Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holy Paladins - we're still not raid healers

First, I'm back from my break for NaNoWriMo.  My novel turned into more of a personal therapy writing session - so it's not going to get posted anywhere public.  I learned a lot writing it though, and I'm certainly going to try my hand at the novel that I'd intended.  With any luck I'll be able to churn it out over the next few months, though I'm not going to put myself under the time constraints of NaNo.

Now, with that out of the way, let's talk about Paladin AoE/Raid healing, and why we're still not the best choice for this role.

Holy Radience

In 4.3 Holy Radiance got a drastic change from being a fire and forget AoE heal centered on the caster (with a decent CD), to being a spammable AoE heal.  This is a huge change to our AoE healing arsenal, which up to this point was limited to one AoE every 30 sec, plus Light of Dawn (more on that in a minute).  Unfortunately, it's not all pretty flowers and sparkles in HR land - there's more than one drawback.

First, HR is slow.  It's not debilitatingly slow, but it's the same cast time as our Holy Light and Divine Light.  The only upside there is that it's affected by Infusion of Light as well, so we get that haste buff.  It's also expensive, with the same cast cost as Divine Light. 

Second, the overall healing of HR isn't something to write home about.  Baseline, the spell heals for 2523 - 3205 on the initial cast, and then an additional 493 every second for three seconds.  While we can eek out another tick or so with enough haste, we're still not going to be setting any records here.  My average tick is hitting for just over 3500, however that's averaging out the total heal.  You can reasonably assume that the most you're going to see (per person) out of this heal is about 7k over a 4 second period.  In addition, HR only hits targets that are within 10 yds of your recipient. 

Finally, HR healing does not transfer via Beacon of Light (BOL).  This essentially cuts our healing in half, since every other heal in our arsenal transfers at least 50% of the healing done to our Beacon target. 

***Edit*** I was hoping to get this out earlier, but I missed the change to our 4pc set.  Originally the 20% boost for our 4pc T13 would have made HR very powerful, however this has been reduced to 5% - making it pretty lackluster.

It's not all doom and gloom either though

On the upside, through Tower of Radiance, we are guaranteed to generate a Holy Power every time we cast this spell.  Also, since HR is spammable, we can sprinkle HR throughout the raid, though it's not the most powerful AoE heal in the world.  Because of the cast time though, and the cooldown on Holy Shock, HR lines up neatly with getting a 3HP LoD off every 2 casts of HR.  This can start to become a fairly powerful combo, though it will put some holes in your mana bar.  Depending on how stacked your raid is though, this combination will provide a decent amount of healing in a short period of time.

Light of Dawn

Another change to our AoE healing was the revamp of the Light of Dawn (LoD) glyph.  Previously the glyph would let you add one target to your LoD healing, providing a very solid increase to the BoL target - if you hit all six targets.  This was mostly used in 25m raiding, as getting 6/10 players in your 10m raid to stack up in the right spot was pretty tricky. 

With the change however, 10m (and 5m dungeons) see a pretty significant boost to LoD healing.  Instead of increasing the number of players hit, the number is actually lowered - but the overall healing is increased by 25%.  This allows us to get the same kind of throughput to the BoL target, and actually heal our raid for a little more than before.  This also gives us a 4th major glyph to choose from, and it's actually a pretty solid choice now.

AoE vs Single Target - Communicate

OK, so we've gone over the base numbers for LoD and HR healing, and they don't look too bad.  They aren't stellar, but it's certainly more than we had before.  What we're left with now is deciding what our healing roles are, and where we should be focused in the raid.  A lot of this will come down to your healing team composition, but also what is going on in the raid at any given moment. 

Because HR is not transferred to your BoL target, we have to make a split second decision on what heal to use (finally!).  Here is my mental checklist, that I run through on pretty much every heal.  Fortunately, it doesn't take long, especially once you've practiced it.

  • Is Holy Shock on CD?
  • Is it raid wide damage?
  • How much damage is my BoL target taking?
  • Do I have 3 HP?
  • Where am I in the fight?
Running through this list quickly will let me determine what I need to cast.  This is important especially when we look at the damage our BoL target is taking.  Remember that Holy Light now transfers 100% of the healing done to the BoL target, instead of the 50% that Divine Light, WoG, or HS will transfer.  Because of this, I will almost always cast HL on the target if it is not my BoL target, otherwise they get a different heal.  HL costs (and heals) for about 1/3 of what DL does - but the transfer to your BoL target is what makes the difference.  Also if you're 3/3 in ToR, you're going to get that HP if you use DL instead. 


At the end of all this, Paladins are still the kings of single/dual target healing.  Our AoEs have been buffed to the point where we're no longer a hindrance when it comes to raid healing, however we're certainly not as powerful (or efficient) as any other class when it comes to pure raid/AoE healing. 


  1. Where are you getting this argument "we're certainly not as powerful (or efficient) as any other class when it comes to pure raid/AoE healing"? Is it just a feeling you have?

    Take a look at cold hard facts: http://www.worldoflogs.com/rankings/players/Dragon_Soul/hps/

    Ultraxion is as "pure raid/AoE healing" a fight as it gets, and it's no surprise that in the top 120 performances, only 10 were NOT paladins (9 druids and 1 shaman).

  2. @Anonymous

    While I completely agree with you that Adgamorix is incorrect about the raid healing potential of Holy Paladins, I don't believe Ultraxion is a good indicator. Kalecgos' buff which increases Spell Haste by 100% and reduces mana cost by 75% just make Holy Radiance absolutely ridiculous because of the extra casts and the extra ticks on each cast. It basically wipes out the downsides that Adgamorix was pointing out.

    A better example would be Warlord Zon'ozz 10m Normal, where in the top 10 healers by HPS there are 3 Holy Paladins, of which over 50% of their healing was Holy Radiance, or even better, look at 25m Normal, Paladin icons *everywhere*, top 9 out of 10 on Morchok, Warlord Zon'ozz, top 9 out of 10, Yor'sahj, top 7 out of 10. The list goes on. The lists for Heroic mode 10 and 25 man is a little more balanced, but Holy Paladins are still disproportionately represented.

    Diving into each of these Holy Radiance was the top heal (The initial hit plus ticks), with Illuminated Healing (mastery? Huzzah!) and Light of Dawn not far after.

    Adgamorix is flat out wrong, and frankly I expect a nerf to Holy Radiance in the near future. As a Holy Paladin, I expect it, Blizzard loves giving us new toys and breaking them shortly thereafter, though frankly, this toy is too powerful..

  3. Aye, I expect that nerf as well. They already nerfed the tier 4 piece. Further nerfs incoming. =(

  4. So i will say I was more than a bit bummed about the tier set bonus. It is still a reasonable increase in stats and that seems to be the only real upgrade. I was working with two 2 set bonuses, helm and shoulder t12 for mana regen for heroic fights and the t13 for divine favor mainly used on strong aoe heal portion to reduce the mana consumption. Seems to be one of the biggest times i use it is to compensate for Holy radiance spell cost. Although i did also just get the Maw of the Dragonlord off of Deathwing which has increased my aoe healing a bit as well, no limits to healed targets with crit capability. 10k heals per person upon crit depending upon your stats of course. Also i think your post is awesome. Very straight forward and without all the wow political jargon. Concluding on the early congratulations on writing your novel.



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