything - you're going to want to wait for the Ashen Verdict Rep ring in any case once you start raiding. Having the HoR ring and the Badge one isn't a bad start.

      Remember the time you level it is also very important - if you can manage to get anything reasonable from holiday bosses like Ahune or the Headless Horseman you should always pick them up.

      You're pretty much in the best state you can be without raiding. Grats you sexy bitch. Your mana should be in the 26k region provided you haven't slacked on gemming/enchanting which means you're able to through a lot more holy lights into your repertoire. Throw out that FoL glyph, pick up the ilvl 200 badge libram and you are a healing machine.

      You'd probably be ready about halfway through this guide to start raiding but I felt comfortable that I was actually pulling my weight once I'd gathered most of the stuff I've mentioned. Your gearing from here is fairly simple. Try to concentrate on the same stats I mentioned at the start. As your gear gets better and better is easier to pick up more crit and haste. Just remember its only generally worth picking up your t10 head and shoulders.

      So I'm not a complete bitch and don't show you I lived what I learned, below is my sexy MALE draenei's armory. Join Team Fridge (referring to his slender shape) and roll one yourself.


      Many thanks to both the full time and part time Holy Paladins in my guild, the people at EJ and anyone else blogging about healing in general today. Oh and the rest of the guild for not whining when I said I'd help them out and join their raids then relog to my shit alt :D

      /echo out


      1. Excellent stuff. I now have a few target items to collect, as I currently have a weird mix of gear ranging from a ~i187 shield to i251 hands and wrists (thanks to our mainspec Holy pally having no need of them).

        Helpfully there are a few guildies in need of running ICC and ToC in both normal and heroic modes (including one of our tanks) so that should work out nicely.

      2. If you've got people willing to take you through TOC that will speed it up a heap.

        If you can get Solace of the Defeated (normal 25man) you'll be one lucky mofo. Normal and heroic of that trinket are considered BiS by many.

        I keep meaning to post you a wall of text I wrote about your ret gear setup! I just need to talk to our main ret pally and see what he thinks I've written so I know I'm not talking complete cobblers and then I'll chuck it in the comments on your blog if you like?