Archive for March, 2012

Marriage and Compromise

Posted on March 31, 2012. Filed under: Home, Uncategorized |

“Love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage”.  We’ve heard that theme song from the TV series “Married With Children” which aired in the late 80’s. Now what about “Gaming and Marriage”? Do they go together like an MMO and dial-up modem. I think not.

Gaming today has really come a long way from the Nintendo/Atari systems of the 80’s, Xbox/Playstation of the 90’s, to now the twenty-first century where computer gaming has become so popular. With the introduction  of MMO’s and many console games played on computers through internet sites like Steam, gaming has become more of a hobby than a time dump and it’s not just kids who are playing.  I personally know doctors, lawyers, and other successfully employed adults who instead of going outside to play golf or basketball, choose to go online and compete against internet bad guys, bullies, or as one of my favorite writers from WowInsider-Anne Stickney calls them, Internet Dragons.

Now why bring this all up you ask. A few days ago I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, The Double O Podcast.  The hosts Oestrus and Ophelie were discussing with their guest Stubborn from the Sheep the Diamond blog, married couples who game together.  They discussed some very interesting points, both good and bad about couples who game together.  This really got me thinking about my situation of being married to a non gamer. When I say non gamer, I mean non gamer to the point to where the first time I got on Ventrillo to talk with my guild mates, she had this strange look on her face which said; ” Marc looking at a computer screen while talking to people he’s never met, through headsets. He has absolutely lost it”. Well, three and a half years later I’d have to say she’s adjusted just fine and accepted my gaming lifestyle, but like all relationships, it takes some work and compromise.

There are a few couples both dating and married who game together in the guild I’m part of, in World of Warcraft. Like most of them suggested I tried to get my wife into gaming. I even offered to level a character with her and show her the ropes. She wanted nothing to do with wow. I think she felt a little intimidated from watching me briefly as I raided. She assumed this was the only  way wow is played.  Her not being into the whole science fiction and/or fantasy genre, I even suggested we give Sims a shot, hoping I could take baby steps into transforming her into a future gamer. “No thanks, it’s not my thing” she said.  She was exactly right, it’s not her thing and I can’t expect her to change for me, even though at times I can be jealous of the couples who do game together.

We both have our own hobbies, while I enjoy my time gaming she practices and plays competitive soccer in a women’s league.  Even though we both have separate hobbies we still make time for one another and do things we both enjoy. That is the key to staying happily married while devoting considerable time to a game and community that I love and respect.  As crazy as it might sound to some folks you have to lay down some ground rules.  As you probably  know by now my primary game of  choice is World of Warcraft. In WoW I spend most of my time raiding. My guild raids 3 nights a week from 730-1030 pm pst.   Because of my work schedule, we decided that 2 out of the 3 raid nights and a few hours here and there to do other wow in-game activities was fair.  She gets a few nights a week for soccer practice and a game on Saturday. Sunday nights we sit down to a movie with the kids.  Between all that, we take care of and deal with all the day-to-day family responsibilities.

Occasionally I will try to sneak in a little extra game time but I’ve found that I usually end up in hot water so I really try not to take advantage. Being able to play my games and enjoy my hobby really has helped with the day-to-day stress that we have.  This makes me a much better person, father and husband.   On the flip side, my wife needs a husband so its important to remember that and to not get all caught up with wanting to level 5 different alts, level cooking and fishing, and playing the AH.

So how do all the other gamers whose significant others, who don’t game, manage their gaming time and time spent together?  I’d like to know.  Thanks,

Megacode

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Recent Beta, Just a Pipe Dream?

Posted on March 29, 2012. Filed under: Home |

Blizzard put out the recent Beta changes and boy I am happy for us Holy Paladins. I know its just beta and most likely most of it won’t make its way to release,  but it can’t hurt to dream a little dream!  Instead of going over all of the beta patch information that effects us, I’ll write about what really intrigues me as a Holy Paladin.

Holy Abilities

Beacon of Light: Big change here was Holy Radiance transferring (heard 25%) to BofL target.

Daybreak: After casting Holy Radiance our next Holy Shock will transfer 50% of its heal to allies near its target. I like this better than relying on a 20% proc to remove a global cooldown.

Holy Radiance: Now healing allies of the target for 50% of its heal instead of a static number. Bigger heal means bigger splash heals. Reading the new tool tip, it looks like we’re losing the small heal over time component but getting a charge of holy power when casted.

Light of Dawn: From my understanding it will work more like a priests Circle of Healing, healing up to 6 of the most injured targets within 30 yards. I like this much better since you won’t have to position yourself to get the cone-ward heal  out.

Glyphs

Glyph of Flash of Light: When you FoL a target, it increases the next heal done to that target within 7 seconds by 10%. Not sure if I’ll use this glyph but definitely good for “Oh Crap” situation; throw a Flash of Light on someone close to death followed up with a Divine Light.

Glyph of Illumination: Your Holy Shock criticals grant 1% mana return, but Holy Insight(was meditation) returns 10% less mana. Very interesting glyph.  Your mana regeneration while in combat is reduced from 50-40 percent, so you would need to cast 10 holy shocks to make up that 10%. I try my best to use HS once off cooldown for the quick heal and Holy Power regen but 10 a minute (6 sec cooldown) is unlikely.

SKILLS

Boundless Conviction: Basically you store 2 additional Holy Power beyond the maximum of 3. Word of Glory(WoG) and Light of Dawn(LoD) can only consume up to 3 Holy Power, no more. This gives you 2 more Holy Powers in your arsenal. If you cast a 3 holy power WoG or LoD, throw out a Holy Shock and now you have a large WoG or LoD ready to be used. I really like this!

Hand of Sacrifice: Range increased from 30-40 yards. Love this since I use HoS all the time.

Improved Judgement: Removed old to replace with a completely new one to make use of our Judgements of the Pure talent. Does not specify how the mana regen for JotP will work. Right now for 1 minute we have mana regen from Spirit while in combat by 30% when we cast Judgment.

Holy Insight: New, and sort of a combination of Enlightened Judgements, Meditation, and Walk in the Light which are present day talents 2 of which are passive. It also increases our mana pool by 400%. Guessing this is because Intellect will no longer increase our mana pool.

Tower of Radiance: Pretty much the same,  with one change being that ToR doesn’t generate Holy Power for Holy Radiance. Holy Radiance itself when casted will generate holy power.

Ok picture this; Beacon of Light on the tank. Your standing with melee. Melee group gets hit with some major damage. Meanwhile you have 5 holy power banked (Boundless Conviction). Cast Light of Dawn, Cast Holy Radiance on a melee (25% gets transfered to BoL target and 50% goes to allies), Cast Holy Shock on melee(Daybreak gives 50% to allies) and you get 1 holy power, Cast a 3 holy power Light of Dawn, Cast Holy Radiance, Cast Holy Shock (Daybreak). Tank gets a ton of healing through Beacon of Light and splash heals, melee gets a ton of healing through direct heals and splash heals. I’m not much of a theorycrafter  but it sure seems like were becoming better raid healers with every expansion/patch.

I also noticed a few of our heals had cost of mana increased while some got bumps to their healing output, but that is expected because with a new expansion comes new loot with bigger stats. Its all about balancing the healing classes.

Keep in mind that this is a beta patch and there will be changes before it goes live. This post was written so that we may slowly get prepared as we progress patch to patch until launch day. Thanks,

Megacode!

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Healing 5 mans Holy Paladin Style

Posted on March 24, 2012. Filed under: Home |

Holy Paladins today have become more versatile than we ever have been. Unlike the days of Wrath of the Lich King, where we were mainly using one healing spell (Holy Light) coupled with Beacon of Light and Sacred Shield, today we have a huge arsenal of healing spells, cooldowns, and damage mitigation spells to choose from.  With a lot of players getting burned out on Dragon Soul content, people have been looking for other things to do to get the most out of their game time. A lot of folks have decided to level new alts and give the Holy Paladin speck a try. Friends and guildies who have gotten their new Holy Paladins to 85 have been asking me for advice on how to heal heroic 5 man dungeons. I thought perhaps that would be a great first blog to tackle on Healingspeck.com.

One of the things I’ve always practiced and suggested, is using the Random Dungeon Finder(RDF) for your main speck as you are leveling. This allows you to practice your spells and talents slowly as you work your way to 85. In this case, queue into the dungeon finder as Heals (Holy Speck).  Now if you’ve decided to wait until 85 with your full healing arsenal locked and loaded before jumping into the RDF ; then with practice, patience, and determination you can rise to the occasion.

Unlike raids where you have other healers healing and also there as backup, in 5 mans your the soul healer so it’s extremely important that you have a full understanding of what your heals put out (small heals, big heals, aoe heals), what cooldowns you have, and what your damage mitigation applications (Hands,Auras) can do. Since this isn’t a post on talents and specks I will assume you have already  read and have a basic understanding of what your talents do and how/when they proc. In future posts I will tackle the aforementioned info.

Like 5 man suggests, there’s 5 of you. One tank and healer with 3 dps. The roles in a nutshell:

TANK: Soaks up damage by holding threat using damage mitigation or avoidance.

Healer: Heals those taking damage by using spells of healing and damage mitigation.

DPS: Damage dealer, the ones attacking and killing the boss/mobs while tank holds threat.

When in Holy Speck you always want to use Seal of Insight, which helps with mana regeneration and when glyphed gives you a 5% increase to healing spells. If a Druid is missing from the group then you want to use Blessing of Kings buff for the increase to intellect. When there’s a Druid in the party using Mark of the Wild buff, you’ll want to use Blessing of Might on everyone for the increase to attack power and mana regeneration. Which Auras to use is dependent on what type of damage is incoming and who is in your party (Paladin, Shaman). As a Holy Paladin you’ll most likely be swapping between Devotion Aura and Resistance Aura. Just don’t forget to turn off Crusader Aura before you enter the Instance or your sure to get a little heat from the other players.

Every healer has their own style to healing so what I do isn’t whats set in stone as the only way to heal 5 mans, however, it does work for me. I like to use the method of “Always Be Casting”, especially when I first enter the Cataclysm Heroic 5 man dungeons at the beginning gear level. Basically, always be throwing a heal onto someone. Since you should always be using your Beacon of Light on the tank, any heals on the dps or yourself get transferred  onto the tank. With our Mastery (Illuminated Healing) not only are you giving out heals but your also adding  a shield onto them(amount is dependent on how much mastery you have). Generally I focus on healing dps using Holy Shock and Holy Light our bread and butter heals. Not only do they use very little mana but Holy Shock generates holy power,  and 100% of the healing from Holy Light gets transferred through Beacon of Light onto the tank. On top of that, because of talents like Protector of the Innocent  and Enlightened Judgements we keep ourselves healed. Once I’ve generated 3 stacks of Holy Power, I will then use one of our Holy Power free heals(costs no mana). If we’re not grouped up and somebody needs a large single target heal, then Word of Glory gets the job done. Now if there is party wide damage going out and were either grouped up, or I can position myself behind everyone, then I like to use a 3 Holy Power Light of Dawn for some area of effect “AOE” healing. In conjunction with Light of Dawn during times of heavy party wide damage, Holy Radiance can work some serious healing magic. Just keep in mind, everyone needs to be close or grouped up together. While Light of Dawn uses no mana, Holy Radiance can really suck up the mana when just entering Heroic 5 mans for the first time, so keep that in mind.  Because of the talent Tower of Radiance, our Holy Radiance spell when used generates one Holy Power.  Once mana doesn’t become much of an issue for you, a rotation (for lack of a better term) that a lot of Holy Paladins use during times of heavy party wide damage is; Holy Radiance, Holy Radiance, Holy Shock, followed up with a 3 Holy Power Light of Dawn. If you notice someone taking heavy damage, like the tank or a dps whose grabbed aggro away from the tank, and health is getting close to 60% or lower, then Divine Light can be used to bring their health to a more comfortable level.  Now sometimes regardless of what were doing, things can get crazy and out of control such as; people standing in the bad stuff, dps grabbing aggro from tank, or just everyone trying to learn the fight. Thankfully we have a fast medium-sized heal, Flash of Light that when used correctly, can save the day. Because this spell has the tendency to get abused, players can easily find themselves out of mana, so be forewarned.

Holy Paladins have been called utility healers and there’s a good reason why. Besides heals we have other ways to mitigate the damage done. Our Hands are great tools to use when trying to reduce damage that is being delt to the tank or dps. In 5 mans there are four I use most.

Hand of Sacrifice: Throw this on the tank during times of heavy tank damage so 30% of the damage transfers to you. Having Divine Protection or Divine Shield cocked and ready to be fired is always a good thing just incase you bite off more than you can chew.

Hand of Salvation: Throw this onto over aggressive dps taking threat away from tanks. Reduces threat eventually by 20% over a 10 second period.

Hand of Freedom: In dungeons I generally will save this for myself to prevent movement impairing effects on me, thus allowing myself to move and heal at the same time.

Hand of Protection: In dungeons I save this for near death experiences to dps. Keep in mind melee dps will lose all physical damaging abilities for 10 seconds, however ranged can keep firing away. If necessary, you can cancel this affect by throwing a Hand of Freedom on them.

Lay on Hands: In dungeons I save this for near death experiences to tanks, and occasionally dps if it will prevent a wipe. This isn’t really categorized as a Hands spell but it just fits in here nicely.

Cooldowns are part of any healers arsenal and as a Holy Paladin, well, we’ve been blessed.

Avenging Wrath: Increased healing by 20% for those times of big boss damage.  I’ll take that coupled with Holy Light(to save mana) or go big with Divine Light.

Divine Favor: I use this mainly when there is some big party wide damage in conjunction with Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn for some big AoE healing.

Guardian of Ancient Kings: Used to double your Divine Light heals or turn your Holy Light heal into a Divine Light heal when big damage is expected.

Aura Mastery: If there is a ton of physical damage coming in,  I like to use this with Devotion Aura. A lot of magic damage, combine it with Resistance Aura.

Divine Protection: I use this for those times when I take physical damage, thus reducing it by 20%. When glyphed reduces magic damage by 40%.

Divine Shield: The Paladins famous bubble. Used personally for those near death experiences.

Now before patch 4.3 in order to help with mana regeneration it was important for Holy Paladins to use their Judgement every 8 seconds to keep Judgements of the Pure up but with 4.3, you only need to use your Judgement spell once a minute for the spirit and haste buff.  Now another thing to be aware of is Forbearance. Anytime you use Lay on Hands, Hand of Protection or Divine Shield, you will be prevented from using one of the other two cooldowns for 1 minute. This keeps us from being over powered in pvp.

Mana regeneration is something to be concerned with when entering 5 mans and heroics while equipped in lower level gear.Things I do to help are being in melee range if necessary to take advantage of Seal of Insights 4% mana proc. Also, be sure to use Judgement at least once a minute to keep your Judgements of the Pure up for mana regeneration. I macro         Divine Plea with a Mythical Mana Potion for some extra mana but be sure to use this macro during times when the party is not taking heavy damage since your healing spells will be reduced by 50% for 9 seconds.

Some simple rules to triaging  5 mans:

Healing priority for the most part is Tank>Healer>DPS.

I will always sacrifice bad dps whom continually stand in the fire,  in order to conserve mana, and perhaps teach them a lesson.

In the thick of a battle I am comfortable with players being around 50-60 percent health, but that’s just me. If time and mana allow it I will top them off during the fight.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of healing 5 man dungeons as a Holy Paladin. Keep in mind that there are many ways and styles to healing and that this just works for me.The only way of really learning how to heal regardless of which class is to get out there and do it. Practice makes perfect.  Also, be aware that once Mists of Pandaria expansion launches, all of this will have changed due to the new talent system, new spells, cooldowns and abilities. Please leave feedback and comments.

Thanks Megacode !!!

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