An “In-Practice” Take at the Holy Paladin Nerfs

By now, pretty much every holy paladin blogger has posted their thoughts, comments, disdain and disgust about Tuesday’s holy paladin changes. In case you’ve been missing out, here’s what happened:

Holy Light doesn’t pump up your holy power bar anymore when you cast it on your beaconned target.
Light of Dawn, an already weak spell with the exception of how it transferred nicely through beacon, had it’s healing reduced by 40% so the beacon transfers don’t give healing envy to Word of Glory.

The rationale is that paladins have too much mana and are relying too much on the “pump up Holy Power via Holy Light and use Light of Dawn transfers to bomb the tank” strategy.

On the mana part, if you’re rubbing your eyes, I don’t blame you. When I started running heroics a few days ago, the idea of “too much mana” would be have had me laughing until my sides hurt. But, now that I’m decked in heroics gear and running with other heroically geared players, I kind of have to agree. Holy Light, with it’s low mana cost and long cast, becomes basically free with enough passive mana regen.

As for the “Light of Dawn abuse“, well, it was nice while it lasted. According to Tuesday’s raid logs, with a mix of 333-349 ilvl gear and 25 man raid buffs, my Light of Dawn was hitting individual targets for ~ 8k, occasionally critting for ~ 15k. Which looks great, but considering that everyone had over 100k hp and were taking insane damage left and right, LoD was actually crap for raid healing. Where it shone was through beacon. Say my LoD hit 5 targets for 8k for a total of 40k. Half of that (so 20k) was transferred to the tank, which is more than my ~15k World of Glory could heal them for.

How the changes affected my heroics healing

In all honesty, they didn’t. I kept the same “Holy Shock on cooldown, then Holy Light unless massive damage” strategy I used before. I couldn’t use Word of Glory as often, but, meh, other than making me crave haste (the instant cast component of WoG is nice), it didn’t matter. With heroics gear, Holy Light is basically free and Word of Glory is a weak spell. When my group didn’t screw up, I still ended fights at nearly full mana. I even started using Holy Radiance on cooldown.

How the changes might affect 25 man raiding

I raided Sunday and Monday, but I won’t get to test the changes until Thursday night. It’s difficult for me to predict how it’ll affect raiding. At our last attempts, our offtanks were too undergeared and our raid team too undisciplined (we have a lot of new guildies who are on their first raids with us and aren’t used to our ways) for me to get a clear idea of Cataclysm 25 man raid healing. Our attempts on Halfus Wyrmbreaker were under 2 minutes long and my tank was getting smacked with 40k-60k hits every 2 seconds.

To (attempt to) keep up with that kind of damage, I was using Holy Shock on cooldown and otherwise spamming Divine Light. Light of Dawn was a good option when I had at least 4 people in front of me (which didn’t happen often) so I might notice a loss there. Holy Light wasn’t in the equation at all when it came to healing in raids.

A Return to Wrath Healing?

We have too much mana… To which Blizzard responded by attacking the very mechanics they wanted our class to use. With our glorious passive mana regen untouched and with Word of Glory and Light of Dawn being so weak, I can see us going back to single or double spell spamming pretty quickly.

Aunna at Bandage Spec made some excellent suggestions that could solve our problem of being overpowered without ruining our new and improved playstyle. I have some suggestions of my own:

1- Nerf our specialization – 50% of mana regen from spirit is too much? Bring it down to 40%, or 35%.
2- Raise the mana cost and effectiveness of Holy Shock – Right now Holy Shock doesn’t do much beside give us holy power. It helps a little bit with raid healing, but that’s about it. Make it more expensive and more useful and it’ll put a dent in our mana bar.
3- Reduce the mana back from judging Seal of Insight or increase the cooldown on Judgement – Seriously, 3500 mana every time I use an 8 second cooldown spell? For real? No wonder my mana bar is full!
4- Increase the mana cost of Holy Light – It’s too cheap? Make it less cheap.
5- Buff Light of Dawn, but don’t let it transfer through beacon – Light of Dawn is a really week spell without the beacon component. With the amount of health people have, you couldn’t even notice the 8k heal. (Fannon as well as a few others have mentioned this too)
6- Make it harder to stack holy power, but buff Word of Glory – I don’t care how free and instant Word of Glory is, it’s not powerful enough to be worth working for. If it healed, for like, say 30k, I might be tempted to put some effort into getting 3 stacks of holy power.

So final words, if you’ve been worrying about the nerfs, you can relax. They haven’t affected us a whole lot. But! I can see the nerf bat heading our way again shortly, so gear up and farm heroics while we still have it sort of easy.

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9 Comments on “An “In-Practice” Take at the Holy Paladin Nerfs”

  1. Talarian Says:

    Some thoughts on those points:

    1) Our spirit scales up way too fast. Stacking spirit so far trivializes a lot of the mana mechanics, except when shit hits the fan (thought it helps a lot there too). I’m scared nerfing this will unduly hurt newly geared 85s, but I think it may be a step in the right direction, as the more gear we get, the crazier regen will be.

    2) Holy Shock, if talented correctly, costs less than Holy Light, is instant, gives a Holy Power point, and hits harder than Holy Light. We use it on cooldown at this point, replacing Holy Light. I’m not sure raising the effectiveness is the right thing to do here, especially since they already nerfed our Holy Power generation by not allowing Holy Light to do it. Without casting Divine Light or Flash of Light, it takes 18 seconds to get 3 Holy Power (12 if you’re just starting off the pull). Making that slower isn’t going to do us any favors, they’re already gutting the Holy Power mechanic as it is.

    3) Keep in mind Judging costs about 1200 mana if I recall correctly (posting from work, don’t have WoW available to check), so you’re “only” getting 2500 mana back after cost, and keep in mind that won’t scale at all because it’s base mana. It may be OP now, but I’ll guarentee that it’ll be underpowered in 3 tiers. Still, it probably could do with a little toning down, or make it scale with maximum mana again, but something silly tiny like 2.5% maximum mana (if Judgement costs 1.5% of an 80k mana pool, each Judgement would net us 800 mana right now, and would scale, at the risk of making Intellect more important than Spirit).

    4) If you’re going to increase the cost of Holy Light, you’ll have to do the same with Divine Light. As it is, Divine Light is nearly as efficient as Holy Light from a Mana per Health ratio, and takes 2 fewer casts to get there. We’re already in danger of never casting Holy Light at all, bumping the cost would make us never use it period. Even if it did generate Holy Power, if the efficiency was less I’d just let people sit at 60% health instead of sitting at 80% and cast Divine Light exclusively.

    5) This is my preferred fix, personally. Un-nerf that 40% less Light of Dawn, and make it not heal the Beacon. It’s honestly that that terrible to heal a party for 10k each with it (plus positional requirements). What made it OP was healing the tank for 36k with it.

    6) Word of Glory so far has been a glorified mana conservation tactic. It hits for about 20k crits in my gear, so it’s about the same as a Flash of Light, but instant and cheaper. I still prefer using Light of Dawn when I can over Word of Glory because of the potential healing spread, and that I can hit the tank for nearly 20k with a well placed Light of Dawn even after the 40% nerf, which plays back into #5.

    I agree that the nerfs so far haven’t actually affected me much now that my spirit is through the roof. All they’ve done is gutted our fun mechanic and pushed us into stacking more spirit because it’s far too awesome.

    I think there needs to be more distinction between single target and multi-target healing for us, since Light of Dawn and Beacon are muddying that pretty significantly. If I have to start choosing between a 10k heal on the party and a 25k heal on the tank, then I have a reason to think about Word of Glory vs. Light of Dawn. Right now? Light of Dawn almost every time, because I get both group and tank healing.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Love point form comments!

      1) I wonder exactly how much it would hurt new 85s. When I hit 85, I had very little spirit on my gear so the scaling didn’t do much for me. Granted, people leveling holy paladins from scratch won’t have ICC gear to fall back on like this wave of level 85 paladins did.

      2) I do have all the talents for Holy Shock and it doesn’t hit quite as hard as my Holy Light. According to Tuesday’s raid logs, my Holy Shocks were healing for ~7000 while Holy Lights were healing for ~9000. I didn’t do math with them though, so it might be possible that they scale differently and HS might be stronger than HL at a different amount of spell power. (I also took these numbers from the log browser, not the “auto average” WoL does that only counts effective healing.) I don’t think HS should be slower, only more effective and expensive.

      3) Judgement costs 5% of base mana and returns 15%, ,so it’s still a 10% return. But you’re right that once we’re in better gear and have way more mana, the mana return from judgement will be insignificant.

      4) I did mean for Holy Light to keep generating Holy Power. You’re right about Divine Light becoming way more mana per health effective if the cost of Holy Light goes up. Maybe it’s because I haven’t separated myself from Wrath yet, but I’d still rather use Holy Light to top people off with minimum overheal than risk them falling too low. I know everyone keeps saying that damage in Cataclysm doesn’t work the same way, but that’s not my experience. When my tank goes under 40% health, if I don’t time a Divine Light or Lay on Hands right, they will die. But maybe it’s just me.

      5) It is the fix that makes the most sense and is what a lot of paladins (notably bloggers and EJ posters) are saying. I’m not sure why Blizzard didn’t go down that route.

      6) I haven’t gotten logs since the hotfix, so I can’t comment on how badly the LoD nerfs look in practice. In theory, nerfing my 8k hits by 40%, I get 5.8k hits, totalling 29k healing, causing a transfer of 14.9k, which is comparable to Word of Glory. I’m not counting crits since they’re unpredictable and I consider the worst case scenario (also to consider crits, I’d need a few hours to really scan logs to figure out how often each spell really crits.) Agreed about WoG being a glorified mana conservation tactic, although, while it does heal for more than a Holy Light, it’s still too weak to feel like it’s worth really working for. All I really love about it is that it’s instant.

      I’m right there with you, wishing there was more incentive to think about choosing between WoG and LoD. Even with the nerf, the amount of healing on the tank is only slightly less with LoD, so I have a feeling that while healing in raid or in a 5 man with everyone standing in front of me, I’d still side with using LoD too. It’s AoE healing is weak, but it’s better than nothing. The only time WoG is way superior is when you need to single target heal a non-beaconned player.

  2. Fobok Says:

    I’m actually a little happy they took away from the holy power grind a little, I didn’t enjoy that type of healing. I like the idea of building up holy power and having a good heal, but not where it’s the only way to go. I like having the freedom to cast other spells and not minding if it takes 18 seconds to build up to a word of glory.

    Problem is, they need to compensate. Some of our spells now seem nearly useless, as pointed out already in this post and comments.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I wouldn’t mind having to work for my holy power if the reward was worth having. WoG is nice for it’s free and instant status, but it’s output is just so low. Now if it hit like a truck, I would be totally willing to wait a bit for it, or dump some mana into more expensive spells to build up power.

  3. Fannon Says:

    “Our attempts on Halfus Wyrmbreaker were under 2 minutes long and my tank was getting smacked with 40k-60k hits every 2 seconds. To (attempt to) keep up with that kind of damage, I was using Holy Shock on cooldown and otherwise spamming Divine Light.”

    Boy, doesn’t that sound familiar. I’m glad they got rid of the notion that the tank won’t die within 2 GCDs without heals.

    I agree with you, though, the nerfs didn’t really affect my healing all that much (other than I had to stop myself casting Holy Light a few times when it wasn’t strictly necessary). Truthfully, the nerfs to HL and LoD simply serve to marginalize the usefulness of the entire Holy Power concept as the central focus of Paladin heals. It’s there, and I *suppose* it’s better than a random proc and I’ll take the free heals, but it’s not something I actively try to build anymore.

    And thank you for the link, Ophelie! It’s much appreciated!

    • Ophelie Says:

      The link was my pleasure. It’s great to see a new healing blog with high quality posts. I hope you get a good number of hits from it. 🙂

      I think our raiding problems are due to gear- once our tanks get more armor and avoidance they’ll be taking less damage, but yeah, for the time being I really don’t understand why everyone keeps saying “Damage isn’t like Wrath! The tanks won’t die if you stop spam healing them!” Um, maybe in 5 mans, but our raid tanks are going real squish, real fast.

      I hope they fiddle around with holy power some more to make it fit better into our healing. I love the concept. I’m that crazy person who reads battle text, combat log and deadly boss mods timers as I’m healing, so the more stuff I have to keep track of, the happier I am. I want to keep track more of holy power.

  4. Fannon Says:

    “The link was my pleasure. It’s great to see a new healing blog with high quality posts.”

    I think I love you. 🙂

    “so the more stuff I have to keep track of, the happier I am.”

    No, wait… you’re crazy. 🙂

  5. Syl Says:

    I’m not a paladin but I’m still rubbing my eyes here Ophelie – did I just read a holy paladin asking to get some of his imba skills nerfed? 😀
    Hehe….I’ve spoken to holy pali mates when we all entered our first heroics and each of them let me know just how little he struggled in comparison to myself. now you never know how honest someone is about stuff there (them haughty servants of teh light!), but squeezing out every last drop of mana via buffs, CDs and whatnot myself, that still felt a little “meh”. that said, I’m nowhere near heroic gear yet, I still have 2 greens even, so who knows how things are gonna look 2 weeks from now. and else I’ll just console myself with the fact that I get to play my priest to her full capacities at the moment, easily using 12 or more different spells almost every pull, in order to optimize. the challenge really forces you to draw upon all you got.

    • Ophelie Says:

      It’s not so much that I want to be nerfed, just that, if they want to nerf us, they should do it in a way that lets us keep our playstyle.

      I can’t comment on other classes, but it does seem like us pallies are handling ourselves pretty well in heroics. On the flipside, we seem to be struggling a bit more than holy priests, shamans (and possible druids, but my guild doesn’t have one right now) in 25 man raids because of the insane amount of random damage. Which is how it should be- every class should have it’s strength and weaknesses 🙂

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