Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thoughts on FoL vs HL Builds

There are are currently two styles of paladin healing builds at endgame: one focusing on Flash of Light, and one focusing on Holy Light.

The Holy Light build is the pretty standard gem-everything-with-Intellect build that we all know and love. It relies on massive amounts of Intellect so that mana regeneration from Replenishment and Divine Plea is maximized.

The Flash of Light build focuses on Spellpower, and relies on the fact that FoL is very efficient to handle mana concerns. The idea is to get enough Haste so that your FoLs cast in 1.0 seconds (about 650 Haste rating), resulting in steady stream of very fast, moderately strong heals. It's sort of being like a living HoT. You generally need T9-level gear before this style becomes viable.

One thing to note is that neither build uses one spell exclusively. HL builds can use Flash of Light when damage is low to save mana, while FoL builds can still drop Holy Light when the going gets rough.

Holy Light's advantage is that it has huge raw throughput. Flash of Light's advantage is that it is "good enough" most of the time, is very steady healing, and you don't have to worry about using Divine Plea or the -50% healing Divine Plea entails.

My personal preference is Holy Light, because the Holy Light build is a bit more "forgiving" than FoL. Massive amounts of healing makes up for a lot of mistakes. If you use HL when you could have used FoL, oh well, you just wasted some mana. On the other hand, if you use FoL (even a strong FoL) when you should have used HL, someone might die.


  1. I keep wavering between the two. I really like FOL builds, they fit my style a little better, and I feel like they "compress" into a heroic build a little better... but the HL build seems to be what people expect... I'm using a holy/ret build currently, so I'm not talented for DivSac/Guard and I feel like that's a lack. But I admit that I've never understood the proper use of that combo, so I feel like maybe not trying it is better than wiping everyone by screwing it up?

    Still making up my mind on that one.

  2. 4pc T9 really made me think about a FoL build, but I was the strongest healer in my guild at the time and switching to FoL from HL would have resulted in a lot of wiping.

    Then, I joined a new guild and they still needed strong direct healers, so I've stuck with it, but I've been curious about FoL. :)

  3. I've met a lot of Paladins that use the Holy Light Build but their main spell has always been Flash of Light. I have yet to meet a 'good' pally healer with that build that mainly used Holy Light. Then again, they would wait till the tank got REALLY low and then cast Holy Light, Oh critical hit!, Tank dies = Wipe. Rather than using Flash of Light first, then Holy Light.

  4. Agree with Rhii and Mia. I use the holy/ret crit build and cast FoL often because it heals for quite a bit. When I know damage is about to ramp up I'll start hitting more HLs. People expect pallies to be HL spammers in pugs. "LF Holy Pally for 25 ICC." They aren't looking for a raid healer. Plus the DivSac combo is not a trick I've ever thought would be valuable enough to go deep into prot versus just healing through damage with big heals or popping wings.

  5. "The Holy Light build is the pretty standard gem-everything-with-Intellect build that we all know and love. It relies on massive amounts of Intellect so that mana regeneration from Replenishment and Divine Plea is maximized."

    Loved? Nope. I've never been a fan of this build strategy. All it ever did for me was put me into 70% overheal. So I've been FoL spamming since Ulduar.

    However, I don't go for a pure FoL build either - I gem for INT more than anything else. I have the Holy Light Glyph AND the Flash of Light Glyph.

    With this setup I can spam FoL for a long, long, long time... and when the going gets really rough I can spam Holy Light for... long enough.

    There are a few Paladins on my realm pushing 35k mana unbuffed. Those guys are, in my opinion, taking things to a ridiculous extreme. Who cares if you have 35k mana if you never drop below 50%?

    I have 30k mana and 3k spellpower. A nice balanced approach is better than a singular focus, IMO.

  6. I'm surprised so many people like the flash of light build. Are most people who like flash of light build stuck in TBC or Vanilla era?

    Over heal really doesn't matter and if you are using flash of light as your main healing spell the other healers are picking up your lack of hps. Holy Light build can do everything flash of light build can do but better, because holy light build can spam flash of light quickly or holy light when it is needed. With the higher ilevel gear you still have a good amount of spellpower even if you gem completely for int.

    I hope blizzard mixes things up for cataclysm so holy pallies no longer have a holy light or flash of light build.

  7. I can spam Holy Light all fight long. Just need to know when you can safely plea. Looking at my recount which has been active through a 25-man ICC up to Putricide.

    Holy Lights 33%
    Beacons of Light 31%
    Glyph of Holy Light 13%
    Judgement of Light 9%
    Holy Shock 7%
    Flash of Light 6%
    Scared Shield absorbs!

    Most of those FoL's are to power up a FoL HOT on the shielded tank.

    As far as divine sacrifice goes:

    /castsequence reset=5 Divine Shield, Divine Sacrifice

    bind to a key, tap it twice when you want your raid and party to take less damage.

  8. I would like to hear from those of you who are healing heroic mode 10s and 25s. Is the FoL build viable? Everything I read on the Blizzard forums says otherwise. I've been spamming FoL since vanilla and after some healers left our guild, there is no one around who can drop a ton of healing on the tank so I'm kinda being forced into the HL build.

  9. christygirl - dawnbringer7:49 PM, January 27, 2010

    I'm kinda in the middle, i have 34k unbuffed mana, full int gem except 63 sp to wep, i use flash libram, and use flash until it gets nasty or anytime it dips, then i switch to HL, i sometimes use HL at beginning where tanks get hit hard, and plea right away, just depends

  10. @ToyChristopher: "Over heal really doesn't matter and if you are using flash of light as your main healing spell the other healers are picking up your lack of hps."

    Wait what? haha I feel the exact opposite. I actually prefer paladins to spam Flash of Light because it feels like it's less hard work for me and the other healers.

    I just haven't met a 'good' pally healer that had the holy build and didn't have FoL as their top spell. So all this input of mine is based on my experience grouping with a paladin(s) and my hubby having a paladin. I just pretty much agree with Dorgol. Finding a nice balance is always a plus to any class :P

  11. @Mia

    I don't know if you've healed any of the encounters where Tank Death is a primary concern. In fights like Beasts of Northrend 25H, pre nerf Ignis 25, Festergut 25, or Thorim and IC hard, these are encounters where your tank will take between 60% and 90% of his health in less than a second, and runs the risk of doing so again a few seconds later. Throughput becomes paramount, and up until recently, a FoL build was simply not viable for those sort of encounters. It has become so now, because the people using those builds outgear those encounters, and are healing tanks who likewise outgear those encounters. There's really only one major tank check in ICC at the moment, and that's festergut, and on easy mode, he's not hitting unreasonably hard.

  12. @The Renaissance Man: I have no problem with paladins using the HL build and using mainly HL. None of my comments even stated that I think one spell/build is better than the other. I just haven't seen or heard one yet that healed well with it, even with Tanks who are taking WAY too much damage WAY too quickly.

  13. I used to be a FoL spammer in Naxx. Then I started Ulduar, and FoL wasn't quite good enough, so I switched to HL for a few weeks, got some more gear, learned the fights, and the rest of Ulduar and TOC I spammed FoL.

    Now with ICC, I find there is a lot of damage alot of the time. With 1.3 sec HLs hitting for over 20K, I find that I use HL more. I have some fights that I have 40ish HL and 40ish FoL, and I have other encounters where its more HL's.

    I stack int like crazy, and am pushing 41K mana right now. That lets me spam holy light for a long time. I also use Divine Plea during slow points in the fights, so I regen a lot of mana throughout a fight.

    Eventually I may go back to FoL when the encounters get a little easier, but for now I feel like HL is the way to go on progression fights.

    Tenicus of Ysera

  14. HL is definetly the way to go for progression content, those big heals are going to keep your tank up for longer, plus the regen mechanics are what I'm finding fun right now, it's much more interesting for me to spam HL for 5 minutes and try not to run oom than it is to spam FoL and.....well, just do that.

    The problem with the Holy/ret build is that it is just there for the 8% crit. That's all it's about. The problem there is that 8% crit is worth substantially less now that Illum has been nerfed to oblivion, making MP5 a much better regen stat.

    If you go down the prot tree though, you get a one minute sacred shield which then marries up with beacon, as well as raid shield wall which is completed underrated. Like, massively underrated. Popping this on Pungent blight means that people go to about half health, rather than 20% or so, which kills them on the next tick. Divine Sacrifice is a raid saver, pure and simple.

  15. Ok guys.. I read all of your comments and all I can say is that it really doesnt matter if u build on HL nor FoL.. Its the playstile and experience that matters most..

  16. Agree that many good Holy paladins that gem/enchant for HL use FoL a lot depending on the content. I even switch between PvP and Renewall libram and sometimes trinkets depending on what i'm espectig to be casting. I think it's important to be able to switch to HL for progression/hard mode unless your FoL build is part of your raid strategy.

    I usually drop SS on a offtank, beacon on the main and heal the offtank. This makes the FoL crit rate very high. If a tank looses more than 10k hp I cast HL and keep cating it until they are topped and then switch back to FoL....(or adjust to whatever is needed)

    I'm really a HL build but I'm curious, how much does a Flash of Light heal for in a FoL centric setup? How much sp do you have?