Cataclysm Build 12857 – The "Trifecta of Doom" Build

Ladies and gentlemen, Cataclysm Build 12857 shall hereafter be known to me as the “Trifecta of Doom” build.

Paladin Summaries

To begin, let us look at the paladin tree summaries, which let you know what abilities you get just for spending your first points in that tree. (Click for a larger version.)

Notice anything weird? Wrong? Strange?

How about the fact that the Holy tree only has 3 abilities listed, followed by their mastery, whereas prot and ret both have four?

Take a closer look at the Holy summary.

Holy Shock, fine. Walk in the Light (still at 10%, mind you), fine. Meditation (50% of regen while casting), fine. Mastery seems fine.

What’s missing?

I was about halfway through a Blackrock Caverns run last night when I realized what the problem was.

Spiritual Focus is missing.

Are you kidding me? There I am, in Blackrock Caverns, and someone, while running back to the group, accidentally pulled a pack of mobs and trained them right to us. We got a couple of them CCed, the tank grabbed the rest but there was a caster who wasn’t CCed who kept shooting me with Arcane Missiles. And my casts were being pushed back, even with Concentration Aura on.

I have faint hopes that this might be retooled or something, but for right now, it’s just gone. It seems as though Blizzard has completely gutted holy paladins.

The Trifecta of Doom Build’s Major Changes

I call this build the Trifecta of Doom Build because three major tenets of our class have been changed or removed, along with a couple of minor things.

1) Illumination has indeed been removed from the Holy tree. It’s just flat-out gone. Vanished. Poof. After four years of consistently nerfing a core talent in the Holy tree, Blizzard has finally gotten rid of it. I honestly have a visceral reaction to this change. They should have tossed it out four years ago. It would have been more along the lines of having a good friend die suddenly in an accident, rather than seeing that friend die a slow, painful death. Sure, it would have hurt like hell to begin with, but with it having only been part of Vanilla WoW, rather than Vanilla, Burning Crusade AND Wrath, it would have hurt less overall.

2) Divine Plea now only returns 10% of your mana over 15 seconds (down from 25%) and the cooldown has been raised from 1 minute to 2 minutes. Healing reduction remains at 50% while Divine Plea is active. Considering what an important role Divine Plea has played in holy paladin healing for almost two years, this definitely comes as a blow.

3) Spiritual Focus‘ disappearance was a wholly unexpected change. One of the few benefits to being a healer who mostly casts spells with a cast time is that, with Spiritual Focus (70% pushback resist) and even the base Concentration Aura (35% pushback resist), we were not able to be interrupted by damage. Sure, we were very susceptible to interrupt effects. There’s nothing quite as panic inducing as watching EVERY ABILITY YOU HAVE go on cooldown at the same time! But at least we didn’t get interrupted by damage.

Did you know that priests no longer have a pushback resist talent? And neither do druids. Shaman do, in their resto baseline skills, as do elemental shaman, and mages still have Burning Soul. But warlocks, priests, druids and paladins don’t have pushback talents or skills.

That’s 9 specs without access to pushback resistance (outside of Concentration Aura) versus 5 who do. Who here thinks that they’re phasing out pushback resistance entirely?

<raises hand>

The minor things I mentioned are the removal or change of most talents that actually improve our healing, as I mentioned the other day. We have precisely one talent in our first two tiers that actually improves healing, which is Divinity. We have Last Word, which increases the critical strike chance of Word of Glory, if used on someone under 35% health, yes, but this is not a flat increase. This is a random proc under certain conditions. We have cast-time reductions on Holy Light and Divine Light with Clarity of Purpose, true, but again, this isn’t an increase in healing, it’s just a haste increase on two spells.

Other Changes

Holy Power generation has been fixed, finally. I now can generate Holy Power through the following methods:

a) Using Holy Shock grants 1 charge of Holy Power.

b) 3/3 Tower of Radiance means that directly healing your Beacon of Light target with Holy Shock, Flash of Light, Holy Light or Divine will grant you 1 charge of Holy Power. (Yes, using Holy Shock on your Beacon target still grants you 2 charges.) This eliminates the Word of Glory bug and removes the Holy Power generation from using Light of Dawn and Holy Radiance.

c) Using Crusader Strike , which is a baseline paladin ability in Cataclysm, will grant you 1 charge of Holy Power.

You also no longer get the red W buff that was a placeholder for Holy Power in your buff area. Holy Power charges are only visible on your character portrait. It does not seem as though there is a time limit on Holy Power charges any longer. When we had the little buff icons, Holy Power was lasting 30 seconds. If there’s no longer a duration, this is good and means we can store Holy Power charges, then drink, then move on to the next pull with a full Holy Power bar.

If there is a duration, it is certainly much longer than 30 seconds as I’ve been sitting here with 3 charges on me for about five minutes, now.

In the cosmetic area…

Hammer of Wrath has had its graphic changed to the old 2H Weapon Specialization graphic from the ret tree:

Cleanse‘s graphic has gone back to the old Purify graphic. I suppose this makes sense because Cleanse removes magic, poison and disease, whereas Purify only does poison and disease, and prots and rets won’t be able to remove magic.

Clarity of Purpose‘s graphic is now the old Blessing of Wisdom graphic. This makes me happy. Blessing of Might now provides attack power and mp5, so to see the Blessing of Wisdom icon still somewhere in the game makes me smile.

Daybreak is a new talent that is actually surprisingly useful. The Glyph of Holy Shock now increases Holy Shock’s critical strike chance by 5% instead of reducing its cooldown by 1s, so resetting the cooldown on Holy Shock isn’t bad, especially if you proc Infusion of Light to get a super-fast Holy Light. (Too bad Holy Light still doesn’t heal for much of anything.) You can hit Holy Shock, then if it crits, you can hit Holy Light for a sub-one-second (and very cheap) cast and hope for a Daybreak proc, then go back to Holy Shock. Daybreak, by the way, has got a pretty “power aura” notification, as seen below. (And that was a Holy Light cast, by the way. 6782 at level 83. Sigh.)

Speaking of Infusion of Light, it almost works properly, now. Instead of giving you an instant Flash of Light (as the live version does), it now actually reduces the cast time of your Holy Light by 1.5 seconds as advertised. Trouble is, it’s still currently consumed by your next Flash of Light, even though it does nothing for the cast time. Ah, beta.

Talents

Okay, since we’re moving into talent discussion, let’s take a look at what I think the best talent spec for a holy paladin is at the moment.

31/0/10

Let’s walk through it together.

Holy

Tier 1

Arbiter of the Light: 0/2. This is largely because it no longer adds critical strike chance to Holy Light.

Divinity: 3/3. No-brainer.

Judgements of the Pure: 3/3. Also a no-brainer.

Tier 2:

Clarity of Purpose: 3/3. 0.5 seconds off healing spells is a good thing.

Last Word: 2/2. In previous builds, I’ve scoffed at this talent. There seemed better places to spend one’s points. Not only do we no longer have better places to spend our points, but this is actually really useful in those “holy crap” situations. There are two particularly foul attacks by Evolved Twilight Zealots in Blackrock Caverns:

1) Gravity Strike: Inflicts damage equal to 70% of an enemy’s current health and briefly reduces its Attack Power.

2) Grievous Whirl: A vicious attack that causes the target to bleed profusely until fully healed.  Deals 750 damage every 2 seconds until healed.

The combination of those two? VERY BAD. So Last Word, while originally not as great as some of the other talents we could have picked up, does have its uses.

Blazing Light: 0/2. All damage. Damage of Holy Shock and Exorcism. Unless you want to be a Shockadin (which won’t ever be viable as a raiding spec, but definitely seems like a decent soloing idea), stay away from this.

Tier 3

Denounce: 0/2. If this worked the way Telluric Currents does for resto shammies, I’d be much more inclined to pick this up. As it is, it’s a free, instant Exorcism after every Holy Shock. Shockadin territory.

Divine Favor: 1/1. Different icon than the live version, different ability altogether, but 20% spell haste and 20% spell crit for 20 seconds on a 3m cooldown? Definitely worth the investment.

Infusion of Light: 2/2. Even if this didn’t lead into Speed of Light, this is still a good talent. Snag it.

Daybreak: 2/2. As I explained above, very nice to have.

Tier 4

Enlightened Judgements: 0/2. PVP talent. I mistakenly took this when I was respeccing because I’m apparently hard-wired to click on that icon. So when I ran Blackrock Caverns last night, every time I judged, I healed myself for 4.2k-5.5k. This heal can crit, too, and I saw crits of 6-7k.

Beacon of Light: 1/1. 50% of healing done is still better than 0% of healing done.

Speed of Light: 3/3. Excellent talent to reduce the cooldown on Holy Radiance and to help with positioning.

Sacred Cleansing: 1/1. I still can’t believe we have to waste a point just so that our Cleanse remains exactly the same as in Vanilla, BC and WotLK, but it’s well-worth the point anyways.

Tier 5

Conviction: 3/3. Bonuses to healing are good.

Aura Mastery: 1/1. Same as the live version, definitely worth the point.

Improved Concentration Aura: 2/2. With Spiritual Focus missing, presumed dead, this is a must-have. 50% chance to resist pushback for you and your group.

Tier 6

Tower of Radiance: 3/3. No-brainer. Any way to gain Holy Power is good. 267 charges gained over the course of my run last night.

Blessed Life: 0/2. I specced 1/2 for this last night to test it out. From what I can tell, this does require direct damage done from a mob in order to proc. I do not think AOE effects count, as I stood in Quakes and Blast Waves and such to no effect. It only granted me 61 charges over the run.

Tier 7

Light of Dawn: 1/1. Still has a crappy animation, but you should definitely take it.

Protection

Take no talents here.

Retribution

Tier 1

Eye for an Eye: 0/2. Worthless to us as healers.

Crusade: 3/3. Holy Shock’s healing increased by 30% is all we care about.

Improved Judgement: 2/2. It’s not quite as far as in Wrath (30yd as opposed to 40), but it’s well-worth taking anyways.

Tier 2

Eternal Glory: 2/2. What a freaking lifesaver this thing is. I gained 176 charges of Holy Power over the course of the run because of this talent.

Rule of Law: 3/3. Well, I can only get 1/3 at the moment, since I’m only 83, but we’ll want to fill this up to increase crit chance on Word of Glory and Holy Shock.

And that’s about it for talents. About the only wiggle room I see is dropping Conc Aura for Blessed Life or Enlightened Judgements, but if Spiritual Focus is really dead, I can’t advise that for any reason in PVE healing.

Blackrock Caverns

So I did a Blackrock Caverns run last night with a fairly decently geared tank from my live realm. As a healer/tank combo, we still waited about 15 minutes for a queue, probably due to the late hour.

After some initial lag issues relating to using addons, I turned them all off and just healed the way I always have in Beta — terrified because I can’t properly see things on my laughable version of raid frames.

It went reasonably well. The first boss wasn’t a problem. Even the second boss wasn’t too bad. The third boss was okay. That’s as far as I’d previously gotten, so everything beyond that was new to me. There’s a Core Hound fight, it’s AWESOME. haha. It was actually the one fight that I felt was tuned well for our group. It was annoying to be feared and have fire show up, etc, but I finished the fight with just about no mana and everyone alive. The damage wasn’t horrible, but it was challenging, particularly with a movement aspect.

The last boss is ridiculous. As near as I can figure, you have the boss and he has two adds. The adds are elementals. The adds do not go after whoever has the highest aggro on them, but rather, WHOEVER HIT THEM LAST.

Sounds like a fun mechanic, right?

Wrong.

These little bastards, if you’re close enough to them, inflict a debuff on you.

Would you like to know what this non-dispellable debuff looks like?

It’s called Crepuscular Veil. And it reduces healing done on its target by 99% for four seconds. It only gets cast when they’re in range, mind you, so you basically have to kite them. They are immune to stuns, but Entangling Roots work just fine. It wouldn’t have been quite so bad if we had had a shaman for Bind Elemental or a warlock for Banish, but we didn’t. Our group was, I kid you not, four paladins and a feral druid.

Repentence doesn’t work on elementals. And they’re immune to stuns, so Hammer of Justice is worthless.

It’s clear that what you’re supposed to do is CC one of them and kite the other while you bring down the boss. A hunter would have been great. Anything with a pet would have been great, too — just stick the pet on one for a good 15 seconds or so, then pull the add off the pet, heal the pet, put the pet back on the add.

We couldn’t get it done with our group composition, although we got the feral druid to go resto and basically cast roots and then he and I were going to ping-pong the remaining add. It actually didn’t go that badly, but we’d tried 3-4 times or so and X (not xmolder, but the tank from my live guild) had to go, so we called it.

During one of the attempts, I noticed the druid dropped this green thing on the ground. “OH MY GOD,” I said out loud, to myself, “EFFLORESCENCE!!!!” So I went and stood in it! (Click for the larger version.)

Apart from that healing debuff, the Grievous Whirl and the Gravity Strike, things weren’t too bad. It was important that our tank be aware of his debuffs (charging into the alloys with 48 stacks of a “take more fire damage” debuff is bad!) and that the DPS watch the floor and not stand in front of mobs who cleave. But it wasn’t terrible.

What is surprising is the healing breakdown. (Yes, I logged the run. I love World of Logs.)

Here’s my healing by spell:

1) Holy Shock: 1,603,147 healing, 20.4%, 165 hits, 63 crits, 228 total. 21.7% overheal.

2) Beacon of Light: 1,186,292 healing, 15.1%, 357 hits/total. 29.2% overheal.

3) Word of Glory: 1,158,982 healing, 14.8%, 75 hits, 105 crits, 180 total. 10.3% overheal.

4) Flash of Light: 1,143,394 healing, 14.6%, 106 hits, 36 crits, 142 total. 14.7% overheal.

5) Divine Light: 1,124, 898 healing, 14.3%, 69 hits, 24 crits, 93 total. 9.2% overheal.

6) Holy Radiance: 561,679 healing, 7.2 %, 525 hits, 177 crits, 702 total. 36.1% overheal.

7) Holy Light: 494,658 healing, 6.3%, 66 hits, 16 crits, 82 total. 17.4% overheal.

8) Light of Dawn: 331,583 healing, 4.2%, 96 hits, 26 crits, 122 total. 37.5% overheal.

9) Lay on Hands: 144,643 healing, 1.8%, 4 hits, 1 crit, 5 total. 24.8% overheal.

10) Enlightened Judgements: 93,592 healing, 1.2%, 38 hits, 8 crits, 46 total. 58.4% overheal.

First of all, that’s probably the most I have EVER used Holy Shock in my life. Daybreak procced 93 times, which is nice, but it’ll also proc even if Holy Shock isn’t on cooldown, oddly, so that might or might not have had anything to do with it.

Second of all, look at the next few spells I used. Look at the percentages. 15%, 14%, 14%, 14%. With Holy Shock at 20% and my next four spells at 14-15%, that’s a pretty even distribution, particularly considering where holy paladins are at right now. I also could have used Light of Dawn and Holy Radiance a LOT more frequently.

And if I had used Holy Light every time Infusion of Light procced (63 times), then I probably would have had more Holy Lights used. It’s so difficult to think that the sound effect for IoL means I should cast HL instead of FoL. It’s a very different mindset, especially considering I’m still healing on live and can’t get used to the new way without screwing myself over on live.

What This Means

It seems to me that this is what they probably want — healers of all kinds to use different spells as appropriate instead of relying on one or two spells. But part of why I used such a variety of spells is because I wasn’t sure what to use next.

They say that Holy Light is our go-to spell. Well, it doesn’t heal for much. It’s okay that Holy Light heals for next to nothing IF you basically pair it with an Infusion of Light proc. If you don’t, it’s next to worthless. Like I’ve said before, I have 50k health in my HOLY GEAR. My tank last night had 75k health in a regular dungeon, not, you know, ICC. Do you know what a 6-7k heal does to a tank who has lost 70% of his existing health due to Gravity Strike? It as though you didn’t actually cast a damn thing. And it took you about 2.2 seconds to do it, with over 1000 haste, at level 83. If it took you .7 seconds to do it, which it does, after an Infusion of Light proc, that’s fine.

In my experience, Holy Shock is our go-to heal. I’m pretty sure I don’t like that. I’m also pretty sure that this is how Blizzard can justify the loss of Spiritual Focus. “But you’re NOT always casting spells with a cast time! Holy Shock! Word of Glory! Light of Dawn! Holy Radiance!”

And maybe they’re right. Maybe paladins are supposed to be the new mobile healing class. Except that Light of Dawn and Holy Radiance are on 30 seconds cooldowns, Holy Shock is on a 6 second cooldown and Word of Glory is dependent on a whole other resource that is, as I’m sure Walks will mention, strongly linked to none other than Holy Shock. And Holy Light, a spell with a stupidly long cast time, is supposed to be our go-to spell.

I just don’t understand what they’re doing. Usually, I can see the method to the madness, even if I loathe the method with all my being. But I just can’t see what they’re trying to do here. It feels as though Blizzard is all over the place with holy paladins right now. “No, don’t cast!” “But a casted spell is your go-to spell!” And then they throw things like Gravity Strike at us. The content is telling us to do one thing (Divine Light and Flash of Light fairly frequently) but our talents are telling us to do another (Cast Holy Shock ALL OF THE TIME!).

I’ve been thinking a lot since my run last night, while writing up this post and doing regular, everyday stuff. I don’t see what direction they want us to go in. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe it’s too early in the beta to see that.

What I can see, though, is the death of the spec I have loved playing since July of 2006. That’s when I started really trying to level my paladin as holy and I’ve basically been holy ever since. I keep trying to make sure my emotions don’t overly inform my posts, but I can’t help but be disappointed. There is very little that is at all familiar about holy paladins right now. Illumination gone. Divine Favor changed. Divine Illumination gone. Divine Plea changed. Spiritual Focus gone. Sacred Shield gone. Flash of Light’s HoT gone.

The only thing I remotely recognize about paladins in Cataclysm is Holy Shock. Everything else is completely different or gone. The talent trees are dumbed down and you can now almost happen upon the optimal spec by chance, just by allocating 5 points per tier. And yet, the content is challenging to people in ICC gear?

I know. Tuning of the encounters, of the abilities, of the talents, of the glyphs, of everything. I know.

But I do think that this Trifecta of Doom build has turned a corner for holy paladins and I’m not quite sure we can ever go back.

Cataclysm Build 12857 – Don't Panic. Yet.

The beta realms are going down for “maintenance” shortly, which usually means a new build is incoming. MMO-Champion details a LOT of stuff that’s being added in.

Let us talk about our latest changes as far as they affect holy paladin PVE healing, shall we?

– Divine Plea now lets you gain 10% (down from 25%) of your total mana over 15 sec. Cooldown changed to 2 min, up from 1 min.

And holy paladins the world over screamed “nooooooooo!” This change reinforces two new ideas about paladin healing:

1) Intellect (which grants us mana, as you know, but will also be the new “spellpower” stat) will not be a regeneration stat for us. Intellect and haste and probably crit will be throughput stats for us, leaving Spirit as the regen stat. We will no longer want to stack intellect for mana regeneration purposes. We may want to stack it for throughput, but it’s too early in the game to tell yet.

2) Mana will almost certainly be a huge issue at all levels of progression. They’re changing how innervate works so that a feral druid’s innervate restores less mana than a moonkin’s or a resto druid’s — it’s now going to be based on the casting druid’s mana pool. The change to Divine Plea is almost certainly part of that same thinking. We appear to be going back to the days where we will be reactive healers instead of proactive healers.

– Lay on Hands cooldown reduced from 20 min to 10 min.

If this means my Glyph makes this five minutes, that’s cool. ;) No, seriously, this seems to be a positive thing, assuming they don’t revert it back to using all of our mana again, the way it did in Vanilla and Burning Crusade. I wouldn’t expect any glyphs to do anything significant to the cooldown, though.

– Tower of Radiance now procs from Holy Shock, Flash of Light, Holy Light or Divine Light.

Hello, nerfbat. Nice to see you again. Previously, Tower of Radiance procced from any direct heal to your tank — and that included Light of Dawn and Holy Radiance (formerly Healing Hands). That led to a ridiculous amount of Holy Power available to a holy paladin. I understand this change and, while it’s sad to see it implemented, it was just a matter of time.

– Blessed Life now has a chance to proc whenever you take direct damage. (Old – “All attacks against you”)

I’m going to have to wait to actually get on Beta once the realms come back up, but that’s interesting. It was not proccing from standing in fire in previous builds, though. This change will probably mean that AOE damage or other damage-over-time effects will not proc charges of Holy Power. This probably means that the very short time where Blessed Life was maybe going to be a PVE talent has come and gone and almost certainly means that it returns to the PVP talent category.

– Illumination is gone.

I had to read that one about six times before I actually believed what I was reading.

Illumination has had a long life. It was in the game from the beginning. Back in Vanilla WoW, this was amazing. You would get 100% of your mana back for every spell that crit. Holy Light crits? Here, have free mana. It was beautiful.

In Burning Crusade, they dropped the mana return to 50% and then raised it to 60%, which is the change that went live.

In Wrath of the Lich King, they dropped the mana return to 30% from 60%. Crit declined in desirability to the point where mp5 was usually a wiser choice for Holy Light spamming holy paladins, up to a certain point.

And now… it’s gone.

You know what, Blizzard? I would have been a LOT happier to see you pull the plug on it FOUR YEARS AGO than watch it die this horribly long, lingering death. Illumination has been a defining part of the holy paladin playstyle for the entire length of this game. Had they ripped it out four years ago, it wouldn’t have been as ingrained in paladin culture as it currently is.

It’s a sad day, really.

– Healing Light renamed to Blazing Light – Increases the damage of your Holy Shock and Exorcism by 10/20%. (No longer affects Word of Glory’s healing)

They must have figured “hey! While we’re at it, let’s just throw out the majority of the tree!” Not only did this change from Wrath to Beta, in that it used to increase healing by Holy Light, Flash of Light and Holy Shock and then just affected damage/healing of Holy Shock and the healing of Word of Glory, but now it doesn’t increase healing at all!

– Arbiter of the Light no longer affects Holy Light.

That’s a Tier 1 talent that affected the critical effect of your Judgements, Templar’s Verdict and Holy Light. Now it’s just a DPS talent.

– Conviction is back as a Holy Tier 5 talent – Gives you a 1/2/3% bonus to damage and healing for 15 sec after causing a critical effect from a weapon swing, spell, or ability. This effect stacks up to 3 times.

This is probably what is replacing Illumination. I did like that bonus of up to 9% healing, but it feels lacklustre, given that it’s based on crits, which are pretty much random. At least it’s a reason to keep crit on our gear?

– Daybreak (Tier 3) *New* – Your Flash of Light, Holy Light and Divine Light have a 15/30% chance of resetting the cooldown on your Holy Shock.

This does not make any sense to me whatsoever. Holy Shock is, at base, a six second cooldown. There’s a Glyph (that may no longer exist at release, who knows? It’s currently still in the game and active.) that reduces this to a five second cooldown. With Word of Glory, you don’t really need your Holy Shock to be off cooldown. But will we, based on future content? It may well be the case.

Even if we don’t want it, we’ll probably need to take it anyways, though.

I’m looking at the previous build’s tree, keeping all the changes in mind, and I’m stuck needing one more point in tier 3 before moving down, and then I get stuck again on Tier 5 until I put in another point somewhere. So I could fill out Daybreak and the new Conviction to get all the way down to Tier 6… and then I run out of places that I want to put my points with only 28 spent in the tree altogether.

Honestly, I don’t want to take Denounce, Arbiter of the Light, Blazing Light, Enlightened Judgements, Improved Concentration Aura (although this is likely what I will end up taking, barring other changes) or Blessed Life. But I’m going to have to in order to get down to Light of Dawn.

Am I alone in wanting to heal and, you know, not DPS while healing? Am I the only one who doesn’t think a holy talent like the new Denounce is fun?

– Denounce revamped – Reduces the mana cost of Exorcism by 25/50%. In addition, you have a 50/100% chance when casting Holy Shock to make your next Exorcism spell instant and cost no mana.

I don’t want to do damage if I’m on my paladin. If I wanted to do damage, I would play my hunter or my mage. You know. Pure DPS classes.

It seems to me that the holy got nerfed out of the holy tree in this build, assuming MMO-Champion’s information is accurate (which, let’s face it, it probably is). Doesn’t it seem wrong that out of the first six talents in the holy tree, only three of them have anything to do with healing, and only one of those three has anything to do with the total amount of healing from any spell?

I know they have to give prot and ret something to make spending points in holy at least attractive, the way they gave us some ret talents that are at least useful for us, but the ret talents that affect healing all still do damage! Except for Eternal Glory, which has a chance to not consume your Holy Power, which ret and prot pallies can then use… to do damage!

So where are OUR healing talents? There’s basically nothing left in the tree that increases our healing, apart from Divinity and the holy-baseline “Walk in the Light”, which grants us a whopping 10% extra potency on our healing spells.

I’m not asking for us to go back to the days where priests, for example, had 18 million talent points all improving different types of heals. But certainly improving the strength of our heals needs to happen. Otherwise, what’s the point of being holy?

I titled this post “Don’t Panic. Yet”. I sound like I’m panicking. I’m not, I assure you. Beta is still buggy. We don’t even have a release date. There is a lot of time yet for holy paladins to be refined. For all I know, they’ve bumped up Walk in the Light to 30% potency and changed all the mana cost values. Who knows?

What we know so far is this:

– They seem to be pushing Holy Shock beyond anything else.

– They don’t want us to regen mana from Divine Plea.

– They don’t want us to regen mana from crits.

– They may want us to do damage in encounters, similarly to Priests and Smile, Druids and Wrath and Shaman and Lightning Bolt.

Everything else is up in the air. I’ll have more details once the servers come back up.

Don’t panic yet and feel free to leave your feedback here. I’ll be posting about this build on the official forums and would love to bring your feedback to Blizzard.

Build 12803 Notes and Bugs

Well, Word of Glory doesn’t work properly for Holy paladins, but works fine for Retribution and Protection pallies. Eternal Glory has not been nerfed to 20% as far as I can tell, because I got four Word of Glory heals in a row before losing my three-stack of Holy Power as ret.

There’s a new animation for Light of Dawn, which I’ll take a proper movie of tomorrow. The sound is the same, the healing is the same (lacklustre). Holy Radiance is exactly the same as Healing Hands in terms of sound, animation and healing done.

But the most hilarious thing about this build is that Crusader Aura is totally bugged out.

I’m still chuckling.

Cataclysm Beta Build 12803

MMO-Champion is reporting some class changes in this new build. I’m sure I’ll have more stuff to say later on, but the basics:

1) Healing Hands renamed to Holy Radiance. I approve. This is very descriptive of the spell. Also, the less confusion with all the Hand spells the better. I still don’t understand why our single-target taunt is called Hand of Reckoning…

2) Illumination has moved in our tree. It’s now Tier 5, instead of 3, and only requires two points to get 30% of our mana back on a critical spell. I’m okay with this; this is less bloaty. It was one thing to pay 5 talent points for 100% mana return or even 60% mana return, but 5 points for 30% mana return was lame. I believe it’s switching places with Denounce, which grants you an instant, free Exorcism whenever you get a crit on a Holy spell. (To which I say, “feh.”)

3) One of the fun reasons for speccing into ret has been nerfed. Eternal Glory previously gave you a 20/40% chance to not lose Holy Power when using Word of Glory. It’s now a 10/20% (assuming it’s still two talent points – MMO-Champion just says 20%) chance. I think that dropping this from nearly half the time to a fifth of the time is sort of making this a blah talent. Of course, we’ll still want it, because saving Holy Power means another free heal through WoG or another boost to Light of Dawn, but it will happen even more unpredictably, which will mean one of two things.

a) We’ll ignore it almost entirely and actually make use of the proc only occasionally. Sort of like today’s Infusion of Light procs. I sometimes force a crit Holy Shock to get me that instant Flash of Light, but most of the time, when Infusion of Light goes off, I don’t even notice and just continue to heal. I’m not sure I like this, because while it’s nice on occasion, I like to talent for things that I can sort of use and rely on.

b) If mana conservation is as huge a deal as the devs are making it out to be, we’re going to be glued to our buff bar/Power Auras/in-game Power Auras to watch for those procs and do our very best to use them smartly. I’m not sure I like this idea. Prioritizing Word of Glory may not always be the best case, even if we have the proc go off, giving us another WoG heal. Perhaps we’ll then choose that time to cast Light of Dawn, but… I don’t know. I’ll have to play with it.

That’s about it with regards to holy changes thus far. I’ll try to get a couple videos up this weekend. Assuming things on the beta aren’t broken. ;)

Paladin Utility Spells Continued

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone for chiming in on my post yesterday about the various utility spells that paladins can use. It’s always fun to see what other people are thinking!

The reason why I asked people about utility spell use by paladins is because I got into a heated discussion about a retribution paladin who basically didn’t use any of the utility spells barring Hand of Salvation on himself (and only himself) and a very rare Cleanse. To the ret’s credit, he did use Lay on Hands on Dreamwalker more often than not… But really, no BOPping, no HoSac, very little Cleansing (not even on himself with Glittering Sparks), etc. It was bothering me a lot to see a paladin just not using these spells and worse, to have someone else (a non-paladin) defending the lack of spell usage.

Paladins have always, in my mind, been The Utility Class. Who else has all these tricks and tools? No one. No one else has BOP or HoSac or HoSalv. No one else has Lay on Hands. In this day and age of class homogenization, paladins alone have our utility spells.

As such, I find it’s important to use these spells.

It’s expected that a paladin should perform their role, be it healing, tanking or DPSing, but it’s the GREAT paladins that actually use our utility spells regularly and appropriately.

Of course, it’s the utility spells that can fall by the wayside when things get hectic and when people panic. That’s part of why it’s a mark of a good paladin, in my opinion, when one actually uses those spells properly.

Here’s an example.

On Blood Prince Council, prior to the Empowered Shock Vortex, Glittering Sparks gets cast on a bunch of people. Who should be responsible for the retribution paladin’s Glittering Sparks?

In my opinion, a good ret pally will not wait for a mass dispel (or anyone else’s dispel) but will Cleanse him or herself and start Cleansing other melee so they can spread out appropriately.

Another example:

On Festergut, a protection paladin who is not tanking (in fact, has just finished tanking) BOPs him or herself, waits 10 seconds, then casts Hand of Salvation on him or herself to ensure they don’t catch up on threat AND casts Hand of Sacrifice on the other tank when there are three inhales. THAT prot pally is my freaking hero.

Of course, I have been known to have somewhat high standards. I wondered if I was alone in thinking that paladins should be using these spells. So I asked you folks.

My sociology background is beating me over the head for not doing a proper survey to properly analyze the results, but at least I can give you guys a summary. But first, my own observations:

The first thing I noticed is that most people didn’t know how to use Hand of Sacrifice, if they knew what it was, and quite a few seemed to confuse it with Divine Sacrifice. This was actually intended — I did not link Hand of Sacrifice for the tooltip, just to see if people knew what I was talking about. ;)

The second thing I noticed is that everyone basically thinks everyone should know HOW to use the spells even if they shouldn’t prioritize their use. Fair enough.

The third thing I noticed is that everyone pretty much believes Cleanse is a no-brainer and that every spec should use it as appropriate.

As to a real summary of what people thought…

Everyone thought people should use Lay on Hands appropriately. Whether that’s just for Dreamwalker or if it’s any spec popping it up on someone who could use it (preferably a tank or a healer) or just using it on themselves, everyone felt that every spec had at least one situational usage for it. I approve.

Everyone thought people should use Cleanse whenever the situation called for it. Basically, if you have a poison, disease or a magic debuff on yourself and you are a paladin and you don’t Cleanse yourself, it better only be because someone beat you to it.

We enter the realm of controversy and disagreement when it comes to the Hand spells.

Reaction was mixed with regards to Hand of Salvation. Should Holy paladins even bother to have Omen up? Some people thought so, some people didn’t. Those that did felt that Holy pallies were the best people to use HoSalv on people. Those that didn’t felt that prots were the best kinds of pallies to use HoSalv, with most people agreeing that ret should use it on themselves at the very least.

Hand of Protection (BOP) was always mentioned as being a very situational spell, particularly with the Saurfang encounter mentioned. Very few people felt rets should ever really need to use it as compared to holy pallies and prot pallies. People felt that if a retribution pally was using it, it should be on something very situational like Saurfang.

Hand of Sacrifice, as mentioned before, was a little confusing. Some people admitted they never used it at all, some said they didn’t understand the spell and some confused it with Divine Sacrifice. Among those who did seem to know about the spell, most said it was best used situationally, mostly as a save-the-tank type cooldown.

What do I think?

– I think all paladins can find a time to use Lay on Hands in a four-hour block of raiding, unless they super outgear the content.

– I think all paladins should at least Cleanse themselves of debuffs, GCDs permitting, helping out where possible.

– I think all paladins should use Hand of Salvation now and again. Even if you don’t have Omen up, chances are you can see if someone has aggro. A quick Hand of Salvation on that person will help out your tank in re-establishing aggro. (Think of the adds on Lady Deathwhisper.)

– I don’t think rets should use Hand of Sacrifice unless they’re planning to bubble and I think prots and holies should use it sparingly. That said, on certain encounters, it’s really useful. I’ve taken to bubbling and using HoSac on the corporeal realm tank on Halion. My fellow holy pally started using HoSac on the Sindragosa pull, which I think is a great idea,  since that’s generally when most parries happen.

– I think BOP should be used constantly by people, if only on trash and DEFINITELY used by all specs on Saurfang to push back the first Mark or to BOP someone during the Frenzy.

I don’t expect perfect use of all these utilities by every paladin, but I do expect to see an effort from paladins to use all of these abilities appropriately. If someone beat you to a BOP, no big, but if you sat there with Glittering Sparks for 10 seconds and blew up the tank because you couldn’t get away from him, that’s pretty poor play.

Anyways, thanks again to all those who responded! It’s nice to see some new names around, too, so I hope you all stick around. :)

Your Thoughts: Paladins and Utility Spells

Due to a discussion I am having elsewhere, I would like to know what you all think is appropriate use of a paladin’s utility spells, regardless of spec, over the course of a 4 hour raid night which is in Ruby Sanctum (25m regular) and ICC 25 (mostly heroic, some regular modes).

Please answer the following questions.

1) Should all paladins use Lay on Hands at some point in that 4-hour block?

2) Should all paladins know how to Cleanse? Should every paladin be expected to Cleanse? What encounters should they/shouldn’t they be expected to Cleanse on? What spec do you expect paladins who Cleanse to be?

3) Should all paladins use Hand of Salvation at some point in that 4-hour block? On whom? What spec should these casting paladins be? In what situations should it be cast?

4) Should all paladins use Hand of Sacrifice at some point in that 4-hour raid? On whom? What spec should they be? What situations?

5) Should all paladins use BOP (Hand of Protection) at some point in that raid? On whom? What spec should they be? In what situations would it be useful?

I await your answers and then will tell you on Tuesday why I’m asking. :)

Holy How-To #8, Awesome on DBS and VDW

Welcome to my Holy How-To for PVE Paladins. This is the eighth 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.

Holy paladins have, thus far in the expansion, changed considerably. Arguably, the biggest change that we have encountered is the change to Beacon of Light, which now takes overhealing into account when mirroring heals.

This one change has completely modified the way in which holy paladins heal. We’ve had to adapt to this change and it’s been for the better, in my opinion.

What this one change has allowed us to do is to be absolute superstars on two encounters in particular: Deathbringer Saurfang and Valithria Dreamwalker. There are other fights where we can shine, but these two encounters are basically designed for us to be awesome. So, this Holy How-to will focus on exactly how to be awesome on Saurfang and Dreamwalker.
Continue reading “Holy How-To #8, Awesome on DBS and VDW”

Cataclysm Beta Build 12759, Holy Pally Style!

Hoo boy, this build, which changes up ret a bunch, throws a kink into my pretty little holy spec! Who would have thought it?

Talents/Spells:

– Conviction is gone, so no more bonus 3/6/9% damage/healing when you get a crit

– Improved Judgements is now in Tier 1 of ret and THAT is the one that gives you 15/30 extra yards on your judgement range

– Eternal Glory gives you a 20%/40% chance to not consume Holy Power when you use Word of Glory

– Enlightened Judgements heals YOU for some miniscule amount (1k/2k) whenever you judge

– Clarity of Purpose is now .5 seconds of Holy Light and Divine Light cast times (well, .2, .4 and then .5 instead of .1/.2/.3)

– Light of Dawn now gains extra healing by consuming Holy Power, although it’s still usable without any HP stacks

– Blessed Life might now be worth something since it gives you a 50%/100% chance to generate holy power when you’re attacked (2s internal cooldown)

– Divine Favor, as I mentioned, gives you 20% extra spell haste/spell crit for 20 seconds on a 3m cooldown. I’m okay with this.

– Divine Light is a 3 second cast instead of 2.5 seconds. Holy Light remains at 3 seconds.

– Healing Hands got a bump. Instead of about 750 or so on someone, my Healing Hands is healing others for 1054 a tick and healing me for 1117 a tick.

What this means is that we don’t want Enlightened Judgements anymore, we MIGHT want Blessed Life and forget about speccing into prot for support, basically ever, because ret is just way, way, way too good right now for us.

There’s no updated talent calculator right now, but basically, my current spec on beta is exactly as it was last build, with a couple of exceptions:

1) I dropped Enlightened Judgements.

2) I dropped in one point in Last Word in order to get 30 points in Holy, so I could get Light of Dawn. (Last Word: Gives your Word of Glory a 30% increased critical chance when used on targets with 35% or less health.)

3) I picked up 2/2 Improved Judgements in ret (for my 30y range on judgements)

4) I kept Crusade (3/3) to get to ret’s second tier and to give my Holy Shock 30% extra healing

5) I picked up 2/2 Eternal Glory so that I would have that 40% chance to not consume my Holy Power when using Word of Glory

6) I grabbed 1/3 Rule of Law to up my crit chance of Holy Shock and Word of Glory by 5%. I should be able to fill this out at the level cap.

In retrospect, I probably should have grabbed Blessed Life 1/2 at least. Not that it’s terribly difficult to generate Holy Power, but now that Light of Dawn consumes it, that’s a bit of a difference. Also, I want to see if it’s AOE as well or if it’s actually someone coming up to you and smacking you that will proc Blessed Life.

Plate Specialization

So I trained Plate Spec. I am now wearing Silver Spur Boots (1791 armor, 196 stamina, 131 intellect, 94 spirit, 77 haste) instead of Earthsoul Boots and my 264 Emblem of Frost gloves instead of my heroic Unclean Surgical Gloves. Instead of 43.5k mana (with kings) I now have 44.9k or something close to that due to the plate specialization. Strangely, I don’t lose too much in terms of anything else (haste percentage, etc), so hey, why not.

Mastery

I wish the shield would last a little longer, but most of them are small enough that they’ll be gone in a hit anyways. But it’s neat, because you can see EXACTLY how big your shield is by hovering over the buff. Also, with only 41 extra mastery (from my cloak), my shields are 11.9% of the heal cast instead of 8%. (I expect this to drop as I gain levels from 83 to 85, when they open up the level cap again.) The shields are overwritten each time you cast a new one, by the way, even if the new one is less powerful, I think. They do not stack.

Instances

You now need to find the instance entrances in order to do them. Blackrock Caverns is easy and, for me, The Stonecore was easy since it’s right there in Deepholm, which I’ve already been to, but Madrana hasn’t touched Vashj’ir, so I think I’ll leave Throne of the Tides alone for the time being until they let me level beyond 83.

Guild Stuff

Internal Guild Errors if I try screwing with the ranks. Strange GMOTD spam continues. My guild should definitely be Level 2 by now, but we’re stuck at Level 1, and that’s if it even recognizes that we’re Level 1.

Bug Report is Bugged

The Bug Report tool now pops up when you hit the newly-returned button on the minimap, but you can’t really do anything with it.

Training

I was able to train from my class trainer on my shaman (shammy trainers now in the Dwarven District in Stormwind!)  without dropping a profession, YAY!

Other notes

Nourish still isn’t refreshing Lifebloom as per Empowered Touch, Shammies now have a water totem that acts like Concentration Aura. And taking the Stormwind portal from Deepholm will cause you to fall through the world beneath Stormwind Lake. FYI.

Update from the North 1

Of course I go out of town and they drop a new beta build. Awesome. I’m on 24Kbps dialup, so I simply cannot share breaking news with you right now. This makes me sad.

However, MMO-Champion has a great round-up AND has this awesome image of the new Holy Power interface for paladins which is, in my opinion, FREAKING BADASS. :)

Holy Power interface, courtesy of MMO-Champion

Also, Kody from World of Raids/the Curse network says on Twitter that Divine Favor has been redesigned to provide 20% haste AND 20% crit for 20 seconds, with a three-minute cooldown.

I’m not sure I like that our forced crit button is gone, but I can’t really complain about the talent that they’ve come up with. Then again, I’m a haste fanatic, soooo…

Also, MMO is saying that Armor and Mastery specialties are in. Basically, our days of wanting to wear mail, leather or cloth are essentially over:

Increases your Intellect by 5% while wearing only Plate armor.

And our mastery:

Holy – Your healing spells also place an absorb shield on your target for 8% of the amount healed lasting 6 sec. Absorb increased further by mastery rating.

Technically, these were both in the game in previous builds, but these are apparently going to work, this time. ;)

Anyways, that’s all from the cottage for now. I’ll check in again later.

(Dammit, I really want to play with Holy Power now!)