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How to Heal as a Holy Paladin in World of Warcraft! (Updated for Mists of pandaria)

Updated on May 10, 2013

*All information in this hub is reflective on healing with the new talents from patch 5.0 while still 85 – Since MoP hasn’t released yet and I didn’t play on the beta, I don’t have information on healing at level 90. Once I hit level 90 on this character I will update this hub accordingly with any changes that have been made. Also remember that the game changes a lot and this information is subject to change. I will keep this as updated as possible as new things are implemented. Thanks!*

So, with the new updates to World of Warcraft with the Mists of Pandaria patch you may be wondering how to play as a healing Paladin and what has changed.

In this guide I will be going over a lot of different things, not only the changes. This guide is suited for people who are just starting healing but veteran healers may find this guide useful if they find the new changes confusing. Keep in mind I may not point out that a certain thing has changed, to keep the simplicity down. I don’t want to confuse any new players by mentioning old tactics that don’t even matter anymore.

Important Note: Please refer to my two previous hubs on healing (link to the right) to get a better understanding on healing in World of Warcraft. The following hub will give you detailed information on the spells, talents and benefits of each specific class. The hubs I just linked are the ones you want to look at for advice on healing in general.

First off, what has changed about the game in general…?

Since the patch on September 28th, World of Warcraft has changed, a lot. LFR has a change in how loot rolls work, new talents have been implemented and many old talents have been switched into being learned automatically by choosing that particular spec. Some spells were taken out and some were added in. Read up on the patch notes on Blizzards website to see a full list of changes to the game.

Displaying Holy Power at level 85. This is 5 total charges.
Displaying Holy Power at level 85. This is 5 total charges.

What spells are available for Paladin?

Please keep in mind that even though I am listing spells, these are not the only spells available. I am just listing the ones that are an important part of healing for a Holy Paladin.

In the following paragraphs I will go into depth on each spell, informing you of what it does and when to use it. If you are already familiar with these spells, scroll down to my next paragraph

Spell Resource: Holy Power

Holy Power is a form of resource for a paladin, much like mana. Some abilities will only be cast if you have enough Holy Power, those spells are listed below. At all levels below level 85, you can have a maximum of 3 Holy Power. Once you hit level 85 you are given 2 additional slots for Holy Power. Even though you can store up a max of 5 Holy Power, you are only ever able to use 3 at a time.

Holy spells that use Holy Power: Word of Glory, Light of Dawn

I have Sacred Shield on myself, and I am casting Light of Dawn.
I have Sacred Shield on myself, and I am casting Light of Dawn.

The Healing Spells

These spells are just as titled; spells that are used to heal players.

Beacon of Light – This is technically a buff, but oh well. Beacon of Light can be cast on one person, typically the tank. When you cast a heal on a player other than the Beacon, the Beacon will receive a percent of the amount healed, depending on the spell.

Divine Light – Is just a single target direct heal. It has a high mana cost and long cast time but also heals for a lot. This is best used when someone needs a lot of healing but isn’t going to take a lot of damage in the next few seconds.

Flash of Light – Single target direct heal. It has a high mana cost and short cast time, heals for a good chunk of health. Because this has a high mana cost, you want to only use this in emergency situations.

Holy Light - Single target direct heal. It has a low mana cost and heals for a moderate amount. This is the main spell you should be using when healing a single person. If you find yourself in the need to heal someone very quickly, you might want to use something quicker like Flash of Light, Holy Shock, or World of Glory.

Holy Radiance – Heals a target for a certain amount, and all allies within 10 yards for 50% of that amount. This grants a charge of Holy Power.

Holy Shock – Is an instant cast spell with a low mana cost. It can do damage to enemies or healing to party members. You want to keep this on Cool down, because it also grants a charge of Holy Power.

Light of Dawn - Costs Holy Power to cast, the more Holy Power you use, the stronger the spell will be. Light of Dawn heals everyone in a 40 yard radius and is an instant cast.

Lay on Hands (Cooldown)- Instantly heals the target for 100% of your total health.

Sacred Shield (Talent)- This is a talent spell, but since it’s the only one in that tier that I considered taking, I’m explaining it here. Sacred shield is an instant cast, NO mana cost spell. It has a 6 second cooldown, but the shield lasts for close to 30 seconds. While Sacred Shield is active, the target will have a buff that absorbs a certain amount of damage that refreshes every ~5 seconds.

Word of Glory- Is an instant cast spell that heals the target. The more holy power that is used, the more the spell will heal for.

You can't see it very well because my computer sucks and can't have high graphics. But here I am casting Blessing of Kings.
You can't see it very well because my computer sucks and can't have high graphics. But here I am casting Blessing of Kings.

Buffs

Buffs are spells that are used to increase a stat to a player to improve their performance.

Blessing of Kings: Increasing the strength, agility, stamina, and intellect of everyone in your raid group by 5% for 1 hour.

Blessing of Might: This spell increases the Mastery rating of everyone in your party by a certain amount.

Cool-downs

These are spells that have a cool-down, where you have to wait a certain amount of time to be able to cast it again.

Lay on Hands: This spell has a cooldown of 10 minutes but I explain what the spell itself does up in the healing section.

Avenging Wrath: Has a 3 minute cooldown. This spell increases all healing and damage done by you by 20% for 20 seconds. This is best used when the group is about to take a significant amount of damage.

Guardian of Ancient Kings: This spell has a 5 minute cooldown and lasts for 30 seconds. When the Guardian is active, he will heal the person you healed, and everyone around that player for 10% of the amount healed. On top of that, every single time you heal he increases your spell haste by 10%. This is a great spell for AoE healing.

Divine Favor: This has a 3 minute cooldown and lasts for 20 seconds. This spell increases your casting speed by 20% and your spell critical chance by 20%. This is also great for when you need to get a lot of heals out quickly.

Devotion Aura: Has a 3 minutes cooldown and lasts for 6 seconds. This spell causes all raid members within 40 yards to be immune to silence and interrupt effects, as well as reducing all magic damage taken by 20%. This spell is best used to prepare for a large amount of magic damage being done to the group.

I typically like to use my cool downs all together for emergency situations. Or if I have the fight planned out ahead of time, I may choose 1 or 2 spells to use during a specific phase of an encounter, and save the others for a separate phase.

Mana Regeneration spells

Spells that help you regenerate mana when cast. If you find yourself getting low on mana, then you should use these spells.

Divine Plea: Instant cast. You gain 12% of your total mana over 9 seconds but your healing is decreased by 50% during this time.

If you glyph it: You instantly gain 12% of your total mana and your healing is not reduced. However, you must spend 4-5 seconds casting the spell.

I’m having mana issues! Help, what do I do?! First off, are you using the above spells correctly? You should find a way to rotate the mana regeneration spells properly during boss fights. If a certain healing spell returns exactly 10% of your mana back, then consider using that spell when you are at about 80-85% mana, that way since you used it early enough you may have it back in time to use it again before the fight is over.

If you still find yourself running out of mana then perhaps it’s time to evaluate yourself. Take a look at your gear; is there spirit on every single piece of gear? If not, then go to your reforger in your main city and change your stats so that spirit is on all pieces of gear. If you are unsure of where the reforger is, ask a guard!

You are using your mana regen spells properly, and you’ve reforged your gear, yet you are still having mana issues? It might be your gear, run lower difficulty dungeons until you get better gear, and then try the harder ones. However, you also might be using your healing spells wrong. You have to take into consideration that just because a spell heals for a lot, doesn’t mean that you should spam that spell. Try using only your low mana cost healing spells when your party members are not in danger and the high cost healing spells when your party is in danger of dying.

Damaging spells

Even though you are a healer, you can still do damage. And in some cases, doing damage can be an important part of healing. For Mists of Pandaria, blizzard decided to give some healing specs a fair advantage with some dps spells.

Denounce- has a 1 to 2 second cast time and has a low mana cost. It deals a pretty decent amount of damage.

Utility Spells:

My definition of utility spells is basically just spells that can’t be classified by any of my other categories, but still provides a helpful bonus to your gameplay.

Resurrection: Brings a player back to life.

Cleanse: Removes all poison, disease, and magic de-buffs from a player.

Turn Evil: Causes an undead or demon target to flee in fear for up to 40 seconds.

Seals

You should only use Seal of Insight when healing. Seal of Insight increases your casting speed by 10%, improves your healing spells by 5% and gives melee attacks a chance to give you 4% of your base mana and heal you for a small amount.

This is Hand of Protection.
This is Hand of Protection.

Hands

Hand of Freedom: Removes all movement impairing effects from a target.

Hand of Protection: Protects the target from all melee attacks, but during that time they cannot attack or use melee abilities.

You can still cast with it, so it’s fine to use on a healer.

Hand of Sacrifice: The paladin places the Hand of Sacrifice on a player and shares the damage dealt to them with the paladin.

Hand of Salvation: Reduces the threat of a target by 2% every 1 second for 10 seconds. Great for when a certain player needs to lose aggro.

Talents…

With the changes to talents in 5.0, there almost isn’t a right or wrong way to go with choosing which talents to go with. In this hub I will go over the talents and explain what they do along with which ones I personally think are the best of that tier.

You now are allowed to select one from 3 spells each talent tier and a new tier becomes available every 5 levels, starting at level 15.

Note: The spells with a “+” In front of it are the spells that I chose, and the ones that I would recommend, but are not the ones that you should feel obligated to take. If you disagree with my preferences, by all means choose the talent you wish.

Level 15:

Speed of Light: Increases your movement speed by 70% for 8 seconds. 45 second cooldown.

Long arm of the law: A successful judgment will increase your movement speed by 45% for 3 seconds.

+Pursuit of Justice: Increases your movement speed by 15% at all times. For each charge of holy power, you gain an additional 5% up to 3 charges.

I picked pursuit of Justice because not only does it give you a 15% increased movement speed at ALL times, you get an additional 5% per charge of Holy Power. Since Holy Paladins can just cast the instant cast spell “Holy Shock” we can keep those extra charges up at all times. Now the others would be nice for short distances, but for a long run pursuit of justice comes out ahead. However you can choose what you wish.

Level 30:

Fist of Justice: Stuns the target for 6 seconds. Replaces Hammer of Justice. 30 second cooldown.

+Repentance: Stuns an enemy for up to 30 seconds. 1 second cast time. 15 second cooldown.

Burden of Guilt: judgment hits reduce the targets movement speed.

I chose Repentance for Holy because it can be cast in combat and to me, it just makes the most sense. Fist of Justice would be good for PvP, as would burden of guilt. However, repent provides extra crowd control.

Level 45:

Selfless Healer: Your judgments reduce the cast time and mana cost of your next flash heal, stacks up the 3 times.

Eternal Flame: This is pretty much a dot and acts just like word of glory as far as using holy power goes. It replaces Word of Glory.

+Sacred Shield: Sacred shield is an instant cast, NO mana cost spell. It has a 6 second cooldown, but the shield lasts for close to 30 seconds. While Sacred Shield is active, the target will have a buff that absorbs a certain amount of damage that refreshes every ~5 seconds.

I picked Sacred Shield for Holy because it is just awesome. It absorbs quite a bit, and while that damage might be absorbed fairly quickly, it refreshes itself almost just as quick.

Level 60:

Hand of Purity: Reduces the damage taken from Damage over time effects by 70% for 6 seconds.

Unbreakable Spirit: Your abilities that use Holy Power will help reduce the cooldown left on Divine Shield, Lay on Hands, and divine protection by a little bit each time, up to a maximum of 50%.

Clemency: Can use Hand of Freedom, Protection, Sacrifice, and salvation twice before incurring their cooldown.

I have an internal argument with myself on these talents and I can’t see to make a solid decision between unbreakable spirit and clemency.

Level 75:

Holy Avenger: Abilities that generate Holy Power will deal 30% additional damage and healing and generate 3 charges of Holy Power for the next 18 seconds. 2 minute cooldown

Sanctified Wrath: Passive: avenging wrath lasts 50% longer. For holy: Reduces the cooldown of Holy Shock.

+Divine Purpose: Abilities that cost Holy Power have a 25% chance to cause the divine purpse effect. Divine purpose: Your next Holy Power ability will consume no holy power and will cast as if 3 holy power were consumed.

I chose Divine Purpose because right now it is very OP. It procs a lot and can even proc off of itself, meaning I can get 3 or 4 divine purposes in a row, just from casting heals from divine purpose. I have a feeling that might get nerfed soon though.

Level 90:

Holy Prism: 20 second cooldown. It sends a beam of light toward a target, turning them into a prism for Holy energy. If an enemy is the prism, they take holy damage and radiate healing to 5 nearby allies.

If an ally is in the prism, they are healed and radiate holy damage to 5 nearby enemies.

Light’s Hammer: Hurl a Light-infused hammer into the ground, where it will blast a 10 yard area with Arcing Light for 16 seconds. Arcing Light deals holy damage to enemies and heals allies every 2 seconds. 1 minute cooldown.

Execution Sentence: A hammer slowly falls from the sky, causing Holy damage over 10 seconds.

If used on friendly targets, the falling hammer heals the target over 10 seconds. 1 minute cooldown.

Since I’m not level 90 I can’t test these spells. I’m really not sure about which one I would choose. I’ll just have to play around with them once we can reach level 90.

Add-ons:

Add-ons can be a very useful tool in healing. Some people perform better with add-ons and some people do just fine without them. Some examples of healing add-ons are Healbot, Vuhdo, Healium, Grid and Clique.

If you are interested in using Add-ons or Keybindings, please refer to my hub on healing in general here: http://missa72542.hubpages.com/hub/Healing-in-WoW

Scroll down until you see the part where I begin to talk about Add-ons and keybinds. I may create a hub in the future going more in depth on add-ons, but this is all I have for now. Sorry.

Please excuse my transmog... I haven't gotten around to getting my final pieces so some things stick out lol.
Please excuse my transmog... I haven't gotten around to getting my final pieces so some things stick out lol.

Gearing…

Gearing is a very important thing in World of Warcraft. Without appropriate gear you won’t perform very well at all in dungeons or raids. So, if you are a new player you might be wondering exactly how you should gear.

Intellect increases your spell power (It no longer increases your mana pool though). The more intellect you have, the more your spells will heal for.

Spirit increases your mana regeneration while in combat. The more spirit you have, the less mana issues you will have.

Haste affects the amount of time it takes you to cast a spell. The more haste you have, the quicker you can cast.

Critical strike chance increases your chance to critically strike with a spell. The higher your crit, the higher chance you’ll have to crit.

Mastery affects every single class and spec differently. Some Mastery stats aren’t very good, so a player may or may not choose to have mastery on their gear.

The current stat priority for a Holy Paladin:

Remember this can change once Mists releases and we hit level 90. However, for the moment…

Intellect > Spirit > Mastery > Haste > Crit

I actually don’t like the Mastery stat for Holy Paladins(NOTE: At level 85, I have no idea how it scales at 90, I might like it more at that point) but this is what some guides are saying to gear for. Personally if I’m going to prioritize Spirit that high, I want absorption shields to be a little lower on the priority list. I would personally switch mastery and Haste. However… like I said: at level 90 mastery could be completely over powered, who knows.

Hope you enjoyed this guide! If you have any questions or concerns feel free to comment. Also, if I missed something, or got something wrong… please do not hesitate to let me know. I will fix it if I did in fact get it wrong.

What is your favorite spec for a Paladin?

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