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The Holy Paladinette

June 6, 2010

The Holy Paladin spot in my ICC 25 raid is like an episode of the Bachelorette. I’m a very persnickety healing lead/raid leader and I pass pretty swift judgments on the contestants. I was blessed to learn my raid healing with two exceptional Holy Paladins, and they set the bar high.

I have a great deal of respect for all of my healers and I demand high expectations from each of them. But none are held to the same standard as the holy paladin, simply because I rely on them so much to do my job for me. As a Discipline priest, I am a tank-healer. It’s the role that I gear for and that I prefer. However, I can only heal one tank at a time. I can’t heal two, and I certainly can’t heal three.

So when I invite a Holy Paladin into the raid, I’m giving them command of two of my tanks, two of my best players, and I expect them to be well taken care of. The Holy Paladin is my second hand because together we’re keeping the tanks alive, and we need to have a high level of communication and confidence in each other.

We’re also competing for gear. We’ll be drooling over all the same weapons, rings, necklaces, trinkets, and cloaks. And as odd as it sounds, I need to want them to win. If I feel like we’re a team and that I can rely on them, then an upgrade for them is an upgrade for the team. I’ll be relaxed knowing that I can get it next time. If I feel sour to lose an item to them, then there’s a problem with our healing relationship. It isn’t healthy in the long-run.

There are a few other important traits in a Holy Paladin that I need:

  • Reliable Attendance
  • Clear Communication
  • Knowledge of Class and Fights
  • Flexibility in Healing Assignment
  • Humble and Positive Attitude

These sound like no-brainers. But these are the most difficult traits to find in a Holy Paladin. At least, to find all of them in one player.

When I started my ICC 25, I had two main Holy Paladins that would alternate raid nights. They couldn’t always attend each raid. Sometimes we’d have two paladins. Sometimes we’d have one. And then it became an issue that we’d occasionally have none. Since they couldn’t often attend, I had to seek out other Holy Paladins. I’ve been disappointed ever since. I simply couldn’t find players as skilled, personable, or as team-oriented.

And then my Holy Paladins came back. I can’t have them permanently because they still have busy schedules, but they are trying to attend more. The boost in my confidence towards our healing team is immense.

What happens when a Holy Paladin is strong:

  • Holy Paladin: Main Tank 1 and the Off-Tank.
  • Discipline Priest: Main Tank 2.
  • Shaman: Raid heals, support heals if tank healer is MC’d, etc.
  • Raid Healers: Raid heals and special assignments.

This setup gives me a tank to heal. A tank that is actually taking damage. And I feel useful. I allow myself to have a focus and the raid is genuinely enjoyable.

What happens when the Holy Paladin is weak:

  • Holy Paladin: Main Tank 1 and Main Tank 2.
  • Discipline Priest: Offtank, support heals on MT2, raid healing.
  • Shaman: Support heals on Main Tank 1, Raid heals.
  • Raid Healers: Raid heals and special assignments.

This setup leaves me somewhere between stressed and bored. It’s a messy allocation of resources directed at covering for someone’s shortcomings. I have to distract two healers from their primary task to make sure we don’t lose tanks. It may turn out that the Holy Paladin actually can keep both MTs alive, but I still have to keep support heals going because they refuse to communicate. No one knows that they are MC’d, dead, disconnected, or lost because they won’t call it out in vent or say it in healer chat. I just suddenly notice that one tank is about to drop and the shaman and I swing it to pick up the slack. It’s unpleasant as a raid leader.

It’s also rather boring as a Discipline priest. If all goes well, I’m just healing a tank that is barely taking damage and bubbling the raid while keeping intermittent heals on the other tanks. I feel unfocused. My mitigation buffs are useless. If all goes wrong, I’m desperately trying to hold it together and wondering why this Holy Paladin has his head stuck in the sand after bragging about how awesome he was and how he could keep up two tanks. And then I’m really really pissed when that shiny loot drops, and the Holy Paladin that I am never inviting back wins it.

I went through several Holy Paladins this way.

Some weren’t quite as bad. Solid healers overall, but lacking in that special zeal that makes a healer shine.

It makes a difference in fights that only require two tanks as well. With a strong Holy Paladin, I can leave the tanks to him and assign myself to special tasks to alleviate stress on the raid healers. This is particularly helpful in the Plagueworks.

On Rotface, I am able to assign myself to chasing and healing those with the Mutated Infection. On Festergut, I am able to assist the raid healers and pump out extra shields and PoH after Pungent Blight. While I am always keeping an eye on the tanks, and I focus solely on them during high-damage periods, I trust my Holy Paladin. I appreciate the flexibility it allows with assignments as both a healer and a raid leader.

And, as always, Healer Chat is just more fun when there’s a good personality present that is willing to communicate.

So I’m quite happy that my two favorite Holy Paladins are showing interest in raiding with me again. I may not have them forever, but I’ll be grateful for the nights that they can raid with us. They were absolutely impossible to replace.

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