Tag Archives: talents

Bubble Spec: the New Hotness

Ever since WotLK rolled melee and spell crit into one crit rating, Holy/Ret has been the spec of choice for the vast majority of holy paladins out there, with this 51/5/15 spec being the most popular choice. (Others choose to sacrifice 3 points in Divinity for an extra 3% crit from Sanctity of Battle, which is a reasonable choice.)

The classic Holy/Ret build synergises excellently with the current strength of Crit Rating as a holy paladin stat, but there’s a new contender on the scene: the 51/17/+3 Shield spec.

51/17/+3 Bubble Spec

This build sacrifices the extra 5-8% Crit chance from the Ret tree, which will be significantly less useful after 3.2. In exchange, it picks up Guardian’s Favor, for more frequent HoProtections, and two key talents:

Divine Sacrifice redirects 30% of all damage taken by raid members within 30 yards to you, for 10 seconds. Like Hand of Sacrifice, it’s capped at 150% of your health – but if you have Divine Shield up, that cap doesn’t trigger and it’ll mitigate the full 30% for 10 seconds. This is invaluable in situations where you’ve got big incoming damage on more than one target, or significant raid-wide damage (such as XT-002’s Tantrum, or Hodir’s Frozen Blows).

Edit: As a commenter pointed out, there are some indications that this will be “fixed” in 3.2 so that Bubble or No Bubble, it still caps at 150%. That definitely reduces the utility of the cooldown, although it doesn’t affect Divine Guardian.

Divine Guardian increases your Divine Sacrifice to 40%, which is a nice bonus, and it doubles the duration of your Sacred Shield and increases the amount your SS absorbs by 20%. That’s a hell of a lot of punch from two talent points.

This build really comes into its own when you’ve got 4 pieces of Tier 8 armor, for the set bonus: “Your Sacred Shield can now trigger its effect every 4 sec instead of every 6“. Effectively, this set bonus provides up to an extra 50% mitigation by letting Sacred Shield proc more often; when combined with the increase in absorption from Divine Guardian, your Sacred Shield can become a very powerful protective tool.

I know it’s hard to put aside the Crit Rating for something as unglamorous as a better shield, but I think every holy pally should at least take a look at this build when patch 3.2 hits, if they haven’t already.

Holy Paladin FAQ – v1.0 (Pre-3.1)

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.


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.

For more information on the complexities of who judges what, see this PlusHeal thread, and my previous blog post on the subject.

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.


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:

1. Intellect
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)
3. Crit
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)
6. Stamina

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?


Minor: none of these are essential; feel free to change them.

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
Boots: Icewalker
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

Yellow sockets: Brilliant Autumn’s Glow or Smooth Autumn’s Glow

Red or yellow sockets: Luminous Monarch Topaz or Potent Monarch Topaz

Blue sockets: Royal Twilight Opal or Dazzling Forest Emerald

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.

Meta socket: The Insightful Earthsiege Diamond is streets ahead of the competition. (See this Elitist Jerks thread for the maths.)

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?
Generally, no.

– 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?

Potions: Runic Mana Potion or Potion of Speed depending on your needs.

Elixirs: Flask of the Frostwyrm as the baseline flask, or Spellpower Elixir and Elixir of Mighty Thoughts for Elixirs instead of a Flask.

Food: Fish Feast if your raid uses them; otherwise Firecracker Salmon or Tender Shoveltusk Steak

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’.

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:

Mouseover Macro

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.

Healthrough Macro

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.

Rez Macro

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.

#showtooltip Redemption
/cast Redemption
/stopmacro [combat,nohelp,nodead]
/say Upsadaisy, %t!

Change the /say to /raid or /# (where # is your healer channel number) if that suits your raid group better.

For more useful macros, see PlusHeal: thread 1, thread 2, and the Macros forum.


More Paladin Changes in 3.1 – Build 9684

Things are changing pretty fast for paladins at the moment. This is nothing like the huge revamp in 3.0.2, but there’s a lot to adjust to anyway.

From MMO-Champion, an update to the official patch notes and a list of undocumented changes.


  • Divine Plea can once again be dispelled.
  • Exorcism: Now can be used on any target and has a 100% chance to be a critical strike when used on Undead and Demons.
  • Shield of Righteousness: Base damage and scaling factor increased by 30%.
  • Spiritual Attunement: Removed from trainers. It is now available deep in the Protection tree for 2 ranks at 5/10%.

Divine Plea being dispellable is a PvP issue; I have some reservations about this, but until there’s strong PvP on the test servers it’s hard to judge the impact. (That said, it feels like something of a bait-and-switch, since Divine Plea was made undispellable when they nerfed it to reduce healing by 50%.)

The Exorcism change is a nice one; it helps normalise paladin damage, and gives Holy paladins in particular a bit more oomph in solo content. The Shield of Righteousness change is a straight buff, so woot for that.

The Spiritual Attunement change, on the other hand, is extremely disappointing. Now you will have to be Protection to tank anything; no more tanking as Holy in Prot gear. I can understand why they didn’t want non-tanking paladins to have access to Spiritual Attunement, to help control our mana, but it really detracts from our nature as a hybrid if we have to spec Prot to tank anything. Rohan over at Blessing of Kings has an excellent post on the issue: Will the Last Hybrid Paladin Please Turn Off the Lights? which includes a couple of much more elegant ways of restricting access to Spiritual Attunement.

Holy Talents, Patch 9684Holy

  • Judgements of the Pure was moved from Tier 10 to Tier 9.
  • Sacred Cleansing was moved from Tier 9 to Tier 8.
  • Enlightened Judgements was moved from Tier 9 to Tier 10.
  • Infusion of Light was moved from Tier 8 to Tier 10.
  • Aura Mastery now causes your Concentration Aura to make all affected targets immune to Silence and Interrupt effects and improve the effect of all other auras by 100%.
  • Blessed Hands: Now reduces mana cost of Hand of Freedom, Sacrifice and Salvation by 15/30%, and improves the effectiveness of Hand of Salvation by 50/100% and Hand of Sacrifice by an additional 5/10%. Moved to Tier 4.
  • Pure of Heart: Now reduces duration of all curse, disease, and poison effects by 15/30%.
  • Purifying Power: Now reduces the cooldowns of Exorcism and Holy Wrath by 17/33% instead of increasing critical strike chance.

The talent shifts are a little confusing to read like that; click the image on the right to see how the tree actually looks. (Please ignore the slightly dodgy spec; I was just picking up Aura Mastery to test it out.) For the classic 51-point PvE builds, it’s still perfectly straightforward to get all the abilities you need.

The Blessed Hands change is a nice buff; it previously reduced mana cost and increased dispel resistance for all hands. It’s worth noting that the new version provides no benefit for Hand of Protection, but the other changes are useful both for PvP and PvE. It’s actually a viable alternative to Imp BoWis or Imp Lay on Hands now.


  • Greater Blessing of Sanctuary now gives the target 2% of maximum displayed mana when the target blocks, parries, or dodges a melee attack.
  • Guarded by the Light got an additional effect – In addition, your Divine Plea spell is 50/100% less likely to be dispelled.
  • Ardent Defender: Reduced to 3 ranks for 10/20/30%.
  • Avenger’s Shield: Base damage and scaling factor increased by 30%.
  • Blessing of Sanctuary: Now only grants mana on dodge/parry/block. In addition, will only grant mana if that is the active power type of the friendly target (Bears and Cats won’t gain mana).
  • Improved Hammer of Justice: Reduced to 2 ranks for 10/20-second cooldown reduction.
  • Holy Shield: Base damage and scaling factor increased by 30%.
  • Judgements of the Just: Now also reduces the cooldown of Hammer of Justice by 10/20 seconds, and increases the duration of the Seal of Justice stun effect by .5/1 second.
  • One-Handed Weapon Specialization: Reduced to 3 ranks for 4/7/10%.
  • Shield of the Templar: No longer increases the damage done by Holy Shield, Avenger’s Shield, and Shield of Righteousness. Now grants 33/66/100% chance to silence your Avenger’s Shield targets for 3 seconds.

From a healer perspective, most of these changes won’t make a significant difference. The change to Imp Hammer of Justice will affect 51/20 PvP specs slightly, but that’s about it.

From a tank’s perspective, I don’t have current enough knowledge of Protection to talk intelligently about these changes, unfortunately. Clearly I need to spec Prot for a week and go Heroic my face off!


  • Sanctified Seals was renamed to Sanctity of Battle, now Increases your chance to critically hit with all spells and attacks by 1/2/3% and increases the damage caused by Exorcism and Crusader Strike by 5/10/15%.
  • Divine Purpose: Moved to Improved Retribution Aura’s position.
  • Improved Retribution Aura: This talent has been removed.
  • Swift Retribution: Now grants its haste bonus while any aura is active.

None of these changes significantly impact Holy; they’re a step towards slimming Ret down (although I didn’t think Ret was particularly bloated in the first place, to be honest).

Of note, I’d seen some concern about Sanctity of Battle no longer adding to healing spell crit. I’ve checked on the PTR and it does still affect spell crit, and the crit part of the talent is worded exactly the same as Sanctified Seals, so this appears to be intentional.

Paladin PTR News – Holy & Protection Changes

Here’s a quick roundup of the latest changes from the PTR. I don’t normally post ongoing changes, unless there’s something big for holy paladins, but this time around the news sources are overwhelmed with Ulduar data and the class changes are getting a lot less press. So here we go. (The source: MMO-Champion.)

The usual caveat: all of this is subject to change before 3.1 goes live. If you watched the progress of class changes in the WotLK beta, you’ll know just how much something can change during the testing process.

This is from Build 9658 of the 3.1 PTR.


  • All paladins auras had their range extended from 30 yards to 40 yards.

Thank God. Along with Blessing of Kings being baseline, this is one change where we can all say “It’s about time”. On the other hand, now Holy needs an 11-point talent.


  • Sacred Shield now cannot be on more than one target at any one time.

This change was implemented because Sacred Shield was doing “too much” damage prevention in Ulduar.

  • Infusion of Light no longer has a chance to reduce the casting time of Holy Light, but increases the the critical chance of your next Holy Light by 10/20% instead.

No word on why this change was made, but I’m hoping it doesn’t stick, personally.


  • Hand of Sacrifice now lasts 12 sec or until the caster has transfered 100% of their maximum health.

A PvP limitation; I don’t think HoS gets used as much as it should in PvE content anyway.

  • Targets affected by Divine Shield, Hand of Protection or Divine Protection can no longer be affected by any of these spell for 2 minutes. (Down from 3 minutes)

A nice change. Not unbalancing, I think, just making life a bit easier.

  • Divine Sacrifice *New Talent* (Tier 3) – 30% of all damage taken by party or raid members within 30 yards is redirected to the Paladin (up to a maximum of 150% of the Paladin’s health). Instant, 2 min cooldown.

Well, protection paladins finally got their 11-point talent. You can see some of their discussions in this Maintankadin thread.

Also, this isn’t a paladin change, but it’s something you need to know about anyway if you do any PvP:

Arms Warrior

  • Shattering Throw *New Skill* – Throws your weapon at the enemy causing [ 50% of AP + 12 ] damage (based on attack power), reducing the armor on the target by 20% for 10 sec, and removing any invulnerabilities. 25 Rage, 30 yd range, 1.5 sec cast, 5 min cooldown

Just like a priest’s Mass Dispel, that’s bye-bye bubble. Be wary of warriors wielding only one weapon!

Source: MMO-Champion.

3.1 Patch Notes: Respec Time!

The 3.1 patch notes are out, and you can read them here on MMO-Champion. I’m not going to reprint them in their entirety, but! There are a couple of things of interest to holy paladins in particular.


  • Auras will now persist through death.
  • Blessing of Kings is now trainable at level 20. Removed from talent trees.
  • Talents
    • Protection

      • New Talent Divinity:Tier 1 protection talent, increases healing done by and to you by 1/2/3/4/5%.
      • Sacred Duty (Protection) rank 1 now increases Stamina by 4%.
    • Retribution
      • Benediction (Retribution) now affects Hand of Reckoning.
      • Fanaticism reduced to 3 ranks for 6/12/18% bonus and 10/20/30% threat reduction.
      • Repentance no longer resets the Paladin’s melee swing timer.
      • Righteous Vengeance reduced to 3 ranks for 10/20/30%.

Well, isn’t that interesting? That Tier 1 talent, Divinity, looks like a must-have for holy paladins – why wouldn’t you want an extra 5% healing done? For paladins who’d previously taken Kings, it’s an easy switch – for the rest of us, it means giving up a delicious 3% crit from the Retribution tree. Goodbye, Sanctified Seals – I’ll miss you!

Also of particular interest to Holy paladins:

  • Glyph of Holy Light: Can no longer crit and has had its range updated.

Obviously, it’s early days yet, and this is all subject to change anyway; I will, of course, keep you all informed.

Dual-Specs Info At Last

Blizzard have finally released information on the dual specs feature talked about for months. You can read the full Q&A on the official site; here are some of the highlights, with my reactions.

Nethaera: Who will be able to use it?
Ghostcrawler: Players who have reached the maximum level will be able to set up dual specs.

Nethaera: Why do players need to be max level in order to do this?
Ghostcrawler: We didn’t want to burden lower-level players with extra complexity as they’re working to level up and learn their class. But if the feature proves popular we might consider expanding it.

Frankly, I hope they do expand it; it’d be tremendously useful to be able to have a DPS spec and a tanking or healing spec while levelling.

Nethaera: How will you be able to set up a dual spec?

Ghostcrawler: Players will be able to visit their trainer and pay a one-time fee to be able to use it.

Nice and easy.

Nethaera: How do you switch between specs?
Ghostcrawler: Players will be able to switch between their talent specs by visiting any Lexicon of Power provided they’ve paid for the ability to have a secondary spec.

Lexicons of Power will be available in major cities, and inscribers will also be able to create a new item that summons one. Anyone can purchase this item, but it requires a ritual of several players to summon it for use by the party. It’s similar to a repair bot in that it will exist in the world for a short duration.

It’s important to keep in mind that you will not be able to switch specs while in combat or Arenas. While you won’t be able to switch your spec without the Lexicon, you will still be able to look at your secondary spec whenever you want to.

Nethaera: Will solo players have the ability to switch their specs outside of the cities or will they still need to visit a Lexicon of Power?
Ghostcrawler: Solo players will still need to go into the city to visit the Lexicon of Power to switch their talent spec or will need to get together with other players to summon one in.

Okay, that’s a pretty awesome way of handling it. I’ll be interested to see whether the item used to summon a Lexicon requires a Scribe to use it – will raids need to take Scribes for Lexicons in the future, in the way they need an Engineer for Repair Bots now? My guess is yes.

Nethaera: Can I respec only one of my talent sets, or will I need to respec them both if I reset one?
Ghostcrawler: When you reset your talents, it will look at the spec you currently have in use as the talent set you want to change.

Excellent. I’d been wondering how they were going to tackle multiple specs for those people for whom two regular specs isn’t enough. You’ll still have to fiddle about with the manual respecs when you go to and from your third spec, but at least it’ll be a simple process.

Nethaera: Will players be confined to only setting up two specs?
Ghostcrawler: We will be launching the feature with just two specs, but depending on how we feel it works out, we might consider additional specs in the future.

Speaking as someone with about five specs to choose from, I hope they decide to add more.

Nethaera: Will you be able to switch gear easily to match your spec?
Ghostcrawler: At the same time we implement dual specs, we will also be setting up a gear system. The feature is called “Gear Manager.” It can also be used to just swap weapons or trinkets or put on that tuxedo to strut around town. It will not automatically switch your gear when you change your talent spec, but it will allow for an easy gear change between them. The feature may not be fully functional immediately in the PTR, but we’ll have more information to share about it before too much longer.

Hello, in-game ItemRack! ItemRack’s one of my ‘can’t live without it’ addons; this might relegate it to a nice optional extra, or replace it altogether.

Nethaera: Will you be able to change your Glyphs as well?
Ghostcrawler: Glyphs will be tied to each talent spec so that if you switch between them, so too will the Glyphs. You’ll notice the UI will have changed a little bit so that the Glyph panes show up alongside the Talent panes now that they are associated.

Excellent! Of course, if you do want to change glyphs around in a raid, you’ll have this handy summonable Lexicon of Power…

Nethaera: What about hotbars? Will players be able to save them for the talent spec they’re running?
Ghostcrawler: Yes, you will be able to save hotbars and use them with your talent specs. It just saves your bars at the same time as it saves the glyphs and talents. If you want to switch to your other action bar, you will need to change specs.

Five bucks says this breaks every hotbar addon in heinous ways. Most of the addon authors will no doubt be all over the PTR getting their addons ready for the changeover; I hope the author of my bar mod of choice (Macaroon) does the same.

Nethaera: Is there a way for players to choose their talents without them being saved? Currently, once you spend your talent point, it’s spent unless you pay the respec cost again.
Ghostcrawler: With the dual spec feature, we are going to allow players who respec to configure all their talents before they get saved. They will be able to allocate the points, then choose if they want to use that as their spec, rather than needing to carefully diagram out their talents ahead of time. This will allow players a little more freedom when deciding on the talents they want to pick and avoid costly mistakes.

Well, there’s a feature that’s about four and half years overdue. ;-)

Another Useful WoW Tool: TalentChic

I got an email about this from David, the site owner, a couple of weeks ago, and I haven’t blogged about it yet due to the deluge of 3.0.2-related posts and playtime. Thanks for the headsup, David!

TalentChic is very interesting; it looks at armory data to determine the most popular specific spec choices for each class/spec option, and then it gives you an ordered list of alternative specs, in order of popularity.

For example, apparently 51/5/5 is currently the most popular holy paladin build (a pretty much by-the-numbers Holy build, plus Kings from Prot and Benediction from Ret), with 54/7/0 and 56/5/0 following close behind.

For possibly the first time ever, however, there are more Ret pallies than Holy or Prot pallies – the premier Holy build is beaten by two different Ret builds, and Prot doesn’t make an appearance until #15 on the list. (I bet that will change, though; even apart from the upcoming nerfs, I suspect a lot of those ret pallies are usually healers or tanks, slapping on the DPS gear and owning it up in battlegrounds for some relaxation before Wrath hits.)

The Caveat
Bear in mind that the site tells us:

We don’t just look at any old character though! We have spent the last few months finding the best players in all parts of the game (according to their gear). Since patch 3.0.2 released, we have furiously been scanning the armory to find what talent specs these top players have chosen.

Now, apart from the fact that we don’t know how they determine someone is a ‘top player’ (average ilvl of gear? arena rating? membership of a guild clearing X much content? T5 gear? Sunwell gear?) there’s a factor to bear in mind: endgame play is not necessarily the same as pre-endgame play (and I don’t mean at the level cap vs. levelling, either).

To use an example from holy paladin gameplay: in raids like Karazhan, Holy Paladin play is generally Flash-of-Light spam, with the occasional Holy Light for spikes, and regen generally comes from mp5-based talents and gear. As you move through the tiers of progression, Holy Light becomes more and more essential, and spellcrit (via Illumination) takes over as the main source of mana return. In the real endgame – Sunwell Plateau – spellhaste is essential, and mana efficiency is less of a concern. So, a Sunwell paladin is going to want to maximise spell haste and spellpower from their talents, someone in late Tier 5 content is going to be looking hungrily at all that crit rating in the first few tiers of Retribution, while someone in Karazhan is going to be worrying about mana efficiency. Obviously, that’s a broad generalisation – and it’s not entirely accurate now 3.0.2’s gone live, either – but you can see how a Sunwell healadin wouldn’t go anywhere without Judgements of the Pure, while a paladin in T5-ish content is going to be more excited about Conviction and Sanctified Seals. That said, that doesn’t mean the site is only useful for endgame players – far from it! Just make sure to think about the talents the popular builds don’t take, and whether you need them.

The Bottom Line
This site has a lot of potential to be very useful – both to keep an eye on new developments for your class, and to look for inspiration when you’re changing your build. Frankly, I think it’ll be even more useful for alts – let’s face it, most people who do research their class know their mains pretty well by now, but when your new alt hits 70 (or 80) and you want to start instancing or raiding with them, this is a great way to instantly tap into common consensus about the class.

Just make sure to bear in mind the caveats: look at the builds the site’s suggesting, and make sure you’re not missing out on important talents for the content you’re doing. And, of course, a million people can, in fact, be wrong. ;-)

Five Things I Love About 3.0.2

In no particular order:

Raid boss nerfs.
I know it’s disappointing for raid groups who were just about to beat Boss X on pre-nerf difficulty, and I sympathise, but: overall, I think this is a nice dose of fun for the people who get to see a few bosses they otherwise would have missed, and it’s a nice chance to just goof around and not take things terribly seriously. Raiding should not be srs bzns all the time, after all.

New talents.
For the first time in three years, I specced Retribution for a couple of days, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I went back to my Holy comfort zone right quick mind you (to heal an AQ40 pug I should have known was doomed, really), but after years of struggling and making do with shockadin, to play Sailan and actually do real DPS was great fun. Ret has plenty of nerfs incoming, so it won’t last, but it was fun while it did.

The Scourge Invasion world event.
There are a lot of negative things you could say about the enforced PvP aspect of the zombie plague, and Lume said them very eloquently; I’m not going to talk about it now because this is a positive post, darnit.

There are two things I love about the Scourge Invasion, 3.0.2 style:

  • The old content of 1.12 – the necrotic crystals, the killing masses of zombies and skeletons and ghosts, the fighting for mob tags and the mad accumulation of necrotic runes – is just fun. Speaking as a paladin, smashing the undead is kind of my raison d’être, y’know?
  • Lore and Storyline. While the effects of the zombie invasion are frustrating, it’s engrossing to see history repeating – this is what happened to Andorhal, Stratholme and other human towns. The quests surrounding the event give a glimpse of history, and at the same time they lead into the storyline of Wrath of the Lich King, foreshadowing what is to come.

I’m sure no-one’s surprised that I think these are great fun. I do have a couple of quibbles about the system – mainly that there’s not enough distinction between meaningless achievements (like using a toothpick) and achievements that require some effort (like reading every book on the ‘Well Read‘ list, which requires a couple of instance runs to finish). However, I love the system and I love its rewards – I’ve already scored myself the Ambassador, Diplomat, and Guardian of Cenarius titles, and Stinker the Skunk pet.

Now There’s A Name I’ve Not Heard Since…
The guild is livelier than I’ve seen it since we stopped official raids; the people who were still playing a night or two a week are on all the time, and people who’d cancelled accounts or drifted away are back to check out 3.0.2 and get ready for Wrath. Although we’re not doing anything in particular that needs numbers, a more lively and dynamic guild is always a good thing, and it’s reaffirmed my belief that we’re going to have a good solid raid group come WotLK – we’re pretty close to raiding strength already, despite having lost enough of our old raiding team to drama, RL obligations and differing priorities to put an end to our 25-man raids a few months ago.

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.