Niremere has long been Retribution/Protection. Of those two, Protection was my favorite – prance in, throw shield, smash things, dance out! For the Light yay! I did, however, chicken out big time when it came to tanking LFR, and I went back to Retribution. I didn’t exactly LIKE Retribution, but I didn’t really HATE it either, and maybe gear would make it better?
I decided to keep on Retting it up after the patch to see if the 5.4 changes made any positive difference for me. Alas, patch changes or no, I still don’t get Retribution and I just can’t seem to have fun with it. Sure, Inquisition lasts for a whole freaking minute now (OH BOY DON’T I FEEL SPECIAL), but I still don’t like having to expend Holy Power to keep it up. Nope. Nobody need expect the
Spanish Inquisition here, because it ain’t happening.
Inquisition doesn’t even LOOK cool. Sure, it gives me glowy hands, but I can’t even see my freaking self in combat half the time, let alone my dainty little hands! I hit like a tired poodle and I am not feeling the two-handed weapon love, because I still love shields and that’s not changing dammit. I can only cast like two Flash of Lights before running out of mana (I can’t use Word of Glory for healing somebody, silly, I gotta use that Holy Power for
Templar’s Verdict Inquisition I don’t even know anymore) and I can’t offtank worth crap, so there’s no running in and saving the day all dramatic-like in emergencies.* There’s only repairs. And being boring. And feeling like I’m fighting in neck-deep mud.
Despite that, I kept dragging Niremere through Throne of Thunder LFR, and she wound up with some shiny tier tokens! I was then regretting exchanging them for Retribution gear (even though I hadn’t actually done that yet), when this conversation more or less occurred:
Me: I know I should use them for Ret … theoretically, a set bonus would help …
Friend: Wait, use them for the spec you hate?
Me: Yesssssssssssssssssssssssss. Because I shouuuullddddd.
Friend: That’s stupid. I don’t even know why you play a spec you hate.
Suddenly, I didn’t know why either. I gave the spec a chance, really! It just never took. Niremere has been in Ret spec for the better part of 80 out of 90 levels, aside from tanking sprees here and there. To continue this way was like bashing my head into a brick wall in the hopes of developing some sort of brain injury that might possibly change my personality, which in turn could possibly make me like Retribution. It clearly wasn’t working out, if only because I have a really thick skull.
So I decided to commence PROJECT “I DON’T KNOW IF I LIKE HOLY, BUT IT ISN’T RET SO THERE.”
First step was to get gear, because nobody wants to run into an instance naked. Accordingly, I ran all the LFRs ever, then died my way around the Timeless Isle looking for chests, and finally I bought PvP crap off the AH to fill in the holes. (I have a new protip for the loading screens: “Warning! The Timeless Isle hurts like mother trucking HELL if you are undergeared!”)
Unfortunately, I am forced to neglect the “finishing touches,” as it were. Since Nir’s gear rocketed up so quickly (we’re talking like twenty item levels), I can’t afford to fully reforge/enchant/gem it. She’s reforged and mostly gemmed at this point, though there is no way in hell I’m enchanting that wep from a heroic dungeon whether I can afford to or not.
Once she had something to wear, Nir ran to the nearest Paladin trainer and gave him gold. It was then time to HEAL ALL THE THINGS. Kinda.
The worst thing about starting healing with a new class at level 90 is that you are stricken with a general feeling of “oh my GAWD, all the things wat the hell is going on,” which can’t be helped except through exposure to the spec and the diligent application of effort. (True understanding comes even later.) And aside from reading a guide to get an idea of what you should be doing, your only real option is to literally click the buttons to see for yourself what they do.
Turns out that not only is it really hard to figure crap out when you have all the things to learn all at once, it’s ESPECIALLY hard to do when they’re almost all named “Holy” Somethingorother. I CAN’T REMEMBER WHICH HOLY DOES WHAT HEALING THING. I actually had to write notes down. NOTES. TO PLAY A GAME. (L-shift click, Light of Dawn, HP click, multi target!)
The only other classes I’ve healed extensively on in recent memory, shaman and druid, don’t really have an equivalent to Holy Power that they have to build up in order to spend. As a result, I spent a fair amount of time
freaking out about dropping HP clicking on buttons furiously while wondering why nothing was happening. I would subsequently (and usually abruptly) realize that I had no Holy Power and this particular Holy thing needed it, therefore, fail. I actually do have the bright red status text on my screen for things like “Not enough Holy Power.” I just never read it.
Feeling somewhat overwhelmed, I made a little dwarf paladin with the idea of “learning from the ground up.” But somewhere around level 3, I decided that the effort required to learn crap from scratch at level 90 was probably going to be less than the effort required to level from 1 to 90, so she got left somewhere in the snowy wilds outside Ironforge. I haven’t deleted the character, though, because people on my friends list
had a fit were extremely confused when they saw me playing a female dwarf. Maybe I’ll surprise them again later!
So I grabbed a beartank friend with good gear (he assured me that with his self heal, he could solo heroics) and off we went into LFD land. I warned him to be prepared. I warned him I had no clue what all the buttons did, and also that my keybinds were all freaked up, and finally that I still had to set up Vuhdo properly and whatnot, so be careful! Did I get said beartank killed? YEP. YOU BETCHA.
The next morning I queued randomly by myself, which ended up being embarrassing as well. I got caught red-handed with Righteous Fury still on from a failed-ret-tanking episode the night before (see * at end, again). Ugh! It’s like the hunter who leaves Aspect of the Pack on for the whole fight (which I have NEVER done, nope, believe you me, 100% truth telling here). Fortunately the party was quite helpful and gave me a number of tips, and there was a shaman who covered for my general ineptitude (in addition to pointing out that whole Righteous Fury thing).
Later that day, I felt I at least had the basics down because people weren’t dying anymore in heroics. When looking at the Raid Finder to see if there were any LFRs I missed, I realized that Nir had the gearscore to queue for SoO … hmmm.
Crazy? Hell yes. Still, it seemed like a slightly less crazypants idea than learning how to paladerp heal via PvP, which was Goa’s suggestion, so I queued up for it. It was definitely an enlightening experience. It turns out that not only do I need to know buttons, but I also have to relearn mana management, blah. Electrika has almost zero mana issues at present because of gear, Water Shield, Mana Tide totem and the Telluric Currents glyph (which returns a bit of mana if you use Lightning Bolt). Betheki (the druid) is at level 80, which is too high to have the noob type of mana issues, but too low to have LFR “holy crap, please kill it before it ‘zerks” kind of mana issues.
So yeah, who spent practically all of the Fallen Protectors fight using only Holy Shock and Light of Dawn? That would be meeeeee. While I am more than perfectly happy to coast when it comes to DPS (heeeey we got like, six people doing 200k? SWEET), I feel immense guilt when it comes to coasting on heals. I almost left the group three or four times because I felt my heals were too low to justify my presence. I wound up staying anyway because there was an amazing shaman who covered for me and at least one other healer as well. Overgeared? Overachiever? Don’t know, but he was the key to Nir getting the first gear token from this tier. (I am overjoyed that the paladin LFR color scheme does NOT involve nuclear snot green.)
* So let me tell you about the last time Nir was fighting Will of the Emperor, a.k.a. Jan-xi and Qin-xi. As you no doubt know by now if you are a regular LFRer, adds and bosses spawn on the far side of the room, opposite where the entrance is. The idea is to drag the bosses from that end back over to the other, positioning them near the two separate staircases that the raid entered the fight area with. One boss per set of stairs, easy!
In this particular LFR, we had a tank who wasn’t quite clear on what to do other than “get aggro.” He grabbed his boss, yes, but then he stood with it at the back of the room, which is bad. It exposes the DPS to unnecessary heavy damage (which in turn stresses healers), and it’s not like the DPS can go somewhere else to avoid it – adds continually spawn back there for the duration of the fight. Everybody yelled at him but he went nowhere with the boss, so I whispered him and told him to go up front by the stairs, which he did – sorta. He pulled it to the same staircase that the other tank/boss was at, which elicited further shouts of dismay from the LFR. I kept on whispering him, telling him where the second staircase was, and he WAS trying to listen. It’s just that he dragged his boss over about halfway, which is ALSO bad, because that puts the boss right on top of the healers.
So finally I put on Righteous Fury, used Reckoning twice, and ran like a bat outta hell for the right set of stairs. Defensive bubbles? If only I had realized just how squishy I am despite the freaking plate, I would’ve used one. I took 1.5 hits and was DOWN. But hey, since my corpse was apparently much easier to see than my living self, the tank finally got the boss to the right spot and we didn’t wipe. Hooray!