The Leveling Healadin Part I

Leveling: Getting Started

Leveling a healer can be very trying at times. The lack of damage output can leave you fighting the same mob for seemingly ever, and can leave the most simple quests taking hours to complete. Leveling a healer can also result in a lot of downtime. Priest healers output a lot of mana usage for damaging spells, holy paladins spend time healing themselves from the result of lengthy melee, etc. This can be a very arduous task for even the most skilled player.

Nonetheless, healers are always going to be needed and healing itself is a fun role to play. It is also encouraged that every player plays a healer once. Don’t let leveling scare you though. Whether you are a new players or veteran-new-to-the-class, my intention is to create a leveling guide that will include avenues of leveling, heirlooms that can help, talents, and “rotations” for the questing types.  The guide will be divided into two parts. This should help with the amount of information as well as make it easier to read. In Part I I’m going to start with the avenues of leveling including questing, instancing, and PVP. I will also address the heirloom issue for those that have an 80 and access to BoA (Bind-on-Account) items. Figuring out how you want to level and setting up potential gear for a new character are the first steps in getting started.

Methods of Leveling

Dungeon-Finder Tool

When 3.3.0 went live, it changed the face of instancing leveling (potentially) forever. Prior to the patch, leveling through instances was an option that took a lot of work. Instances offer great gear and even better experience, but the hassle of finding the right group composition could make you pull your hair out. The tool allows you to queue for an instance as a tank, damage role (DPS), or healer and the tool then does the work of group making for you while you wait around crafting, chatting, or questing.

This tool is available when a character reaches Level 15 and the use of the dungeon finder can be very beneficial for characters of all classes and specs. Upon successful completion of the instance, you receive a level-based amount of extra experience as well as a [Satchel of Helpful Goods]. This bag can contain a variety of armor pieces and jewelry for the appropriate level. The gear will come with enchants supporting a multitude of class/spec combinations. The enchants found on this gear (i.e. of the moon, of the solider, of the bandit, etc.) is currently unavailable on uncommon quality items of low-level.

The extra rewards that can be reaped from leveling in the Dungeon Finder are plentiful and easy to obtain with the lack of work involved for finding the group; that makes this method a very viable method for leveling characters, especially healers. Healers are only responsible for their role in the group; they are not responsible for killing mobs and keeping themselves alive, they don’t have run around Azeroth to grind 30% drops off orange mobs that crave their blood, and the sheer amount of their downtime is cut drastically.

As a healadin choosing to level this way, you may find a standard PVE spec for instancing more beneficial than a questing build or PVP. Builds will be in Part II so check back. I will update this with a link as soon as it is out.

Questing

Questing in the starting zone!

This is the age old method of leveling. Quests or “missions” are a common part of MMO’s across the genre. Throughout the past five years, Blizzard has attempted to make questing less stressful. They have lowered mount levels to 20 allowing you to travel between spread out quests quickly; they have added heirloom items that increase experience gains; they have lowered experience needed in between levels of a certain range, etc.

All the same, after a few characters questing can become quite monotonous and repetitive; the same grind, the same rewards, the same traveling. Questing does provide the player with gear, experience and money; it also provides one thing that cannot be gained from the Dungeon Finder tool: reputation. Old-word reputations do not mean as much as they once did but working through these quests can help you get access to other racial mounts, cheaper repair bills in any city, and a neat title “Ambassador” from the achievement [Ambassador of the Horde]. For those interested in [The Loremaster] achievement, questing is doubly beneficial. If you have never leveled a character through questing, I strongly suggest doing it once (and even on both factions) because once Cataclysm strikes, these quests will never exist again and your chances will be gone.

However, questing as a holy paladin can be tiresome and lengthy. Without any real abilities built around the output of damage, melee is simply a back-and-forth between you and the mob. You will find that you are healing yourself throughout the fight and  but there is a build that will help maximize your healing throughput and damage out put for soloing mobs in your journeys. Check here later when Part II is released for a direct link to the questing build.

PVP

Patch 3.2 brought a brand new aspect to the game: PVP experience.

…players will be able to gain experience within the Battlegrounds for completing objectives and actions that yield honor in them. These objectives include (but are not limited to) capturing flags in Warsong Gulch, gaining resources in Eye of the Storm or Arathi Basin, or taking objectives in Alterac Valley. Player level will also affect the amount of experience that can be gained within the battleground. –Blue Post

PVP experience put the concept of twinking a character at low level in danger of leveling out of their bracket. Due to this factor, patch 3.2 also included the option to turn of experience gains. This option stops experience in all forms; this includes PVP, questing, and instancing. This is not recommended if you want your character to reach higher level. However, for the same fee it takes to turn experience off (10g), you can also turn it back on when you are ready to continue your leveling ventures.

PVP is another viable way to level a healer quick and (relatively) painlessly. Aside from the fact the other players are seeking you out to kill you, in battlegrounds like Warsong Gulch that surge on Flag Carrier protection, healers are received very well. While it is dreadful not being able to go anywhere alone, you are very valuable to the group as a whole. They have also incorporated heirloom items that provide low levels with the PVP stat (Resilience) as well as an experience bonus.  The items that can be used effectively for holy paladins will be discussed below.

When leveling a healadin through PVP, you will want to make use of the damage reduction and other PVP talents that are built into the tree. In a future post, away from a leveling guide, I will discuss a PVP that will support a strong PVP background in healing as a paladin. A direct link will be posted here when it is published, but the PVP healer requires a lot of attention.

Click the link to follow the cut to heirlooms & gear!

Heirloom Items (BOAs)

Shoulders

[Pristine Lightforge Spaulders]

Cost: 200 Stone Keeper Shards from Wintergrasp Vendor

These shoulders are a great piece of plate healing armor for those wanting to level in PVP. It provides a mass amount of stamina (+64 at level 80) and resilience. It also provides healing stats such as spell power and MP5. The downfall to these particular shoulders are the lack of Intellect. As a leveling paladin interested in questing or instancing, your Holy Light and other spells are mana heavy and inefficient so you will need all the intellect you can find; these not providing any. There is another recommendation for those interested in questing or instancing and not so much PVP.

[Mystical Pauldrons of Elements]

Cost: 40 Emblems of Heroism from Heirloom Vendor

Cost: 60 Champion’s Seals from a Champion Quartermaster

While these shoulders are not plate and are specifically for Restoration Shamans, they work exceptionally well for the leveling healadin. Providing similar stats as their plate PVP counterparts, these shoulders also come with the beloved Intellect; this provides the leveling healadin with the desired stats for low leveling including intellect, stamina, MP5, and spell power. In addition to all that, it also provides the wearer with a 10% experience bonus that stacks with the matching chest piece.

Chest Piece

[Mystical Vest of Elements]

Cost: 40 Emblems of Heroism from Heirloom Vendor

Cost: 60 Champion’s Seals from a Champion Quartermaster

If you are going to level all the way as holy, this is your only option for a chest piece. There are no PVP chest pieces available and the only plate alternative is geared for DPS and/or tank (but really DPS). The stats on this piece are identical to its matching shoulder piece.

Weapons

[Devout Aurastone Hammer]

Cost: 50 Emblems of Heroism from Heirloom Vendor

Cost: 75 Champion’s Seals from a Champion Quartermaster

If you are interested in having best of slot weapons available for PVE, this is the only weapon at your disposal. The selection of caster BOA weapons is very limited. This mace and a staff are the only options; sadly, as the healadin you are, you can’t use staves and thus much choose the mace. BOA weapons provide excellent stats but do not provide the experience bonus that armor pieces do. The stats provided here are the same stats that are on the elemental armor pieces (stamina, intellect, MP5, and spell power); they are also stats that are provided on most Level 80 weapons that you will find (with the exception of haste and critical strike being available on higher level items). Pairing this weapon in the leveling stages will require you to keep a vigilant eye on shields as you progress as there is not a BOA shield available at this time.

[Blessed Hammer of Grace]

Cost: 250 Stone Keeper Shards from Wintergrasp Vendor

Given the minute amount of resilience that you gain from this weapon, I strongly recommend the use of the [Devout Aurastone Hammer] especially if you will using PVP shoulders. You will want to attempt to boost your intellect and MP5 as PVP doesn’t allow for much regeneration.

Trinkets

[Discerning Eye of the Beast]

Cost: 50 Emblems of Heroism from Heirloom Vendor

Cost: 75 Champion’s Seals from a Champion Quartermaster

From the name, I agree that this doesn’t sound much like a caster item but it is! This trinket increase Spell Power by 1 (at Level one) to 75 (at Level 80). Another feature of this trinket is that upon killing anything that grants honor or experience (so it can be used in PVP and PVE) will return 2% of maximum mana. Unlike some talents and abilities that return base mana, maximum mana includes your gear and intellect buffs that you may have at the time. Together, this trinket boosts overall healing throughput and longevity.

[Swift Hand of Justice]

Cost: 50 Emblems of Heroism from Heirloom Vendor

Cost: 75 Champion’s Seals from a Champion Quartermaster

This is a wonderful trinket for healadins who want to level PVP. This trinket increases haste rating making your spells quicker; as well as returning 2% maximum health upon killing something that rewards honor or experience. The haste can help you heal on the run in most battlegrounds situations and the health return is great in mid-field battles that always happen in low-level battlegrounds. For the PVE healadin, if you already have this trinket use it! It pairs great with the spell power trinket by decreasing the cast time of your heals and the other one increasing the effectiveness of your heals. For the tanks that are learning to hold aggro, or for those squishy clothies that can’t hold back their DPS, this could be a life-saving trinket set.

[Inherited Insignia of the Horde]

Cost: 250 Stone Keeper Shards from Wintergrasp Vendor

This is ONLY a PVP trinket. The only benefit from this trinket is the PVP stat resilience. This is not even worth consideration for the instancing or questing healadin.

Other Gear of Interest

For all the other gear you may find across Azeroth you will want to look for similar stats that I mentioned on the BOAs. You will want to look specifically for Intellect and Spell Power. Don’t shy away from MP5, critical strike, or haste should you come across them. Most green quality items that you will find will come with a random enchant; out of those options, keep an eye out for “of the Eagle” which will provide you with intellect and stamina. If an item grants you other stats in addition what you need, don’t turn it away. Take for example the [Driftmire Shield] that gives stamina, intellect, and strength. Your healing will not be affected (positively or negatively) by the presence of strength; however, if you are questing, the strength will increase your damage output and block and making use of all stats on the item.

If you use the Dungeon-Finder tool, upon completion of the instance your bag of goodies will have a blue quality item inside; these items are also randomly enchanted. Out of the possible enchantments for these items you will want to search for:

  • “of the Sorcerer” which will grant intellect, stamina, and spell power
  • “of the Elder” which will grant intellect, stamina, and MP5

I will note that “of the Moon” enchants are preferable over something that provides strength, agility, defense, etc. it will not be fully effective until after Cataclysm when healadins will benefit from Spirit.

Conclusion

However you decide to level is entirely up to you! I hope this helps you get started in the right direction and now what to look for. A lot of veteran players come to me asking what they need to look for in gear, complaining how leveling sucks, etc. But reassured that all your hard work will be rewarded when you ding that final level to 80 and you have a leet healer at your playing disposal. For the new players, stick with it. If you know you enjoy healing, in my honest opinion, paladin healing is the best their is. There is no greater thrill than when you are chosen to heal that main tank!

Keep an eye out for Part II soon! It will include leveling builds and a mild hint of a rotation for the “omg we have so many” damaging abilities! Feel free to comment on ideas you would like to see in Part II or ask questions and I promise to do my best to answer and help you learn2pally.

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8 Comments

Filed under Holy Paladin, Paladin Guides

8 responses to “The Leveling Healadin Part I

  1. Strikyn

    Love the post! exactly what I’ve been looking for with leveling my Healadin Alt. Keep it up!

  2. Cynomun

    Is there going to be a part two on viable builds for each area of leveling? ❤

  3. Very well written, thank you again for this post! I will be making a few BoA purchases and I will greatly enjoy the switch from Protection to Holy.

    I look forward to Part 2!!

  4. Pingback: The Leveling Healadin Part II « A Healadin's Tear

  5. The Doc

    What do you suggest for the new player that has zero chance of BoA items. Say starting on a new server/faction?

    • Well at one point no one had BOAs and it made leveling into new gear quite exciting. I would say that if gear is your focus when starting new, that you need to analyze the server and find out what resources make the most profit so you have the most opportunity to make money and buy gear upgrades.

      Otherwise, for sheer enjoyment of the game I strongly encourage questing. They still offer some great leveling gear.

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