Update: In addition to the
nerf, Blizzard also reduced the healing from Light of Dawn by 40%. Full details of the patch are found on the Official WOW Blog. Tower of Radiance
This blue post on the official forums from Nethaera confirms that a hotfix was implemented today that nerfs Tower of Radiance to no longer generate Holy Power when casting Holy Light on your Beacon of Light target.
The reasoning is that by using Holy Light (an ultra-efficient, low output heal) to generate 3 Holy Power and then casting Light of Dawn was far too efficient and that many Holy Paladins were being too successful in casting only those two spells. HL, HL, HL, LoD equals massive healing on your Beacon target.
Ok, I get that. That makes sense. I am not looking to have my Paladin overpowered with regards to mana efficiency. What bugs me about this is that it is not just a nerf to our mana efficiency, but it’s also a nerf to our total healing output. With Holy Power being generated up to three times more slowly (2 Holy Lights + 1 Holy Shock equals approximately 4 seconds vs. 3 Holy Shocks with a 6 second cooldown equals 12 seconds), we no longer get to use two of our biggest heals nearly as often without decimating our mana pool resulting in a drop to our potential healing output.
I think a simpler solution would have been to change Light of Dawn itself. By simply changing it to no longer transfer it’s healing I think this problem goes away. As Light of Dawn is not a terribly strong heal by itself, this change removes the temptation to cast nothing but Light of Dawn while still leaving the ability to build up Holy Power through Holy Light, which
is was an excellent strategy when damage is coming in slowly. If a free heal is causing the problem then change the free heal, not the underlying class healing mechanics.
Netaera goes on to say that the purpose of Tower of Radiance is to make direct healing the beacon target less punitive. Now it seems like casting Holy Light itself is punitive and not worth the global cooldown nor the cast time. It certainly doesn’t heal for much, nor is it quick enough to be worth spamming during heavy damage. Previously, during moments of slow damage you could cast three HLs on your beacon target to get full on Holy Power and have an instant heal available for when the damage started to come fast again. Now that you can’t do that, it seems like the only purpose for Holy Light is to make yourself look busy so that the DPSers don’t call you a slacker.
The whole concept of Holy Power seems to really be forced onto the Holy Paladin healing style. It works reasonably well with Retribution because you have a lot of different ways to get Holy Power and you have several different ways of using it. With Holy, it just doesn’t seem to work. Adding the mechanic was supposed to add complexity to the spec and introduce some interesting choices with your spell selection. I don’t think it accomplished this. I fear that with this change they have removed what little synergy that existed between the spells entirely leaving us with many spells, none of which really work together well. We have a bigger tool box than we did before Cataclysm, but is our class more fun or interesting to play?
Full text of the Blue Post after the break.
These hotfixes were intentional and we wanted to share more information about the "why" for you all here:
Mana is supposed to matter for healers, and in the case of Holy paladins, that just wasn’t happening. We were seeing raid groups attempting to learn new bosses where the other healers were out of mana while the paladins were still at 90% of mana. We also thought the experience of paladins healing harder heroic dungeons was inconsistent with that of other healers, or our design intent. We thought it was only a matter of time before groups started going out of their way to stack paladins for raids or recruit them for dungeon runs, which of course is not our intent. For this reason, we thought it was important to address this point now rather than sitting on it until a future patch.
The main culprit for the increased paladin efficiency this was Holy Power from Tower of Radiance. We were seeing a strategy develop where paladins would cast Holy Light on a Beaconed tank, and then cast Light of Dawn on the raid (and use very few other spells). This strategy was remarkably successful considering how simple it is. The Holy Power-based heals are supposed to be an important component of the paladin kit, but because Holy Light is designed to be super efficient, the overall strategy was too efficient. The intent of Tower of Radiance was to make directly healing a Beacon of Light target less punitive, but instead it was becoming the only smart way to play. You can still generate Holy Power by using Flash of Light or Divine Light on a Beaconed target, or through a variety of other ways. Remember, overall it isn’t balanced if paladins are just as mana efficient as other healers and have several mana-free spells.
Light of Dawn was adjusted because it was completely eclipsing Word of Glory. We lowered the healing of Word of Glory late in development, but also redesigned Light of Dawn. They had fallen out of sync, and Light of Dawn was just too good.