Friday, April 17, 2009

The Not So Useless Little Spell, After All!

In the past couple of months, I was re-acquainted with a spell that has been forgotten by most of the healing paladin community. This didn't happen as a result of a long, hard, and creative thinking process about ways I could improve my performance in raids. No... It happened during a fourth wipe on Maexxna, and we were wiping due to the lack of damage reduction on the tank during the enrage/web spray stage. I figured that, before I left the pug, I would give it one more shot, repair bills be damned. I had, by chance, opened my spellbook and was browsing through the protection spells, looking for Hand of Protection, as I didn't have it on my hotbar for some reason. As I was scrolling through, my eyes fell on Hand of Sacrifice, a spell I had not used since I stopped raiding Karazhan. 
Now, normally, Hand of Sacrifice would be used by protection specced paladins as a means of saving a group member from death in case of an aggro pull. It is, however, and excellent spell that will save a tank from dying in many situations. It has perfect synergy with Divine Shield. So how would you use it? I do it in situations where the tank will take an enormous amount of damage that the raid may not be able to heal through. You simply cast Divine Shield and then Hand of Sacrifice on your tank. The result is that 30% of the damage will go to you, and you will be protected by the bubble, so you won't be in any danger.Examples of some situations where you would use it:
Maexxna - the enrage happens at 30%, and there is a good chance that you will get web sprayed at least once. Usually the tank can use a damage reduction ability and survive. If you get sprayed twice during the enrage, however, the tank will probably die. The answer? DS and HoS.
Patchwerk: At 10% he increases damage done, meaning that hateful strikes do way more damage (as if they didn't do enough). 
It is also incredibly useful if another healer bites the dust, or you just pull too many mobs (heroics for example). 

The best way I have found is to use a castsequence macro, like this (/castsequence Divine Shield, Hand of Sacrifice). Of course, this is a very simple one, as I'm sure things like mousover target and such can be added. I'm sure that I have only touched the tip of the iceberg here, so feel free to add more uses in the comments section.

Edit: As Rohan mentioned in the comments section, the spell in Protection tree, Divine Sacrifice, is also usable as a way to mitigate raid damage, and can be put in a castsequence macro as well. While I think that it's a great way to mitigate dmg in 5 and 10 mans, it diminishes in a 25 man aoe raid situation due to the number of players taking damage. It does, however, beat Hand of Sacrifice if the tank is the only one taking damage at the time. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Standing at the Crossroads...

By now it is no secret that the latest trend in WoW blogging is not to blog at all. With Phae on maternity leave and many others on hiatus, I must admit that I have come to a point where I don't know what to do with the blog.  When I first started out, I thought that I wanted to specialize in things like healing and gear guides. I did not realize, though, that even writing out a simple Heroic guide is so much work. While by now I can probably write out a step by step approach to every heroic dungeon boss encounter, I feel that it's an overwhelming amount of work for something most people will have already figured out. I suppose that I could try theorycrafting, but that's even more work, and what's worse, it means that I would have to do math... /blegh
Right now I have a half finished Heroic HoL guide that I started on, oh, about two months ago! I have a ton of ideas in my head, but every night I sit down at the computer, I find that it isn't enough to even write a single cohesive post. What's worse, it seems like there is a new holy paladin blog popping up almost daily. I'll have to find something that will make this blog stand out among the others, but I still have no clue about what that might be. I guess I'll have to do some soul searching, but until then, you're more than welcome to help yourself to my ramblings!

PS: By the way, that is the Turning Tide I'm wielding in  the picture :P

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Modest Proposal

Miss Elf had an interesting post a while back called If I Were A New Player, I Wouldn't Be A Player At All. I didn't really pay much attention to how hostile the game is to new players until Northrend was down on Scarlet Crusade a few weeks ago, and I had rolled a lock on a new server for fun. I made it to level 15 before I finally gave up.  It is hard enough to grind 80 levels on a server where you have the support of your mains, but I think that if I had to do it all over again from scratch, I wouldn't even bother giving it a try. After giving this some serious thought, I had suddenly remembered what EQ had started doing after they saw their new player base decrease: Monster Missions. These were instanced runs where you got to play as, basically, an NPC. Think Caverns of Time, except that you had a completely different set of abilities from your own. What was really fun about monster missions was that a level 75 and a level 10 could group together, as the levels would be adjusted for the instance. Now, this probably would have to be adjusted in case of WoW, as just gaining experience from the missions means nothing to an 80. This is where another feature from EQ could come in handy: Evolving Items. They would be rare pieces of gear in which you would invest experience from the missions to gain better stats. At full evolution, they would have the same stats as a, let's say, lv213 epic, maybe even better. Don't like this idea? Fine then, I have one more proposition.
It is no secret that low level instances have now become obsolete. In fact, they are pretty much only useful to twinks and new players. This is where I would recommend what I like to call "Rent a group". Similar to what EQ implemented, once a day you would be able to go into an instance by yourself with enough NPCs to fill in for the rest of the group that you could not pug in lfg. They would move through the instance at a set pace, and you could mix and match the composition of the group, so that you could also perform your role as dps/healer/tank. That's pretty much all I got... Thanks for reading!