Tag Archives: paladin

Holy Glyphs, Batman!

3.0.8 brings two welcome changes to holy paladin glyphs:

  • Glyph of Flash of Light – Your Flash of Light has an additional 5% critical strike chance. (Old – Your Flash of Light heals for 50% less initially, but also heals for 140% of its inital effect over 12 sec.)
  • Glyph of Holy Light – Your Holy Light grants 10% of its heal amount to up to 5 friendly targets within 20 yards of the initial target. (Up from 10 Yards)

Most of the Holy Paladins I know are overjoyed with this change. The Holy Light glyph change is just a straight buff without changing the functionality, and it’s a welcome one. The Flash of Light glyph change turns what was a horrible glyph that no sane pally should ever have taken* into something really strong and useful.

* I could explain in tedious detail why the old (current) Glyph of Flash of Light is so bad, but why rant when it’s being changed anyway?

The only sad thing about this, to my mind, is that now I have to say goodbye to either my Glyph of Divinity or my Glyph of Seal of Wisdom, to make room for the Flash of Light glyph. Onoez, too many choices!

Patch 3.0.8 – What Does It Mean for Paladins?

If you want to read all the details of Patch 3.0.8, check out this very comprehensive post on MMO Champion

These are the official paladin changes:

  • Avenging Wrath: Divine Shield, Divine Protection, and Hand of Protection, and Avenging Wrath cannot be used within 30 seconds of each other anymore. Forbearance removed from Avenging Wrath.

  • Divine Protection: The penalty has been removed.
  • Divine Shield: The penalty has been changed so that all damage done is reduced by 50% in place of an attack speed penalty.
  • Hand of Reckoning(NEW): Available on trainers at level 16. It’s a 30 yard range taunt that causes Holy damage.
  • Judgements of the Pure: This Holy talent now increases the damage done by Seals and Judgements.
  • Judgement of Wisdom: Now returns a percentage of base mana instead of a percentage of max mana.
  • Sacred Duty: Interaction with Divine Shield and Divine Protection removed, but stamina bonus increased.

And there’s also

  • Reduced the spell power on the Titansteel Guardian to bring it in line with its item level.
  • Glyph of Holy Light now affects friendly targets in a larger radius.
  • The following crafted weapons have had their stats adjusted to properly reflect their intended power: [list including the Saronite Spellblade]
  • Avenger’s Shield no longer breaks Repentance, but unfortunately, Seal of Vengeance and Corruption damage will break it again. This will be corrected in a future patch.

Most of this is good news, or at least ‘good enough’. My thoughts on a few of these changes:

The Forbearance/AW change is better than nothing; it means people are going to start using Avenging Wrath again. (See this post for my early-November complaints about AW and how un-useable it currently is.) It’s still a little unfortunate in that using AW still locks you out of bubble – but 30 seconds is a lot easier to survive than 2 or 3 minutes. I still think it’d be much better handled by just making Wings and Bubble mutually exclusive, though. Still, this is a weak buff; if you can be confident you’re not going to take bubble-worthy damage in the next 30 seconds, go ahead and use your wings for bigger healing or damage output.

The change to the Divine Shield damage penalty is basically a good idea, but completely irrelevant to holy paladins since we’re rarely DPSing in endgame settings. It’s not an unreasonable change, since DS is meant to be a defensive ability, and it’s a lot more consistent with the modern state of how DPS paladins actually deal damage.

Hand of Reckoning. Possibly the least inspired name choice ever. (Not to mention that it’s really inconsistent, given that other Hand of… spells are temporary ass-saving buffs.) However, the ability itself is great – old-school paladins might be happy to face-pull if they can’t use Avenger’s Shield, but in the WotLK world of tank homogenisation this ability was probably necessary.

The Judgements of the Pure change is an interesting one. On the up side, I don’t think holy paladins are going to complain about more DPS, given how seal and judgement damage was gutted in Wrath – and for those wavering about the utility of Judgements of the Pure (which I no longer am, incidentally) it might help tip the balance.

“Shockadin” as a holy DPS spec is still basically dead, however, because the Holy DPS spec is almost identical to a standard full Holy healing spec, with the exception of picking up Seals of the Pure. (If I were looking to build a holy DPS spec, I’d probably go with something much like this 51/0/18 +2 build; you still have all the raw oomph of a main healer, and it covers all the DPS-relevant talents in Holy.)

On the other hand, I still feel that paladin DPS has been balanced badly. Our basic DPS is minimal, and requires talents to make it anything other than agonisingly low – either Ret, or (now) Holy. (To be honest, I’ve been told that prot DPS is in reasonable condition too, but I haven’t really looked into it since 3.0.2.)

This means that levelling paladins are boned – until you’re either level 40 (for Holy Shock if Holy), level 50 (for Crusader Strike if Ret), or level 60 (for Hammer of the Righteous if Prot), you have no active damage-dealing abilities apart from Judgements, Consecration, and auto-attacks with a Seal up. Your entire combat relies on one ability on a 10-second cooldown (or 8 with talents), and auto-attacking (with the occasional Consecrate until you run low on mana).

That is not dynamic or fun, and it can also be very hard to play – the total lack of burst output makes it hard to deal with healer mobs, for instance. I would not want to be levelling a sub-level-50 paladin these days.

Pre-Raid Holy Paladin Gear List, v.1

Okay, gear lists are always useful, and as more and more people are starting to hit the 78-80 range, it’s time to think about what you’re going to wear to your first Naxxramas raid. Remember, no-one likes being underdressed!

The following are some suggestions for each item slot; I’ll suggest the best items from various sources, so no matter your playstyle you can take a shot at gearing up. Note that this covers gear that does not involve raiding, arenas or battlegrounds.

As a general rule, I list the best item or items under “best option”, the next-best under “alternatives”, and then the other options below those. I haven’t even looked at lower-armor alternatives; if a decent piece of ‘lesser’ armor pops up, you might want to think long and hard about whether it’s worth wearing. (Even though I disdain the trend towards ‘clothadins’, even I’m wearing epic leather pants at the moment while I wait for a plate drop of comparable quality.)

This is, of course, a work in progress; I’ll update it if new gear appears or the theorycrafting thinktanks come up with new recommendations for gearing strategies. Or, of course, if I make a mistake. (Heaven forfend.)

I’ve tried to make this a comprehensive list, but I may well have missed something in all my staring at Wowhead and LootRank and MaxDPS. Feel free to ping me in the comments if so. (Note that I’ve generally restricted gear to the best few items in each slot; this is a gearing-up post, not a list of all available holy paladin gear.)

A Note On Badges
The level 70 Badges of Justice have been replaced by two types of Level 80 tokens. Emblems of Heroism drop in Heroic 5-mans, and 10-man raids, and can be used to buy iLvl 200 epics (the equivalent of 10-man Naxxramas drops). Emblems of Valor drop in 25-man raids, and can be used to buy iLvl 213 items. In this guide I’ve only referenced items purchasable with Emblems of Heroism, as Emblems of Valor aren’t accessible outside of 25-man raids.

A Note On Regen
This list is aimed at holy-spec paladins; therefore, Crit is valued highly because it’s our primary regen stat (along with Intellect, now). If you’re a protection or retribution paladin building an offspec set, you’ll want to avoid the crit-heavy items because they do nothing to help your mana, and look for mp5 (and, more importantly, Intellect) as a regen stat.

Edit: A Note On Spirit, and Balancing Stats
Yes, I know there are a number of pieces in here with +Spirit on them – usually necks, rings and cloaks. Yes, I know paladins get nothing out of Spirit. In general, those items with +spirit that are listed here are flat-out better than other alternatives, even if you completely ignore the +Spirit (which pallies generally should). That said, stat selection is a personal thing, and if you calculate that other items are more of a benefit for you because you’re stacking a certain stat, or it suits your playstyle, more power to you. (Just be aware that if that certain stat is Spirit, the other holy pallies will laugh you out of the clubhouse.)

Edit 2: Updates
There are a few item changes in Patch 3.0.8 that will affect some of these items (specifically, a helm, a weapon and a trinket). Check out this post for more details.



  • Best option: Ferocious Pauldrons of the Rhino from the second boss (Gortok Palehoof) in Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle.
  • Alternatives: Pauldrons of Destiny from the last boss (Mal’ganis) in Heroic CoT:Stratholme, or Discarded Silver Hand Spaulders from the same boss in Normal mode.
  • Failing any of the above, which are either hard to get (the Ferocious Pauldrons) or inferior (the mp5-laden CoT drops), Pauldrons of Morbidus are a really good slot-filler, with a good balance of stats. They’re from The Flesh Giant Champion, the conclusion of a quest chain in Icecrown. WoWhead is not entirely helpful on that quest chain, so your best bet is just to go to Darkrider Arly and do all the quests she and her paladin companion offer; the chain will lead you to this quest.


  • Best option: Wispcloak: BoE craftable by tailors. This is leagues ahead of the next alternative, and if you only have one epic crafted this should be it.
  • Alternatives: Deathchill Cloak: BoE craftable by tailors, Reanimator’s Cloak: BoE zone drop from Heroic Drak’Tharon Keep, Shroud of Moorabi from the second boss (Moorabi) in Heroic Gundrak, Shroud of Resurrection from the second boss (Gortok) in Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle, Ancient Dragon Spirit Cape from the last boss (Ley-Guardian Eregos) in Heroic Oculus, or Shroud of Dedicated Research from Honored with Kirin Tor. (The epic is significantly better than the blues, but any of them are fine if you can’t afford a Wispcloak. If you have the choice between them, pick one that bolsters stats where you’re weaker.)

Note for the really keen: you can buy the 10-man Tier 7 chest with 80 Emblems of Heroism. However, that’s still raid gear, and you’ll need something to wear while you’re racking up those 80 badges, so I’m not counting it in the list for now.

  • Best option: Patina-Coated Breastplate, BoE zone drop from Halls of Stone or Eregos’ Ornamented Chestguard from the last boss (Ley-Guardian Eregos) in The Oculus. (Although it’s a lower iLevel item, the Chestguard is a stronger item than the BoE Breastplate. However, the BoE is still pretty good, and unless you get lucky on an Oculus run I’d recommend just picking up the BoE on the AH and spending your playtime working towards an item without a BoE alternative.)
  • Alternatives: Brilliant Saronite Breastplate: BoE craftable by Blacksmiths, or Besieging Breastplate from the Aces High! quest in Coldarra. (Honestly, the only reason to take either of these is if Patina-Coated Breastplates cost more than you can afford on your realm. They’re both fairly uninspiring; the BoP is probably a better choice than the BoE, despite its reliance on mp5.)


  • Best option: Bone-Framed Bracers: BoE from Naxxramas, or Bands of Fading Light: BoE from Utgarde Pinnacle. (The epic is, of course, better than the blue – however, it may be hard to acquire for a few months, as most guilds who see them drop will generally keep them for their own healadins.)
  • Alternatives: Catalytic Bands from the third boss (Mage-Lord Urom) in Heroic Oculus, or Bracers of Accorded Courtesy from Revered with the Wyrmrest Accord.

Like the chest, you can buy the 10-man Tier 7 gloves with 60 Emblems of Heroism.




  • Best option: Poignant Sabatons: BoE drop from Noth the Plaguebringer in 25-man Naxxramas, or Sabatons of Erekem from Erekem in Heroic Violet Hold. (The epic boots are incredibly awesome, but they’re probably also going to cost an arm and a leg on most realms, at least for a few months. The blue boots are an excellent replacement; although they have mp5, there’s so much of it it’s hard to hate them for it.)
  • Alternatives: Mojo Frenzy Greaves from the second boss (Moorabi) in Heroic Gundrak, or Brilliant Titansteel Treads: BoE craftable by Blacksmiths. (The epic boots have great stats, but are again let down by the total lack of +int on them; the blue boots are very solid all-rounders and are a fine replacement for either of the recommended boots in ‘Best Options’ above.)
  • Other decent choices include Harpooner’s Striders from the third boss (Skadi) in Utgarde Pinnacle, Skywall Striders from the third boss (Ionar) in Heroic Halls of Lightning); in the meantime, Slippers of the Mojo Dojo are a good starting point.

Lots of choices here, because you need two rings and they’re all Unique-Equipped.

Trinkets are very situational items; rather than relying on ‘best’ and ‘alternatives’, here are some of the choices. I’ll theorycraft out the numbers at some point in the future:

  • Je’Tze’s Bell, BoP world drop (mostly off elite mobs). Apparently should be fixed soon to be BoE, but I haven’t seen a confirmed source on that. An excellent trinket if you’re lucky enough to get one. The proc works out as approximately 25 mp5.
  • Darkmoon Card: Illusion, from the Darkmoon Prisms deck. Although the mana regen is on a 5 minute CD, it’s a welcome addition now potions are limited to one per fight. Across a 5 minute cooldown, it’s an equivalent of 20 mp5 (although it’s relatively more valuable in short fights).
  • Darkmoon Card: Greatness, from the Darkmoon Nobles deck. There’s a +Int version of this card (and a +Spi version as well) although Wowhead only shows the +Agi and +Str versions so far. With Divine Intellect, a +Int version would deliver 103 Int, with 345 Int on a proc (which is a 35% proc chance, probably with a 45 second internal cooldown). That’s a pretty huge boost, and if you synchronise the proc with Divine Plea, that’s a phenomenal amount of mana return. I’d go out on a limb and say this has the potential to be the single best trinket for pally mana (and the extra spell crit from the +Int is a nice bonus, too).
  • The Egg of Mortal Essence, purchasable with 40 Emblems of Heroism. A good, solid, easily-accessible trinket which will last you a good long time. A pure throughput trinket, with little support for mana issues.
  • Forge Ember from Sjonnir in Heroic Halls of Stone. An excellent trinket, doing dual-duty for throughput and regen thanks to the crit and the proc effect.
  • Spark of Life from Sjonnir in Heroic Halls of Stone. Less impressive than Sjonnir’s other trinket drop, this is still decent, particularly if you’re low on +haste.
  • Figurine – Sapphire Owl, BoP crafted by Jewelcrafters. While weak on the throughput side, this has the potential – especially socketed with Int gems – to be an excellent regen trinket. Notably, it provides a hit of mana independent of potions, dark runes, Divine Plea or similar regen cooldowns.
  • Mercurial Alchemist Stone, BoP crafted by Alchemists. A solid trinket, particularly with Wrath’s new limitations on potion use. This makes every potion that much more valuable, and has some nice equip bonuses to boot.
  • Tears of Bitter Anguish, a BoE drop from Nascent Valkyr in the Storm Peaks. A good throughput trinket, especially useful for fights with high mobility needs, although you probably only want to equip something like this in place of a +spellpower trinket once the rest of your gear passes muster. – this is being changed to work on melee crits only in 3.0.8.
  • Soul Preserver, from Mal’ganis in CoT:Stratholme. The equip bonus is nice, but the proc is underwhelming; it’s only a 2% proc chance, which comes into its own with multi-target healers. For paladins, it’s probably not the best choice for the slot unless you’re really lacking in trinkets.
  • Tome of Arcane Phenomena, from Eregos in The Oculus. Another starter trinket, better than the stacks of green quest reward trinkets you’re probably drowning in, but to be replaced as soon as possible.
  • Cannoneer’s Fuselighter from an early Icecrown quest. It’s got a good combination of stats, just not enough of them, but it’s the best of the pre-iLevel 200 trinkets.


  • Best option: War Mace of Unrequited Love: drops from the last boss (Keristrasza) in Heroic Nexus, or Titansteel Guardian: BoE craftable by blacksmiths. (Tough choice here; overall I’d pick the War Mace for a better balance of regen vs spellpower, but either one would be fine.)
  • Alternatives: Gavel of the Brewing Storm from Revered reputation with the Wyrmrest Accord, or Gavel of the Fleshcrafter: drops from the second boss (Salramm) in Heroic CoT:Stratholme.
  • There are other options, of course: the Beguiling Scepter from the last boss (Mal’ganis) in CoT:Stratholme, Jeweled Coronation Sword from the last boss (Ymiron) in Utgarde Pinnacle, or Totemic Purification Rod from Revered with the Kalu’ak; these are all good if you’re still waiting on Wyrmrest rep and can’t get the drops you want.
  • In the Meantime: Saronite Spellblade, BoE craftable by Blacksmiths – a great starter weapon while you wait to get one of the better options listed above.


  • Best option: Protective Barricade of the Light: 35 Emblems of Heroism
  • Alternatives: Facade Shield of Glyphs: drops from the first boss (Krik’thir the Gatewatcher) in Heroic Azjol-Nerub, or Tor’s Crest: drops from the last boss (King Ymiron) in non-Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle. (Personally, I’d take the Crest as I’m finding I strongly prefer crit over mp5 in WotLK.)
  • Tharon’ja’s Aegis from the last boss (The Prophet Tharon’ja) in Drak’tharon Keep is a reasonable stopgap, although inferior to all of the above.
  • In the Meantime: Saronite Protector: BoE craftable by Blacksmiths – a great starter shield which served me until level 80.

Libram choice is very dependent on your healing style; your typical rotation and spell choices are going to dictate what you find more useful, generally.

If you use Holy Light heavily:

If you rely on Flash of Light:

Unfortunately both of these require PvPing, costing both Honor points and Arena points, but there are no other Flash of Light-centric Librams in WotLK.

Link Round-Up

A few links wot I recommend:

Josh of Eye For An Eye has posted an excellent guide to playing Retribution in Wrath – for those of you planning on picking up PvE Ret as your second spec, this is pretty much invaluable, especially if your last experience with Ret was back before Molten Core like mine was.

As a counterpart, Ferraro’s blog Paladin Schmaladin provides a good analysis of talents for Ret paladins; if you’re trying to L2Ret, this is a good summary of the decisions you should be making – and the reasons why.

On a non-Paladin note, I recently stumbled across Artisan Level, a general WoW and Guild Leading blog that I’m really enjoying; great writing and relevant – if fairly non-specific – content. You can find it at oriniwen.wordpress.com.

For the longest time, I thought I hated world PvP, and the idea of a PvP zone in Northrend filled me with ‘meh’. But on a whim I tried a couple of games of Lake Wintergrasp and found I really, really enjoyed it! If you’re interested in checking it out, Mooonfire! has written an excellent guide: “Ten Things I Think You Should Know About Wintergrasp”. It’s definitely worth a read; some Wintergrasp mechanics aren’t at all clear when you first try it out, and a guide like this is a great help.

And one last link useful for anyone who’s likely to be tanking – or off-tanking. Honor of Honor’s Code has written a useful guide to tanking caps in WotLK – uncrittability, the block cap, the hit cap and the Expertise cap. Dedicated tankadins probably know all this, but it’s a handy reference for those of us who are, at best, part-time tanks looking to work on our offspec gearing.

Holy Paladin Gear Enhancements 101

This post grew out of an answer I wrote for someone on the PlusHeal forums; I figured other people might find it useful too.

By the time you hit 80 and do a couple of instances, you’ll likely have upgraded a lot of your gear, if not all of it – only a few pieces of BT and Sunwell gear are better than the iLevel 187-200 blues you’ll find in level 80 instances and heroics and on the rep vendors.

One of the easiest ways to wring some extra oomph out of your gear is to make sure it’s fully enchanted – sure, don’t enchant something you pick up at level 73 that you know will be gone by level 77, but once you start picking up stuff in the endgame you really owe it to yourself – and the people you play with – to maximise your gear. The good news is that right now is a cheap time to get your gear enchanted; crafters and enchanters are often willing to do things for very low fees or even provide some of the materials, because they’re scavenging for skill-ups!

So, without further ado, here are the holy-pally-relevant item enhancements that have been introduced in Wrath, along with a bit of commentary and analysis of the choices.

You’ll note that for some slots there are various degrees of enchants for the same stat. In Wrath, many enchants have a basic version with very reasonable mats, and a top-of-the-line version with absolutely hideous mats. Spellpower to weapon is a good example: +50 Spellpower only requires 10 Infinite Dust and 2 Greater Cosmic Essences; +63 Spellpower requires 40 Infinite Dust, 20 Greater Cosmic Essences and 6 Abyss Crystals. Clearly, you’re best off saving the top-of-the-line enchants for gear that won’t be replaced for a long time, and use the cheaper equivalents on blues and early epics.


Your choice here; I tend to prefer Crit over mp5, so that’s what I’d pick.


Again, your choice here depending on whether you prefer Crit or mp5.


Greater Speed is the obvious winner here. Darkglow Embroidery is a reasonable alternative (according to WoWhead it’s got a 35% proc rate with a 75s internal cooldown) if you’re one of the rare paladins who took tailoring. (Damn clothadins!) If you’re having a problem with aggro on specific fights, just get a secondary cloak with Wisdom on it for those fights only.


10 Int is worth about 4 mp5, a tiny amount of Spell Crit, 150 mana and 2 spellpower. Your call as to whether that’s better than 8 mp5; numerically it’s about on par. I’d be inclined to go for Powerful Stats, simply because not only do you get the benefits of 10 int, but you get all the other stats as well. However, if you’re low on mp5 and feeling the pinch (or you can’t afford the significantly higher cost of the Powerful Stats enchant) Greater Mana Restore is a perfectly reasonable choice.


The stand-out winner here is the +23/+30 Spellpower (or the Fur Lining for leatherworkers). +16 Int is nice enough for early gear, and very cheap on mats, but is nowhere near good enough to compete with the spellpower enchants.

Note that unlike all the other crafter-only item enhancements, the blacksmith’s bonus socket is in addition to a regular enchant. Blacksmiths have no excuse for not making use of this.


Given the relative size of the enchants, the Spellpower enchant is vastly better than the Blasting enchant; it’s the only choice here. (And it’s way cheaper on mats, to boot.) For engineers, the Haste tinker apparently works out around a static 24 Haste Rating, which is okay if you’re scrounging for speed, but Spellpower is still way better.

And, as with the Bracers, Blacksmiths should absolutely be socketing their gloves at all times. There’s no reason not to.


These are BoE and craftable by blacksmiths for anyone’s use. There’s no reason not to use them, so do it. A free gem? Yes please!


Much of a muchness here. As a general rule Spirit is all but useless for paladins, so the Stamina threads are better; however, if you regularly get innervates or have much better access to the mats, the Spirit threads are okay.


Both have their upsides; now that Judgements are important to Holy paladins for Judgements of the Pure (and Heart of the Crusader, for the newly-popular critadin builds with 18-20 points in Ret), Hit Rating is not entirely a waste of time. I’d probably go for Icewalker myself, but either is acceptable.


if you’re an enchanter, do this; if not, your rings go unenchanted.


The +Spellpower enchants are the obvious choices here; the Crit and Hit of Accuracy are nice (see the ‘Boots’ section for Spell Hit discussion), but 50-63 Spellpower is an order of magnitude more powerful. I list the Spirit enchant here solely because you may wish to carry a +Spirit weapon and offhand to be swapped in when you get innervated (for instance, after a battle rez). If you don’t get innervates, don’t bother – and, obviously, don’t take the +Spirit gear out of the hands of druids and priests who can make better use of it.


Well, that’s an easy one. :)

Happy gearing!

The State of Paladin

I try and stay positive when I focus on developments in the WoW world, but it’s getting hard to grit one’s teeth through yet another round of nerfs being fired like buckshot into the ranks of the paladins. Even when they’re not aiming at you, it’s almost a given you’ll get some collateral damage – probably right in the face.

Rohan of Blessing of Kings has been doing a good job of keeping up with the changes – the vast majority of which are nerfs – to paladins in the last few weeks, and I’ll point you there if you want to catch up on what’s changed (and changed, and changed again). So, What Went Wrong is a recent example of his interesting and insightful posts.

I’m angry, and bitter, and very very frustrated. I will try not to rant, but I make no promises. The change that’s frustrating me most is the story of Avenging Wrath, which was our shiny new Paladin spell at level 70.

The Backstory
In TBC Avenging Wrath was only a damage buff. It lasted 20 seconds, on a 3 minute cooldown, and triggered the Forbearance debuff – which lasted a minute, was triggered by Avenging Wrath, Blessing (now Hand) of Protection, Divine Shield (aka bubble), and Divine Protection (aka bubble; made you immune but you couldn’t attack at all, and shared the DS cooldown) and locked you out of all those spells while active.

Nice boost, right? In practice, it was rarely used.

  • PvE: it did nothing for Holy paladins (the vast majority of paladins in TBC), Ret paladins were a rarity in PvE (although those that existed would indeed have found Avenging Wrath useful), and generally it was mostly used by Protection paladins looking to crank up their TPS (since they didn’t have to worry about Forbearance, as they weren’t going to be bubbling).
  • PvP: pretty much never used, because it was purgeable/stealable, and locked you out of your only defensive ability to boot. No-one was going to give up the ability to bubble just for a damage buff that was almost certain to get wiped off anyway.

From The Sublime…
So, in the WotLK beta, Blizzard detached Avenging Wrath from Forbearance, and gave it a buff to healing done as well (finally making it useful for Holy paladins). This was, as far as I know, to encourage people to actually use it, and it worked. Finally, people were using their Level 70 spell – and loving it. To compensate, Forbearance was increased to a 3-minute duration. Fair enough.

…To The Ridiculous
Except, of course, that ret paladins were bubbling, blowing AW, and owning people up in BGs while completely immune – and strangely, other people didn’t like that very much. Blizzard clearly felt that this was an absolutely urgent issue, and hotfixed in a nerf (without even testing it first on the beta realms or the 3.0.3 PTR). Avenging Wrath now causes Forbearance again (which has been reduced to 2 minutes rather than 3).

The forums exploded as soon as this was announced, of course. Ten pages of respondents said “for god’s sake, don’t put it on Forbearance, just make AW and DS unable to be triggered at the same time, like trinkets”. This was apparently ignored, as were the nearly-as-numerous suggestions to have AW cancel DS and vice versa, or have AW just not give a damage boost while bubbled… et cetera.

Where Avenging Wrath Stands
So, let’s take a look at the net change between TBC and now, shall we?

Forbearance: Was 1 minute. Now 2 minutes.

PvE: Holy paladins will no longer use AW unless they really need the throughput buff and can be certain they won’t need to bubble for survival. Ret paladins may use AW, except on fights where they know they’ll need to bubble for survival. Prot paladins absolutely will not use AW (losing the TPS boost it provided), as it would lock them out of Divine Protection (which is now a Shield Wall ability rather than just being ‘bubble-lite’).

PvP: No-one (with any sense) will use AW. It’s still vulnerable to purge/steal and will still lock you out of your most vital survival ability; a paladin who’s blown their bubble is a vulnerable, probably-soon-to-be-dead paladin. And it’ll lock you out of your bubble for longer than it used to. Good times.

So, in other words, we are now worse off than we were in TBC. Thanks for fixing us, Blizz! Much appreciated!

“Paladin” Doesn’t Just Mean Retribution
This post was announced on the forums as an “upcoming Ret paladin PvP nerf”. However, it is in fact a nerf to all specs in PvE as well as PvP.

This follows on the heels of the last nerf, just four days earlier, also hotfixed in, reducing mana return from Judgements o the Wise and damage from Seal/Judgement of Command. Those really were Ret nerfs, not applicable to other specs, but in that post Ghostcrawler says “we still intend to lower the damage of other Seals and Judgements” (except Seal/Judgement of Blood and of the Martyr) – which basically means that Seal of Righteousness (the main seal for Holy DPS) and Seal of Vengeance (the main seal for tankadins) are getting it in the neck. Explain again how those are Retribution nerfs, given that Ret uses primarily Seal of Blood/Martyr and Seal of Command?

It’s really starting to feel like Blizzard has forgotten us Holy and Prot paladins are even here.

Testing Times
However, what also concerns me in the second nerf thread is Ghostcrawler saying (emphasis mine):

We are going to hotfix the nerfs to Judgement of the Wise (from 33% to 15%) and Seal and Judgement of Command (down 20% damage) to live. We need to start getting more testing on these changes right away to see what they do to Retribution in PvE and PvP.

What, in God’s name, do they have a Beta test and a PTR for, if not testing changes? Why the hell are they hotfixing nerfs to the Live environment before they’ve tested them?!

And then we have the issue that they’re hotfixing untested nerfs in left, right and centre, but when it comes to fixing damage done by these nerfs, the response is “we’re exploring this … we’ll let you know” and “as soon as we’re comfortable that we haven’t over-nerfed Ret, and a couple of other things, we’re going to look at healer dps again to make sure you can solo” and “we do realize this hurts Holy and Protection as well, and that is something for which we are prepared to offer compensation”.

So, the cheesy Bubble+Wings IWIN combo made people unhappy enough that it had to be hotfixed (despite the fact that it was a once-every-5-minutes combo for 12 seconds), but repairing the ongoing effects of these hamhanded, scattershot nerfs is something that has to be carefully considered, orchestrated, and implemented? Does anyone really wonder why paladins are feeling angry, bitter and victimised at this point?

Frankly, I think Blizzard has really dropped the ball on Paladin development. I will still be playing Sailan when the dust settles (unless something really really dire happens), but I can’t blame other paladins for rerolling or quitting entirely.

The Importance of Intellect

There’s one side-effect of the game mechanics changes in 3.0.2 and the new spells in Wrath that many people haven’t realised: Intellect is now the primary regen stat for raiding holy Paladins.

This comes from two sources of regen that are based on total mana:

Divine Plea
This is the new paladin spell at level 71; it restores 25% of your total mana over 15 seconds with a 1 minute cooldown (and a debuff to healing done).

This is the new raid regen buff granted by Shadow Priests, Retribution Paladins and Survival Hunters. It “causes up to 10 party or raid members to gain 0.25% of their maximum mana per second” whenever the priest, paladin or hunter uses a particular ability.

Doing the Math
To see how these balance out against mp5-based regen, let’s look at the value of 500 Intellect. 500 Intellect is worth 7500 mana, which means Divine Plea can return up to 1875 mana per minute, equivalent to 156.25 mp5. 7500 mana also allows Replenishment to return 18.75 mana per second, equivalent to 93.75 mp5.

500 Intellect therefore gives 250 mp5, assuming you have constant Replenishment uptime (which is not a given; it depends on the composition of your raids, and your Replenishment buffers’ ability rotations) and that you use Divine Plea on every cooldown.

However, looking at the item value of Intellect vs mp5, 500 intellect only costs you 80% of the itemisation budget of 250 mp5, meaning that if you have ready access to Replenishment, Intellect is ‘cheaper’ than equivalent mp5 for regen.

What if you don’t have ready access to Replenishment? What if your raid only has one shadow priest and no ret pallies or survival hunters, and you’re fighting with 15 other mana users for Replenishment? Well, most of the regen value of Intellect is from Divine Plea; as you can see from the numbers above, you only need a 47% uptime or better on Replenishment for Intellect to become better itemisation value than mp5.

This fact is even more true for Holy paladins, who get spellcrit-based mana return (when healing) from Intellect.

From combat ratings calculations by Whitetooth at Elitist Jerks, and using the example above, 500 Intellect at level 80 gives 3% Spell Crit. The value of this in terms of mp5 is hard to calculate, because it depends greatly on your spell rotations in a level 80 raid – but it’s certainly a significant boost to spell throughput and mana return, which just strengthens the value of itemising for Intellect rather than mp5.

In a very, very rough estimate of modelling the effect of spell crit at 80: assuming a ratio of 60% Flash of Light, 20% Holy Light and 20% Holy Shock, and that you’re chain-casting, 3% spell crit returns mana equivalent to approximately 33mp5. If you incorporated this into the numbers above, you’d only have to have Replenishment 12% of the time instead of 47%. Obviously, this is highly variable depending on your casting rotation and frequency.

The Bottom Line
Assuming you can use Divine Plea on every cooldown, and have at least some access to the Replenishment buff, gearing for Intellect is a stronger option than gearing for mp5.

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…

Patch 3.0: The Brave New (Healadin) World

So, it’s Patch Day, and you’re confronted with a whole host of changes to spells you used to know like the back of your hand! What to do, what to do?

Holy paladin core mechanics have been changed quite noticeably in this patch, so let’s take a look at what you’ll see when you log in. Read on for details of changed spells, new spells, and paladin glyphs! (I’ll tackle the talent trees soon, but not tonight – I need sleep!)

Note that where relevant, I’m talking about spell ranks you’d use at level 70. I’m also only covering Holy and general paladin mechanics here; Protection and Retribution changes are topics for another day (or blog).

Changed Spells

  • The Forbearance debuff from Divine Shield and Blessing (now Hand) of Protection now lasts 3 minutes, not 1.
  • Lay On Hands now has a 20 minute cooldown (down from 60) and costs 0 mana.
  • Avenging Wrath no longer causes the Forbearance debuff, and increases all damage and healing done by 20% for 20 seconds.
  • Holy Shock now has a 6 second cooldown (down from 15) and the range of the healing effect now extends to 40 yards. Its mana cost is increased from 650 to 705.
  • Seals:
    • Pretty much all seals have had their damage reduced.
    • Seals now last for two minutes.
    • Seals aren’t consumed when you use Judgement.
    • Seal of the Crusader no longer exists and its damage boost has been rolled into base spells.
    • Alliance Paladins now get Seal of the Martyr (equivalent to Seal of Blood), and Horde Paladins now get Seal of Corruption (equivalent to Seal of Vengeance).
  • Judgement: Big changes.
    • Pre Patch 3: You use a generic “Judgement” ability to apply a debuff or damage to the mob based on the Seal you’re running.
    • Post Patch 3: You use a specific Judgement of Justice, Judgement of Light or Judgement of Wisdom which applies the relevant debuff regardless of which Seal you have active. (It also causes damage.) For instance, you might keep Seal of Wisdom running for yourself while periodically using Judgement of Light to keep the Light effect on the mob for other players.
    • Judging now activates the Global Cooldown.
  • Blessings:
    • Blessing of Light no longer exists, and its healing boost has been rolled into base heal spells. Greater Blessing of Light also no longer exists.
    • Blessing of Salvation and Greater Blessing of Salvation no longer exist, replaced with Hand of Salvation.
    • Blessing of Freedom, Blessing of Sacrifice and Blessing of Protection no longer exist, and have been replaced with “Hand of [foo]” spells.

New Spells

Hands by batega@flickr

  • Hands: are the new mechanic for situational buffs. You can only have one Hand spell on a given ally at any one time, but they don’t overwrite Blessings.

    • Hand of Freedom: a renamed Blessing of Freedom, slightly cheaper.
    • Hand of Protection: a renamed Blessing of Protection, with a longer Forbearance debuff.
    • Hand of Sacrifice: the new Blessing of Sacrifice. Lasts 12 seconds (instead of 30 seconds); has a 2 minute cooldown (instead of 30 seconds). Transfers 30% of damage instead of 104 damage per hit. A significant reduction to its utility; now it helps mitigate an occasional burst of damage, instead of helping the paladin escape CC to save a friend.
    • Hand of Salvation: the new Blessing of Salvation. Completely different mechanics; now works by reducing a single target’s threat for 20% over 10 seconds. Has a 2 minute cooldown. Huge nerf to its utility; however, this may not be a problem if tank agro generation has been buffed as much as reports indicate.


At 70, you’ll have two Major Glyph slots and three Minor Glyph slots to fill.

This list covers all the Glyphs, both Major and Minor, available for Paladins. However, looking at Glyphs that would appeal specifically for healer paladins:

Your Major Glyph Options

  • Glyph of Cleansing: Reduces the mana cost of your Cleanse and Purify spells by 20%.
  • Glyph of Divinity: Your Lay on Hands also grants you as much mana as it grants your target.
  • Glyph of Flash of Light: Your Flash of Light heals for 50% less initially, but also heals for 140% of its inital effect over 12 sec.
  • Glyph of Holy Light: Your Holy Light grants 10% of its heal amount to up to 5 friendly targets within 10 yds of the initial target. (Note that the tooltip says 100 yards, but that’s a typo. It’s 10 yards.)

Note that there are some very nice Glyphs for Seal of Light and Seal of Wisdom, but they’re not trainable for Scribes until Wrath of the Lich King, unfortunately.

Picking Your Glyphs

So, at 70 you’ll have three minor and two major glyph slots to fill. Regarding Majors, I’d skip the Flash of Light Glyph until you have a better idea of how your other heals hold up; frankly, I think it’s way too weak and slow a HoT to be worth the huge upfront gimp to the heal (especially since it means you can’t spam FoL to heal any more). Were the HoT a) bigger and b) faster, it might be worth it, but as it is I think it’s just dangerous.

The Holy Light glyph is a definite winner; the spell loseWeight Exercises nothing, and gains a useful mini-AoE. For me, the Glyph of Divinity is the most appealing choice for the second slot, as I don’t do much cleanse-heavy content. I’ll add a Glyph of Seal of Wisdom to the third slot when I hit 80.

As for Minor glyphs… well, it’s hard to pick them, since we don’t know what our options are yet! There are very few known minor glyphs for paladins yet, as they’re learnt through a discovery system with a 20-hour cooldown. The stand-out winner is Glyph of Lay on Hands (increases the mana restored by your Lay on Hands spell by 20%), which synergises nicely with the Major glyph for the same spell. For the other two Minor slots, I’ll probably use something like Glyph of the Wise and Glyph of Sense Undead, purely for soloing purposes.

Of course, it all depends on which Minor Glyphs one has access to – you can’t get a Glyph no-one’s learnt yet!


The short version:

  • Spell crit, spell hit and spell haste ratings are disappearing. Crit, hit and haste ratings now affect both spellcasting and physical abilities.
  • +heal and +dmg/heal ratings are disappearing, and being replaced with spellpower, which affects both spell damage and healing.
  • Existing items with +healing are being translated to spellpower stats instead; it’s not a direct 1:1 translation, so on Wrath Day you’ll end up with a lot less spellpower than your current +heal.
  • This is not a problem, because other mechanics are being revamped to account for it (for instance, healing spells are getting a much bigger boost from spellpower).
  • Existing items with +dmg/heal are being translated to spellpower as well, at close to a 1:1 transition.

For more details on how this works and what it means for your gearing, see my post on the gearing changes.

Good news, of the flavour we all wanted.

Ghostcrawler has posted some upcoming good news for paladins.

Righteous Defense — cooldown lowered to 8 sec. It had been 10 sec recently and is 15 sec on live.

Infusion of Light — now affects Flash of Light or Holy Light. Flash of Light is reduced to 0 cast time with 2 ranks, meaning that if you’re running around and get a Holy Shock crit, you can also Flash without stopping.

Judgements of the Pure — haste benefit now up to 15% with 5 ranks (was 10%).

Enlightened Judgements — range benefit is now 30 yards with 2 ranks (was 20). This means you can judge or heal from the same range without having to run around so much.

Bacon of Light — no change here, but I can never miss an opportunity to call it Bacon.

Let’s take a look at these:

  • Righteous Defense: this was a necessary change to stand up next to other classes’ taunts, now that they all have ranged taunt abilities.
  • Infusion of Light: this is a fantastic change, and more than I’d hoped for. It still reduces the duration of the next spell by 1.5 seconds but now applies to Flash of Light as well – meaning that after a Holy Light crit procs Infusion of Light, you get either an instant FoL or a super-fast Holy Light. This goes a hugely long way to solving our mobility problem.
  • Judgements of the Pure: well… now the haste bonus actually exceeds the GCD cost of judging, so it’s not a zero-sum equation any more. So that’s something. I remain underwhelmed by the talent, but I’ll be looking for some theorycrafted numbers to change my mind.
  • Enlightened Judgements: probably worth taking now if you’re going 51 points in, but not necessarily strong enough to warrant that in its own right.

This is probably not enough to get paladins to spec 51/x/x unless they were already leaning strongly that way anyway – however, if you did want to spec for Beacon of Light, the talents before it aren’t quite as terribad as they used to be.

And, on the positive side, Infusion of Light is now a must-have again. It remains to be seen how well Light’s Grace synergises now that Infusion of Light is the new hotness.