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.
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?
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.