Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tools of the Trade: Protecting Your Allies

This is a reminder to all paladins. In the wake of all the fire and brimstone caused by the PTR changes, the forced specialization caused by upper-tier-heavy talent trees, and the loss of supposed hybridity and flexibility amongst several hybrid classes, I want to point to a few things that all ret paladins can do that aren't just "killing the boss faster." How can you protect your fellow raider/groupmate? What abilities can a ret paladin use that make him more than just a warrior with heals or a glorified buff bot?

Hand of Protection
You've had it forever, you just forget to use it. Zealous clothie got aggro? Tree has adds making a bee-line for her? Ele shaman just doesn't know when to stop using Chain Lightning and pulling non-primary targets off the tanks? HoP 'em. HoP 'em good. They'll get 6 seconds of "can't touch this!" physical immunity and a big ol' honking "TONE DOWN YOUR AGGRO" sign over their head, to boot.

Hand of Salvation
Here's a situation. You're watching Omen and see that warlock friend of yours climbing higher and higher on the threat meter. He just overtook the tank's threat total and in a matter of moments he'll be hitting that 130% threshhold where the boss stops beating on the plated guy with a shield and decides that robe-wearers with an affinity for immolation and desecration sounds tastier. You know that he can't Soulshatter, he did that just a short while ago. You are his salvation. Literally. A quick Hand of Salvation buys the tank a minute to crank his threat up or the warlock to throttle it back. Crisis avoided before it starts. They say preventitive medicine is the best kind - so is preventitive aggro reduction.

Hand of Sacrifice
So this boss, he tends to hit things really hard. Sometimes, he hits so hard that the tank gets really, really low. The big bad thing (BBT) this boss does happens on a timer - you know when it's coming. Sometimes the boss might even emote a few seconds before the BBT happens. You can help cushion the blow with some pre-planning. Hand of Sacrifice on the tank before the BBT happens, and 30% of the damage gets transferred to you. Usually, this will be non-fatal. If it would be fatal, you can always Divine Shield as you HoSac the tank and then the damage just fizzles.

Lay on Hands
A ret paladin in a 25-man WoW 3.0 raid has somewhere between 20k and 25k life. That means Lay on Hands is an instant, mana-free 20-25k heal on whomever you like. Oh no! Tank is low and healer just got silenced/incapacitated! BOOM, LoH. Tank saved, wipe averted. What if the healer has everything under control but is running low on mana? That tree has drank a mana potion, Innervated, AND has had Replenishment the entire fight, but still is about to go OOM. Lay on Hands can help there too! LoH the druid and she gets free mana! What a great guy you are, giving a bit of mana to a tree in need.

Hammer of Justice / Repentance
These nifty spells aren't just PvP tools. You can stun things in 5-mans, preventing them from chasing your healer if they're loose, or Repentance them and take the mob out of the fight for a full minute. In a raid, Hammer of Justice can't stun most things, but gorramit it can still interrupt spells. Yea, sure, it's a minute cooldown, but if the rogue that's assigned to kick stuff has his finger up his nose, you can still contribute. Kel'Thuzad is casting a frostbolt and the tank is really low and the healers are distracted! HAMMER TIME! Frostbolt interrupted, tank alive.

Sacred Shield
It may not be terribly powerful for a retribution paladin, but it will absorb damage, and damage absorbed is damage that doesn't need to be healed. If you're not running with a holy paladin healer, you can throw this on the tank periodically and make the healer's job that much easier. Or, if you're in a fight with a lot of periodic raid damage, you can throw this on yourself and cushion the blow, which is usually a great thing since Seal of Blood/Martyr recoil is dangerous in fights like that.
EDIT: According to Zach Yonzon of WoW Insider, Sheath of Light will affect Sacred Shield after patch 3.1. So, hooray! This ability just got uber-useful.

Art of War'ed Flash of Light
Every time you crit with a Judgement or Divine Storm, Art of War procs. Which means just about every time you crit with a special, you can throw an instant heal. Flash of Light doesn't cost a ton of mana. The Flash of Light has an excellent chance of critting, owing to a good amount of crit rating increases on ret gear, and especially if you managed to Sacred Shield the target earlier. Add in that Sheath of Light will leave a heal over time on the target if the FoL does indeed crit, and you have an instant, sizable amount of healing that you can contribute for the cost of a global cooldown.

Hand of Reckoning / Righteous Defense
When all else fails, if you're running out of tricks and there are still things chasing your healer, you can taunt stuff and let them try to kill a plate wearer instead of a cloth wearer. It may earn you an early demise, but it might buy your tanks and healers time to get their shiznit together and take control of the situation. It's a last resort, but it can give the tank a few precious seconds to come to the rescue.

There are other creative ways to use these and other abilities. This is just the stuff I can think of off the top of my head. Some banks have Know Your Customer (KYC) policies to prevent check fraud - well, consider this my personal message to all paladins to KYA - Know Your Abilities. If you're a paladin who is leveling currently, read the spell description of each spell as you get it, and think about how it might be useful. If you're all ready level 80, go through your spellbook and action bars and reevaluate each of your skills and their placement/position on your action bars. If an ability is unreachable because of your bindings and you can use it, re-bind. If you have an ability that is not on your action bars but you can think of a situation in which it would be useful, find space.

Always remember, you have tools at your disposal besides hit the mob, hurt the mob, and hit the mob harder. You're a paladin, gorramit! Act like one! Protect your party.


Gaizen said...

Sorry man...my salvation is for myself. The holy pallys have no need for it though.

Dorgol said...

I have yet to have a chance to use the new Salvation for what it was intended for (saving someone with too much threat).

I have used it as a threat on those people who like to compare DPS meters, though. :)

Chrom said...

Dont forget good old Divine Intervention. Fighting Patchwerk and the Tank/Off Tank accidentally takes two Hateful Strikes in a row for 50k? Wipe seemingly inevitable? DI someone who can Rez and pull the ultimate sacrifice. 80% of pallys dont know how to use this or forget it even exists. Im pretty sure if you DI you save yourself the repair bill TOO!

Anonymous said...

DI saves you from a repair bill, yes. This is the main reason I use it. XD


Anonymous said...

My Hand of Salvation is usually up on myself right alongside Avenging Wrath. I've got Holy Paladins to Salv the other threat-whores. ;)

But yeah, HoP - it's been there forever, nobody uses it anymore, lol. It's the Monopoly of the Hand world.

Ashimbo said...

The only situation I have been in where I needed salv was with a warrior tank in heroic Utgarde Pinnacle that had horrible threat generation and I put it on myself every single time it was available.

I do use Hand of Protection whenever I can. When skadi's drake dies and he dismounts, I like to toss it on the healer.

Hand of Sacrifice, Sacred Shield, Art of War, Hammer of Justice, and repentance really only get any use when either the tank or healer are struggling, which doesn't happen for me very often anymore.

I saved a H Nexus run once by helping out. I noticed our warrior tank had stopped receiving heals, so I tossed him a Hand of Sacrifice, while I bubbled myself. I started spamming flash of light, then I hit him with Lay on Hands when he got low. I felt like a hero!

I agree wholeheartedly with this post, and I love it when dps hybrids step up to help out the group rather than mindlessly smashing their rotations. I find that the players that tend to step out of their dps role for off-healing/tanking have played a healer or tank at sometime, so they're more apt to understand the need for these things in those moments.

Anonymous said...

Looking over the list that was posted, I am ashamed to admit that as a Ret Paladin, I've only use a scant one or two of those abilities in a raid (mostly LoH and AoW FoL).

But now that I know what should be expected of me every time I'm in a raid, I'm going to be using 'em more!

- Aenur of Hydraxis

Joana's Guide Review said...

TY for posting this stuff, I've never needed it, but now that I know it, things will get better.

Josh said...

Quick note:
Seal of Blood/Martyr was removed in a previous patch, so the comment about it in the Sacred Shield section is now a relic.