What Holy Paladins Need to Know for 4.0.3a

*** All content copyright © Kurn’s Corner, 2010. Reproduction of this guide in full or in part without express permission from the author (“Kurn”), represents copyright infringment and violation of copyright law. Please, if you like this guide, link to it, do not copy it. ***

4.0.3a is about to be dropped, according to Boubouille at MMO-Champion, who has done a great job of compiling the changes. With the release of 4.0.3a, among other things, paladins are getting their talents reset due to changes to the class talents. What follows is a fairly complete compilation of the various changes holy paladins can expect when 4.0.3a launches and will be updated over the first few days of 4.0.3a if anything was missed. Special thanks to my buddy Walks for proofreading and adding some suggestions, including reminding me about Infusion of Light’s change!

Edits to the post after testing on live are marked with an asterix (*).

As with my 4.0.1 post, I’ll be breaking this down into different sections: TALENTS/SPELLS, GEAR/STATS and GLYPHS. Bear in mind that there are fewer changes for 4.0.3a than there were for 4.0.1 and I’ll only be talking about ones that have changed between 4.0.1 and 4.0.3a. That means that my 4.0.1 post is still useful! All changes have been compiled at MMO-Champion.com or Wowhead.com.


1) Beacon of Light now lasts 5 minutes. I remember when I first glyphed for Beacon of Light. I did so in order to get the extra 30 second duration on it so I could stagger refreshing Sacred Shield and Beacon of Light and also save 1500 mana or so. A five-minute duration on Beacon of Light means a lot of mana savings and a lot of GCDs saved. What this tells us, though, is that our beacons are  meant to be used on one person and not meant to be switched up mid-combat. This is a “quality of life” change that basically just makes it that much easier to “set it and forget it”. Good stuff.

2) Blessed Life: the effects of this talent cannot occur more than once every 8 seconds, up from every 2 seconds. This is a clear nerf to the utility of this talent. However, it is largely a PVP talent and this change really negates any use in PVE content, particularly if it still doesn’t proc from AOE-wide raid damage. Incidentally, this no longer stacks with Pursuit of Justice, according to my buddy Walks.

3) Illuminated Healing absorb shield now absorbs 10% of the total amount healed, up from 8%. Each point of Mastery increases the effect by an additional 1.25%, up from 1%. *Additionally, the shield now lasts 8 seconds, up from 6. It’s a buff! Oh sweet Lord, it’s a buff to our mastery! The jury is still out over the usefulness of our mastery because World of Logs, for example, does not properly attribute our absorbs from our mastery. Either it’s being attributed to Power Word: Shield/Divine Aegis or it’s not being counted at all. (As an aside, please take a second to politely lobby the WoL people to get that fixed!) I reforged a lot of my crit to mastery to see if I could notice a difference and the Recount I ran last night showed Illuminated Healing to be 26.4% of my healing done in Ruby Sanctum. While Recount (and probably Skada?) are up to date, World of Logs is almost certainly attributing Illuminated Healing to priest absorbs.

So just because you don’t see your mastery in action through the parse doesn’t mean it’s not doing something. As such, this is a good thing for us.

*Note that the increase in duration was not listed in the most recent compilation of patch notes, but I’ve confirmed this on live servers. The duration is 8s, up from 6s.

4) Light of Dawn has been redesigned. It no longer has an enforced cooldown, now costs Holy Power instead of mana, and scale in direct proportion to the amount of Holy Power used. In addition it now heals the 5 most injured group targets (including self) in a 30-yard frontal cone. Goodbye, Infest healing. Hello, Circle of Wild Dawn. ;) This works very similarly to a priest’s Circle of Healing or a druid’s Wild Growth, except you don’t have to select a target. You aim yourself at them and let ‘er rip. I kind of like this. It’s a way for us to use our 31-point talent without it being completely overpowered and it’s a way for us to have a smart heal, at long last. But since it’s not something you cast on a person, it’s distinguishing itself from Circle of Healing or Wild Growth. I haven’t had much chance to use it on the Beta (and Beta testing is now done!) since this change went in, so I’m anxious to see how it works.

It should also be noted that, as of right now, Light of Dawn’s healing (and overhealing) does get transferred to the beacon, with its 50% healing reduction, of course. But that can still be a lot of healing all at once on your beacon.

*After testing this on live, you MUST be in a party in order to use Light of Dawn! If you aren’t in a party and have 1, 2 or 3 stacks of Holy Power, you get an Invalid Target error if you try to use it. I tried targetting myself and using it, no dice. Then I thought “oh, don’t tell me it IS a targetted heal now!” but I tested this out with a guildie (thanks Num!) and it remains unaffected by any target. It’s definitely still a directional, conal heal. But you need to be in a party to use it.

5) Protector of the Innocent no longer triggers from self-heals. Well, this just makes sense. If we just healed ourselves, we generally don’t need to immediately heal ourselves again, do we? At least not in PVE content. This heal also transfers to the Beacon, with the 50% reduction.

6) Crusade now also has a proc on kill to increase the healing done by the paladin’s next Holy Light by 100/200/300% for 15 seconds, in addition to its current effects. This is mostly a PVE change, but it’s more for World PVE, like questing. This addition to a key talent will be great for all specs of paladin while questing so we can save our Holy Power for something like Inquisition instead of using Word of Glory on ourselves after killing a mob or two.

7) Lay on Hands no longer gives anyone any mana at all. However, go check out the Glyphs section for an exception to this.

8) Seal of Insight still does what it normally did, but will now also return 15% of the paladin’s base mana when judging. This is fantastic. Judging to get mana back again! With an 8 second cooldown, I’m pretty sure this will get nerfed at some point, but enjoy it while it lasts! I should also mention that Seal of Insight’s 4% base health/mana gain never procced at all on judgements, unlike Seal of Wisdom which procced from judgements. That could explain why they’re making sure we get mana returns from judging.

9) Holy Radiance will suffer diminishing returns further than 8 yards from the target or when healing more than 6 players. We haven’t had the chance to enjoy Holy Radiance yet, since we get it at 83, so this is just something of which to be aware when we do get it.

10) Clarity of Purpose, rank 2, now reduces Holy Light and Divine Light cast time by .3 seconds instead of .35 seconds. This is obviously a move to ensure that people get all three ranks of Clarity of Purpose instead of just dropping two points in here. Probably a PVP-based decision, or one to help balance rets/prots since any decent holy was probably going to drop all three points in here anyways.

11) Paragon of Virtue: Reduces the cooldown of Divine Protection by 10/20 sec, Hand of Sacrifice by 15/30 sec and Avenging Wrath by 30/60 sec. The big change here is that Hand of Sacrifice has been added to this talent. I do believe I’m going to go for 1/2 Enlightened Judgements and pick up that second point in Paragon of Virtue.

12) Infusion of Light now applies to Divine Light’s cast time as well as Holy Light’s. So 1/2 points in this talent will grant you .75/1.5s off the cast time of both Divine Light and Holy Light after critting on Holy Shock. While this means we can’t do a Holy Shock (IoL proc) -> Divine Light -> Holy Light combo for 2 hasted spells, we wouldn’t have been able to do that anyways with the change to Speed of Light. And speaking of Speed of Light…

13) Speed of Light: Grants 1/2/3% spell haste and reduces the cooldown of Holy Radiance by 10/20/30 sec. Casting Holy Radiance increases your movement speed by 20/40/60% for 4 sec. This is the big holy change. Instead of gaining 30% spell haste to Flash of Light, Holy Light and Divine Light after a Holy Shock, you just now get 3% more spell haste. The other stuff stays the same. Yay for more spell haste! As mentioned in my 4.0.1 post, we still want to hold on to a 1s GCD and 3% passive spell haste just made that easier. See the Gear/Stats section to see what this means for all the haste we require.

*14) As previously noted, Holy Shock has been nerfed by about 30%. I’ve just confirmed this on live. Holy Shock was hitting for about the same as Holy Light. It’s now down from about 7k unbuffed to 5k unbuffed when I cast it.

Recommended Talent Spec: I still recommend 31/3/2 for current Wrath content, although you’ll note I recommend 1/2 Enlightened Judgements and 2/2 Paragon of Virtue, now. Also, 31/5/0 and 31/2/3 are viable, although the 31/3/2 build I first linked will probably give you the most amount of healing due to Divinity and the buff to Holy Shock from Crusade.


1) With the addition of 3% spell haste from 3/3 Speed of Light, our haste softcap just changed again. Given 3/3 Speed of Light, plus 3/3 Judgements of the Pure and a Wrath of Air totem (or equivalent), you now only need 894 haste to reach the 1s GCD. You can check out this awesome spell haste calculator and see for yourself. It doesn’t have Speed of Light listed, but select Darkness/Netherwind Presence to add that 3% for Speed of Light and you’ll get the same result. Of course, this will change as we level once Cataclysm launches.


1) Glyph of Beacon of Light (Major) now makes Beacon of Light free, instead of increasing the duration by 30 seconds. This is no longer a very useful Glyph, considering we’re really only expending 1500ish mana every five minutes. I suppose it might have its uses in PVP, but barring any kind of gimmicky fight in PVE, this is pretty sad.

2) Glyph of Lay on Hands (was Minor, now Major) now reduces the cooldown of Lay on Hands by 3 minutes, up from 2 minutes. *** This wasn’t in the patch notes, but was how the Glyph was changed on Beta. This may not be included in the 4.0.3a patch.

3) Glyph of Divinity (Major) has been redesigned. It now grants the paladin 10% of maximum mana upon use. FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC. A 7 (or 8) minute cooldown on 10% of your mana, regardless upon whom you use it, is just awesome. Rather than waste this raid-saving cooldown on yourself for extra mana, you just use it at ALL and you get mana back. This is a fantastic change. I was never a fan of glyphing this and using LoH on myself, preferring to use it on the tanks or whoever was about to die.

4) Glyph of Light of Dawn (Major) now increases the total number of most injured targets healed by 1. Yep, our version of Circle of Healing and Wild Growth. This glyph makes six targets healed by LoD.

My go-to Major Glyphs would be LoH, Divinity and LoD, although Divine Plea and even Cleansing may snag the LoH spot in the event that I find I need to Plea a lot or there’s a lot of cleansing to do. There’s also the Glyph of Divine Protection that could you may want to swap in as it may come in very handy on any fight where you take a lot of magical damage. Remember, Divine Protection no longer causes Forbearance and is only on a 1 minute cooldown, or 40 seconds if you’re specced for 2/2 Paragon of Virtue. That could be a lot of damage mitigated.

Hopefully that helps demystify the 4.0.3a changes we’re about to see. See you on the flip side of the Shattering!

*** All content copyright © Kurn’s Corner, 2010. Reproduction of this guide in full or in part without express permission from the author (“Kurn”), represents copyright infringment and violation of copyright law. Please, if you like this guide, link to it, do not copy it. ***

14 Replies to “What Holy Paladins Need to Know for 4.0.3a”

  1. Thank you so much! This post is fantastic, and I’m sure will be a big help in adjusting.

    If you don’t mind, I’d like to link to this on my own blog when I do my ‘Welcome to the Shattering’ post later today.

  2. Fobok – Glad you find it useful! By all means, please do link to the post. I welcome any and all links. :)

    Happy Shattering!

  3. Awesome post, as usual Kurn. =) Quick question, though:

    “3) Illuminated Healing absorb shield now absorbs 10% of the total amount healed, up from 8%. Each point of Mastery increases the effect by an additional 1.25%, up from 1%”

    Wasn’t there also supposed to be a duration increase on the shield effect from 6 to 8 seconds? Or is my sleep-deprived mind just making things up again?

  4. Gryphonheart – Thanks! :) Yes, the extended shield duration and a 30% nerf to Holy Shock are both things I’m looking at as soon as the realms come up. They were in place on beta but I’m not sure if they’re in place for 4.0.3a. I’ll definitely make a note! :)

  5. Regarding Speed of Light: I have to say that when this change was first announced, I didn’t like the sound of it, partly on the basis that a flat haste benefit isn’t ‘fun.’ It was kind of cool revving up your next cast heal after an instant, a nice bit of interactivity that was going away.

    The more I’ve played since 4.0.1, the less I like the soon-to-be-revamped version. Healing up until now with it has felt more and more like driving in a car with someone who’s just learning how to use a stick shift. You kind of bump along, fast, fast, slow. Right now, where mana isn’t really an issue for most of us, you can just smooth things out by casting Flash of Light, but if you’re interested in mana conservation or not overhealing (or find you could really use the big bomb that is Divine Light) than that second heal after the Shock is reeeeeeeeeeeeeally sloooooooooooow. Or so it feels, anyway.

    It will be interesting to see how bad Holy Shock feels with the 33% nerf (which will put it about back to where it was when 4.0.1 went live).

  6. You know what, after reading this, I’ve become interested in all kinds of stats that roll out of log parsers. In that regard (and since I’ll have to keep myself busy during unemployment anyway) I think I’ll try and write a log parser myself.

    Any specific stats you’d be interested in Kurn? I’ll probably make the thing open source anyway.

    FYI – something resembling WoL is actually pretty easy, so.. ask away.

  7. Thanks for the awesome info, Kurn!

    Got a question for you. For the builds you linked, what’s the range you can judge at, fifteen yards? Was that how you had it before? I’m curious because I rarely find myself within 15 yards of the boss. I tried to not take those talents before but I had to switch back to 2 Enlightened and 1 Improved Judgements.

    The Infusion change is awesome!

    Er, got two questions for you. How do you feel about haste past the soft cap? I logged out in silly gear but if I remember right I had 1,086. Would it be better to think about reforging some of the “extra” or keeping it to help DL and HL casts?

  8. Wonderful guide, Kurn! Thanks for all the hard work.

    I’m excited to see how the HoPo/LoD interactivity works in gameplay! Smart heal and more choices for HoPo seems like a good thing.

  9. jeffo – I have to admit that I really liked the old incarnation of Speed of Light. That it’s changing to be a flat haste bonus isn’t all that exciting, except that hey, I love haste and this is basically like giving us back the 3% from Swift Ret Aura, which was removed. So I like both variations on the talent. This isn’t dependent on casting a spell FIRST in order to get a hasted cast, because they’re all “hasted” by virtue of getting the talent.

    Basically, at 85, when haste will be more difficult to acquire (there is ZERO haste on any of our tier pieces), I think we’ll appreciate the 3% flat increase more than the 4-second buff after casting Holy Shock.

    It’s a little less fun, but it’s also less micromanaging.

    Kaboomski – Hey, if you’re talented enough to write a log parser, you should totally go for it. :) I am not a coder by any means (websites are as complicated as I get). I think that if you can get anywhere near as precise as WoL gets, you’re definitely on to something.

    Enlynn – Yeah, 15 yards. I’m still adjusting to 20 yards, to be honest, but I keep telling myself it’s just for two weeks. The first talent point I place at 81 is in Improved to get 25y out, then I’ll pick up 1 and 2 in Eternal Glory, then 3 in Crusade and then 2 in Improved. If the stuff you’re doing right now makes it really hard to judge at 15y, then I’d say go for 2/2 Enlightened but drop the 1 in Improved. 20y should be plenty for most all encounters.

    I do love the Infusion change as well!

    I feel AWESOME about haste past softcap. Right now, mana isn’t really an issue for us, so I wouldn’t really go reforging much towards Spirit. We have lots of crit right now, so we don’t need to reforge to that. I’ve taken a bunch of my crit and reforged to mastery, actually, which might be an option for people who find themselves naturally over the softcap, if they want to experiment with it and its newly-buffed state. Still, Holy Light (which we should be using anyways, at least here and there) is still dreadfully long, so I’ll stick with haste for a while yet. Plus, it means we’ll still be at softcap as we gain a level, perhaps two, depending on the scaling of haste rating.

    Janyaa – Hey, just happy some people are finding it useful. :) The LoD change should be really interesting and I’m looking forward to having another choice for my Holy Power stacks!

  10. Thanks for the advice, Kurn

    I think I’ll go with one of your recommended builds and make my lvl 81 talent point to be to extend judgment range. I, um, forgot that 80 is only the level cap for another two weeks!

  11. Enlynn – my pleasure. :) It’s really hard for any of us to imagine that we can start levelling again in two weeks, I think! New trees have been out for more than a month and the world is only shattering now. It’s not like Wrath and BC where we had about 4 weeks of the new trees and then everything opened up. This is a really long intro for Cataclysm and that’s on the heels of doing ICC for almost a year. I think most of us are SO READY for Cataclysm and were already SO READY about three months ago. I think that’s half the reason a lot of us aren’t realizing that it’s two weeks away! :)

  12. I’ve been running 31/3/2 with 1/2 Enlightened Judgements and 2/2 Improved Judgement. I could probably get by fine without the extra range, but I really enjoy 2/2 Paragon of Virtue. Unless I have ridiculous problems landing Judgement on bosses I just don’t see the value in extra Hit and 5 more yards for 1 talent point. With the Shock nerf I’ll probably use the mandatory respec go with 2 points in Crusade and live with 15 yards for a few weeks.

    I did a write up on glyph selection, but I had to do a quick edit tonight after seeing the change to Lay on Hands. I understand changing it to a Major but that doesn’t mean I don’t hate it.

  13. I am 95% pvp player.

    These changes totally changed the holy paladin. We used to be OP’ed, and now it seems that the tards at Blizzard wants to punish us for their own mistake, making us very UP.

    Any class can beat a holy paladin now…..any class. We are worth jackshit after the bigtime heal nerfs:

    – Blessing Life had a HUGE nerf 2 secs to 8 secs.
    – protector of the innocent self heal removed.
    – Holy shock nerfed 30-33%
    – Light of Dawn now requires Holy Power (which comes much slower after patch..)

    Who on earth came up with these changes and made them all happen at the same time. That person should be fired immidiatly, as he forgot his brain at home.

    I have come to the conclussion that Blizzard have got no clue at all about how to balance classes. They are just randomly trying out stuff, crossing their fingers, hoping it’s right….

    Retards…..it’s that simple….They can’t be much smarter than that.

    They could also just remove PvP from the game. It’s obvious they got no clue how to balance PvP compared to other MMOG’s.

    no….you can’t have my stuff ! :)

  14. Now that I’m about to start playing after a month of forced vacation, this is really helpful to help me get back in the groove of things, even if I probably won’t raid again until I’m level 85.

    I can’t tell from the patch notes and the comments- was the 33% nerf to Holy Shock official?

    I’m really happy to see a buff to mastery. I love the IDEA behind our mastery: a damage buffer in between heals to allow for loooong Divine Light casting when there’s heavy damage. I felt, though, that it could use a bit more oomph to be useful (especially if you’re in a guild like mine with all disc priests and druids as co-healers- there’s ALWAYS some HoTs and/or a Shield on my targets!). Its not the overall numbers I care about, but rather how much it’s actually absorbing at the specific times I’m counting on it.

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