Holy paladins have come a long way since our days in vanilla WoW. Back then, we were a three button class: Cleanse, Flash of Light, Holy Light. The infamous addon Decursive even did all the dispelling for us, leave the human user simply casting Flash or HL for hours on end. Seals and Judgments were for retribution and protection: we were standing 40 yards away filling up life bars. Things didn't improve much in TBC either: while Holy Shock was fun to finally use, we ended up being purely FoL bots in most raid situations.
Blizzard took a new approach to healing in Wrath, including completely revamping each existing healing tree to make sure each one was balanced, viable, and most importantly, enjoyable. Holy paladins now enjoy a complexity that is multiple times more entertaining to play than anything that we've seen in the past. However, with this added functionality comes added complexity. To help us lighten the load, we can use a few amazing addons and macros manage our "holy 3.0" paladins; this allows us to focus on keeping people alive.
I'm going to start with the most important addon first. I know that a lot of paladins find this addon unnecessary, as they think that managing their own blessings simply isn't that challenging. The key to PallyPower is that it's about handling blessings for the entire raid, and making sure all of the other paladins are doing their jobs properly. It is a helpful tool that allows you to handle blessings with no fuss, and even helps you dish your blessings out with a single button. On top of that, it combines many of your most commonly used abilities into a single interface, saving even more action bar space.
It may take some time to get used to relying on PallyPower to do your blessings, but after a few hours of raiding, being able to just push one button and not worry about finding that single-cast Blessing of Kings button for the druid that won't just shut up is priceless. By saving you time, this mod saves your group time. Pick up PallyPower, learn how to configure it both when solo and when in a raid, and you'll be laughing at everyone who has to dig through their bars for that odd Blessing spell every 10 minutes.
The awesome mod with the impossible to remember name, CLCBPT is pretty much the only mod you'll ever need for monitoring your important buffs. This is the type of addon that would've been useless for us in vanilla or TBC, as we simply didn't have any buffs to keep track of. CLCBPT monitors your Beacon of Light uptime, Sacred Shield and Sacred Shield-based FoL HoT, and your Judgements of the Pure buff. While there are other addons out there for tracking spell timers, this one is specifically designed for holy paladins and works perfectly.
It makes it really simple to track when to refresh your buffs to maximize your mana pool. If you're using the Beacon of Light glyph, it's important that you use as much of the extra 30 seconds of uptime as possible, so that you get the most bang for your buck out of the glyph. I also use it to maintain my FoL HoT on the tank at all times, so I can heal the raid and easily swap back for a quick FoL as soon as the old one expires. It also keeps all this buff information off of your raid frames, so that the space is reserved for more crucial information like health / debuffs.
Not every game mod has to be written by a developer, some are simply enough that you can write them yourself, in the form of a simple macro. While you can write a macro to do just about anything, there are a few useful ones that you will want to create to save yourself valuable time. The first type of macro is the "mouseover macro", and it will be one of your most commonly used tools once prepared. It allows you to cast your spell on whoever's raid frame you're currently hovered over. Here's an example:
The first section is the 'mouseover' part, and it will Cleanse whichever target your mouse is currently over. Bind this macro to an easy-to-reach key, and you can Cleanse your raid in record time. The second portion simply Cleanses whoever your regular target is, but only if you don't have your mouse over someone. This means you can use it exactly like the regular form of Cleanse, saving you bar space and a hot key. Finally, the 3rd section will automatically Cleanse yourself if you have no friendly mouseover and no friendly target, which is great for when you're soloing./cast [target=mouseover,exists,help] Cleanse; [help] Cleanse; [target=player] Cleanse
You can apply the philosophy of this macro to nearly any ability, and some of my favorites are: Flash of Light, Beacon of Light, Sacred Shield, and the 4 Hands (Salvation, Protection, Freedom, Sacrifice). You can easily buff or save one of your raid mates a split-second quicker, which can make all the difference on a high pressure fight. The fewer clicks or keybinds to remember, the better. Feel free to experiment with other spells you find yourself casting often.
Spell Combo Macros:
Using macros to combine spells has been one of their biggest draws since we first learned how to do it. By combining two frequently used spells into a single button, you reduce your total time to activate. I have a macro that pairs Divine Shield and Divine Sacrifice, ensuring I won't die immediately upon eating loads of redirected damage. I also like to make specific Aura Mastery macros, one of each Aura that I find myself using AM on regularly. This way, if I'm normally running Devotion, I can have one button that swaps to Fire Resistance Aura and uses Aura Mastery for me on the next press. Then, I can get back to focusing on healing, and simply swap back to Devotion once AM has faded. Again, use your creativity to combine spells into a macro, like using Divine Illumination and our 2-piece Tier 10 bonus to offset using Divine Plea.
Our holy bars have more spells on them than ever, and if WotLK is any indicator, we've got even more spells on the way in Cataclysm. If you take a few minutes and focus on combining frequently used spells into a macro or using a mod to properly monitor your buffs and abilities, you can greatly reduce the amount of management that healing takes and focus on healing. Let macros and mods do the tedious work of running the numbers, and make your action bars and abilities work for you.