On the State of Holy Paladin

After a long break from the spec in most of Shadowlands and early Dragonflight, I have been back healing on Holy Paladin for the last two tiers.

I am a mythic raider (not Cutting Edge, though) and I usually do upper-mid to high level Mythic + keys, to give you an idea where I’m writing from.

I know the issues with the spec have been talked about almost unendingly since 10.2 was announced, but I thought I would make a post about my experience on and ideas about Holy Paladin, lest the current hype with Season 4 rewards distract us from the bugs and playstyle issues plaguing the spec and being left unaddressed.

I’m not going to get into the caster playstyle we’ve been forced into in raids (not much at least), because I’ve ended up liking it just fine, even though it’s notably less exciting than the previous iterations of Holy Paladin (call it masochism if you’d like).

However, I wanted to bring up a few points that, in my view, need to be addressed for Holy Paladin to feel more enjoyable in raids and in keys.

Mana Viability and Throughput in Raids

The melee playstyle most raiding Holy Paladins are used to is, as of writing this post, not viable in raids because it causes us to go out of mana all too quickly. To offset this change, we have been forced to lean into the Infusion playstyle hinging on the Inflorescence of the Sunwell talent, which de facto pigeonholes us into a caster-style type of gameplay in raids.

Worse, it leads us to all but ignoring Holy Power in raids because pressing Word of Glory or Light of Dawn is extremely suboptimal outside of extremely specific situations (e.g., having one or more Blessing of Dawn stacks, being on the moving and having no Holy Shock charges…). All the more so since Holy Power spenders now come with a mana cost on top of the usual Holy Power cost.

The reasons for this are twofold: first, the tuning for Holy Power spenders is currently extremely low, as even Word of Glory was barely touched despite the 10.2 buffs to single-target healing spells; second, Flash of Light benefits from interactions between multiple strong talents (e.g., Inflorescence of the Sunwell, Tyr’s Deliverance, Awestruck…) to become a single-target powerhouse that costs effectively no mana.

As it stands, therefore, the melee playstyle is unviable in raids, being both less efficient in terms of throughput and unsustainable in terms of mana efficiency.

Throughput in Mythic +

This can be felt even in a Mythic + environment, where some single-target healing checks are very hard to meet as a Holy Paladin (compared to some other healer specs). Two examples come to mind in the current dungeon pool: the healing absorb from Crushing Depths applied by the Naz’jar Sentinels in Throne of the Tides and the bleed from the Frenzied Nightclaws’ Frantic Rip in Darkheart Thicket.

Some other abilities are likely to fall into the same category, but usually at higher key levels (e.g., Sister Briar’s Jagged Nettles in Waycrest Manor, the Soulbound Goliath’s Soul Thorn mechanic in Waycrest Manor, the Flame Shock damage-over-time effect from phase 1 of Mindbender Ghur’sha in Throne of the Tides, the Tainted Sands damage-over-time effect from Coalesced Moment in Dawn of the Infinite…).

On the whole, abilities that require a lot of single-target throughput over a short period of time are very hard to deal with as a Holy Paladin outside of cooldowns, be it traditional throughput cooldowns or more utility-oriented cooldowns like Blessing of Protection. This is in part due to the comparatively low tuning of Holy Shock and Word of Glory despite the 10.2 changes to single-target healing. As this is not a design issue, but is rather dependent on appropriate tuning of core abilities, I don’t believe it’s necessary to discuss it further.

Healer Damage in Raids

Although Paladin can output a fair amount of damage when they allocate appropriate resources, as is evident in Mythic +, the current playstyle we have to adhere to in raids to be mana-viable has reduced our DPS to a fraction of what other healers can do.

According to data on WarcraftLogs, we currently have one of the lowest ceilings of all healers, being above only Restoration Druid at the 95th percentile. At the other end of the spectrum, Discipline Priest (and, to a lesser extent, Preservation Evoker) is an extreme outlier, being able to do almost three times the damage of Holy Paladins or Restoration Druids.

Historically, because of the melee playstyle we have abandoned this tier, one of the strengths of Holy Paladin was the passive damage the spec brought to a raid environment. Problematic though this may have been in its own right, it also meant that people like me were drawn to the class because of this particular strength. Seeing it go away because of tuning and gameplay choices feels unfortunate, and has me considering choosing a spec that I enjoy less in order to bring the same things I used to in order to help my raiding team.

Talent Tree Issues

The talent system introduced in Dragonflight has been a godsent for many classes, but only when it allows multiple playstyles to compete somewhat equally. Holy Paladin has been dealing with this specific issue since day 1: before 10.2, either the melee build (10.0 and 10.1.5) or the Avenging Crusader build (10.1) reigned supreme in raids, with the caster build lagging behind substantially; now, in 10.2, the caster build is unrivalled for the reasons I outlined above.

One the of aims going forward for Holy Paladin design should be to try and balance at least the melee build and the ranged builds so both have strengths and weaknesses in various situations, and so both are equally viable (less than 1-2% apart in terms of performance, ideally).

I think this could be done by reworking some parts of the talent tree (again). Despite the (great) rework in 10.1.5, I believe the Holy Paladin spec tree is trying to do too many things at once. There are at least 4 builds competing with each other: the melee build (with Awakening, more often than not), the caster build (with Inflorescence of the Sunwell), the Avenging Crusader build (although it’s not viable anymore), and the Maraad’s build (which hasn’t been used all expansion, and is unlikely to see a resurgence in my opinion as reliance on Light of the Martyr has been all but rendered irrelevant with the addition of the second Holy Shock charge with possible cooldown resets on the ability on top of that).

By removing dead talents (e.g., the rightmost branch in the middle of the talent tree, with Light of the Martyr and Maraad’s Dying Breath, but also possibly by reworking Avenging Crusader), it could free up choice nodes to scale back the tree to two builds (melee and caster, if I had to choose) and provide options to shore up the limitations of both. For instance, mana-viability talents could be added to the melee side of the tree, as well as a new passive damage option (perhaps modelled on a re-tuned Incandescence/Touch of Light) for the caster build.

A talent to remove the mana cost from Holy Power spenders would be much appreciated as well. On that note – I’m going to say it very plainly: attaching a mana cost to Holy Power spenders was a tremendous mistake, which many of us could see coming a mile away. It removed interesting gameplay choices (e.g., trying to pool Holy Power when low on mana to deal with an upcoming damage event, which was really fun) and made Holy Power spenders much too inefficient, as they now come with almost twice the cost of opportunity.

Some Known Bugs

The most glaring bug that has been left thus far unfixed is that the Righteous Judgement talent is not working as intended. If a given cast of Judgment procs an extra Consecration, that proc is immediately overridden by a normal Consecration cast and disappears in the process. It results in lower damage than expected in a Mythic + environment. It still wasn’t working properly as of this morning.

I have also read on some Holy Paladin Discord servers that both Prism of Light and Tyr’s Deliverance have had issues. Apparently, Prism of Light is healing less than intended, while Tyr’s Deliverance is healing more, although I have not had time to confirm this myself through log analysis.

Having bugs like that makes the spec extremely hard to balance properly, which is why they need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Having a faster patch cycle is great in many ways, with more content being playable faster. However, when some issues like those listed above are not addressed fast enough, it makes a spec borderline unplayable for a whole patch, which is a shame for people who have a strong attachment to that particular spec. Many of us have watched Holy Paladin content creators move away from the spec as it remained riddled with bugs.

Button Bloat and Hero Talents

A final note on the Hero Talents for the Lightsmith tree that was released recently.

Since the 10.1.5 rework, Holy Paladins have had access to a solid amount of cooldowns, with players needing to find new keybinds for Daybreak, Divine Favour/Hand of Divinity, and Tyr’s Deliverance at the very least. This has resulted in some amount of button bloat.

The proposed talents for the Lightsmith tree would add yet another Blessing of the Seasons-style alternating cooldown. This would also compound the issue of the button bloat, and would feel particularly overwhelming to any new player trying to pick up the spec.

The decision to make Holy Armaments a targeted ground effect is a horrible choice, as has been noted by many content creators. Having to target NPC adds that need to be healed in raids is bad enough, but if we have to precisely position a ground reticle on top of that would require an excess amount of concentration on a spec that already requires tracking a lot of short and long cooldowns to be played efficiently. Any gameplay design that moves focus away from party frames (however desirable in theory) also inevitably ends up being detrimental to the overall enjoyment of healer specs in the long run – at least in my experience.

Worse, having Holy Armaments put on the floor rather than on a specific player will also deprive Holy Paladins of agency over who they want to buff. If we are to have more support-oriented options in the future, being able to target specific players will be key, unless players’ performance be moved out of their control. Whether we like it or not, individual performance is central to pretty much every raider or dungeoneer’s experience. Removing a player’s agency over their performance is therefore bound to result in frustration at the very least.

I do certainly hope the developers decided to move away from that initial model, as it does not bode well for the future of Holy Paladins in my view.

The Positive: Cooldown Coverage and Healing Profile

I want to finish on a positive note, relating to the current healing profile and overall cooldown coverage of Holy Paladin.

With the Season 3 tier set bonus, we can now have the Daybreak-into-Divine Toll combo available every 45 seconds in raids (or the other way around, more often than not, in Mythic +). This combo is extremely versatile, as it can be used for damage, area-of-effect healing, and even single-target healing with Rising Sunlight talented. It feels extremely good to use, both in terms of throughput and of the general ‘wow’ factor attached to it. Having the combo available every 45 seconds also makes planning healing throughout a dungeon or raid encounter much more enjoyable, and slightly easier too as it allows for options to catch up on healing if you end up falling behind for whatever reason. It may arguably be too strong to remain available at 45-second intervals in the future, but having a strong 1-minute cooldown at the very least feels incredible. Daybreak is incredibly well designed, and so are the interactions with Divine Toll and other talents like Rising Sunlight. And who doesn’t love the big bell sound of Divine Toll? I know I do. Big up.

Despite the caveats about the current raid playstyle I outlined earlier, one major positive in my experience in raids this tier has been the healing profile of Holy Paladins. I thoroughly enjoy having something to catch up on healing in most situations. With 66% (roughly) coverage on Tyr’s Deliverance with Boundless Salvation, the Daybreak-into-Divine Toll combo on a 45-second cooldown, and the steady influx of healing brought by Infusion-empowered Flash of Light, Holy Paladins have a clear nice in raids as a triage healer with decent passive healing. It results in a flatter healing profile (with decent burst potential if needed, though) than, say, Discipline Priests, but serves a key function in a raiding environment.

Triage healing has long be a key component of the spec, and I’m glad to see that this is something that has been preserved this patch. I can only wish it goes on for the foreseeable future, as it is another reason why I love Holy Paladin so much.

I’m sorry for the long post, but I felt now was the right time to discuss the current state of Holy Paladin as we will shortly move towards Alpha development for The War Within.

I do hope some of the issues now plaguing Holy Paladin are fixed so the spec is as enjoyable to play as I know it can be.


Has any one suggested have each point of holy power reduce the cast time and mana costs of FoL and HoL by .25 seconds and 3% base mana respectively (the extra mana would be refunded for 4 and 5 point spenders.

Holy paladin main issue right now is we cant keep up in the HPS in raids due to we are too weak in the aoe healing department and we lack good smart heals and get tons of overhealing.
For Mythic+ (I am running 19-20 right now) I think we are fine for mythic+ i would like a bit lower cd due to we feel very cd dependent.

I think the caster style is much more fun than the melee one.

We had an almost perfect spec last season that got nerfed to the ground.

It’s a pitty because hpal never felt so fluent and intuitive ever before with that spec that blizzard destroyed it due to m+ meta madness.

i am doing fine and caster build isnt viable for m+.

people didnt adapt mostly and are now playing infusion, when this is bad for m+.

unfortunately all the good players already left before adapting completely, e.g. ellesmere, e.g. see crusader strike talent instead of 20% holy shock heal.

i wont invite hpals on any on my alts or when i play tank because players suck. I am good though and could push much further if I just had some premade and more time.

your single target heal is superb. you use daybreak triple holyshock with wog and only when having dawn and in consecration so it crits for 400k and you are literally sniping spotheals the whole time in m+

the only scenario which is hard is when the cd cycling doesnt work because too many too-low time intervall windows in a boss fight. e.g. fall 2nd boss. But this is solved when accounting for that and holding your daybreak but using it already. Yeah well you cant use it for damage on high tyrannical keys then but doesnt matter, outside of it you use it almost always for damage because the WoG snipe or normal heal with hand (precasted so you have it up to 20 seconds into trash pull) inbetween rescues ur mates

my dps is 70-100k overall in m+ which is pretty good comparable to bad disc players or way better than the normal rdruid u see.

i dont want to start to judge over the bad players of other specs, this is also huge and frustrating to watch

problem is vast players, the spec has only a few scaling issues like 10-15% more hps

I should add that neither in raid nor in m+ , mana is no problem at all. Literally no drink at all in a high key. No other healing spec I tried is that mana efficient. 100% uptime in play dps/hps and no drink needed at all.

Speaking strictly in an m+ environment
Unfortunately we’re getting the same treatment now as we did back in SL - Ashen Hallow made us too strong and got us nerfed (rightfully so).

Holy Paladin rework was far too overpowered and as a consequence we got hit with the nerf-hammer (again, rightfully so) which left us in this weird spot where we don’t actually excel in anything.

I get that there will always be a point in which you get stuck at a certain key level and simply have to “git gud” but comparing hpal to other healer specs through sites like raiderio and subcreation, we’re struggling. As of right now there is a solid 150 m+ score between highest ranked holy paladin and highest ranked priest/monk/druid, which might not seem like a ton but it appears that hpal is closing in on hitting the wall of pushable keys this season (1-2 key levels below other healers in most dungeons).

Do I have a solution? Absolutely not but would be nice to get some sort of update on hpal - whether something is coming or we simply have to sit back and hope for some juice for season 4.

the issue is because there is a bigger tradeoff for hpals with cds and their intervalls. and they lack allround hps. thats why at certain key levels, especially tyrannical bosses, hpal has a much harder time and then gets left from the players. This doesnt mean it wouldnt be capable at all, but it gets left before even tryharding it because it is way easier to press the same rota all the time as disc or mw or something and healing easier and more


the issues are there but there is also a shrinking playerbase playing it because it is harder (which for many people is more fun, but just to push it is worse).

should get a 15-20% heal increase and a cd reduction on daybreak and divine toll. Like rdruid have 15 sec cd for groupheal lol

Welp, 5 hours after my complaining we atleast got pretty big damage buffs. Cheers Blizzard!

every patch they change something that I announced at start here in forum in a post. now it was consecration and sotr…

still missing the 15% holy shock buff and heal buff overall…

resto gets 5% hps buff, when resto had no hps problems

Won’t change much, paladin needed healing buffs more than damage. Holy priest got massive healing buffs and makes paladin even worse.

Glad my sub is running out! Playing on other games where peoples enjoyment, happyness, time and ideas count… Gone back to my F2P games and they booming!.

Are we ever going to get any reply from Blizzard regarding Holy Paladins?
What’s the point of these topics, where can we give feedback?

I can’t believe that they can’t hear us. Literally every youtuber/twitch streamer or experienced holy paladin says the class is in really bad state right now.

i also stopped subbing and this time i wont come back, already skipped sl 3 and 4 as well as df s1 and half of 2. community didnt get better in terms of learning mechanics or being constructive instead of toxic, queue system didnt get better, and the least now, the balancing is very off

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They really should buff healing for Holy Pala. Rotation ect ist fun for me, but If i compare to my Monk, it is Harder to heal Keys like throne in tyrannical, then it is with Monk.
But i will stick with that Paladin - really like that Class
Hope Blizzard will buff us for season 4!

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