5.4 PTR: Understanding Other Healing Classes’ Tier 16 Bonuses Compared to Holy Paladins (Part 1)

From the 5.4 PTR Notes, the Holy Paladin related items are:

  • Tier 16 Set Bonus:
    • Unyielding Faith (New) Infusion of Light also increases the healing done by Holy Light, Divine Light, and Holy Radiance by 10%. Instant. (This is actually the Holy 2P Bonus according to the tier items.)
    • Item – Paladin T16 Holy 4P Bonus (New) Reduces the cooldown of Divine Favor by 45 sec. While Divine Favor is active, Mastery is increased by 1,500.
  • Hand of Purity Places a Hand on the friendly target, reducing damage taken by 10% and damage from harmful periodic effects by an additional 70% 80% (less for some creature attacks for 6 sec. Players may only have one Hand on them per Paladin at any one time. Paladin – LvL 60 Talent. 7% of Base Mana. 40 yd range. Instant. 30 sec cooldown.
  • Glyph of Denounce Your Holy Shocks have a 50% chance to reduce the cast time of your next Denounce by 1.0 sec. Major Glyph. 0.5 sec. This effect stacks up to 3 times. Major Glyph.

It looks like at this point, the things that we expected such as nerfs to our mastery or eternal flame haven’t appeared yet.  You know every time one of these things comes out Blizzard says “these are just the petri dish experiments” or something along that line.  But these are the facts.  A portion of people get angry because in their minds their immediate reaction to this is “These sucky changes are going live.”  For these people the comments about the ‘petri dish’ are valid recommendations.  But you have a portion of people who get angry, not because they think this is going to happen but that Blizzard thinks that these changes are actually worth releasing in a PTR patch, that there is any excuse for even considering these changes.  I don’t think my reaction to the 5.4 PTR for Holy Paladins qualifies as angry, but they are definitely in the second camp.  Also, obviously Blizzard doesn’t just put out random patch notes for the hell of it.  These set bonuses have been well deliberated about.  In line with their thinking, it’s good that they have released them now because if the comments about the past few months of balancing healing classes haven’t reached any ears then surely the reactions to these PTR notes will.  Surely.

But lets talk about the good stuff first.

Hand of Purity: This spell (which doesn’t apparently work on all DoT effects) was buffed by 10%.  I’m not quite sure what distinguishes spells which are affected by HoP and spells which aren’t.  The phrase “for some creature attacks” is just about as general as it can get.  Regardless, we do see a 10% increase on this which is nice.

Glyph of Denounce: A glyph specifically meant for holy paladins which will now give you a free instant DPS attack around every 18 seconds.  Given that most PvE paladins take Glyph of Divinity and Glyph of Beacon of Light and the remaining glyph is kind of lackluster either way (~500,000 HPS at most for either one) this seems like a fun alternative to try.  This could potentially be useful for PvP to give some damage to healers as well.

Now on to the prospective changes that make use sad paladins…

Tier bonuses. This is where the problems lie. To best explain the degree of suck for these set bonuses, I wanted to talk a little bit about the bonuses from 3 other healing class, discipline priests, holy priests and restoration druids. My qualifications for talking about these classes stems from playing a resto druid in LFR (I know it doesn’t mean much) and progression raiding (1-2 on server) with a holy priest during Burning Crusade (which I know also doesn’t mean much at all).  I’ll first introduce priest and druid set bonuses and then take a comparison to holy paladin set bonuses.

Priest (typically the first item is directed towards holy priests and the second is directed towards discipline priests):

  • Item – Priest T16 2P Bonus (New) Serendipity also increases the healing of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing by 50% per stack. While Archangel is active, your critical chance is increased by 10%.
  • Item – Priest T16 4P Bonus (New) Circle of Healing and Prayer of Mending casts increase the effect of your next Holy Word spell by 50%, stacking up to 10 times. While Spirit Shell is active, you gain 10% haste and 3,500 mastery.

Lets talk about the holy priest 2set first.  Serendipity is a buff from using either Flash Heal (expensive quick one target heal similar to our Flash of Light) or Binding Heal (expensive quick one self/one target heal similar to nothing) for holy priests only.  For any healer, quick mana-intensive single target heals aren’t designed to be spammed however, out of all of these kinds of mana-intensive heals which all classes have, priest’s Flash of Light is one of the more mana efficient.  Since Flash Heal or Binding Heal also give Surge of Light (a random bonus instant cast, free Flash Heal) procs I can see this set bonus having great burst healing potential.

For the holy priest 4set, to make sense you need to understand the Holy Word spell specific to holy priests. The Holy Word spells are based on Chakra, something similar to a stance.  Different chakra stances are for different types of healing, one specific for AOE, one for single target, and one for PVP based healing.  You can only be in one Chakra and there is a 30 second cooldown to switch between.  Holy Word is a spell associated with the Chakra and changes into a different spell depending on the Chakra the holy priest is in.  The Holy Word spell from the AOE Healing Chakra places an AOE healing spell on the floor, kind of like our Light’s Hammer and is called Holy Word: Sanctuary. Okay so Light’s Hammer does damage but really their purpose is the same.  Put something on the ground and it heals people who are standing in it.  Lets compare these:

Holy Word: Sanctuary
6.3% of base mana    40 yd range
0.5 sec cast    40 sec cooldown
Blesses the ground with divine light, healing all within it for 461 to 547 (+ 5.83% of SpellPower) every 2 sec for 30 sec. Only one Sanctuary can be active at a time.  Healing effectiveness diminishes for each player beyond 6 within the area.

Light’s Hammer
30 yd range
Instant    1 min cooldown
Hurl a Light-infused hammer into the ground, where it will blast a 10 yard area with Arcing Light for (15 sec.5) sec. Arcing Light heals allies for 3268 to 3993 (+ 32.1% of SpellPower) every 2 sec.

According to the set bonus, casting enough Prayer of Mendings or Circle of Healings could potentially boost this spell by up to 500%. With the same amount of spell power, say 35,000, Light’s hammer will heal around 15,000 every 2s for 15s while Holy Word: Sanctuary will heal up to 12,646 every 2s for 30 seconds with a 20 second shorter cooldown.  This is a pretty insane boost.  With the typical concoction of spells used in a 40 second period, I would estimate that this spell will half around 3-6 stacks giving a 150-300% bonus each time it’s used for 30 seconds.  It doesn’t heal as much as Light’s Hammer for sure but its potential up time is 75% while ours is 25%.  I ain’t even mad about this because this is an example of great design.  Firstly, this buff doesn’t alter completely the play style but makes you focus on doing this correctly more closely.  The heal is a little bit overpowered and I will eat my hat if that percentage buff is not reduced to something like 30% before life but this small bonus to encourage holy priests to keep doing what they’re doing on time is a fun change.  It’s usefulness in my opinion will make holy priests more desirable.  In addition to the Divine Insight and Twist of Fate buff, holy priests could be looking real good by now.  Prayer of Mending, when it came out in BC was my favorite spell.  It’s healing mechanic is just so fun to player around and made me really enjoy playing holy.

Now lets talk about the discipline priest buffs.  As you know discipline priests are still the most powerful healers by a long shot while holy has been neglected patch after patch.  For the 2 set, you need to understand a little bit about how discipline priests heal through DPS.  This is achievable through a spell called Atonement which is triggered upon a discipline priest DPSing either through Penance (a channeled DPS or damage, kind of like holy shock, spell), Smite (no CD spell) or Holy Fire (yes CD spell).  For any of these spells you can smart heal a nearby ally with 90% of the amount DPSed.  Now, discipline priests go for crit because more crit = more crit damage = more crit heals.  In addition to this, their crits also proc Divine Aegis which shields a player for half the amount of the crit/the whole amount a regular heal would do.  The Archangel buff stated is from Evangelism which procs every time a discipline priest uses Smite, Holy Fire or Penance.  Each time you use one of these it will give one evangelism stack.  Consuming 5 evangelism stacks procs Archangel.  I look on some top ranked Discipline priest logs and the average uptime for Evangelism is around 40%.  Thus the set bonus means Discipline will be getting a 10% crit 40% of the time.  To equate this to overall increase (which is a shady relationship at best), this is approximately a 4% buff to crit.

For the 4set, you have to know that Spirit Shell is a spell which converts all Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal and Prayer of Healing spells you cast to an absorb shield for 15 seconds.  This spell is up every minute.  Effectively, the 4-set bonus gives discipline priests 10% haste and 3500 mastery for 15 seconds of every minute.  And maybe you’ll think to yourself 10% haste and 3500 mastery for 1/4 of a fight?  That’s only basically a static 2.5% increase in haste and ~900 mastery.  That’s not that great for a 4 set bonus.  Well everything in this world is relative so wait till you look at what our 4-set bonus is.

Lets move on to talking about Restoration Druids:

  • Item – Druid T16 Restoration 2P Bonus (New) Ironbark increases your critical chance by 20% for 12 sec.
  • Item – Druid T16 Restoration 4P Bonus (New) Rejuvenation, Lifebloom, and Wild Growth critical heals have a chance to cause all cast time heals for the next 12 sec to cause a Living Seed on the target for 80% of the amount healed.

The 2-set: Ironbark is a 20% overall damage reduction cooldown for 12 seconds.  The spell is up every minute.  This set bonus effective gives 20% crit for 1/5 of the fight.  Basically, an overall bonus of 4% crit, kind of like the bonus for discipline priests.  This is fun but more importantly, this syncs well with their living seed mechanic which procs on critical heals.  I would say that this is a solid 2 piece as well.  It doesn’t require druids to change any way that they heal but makes current healing better for those who keep track of the buff.  Currently druids are prioritizing haste and with all of these changes to crit perhaps a stat change will be in effect.

The 4-set.  Rejuvenation, Lifebloom and Wild Growth are all bread and butter druid spells.  They’re always used.  With more crit, this causes all cast time heals like regrowth or healing touch or nourish to cause a living seed which is a kind of buff that will heal the user when they are hit for 80% of the amount (instead of the standard 30% from regular living seeds).  The forums state that this bonus is not that great because druids don’t cast many spells at all.  This is a fair assessment by people who are better at understanding the class than me.

Sidenote: Ahhh, I’ve seen what you’ve done Blizzard.  What kind of healing spells even has a remote chance of competing with absorbs.  It’s these kind of spells which trigger on damage.  Sure a large amount of what you heal may be overhealing which is what druids have struggled with before and if you die before the healing goes off then it’s completely useless but it’s an interesting observation.

So the druid set bonuses aren’t great.  But did you see their spell changes?

Ysera’s Gift: A passive 5% smart heal every 5 seconds?  5% now a days equating to around 25,000?Nature’s Swiftness: Replaces by Ysera’s Gift, now a restoration druid baseline.  (And if you want to see angry, talk to me about what explicit word they’re doing to feral druids.)
Dream of Cenarius, Soul of the Forest and Nature’s Vigil were all buffed for restoration druids.
Genesis: 400% boost to ticks of rejuvenation.  I don’t even know what to say about this.
Innervate: Buff to pretty much everyone in Tier 16.
Wild Mushroom: Heard it was a nerf but we’ll see…
Glyph of Efflorescence: Even the resto druids don’t think it will go live.

Enough about other classes though, lets talk about the holy paladin tier sets I’ve posted again below.

  • Unyielding Faith (New) Infusion of Light also increases the healing done by Holy Light, Divine Light, and Holy Radiance by 10%. Instant. (This is actually the Holy 2P Bonus according to the tier items.)
  • Item – Paladin T16 Holy 4P Bonus (New) Reduces the cooldown of Divine Favor by 45 sec. While Divine Favor is active, Mastery is increased by 1,500.

The first spell is a buff to infusion of light which procs off holy shock criticals.  Lets take a generous example of heroic Megaera where holy radiance is usefully healing people and not just giving holy power or absorbs a larger majority of the time.  This also means any numbers from this is most likely a maximum.


Lets combine the total healing amounts including overhealing for our comparison just to see exactly what kind of benefit we would’ve gotten had we used the two piece.  Lets assume we have full heroic gear and around 40% mastery.

Holy Radiance
Total Healing: 9,997,522
Mastery Absorbs: 0.4 * 9,997,522 = 3,999,009

Divine Light
Total Healing: 588,604
Mastery Healing: 0.4 * 588,604 = 235,442

Holy Light
Total Healing: 1,424,968
Mastery Healing: 0.4 * 1,424,968 = 569,987

Let’s add up what this totals in healing (these values include all overhealing):

Total Healing: 9,997,522 + 588,604 + 1,424,968 = 12,011,094
Mastery Healing: 3,999,009 + 235,442 + 569,987= 4,488,145

Lets just say that we have a 50% chance to crit on a holy shock so half the time we cast one of these spells we are casting a buffed spell by 10%.  To apply this to the whole value, lets multiply the total healing by 5%.  This would increase our mastery healing by 5% as well.  This gives:

Total Healing = 12,611,649
Mastery Healing = 5,044,659

Our original effective healing from Divine Light, Holy Radiance and Holy Shock was 5,035,722 + 588,604 + 438,890 = 6,0632,16.  This is around 50.5% effective healing.  Lets take this same percentage and apply it to the total T16 2set buffed healing of 12,611,649.  We end up with 6,266,377.  In terms of mastery, the overhealing was 20.5% in the first set so we take the same amount here applied to the mastery healing and we get 4,010,504 healing.

So in total how much of an increase in healing would I get? 

Total Healing Increase: 6,266,377 – 6,0632,16 = 203,161
Mastery Healing Increase: 4,010,504 – 3,568,075 = 442,429

The combined healing increase comes out to 203,161 + 442,429 = 645,590.  My original effective healing was 40,264,804.  Dividing these two values from each other gives a 1.6% increase in healing.

Actually 1.6% isn’t too bad of a value. But. On most fights I can predict that this is pretty much an upper limit on the amount of increase you’re going to get from using the two set.  Sure we’ll most likely get stuck with using 2 pieces due to the itemization but next tier the secondary stat differentiation is going to be a lot bigger.  Having a piece of gear with mastery instead of haste or crit will give by itself a few percentage points in mastery which is something I’d much rather have than a maybe 0 or maybe 1.6% increase in overall healing.  It’s very likely that just having a better itemized piece of gear could equate to give nearly around this value in healing anyways.  Compare this 2 set with one of the previous sets I’ve looked at and it is both dull and lackluster.  A 4% increase on crit for druids and priests vs a 1.6% increase in healing at best? Crit by itself is not a huge value but just like mastery for us, but crit syncs with a lot of other spells for priests and druids and ends up having a larger effect than simply 4% crit.

(Also it’s funny there was a comment a few days on the website about buffing our casting spells and this seems to be something along the lines of what we were talking about.)

So save yourself Blizz, show the 4 set.

Divine Favor is currently a 3 minute healing cooldown which gives a 20% increase in spell casting haste and critical chance by 20% for 20 sec.  It’s a nice cooldown, absolutely no complaints.  The cooldown for this spell was decreased by 45s with the 2 set effectively a 25% reduction in the cooldown.  Some people argue well this puts it out of sync with Avenging Wrath and other things…well I’m not gonna complain about that.  A decrease in cooldown of a healing spell is what it is.  Despite my not using it on time anyways it’s a great buff.  Fine.  Probably not gonna be too useful on some things but it’s fine.  Actually if they had just stopped after this point, or maybe if they didn’t feel it was enough, increased the cooldown reduction of this by 1 minute, then I ain’t even would’ve been mad.  But they didn’t stop there…

1500 mastery.  Um…next patch this may end up being around 10% increase in mastery or 2% every 2:15 minutes.  This added piece is just kind of like trash.  Why give us something like this and call it worthy of a 4 piece.  But I guess the 4 piece T15 was designed with a similar intent.  Sure, you can give the argument that discipline priests got a 3500 mastery buff every minute but they don’t use mastery but their 2set and 4set together far out-trumps any kind of bonus that we got.

But for Serial

In all seriousness, I’m not unhappy about the set bonuses.  You can not simply equate things like getting 1500 mastery every 2:15 to an overall mastery gain.  The mastery gain is small but it’s on demand and comes at times when we need more healing output which is 100% more important than looking at overall meters for a fight.  The comparison between our tier and everyone else’s tier is what makes people angry.  Also, changes to spells we were expecting to see like nerfing eternal flame or addressing our increased need to cast healing spells we know are overhealing for HP we also didn’t see while we saw many adjustments (mostly for the a whole shit ton better) for other classes.  I personally think that Blizzard sees holy paladins in a good spot and I am not arguing that they aren’t in 10 man.  But there are issues that have come up in 25 man that surely suggests they are now lagging far behind any class other than shamans.  I think that before the final release comes out, Blizzard needs to make at least a few adjustments to the class before everyone swaps out holy paladins for priests, druids and monks especially in 25 mans which seems to be a dying breed.


4 thoughts on “5.4 PTR: Understanding Other Healing Classes’ Tier 16 Bonuses Compared to Holy Paladins (Part 1)

  1. […] class changes are pretty minor. Paladiner’s wringed as much analysis out of our set bonuses as possible. Dedralie at Healiocentric has some discussion on our general changes on her blog as […]

  2. First time coming to your blog. Loved everything you said and can’t agree more.
    Hopefully Blizz recognizes that we have multiple issues and since it’s early in 5.4 PTR, they address these (I’m still hoping for a buff to our CD…devo isn’t anywhere in line with other healer CDs).

  3. Today in new PTR build they nerfed the direct heal of EF and changed SS to be even worse.

  4. Thanks for letting us know, will probably do a bit on this in a while. Currently travelling :p

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