Five Tips for Holy Paladin Healing in 4.0.1

We are at a horrible point in between expansions where we have new mechanics and are forced to try them out in Wrath content, where there’s a ton of AOE damage, where tanks can, and will, be two-shotted…

Here, then, are five tips for healing through WotLK content with our fancy-shmancy new Cataclysm healing mechanics. Please bear in mind that this advice is valid only for 4.0.1 and will likely be rendered useless come 4.0.3.

1) Flash of Light is Good. After a lot of playing around in the limited raid content I’m doing at the moment, and some advice from Chase Christian and Felomena, both of whom commented on this post of mine, Flash of Light is my go-to spell. Kind of.

I abuse Holy Shock and I cast Holy Light when I have a lull (and whenever I get an Infusion of Light proc) and most of the rest of the time, I cast the hell out of Flash of Light.

It’s expensive. Unbuffed, I have 383 mp5 in combat. That’s not a whole lot, either, although my Solace of the Defeated with 8 stacks, with Blessing of Might, ends up bumping that up to 602. (607 with a Flask of Distilled Wisdom, FYI.) Flash of Light, however, costs 1186 mana. So without Replenishment or Kings/Mark, both of which should be present in a raid setting, I just barely regen half of the cost of Flash of Light every five seconds. I have a 1.04s cast time on Flash of Light with Judgements of the Pure up and no other haste buffs.

See the problem here? If I’m casting a lot of Flash of Light, say 3 times in a 5-second window, I am spending 1186 x 3 mana, which is 3558 mana and in that same window, my regen is about 600, not including procs from my Insightful Earthsiege Diamond (which procs 600 mana back on a 15-second internal cooldown and can be assumed to be about 75mp5).

So while I highly recommend lots of Flash of Light use, don’t forget that it costs an arm and a leg, now! Hasted Holy Lights and Holy Shocks are good alternatives, as is Word of Glory, of course.

Flash of Light is also the spell of choice for a holy paladin for Valithria Dreamwalker, given the quick cast and the fact that, with a lot of stacks of Emerald Vigor or Twisted Nightmares, mana doesn’t matter. (Divine Light probably wins out in the heroism/burn phase at the end of the fight, though, given enough haste, since Flash of Light will almost certainly be under a 1s cast, so you’ll lose casting time due to the hard cap of a 1s GCD.)

2) Glyphed Light of Dawn is for Infest. Again, thanks to Chase (and other paladins commenting on LoD these days in general), I’ve managed to be the Infest healer on two 10-man Lich King kills in the last week by virtue of glyphing Light of Dawn, which reduces its healing done, but also reduces it to a 20s cooldown from a 30s cooldown. Guess what else has a 20s cooldown? That’s right, Infest.

If you stand just behind your ranged groups as Infest gets cast and you’re watching your bars, you can get rid of the Infest on all of your ranged, including yourself, plus your beacon target, who is the beneficiary of all your Light of Dawn heals. Yes, that’s ridiculous, but yes, that’s happening right now.

[21:33:50.890] Madrana Light of Dawn Hunter +*5937*
[21:33:50.890] Madrana Light of Dawn Shammy 1 +4043
[21:33:50.890] Madrana Light of Dawn Shammy 2 +4162
[21:33:50.890] Madrana Light of Dawn Druid 1 +3822
[21:33:50.890] Madrana Light of Dawn Druid 2 +3466
[21:33:50.890] Madrana Light of Dawn Treant +*0* (O: 5650)
[21:33:50.890] Madrana Light of Dawn Treant +*0* (O: 5360)
[21:33:51.671] Madrana Beacon of Light Beaconed Tank +0 (O: 2968)
[21:33:51.671] Madrana Beacon of Light Beaconed Tank +0 (O: 1758)
[21:33:51.671] Madrana Beacon of Light Beaconed Tank +0 (O: 1810)
[21:33:51.671] Madrana Beacon of Light Beaconed Tank +0 (O: 1911)
[21:33:51.671] Madrana Beacon of Light Beaconed Tank +0 (O: 1733)
[21:33:51.671] Madrana Beacon of Light Beaconed Tank +0 (O: 2825)
[21:33:51.671] Madrana Beacon of Light Beaconed Tank +0 (O: 2680)

Of course, Light of Dawn is changing in a big way come Cataclysm, healing for much more than it currently does, but will be limited to 5 targets, 6 with the glyph. But for right now, boy, this is actually fun! :)

You can see this in action in our guild-first LK10 killing. I actually missed the first Infest, but at about the 30s mark, look at the tank’s Grid on the right. You’ll see every box get a debuff (the Infest one) and then you’ll see my shiny Holy Flashlight, er, Light of Dawn, and almost all of the debuffs vanish. Beautiful.

I highly recommend trying out being the Infest healer in a 10-man if you can manage it between now and Cataclysm. Make use of our 31-point talent before it’s changed forever!

I do not, however, recommend being the Infest healer when you’re also the designated cleanser of Necrotic Plague as I was on Sunday evening. That was more than a little stressful and I suddenly cursed myself for never actually having been the Necrotic Plague cleanser before. Still, it worked out all right, but messing with two new things on a fight I’ve done a couple dozen times was… interesting.

Anyways!

3) Beacon Smartly! In 3.3 content, we tended to do one of two things with our beacon:

a) Beacon the other tank and heal our tank.

b) Beacon our tank and heal the raid.

What you did depended primarily on the fight, if it was 10 or 25-man content and any healing assignments by your healing lead.

Now, due to Tower of Radiance, it’s less clear as to who gets our beacon in a raid setting. It might be hard to assign one holy paladin to two tanks due to the change in Beacon of Light (from 100% of a copied heal to 50% of a copied heal) but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be using our beacons on *something* to benefit from the increases in Holy Power.

So here are my suggestions, although I always recommend listening to your healing lead if they give you specific beacon instructions.

a) Beacon Your Tank: Do this in situations where your tank is taking a substantial amount of damage and you can really, really benefit from the extra charges of Holy Power for Word of Glory. Also, do this in situations where there’s just one active tank (whom you’re probably healing) so that you can sprinkle Word of Glory heals around as needed.

b) Beacon the Other Tank: Do this in situations where your tank isn’t taking a ton of damage and you don’t feel you particularly need Word of Glory to be used a ton. It can still be used for extra healing on, say, the Keleseth tank on the Blood Prince Council fight, too, which helps get extra heals on a tank that is running around the room and may run out of range of their healer’s heals. I most recently used my beacon on the tank tanking the Lich King on LK10 while I healed Infest, dealt with Necrotic Plague and healed the OT through Shambling Horrors and some Raging Spirits. That allowed my beacon target (the MT) to gain all my LoD heals, then allowed me to gain Holy Power by directly healing him when the OT wasn’t tanking anything.

Really, the decision depends on how often you want to be using Word of Glory and if another tank needs the extra healing.

4) Don’t Forget About Divine Plea. Okay, it’s been nerfed. 15% (glyphed) of mana back every two minutes instead of 25% every minute. That doesn’t mean that it’s not at all useful. We should all have slightly larger mana pools now and, unbuffed (with about 43k mana), I’m getting about 1300 mana back per tick for about 6500 mana back per use. It’s not fantastic, but it’s something, at least, and will keep you casting just a bit longer. Similarly, don’t forget about mana potions!

5) Don’t Get Married to These Tips! These tips will be outdated extremely soon, perhaps even as soon as this coming Tuesday, when MMO-Champion reports that Patch 4.0.3 will be released. When Cataclysm comes out, or perhaps in a patch before that, like 4.0.3, 4.0.3a or some other patch, Light of Dawn changes, judging Seal of Insight changes to give us 15% of maximum base mana back and a variety of other things will change. I stress, again, that this is a temporary thing that will be hopelessly out of date by December 7th, 2010 at the latest!

Still, I hope it helps you feel better about healing as a holy paladin for the next little while. While I was pretty depressed about how ineffective I was, switching up my spell use quite a bit basically solved most of my issues and, therefore, alleviated a lot of my concerns.

13 comments

  1. Kaboomski says:

    Damn you Kurn. Seriously.

    I just made my decision to drop paladin healing until 85 and now this. You make me actually want to heal on my pally again!

    Although, I guess, that’s not a bad thing :)

    Thank you for another awesome post! ;)

  2. Oestrus says:

    It’s nice to see that the cooldowns all across the board appear to have been nerfed, like Shadowfiend, Innervate, Divine Plea, etc. and I still have a hard time wrapping my head around “needing” to use a mana potion again – lol

    I knew you would miss my plague cleansing goodness, but I’m very glad you guys managed the LK kill and the Halion kill after. Very nice work!

  3. Cyranor says:

    Just want to clarify you said seal of insight will give 15% max mana; isn’t it base mana?

  4. Janyaa says:

    I, too, have been casting a lot more Flash of Lights and foregoing strict adherence to the rotation. I’m hoping the bad habit won’t bite me in the butt once the changes hit.

    Also, love,love, love the glyphed LoD for LK. Especially when used in conjunction with the Twilight Scale trinket.

    I’ve basically been slapping Beacon on my assigned tank and trying to stack HoPos and cast WoG as often as possible.

    One of the biggest challenges I’ve been having is staying in range of the beaconed tank if he’s running around a lot. (ie: the tank on Keleseth) The shorter range is still something I’m getting used to.

    Overall, healing has been better. I’m still not sold on the concept of a healing rotation, but otherwise, I feel like I’ve managed to adjust. I’m really interested to see how beta changes will affect things once they go live.

  5. Kurn says:

    Kaboomski – go back to your shamanistic ways! I’d say that healing as a paladin is going to be challenging and probably painful for chunks of the expansion. I’d say healing overall will be painful, to be honest.

    Oestrus – I’ve always had a stack of mana potions on me just in case. I think I’m at 11, down from the 20 when I last stocked up about five months ago, haha. :)

    I had nothing to do with Halion — I was in bed, dying of a headache — but I’m pretty pleased with their efforts.

    And my respect for you due to your control and mastery of Necrotic Plague has gone up, if that’s even possible! Hat’s off to you, lady!

    Cyranor – That’s what happens when you post at 7:12am. Thanks for the catch! It’s definitely 15% of base.

    Janyaa – Ditto, I’m worried I’m going to rely too heavily on FoL in early levels and then be screwed later on!

    LoD is hilariously fun for Infest. I don’t have the Twilight Scale trinket, but that combination is hax! ;)

    This is where I fail — I don’t use WoG nearly enough. I always have 3 stacks of HP, though, so I CAN use it… but my use of it is pretty abysmal. It’s an easy bind, too, shift-thumb (whereas Holy Shock is thumb) so I should be using it more.

    As to Beacon and range, it’s still 60 yards from whoever you heal, no? The tooltip still says 60y and I haven’t gone investigating one way or the other. While the Keleseth tank will almost certainly be out of range most of the time, you should still be able to cast Beacon on him as he runs by and refresh it pre-emptively if you want. What I’m having trouble with is the shorter judgement range, although I’m getting better at eyeballing 20y.

    I don’t really ever see healing as a rotation. I see it as using the best spell (or combination of spells) for the job at the best time.

    Example for the 4.0.1 mechanics:

    Hitting Holy Shock, proccing Infusion of Light, casting Divine Light, followed by a still-hasted Holy Light is a great “combo”. You have an instant heal (HS) and both the casted heals are hasted (possibly proccing Daybreak). If the casteds were on your beacon, you should now have 3 HP and can toss that somewhere.

    Sometimes, though, in 4.0.1, we don’t have time to load up a combo like that and we’ll resort to Flash of Light, as we have been doing, which is easily sustainable with a bit of spirit or just watching your mana a little more carefully.

    While I think we’ll have more time to load up those combos in Cataclysm (although that particular combination will no longer work; Speed of Light will be passive haste, Divine Light will also be hasted from Infusion of Light procs) I think the basic rule of thumb is to use Holy Shock as often as possible to build up HP and use your casted heals as needed to fill in the gaps and proc Daybreaks.

    Which, when you put it like that, sounds boring as hell. I’m looking forward to retraining myself even from earlier beta versions. I haven’t had any time to play on beta of late, which I regret, but live has to take priority.

    At heart, I’m a problem solver, so I love figuring out how to heal. It’d be nice if more of our previous experience would carry over, though!

  6. Janyaa says:

    Kurn,

    Yes, the Beacon range is still 60yards, but if you are supposedly casting on your beaconed target, the range of your cast is only 40 yards. That has caught me off-guard a few times. As I’m casting the tank runs out of range and I’m unable to heal him without moving.

    It’s true, I’ve never thought of healing to be a “rotation.” I’m dead set against that concept, actually, and do believe it should be more of a situationally adaptive process.

    That being said, HS on unbeaconed target, 2 healing casts on beaconed target, 3 HoPo WoG on unbeaconed target, rinse and repeat is the basic holy paladin rotation now. With a Speed of Light and Infusion of Light proc, you can also squeeze in another FoL before HS is off CD.

    So, it would be HS on unbeaconed target, (SoL proc) DL/FoL/HL on Beacon, (IoL proc) HL on Beacon, WoG on Unbeaconed, FoL (Beacon or Unbeaconed, whoever needs it most), HS on Unbeaconed.

    (LOL- I feel badly for anybody who isn’t a holy paladin. That looks like a bunch of gibberish…:P)

  7. Janyaa says:

    Sorry, found I have just a bit more to add…

    Ok, accepting the above as the basic holy pally rotation, I’ve been playing in and around that structure. I kind of think of it like the framework or foundation of a house. However (and this is definitely the area that I’ve most adapted) I have been casting a lot more FoL lately outside that framework and been quicker to jump out of rotation if need be.

    The balance is making sure that you do the rotation as much as possible for mana conservation, especially for the longer fights. If you can get the muscle memory ingrained and the process smoothed out as much as possible, it makes it easier to add the flourishes.

    It’s like saying you can have a multi-level house with beautiful bay windows and turrets and coppolas, etc…but if it’s not sitting on a good foundation, it will crumble.

  8. Fannon says:

    I must admit that when 4.0 first dropped I was disgusted with the way Paladin healing had changed. I felt utterly useless and powerless. However, now that I’m getting used to the new healing paradigm, I am really starting to like it.

    I agree with you that FoL is the go-to heal at this point, and mana doesn’t seem to be a major issue just yet (although I’m using way more Pots that I ever was before). I am finding that I beacon the tank that is taking the most damage and essentially forget about it… just heal whoever seems to need it at the moment, including the beacon target. I’ve also found that in moments of low damage, casting a couple of HLs on the beacon to top up my Holy Power is really helpful. It’s so cheap that it doesn’t matter if it all goes to overheal, and having a Full Blast WoG on standby is very very nice.

    I also really love the fact that I never have to cast a heal on myself now.

    The thing I miss the most is Divine Sacrifice. It’s sad that they took it away from us and gave it to the Disc Priests with their new bubble barrier.

  9. Kaboomski says:

    Thanks for your support Kurn :P

    But seriously, I’ll probably try and pick up paladin healing again later into the expansion, my shaman does come first for now though. I’m quitting for a while in between, so I’ll see what comes, later.

    I just switched guilds a few days ago (due to my old one disbanding) and now my GL/RL is an enhancement shammy. How awesome is that ;)

  10. Joe Ego says:

    Glyph of Light of Dawn is definitely worth it and it turns raid healing as a paladin upside down. Phases 2 and 3 can be interesting for Infest, but the satisfaction from phase 1 is giggle-worthy. I have not, unfortunately, had a chance to try it in 25man but even 10man was great. I can still close my eyes and remember how bad 10man was in 3.3 without a Disc in the raid.

  11. Megacode says:

    Fantastic info here. I too have been using FoL more. I have been using a FoL-HL heal between HS Cdowns and if needed throw out a free WoG. Have yet to use the LoD glyph but will be definitely testing it out today.

  12. Thomas says:

    Still, Disc Priest solves infest problem much better – if you have a smart one. We did yesterday LK10H, duo healing with Disc Priest. By covering raid with shields before Infest, he simply prevented infest to leave a debuff. After, maximum 3 persons required additional healing to dispell a infest debuff.

  13. shelly says:

    Don’t worry about lowerbies spamming any spell, made a new holy pally of the taurenness and flash of light is a spell that will probably only be used a few times on boss fights or for the idiot who just aggroed. The spell is major expensive even if it heals for a godly amount.
    As for early 80s, I have a lowe mana pooled level 80 pally and, she doesn’t get to fol spam either, kind of don’t want to take her into a dungeon as a heals for fear that I will suck. I am fine relearning the class with my lowerbie.

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