No one expected me to write this column. And I mean no one. What does a healing priest know about dealing damage? When I was approached to fill in for Gregg this week, the first word that came to my mind was "Seriously?" But that's all in the past now. You poor guys are stuck with me this week!
Anyway, yes, I do happen to have a paladin which I use to smash stuff with. Contrary to popular belief, I don't play a healer 24 hours, 7 days a week. I have to try to relax and de-stress myself after a long raid of hard healing. What better way to do that then swing a Justicebringer around? Now, I've been a healer for a long time so when I made the choice to go straight into retribution, I approached the class (and role) with a certain mentality. You see, there are a few things that annoy me when I was healing on my priest whenever there were ret paladins in the raid. I was determined to not be that ret pally.
So here's a few habits that I've gotten into. I've observed that there are some paladins out there that do some of the stuff, but not everyone does. In contrast to Gregg's retribution 101 and 102 posts, I'd classify these as the 200 level. Okay, maybe not. Here goes!
Dispelling: This absolutely drives me nuts. Paladins have the ability to dispel (Cleanse), no matter what spec. I can understand that it'll cost a single global cooldown which might throw off all your rotations and stuff. But you know, it's a huge annoyance when both healers happen to be green slimes in the plague wing of Icecrown and the only other player that can dispel is too busy wailing away on the mob to notice. It's the little things that count, you know? And such a minor action like dispelling can go a long way to impressing your healers and ultimately the rest of the raid (at least, the ones who are attentive enough to notice it).
Defensive cooldowns: Okay, granted, not every ret paladin gets Divine Sacrifice. I know Gregg wrote a lot about it before but it's not the only thing we have at our disposal. As a priest, I'll cast Pain Suppression or Guardian Spirit on tanks during crucial phases (Such as Festergut on his third inhale when he hits super hard). When I'm in raids on my ret paladin and we're hitting the dicey parts of an encounter, I light up the tank with a Hand of Sacrifice. Usually, in pickup raids, cooldowns aren't generally used in any order. In fact, they aren't usually used until it's too late. Be sure to Divine Shield yourself so you don't unexpectedly die. Hand of Protection on any healers that are about to get drilled is also an excellent way to get on their good side. I can't count the number of times where I thought I'd fall over but I was hit with a Hand of Protection in the last minute allowing me to live.
Multiple Vengeances/Corruption: It's possible to maintain two stacks of Seal of Vengeance or Seal of Corruption (for the Horde). Comes in handy in a fight like Professor Putricide where you want to maintain DPS on the Professor and his various oozes when they're alive. Once you get 5 stacks on the Professor, switch targets to the Ooze. Remember to keep bouncing back to the Professor and refreshing the existing stack though. True it's not always efficient and there's always Seal of Command for trash. But it is useful if you can't be bothered to constantly switch seals on a boss encounter.
It's okay to heal yourself: Your Exorcism is on cooldown and your Art of War procced. What do you do? Why not Flash of Light yourself for a quick heal? As retribution, you're not expected to keep yourself or anyone else alive. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with healing yourself occasionally. When taking on Stinky, I tend to heal myself after he chomps everyone in the raid. I've managed to time it so that my heal lands just after the Decimate.
Get some tier 9 and 10 gear as quick as possible: Want to put up some amazing numbers? Grab the 2-piece tier 9 set and the 2-piece tier 10 set. The set bonuses alone are insane. While you're at it, pick up the Libram of Valiance. Both the libram and the tier 9 sets should be fairly easy to obtain. You just need the Emblems of Triumph for them. Tier 10 stuff will take slightly longer since they involve Emblems of Frost. With Divine Storm gaining the ability to randomly come off cooldown, you'll be able to use it with increasing frequency especially on trash packs with multiple mobs. As a healer, I don't often see such numbers so it's a nice change of pace for me.
Hand of Reckoning : This is a taunt spell. It only affects one target. Generally, you don't ever press this button unless there is an extreme reason to do it. If you ever become desperate enough, it should only be to save a healer or something. A great example would be on Saurfang. Are there Bloodbeasts up? Ranged DPS having a hard time killing them? Slap a taunt on it after it has moved some distance away.
Stuns: Try to time your stuns so that it chains with other stuns. For example, if someone interrupts or stuns a mob, wait a few seconds for it to start doing something again before hitting it with a Hammer of Justice. If it's undead, follow it up after with a Holy Wrath. This is especially useful in the opening chamber of Icecrown Citadel when those mobs cast those ice spikes that travel through the ground.
Righteous Fury: Uh, it's a pretty straightforward. Don't have this on. I accidentally toggled it before. It should go without saying though. I wasn't quite sure what it did until I managed to experience the effects myself.
The Light and How to Swing It tries to help Paladins cope with the dark times coming in Cataclysm. See the upcoming Paladin changes the expansion will bring. Wrath is coming to a close and the final showdown with the Lich King is here. Are you ready for the assault on Icecrown Citadel?