Downranking? What’s that?
I like to think I’m a good healer. I’m geared well, I can heal you through virtually anything as long as you’re not an idiot and know how to play your class. And as long as you’re not attempting to tank a heroic with out being defense capped and have about 10k hp unbuffed. (Which has happened to me recently. Twice. Once on the mage. I felt bad for that healer.)
But I’ll let you in on a big secret.
When healing, I press two buttons. That’s it.
If you’re unfamilar with paladins, here’s what we have at our healing disposal:
Flash of Light: Quick cast, 1.5 seconds. Ridiculously mana efficient for what it does.
Holy Light: Slow cast, 2.5 seconds. Horribly mana inefficient, but awesome in a pinch. If it has to be cast more than once in a row, the fight either calls for it (If I don’t spam it on our Bear Form tank during the Nalorakk (bear boss) fight in ZA, they’re going to die), or something is going horribly wrong.
Holy Shock: Instant cast, 15 second cooldown. Deep holy talent only. Nice coming off a heal that almost tops off your target, but typically gets thrown at a mob to help with the dps between heals if everyone’s alright for the moment.
Holy Light and Flash of Light have many, many ranks that are learned on the trek to 70. But I never use them.
Truth is, I never really needed to originally. Holy paladins used to have a great talent called Illumination. With five points in it, whenever a heal crit, you got the mana refunded to you. Sweet. Blizzard finally figured out how to properly itemize paladin healing gear with Burning Crusade and it was focused on +healing and crit. Hooray! My healing was ridiculously efficient. Also, paladins also have a talent called Divine Favor, which guarantees the next healing spell cast will crit, which means it’s free. The 41-point talent is Divine Illumination, which makes all spells cost half for 15 seconds. But if a heal crit while this was in effect, you still got the full casting cost returned to you.
Holy paladins because the most mana efficient healers in the game thanks to this talent, and the way spell crit was stacked on a lot of plate healing gear. I also valued spell crit higher than anything else. For a short time, my gear was a weird mish-mash of cloth, leather, mail and plate that focused on crit over other things. Like +healing.
Anyway, downranking simply wasn’t necessary. You could just spam heal your tank with Flash of Light repeatedly, and if they got into trouble, pop Divine Illumination, Divine Favor and hit them with a 420 mana Holy Light and get back 840 mana. I’d do entire instances (and even Karazhan boss fights) with one stack of potions, and I wouldn’t have to use them.
Then patch 2.1 changed Illumination’s mana refund to 60%. Super Happy Joy Pally Healing Fun Time was over. I found myself out of mana regularly. I started having to bring industrial sized vats of Super Mana Potions along with me. I had to bug our druids for their Innervates on boss fights.
I fixed the situation somewhat by swapping a couple of crit pieces for things that had more MP5 on it, and it got a little bit better. But long fights got very iffy still. I made some adjustments to the bar and brought some lower ranked heals out of the mothballs, to see what would happen, and I never used them. I was comfortable with those two buttons. I knew how much healing to expect from my max rank heals. The lower numbers threw me off big time. I stopped using them.
What I did realize from that short-lived experiment was that I didn’t have to spam Flash of Light like a maniac. I would literally just repeatedly cast Flash of Light over and over and over again, even when the situation really didn’t call for it. Now I’ll wait and see how the tank is going to do during the fight before launching into spam heals (if needed) or if I can get away with doing something periodically. My mana has been doing much better, especially on fights like Prince Malchezzar. Still gotta pop the pots occasionally, but not as many as I used to.
So yes, I just made every theorycrafter’s head explode, but you know what? This is my blog, so deal with it.