Holy Paladin - a new healer's plea for knowledge and changes!


I recognise there are already a lot of threads talking about this, which says something really, but here we are. We need these threads.

Before we get started, I want to be clear, I am not upset or angry and quite frankly it is a game. A game I love but a game all the same, if you’re not enjoying it just stop playing, please. You can always come back when the game is more to your liking and guess what, the community will have you back but being crude, cruel, rude or toxic? Nah that ain’t it. Season 3 has been a blast, being able to jump in after ignoring most of Dragonflight because it did not appeal to me has been such a pleasant surprise and the current raid has its flaws but I’ve been enjoying our mythic progress, I am not the best player by any means and never will be, despite hitting roadblocks and having issues getting a consistent group together for raid. The gearing has been a nice curve of acquisition, M+ feels more rewarding (and less so at the same time, that is a whole other forum thread though) and for the first time in my comparatively short WoW lifespan I am maintaining multiple characters without burning out.
Hell yeah.

So it is safe to say I like Season 3, I think Plunderstorm was a fumble but I respect the effort and I respect trying to maintain the surprise, again whole other thread but I want to impress upon you all that I am largely happy so I can ask that we keep the replies as… calm? As possible.

With all of that out of the way, Holy Paladin. What went wrong?
I genuinely do not understand why after such a successful rework, by all accounts (feel free to disagree just back it up with valid points please), the spec has been so thoroughly gutted especially with how healing feels right now. Healing does not feel like a rewarding role to learn, tanking and DPS have both been a lot of fun this season and I’ve played quite a few different classes and specs to about the same level (I am not the best, happy to admit it) yet my forays into healing have felt so unrewarding and frustrating… because of a reliance on one shot style mechanics. That’s a whole topic on its own much like Plunderstorm, or M+, so I shan’t dwell on it for any longer but it is not great for the health of the player base in my opinion.

Now, other healers I have spoken to on stronger specs are still largely content which I respect but every Holy Paladin enjoyer I know really does not enjoy the spec currently. Their reasons are as varied as they are valid but if we distil them down, and my own opinions, it largely comes down to severely underperforming in a competitive environment (as in, lots of specs who all offer something different and what makes Hpala unique is not enough to carry the poor throughput of the spec for more people) and the near complete destruction of the class fantasy of Holy Paladin.

So, I want to quickly start with Holy Power.
It is pointless, Blizzard I really hope you recognise the need to either change the way our spenders function or just do away with Holy Power, because right now Holy Power is almost purely detrimental and is rarely spent on anything without a specific buff at a specific time because EVERYTHING else in the toolkit is marginally stronger. Which isn’t saying much. Given the rework was a success this feels like someone made a mistake in balancing and nobody has been able to find a compromise to fix it, which either means the overall design of healing is broken beyond salvageability with the current ethos or Holy Paladin is a ghost spec. Ignored and abandoned.

Already we can see that by damaging the class fantasy so thoroughly Blizzard have also damaged the competitive viability of the spec.

No, throughput versus cooldowns.
Ok, if we are being honest for a moment Holy Paladin has to be a really difficult spec to balance. Blessing of Sacrifice is absolutely bonkers, aura mastery has been a staple of competitive play for as long as I’ve been playing even when other healers have had better throughput, so balancing that has got to be difficult… but here’s the thing. Holy Paladin isn’t just a mid tier spec when it comes to throughput, last time I checked it was pretty much the bottom of the barrel with everyone else outperforming it by quite a wide margin. So I do not know what the answer is, but I know it is not this. I know it is not being the worst healing spec by a wide enough margin that holy paladins are being benched or re-rolling, the holy shock gameplay loop is great and when it works it is super rewarding but somewhere along the way Blizzard you nerfed us through the floor into the basement then filled in the hole.

I am not a game designed but my gut says the solution is relatively simple, slightly lower baseline throughput on cast healers, higher baseline throughput on spenders (with our AOE spender being better than it is now but still not great, Hpala is a spot healer let others have their bonkers AOE healing), keep our cooldowns potent and PLEASE make sure when we say Wings is Up people know we’re about to blast. That’s our whole thing.

Now why am I posting on the forums?
I want to hear from other Holy Paladins, to pool ideas and discuss the best way forward in the hopes that Blizz are actually listening (They say they are) so they can take all of the feedback across all of these different threads to make Holy Paladin feel good to play. Because right now, they’re the least rewarding and clunkiest healer slotting into the least rewarding and most punishing role in the game currently.

Best of luck with all of your keys and raid nights,

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I think we all agree holy power spenders right now need some love, there’s a lot of passionate threads ongoing regarding that subject, so i will leave those discussions there.

I think you’re always going to have a bad time if you compare output between classes without taking in all the factors.

Paladins (unless broken) have never been output healers, we’re traditionally utility, spot or tank healers.
I’m going to only talk from a PVE and Heroic/Mythic raiding prespective, healers in M+ right now is very weird, as with the right comp you can no-heal up to a +25.
No experience in PVP this season, so cannot say how it feels there.

PVE / Raids specifically:
First thing i need to ask you to do is check Warcraft logs and enable ‘Mitigations’ in the healing tab, this gives you better insight (although it’s a WIP feature) of the additional benefit Aura mastery and Devo aura are having on PVE content.

If you’re going for an output build, Beacon of Virtue is king and with the right cooldowns and rotations hitting 350-400k peaks is not an issue.
The fact you can do that while having the raid take reduced damage, plus immune yourself and BoS someone else all at the same time is extremely powerful.

Other healing classes can indeed output more, but they need to prepare, pre-ramp and in some cases need to stay in place for a second or two to pull it off.

Paladins can output less, but can do it almost instantly, while on the move, with almost all instant casts and more reactively.
We can be very good for recovering mistakes, or with beacons helping those mechanically less inclined stay alive with special care and attention.

The extra benefit holy paladins have is indeed (depending on talents) we can buff other healers with Seasonal blessings and our aura mastery.
This means we can help our raid by buffing more output focused classes and be there to cover mistakes and their downtimes.

It does look less good in the meters, but in the logs and with mitigations on, you can see a bit more clearly what full impact we’re having on the raid.

If i look at the logs, output vs utility wise, in a raid, paladins are in a pretty good place.
IF you want paladins to output more, then you also should ask other healers to have more utilities.
Then you easily run into balancing issues, talent concerns / conflicts etc etc.

Holy paladins do need some love, but in my opinion, output should not be one of them (in a raid setting).

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First and believe it or not, foremost, thank you for taking the time to reply and to respect my request for a positive approach. I genuinely enjoyed reading your reply because it is not only a perspective lacking within my current circle, but it is a positive reply with a meticulous approach to proving the points you wanted to prove. Big love for that. Thank you.

I’m largely aware of the output being lower on holy paladin unless they’re the broken flavour of the month class, and I am cool with it. I really don’t mind. I think, reflecting upon my own original post which is a bit scattered because I have a horrendous fever at the moment, and your reply the core of my issue is the fact Holy Paladin feels awful to play at the moment as someone who loves the spec and wants to learn. Combine that with the non-sensical treatment of spenders and… yeah. It sucks. We could gab on ad nauseum about that right, there’s so many threads really drilling down on why Holy Power sucks, but I’d rather not because we can all agree something needs to change but ultimately Blizzard will always treat one or two specs in each role as ghost specs; forgotten because of a misstep and ignored until the next big sweep (likely TWW honestly).

So, on the first point;
Instant, mobile healing. Yeah, I see it. The problem I have is that if this is our big selling point then why are we currently being shoehorned completely into a caster style build which is far from mobile, on an already immobile class. Having dabbled a bit in the past, admittedly before I had the right mindset to try healing in earnest, there was a time when I could absolutely see the mobile instant aspect of Holy Paladin. Holy shocks, Word of Glory, Light of Dawn (I think that’s the name? fevers make brain fog heavy). That is a lot and if all of those tools along with Divine Toll still functioned as they were clearly intended to then being at the bottom of the charts would not phase me in the slightest. I mean it barely phases me as it is. What phases me is that those tools, most of them are not worth pressing. They want us to build to spend, yet there’s nothing to spend on unless you have dawn stacks making the core of the spec oddly niche in a kit already filled to the brim with niche tools (I actually like how many tools the paladin has that are choose for x style encounter, I find that engaging).

Now I do like that there is a throughput build, but what I do not like is the fact that the current builds fly in the face of the Holy Paladins established identity which is ironic considering how often Blizzard talk about class identity. So, permit me to ramble on a little more please…
We are completely and utterly unintuitive, as a melee ranged healer (90% of the time) we are not really using our melee skills. We cannot spend without specific stacks, which is unintuitive, punishing and lacks any incentives. Aura mastery is a really weird ability to put value in, because most of the time we cannot see the pay off really unless we comb through logs. The spot healing aspect either needs to be leaned into or the utility and support needs to be leaned into, currently it feels at least to a fresh face like we have two cakes yet we don’t really get to eat either.

Now, seasons and barrier of faith. Those are two abilities which are causing me no end of frustrations, when the season started clique, vuhdo and mouseover macros all functioned properly for me with these two abilities… now nothing is functioning currently and it is infuriating to put it mildly. I freely admit this is likely contributing to the negative feelings I have towards holy paladin currently, I also don’t like Tyr’s very much. That ability can get in the bin as far as I am concerned it does not feel good to press.

I’m largely inclined to agree that overall output isn’t the solution, not even close, but if we are going to fit into the spot healing and utility spots on a raid (I say we because I want to main a holy paladin in S4 and into The War Within) then we need to get some of what made Holy Paladin feel intuitive and unique back… y’know, the abilities we just don’t press right now.

So, on the note of utility there is a lot of utility spread across the different healers (and tanks) with resto druid and disc priest both, for me, being shinning examples of how utility should be presented. We get blessings and aura mastery (just talking BIG utility here), barrier and mass dispels for disc with leap, druid is a bit muddier as a lot of their utility is for M+ but still has to be factored in, Evoker is another example cause as I recall they end up with two forms of dispel in some specs, rescue and a few other tools (maybe too many). So I am absolutely in the camp of more tools for healers, especially if Blizzard want to keep the one shot healer meta that seems to exist currently (again please, correct me if this is just me misunderstanding what I am seeing).

Holy Paladins do need some love, so can we distil down what that love should be into a few points? I am certainly going to try.

Buff word of glory, less reliance on Holy Light and Flash of light. Reward the building spending.
There’s gotta be more that needs to be done with building and spending, but that for me feels like the worst bit of the kit.

Build diversity, throughput builds SHOULD be caster centric but the spot healing and utility builds in my opinion should lean into that build spend, so the above could be achieved with talents?

Fix macroing of certain abilities, some people may disagree but we live in an age of equality and should be striving for equity (yeah whole philosophical debate there, but it is the way things are).

Anything else? Anything you disagree with?

You can probably tell I enjoy thinking about these sorts of things and like hearing honest, well thought out opinions too! Thank you again!

Hey mate,

Unforunately you’re replying on your rogue so i cannot inspect your talents, which might help me form a better response.

I think indeed part of your feelings regarding holy paladin stem from feeling forced into a playstyle you do not enjoy.
I really enjoy caster paladin, have done in since MOP and never really played the meele playstyle.
So i cannot really talk on that front.

But i also get a feeling that maybe you’re also looking at the paladin spec and making it a bit more complex.

For example:
At the base of our class, for a decent amount of output we typically maintain:

  • Holy shock to be used on CD for Glimmer of light to be maintained on as many targets as possible
  • Tyr’s Deliverance to be used off CD to be maintained on as many targets as possible
  • Beacon of virtue / faith maintained on the correct targets

Maintaining all those things effectively (especially holy shock) typically means Flash of Light and Holy light are used only part of the time, and primarly during Inflorescence of the Sunwell so it heals more and costs less.
But that’s a quite a bit of spells to maintain uptime on.

At this point i typically think to myself, what do i NOT take because it requires me to maintain something that could effect the base healing of maintaining the above.

Typically this means i spec into:

  • Merciful Auras (unless i need to buff someone with seasons)
  • Protection Of Tyr to buff aura mastery and buff Merciful Auras

I ignore stuff like:

  • Barrier Of Faith

Because it adds something else to maintain.

All my other talent choices are first prioritising buffing Holy shock, adding passives and benefits to it and then flash of light.

Even as a caster, im not casting flash of light that often, i think as a meele healer you can probably use it even less, but specing more into buffing Holy light and making it instant cast + awakening to get wings more often.

Tyr’s Deliverance feels like the only thing im really casting a lot of the time, but once it’s out, it’s just about maintaining it up as much as possible.
But the way it combines with Beacons + flash/holy light and holy shock make it a very nice foundational / building skill.

But because of Daybreak, Divine toll, Glimmer of light and our set bonus, Holy shock is the primary healing spell and beacons simply echo it out.
There’s a lot of suitable spells and talents to fill in the gaps, but some will make the spec more complex and less fun to play, that’s for sure.

Paladin is rather complex as a spec, because there’s a lot of synnergy between spells that amplify their effects, doing that + our outgoing utilities etc, it’s not the easist healing class to play at a high level.

I will be honest, I have three or four different builds from different sources set up on the paladin at the moment while I try to find my way with it and I hope that this came across at least to some extent with the initial post, but this was also me reaching out to see if I was stuck in an echo chamber where everyone is screaming play this way and only this way while complaining which it sounds like to some extent I was.

Happy to admit it too.

I think I would enjoy the casting aspect of Holy Paladin if it didn’t feel like the antithesis of the builder/spender nature of paladin as a whole, so I have likely been influenced heavily by having played the other specs relatively extensively. The melee play style felt weird to me but it kind of fit and some of that is class fantasy for me, but some of it could also be the echo chamber I mentioned at the start of this reply.

It sounds like I’m not entirely off the mark with my displeasure over certain aspects but some of it is just a case of adjusting to fit A. myself B. my group and C. my expections, so that is exactly what I am going to try and do.

Glimmer is actually something I really like, which runs in opposition to a lot of the holy paladin mains I know, so if I am understanding this right I need to look at the following;
Dropping Barrier of Faith, especially if it is frustrating me, or find a way to focus target macro it in raids if my raid lead asks it of me. Completely ok with that, it feels like a weird spell for Holy Paladin to have and seems to sit outside the standard behaviour of a paladin currently when healing.

Tyr’s deliverance, adjusting the way I view this spell and instead of viewing it as an independent cooldown viewing it as a buff to manage which I can work with.

Take a proper look at merciful auras, which is an ability I actually really like. Was surprised to see it being disliked by so many of the vocal holy paladins and the holy paladin mains I personally know.

Daybreak and Divine toll is a combination I actually really like, so I just need to get used to leveraging that combination properly. So it sounds like your advice stems from the idea of strip it all back, get back to what makes a paladin a holy paladin and then introduce the changes that feel like they suit the groups I am working with and what I feel I can manage, which I respect a lot.

A lot of people look at things in a very binary way and so it is refreshing to get a new perspective, I thank you for that, though I won’t lie there are still elements I really hate about what Blizzard has done and it seems like I am in agreement with everyone else about Holy Power being a big issue one way or the other, so I shall take what you’ve suggested give it a good go and then come back with a fresh opinion hopefully after.

Thank you, and yeah, i think universally mostly all Holy paladins can agree holy power doesn’t feel right at the moment.

Season 3 we got major changes to healing, AOE healing for all classes got nurfed, so this meant Light of Dawn feels very weak to cast and Word of Glory by itself doesn’t feel like it packs much of a punch.

There is however ways to buff Word of Glory by talents such as Strength of Conviction and Recompense that gives it a little bit more love.

Holy paladin misconception:
I feel like a lot of Holy paladins i’ve spoken to have essentially missed out on some key details of how the talents work and synnergise together.
Barrier of Faith is a utility spell, which on paper sounds great, but seeing as mostly all classes and specs have defensives, there’s not much use for it.

There’s a few playstyles that work very very well, perfectly suitable even for CE raiding.
However, if you mix the talents around too much you lose the benefits or output of that playstyle rather significantly.

Some examples:
Personally, if i have Beacon of Virtue i see no reason to spend any talents buffing Light of Dawn. You get better ‘aoe’ or ‘spread’ healing with beacons + buffing word of glory.

Personally, i use Beacon of the Lightbringer, which means if i beacon people in meele, i would heal better standing in range, so both Melee and Range get the Mastery benefit as if i was standing ontop of them.

Then there is indeed the way certain spells and talents synnergise together:

  • Beacon of virtue + Tyr’s deliverance compliment each other in healing more and costing less mana on a target that has both applied.
    This additional boosted healing gets echoed over more targets because of the beacons as well.

A lot of paladins use the spells but don’t apply them to get the most benefit out of them. Which makes them feel weaker compared to other healers in the content that they’re doing.

It might also be fun / interesting for you to go the Light of the Martyr route as well, if you’re not a fan of casting, there’s some interesting synnergies there to explore also.

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