An overview of other healers: Paladins
[edits have been inserted to correct and supplement. Thanks to the commenters - both on blog and off - who let me know. Italics are used to mark the changes.]
The next in my continuing discussion of other healers is here (yay). Again, it’s only an overview. And again, if you’re a paladin player feel free to correct and append. Remember the orientation of this article is to let the healerpriest know the basics of what else heals and how they overlap, supplement and complement. It’s my contention that the Priest is the most flexible of healers, so knowing where the holes are makes distribution of tasks much easier.
Paladins – or derogatorily Healadins – have one great advantage over we priests. They’re wearing better armor — LOTS better armor. The obvious use for this is letting THEM take the burden when the healing pulls aggro. Unfortunately, the Paladin’s heals aren’t optimized to get aggro.
The Pally has four healing spells. One is self-applied and takes all remaining mana (though it restores the pally to full health). Obviously it’s not really part of our consideration. After that in increasing effectiveness are: Holy Shock (think single-target holy nova); Flash of Light (1/3 as strong as Flash Heal, about the same H/Mana and casting speed); and Holy Light (think Greater Heal, same H/M, a tiny bit faster, about 2/3 the healing). There are no AoE heals of any sort (though we’ll get to auras and seals and such in a moment).
Notice how this forces the play of our paladin healer. Each heal is less than ours though mana-wise it’s about as efficient. Thus the pally has to spend as much mana as we do to get the same heals, but for total effect the pally needs longer. Which means there’s no time for the Dance of Five Seconds — which is why the perception (reality) that the paladin “just” spams Holy light till the battle’s done or they’re OOM, whichever comes first. The bad news? Since we can do more faster, and we can do HoTs and AoE Heals, we can generate a LOT more threat from healing than the pally. If you’re planning on having the pally eat the aggro-pulls, they have to take main heal, and you have to actually under-heal (a lot).
Now, the paladin has some extras to bring to the party. Auras, Blessings, Seals and Judgments all can be present, and some of each can have an impact on both the pally’s healing and the party.
First, Auras. Let me begin by noting these are AoE, fire and forgets. Any party member within 30 yards gets the benefit (with some situational modifiers – outside the realm of introduction.) While there are some resistance auras that are useful at the appropriate time, there are really only two generally useful auras for the heal priest. Those are Devotion and Concentration. Respectively, they increase armor and they reduce the chance of spell interrupts. One paladin, one aura, so you’re going to have to argue with the melee and damage types about which to get. Oh – in the event you have more than one paladin, remember auras don’t stack.
Second, Blessings. These are applied to each party member. The bad news? They are short-lived (though they’re getting extended in the upcoming patch, it’s not going to be a huge amount of time). And the good ones require reagents. Yes, symbol of kings is “only” 1.5 silver apiece. Times five every 15 minutes for a two hour instance is “only” 60 silver. A pittance compared to armor repair. And yet a galling pain when players keep changing their minds about the blessing they want. As to what you the healer may want, there are really only four to consider: Kings, Salvation, Sanctuary and Wisdom.
Kings is simple — 10% increase to all your stats. It’s a hard one to pass up, but take a moment to consider the others. Salvation reduces threat by up to 30% – and yes that stacks with other threat-reducers. Sanctuary reduces damage – essentially armor with a fixed instead of proportional reduction. And Wisdom is a mana regeneration blessing, with the highest rank returning 41 mana per 5 seconds.
Since the blessings need regular renewal, don’t be afraid to talk to your paladin about changing the blessing in the later part of the instance for something more appropriate. But unless you’re willing to supplement the cost of mana and reagents, don’t switch every couple of minutes.
Thirdly, the paladin has seals. These are always applied against foes. [As Jeremy points out, they're actually applied to the paladin, but have an effect on the foe. Technically different.] Most enhance the paladin’s damage, though one stops mobs from fleeing. Oh, and one gives mana back to the paladin. As a heal priest these are interesting to see but have no real impact on our healing ability – other than knowing the paladin may have a larger functional mana pool than we initially thought.
Finally, judgments are also only applied against foes. As healers the only one that interests us directly is Judgment of Light. When this is active, some hits (from any player) will heal the player that hit the mob. (Popping this the instant the warrior starts a whirlwind or other flurry attack can be a good thing.) It allows the healadin to get a few more heals in over time – and it’s the closest they’ve got to an AoE heal. It is not, however, much healing at all, and overall you’re rarely going to see it applied. [Bauer and Lightwraith both point out to me that Judgement of Wisdom is good for casters in that it returns mana as Light returns health, except it procs on melee and spell attacks. "Chance of", not always, but still... ]
In conclusion, a summary. The Paladin can help you with auras and blessings that will slightly enhance your healing ability. After that, though, they are a small but steady firehose of heals, unable to drop a big enough single heal to take a breather, but able to keep up the healing for a long, long time. And finally, they’re able to take the hits if and when things go bad.
[As always when I write these overviews, commenters add and correct - which I appreciate greatly. PLEASE read the comments for more information.]