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Pally Healing 101

alliance-wowpaladinWelcome to Kyrilean’s Pally Healing Guide 101 (a.k.a. If You Have To Ask Me, We’re Screwed!)

All joking aside, I’ve been healing as a pally for just over a year now. I’d like to think I’m pretty good at it now. I didn’t have the gear for it initially since I was a Tankadin up to around level 65 and just ask anyone who knew me then, I was a horrible Healadin.

After a rather unfortunate incident involving two Huntards that blamed me for our inability to complete Steamvaults (even after having cleared it the previous day with another group) I took offense to the accusation and started to hit BGs pretty hard to help me get healing gear to run heroics. I did it and with the better gear started to really learn how to heal.

So here’s my attempt to impart the wisdom (or lack therof) that I have.

Minimum build: Ky’s recommended minimum Healadin build

Spiritual Focus – better than Seals of the Pure for pure healing. Seals of the Pure benefits you for soloing, but this is a healing guide and for minimums I’m avoiding the non-healing aspects as much as possible.

Healing Light – self explanatory

Divine Intellect – you need the mana. Will also greatly increase benefit of Holy Guidance (see below).

Aura Mastery – not essential, but you need a point somewhere to advance further up the tree eventually.

IlluminationTHIS IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST!!! Each crit heal has a 100% chance to restore 60% of the spell’s mana cost. I’ll elaborate below, but remember this!

Improved Concentration Aura – chances are Retadins and Tankadins will not get this so it’s up to us. But overall this really up to you and I’m not convinced it’s crucial.  Again, need a point to advance further up the tree.

Improved Blessing of Wisdom – same as above. Too deep in Holy tree for Retadins and Tankadins, however I would say this one is crucial.

Divine Favor – your OH CRAP!! spell. Use in a macro with Holy Light and you’ve got yourself an automatic huge heal.

Sanctified Light – a Healadin’s #1 required stat aside from Spellpower. YOU NEED CRIT! (See Illumination above.)

Holy Power – same reason

Light’s Grace – pre-patch 3.0 Healadins often would use a downranked Holy Light to keep Light’s Grace active at all times. Although 0.5 sec may not seem like much, in a crisis a 2.0 sec Holy Light is a huge bonus!

Holy Shock – as a heal it’s highly mana ineffecient, but it’s our only insta-cast heal aside from Lay on Hands. Use for tough situations needing a slight boost. Mostly for use as a damage spell while soloing.

Infusion of Light – This one isn’t really an absolute must since you probably won’t be using Holy Shock as a heal much, but it is a spell cast time reducer which is nice and you need points to get higher.

Holy Guidance – self-explanatory

Divine Illumination – use to help control mana. With a 3 min cooldown, don’t forget to use early on during boss fights and then again later so you can use at least twice.

Enlightened Judgments – I’ll go into this more in a follow up post, but suffice it to say that Judgment of Light can help with minor constant heals and even Judgment of Wisdom can help your DPS casters.  Over time it adds up.

Judgements of the Pure – used in conjunction with Enlightened Judgments you can still stand at the back, judge, and then benefit from faster heals.

Beacon of Light – an amazing spell to cast on your main target. Every heal you cast on another within 40 yds of your main target will not only heal them, but heal the Beacon for the same amount. It’s as close to a group heal as we will ever get. Effectively doubles your heals.  It’s essential for any 5-man group since we have no group heals.

My current level 80 build: Ky’s level 80 build

Improved Lay on Hands (1/2) – Had an extra point somewhere.  I don’t use Lay on Hands much so I don’t worry about the additional talent points to improve it.  I may change this to something else in the future.  All depends on how you play.

Improved Concentration Aura (1/3) – Again had an extra point I needed to use.  I’ll probably respec in the near future and put this point in Kings.  Seemed like a good idea at the time though.

Blessing of Kings and Improved Blessing of Kings (2/5) – I think every paladin should have the spell, whether or not they max it in talents.  As such, I put a couple of points in these.

Benediction – It’ll be obvious shortly why I went into the Ret tree.  This is a better choice than Deflection.

Heart of the Crusader – Not really essential for healing, but I needed 3 points somewhere and although I thought about Improved Judgements, I don’t need the decreased cooldown for healing.  This helps for soloing though.

Improved Blessing of Might – Need a total of 5 points on this level to advance to the next and this is really the best choice on this level of the 3.

Conviction – One of the two reasons to get into the Ret tree.  Increased Crit of 5%.

Sanctified Seals – Second reason to get into the Ret tree.  Increased Crit of 3%.  Along with Conviction I’ve just increased my crit by 8%!

Other talents if you want to look at others:

Unyielding Faith – not bad to mitigate Fear effects. Helps in some trash and boss fights. Nothing like being able to resist Nightbane’s fear and still heal people as they run mindlessly through Charred Earth. Generally considered a PvP talent though.

Improved Lay on Hands – not a bad one to have, but hopefully not one you’re using much. Since the change to the spell cost in patch 3.0 this is a better choice than it used to be. A full-blown healer that isn’t concerned with soloing is probably going to have this.

Pure of Heart – reduce duration of Curse and Disease is not a bad choice, but if you have priests and mages doing their jobs, then it shouldn’t be an issue anyway. (I suppose it’s too much to ask that priests and mages read this…cough, cough…)

Purifying Power – I should really take this because I Cleanse all the time, but other talents call to me.

Bottom line, it’s your toon, adapt to how you play, but I really think you should have the bare minimum I listed above.

A Few Words On Illumination

How does Illumination affect your heals? Let’s look at Holy Light first.

  • Say you cast Holy Light for 3000 heals. It crits for 50% more for 4500.
  • We can all agree that the heal results in an extra 50% heals for the same mana cost, right? Wrong!
  • Holy Light costs 840 mana (or did pre-patch – math gets convoluted with the new base mana costs so let’s stick to what I know).
  • Illumination gives back 60% of the mana of the spell’s base cost when it crits. For Holy Light this means 504 mana returned or a resulting cost of 336 mana to cast.
  • Regular heals would result in roughly 3.5 heals per 1 mana (3000 divided by 840).
  • Crit heals would result in roughly 13.4 heals per 1 mana (4500 divided by 336).
  • You didn’t just gain an extra 50% in your heals. You gained almost 4 TIMES THE AMOUNT OF HEALS with Holy Light!!! That’s 13.4 heals vs. 3.5 heals per mana spent!!!
  • This may seem counterintuitive, but think about it. You may have only gained an extra 50% heal, but you gained that 50% at an incredibly reduced cost!
  • If you crit every heal you’d heal for 4 times what you’re normally capable of. This is why spell crit is so absolutely essential to Healadins. It’s one way of conserving mana.

While we’re at it, let’s look at Flash of Light.

  • Flash of Light costs 180 mana (again based on pre-patch 3.0).
  • Let’s say it heals for roughly 1500 and therefore crits for 2250.
  • Illumination returns 60% of the mana for a resulting cost of 72.
  • Regular heal results in 8.3 heals per mana. Crit heal results in 31.25 heals per mana.
  • By the way, you can see how Flash of Light is your most mana effective spell. More Spell Crit equals more bang for your buck. 

Stats and Gear

Intellect – You need mana. The more you have, the better off you are.

Spellpower – Formally known as +Heals, this has been incorporated in with +Spell Damage as of patch 3.0. You’ll need this to boost your heals. All healing gear will have this so it isn’t something special you have to search for.

Spell Crit – AN ABSOLUTE MUST FOR ANY HEALADIN!!! See my comments on Illumination above. Did I mention it’s absolutely necessary?

mp5 – When starting out, at least in BC, spell crit gear was hard to find until later raids or through badge gear. mp5 really is more a bonus than anything. If you have to sacrifice it, it’s not that big a deal. The reason is because most often you’ll never be standing around long enough to ever benefit from Spirit and you’d have to have a ton of mp5 to ever make up for that.  That said, don’t pass it up if you don’t have to sacrifice crit or you’re gaining a lot of mp5 for just a small loss of crit.

Stamina – Never neglect it. Hopefully you’ll never take damage, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

Gems and Enchants

The one thing to remember regarding gems is that you don’t need to match the gem socket colors. Some socket bonuses are complete crap or just not worth what you can get from the actual gems themselves.

Enchants can be tricky as it really depends on what you need. I’ve found that Be Imba! is a real great site for helping me determine which enchants to use. Some day they may actually update their site so we can use it again.

Major Glyphs

I could discuss the pros and cons of each glyph here, but I’m not going to bore you. Rather I will post the glyphs that I recommend and one that I highly recommend you do not take. If you have a question regarding any of the glyphs out there, please post it here and I’ll respond.

Glyph of Holy Light – TAKE THIS!!! There’s no excuse. This makes you a group healer, something we’ve sorely lacked before. Makes healing the melee near the tank that much easier to heal.

Glyph of Seal of Wisdom – This is also a great glyph to have for mana conservation. For endurance fights, you’re going to want this. For shorter fights you’ll want Glyph of Seal of Light. You can take both (like I did), but remember you only have 3 major slots and can only have one Seal up at a time.

Glyph of Seal of Light – This is a great glyph to have just for the added heals. Remember, your Seals stay up for 2 minutes DON’T FORGET to refresh. You do not have to judge to make this work.

Glyph of Divinity – Lay on Hands has been greatly improved and this only makes it better by returning mana to you. It’s really a toss up as to whether you should take it. On the one hand, hopefully you’re in a group where you aren’t using this because it may mean you’re not quite ready for where you are at. On the other hand, it may mean the difference between success and wiping. With a 20 minute cooldown on Lay on Hands it’s debatable as to whether this is a good glyph to take or just an added bonus because you’ll only get one chance per boss fight to ever use it.

Glyph of Flash of Light – OK, I saved this one for last. I do not feel this is a good glyph. I’m still doing research, but most forums, blogs, and sites say it’s not worth it. It’s a small heal for 12 seconds, even if it’s 140% of the full normal Flash of Light and not 140% of the 50% Flash of Light. Say you heal for 2000 normally. Say it’s 140% of that 2000. This means after 12 seconds you’ll have healed an additional 2800. That’s 233 heals per second. That’s really small. It’s only really effective on topping off ranged dps that shouldn’t be taking much damage. But since Pallies are single target / main tank healers…you see where I’m going. And to make matters worse, the HoT doesn’t stack!!! And the scary thing is I still don’t know if the 50% applies all the time or just the first one that activates the timer! If it is all the time, then this is a HUGE NERF. I doubt Blizzard would have done this to us without a stack, but who knows?

Ky recommends: Glyph of Holy Light, Glyph of Seal of Wisdom, and either Glyph of Seal of Light or Glyph of Divinity.

Minor Glyphs

Minor glyphs are generally cosmetic in nature, but there’s still a couple of good ones for healing.

Glyph of Lay on Hands – Take this especially if you take Glyph of Divinity. It’s just more added bonus.
Glyph of the Wise – Since Glyph of Seal of Wisdom is my 2nd recommend major glyph, I highly recommend taking this along with it. During an endurance boss fight, every bit of mana conservation helps.
Glyph of Blessing of Kings – This is a good glyph, but remember mana reduction glyphs for buffs are somewhat pointless. You can always re-mana up before the pull anyway. But considering our other options, this isn’t a bad one.


4 Responses

  1. […] Posts: Pally Healing 101, Pally Healing 102 – Intro to […]

  2. I follow your posts for a long time and must tell that your articles are always valuable to readers.

  3. You have some good stuff on your website and ty for putting the time in however your tallent points are totaly wrong m8 you need to to be deep in the holy tree you do not have beacon of light and this is the most important tallent fro a healer so please check your tallents

  4. @George – this is a really old post. In fact, it’s almost a year old. I actually do have Beacon of Light. I may have logged out as Prot though.

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