Friday, August 15, 2008

WotLK Beta - Healing Options

One of the complaints about the downranking change is that Holy Paladins now don't have enough heals to do their job. I think this concern is overstated, as we actually have more options in Wrath.

The mainstays:

Upgraded (you should take a second look at these):

  • Judgement of Light - JoL now scales, and actually does a fair bit of healing. Additionally, Judgements of the Pure now gives a nice haste bonus for Judging.

  • Holy Shock - Blizzard is really pushing Holy Shock. The cooldown has been dropped significantly, it's decently powerful and reasonably efficient. It's falling somewhere in between FoL and HL at the moment. In addition, if HS crits, you get an instant Holy Light with Infusion of Light.

    Some posters at EJ are proposing that Blizzard intends us to melee-heal. Essential heal with Holy Shock and then sit on the instant HL while regenerating mana with Seal of Wisdom. We would do this instead of cast-cancelling Holy Light. I'm in the odd position of arguing that this is not intended, as you can't melee-heal with Holy Shock unless you mouse-over macro the Holy Shock.

    Still it's a possible option, and even without the melee component, sitting on an instant HL instead of cast-cancelling has a lot of potential.

  • Hand of Sacrifice - Adding this one for completion's sake, the fact that Sacrifice no longer removes Blessings makes it a far more useful option.

New spells:

  • Beacon of Light - An AoE heal. Not very impressive yet, but hopefully will be tuned up.

  • Sacred Shield - As this is a level 80 spell and not available in Beta, this is the big unknown in paladin healing so far. If it scales well, and if Blizzard fixes the issues with rage/mana generation and shields, this could be powerful.

We do have a lot more options for healing in the expansion than we do now. Maybe not as many as a priest or druid, but I think we should have all the tools we need.


  1. We have more tools, but a lack of tools is not why good pallys downrank.

    Ask any holy pally in sunwell why they don't use FoL anymore. It isn't because FoL isn't pretty enough to use. It's because it doesn't have the HPS you need. Therefore everyone switches to using downranked Holy Lights, which can provide more HPS than FoL at decent efficiency.

    This change really does make it so that we have 2 spammable heals; cheap and small and expensive and big. Everything else has a prohibitive cooldown (Holy Shock), doesn't heal at all (HoS, SS) or doesn't heal enough (JoL, which is also worth mentioning has a 4 second cooldown on beta).

    So we come to the problem of when the game gets "hard" enough that FoL doesn't heal enough. You can use mid-rank Holy Lights anymore. You're either stuck in the position of A) FoL spam and hope another healer picks up the slack, or B) Spamming Holy Light and going OOM in 35 seconds. None of these "new tools" help with that.

    They have to address the HPS gap issue or everyone except Druids is going to have major tank-healing problems.

  2. I need a reason to get in melee range. otherwise i'll just be sitting at range judging seals to get the buff/debuff.

    I like the idea of being given another task rather than just healbotting. Using a GCD to apply 1 debuff and up to 2 buffs (if you spec for HotC) raidwide during combat seems like it would be more fun than FoL spam.

  3. Priests and Shaman are also faced with the issue where waiting to cast their slower, larger heal on a non-tank target may put that target in jeopardy of being killed before the spell completes. As a result, they must choose between overhealing and reducing the spell's mana efficiency, or opt for their faster heal, which is inefficient to begin with.

    Removing downranking represents the death of the "medium-sized" heal.

    I suggest establishing a scaling base mana cost. Meaning, healers can safely downrank three to four ranks before encountering the flat base mana cost that Blizzard is currently planning to introduce across all ranks.

  4. You over looked one interesting healing option, Sheath of Light. Putting aside the Attack power to Spell Power conversion (every little bit helps) Sheath of Light has the opportunity to increase healing by 60% of FL or HL crits over 12 seconds. That is effectively a 11.25% (7.5% per 1.5 second cast with 150% of base heal) increase to FL spamming.

    This heal will come with no additional mana, or cast time. I'm still a little fuzzy on the actual mechanics as in, if you crit with a FL and then a HL does the larger heal overwrite the smaller or vise versa. Do additional crit heals refresh the trimmer, with the new crit value? Wouldn't it be great if they all stack?

    This effectively gives a HoT to Holy Pallies and while it is based on a proc, however with the changes to crit (single vs. separate melee and spell) you can get 16% to crit from talents on HL/HS/FL by going into the Ret tree.

    You have to give up Bacon of Light and I see no issue with this unless they make this spell an instant cast, cut the manna by a 1/3 and reduce the number of targets from unlimited to say 5.

  5. Sheath isn't actually an extra spell. It's a very intriguing talent option, I agree, but it isn't an extra button we press, so I didn't include it on this list.

  6. Looks like they are fixing a loophole they missed. The game will still function fairly the same, as now it puts more emphasis on passive mechanics to win fights vs active ones such as downranking, trinket swapping, etc. They are getting rid of the tedius and micro intensive motions to make the game more about the Pre-battle vs the battle.


  7. oh well now that sheath of light has been moved further down the ret tree may as well get beacon of light :\