Welcome to my Holy How-To for PVE Paladins. This is the fourth of what I hope to be a great many posts aimed at helping holy paladins succeed at PVE content. I will focus primarily on max-level talent specs, glyphs, enchants, gems and the like, including tools, tips and tricks that I use, but I hope to touch on levelling content and advice as well.
Today, we’ll talk a bit about some of the most frequently asked questions pertaining to healing in current PVE content. This is NOT what I actually wanted to go over for my fourth Holy How-To. I actually have a half-written post sitting in Notepad at the moment about healing meters and why they suck. However, I’ve been looking for a new holy paladin for my guild (to replace the one who ninja-transferred) and I just kind of /facepalm when I see some of their armories. So inside, quick questions and answers for holy PVE paladins!
What meta gem should I use?
Long answer: Insightful Earthsiege Diamond is the smartest choice for a HL spammer. That said, I see a lot of people with the Ember Skyflare Diamond as their meta. I have 2178 intellect unbuffed, with the IED, meaning that if I put in the ESD, I’d be working from 2157 intellect.
2% of 2157 is 43.
That’s 2200 intellect instead of 2178.
However, to activate it, it requires three red gems versus the one of every colour gem, which I bypass with the use of a Nightmare Tear. So one socket loses a 20 int gem for 10 int via the Nightmare Tear versus losing out on 30 intellect for 3 Luminous Ametrines. So I’d only gain 30 int through the Ametrines versus 50 int through the use of two Brilliant King’s Ambers and the Nightmare Tear. So 21 (int from IED) + 20 (difference in int between the gems activating the metas) = 41. So wait, isn’t the ESD better by 2 points of intellect?
In terms of pure intellect, yes. I’d gain 30 mana and 2 intellect (without counting all my talents and bonuses). But the larger issue is that I’d lose out on the mana restore. Over the course of 11 attempts on the Lich King (25m) tonight, I gained 45,000 mana from my Insightful Earthsiege Diamond. That’s more than I gained from Replenishment (40,861), more than I gained from Rapture (17,965) and Hymn of Hope (10,565). That means it procced for 600 mana 75 times. As a holy light spamming paladin, that is a TON of mana back and it’s not something I’m willing to give up for 2 intellect.
The Ember Skyflare Diamond is great for FoL spammers, however. With the increase to spellpower and a lesser need for intellect, plus the requirements being 3 red gems, well, that works very nicely for a FoL spammer. If you find yourself having mana issues, though, go back to IED.
What gems should I mostly be using?
Long answer: Yes, I am, in fact, telling you to ignore your socket bonuses. Do what you can for your meta, but ignore the socket bonuses. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t gem smartly (put your Nightmare Tear in a socket to get a bonus you ordinarily wouldn’t get) but really, ignore the bonuses. They are largely there to confuse you!
What should I put in my Eternal Belt Buckle slot?
Quick answer: Whatever it is you’re gemming for, as listed above.
Long answer: So many people assume that a prismatic gem socket (like the one the EBB gives you in your belt) REQUIRES a prismatic gem. It does not. It means that it will take ANY colour gem (obviously not a meta, mind you) and that it does not affect any socket bonuses.
What libram should I use?
Long answer: For Dreamwalker, I’ll switch to Libram of the Resolute, and if you’re in content where you’re moving a lot and you’re glyphed for Holy Shock, you may want to play with Libram of Blinding Light. But honestly, for Holy Light paladins, the Libram of Renewal is our best-in-slot. A holy paladin who killed Lich King on heroic mode had it equipped, not two hours after the kill. And says to always use it. If you won’t take my word for it, take his or hers. ;) (You’ll note they also use the IED meta, though apparently the spec is obfuscated by an incomplete prot spec.)
What glyphs should I use?
Quick answer: If you’re new to healing at 80 and don’t have 2000 spellpower yet, OR you’re a Flash of Light spammer in raid content, use Glyph of Seal of Light, Glyph of Flash of Light and Glyph of Holy Light. If you’re not new to healing at 80 and are in raid content with more than 2000 spellpower and have started to stack intellect, you want Glyph of Seal of Wisdom, Glyph of Beacon of Light and Glyph of Holy Light.
Long answer: Glyph of Holy Light is the no-brainer. Even the FoL spammers will have to make use of it sometimes. The Seal glyphs really boost your healing or mana conservation — but the Seal of Wisdom you have to have up in order to benefit from Glyph of Seal of Wisdom will proc 4% of your mana on most of your judgements. For me, raid-buffed, that’s an average of 1714 mana per proc. It adds up, particularly if you can melee the boss a wee bit like on Festergut, Rotface and a few other fights.
If I want to pick up Aura Mastery in Holy and only have 51 points in that tree, where do I drop the point to make room for it?
Quick answer: Take the point from Improved Blessing of Wisdom, do NOT take it from Improved Lay on Hands.
Long answer: Unless you’re the only holy paladin AND don’t have a resto shaman raiding with you regularly, the shorter cooldown and increased physical damage reduction due to Improved Lay on Hands is worth a lot more than a point in Improved Blessing of Wisdom. Other holy paladins can buff Wisdom while you buff Kings or something, or your resto shammy can drop their improved Mana Spring totem. Besides, you want kings over blessing of wisdom any day of the week.
What support tree should I pick? Retribution or Protection?
Quick answer: It depends on what you want to do. Retribution improves your crit and adds a bit of utility with Improved Blessing of Might. Protection improves your Sacred Shields, your healing done and taken (Divinity) and gives you the ability to cast Divine Spirit/Divine Guardian for more raid utility than ret offers.
Long answer: I’m a big fan of a 52/17/0 spec with 2 floater points that can be used virtually anywhere. This is reflective of the fact that I’m a holy light spammer and that crit, with the illumination nerf to 30% of mana returned on crits, is now valued less than mp5. While 5-8% extra crit is nothing to sneeze at, when’s the last time (barring Valithria Dreamwalker) that your Holy Light didn’t overheal?
What stats should I prioritize and in what order?
Quick answer: FoL spammers should focus on spellpower, crit, haste (see below) intellect and mp5. HL spammers should focus on intellect, haste, mp5, crit and spellpower.
Long answer: FoL spammers will be regenerating a lot of their mana from crits and won’t need large mana pools for Flash of Light casting. As such, they need limited amounts of mp5, intellect and only a certain amount of haste, after which they can concentrate on more spellpower. HL spammers need the massive mana pools to withstand the barrage that constant HL casting will bring, plus it allows for more mana regenerated from Divine Plea. Haste will be discussed below. But mp5 is now valued more than crit because of the nerf to Illumination as discussed above. Finally, spellpower is just something you’ll pick up on your gear. No need to worry about gemming for it or anything. Still, you’ll want it on your gloves (unless you’re an engineer) and potentially your weapon, unless you know someone with 30 intellect to weapon.
How much haste should I have?
Quick answer: 676 haste + Wrath of Air totem + Swift Ret Aura/Imp Moonkin Form + Judgements of the Pure = 1s global cooldown (and FoL cast time).
Long answer: 676 haste is what all holy paladins should strive to hit. Do not pick up something with crit instead of haste unless it’s a HUGE upgrade in all other respects. Do not pick up something with MP5 instead of haste unless it’s a HUGE upgrade in all other respects. However, if you’re a FoL spammer, you can feel comfortable at 676 haste, unless you don’t have one of the aforementioned buffs (any shammy and a ret pally or moonkin druid). But a holy light spammer? Our haste is never done! Since Holy Light is such a long cast (2.5 seconds base, 2.0 seconds with Light’s Grace up), I don’t think it’s actually possible, with current gear, to achieve a 1s HL cast outside of trinkets and heroism/bloodlust/power infusion, but I could be wrong.
As an aside, a 1s FoL/GCD really helps your reaction time for everything, too. Rebuffing becomes a lot easier. You don’t realize how much you like having that extra half second to start casting until you play a lowbie toon with 0 haste and go “MAN, why the hell is everything so SLOW!?!”
Which helm, shoulder and leg enchants should I get?
Quick answer: FoL spammers should get the spellpower/crit combos and HL spammers should get the spellpower/mp5 combos. Both should avoid the 50 spellpower/20 spirit leg enchant like the plague that it is and pick up 50 spellpower/20 stamina for legs. Until Cataclysm.
Long answer: Again, FoL spammers value crit over mp5 whereas the reverse is true for HL spammers. Don’t go gemming for crit or mp5 or anything, either! Get it from gear!
And that’ll do it for my Holy How-To #4. This basically recapped some of the points from my previous posts and was inspired because I was searching for a new holy paladin for the guild and spent 30 minutes /facepalming because people don’t know what they’re doing. ;)