Thursday, June 18, 2009

3.2: Holy Paladins

Test Realm Patch notes are available. There's lots of changes, so I'll take them one section at a time.

Sometimes I feel that no one at Blizzard plays a paladin. Then I see patch notes like these and I know that no one plays a paladin. These are the changes which effect Holy Paladins.


  • Mana Regeneration: All items that provide "X mana per five seconds" have had the amount of mana they regenerate increased by approximately 25%.
  • Replenishment: This buff now grants 1% of the target's maximum mana over 5 seconds instead of 0.25% per second. This applies to all 5 sources of Replenishment (Vampiric Touch, Judgements of the Wise, Hunting Party, Enduring Winter Frostbolts and Soul Leech).
  • Lay on Hands: The buff from this ability now reduces the physical damage taken by the target by 10/20% instead of increasing the target's armor. (I assume this is Improved Lay on Hands)
  • Sacred Shield: When a paladin casts Flash of Light on a target with this buff, they also now place a heal over time effect on the target, healing that target for 100% of the Flash of Light amount over 12 seconds.
  • Judgement of Light: Now heals for 2% of the attacker's maximum health instead of a variable amount based on the spell power and attack power of the judging paladin.
  • Beacon of Light: The healing amount on the Beacon of Light target is now based on the total healing done (including over-healing) instead of the effective healing done. Radius increased to 60 yards. Multiple Paladins can now have this active on the same target. Buff indicating a player is within range of the Beacon target is no longer displayed.
  • Divine Intellect: This talent now gives 2/4/6/8/10% increased intellect instead of 3/6/9/12/15%.
  • Illumination: This talent now returns 30% of the mana cost of the spell instead of 60%.

Mana Regeneration

Major reductions in mana regeneration. Our regeneration from critical heals is halved. There is about a 20% nerf in regen from Replenishment and the change to Divine Intellect. We do get an increase in effectiveness from mp5. On the whole, mana conservation and controlling overhealing will become a lot more important. I don't think that Holy Light will be able to be used as heavily as before.

However, I think this is a good thing. I called for Illumination for Holy Light to be cut to 30% back in December. We've been ignoring mana for too long, and it will be good to have to consider it once again.

Beacon of Light

First, let's get one thing straight: This is a complete buff for paladins. The new Beacon effectively doubles paladin throughput.

However, it's also a terribly stupid idea which doesn't actually solve any problems that paladins were facing.

In my experience, the fights where I feel the most constrained as a paladin are fights like Mimron Phase 2 or XT's Tantrum. Fights with a lot of raid-wide damage. The new Beacon does not really change much for these fights. It also doesn't change much for the 3rd or 4th paladin healer in a raid. Those paladins are still useless and can't really contribute. Tank healing is already been taken care of by the first couple paladins. I know that having 3-4 paladin healers is not ideal, but it is a much worse position than having 3-4 of any other class.

Second, it changes the dynamic between healer and tank. Paladins will be tank healers who never, ever cast heals on the tank. We heal the tank by not healing the tank. Even if everyone else in the raid is at full health, it is better to cast a heal on a random DPS than it is to cast it on the tank.

This is just wrong. I like casting heals on the tank. I think that going from spamming heals on the tank to spamming heals on everyone but the tank is just stupid, and not in line with what a healer should be doing.

Honestly, I don't see how Blizzard can manage to miss the mark so completely. We're fine as tank healers. Our problem comes when when the tanks are already being taken care of by others. If that ever happens, our usefulness goes to zero. The new Beacon does nothing to rectify that situation.

Other Changes

The other changes are pretty decent. Imp Lay on Hands gives another cooldown that's useful all the time. The new Flash of Light/Sacred Shield interaction adds some more ablation on the tank, while still preserving the doubled throughput. Judgement of Light is reigned in, and now will probably be cast by Holy paladins, allowing the Rets to maintain full Wisdom uptime. All good tweaks.


Mana regen changes hurt but are necessary. Beacon changes are a buff, but are stupid and miss the mark. The other small tweaks are good.


  1. For what concerns change to Beacon, I disagree.

    It is a buff for brainless and unskilled holy paladins, who now can spam in full overheal on a random target and still heal the tank when healing a 5-man heroic for first time.

    It has almost NO effect for skilled paladins (in 10-man and 25-man raids), who already use Beacon in that way when needed, with very little overheal.

  2. Even if everyone else in the raid is at full health, it is better to cast a heal on a random DPS than it is to cast it on the tank.

    I don't see how this would be true. At best, it would be a neutral choice. Assuming that everyone is at full HP (as stated), then no raid member would get a benefit, and the tank would get the full one, thus it's no change between casting it on a DPS or on the tank.

    Well, other then trying to pad the healing meters, but that's just stupid.

    I also think you may be overstating matters a little bit. While yes, Paladins are excellent tank healers, they are not useless at healing general raid damage. From my experience, there's only one fight in Wrath at the moment which has unavoidable raid damage that requires more then 2 raid members to be healed at the same time or have fear of death, and that's XT Hard Mode, since Tantrum then actually can do over 100% of your HP in damage. In other times, dropping Beacon on one of the affected DPS and then healing around him is still effective, even on Mimiron and XT Normal.

    While it's true that the change to Beacon probably doesn't affect this dynamic any, I would be hard pressed to agree that your overall usefulness is 0 if you're not directly on the tank.

  3. I'm not convinced that the FoL/SS change is that big a fillip to FoL given that the main criticism of the spell is it's poor HPS. The change increases the effective HPS of FoL by <12.5%, hardly significant considering the cast time.

    It's also important to find out when the effect occurs. Currently the +50% FoL crit chance only occurs when the shield is active. If the came is said for the new HoT the viability of the effect just took a nosedive.

  4. I don't see how this helps things at all. Either a paladin is primarily a holy light spammer, in which case they'll rarely use the HoT from flash of light to get the benefits, or they use mostly flash of light, in which case the HoT will almost always be overwritten with a new HoT before it runs its course, effectively wasting the HoT.

    Aside from a couple of situations where the entire raid takes massive damage, the buff to beacon of light is minor at best, since any tank with beacon is also getting healed directly in addition to through the beacon. I'm guessing most of the extra healing coming from the new beacon won't help the tanks at all.

    As for the MP5 buff, it's designed to try to make MP5 more valuable, but I don't think it went far enough considering the level of disdain most holy paladins have for it.

    Lastly, the illumination nerf was not what was needed to balance paladin mana. The root cause of the issue is the insane amount of critical strike chance many holy paladins have (in the 40-50% chance range just for some paladins in my guild). If you're critting almost every other heal, you're never going to run out of mana. This is caused by tons of gear floating around with +crit on it, talents that consist of ~33% of the total chance to crit, and intellect stacking.

    What needs to happen to fix this is the retribution talents re-worked so that at least 1 of the talents boosts melee crit and not spell crit, to reduce crit on existing gear with considerably more MP5, and to keep the trend of not having a lot of gear that gives both haste and crit, forcing paladins to balance separate stats with separate pieces of gear.

    This will lower how often a paladin crits, which will lower the mana returned by illumination, but still keeps the talent actually useful.

    By the way, the niche of a paladin is that not only are we a powerful single-target healer, but that we have the most longevity out of all the classes. Our mana should last longer, because quite frankly we aren't as versatile as the other classes (if you're good, you can do a passable job, but just about every other class is better suited at multi-target healing).

    Honestly, aside from the excessive critical chance that holy paladins were running around with, there was nothing wrong with the class that justified these "fixes".

  5. Ok, I'm a bit confused. If you put Sacred Shield on the tank, you get a Heal over Time from Flash of Light, as well as the original heal, or not?

    "...they also now place a hot effect on the target..."

    so if you heal for say 3k with a Flash, does it also create a 3k hot, therefore healing for 6k?

    The nerfs to mana replenishment were inevitable, due to Blizzard's insistence on putting mp5 on Holy plate. We will probably lose Illumination completely in a future patch.

  6. The mp5 change was for shamans. I have the lowest regen of all the healers.

  7. I try not to have knee-jerk reactions to these things; quite often it plays better (or worse) than how it looks on paper so we'll ultimately have to wait until the PTR to judge. That said, the more I think about it, the less I like most of these changes. Yes, regen had to take a hit, but I wonder if they could have done it more surgically. It feels like they're using a sledgehammer to drive in a thumbtack.

  8. The Beacon change is the only one that interests me. And I have a feeling it won't stay that way.

  9. My question would be if the SS HoT will proc when you don't cast FoL directly on the person who is SS. For example, I assume you'd want to put SS on the tank (sorry, I'm a tankadin, not holy) and you'd also be putting Beacon on the tank. Then you'd be healing everyone but the tank. So does this change even help?

    @RJ: You'd never want to heal the tank while they have Beacon on them because if you do it will only ever heal the tank. If you target a random raid member who is at full health they might take damage between you starting and completing the heal meaning your heal will hit them *and* the the tank will get full benifit as well. If the random raid member doesn't take damage, the tank still gets the full heal just as if you'd cast it directly on them.

  10. Paladins will be tank healers who never, ever cast heals on the tank.

    This line struck me because it doesn't sound like it's something that should happen, but at the same time, when I play, I try to maximize the amount of heals I get through Beacon anyway. The top paladin healer in my guild is the same way. If we can be reasonably certain of getting heals off on both the tank (beaconed) and another person without risking the tank's survival, then we heal the other person. Because the tank takes more damage more heals go on the tank anyway, but we like squeezing everything out of Beacon that we can. This change just seems to be an extension of that.

  11. You make a good point about the tank healer never healing the tank, but I think its a "new and exciting" concept that isn't necessarily wrong. I could get used to it.

    The HoT won't ever get wasted because we aren't directly healing the tank. We just Flash him once every 12 seconds to keep it up.

    There are no pallies who use Beacon with very little overheal. You're not going to see a pally with less than 25% overheal. So this change is at least a 25% buff to total healing, especially for those paladins who currently use the Beacon primarily on themselves and just HL spam the tank. With this change, Beacon should (almost) always be on the tank while you spam the raid.

    I'm loving the new changes.

  12. I was a bit confused by the changes until a Shaman friend of mine pointed out to me that, taken as a whole, the changes essentially removed Paladins from tank healing and put Shaman in their place.

    Shaman are terrible at healing the raid because they just can't generate much raw healing. They also have an ability set which screams 'single target healer' - damage reduction proc, HoT proc, 20% boost to Earth Shield'd target, Earth Shield itself. So our Shaman will be rotating Riptide/Lesser Healing Wave/Chain Heal on the tank, and spraying some random healing around with Ancestral Awakening and Chain Heal bounces.

    Meanwhile, the Paladin will have Beacon on the tank and be casting some heal at all times. Even if he just spams Flash of Light on random, full health raid members, he's effectively helping our tank healer keep up.

    But unlike the current game, the Paladin actually has choices. Flash of Light for efficient spot healing, Holy Shock for instacast/on-the-move, and Holy Light for those really heavy damage situations.

    In essence, the Paladin ends up being 75% raid healer/25% tank healer while the Shaman ends up being 75% tank healer/25% raid healer. Neither are particularly competitive at "their" job, but the supplemental benefits to someone else's job justify their presence.

  13. Honestly, I don't see how Blizzard can manage to miss the mark so completely. We're fine as tank healers. Our problem comes when when the tanks are already being taken care of by others. If that ever happens, our usefulness goes to zero. The new Beacon does nothing to rectify that situation.

    Oh so very wrong. Until now, I had to stop spamming into the raid whenever the fight got tough, because my heal landing on a DPS that got topped a split second before it arrived could mean that the tank would either die or drop very, very low.

    Now, all I have to look out for is DPS / healers that'll die just before the heal lands, since that will still cancel the cast.

    So to me, this one is huge.

    One more thing - multipli beacons don't overwrite anymore, I've read? So more than one Pallie can now beacon the tank? Wooo-hooo! Until now, only one Pally could be truly effective in a raid. Starting with the second, their effictiveness dropped because of this. Now it's valid to have more than one Pally-healer in a raid. Wooo-hooo!

  14. Yeeeah my pally isn't going holy again ever, unless this somehow comes off way, way better than it's sounding.


  15. I'm liking the changes for Holy. I am considering dusting off my lvl 70 paladin. IMO, the Beacon change is huge for raiding paladins. Yeah, there is the mana nerf, but I don't expect Paladins to be so gimped that HL won't be half of their casts.

  16. I don't think this will change the way I use beacon at all. I typically put my beacon on the off-tank (or melee DPS that is taking damage) and spam the tank. For fights that have raid-wide damage (Iron Council, for example) I beacon myself and spam/cleanse the tank.

  17. Needained (H) Tortheldrin!1:47 PM, June 25, 2009

    I think that while at first this sounded great! A flipping HoT just what I've been asking for since BC. The thing is now instead of actually giving us a HoT they are just making sure I ALWAYS have SS on the tank. Now if they would have given us a HoT and let us use the original Mechanics of SS (We could have more then one up at a time...) then this would actually be nice. Now FoL is just something I have to spam to make sure its up. I also want to know if the HoT does the base FoL heal or does it include our SP? Now we have to actually use FoL again and get MP5 I was so happy when they stopped with the MP5 stuff for paladins but now its back and well go from being number one on the healing meters to be like last again like in BC where no one really wanted us. Also, this beacon thing is eh okay, now I just have to actually cast on the tanks every 12 seconds the rest of the time i can heal other people. I do see this working very nicely with the HL glyph bc it allows the over healing from that to go to the tank. I have now completely given up hoping for blizzard to change the Holy Paladin bc now I can see that we will never be on the same level of raid healing has any other class of healers. Thanks Blizzard. =)

  18. Are there any self buffs in the game anymore that increase healing received. I'm talking about how warlocks' fel armor used to provide +20% healing received. If one still did exist, then you could beacon the tank, then just spam heals on the person who had that +healing recieved buff active.

  19. I agree with the previous poster who said that he sees changes will eventually occur to the new Beacon system once 3.2 goes live...

    And ill tell you from where the QQ will come from, from the god damn PVP'ers who constantly ruin our PVE fun with their yappin'...

    Can you imagine, being able to heal 2 ppl with one spell? Put beacon on yourself and heal everyone else in an Arena? Trust me people will bitch about the 60 yard range too, how does that work with LOS? Only way I see this being a non-issue is if its constantly dispelled in Arenas..since its a pricey mana cost I could see that happening but to be honest with you, as a Holy Paly in decked out Uldie gear, I cant wait to use this new beacon..

  20. The change to beacon is a HUGE and very, very welcome change for somebody who has been feeling that beacon is horribly under powered as a talent.
    As mentioned above, if a different heal lands right before mine, and I get 1000 effective heal, beacon gets that much. Now, he'll receive full 18k crits.
    Idk if you look at your personal meters for effective healing - With 100% beacon uptime, it counted for like 10% of my heals. If I get ~50 holy light casts, it generally tops my meter, followed by ~ 220 fol casts, followed by holy shock varying only a little.

  21. Why can't you just put beacon/SS on the tank and cast a FoL on them directly every 12 refreshing the hot?

    Since beacon accounts for overheals you can simply heal any raid member and then go back to the tank when the HoT needs to be refreshed.

    Overall I like the changes and then I don't like the changes lol. I mean you are trading spamming HL for spamming FoL. For them to buff beacon they needed to nerf HL "to the ground baby" because it would have been ridiculus to have 60 yard range on beacon with the HL spamming we had before the nerf.

    Now my fingers hurt even more since I have to mash FoL. I tried to keep a HL build and it's possible but you are serverly gimping yourself and healing output. I'm going to regem for SP red sockets, Int yellow sockets, SP/mp5 blue sockets and maybe a +10 stat in there.

    I stacked int our first ulduar run in 25man and even in hard modes spamming my FoL weaving in a few HL when needed I still had tons of mana to burn. I think we just need to max our FoL and maybe get our FoL down to 1 sec cast time but dont gem for haste there is plenty on gear plus the haste we get from judgements.

  22. "This is just wrong. I like...not in line with what a healer should be doing."

    Okay, let's get one thing straight. If I can A) Heal the tank or B) Heal raid members while healing the tank at the same time for the same mana cost, I will choose B every time. Whether it's overheal or not, our healing efficiency has literally been multiplied by 2. That's twice as much healing as 3.1. I don't see why any of you people cannot understand this. Open your friggin' eyes and open your minds! Tank heals + off-raid heals for the same mana cost. Discuss.

  23. Before patch 3.2 i had no problem at all topping the healing charts while putting out effective healing. All the QQing drove me crazy seeing as how amazing pallys can be when they are set to raid healing. I preferred having the disc priest on the MT while i just kept a beacon on him. I totally agree with the nerfs on int seeing as i had 28600 unbuffed mana which made my divine plea insane. I can easily spam Holy Light for a solid 6 minutes in raid before even thinking of having a mana problem.

    As for the FoL/SS change, i actually find it very useful on fights such as general. Last night doing general hard mode i finished the fight with 14k mana with the FoL hot being my top heal. My advice to pallys in 3.2 is don't be afraid to spend mana and overheal. Any mana you have at the end of a boss fight is just wasted.