Folks, it’s been a long, long, long time since I healed in Vanilla. Healing has changed so much, and so often, that it’s hard for me to really remember what it was like. I didn’t get a chance to play on beta, outside of the stress tests, so please take my advice here with a grain of salt for now.
I healed dungeons from Scarlet Monastery onwards in Vanilla. Heck, I levelled holy. (Don’t do this, you will regret it when it takes you 12 minutes to kill a Kurzen Medicine Man in northern Stranglethorn Vale.)
For the lower level dungeons, it’s as you might expect – heal the tank and yourself primarily, cleanse people and try not to let them die (but not at the expense of you and the tank), don’t stand in bad.
Once you hit about level 50, it gets interesting, though. The dungeons you’ll be running are also run by level 60s, so things get a bit more challenging — your tanks get hit harder, dots tick for more damage, all that sort of thing.
This is a reasonable level 50 dungeon-healing build:
This is a reasonable level 60 dungeon-healing build:
Both of these builds try to increase your utility by giving you improved Blessing of Might, plus Improved Devotion Aura, plus Guardian’s Favor and decreased Judgment cooldown.
Fun fact, there’s no healing rotation. You have three, count ’em, three healing spells. You have Flash of Light, which is fast, doesn’t cost much mana and subsequently doesn’t heal for much and you have Holy Light, which is a bit longer to cast, costs more mana but heals for more. Oh, and then every thirty seconds you have Holy Shock.
Now, this doesn’t touch on downranking, which is a more complex subject, but basically, those are your three castable heals. That’s it. No Beacon of Light, no Holy Radiance, no Light of Dawn. That. is. it.
Someone is missing a bit of health? Flash of Light.
Someone is missing a LOT of health? Holy Light.
Someone is ABOUT TO DIE and can’t wait for Flash of Light to cast? Holy Shock, then Flash of Light, then Holy Light. (Or Lay on Hands — see below.)
The Oh Shit Button
Divine Favor is a talent and it is glorious. It forces your next Flash of Light, Holy Light or Holy Shock to be a crit. And, IIRC, it’s not on the global cooldown, so you can macro it to something like:
/cast Divine Favor
/cast Holy Shock
You need a target in there somewhere, but it should instantly cast Holy Shock and force a crit. If you have any on-use trinkets that would be helpful that are also off the global cooldown, you can use them here, too, to chain a nice big instant heal.
Note that Divine Favor does NOT force Lay on Hands to crit.
Seals and Judging
Of course, you also have Seal of Light and Seal of Wisdom and you can judge them both. How does judging work? Well, you put up a seal (like Light) and then you judge, then the seal is no longer up. So you would need to recast Seal of Light in order to judge it again. Read the tooltips on the seals to know what the judged effect is. So attacking someone with Seal of Light up gives me, the paladin, 94 health when it procs. When I judge it, anyone attacking the mob who has it on them has a change to get 61 health when it procs. If you’re close enough to attack the mob yourself, your melee hits refresh the duration of the judgment. I’m definitely fuzzy on this — not sure if it’s you or anyone in your group, but I’ll come back to this. I was more someone who stood 30y back and mostly judged from there.
So Seal of Light is nice to judge on a boss because then everyone is attacking the boss and everyone is getting health back. However, Seal of Wisdom is also nice to judge if you have a bunch of mana users (and if you, yourself, are running out of mana). You can judge Wisdom, then put up Seal of Wisdom on yourself again, then attack the mob and get a crapton of mana back as both the seal and judgment will proc.
Contrary to popular belief, Blessing of Kings is not the best buff. It’s Blessing of Salvation. That alone can allow you to live through a not great tank or allows a monstrous DPS to control their threat. Here’s how you should buff people.
Tank: Kings, if you’re specced into it, if only for the boost in stats and stam. If not (as you may not be, given my recommended builds above), give them Blessing of Might or, if they’re squishy, Blessing of Light. This only increases a paladin’s healing done to the target, so if you’re ret or prot in a dungeon and have a priest healing you, don’t buff this. (If you’re in some spec that allows you Blessing of Sanctuary, go for it on the tank.)
Yourself: As a holy paladin, you should give yourself Blessing of Wisdom. You naturally cause less threat than any other healer. If your tank is Not Good with the aggro, give yourself Salvation. However, you have a bubble. You should not need to Salv yourself.
All DPS: Give them Salvation. They may complain. Give them Salvation anyway.
Exception: Hunters! You may instead want to give hunters Blessing of Kings if you have it, or Blessing of Wisdom. Hunters can feign death every 30 seconds to completely eliminate any threat, so they can be in charge of managing their threat on their own. And no, do not give them Blessing of Might, no matter how much they think they want it. It is only good for melee attack power and hunters use ranged attack power. So if they don’t want Salv and you don’t have Kings, give them Wisdom. They do use mana, after all!
How Blessings Work
I think it’s at 60 you get all the Greater Blessings which last 15 minutes. Don’t be cheap. Use the Greater Blessings that use Symbols of Kings. Period. Do it. Not only do you not want to rebuff everyone every five minutes but no one else wants you to pause to rebuff and then drink every five minutes.
Finally, as they worked in more recent expansions, you are buffing an entire CLASS when you use a Greater Blessing. So if you have 3 warriors and one is tanking, buff them all Salv and then hit the warrior tank with the simple Blessing of Light or Blessing of Might. Got three mages in the group? Peachy, throw Greater Blessing of Salvation at them all and be done with one cast.
Okay, so, blessings are crazy in Vanilla/Classic. First, and I don’t think I’m wrong about this (but I could be), Blessing of Protection, Blessing of Freedom, etc, ALL OVERWRITE your actual Greater Blessing of whatever. One blessing per paladin per person! So if you have to cast BOP on an overzealous melee, don’t forget to hit them with Salvation again.
That said, so many of these blessings are useful. Do not hesitate to cast Blessing of Protection on someone with a bleed. If it’s a melee, once the bleed drops off, hit them with their normal blessing so they can continue attacking. If a clothie is being attacked, keep BOP on them and re-bless them after, as they don’t do physical damage and aren’t prevented from casting while BOPped.
Blessing of Freedom is great to avoid slows. Don’t hesitate to use it on your tank if they need to get to a mob casting Frostbolt at them.
Blessing of Sacrifice is not as good as it is currently, but hey, it’s some damage mitigation.
Which aura to use? You have A LOT. You have the elemental resist auras, Frost, Fire, Shadow (though no arcane!), so if you’re expecting damage of any of those schools (Baron Rivendare’s Shadow Aura, Alexei Barov’s Shadow Aura, Lord Incendius’ fire attacks), use that resist aura.
Concentration Aura: if you and/or your casters are being interrupted a lot by damage, use this to prevent you from ever being interrupted. (Pretty sure you start at base 70% chance not to be interrupted in casting when damaged?)
Retribution Aura: mostly used while soloing to inflict more damage on anything hitting you.
Devotion Aura: The go-to standard. Who doesn’t want more armor?
Guess what? You have an overpowered ability. Well, to be fair, you have several. However, one of the best utilities you have is your Cleanse ability. At level 8, you get Purify, allowing you to dispell a disease and a poison. At 42, you get Cleanse which adds a magic effect to that. So with one click, you can remove a poison AND a disease AND a magic effect from someone. And there’s no cooldown. This is incredibly important. The only thing you can’t get rid of is curses. (Bring a mage, bring a druid.)
Cleansing is one of the most important things to do in the game, period. Get all the bad crap off your healing target and then heal them, for the most part.
Lay on Hands
Oh, that’s right, you do have Lay on Hands… except it literally is a 40 minute cooldown (when talented for it! 60 minutes otherwise!) and it literally uses all of your mana, so make sure to have a Major Mana Potion ready and judge wisdom and put up Seal of Wisdom and go hit the boss after you use it.
You’re a paladin. A champion of the light. As such, you can Turn Undead. Note that this later became Turn Evil and included demons, but this is just for undead and not the Forsaken, either! This can be an effective form of crowd control. That said, just like a warlock’s fear, your dude can go running off pretty far in 20 seconds and may come back… with friends. Still, this is super handy on, say, the two adds in Scholo on Alexei Barov.
Known as “DI”, Divine Intervention is one of my favourite spells. It kills you instantly. But you don’t take durability damage. It requires a target, so target someone who can resurrect (priest, other paladin, druid, engineer with jumper cables) and cast it if you’re about to wipe. It removes the other person from combat (so make sure they’re in a good place and won’t pull when they click it off!) when it kills you, so they don’t die and can rez the group. However, druids have a 30m cooldown on their rez and it’s an in-combat resurrection, so they should be your last choice. Always try to DI a priest. This will rarely be an opportunity for you in a dungeon, though.
- There is no healing rotation. Flash of Light for small heals, Holy Light for big heals, Holy Shock when moving as it’s your only instant, Divine Favor for forced crits, Lay on Hands once every 40 minutes.
- Buff wisely and use Salvation for everyone except you and the tank.
- Judge Light to heal and Judge Wisdom to regen mana. Feel free to run into melee with either of those seals up to gain health and mana yourself as well.
- Don’t forget to cleanse.
- You can CC for about 20 seconds with Turn Undead.
- Use auras as needed and go Devotion Aura if none of the others are required.
- DI a priest or paladin before a druid. Engineers with jumper cables are also valid options!
All righty, I’ll end things on this note, but will come back to talk about raiding. Any questions? Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments below!