The three components of paladin healing:
1- Beacon of Light Usage
2- Holy Power building and sinking
3- Cooldown Management
Yesterday we explored Beacon, today we’re doing Holy Power.
Holy Power: The Basics
Like a Rogue’s combo points, different spells you cast will give you points of Holy Power, which you can sink on a fun mana-free heal of your choice. You can use either Holy Power sink whether you have one, two or three points, but the more points you have, the stronger the spell.
Since Mists, the game lets us collect up to five points at a time, but a full strength sink will only use up 3 points. (The extra points are there so if you overshoot your Holy Power building, the casts aren’t wasted.)
Gaining Points Through Healing
We’ve got two healing spells that will always give us points and two spells that will give us points if we cast them on our Beacon target.
Holy Shock: Holy Shock (or, affectionately, HS) will give one point of Holy Power per cast. Since it’s very mana efficient and of decent strength, you should be using it on cooldown. I’m not kidding. The first thing I do when someone hands me their logs is whip out my calculator and check their HS per minute.
Holy Radiance: Holy Radiance (HR) is cast on a target and AoEs to heal nearby allies. Unlike it’s previous incarnation in Cataclysm, it does not heal over time. It’s still a useful spell, but very expensive, so use it wisely.
Divine Light (DL): This is our strongest single target heal. Slow and relatively expensive, this is a spell you’ll use on most, if not all fights, but that you have to use wisely if you don’t want to find yourself gasping for mana. You’ll gain a charge of Holy Power if, and only if, you cast Divine Light on your Beacon target.
Flash of Light: Flash of Light is our highest heal per second spell, but unfortunately, also our highest mana drain per second spell. Like DL, it grants Holy Power if you cast it on your Beacon target. As a general rule, you’ll only want to use it in emergencies or for gimmicky fights. (I’ll use it on Tsulong paired with Glyph of Flash of Light. I also used it early in the expansion as I was trying to heal through Gara’jal’s Spirit World in my quest-green gear.)
Healing Spells that Will Not Give Holy Power
Because I’m trying to squeeze a full spell guide into this post, I needed to find a way to include Holy Light.
Holy Light: This is our small, cheap heal with the same cast time as Divine Light. It won’t generate Holy Power, but it does have the advantage of completely transferring (that’s 100%!) through Beacon. Good for when you’re waiting for Holy Shock to come off cooldown, don’t have the mana to cast Holy Radiance and aren’t close enough to the boss to cast Crusader Strike.
Non-Healing Ways to Build Holy Power
“When you cast Word of Glory using 3 Holy Power you will gain 1 Holy Power.”
– PvP 4 piece bonus
While you’ll usually build up your Holy Power by healing, there are a few other ways to squeeze in a point.
Crusader Strike: If you’re in melee range, Crusader Strike is a fast, cheap, easy way to get some extra Holy Power during times of more relaxed healing. I do find this tier to be unfriendly to healing in melee, but if you’re able to pull it off, you’ll be rewarded in Holy Power.
PvP 4 piece: For awhile, even the blue pvp set was considered better than raid gear because of how amazing the 4 piece bonus is (all this time, instead of doing dailies, you should have been doing BGs!). The 4 piece is still used quite frequently, especially by those who don’t run with the pve tier 4 piece.
Level 75 Talents: Holy Avenger is a powerful cooldown that, when active, will make your Holy Power generating spells produce 3 points per cast instead of one. Sanctified Wrath will let you use Holy Shock more often when Avenging Wrath is active (and it lets Avenging Wrath be active longer) and Divine Purpose will sometimes give you a free 3 Holy Power strength spell after using a points sink. Which talent is best is debatable and more or less up to personal preference. See Talent section for more details.
Glyph of Blessed Life: I’m only adding this for the sake of completion. In PvE, you’ll never be feared, stunned or immobilized enough for a 50% single point proc to be useful.
Sinking Your Holy Power
As soon as you get 3 points of Holy Power, sink them. You’re allowed to bank two extra points if you go over, but going over should really only happen by accident. There’s no point in sitting on Holy Power.
You get two choices of where you sink your power.
Light of Dawn (LoD): A multi target one-time heal. Can be modified with Glyph of Light of Dawn if desired. If someone chooses to heal with LoD as their primary Holy Power sink, they should consider taking Sacred Shield as their level 45 talent, as Eternal Flame is wasted if you never cast Word of Glory.
Opting for Light of Dawn as your primary Holy Power sink is often referred as “traditional” or “normal” healing: you rack up Holy Power, and at three points you hit your “Light of Dawn” button. Your Beacon target receives 15% of the healing you emit and you can use Sacred Shield as a bubble on your healing target.
Eternal Flame healing involves having as many Eternal Flame HoTs rolling on different players at a time. In addition to, well, healing them over time, the HoTs contribute to Mastery bubbles meaning those players will take less damage, AND the total healing (including overheal) transfers 50% through Beacon.
Raw healing potential wise, as far as I can tell, Eternal Flame healing beats Light of Dawn healing. Period.
In practice, though, both styles can be strong and viable. In the guild I’m raiding with now (they’re middle of road in terms of progression), I’m an Eternal Flame healer and one of my co-pallies uses Light of Dawn/Sacred Shield and we put out roughly the same numbers (however, I am just coming back from a month-long hiatus and am new to the team, which means I’m rusty, less geared and still learning the damage patterns. I’ll get back to you once I’m healing at full strength!)
Sinking at One Holy Power vs at Three Holy Power
I’ve been experimenting with this and reviewing logs from top guilds, and it does seem that sinking at 3 Holy Power beats sinking at 1, despite how much long it takes to build up that power. Though the paladins in the logs I’ve been reading likely used the PvP 4 piece. If you use the PvP 4 piece, you should definitely only be casting at 3 Holy Power – anything less would defeat the purpose.
However, as Talarian points out in the comments, the Eternal Flame HoT scales linearly (so if your 1 hp EF ticks for 200, your 2 hp EF will tick for 400 and your 3 hp EF will tick for 600), 3 people (non-tanks) with 1 Holy Power EF should come out to the same as one person with a 3 Holy Power EF. Better perhaps, because you’ve got 3 people getting little heals, rather than one person getting overhealed. Exception may be in certain 10 man fights where it is possible to have 2-3 Holy Power on the entire raid at once (this never happens on 25 man unless, by some godly intervention, you get 25 consecutive Divine Purpose procs).
And as Rades points out, the more times you cast Eternal Flame, the more chances you have of procing Divine Purpose, if you’re specced into it. Then, there’s also that emergency situations where you’re almost mana dry, need to get a heal out AT THAT VERY SECOND, Holy Shock is on cooldown and all you have is one flimsy Holy Power. That one Holy Power might be what prevents the wipe.
So one Holy Power or three? If you’re using the PvP bonus, three. On the tanks, three if possible. Other than that, use your discretion.
(Thank you to Talarian and Rades for your imput!)
And that completes another section of Holy Pally 4eva!
Tune in next time for cooldowns!