Thepurpose of this guide is to provide you with more in-depth information about how to play a Holy Paladin. It is not quite meant as an initial introduction guide such as the one you can find at Icy Veins. This guide provides you information on how to improve after learning the basics and more of the intricacies that general guides don’t go in to. This is typically because the amount of information and pure length of the guide would be off-putting to most people and that is why this guide will be pretty long but if you take the time to read it, you may find something that you never knew before. If you have any questions or suggestions, please comment!
Also, if you’d like some help on your healing, I have left a form at the bottom you can fill out to link me to some World of Logs links for your raid. I’m definitely not the best Holy Paladin out there but maybe I can help out. Thanks for reading 🙂
* For reference, the changes to the class in the most recent patch are marked in RED.
- Healing Spells
- Paladin Specific
- PewPew Holy Paladin DPS!
- Healing 102 – What to do in a raid!
- Cooldowns (Healing and Damage Reduction)
- Healing Spells
- Stat Priorities
- Gemming and Enchants
- Best in Slot Gear
- My healing is still low, what am I doing wrong?
For the purposes of this guide, I’m assuming you’re level 90 as I will not be offering advice on what to do while leveling up. ALSO please note that I raid 10M so some of my recommendations are specific for that raid setting. If you raid 25M, certain things might be different.
General Healing Spells
All healing classes have their three main spells, one long-cast efficient heal, one long-cast inefficient heal, and one short-cast inefficient heal. For paladins, they are below:
- Holy Light: 12.6% Base Mana, 2.5s Base Cast-time, heals for 8390-9346 + 78.5% of SP
- Divine Light: 36.0% Base Mana, 2.5s Base Cast-time, heals for 15910-17725 +149% of SP
- Flash of Light: 37.8% Base Mana, 1.5s Base Cast-time, heals for 11882-13331 + 112% of SP
A comparison of the similar types of spells for other healing classes is shown below. Monks, and druids have slightly altered versions of these spells but still follow the same concept. If you look at the ‘Cost (amount)’ column you can see that Holy Paladins have the most expensive spells and the smallest baseheal and some of the SP % additions. This is partially off-set by Holy Power (HP), a healing resource unique to our class. It’s not quite comparable to Monk’s Chi despite also being a healing resource but has similarity in that we can use HP in other healing spells for the raid. 2/3 of the base healing spells mentioned generate HP for us in certain situations, and the HP spells cost zero mana. This is part of the reason I believe at least, that our base healing spells are quite mana-inefficient. I’ll come to our class’s mana inefficiency problem later in the guide.
Paladin Specific Healing Spells (What Makes a Holy Paladin a Holy Paladin and Not Another Healing Class)
- Holy Shock: 8% base mana, instant cast, heals for 9014-9764 + 83.3% of SP, granting 1 Holy Power, has +25% chance for a critical strike
This is one of the core spells to our toolkit. It provides an instant cast heal which can heal a moderate-high amount and one holy power which is our healing resource. This spell should be used on cooldown as much as possible.
- Holy Radiance: 36% base mana, 2.5s cast time, heals target for 5098-6230 + 67.5% of SP and all allies within 10 yards for 50% of that amount, granting 1 Holy Power, healing decreased for above 6 targets
This is another one of the core spells to our toolkit. The mana cost of this is the same as a divine light. However just as you don’t spam divine light, you don’t spam holy radiance until you get enough mana to do so. Unlike divine light, you gain 1 holy power whenever you cast holy radiance no matter who the target is (discussed later). With the current raid situation (boss damage vs raid damage), this spell has become preferred over divine light for the larger amount of healing it does, and the holy power generation being non-dependent on the target and the decreased need to cast large single target heals due to low boss damage. In 10 mans, choosing targets for holy radiance requires some degree of foresight to notice which groups have enough people for the spell to benefit hitting the largest amount of people. In terms of pure HPS, holy radiance will beat out divine light if it hits 2 or more people, more so if the healing target is not the beacon target. (More numbers below on why to use HR over DL in most situations.)
- Holy Insight (Passive): increases healing effectiveness of all spells by 25%, Word of Glory, Eternal Flame and Light of Dawn by 50%
All healing classes these days has a similar buff to this since the idea of healer mana regen has been changed around from expansion to expansion. For hybrid classes as I mentioned above with a base mana-pool of 60,000, for healer specializations this increases our mana pool to the typical 300,000. All forms of the buff provide all healer with 50% increase mana regeneration during combat. Also for all healers, it will buff some or all of their healing spells by a certain percentage like it does ours. It also increases our spell hit but this doesn’t matter for our purposes.
- Sanctity of Battle (Passive): Melee haste now affects cooldown of Holy Shock
Holy paladins have always had this passive however it has only recently been changed in 5.4 to include holy shock which now makes it’s mention worthy in this guide. More on the interplay of this with our healing talents later.
If you’ve ever played a feral druid, arcane mage, rogue, etc., then you’re familiar with the concept of combo points. Holy Paladins rely on the same system of resource. Apart from managing their mana, Holy Paladins also have to manage holy power. Since Mists of Pandaria, Holy Paladins have been able to store up to 5 holy power. These slowly fade upon disuse after 10 seconds unlike combo points. There are multiple methods of generating holy power but just like all things there are a few more optimal methods of doing it. There are 3 spells which require holy power to use. You may have up to 2 depending on your talent selection. The strength of these spells depend on how much holy power was used (up to 3). Unlike protection paladins (except for eternal flame in 5.4), holy paladins are free to cast these spells at any number from 1-3, and do not need to wait till 3 holy power to use a spell. It is however recommended to use these spells at their full 3 power during heavy damage for obvious reasons.
Basic Holy Power Required Spells
- Word of Glory: no mana cost, instant cast, uses up to 3 HP to heal for 4803-5350 + 49% of SP/HP
- Light of Dawn: no mana cost, instant cast, uses up to 3 HP to heal up to 6 most injured targets within 30 yards for 1627-1812 + 15.2% of SP/per charge of HP
Talent Related Holy Power Required Spells
- Eternal Flame (Replaces Word of Glory): no mana cost, instant cast, uses up to 3 HP to heal for 5240-5837 + 49% of SP and additional 711 + 8.19% SP every 3s for 30s/HP, the HoT portion of this spell is increased by 50% if used on the paladin, the HoT portion of this spell does not grant illuminated healing
Beacon of Light
Placing this spell on one target (can only be placed on one target) causes a percentage of all heals on other friendly players to be transferred to this target. Percentages vary depending on the healing spell:
- 100% of Holy Light
- 15% of Holy Radiance, Light of Dawn, Light’s Hammer, Holy Prism
- 50% of Everything Else (which is not technically correct)
Beacon of Light also procs Tower of Radiance which gives 1 HP when using flash heal or divine light on the beacon target.
Why use Holy Radiance for HPS (if that’s all you care about)?
Much has changed in terms of stat priority for holy paladins in 5.4 and the same assumptions can’t be maintained. This whole section has been redone.
Recall my explanation of Holy Radiance and why to use it instead of Divine Light. Lets assume the following, reasoning is provided in the sub-bullet:
- HR ~ 33.3% of Divine Light’s healing per target for first 6 targets, assume zero or negligible for targets beyond 6
- Compare 5098-6230 + 67.5% of SP for HR vs 15910-17725 +149% of SP for DL
- 1.2 HP ~ 1 Divine Light’s healing (note this has changed significantly since EF was buffed)
- Compare 5240-5837 + 49% (EF Direct Heal Portion for 1 HP) and 14x (711 + 8.19%) of SP (EF HoT Potion for 1 HP) which ends up being around 15,000 + 160% of SP vs 15910-17725 +149% of SP for DL, all of this times 20% from holy insight affect HP-using spells more
- Stat Assumptions (this is extremely variable but I’m going to go with my own type of build, a heavy intellect build, reforging to extra 4th tick of EF with the rest going in to mastery)
- Mastery ~ 35%, mostly normal gear
- Haste ~ 7170, EF breakpoint, +4 ticks, it’s common these days to shoot for this breakpoint while sacrificing mastery slightly
Now consider these situations. I’ve tried to make this as unconfusing as I can which still makes it confusing. Every spell cast is converted to denominations of Divine Lights. The spells are listed in parenthesis while the multipliers are listed in percentages. Also note that since Holy Insight affects Word of Glory, Eternal Flame and Light of Dawn 25% more than all other healing spells, this must be considered in the calculation as well. The illuminated healing mastery will always be presented in percentage while other multipliers will be in decimal form (such as beacon transfers).
- 1 Beacon Target, Divine Light, HP used on Beacon Target ~ (1 Divine Light) * 135% + (1.2 HP==DL) * 135% = 2.85 Divine Lights
- 1 Beacon Target, Divine Light used on Beacon Target, HP used on Raid Member ~ (1 Divine Light) * 135% +[(1.2 HP==DL) * 135% + (1.2 HP==DL) * 0.5 = 3.62 Divine Lights
- 1 Beacon Target, HR (hits Beacon Target only), HP Used on Beacon Target ~ (0.333 Divine Light) * 135% + (1.2 HP==DL) * 135% = 2.07 Divine Lights
- 1 Beacon Target, HR (hits Beacon Target only), HP Used on Raid Member ~ (0.333 Divine Light) * 135% + (1.2 HP==DL) * 135% + (1.2 HP==DL) * 0.15 = 2.25 Divine Lights
These are situations where you use Divine Light or HR on the Beacon Target. If I haven’t fully confused you, what these show is that using Divine Light on the Beacon Target and the HP from Tower of Radiance provides the most HPS vs only hitting one target with the HR, that target being the beacon target. This is obvious. But the math is in place for our next comparisons which are more close to what is likely going on in the raid, where you don’t hit your beacon target with either of these spells and you are hitting multiple people with HR.
- 1 Raid Member, Divine Light ~ (1 Divine Light) * 135% + (1) * 50% (Beacon Transfer) = 1.85 Divine Lights
- 1 Raid Member, HR, HP Used on Beacon Target ~ (0.333 Divine Light) * 135% + (1.2 HP==DL) * 135% + (0.333) * 0.15 (Beacon Transfer) = 2.12 Divine Lights
- 1 Raid Member, HR, HP Used on Raid Member ~ (0.333 Divine Light) * 135% + (1.2 HP==DL) * 135% + [(0.333 ) * 0.15 + 1.2 * 0.5] (Beacon Transfer, HR and HP) = 2.72 Divine Lights
- 2 Raid Member, HR, HP Used on Raid Member ~ (2x 0.333 Divine Light) * 135% + (1.2 HP==DL) * 135% + [(2x 0.333 ) * 0.15 + 1.2 * 0.5] (Beacon Transfer, HR and HP) = 3.22 Divine Lights
- 3 Raid Member, HR, HP Used on Raid Member ~ (3x 0.333 Divine Light) * 135% + (1.2 HP==DL) * 135% + [(3x 0.333 ) * 0.15 + 1.2 * 0.5] (Beacon Transfer, HR and HP) = 3.72 Divine Lights
As the number of people you hit with HR goes up, even to 3, the total amount of healing you get will be equivalent or more than the healing you would get from using Divine Light. The question is when will you hit 3 raid members? In 25 man, 99% of the time and in 10-man probably 95% of the time considering how many items summon pets these days. The ease with which you can hit 3 targets and the fact that you gain 1 HP from healing anyone is the reason why this spell is much better in comparison to Divine Light in terms of HPS. That being said, in circumstances where you need to heal the tank a lot such as Dark Animus on Heroic, it is vital you still use those single target heals as AOE healing with Divine Light is surely to either make your tank poop his pants or lead to his death.
PewPew Holy Paladin DPS!
Since my main purpose is to tell you how to heal and not how to DPS I won’t go in to detail about the DPS skills. Suffice it to say that holy paladins without specifically glyphing for it have measly DPS. Their main toolkit consists of Holy Shock (offensive), Holy Prism (offensive), Denounce and under 20%, Hammer of Wrath. That being said, if you really have a free period to DPS then you can. Typically, paladin DPS is not going to be the reason why you don’t kill a boss and by typically I mean almost never will so never sacrifice healing for DPS.
Talents (Recommended Spells Are Bold)
Tier 1, Mobility Talents
- Speed of Light: 70% movement speed boost for 8s, 45s cooldown
- Long Arm of the Law: casting successful judgements increases movement speed by 45% for 3s
- Pursuit of Justice: 15% base movement speed increase, additional 5% for each charge of holy power up to 3
Speed of Light is good for quick boosts of speed. As a healer I find it to be very useful because it allows me to quickly get to a spot and start healing or in some cases of slow reaction speed, allows me to get away safely. Long Arm of the Law is greater for retribution paladins or protection paladins but as holy paladins you’re expected to use GCDs on healing spells. Unlike in Cataclysm, Judgement does nothing anymore in terms of providing buffs or holy power. However, the recommendation of passing over this talent is not due mainly to this but rather due to the added complexity in its use. The other talents in this tier are nearly as good for movement speed but not as hard to use. Pursuit of Justice can be good for fights with a lot of mobility however it’s not on use and therefore in my opinion a less desirable talent than Speed of Light. In Siege of Orgrimmar, there are numerous fights where quick controlled bursts of movement speed will be the difference between life and death.
Tier 2, Crowd Control Talents
- Fist of Justice: Reduces cooldown of Hammer of Justice to 30 seconds, stuns for 6s
- Repentance: Incapacitates target for 1 minute
- Evil Is a Point of View: Your turn evil now affects Humanoids and Beasts
None of these are particularly groundbreaking in raids. I can think of Fist of Justice being useful on certain Throne of Thunder fights so I’d recommend using this one.
Tier 3, Healing Modifications
This section has been altered considerably from 5.3.
- Selfless Healer: Your successful Judgments generate a charge of Holy Power and reduce the cast time and mana cost of your next Holy Radiance, Flash of Light or Divine Light by 35% per stack and improves its effectiveness by 20% per stack when used to heal others.
- Eternal Flame (Replaces Word of Glory): No Mana Cost, Instant Cast, uses up to 3 Holy Power heal for 5240-5837 + 49% of SP and additional 711 + 8.16% of SP every 3s for 30s/HP, increased by 50% if used on self
- Sacred Shield: Protects the target with a shield of Holy Light for 30 sec. The shield absorbs up to 240 + 81.9% SP every 6 sec. Holy, 3 charges with a 10 second recharge.
With 5.4, Blizzard attempted to redirect some of the preference for this tier towards another talent and changed up Selfless Healer and Sacred Shield for holy as well as nerfing EF. Originally, the HoT portion of EF also benefited from mastery hence after applying the initial EF heal to people, the Illuminated Healing buff would automatically be refreshed upon each tick of EF. This made mastery just incredible for us. In 5.4, they got rid of the HoT portion of the spell benefiting from mastery and this changed slightly how the spell is used. Pre 5.4, the playstyle was essentially get as many EFs rolling on people as you can to refresh shields and heal. The direct healing of the spell was a bonus but most paladins put 3 HP EFs on people at full health just to get the mastery shields rolling. This patch, the only part of the spell that benefits from mastery is the direct heal and thus, it is more desirable to place the HoT on people who are actually going to be taking damage. That being said, a majority of the fights in SoO have some form of consistent raid damage and EF is still king here. After nerfing EF’s HoT, they actually buffed the direct healing from HoT so it is still quite a strong spell. Unlike restoration druids however, we have to work at it to get the resources necessary to hand it out. Also with the new patch, the amount of secondary stats on items along with a slight decrease in the potency of mastery to our playstyle led many people to go for additional Haste breakpoints which benefit EF. Haste works similarly to EF as it does for any other HoT or DoTs. People often shoot for at least 3506 giving 3 additional ticks or 7170 giving 4 additional ticks and still be able to maintain a mastery of 35% at least, possibly more depending on what other stats they go for.
The preference for EF is partially (in my opinion) due to the failure to make the other talents attractive enough. I have yet to actually try any of them out but I don’t see the benefit of having for example 3 SS instead of 4-5 EFs for the initial heal and HoT rolling on people. Since SS doesn’t provide any actual healing, it is often overhealed by other classes and it doesn’t benefit from any of the trinkets or the Legendary cloak which redirect overhealing.
I tried SH out on the PTR and to me it was basically a rotation based healing style which is very awkward to play. Missed GCDs really set you behind in terms of keeping up with mana, etc but with some practice the rotation may get easier. It requires you to be able to hit the boss. Since SH buffs HR now, which is its primary redeeming point, it’s vital that your HR hits as many people as possible. Your stat priority to be to max out your mastery and haste since you will be using most of your holy power finishes on LoD, you will get a lot more use out of mastery. You also want to spam your spells as fast as you can for holy power generation and thus, high haste to decrease CDs and GCDs is necessary. This build allows you to reforge out of spirit due to Also, there aren’t a lot of fights this tier where the raid is stacked up for a majority of the fight and the raid is taking massive amounts of damage. On 10M, it is next to impossible to land SH on 6 people if your raid isn’t consistently stacked as well. In my opinion, the playstyle and the benefits it entail are inferior to good old EF.
Tier 4, Survivability Adjustments
- Hand of Purity: 7% Base Mana, Instant Cast, Reduces target damage by 10%, reduces periodic damage by 80% for 6 seconds, reduces periodic damage that goes through immunity by 40%, 30s cooldown
- Unbreakable Spirit: Reduces the cooldown on Divine Shield, Divine Protection, and Lay on Hands 50%
- Clemency: You can use Hand of Freedom, Protection, Sacrifice, Salvation twice before the cooldown occurs.
This is the first tier where any of the three are viable in certain situations. The Hand of Purity change makes it quite good for at least Kor’kron Dark Shaman but may also be an interesting alternative for other fights. A safe bet is always unbreakable spirit providing you with a significant cool down reduction on some splls that will help you stay alive. Clemency is good for situations where you need to clear debuffs off the tank in the case of physical ones for single tanking or perhaps you will need to use Hand of Sacrifice multiple times. In 5.4, with the addition of the Hand of Sacrifice glyph, this has made clemency an even more powerful talent. You should determine on your own which to take for what fight.
One important thing to note about Clemency is that it does not give you 2 charges of each Hand with its own cooldown. For example, the cooldown of a regular Hand of Protection is 5 minutes. With Clemency, it does not mean you will be able to use a HoP every 2.5 minutes if you space it out. The second charge’s cooldown is on the same cooldown as the first. Sitting at two charges, you will be able to use the first two in conjunction however after that, the next charges each have the same 5 minute cooldown and you will only be able to use one HoP every 5 minutes after using the first two.
My recommendations for Siege of Orgrimmar fights are the following:
1 – US, 2 – Clemency, 3 – US, 4 – US (alternatively you can take HoP but I think US wins), 5 – US, 6 – Clemency, 7 – Hand of Purity, 8 – Clemency, 9 – US, 10 – US, 11 – Clemency, 12 – US/Clemency, 13 – US, 14 – US
At this time I’ve only done through the 6th Heroic so the later recommendations are based on normal experiences.
Tier 5, Healing Cooldowns
- Holy Avenger – 30% healing buff, every holy power generation ability adds 3 instead of 1 for 18s, 2 minute cooldown
- Sanctified Wrath – During Avenging Wrath (3 minute cooldown, 20s duration) reduces cooldown of Holy Shock by 50%, increases critical strike of HS by 20%
- Divine Purpose – 25% chance at 3 HP to cause a spell which requires Holy Power to not cost anything and be cast as if 3 Holy Power were used, lasts 8s
We can evaluate which of these spells is best in many ways. One is how much holy power is returned as all of these essentially give more holy power to the paladin.
- Holy Avenger – Assuming we aren’t going ape shit and casting flash of light during the whole time, we can say that our ideal cast sequence during Holy avenger is to use Holy Shock whenever it’s up and holy radiance when it’s not. Let’s not assume that we will use crusader strike since we can not always do this although when in melee range, it will be good to use this during Holy Avenger (only). Our ideal cast sequences during Holy Avenger is then HS(1.5)-HR(4)-HR(6.5)-HS(8)-HR(10.5)-HR(13)-HS(14.5). Each of this spells will generate 1 holy power for a total of 21 HP. Throwing in some Crusader Strikes will increase this value however it’s unlikely you will execute this perfect rotation during it.
- Sanctified Wrath will give use a reduction of HS cooldown by 50%. Our cast sequence during sanctified avenging wrath will then be to essentially spam holy shock. This gives us around 6 uses of it for an additional 6 HP. With this talent, AW will become a very powerful cooldown with the SH build with the huge cooldown reduction due to high haste requirement.
- Divine Purpose is harder to calculate because of RNG but assuming we can cast a holy power finisher every 8 seconds and a 2 minute fight ( to compare with Holy Avenger), we will be able to cast approximately 15 finishers and generate around 4-5 free procs of 12-15 HP.
In terms of pure output in a short period of time, Holy Avenger outweighs everything however you will almost never get the maximum potential of HP from HA due to movement, other required healing, etc.. However, in the long run, Divine Purpose is active for the whole fight and therefore the calculation above is not valid since the time frame is constricted. For example between Holy Avenger cooldowns, you might randomly get more divine purpose procs than natural and the number of holy power returned from that period of time is far greater than the period of using holy avenger. Divine Purpose has always been popular due to it’s easy use and effectiveness and I believe you will end up generating more holy power with it. Holy Avenger is become more and more popular for fights now due to the bursty nature of some of it. Therefore my final recommendation is to use Holy Avenger. Divine Purpose is sufficient for most fights. However Holy Avenger is quite assuredly the better when you need that on-use healing increase.
Tier 6, Major Healing Spells
- Execution Sentence: No Mana Cost, Instant Cast, heals for SP * 5936 / 1000 + 26.72716306 * 486 healing over 10s, begins slowly and ends quickly
- Light’s Hammer: No Mana Cost, Instant Cast, heads for 3268-3993 + 32.1% SP ever 2s, reduces movement speed by 50% for 2s, heals 6 most injured players in range
- Holy Prism: No Mana Cost, Instant Cast, Target Ally – heals for 14534-17750 +142.8 % SP, damages 5 nearby targets with 15 yards for 9794-11969 + 96.2% SP, Target Enemy – deals 14534-17750 + 142.8% SP, heals 5 nearby targets with 15 yards for 9794-11969 + 96.2% SP
Here is a tier of talents that should be switched around depending on the fight. In 10 man, Holy Prism is very decent for certain fights. In 25 man, it might be better just to stick with Light’s Hammer. Execution Sentence is almost never used because it’s a stupidly strong single target heal but does nothing for the rest of the raid. Light’s Hammer is the strongest AOE heal and Holy Prism is a unique burst heal. I personally go with Holy Prism whenever I can. The spell is quite strong and can crit for upwards of 100K. Holy Prism is worse than Light’s Hammer but better for some high movement more spread out fights. Furthermore, in 10M, it has a chance of healing up to 50% of the raid.
My recommendations for Siege of Orgrimmar fights are the following:
1 – HP, 2 – LH/HP, 3 – LH, 4 – LH/HP, 5 – HP, 6 – HP, 7 – HP, 8 – HP, 9 – LH, 10 – HP, 11 – LH, 12 – HP, 13 – HP, 14 – LH
At this time I’ve only done through the 6th Heroic so the later recommendations are based on normal experiences.
A quick word about these recommendations, between 10 and 25 man these will differ a lot. In 25 man, it’s much easier to get a lot more healing out of light’s hammer due to the sheer amount of people. HP is much more viable for 10 man and in many instances a lot better than LH because it’s an on-demand heal and it actually heals for quite a bit. In many SoO fights, both LH and HP benefit the raid differently. If you find yourself healing with a druid, then it may not be as important to have an AOE ticking heal and you would rather have an on-demand burst to heal up the raid after a hard hitting attack.
Since 5.4, Blizzard has added 1 fairly useful glyph to the game.
Glyph of Hand of Sacrifice – No longer transfers damage to the paladin (still only lasts as long as the amount), HoS is in my opinion an underused spell. As our Health gets larger along with heavier boss hits, this spell has a chance of mitigating quite a bit of damage. The downside of this spell has always been the damage transfer especially as a healer. Now you don’t even need to worry about it! You can place this on anyone about to take a large hit and in my opinion is invaluable in every SoO fight.
Glyph of Lay on Hands – Pretty safe glyph to take on any fight, returns 30,000 mana on using Lay on Hands
Glyph of Beacon of Light – This glyph allows you to switch Beacon from person to person without incurring the global cooldown (there is still a 3 second cooldown). This is beneficial when you want to switch Beacon to Divine Light a raid member or something of that sort. Or if you’ve gotten familiar with swapping beacon to random players then it’s also good for that. It’s also good for tank swap fights so you don’t waste any time in starting to heal them. Not useful on single tank fights.
Glyph of Divine Plea – Reduces cooldown of DP and mana returned by 50%.
Glyph of Divine Protection – Decreases the magic reduction of Divine Protection to 20% and increase physical reduction to 20%. Pretty useful in high physical damage fights.
Glyph of Protector of the Innocent – When you heal someone else with Word of Glory or Eternal Flame, 20% of the direct healing part of the spell (the initial heal in Eternal Flame) is also self healed. I’ve never seen this heal go above a million. At most this glyph is a few tenths of a percentage of your healing.
Glyph of Avenging Wrath – When Avenging Wrath is active, you are healed for 1% of your health every two seconds. This equals out to around 10% of your health every 3 minutes. Pretty suck.
Glyph of Flash of Light – When healing someone with your Flash of Light, the next Flash of Light in 7 seconds is boosted by 10%. Not used often in raiding as Flash of Light is also known as Flash, your mana’s gone!
Glyph of Illumination – Reduces Holy Insight mana return by 10% but returns 1% mana on each holy shock. This glyph will be useful and probably should be taken by paladins who go the Selfless Healer play style and reforge out of spirit. The spirit equivalent to getting 1% mana back every holy shock should be individually calculated. Then you can make a call on whether to use this or not.
Your mana regeneration if you take this glyph will be based on how much HS you roll out. Depending on your haste this Mp5 value will be different. Lets assume we can do 12 HS per minute (this would required a minimum of around 8.5K haste rating). With our increase HS critical strike, we can expect 6 of these to be critical returning a total of 18,000 mana. Now lets look at the mana regeneration penalty. Somewhere between 13,200 and 13,000 spirit, the penalty will start to get larger than the return. Now you may be thinking that that’s not that bad at all. Well to do 12 HS per minute you will essentially need to be spamming your HS without fail on cooldown for the entirety of the fight. In addition, suppose you get just 1 less HS critical, then using this glyph would be a mana loss in the long term. And critical being what it is, a completely unreliable spell, you may get a lucky or unlucky streak. Better to go with a value that will give some leeway. If you can reliable do lets say 11 HS per minute and assuming 5 of those will be criticals. Then you should aim to have your spirit sit at a minimum under 11,000. With the SH style of play, this wouldn’t be too hard to reach since you want to max out your spirit and mastery.
Glyph of Light of Dawn – Reduces the number of targets of LoD to 4 but heals each person hit for 25% more. I can’t think of many uses for this spell. Light of Dawn has a fairly decent range even for 10 man raids, you won’t be using this enough to warrant taking the glyph. You will be reducing your total healing of the spell by 1/6.
Glyph of Divine Shield – Removing harmful effects heals you for 10% for each effect removed
Cooldowns (Healing and Damage Reduction)
Paladins have the most cooldowns out of any healing class except for perhaps rivaling priests. Some people like to use all of their healing cooldowns at once but my general take on cooldowns is that you should try not to overlap them unless it’s necessary to actually heal a large amount to keep people alive. If you’re using all of your cooldowns and then overhealing then it’s basically a waste of your cool down. Another recommendation is to plan your cooldown rotation with other healers. This also prevents wasting cooldowns.
Avenging Wrath – 20% increase in healing for 20 seconds, 3 minute cooldown
This is your typical healing throughput increase cool down. I’d generally recommend timing this cooldown with big damage phases rather than shorter cool downs because this one has a longer cooldown. This is a good cooldown to use during sustained large damage such as gradually increasing damage so you can make use of the whole 20 seconds.
Divine Favor – 20% increased in spell critical, spell haste for 20 seconds, 3 minute cooldown
This is another healing throughput cooldown. I’ve actually tried timing this with holy avenger since it increases spell haste and could give another few ticks on the eternal flames from holy avenger. Otherwise, this cooldown is best used during any short period bursty damage such as ones requiring movement or spiky damage.
Guardian of the Ancient Kings
This spell was greated changed in 5.4
GotAK now is a a standard 15 second buff which basically doubles all of your heals in that period and gives a 10% haste increase. I have yet to test exactly which heals it doubles but my guess is it doesn’t affect things like healing off an offensive Holy Prism or Light’s Hammer or EF HoT. Most likely it will only apply to targeted direct heals. It may apply to LoD.
Lay on Hands – heals a target for an amount equal to the paladin’s maximum health, 10 minute cooldown
One of our most iconic cooldowns. This spell is definitely a tank saver if you can use it quickly. Furthermore, it can be modified by the Glyph of Lay on Hands to return 30K mana to you upon use, which is equivalent to one mana potion. Not much but it’s something. I would personally bind this to a hot key so you can use it quickly. I want to mention one thing though. Remember that this causes Forbearance so be careful when you use it if you’re called on to use Blessing of Protection on the same target because you won’t be able to use the BoP for a minute after using Lay on Hands.
Holy Avenger (Talent) – abilities which generate holy power heals for 30% more and generate 3 HP instead of 1 HP for 18 seconds, 2 minute cooldown. Back in 5.0-5.1, I rarely used this talent opting to use Divine Purpose instead. However, after 5.2 I’ve pretty much switched to using this talent exclusively. This is an incredibly powerful single target and raid healing cool down. Not only does it give more healing on commonly used spells like holy shock or holy radiance, it also gives the opportunity to spread eternal flames to even more raid members. For fights where there’s a lot of predictable damage, this cooldown is so good for dealing with those situations. In stacked situations, this cooldown allows you to repeatedly cast LoD with a buffed holy radiance. In heavy single target damage situations you can use this to basically spam heal eternal flames as a single target heal. I just can’t say enough good things about it.
Divine Protection – reduces magical damage taken by 40% for 10 seconds, 1 minute cooldownI personally do not make enough use out of this incredible cooldown. 40% is quite a significant amount of damage to be reduced and if I was any better I would be timing this to every kind of heavy magic damage phase there is. You can also glyph this to take 20/20 magic/physical damage which is also excellent for heavy physical damage fights. This is probably my most underrated, underused and underappreciated spell. Use it!
Divine Shield – reduces all damage to zero for 8 seconds, reduces damage done by 50%, 5 minute cooldown
Very good cooldown for when you’re about to die 🙂 Remember this causes Forbearance. Also note that there are very rare instances of things which are not affected by this. Use this commonly on things such as static shock on Lei Shen or to stand in one place for the ice beam on Megaera. You can also use this to immunity incoming debuffs.
Hand of Protection – protects from all physical attacks for 10 seconds during which they can not attack or use physical abilities, 5 minute cooldown. Modified by Clemency (Tier 4) – two charges at first, cooldown still 5 minutes
This is a great cooldown for healers, keeping in mind the fact that you can not attack or use physical abilities during it (Mistweavers/Disc Priests). For DPS it’s also a good cooldown to use if people are on the brink of dying however you should let them know that they have it so they can click it off after they’re healed up. Sometimes for fights you will be asked to use this on tanks to remove physical bleeds. This will not remove magic bleeds or immune magic damage, it is for physical damage only.
Hand of Salvation – temporarily erases a target’s threat, still generating threat but modded to negative 70 million for 10 seconds, 2 minute cooldown
This spell is good for things such as target switches where you want to continue to DPS or your other tank is about to pull threat. Also good for random people who pull threat at the beginning like boomkins!
Hand of Sacrifice – transfers 30% damage taken from target to paladin for 12 seconds or until you’ve recieved 100% of your health in damage
I already talked about this before, but this is another widely underused spell that can save your tanks in tight situations. Make good use out of it!
Hand of Purity (Tier 4) – 10% damage reduction for 6 seconds, in addition reduces damage from periodic damage spells by 80%, also reduces damage over time for non-avoidable spells. This spell is extremely helpful on certain fights that places DoTs on players. The 80% damage reduction is ridiculous even tho it only lasts for 6 seconds. The 10% damage reduction is also helpful but not really worth taking just for this. The additional buff to the spell dealt with some random spells in last tier’s ToT raid which were not affected by this due to their application being unavoidable.
Divine Plea – regenerates mana equal to 135% of Spirit every 3 seconds for 9 sec, minimum of 36,000 mana regened
This spell has been finally buffed and now returns reasonable amounts of mana. It is not affected by any spirit procs such as those on trinkets so you don’t need to line it up with anything other than missing enough mana to benefit from all the regeneration.
Gemming and Enchants
There are a number of different gems you can choose. With the advent of 5.4, there are a number of different gearing strategies:
- Heavy intellect socketing in red, int/mastery in yellow, int/spirit in blue
- Heavy mastery socketing in yellow, int/mastery in yellow, int/mastery in yellow, spirit/mastery in blue
- Heavy haste build similar in other colors to mastery build
(Alternatively for lower item levels to get more spirit, mastery/spirit for yellow/blue or pure spirit in blue.)
Purified Imperial Amethyst/Perfect Purified Roguestone – 80 intellect, 160 spirit
Zen Wild Jade/Perfect Zen Alexandrite – 160 spirit, 160 mastery
Artful Vermilion Onyx/Perfect Artful Tiger Opal – 80 intellect, 160 mastery
Sparking River’s Heart/Perfect Sparkling Lapis Lazuli – 320 spirit
Fractured Sun’s Radiance/Perfect Fractured Sunstone (This is yellow, I just didn’t color it because it’s blinding to the eyes.) – 320 mastery
Quick Sun’s Radiance/Quick Fractured Sunstone (This is yellow, I just didn’t color it because it’s blinding to the eyes.) – 320 haste
Brilliant Primordial Ruby/Perfect Brilliant Pandarian Garnet – 160 intellect
To decide which gems to put in which sockets, you should consider some things. First, what kind of healing style will you play? The SH and EF gearing style can be drastically different from each other. Even in the EF gearing style, it’s unclear (as of now) which one is better, a pure intellect or pure mastery build.
The SH gearing style is fairly straightforward:
Red – Artful Vermilion Onyx/Perfect Artful Tiger Opal
Yellow – Fractured Sun’s Radiance/Perfect Fractured Sunstone
Blue – Zen Wild Jade/Perfect Zen Alexandrite
There are several different EF gearing styles:
Heavy INTELLECT –
- Red – Brilliant Primordial Ruby/Perfect Brilliant Pandarian Garnet
- Yellow – Artful Vermilion Onyx/Perfect Artful Tiger Opal
- Blue – Purified Imperial Amethyst/Perfect Purified Roguestone
Heavy MASTERY (a heavy HASTE build would replace yellow with Quick gems) –
- Red – Artful Vermilion Onyx/Perfect Artful Tiger Opal
- Yellow – Yellow – Fractured Sun’s Radiance/Perfect Fractured Sunstone
- Blue – Zen Wild Jade/Perfect Zen Alexandrite
At high spirit levels, each additional point of spirit is essentially useless to you. Therefore you should focus on secondary stats. However if you’re at low spirit levels as I mentioned above, you can substitute pure spirit gems in to blue above or other hybrid gems with spirit. I won’t talk here about which of the EF builds is better but based on my own analysis, I believe the intellect build wins out over mastery and so that is the build I have gone for this patch.
I don’t play this game anymore so I’d like to share some comments from people who recently mentioned some important things about late game raiding. You can also see these in the comments below:
You might want to mention, that at a higher Ilvl, Mastery>Int, since the sheer force of our heals are by far well at 570+. That would make any int-gemming less valuable than mastery gems.
The second thing you want to consider is if you want to meet the socket bonus or use some other more desirable gems.
Helm (180 spirit)/Chest (120 intellect)
If you’re in dire need for more spirit or absolutely can not tolerate any more spirit then I could see giving up the helm socket bonus which is typically spirit. I would still recommend fitting the socket bonus on the chest.
I would recommend passing over for more favorable gems.
If you’re OCD about fitting gem sockets… I understand that too 🙂 Just make sure you at least socket the most optimal gems for the type of situation you’re in for each color.
One quick comment on meta-gems. Here are some that you might use:
Revitalizing Primal Diamond: +432 Spirit and 3% Increased Critical Effect
Courageous Primal Diamond: +324 Intellect and chance on beneficial spell to make your spells cost no mana for 4 sec. 1.40 RealPPM on attempting helpful spell. No ICD
Burning Primal Diamond: +216 Intellect and 3% Increased Critical Effect
You can get a more in depth look into the RPPM system by checking out some of my other posts. In short, the amount of procs will change depending on haste and depending on when the last proc was. Thus you will find at the start of the fight you will almost always get a proc of the buff from the Courageous PD called ‘Lucidity’. Therefore, for a 6 minute fight for example, you would expect to 8-9 procs. Considering your spell casts and the fact this gem lasts 4 seconds in a typical scenario you will only be able to get one casting spell like holy radiance off during this and maybe a instant cast+cast time spell. But lets take the worst case scenario of getting only 1 cast time spell off for 20,000 mana to keep the numbers pretty. 9 Free casts of this amounts to 180,000 mana saved.
The following is the formula for calculating spirit regen in combat: Combat Regen = Total Mana *0.02 +(1.1287*SPI*Meditation%)
Compare this amount of mana to the first gem which gives 432 spirit. This equates to around 244 Mp5. For a same 6 minute fight this meta-gem returns 17568 mana total. While a 3% crit chance is something, it will never make up the difference between 18,000 mana saved and 180,000 mana saved. This same idea is the reason why this gem is undoubtedly better than the Burning Primal Diamond as well.
Conclusion, Courageous Primal Diamond > All.
A funny thing about stat weights for healing classes is that it’s very hard to quantify or simulate. I’ve mentioned this in my previous blogs, but the best way to perform any kind of simulation for healers in my opinion is to solicit help from a World of Logs report. This is a good real world situation of what kind of spells you’re casting and unless your gear gets switched around drastically, won’t change on an encounter from week to week. But holding that off for the future, lets discuss stat weights purely from a logical standpoint.
At the beginning of MoP, Spirit was the most desirable stat due to everyone’s mana pools being limited to 300K. While intellect and other secondary stats were important, if you had no mana (low spirit) then the weight of all of your other stats basically quickly approaches zero. Therefore your spirit weights improves the weights for intellect and secondary stats. Even now, spirit is still in the top 3 of stats desired. The spirit requirement from ToT to SoO has not change drastically for holy paladins. With the divine plea buff, I believe that sitting around 16-17K spirit with one spirit trinket should get you through heroics. If you socket too much spirit and end fights with plenty of mana, it means that a portion of your spirit was essentially worthless. This corresponds to a stat weight of zero while in its place, intellect or secondary stats would have much higher weights.
It’s fairly often that on farm bosses, we end up in a similar situation as the second case so lets restrict ourselves to mana intensive heroic progression fights. How much is actually needed for these new progression fights? Typically for progression fights, healing is higher due to everyone taking more damage from taking unnecessary damage. Therefore, mana will seem very intense for the first few boss kills. The value of spirit you take as I mentioned will be highly dependent on what kind of boss you’re fighting (some bosses have lower mana requirements than others) and what kind of trinkets you have. You should adjust your spirit level to something you feel comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to try hard and reforge spirit for different bosses at least on progression. Your spirit level also depends highly on what your raid composition is, if it has a low of mana return or not.
The main point is the amount of spirit that you should get is largely depending on:
– What kind of fights are you doing?
– What is your stat priority for other spells?
– What kind of trinkets/flasks are you using?
– What’s your raid comps mana return like?
It is not something set in stone. When you go into heroics and find yourself needing more spirit, then it should be your highest priority stat. In fact for progression, I would recommend gemming more spirit to be safe since you will be spamming spells and it’s better to give yourself a mana cushion of some sort.
Intellect is still the king pin after all these years. If you have enough spirit, then you should consider whether Intellect should be your primary choice. In my opinion Intellect beats Mastery because it benefits both your base heal, along with your mastery, as well as giving your other perks like critical strike. Since EF does not benefit nearly as much as before from Mastery, a large part of the change to the EF playstyle is it’s now important who you put your EFs on. You’re intending a large part of your EF HoT to heal someone who is taking damage. Therefore, intellect is the only thing going to benefit you here. I have done more in-dept analysis in to this but for now, I’ll leave it at this.
After the huge nerf to EF’s HoT benefiting from mastery, my appreciation for this stat has gone down a lot. While it is still powerful, it’s less power in my eyes than intellect. Since my raid heals with a discipline priests, I see even less the benefit of trying to get my mastery shields overhealed or dropping off from them. Despite this, mastery will still likely be in the top 3 or even 2 of your healing. It’s just still that good. That is also why now a days, some EF users will stick with the mastery build. If you don’t have any absorb healers in your composition, I think this secondary stat still has its uses, otherwise, don’t overdo it too much. If you are playing SH, then you will want to get a lot of mastery due to your main primary healing toolkit being Judgement, Holy Shock, Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn, all spells that benefit from mastery.
There’s always been some talk about using haste as the best secondary stat however I would personally not read into these arguments. Sure haste will give you quicker casting speed, but holy paladins these days cast very rarely spells which are intended to keep people from dying like large single target heals. Haste was very beneficial back in the day when tanks would take massive amounts of spiky damage from bosses. You should not find yourself in the situation that you need to continue casting mana-intensive single target heals to keep people up. One area which I covered previously was the issue of hitting a haste cap to get more eternal flame ticks. With 5.4 and the change to how EF is used, it’s more beneficial to hit a EF haste cap of some kind such as 13 or 14 ticks (3506 or 7170 respectively). With SoO gear, our spirit levels are more than enough to go for this kind of moderately high haste build. It also makes casting a lot faster and lets us more easily respond to damage. I would not recommend shooting for a 7170 haste cap under normal level gear but I would recommend getting 3506. After getting a majority of normal level gear I would go for 7170 gear. The next breakpoint is around 10,000 haste and you shouldn’t be shooting for this until heroic gear. Even then, I think this breakpoint is overkill. When reforging always look at what you’re reforging off of, don’t just go to AMR and click optimize and just follow it without thinking.
At one time critical strike was one of our strongest stats. The bad thing about crit is that the stat is not reliable like mastery. Crit provides some excellent effects for us however we can not rely on it to work when we want to. Therefore, the priority of this stat is quite low.
Best in Slot
This section has become slightly more difficult to say for sure. However, I will go off the assumption that mastery is still the first desirable stat, followed up with haste. I do realize some items have double secondary stats. Remember also, since intellect is what we’re assuming to be our best stat, it’s more important to get item upgrades than better secondary stats. Finally, our 4 set and even 2 set is pretty good this tier so you should shoot for getting it.
Helm – Headguard of Winged Triumph (Thok)
Neck – Lost Necklace of the Mogu Empress (Spoils of Pandaria)
Cloak – Jina-Kang, Kindness of Chi-Ji (Legendary Quest)
Shoulder – Mantle of Winged Triumph (Siegecrafter Blackfuse)
Chest – Chestplate of Fallen Passion (Garrosh Hellscream)
Bracer – Smoldering Drakescale Bracers (Galakras)
Gloves – Gloves of Winged Triumph (General Nazgrim)
Belt – Greatbelt of Living Waters (Immerseus)
Pants – Greaves of Winged Triumph (Paragons of Klaxxi)
Boots – Mogu Mindbender’s Greaves (Spoils of Pandaria)
Ring1 – Seal of Eternal Sorrow (Immerseus)
Ring2 – Signet of the Dinomancers (Thok)
Trinket1 – Prismatic Prison of Pridge (Sha of Pride)
- Need Spirit: Dysmorphic Samophlange of Discontinuity (Siegecrafter Blackfuse)
- Don’t Need Spirit: Thok’s Acid-Grooved Tooth (Thok)
I read your guide. Why is my healing still so low!?
No fear I’m here. I visit a lot of paladin forums and for those people who say that they need help, they almost always have 2 common problems.
Holy Shock Usage
Almost every paladin I see has problems with using holy shock on cooldown. It has become even more complicated in 5.4 to use this spell on cooldown with Sanctity of Battle. Realistically, you should shoot for around 70-80% of the theoretical amount on any fight. If you can safely reach this amount then you should be in the right position. Back when the cooldown of the spell was 4 seconds, no one was ever close to hitting the theoretical value because the cooldown was actually rather short. However, if you can really watch this spell’s CD along with spending your HP finishers in an intelligent way, then you should see a great boost in your HPS. Of course this is easier said than done when having to deal with fight mechanics and people dying. To track holy shock cooldown, I would recommend some kind of visual warning through the use of PowerAuras or WeakAuras or TellMeWhen. Using these will definitely help your holy power generation. Please see my Weakauras strings below if you want a guideline to creating an indicator.
Proper CD usage is absolutely vital during progression. If you don’t use your cooldowns on a farm fight then in my opinion so what. As long as healing wasn’t the reason you wiped 6 times on a boss on farm 🙂 But on a progression fight where people will be taking some unnecessary damage or tanks taking heavy damage, it is your fault if you just sit on those cooldowns. Now a days, if you don’t have DBM you don’t raid. You should watch for things that are coming and pop cooldowns in preparation for them. A lot of AOE damage coming? Pop holy avenger or devotion aura! A lot of single target damage on a few players? Pop GotAK! Just need a healing boost? Pop Divine Favor or Avenging Wrath! You have a slew of cooldowns at your disposal, don’t NOT use them. This includes things like trinkets or mana return spells or profession perks. You can only blame yourself if you go OOM and have only used Divine Plea twice in a 8-9 minute fight. Especially on progression, it’s vital that you keep an eye of these spells and use them accordingly. Coordinate and speak up with your raid to plan out and call out CDs.
I apologize for this, but due to many things happening real life along with a guild disbanding, I am no longer playing WoW. It’s been a great journey and I’ve learned a lot both in game and out. If you need help with paladin healing, there are a lot of other great websites out there like the paladin forums on MMO where you can help from experienced players.