I leveled my paladin to 80 first, mainly because 1) everyone always needs healers and she was my only healer at 70 and 2) as a healer, she's the perfect compliment to the boy's warrior tank. She's also nearly always been my main, except for a brief stint of "dual maining" where my paladin got played a bunch, but my hunter Jamethera was my raiding main on Earthen Ring. Alas, no one needs a hunter.
Now, I've always been holy. Always. I solo'd/instance'd my way to 60...over the period of a year. After that I raided seriously in a guild called Unified (Judgement, I miss you!) and duo'd with another warrior to 70. My paladin did not get the experience in BC that she did in vanilla WoW- vanilla, my healing skills were tempered in MC, BWL, AQ 20 and 40 (up to C'thun) and there were some tenative jabs into old Naxx. In BC, I got into the unfortunate rut of doing Kara until I wanted to vomit. I saw Gruul's four or five times on her, and Mags uh...twice. Arranging 25 mans seemed to be a bitch on ER. It wasn't until I moved her over to our friend Steve's guild BoO on Azgalor that she saw any real action. I moved her over as a tank, because at that point-after pushing the same two buttons I've been pushing for years, in the same gods be damned instance-I had had enough. Thus I got to OT in Kara, Gruul's, and SSC (!) a little bit. YAY FOR DIFFERENT BUTTONS.
Before we'd transferred over-which is to say, before RP to PvP transfers were an option-the boy (alright, Josh) and I had rerolled to play with Steve. He had another baby warrior but I, in my disgust with Two Buttondom, had rolled a priest. It was my 6th priest or so, but dammit, I wanted one.
This was Lyrandre. And let me tell you (again) that I loved my Lyrandre.
Come 3.0, I agreed to go back to healing. Thus I was staring at green bars again for more SSC, and some playtime in BT and TK. It...wasn't terrible. It wasn't great, but the combination newer content and a couple of new buttons meant I plugged along while leveling my priest between raids.
Then came Wrath, and a new form of hatred for my paladin. Or rather, not for my paladin...but for the combination of encounter design and paladin healing limitations that resulted in me weeping in the corner. It seemed that Blizzard had in mind for some fights handy little things like...AoE heals. And sometimes shaman poison cleansing totems. I'm not sure how this fits in with "bring the player not the class" but I felt maligned for awhile. Fights went something like this:
Holy shit poisons everywhere I need to cleanse them but OH MY GOD THE TANK IS DYING heal the tank and OH MY GOD THE DPS IS DYING heal the DPS and OH MY GOD THE TANK IS DYING and there's more damn poison and I need to cl-OH MY GOD THE TANK AND EVERYONE ELSE IS DYING and and holy shit how did I end up dead?
See also: Loken's nova, whirlwinding mobs, Skadi's Hallway of Adds AND Whirlwind, Pools of Mojo, and many other things that made my single target healer self weep. Alright alright, so they gave us Beacon. Sweet, so I can heal TWO targets at once with a semi-expensive spell that only lasts a minute that I have no idea when it falls off unless I install another addon. AWESOME. Oh, and I have another somewhat expensive instant heal with cool down.
How many poeple are in a group, Blizz?
This resulted in 2 DPS dying on several boss fights until I got some sweet, sweet Naxx gear and learned some crazy coping methods. Three seemed to the most people I could keep alive in dicy situations, which, frankly, sucks balls. I take deaths personally, and that was a lot of guilty, failure-tinged feelings building up.
That fact that Josh and I ran Heroic UP over and over and over and over again, combined with multiple trips through Heroic VH (yet ANOTHER instance that made me emo) did not add to my sanity.
It wasn't until I got to raids where I had AoE healers to back me up that I didn't want stalk over to Blizzard and stab some dungeon developers in their sleep.
How I coped:
-Beacon. Depending on the fight, I would either beacon the tank and myself (^&!%^&!%@&! mojo pools), beacon the tank and the highest DPS and pray, or beacon the tank and the ret pally who was raping himself with martyr (I'm looking at you Steve!).
-Juggling judgements as best I could for a bit of haste...though frankly, there were fights where interrupting healing for anything was fatal. Judging Light took a bit of the sting out, though, in the melee heavy groups. I mean it's not as if I was too likely to whack the thing for mana back anyway.
-Holy shocking the DPS just enough to keep them limping along until such a time as I could be sure that the tank wouldn't die while I healed them. If I got a crit, the instant FoL would go to them too. Often related to the below:
-I'd Holy Light the tank to near full, hurridly FoL the DPS up a bit more, then rinse and repeat. This required having a good sense of incoming damage on the tank, and a tank that won't start to panic if he dips lower in health. HL is a gloriously huge heal (20k crit in Naxx once, zomg).
-Sacred Shielding the tank as often as possible where rage starvation wasn't an issue. It doesn't seem to be, by the way. Just bubble after he has aggro and some incoming rage and you're golden. Josh hasn't complained yet and trust me, he would if it was a problem! I also sacred shileding myself for the afore mentioned &!%*&!%*$%& mojo puddles, because moving and healing just didn't fly.
-Wings + Divine Plea = mana return with no healing nerf!
It also helps that I know my tank very, very well. I've been healing Josh's warrior ass since Molten Core. The 5 minute oh shit buttons help, too. Don't be shy about using those, guys!
I'm hoping that with the incoming "nerfs" to CoH and Wildgrowth, Blizzard will tone down the AoE damage some and make life a little easier on we HoT and AoE healing lacking paladins. At least Naxx makes me feel USEFUL-I'm queen of Patchwerk OT healing. /flex
I almost quit my paladin because:
1) Blizzard threw in a lot of AoE damage and AoE poisons and shit.
2) Paladins don't cope well with the above.
3) I'm tired of pushing the same gods be damned buttons for four years. I'm still pushing the same two, I just have....3 more to push sometimes. Flexibility is notably lacking.
I coped by:
1) Madly flailing and pushing some buttons really really fast
2) Praying a lot
3) Bitching even more
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