Staves vs Maces and Off hands

Staves vs Maces“First off i have to commend you for your hard work at making your blog the only one i have ever read. World of Matticus has almost all of the priest information i could hope to read and I have put to use many of the tips found therein. But i can’t find anything about the debate of Staff vs Mace+Offhand (healingwise). Is there a certain point where a staff would be better than the duel wielding combo? Is a mace-offhand settup always better? Please let me know what you think. Thank you for your limited time.”

That was an email I received from a player last night. Incidentally enough, I had a post about this already lined up. What excellent timing!

Back before Burning Crusade, there was one weapon that truly defined a Priest. Those who had it were idolized by Priests everywhere. When you saw it on the back of a Priest in front of you, immediately you would feel an aura of safety. I am referring to [item]Benediction[/item]. Oh how times have changed.

I’m going to present argument from two different sides: The best possible Priest approach and the team Priest approach.

The Best Possible Priest Approach

Do you want to be THE Priest? Do you want to have so much healing and MP5 that you can bring back Elvis? Then this is the setup for you. From what I’ve noticed, a Priest with an MH/OH combo will have slightly higher healing bonuses and a little more mana regeneration than a player with a Staff. But staves aren’t completely useless in their own right. They might lose a bit of +healing when compared to to the MH/OH, but there’s a lot more stats (stamina, intellect, etc). Therefore, if you care that much about min/maxing your Priest (in other words, making it as best as possible), then grabbing an MH/OH is the best way to go. But you have to realize that you’re not the only class that is able to use it.

You’ll be in direct competition with Paladins and Shamans (maybe Druids).

The Team Priest Approach

You don’t want to be the best Priest possible. You know that all the maces are being greedily eyed upon by the other healers because they are way more powerful. You also know that your fellow healers won’t give that awesome healing staff a chance and that it will get sharded. I have seen this happen far too many times. Healers are passing on items that help them in favour of getting an even better item. You may or may not know of my thoughts about this. Precious loot should not be wasted because you never know for sure when you will get the weapon that you want. I never once saw Light’s Justice or Shard of the Virtuous on my Priest.

I hope you can understand my main argument here. I’m not arguing from the perspective of being the super best healer. I’m arguing from the perspective of a healer who wants to contribute to the best of his or her ability with the tools they have.

By accepting the staff, you remove yourself from competing against the Shammies and the Pallies. Let them fight over the mace and spend their precious DKP. A simple minimum bid just gave you nearly the same amount of healing at half the price. Again, this is dependent on your Guild and the style of loot distribution that you have.

Think about your raid healer setup.

In Carnage, we have:

  • 2 Holy Priests
  • 3-4 Paladins
  • 1 Resto Shaman

The Paladins and Shamans are going to go after 1H’s because they want something to complement their Shields. The other holy Priest doesn’t like staves. That leaves me to obtain loot at half price because these turkeys aren’t going to use it anyway! By taking it, I benefit the raid as a whole because it increases my healing and speeds up the gearing process.

I even save a little DKP because I don’t have to bid on both a mace and an offhand. I don’t have to wait for 2 bosses to drop the 2 items that I need. I only need to kill 1 boss repeatedly.

I am sacrificing my potential to be the best possible Priest later to help the raid now.

To finalize

Whatever weapon you choose to go with is affected by different factors.

  • Your guild
  • Loot distribution methods
  • Your style of play
  • Personality
  • Phase of the moon

Just understand that arguments can be made for either class. I don’t view myself as a selfish raider. I want to get to the end of the game as fast as possible and if I have to lose 30 healing over it, then I can sleep soundly with no problems. Besides, the extra stamina means I’ll live just a bit longer then Paulina Priest over there.

That’s why I opted for my new staff instead of waiting on Vasj to drop her mace.

What weapon do you use?

  • Main Hand and Off Hand (47%, 16 Votes)
  • Staff (32%, 11 Votes)
  • I like to go in there without any weapons (21%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 34

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How should I enchant my new staff?

My Ethereum Life-Staff which I got from Solarian in Tempest Keep in World of WarcraftI am now packing some serious heat. Well, no not really. But my healing has gone up slightly. Before, my main weapon was the [item]Crystalheart Pulse-Staff[/item] which dropped from Mag. Now I have the [item]Ethereum Life-Staff[/item] which drops from Solarian in Tempest Keep. Actually, they both look the same. The Crystalheart is the same model except the crystals on either end are red.

Anyway, let’s compare the stats. For raid simulation (and the fact that I still had the buffs going from Tempest Keep), I consumed the three main Priest consumables:

  • Flask of Mighty Restoration
  • Superior Mana Oil
  • Blackened Sporefish

I applied the mana oil to both of my staves just so I could save myself the trouble of having to do math. I can keep Mallet suspended until I raid with him again on Thursday anyway. Remember, I do not have any raid buffs on other than consumables. Take a look at the following shot:

Stat comparison between Ethereum Life-Staff and Crystalheart Pulse-Staff

First, let’s keep in mind that my Crystalheart Pulse-Staff has a +81 Healing enchant on it whereas my Ethereum Life-Staff has no enchants on it. I lost a small piece of healing crit chance, but I’m not worried about that too much. I also see a decrease in my healing by 30 points.

The above shot is the Crystalheart and the below shot is that of the Ethereum.


The stat points were fairly marginal at best. I gained 1 stamina and lost 6 intellect (10 health, 60 mana). But look at the amount of Spirit that I gained. I picked up a whopping 62 spirit. A quick glance on the tooltip on the side shows that I lose 4 mp5 while casting, but I gain 23 mp5 while not casting.

So herein lies the dilemma. My original intent was to use one staff as my main healing staff and the other one to regenerate mana. Now I’m wondering which one to use for which.

I’m seriously considering putting Spellsurge on the Ethereum because I want to help my party out a bit more. I’m almost positive I can guarantee the effect to proc when the hidden cooldown is up.

Most raiding encounters are endurance based. They depend on how long you can keep your assigned tanks alive instead of how much you can keep them alive for. Since I already have 81 Healing on my Crystalheart, it seems kind of weird (AND STUPIDLY EXPENSIVE) to re-enchant it again with Spellsurge and put 81 Healing on my new Ethereum.

I lose the nice 4 MP5 while casting with the new staff. As a raiding Priest, I’m not going to be idling. I’m going to be using my global cooldown fairly often by tossing renews and PoMs everywhere. I will rarely, if ever, get chances to sit and just regen my mana. No one in my Guild uses Spellsurge at the moment. But maybe I can influence them to create a Spellsurge mana endurance group.

It looks so easy when you’re comparing enchants on 1 weapon. When you’re working with 2, it makes it a little more difficult because now you have to start planning for different scenarios.

How much mana do I gain as I’m casting spells?
How much mana do I gain when I’m not?
How much healing do I lose?
Is the decrease in healing worth the extra longevity?
How much mana do I gain back if I were to be innervated?
What will benefit my healing the most?
What will benefit my raid the most?
Even now it’s not an easy question for me to answer. Everything looked so simple the first time when I compared 81 Healing with Spellsurge. But there’s a lot more to take into account when you are a raiding Priest.

Any healers out there? Discussion of any kind would help. Maybe there’s a point that I’ve forgotten.

Blame Canada. Again. Blame Blizz. Again.

Matticus’ Note: This a partially related WoW post which happens to tie into a current event. It’s also very lengthy.

I just checked out the video of that Polish guy who was killed in YVR (Vancouver International Airport) a few minutes ago. If you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to check it out. It’s a rare insight into possible law enforcement confrontations. It must be one of thousands of possible situations that they face yearly.

So in a nutshell, here we have a foreign immigrant who flies into our beloved country without a clue as to what he’s doing, where he’s going, or how to speak English. He sets up a wall of chairs, throws around some equipment, causes a big mess, and then the cavalry are called in. He gets shocked and subsequently dies.

Let’s make one thing clear. I’m not trying to condone what the police did was right. I think they acted as best as they could under the circumstances. Hindsight is always 50/50. It’s easier to see flaws in decisions that people make long after they’ve been made. With that being said, I could only imagine the call the police received.

“Hey, control?”
“Uhh, we have a problem here. We have an individual acting erratically.”
“On our way.”

Remember we’re at the airport. We’re in an era of post 9/11. Those events are still fresh on our mind. The police probably had no idea what level of a threat they’re dealing with. My guess is that when you get summoned to a problem situation, you’re initial reaction is to assume the worst case. The worst case would be someone carrying, you know… a bomb. Obviously this poor fellow wasn’t.

How Tasers work

In a nutshell, a Taser is a cattle prod. It has an active range of about 10 meters. When it’s fired, twin prongs shoot out with attached metal wires. Electricity is then sent down the wires with the aim of disrupting nerve and muscle functions. Don’t ask me the physics behind it. I’m sure you have science friends. Go ask them.

Anyway, electrical current then courses through your entire body, you become incapacitated.

At least, that’s the general idea.

Remember, most of these trials take place in controlled environments that involve strong and healthy test subjects. Typically, these are people who do not ingest any kind of alcohol, drug, or some other form of illicit drug abuse. When Tasers are used on them, they work absolutely great! No one dies and they get up five minutes later slightly singed and crispy.

Unfortunately, real life is not like that. The intended targets for Tasers are disorderly individuals who are not in the right state of mind whether it’s chemically induced or otherwise. As a result, the effects produced in a controlled, clinical environments will strongly differ from public areas when the weapons are put to practical use.

I don’t think the public would like it very much if the police simply pulled out their Glocks and shot people in the knee. That was back in the 30s when Al Capone was the law.

I don’t believe the Taser is non-lethal. It may be intended as non-lethal, but it has the potential to kill people. Anyone with a pacemaker would not last very long, I imagine. However, I do think it is less lethal. When you compare it to a firearm or even a baton, it will not provide as much fatal results (statistically speaking). You have a better chance to survive an injury from a taser then you would from a gunshot wound or a severe clubbing from a police baton.

So if Tasers are recalled, then police will have one less less lethal tool to rely on. Guns, batons and… pepper sprays, I believe. Even then, pepper spray is used mostly for riot police. I don’t think it’s part of the standard RCMP loadout. But you know what? Pepper spray is lethal too! When under the effects of pepper spray, people are prone to coughing, having a runny nose, having their eyes slam shut, and having difficulty breathing. Gee, if you have asthma, you’re kind of a goner too.

Next option? Tear gas. Dropping a gas grenade in the baggage claim area of YVR is just plain dumb.

Last option? Physical subjugation. The cops could’ve tried to man handle him to the ground or something as a last resort. However, that would then place cops at risk to being assaulted. I know, the video showed four police officers vs one guy. But I think they’re trained to bring down a subject as best as possible while minimizing damage to them and to him. There was no one any could’ve foreseen that a Taser would have killed him. Automobiles are rated as one of the top causes of death in North America. But we still drive them.

Then there’s waiting. Yeah that probably should have been the way to go. Hindsight. 50/50. Who knows why they weren’t waiting? Wait, what would they wait for? An interpreter? If you watch the footage, there’s someone clearing calling for an interpreter. But they made a wrong choice.

I do not for once believe that the police had any intent to kill. If they did, I think we would be at war with Poland right now or something over a bullet riddle corpse. The media already makes it out that way.

If it were me, I would not have known what to do in that kind of a situation. Clearly he looked agitated. Was he a threat to people near by? Tough call. He might’ve been. When you’re in a situation like that, you walk a very fine line. Let him be and he might randomly go after some innocent bystander. Cops lose for failing to do their job (Why wasn’t he subdued earlier?!) Contain him with the risk of death and he just happens to die. Cops lose for failing to do their job properly. In high pressure cases like that, it is very difficult to make the proper judgment call not knowing what the consequences will be. Obviously if I know my Taser was going to kill him, I wouldn’t use it. Would I try to subdue him hand to hand? Yeah. Press reports said that he’s been in there holed up for five or so hours. You can’t just leave a guy in there all by himself throwing junk around. So those guys who tasered him are now in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” kind of situation. I don’t even know if there is a right answer.

A taser, I believe, is meant as a less lethal response to a lethal situation. However, the police utilized it differently. They exercised a less lethal response to a non-lethal situation. Maybe the best thing to do was temporarily seal off the area until an interpreter was present. But cops are trained to act swiftly, because if they don’t, something bad might happen. It’s way too easy now to condemn them knowing everything that we do know.

If I tried a baton to the knee, people would cry out police brutality.

Another thing that occurred to me. Notice how theres four police swarming the body after it’s been shocked? The body behaves in an uncontrollable state. Would it not have been in his best interest to have been held down a bit to prevent him from biting his tongue or punching a wall or something else that might’ve damaged him? Obviously four cops holding him down is over kill. I’m not a medical student so I don’t know much about that. But I’ve generally seen him people going into some kind of get held down. Or something.

All of a sudden, I don’t want to go into law enforcement anymore knowing that my intentions (however noble) will always be looked down upon by the public. Isn’t that what an Ombudsman is for though? I can’t remember. Anyway, it would seem as if the same people that I want to protect would hate me. I guess I’ll try for that CRIM/PSYC dual major.

What does this have to do with WoW?

Sometimes the best of intentions of developers are not properly carried out. There might be an unforeseen consequence in a patch that is designed to fix problems. So even though there’s a feature added that causes a public outcry doesn’t mean that the idea’s necessarily bad. It just needs more testing and tweaking so it’s able to do what it’s designed to do without any unforeseen side effects.

Check out our Hunter friends for instance. They’re one of the best classes to have behind your back. Now the latest patch has applied all sorts of things that makes them not as overpowered as before. The whole “pet moving behind target” thing seems like a good idea. But there seems to be some problems and pathing and such.

There any problems for Priests? As of yet, I haven’t really discovered much. We had our one of our resist tanks go down awfully quickly for some reason during the Hydross encounter. I don’t know if downranking heals has been adjusted again or not, but endurance is a lot longer then before. Between potions, trinkets, flasks, mana oils, Sporefish, the two piece T5 set, and a Paladin with Spellsurge, I notice that my mana return is pretty damn good. Less drinking involved, that’s for sure. MP5 while casting has hit a number above 250 which is just sick.

Three Stars, later tonight. I didn’t get one in last week. This flu like symptom isn’t fun at all.

Matt’s Three Stars: Week Ending November 2, and some reader responses

Welfare Epics and Loot Envy: I saw

WoW Web Stats: Start here first. It’s a guide from Kirk regarding a tool that I have preached for a long time. I would argue it is better then any in game damage meter. Use it for your post raid analysis to help determine what went wrong. Once you’ve finished looking at that, refer to his post on using it for healing in raids. There isn’t much more for me to say as the rest has already been covered by the guy. Second star!

A blog post a day: The challenge has been issued. The battle lines have been drawn. A friend of mine from school informed me that November is National Novel Writing Month. Stephi has twisted the concept slightly and made it her goal to pump out 50000 words by the end of the month at a rate of ~1700 words per day. If I were not in school nor had other things to attend to (blogging, demon fragging, etc) I would gladly embrace this challenge. But as such, there is no way I can maintain that kind of a pace without something else in my life giving way. Next year, I will entertain the idea of participating in the novel writing month itself. The third star as well as good luck goes to Stephi!

I took two straight days off both on Friday and Saturday. Why? Because I’ve been busy chasing the dream of priests everywhere: to beat the living snot out of anything unholy. My Evoker is now level 19. I can’t imagine what life would be like had I rolled a different class. But my blog would definitely not be the way it is now.

I received a comment and an email that I wanted to respond to because it merited addressing on the main page.

Maladorous writes:

After reading this it seems your a priest that likes MP5. With 2.3 coming out and priest talent Meditation getting such a big boost what are you thoughts about spirit regeneration? Also the set bonus from the primal moon cloth set would put you at about 35% Regen while in the FSR. I think this is great and will put your Regen way up.

I drop my spell down as i get more +healing so that saves mana also so i get the +18 gems.

For the most part, I’ve refrained from commenting too much about 2.3 because what changes are can easily be reversed the next day rendering past thoughts on them irrelevant. I still think it’s too early to say. Spirit is definitely getting a huge boost. I’ll confess I don’t know the mathematics or the formulas behind it quite yet. Remember, as a Priest, we need to think situationally. It isn’t often that we are inactive for sessions longer than five seconds. If we are, then either we’re not doing our job or we have one hell of a tank. It’s also important to think long term and what it is you’ll be doing. In raid encounters, you NEED that mana per five. It’s a simple concept. Spells need mana. No mana means no heals which means the tank dies which means its game over. It’s not the size of the tank, it’s how fast the gas gets pumped into it. I didn’t spec Spirit of Redemption in my build (simply because I felt those seconds could best be used for running back into the instance). With the upcoming changes, I’ll need to take a closer look.

Bottom line: Nothing has changed. I still value MP5. Expect that to change as soon as more tests are done by my colleagues in that area. If there is empirical proof that Spirit is better then MP5, then I’ll make the necessary announcements.

Until then, keep hoarding Nightseyes. But if there’s cheap healing/spirit gems on your server, consider possibly investing in several and storing them in the bank. At worst, you can resell them back on the AH as their uncut selves. At best, you no longer need to worry about gems for a long time because you just committed grand theft jewelery on the AH. If you look up Talasite on WoW Econ and plot it for a 90-day chart, you’ll notice a spike in the price. I think that coincided with the time that patch 2.2 went live and Talasite was another option for arena players. Expect the price of Star of Elune to increase slightly. We may begin to see Purified Shadow Pearls in frequency as well. Guess those Naga’s have a use after all.

The above question is a great segue (did I spell that right?) into another question from another reader this time via email:

I’m a bit confused as to which is more important, my mana pool or my +healing. My guild (a social guild more than anything else) has just started raiding Kara, so we’re all barely geared enough for it. I have 1066 +healing and a mana pool of 9521. After looking at your gear list, I opted for Essence Focuser and the Nethering Spiritualist offhand, and am debating getting a +30 Int chant or Major healing on the mace. Some healer that’s supposed to be The Shit told an officer in my guild that my mana pool isn’t up to par, so that constructive (*cough*) criticism in mind, I’m hesitant about using the mace instead of Epoch Mender, since the Mender gives me +35 Int, I believe.

Your healing is a little low, but it meets the requirements. Your mana pool on the other hand is excellent. But there is one important question that you need to ask: How is my mana regeneration? Like I said in the previous post, it’s not the size of the mana pool that matters but how you use it. Encounters depend on your ability to heal. Your healability depends on how fast you get your mana. Sooner or later, cooldowns will catch up to you. Your Druid’s innervate will be burned. Your potions blown. Your Shaman’s Mana Tide deployed. Every trinket you have, used. At present, your MP5 is very low. I think that needs to be increased substantially (to at least 100+ while casting spells). Consider the 6 MP5 to chest, the application of the shoulder enchant, and the application of the head enchant. If you need to trade mana pool for mana regen, do it. Having 9.5k mana is a nice buffer in the opening stages, but you’ll burn out by the time you get down to 50% on Attumen. Remember to downrank your heals some to help alleviate the pressure.

I would also apply 81 healing to the mace. BUT, wait for a while first. The mats are expensive and you’ll want to use it on a weapon that will see action for a long time. See if you can farm the reputation for the Shatar and pick up the Gavel of Pure Light. Failing that, you can always roll the dice and attempt to pick up the Shard of the Virtuous from Maiden.

Good luck!

Remember, I’m only an email away. You can find it on the left pane of my blog (unlinked to scare off those pesky spam bots). Please, feel free to ask. If I can’t help you, I’ll direct you to someone who can.

One more topic of note for sunday. GMW’s post about speaking WoW in real life? That actually happened to me the other day. I was at school when one of my friend’s came up to me and asked what I had on the agenda for the next day:

Girl: Hows tomorrow look?
Me: Not much. No class until 230. Midterms are over. Papers are next week. Oh wait, I have a quest to do tomorrow.
Girl: *blink*
Me: What? Oh! Did I say quest? I mean quiz!
Girl: *sigh*

Ho hum.

My Nightmare as a Priest

I’m reading Leiandra’s post on the different types of healers and their functions. After reading some of the comments there, I felt like this merited a direct post reply on it’s own instead of a comment. I wager I’m one of the few players to have rolled all four healer classes. I’ve only raided with three of them (Priest, Shaman, and Paladin while my Druid is on the backburner somewhere at the early 50 level). Some of the comments I’ve read made me raise my eyebrow.


I know my comparison is somewhat simplistic, but taking away +healing gear (should be the same for priest or paladin) a paladin’s biggest heal with appropriate talents is a 2.5 sec cast for 2740(840 mana). A priest with appropriate talents has a 2.5 sec cast for 3062(825 mana).

Of course there is a talent for paladins to reduce that cast time by .5 for the next 15 sec, and the 3062 for priest doesn’t include the talent to increase it by 25% of spirit.

Also a druid has a 3.0 sec direct heal for 3517 (935 mana).

Firstly, that’s an unfair comment to make. If you’re going to compare healers, the assumption should be made that they are talented to the best healing spec available. There’s no point in comparing supposed healing classes without full and complete talents because there isn’t a player in WoW who raid heals with no talents spent in their appropriate healing trees. Don’t compare base heals or stats either because certain races and classes have a higher advantage over the other. If you’re going to compare healing output, then add an arbitrary base healing number that seems fair (like +1500 healing). Please, if you’re going to compare one class with another, make realistic comparisons.

So here’s the million dollar question. Is there one healing class better than another? It depends entirely on the encounter and on the situation. Let’s hypothetically say that there’s a 25 man raid team about to engage a boss. It’s your standard tank and spank encounter. Nothing special about it. Except for the fact that Crosbane, our boss, hits like a freight train for 30 minutes. Most healers would run out of gas long before those thirty minutes are up. Pally’s, not so.

They’re the energizer bunnies of WoW. They keep going, and going, and going. It’s true that as a Priest, we have the 5 second rule to fall back on and we would gain a crapload of mana back. Realistically, we don’t have that kind of option. If we don’t heal for five seconds, our assignments are dead. I suppose the best we can hope for is to light up a PoM, a Renew, and a Shield. That would us a few precious seconds to regen our mana. Then the boss crits.

Pally’s own us Priests, period. There’s a reason why many high end raiding Guilds no longer run Holy Priests as healers. We’re a dying breed. Sure we bring a lot of specialist skills like PW:S and Prayer of Healing, but well timed spam heals from Paladins keep everything going. The reason I agree with your assessment about Paladins being the King of Healing is because they would never run out of mana in endurance fights. I’m busy struggling and blowing my potions, yelling for Innervates, Mana Tides, using my Shadow Fiend, and theres Joe Paladin in the corner just spamming Rank 5 Flash of Light over there. Couple 3 Paladins, a Shadow Priest, and a Resto Shaman with buffed mana spring totems and you have a group that can heal indefinitely.

My WWS in Carnage shows our Healers with four Paladins constantly on top all the time. Master Harth, High Priest that he is, leads the way in over all heals so there is hope for us yet.

But you can’t expect WWS to illuminate the numbers for us all the time. It only shows us one side of the story. Different Healers are best suited for different encounters.

Take an encounter like Fathom-Lord in SSC for example. There are four bosses that need to be tanked. The Hunter boss spawns a pet every now and then, and the tank that’s tanking him needs to draw aggro on it as well. So here is this one tank that’s getting his ass handed to him by two Ford F-150’s. On top of that, there’s a freakin’ Whirlwind type thing that comes around and throws me in the air every once in a while. I’m so focused on my raid health that I always seem to miss it coming by. If it weren’t for my instant spells, he would be dead. Thankfully, the Hunter boss is the second boss that needs to die. With the damage input that Thor (my tank) is taking, it’s impossible to sustain it for more then a few minutes. Eventually, I would hit a time where my potion cooldown is used, my shadowfiend timer is down, and all the innervates have been used. In this short period of time, I would excel in my role no problem. I don’t have to keep him alive for an abysmally long time. Just enough to weather the storm.

Compare this to the last boss, the Fathom Lord himself. Initially Lang is over there with a Paladin. This Boss is last on the food chain. Paladins need to be able to keep Lang alive for at least seven minutes. Oh, and they have to heal themselves too. Lang may not be taking as much burst damage as Thor was, but he’s taking a beating for a longer amount of time.

Do you see the point I’m trying to make here? It’s nearly impossible to compare all the healing classes together. Each brings a different set of skills to the table. With the encounters in end game, I suspect that Paladins are better suited and utilized more often then not. As a Priest, I have enough spells at my disposal to react quickly enough to salvage a raid in case anything goes wrong. A Paladin won’t be able to recover as much. But their long term efficiency is so good that there is little reason for raids to go in the crapper.

Sooner or later, our class will go the way of the Dodo bird. Aside from broccoli, that is my greatest fear with Holy Priests rendered inert, useless, and outclassed in every aspect. I guess I better start accumulating Shadow Gear. Good thing I have a Paladin and a Shaman to fall back on.