Holy Paladins in 4.2 - What You Need to Know

The release of Patch 4.2 brings with it the first major new content of Cataclysm: A new raiding tier taking place in a gigantic zone, a new quest hub and dailies with excellent gear rewards, a Legendary Staff for the Mages and Warlocks to fight to the death over, and a new, epic questline advancing the story of Thrall and the Earthen Ring. Not to mention getting a chance to kill Ragnaros once and for all and an opportunity to finally shove all that goddamn dirt that we gathered right in Fandral Staghelm's snarly face. Good times.

But with this patch, as always, come a lot of changes, balances and tweaks to the classes. Holy Paladin's are getting off pretty easy this time around; avoiding drastic changes but getting some quality of life changes, a couple of buffs and of course, getting the mana cost of our direct heals nerfed yet again.

I have put together a list of all the changes in this patch that are relevant to Paladins of the Holy persuasion, along with my comments. Full Patch Notes are here: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2993743


  • All healing critical strikes now heal for 2 times a normal heal (+100%), up from 1.5 times a normal heal (+50%).
A straightforward buff to all healers throughput, and an attempt to make Critical Strike rating a desirable secondary stat for healing. I'm still not completely sold on the viability of Crit as a stat for Holy Paladin healing, but I'm not going to say no to any extra 50% buff that Blizzard is willing to give me. Since Blizzard is doing everything they can do to force us away from Divine Light and to the smaller, more efficient Holy Light, this is a very welcome increase to our healing that will help make up for the fact that we'll be less able to spam our biggest heal.

I am, however, looking forward to seeing those big, juicy Divine Light crits.


  • All class abilities which place a buff on friendly targets no longer generate any threat. This goes for raid-wide buffs like Mark of the Wild and Power Word: Fortitude, as well as triggered effects such as Blessed Resilience or Fingers of Frost, and single-target buffs like Dark Intent and Hysteria. The exception is buffs which directly cause healing or damage, such as Thorns or Renew. Abilities such as these still generate normal threat.
This is a really small change, but it's one of those blindingly obvious, "why wasn't it like this in the first place" changes. It happened rarely, but every now and then I would refresh Beacon of Light or a Blessing just as the boss is being pulled and get aggro. I'm not really sure why a boss would think that Beacon of Light is a threat and want to rearrange my face, but it's been known to occur. This is just a quality of life change, really, but it will make your tank's life just that much easier and may prevent you from getting your head pounded into the ground on occasion.


  • Divine Light mana cost has been increased to 35% of base mana, up from 30%.
  • Flash of Light mana cost has been increased to 31% of base mana, up from 27%.
  • Holy Light mana cost has been increased to 12% of base mana, up from 10%.
Okay, ouch, this hurts. In a recent article on the official WoW blog, Ghostcrawler said "We concluded PvE Holy paladins were ending fights with too much mana relative to other healers, so we raised the mana cost of their single-target heals" and this change steps in to correct this. 

If I was to look at our mana situation objectively and not as a completely partisan class zealot, I would tend to agree and I think that these changes are reasonable. Looking at other healers, Paladin's have it enormously easier when it comes to mana. Often during raids I'll hear a healer call out for an Innervate or a Hymn of Hope while I'm sitting pretty with 80% mana having done about the same amount of healing. So while the zealot in me is storming through the house knocking holes in the drywall, I can appreciate that this is designed to bring Paladins to the same level as the rest of the healers and I think I'm okay with that.

 The Divine Light increase stings though... a 17% increase is a big jump.

    Delicious, but
    while healing.
  • Holy Shock mana cost has been decreased to 7% of base mana, down from 8%. 
A small buff to make up for the last one. I don't think that making Holy Shock cheaper is going to have any effect on my Mana as the cost now is unnoticeable and I'm already casting it on cooldown as much as I can anyway. So, thank you, Blizzard, for doing the equivalent of tossing a Gummi Bear to a starving man.

Still, a Buff is a Buff.

  • Beacon of Light can no longer be dispelled. In addition, it now transfers 100% of the heal from Holy Light, but still 50% of the heal from other spells.
Beacon of Light can no longer be dispelled, which I assume is going to be great for PVP. I've never run into this as a problem, so I will refrain from commenting further.

However, the transfer of 100% of Holy Light to the Beacon target is a fabulous change that I am very happy to see. 

I'm not sure how everyone else does it, but when I'm healing and responsible to keep a tank up, I still rely on my Beacon of Light to do a lot of the heavy lifting for me. At 50% transfer, Holy Light was next to useless when trying to keep a tank up through the Beacon, forcing a lot of Divine Light casts on Raid members that, strictly speaking, could likely have been kept up with a Holy Light. With Blizzard doing whatever they can to get us away from spam casting Divine Light, this will allow us to cast our ultra-efficient Holy Light more often and have it be effective in more situations.

  • Illuminated Healing (Mastery) has been adjusted slightly so that if a paladin refreshes an existing copy of his or her own Illuminated Healing on a target, the new absorption amount will be added into the old absorption amount and the duration will be reset. The total absorption created can never exceed 1/3 of the casting paladin's health.
I posted in depth about this change in my previous article: Illuminated Healing in 4.2: New! Improved! 100% More Shiny!.

I think that the buff to our Mastery coupled with the improvement to Critical Heals and the change to Holy Light will go a long way to make a Crit and Mastery gearing strategy viable for Tank healing in Raids, and I'm very intrigued to check the numbers out. I think some more research is needed on this one before it can be fully understood. As of now, however, I am going to stick with my previous Haste-heavy build.

  • Infusion of Light can now lower the cast time of Flash of Light by 0.75/1.5 seconds, in addition to Holy Light and Divine Light. In addition, the old Denounce spell overlay effect has been transferred to Infusion of Light since Denounce is no longer a proc.
Nobody uses Flash of Light. It doesn't heal enough to compete with Divine Light, it's too expensive to compete with Holy Light and isn't fast enough to make it worth casting over either of them. 

If only it was instant I might actually use it.

What's that? Infusion of Light now reduces the cast time by 1.5 seconds? Ahh. I see. Right. Carry on then.

  • Speed of Light now increases movement speed when Holy Radiance or Divine Protection are cast. In addition, this talent now reduces the cooldown of Holy Radiance by 13/26/40 seconds, up from 10/20/30.
This buff is nice, but not, I think, in the way Blizzard intended. I think that they view this as allowing us to use Holy Radiance more often, and therefore being more effective at AOE healing, which is true. However, I have rarely found that Holy Radiance is on cooldown when I need it, and I'm not sure how it being available 10 seconds earlier will change things dramatically. But it may allow us to move a Talent Point from this and put it elsewhere and still have virtually the same cooldown as before.

Actually, the thing that I am excited about with this change is having the Speed of Light movement increase be activated by both Holy Radiance and Divine Protection. It makes a lot of sense, actually, because when I need to quickly move out the fire Divine Protection's damage reduction is also likely to come in handy, not to mention save me the mana cost of Holy Radiance (which ain't cheap).

  • Walk in the Light now improves Word of Glory healing by 30%, in addition to its current effects.
Sweet Merciful Neptulon! An actual, no-bullshit BUFF! In Ghostcrawler's words: "We buffed Word of Glory for three reasons: We felt Holy Power was mattering less to Holy paladins than it did at Cataclysm launch. We wanted to provide more uninterruptible healing in PvP. We knew Light of Dawn was trumping Word of Glory in almost all cases in 25-player raids". Excellent.

As a 10-man raider, I use Word of Glory a lot, and this buff makes it's use in 10-mans a complete no-brainer, as well as making it a viable option in 25-man content. Consider this slavering class zealot pleased. I almost regret the car bomb I put under Ghostcrawler's minivan for the mana nerfs. Almost.


  • Players are once again free to dance in combat (without causing graphic errors). Other animations, such as attacks, will take precedence over dancing. The dance animation will be suppressed until the higher priority animation is complete. Fun has been unnerfed.

Can there be anything better than dancing while healing a boss encounter? I don't think so. Trash mobs will flee from the shear magnitude of my dance machismo, and Bosses will cower from my epic arabesques and drop their epic loot as I do a plate armour version of The Hustle. So You Think You Can Dance will have nothing compared to my Holy Warrior hoe-downs.


I will defer to the experts on this one: Kurn put together a great list of Holy Paladin Firelands gear. She and I generally agree on gearing and stat weights (by that, of course, I mean that I read her stuff and say, "Yeah, that makes a lot more sense than what I was thinking"), and I'll probably be using her guide myself, so I see no point in duplicating it here. Go visit her!


1 comment:

  1. "What's that? Infusion of Light now reduces the cast time by 1.5 seconds? Ahh. I see. Right. Carry on then."

    IOW: "Wait, it still costs a ton? I'm glad I haven't moved it off that obscure key bind."

    Unless encounter mechanics change a whole bunch, instant Flash won't be a whole lot more useful than cast time Flash. Technically this is a buff to mobile healing, but it relies on a proc. The huge mana cost will still cause a lot of problems and you won't find me trying to cast Flash during IoL. I'll keep the same behavior: avoid casting Flash until absolutely necessary. This is a buff more for PvP than PvE.