I’ve had the chance to use this bad boy a bit now, so I thought I’d do a little discussion on it. For those who don’t know, Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings is the Ulduar legendary healing mace. There’s a lengthy process to get that is started by collecting 30 fragments and is finally completed by hurling it into Yogg-Saron’s mouth during this AoE silence when you leave at least one Keeper out of the fight (so on Yogg+3 or less). It is only available on 25-man.
– From what I’ve seen, there really is no single healing class that doesn’t do well with this little puppy. Picking who gets the Fragments (with the goal of getting the mace) can be very emotionally charged, so at least it’s nice to see that we don’t really have to deny healers based on class. AoE healing classes spread the shields this procs with over the most people, but tank healers can build huge shields on the tanks. Both cases are quick useful on different fights, so that’s fun. There was a lot of discussion about the mace not having any Spirit and therefore not being for Tree druids or Holy priests, but at the high gear levels you’d be at to get this, the healer would have very, very mana regen even with it. There’s no good reason to not give them just as equal a chance at it.
– Is this Best in Slot? I would argue that at this time it is. The proc on it is -huge- and more than makes up for the difference between it and the ilevel 258 mace. According to my parses, the shield counts for about 150k-400k absorption per fight. (It’s very fight dependent.) The proc is generally up 25% of the time, which is huge. Does a couple extra INT, some extra haste and 80 spellpower come close to increasing your HPS that much? For this healadin it certainly doesn’t. It’ll be interesting how it stacks up in the next patch’s raid, of course.
– Something I need to work more on (sigh) is using the proc correctly as it applies to fights. When you see the buff go up on yourself, it’s important to know your fight well enough to use it to the best of your ability. I’m decent at spreading out the shields during AoE fights, but I’ve gotten so used to the new healadin mechanics (ie. Beacon tank and heal raid) that I find myself not switching fast enough to get some big bubble stacks on the tank during tank heavy fights. I have gotten some good mana regen time out of the proc on fights, as I can get some Flash of Light spam going during the shield’s proc, with the shield making up the difference in the healing. I’ve not tried using Divine Plea during the proc (I want BIG BUBBLES), but I think that’s certainly a doable idea.
– For PvP, this is pretty nuts. I’ve not used it in arenas, but I can tell you that during Wintergrasp I’m a healing machine. One down-side is that it is like having a giant “KILL ME” sign over your head, so you’d better be good at keeping yourself up. 😛 I’ve heard that having it can launch you towards Gladiator pretty easily, but I’m a little afraid in trying. If I suck at arena, it’d be even -more- sad.
– Determining who gets to put the mace together is a tough call. What we did is we gave priority to the healers with the highest attendance and then had then /roll for the right to the Fragments, also charging them DKP for that right. (300 DKP, I think?) It was actually a pretty good system, I’d say. I just happened to roll a 100… I know that other people had the officers decide on who gets it, usually an officer or healing lead. If you’ve got some really good healers who are around just as much as your officers are, I’m not sure that’s totally fair. I know that if I had lost to the priest I was rolling against, I’d be totally fine with it. Maybe it’s because I love my healing group that much, but I certainly hope other raiding groups have that kind of love and trust going on.
Overall, this mace is not a “make it or break it” item that a raiding group -needs- to progress. I think it’s more a badge of honor more than anything, a fun bauble. It can increase a single healer’s effectiveness, it’s true, but not to the point that encounters are a cake-walk. 😛