I love holy paladins. This site exists because musing about holy paladins is fun for me. I would say I have been passively taking in the changes to holy for Warlords of Draenor and thinking about what I like about the current play style, the play style coming up, and what would make it more FUN. Below I list the changes I would like to see with the dual goal of making the mechanics more fun evening out the tool kit a bit. As fair warning I do not pretend that the suggested changes are balanced as is nor do I have much faith there is enough time for anyone with real power to change the class to think about these changes (like anyone would care in the first place….) But I do believe they are balanceable and they achieve the most important change which is add interesting game play that rewards good game play but doesn’t excessively punish non-optimized play. Here we go:
- AoE Healing: Holy Radiance – Daybreak – Light of Dawn
The biggest deficit in the paladin healing tool kit is AoE healing. Holy Radiance is expensive with weak splash heals. In 5.4 I can spend 75% of my time in raid casting HR but it will account for only 5-10% of my healing. We use it to generate Holy Power and think little of the actual healing it does. For WoD the only thing that has changed is it costs so much mana now we will only cast it when it is the correct heal, which is good. But it is such a weak heal when will it ever be the correct heal? Using HR does generate daybreak stacks which adds AoE healing to holy shock, but it far and away the most over-heal spell we have. For most of SoO daybreaks over-heal was 90%+. Daybreak is a neat idea in that it makes you think a bit about where you put your Holy Shock so that the AoE heal can be used. But the issue is Holy Shock is a use on CD spell and frequently gets used on people not stacked, especially since it is our only on the move spell. Thus it is a mechanic that has a skill cap but limited by the need for more holy power and its use on CD. So what about Light of Dawn? The major issue with LoD is how it interacts with the tier 45 talents (which is up next). If you take EF you should never/rarely use LoD. LoD is also “skill-less”. With EF you get a choice of who gets a hot and allows for good game play. LoD has no specific target. You just cast and forget and it doesn’t interact with anything. There is no way LoD can become better than EF unless there is a specific damage pattern.
- My Fix:
Totally revamp Daybreak to make Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn interact with each other. I have a few ideas on this, and since I am hardly a developer I will share an outline of the possibilities. I have three possible ideas to make HR and LoD more fun, improve our aoe tool kit, add some skill/planning to the spells use:
- Make repeated casts of Holy Radiance increase the splash healing range and/or amount healed: Knowing who to target and when to cast HR will add some complexity and add some power to a weak spell. The biggest issue IMO of HR is the splash range is so small. Buffing through spamming will make it a more powerful and interactive spell. Mana cost would make abuse of this difficult.
- Make Holy Radiance Buff LoD: For AoE fights it would mean using HR as a buff to LoD which would provide a benefit to planning ahead and provide a risk reward for using such an expensive healing spell. Mana cost would make abuse of this difficult.
- Make targets with illuminated healing, eternal flame, or sacred shield take increased LoD Healing: This would be hardest to balance but would add some complexity to our AoE healing. The goal would be to have EF and IM from direct heals on the people you want to get the most AoE healing which would require some skill and planning. Biggest issue with this would be how it interacted with the smart healing component of LoD.
- Tier 45 Talents – The impossible to balance, fake choice between Selfless Healer, Eternal Flame, and Sacred Shield.
This talent tier has been a problem for a long time largely due to balancing prot and holy. They changed the play style of holy drastically and much of the time not for the better, especially SH in 25man SoO which makes healing a dps rotation with few healing decisions. Sacred Shield never took off in MoP and some of it had to do with it being clunky, is an extra thing to cast and track, and had an awkward recharge system. I have always thought EF should be baseline because WoG is just another version of Holy Light/Divine Light/Flash of Light and is too boring for a big finish.
- My Fix:
Make the tier 45 talents all modify Word Of Glory. Word of Glory is our main holy power finisher. It is arguably our most important spell. Using talents to modify it provides some great personalization and play style variation without gutting how the paladin plays. Theses talents would also be much easier to balance. You can play with the splash, hot, shield numbers easily so they do similar outputs and it is the encounter or play style that min/max it.
- “Splashing” Healer: WoG heals up to 6 targets within 10 yards of target for x%. Basically turn WoG into a super Holy Radiance. Will provide a AoE boost to our single target heal. Will vary from LoD if the changes I wrote about above go in.
- Eternal Flame: Same as live. Adds a HoT to WoG. Good for consistent damage, fun and rewarding play style for rolling on the correct targets. Boost to beacon healing.
- Sacred Flame: WoG applies the sacred shield effect. Basically EF but with a refreshing shield. Has the possibility of being more single target bonus but no ability to heal beacon or refresh IM. Provides a variation to EF and uses sacred shield without adding the clunky-ness of sacred shield on live. Can have it scale with HP just as EF does.
- Raid Healing CD – No more Guardian of Ancient Kings or Divine Purpose. Avenging Wrath is not enough!
One of my favorite parts about being a holy paladin was the number of CD’s that we had. This provided us a great way to throttle our healing. Many times they were paired up, but at least we had 2 pairs which meant we could have more time with buffs, or a short time with crazy buffs. Now that we only have Avenging Wrath that is gone. Also, as raid CD’s go, Aura Mastery is the least fun. You pop it and marginally feel the reduction in damage taken. It is powerful, but not exciting or the most powerful. As I have said above multiple times, AoE healing is still the holy paladins greatest weakness so it would be nice to have a healing CD that boosted this.
- My Fix:
SUPER BEACON! Makes your beacon of light target a pillar of light that provides splash healing to all (or up to 6 targets) within 30 yards. 50%(or whatever to balance) of all your direct heals to the beacon target hit all (or up to 6 targets). Provides bonus to AoE healing utilizing our single target healing strengths and feeds off an iconic paladin ability. Honestly this is just a paladin version of Ancestral Healing. But this type of CD is my favorite type of CD. It requires a small change in game play while active and IS active. You have to do something to maximize it.
- Final Thoughts:
I think the core of the paladin healing mechanics of generating holy power, having strong finishers, and major mechanics like Beacon and our mastery are solid. They are interesting and differ from other healers and none of them are overly under or over powered. But when we get a new expansion I think it is reasonable to want some tweaks to how we heal. For me the dead space has always been Holy Radiance and LoD for AoE healing and the poor choice between Eternal Flame vs. Light of Dawn. I think having interesting choices, that are modified by spell and target choices makes for fun game play. Generating holy power and spending it on WoG with modifications (splash, hot, shield) is a good mechanic. Having AoE builders that make LoD greater than WoG with a heavy mana penalty is a good mechanic. Having a CD that buffs the weakest part of our toolkit and is active is a good mechanic. All these changes can be balanced but the important part is more and fun decisions in our healing rotations. Maybe one day we will have some of this, or maybe not!