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.]

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~ by Kirk on August 20, 2007.

13 Responses to “An overview of other healers: Paladins”

  1. A couple of additions / nitpicks:
    – Threat of pallie heals: Paladins get a native 50% reduction on their healing threat. Somehow odd when you consider that the healer most likely to survive pulling healing aggro is also the least likely to do so
    – Flash of Light provides slightly more HPM than Flash heal (2.64 vs 2.53), the gap is wider with Holy Light (2.76 vs 3.12). Also, Holy Light gets only 71% of +healing bonus vs Greater Heal’s 85.7%
    – Under normal circumstances, a pallie healer will spam Flash of Light above Holy Light as it’s more efficient
    – Pallies have a talent which gives them back 60% of the healing spell’s mana when they crit. This is the main reason why pallies tend to outlast all other healers in terms of mana.
    – When standing at max range with the other healers, the pallie will usually not have the opportunity to neither seal (melee range) nor judge (10yrds range).

  2. How about judgement of wisdom? That affects us much more than judgement of light – when applied to a mob, has a chance to restore mana to the attacker on hit. Wanding a mob to restore mana and keep outside 5sr? Yes please!

  3. Two quick nitpicks –
    1) Lay on Hands is targetable, and heals the target for the pally’s max health + 900 mana, and costs the pally’s remaining mana
    2) Seals are cast on the pally, not on mobs. They are then judged onto the mob for a similar/synergistic effect.

  4. Continuing from what’s been said in other comments:

    – Flash of Light is a low-cost (180 mana), low-heal (approx. 475 base healing) spell. I believe most paladins use this as their primary healing spell, opting to spam this spell instead of Holy Light. (I think the only case you would spam HL is if you downranked it first, unless the fight calls for crazy burst healing.)
    – Holy Light is a much bigger heal, but costs 840 mana. If we use it often enough (at least once every 15 seconds?) it is actually a 2-second heal via Light’s Grace, another talent (instead of 2.5).
    – Lay on Hands is indeed targettable, and heals for the paladin’s health at the cost of all of the paladin’s remaining mana. It also restores mana to the target (where applicable), and can crit.
    – Our gear itemization focuses on spell crit, which is our mana regen/retention stat as opposed to spirit via Illumination, a talent which allows us to regen 60% of the base mana cost of a heal spell when it crits.
    – Improved Blessing of Wisdom will restore 50-ish mana per 5.

  5. Out of curiosity, do you know if spell damage gear modifies seal effect (wisdom/light) positively? Or does it stay static no matter your spell damage?

  6. @ Zerei
    A very talented paladin with whom I work regularly prefers spamming Holy Light, and running the numbers I agree. HL gives ~4 healing per mana spent, while Flash of Light only gives about 2.64 per mana spent. Thus while the Flash is cheaper per cast, in terms of healing per mana (very important for all sustained healing) HL is better. As it happens, her frustration is the small mana pool with which she works. Given a choice between INT and Crit, her bias is for the former. I’ll stay out of that actual discussion, not being a paladin. But she’s the reason I’m comfortable playing shadowpriest — I know she’s as good a healer as I am, and I am (was, when Holy) a very good healer.

    @ Matticus,
    I don’t know, but I hope some of the paladins reading will respond.

  7. I don’t believe so, Matticus, but there is one effect I know of that will: Getting 2 of 5 of the paladin Tier 4 set will increase the healing done by Judgement of Light by 20.

  8. It’s personal preference probably, but in my experience HL is a better emergency heal, most fights don’t require the healing done by HL on a constant basis.

  9. @Kirk: When max rank HL is up to 4 HPM due to + healing, FOL is up to 6HPM. If I’m not off with my numbers, your paladin friend has about 1450 + healing. FoL remains massively more mana efficient at these numbers.

    @Matticus
    Unfortunately, there’s no modifier applied to seal of light or wisdom. It would make grinding much easier (and give Ret pallies a reason to be in a raid, in the MT + melee group) if it did though.

  10. @Gwaendar
    Flash of Light (Rank 7) (level 66) heals base 448-502 for 180 mana.
    (448+502)/2 gives average 475 heals, divided by 180 is 2.6388888…

    Holy Light (Rank 11) (level 70) heals base 2196-2446 for 840 mana.
    (2196+2446)/2=2321; 2321/840=2.7631 (rounded).

    First, my 4+ points was wrong — mea culpa, bad math, I need to remember to show my work. Second, Holy light PRE-TALENTS is slightly more efficient. But not by as much as I had originally thought. Given I’m not a paladin and both you and Zerei are, I’ll assume that by the time talents and such work in FoL is frequently a better choice. Not always – the other paladin(s) I’ve referenced – but certainly a lot more than I thought.

  11. @Kirk
    Yup, we both use the same numbers. I just realized in my first reply I mixed up my writing, was meaning to say that the highest rank Greater Heal gave you more bang for your buck both at their respective base value (HL’s 2.71 compared to GH’s 3.12) AND that GH gets more out of +healing too (+85% instead of +71% for HL). I blame cofee deprivation.

    In short, up to obscenely high +healing bonuses, Flash of Light is the most mana-efficient single-target heal in the game. Greater Heal is conversely immensely superior both in terms of pure healing power and efficiency (but that’s a moot point considering FoL and GH aren’t useable by the same classes).

    And I forgot to factor in max rank Healing Light, so your friend’s paperdoll should show him around 1050 +healing not 1400 :) For what the experience of a pre-heroic pallie is worth (little, I know), spamming max rank FoL would give him 5.52 HPM vs 4.0 HL, and this alone should alleviate some of the impression of having a shallow mana pool.

  12. Gah, edit buttons were created for people like me.
    The above should read:
    “Greater Heal is conversely immensely superior to Holy Light both in terms of pure healing power and efficiency (but that’s a moot point considering FoL and GH aren’t useable by the same classes).”

    I think I’ll stop scribble nonsensical stuff in your comments section now. Sorry.

  13. Hey, if you all tolerate my oopses, the least I can do as a good host is return the favor. Post away…

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