Reader Gary kick-starts today's Q&A with a pressing issue...
Penguins. I love them. You should love them. Where are they?
At WoW Insider, we also love penguins and hope to see them in non-combat-pet form soon. However, they aren't as common in Northrend as you might think. With all the snow and glaciers, one would imagine Northrend to be the penguin capitol of the known world, I've yet to encounter one. My fellow bloggers have informed me that you can occasionally catch them out on glaciers -- especially when traveling the frozen waters of Northrend.For more of your beta questions -- and our beta answers -- read on! But if you're the sort who wants to avoid spoilers, turn back now. We're aiming to avoid major story spoilers, but this feature is all about beta content and we can't talk about the beta without giving a few things away.
What is it like healing with a Holy Paladin? Do you spam Holy Shock whenever its up? I can imagine with a buffed Holy Shock, instant cast Holy Light, ranged Judgement of Light, and Beacon of Light HoT, along with the new spell crit talents, you might not need to cast Flash of Light much at all anymore. In fact, it sounds like you might be standing around a lot and insta-casting when someone gets low. Is healing completely different now or do you still spam Flash of Light the whole time so you don't run out of mana?
Healing is completely different now -- or at least it is for me. On the live realms, with a Holy spec, I tend to use Holy Light neigh exclusively to keep Light's Grace up. Having Light's Grace up all the time allows me to toss out a high rank of Holy Light for more healing power whenever needed, and using low ranks when I don't need that much healing keeps my mana up. (And, of course, with the added crit chance from Sanctified Light, the extra Illumination procs come in handy for mana.)
On the beta realms, the downranking/chain-casting strategy doesn't work at all. You'll do a lot of overhealing (and burn a tremendous amount of mana!) if you try to keep Light's Grace up with a max rank Holy Light, and lower ranks cost even more mana. Recently, I've been experimenting with using Holy Shock and Holy Light as my primary healing spells. Holy Shock is instant, on a short cooldown (6s), and does about as much healing as Flash of Light (though for twice the mana cost) -- however, it can proc Infusion of Light for those delightful, instant-cast Holy Lights. When the whole group is taking damage, Beacon of Light is ideal to combat it -- and the spell has completely addressed the difficulty Paladins have had with group healing in the past. This strategy has worked for me in 5-player Northrend instances, but I'm unsure if it will hold out for raids because of the high mana cost of Holy Shock. (However, its mana cost may be offset by the additional crit chance, with Holy Shock now included in Sanctified Light -- and thus Illumination procs -- that you get from it.)
When judgements start working again on the beta realms (right now they aren't doing damage or applying debuffs), I'm sure I'll try to work Light or Wisdom into my normal healing rotation as well, with Enlightened Judgements allowing me to do so safely from range and Judgements of the Pure giving me a nice haste buff whenever I judge a target. (Before judgements stopped working, though, it seemed to rarely be worth the effort to keep them up, except on bosses. Targets simply die to quickly and when you need to focus constantly on switching from target to target, you have less time and attention to devote to keeping your party alive.)
All I can say with complete certainty is that healing is a completely different game than anyone is used to -- and not just for Paladins. These downranking changes are going to require rethinking of standard healing strategy for all classes.
So does this mean that Howling Fjord is aimed more for the Alliance, and Borean Tundra is aimed at Horde due to how each faction has access to them?
Access to either side of Northrend is, actually, pretty easy for both factions. I wouldn't say either Howling Fjord or Brean Tundra are biased towards one faction or the other. Both have multiple cities and plenty of quests for each faction -- whether you do one or the other (or both!) is more a matter of personal preference than anything else.