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Patch 3.0: The Brave New (Healadin) World

So, it’s Patch Day, and you’re confronted with a whole host of changes to spells you used to know like the back of your hand! What to do, what to do?

Holy paladin core mechanics have been changed quite noticeably in this patch, so let’s take a look at what you’ll see when you log in. Read on for details of changed spells, new spells, and paladin glyphs! (I’ll tackle the talent trees soon, but not tonight – I need sleep!)

Note that where relevant, I’m talking about spell ranks you’d use at level 70. I’m also only covering Holy and general paladin mechanics here; Protection and Retribution changes are topics for another day (or blog).

Changed Spells

  • The Forbearance debuff from Divine Shield and Blessing (now Hand) of Protection now lasts 3 minutes, not 1.
  • Lay On Hands now has a 20 minute cooldown (down from 60) and costs 0 mana.
  • Avenging Wrath no longer causes the Forbearance debuff, and increases all damage and healing done by 20% for 20 seconds.
  • Holy Shock now has a 6 second cooldown (down from 15) and the range of the healing effect now extends to 40 yards. Its mana cost is increased from 650 to 705.
  • Seals:
    • Pretty much all seals have had their damage reduced.
    • Seals now last for two minutes.
    • Seals aren’t consumed when you use Judgement.
    • Seal of the Crusader no longer exists and its damage boost has been rolled into base spells.
    • Alliance Paladins now get Seal of the Martyr (equivalent to Seal of Blood), and Horde Paladins now get Seal of Corruption (equivalent to Seal of Vengeance).
  • Judgement: Big changes.
    • Pre Patch 3: You use a generic “Judgement” ability to apply a debuff or damage to the mob based on the Seal you’re running.
    • Post Patch 3: You use a specific Judgement of Justice, Judgement of Light or Judgement of Wisdom which applies the relevant debuff regardless of which Seal you have active. (It also causes damage.) For instance, you might keep Seal of Wisdom running for yourself while periodically using Judgement of Light to keep the Light effect on the mob for other players.
    • Judging now activates the Global Cooldown.
  • Blessings:
    • Blessing of Light no longer exists, and its healing boost has been rolled into base heal spells. Greater Blessing of Light also no longer exists.
    • Blessing of Salvation and Greater Blessing of Salvation no longer exist, replaced with Hand of Salvation.
    • Blessing of Freedom, Blessing of Sacrifice and Blessing of Protection no longer exist, and have been replaced with “Hand of [foo]” spells.

New Spells

Hands by batega@flickr

  • Hands: are the new mechanic for situational buffs. You can only have one Hand spell on a given ally at any one time, but they don’t overwrite Blessings.

    • Hand of Freedom: a renamed Blessing of Freedom, slightly cheaper.
    • Hand of Protection: a renamed Blessing of Protection, with a longer Forbearance debuff.
    • Hand of Sacrifice: the new Blessing of Sacrifice. Lasts 12 seconds (instead of 30 seconds); has a 2 minute cooldown (instead of 30 seconds). Transfers 30% of damage instead of 104 damage per hit. A significant reduction to its utility; now it helps mitigate an occasional burst of damage, instead of helping the paladin escape CC to save a friend.
    • Hand of Salvation: the new Blessing of Salvation. Completely different mechanics; now works by reducing a single target’s threat for 20% over 10 seconds. Has a 2 minute cooldown. Huge nerf to its utility; however, this may not be a problem if tank agro generation has been buffed as much as reports indicate.

Glyphs

At 70, you’ll have two Major Glyph slots and three Minor Glyph slots to fill.

This list covers all the Glyphs, both Major and Minor, available for Paladins. However, looking at Glyphs that would appeal specifically for healer paladins:

Your Major Glyph Options

  • Glyph of Cleansing: Reduces the mana cost of your Cleanse and Purify spells by 20%.
  • Glyph of Divinity: Your Lay on Hands also grants you as much mana as it grants your target.
  • Glyph of Flash of Light: Your Flash of Light heals for 50% less initially, but also heals for 140% of its inital effect over 12 sec.
  • Glyph of Holy Light: Your Holy Light grants 10% of its heal amount to up to 5 friendly targets within 10 yds of the initial target. (Note that the tooltip says 100 yards, but that’s a typo. It’s 10 yards.)

Note that there are some very nice Glyphs for Seal of Light and Seal of Wisdom, but they’re not trainable for Scribes until Wrath of the Lich King, unfortunately.

Picking Your Glyphs

So, at 70 you’ll have three minor and two major glyph slots to fill. Regarding Majors, I’d skip the Flash of Light Glyph until you have a better idea of how your other heals hold up; frankly, I think it’s way too weak and slow a HoT to be worth the huge upfront gimp to the heal (especially since it means you can’t spam FoL to heal any more). Were the HoT a) bigger and b) faster, it might be worth it, but as it is I think it’s just dangerous.

The Holy Light glyph is a definite winner; the spell loseWeight Exercises nothing, and gains a useful mini-AoE. For me, the Glyph of Divinity is the most appealing choice for the second slot, as I don’t do much cleanse-heavy content. I’ll add a Glyph of Seal of Wisdom to the third slot when I hit 80.

As for Minor glyphs… well, it’s hard to pick them, since we don’t know what our options are yet! There are very few known minor glyphs for paladins yet, as they’re learnt through a discovery system with a 20-hour cooldown. The stand-out winner is Glyph of Lay on Hands (increases the mana restored by your Lay on Hands spell by 20%), which synergises nicely with the Major glyph for the same spell. For the other two Minor slots, I’ll probably use something like Glyph of the Wise and Glyph of Sense Undead, purely for soloing purposes.

Of course, it all depends on which Minor Glyphs one has access to – you can’t get a Glyph no-one’s learnt yet!

Gearing

The short version:

  • Spell crit, spell hit and spell haste ratings are disappearing. Crit, hit and haste ratings now affect both spellcasting and physical abilities.
  • +heal and +dmg/heal ratings are disappearing, and being replaced with spellpower, which affects both spell damage and healing.
  • Existing items with +healing are being translated to spellpower stats instead; it’s not a direct 1:1 translation, so on Wrath Day you’ll end up with a lot less spellpower than your current +heal.
  • This is not a problem, because other mechanics are being revamped to account for it (for instance, healing spells are getting a much bigger boost from spellpower).
  • Existing items with +dmg/heal are being translated to spellpower as well, at close to a 1:1 transition.

For more details on how this works and what it means for your gearing, see my post on the gearing changes.

Post Your Bank!

A week or so ago, Pike challenged us to post our banks, revelling in the messiness that is one’s bank.

Sailan's Bank

Click to see a larger image.

You can see why I’m looking forward to Patch 3.0.2 so much!

  • 12 soulbound non-combat pets (plus one in my inventory) will disappear into my Companions panel
  • 3 mounts (plus two in my inventory) will disappear into my Mounts panel
  • 5 stacks of tokens (Badges of Justice, and 4 types of BG Marks) will disappear into my Currency tab

Now, if only they had a tabard-storage panel…

All This Honor’s Burning A Hole In My Pocket

So, Eyonix announced today that Honor points and Marks of Honor will be wiped clean when WotLK goes live. As you can imagine, the tears are deep enough to drown in – the resulting thread is up to 48 pages already – but Eyonix does offer a small consolation:

For those with unspent honor points prior to the release of the expansion, we will be offering a few upgrades and special rewards in next content patch solely for purchase via the honor system.

Rather than cry about it – and trust me, I’m disappointed; I’ve got 20,000 points to spend – I’d rather optimistically contemplate what they can implement in 3.0.2 for me to spend my Honor on. If the whole point of the Honor reset is to avoid giving people a big gear advantage at 80, the majority of the new items are likely to be for flavour and style – there’s no point giving out upgrades when the only people who need gearing help for levelling to 80 probably don’t have much in the way of stockpiled honor either. So, here’s some brainstorming from my pal Vikos and I for some appealing Honor dumps:

1. Make Black War mounts cost Honor, not Marks – or put in alternate/variant mounts that cost Honor, not Marks.

2. Battleground Flasks that last through death, purchasable with Honor points. Actually, I think they should implement these anyway.

3. Non-combat pets! Little mini Frostwolf Cubs, Alterac Lambs, Chillwind Harpies, and other PvP-themed pets.

4. Guardian minipets or trinkets, like the much-loved mechanical yeti – they could summon little dwarven battle-tanks and horde bladethrowers, or labourers and peons like the NPCs you see in Arathi Basin.

4. More battle standards – how about ones that give you 5% extra honour or experience on all kills in their vicinity?

5. Novelty trinkets – how about an Orb of Deception-style trinket that allows you to look like a battleground NPC of the opposing faction, or one that disguises you as a node flag? (If you can turn into a tree or a crate, why not a flag?)

6. Consumables other than potions – temporary weapon oils or stones, for instance, with PvP utility.

7. Tabards. Of course I was going to say tabards, but it’s not a bad idea! There are BG-specific tabards for WSG, AV and AB – what about an Eye of the Storm tabard, or some general PvP tabards? We haven’t seen those for a long time.

8. Clothing and dress armor to match the Battlemasters, battleground NPCs, and battleground weekend barkers.

Update: Well, there’s some wasted opportunities. WoW Insider have just posted the new Honor-purchased items, and they’re very uninspiring – cloaks, trinkets, and the unbinding of Honor-bought gems. Yawn.

What Can't You Delete?

I don’t know a single serious long-time WoW player who doesn’t have bank and bag space woes, at least on their main. That goes double if you’re a hybrid searching for bank space for your healing, tanking, dps, pvp, regen, stam, threat and resist sets.

And yet, and yet… only the most hard-hearted players are cruelly efficient enough to be able to delete or vendor everything they’re not actually using at their current level of progression. The rest of us, well – we hold onto our vanity pets and our tabards and our lovely dresses and our festival pantsuits and our armor from three tiers of progression ago that we just can’t bear to get rid of because it looks so cool or we sweated blood getting it.

Which is why Sailan has full 20-slot bags in her inventory, and 6×20 and 1×22 in the bank. Sigh.

In my case, the armor I can’t bear to ditch is my Tier 2 set, the Paladin’s Judgement Armor. That’s it at right, along with an amazingly matchy [Tabard of Flame], and the weapon is Nefarian’s mace, [Lok’amir il Romathis]. I don’t actually have a full set of T2 armor – we only ever got one Judgement chest drop, and there was another paladin ahead of me on DKP – but I was very lucky to get my guild’s only Lok’amir.

Judgement Armor may not be terribly well itemized – as an example, the shoulders feature Strength, Stamina, Spirit, Fire Resist, Spellpower and mp5 – but it’s so incredibly awesome-looking. Judgement is, I think, the absolute best of the pre-TBC armors. A few TBC sets come close – I’m a big fan of Mage season 1 and Warlock tier 6 in particular. (Okay, so I hate the Malefic helm, but the rest of it is great.)

So – what’s still sitting in your bank, too beloved to vendor or disenchant?

Holy Paladin Raiding Consumables – Revised

This is a revision and update of this post, incorporating some items I’d overlooked the first time around (and with thanks to commenters who reminded me about some of them). Thus, I present: the Revised Guide to Holy Paladin Consumables.

Two things to note:

  1. I’m recommending consumables that give you a good balance of stats, where feasible. If you’re very well-geared in one area and need to boost a specific stat, you can make your own choices.
  2. My recommendations are specific for holy paladins. If you’re a priest, all those +Spirit consumables I wrote off are great for you. If you’re a protection paladin trying to heal, anything with spell crit is relatively useless and you’re looking for all the mp5 you can get. Et cetera.

Elixirs: Battle Elixirs

Adept’s Elixir – the increase to spelldamage is irrelevant, but this elixir gives a boost to both throughput and mana restoration. For holy paladins, this one’s a show-stopper.

Elixir of Healing Power – this one’s a good alternative for situations where you just need healing oomph, and nuts to the regen. In other situations, it’s inferior to Adept’s Elixir, but better than nothing.

Elixirs: Guardian Elixirs

Elixir of Major Mageblood – the standout choice for paladins, who tend to suffer over passive in-combat regen.

Mageblood Potion – it may be a pre-TBC recipe using Azerothian mats, but this is surprisingly effective as an emergency replacement for Elixirs of Major Mageblood.

Elixir of Draenic Wisdom – inferior to Mageblood elixirs, as paladins derive no benefit from Spirit, but 30 Int is still nothing to sneer at.

Flasks

Flask of Mighty Restoration – again, the standout choice for paladins. Shattrath Flask of Mighty Restoration is a good alternative if you have the relevant rep to buy it (Exalted with Cenarion Expedition, Sha’tar, and Scryer/Aldor) and you’re raiding the appropriate zones.

Flask of Distilled Wisdom – again, inferior to the regen-boosting Restoration flask, but an acceptable alternative for the all-around boost to healing, mana pool and spell crit.

Unstable Flask of the Elder for Gruul’s Lair raids; this is superior for paladins to the Unstable Flask of the Physician, although that’s certainly better than nothing.

Weapon Oils

Brilliant Mana Oil – arguably the best choice, with a balance of mp5 and +heal. Unfortunately it’s an old-world recipe (requiring Zandalar faction). Brilliant Wizard Oil is a good alternative for paladins seeking crit rather than mp5, also requiring Zandalar faction to learn.

Superior Mana Oil – inferior to the Brilliant Mana Oil, but much more readily available. Superior Wizard Oil is also a good option; although the tooltip says “spell damage”, it does apply to healing as well.

Foods

Blackened Sporefish – for mana regen and survivability. The mp5 boost is small enough, though, that this is on-par with:

Golden Fishsticks – which has a really good healing buff. The Spirit is useless for paladins, but 44 +Heal alone is nothing to sneeze at.

Skullfish Soup – slightly weaker for most healadins than the other two buff foods, as it gives less than 1% crit which is weaker than 44 Heal or 8 mp5 unless you’re really into crit-stacking. Still better than nothing, though!

Any stamina food, such as Feltail Delight (which is the one I use most often). The spirit does little for a paladin, but an extra 300 health is always welcome, and 20 Stamina foods are common enough that you should keep this up pretty much all the time unless you need one of the better food buffs for a boss fight.

Potions

I won’t list them all, as one of my earliest blog posts was a guide to mana and healing potion types; however, these are the ones I specifically recommend:

Super Mana Potion, or the stacks-to-20 version, the Mana Potion Injector. Your basic mana potion; you will, at times, drink these like water. You can replace these with any of the alternatives I list in the linked post, of course. And if you’re raiding somewhere specific, don’t forget zone-specific potions like Bottled Nethergon Energy or Blue Ogre Brew as very cheap alternatives.

Super Healing Potion and the Healing Potion Injector. You don’t need to take nearly as many of these to a raid, but you should always have at least some on you for emergencies.

What about Super Rejuvenation Potions, or the Alchemist-only equivalent Mad Alchemist’s Potions? Carry one stack, but don’t use them unless you gotta. Remember that healing received will top up your mana via spiritual attunement, so if you’re healing yourself with a pot, that’s a lost opportunity for mana regen.

Obviously, don’t stint yourself on healing (self-heals, pots and healthstones) at the expense of other healers’ mana pools, but if there’s ambient healing available (Leader of the Pack, Vampiric Embrace, etc) and you’re not likely to take a big spike of damage you’re better off taking advantage of those to restore your health, and taking an ordinary mana potion instead.

Scrolls

These aren’t essential, as they don’t stack with player buffs, but they are handy for situations where rebuffing is unlikely (for instance, after receiving a battle-rez) or where you’re missing a particular buffing class from a raid (not uncommon in 10-mans). You can safely ignore Strength and Spirit scrolls, but scrolls of Intellect are always good for a boost to your mana pool. Scrolls of Stamina, Protection, and Agility can also be useful if you’re expecting to get hit.

Other Items
Note that these all share a cooldown.

Demonic Rune – it’s only a small amount of mana restoration, but it’s enough for 5-8 Flash Heals (and causes you damage, thereby giving you the opportunity to regain mana via Spiritual Attunement). Demonic Runes drop from satyr demons in Azeroth (for instance, in Felwood and Azshara); Dark Runes are a BoE equivalent you can get from Scholo or the AH.

Charged Crystal Focus – available from the AH in their uncharged state, or farmed from mobs around the Ogri’la daily quest hub. Excellent for when you don’t have a healthstone handy; even if you buy it from the AH it’s likely to be cheaper than a repair bill.

Nightmare Seeds are gathered by Herbalists from Nightmare Vine nodes, but can be used by anyone. They’re on a separate 3-minute cooldown, and they’re useful for those moments where you need a health buffer to accommodate a damage spike without dying. Useful if the fight involves spiky raid damage (such as Naj’entus in Black Temple).

There are some profession-specific extras, as well: Fel Blossoms are good for herbalists, as a damage shield isn’t affected by healing reductions (from mortal-strike-y effects); Dense Stone Statues for Jewelcrafters heal you for 1250 healing across 25 ticks, but it counts as healing rather than ‘health restore’, so it does give you a small amount of mana back as well.

Personally?
I carry: 20 Healing Potion Injectors, 20 Mana Potion Injectors, 10 Mad Alchemist’s Potions, 1 stack of each type of elixir, 1 stack of Mighty Restoration flasks, 10 charges of Brilliant Mana Oil, 1 stack of Blackened Sporefish and 1 stack of Stamina food, 2 stacks of Dense Stone Statues and 1 stack of Charged Crystal Foci. Oh, and a stack of Intellect V scrolls.

Spellpower and You: Gearing in WotLK

Note: this post contains information on Wrath of the Lich King. However, it’s not really ‘spoilers’ as such, and I recommend you read it anyway in the interests of being prepared.

One of the big changes in Wrath of the Lich King is a revamp of gearing and the way gear stats are handled. This is for a number of reasons – such as making hybrids more flexible and making gear pieces more useful – but here’s the basic summary for holy paladins (and, well, all healers and casters).

The Theory

  • Spell crit, spell hit and spell haste ratings are disappearing. Crit, hit and haste ratings now affect both spellcasting and physical abilities.
  • +heal and +dmg/heal ratings are disappearing, and being replaced with spellpower, which affects both spell damage and healing.
  • Existing items with +healing are being translated to spellpower stats instead; it’s not a direct 1:1 translation, so on Wrath Day you’ll end up with a lot less spellpower than your current +heal.
  • This is not a problem, because other mechanics are being revamped to account for it (for instance, healing spells are getting a much bigger boost from spellpower).
  • Existing items with +dmg/heal are being translated to spellpower as well, at close to a 1:1 transition.

The Practice

On Wrath Day, you’ll see a big change in your stats: no longer will you have Spell Crit or Spell Haste, and your giant +Heal will turn into a much smaller Spellpower number.

Let’s take a look at a sample healadin with a fairly standard 42/19/0 build (based off my own character), Here’s a warcrafter.net sandbox showing the paladin in a fully gemmed and enchanted set of Karazhan gear (including some gearing choices I wouldn’t actually make, but I’m sticking to the Kara-only guideline).

Examplia, as we might call her, has the following vitals:

  • Health: 7,717
  • Mana: 10,427
  • Healing: 1734
  • Spell Damage: 703
  • Mana Per 5: 113
  • Spell Crit: 16.34%

On Wrath Day, she’ll have the following:

  • Health, Mana, Mana Per 5: unchanged
  • Spellpower: 1078
  • Crit: 16.34%

So, you can see that her base stats and regen remain unchanged, while her +Healing turns into Spellpower at a ratio of about 1.6 : 1. Her spell damage increases, which means her effectiveness as a shockadin may also increase (depending on how much benefit Seals and Judgements will derive from spellpower, which is still being revised).

(Remember, of course, that Blizzard may revise items differently depending on the gear in question. Examplia is wearing Karazhan gear, which was designed two years ago when The Burning Crusade was being developed; characters in gear from Sunwell Plateau or badge purchases from the Isle of Quel’Danas may see different tweaks, as Blizzard’s developers had eighteen months’ more experience when developing those items.)

The Effect

What does this mean? Well… we don’t entirely know yet. (All that math for nothing!) Blizzard have said that the change of condensation of +dmg and +heal into spellpower won’t reduce healing output; I haven’t seen any equivalent statements about the effect on shockadin DPS, so it could yet be an improvement, reduction or no real change at all.

What we do know, however, is that existing gear will be more versatile, and upcoming gear will be useful to more people.

Compare a couple of items:

Previously a healing shield and its DPS equivalent, in Wrath of the Lich King these items will be all but identical – which means if you only ever got one, now it will do dual-duty. This effect can be seen in a lot of other places as well:

As you can imagine, once healing and spell damage are condensed into Spellpower a lot of DPS caster items suddenly become excellent for holy paladins. Compare the Karazhan rings; all of a sudden the Violet Signet of the Archmage is suddenly better for a holy paladin than the Violet Signet of the Grand Restorer, as it has Crit Rating instead of Spirit.

Obviously, this effect will become less important after Wrath Day as people start doing quests, running instances, and upgrading their gear – new caster/healer gear in Wrath only comes in one flavour, and that’s Spellpower. However, the better your gear is on Wrath Day, the longer you’ll take to upgrade it, and the easier you’ll find questing and instancing in the meantime.

In closing, I note that I expect paladin gearing-up to be bunches of fun at level 80. No more getting stuck with stacking mp5 until you hit Tier 5; now all those caster Crit/Spellpower items will be just as tasty for us!

How to Make a Gear Plan

I’ve just hit 70 with another alt, my night elf priest Siha. She’s currently a Holy DPS spec, running a Surge of Light/Imp Divine Spirit build (32/29/0) which allows her to do reasonable DPS and still contribute good healing if we’re short on healers.

Of course, gearing up an alt at maximum speed is always an interesting challenge; as I worked on my gear wishlists for Siha, I streamlined a mental process I’ve been using for all my high level alts.

Here’s how the process works. At each “phase” of gearing, go through an item database (like WoWhead or WoWDB) and some gear lists for your class, and pick the most desirable items in each slot. Work out what you have to do to get that item, and break it down into component parts if it involves farming a lot of mats, transmute or tailoring cooldowns, and so on. Managing your cooldowns is especially important – there’s nothing worse than farming up all your mats, and then realising you have to wait over a month to get all your cloth transmutes done. So if your gear needs primal mights, or spellcloth, or something similar, then start your transmutes while you’re still levelling.

Phase 0: Set your goals
Do you want this character to be:

  • a raiding alt or new main?
  • a PvE alt for more relaxed play (ie 5-mans, daily quests, solo play, etc)?
  • a PvP bunny?
  • a farming powerhouse?

You want to complete this phase well in advance – not only does it tell you what kind of gear you should go for (resilience? Stamina? DPS stats?) it will also help you pick tradeskills, and it will largely dictate how serious you are about gearing up hard. If you’re only levelling a mage for relaxed PvE play, you’re not likely to blow a thousand gold on the mats for a [Belt of Blasting], are you?

Phase 1: Up-front acquisitions
This phase covers gear you can get within a day or two of hitting 70. It includes:

  • BoE blues and epics from the Auction House
  • Crafted epics you’ve made or had crafted for you
  • Honor-bought PvP gear, if you’ve been PvPing while levelling (which most people don’t, at least not in amounts large enough to buy the gear you want)
  • Reputation rewards from factions where you’ve already got the rep while levelling (eg the PvP blues you can buy at Honoured from various TBC factions)

Phase 2: Guaranteed acquisitions
This phase covers gear that you know you’ll be able to get; it’ll just take time:

  • Badge purchases
  • Arena-bought gear
  • Honor-bought gear
  • Reputation rewards

Phase 3: Long-term plan
This is probably only necessary for characters that will be raiding or instancing heavily; it basically covers best-in-slot gear from raid and instance drops. Of course, many badge purchases and crafted items are awesome and will not be replaced by anything you’re likely to pick up from raiding or instancing, unless you’re in an endgame guild.

Phase 4: Maintenance
The final stage is just to keep an eye on your gear plan for each phase, and don’t be afraid to adjust the plans when something off your Phase 2 wishlist gets superseded by a lucky raid drop from your Phase 3 wishlist.

Holy Paladin Raiding Consumables

Update: This post has been revised and updated here.

This one’s going around the blogosphere lately, so here’s my quick guide to raiding consumables for holy paladins. (Bellwether covered the same issue for resto druids, and Big Bear Butt for feral tanks; I’m sure there will be more coming soon.)

Two things to note:

  1. I’m recommending consumables that give you a good balance of stats, where feasible. If you’re very well-geared in one area and need to boost a specific stat, you can make your own choices.
  2. My recommendations are specific for holy paladins. If you’re a priest, all those +Spirit consumables I wrote off are great for you. If you’re a protection paladin trying to heal, anything with spell crit is relatively useless and you’re looking for all the mp5 you can get. Et cetera.

Elixirs: Battle Elixirs

Adept’s Elixir – the increase to spelldamage is irrelevant, but this elixir gives a boost to both throughput and mana restoration. For holy paladins, this one’s a show-stopper.

Elixir of Healing Power – this one’s a good alternative for situations where you just need healing oomph, and nuts to the regen. In other situations, it’s inferior to Adept’s Elixir, but better than nothing.

Elixirs: Guardian Elixirs

Elixir of Major Mageblood – the standout choice for paladins, who tend to suffer over passive in-combat regen.

Mageblood Potion – it may be a pre-TBC recipe using Azerothian mats, but this is surprisingly effective as an emergency replacement for Elixirs of Major Mageblood.

Elixir of Draenic Wisdom – inferior to Mageblood elixirs, as paladins derive no benefit from Spirit, but 30 Int is still nothing to sneer at.

Flasks

Flask of Mighty Restoration – again, the standout choice for paladins. Shattrath Flask of Mighty Restoration is a good alternative if you have the relevant rep to buy it (Exalted with Cenarion Expedition, Sha’tar, and Scryer/Aldor) and you’re raiding the appropriate zones.

Flask of Distilled Wisdom – again, inferior to the regen-boosting Restoration flask, but an acceptable alternative for the all-around boost to healing, mana pool and spell crit.

Unstable Flask of the Elder for Gruul’s Lair raids; this is superior for paladins to the Unstable Flask of the Physician, although that’s certainly better than nothing.

Weapon Oils

Brilliant Mana Oil – arguably the best choice, with a balance of mp5 and +heal. Unfortunately it’s an old-world recipe (requiring Zandalar faction).

Superior Mana Oil – inferior to the Brilliant Mana Oil, but much more readily available. Superior Wizard Oil is also a good option; although the tooltip says “spell damage”, it does apply to healing as well.

Foods

Blackened Sporefish – for mana regen and survivability. The mp5 boost is small enough, though, that this is on-par with:

Golden Fishsticks – which has a really good healing buff. The Spirit is useless for paladins, but 44 +Heal alone is nothing to sneeze at.

Any stamina food, such as Feltail Delight (which is the one I use most often). The spirit does little for a paladin, but an extra 300 health is always welcome, and 20 Stamina foods are common enough that you should keep this up pretty much all the time unless you need one of the better food buffs for a boss fight.

Potions

I won’t list them all, as one of my earliest blog posts was a guide to mana and healing potion types; however, these are the ones I specifically recommend:

Super Mana Potion, or the stacks-to-20 version, the Mana Potion Injector. Your basic mana potion; you will, at times, drink these like water. You can replace these with any of the alternatives I list in the linked post, of course.

Super Healing Potion and the Healing Potion Injector. You don’t need to take nearly as many of these to a raid, but you should always have at least some on you.

What about Super Rejuvenation Potions, or the Alchemist-only equivalent Mad Alchemist’s Potions? Carry 1 stack, but don’t use them unless you gotta. Remember that healing received will top up your mana via spiritual attunement, so if you’re healing yourself with a pot, that’s a lost opportunity for mana regen.

Obviously, don’t stint yourself on healing (self-heals, pots and healthstones) at the expense of other healers’ mana pools, but if there’s ambient healing available (Leader of the Pack, Vampiric Embrace, etc) and you’re not likely to take a big spike of damage you’re better off taking advantage of those to restore your health, and taking an ordinary mana potion instead.

Scrolls

These aren’t essential, as they don’t stack with player buffs, but they are handy for situations where rebuffing is unlikely (for instance, after receiving a battle-rez) or where you’re missing a particular buffing class from a raid (not uncommon in 10-mans). You can safely ignore Strength and Spirit scrolls, but scrolls of Intellect are always good for a boost to your mana pool. Scrolls of Stamina, Protection, and Agility can also be useful if you’re expecting to get hit.

Other Items
Note that these all share a cooldown.

Demonic Rune – it’s only a small amount of mana restoration, but it’s enough for 5-8 Flash Heals (and causes you damage, thereby giving you the opportunity to regain mana via Spiritual Attunement).

Charged Crystal Focus – available from the AH in their uncharged state, or farmed from mobs around the Ogri’la daily quest hub. Excellent for when you don’t have a healthstone handy.

There are some profession-specific extras, as well: Fel Blossoms are good for herbalists, as a damage shield isn’t affected by healing reductions (from mortal-strike-y effects); Dense Stone Statues for Jewelcrafters heal you for 1250 healing across 25 ticks, but it counts as healing rather than ‘health restore’, so it does give you a small amount of mana back as well.

Personally?
I carry: 20 Healing Potion Injectors, 20 Mana Potion Injectors, 10 Mad Alchemist’s Potions, 1 stack of each type of elixir, 1 stack of Mighty Restoration flasks, 10 charges of Brilliant Mana Oil, 1 stack of Blackened Sporefish and 1 stack of Stamina food, 2 stacks of Dense Stone Statues and 1 stack of Charged Crystal Foci. Oh, and a stack of Intellect V scrolls.

Edited to add in Superior Wizard Oil; thanks Valyre for the reminder!

Anyone For Cards?

(aka the WoW Trading Card Game Loot Guide)

There are a number of fun vanity items in the game that you can’t actually get in the game, and I often see questions about how you get them.

The World of Warcraft Trading Card Game is published by Upper Deck Entertainment, in collaboration with Blizzard. It’s a fairly typical collectible/trading card game, with cards of varying rarity purchased in small assorted randomised packs. The game itself isn’t bad, although I haven’t had as much chance to play it as I’d like.

What sets the WoW TCG apart from other trading card games such as Magic: the Gathering is that it has lots of concrete tie-ins with WoW itself, allowing you to get in-game WoW items by acquiring cards in the card game.

There are two main ways to do this:

  1. UDE Points: Every booster pack of 15 cards also contains a “UDE Points card”, usually worth 100 UDE points (although some rare examples have much higher values). Each UDE points card has a unique code on it that you enter online to add the card’s points value to your account; you can spend the UDE Points at UDE’s online store for a variety of items, including in-game items.
  2. Loot Cards: In each expansion set of the game there are three cards which have a special, much rarer, “loot” variant. The loot cards have scratch-off panels hiding a redemption code; entering the code online will net you the in-game item specific to that loot card.

1a. Redeeming Points
UDE Point Card codes are entered at UDE’s site, which functions like an online store. Once you have enough points for the item you want, you place an order, and the store software gives you a code. See step 2.

1b. Getting Loot Cards
Unless you are interested in the trading card game anyway, or have a lot of money to spend on a card game you’re not going to actually play, the best place to get the loot cards is from eBay. This site tracks eBay.com auctions for WoW TCG loot cards, showing you historical price trends and items currently available on eBay. I haven’t used it myself, but it looks like a good service. Once you have the loot card, scratch off the panel to reveal the hidden code. See step 2.

2. Getting the Item
You take your code you received either from UDE’s Points Store, or from scratching the panel on the loot card. Enter that code at Blizzard’s Promotion Code Retrieval page, which will then give you a second code, the “in-game code”. Take this in-game code, make sure you print it out or write it down, and head to Landro Longshot in Booty Bay. He has a redemption dialogue box where you select the category of item you’re seeking, enter your redemption code, and you receive the in-game item. (If your bags are full, you’re supposed to receive the item in the mail instead, but I wouldn’t want to gamble.)

The Loot!

So, what can one get, in-game? Let’s take a look!

Summary as of June 08, patch 2.4.3

  • Tabards: 8
  • Non-combat pets: 5
  • Mounts: 1 flying and 1 ground (both with epic and non-epic versions), and 1 ground with no speed boost
  • Ground-placeable social items: 4
  • Other: 1 disguise trinket, 3 items with cosmetic effects, 2 miscellaneous ‘toy’ items, 1 pet buff consumable

Items from UDE Points

Items from Loot Cards
The card game was released with an original set, the Heroes of Azeroth, and a number of expansion packs. Each set has three loot cards in it:

Original Set: Heroes of Azeroth

  • Tabard of Flame – see right. Card: Landro Longshot.
  • Hippogryph Hatchling – gives you a baby Hippogryph non-combat pet. Card: Thunderhead Hippogryph.
  • Riding Turtle – a riding turtle mount that doesn’t give you any speed boost. Card: Saltwater Snapjaw.

Expansion 1: Through the Dark Portal

  • Picnic Basket – sets up a picnic grill lootable for food, and an umbrella. Card: Rest and Relaxation.
  • Banana Charm – gives you a monkey non-combat pet. Card: King Mukla.
  • Imp in a Ball – an imp, in a ball! Like the sign says! Card: Fortune Telling.

Expansion 2: Fires of Outland

  • Goblin Gumbo Kettle – sets up a kettle of Goblin Gumbo lootable for food. Card: Goblin Gumbo.
  • Fishing Chair – sets up a chair and umbrella to fish from. Card: Gone Fishin’.
  • Reins of the Swift Spectral Tiger and Reins of the Spectral Tiger – see right. A very cool translucent tiger mount; the same card lets you get both epic (Riding: 150) and non-epic (Riding: 75) versions. This card is tremendously valuable, and regularly eBays for four figures. Card: Spectral Tiger.

Expansion 3: March of the Legion

  • Paper Flying Machine Kit – creates a Paper Flying Machine, which will stack to 5 in your bags and can be thrown to others like a Heavy Leather Ball. Card: Paper Airplane.
  • Rocket Chicken – gives you a mechanical chicken pet, complete with rocket boosters. Card: Robotic Homing Chicken.
  • Dragon Kite – gives you a Chinese-style dragon kite on a string (effectively a non-combat pet). Card: Kiting.

Expansion 4: Servants of the Betrayer

Expansion 5: The Hunt for Illidan

  • Path of Illidan – see right. Gives you a buff that leaves green fel-fire in your wake. Card: The Footsteps of Illidan.
  • D.I.S.C.O. – places a disco ball (complete with sparkling reflections) on the ground. Card: Disco Inferno!.
  • Soul-Trader Beacon – summons an Ethereal Soul-Trader “pet”, an Ethereal NPC who follows you around and absorbs energy from kills you make while he’s in the vicinity; you can then use this energy to buy items from him. These include a set of cloth armor meant to look like the Ethereals’ armor, and various consumables with fun non-combat effects.