3.2 Changes for the Holy Pally

3.2 is iminent on the PTR and the patch notes are out.  Eyonix made a post aimed specifically at paladins outling some of the changes coming our way.  Here’s the relevant bit concerning the Holy tree (my comments interspersed):

We like that Holy paladins have a niche as single-target healers. So do I. The problem is we think this niche is a little too narrow at the moment. Furthermore, paladins don’t have a wide arsenal of healing spells so it’s important that all of them are being used. Well, duh.  Try 3.

First, we are changing Flash of Light so that it places a heal-over-time effect on any target with Sacred Shield on them (the effect will be similar to Sheathe of Light). This should make Flash see a little more use.  Can we have Sacred Shield last longer than 30 seconds, please?  Otherwise, this is good.

Second, and more importantly, we are changing the way Beacon of Light works. Currently, it does not count over-healing on the target. We are changing that. In other words, if you place Holy Light on a rogue who is already at full health, it will still have the full effect on a tank with Beacon of Light on them. Woohoo!  Awesome change here, Blizzard.  I can now be a useful raid healer AND keep the tank alive.This is a huge buff, particularly when you consider the Holy Light glyph which allows for a small amount of “splash” healing. This effect isn’t common when you use Holy Light on a tank because the tank is often standing alone. But if you heal the melee, you are likely to get a lot more total healing from this effect (while still healing the tank through Beacon of Light). We are also going to try to allow a target to have more than one beacon (i.e. from different paladins) on them. Also good news.

Many players may surmise that this change would make paladins far and away the best healers in the game. This is partially because paladin mana regeneration is so potent. That isn’t an issue when the paladin can generally only heal the tank. With the Beacon of Light change, the paladin can provide a lot more raid or party healing. To adjust for this, we are going to reduce the amount of mana returned by Illumination. From 60% return to 30%.  I think I can live with this.  They’re throwing MP5 gear at us now in Ulduar, and I expect that to continue, so this change is not that bad. If you use Holy Light too recklessly (such as on targets who don’t require that much healing) you do risk burning out of mana too quickly. Of course, they will still have Divine Plea and other mana regeneration mechanics.

As a footnote, we are also likely to slightly adjust Replenishment and buff the amount of MP5 on gear.

These changes should lead to healing as Holy being more dynamic – you are going to be targeting a lot more group members than just the tank, while still providing massive healing on the tank. However, you won’t be able to just constantly spam your biggest heals, at least not on the more challenging encounters. There is an opportunity here for skilled players to really do some outstanding healing as paladins, but it’s going to take a little more effort. That’s welcome, in my books. This is something a lot of players have been asking for so we hope that it delivers without completely changing what some paladins enjoy about their healing style.

End quote.

All in all, these changes are interesting and for the most part, welcome.  The change to Beacon is huge, although I fear I will be spamming a lot more Holy Light.  Which may make mana management an issue.  I don’t like that they’ve nerfed Divine Intllect – may have to start stacking int instead of crit now.  A work in progress, to be sure.  Stay tuned.

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