If your raid happens to have one of these, I assume it's in possession of a player who plans on sticking around in the guild and the game for a long time. Rumor has it one of the early players on my server sold their character when they acquired Val'anyr which I personally view as a waste of time and effort of the guild.
Maximizing the usage
What makes this weapon so special from other healing weapons is the buff it gives to the healer: Blessing of Ancient Kings. Healing spells cast will provide shields for the affected targets that absorb 15% of the healing done (overhealing included).
How does a player get the most use out of it? The answer is simple! Do not have your healers do anything differently than before! There's no special tactic or set of cast sequences.
Let your healers do what they've already been doing. There is no need to second guess or double check your spell casts. I know because I started doing the same thing when I first began experimenting with the weapon. I wanted to try to base my strongest and situationally useful spells around the effect. I realized that wasn't quite the route to go.
While there is no difference in casts, I did notice that my target prioritization slightly changed when I was raid healing. I became more aware of who I was healing and why.
On tank healing
When Blessing of Ancient Kings goes off, I made a concentrated effort to cast my biggest heals on the tank that was currently being hit. Remember that the value of the shields stack. As Disc, I'd drop the largest heals possible. But then again, I typically do that anyway during intense situations.
An example of a delicate and intense situation is like dealing with Dreadscale when he is enraged during the heroic Northrend Beasts encounter. This is when you want the biggest shields possible.
The goal here is to mitigate as much damage for the tank as possible.
On raid healing
When I switch to Holy, I have more targets I need to shield and protect.. While the individual shields will not be as strong as the ones directed to tanks, this is okay. As I'm already healing multiple players, the shield effect will absorb and prevent a smaller amount of damage to more players.
I specifically zeroed in on players who I felt were more likely to take more damage. Even if they were at full health, I noticed that with the Blessings of Ancient Kings up, I would overheal them anyway to get the shields up.
To apply this, let's say there are several Infernals loose on the Lord Jaraxxus fight and the melee players are busy taking them out. If Blessing of Ancient Kings is active, I'll target the melee exclusively and start casting Circle of Healing and Prayer of Healing to make sure they get shields up. Infernals have that nasty AoE pulse and the shields will provide them additional protection. But then again, I do this anyway since I have the Prayer of Healing glyph and wanted to get the extra health regen going.
Again, I reiterate that the idea is to have multiple shields up on the multiple players who you know will be taking incoming damage.
Did anything change?
The playstyle of the character with the legendary mace should not be significantly affected. There's no manual that says "this is how Val'anyr should be used." The mace is designed to augment your healing, not completely change how you do it. I can tell you that it's certainly a lot of fun in raids. It does have a slight negative side effect for the other raiders -- it's apparently difficult to spot the shadow priest who disperses on Faction Champions when there are many raiders encased in blue spheres.
It's not possible to trigger the shielding effects of the mace manually (as in, you can't right click it to trigger the buff). You gain Blessing of Forgotten Kings whenever you actually heal a player who has suffered some damage. You cannot gain the blessing when the target is at full health. It's up to the healer to get as much as they can out of the buff when it is active. A paladin is going to drop major healing spells on single targets. Other raid healing classes will land with smaller shields on multiple targets. Stick to your strengths no matter what class you are. There's no need to switch to a role that your class or spec isn't meant to excel at.
Actually, this post inspires a great idea for next week's Raid Rx post on managing and maximizing proc effects. Look for that sometime soon.
Want to find more great tips for carrying out your Priestly duties? Spiritual Guidance has you covered with all there is to know! And don't forget to check out our other Leveling Guides as well as our Wrath Guides and Galleries!