A Look at 4.2 and Holy Paladins as of May 19, 2011

I totally don’t have time to do this because my death (or more realistically, sanity) sentence is less than a week away and I still have infectious diseases and the rest of oncology and endocrinology and pain management and tons of other stuff to review and OMG I can’t handle this.

So I’ll make this short. Let’s see what we’ve got with the new patch.

Links:
http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/2307-Patch-4.2-PTR-Build-14133
http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/2300-Patch-4.2-PTR-Build-14107
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/patch-notes/ptr-patch-notes#paladins

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%.

Like I said on Episode 3 of the Double O Podcast (which you should totally listen to if you haven’t already!), I totally predicted this!

I don’t know how paladins in hard modes are faring these days since I’m still on normal modes. And yeah, in 10 mans, normal modes, mana isn’t too much of an issue. I like having to think about my mana, so I don’t mind the nerfs at all. Besides, we’ve had our spell costs jacked up and down a few times already this expansion and, while I’ll notice the difference right after the fact, adjusting is never a big deal.

In hard modes…from looking at logs, it seems that Divine Light Spamming (along with it’s inseparable best friend, Haste Stacking) is pretty common. Whether this is because of the damage intensity or because Divine Light is just spammable, I can’t say. Blizzard seems to think the latter, but I suspect it’s a bit of column A and a bit of column B. Even on normal modes, tank damage is intense and spiky. This “triage healing” thing Blizzard was so excited about is somewhat true for raid healing, but not tank healing. Which is a shame because paladins are such good single target healers that our talents tend to be wasted when we want to try something different.

Holy Shock mana cost has been decreased to 7% of base mana, down from 8%.

Um. Ok. Whatever.

Beacon of Light can no longer be dispelled.

This is clearly for PvP, but there are some mobs in the new Troll instances that dispell my Beacon, which is kind of a pain. This change better apply to NPCs or I will be cranky.

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.

I like this a lot. It’s not earthshattering, and more Holy Radiances means more mana drain, but I like Holy Radiance. It’s the closest we get to a HoT, the proximity based factor is totally paladinny, and it does a notable amount of healing. The cooldown and high mana cost of it doesn’t encourage us to become sensational raid healers, but it’s a wipe-saver during periods of mass raid damage. And if you’re running a lot of 5 mans (like me, I’m running a lot of 5 mans), this spell is incredible.

As for the run bonus on Divine Protection… I never argue with run bonuses. Plus, Divine Protection tends to be forgotten a lot (because, clearly, all paladins are me and if I forget to use Divine Protection, ALL paladins forget to use Divine Protection), so this is an extra incentive to use it. And if that wasn’t enough, when is Divine Protection most useful? When you’re standing in crap that will take you a few seconds to get out of. When are run bonuses more useful? When you’re standing in crap that will take you a few seconds to get out of. Oh yeah.

Beacon of Light now heals for 100% of the amount when Holy Light is used.

There was a lot of buzz about this on Twitter last night. This change is both very interesting and very boring, all at the same time.

You can see an attempt from Blizzard, combined with the increased mana costs, to nudge us away from the Divine Light spamming.

Looking at this from my personal healing strategy perspective, which is healing my tank, and beaconing the other tank to give that tank’s healer a chance to pitch in with the raid or do dispells, all this change does is make my strategy more efficient. Same goes for single tank fights – I’ll direct heal my Beacon target if I have to, but mostly I’ll cast big heals, or small heals, on the raid. Letting my tank get bigger small heals is nice, but not earthshattering.

I hope this change is a sign of more to come because I love strategy adjustments.

Infusion of Light now also affects Flash of Light.

As Walks pointed out on Twitter last night, this is mostly a PvP change. And while I don’t PvP these days, this still seems incredibly powerful for PvP.

In PvE, for the, um, once or twice a night I use this spell (unless we do Chimaeron), I guess it doesn’t hurt. Since Infusion of Light is crit dependent and thus unreliable, you can’t use the very-fast-if-not-instant Flash of Lights as cooldowns. Which is lackluster. But I guess that if you get fights with periods of high damage alternating with periods of low damage, having an extra, sometimes instant spell in your pocket would be quite helpful.

I like Infusion of Light as a talent. And while I love my Haste as much as the next person, stacking one stat to the detriment of the others bores me to death. I hope Blizzard nudges us a bit more towards become well-rounded paladins with a multitude of useful stats.

And just as I thought I was done, I came across this from Blizzard:

We increased paladin mana costs because they were too efficient at healing. In raid encounters, for instance, paladins were sitting at 40% of their mana while the other healers were flat out of mana. Paladins were casting Divine Light as their main heal because they didn’t need the efficiency of Holy Light. You personally may not have been in that situation, but when looking at the overall picture, as well as running plenty of tests, this was our conclusion overall. It is entirely possible this will hurt Holy paladins in PvP, where mana can be harder to come by. It is our hope that the recent Speed of Light change as well as another change or two coming will help offset that.

We did not make these mana cost changes because of the change to critical heals or because of any upcoming set bonuses (which are still being designed, by the way). We made the changes only because paladins were too efficient compared to druids, priests and shaman.

As a postscript, we see a lot of paladins advocating a strategy of Beacon the tank, heal the off-tank with Divine Light, and never ever do anything else… and if you ever heal the Beacon target, you fail. That’s just not a realistic goal. Stuff is going to happen that is unpredictable, or else you’d probably win every fight. You should make the most of Beacon, absolutely. It’s a great tool. But you shouldn’t consider anything that doesn’t maximize Beacon to be a class design or personal performance failure. Sometimes you’re going to want to heal the Beacon target directly. It happens.

Hey, hey, what’s wrong with paladins behind more efficient than druids, priests and shamans? Who needs those guys? ;D

I’m not sure where they got the idea that paladins were advocating OMG NEVER HEAL YOUR BEACON TARGET FFS (they should know by now to never trust anything posted on the official forums), but it is true that beaconing the tank that you’re not currently healing is the best way to maximize your healing output. Healing your Beacon target when you don’t have to is a waste of healing.

Logs are showing extensive Divine Light usage, which is pushing us back to our old “Stack Haste and Mana and Spam Our Biggest Spell” motto. Which was boring. It seems like Blizzard still has a way to go with the changes, but I think their intentions are to keep paladin healing interesting, which I’m fully in support of.

OMG so I just totally wasted an hour, maybe two hours of cramming. *panics* Quick, quick, back to the library! *hyperventilates*

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10 Comments on “A Look at 4.2 and Holy Paladins as of May 19, 2011”

  1. alanvinton Says:

    Whilst I am sure the all-powerful Blizzard know what they are doing when they make changes such as this, I always think “Why did they not notice this in the previous PTR?”. I think we NEED that extra mana we sometimes have in fights, because we have less “OMG Lots of people are standing in the fire” heals like priests or druids have, for example. My mana usage varies GREATLY, and I mean more greatly (is that correct english?) than other classes – if lots of people take raid damage, for example steam (or whatever it is) on Magmaw, Druids have wild growth (which does not scale with distance), priests have Divine Hymn (same), whereas we have a heal which is distance dependent. I will not stack on the melee DPS (the ones who are taking the damage) because otherwise i’d be taking damage too, and all to increase the efficiency of my (not cheap) AoE heal.

    Improve the scaling of Holy Radiance, or make LoD an all round heal!

    Just my thoughts, I may be wrong, but hopefully someone from Blizzard will read this and change it (I will give jaffa cakes!)

    • Ophelie Says:

      PTRs are a very controlled environment and only give the devs an idea of what real content will be like. Mana is a touchy area because, like you said, mana usage varies immensely based on your team, your content size, your content level, your gear, individual fights, etc. It’ll never be perfectly tuned. Also, while us pallies might go through mana faster than other classes, we have a lot of powerful and wonderful ways to regain mana (but having not played other classes, I don’t know how they compare to us in that respect).

      As weird as it makes me, I like running out of mana. I like having to think strategically about how to get my bar back up. I’d rather go through mana faster and have to work my arse off to build my bar back up than absent-mindedly faceroll my way through an encounter.

      My ideal healing class, the bestest, most amazing healing class for me, would be a class with the potential of being extremely powerful, but that is extremely hard to do right.

      • alanvinton Says:

        Agreed.

        I always heal better when I have no mana! I am finding myself more and more being able to heal the last 20% of a heroic boss encounter with no mana, purely by thinking (and therefore judging) more!

        Wise words, Ophelie – I really should have thought before I posted.

      • Anne Martin Says:

        Can you talk about your strategies for getting your mana bar back up? I am pretty good about judging on cd (I have an annoying powa flash when its up). I also use HoS pretty frequently with DivSh since its such a tasty way to smooth out damage and take advantage of JoTP (not mana-free but cheap comparatively). I guess AM especially in last phase Chimaeron counts as mana-free healing. There are probably others Im missing.

        • Ophelie Says:

          Sounds like you’ve got the most important tricks down. Judgement and HoSac are the best mana returners/savers I’ve found.

          Other tricks are meleeing when possible, using an mana return trinket on +/- cooldown (I pop Core of Ripeness when I’m at about 80%) , use Divine Plea whenever there’s some downtime (or use Divine Plea as needed, coupled with an output booster). AM is a great spell for any period of big elemental damage (on Chimaeron’s last phase, from what I understand there’s a lot of shadow damage on heroic mode so it’s extremely helpful there. It’s less useful on regular mode.)

          I’m told that the damage on hard mode is really intense so it’s probably hard to stray from Divine Light, but whenever you can get away with using Holy Light, it saves a lot of mana. Sometimes I even stop casting for a few seconds for the extra spirit regen if I need to and can get away with it. (Not sure how feasible that is on hard modes though!)

          Oh- and if the entire raid is low low low on health, that’s the moment to pop Guardian. Tons of healing for so little mana.

  2. Ngita Says:

    Yes we spam divine light in heroic raids, But its because their is nothing else to push, The idea of running oom and using triage was a good idea. but the reality is you get into heroic modes and your tanks hp starts moving in big chunks at a fast pace, its almost no different from icc except for the fact thst spells cost s whole lot more.

    My resto druid is getting pretty close to getting chog’all in alt raids and the difference is their is so many more ways I can spend mana when i need too. Yes its easier to run oom, but thats because I have the tools.

  3. Ellandria Says:

    I’ve been following your blog for a good while now (I got hooked by the “Anub’Arak 10 Strategy” you posted on World of Matticus) and I’d just like to thank you for providing me with the amount of entertainment that you have. Even with exams coming up, you don’t fail to update your blog on a regular basis. Oh, and speaking of exams, good luck!


  4. Woohoo, even more reason for Holy pallies to glyph Divine Protection!


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