Evaluating Your Raid Team: Holy Paladin

The second in a series of guides in how to read the numbers and help your raid better their game.  Feel free to check out the first post on restoration shamans.

Holy Paladins

Holy paladins are excellent tank healers, and as such, they almost invariably have a single target who receives the bulk of their healing.  My first job as an evaluator is to see how much healing went to their tank target.  This is our holy paladin’s Healing Done on listing for last night:

Notice that 50% of all of her healing went to a single target.  A quick scroll down the list will show that no other target received over 7% of healing from her.  This tells me she stayed on target.

The next part of the evaluation will require you to know a bit about your particular paladin’s spec.  Currently (3.3) there are two main specs in favor: Holy Light and Flash of Light specializations.  If you’d like to know more, there’s a good post by Paladin Schmaladin about the differences.

The big deal for us, however, is that depending on your paladin’s spec, you can inspect some major differences in types of spells cast, so it is vital that you know which build your paladin is using.  If they’re built for Holy Light and spamming flash of light, it can be a giant red flag.  You should also know some basics about their spells: Judgement of Light needs to be refreshed every 20 seconds, but it provides a haste increase to the caster; Beacon of Light provides splash healing to nearby characters but must be refreshed every 60 seconds; Holy Shock can be cast once every 6 seconds but is mana intensive; Sacred Shield is mana intensive and has a short-term 30 second duration.

This is the data from our Holy Light paladin on Lady Deathwhisper (25), which lasted 10 minutes:

Holy Light is our paladin’s primary healing spell.  She had 109 casts out of a possible 300 (if she only spammed without any movement), which means she was busy.  On average, her healing per second was around 4k which seems a bit low for me in the current content; however, it is likely affected by her large over-healing.  73% is a high for over-healing and is a good indicator that she had other players healing her target OR a mismanagement of her healing resources.  An evaluation of the rest of the team will quickly reveal which it is; however, it is also not a high priority for concern unless member’s of your healing team are running out-of-mana during an encounter.

Judgement of Light information is gobbly-gook in this format other than to tell me she had it up.  The number of ticks depends on more variables than just time, such as the number of members alive (including pets) at any given point in the fight; however, over time, you should be able to get a “feel” for healing numbers on this line.  This looks ok to me, so let’s move on.

Sacred Shield usage varies widely for every holy paladin I’ve ever seen.  I expect to see higher sacred shield usage from FoL build paladins due to the proc effect; however, due to its high cost and lack of side-benefits of holy light build paladins, I would never expect to see high numbers on sacred shield despite its ready availability.  Despite all that, when evaluating sacred shield, you want to see the average amount of damage absorbed and compare that to pure healing output.  In this example, sacred shield absorbed for approximately 3300 damage per second, about 1k less than pure healing output.

This is actually a good use of the ability for our paladin–she has a main tank target, sacred shield is an instant cast ability, so it allowed her to mitigate damage on secondary targets without putting her main target at risk.

Holy Shock is another variable factor for many paladins.  I would expect to see higher usage of holy shock from a holy light paladin than a flash of light one, due to the mana cost and cast speed of main spells.  The damage that is occurring during a fight also heavily influence holy shock use.  In boss-centered fights the spell can be used to “prop” up a tank after a particularly hard hit until the next large heal can be cast; in more aoe damage type fights, the spell allows the paladin to contribute to overall raid healing by quickly splashing targets not already affected by her beacon of light.

In my opinion, Lady Deathwhisper is a poor fight to analyze the overall use of holy shock in any paladin’s repertoire–all I can say in this case is out of 100 possible casts of holy shock (every cool-down) she only utilized 16.  Due to the nature of the fight, I would have expected a higher number of casts; however, placement in the room could have limited her severely in casting it on other players, while the tank damage during the add phase does not require it.

Beacon of Light evaluation requires you to know who the beacon was cast on and the range of people around the beacon.  In this fight, the paladin’s main tank target had one melee within range during most of the fight.  While this limited the efficacy, honestly, it’s the only way it would have provided any benefit since the paladin’s healing assignment was the tank who had the beacon.  Like judgements, beacon can vary greatly from fight to fight, but this looks right.

Flash of Light usage for this particular paladin’s build is questionable.  The only time I would expect to see flash of light is if Holy Shock was not available.  The only time this is not true is when mana usage is an issue, since flash of light is a paladin’s most conservative spell.  If you were evaluating a FoL build paladin, this scenario would be reversed–I would expect to see Flash of Light as the highest used spell, with Holy Light rarely, if ever, used.

7 thoughts on “Evaluating Your Raid Team: Holy Paladin

  1. Oh dear, by those criteria, I'd be one of the worst holy paladins on the planet!

    A holy light build just means you CAN use holy light as much as needed. If there's not enough damage on the tank, a paladin will be spamming flash of light, regardless of his build. This paladin's use of FoL is actually pretty low! (But as long as she/he didn't run out of mana, thats fine) Here's another take on the HL vs FoL build: http://bossypally.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/your-h

    Judgment of Light is a good spell to use and can be a good indicator that the paladin is judging, however, that only works if there is one paladin in the raid. We usually run with 5, two of us judge Wisdom, the other three judge Light. Those judging Light all override each other so only one person ever gets credit at a time. Those judging Wisdom never get credit! A better indicator would be to look up *judgments of the pure* uptime on the buffs page. I can't remember what it usually looks like, but off the time of my head I'd say it would be around 73%.

    Sacred shield is a good spell and I use it to see how much a paladin is paying attention. As fights go on, we tend to forget to keep SS up. Also, SS doesn't stack, so it's important that a paladin be aware of which raiders have SS on them at a given time. A high uptime on SS is a good sign.

    I'm a huge fan of holy shock, but I know a lot of paladins don't like it. Apparently it's not mana efficient. There are different ways to use it – I generally toss it on the raid as needed in fights where I have to watch more than one tank. I also use it a lot when I'm moving. Unless there's an emergency, there's no real reason to use it on CD when tank healing. It hits for only slightly more than FoL and costs more mana.

    Beacon of Light is tricky indeed. On most fights, I beacon the tank and spam heals on the raid so Beacon of Light actually tends to be my top healing spell. This differs from paladin to paladin and I agree with you that it varies from fight to fight.

    On the overheal, 73% is fine, especially considering this paladin's HL usage. HL can crit for over 20k, so most of it will be overheal. Typical overheal for a paladin seems to be 70-85%. But as long as the paladin isn't running out of mana, overheal is never an issue.

    I hope I don't come across the wrong way! I really felt that some things needed to be clarified. Evaluating a holy paladin is an complicated task and I applaud you for tackling it! (I've tried several times to write posts on evaluating paladins and gave up because it was too complex)

    • This isn't the greatest evaluation, mainly because I know the paladin and how she heals 😛

      I've been trying to include enough commentary to be helpful when evaluating past the loves I know (I don't have a problem with her overheal b/c she's a constant holy light spammer for example–she also happens to be a vanilla to current healer, which does affect her healing choices as well as her assignment). Our raid team always has a tree and a couple of shamans, so that affects healing choices as well.

      For Holy Light builds, I'm a big proponent of holy shock. I know some who never use it, and some you use it in place of other spells. I think the benefits for the HL build are definitely worthwhile especially on progression where every extra heal is worthwhile–if you can afford the mana cost. For FoL builds (which was my preference) I would only use Shock when absolutely necessary b/c of the cost vs. healing output.

      I also know pallie tanks who judge light (bad pally) instead of wisdom, but again, it doesn't really matter who casts it as long as its on the boss. I really appreciate your comments–I'm not the knowledge base of holy paladins, but this is how I would evaluate generally.

  2. I am liking these so far. I think it would help me if I was one of those guys with a toon of every class at max level. But, it might be a case of jack of all, master of none type of thing.

    My pally is only 32 and parked on my old server, just so I can log into the ghost town that is my old guild, peruse my friends list and wonder why all the people that got me into raiding quit the game.

    I tend to get maudlin sometimes. And, write run on sentences.

  3. Always fun to get some direct feedback on your work. 🙂 It helped me sort through some of the data mindful of how I see myself as well as how others might judge my performance.

    For this fight I try to keep Judgement of Wisdom up on the shield during Phase 1 to ensure mana is high when we get to Phase 2 and then I swap to Judgement of Light on the boss. This particular night was a little hectic, so I didn’t judge as often as I should have, but I did have 26 judgements and my Judgements of the Pure had an 87% up time. I am reworking my UI a bit to help make it easier for me to keep up my judgements.

    I sometimes take a little liberty in my play, so if you go look, I had 19 Holy Shock casts as damage, so that makes a total of 35 Holy Shock casts during the encounter, probably a little closer to what you were expecting although you were expecting all of them to be heals. 😉 Because we were having a little issue with getting the adds and the shield down quickly enough in our attempts the night before, I threw in a Holy Shock when I had time and was close enough. I really like Holy Shock and tend to use it a lot. Usually to heal someone other than the tank (like myself). If I have time and mana, I do like to be able to throw in a little DPS to help out as well [pay no attention to the Exorcisms and Holy Wrath; omg I forgot to Consecrate on the boss?].

    Based on where I was for Phase 1 of this fight the only real choices for Beacon were the tank I was already healing or myself. In most fights I shield and heal one tank while Beaconing another and I did that when we got to Phase 2 (hence the healing on Dindra).

    I probably use more Flash of Light than some. Here it was mainly for a quick heal here and there for a total of 23 casts. That doesn’t seem like much to me. Remember that Flash of Light will show up here twice: once for the spell itself and once for the HOT it puts on my Sacred Shield target. The HOT had 146 ticks.

    I try to keep Sacred Shield up on someone all the time, especially since I am specced to improve it. I like to get it on my tank and hit him/her with a Flash of Light to keep that HOT going, especially if I know we’re out of range of anyone with a HOT ability. It makes for a nice “pad” between Holy Lights just in case I have to move.

    Things I have identified as areas for improvement after looking through the data: I could really use a solid timer to keep my Judgements of the Pure and Sacred Shield up as well as keep from casting Beacon before it’s close to timing out. I need to rework where some of my buttons are to improve my on-the-run performance. I should be using my Divine Sacrifice more often. In a 10 minute fight I could have used it 4 times and I only used it once.

    Oh, and in my defense, I think I got mind controlled during this one too. 🙂

    Thanks for doing this Windsoar! I learned a lot. (sorry for the long post)

  4. Pingback: Evaluating Your Raid Team: Assassination & Combat Rogues « Jaded Alt

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