Credits: This FAQ was developed in response to a request from Josh of Eye For An Eye, and was created at the PlusHeal forums with input from the community there. I’m posting a modified version of it here as a number of readers don’t frequent PlusHeal (although you should! it’s great!). The format is based on Josh’s excellent Ret 3.0 FAQ.
Holy FAQ – WotLK – Pre 3.1
- Current as of 27 Mar, WotLK 3.0.9 build 9551.
- This FAQ includes details that will be not be relevant after 3.1 goes live. It will be updated ASAP.
- Many answers are simplistic and don’t go into details about choices in gearing, consumables, et cetera. This is intended to be an all-in-one FAQ; detailed discussions are elsewhere.
0. What do I do?
More than any other healer, paladin healers have a clearly defined role: you excel at healing a single target (or two) for massive amounts. You have no Heal-over-Time spells and no AoE heals, but you can keep a tank up through tremendous spike damage.
Which is not to say you can never heal a 5-man, or raid heal successfully – you certainly can, but it’s not your speciality.
TALENTS & SPELLS
1. How should I spec?
For PvE: 51/0/20 or, if you can’t rely on having Kings from another paladin, 51/5/15.
Some paladins choose to take the two points out of Pursuit of Justice, and put them into the Holy tree, into Conc Aura and/or Aura Mastery for a 53/0/18 build.
For PvP: 51/20/0 is the most common build for pure healing and support, although there are popular Holy/Ret hybrids for PvP as well.
2. What Seal should I use?
Use Seal of Wisdom or Seal of Light, depending on which one you have Glyphed (see Q. 7 below). This is purely to activate your glyph, as you’ll rarely be swinging in melee.
3. What spells should I use?
There are no hard-and-fast rules about what spells to use in what order, as healing is fundamentally a reactive activity and your choice of spells should always be based on the situation.
Flash of Light is a low-throughput spell with very good mana efficiency. Use this for non-urgent raid heals, and topping off the tank if they’re not taking much damage.
Holy Light is a high-throughput spell and is often used as the core heal for tank healing.
Holy Shock is a talent-based spell; it heals for a little more than Flash of Light, but is instant (with a 6s CD). Use this for an urgent heal. A crit Holy Shock gives you the Infusion of Light buff, making your next Flash of Light instant or your next Holy Light very fast and is a good way to put out a lot of healing fast.
Beacon of Light is excellent in situations where a couple of people are taking heavy damage, and can allow you to toss some raid heals while still healing your tank. Keep it on your tank in 5-mans; in raids put it on your heal target (if you’re going to be doing a lot of raid healing as well) or on someone else taking heavy damage. It’s costly on mana, so don’t cast it if it won’t be any use.
Sacred Shield should be used on people who will be taking multiple sources of damage, as it only kicks in after the first damage is taken. It does scale with spellpower, so it can absorb a lot of damage when cast a holy paladin. Try and keep it up at all times on your heal target.
4. What Judgement should I cast?
This depends on the situation:
- If you are the only paladin, use whichever your raid needs. If they’re not short of mana, go with Judgement of Light as a default.
- If there are multiple specs of paladin, have the ret paladins judge Light and the prot paladins judge Wisdom. (If the ret paladins want to judge Wisdom, that’s okay too.) Do not overwrite the prot paladin’s Judgement.
5. What Blessings do I want?
Wisdom > Kings > Sanctuary > Might until you start getting well-geared, then Kings > Wisdom.
See this post by Gryphonheart for details.
GEAR & CONSUMABLES
6. What stats do I want?
There is no easy answer to this question. Gearing as a healer is a balancing act between stats that improve your throughput (Spellpower, Haste, Crit, Intellect) and stats that improve your mana longevity (Intellect, Crit, mp5).
Intellect is the primary stat for a paladin healer because it affects your mana longevity (via mana pool, mana return effects like Divine Plea, Replenishment and Mana Tide Totem, and increasing your crit chance) and it affects your throughput (via Holy Guidance and increasing your crit chance). However, stacking Intellect early in the gearing process means you’ll never run out of mana, but your heals won’t be big enough to keep your tank alive.
As a general rule, go with the following order of priority on stats:
2. Spellpower (which should be #1 on this list until you reach about 1700-1800; after that, focus on Intellect and the Spellpower will come via upgrades anyway)
4. Haste (but don’t go over about 500; much more than that is wasted due to the extra haste from your Judgements)
5. mp5 (far less important than the first four, but not useless)
Bear in mind that unlike priests or druids, you will rarely get any benefit from Spirit. Don’t throw gear away just because it has Spirit, but ignore it completely when assessing an item’s worth.
7. What glyphs should I use?
- Glyph of Holy Light
- Glyph of Seal of Wisdom or Glyph of Seal of Light
- Glyph of Flash of Light or Glyph of Divinity
Minor: none of these are essential; feel free to change them.
- Glyph of Lay on Hands (synergises well with Glyph of Divinity)
- Glyph of Blessing of Kings (if you have Kings; handy for mid-fight rebuffs)
- Glyph of Sense Undead (if you fight Undead much, e.g. Naxxramas)
8. What enchants should I use?
See this post for a full run-down. In brief:
Helm: Arcanum of Burning Mysteries, Revered with Kirin Tor
Shoulders: Greater Inscription of the Storm, Exalted with Sons of Hodir, or Master’s Inscription of the Storm if you’re a Scribe.
Cloak: Greater Speed
Chest: Powerful Stats or Exceptional Mana
Bracers: Superior Spellpower or Fur Lining – Spellpower if you’re a Leatherworker.
Gloves: Exceptional Spellpower
Belt: Eternal Belt Buckle
Legs: Sapphire Spellthread
Ring: Greater Spellpower if you’re an enchanter.
Weapon: Mighty Spellpower
Shield: Greater Intellect
9. What gems should I use?
The best gems for socket colors are:
Red sockets: Runed Scarlet Ruby
Follow your order of priorities from Question 6. If you’re still in the stage of gearing up spellpower, use Runed gems in red sockets, and Luminous or Potent gems in yellow sockets. If you’ve hit your target for spellpower, use Luminous gems in red sockets, and Brilliant gems in yellow sockets.
For blue sockets, the gems are so weak (relatively speaking) that you should think long and hard about whether you really need that socket bonus; there’s nothing wrong with putting an orange gem in a blue socket if the socket bonus is only 2 mp5.
For more details see this post (although bear in mind it’s old and some of the advice could use an update for raiders).
10. Should I stack any melee stats?
- Crit and Haste Rating are equally useful for spells.
- Stamina is always nice; don’t gear for it, but consider it a bonus.
- Hit Rating is useful for making sure you land your Judgement for the haste buff, but shouldn’t be taken over anything more healery.
- Strength, Attack Power and Armor Penetration are useless. Defense, Dodge, Parry, Block Rating and Block Value are nearly as useless.
When it comes to the ‘perfect storm’ of holy paladin stats – Spellpower, Crit, Haste and Intellect – you’ll often find similar stats on elemental shaman mail, and it can make a good stopgap while looking for plate alternatives. Resto shaman mail is decent too, although it often has mp5 instead of crit, making it much less attractive.
11. Does my weapon matter?
Only the caster stats on it. On the rare occasions you melee with it, your ‘white damage’ (the damage caused by the actual DPS of the weapon) is irrelevant.
12. What consumables should I use?
See this post for more options and alternatives.
13. What addons should I use?
This is very much a matter of personal choice, so I can’t give you a canonical list of ‘the best’.
- Raid frames: try Healbot or Grid. (For simpler frames, try PerfectRaid.)
- If you use Grid, you may also want to try Clique for click-casting. (Hold down a modifier key and click directly on a unit frame to cast the assigned spell, instead of having to target and then use a hotkey.)
- Unit frames: X-Perl, ag_UnitFrames and PitBull are all popular.
- For managing Blessing assignments, PallyPower. (ZOMGBuffs is an alternative.)
- Combat Text: Parrot or MikScrollingBattleText
Plus, of course, any normal addons you might want to use like boss mods, threat meters and so on.
14. What macros should I use?
Again, there are no hard-and-fast rules here. Commonly people will talk about two frequently-used macros:
This macro is used where you float your mouse cursor over your raid frames and hit your macro keybind when you’re mousing over the heal target. It’s fast because you don’t have to select a target, and good for healing lots of people at once (eg raid healing) or decursing/cleansing.
#showtooltip Flash of Light
/cast [target=mouseover][help] Flash of Light
Replace with the spell of your choice.
This macro is designed so that if you have a hostile mob targeted (like a boss), you can cast your heal spell and it will land on the hostile mob’s target. It’s great for healing where you need to save whoever the boss is targeting and change targets fast.
#showtooltip Flash of Light
/cast [button:2,target=player][target=target,help][target=targettarget,help][target=none] Flash of Light
In order, this macro:
- Casts FoL on myself if I right click. If I left click or use the keybinding, then:
- Casts FoL on my target if they’re friendly. If they’re not, then:
- Casts FoL on my target’s target if they’re friendly. If not, then:
- Gives me the glowy-hand spell targeting cursor.
Replace with the spell name of your choice.
This is used if your healers don’t use addons with rez monitors, to help cut down time wasted by three people rezzing the same corpse.
/say Upsadaisy, %t!
Change the /say to /raid or /# (where # is your healer channel number) if that suits your raid group better.