Last updated March 25, 2010
Someday someone is going to wonder why I constantly take strange poses in the beer garden
I see the question of Holy Light versus Flash of Light builds asked a lot. As I’m getting used to a new healing style in a new guild, my own thoughts are pondering this topic. I’ve been sitting on this post for awhile, so I figured now would be a good time to finish it and give you all some Sunday reading material. Ferarro and Holypaladin.net both posted their own takes on FoL vs HL yesterday so it’s apparently a hot topic right now. I’ll hand out links their posts and to a recent Plus Heal thread at the end of this post. Happy exciting Sunday reading!
So, um, what are these Builds you speak of?
As the names imply, a Holy Light build revolves around using Holy Light (HL, big heal) as your primary spell and a Flash of Light revolves around using Flash of Light (FoL, little heal) as your primary spell. The Holy Light build is what you’ll see most often in PvE, with Int Gems in every socket save one to activate the meta gem. The key is to this build is to have enough mana to pump out a lot of strong, toe-curling, in yo’ face heals for the whole fight. You’ll still use the Flash of Light spell, but your gear is tuned towards using Holy Light as much as you need to. The Flash of Light build is one you’ll see occasionally, but not as often. Spell Power gems all over with some haste or crit (no point in having more than 676 haste for a FoL build) and mp5 gems to get every ounce of Spell Power socket bonuses. The point is to make Flash of Light a powerful, nearly instacast spell. It also gives Sacred Shield some extra oomph, as 75% (or 95% if you’re specced into Divine Guardian) of your spell power is added to the base absorption of the Shield.
Are there talent builds that are connected to each type?
Not exactly. There are two common specs for PvE as a paladin, the “crit spec” (holy/ret to get Conviction and sometimes Sanctity of Battle) and the “bubble spec” (holy/prot to get Divine Sacrifice). The crit spec has advantages for both types of play, maximum mana return due to crit (always good) and extra output for a FoL spec. Bubble spec, however, gives you the glorious Divine Sacrifice and delightful reduction on the hand of protection CD. Utility is important as a paladin, if you’re not making yourself useful, you fall into the paladin cliché who does nothing but spam 1-2 spells the entire time. Whats the fun in that?
Many holy paladins actually have both specs and swap between them depending on the fight. If you don’t have an offspec you frequently use, this is a great option.
Glyphs, on the other hand, change depending on whether you want to go FoL or HL:
Holy Light Glyphs
1- Glyph of Holy Light
2- Glyph of Seal of Wisdom
3- Glyph of Divinity, Glyph of Flash of Light, Glyph of Beacon of Light or Glyph of Holy Shock (all depending on your style and raid environment)
Flash of Light Glyphs
1- Glyph of Flash of Light
2- Glyph of Seal of Light
3- Personal Choice
Help! How do I choose?
If you’re looking for a PvE build and asking the question, go Holy Light. You can’t go wrong. If a Flash of Light build is better for you, you probably already know. Generally, a Flash of Light build is used when the tanks are geared enough for the content that they’re not taking a lot of damage per hit and the dps is both high and good at avoiding fires. That said, depending on your group makeup, having a Holy Light paladin team up with a Flash of Light paladin can be a very cool combo. The Holy Light paladin keeps the tank at full health while the FoL pally ensures that the tank has a reasonable heal hit about every second.
When in doubt, Holy Light. Out of the two builds, it’s the easiest to find information on and it allows the most flexibility. Maybe it’s not the most efficient build for every situation, but you can get by with it everywhere, as far as I know.
What about you, bossy blog person? What do you do?
I’m gemmed for int. I’m glyphed for a Holy Light build. And lately in raids I’ve been spamming…Flash of Light. Which is why I have builds on the mind. Switching teams has been an interesting experience to say the least. New raid makeup and new approach to raiding. I seem to be doing acceptably (I haven’t gotten in trouble for anything that matters yet!), but the question is, how do I bring out the best from my character?
With my previous raiding experience being a laid back setting, I’m amazed at how little damage there is now. I’ve also done all my 25 mans so far with 2 other holy paladins which means that there are more than enough big heals to go around. That, along with my own personal preferences, could justify a FoL build. However, I’m worried about the lack of flexibility of a FoL build. I’ve been pugging a lot and in pugs you want a Holy Light build. I’m also suspecting the 3 holy paladin runs aren’t a regular thing, plus I don’t know what Icecrown Citadel will bring in terms of pally healing. (Oh, I could find out about IC if I wanted to, but I’m a hands on learner.)
Conclusion, for now I’m sticking with HL and may reconsider once I’ve found some stability.
What about the pros? What are the pros doing?
I spied on a few pallies as I wrote this. The two pallies from Ensidia were HL, with one of them having a couple of gems that weren’t pure intellect. I found a paladin from Premonition that was FoL. That said, I suspect that the paladins in high end guilds swap gear sets based on fights.
Can I have two sets?
Good luck convincing your guild (especially other paladins gearing up) that you deserve two sets! In a perfect world, having two sets would be wonderful, but unless you’re a farmer extraordinaire and have no competition for drops, it’s not going to happen. I know tanks can collect multiple sets, but tanking gear has the advantage that different stats are good for different things so its easier for them to recycle. The low stam, high strength gear your tank is replacing on his effective health (boss) set can be used for a threat (trash/5 mans) set. Your low int, low SP gear will not become more useful than your new high int, high SP gear, no matter how you gem it. However, keep all your trinkets and librams nearby and swap them around according to the fight.
Can I mix and match HL and FoL stuff?
The blog/forum reader in me wants to say no, but in practice I’ve seen it done effectively. I’m not a theorycrafter so I’m not going to add much more. As said before, trinkets and librams can always be swapped around and if you don’t mind switching glyphs a lot, that can be an option as well.
Where else can I read about this fascinating topic?
Plus Heal Discussion
Ferarro does a pretty good job of explaining it in her own way
Holypaladin.net did a response post to Ferarro’s on their site
Also, if any of you holy paladins passing by have some 2c or links to throw in, I can never have too much reading material.
EDIT: Note that this isn’t a response to Ferraro’s post. It was more or less coincidence that we posted about the same topic around the same time. I was also careful not to read her post until I had mine finished, purposely to avoid turning this into a response. We have different approaches to the discussion so if you’re interested in it, I definitely recommend reading her work if you haven’t done so already.