Patch 3.0: The (Holy) Talents

I’ve already covered new and changed spells and glyphs and gear stats. It’s past time to take a look at new holy-relevant talents.

There are some minor changes around the tree – some talents have been modified, some have been moved around – but the big changes are the ones worth noting.

New Talents

Improved Concentration Aura
Tier: 4
Number of Points: 3
Effect: Increases the effect of your Concentration Aura by an additional 15% and reduces the duration of any Silence or Interrupt effect used against an affected group member by 30%. The duration reduction does not stack with any other effects.

Finally this talent is in a sensible location, instead of its old spot in the Protection tree, so it’s now likely to feature strongly in many Holy builds.

Blessed Hands
Tier: 4
Number of Points: 2
Effect: Reduces the mana cost and increases the resistance to Dispel effects of all Hand spells by 30%.

This is really a PvP talent, unless we see PvE fights with mobs dispelling us. Offensive dispelling was a real vulnerability for paladins in recent Arena seasons; if the same is true at level 80, this will be useful.

Infusion of Light
Tier: 8
Number of Points: 2
Effect: Your Holy Shock critical hits reduce the cast time of your next Holy Light spell by 1 secs.

This is a useful new Paladin talent which will become great once it’s patched to apply to Flash of Light as well (making FoL instant). A must-have, in my opinion.

Some paladins feel that, in its current form, IoL doesn’t synergise terribly well with Light’s Grace. Neither of these talents reduce the GCD, so they don’t stack.

However, if you expect to be using a lot of Holy Lights, it can be handy to use Divine Favor to force a Holy Shock crit, which procs Infusion of Light and gives you a 1.5 second Holy Light as a followup. This then procs Light’s Grace, meaning your next Holy Light (and any more while LG is up) takes 2 seconds. This is a good response to damage spikes; in the space of 5 seconds, you can squeeze out a crit Holy Shock and two Holy Lights, which is a decent amount of burst healing.

Edit: The change to affect Flash of Light as well as Holy Light will happen in 3.0.3.

Sacred Cleansing
Tier: 9
Number of Points: 3
Effect: Your Cleanse spell has a 30% chance to increase the target’s resistance to Disease, Magic and Poison by 30% for 10 sec.

This is kind of terrible, really. It may be of use in PvP or in cleanse-heavy PvE fights, but it’s so very RNG (random number generator) dependent: it’s a 30% chance to add 30% resistance. For 10 measly seconds. Sure, it may be of use on occasion, but you could spend those 3 talent points to far better effect elsewhere.

Enlightened Judgements
Tier: 9
Number of Points: 2
Effect: Increases the range of your Judgement spells by 20 yards and increases your chance to hit by 4%.

I’m kind of ‘meh’ about this talent. If you’re going to go as far as Beacon of Light it’s probably worth putting points into this, for the sake of the increased range – it’ll make judgements useful for pulling when soloing, for instance, or when tanking in Holy spec – but for raid content, I’m still not sure how much chance we’ll get to judge. Overall, I’d say take it for now if you’re going for Beacon, but keep an eye on how much you’re Judging and be ready to respec if these are wasted points.

Edit: as of Patch 3.0.3 it’ll increase the range by 30 yards, which means you’ll be able to judge from max healing range (well, maybe a bit further in, depending on positioning, but near enough). Good change, and makes Judging a lot more viable.

Judgements of the Pure
Tier: 10
Number of Points: 5
Effect: Your Judgement spells increase your casting and melee haste by 10% for 1 min.

This is a pretty unpopular talent, which is partly a holdover from its original incarnation (where it only granted haste for 30 seconds – after subtracting the GCD used by the Judgement, it only barely gave one extra Holy Light per 30 seconds). It’s improved now, but it’s still widely considered to be ‘not worth the talent points’. I’m reserving judgement until I see some solid theorycrafting on it or until it’s changed.

Edit: In 3.0.3 this increases to 15%, which may push it over the borderline of being worth taking, for those who were previously wavering on the issue.

Beacon of Light
Tier: 11
Number of Points: 3
Mana Cost: 35% of base mana (929 mana at 70)
Range: 40 yards
Cast Time: Instant
Effect: The target becomes a Beacon of Light to all targets within a 40 yard radius. Any heals you cast on those targets will also heal the Beacon for 100% of the amount healed. Only one target can be the Beacon of Light at a time. Lasts 1 min.

This is the ‘banner’ paladin ability for Wrath of the Lich King, and it’s an… interesting one. Situationally, it’s extremely powerful, but it has the following limitations:

  • if you Beacon yourself, the heals it gives you count as self-heals, so you won’t get mana back via Spiritual Attunement
  • overheals on other targets don’t give healing back to the Beacon target
  • the HoT component of Glyph of Flash of Light and the AoE component of Glyph of Holy Light don’t give healing back to the Beacon target

So, it’s great in situations where you have two or more people who need a lot of healing – a MT/OT scenario, or something with a lot of splash damage. However, it still doesn’t enable you to heal more than two people at once, so it’s not an AoE solution, and in fights where there’s only one person taking a lot of damage it’s basically useless.

Also note that it’s costly on mana and, for you PvP junkies, it can be dispelled. Use with caution, or the other team won’t even need to mana drain you. That said, it can be useful in PvP if you’re facing teams without a dispel; throw Beacon on yourself and heal your teammates, and you’ll stay up unless you’re getting heavily focused.

Talent Spec Choices

There are a lot of options for talent specs, given that both deep Prot and deep Ret have some talents that look very appealing for a healer/tank or healer/dps hybrid (Touched by the Light and Sheathe of Light respectively). However, looking at Holy-centric builds, I’ve picked out the following as good basic builds:

Option 1: 43/0/18 – Infusion of Light & +Crit

This build features Infusion of Light and Divine Illumination on the Holy side, while spending 18 points in Retribution for the +8% to crit. This is particularly useful if you’re throwing around a lot of Holy Lights, and I’d recommend using the Glyph of Holy Light.

Option 2: 51/5/5 – Beacon of Light, Kings, Benediction

This build goes all the way down to Beacon of Light in the Holy tree, although it skips Judgements of the Pure, spending the points instead on Aura Mastery, Improved Blessing of Wisdom, a second point into Improved Lay on Hands, and one last spare point which I parked in Blessed Life (on the grounds that more survivability is never a bad thing).

The other ten points go 5 into Ret for Benediction (for cheaper Holy Shock, Seals and Judgements), and 5 into Prot for Kings (on the grounds that Kings is always useful, and no-one else wants to spend the points on it, and there’s nothing else you can get with your points that would be better).

Option 1: 37/0/34 – Infusion of Light, +Crit & Judgements of the Wise

This build is a very versatile, supporting build. It gives the paladin the fast-casting of Infusion of Light, and then swaps to Retribution for the +8% Crit. It goes far enough into Ret to get Judgements of the Wise, for insane mana regeneration (about 1400 per Judgement, at 80) and the Replenishment buff for the raid as a whole.

Note that the Retribution half of this build can be varied a lot, depending on what you’re doing. The build I’ve shown here includes Improved Blessing of Might, Divine Purpose, Sanctified Retribution and Improved Retribution Aura for raid support, along with Pursuit of Justice for mobility and Repentance for a CC option; however, you could easily swap in Two-Handed Specialization, Seal of Command and Vengeance if you wanted a fairly well-balanced DPS/healing hybrid.

Option 2: 51/0/18 – Beacon of Light & +Crit

This is basically the level 70 Beacon of Light build, at least as far as the Holy tree goes. The remaining 20 points are mostly funneled towards Retribution for the Tier 3 and Tier 4 talents that give +Crit raiting. This build leaves 2 points spare for you to spend as you will; personally I’d put them into Pursuit of Justice for the mobility advantage.

These are some of the things I took into consideration while looking at these builds:

  • These are all intended to be talent builds centred around healing in end game co-op play (so, instancing, raiding or PvP).
  • Intellect is a newly-valuable attribute in Wrath; as well as its existing benefits, it now directly affects our regen as well.
  • Although I didn’t put any points into it in these builds, Improved Blessing of Wisdom isn’t a bad talent. At level 70 it’s worth 8 mp5; at level 80 it’s worth 18. That’s not a fantastic benefit for two talent points, compared with alternative uses for those points.
  • There are potential synergies with a Holy/Prot combo, but I haven’t looked at them in depth yet. If people are interested, I’ll definitely take a look, though.
  • One build I suggested above winds up with a ‘conflict’, having both Improved Concentration Aura and Improved Retribution Aura/Sanctified Retribution. However, these two auras rarely need to be on at the same time; when it’s a DPS race, put on Ret aura for the DPS boost from Sanctified Retribution, or when it’s a healing strain, put on Concentration Aura to minimise interruptions.

My Choice
I’ve been umming and ahhing about my build choices for a while, but at the moment I’m leaning towards a 51/0/18 build for level 80 instancing and raiding, at least to begin with – and I’ll probably put those last two points into Pursuit of Justice, because I love it so.

Edit: After the announcements for patch 3.0.3, here’s what I’m looking at as a build: 51/0/20. That last floating point in Holy could go into 1/2 Imp Blessing of Wisdom, 1/2 Imp Lay on Hands, 1/3 Blessed Life, or 1/1 Aura Mastery – I haven’t decided yet.

Your Choice?
I am but one paladin among many. I’d be interested to hear what you all think about the new talents, and the talent specs you’ve chosen…

14 thoughts on “Patch 3.0: The (Holy) Talents”

  1. Thanks for these writeups. The posted builds look like they would do well in PVE (and PVP?) situations. However with the currently underpowered IOL/SC/BOL and simple 8% crit, it appears that we’re not given very strong buffs via new utility abilities. This is unfortunate, I think.

    Have you tried a 70:44/17/0 (IOL, DI, BH/Stoicism, DG) spec yet? Although you lose BOL or 8% crit, the utilities of hand dispel resist and damage reduction (Imp RF, Hand of Sacrifice/DG combo) look very tempting for a PVP cleric build.

    You’re losing the PVE utility of BOL and the regen of JOTW, but you could be a sturdier supporting character. What do you think?

  2. I tend to agree with you on the 51/0/18+ build. Right now I don’t have Bacon, opting instead for the Ret talents for the added crit. I skipped JotPure — I feel that with 6 sec Holy Shocks and a crit rate of over 30% that the Spell haste isn’t necessary at this point. Re: Infusion of Light — remember that if you have Light’s Grace up when this procs, you can get that Holy Light off in 1 second. It’s quite nice!

    I did go for the Improved Might over Imp. judgements, on the rationale that some of our spells (and Ret aura) will benefit from the increased attack power. It’s been tough to say farewell to Kings, but there’s just no room for it now.

  3. Interesting post, Siha! I took a slightly different approach for my Holy build.

    Bacon-hearted Crusader

    Key Differences from L70 Opt.2
    Improved Lay on Hands – Pass
    I have still yet to work this spell into my rotation, even though it’s no longer a killer mana sink (and actually gives mana BACK now!). I didn’t have this talent before 3.0 landed, either. I’m not really much of a raider, though, so if I find some content that leaves me finding LoH lacking, I’m certainly not opposed to talenting into it.

    Blessed Life – Pass
    I’ve never really been a fan of this talent. While not a bad thing, it’s negligible enough to be a wasted point.

    Judgments of the Pure – 5/5
    This talent is unpopular? That really surprises me. Since judging is now an integral part of our healing strategy and overall group utility, you might as well get some added benefit from it in the mean time. Spell haste is immediately useful for a healer, and the talent synergizes swimmingly with Heart of the Crusader.

    Blessing of Kings – Pass
    I usually run with another paladin who has BoK, so I could take a bye on this one. While it’s better to only have to spend 5 points to get BoK instead of the 11 we used to have to spend, I couldn’t make the 8 points in Ret work with 5 points in Protection and the remainder in Holy. I may pick it up as I level to 80, but I’m undecided on that.

    Heart of the Crusader – 3/3
    3% extra critical strike chance on a judged target in addition to every attack having a chance to heal or regenerate mana is crazy fun. Since many classes have abilities or goodies that activate on critical hits, this seems to be a fair trade for passing up on BoK.

    I’ve found this build lets me be somewhat of a combat healer. If it’s a boss or mob that I can safely stand behind without danger of taking nasty damage, I can keep myself sealed, keep a mob judged, throw down a consecrate every time it’s on cooldown, AND heal the party all at once. The judging ensures that I essentially have unlimited mana, so expensive spells like Bacon and Holy Light aren’t really a problem – that’s two hits to refund the mana if I double up wisdom. On fights like Moroes, Attumen, and Netherspite, this strategy works excellently. Maiden, Shade, and Prince, not quite so much. I have to take a more traditional bent to healing, though I will still keep the boss judged and benefit from the 10% spell haste.

    Kerryk of Doomforge Militia

  4. I think Judgements of the Pure is really underrated for some reason.
    All these calculations where the lost GCD from the Judgement will result in a loss of casted Holy Lights is so far away from reality.
    In real raids, you are going to want to have as much Spell Haste as possible, not because you can put out more Holy Lights in 60 seconds, but because you can react faster to the incoming damage with shorter cast times. There is a reason why Sunwell Healadins stacked Spell Haste Gems and Gear.
    Also, your raid will need you to keep those Judgements up on the boss, because your (maybe present) Retribution Paladin will not refresh your Judgements anymore. So you actally have to take care of that on your own.
    Thats the two reasons why Judgements of the Pure and Enlighted Judgements are really strong talents and actually mandatory for any serious raiding Holy Paladin.
    My current Build is 53/0/8 – because we have a second Healadin who will bless Kings, and most of the time dont have a Retadin for the HotC debuff. And if i judge anyway, i can take care of the 3% crit debuff on my own.

  5. I’m with you Mathias, JotP is an amazing talent. Worth every point and then some. I can’t believe anyone would consider skipping it. And where exactly would those points be ‘better’ spent? You are judging all the time anyway, so might as well grab a 10% (15% after WotLK launches) haste buff.
    The only difference in my build to yours Mathias is I didn’t spec for Infusion of Light, will wait and see how useful it is after the expansion when it affects FoL as well.

  6. @Kamzaki – I’d like to see a link to the build you suggest, but off the top of my head that sounds pretty viable. Certainly worth experimenting with!
    @Christopher – I don’t think LoH is something you can work into a rotation anyway, as it’s on a 20 minute cooldown. That’s a very long rotation! The reason I put the point(s) into it is not for use as an emergency ‘oh crap’ button, but so that you can use it proactively to give the tank the armor buff against bosses where they need all the armor they can get. That said, your build looks good for the circumstances you detail; you’ve obviously built it to synergise with the other pallies you play with.
    @Matthias – the point is, we still don’t really know how we’re going to play at 80 in challenging content, and if we’re spam machines at 80 the way we are at 70, the improved ‘reaction speed’ of haste is much less important than the overall number of spells we’re getting out in a 60 second period – and if that’s true, then the duration of JotP vs the duration of judgements is important. Now that Judging takes a GCD, it may be problematic in frantic fights to take time off healing to judge.
    @aaron – well, we don’t know if we’ll be able to judge all the time. They wanted us to judge all the time in TBC, too, and most fights still didn’t permit that (although WotLK is looking a lot more viable in that regard). But if you ask where points could be ‘better spent’ than in JotP, well, in the build I suggested I put them into Aura Mastery, Imp BoW, Imp LoH, and a floating spare point into 1/3 Blessed Life. JotP costs a hell of a lot for a relatively small boost, and you can do a lot of other things with those five talent points if you don’t want it. However, like I said I’m reserving judgement (har) on JotP until I’ve tried it in raid content and I’ve done some solid theorycrafting on it.

  7. I know this is centered around Holy builds, but does anyone have any suggestions for a Holy/Ret hybrid healing build? I know I have to go far enough into the Ret tree for Sheath, but that is all I am sure about. I know I will be able to dual spec, but I really don’t want to have to tote around two sets of gear if I can avoid it. That is my reasoning anyway in case you were wondering why I would want to do a Holy/Ret build.

  8. I still don’t think Imp LoH is worth anything. At this point, with the appropriate glyphs, LoH’s is merely a mana regen tool for me to use when everything else is on cool down. I can’t think of a fight where we’ve needed the extra armor on anyone. If you’re learning a fight, you don’t want to be relying on a 20 min CD ability to win, either. lol

    My first test of our post-patch abilities came on KJ in SWP. The bottom line is judging every 20 sec and Bacon every 30 sec isn’t hard. You just need to set up your addons to monitor the timers. Also, I did the math on Bacon for that particular fight. (Bacon on OT + raid healing) It’s extremely efficient compared to even Flash when it comes to hp/mana – like twice as much. Also, if you’re doing a “Stand here and don’t move” fight, bacon is awesome because you can still heal your target even if they’re beyond 40 yds. You’re not really doing yourself a favor by skipping it imo.

    Similarialy, SWP is all about haste and if you’re going to judge at all, you need the range extending talent. There is a noticable difference with 10% haste. I watched a healadin without the talent get into some sticky situations and waste a lot of time running up to whack the boss between heals.

  9. @Ryuku

    I think multiple sets are the norm. I would rather be a good healer and a good dps than mediocre at both. Resist sets aren’t going away, either, per the info at BlizzCon.

    I currently carry around a full healing set, prot set, and shadow resist set, plus various arcane resist and mp5 pieces. Luckily I don’t tank for raids or I’d also have a fire resist set.

    It’s pretty much a non-issue, though, because I have a set management addon and have room in my bank to dump stuff if I need room for farming.

  10. Multiple sets are definitely the norm, I have four sets on me at all times: Crit, Haste, MP5, and Grinding. Another three in the bank: Prot, Ret and PvP.

    I think holy/ret could work, but as Valyre said: you would be half and half of each, losing the great talents each has just a little further into the tree, and gimping your performance for both.

    If I was putting together a raid I’d be more inclined to bring a strong healer and a strong dps rather than a 50/50.

  11. @Ryukyu – I agree with the others; if you try and do everything with one set, you’ll be half-assed at everything. Two sets is almost necessary.
    @Valyre – I agree that in some environments, certain talents are going to be advantageous, if not downright necessary. However, the vast majority of raiders didn’t get into Sunwell – didn’t get anywhere near Sunwell – and what works, in terms of a gearing and casting strategy – for Sunwell is not the same as what works for other raid zones, let alone 5-mans. Let’s face it, Sunwell paladins shouldn’t need me to tell them how to spec or gear or play anyway ;)
    I do agree, though, that Beacon is a lot more nifty than people give it credit for, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a permanent staple in my healing spec, unless my guild specifically needs me to go for Replenishment.

  12. The talk about imp LoH has got me thinking though, I’ll respec and use the points somewhere else. Not sure why I put them there in the first place, I guess to fool around with the new ability. I’ve used it twice so far in raids, and once by accident due to different key bindings (oops). But neither of those would have been affected by the 16/20 min cooldown.
    The points could definitely be used better elsewhere.

  13. For me, the value in Imp LoH is not in the improved CD – because as you say, there’s not much difference between 16 minutes and 20 minutes – but in the armor buff. With 2 points that’s a 50% armor bonus for 15 seconds; that’s a significant amount of mitigation against an incoming burst, and can be applied strategically to trigger this effect.
    I agree, though; if you’re just using LoH as an oh shit button, or a mana restore button, and you’re not using (or don’t need to use) the armor buff strategically, then it’s certainly a waste of talent points.

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