The Joy of Spreadsheeting

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This is not gonna be a fun post for me because, well, I goofed. I made some seemingly innocuous changes to the spreadsheet a while ago that caused it to be less accurate than it normally is (which, for the record, has never been anywhere near 100%), and it’s taken me a while to figure out that there was a problem and then finally fix it.

The short answer is that the spreadsheet has been overvaluing crit since 7.1 was released. In this updated version, you’ll see stat weights that look way off. Specifically, crit is much lower and haste is much higher; this is due to several reasons. The first is the previously mentioned changes that caused crit to be inflated. Second, I had been manually reducing the weight of haste by 10% because of its adverse relationship with mana; I’m no longer doing that. Last, stat weights are going back to what appear to be much more reasonable values, but everyone has been under the impression that crit was so powerful, so they have gravitated toward gear with lots and lots of crit. This makes crit look weaker than you would expect simply by virtue of having so much of it and so little of everything else. By comparison, the other stats will be higher than expected until stat distribution evens out a little more.

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Hpal Log Analysis 101

Who You Gonna Believe, Warcraft Logs or Your Own Lying Memory?

When you drove home today, how many times was the traffic light green? Last time you wrote an email, how often did you need to backspace due to a typing error? In your last raid, how many holy shocks did you miss?

Your memory is a manipulative, self-centered prima donna. It’ll color over mistakes, bury things that made you feel bad, disregard the routine as not worth dwelling on. You are the hero in the story you are constantly telling yourself about yourself, and your memory will unabashedly lie to you to support that story.

This is especially true in activities like driving, typing, and raiding in World of Warcraft. All of these bypass the conscious-thinking-observer in you. Your conscious thinker is simply too slow to effectively decide “and next I’ll type w, and then i, and then n, and bam now I WIN.” Instead, the vast majority of decisions you make in these activities are are reflexive, based on pre-programmed responses. You pre- and post-think, consciously deciding how to respond to a situation; then practice until your chosen response in that situation is ingrained by repetition (this is why you eventually stopped wiping on Mannoroth!)

This has many implications for thoughtful raiding, one of which (today’s topic!) is that you generally won’t remember small, mechanical mistakes you made during the raid. (You also won’t remember big mistakes, often blaming the effects on others, but that’s a topic for another time). Since you won’t remember them, you won’t think about them, you won’t fix them, and you’ll certainly repeat them. One of the best ways to improve your gameplay is to identify mistakes you’ve made. Then you can practice ways to avoid that mistake outside of a raid encounter, taking the time to program your reflexes to correctly respond to the scenario that previously caused you to err.

There is no better tool for identifying mistakes than Warcraft Logs. Bypass all of your cognitive biases and look at actual data.

And You Thought The First Part of This Post Was Long: What to Look For In Your Holy Paladin Logs

My favorite fight for looking at Holy Paladin fundamentals is High Council. Long enough for mistakes to develop, minimal movement, mostly a turret-and-heal fight. Of course there is value to looking at high-movement fights as well, to see how well you handle movement while maximizing casting, but for now I’ll focus on casting fundamentals.

1. Look at what you cast, not how much you healed.

So pull up your Council log and look at your healing.

What are you doing!? Not the healing tab. Who cares how much healing you did compared to the other healers? That’s completely irrelevant. We’re doing this to find mistakes, not to let our story-telling ego lie to us even more. Looking at your own healing-done breakdown is just as useless. Especially for a Holy Paladin, how much healing you have from Illuminated Healing, Beacon, and direct heals will vary wildly depending more on the encounter and your raid comp than on your own mistakes and successes.

Focus on Casts

By far the best, most useful information is in the casts tab. Almost every mechanical error in Holy Paladin play is best identified by this information.

First, you can run some basic numbers. Multiply the minutes the fight took by 60 and add the remaining seconds to get how many total seconds the encounter lasted. Then you can figure your average cooldown on Holy Shock, as well as how many times you could have cast Holy Prism and Avenging Wrath.

Basic Numbers

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Legion Spreadsheet Math!

Everyone is super excited about spreadsheets, right? Right?! Well, if you aren’t, then maybe this post won’t be as interesting for you, but at least it will be exciting for the rest of you.

Holy Paladins were enabled on Alpha a few weeks ago, so there’s still a whole lot to discover and even more that could potentially change. I have a working spreadsheet that I’m fairly satisfied with, but I’m holding off on releasing it into the wild until we’ve had a chance to do some raid testing and I can see what realistic overhealing and casts-per-minute will look like for each ability.

These numbers are not necessarily indicative of which talents and abilities we’ll end up using in Legion, but they’re fun to look at in the meantime; just remember that this is all preliminary and more than likely will change before Legion.

Throughput versus Efficiency

One of the major changes in Legion is that there will no longer be spirit on items. We have a base regen that is four percent of our total mana every five seconds and we may be getting more mana regeneration through trinkets, but I think they’re still working on how trinkets are going to work for healers in Legion. This means that an ability’s healing-per-mana (HPM) is going to be more significant for longer than it has been in previous expansions.

In making the spreadsheet, I was surprised to see how incredibly efficient Judgment of Light is. At 28.14 HPM, it’s almost twice as efficient as the runner-up, Holy Prism, at 15.17.

Healing per mana

Nothing in this graph is too shocking. Holy Light is still our most efficient filler spell, but it is notable that Light of Dawn is more HPM than Holy Shock. This is also assuming we hit 5 people with Light of Dawn, something I haven’t been able to reliably test.

While our new ability, Light of the Martyr, is cheaper than even Holy Light (7.5% of base mana compared to Holy Light’s 10%), the effective healing of Light of the Martyr is very low due to the damage we inflict to ourselves in the process.

It’s interesting to note that when we take Stoicism as our Tier 75 talent, Light of the Martyr becomes more mana efficient than Holy Light, but we also lose our unbelievably economical Judgment of Light.

HPM Stoicism

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The Eternal Debate: Selfless Healer vs. Eternal Flame

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Now that Selfless Healer has gained more widespread popularity among Holy Paladins, I’ve seen quite a bit of discussion about whether or not Selfless Healer is actually good for progression or if Eternal Flame should really be the only talent we choose when we’re trying to kill a boss for the first time. Personally, I think that both Eternal Flame and Selfless Healer are usable on any encounter, but I want to try to clarify some of the key points in the discussion.

I have yet to see anyone argue against Eternal Flame’s viability, so the discussion is mostly about whether or not Selfless Healer is good for progression. Fair warning: this post is fairly dense, so I’ve added a summarized version at the bottom.

Before I get into everything, I want to point out that this discussion exists because there are some factors that are subjective. Some of the points of contention just don’t have a great answer and you’ll have to form your own opinion about them.

Here are what I think are the four major arguments in the debate against Selfless Healer

  1. Eternal Flame does more healing than Light of Dawn
  2. Selfless Healer is a difficult or clunky rotation and has lots of nuances that require perfect play to truly be effective
  3. The buff from Selfless Healer just leads to more overhealing
  4. Selfless Healer requires too much buildup and people might die in the process

 

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Hello Everyone!

I’m Jeathebelle, a healer in Promethean. Dreamguard has kindly invited me to join him on this site, and I’m very excited to come talk about all things Holy Paladin!

In the upcoming weeks I’ll be blogging about all the changes coming to Holy Paladins in Legion. It’s premature to do too much work now, when the spec is currently not live on Alpha and clearly still being iterated on (as indicated by recent blue posts discussing toning down the strength of Beacon of Light). But I have a lot to talk about based on what’s been released so far, and as soon as the spec is available for testing I’ll be finalizing up some posts to share my thoughts with everyone!

In the meantime, we’re still healing in WoD! I’ve moved my 6.2 Advanced Selfless Healer Tutorial to this site, where aspiring Holy Paladins can read it after digesting Dreamguard’s excellent overall guide for Paladin healing. I encourage fellow Holy Paladins to check it out, and get in touch with Dreamguard or me with any questions!

Happy New Year!

Stormwind Newyear

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’m very happy to announce a new author here on Sacred Shielding: Jeathebelle from <Promethean> on Stormreaver-US! Jeathebelle is a well-respected Holy Paladin with a lot of great insight and I’m excited to start the new year with more perspective.

In the coming months, we’ll both be working on theorycrafting for Holy Paladin in the Legion Alpha/Beta. There’s already been a lot of datamined information about Holy Paladins in Legion, but I’d chosen to wait until after the Holidays before fully getting into modeling for Legion and writing about the new changes.

There’s obviously a lot to discuss already and even more inevitable changes as new Alpha builds start coming in, so stay tuned!

Legion Paladin Preview

We’ve finally seen all of the previews of each class and specialization heading into Legion. I wanted to wait until all of the healers had been previewed before writing this in case there were any fundamental healing design changes that might have been apparent from the non-Paladin healer previews.

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General Changes

The single biggest change to healing is the removal of absorption (mostly). And there was much rejoicing. Discipline Priests will still have Power Word: Shield, but it will have a six second cooldown, and Paladins lose their absorption mastery, Illuminated Healing. Similarly, they are removing a lot of absorption mechanics from tank specializations as well. I think this is a great change for healing. Absorbs are an interesting mechanic, but they have been too powerful for quite some time and lead to an unhealthy imbalance between healers.

The second big change to healers is a higher emphasis on damage.  Discipline Priests have become a specialization that spends a significant portion of their time converting damage to healing; however, Mistweaver Monks have lost their ability to “fistweave” and, as a result, have lost their immunity to specific ranged-only mechanics. Each healer will now level as their healing specialization and accrue Artifact Power for their healing Artifact weapon rather than level as a damage-dealing spec and change back to healing later.  To me, this implies that our damage will be respectable.  My guess is that our damage will be relatively similar to a tank specialization’s damage-per-second.

In the same vein, healers will be spending more time doing damage when less healing is required.  I should clarify that it’s not absolutely confirmed that we will spend time doing damage on progression bosses, but it was implied during a Q&A on classes during Blizzcon, and the change to healers’ ability to deal damage only reinforces the idea. I’m a little skeptical about this. I know that there’s still a lot of information that isn’t available to us yet, so I’ll hold off on my Final Verdict (ba dum tss), but I will voice some concerns:

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Hellfire Citadel Encounter Tips

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I’ve written up some encounter-specific tips as a blog post first, but this will probably be merged into the Holy Paladin guide at some point as well.  At the time of writing this, our guild is working on Mythic Mannoroth so my knowledge of the Mythic version of the Archimonde encounter is somewhat limited by the fact that I haven’t actually done it.  I’ll probably update that section once we get to it, though at that point it will probably be part of the guide and updated there.

First off, this post includes tips for healing each boss in Hellfire Citdadel and not an encounter guide per se.  If you are unfamiliar with the fights themselves, I suggest visiting the Wowhead Hellfire Citadel Guides written by Dayani, or watching the Proper Bird video guides on YouTube for more general information about each encounter.

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