Holy How-To #4 – Frequently Asked Questions

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?

Quick answer: FoL spammers: Ember Skyflare Diamond. HL spammers: Insightful Earthsiege Diamond.

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?

Quick answer: FoL spammers gem for spellpower; Runed Cardinal Rubies. Holy Light spammers gem for intellect; Brilliant King’s Ambers.

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?

Quick answer: If you spam Holy Light: Libram of Renewal. If you spam Flash of Light: One of the arena/gladiator librams like Relentless Gladiator’s Libram of Justice.

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. ;)

15 Replies to “Holy How-To #4 – Frequently Asked Questions”

  1. Good read. I knew that the IED stood out for some reason (I think I may have considered it at one time for my druid?) but holy hell. I had no idea it was that useful.

    Sort of related, I can top whatever you saw in the paladin’s Armory.


  2. Just a quick question that has nothing to do with this article (good job on it, by the way) but I figured I’d put my question here anyways.

    If I wanted to level a Holy Pally, could I just recycle my Resto Shammy’s BOA mail gear?

  3. X – IED is a great meta for anyone who casts a lot, imo. Druids are constantly casting and constantly proccing IED. Just the mana restore alone is fantastic. My RL friend the resto druid turns her nose up at any other meta.

    And that screenshot is just TRAGIC, man. TRAGIC!

    Aifel – Yep, you can absolutely recycle your resto shammy’s BOA gear to level your holy paladin. Hell, holy paladins like resto shammy gear a lot as it is in current content anyways. ;) (Thanks for the kind words on the post, btw. :))

  4. Excellent series of guides, I’ve made a point to link them to members of my guild who’re leveling paladins with an aim for holy (though we’ll see how long that lasts. ;D)

    I’ve personally had a lot of difficulty getting decent plate haste pieces, due to being 10man ‘strict’ (in so far as my guild don’t have enough people for 25man content, and I don’t have enough time to pug that kind of content). Never mind that 10man ICC pieces seem to be super crit-heavy compared to the 25man stuff. :(

    I’m currently saving all my emblems towards getting the primordial saronite needed for the Ashen Verdict plate pants recipe – though I’ve been told the mail ones are a much better purchase..

    Then again, hopefully I’ll see a shield upgrade someday to help towards that..!

  5. Thanks very much, Alfimi! :)

    IMHO, get the mail pants.


    There’s the comparison. More armor and 8 crit vs. 8 haste. Go for the haste if you’re not at 676 haste yet. I’m debating whether or not I want to blow the stupid amount of gold or emblems of frost on those pants, because honestly, I don’t think there are better ones.

    Short of heroic Marrowgar on 10 or heroic Putricide on 10, there are no haste pants available as drops. Not even on heroic 25. So if you’re not going to be doing heroic 10s anytime soon, go for the crafted mail pants, the Lightning-Infused Leggings.

    I did pick up my tier pants so that if I get a heroic token, I can bump them up to ilvl 277, which would just barely trump my current pants in terms of intellect and other stats — except for haste.


    Really, unless you want to drop all the way down to cloth (I’m not a fan — I’ll go to mail, but rarely will I go below that), there’s not a lot of choice. This is the site I look at to get a good breakdown of what’s available to me, though I don’t always agree with the rankings:


    As to 10m drops, check out my last Q&A post:


    GL on getting a new shield! My resto shammy still has the badge one. :P

  6. I tend to stick to mail and plate, anything else leaves me feeling squishy :) I’ll make sure to have a gander at the 10man drop reccs post, thanks for that!

    I got my shield from our first Ulduar run, and haven;t seen any others since – the ToC shield went to our healing shammy (at the time) and it never dropped when I was there for the run thereafter! (doh)

    We’ve been extending our lockout to get practice on endwing bosses. We took down Putricide for the first time last week, and spent a solid 3 1/2hrs on Sindragosa the next raid day (we got her to 12% on our best shot, so, if we can pull off the coordination..!).

    We’ll be working on her again on Tuesday, and I have my fingers crossed for the unlikely kill and unlikelier drop of Lost Pavise of the Blue Flight. http://www.wowhead.com/?item=51791 XD

  7. An interesting read, Kurn! Glad you talked about how great IED is; I’m a total cheerleader for that thing and people who don’t use it make my theorycrafting little heart cry. ;D

    I have to argue against taking Imp. LoH, though. Unless I’m remembering wrong, the 20% damage reduction doesn’t stack with that from shaman or priest crits. I suppose you could use it as an additional small cooldown for your tanks, but the reduction is too small to allow you to use just that and timing the usage in such a way ruins the “oshi-” nature of the big heal. Plus, we all know that a healadin’s LoHs is for regen now, right?! ;)

  8. Alfimi – not a problem! And I feel just dirty wearing leather or cloth, although some of it IS nicely itemized. But mail is about as low as I’ll go on the armor class thing, too. Grats on Putricide, GL on Sindragosa! Hope she drops your shield. ;)

    Codi – The ESD gave me pause as we flipped into Wrath because of the 2% intellect portion, but once I did the math (way back when I had like, 900 intellect? Something like that!), I was like “Oh. So Insightful. Again. Just like the whole LAST expansion. Good to know.)

    As to Imp LOH, the 2 minutes extra saved cooldown is literally a lifesaver. The LK fight took us about 14 minutes. While I didn’t use LOH during the fight (only because I was OOR while trying to cast it and then the tank was healing up by someone else by the time I was in range), an 11-minute LOH can easily be used twice on LK. There are five phases (well, 3 phases and 2 transition phases) and a TON of movement in all but the first phase. The transitions can be brutal, too.

    So even if imp LOH’s physical damage reduced buff doesn’t stack with inspiration or ancestral fortitude, I really do feel it’s worthwhile just to have it available up to twice in a fight like LK — just in case. I personally need to use the spell more often because I’m still of that pre-BC and BC mindset that it’s an hour cooldown and it eats all my mana. ;) As such, I don’t use it as much as I ought to. But I COULD use it. ;)

    For myself, I’m 54/17/0 for my spec, so I get 2/2 imp wis AND 2/2 imp LOH AND Aura Mastery, so it works nicely for me. But given the choice between 2/2 imp wis and 2/2 imp LOH, I’ll always take LOH. :)

  9. On the LK fight, we actually have an established rotation for NS+blah for the druids and the shaman during transitions to ease them up on me. LOL During P2 and P3, we have cooldown rotations and whatnot, so I’ve yet to see any real usage on it. If I have to use my LoH more than once a fight, someone’s not doing something right. XD (Right now we’re having this problem with me ALWAYS getting picked by the Val’kyrie. >_< I'm trying to keep two tanks up at once, chicks, leave me alooooone.)

  10. Codi – I’m going to look up Nature’s Swiftness usage in our LK attempts! :) We don’t have them specifically assigned. The healing lead that I’m stepping in for these days is not a micromanager. She gives you a task and expects you to handle it to the best of your class ability and so I’m trying to make sure I don’t micromanage too much. The most I’ve done thus far is like “Beacon X and shield Y, I’ll do the opposite”, if I’m lucky enough to HAVE a second holy pally in my raid. :P

    What are your CD rotations like, if you don’t mind my asking?

    As to the stupid Val’kyrs, we had a few attempts where I got nabbed more than once. I actually made a macro (since we don’t typically use Vent) saying “*** Snagged by a Val’kyr! Keep an eye on [MY TARGET’S NAME] ***.

    I swear to God, that macro has saved the tanks more times than I can count. ;D

    Do you have anyone else on the tanks with you or is it literally you and your beacon?

  11. We run with only 5 healers, so it is literally me and my Beacon. LOL I’m sure the Trees are keeping them Rejuved, but we have a general issue with DPS getting themselves hurt by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Like in front of those Raging Spirit things.) We have a DK tank, so it is usually:

    DK CD > DK CD (raid wall) > Pain Sup > DK CD (BoSac) > DK CD > DK CD (raid wall) > Pain Sup > if we need to plan more we’re boned XD

    With the NS+blah rotation going on to help with the initial Soul Reaper damage and with our Spirit tank Intercepting our DK tank for reduced damage, we never have to actually tank swap.

    I generally don’t micromanage, but this is one fight I find I have to. Now if only people would get the hell outta the Defiles….

  12. Codi – You know, we were doing 7 healers for a lot of the attempts because we were having trouble with the Infest except when we had a disc priest shielding the entire raid. We’ve tried just me and my Beacon and that is HARD, so my hat’s off to you.

    So the CDs are for Soul Reaper, I presume? We have the warrior MT pop Shield Wall for the first Soul Reaper (while the OT deals with the last Raging Spirit) but otherwise, the OT taunts the boss for Soul Reaper. That’s a complicated bit of CD usage there and reminds me of my General Vezax days in my Bronzebeard guild. ;)

    According to WoL, neither of the resto druids used a SINGLE Nature’s Swiftness in 11 LK attempts on Sunday. The resto shammy used his 12 times. I may actually try to have them flogged.

    To be honest, I’m itching to micromanage, but I’m not an officer and I don’t want to be, so I’m more or less trusting people to know what to do and when. But I want to!!! haha. :)

    I hear you on Defile, btw. Gah. Usually the melee is bad, but the healers are better. I’d like for some of the ranged to GTFO of Remorseless Winter faster, mind you. :P

    Ramblerambleramble. ;)

  13. Update: Still no shield. :( But we did take her down! *confetti* Now to wipe on Arthas for the next few lockouts.. If only you could fast forward the intro!

  14. (This is getting so totally off topic, I love it!)

    There are days when I wish we could do 7 healers, but we tend to rely on that section to make up for where we lack in other ones. :P

    Yeah, the CDs are for Soul Reaper. You might want to talk to your RL about having your warrior tank off-tank and spec into Safeguard for the fight. Not having to tank swap is SO nice. But yes, having someone use NS after the Soul Reaper 50k = <3

  15. Alfimi – grats and best of luck on Arthas! Honestly, I like the intro. It lets me look over stuff really quickly in recount, like double-checking how the tanks died, etc. Or if you get a ready check and you’re not quite ready (no food buff, low mana), you can say yes and you WILL be ready when the fight starts. :D

    Codi – (My blog, my rules, hooray OT!) I miss the days of 7-8 healers in a raid. We did Vashj in my old guild with 8 healers. We probably would have been fine with 7, but I really wanted 8 so we had people to focus on each portion of the raid group — and the four healers assigned to the central area were also designated core dumpers. ;) But I don’t see a lot of guilds running with 7 healers these days, much less 8. It’s sad, because so many of the excellent players I encounter are healers and I want to heal alongside all of them!

    Definitely will bring up Safeguard. Both of our tanks, surprisingly, are warriors, so this might actually have some decent use even apart from LK… Thank you!

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