I finally finished my in-depth holy paladin guide which I have been working on for the past two months. The whole thing is a monster to read and was kind of an effort on my part to refresh everything I knew about the class. The idea behind the guide is kind of like a step up from a simple icy-veins or noxxic guide to the class. This idea kind of backfired on me since I pretty much included anything from a basic guide but the main novelty to it is there are comments throughout the guide which offer insight in addition to simple spell descriptions. The idea was kind of conceived from looking at many holy paladin forums and seeing that many people have the same questions about how to get better at their classes after playing them for a while. Hopefully someone will read a part of it and find it helpful.
Second piece of news is I shifted all of my Heroic Boss Guides (hopefully I’ll be able to publish my Dark Animus and Twin Consorts guides up soon after my guild finally all gets on and kills them) and Challenge Mode guides (yes there will be more coming, I’m planning to do a second gold run with a few guildies so I’m waiting to brush up on what I remember) to actual pages meaning you can hover over the links at the top of the page in the menu to access this. I thought this was a lot better that linking you to a link to a link or searching for them. I hope this helps out with the functionality and navigation of the website in general. As always, I always appreciate constructive feedback!
Thirdly, I added a page to track all of the 5.4 PTR changes that will be updated build to build so people have a central place they can go to check them out. I’ll include any relevant tweets or just general news about holy paladins as well. I’ll link this page to the blog posts in the past on the PTR since those qualify more as blog posts. Hope this helps with everyone trying to find the notes.
Enough news, what about the new changes!
Okay a few major changes coming in this build.
Cooldown reduction of Holy Shock with Melee Haste
This idea was proposed in many forms in the past few weeks, with either reducing the cooldown to 4s flat or reducing the cooldown in this way. This buff is not quite as good as a simple reduction because it now causes us to reconsider our stat priorities. Haste does not sync well with having enough mana as in faster spells will cause you to deplete mana more quickly. On the other hand, if a majority of our spells are turning out to be instant cast spells which have their cooldown reduced by haste then this may not matter too much. The basic idea of how this is going to work is simple so lets talk about that first. Then I’ll give a few comments on how it’ll play in to our healing style as a whole.
Sanctity of Battle is something paladins have had for a long time. Protection paladins have used this talent the most to this point by going full haste builds to generate holy power more quickly and maintain Shield of the Righteous’ 40+% damage reduction. Holy paladins have had it for the whole time as well however, since we don’t use judgement or crusader strike often, it’s been overlooked. NO LONGER. Haste affecting the cooldown of holy shock means that once again we might be able to have our long dreamt about 4 second holy shock. Remember how fun playing holy paladin was back in the day? A simply 33% haste will reduce our holy shock cooldown from the 6 to the 4 we dream of. A 33% haste rate is harder attained than said but with full heroic gear, it’s entirely likely to hit above 50% haste. A 3 second holy shock if you can even imagine that. Our whole healing cooldown rotation would shift to just spamming this spell. Remember that 425 points of haste rating is equivalent to 1% haste. This haste is both a spell and melee haste buff. As an example, my protection paladin’s gear (ilvl 527) is sitting at 15,000 haste which translates to 35% haste just for items. This doesn’t include the additional haste you get from raid buffs and can you even imagine bloodlust? Raid buffs like unholy frenzy which both unholy and frost death knights carry or unleashed rage from enhancement shamans provide additional static 10% melee haste. As you can see, it’s not hard to get 50% haste.
Edit: I am a noob and calculated the haste percentage incorrectly. The way it works is like this. If you have for example 15,000 haste, this would give you a 35.3% haste. To see what the reduction is to a spell like holy shock which normally has a 6 second cooldown you would do the following:
6 / (1+0.353) = 4.43.
What this means is 15,000 haste or 35.3% haste would give your holy shock a 4.43 second cooldown. A 50% haste rating would in fact give you exactly a 4 second cooldown. A 3 second holy shock cooldown would actually need 100% haste rating which I’m skeptical of being attainable. Oversight on my part, I should have read my own guide!
My initial thoughts on this is way too overpowered and in my opinion will likely be rolled back or at least reduced for holy to some extent. Suppose you were to decrease your 6 second cooldown to 3 seconds for example with 50% haste. You could essentially go around spamming holy shock and using holy radiance in between. Remember that haste will reduce the cast time of holy radiance by 50% too giving it a 1.25 second cast time. This means you could go around casting HS+HR and generate a 3 HP eternal flame/word of glory/light of dawn in around 5 seconds. Of course you might go OOM but maybe not since you would only need to cast HR every other time so you could use your finisher (HS-HR-HS-Finisher in under 6 seconds). We may just end up a class of instant casts. Don’t get me wrong I’d love to play this style and in fact I may go check out the PTR to see how things are with this and a full haste build but I’m skeptical of if it will go live. Remember when back in 5.2 or 5.3 when they made a PTR change to let Holy Shock give a stack of Selfless Healer? That is akin to this kind of change. I really like this change because I enjoyed the spot healing aspect of holy paladins but I don’t know if it’ll stay. There’s one thing about spells passively giving absorb shields and there’s another thing about getting there first and an instant cast will always come before a passive shield from a cast-time spell. Not only that but the absorb shields we had in 5.2 were so OP because we could also actively control who they went on. This is similar to instants and in my opinion, an alert and reactive holy paladin might be able to compete with a discipline priests with enough instant casts.
Then I stopped for a second and thought about it a little more and realized that this is in-effect partially a healing buff and partially a mana regeneration buff (so don’t get too excited). Previously, we were forced to cast a second holy radiance to give us the third holy power, HS (1.5) + HR (1.25) + HR (1.25) + Finisher in 4 seconds with 50% haste. Considering the 6 second cooldown of HS, we would have to wait some time before casting it again but we could for example start the triplet off with HR then HS then HR. There is nothing different about this rotation with this change. We can still generate a finisher every 4 seconds. What the difference is where the first style of play is not maintainable with our current spirit level at all, this one still won’t be but might be more maintainable. Rather than spending 50,000 mana every 4 seconds, we will now be spending 40,000 mana every 4 seconds. Therefore while this buff is indeed a healing buff through increased holy power regeneration, it is also in a sense a mana buff. This brings up the interesting idea of seeing if we can socket enough spirit to generate a build that can sustain this kind of healing along with other mana regen abilities like divine plea.
What would you spend all of this HP on now? This brings me to the second big change.
Holy Insight Buffs Eternal Flame, Word of Glory, and Light of Dawn by 35% up from 25%.
This increase in healing is decent but I’m sure many paladins will complain that its’ not enough. I think personally in conjunction with the change above, this will be a decent buff. At the sake of being called out as someone who doesn’t understand paladins at all and priests not enough to talk about them, consider these two similar spells Light of Dawn and Circle of Healing.
Circle of Healing currently heals 5 players for4599 to 5082 [+ 46.7% of SpellPower]. Light of Dawn heals now for 1627 to 1812 [+ 15.2% of SpellPower] per charge of Holy Power. In its current state, a 3 HP Light of Dawn heals more than a Circle of Healing. You can argue that Light of Dawn requires charges while Circle of Healing is on a cooldown but the cooldown on Circle of Healing is 10 seconds while it’s entirely possible to generate almost 2 LoDs in this time. In 5.4, the 10% buff to this spell will just push it up more. Perhaps combined with the Sanctity of Battle buff, then we may be compensated. Certainly the play style will change to more instant casts, less spamming HR and using LoD rather than EF primarily will require looking for another instant cast heal to use. People will shoot down this buff saying it’s not good enough, etc. etc. but I think a lot of that is simply due to just getting into the idea of the buff. This brings me to our third major change!
Selfless Healer (Holy) Your successful Judgments generate a charge of Holy Power and reduce the cast time and mana cost of your next Flash of Light or Divine Light by 35% per stack and improves its effectiveness by 20% per stack when used to heal others.
If we don’t use EF primarily, it’s entirely likely we will be left with either Selfless Healer or Sacred Shield. I think now after looking at these three changes that it’s more the combined effect of these that will make our healing style simply instant casts. Consider if we take Selfless Healer instead of Eternal Flame (who ever thought the day would come!). We would have holy shock, judgement, our finishers, selfless healer buffed flash of light or divine light all to use as instant casts. This literally will leave us with no casting spells. However, this talent overrides to some extent with a haste build as healing with HR will most definitely give more healing than a buffed flash of light or divine light will give so it might be that more paladins go sacred shield. Furthermore, sacred shield would play very well into a haste build.
Thats why I think this was an necessary buff to the spell. If you for example followed the healing “rotation” of HS-Judge-HS, then you will get more HP for less mana. You would be able to continue this rotation preferring to use HS twice instead of Judgement for the healing and get a finisher every 4.5 seconds. However, the buffed Flash of Light or Divine Light can in essence now be considered a finisher and it would actually be more healing to use two Judgements instead of one Holy Shock to generate 1 finisher in addition to generating one buffed FoL or DL quicker. Would this be better than using HR to heal the raid? I’m not sure. Also, spending 4.5 seconds only actually healing once with holy shock to generate the finisher seems like a bad idea. A buffed Flash of Light or Divine Light is bound to be in a large part, overhealing. HR just seems more likely to heal the raid more which you won’t be doing casting Flash of Light or Divine Light.
Or will you?
Jina-Kang, Kindness of Chi-Ji
Your healing spells have a chance to grant you Spirit of Chi-Ji, increasing all healing done by 3% and causing all overhealing to be redistributed to nearby injured friends, for 10 sec. (About $@procrppm procs per min)
I actually felt a little sad to see this buff. It kind of signifies what’s been going on for a while in the idea of overhealing benefiting something which I always enjoyed doing less of. After playing the holy paladin style which actually promotes more overhealing, the style itself got old. No longer do you think too much before placing an EF on some, or holy shock and in some cases purposefully place it on full life people to stack shields. If this is what is necessary to do these encounters now then I think Blizzard has some serious thinking to do about the design. This RPPM proc cloak (which the proc chance hasn’t been released yet) is likely to change some people’s playing style. For example, with this cloak and a haste build which will benefit RPPM like procs, it might be better to go something like Selfless Healer and for those buffed FoLs or DLs where the overhealing you would originally do without the cloak will now be transferred to people around. There is now absolutely no penalty or healing loss for overhealing.
All in all, I have by no means covered every aspect of these changes. A lot of this requires a lot of thinking to do about the kind of style we play and how ti will change. Unlike other classes, the holy paladin healing style hasn’t changed since the beginning of MoP. With these changes, and they are indeed big changes, we might finally see a shift in the talent choice and secondary stat choice that we’ve all been waiting for or haven’t been waiting for. Your thoughts?
Edit 1: I forgot to mention 1 thing that I wanted to talk about for a while. My major in college was Biomedical Engineering and while it has a flashy name what I learned when going into the job market was knowing a little bit of everything and not enough of certain fields is not the right strategy to get what you want, and what I wanted at the time was a job. The same thing applies in WoW. Paladins can not be a healer who is good at doing many different things as it won’t be the reason to take them to raids. They must have a well defined role in raids which Blizzard has yet to come out and state to be attractive especially in the competitive scene.