So I managed to get Galadan to level 76 this week, which was nice, and did it while specced Holy, too. No, do not adjust your sets, you heard me right the first time. I’m levelling a Holy Paladin, not a Paladin who’s going to spec back to Holy when he hits 80. He was Holy at 70, he’s Holy now and he’ll be so Holy at 80 it’s going to hurt your eyes to look at him. “But Calli” you cry, “For the Love of the Light, WHY??” Good question.
I actually ground out Shattered Sun Offensive reputation to Exalted on Galadan (and Calli, and Shinano) while specced Holy, so I do have some experience of it. This was back in the bad old days when Holy Shock had something like a two month cooldown and Divine Plea was only a glint in Ghostcrawler’s eye. I also had a very decent tanking set gathering dust in the bank and a reasonable Retribution set, but my experiments with LOLret and the Tankadin er.. didn’t go well.
I just didn’t “get it”.
Granted, this was before the changes in patch 3.0, but having decided that I wanted to get the Exalted Shattered Sun alchemist trinket, I immediately respecced Retribution, gemmed and enchanted all that dps plate that had been sitting in the bank and took the Isle of Quel’danas by storm!
Except that’s not quite how it worked out. After 10 minutes or so of throwing up seals, judging and auto-attacking, I felt that I was missing something pretty fundamental, so I whispered one of the guild Ret Pallies and asked if I was doing anything wrong.
Me: Hi, I’ve specced Ret to grind out some reputation, but I think I must be doing something wrong.
Him: You’re throwing up Seal of Command and judging it every time it’s up, right?
Him: Ok, good.
Him: Anything else?
Me: You mean that’s IT?
Him: Well you should try to time your Judgements to coincide with Hammer of LOL of course. And use Crusader Strike.
Me: I see. Well, obviously. Thanks.
Believe it or not, people used to do this for fun. Anyway, after maybe another 10 minutes of this pointlessness, with massive chunks of downtime between each kill to replenish lost health and mana, I returned to Ironforge, vendored my Ret gear and respecced back to Holy. Yes, it took longer to kill anything, but I didn’t spend any time sitting on my ass waiting for health and mana bars to creep back up, I was virtually unkillable and I knew when a mob was likely to die on me, because I wasn’t at the mercy of the random number generator waiting for crits to happen.
It’s safe to say I just didn’t get Retribution at all back then.
So, the day of Wrath arrives and I’ve got a pretty good Holy plate set, mostly Karazahn level, rounded out with some of the 100 badge pieces. I’ve also got a great plate tanking set gathering dust in the bank and really like the idea of gathering up 7 or 8 mobs and watching them kill themselves on me while I hide behind my massive shield and occasionaly poke my sword out to have a quick stab at them. So it’s Protection for me, baby, YEAH!
Well this lasted about half an hour, too. My stats were roughly 15000 health, 2 mana. Yes, I could gather up half a dozen mobs and take them all down at once, yes it was like being a plate armoured Frost Mage, but there were a couple of issues with this play style.
1. This was Howling Fjord on Wrath release. You were lucky to find one mob not being molested by half a dozen other players, let alone half a dozen.
2. Mana pool from full to empty so quickly you’d make an Arcane Mage look conservative.
One quick return trip to Ironforge to vendor a Prot set and respec back to Holy later, and I’m back in Howling Fjord prepared to level as Holy again. Except this time, things are slightly different. Holy Shock now only has a 6 second cooldown. Prior to 3.0, whatever seal I threw up was what was going to be Judged too, whether I liked it or not. Post 3.0 I can throw up Seal of Righteousness and Judge Light to heal myself from melee hits. My health and mana bars barely moved at level 70 with ilevel 141 gear. As I gained levels and new ranks of old spells, I started to notice my mana bar was actually starting to drop alarmingly. In one multimob fight I think it may even have gotten as low as 75%!!! And it was at roughly this point that Blizzard decided to give me Divine Plea. Problem solved!
It’s ironic that the tools Blizzard gave to Holy Paladins to aid them with solo healing groups, (reduced Holy Shock cooldown, Divine Plea etc) don’t actually do a massive amount for Pallies who are healing, but by the Sacred Jockstrap of Robert E. Howard, they are GREAT for levelling and grinding!
I realise at this stage of the game I’m probably only talking to people who have Pally alts, but the advice is the same. If you’ve played at 70 as Ret, by all means stay Ret. It doesn’t actually suck anymore. If you played Prot, same advice applies. If on the other hand you’re a healadin and are looking at the steep climb to 80 with growing apprehension, fear not! Holy dps IS a viable alternative, no need at all to throw away your healing gear until you hit 80.
And on the bright side, when you’re asked to heal for Azjol Nerub you’ll actually be capable of doing it.