Holy Paladin 5.4 Guide Part 3: Talents and Stat Priorities

Tier 1: Level 15 Talents

Tier 1

speed of light

 Increases your movement speed by 70% for 8 seconds. 45 second cooldown.

 

long arm of the law A successful Judgment increases your movement speed by 45% for 3 seconds. 

 

pursuit of justice

You gain 15% movement speed at all times, plus an additional 5% movement speed for each current charge of Holy Power up to 3. 

Any of these talents are fine to take – it’s up to each individual Holy Paladin to find what works best for them. Personally, I prefer Speed of Light for every fight in Siege of Orgrimmar (SoO) except Heroic Blackfuse. For that fight, I find Pursuit of Justice makes it easier to avoid the missiles.


Tier 2: Level 30 Talents

Tier 2

fist of justice

Stuns the target for 6 sec. 30 second cooldown. Replaces Hammer of Justice. 20 yard range. 3.5% base mana.

 

repentance

Puts the enemy into a state of meditation, incapacitating them for up to 1 min. Any damage from sources other than Censure will awaken the target.

Usable against Demons, Dragonkin, Giants, Humanoids, and Undead. 1.7 second cast. 15 second cooldown. 30 yard range. 10% base mana. 

evil pov

Your Judgment fills your target with doubt and remorse, reducing movement speed by 50% for 12 sec.

Any of these talents are fine to take – it depends on player preference and what you’re doing. Fist of Justice is used more often than Repentance or Evil is a Point of View in  a PvE context. Evil is a  Point of View is almost strictly PvP, but there may be uses for it.

Fist of Justice is my go-to talent in this tier because the raids in Mists of Pandaria (MoP) haven’t required a lot of crowd control (cc), which is what would make Repentance preferable.


 

Tier 3: Level 45 Talents

tier 3

selfless healer

Your successful Judgments reduce the cast time and mana cost of your next Flash of Light, Divine Light, and Holy Radiance by 35% per stack and improves its effectiveness by 20% per stack when used to heal others. Stacks up to 3 times. 

eternal flame

Consumes up to 3 Holy Power to protect a protective flame on a friendly target, which heals them for 5,629 and an additional 519 every 3 seconds for 30 seconds.

Healing increased per charge of Holy Power. The heal over time is increased by 100% if used on the Paladin. Replaces Word of Glory. 

sacred shield

Protects the target with a shield of holy light for 30 seconds. The shield absorbs up to 396 damage every 6 seconds. 3 charges. 6 second cooldown. 

Tier 3 is the most important of all the tiers as it determines the stat priority you follow. These are the stat weights for each of the talents:

Selfless Healer: Intellect > Mastery > Haste > Crit > Spirit.

Eternal Flame: Intellect >Spirit to Comfort > Haste to Breakpoint > Mastery > Haste > Crit

A haste breakpoint is the amount of haste rating needed to gain an additional tick of a HoT. For Eternal Flame, the breakpoints are, respectively: 3,506 rating; 7,170 rating; 10,867 rating.

Sacred Shield: Intellect > Spirit to Comfort > Haste to 5,335 > Haste > Crit > Mastery.

The reason I’ve listed Haste to 5,335 before Haste is that you shouldn’t try Sacred Shield without at least that much Haste.

I’ll discuss each of the play-styles more in-depth later on in the guide, but for now, I’ll leave you with this information:

Selfless Healer is the highest HPS spec. It is generally used in 25-man raids and for fights like Thok and Garrosh on 10-man.

Eternal Flame is competitive with Selfless Healer. It is generally used in 10-man raids with most Holy Paladins preferring the 7170 break-point. In 25-mans, it is used in place of Selfless Healer only for Malkorok, as the shield mechanic of the boss forces the use of Eternal Flame. 

Sacred Shield is the lowest HPS spec as it doesn’t scale with Mastery. It has limited situational use on both 10 and 25 man difficulties.


 

Tier 4: Level 60 Talents

tier 4

purity

Places a Hand on the friendly target, reducing damage taken by 10% and damage from harmful periodic effects by an additional 80% for 6 seconds. 30 second cooldown. 7% of base mana.

ubs

When your Divine Shield, Divine Protection, or Lay on Hands are on cooldown, spending Holy Power will reduce the remaining cooldown by 1% per Holy Power spent, up to a maximum of 50% reduction. 

clemency

You can use Hand of Freedom, Hand of Protection, Hand of Sacrifice, and Hand of Salvation twice each before incurring their cooldowns. 

Of all the talent tiers, this it the most versatile. Every one of these talents are useful but each one shines in different fights. Clemency is used in far more situations than the other two, but both Unbreakable Spirit (ubs) and Hand of Purity can be used effectively.

Figuring out which talent suits which fight is largely up to each Holy Paladin, but here are the fights I tend to use Unbreakable Spirit or Hand of Purity instead of Clemency. 

Unbreakable Spirit: Normal Siege bosses -Norushen, Sha of Pride, Galakras (if I’m healing bottom), Iron Juggernaut (with Divine Protection glyph – I’ll discuss glyphs later), Malkorok, and Spoils.

Heroic Siege bosses – Sha of Pride, Galakras (if I’m healing bottom), Iron Juggernaut (with Divine Protection glyph and only if the tanks don’t need the extra cooldown from my hand of sacrifice; otherwise Clemency for that fight), Dark Shamans (if I’m healing bottom, glyphed with Divine Protection, due to Iron Prison debuff), General Nazgrim (glyphed with Divine Protection), and Spoils (if tanks don’t need cd; otherwise Clemency).

Hand of Purity: Normal Siege bosses- None.

Heroic Siege bosses – Dark Shamans (if I’m healing top). 


 

Tier 5: Level 75 Talents

tier 5

holy avenger

Abilities that generate Holy Power will deal 30% additional damage and healing, and generate 3 charges of Holy Power for the next 18 seconds. 2 minute cooldown. 

sanctified wrath

Avenging wrath lasts 50% longer and grants more frequent access to one of your abilities while it lasts. For Holy: Reduces the cooldown of Holy Shock by 50%. 

divine purpose

Abilities that cost Holy Power have a 25% chance to proc the Divine Purpose effect. Divine Purpose: Your next Holy Power ability will consume no Holy Power and will cast as if 3 Holy Power were consumed. Lasts 8 seconds. 

I’ve seen a lot of controversy about this tier, but most Holy Paladins agree: Holy Avenger is the king-pin of this tier. Especially if you’re lucky enough to have the Tier 16 4-set from Siege, which reduces the cooldown of Divine Favor by 60 seconds and grants 4500 mastery while active. Since I haven’t discussed cooldowns yet (I will, don’t worry, it’s on the list!), suffice it to say that Holy Avenger boosts your healing by at least 50% (assuming you have 4-set, of course).

Sanctified Wrath turns the 6 second cooldown of Holy Shock into a 3 second cooldown, but only when Avenging Wrath is active. I haven’t done the math on this talent, so I can’t say if it’s really worse than Holy Avenger, but the only Holy Paladins I have seen, personally, using this talent are those in 14/14 Heroic guilds experimenting with a Sacred Shield build.

As for Divine Purpose- the talent seems good, but it’s not. Any type of talent that is RnG-reliant in a PvE environment is not worth taking. There’s not a single fight in Siege where you can’t predict where tons of damage will come in, and it’s better to have a guaranteed form of burst healing than it is to have an RnG talent that might proc but might not. 


 

Tier 6: Level 90 Talents

tier 6

 prismSends a beam of light toward a target, turning them into a prism for Holy energy. If an enemy is the prism, they take 16,404 Holy damage and radiate 11,060 Healing to 5 nearby allies within 15 yards.

If an ally is the prism, they are healed for 16,404 and radiate 11,060 Holy damage to 5 nearby enemies within 15 yards. 20 second cooldown. 5.4% base mana.

hammer

Hurl a light-infused hammer into the ground, where it will blast a 10-yard area with Arcing Light for 14 seconds. Arcing Light: Deals 3,960 damage to enemies and reduces their movement speed by 50% for 2 seconds.

Heals allies for 3,690 every 2 seconds. 1 minute cooldown. 30 yard range. Instant.

sentence

A hammer slowly falls from the sky, causing 14,099 Holy damage over 10 seconds. This damage is dealt slowly at first and increases over time, culminating in a final burst of damage. Stay of Execution: If used on friendly targets, the falling hammer heals the target for 14,099 healing over 10 seconds. This healing is dealt slowly at first and increases over time, culminating in a final burst of healing. 1 minute cooldown. 40 yard range. Instant.

These last three talents ask us to choose between two AoE heals and a single-target heal. Execution Sentence has no real use in PvE (at least, not one I’ve found) and considering the amount of raid damage in Siege, either Holy Prism or Light’s Hammer is a superior choice.

The size of your raid is the first factor in deciding which of the two to use. Light’s Hammer is favored in 25-mans (and, by the way, the AoE heal from it caps at 6 targets) whereas Holy Prism is favored in 10-mans.

In general, Light’s Hammer is better for stacked fights – if you’re absolutely sure your raid is going to be stacked for a fight, Light’s Hammer may be better to use than Holy Prism. The converse is true for Holy Prism. If you know the raid is going to be spread out, Holy Prism may be better to use than Light’s Hammer. Again, it depends on the size of your raid, the strats you use, and which of the two talents you feel most comfortable with.


In Part 4, I will discuss cooldowns. Since a large portion of Holy Paladin healing depends on the ability to use the cooldowns at our disposal, I think a more in-depth look at those cooldowns may be beneficial.

 

Holy Paladin Guide Part 2: Holy Power and Core Healing Spells

Holy Power System

The Holy Power resource system can be challenging to master, but it is the most important aspect of the paladin class for a healer to master.

The reasons for this are the talents that change the original Holy Power finishers, Word of Glory and Light of Dawn into top priority spells, and the interaction with the Holy Paladin Mastery, Illuminated Healing, discussed previously.

What you need to know:

  • Holy Shock and Holy Radiance grant 1 charge of Holy Power every time they are cast.
  • Divine Light, Flash of Light, and Holy Light grant 1 charge of Holy Power whenever they are cast on a raid member who is targeted with Beacon of Light; this is referred to as the Tower of Radiance (or ToR) effect.
  • No ability will ever consume more than 3 Holy Power.

Hard-Cast Heals

95% of a Holy Paladin’s spell arsenal consists of Hard-Cast Heals. A Hard-Cast Heal is a Healing spell that heals as soon as you finish casting it and doesn’t apply a Heal-Over-Time (or HoT) affect.

  • Holy Shock
  • Holy Radiance
  • Divine Light
  • Flash of Light
  • Holy Light
  • Word of Glory
  • Light of Dawn
  • Lay on Hands

Holy Shock

Blasts the target with Holy energy, causing 1371 to 1484 (+ 136% of Spell power) Holy damage to an enemy, or 9014 to 9764 (+ 83.3% of Spell power) healing to an ally, and granting a charge of Holy Power.

Holy Shock has an additional 25% chance to be a critical strike. 8.0% base mana.

6 second cooldown. Instant.*

Holy Shock is a Holy Paladin’s bread-and-butter spell. It has the highest priority of all our heals, and should never be off cooldown.

Here are the reasons Holy Shock has the highest priority:

  • Holy Shock critical effects proc the Infusion of Light Passive
  • Holy Shock generates Holy Power and is mana-efficient
  • Holy Shock, when used after Holy Radiance, gains Daybreak, and becomes an AoE heal

Infusion of Light

Your Holy Shock critical effects reduce the cast time of your next Holy Light, Divine Light, or Holy Radiance by 1.50 sec.*

Infusion of Light is the primary reason you use Holy Shock on cooldown (after Holy Power generation), because of the cast-time reduction to your other hard-cast heals, especially Holy Radiance.

The reason I say especially Holy Radiance is because Holy Radiance procs Daybreak, which turns Holy Shock into an AoE (or area-of-effect) heal. Not only does Holy Radiance proc Daybreak, it also generates one Holy Power each time it’s cast. Holy Light and Divine Light also generate one Holy Power, but only when they are cast on the person targeted with Beacon of Light, which I’ll discuss more in-depth later on.


Daybreak

After casting Holy Radiance, your next Holy Shock will also heal other allies within 10 yards of the target for an amount equal to 75% of the original healing done, divided evenly among all targets. Stacks up to 2 times.*

Infusion of Light and Daybreak are important passives to manage in order to get the most out of your healing. In theory, it’s better to cast Holy Shock at 2stacks of Daybreak rather than at 1, but it is always better to cast Holy Shock on cooldown, regardless of Daybreak stacks.

The AoE heal provided by Holy Shock when Daybreak is at 2 stacks is nice, but the difference between a 1-stack Daybreak Holy Shock and a 2-stack Daybreak Holy Shock isn’t significant enough that you should wait for 2-stacks before casting Holy Shock.


Holy Radiance

Imbues a friendly target with radiant energy, healing that target for 5098 to 6230 (+ 67.5% of Spell power) and all allies within 10 yards for 50% of that amount. Grants a charge of Holy Power.

Healing effectiveness diminishes for each player target beyond 6. 36% of base mana. 2.5 second cast time.*

Holy Radiance is, in general terms, the 2nd most important spell for a Holy Paladin to use. Talents affect this priority list, of course, and I’ll discuss those talents and how the priority is affected later on.

For now, Holy Radiance grants one Holy Power, grants a stack of Daybreak, and is a moderately decent AoE healing spell. I’ll discuss the proper way to deal with large amounts of incoming tank damage vs dealing with large amounts of incoming raid damage later on.


Divine Light

A large heal that heals a friendly target for 15910 to 17725 (+ 149% of Spell power). 36% of base mana. 2.5 second cast time*

Divine Light does not grant Holy Power unless it is cast on the person who is targeted with Beacon of Light, yet it costs the same amount of mana as Holy Radiance to use.

For that reason, and that reason alone, Holy Radiance is better to use as a filler spell than Divine Light.

That doesn’t mean Divine Light has no place – it does. But to use it efficiently requires a fuller understanding of how Beacon of Light affects healing, which is such an integral part of Paladin healing that I need to cover Beacon of Light in-depth on its own merits – something I will do later on in this guide.


Flash of Light

A quick, expensive heal that heals a friendly target for 11882 to 13331 (+ 112% of Spell power). 37.8% of base mana. 1.5 second cast time.*

Like Divine Light, Flash of Light does not grant Holy Power unless it is used on the person targeted with Beacon of Light.

Flash of Light, however, is more expensive than Divine Light and does significantly less healing than Divine Light, so it is generally better to use Divine Light when Infusion of Light is active than it is to use Flash of Light.

That being said, Flash of Light does have some significant uses, which I will cover later on.


Holy Light

Heals a friendly target for 8390 to 9347 (+ 78.5% of Spell power). 12.5% mana. 2.5 second cast time.*

Holy Light is the spell you should take off your bars. Think I’m joking? I’m not. Sure, it costs less mana than Divine Light, but it heals for significantly less, and no one has time to spend 2.5 seconds waiting around for the meager heal Holy Light has to offer. And there is never a good reason to use Holy Light with Infusion of Light when Divine Light and Holy Radiance do much more healing.

Some paladins will suggest using Holy Light when you’re low on mana, but I won’t. If you are managing your mana correctly, Holy Light is a spell you should never have to cast.

Oh, and did I say take it off your bars? Don’t. You never know. There may be a situation where Holy Light ends up saving the day. I doubt any of us will ever find it, of course, but there is the key to healing, right there:

Always be ready to use every possible tool at your disposal, even if those tools seem useless.

Which means, of course, that you have to know what every single one of those tools does. And that’s what this guide is for!


Word of Glory

Consumes up to 3 Holy Power to heal a friendly target for 4803 to 5350 (+ 49% of Spell power)per charge of Holy Power.*

Word of Glory doesn’t look like it heals for much, does it? I mean, 5k? What kind of heal is that? But this is where Holy Power comes into play.

Before Spell Power is taken into account, a 1-Holy Power Word of Glory heals for 5k, a 2-Holy power Word of Glory heals for 10k, and a 3-Holy Power Word of Glory heals for 15k. Still doesn’t seem like much, does it?

Let’s throw Spell Power into the mix. It’s a safe bet to say that most level 90 Holy Paladins have at least 25,000 Spell Power, if not more. And 49% of 25,000 is 12,250. Add that to the original numbers for 1, 2, and 3 Holy Power Word of Glory casts, and you get a 17,250 heal for a 1-Holy Power Word of Glory, 22,250 for a 2-Holy Power Word of Glory, and 27,250 for a 3-Holy Power Word of Glory, respectively.

Still, the spell doesn’t hit very hard, so it’s not prioritized as a finisher. Certain talents change how Word of Glory works, which I will discuss when I cover talents.


Light of Dawn

Consumes up to 3 Holy Power to emanate a wave of healing energy, healing up to 6 of the most injured targets in your party or raid within 30 yards for 1627 to 1812 (+ 15.2% of Spell power) per charge of Holy Power.*

Light of Dawn is the other Holy Power finisher Paladin healers have at their disposal. The viability of this spell depends on the talents you choose. Without talents, however, you could safely remove this spell off your bars as easily as you could remove Holy Light. The AoE heal provided by Light of Dawn is, in a word, pathetic.


Lay on Hands

Heals a friendly target for an amount equal to your maximum health. 10 minute cooldown. Instant.Causes Forbearance for 1 min. Cannot be used on a target with Forbearance.*

Lay on Hands is listed under hard-cast spells because it is an instant, and it does a large amount of healing. It is better used as a cooldown, however, and I will explain its usage further when I talk about the multiple cooldowns that Holy Paladins have at their disposal.


Beacon of Light

The target becomes a Beacon of Light to all party and raid members within 0 to 60 yards.  

Only one target can be the Beacon of Light at a time.

Your Holy Light will also heal the Beacon for 100% of the amount healed. Your Holy Radiance, Light of Dawn, Light’s Hammer, and Holy Prism will heal for 15% of the amount healed. All other heals will heal for 50% of the amount healed.*

All right. Here we are, at the most difficult – and yet most pivotal – aspect of Holy Paladin healing.

Beacon of Light isn’t a spell you just “throw on a tank,” though that’s what is done with it most often. The truth is, Beacon of Light can be used on anyone in the raid. If the tanks are the ones taking the most damage, then throw it on a tank.

Which tank, you ask? Well, the simplest answer is “the one with the least amount of gear.”

Beacon of Light, however, isn’t that simple a spell.

Choosing a tank to Beacon requires the knowledge of the following:

  • Which tank is the most geared?
  • Which tank is the best player?
  • Which tank’s mastery will Illuminated Healing interfere with?

Remember, Beacon of Light won’t allow the mastery shields applied to other players to transfer through the beacon – the spell restricts the transfer to the healing output only. What does that mean?

Mostly, that you need to know whether your mastery, Illuminated Healing, will interfere with any specific tanks.

Let’s look at those masteries:

Mastery: Blood Shield

Each time you heal yourself with Death Strike while in Blood Presence, you gain 50% of the amount healed as a Physical damage absorption shield.*

This is the mastery of Blood Death Knight. Does Illuminated Healing interfere with their Mastery?

Yes.


Mastery: Critical Block

Increases your chance to block by 4% and your chance to critically block by 18%.*

This is the mastery of a Protection Warrior. Does Illuminated Healing interfere with his Mastery?

No.


Mastery: Divine Bulwark

Increases the damage reduction of your Shield of the Righteous by 8%, adds 8% to your Bastion of Glory, and increases your chance to block melee attacks by 8%.*

This is the mastery of a Protection Paladin. Does Illuminated Healing interfere with his Mastery?

No.


Mastery: Elusive Brew

Increases your Stagger amount by an additional 5%.*

This is the mastery of a Brewmaster Monk. Does Illuminated Healing interfere with his Mastery?

No.


Mastery: Nature’s Guardian

Increases your armor by 16%.*

This is the mastery of a Guardian Druid. Does Illuminated Healing interfere with his Mastery?

No.


So now that you know which tank Illuminated Healing interferes with – Blood Death Knights – what does that mean about Beacon of Light?

Mostly, it means that you should use Beacon of Light over another tank (unless the blood death knight is undergeared or just bad) when you have to decide between a death knight and another type of tank.

Remember, Illuminated Healing does NOT transfer through Beacon of Light, so by keeping the spell on the blood death knight, you are keeping the majority of your shields from interfering with his ability to heal himself.


Beacon of Light is not only about tanks.

Remember? I said that earlier. Beacon of Light can also be used on a DPS who is taking an absurd amount of damage (think about Nazgrim where ranged dps like to turn their backs to assassins), it can be used on other healers (again, think Nazgrim, but this time on Heroic when a Sniper targets a healer), and you can also use it on yourself.

It’s not important to understand how a DPS’ mastery works because there is no DPS specific mastery that deals with self-healing.

Getting used to throwing Beacon of Light around to whoever needs it takes practice. The best way to start is to alternate throwing it from Tank 1 to Tank 2 when they tank swap, then gradually work your way up from there.

Beacon of Light is so integral that it SHOULD ALWAYS BE UP ON SOMEONE. So vital is the spell, in fact, that I almost forgot to write how vital it is because it’s “Common Sense” to me. The idea of a Holy Paladin not using Beacon of Light is so foreign to me it’s ridiculous – the vast majority of your healing as a Paladin is done via the heals transferred through Beacon of Light.

While Beacon of Light has so much versatility it’s impossible to cover all of it in one sitting, I will leave you with this: You rarely ever directly heal the person targeted with Beacon of Light.


In Part 3, I will discuss the Talent Tree as well as the Stat Priorities associated with each build.

 

*All spell descriptions are taken from Wowhead’s website.*

Holy Paladin Guide 5.4 Part 1: Stats

Holy Paladin Guide 5.4: Stats

Intellect

Intellect is a healer’s primary stat and provides the following:

1 Intellect = 1 Spell Power

1 Intellect = .0004 Crit Rating


Spirit

Spirit is a healer’s primary secondary stat.

Holy Insight, a passive, directly affects Spirit and Longevity, and is equivalent to the Meditation passive of other healers. Here is what Holy Insight Does:

  • Increases effectiveness of your healing by 25% and your Word of Glory, Eternal Flame, and light of Dawn by 50%.
  • Increases mana pool by 400%.
  • Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from spirit to continue while in combat.

Formulas for Calculating Total Regen and Combat Regen

Mana Regen = Total Base Mana * 0.02 + 1.1287 * Spirit

Combat Regen = Total Mana * 0.02 + (1.1287 * Spirit * Holy Insight )


Haste

Haste has two primary functions as a secondary stat.

1. It decreases the cast time of a hard-cast spell.

2. It increases the duration of a heal-over-time (HoT).

425 rating = 1% haste.

Hard-cast spells are spells like Divine Light, Holy Radiance, Flash of Light, Holy Light, and Holy Shock (among others).

The formula for calculating the cast time for a hard-cast spell is:

New Cast Time = [Base Cast Time / (( 1 + (Haste Rating / 425 x 100) x Haste Modifiers) ]

Formula for Calculating HoTs

HastedTickCount = Round( (BaseDuration/BaseTickTime) * (1 + Haste) )

The reason you round is because Blizzard uses banker’s rounding to calculate HoTs. Generally speaking, if you have half a tick, you have a whole one. There are exceptions to that, though, that deal with the odd best that is banker’s rounding, and you can find more information about that here.

For a more detailed explanation about calculating HoTs, see Totemspot’s post here.

paladinholyCredit for breakpoints goes to Totemspot.


Mastery

Illuminated Healing, a holy paladin’s mastery, place absorb shields on the people you heal for a percentage of the healing from a spell. The percentage absorbed is equivalent to your mastery percentage. Beacon of Light doesn’t proc Illuminated Healing, so any heals transferred through Beacon will not apply a mastery shield.

480 Mastery = 1% Mastery

Illuminated Healing caps out at 1/3rd of the casting holy paladin’s health. This is important to remember, as no in-game tooltip reveals this aspect of mastery.


Critical Strike

Critical Strike rating increases the chance for spells to hit for double their original amount. It scales decently with Mastery, as it increases the total amount of a shield. The only setback is the hidden aspect of Mastery I mentioned.

The biggest drawback of Crit has always been it’s unreliability, due to its RNG nature. This is a stat heavily preferred by PvP Holy Paladins, but avoided by PvE Paladins.

The reason?

600 Critical Strike = 1% Critical Strike.

As you can see, it takes much less Mastery rating to reach 1% of Mastery than it takes Crit rating to reach 1% Critical Strike, and Mastery, unlike Crit, is a reliable throughput increase. Crit’s great when it works, but being RNG based makes it a stat I’d be hesitant to stack.

I’m Not Healing You Machinima

This video reminds me of the dungeons I was doing on my level 88 Resto Druid yesterday, as I kept queuing into groups where the tank couldn’t hold aggro off me, the DPS stood in everything they could find to stand in, and the tanks pulled bosses when I was sub-20% mana.

Luckily, I’ve been playing healers for years, so I expect to deal with those kinds of groups on a regular basis. But I feel sorry for new healers who take the blame for wipes in those groups because they lack the experience needed to compensate for bad players.

Granted, even a good healer can’t save every wipe. In Shado’Pan Monastery, the tank decided to pull two packs of the small sha adds while I was sub-40% mana, the dps didn’t interrupt the heals, and even two breezes later (I died, dk tank rezzed me; he died, I rezzed him) we still wiped. We ended up joking about it a bit, but I ditched that group at the end of the dungeon.

During a Mogu’Shan Palace run, I got a decent warrior tank who asked the rest of the group before the last boss if we wanted to queue with him. I said yes. I asked him not to pull the last boss to the door because I think that strat is one of the most inane things in the game, but he did it anyway. I can’t stand tanks who ignore the requests their healers make, so I ditched that group and took my chances on the next one.

When I first started playing, tanks and healers–even in 5-man dungeons–worked together. Banded together, even, against the dps who messed with either one. Nowadays, tanks in randoms don’t watch healer’s mana, pull everything possible, and bitch at healers when the group wipes–never once considering that hey, that wipe just might be the tank’s fault because of his own failure to be considerate of the healer.

As an experienced healer, I can put up with bad tanks like that all day long and carry them through dungeons and 5-man heroics. But new healers? How many of them have bad tanks turned away from healing because the tanks accuse the healers of being bad, and, without knowing any better, those healers took it to heart and decided they were bad healers and quit even trying?

And that’s what bothers me. Not that I have to put up with shitty tanks, but that people new to healing get turned away from one of the most enjoyable roles in the game because they get blamed for things that are not their fault.

 

Transitioning to Healing 10-Man Raids

The standard composition of a 10-man raid is 2 tanks, 2-3 healers, and 5-6 dps. For healers who have only ever done 5-man dungeons, this composition presents some unique challenges.

hits harder

In a 5-man, you are rarely ever in danger of dying. That changes in a 10-man raid. Trash mobs can hit tanks like trucks. A dps standing in a bad ground AoE might die if he takes two ticks.

To deal with this, you need to know what every spell in your spellbook does. What external cooldowns you can use on a tank or dps that is getting hit way too hard out of nowhere and what cooldowns you have that will reduce the damage that the entire raid is taking or heal the entire raid at once.

On top of that, you need to know what every other healer in your raid is capable of doing. You need to know their spellbook almost as well as you know your own. That doesn’t mean you need to be able to play their classes, but you need to know what tank and raid cooldowns each one offers.

Druid Cooldowns

  • Ironbark: reduces damage taken by target by 20% for 12 seconds. 1 minute cd.
  • Nature’s Swiftness: Next Healing Touch becomes free and instant cast, doing 50% more healing. 1 minute cooldown.
  • Tranquility- Heals 5 ppl within 30 yards with lowest health. 3 minute cooldown.

Paladin Cooldowns

  • Hand of Sacrifice: Reduces target’s damage taken by 30% for 12 seconds. 2 minute cooldown. When talented into Clemency, a Paladin can use two Hand of Sacrifices before activating the cooldown.
  • Hand of Salvation: Removes all threat from target for 12 seconds. 2 minute cooldown. When talented into Clemency, a Paladin can use two Hand of Salvations before activating the cooldown.
  • Hand of Protection: Protects target from all physical attacks for 10 seconds, but prevents them from using physical attacks while it is active. 5 minute cooldown. When talented into Clemency, a Paladin can use two Hand of Protections (BoPs) before activating the cooldown.
  • Hand of Freedom: Grants immunity to movement-impairing effects for 10 seconds. 25 second cooldown. When talented into Clemency, a Paladin can use two Hand of Freedoms before activating the cooldown.
  • Hand of Purity: Reduces damage taken by 10% and damage taken from dots (damage-over-time) by an additional 80% for 6 seconds. 30 second cooldown. This must be talented into.
  • Devotion Aura: Grants immunity to silence/interrupt effects and reduces all magic damage taken by 20% for 6 seconds. 3 minute cooldown.
  • Lay on Hands: Heals a target for an amount equal to the Paladin’s maximum health.

Shaman Cooldowns

  • Ascendance: All healing done is duplicated and distributed to nearby allies. 3 minute cooldown.
  • Spirit Link Totem: Reduces damage taken by everyone within 10 yards by 10%. 3 minute cooldown.
  • Healing Tide Totem:Heals 5 ppl within 40 yards with lowest healt. 3 minute cooldown.
  • Mana Tide Totem: Restores 200% of caster’s spirit to raid members within 40 yards of the totem. 2 minute cooldown.
  • Bloodlust/Heroism: Increases melee, ranged and spell haste by 30% for 40 seconds. 5 minute cooldown. 10 minute Exhaustion debuff applied to raid when used, which prevents anyone with the debuff from receiving the benefit of Bloodlust/Heroism.

Monk Cooldowns

  • Life Cocoon: Increases periodic healing taken by 50% for 12 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.
  • Revival:Instantly heals all raid members within 100 yards and clears them of any harmful Magic, Disease, and Poison effects. 3 minute cooldown.

Discipline Priest Cooldowns

  • Spirit Shell: Causes Heal, Flash of Heal, Greater Heal, and Prayer of Healing to become 15 second absorb shields. Ability lasts 10 seconds. 1 minute cooldown.
  • Pain Suppression: Reduces target’s threat by 5% and damage taken by 40% for 8 seconds. 3 minute cooldown.
  • Power Word: Barrier: Reduces all damage taken by 25% to those standing within the barrier. Lasts 10 seconds. 3 minute cooldown.
  • Hymn of Hope: Restores 2% mana to 3 nearby people with low mana every 2 seconds for 8 seconds, increasing their total maximum mana by 15% for 8 seconds. Maxes out at 12 mana restorations. 6 minute cooldown. Channeled Spell.

Holy Priest Cooldowns

  • Divine Hymn: Heals 5 ppl within 40 yards, increasing healing done to them by 10% per second. 3 minute cooldown; channeled spell.
  • Hymn of Hope: Restores 2% mana to 3 nearby people with low mana every 2 seconds for 8 seconds, increasing their total maximum mana by 15% for 8 seconds. Maxes out at 12 mana restorations. 6 minute cooldown. Channeled Spell.

second tank

When you start healing 10-mans, the first thing you become aware of is that there are now two tanks to keep alive. That’s twice as stressful!

But it is actually the easiest transition to deal with. All that happens is your priority list of tank > you > dps becomes tank > tank > you > dps.

The hardest part about dealing with a second tank is answering the question which tank should I focus?

Druids have Lifebloom. Paladins have Beacon of Light. Shamans have Earth Shield. Monks have Enveloping Mist. Priests have Power Word: Shield.

At a beginner level, Druids, Paladins, Shamans, and Monks should focus those abilities on the tank who is taking the most damage at any given time. Priests — both Holy and Disc– should be able to keep Power Word: Shield up on both tanks without any problem.

When you hit the intermediate stage, you are able to switch the tank you focus more easily. Druids will flip Lifebloom to whatever tank is getting hit hardest and then back to the other tank when that damage period is over.

The same concept applies for Paladins, Shamans, and Monks. Priests get better at timing their Power Word: Shield. For Disc, they develop a better understanding of where Prayer of Mending is best utilized. And Holy Priests learn how to flip between Chakra: Serenity and Chakra: Sanctuary more efficiently.

At the advanced level, you are able to switch your tank-focusing spells to dps who need the healing more. Druids, Paladins, Shamans, and Monks can flip Lifebloom, Beacon of Light, Earth Shield, and Enveloping Mist to a dps that is getting rocked and then flip those abilities back to the tanks when the danger has passed. A Disc Priest is able to balance their Power Word: Shields with their Atonement healing and Holy Priests dance between chakras with ease.

more dps

As far as problems go, this is a moderate one. More people to keep alive is challenging on its own, but adding dps into the mix has a way of mucking things up.

By now, you’re used to it- the dps who stand in poison and don’t move out of charges or bladestorms. And then they yell at you, because you didn’t heal them.

When you are in a raid setting, the phrase “I don’t heal stupid,” is the last thing you want to be saying. It’s okay to indulge in that kind of behavior in a 5-man, but never in a raid.

That being said, dps get their own priority list. This differs between healers, of course, because one healer might prioritize numbers and the other might prioritize raid awareness. Another might prioritize both.

As a healer new to 10-man raiding, you need to figure out which two dps are the most vital to the raid and prioritize them. This is the beginner level.

When you get to the intermediate level, your priority list becomes more flexible. You may prioritize two dps on one fight that you don’t on another. Or even change your priority list during different phases of a single fight. And you might extend your priority list to three dps instead of two.

At the advanced level, your priority list includes everyone in the raid and you adjust your healing automatically. You notice a dps taking damage and immediately switch to healing them, but never lose your awareness of the tanks’ health pools or who else needs spot-healing. At this level, healing becomes fluid.

another healer

Or two, if you are three-healing. This is probably the most difficult change to adjust to, because you are no longer solely responsible for a group’s failure.

A lot of healers mistakenly assume that the addition of another healer (or two) gives them a reason to relax or slack off.

But 10-man groups have at least two healers because two healers are needed to deal with the damage.

That means you can’t slack off. You have to do your job and do it well– you are still responsible for keeping the raid alive. The only thing that’s changed is that now you share that responsibility with another healer or two.

Some healers take it too far in the other direction and assume that they are solely responsible for the raid’s health.

When that happens, they try to heal too much and end up running themselves OoM (out-of-mana) before a fight is halfway over.

In a 10-man, you have to strike a balance with your other healers. Some guilds use healing assignments to make this easier, so that one healer is responsible only for the tanks and the other healers are responsible for specific parties.

Using healing assignments is great whenever you are first making the transition to 10-man healing. Doing so allows you to get a feel for what your co-healers are capable of and adjust your own healing accordingly.

In a 10-man environment, healing assignments are best used at the beginner level. If you never get out of the habit of only healing who you are assigned to heal, you will stagnate as a healer and you will not get better.

The reason for this is that healing is a dynamic role that requires flexibility and adaptability. The more serious you get as you raid, the more you need to have the skills to step into any role that is needed.

At the intermediate level, some raid leaders will still assign healing priorities to each healer. But they trust those healers enough to know that the healers will step outside of those priorities if a bad situation arises that needs to be dealt with.

At the advanced level, healing assignments aren’t used. Healers communicate with one another, calling cooldowns and range issues. At this level, each healer is aware that they share the responsibility for keeping the raid alive.

conclusionHealing a 10-man raid is vastly different than healing a 5-man dungeon. Getting used to the differences takes time and your skill-set as a healer grows with experience.

As you gain more experience, you become more flexible and more willing to step outside the healing role when it is necessary to do so. You gain confidence and lose panic reactions, learn how to heal without tunneling, and gain the trust of your raid team.

Dealing with 5-mans as a Healer.

Dealing with 5-mans as a Healer.

The standard composition of a 5-man group is 1 tank, 1 healer, and 3 dps. Most 5-man groups are found through the Looking for Group (LFG) system. The random people you’re matched with in a 5-man through the LFG system can challenge you in a few different ways.

tanking difficulties

The tank is in a DPS spec and insists it is his tanking spec.

You are better served by taking the dungeon deserter debuff and waiting 30 minutes to queue again.

The tank doesn’t use his mitigation cooldowns and takes an excessive amount of damage.

You can suggest the use of specific cooldowns on certain pulls or bosses to the tank, if you understand his tanking class enough to give those suggestions.

Or you can choose a talent to help you help him with his mitigation. On a Paladin, for example, you can take the Clemency talent and use Hand of Sacrifice when he is taking a lot of damage. You can also use Lay on Hands if he drops too low.

If he refuses to take suggestions and your mitigation spells aren’t enough to keep him alive, then you should drop the group and requeue.

The tank pulls entire rooms regardless of repeated suggestions to slow down.

Most tanks who pull aggressively are insanely geared and only doing Heroic 5-mans to Valor Cap. Your skills as a healer are unnecessary and you should enjoy the carry. They don’t happen often, so take advantage of them when you can.

The other tanks who pull aggressively are incompetent. They are the ones who yell at healers for letting them die. Leave the group. You are not obligated to suffer through harassment and doing so will only damage your confidence, which is a healer’s most valuable asset.

The tank doesn’t pay any attention to the amount of mana you have.

A tank’s failure to pay attention to your mana may be a sign of a new player. One of the things new tanks struggle with is the idea their pulling pace is dependent on the amount of mana their healer has available. Always tell your party when you need to drink.

If a tank continues to pull despite your “Oom” messages in party chat, try whispering him and asking him to pay more attention. Chances are, he hasn’t been reading the chat — a lot of people don’t — and a whisper may work wonders.

But if the tank continually ignores your request to get mana before he pulls, leave the group and requeue. Tanks and healers need to work in harmony and when a tank refuses to communicate with you– his healer– he has failed. You are not obligated to try and make a one-sided tank-healer relationship work. Go find a better friend!

DPS difficulties

The DPS are pulling for the tank.

While it’s bad form for DPS to pull instead of a tank, in a 5-man, you can generally overlook the rudeness. If a tank pulls too slowly, a DPS (especially a ranged) might pull more mobs to the group to make the run go faster. Ignore and keep healing..

If a DPS takes off in a different direction and starts pulling things himself, ignore the renegade DPS and stay with the tank. Your #1 priority is keeping the tank alive, so if a DPS wants to wander off and get himself killed, let him.

When he complains about not getting heals, tell him you’ll heal him if he stays with the group. The problem is solved 90% of the time. The other 10%? The DPS will continue pulling random mobs. Just let him die. Eventually he’ll get the hint or leave the group, solving the problem for you.

The DPS are standing in AoE ground effects.

“I don’t heal stupid,” has come to be a pretty standard healer response to DPS who think poison circles and other nasty ground effects are okay to stand in. As a healer, you should never refrain from healing someone just because they are standing in poison– with a couple exceptions.

The first exception is the tank. If he is taking a lot of damage and a DPS chooses to stand in a ground effect, prioritize the tank. The second exception is your mana. If healing the derpy DPS will oom you, ignore him and focus on the rest of the group.

When DPS complain about lacking heals after standing in ground AoE effects, you should calmly explain to them the ground AoE effects killed them and how they can avoid those effects. Some DPS don’t understand reducing the damage they take is their responsibility. Explain they help you out when they do so, but be nice about! (Also, don’t yell at a DPS for healing themselves).

healing difficulties

Bad healing causes more wipes than anything else. The first thing you should do is ask yourself: “Did I cause the wipe? If yes, what can I do fix my mistake? If not, how can I help the group avoid the same mistake?”

tools for healers

Working Knowledge of Your Class Mechanics

If you don’t know how every spell in your spellbook works, then you are lacking knowledge of your class mechanics. And when I say every spell, I mean every spell–including the ones you consider useless. There may come a time when one of those useless spells isn’t quite so useless after all.

(For a Paladin Specific Guide, see Lifespark’s 5.4 Holy Paladin Guide.)

Mouseover Clicks and/or Keybinding for All Spells.

Mouseover clicks and/or keybindings are vital.They increase your reaction time by a significant margin and can mean the difference between a wipe and a kill. Yes, adjusting takes time and using them may be awkward. But once you get used to mouseover clicks and/or keybindings, you’ll wonder how the hell you ever healed without them. If you’re a person resisting this change– honestly? Get over it.

In-depth Understanding of Boss Fight mechanics

The knowledge of boss fight mechanics is invaluable. Get into the habit of reading the dungeon journal and watching videos for every 5-man Heroic you haven’t done. Preparing allows you to plan out healing cooldowns accordingly.

Exceptional Raid Awareness

Raid awareness — or environmental awareness — is vital.. As a healer, your eyes are primarily focused on your raid/party frames, which makes it incredibly easy to forget about mechanics you should avoid, such as poison puddles on the ground or stunning charges from certain ads.

As a healer, your raid awareness has to be better than a DPS’s raid awareness. Healers have to focus on their raid/party frames and avoid mechanics simultaneously, while DPS have to focus only on their own feet and the boss/ad they are attacking.

A Good User Interface (UI)

A good UI is a healer’s most valuable tool. A standard UI package is Elvui and it comes with nearly everything a healer needs. The only things you’d need to add to Elvui as a healer is a Boss Mod add-on like Deadly Boss Mods (DBM) or BigWigs and a spell tracker like WeakAuras (or NeedtoKnow or TellMeWhen).

For more information on building a healer-friendly UI, see Lucydin’s posts on Vuhdo and Weakauras.

Level 100 Talents: Saved by the Light

***Disclaimer: This post is speculative in nature***

The Level 100 Talents are centered around Beacon of Light, the most iconic spell in the Holy Paladin toolkit.

Tower of Radiance is a passive ability that grants 1 Holy Power when using Flash of Light or Divine Light on the Beaconed target. Assuming the ability stays the same, Divine Lightwill be replaced by Holy Light and both Holy Light and Flash of Light will grant 1 Holy Power when cast on the Beaconed target.

saved

Saved by the Lightis a passive that automatically grants a 30% absorb shield (based on the max hp of the person it triggers on) to either you or your Beacon of Light target when either of you drop below 30% health. It cannot be triggered on the same person twice within 1 minute.

This is definitely a tank-healing ability, considering the higher health pools tanks have and the larger absorb shields those said health pools would create when Saved by the Light procs.

In the current MoP healing model, Saved by the Light looks situational.

The best example I can think of is Heroic Dark Shamans, because of the Iron Prison debuff. Since the Iron Prison debuff lasts exactly a minute, Saved by the Light becomes easy to examine.

If I used Clemency, Eternal Flame, and Saved by the Light, healing the bottom would be effortless. Normally, I Beacon the tank, but Saved by the Light would make me swap Beacon more often.

When the Iron Prison debuff comes out, I’d place Beacon of Light on one of the two affected. For example, a mage and shaman gets the debuff. Well, a mage can ice-block, so the shaman gets Beacon of Light and the absorb shield from Saved by the Light when his cooldown keeps him from negating less than 20% of the damage from Iron Prison.

Or say the mage and I get the Iron Prison debuff. I know the mage can ice-block, so I’m not going to waste my time swapping my Beacon off the tank. I’d still have to glyph Divine Protection to deal with the physical damage from the debuff, but Saved by the Light would create a 30% shield to the 20% life I’ll have left after I use Divine Protection to deal with the removal of the Iron Prison debuff.

A situation might arise where the tank drops below 30% when Iron Prison is on me and Saved by the Light will buy me a little extra time to get him healed up–and as soon as he is over 30%, Saved by the Light will activate again, but on me.

All I would have to do to maximize Saved by the Light uptime on a fight like Heroic Shamans would be to throw Beacon of Light on those people with the Iron Prison debuff who won’t be able to use a cooldown to reduce more than 20% of the damage. And then switch Beacon of Light back to the tank immediately afterward.

con5

In Warlords, the healing model will be different, with less spike/burst damage going out. Saved by the Light is a talent that may work well with the new model, because it is almost useless for the current one.

I say it may work well with the WoD model because Saved by the Light makes you think about the placement of Beacon if you don’t want to waste the talent. Saved by the Light feels like a situational talent, where certain mechanics may force us to use it over Beacon of Faith.