Tag Archives: paladin

Paladin Changes in 3.0.9

(I originally titled this post “Divine Plea Nerf Ahead of Schedule” but I thought that sounded too bitter.)

At the end of last week, I posted about the changes Blizzard announced for 3.1, including a nerf to Divine Plea (changing the healing penalty from 20% to 50%).

Not content to wait until 3.1, Blizzard continues the fine tradition of hasty nerfs to paladins (I sound bitter, don’t I?) by implementing this change in 3.0.9, which is going live this week with no PTR test time.

The paladin-relevant part:

  • The duration on all Seals has been increased to 30 minutes and can no longer dispelled.
  • Divine Plea: The amount healed by your spells is reduced by 50% (up from 20%) but the effect can no longer be dispelled.
  • Sanctified Seals: This talent no longer affects dispel resistance, but continues to affect crit chance.

Glyphs

  • Glyph of Holy Light — Your Holy Light grants 10% of its heal amount to up to 5 friendly targets within 8 yards of the initial target. (Down from 20 yards, Tooltip text fix, was already hotfixed to 8 yards in game)
  • Glyph of Seal of Righteousness — Increases the damage done by Seal of Righteousness by 10%. (Old – Reduces the cost of your Judgement spells by 10% while Seal of Righteousness is active.)

If you’re curious why I’m bitter about the Divine Plea change, this post provides some backstory. It’s not that I object to the nerf in principle; it’s the implementation. Blizzard has shown a tendency, lately, to nerf first and test later, and paladins have copped quite a lot of that. Rolling a significant nerf like this into an abrupt live patch release, weeks (if not months) ahead of the overall changes to mana regen mechanics for every other healing class, strikes me as unduly hasty. Again.

Best In Slot Holy Paladin Gear List, v.1

This post refers to gear that drops in 25-man raids. If you’re looking for a list of gear to get ready for raiding, you might be more interested in my Pre-Raid Holy Paladin Gear List instead.

This post aims to provide a nice ‘wishlist’ of holy pally gear to aim for. Let me say up front that if you think I’m wrong about a piece of gear, that’s fine; I know that balancing spellpower, crit, haste and intellect is a personal juggling act and nobody knows your playstyle better than you do.

A couple of points to note:

a) In my opinion, ideal paladin gear has intellect, crit, haste (within reason; excess haste is useless) and spellpower, and doesn’t waste item budget on less valuable stats like spirit or mp5. This obviously affects the selection of items I consider ‘best in slot’.

b) I won’t be recommending anything lower than mail armor, and even then I won’t be recommending a lot of that. The debate about holy paladins wearing cloth and leather rages on, but for my part: I’m a plate elitist, and I make no bones about recommending plate to other paladins.

So, on with the show.

Head

  1. Faceguard of the Succumbed, from Thaddius (and occasionally Gluth).
  2. Valorous Redemption Headpiece, from Kel’Thuzad. (T7 helm)

Faceguard of the Succumbed is the clear winner here, as it features a meta socket. The T7 helm has the meta socket, but unfortunately trades off the Faceguard’s 61 haste for an unappealing 20 mp5. The Helm of Diminished Pride from Maexxna/Gluth has huge crit and spellpower, but no meta socket and no haste, wasting its itemisation budget on mp5 instead.

Neck

  1. Life-Binder’s Locket, from the quest to kill Malygos in Heroic mode.
  2. Cosmic Lights, from Sapphiron.

Despite the mp5, the quest reward necks are excellent. Until you kill 25-man Malygos, however, the drop from Sapphiron is a very strong alternative.

Shoulder

  1. Valorous Redemption Spaulders, from Loatheb or Gluth or purchased with 60 Emblems of Valor. (T7 shoulders)
  2. Elevated Lair Pauldrons, from Malygos.
  3. Epaulets of the Grieving Servant, from Faerlina (and occasionally Gluth).

The Valorous Redemption Spaulders are marginally better than the other shoulders, partly because they’ve got a socket which makes them more flexible, and partly because they contribute towards getting the T7 set bonuses. The Elevated Lair Pauldrons are better than the Epaulets, as an iLevel 226 item, but they waste stats on mp5. They are an upgrade on spellpower compared with the other shoulders, but at this gearing level stacking spellpower is less valuable than stacking int, crit or haste.

Cloak

  1. Pennant Cloak, from Sartharion with 2 or 3 drakes up.
  2. Shroud of Luminosity, from Grobbulus, Gothik, Heigan and Maexxna.

The Pennant Cloak is far and away the strongest cloak for holy paladins currently in-game, and it’s likely to be hotly contested by other casters as well. In comparison, the Shroud is very accessible, and still a very good piece of kit.

Chest

  1. Chestplate of the Great Aspects, from Sartharion.
  2. Valorous Redemption Tunic, from Gluth. (T7 chest)

The Chestplate of the Great Aspects is ahead on every useful stat except Intellect. The T7 chest does have two sockets to the Chestplate’s one, adding greater flexibility, but it just doesn’t hold up.

Bracers

  1. Bands of Mutual Respect, from Instructor Razuvious (and occasionally Gluth).
  2. Bracers of Liberation, from Grobbulus (and occasionally Gluth).

The Bands, despite being mail, are significantly better than the next-best Bracers, largely thanks to their gem slot. The Abetment Bracers from Gothik/Gluth also have a socket, but they waste itemization budget on mp5 so are generally inferior to both bracers listed here.

Gloves

  1. Valorous Redemption Gloves, from Sartharion. (T7 gloves)
  2. Rescinding Grips, from Anub’Rekhan (and occasionally Gluth)

The T7 gloves are best in slot here; they beat the Rescinding Grips partly thanks to the gem slot that makes them more flexible, and partly due to their contribution towards the set bonuses. The Rescinding Grips are good alternatives until you get the Tier token, though.

Belt

  1. Waistguard of Divine Grace, from Patchwerk (and occasionally Gluth).
  2. Girdle of Recuperation, from Razuvious (and occasionally Gluth).

These two items are all but identical, with interchangeable crit and haste ratings. Pick the one featuring the stat you’re stacking.

Legs

  1. Valorous Redemption Greaves, from Thaddius or Gluth, or bought with 75 Emblems of Valor. (T7 legs)
  2. Leggings of Voracious Shadows, from Gluth.

Again, the T7 legs are best in slot; they have marginally more of all the appealing stats, better socket colors, and they’re part of the Tier set. What’s not to love? And best of all, you can buy them with Emblems if the RNG hates you.

Boots

  1. Poignant Sabatons, from Noth the Plaguebringer (and occasionally Gluth).

Really, there’s no competition for these at all, and they’re BoE so you can look for them on your AH.

Rings

  1. Signet of Manifested Pain, from Kel’Thuzad.
  2. Seized Beauty, from Anub’Rekhan, Patchwerk, Faerlina, Noth and Razuvious.
  3. Band of Channeled Magic, bought with 25 Emblems of Valor.
  4. Titanium Spellshock Ring, crafted by Jewelcrafters.

The Signet from Kel’thuzad is literally the only 25-man ring with all the stats you want and none of the ones you don’t; Seized Beauty is next-best, although the mp5 instead of Haste is something of a waste. The other two rings are reasonable substitutes, although I wouldn’t spend emblems on the purchased ring if you have regular access to Kel’Thuzad.

Trinkets

  1. Illustration of the Dragon Soul, from Sartharion.
  2. Soul of the Dead, from Sapphiron.
  3. Forethought Talisman, from Maexxna, Heigan, Gothik, and Grobbulus.
  4. Darkmoon Card: Greatness, from the Darkmoon Nobles Deck.
  5. Je’Tze’s Bell, BoE world drop.
  6. Embrace of the Spider, from 10-man Maexxna and Gluth.

Trinket selection is a tricky business, as they all have different effects. To be honest, this is one area where I haven’t done enough research to feel comfortable saying that X is better than Y. Input welcome, and I’ll update the post with more guidelines.

Speaking personally, I’m after Illustration of the Dragon Soul and Soul of the Dead.

Weapon

  1. The Turning Tide, from Kel’Thuzad.
  2. Hammer of the Astral Plane, from 10-man Kel’Thuzad.
  3. Life and Death, from Gothik and Gluth.

The Turning Tide is an amazingly good holy paladin weapon; unfortunately, it’s also amazingly good for mages and warlocks, and you’ll have to beat them off with a stick. In the meantime, the other two weapons are both solid all-rounders with a healthy amount of each desirable attribute.

Shield

  1. Voice of Reason, from Kel’Thuzad.
  2. Aegis of Damnation, from 10-man Maexxna and Gluth.

Obviously, Voice of Reason is the stand-out winner here.

Libram

  1. Libram of Renewal, bought with 15 Emblems of Heroism.
  2. Libram of Tolerance, from Patchwerk and Gluth.

Libram use tends to be very situational, but the 10-man Libram of Renewal is a more generally useful choice than the 25-man, except in rare situations where you need high throughput more than mana conservation.

The T7 Set Bonus
I’m assuming here that you’re going to want the four-piece Tier 7 set bonus from your Redemption Regalia, since Holy Light is such an integral part of how we heal in WotLK.

The Tier 7 pieces are already best in slot for shoulders, gloves and legs, which means you have to use either the helm or the chest to get your socket bonus. Looking at what you’re giving up (and for comparison’s sake I’ll assume in all cases you’re socketing items with +16 Int yellow gems).

It’s your choice as to which sacrifice you prefer to make.

Mana Regen Nerf Incoming

Just posted on the WoW forums by Bornakk:

As we have suggested, we have become concerned that mana regeneration is currently too powerful, especially for healers. We want players to have to keep an eye on mana. We don’t want you to go out of mana every fight, but running out of mana should be a very real risk for sloppy playing or attempting content that you aren’t yet ready for. When mana regeneration is trivial then certain parts of the game break down – classes that offer Replenishment are devalued, stats that offer mana regeneration are devalued, and spells that are efficient are neglected in preference to spells with high throughput.

Here are a list of changes you are likely to see in 3.1. They will be available to try out on the PTR. Mana regeneration is somewhat technical, so please bear with us.

  • Regeneration while not casting (outside of the “five second rule”) will be decreased. We think that (1) the ability to cast heal over time spells and then sit back and (2) benefitting from a clearcasting proc that also gets you out of the five second rule both provide too much mana regeneration, even over short time periods.

  • To make this change, we are reducing mana regeneration granted by Spirit across the board. However we are also boosting the effects of talents such as Meditation that increase regeneration while casting. The net result should be that your regeneration while casting will stay about the same, but your not-casting regeneration will be reduced. This change will have little impact on dps casters, since they are basically always casting.
  • The specific talents and abilities being boosted are: Arcane Meditation, Improved Spirit Tap, Intensity, Mage Armor, Meditation, Pyromaniac and Spirit Tap. Yes this makes these “mandatory” talents even more mandatory, if such a thing is possible.
  • Since paladins rely less on Spirit as a mana-regeneration stat, we have to address them in other ways. We don’t want to change Illumination or Replenishment. However, we are going to increase the healing penalty on Divine Plea from 20% to 50%. Divine Plea was originally intended to help Protection and Retribution paladins stay full on mana. It should be a decision for Holy paladins, not something that is automatically used every cooldown.
  • In addition, we are also changing the way Spiritual Attunement works. In situations with a large amount of outgoing raid damage, as well as in PvP, this passive ability was responsible for more mana regeneration than we would like. We want to keep the necessary benefit it grants to tanking Protection paladins, while making it less powerful for Holy paladins in PvP or raid encounters with a lot of group damage.
  • We are also taking a close look at clearcasting procs themselves. One likely outcome is to change them to an Innervate-like surge of mana so that the net benefit is the same, but healers won’t shift to out-of-casting regeneration so often.
  • We balance around the assumption that even 10-player groups have someone offering Replenishment. To make this even easier on players we are likely to offer this ability to additional classes, as well as make sure that existing sources of Replenishment are more equitable.
  • These changes are ultimately being done to bring the different healing classes more in line with each other as well as to give the encounter team more leeway when designing encounters, who can balance with these new mana regeneration numbers in mind. In a world with infinite healer mana, the only way to challenge healers is with increasingly insane amount of raid damage, so that global cooldowns become the limiting factor since mana fails to be. An example is the Eredar Twins in late Sunwell. We weren’t necessarily happy with that model, and this change hopefully allows us to move towards giving healing a more deliberate and thoughtful pace rather than frenetic spam.

Paladin-relevant parts bolded by me.

I’m not running around QQing about this just yet, until I see some reasoned analysis of the changes, or try it out for myself on the PTR. But you should be aware it’s coming, and I’d recommend analysing your use of Divine Plea to see what it’d feel like if your healing was cut in half when you used it; to keep an eye out for less healing-intensive moments to trigger it.

Learn 2 Ret!

A lot of Holy paladins dally with Ret when they’re not busy raiding, and with good reason: Ret has never been more fun, dynamic, interesting or well-balanced.

However, for the dedicated Holy paladin, Ret is quite a shift in approach, gearing, playstyle, the works. It takes a while to learn your way around this very different, very fun, playstyle.

For a while now, Josh over at Eye For An Eye has been my definitive go-to source for learning how to play a Ret paladin, and how not to. He’s now teamed up with an Enhancement shaman blogger (Stoneybaby of Windfury Crits) and a Rogue blogger (Zaltu of One Rogue’s Journey) to offer a new, definitive melee DPS source: Big Hit Box, a collaborative melee DPS blog.

I look forward to learning how to not suck as Ret. :)

Holy Paladin Glyph Choice

An essential part of playing a spec is choosing the right glyphs to support your spell use. Here’s a quick guide to the best glyphs for Holy Paladins, current as of patch 3.0.8. (I originally covered holy paladin glyphs here and here; however, those posts are out of date since the changes during the WotLK beta and in patch 3.0.8.)

Major Glyphs: Your Choices

Glyph of Holy Light
Your Holy Light grants 10% of its heal amount to up to 5 friendly targets within 8 yards of the initial target.

This is an excellent PvE glyph; at no cost, it turns your bomb heal into a mini-AoE which is great for topping up melee in a clustered fight. It’s had a bit of a history; it started in 3.0.2 as a 5-yard range AoE, which was increased to 20 yards in 3.0.8 and then hotfixed down to 8 yards within two days.

Glyph of Flash of Light
Your Flash of Light has an additional 5% critical strike chance.

This is a solid performer. On one hand, Flash of Light is economical enough that you don’t really need the mana return from a crit, and with Sacred Shield up you’re probably critting 80% of the time anyway. However, a couple of crit Flashes of Light will give a big, fast boost to a tank’s health, and more throughput is never a bad thing.

Glyph of Seal of Light
While Seal of Light is active, the effect of your healing spells is increased by 5%.

This is great to use for increasing throughput, obviously, although it does have the downside of preventing you from using Seal of Wisdom and autoattacking between casts to regenerate mana.

Glyph of Seal of Wisdom
While Seal of Wisdom is active, the cos of your healing spells is reduced by 5%.

This is a good starter glyph to improve mana conservation, which can be an issue for healing paladins early in the gearing process. When combined with a high crit rate, and gear like the Libram of Renewal, you can pump out a lot of healing for a surprisingly low mana cost.

Glyph of Divinity
Your Lay on Hands also grants you as much mana as it grants your target.

This can be very useful in the event of a mana shortage, particularly given that potion use is now very restricted. It works particularly well with a minor glyph listed below. Of note, despite some ambiguous wording it does return mana to you when you cast it on a target without mana (ie a rogue, warrior or death knight); if you cast it on yourself, it returns double the mana, giving you effectively a free mana potion. The mana restoration is also independent of the actual amount healed.

Glyph of Cleansing
Reduces the mana cost of your Cleanse and Purify spells by 20%.

This is the least useful of the holy Glyphs; even in arenas the limiting factor on cleansing is generally GCDs, rather than mana. If post-T7 raid content sees a huge return to decursing fights, this might come into its own, but generally it’s the weakest glyph and I’d avoid using it.

What about Glyph of Spiritual Attunement?

If you’re doing a lot of fights where you take large amounts of damage, and you can rely on someone else to heal you back to full health before you die (which is not necessarily a helpful thing to expect of your healing team), then this glyph can provide a reasonable source of mana return. However, given that Blizzard have stated they want to move away from ‘All AoE, All The Time’ fights, this glyph is likely to be situational at best, and there are far more generally-useful options to choose from.

Minor Glyphs: Your Choices

Recommendations

When you’re just starting out at 80, I’d recommend the following:
Majors: Glyph of Holy Light, Glyph of Seal of Wisdom and Glyph of Divinity.
Minors: Glyph of the Wise, Glyph of Lay on Hands, and dealer’s choice for your third minor. (I used Glyph of Sense Undead to help a bit with questing.)

This gives you a nice AoE effect from Holy Light, mana longevity as long as you have Seal of Wisdom up (which is made cheaper by the minor glyph), and a really nice mana regen effect from your Lay on Hands – top up your mana when you’re using Lay on Hands as an emergency heal, or get a whole mana potion’s worth if you use it on yourself. (Obviously, the minor glyph helps here.)

Once you’re better-geared and mana isn’t an issue, I would recommend:

  • Leave your Holy Light (major) and Sense Undead (minor) Glyphs in place.
  • Replace the Glyph of Seal of Wisdom (major) with Glyph of Seal of Light, and replace the Glyph of the Wise (minor) with Glyph of Blessing of Kings if you’re one of the unlucky Holy paladins who needs to spec for Kings.
  • Replace the Glyph of Divinity (major) with Glyph of Flash of Light; leave the minor Lay on Hands glyph in place. You can still use LoH as a mana restore by casting it on yourself, of course, though you’ll only get normal mana return rather than the double helping you’d get if you still had the major glyph.

These changes will generally improve your throughput significantly at the expense of mana efficiency. If you’re still having problems with mana, stick with the original suggestions. You can, of course, tweak your Glyphs differently – for instance, I know a paladin who has both of the major Seal glyphs, because the other healer in his 10-man team dies a lot so he winds up switching between Seals depending on whether he needs output or longevity.

But Isn’t The Flash of Light Glyph BAD?

No, it’s not. It used to be problematic; before Patch 3.0.8 its effect was: “Your Flash of Light heals for 50% less initially, but also heals for 140% of its inital effect over 12 sec.” Most paladins refused to use this, because it rendered Flash of Light incredibly inefficient if you cast it on the same target within twelve seconds, leaving us with only Holy Light (huge and inefficient) as a spammable heal.

Blizzard clearly agreed that it wasn’t valuable enough, and changed the effect; now it’s a flat 5% bonus to Flash of Light’s crit rate, which is much more useful.

Reader Mailbag: Levelling as Holy

I’m in the middle of a long and hefty post, so just to tide y’all over until I’m done, here’s a reader email I got recently, to which other people might also like the answers.

From Gemosi:

Is it possible to level to 80 as a healer. I am currently ret but looking to go to a healer for end game content. I need to learn all the spells and rotations for being a healer before then so I thought I would respec. Any suggestions and also if leveling is possible what the best rotation.

It’s certainly possible! However, be warned, you’ll find it much slower than Ret – but it’s perfectly viable, and means you can heal an instance at a moment’s notice.

I’m assuming you’re starting from level 70 at this point; if the toon is a reroll, I’d recommend going Retribution at least until you hit Outlands, because Holy is incredibly slow until you start getting spellpower plate/mail items.

Your typical rotation is going to be:

  • keep yourself buffed with Blessing of Wisdom; put up Retribution Aura
  • Seal up with Seal of Righteousness
  • pull the mob and Judge Wisdom on it for mana return
  • Holy Shock it
  • If it’s an undead or demon, use Exorcism
  • If you pull 3+ mobs at once, it’s probably worth using Consecration once they’re in melee range (and Holy Wrath if they’re undead/demons).
  • continue with Holy Shocks and Judgements (and Exorcism) whenever their cooldowns are up.
  • Consecrate a couple more times, but don’t use it on every cooldown; it eats way too much mana.
  • toss Hammer of Wrath into the rotation once the mob’s at 20%.

You can wring more DPS out by using more Consecrates, plus using Shield of Righteousness once you hit 75, but those are fairly mana-hungry and will increase your downtime.

Note that Seal of Righteousness’s mechanics were changed in 3.0.8 last week, and I’m still doing some research to work out if it’s still the best option.

Suggestions:

  • ignore Strength/attack power on gear; you won’t be able to stack enough of it to be worth it, and it’ll gimp your healing significantly
  • stack spellpower, mp5, and crit
  • once you get to level 70, start swapping your gear over to drop mp5 – at 71 you get Divine Plea, which restores 25% of your mana on a 1 minute cooldown. At this point, you want to be stacking spellpower, int, and crit – you’ll also get a fair bit of haste on your gear, but you probably don’t need to start stacking it til you hit 80 and are gearing up for endgame
  • when doing quests, if the plate reward is melee or tanking plate, take a look at the mail. Wearing all mail does tend to lower your survivability a lot, especially if you pull multiple mobs all the time; however, you can afford to have a few mail pieces and they’re often superior to the plate you get access to.

In terms of spec basics, I’d go with something like this for a level 70 build. As you level to 80, work your way down the Ret tree; pick up Conviction and Sanctified Seals. That’ll leave you two points left over — I usually put those into Pursuit of Justice, because run speed buffs are awesome :) At 80 your spec will be much the same, but I’d drop Seals of the Pure at that point (in Holy) and swap it over to Spiritual Focus (also in Holy) at that point for healing.

Holy Paladin Raiding Consumables, WotLK Version

As with previous guides, 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.

In addition, this guide is for consumables buffing your primary function: healing. Occasionally you might need to use consumables to increase your stamina, resistances or other stats; however, they’re outside the scope of this guide.

Potions

Potions are a lot less useful in WotLK than in TBC, thanks to the new mechanic whereby you can only take one potion per combat, regardless of cooldown. Still, they shouldn’t be dismissed. Your options:

Mana & Health Restoration
These are all affected by alchemist-only Alchemist Stone trinkets, increasing their mana/health restoration effects by 40%, unless otherwise mentioned.

Runic Mana Potion. This stacks to 5; combine 20 of them with a Mana Injector Kit to create Runic Mana Injectors, which are exactly the same as the potions except they stack to 20. You should always carry at least some mana potions, for OOM moments.

Runic Healing Potion and its Injector equivalent, Runic Healing Injector. If your mana regen isn’t reliant on potions – and it shouldn’t be, in WotLK – then these are often a more useful tool for low health “oh crap!” moments. You should always take at least some to a raid with you.

Powerful Rejuvenation Potions can be a useful option, but you’re likely to find they don’t restore enough of either health or mana to be worth using. These may not be affected by an Alchemist’s Stone. (Anyone know?)

Potion of Nightmares lasts for six seconds, and (unlike the old Dreamless Sleep potions) can’t be cleansed off you accidentally by a clueless raider trying to be helpful. It restores 5400 health and mana in three ticks; if you can’t get all three ticks you’re better off using a Runic potion instead. You can move to interrupt the effect if you desperately need to heal, but that will waste a tick or two.

Crazy Alchemist’s Potion is currently a random effect between buffs or health/mana restoration; in Patch 3.0.8 (going live today) it’s being changed to always restore health & mana, with random side-effects. These are Alchemist-only, and are currently not affected by the Alchemist’s Stone trinkets.

Other Potions
These share the same one-per-combat limitation as health & mana potions, but are a very good alternative if you’re not relying on Mana potions for regen purposes.

Potion of Speed – a great throughput potion for those ‘clutch heal’ moments, where you have to crank out a lot of healing very, very fast.

Potion of Wild Magic – similarly, good for boosting throughput at a critical moment.

Your choice between the potions is best made with reference to your own gear – for instance, if you’re already high on Haste, you might be better choosing the Wild Magic potion. However, whichever you prefer, everyone should carry a stack of one of these for emergency healing moments. (Unless you’re cruising through farm content that’s trivial for you, in which case you’re probably not using full consumables anyway.)

Flasks and Elixirs

You can use either one flask, or two elixirs (one battle elixir and one guardian elixir). Generally, two elixirs is more effective than one flask, but a flask lasts through death where an elixir doesn’t, making them economical for progression raiding.

If you’re an alchemist, you’ll get increased effect and/or duration from the Mixology effect when you’re using flasks or elixirs you can make yourself.

Flasks

Two choices here: the Flask of the Frost Wyrm for throughput, or the Flask of Pure Mojo for mana longevity. As a general rule, throughput is probably more important, but if you’re having troubles with going OOM consider switching to the Pure Mojo flask.

Edit: Two commenters have reminded me of the Flask of Distilled Wisdom, which is a pre-TBC-level recipe. If you still have access to the mats, this flask can be a better regen option than the Pure Mojo flask – if you have the right raid composition. Based on the maths outlined in this post, Distilled Wisdom beats Pure Mojo if you have access to a resto shaman and better than 72% Replenishment uptime. If you don’t have a resto shaman, or can’t rely on getting reliable Replenishment, the Flask of Pure Mojo is still better for regen purposes (although Distilled Wisdom also adds spellpower and crit chance).

Battle Elixirs

Your options:

Your choice is really up to you, depending on your balance of stats and what you need to boost. As a rule of thumb, I would recommend using the Spellpower Elixir while you’re still gearing up; once you’re reasonably well-geared, use the Haste or Crit elixirs instead, as they still boost your throughput and also enable you to respond faster when things go wrong.

Guardian Elixirs

Your choices:

Looking purely at the regen effects of Intellect, the principles outlined in this post tell us that: if you have a resto shaman in your raid and at least 50% Replenishment uptime, 45 Intellect is better than 24 mp5. The more access to Replenishment you have (more shadow priests, survival hunters and retribution paladins), the greater the relative value of Intellect. With 90% Replenishment uptime, the Intellect is worth just under 28 mp5 – plus it boosts your spellpower and crit chance to boot.

If you have no resto shammy, and none of the Replenishment specs in your raid, 45 Intellect is worth about 16 mp5. Under those conditions, you’re probably better off with the mp5 elixir; otherwise, choose the Intellect elixir.

Buff Foods

Now this is where you’re spoilt for choice.

There are four types of food buffs that might be of interest to you: Spellpower, Haste, Crit or mp5. Each food buff comes in greater and lesser versions; the stats of the greater version are higher, but making these foods requires doing the cooking dailies for the recipes, and ingredients that only come from the cooking dailies (or for a premium on the auction house). For each buff type and size, there’s one food from fishing and one from land-based mobs.

All of these food buffs are comparable, and you’re best off choosing a food buff that balances your stats. Speaking personally, I use the 12 mp5 food as a cheap stam buff food for trash and easy bosses, and the 40 Haste or 40 Crit buff food on boss fights as appropriate.

Spellpower:
46 Spellpower & 40 Stamina: Firecracker Salmon, Tender Shoveltusk Steak, Fish Feast
35 Spellpower & 40 Stamina: Smoked Salmon, Shoveltusk Steak, Great Feast

Haste Rating:
40 Haste Rating & 40 Stamina: Imperial Manta Steak, Very Burnt Worg
30 Haste Rating & 40 Stamina: Baked Manta Ray, Roasted Worg, Shoveltusk Soup (available only as a quest reward),

Crit Rating:
40 Crit Rating & 40 Stamina: Spicy Blue Nettlefish, Spiced Wyrm Burger
30 Crit Rating & 30 Stamina: Poached Nettlefish, Wyrm Delight, Succulent Orca Stew (available only as a quest reward),

mp5:
16 mp5 & 40 Stamina: Spicy Fried Herring, Mighty Rhino Dogs
12 mp5 & 40 Stamina: Pickled Fangtooth, Rhino Dogs

Other Foods

These aren’t buff food, but worth mentioning anyway: if you’re going to be fishing for the raw materials for the above buff foods, you may find it useful to stock up on the fish used to make Grilled Bonescale, Sauteed Goby, or Smoked Rockfin. All three foods give the same amount of mana and health as the Conjured Mana Strudel from mage tables, and it can be handy to carry a stack of the cooked fish as an alternative for when you don’t have a mage on hand for free strudel. (Particularly useful for 10-man raid groups who may not have regular access to a mage.)

Item Changes in 3.0.8

A few of the items I recommended in my Pre-Raid Healadin Gear Guide are seeing some changes next patch, and they’re worth looking at. (Source: this MMO-Champion thread.)

  • The Titansteel Guardian is being nerfed; its spellpower is being reduced from 490 to 457. Other stats are unchanged. It’s still an excellent mace, and worth getting if you can’t get your hands on something better, but it’s now a less competitive alternative if you do have the War Mace of Unrequited Love from Heroic Keristrasza.
  • Je’Tze’s Bell is becoming BoE. That’s a damn nice trinket, although I suspect prices are going to be sky-high.

Carry on!

The Importance of Intellect, Redux

This is an update to this post, taking into account some factors I’d forgotten.

For people who don’t want to follow the math, here’s the conclusion up-front: Given items of equal quality, gearing for Intellect is better than gearing for mp5.

Read on to find out why!

Introduced in patch 3.0.2, there are a number of new/revised sources of mana regen that are based on your total mana, and therefore scale directly with Intellect:

Divine Plea
This is the new paladin spell at level 71; it restores 25% of your total mana over 15 seconds with a 1 minute cooldown (and a debuff to healing done).

Replenishment
This is the new raid regen buff granted by Shadow Priests, Retribution Paladins and Survival Hunters. It “causes up to 10 party or raid members to gain 0.25% of their maximum mana per second” whenever the priest, paladin or hunter uses a particular ability.

In addition, if you happen to raid regularly with a resto shaman, the Mana Tide Totem restores 24% of total mana over 12 seconds.

Doing the Math
To see how these balance out against mp5-based regen, let’s look at the value of 500 Intellect. (Note that I won’t be assuming the presence of Blessing of Kings, as you may not have access to it – and with current gearing levels it’s inferior to Blessing of Wisdom for regen anyway.)

500 Intellect on gear becomes 575 Intellect in play, thanks to Divine Intellect. 575 Int is worth 8625 mana. Assuming regen abilities are used on cooldown, on 8625 mana:

  • Divine Plea can return 2156 mana per minute, equivalent to about 180 mp5.
  • Replenishment can return up to 21.56 mana per second, equivalent to 107 mp5. This is dependent on uptime; 100% uptime is fairly unlikely.
  • Mana Tide Totem can restore 2070 mana every 5 minutes, equivalent to 34 mp5.

500 Intellect therefore gives anywhere from 180-321 mp5, depending on your group composition and the uptime of their regen abilities.

However, looking at the item value of Intellect vs mp5, 500 intellect costs you the same itemisation budget as 200 mp5, which is only 20 mp5 more than the mana return of Divine Plea alone.

Illumination and Crits
That increased intellect has another effect: it increases your crit chance, which increases your mana return from casting spells. This is a lot harder to model, because the mana returns from crit rating are very variable, depending on your spell choice and casting frequency. However, doing some rough napkin math:

500 Int on gear becomes 575 Int in play for a holy paladin; 575 Int equals about 3.45% spell crit, according to this Elitist Jerks post.

Using a very rough casting model (which assumes that you’re using about 60% Flashes of Light, 20% Holy Lights and 20% Holy Shocks; that you’re keeping up Sacred Shield on one target, Beacon of Light, and Judging once a minute for Seals of the Pure; and that your Haste compensates for time lost to positioning), 1% crit chance restores about the same amount of mana, over time, as 10 mp5. This assumes near-constant casting, which is typical of a paladin healer; however, even if you’re spending up to 40% of your time not casting, 3.45% spell crit still provides as much mana return as 20 mp5.

The Bottom Line

Assuming you use Divine Plea on every cooldown, and that you spend at least 60% of each fight casting, gearing for Intellect gives you as much mana return as gearing for mp5. In addition, gearing for intellect gives you extra mana return from Mana Tide Totems and Replenishment if you have access to them (up to 78% extra mana return, in fact). And, finally, gearing for intellect increases your healing output as well, by increasing your spellpower (via Holy Guidance) and your crit rate.

The Caveat

Don’t eschew mp5 completely.

Yes, gearing for intellect is better than gearing for mp5, assuming items of equal quality. However, you’re often not choosing between items of completely equal quality, and you shouldn’t disdain mp5 to the point where you’re discarding otherwise-excellent items just because they have mp5 on them. Mp5 is not a dirty word – it still does the same job it always did, it’s just that now Intellect does it better.

Gemming Your Holy Paladin

Time for the next installment in my series of ‘How To Gear Your Paladin In WotLLK’ posts: Holy Paladin Gem Choices. This is an issue that’s been somewhat complexified by the mountain of new gem cuts in WotLK.

Updated 1 Feb 09 to include the Reckless orange cut and adjust recipes based on 3.0.8.

In general, I will be talking about gemming for maximum effect (for PvE), not ‘how to use up your stockpiles of old gems’. Therefore, the first lesson:

  • Do not use TBC-era gems! No, not even epic gems. Even uncommon-quality WotLK gems are better than the very epic-est of TBC gems. Compare, say, Runed Bloodstone and Runed Crimson Spinel if you don’t believe me.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to look at each type of gem in a little more detail. I’ll list the gems of each color that are appropriate for paladin healers, and then we’ll look at the pros and cons of each gem.

The Choices

Red

Orange

Yellow

Green

Blue

Purple

Meta

Choosing the Gems

So, that’s a lot of gems to choose from. When you’re making these choices, you really have to consider four major factors:

  • Mathematical advantage. Some stats are just stronger than others for holy paladins, because of the nature of our game mechanics. See this post for a discussion of why gearing (and gemming and enchanting) for Intellect is better than mp5, for example.
  • The stats you need for the content you’re doing. Mechanical advantage aside, nobody knows your gear better than you. If you need more healing output, gem for spellpower. If you’re PvPing, gem for crit and haste, for mobility. If you’re running out of mana, gem for Int/mp5/Crit.
  • Socket bonuses. As I’ve said before, many people get tunnel vision, and pick gems based on socket color regardless of how good the socket bonus is. Others ignore the socket bonus and gem for one stat with no exceptions. Neither choice is necessarily the wisest.

    A piece of gear with two blue sockets and a 3 mp5 socket bonus? I’d ignore that, and stick two red spellpower gems into it. A piece of gear with a red and a yellow socket, and a 5 spellpower socket bonus? That’s probably worth sticking to.

  • Meta gems. All other considerations aside, sometimes you have to socket a slightly sub-optimal gem for the sake of activating your meta gem.

Now you know the factors involved, let’s look at what to socket where.

Red Sockets

Runed Scarlet Ruby, no question.

In fact, if you’re not constricted by meta gem activation or an appealing socket bonus, this gem is arguably stronger than any other color gem and you can use it comfortably in any socket. However, if you need to socket other colors too, read on:

Blue Sockets

You’re really choosing between 9 Spellpower (Royal Twilight Opal), 8 Intellect (Dazzling Forest Emerald), 8 Haste Rating (Energized Forest Emerald) or 8 Crit Rating (Sundered Forest Emerald). All other factors being equal, I’d go for the Royal Twilight Opal again.

Yellow Sockets

Yellow has better choices than blue; none of these gems are really bad to socket, and depending on the kind of content you’re doing and the role you’re playing in your team, they often make for a more well-rounded gear set than pure spellpower gems anyway.

Avoid any of the green gems for this socket, and look at yellow and orange gems. Pretty much any of the orange or yellow gems I listed above are acceptable, in fact – although make sure you’re not needlessly piling on auxiliary stats like Haste at the expense of your mana pool or crit rating. Int and Crit are both multi-purpose, improving throughput and mana longevity; by comparison, Haste only improves throughput.

My personal preference is the Luminous Monarch Topaz or Potent Monarch Topaz for the balance of stats they provide. The Reckless Monarch Topaz is also acceptable if you’re trying to build up your Haste rating, but I generally feel that there’s more than enough Haste directly on gear and you’re better off gemming for Int or Crit.

Meta Sockets

Of the options I listed, the Insightful Earthsiege Diamond is the strongest choice; +Int has come into its own as a stat for paladins, and the proc is very powerful: +600 mana, 5% proc rate, possibly with an internal cooldown of 15 seconds.

Elitist Jerks has a comparison of meta gems in this thread and the IED comes out far ahead. The next best choice is the Ember Skyflare Diamond. Really crit-stacked healadins may also like the Revitalizing Skyflare Diamond but it’s still probably not strong enough to compete with the IED.

Also note that there are a few PvP-oriented meta gems that may prove very useful in specific content, such as those with reduced Fear/Silence/Stun duration, or improved run speed. You can see a complete list of jewelcrafter-cut WotLK meta gems with this WoWhead filter.