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The Light and How to Swing It: 3 essential addons for holy paladins


Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

Holy paladins have come a long way from the days of five-minute Blessings and WhisperCast. There's a good kind of complexity that comes from being given choices, and there's the bad kind of complexity that comes from busy work. The developers are constantly streamlining the game and removing outdated mechanics, and I can't complain. Even though addons like PallyPower made our lives easier, the new Blessing system is so simple that we don't need any external help to handle it.

Today's holy paladin has different addon needs from the healer of yesteryear. Three of the most important holy paladin addon concerns are unit frames, holy power management, and raid-specific alerts. In Dragon Soul, there are plenty of important things that we need to keep track of. Raid encounters are only going to get more and more complex and chaotic, and we need to be able to quickly get the information we need.

Holy Trinity solves your holy power problems

Holy Trinity is one of those addons that has a lot of great features that I don't utilize. I know it has paladin-specific cooldown tracking and plenty of sound effects, but I don't need all of that. I turn off all the auxiliary functions, and I focus on what it does the best: giving me a clean, movable holy power bar. If you're looking for an addon to tell you how long you have until Rebuke is ready again, then you can kill two birds with one stone.

Managing our holy power is an important part of healing well. Talents like Tower of Radiance, Blessed Life, and Eternal Glory can cause our holy power to fluctuate rapidly, and wasted holy power points are a newspaper tragedy. You need to be able to query your holy power status instantly, without searching around for your unit frame's power bar. The decision between starting an expensive Divine Light cast and simply dropping an instant/free Word of Glory comes down to how quickly you realize Eternal Glory just activated.

As a quick note, I still use CLCBPT to track my Judgements of the Pure and Beacon of Light uptime. It's the same addon that I've loved for years, and I still recommend it for tracking your two most important buffs with ease.

Know your way around an encounter

Just like any conversation involving the Horde and the Alliance, Coke and Pepsi, or Emacs and Vim, there's no clear winner in sight when we're talking about raid-specific addons. I've used nearly every raid alert addon in my time as a holy paladin, including BigWigs, DBM, DXE, and few others. I know a lot of players love BigWigs because of its lightweight memory footprint, while DBM tends to be updated the most frequently with changes. It doesn't matter what addon you pick, as long as you pick one and learn it well.

When you're dissecting a raid encounter, you're trying to answer three questions: What type of healing is necessary, when can I regenerate mana, and when will I use my cooldowns? By keeping track of boss abilities and encounter phase information, you can know when it's safe to pop Divine Plea and when to lean on Divine Favor.

Every fight in Dragon Soul has regen windows built in that are perfect for a Divine Plea and Concentration Potion combination. If you're constantly wondering what's coming next on an encounter, you won't be able to take advantage of these opportunities. If you don't realize that Yor'sahj just absorbed a purple ooze, your next errant Holy Radiance could wipe the raid. Keep your raid alert up-to-date and activated, so that you can exploit every possible advantage.

Making your green bars pretty

You're going to be looking at your raid's unit frames for the better part of any raid night, so make sure you're getting all the information you need out of them. Like raid-specific packages, there are several right choices here. I personally use X-Perl raid frames because I'm very old-fashioned and I've been using them for years. I know that Matticus swears by Vuhdo, while Grid and Healbot are standbys that have helped thousands of holy paladins. Again, the key isn't which addon you prefer but rather ensuring that you have it configured properly.

First and foremost, your raid unit frames need to tell you how much life everyone has. Whether you prefer seeing the numbers displayed as life remaining or life missing, you understand that a player's HP is the most valuable information you have. Your unit frames also need to alert you to any important debuffs that a player might have. Specifically, in Dragon Soul, you really need to know when a player has Searing Plasma on them and how many stacks of Deep Corruption they're packing. If you can't tell how many stacks of Deep Corruption your tank has with a glance, then your unit frames aren't doing their job.

Extra credit

When holy paladins first started working on the Spine of Deathwing encounter, I spoke with a lot of healers who were having trouble getting their raid frames to display Searing Plasma properly. They didn't know how to customize their frames, and so they were constantly relying on the addon author to update the debuff list. As they say at Make: "If you can't open it, you don't own it." Spend some quality time with your raid frames this week, and learn how to both add and remove a debuff from being listed. There's nothing more aggravating than holding up your raid's progression because your addon isn't working as you'd like it to.

In addition to tracking player health and debuffs, there are a few other attributes that I like to monitor as well. Keeping tabs on your raiders' mana levels can help you know how your fellow healers are handling an encounter. If I see that my favorite resto shaman, David, is at 80% mana, I know that I can safely Divine Plea without putting too much strain on him. If he's sitting closer to 10% mana at the end of a fight, I'll have to hold off on using Divine Plea just yet. I love having that mana information at my disposal, since it means that I don't have to clog up our voice chat with unnecessary chatter.

Finally, make sure you can cast spells without being forced to click on your unit frames. There are a lot of ways to accomplish this. I personally love mouseover macros, but addons like Clique or Healbot work fine as well. If you're clicking your unit frames and then clicking or pushing your healing button, you're not performing as efficienctly as you could be. It will take you 10 minutes to set up mouseover macros for all of your heals, and it will make your job a hundred times easier.

The Light and How to Swing It: Holy helps holy paladins become the powerful healers we're destined to be. Find out just how masterful mastery healing can be, gear up with the latest gear, and learn how to PvP as a holy paladin.

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