Holy Paladin Guide by DiamondTear
This guide for Holy Paladins will give you useful insight into healing in PvE and setting up your character so that you can do it as well as possible. I won’t be listing the changes that happened with the release of Cataclysm because you’ve probably already gotten used to them or you are starting from scratch. I haven’t raided 10 mans, so the raid-related parts of this guide are only written with 25 mans in mind. Naturally a large portion of those tips can still be applied to 10 mans.
For those who want more information to base their decisions on there is a paladin compendium on elitistjerks:
http://elitistjerks.com/f76/t110847-hol ... m_4_0_6_a/
We have three spells with cast time but no cooldown.
- Flash of Light is your fast but inefficient heal. Because efficiency is important in Cataclysm, the only time I’ve ever found use for this spell is when fighting Chimaeron.
- Holy Light is the heal to use when you need to conserve your mana. It is extremely efficient and once you have epic gear you won’t generally run out of mana no matter how many times you cast it. However, you don’t want to cast it if the healing is not needed, because there are better you can do.
- Divine Light your most important heal. It’s not as efficient as Holy Light, but it is more efficient than Flash of Light. This is the heal you will usually end up casting through any part of the battle that has heavy healing requirements since it’s the only that heals enough but doesn’t waste too much mana.
Healing spells without cast time:
- Holy Shock. This is a spell that you usually want cast as often as you can. It’s very efficient and it provides you with holy power as well. Even when the target is very low on health, it’s often better to cast Holy Shock than Divine Light and hope someone else will help the target since Divine Light probably wouldn’t land on the target in time.
- Light of Dawn is spell you will usually spend your holy power on. It’s a smart heal that chooses the targets that need the healing the most (including yourself). The heals are transferred by Beacon of Light but can also hit pets. It can be difficult to make sure the cone is facing the right way.
- Word of Glory. The usefulness of this spell depends on the fight. It can be useful if you can’t hit three or more targets for the full amount with Light of Dawn, or you rarely have the opportunity to use Light of Dawn. It can be a good idea to use the Glyph of World of Glory and put talents in Eternal Glory depending on the fight. Word of Glory heals for a significant amount, which makes it sometimes useful even when Light of Dawn would be more efficient.
- Holy Radiance radiates healing to allies near you. With its 30 second cooldown (talented) you can usually use it every time all allies near you take damage. The individual heals from still spells are small, but together they can make the spell your most important heal in fights where you can use it often. Haste adds additional ticks to Holy Radiance at set intervals, but this does not generally affect your gearing because haste is a good stat in general.
- Beacon of Light is an important tool in your arsenal. It is usually put on a tank and kept on that target throughout the fight. Recasting it is not expensive, but it uses a global cooldown and usually doesn’t improve healing much if at all. Heals from Protector of the Innocent, Enlightened Judgments and Light of Dawn all transfer to the beacon, but the target will not receive the shield produced by mastery from any heals it receives from the beacon.
- Do not macro any cooldowns to be used with one press of a button. There will be situations where you want to use them separately.
- Avenging Wrath is a fairly simple cooldown. It increases your healing done by 20 %.
- Divine Favor is your most powerful healing cooldown. 20 % more haste allows you to save more people and also adds ticks to Holy Radiance.
- Aura Mastery’s relevant uses include silence immunity and increased resistance. There aren’t many situations in Cataclysm where the silence immunity work or is useful, so Aura Mastery is usually used with Resistance Aura. Not all spell damage is resistible however, so make sure you can resist the damage before using Aura Mastery. Does not stack with Aura Mastery from other paladins, so set up a rotation.
- Lay on Hands is used when someone (usually a tank) drops really low and you want to get them up instantly. With Glyph of Divinity it also returns 20 % mana (bugged, should be 10 % according to the tooltip). If you are in need of mana, you can use it on anyone who is low even if they’re not in danger of dying.
- Guardian of Ancient Kings is not as good as it sounds. Only during periods of very heavy tank damage can you get the full benefit from it. With the long cooldown it’s usually best used only after you’ve used Avenging Wrath and Divine Favor.
- Divine Plea is best used during low damage phases where you don’t have to heal at all. If you need to use it at a time when the tank is taking heavy damage, use Hand of Sacrifice. Don’t use with other healing cooldowns because Divine Plea halves the benefit from them.
Other spells and skills:
- Hand of Freedom is useful in many fights where your allies are snared by skills that reduce movement speed or stop movement completely. If the debuff that limits their movement also deals damage, Hand of Freedom can often be used to prevent damage as well. However, there are many snares that aren’t removed by Hand of Freedom so always make sure it’s actually effective.
- Hand of Protection prevents physical damage and is mostly used to save damage dealers or healers that take aggro. It’s also used to remove certain physical debuffs. Hand of Protection also prevents the target from dealing physical damage. You can use this quite freely on non-physical damage dealers, but on others you should make sure that they would die from physical damage before casting it. It also causes Forbearance so use with caution on other paladins. Hand of Protection does not affect threat, but mobs that only deal physical damage will switch targets for the duration of the effect.
- Hand of Sacrifice transfers 30 % of all damage the target receives to you. The type of damage transferred depends on the type the target receives. You can use this skill very freely unless you know you are about to take a big hit yourself. Hand of Sacrifice is especially useful in situations that reduce healing done by ordinary heals. Very useful when doing 5-mans with poor gear.
- Hand of Salvation is generally used on warriors. Teach your damage dealers to call for it because you don’t have the time to be looking at the threat meter. With multiple paladins in the raid you need to coordinate who casts Hand of Salvation because it does not stack.
- Seal of Insight & Judgment gives you 2342 mana every time you judge. This means that it’s often best to judge often. It’s a common mistake to forget this especially among people who are struggling with mana. Melee hits while Seal of Insight is active can also return mana, but this mana return is usually insignificant.
- Cleansing is usually best left to other classes because tank damage is often constant and that’s where paladins shine. However, druids and shamans often skip the magic dispel talent, so you might end up dispelling those effects. Glyph of Cleansing is almost always a bad idea.
- Blessings: You can get a lesser version of Blessing of Kings with an item, so you should always have both.
- Crusader Strike can be used to generate holy power, but you can skip doing that to make playing easier.
Here’s a One size fits all talent spec and glyphs that you can use without thinking too much: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#scIozrkuu ... :VmasaMcMz
If you want to customize your spec for a certain encounter, the main choice is between taking Word of Glory talents or not. If you decide to take them, put points into Last Word and Eternal Glory and remove them from Pursuit of Justice and Improved Judgement as needed.
Here’s a breakdown of optional talents:
- Last Word - Minor increase in healing. Might be especially useful on encounters similar to Chimaeron.
- Enlightened Judgements - Use only one point to make sure your judgement always hits. The healing gained is insignificant.
- Sacred Cleansing - pick if magic dispel is needed and the priests cannot handle it. Pick for 5-mans.
- Aura Mastery - pick if there is a big magic AoE that can be resisted.
- Blessed Life - pick if you get hit often by AoE. First point is more significant if you get hit more often than every 8 seconds.
- Eternal Glory - pick if not using Light of Dawn often.
- Improved Judgement - only point is often enough (two needed to get Pursuit of Justice)
- Pursuit of Justice - picked for the movement speed increase. Also allows you to enchant haste instead of Lavawalker on your feet.
I will only list useful glyphs.
- Seal of Insight
- Divine Favor
- Holy Shock - choose this if the fight allows you to generally use Light of Dawn.
- Word of Glory - choose this if you cannot use Light of Dawn.
- Light of Dawn - useful in 25 mans always when using Light of Dawn.
- Divinity - useful always when there is a chance of running out of mana.
- Lay of Hands - rarely useful. May be useful depending on the interval of your boss attempts.
- Beacon of Light - rarely useful. I haven’t found a need to change beacon targets often.
- Cleansing - almost never useful. You would have to cleanse extremely often and there just aren’t encounters like that.
- Divine Plea - useful when there are plenty of slow periods but also a need for extra mana.
- Divine Protection - often useful because you generally take only magical damage. Can simplify many fights by allowing you to ignore heavy damage abilities that would otherwise kill you.
- Blessing of Kings
- Blessing of Might
The importance of stats is bound to be subjective when it comes to healing. It is however generally agreed that Intellect is the best stat. Spirit and Haste a both good stats, with spirit being slightly better in my opinion. Crit and Mastery are both bad stats, with Mastery a bit worse than Crit due to not transferring via Beacon of Light.
First remove mastery, then crit, then haste from your items. Add spirit first, then haste, and crit after that.
Meta Socket: Ember Shadowspirit Diamond
Red Socket: Brilliant Inferno Ruby
Yellow Socket: Reckless Ember Topaz
Blue Socket: Purified Demonseye (you can use one if it gives you 20 spirit or 10 int socket bonus)
Note that you have to use two Reckless Ember Topaz to make the metagem work.
I will list the best options for each slot. If you are short on gold, you can also use Mighty Stats, Earthen Vitality, Exceptional Spirit and especially Heartsong.
Back: Greater Intellect
Chest: Peerless Stats
Feet: Haste if you have the movement speed talent from retribution, Lavawalker if not.
Off-hand/Shield: Superior Intellect
Wrist: Mighty Intellect
Head: Arcanum of Hyjal
Shoulder: Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone (Therazane)
Legs: Powerful Ghostly Spellthread
Weapon: Power Torrent.
As long as your skill is high enough to get the profession related bonuses (Cataclysm level) and your are not a Herbalist or a Skinner, you are fine. If your profession allows you to choose Intellect bonuses, choose them.
Always aim for a full-plate gear for the 5 % intellect bonus. With some effort gear is so easy get that even if you’re starting with a non-plate set, it’s not worth looking at non-plate upgrades. If you haven’t leveled up yet, you should be careful when deciding whether to discover a particular dungeon entrance because if you haven’t discovered the entrance, Random Dungeon Tool won’t choose that instance. Discover instances with the most upgrades first.
I can’t cover all possible situations, but I do recommend that if you’re in a guild, you should keep in mind that a small upgrade for you might be the Best in Slot item for others. Higher levels items usually improve your performance unless they have truly terrible stats (don’t switch from a 333 spirit/haste item to 346 crit/mastery item).
One of your first goals should be getting trinkets with normal intellect on them. With money and time you can get very good trinkets if you go for Darkmoon Card: Tsunami and Tyrande’s Favorite Doll (Doll from Archelogy), but they’re expensive and hard to get, respectively. Good alternatives are Fall of Mortality, Core of Ripeness and Vibrant Alchemist Stone.
Weapon is naturally a significant upgrade thanks to its high spell power bonus, so you should grab the first epic weapon you can get. After that no item is especially important. You should note that tier pieces by themselves have suboptimal stat distribution, but the non-set pieces often have the perfect spirit/haste combination.
After 4.1 aim for four set pieces (chest off-set if possible).
Useful links for gear:
Set up your UI so that you can easily track all cooldowns, boss abilities and effects on the ground. Hide floating/scrolling combat text items that you don’t need and boss ability timers you don’t care about it. Make sure you can see where your beacon is, who has aggro or forbearance and have a mod remind you if Judgements of the Pure is not active.
In 4.2 mastery was improved: it now stacks up to 1/3 of the paladin's health instead of replacing the shield. Crits now heal for 200% instead of 150%. Mana cost of heals was increased across the board. Holy Light now transfers fully to the beacon of light. None of these changes significantly affect the playstyle of holy paladins.