This is much later than I was hoping, but I finally finished this up. I’m sorry for it’s tardiness, but I didn’t want to write this before changes were finalized. I also have been busy moving back to school, but enough with the excuses.
To start off with here are all the changes that apply to Holy:
- Mastery: Illuminated Healing no longer activates from periodic healing effects.
- Seal of Insight no longer has a chance to restore mana on attacks.
- Divine Plea no longer reduces the amount of healing done, and now restores mana based on the Paladin’s Spirit.
- Sanctity of Battle now also affects the cooldown of Holy Shock.
- Holy Shock mana cost has been reduced by 50%.
- Judgment now costs 12% of base mana to cast (up from 5% of base mana).
- Holy Insight now increases the effectiveness of Eternal Flame, Light of Dawn, and Word of Glory by 50% (up from 35%). Effectiveness of other heals are still increased by 25%.
- Guardian of the Ancient Kings now deals additional healing based on any heal cast by the Paladin for the 15 seconds for the duration of the spell. The Paladin also has 10% additional haste for the duration that the ability is active.
- Selfless Healer in addition to its current effects, now also causes Judgment to generate a charge of Holy Power. Stacks of Selfless Healer now reduce the cast time, mana cost, and improve the effectiveness of Divine Light, Flash of Light, and Holy Radiance.
- Eternal Flame’s periodic heal-over-time effect now heals for 40% more.
- Sacred Shield now applies its damage absorption shield immediately, can be active on more than one target at a time, but the talent now costs mana and has 3 charges with a 10-second recharge.
- Sanctified Wrath now also increases the critical strike chance of Holy Shock by 20%.
- Hand of Purity now reduces damage taken from harmful periodic effects by 80% (up from 70%) and reduces damage taken from harmful periodic effects that cannot be prevented by immunities by 40% (up from 0%).
- Unbreakable Spirit has been simplified. It now reduces the cooldown on Divine Shield, Divine Protection, and Lay on Hands by 50%.
Those are quite a few changes to sort through. I’m going to start this off by talking about the elephant in the room: Eternal Flame has been nerfed to not apply Illuminated Healing.
Welcome to 5.4, you suck
I’m just going to go right out and say it, we’ve been nerfed. Big time.
Our main healing style for the last two tiers has been to focus on HoPo generation to use EF. The healing it did plus the constant Mastery bubbles it put up did amazingly for sheer throughput, and Blizzard took note. They decided that a majority of healing paladins taking the same talent was not something they wanted. They want us to occasionally use the other level 45 talents, and so they nerfed EF to the ground. There’s no beating around the bush here or trying to argue that the other talents have been buffed to compensate. This is an outright nerf, and if you don’t think so you’re fooling yourself.
Bouch did an amazing breakdown of the numbers for the next patch in this post. If you haven’t read it yet, you should look it over.
Basically what it comes down to next tier is that Blizzard took away the EF interactions that made us so strong and then decided not to buff us enough to make up for the loss of healing. While there are some buffs being tossed our way, EF’s HoT and Holy Insight being two of the nicer ones, they do not make up for the healing we’ve lost. Bouch breaks down very nicely that SH, EF, and SS are very close to each other after the nerf to Judgement via increased mana cost. This means that Blizzard succeeded in making the other talents viable options within comparable healing of EF. That’s not to say that its comparable to current EF, that’s far too much to ask for. The newly buffed “viable” talents are comparable to this newly nerfed EF. So yes, you can play whatever healing style your heard desires from the level 45 talents, you’ll still suck compared to now.
“Viability” and Level 45 talents
Now as far as I’ve seen from the numbers people are producing from the PTR the new versions of the talents are actually very close to each other. What this means is that you can actually play different playstyles if that’s what you want to do. If you don’t like the race for HoPo that EF is, you can play the game of cooldown management with Selfless Healer, or the maintenance of SS. It seems that gearing is still just about the same independently of what playstyle you want to go with. You can basically stick to Spirit > Mastery for any of the playstyles which will allow us to change talents between fights if certain fights are better suited to one talent over another.
Another important thing to note is that it seems Haste and Mastery are basically even as far as straight throughput goes. The main difference is that Mastery still interacts with our limited mana pool much better than Haste. You can definitely go with Haste over Mastery, but you will burn through your mana faster than you would with Mastery. There are a few more intricacies to take note of now as well though. Obviously the EF HoT doesn’t stack Mastery anymore, but the original heal does. That means that pre shielding (as much as is possible anyway) should be done with LoD before big raid damage. Haste will also interact much differently with SH than the other talents due to HS and Judgement’s cooldowns scaling from Haste. Based on numbers that I’ve seen people discussing, it seems that it takes huge amounts of Haste to make a real difference in the cooldown of HS, but you can still gear Spirit > Haste for a slightly faster moving playstyle.
Really what I’m trying to get across here is that while Blizzard did nerf us, they somewhat succeeded in making us effective with multiple different playstyles. They may not be perfectly equal, but they’re close enough now that as a Holy Paladin you can choose what healing style you like best. It’s all about the silver lining, guys.
Just keep playing
In all seriousness, just keep playing. Ignore the nay sayers and the people crying about being nerfed to hell. Blizzard made the changes as they saw fit, and now we have to deal with them. If you feel that you need to switch classes to be competitive now, go ahead and stop crying. If you’re sticking with your Holy Paladin, support people who produce productive information on our class; if that means we ask for buffs or say that were even with other healers doesn’t matter. We’ve been at a high point for the last two tiers, but now we may possibly be at a low point. I’m personally going to wait until I get to play the class on live to decide how much we’ve been nerfed, but I can tell you that there’s no way I’m switching mains. We still have fantastic survival cooldowns, we still have a strong tank cooldown, we still have a strong raid cooldown, and the patch hasn’t made us go from strong healers to instantly benched.
If you enjoy playing your Holy Paladin, you’ll still enjoy it. I’m honestly tired of hearing so many people cry about the end of the world for Holy Paladins. I can tell you that I’m going to continue playing my Holy Paladin for Hardmode progression next tier, and I hope that you will too.