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 Holy Healing

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PostSubject: Holy Healing   Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:03 pm

Holy Healing, Batman!
A guide to Holy Paladins in WoW 3.0

Since World of Warcraft 3.0 is only about a week away,this is the write-up for Paladins in general and Holy Paladins (aka Healadins) in specific.

Bottom Line Up Front:

Healadins will not be terribly different under WoW 3.0 than they were under WoW 2.x. They still only have single-target heals (un-Glyphed) and will continue to have excellent healing throughput and long endurance. They will still have noticeable weaknesses in both movement and AoE fights but have received tools to help them in both of these situations. They will continue to be viable 5-man healers and tank healers in 25-man raids but may perhaps lack the range of tools necessary to be one of only two or three healers total for the 10-man content stream during progression.

Aura Changes:

Not a lot of changes to auras for a Healadin. In addition to the three resistance auras (Fire, Frost, Shadow) there are three “main” auras: Devotion for extra armor, Retribution for extra DPS/threat, and Concentration for resisting spell pushback.

One large change to Auras (like most class buffs) is that the Aura is now raid-wide and not just party-wide. So that Concentration aura that the Healadin has on will now affect everyone in the raid within 30 yards and not just your own, individual party.

With the change to spell pushback mechanics in WoW 3.0, you may start seeing Healadins providing either Devotion or Retribution to the party/raid rather than just the traditional Concentration. This is due to bringing a talented 70% chance to avoid spell pushback if they draw aggro and the Healadin may be okay with gambling that getting the occasional pushback on the 30% uncovered percentage will not hurt their overall healing throughput in the amount of time it takes for a tank to reengage the target (or they will just pop Divine Shield for an aggro drop). Even if they get a string of mob hits rolling into the 30% uncovered percentage, the new mechanics will still allow them to get that heal off in an increased amount of time rather than never getting the heal off under WoW 2.x.

Devotion aura can deliver a 3% healing boost if talented (like a Druid’s Tree of Life aura) but that is now a Protection talent buried a bit deeper in their tree and is probably out of reach of most Healadins.

Retribution Aura has been changed to where it rolls in the effect of WoW 2.x Sanctity Aura which had been a Retribution talent. It is now the DPS Aura of choice and scales with Spell Power so will be most effectively used by a Healadin.

Either Devotion or Retribution are now viable choices for a Healadin to be wearing if you do not have other Paladins along to cover those Auras. However, expect to see Healadins to still be using Concentration Aura in the first few weeks of WoW 3.0 as they get used to the new class mechanics.

Blessing Changes:

A large area of change for the Paladin class as a whole. The Paladin class is basically down to a three Blessing system: Might, Wisdom and Kings (still talented). There is a fourth Blessing (Sanctuary) that is now excellent for tanks but is buried deep in the protection tree and you will only ever see Protection-specced Paladins with it.

Long-duration Blessings of Light, Sacrifice and Salvation have been removed from the game. Two of those, Sacrifice and Salvation, have returned in the form of “Hand” spells (explained later) and the Blessing of Light effect has been rolled into our base healing spells.

And short-duration Blessings, Protection and Freedom, have also turned into “Hand” spells.

The loss of Blessing of Salvation to a Healadin will hurt quite a bit in a party/raid where the DPS does not have good aggro control. One of the weaknesses of a Healadin is when they have to heal a large number of party members rapidly and a good way to control the number of party members taking damage was to put Blessing of Salvation on everyone besides the tank. Now, DPS will actually have to control their aggro on their own and not have the luxury of a “baked-in” 30% threat gap. In addition, the Blessing they will now receive (Might, Wisdom, Kings) will probably increase their damage-dealing capability so they will be generating even more aggro then under WoW 2.x. Overall, without better DPS discipline, it would appear that a Healadin will probably be spending more time healing DPS in 5-man or 10-man content under WoW 3.0 than under Wow 2.x. And this is not a favorable outcome for the Healadin.

Of the remained three blessings, Improved Wisdom is a basic building block of a Healadin’s talent tree and you should expect to see just about any Healadin with it. Improved Might is also very accessible to a Healadin whom is speccing into Retribution as their off-tree (as most Healadins should) and you can expect that a Healadin will have that as well.

Kings is up for debate. They changed it to the first tier of the Protection tree making it very accessible for Healadins. Whereas in WoW 2.x you had to spend 11 talent points to get it, you now only have to spend 5 talent points. That is an advantage, right? Well, the trade-off is what else you could ‘buy’ with those 5 talent points. The most likely trade-off is that those 5 points could buy you 3% more critical strike chance and a 15% boost to your running speed, both of which are excellent for a Healadin. The 3% crit is huge for your actual spell casting and the run speed boost is excellent for movement fights which appear to be a larger part of WoTLK instance makeup according to Beta players.

Many Healadins will probably still spec into Kings because it is useful in almost all situations, but will mourn the loss of critical strike percentage and Pursuit of Justice as talents.

So, expect to be able to still get Kings from most Healadins as you level up in 5-man content, along with Improved Wisdom and possibly Improved Might. But, once you get to level 80 and raid content, you will probably see more and more Healadins speccing out of Kings if there are Protection or Retributions paladins along whom can bring Kings with them.

Seals / Judgement Changes:

From a non-Paladin’s PoV, not much has changed here. Paladin’s still Seal their weapon to do extra damage or provide a secondary buff effect and they still Judge an enemy to do damage and perhaps apply a debuff.

That general statement is about the only thing that stays the same about the Seal / Judgement system from WoW 2.x to WoW 3.0. The mechanics of the system have completely changed on how a Paladin casts, applies and renews these effects.

Which will be largely invisible to anyone whom is not a Paladin so I will not dwell on these massive changes. What I will talk about is the largest changes that effect Healadins.

The first is that you will no longer see a Judgement of the Crusader debuff on mobs. That effect has been rolled into other Judgement debuffs for increased Holy damage. Holy damage is still getting increased, it is just now a secondary effect to one of the other Judgement debuffs.

And those debuffs stay the same. Judgement of Light still has a chance to proc a heal on anyone attacking the effected mob. Judgement of Wisdom still has a chance to proc a mana return on anyone attacking the effected mob. Judgement of Justice still prevents a mob from running.

However, you will now see a Healadin actually Judging mobs while healing…..from 30 yards away!! Yes, the Holy spec gets a deep talent ability that increases the range of their Judgement spells to 30 yards. Whereas before the Healadin has to move to within melee range of the mob in order to judge it (and get the debuff up on the mob), they can now do so from healing range.

This ranged Judgement does four things for the Healadin:

First, it damages the target. Woot, Healadins might finally rank above Searing Totems (Rank 1) on the DPS charts.

Second, it applies the debuff (Light, Wisdom, Justice) to the mob for 30 seconds. So it can be used as a supplemental source of healing, mana recharge, or restricting a mob from running. It will NOT be renewed by a Retribution’s Crusader Strike like under WoW 2.x so for the effect to stay up, the Healadin must Judge every 30 seconds.

Third, it applies the Heart of the Crusader debuff on the mob if the Healadin has specced into it (which is probable). This adds a 3% Critical Strike chance to all party/raid members attacking the target while the debuff is up (30 seconds).

The fourth effect is that is increases the Healadins haste by 10% for 60 seconds (again, through a deep Holy talent). So, 10% faster heals, 10% faster melee attacks (which don’t apply when they are healing but are VERY nice when soloing) more healing throughput.

So, when WoW 3.0 shows up, expect to see a Healadin working a Judgement into their healing rotation every 30 seconds to add a little bit of damage and two nice debuffs on the mob for the benefit of the party. Most Healadins will probably use a Judgement of Light unless the party is caster/mana user heavy and then Wisdom will probably be more beneficial. I would not expect many parties to be using the healer for their runner control because the timing of applying it could be tricky.


Tanking is a responsibility, Healing is a job, and DPS is a game!


Last edited by Chuffa on Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Holy Healing   Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:04 pm

Hand Spells:

Sort of a new category for the Paladin is the “Hand” spells. The Paladin under WoW 2.x had one Hand spell, Lay on Hands (instant cast heal healing the full amount of the Paladin’s health but draining all mana). Well, a bunch of new spells have been added to the Hand spell category and their effects have been changed. The “Hand” spells are:

Lay on Hands – Still heals the full amount of the Paladin’s health (not the target’s health, the Paladin’s health but it can crit) but is now on a 20 minute cool down (down from 60 minutes) and is now mana-free. Yes, it no longer drains mana or costs the Paladin any mana to cast. This will now be a VERY useful part of a Healadin’s healing arsenal. If talented (and I would expect every Healadin to talent into it), the cool down drops to 16 minutes and applies an armor buff to the target for 15 seconds after use. Now, a very nice ability that can be used on probably every boss fight in an instance.

Hand of Protection – This is what the old Blessing of Protection turned into. This was the “bubble” a Paladin could cast on others to have them drop aggro and give them 100% physical damage protection for 10 seconds. It still does all of that but is now not a “blessing” so it will not overwrite whatever blessing the party member has on them. Which is very nice, many Healadins failed to re-bless in combat if they had to BoP someone to save their life. Now, they can Hand of Protection (HoP) them and not have to worry about re-blessing them.

Hand of Salvation – This is what the old Blessing of Salvation turned into. However, there are massive changes. The first is that it only lasts 10 seconds and it reduces aggro over that 10 seconds by only 10% rather than all at once. Think of it as an “over-time” Priest Fade spell castable on anyone. Also, while under the Hand spell, your damage dealing capability is reduced by 10% to help you lose aggro. Another big change is that this is NOT a blessing so it will not overwrite one of them (like Hand of Protection).

Hand of Freedom – This is what the old Blessing of Freedom turned into. Same effect as before (frees party member from movement impairing effects) but now does not overwrite a blessing.

Hand of Sacrifice – This is what the old Blessing of Sacrifice turned into. Again, the same effect as before (transferred a portion of the damage sustained by the target of the blessing to the Paladin) for the same amount of time. Does not overwrite a blessing.

Overall, the addition of the “Hand” category of spells is both good and bad for a Healadin. The loss of the long-duration Blessing of Salvation will hurt our overall healing in the long run if DPS cannot control their aggro. However, everything else is all good, especially the change to Lay on Hands. It is basically a mana-free critical-strike Holy Light (plus a bit) every 16 minutes. And now not having to worry about reblessing while in combat may increase the use of some of these Hand spells by Healadins.

Other Big Spell Changes/Additions:

Holy Shock – This was always our 0.5 healing spell in our 2.5 healing spell setup (Flash of Light, Holy Light) under WoW 2.x. Holy Shock under WoW 2.x cost too much mana, healed for too litte, scaled poorly with our + Heal numbers and was on a 15 second cooldown. It was probably rarely used by Healadins except as a “oh, crud” I need to heal and I need to heal NOW spell. It did heal now, but probably rarely healed for enough.

Under WoW 3.0, Holy Shock got a revamp. It is now only a 6 second cooldown (just like the Shaman Shock spells), costs much less mana, has a 30 yard range (for healing effects) and has an increased healing amount when compared with the old version. It will now be worth the mana it costs to cast it (especially if you spec for a 10% mana reduction talent on all instant spells which all Healadins should) and should now become a viable real third healing spell in the Healadins arsenal.

Critical strikes by Holy Shock can also set up a very short cast Holy Light spell (as fast as 0.9 second cast time without Haste gear) with talents but the talent that allows for this is probably one of those debatable talents that not all Healadins plan on taking for PVE.

So, overall, this has become a much better spell and will be used much more extensively by Healadins, especially in movement fights.

Avenging Wrath (known as “Popping Wings”) – One of the signature Paladin skills. A flat 30% damage increase for 15 seconds on a 3 minute cool down under WoW 2.x. Under WoW 3.0, it’s damage bonus is reduced to 20%; however, it also now increases healing effects by 20% as well. This is a key skill for the Healadin to either increase their healing throughput or take care of an issue that I will talk about next. In addition, it no longer triggers the “Forbearance” effect which made it so the Paladin could not use Divine Shield for 1 minute after casting Avenging Wrath. Another very nice change for the Healadin.

Divine Plea – A new level 71 spell which is the Paladin’s Evocation. An instant spell (non-channeled) that restores 25% of the Paladin’s total mana pool over 15 seconds with only a 1 minute cool down. Pretty darned nice, a mana potion every minute! Heck yes.

The downside to the spell is that it reduces cast healing spell effects by 20% when active (not healing received, healing cast). That is a bit of a burden on Healadins but not one that cannot be healed through, completely compensated for by using Avenging Wrath at the same time as Divine Plea or popping a trinket with a + Spell Power effect to help compensate for it. This is the one ability that will ensure that Paladins remain the longest endurance healer in the game.

Sacred Shield – This is the new level 80 Paladin spell which appears to be in quite a bit of flux. In some form or another, it is basically a damage absorption shield that is castable on others, will absorb damage when struck and can proc only once every six seconds with some limited number of charges. Its effect will be increased by Spell Power so it will be most effectively cast by a Healadin. I think the general intent is that is just adds to the Effective Health of whomever it is cast on and is not designed to keep someone untouched by damage like a Priest’s Power Word: Shield is.

Beacon of Light – This is the Healadin’s 51 point talent. It basically designates the person it is cast on as a Beacon of Light whom will receive the same healing effect as the primary target whenever ANYONE is healed within a 30 yard range. Lasts for one minute and only one person can be a Beacon of Light per Healadin at a time.

Basically allows you to heal a second person for free when the Beacon is up. Cast this on your off-tank on a 2 tank fight and heal the main tank as normal. The off-tank will receive the same amount of healing that the main tank receives for no increased mana cost.

In an AoE fight? Cast Beacon on the tank and heal all the DPS in succession with the tank getting the same effect as all those DPS heals. Very powerful when you have a tree around casting a million HoT on all of the raid and the Beacon is getting their effect all at the same time.

One rub of the spell is that it only works on EFFECTIVE healing. So, if you cast Beacon on someone taking 1000 DPS and then heal someone who is only down 600 health. The Beacon is only going to get 600 health even though your FoL hit that guy for 1400 health healed.

This means that the mostly likely target of you Beacon will not be the main tank (who needs the full effect of your heal) but will be an off-tank or a melee DPS whom receives a lot of damage. Except in a AoE situation where everyone is taking damage and you can FoL around the party healing them to nearly full and the tank is receiving the same full effect of each FoL on the DPS.

Lots of creative uses for this spell. Will make some fights somewhat trivial if used correctly and will be totally useless in other fights (single target tank and spank with no AoE effects).


Tanking is a responsibility, Healing is a job, and DPS is a game!

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PostSubject: Re: Holy Healing   Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:04 pm

Healadin Talents:

I have ended up looking at a 51/5/15 template for my PVE Healing spec. While this leaves out a few Holy talents that I would like to have (discussed in the next section), I believe that the effects of the Protection and Retribution talents will provide an overall better build.

Holy Talents:

Spiritual Focus – 5 points: Provides a 70% chance to not suffer spell pushback when casting a spell (which only effects Flash of Light and Holy Light for a Paladin). A standard “must have” for the Healadin.

Divine Intellect – 5 points: Increases the Healadin’s Intellect by 15%. Again, a “must have”

Illumination – 5 points: Refunds 60% of the spell’s mana cost after getting a critical strike with Flash of Light, Holy Light or Holy Shock. Adds Holy Shock which again reinforces its increased use in a healing rotation.

Healing Light – 3 points: Increases the effect of FoL, HS (healing only) and HL by 12%. One of only two talents that increases the amount you actually heal with your spells.

Improved Lay on Hands – 2 points: Decreases the cool down by 6 minutes and adds an armor buff for 15 seconds.

Divine Favor – 1 point: When active, gives 100% chance to have a critical effect on your next FoL, HS or HL.

Sanctified Light – 3 points: Increases the critical strike chance of Holy Light (only) by 6%

Aura Mastery – 1 point: Increase the range of your aura from 30 yards to 40 yards

Holy Power – 5 points: Increases the critical strike change of Holy spells by 5%

Holy Shock – 1 point: Instant cast spell that damages enemies and heals friends. 6 sec cool down

Light’s Grace – 3 points: After casting a Holy Light, decreases the cast time of next Holy Light by 0.5 seconds. Effect lasts for 15 seconds.

Improved Blessing of Wisdom – 2 points: Increases the effect of Blessing of Wisdom by 20%

Holy Guidance – 5 points: Increases Spell Power by 20% of your total Intellect. This is the other talent that actually increases the amount your spells heal for.

Divine Illumination – 1 point: Reduces the mana cost of all Holy spells by 50% for 15 seconds. 3 min cool-down

Enlightened Judgement – 2 points: Increases the range of your Judgement spells by 20 yards and increases its change to hit by 4%.

Infusion of Light – 1 point (of 2 possible): Following a critical strike Holy Shock, your next Holy Light spell cast time is reduced by 0.5 seconds.

Judgement of the Pure – 5 points: After the Paladin judges, increases haste by 10% for 1 minute.

Bacon of Light – 1 point: Allows you to make a Beacon of Light for 1 minute. The person designated as the Beacon will receive the same healing effects as any party member healed within 30 yards.

Protection Talents:

Blessing of Kings – 1 point: Provides a 2% increase in the base stats of the target.

Improved Blessing of Kings – 4 points: Provides an 8% increase in the base stats of a target.

Retribution Talents:

Benediction – 5 points: Deceases the mana costs of Instant cast spells by 10%. EVERY spell a Paladin casts is instant cast with the exception of Flash of Light and Holy Light. Every spell. It basically increases the mana pool by 10% when not healing and is too good not to get.

Heart of the Crusader – 3 points: Adds a bonus 3% Critical Strike chance to a Judgement debuff. Excellent synergy with the ranged Judgement capability of a Healadin and the Judgement base debuff.

Improved Blessing of Might – 2 points: Increases the effect of Blessing of Might by 25%. The only other choice is Improved Judgement and while that might help your personal DPS when soloing, it does not do much for you whenever you are grouped with someone else.

Conviction – 5 points: Increases critical strike chance by 5%. The main reason Healadins will go Retribution as their off-tree rather than Protection. Great synergy with Illumination and overall healing throughput.

Talent Trade-Space:

There is not much left in Holy that you could argue for.

There is Purifying Power that decreases the mana cost of your Cleanse spell by 10% but that effect is already covered by Benediction. Sacred Cleansing is a follow-on to Purifying Power that gives your Cleanse spell a “30% chance” to increase by 30% the “chance” of resisting a follow-on Disease/Poison/Magic effect. I really don’t like “chance of a chance” talents and this one seems tricky to quantify how effective it would be.

There is Blessed Hands that reduces by the mana cost and chance to dispel of all your Hand spells but they are already pretty low cost and this one feels more like a PvP talent than PVE. You already get mana reduction for these spells from Benediction.

There is the 2nd point for Infusion of Light which would decrease the cast time of your next Holy Light by an additional 0.5 sec following a critical strike Holy Shock. If I am trading that for the last point in Conviction (1% critical strike chance), then I think I keep my critical strike chance rather than an effect off of a critical strike Holy Shock that sets up a shorter cast Holy Light that you may not need.

All the rest of the talents either increase Seal damage or appear to be PvP talents to decrease the effect times of Fear, Disease, or Curse. While these are solid talents, I don’t feel like they fit with the whole “healer” thing

As far as protection talents, there is almost nothing in the 2nd or 3rd tiers that help a Healadin.

As stated above, I would love to have the extra talent points to spec further into the Ret tree for 3% more critical strike chance and increased run speed. Those points would have to come from Blessing of Kings and that is probably the largest trade-space talent wise for a Healadin.

The End of Downranking:

Hurts. End of Story. This is a huge hit to Healadins whom already had a lack of spells upon which to choose from to employ the right amount of heals to the right amount of hurts.

I had 2 ranks of Flash of Light on my bar (downrank to heal around 600 health and full rank to heal around 1200) and 3 ranks of Holy Light (downrank to heal 2400, downrank to heal 3200 and full rank that heals around 4300). Selecting the correct rank for the right level of hurt was one of the tasks that allowed me to stay mana efficient and, quite honestly, made the spec more fun to play.

However, now, I have one heal that heals a TON (Holy Light), one heal that heals around ¼ of a ton (Flash of Light) and one heal that probably heals around ¼ of a ton (Holy Shock). If a guy is down ½ ton of damage, I can either use up 2 global cooldowns and FoL him twice or one GDC and Holy Light him for a LOT of overhealing and increased mana costs.

It will take time to figure out how this will all play out but I feel like Healadins and Resto Shamans were the most effective specs by the end of downranking. Time will tell how much but it will be a big factor going forward.

Wrapping it all Up:

Healadin healing is not a ton different under WoW 3.0 as under WoW 2.x. You still are a Flash of Light spam artist with now throwing in Holy Shocks at time and waiting to hit the big Holy Light when needed. It is still all about knowing when to use your abilities to effect FoL/HS/HL to make them more effective and not having to choose from a wide list of healing spells in any given situation.

I think the Judgement mechanics are brilliant for Healadins. The ability to add damage, 2 debuffs for the party/raid and gain haste to increase healing throughput will go a long way to helping the Healadin keep in a much more efficient FoL spam mode and not have to resort to the mana-draining Holy Light as quickly.

I also like the changes to Holy Shock and its ability to now be used during movement phases in a fight. Very nice. I am not sold on the synergy between a Critical Strike Holy Shock and the Infusion of Light talent to make faster Holy Lights. When the Infusion of Light made the HL an instant cast? Uber. But now that it just knocks 1.0 seconds off the cast time…meh. Time will tell.

The Beacon of Light will make some encounters trivial but is not useful at all times. I cannot wait to run Heroic Black Morass with Bacon of Light and not have to individually heal the Shaman/Rogue/Warrior/whoever is killing the adds. Throw Beacon on them and then just heal the tank and other DPS? Fantastic!! And being able to hit Divine Plea in-between portals? No mana issues for me!!

One of the largest changes to the spec is the addition of 5% more Critical Strike chance from the changes to Conviction in the Retribution tree. This now gives a level 75 casting Flash of Light and Holy Shock pretty much a base 18-19% chance to get a Critical Strike (10% from talents, 3.35% from class base and then the critical strike chance from Intellect of around 4-5%) before applying any Critical Strike bonus from gear. Holy Light gets an additional 6% on top of that. That is a lot of healing throughput and mana refund.

The changes to the Blessings, while not unique to the Healadin, should increase party efficiency because they are losing often used Blessings that did not increase offensive capabilities (Blessing of Light, Blessing of Salvation) and replacing them with DPS increasing blessings. Aggro control will become an issue and DPS will just have to L2P.

Overall, some really nice changes for Paladin. Would I have loved to have gotten an actual AoE heal? Yes I would have but I can live the the changes that I did get. It will make playing the spec that much more fun.


Tanking is a responsibility, Healing is a job, and DPS is a game!

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