Pally Healing in Cataclysm, Firsthand

Okay, time for a post that talks not only about stuff I’ve done, but allows me to explain a few things about Cataclysm holy paladin healing in a way that might actually be useful to others entering beta and perhaps even useful in 4.0 itself.

I’ve made reference in a lot of past Holy How-To Guides about “paladin instincts”.

While they are very important to hone and to make use of in Wrath content, you can basically throw the book out the window when it comes to Cataclysm dungeons. Seriously, get used to the idea that we will, in all likelihood, completely change how we heal. Entirely.

I made a huge mistake Friday night/Saturday when I first got into beta. I remembered what Blizzard said about Holy Light being our go-to spell. Combined with the low cost at level 80 (263 mana without the Libram of Renewal, 150 mana with), despite its 3s cast time, I was making use of it often, not even paying attention to various numbers floating over people’s heads.

In my defense, I don’t usually play with scrolling combat text (Blizzard’s or anyone else’s, really) on my paladin. I’ve got Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text that’ll show me mana returns and damage I’ve done (judgement hits/misses, the occasional Holy Wrath or Hammer of Wrath) but that’s it. So I have to chalk it up to sleep deprivation and relying on old paladin habits when I tell you that I was very wrong to continue using Holy Light.

Without Speed of Light active and Judgements of the Pure, it’s foolish to cast Holy Light when you need to heal someone. The heal just isn’t going to land in time and, even if it does, it’s not going to heal for very much. Thus, it requires multiple casts. I have 1026 haste and, especially once you ding (so the haste needed per percent changes drastically), that’s STILL not enough for Holy Light to be a heal you want to use all that regularly, because you just plain do not have the throughput needed.

Of course, it’s exceptionally cheap. Even after swapping the Libram of Renewal out for the Libram of Veracity and now, the Libram of Blinding Light (yes, I really AM using Holy Shock enough that this makes sense! I still do not recommend you pick it up unless you have Emblems of Frost to waste, because who knows what Cataclysm librams will be like?) and gaining a level (which seems to have upgraded my spells in cost and potency?), it’s still cheap. And yet, there is an undeniable truth here:

Using Holy Light is bad.

What’s more, using Flash of Light is bad, since it’s terribly expensive. And so’s using Divine Light. Geez, what are we supposed to USE? If Holy Light is too long a cast and not powerful enough to even rival something like Holy Shock or Flash of Light, but HS has a cooldown and FoL is stupidly expensive, what do we do?

I’ve been using a lot of Divine Light. It’s the one that feels most like current Holy Light does — about the same output, about the same cast time, even about the same mana cost. It’s expensive, so I’m using Divine Plea more than I indicated I was earlier.

I’m not having a LOT of mana problems, but if the group isn’t using CC much (or at all), someone’s going to die because I just can’t keep up with the incoming damage. Taking 20 stacks of Lacerate from certain naga in Throne of the Tides is almost certainly going to mean a death; either the tank will die or, if I can get a BOP off, followed by a Hand of Freedom (to wipe off the BOP — only one Hand can be active on a target, per paladin), a DPS may die.

There’s a lot of incoming damage and I don’t imagine it’ll be THAT much easier on any healer to keep up. For me, that’s both mana-wise and GCD-wise. I’m really looking forward to Healing Hands, although that’s going to be an expensive spell with a cooldown, too. Hopefully, it’ll heal more than Light of Dawn, though. Don’t get me wrong, Light of Dawn is the coolest new spell we have thus far, but it’s healing people for like, 4k.

I’m sorry, have you SEEN the health pools? The sheer amounts of stamina everywhere? Without buffs, I’m at about 35k health in my holy gear. 4k to a maximum of 4 people (since it doesn’t hit you as well) every 30 seconds is less than a drop in the bucket. It’s sort of like a molecule of water in a small lake. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. Let’s say a large pond.

I also have to admit that without my pretty little clcbpt addon (that shows timers for my Beacon, my Judgement, my Sacred Shield and my Flash of Light hot), I’m sucking at keeping my Judgement up. That means I’m sucking at keeping Judgements of the Pure up. In my defense, though, there’s very rarely TIME when I can go “oh look, I have a free global — judge!”. It’s very much “OH GOD TANK IS GOING TO DIE OH THANK YOU SWEET JESUS OH NO WHAT IS THAT IDIOT DPS—” followed by a lot of muscle-memory healing.

Which is another thing that’s screwing me up. Thumb-clicking on the party frame does nothing — it does not cast Holy Shock on someone. :P Granted, when I raided on live tonight (Monday), I kept hitting my ` key to cast Light of Dawn and kept hitting G for Word of Glory, so maybe just practice makes perfect, eh?

Kurn, you’re rambling. How the hell am I supposed to heal in Cataclysm, or at least the beta?

Right. Sorry.

My advice:

– Use Divine Light. Make use of Holy Shock a LOT. Watch for your stacks of Holy Power, make use of Word of Glory.

– Use your Beacon. I still beacon the tank but this really might not be efficient. Maybe I should be beaconing myself. I still worry about leaving the tank alone for more than one GCD without beacon on them, though.

– When Infusion of Light procs, you currently don’t get a Holy Light haste. It does reduce the cast time of Flash of Light by 1.5 seconds, like it does on live.  And you’re almost always critting on Holy Shock. On this Throne of the Tides run that I actually finished, I had a 76% crit chance on Holy Shock, judging from the parse. Anyways, I was constantly using the instant FoL + 3-stack Holy Power Word of Glory. WoG not as often as I should have, but if I was moving, I was using it, usually on the tank, so that I could get more Holy Power charges.

– Glyph for Holy Shock. No, really.

– Use your cooldowns. Seriously. BOP, Hand of Sacrifice, Hand of Salvation. USE THEM. Use Divine Shield, Divine Sacrifice and Divine Protection. Use every spell at your disposal.

That’s basically the advice I have for you guys and what I plan on doing myself; very little Holy Light casting, lots of Divine Light casting, LOTS of Holy Shocking.

Here’s the parse, such as it is. Remember that some spells aren’t found because they don’t exist on live yet and Seals of Insight has the same spell ID as Seal of Light (so I might try glyphing for it and see if that still works!) and obviously, there’s no boss/trash/etc breakdowns because, well, none of this is live, yet. Most of the spells are available at, though.

Also, Protien only took so much damage because of a debuff from the last boss. At the end, he had something like 132 stacks of this crap on him and was healing himself through it while DPSing the last boss. Hilarious.

Anyways, off to go try to get Madrana to level 82. I want 83 badly so I can test Healing Hands.

I’m questing as ret, by the way. I amuse myself with my own lameness at melee DPS.

10 Replies to “Pally Healing in Cataclysm, Firsthand”

  1. I reckon things will be very different soon anyway. When you get the reduced cast time for Holy Light from Speed of Light, I think it will be much more viable to start casting HL more often. Numbers will also still need adjustment, I’m sure.

    Although, I think it’s pretty funny that, with the current (relative) mana cost and cast time for Divine Light, it’s not unthinkable we’ll still end up throwing that around like crazy. Not as sparingly as Blizzard intended. On the other hand, it’s probably because nothing has been fully tuned yet.

    Going through the parse quickly, I laughed at (sorry!) your Flash of Light casts. It’s probably because of Divine Plea being active, but your average FoL crits are actually smaller than your average regular FoL hits. I’m even more stunned that Holy Light apparently heals for even less than FoL, on average. Again, this is probably due to Divine Plea being active, but still. Scary stuff.

    It’s weird that you still have Divine Sacrifice. Cool that it works and apparently, it’s still pretty effective. But I expect to lose that spell completely before 4.0 hits.

    Ah, and here I was trying to say stuff to make you feel better. I guess I failed, sorry.

  2. Kaboomski – No, we HAVE the reduced cast time from Speed of Light. It’s from Infusion of Light that we don’t have it. Numbers definitely need adjusting. Right now, unbuffed, at 82, my Holy Light costs 401 mana and heals me for…

    6.2k normal, 9.7k crit.
    Spee3: 2.34s

    Flash of Light at 82:
    Cost: 2317
    Speed: 1.3s
    Heal: 8k normal, 12.8k crit

    Divine Light at 82:
    Cost: 2574
    Speed: 1.91
    Heal: 12.5k normal, 19.2k crit

    Holy Shock at 82:
    Cost: 686 mana
    Heal: 10k normal, 15.5k crit (both with 3/3 Crusade)

    You’re also reading the parse wrong. The average numbers for healing and spells isn’t right, not with a beta log and not with a live log. Those numbers don’t take overhealing into consideration.

    To get a good idea of my actual casts, you need to go from Dashboard to Log Browser. Then do Remove (from the remove, copy next to Show all events), then Add Query.

    Click on Heal.

    Then do the following for Spell:

    Flash of Light, Holy Light, Divine Light, Holy Shock, Light of Dawn, Beacon of Light, Word of Glory

    Click Save.

    Then hit “Run”.

    You’ll see something like this:

    [01:08:31.903] Madrana Divine Light Mercutio +0 (O: 12593)
    [01:08:32.639] Madrana Beacon of Light Dozzerr +0 (O: 6296)
    [01:08:36.258] Madrana Divine Light Dozzerr +*0* (O: 18511)
    [01:08:41.208] Madrana Flash of Light Dozzerr +0 (O: 8047)
    [01:08:45.164] Madrana Holy Shock Protien +9866
    [01:08:45.918] Madrana Beacon of Light Dozzerr +0 (O: 4525)
    [01:08:47.166] Madrana Word of Glory Protien +*6058* (O: 6735)
    [01:08:47.943] Madrana Beacon of Light Dozzerr +0 (O: 5868)
    [01:08:53.566] Madrana Divine Light Dozzerr +*0* (O: 18308)
    [01:08:59.217] Madrana Divine Light Dozzerr +*0* (O: 18925)
    [01:09:01.249] Madrana Holy Light Dozzerr +0 (O: 6484)
    [01:09:03.197] Madrana Flash of Light Dozzerr +*0* (O: 12105)
    [01:12:43.011] Madrana Light of Dawn Dozzerr +*0* (O: 4500)
    [01:12:43.011] Madrana Light of Dawn Protien +*0* (O: 4389)
    [01:12:43.011] Madrana Light of Dawn Wolf +*0* (O: 4543)
    [01:12:43.011] Madrana Light of Dawn Mercutio +0 (O: 3277)
    [01:12:43.011] Madrana Light of Dawn Kregor +0 (O: 3263)
    [01:12:55.068] Madrana Holy Shock Dozzerr +0 (O: 9305)
    [01:12:57.530] Madrana Flash of Light Dozzerr +0 (O: 8383)
    [01:13:07.133] Madrana Holy Shock Dozzerr +*0* (O: 13700)
    [01:13:09.204] Madrana Flash of Light Dozzerr +0 (O: 8431)
    [01:13:13.557] Madrana Divine Light Dozzerr +*0* (O: 19108)
    [01:13:16.340] Madrana Holy Light Dozzerr +*0* (O: 9082)
    [01:13:18.005] Madrana Flash of Light Dozzerr +0 (O: 8496)
    [01:13:26.457] Madrana Holy Shock Madrana +*15156*
    [01:13:27.165] Madrana Beacon of Light Dozzerr +2959 (O: 4191)
    [01:13:30.077] Madrana Flash of Light Madrana +*2844* (O: 10148)

    If you check my buffs, you can see how little I actually used Divine Plea.

    Players > Paladin > Madrana

    Buffs Cast

    Then look in the left column for Divine Plea.

    I only used it twice.

    As to Divine Sacrifice, I only used it six times (despite the fact it says 35 hits) so it’s really not THAT effective. It only saved about 10,000 damage each time I used it.

    I am definitely not very cheerful at the moment. ;)

  3. Gah. My fail, sorry.

    Impressive how much the mana cost has increased by the way. Makes me wonder how much HL will cost at level 85.

    But as I said, all of those numbers will probably need a lot more tweaking before they’re anywhere near done.

  4. I love the fact that you are at the same HP as many a tankadin I see now! I now really want to get into beta and see how resto druid healing is (unless you want to pester your RL friend for a write up :P)

    Side note:
    “gaining a level (which seems to have upgraded my spells in cost and potency?)”
    That’s working as intended, isn’t it? One of the big ones was no more spell ranks, your spells simply scale with your level now.

  5. As Kaboom said, hopefully the numbers are just wonky—it’s depressing to think that our new, shiny 31 point talent only heals for so little. If it is a mechanics issue of the spell having the potential to all 25 people in the raid (say clustered around a meteor or something), change the healing to act more like the new caps on AOE: XX healing divided among XX targets. This makes the spell tricky to use, but adds a certain situational awareness that could determine between using Light of Dawn or Healing Hands.

    That, or change the cooldown to match the fact that the heal is not really substantial. I’m curious about the healing amount of Light of Dawn versus the healing done by Circle of Healing or Wild Growth.

    Overall, it sounds like they’re moving toward what the Holy Paladin Playstyle is like in arena with the need to use shock off cooldown and minimize casting. I predict many, many addons created to track Holy Power unless a more attractive (and efficient) UI option is presented—right now it is like healing on Malygos Phase 3 but having to watch your buff bar for combo points.

  6. I keep hearing about healers getting the suck-stick thrown in their face it’s unbelievable. I keep reading about the Resto Druid stuff, realizing that even though I’m fairly new to the healing bit, it’s going to completely change come Cataclysm. And the little bit that I have raided, I rather enjoy being a raid healer versus a tank healer. Well, they’ve changed Resto Druids so much that it’s impossible to be an effective raid healer.

    I really hope that a lot of the mana problems are solved, because it doesn’t sound like they’ve been to kind to Pally’s either.

    For you @thansal, Try She’s got some really good numbers and breakdowns of what it’s like in the beta currently. And don’t weep… cause it looks like they’re killing Resto Druid healing abilities hardcore. *sigh*

  7. To be honest, killing Tree Form as a form for healing druids was enough to make me cry already. My wife plays both a resto druid and a resto shammy, but she already gave up on her druid. She doesn’t exactly have much to look forward to come Cataclysm.

    It’s sad, really. Although, besides the numbers and whatnot, I’m pretty excited about the whole new healing toolkit we holy pally’s are going to get.

  8. Kaboomski – No problem, most people don’t realize that’s the case for healing. It’s different for DPS — they can look at those numbers and have it be accurate, so no one realizes there’s a problem with the healing numbers.

    God, I hope they get tweaked. A lot. WTB new beta build, PST. :P Zarhym says a couple of days for a new build and a new launcher.

    thansal – hahaha, that’s more than a little sad. ;)

    I would go heal as a resto druid except for two things:

    1) If I’m having trouble healing as my most geared character, I may last half a pull as a resto druid before being completely over my head.

    2) Even if I use a premade with T10 (251) gear, I don’t think I’ve EVER healed as a druid without Grid and Clique. That could be poor… Maybe I’ll try to play around a little bit, though.

    Yeah, I think the spells change every level but there are no longer any ranks. But EVERY level? Gah. Over 2k mana for Flash of Light and Divine Light now…

    Walks – I pray they’re wonky. I’ll get on my priest and druid and just try to toss out a CoH/WG and see what they’re healing for.

    I completely agree with what you’re saying. It FEELS like it’s arena-style healing, which I happen to be not completely shitty at, but UGH.

    As to Holy Power, I strongly suspect that we’ll get something like the new Consecration icon. Under our mana bar with our character portrait, we have a little Consecration circle that goes active to tell us how long our Consecration is going to last for. Of course, they’re now changing Consecration again to a 10s duration with a 30s cooldown, which can be modified by talents. As it stands, it’s got no cooldown.

    It should be pretty easy for them to add three little golden circles or something under the mana bar to indicate stacks of Holy Power. The one issue is that there’s a time limit on it. Stacks of Holy Power only last 30 seconds unless you refresh them.

    Mailynn – Healers ALWAYS get the suck-stick throw in our faces. It’s what we DO. The DPS get all excited over their new abilities, their big numbers, etc. The tanks marvel at new cooldowns and ways to stay alive and generate aggro.

    The healers want to cry.

    Lissanna makes some interesting notes on class balance and, even though it’s still early, I feel the same way. I think shammies are currently way OP, just based on some reading. I haven’t really tried anything out yet on mine.

    Kaboomski – Most of the older resto druids I know, who have been playing since Vanilla or early BC, are all really excited to be able to cast in CASTER form again and not have to look like a bad version of a moonkin’s treants. Having a druid myself (bear/tree dualspec) I’m looking forward to casting as “myself” and getting out of stupid tree form. I know a lot of newer players (late BC/WotLK) are really pissed, but honestly, I’d rather have Tree Form as a CD for enrages and stuff than just be stuck in the treant model constantly.

    I’m glad you’re excited about the pally toolkit. I’m still sort of like “wtf”.

  9. Yeah well, I dunno. It all feels much more dynamic. At this point, I’m still pretty confident the numbers and whatnot will even out and end up being pretty well balanced. Even though it may take a while. I just think the mechanics are pretty interesting, but maybe that’s just because it’s so very different from what we’re used to.

    By the way, losing Tree Form isn’t the whole reason my wife is leaving her druid to collect some dust. She’s already pretty tired of playing her druid and found new fun in her shammy. Especially since she got dual spec (Elemental) and she started doing PvP.

    What I’m really looking forward to, though, is being able to actually play from start till end of an expansion. Thus far, I’ve only stepped in somewhere around the end of Ulduar, right before ToTC was released. I’d really like to be there from the start, leveling as everyone levels (not many months later) and being on top of content as it becomes available.

    On an unrelated note: my realm is apparently going down for 24h extended maintenance in 30 minutes. And my alternative realm, where I keep some alts. Like, d’oh!

  10. enjoyable read many paladins on my realm (khadgar)are rerolling other classes druids and shammies as cant bear to be at the bottom of the meters.personally i think pallies will be great in cata the absorb shield scaling with mastery could be a good asset yet 6 seconds sounds to short a time to me.has anyone tried dps’ing in holy spec?to fill in the time when there is nothing to heal?i raided icc and spent my time basically overhealing.i wondered if anyone had taken the dps talents in holy denounce,blazing light,enlightened judgements,then clicked seal of insight for mana regen and stood with the mellee using holy shock,crusader strikeand judgement on boss as well as consecration during times when healing needs are minimal,this would charge your holy power as well.if u glyphed shock and took crusade in ret tree i think you could kick out some good damage and still be there to heal as and when raid/tank is taking damage would be interested to hear if anyone thinks this is viable :) thanks for reading

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