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Patch 3.0.2 primer for Holy Paladins con't

Zach Yonzon

Anyway, back to our regular programming. Where were we? Ah, right, tier six. Five points in Holy Power because we love our crits. Then we skip Purifying Power because the only thing we're really getting out of that is a 10% discount on Cleanse.

On tier seven we have mandatory four points for Light's Grace and Holy Shock. Light's Grace is even more important because we need the buff up almost all the time for those 1 second heal nukes. We can skip Blessed Life, although you can consider it for PvP. Still, we only have so many points to spend.

On the eighth tier we'll spend five points for Holy Guidance, which is where that investment back on the second tier pays off. We'll also max out Infusion of Light, which allows us to occasionally toss out 8k heals in about a second with the Light's Grace buff up. It didn't make it to this build, but this talent will also make Flash of Light instant when our Holy Shocks crit. That should be coming pretty soon and help us greatly in our mobility.

Are Judgements still necessary?
We're going to talk a bit lengthily now. But first we'll need to skip Sacred Cleansing on tier nine first because it's just plain silly. Divine Illumination is our tier nine standard. We always get it, we always use it, and things aren't about to change now. Sure, it's a boring 41-point talent, but it's the best we've got as far as mana conservation is concerned. Now, I'm going to controversially put points in Enlightened Judgements. I know some people don't think ranged Judgements are worth it, but with Crusader Strike's Judgement refresh feature gone, even healers need to do their part in keeping Judgements up.

This is a matter of philosophy, and something I'll defend staunchly. Even as healers, I think we need to cast Judgements. Judgements are core to the class. Enlightened Judgements opens up a new aspect of play for me that was never available before. In the next build, Blizzard promised to raise the range of Enlightened Judgements to match our heals' 40 yards. It will be sweet.

The question is, with our spam heal methodology, will inserting Judgements into the cycle be worth it? Right now, only slightly. The 10% haste granted by Judgements of the Pure -- which I still elect to max out in the next tier -- only barely makes it worth the bother. The great thing about this buff is that it lasts for one minute. We won't actually need to judge every time Judgements are up. On the other hand, we'll actually need to judge every 20 seconds or so if we want to keep a debuff up on the boss.

What does this mean? Over a 60 second period, we'll actually lose 4.5 seconds to the global cooldown. Assuming Light's Grace is up, we can spam a theoretical 30 Holy Lights if we don't cast Judgements. With 10% spell haste, which is applied before the .5 second reduction from the Light's Grace buff, we can cast 31.7 Holy Lights over 55.5 seconds (adjusted for the GCD). If we cast Judgement only once -- and irresponsibly letting the debuff drop -- we can cast 33.4 Holy Lights in 58.5 seconds.

Obviously, the numbers aren't that good. In a future patch, Judgements of the Pure will be buffed to 15% spell haste. That turns out to about 34.15 Holy Lights over 55.5 seconds with three Judgements or 36 over 58.5 seconds if you cast it only once. Please understand that this is imperfect math and theorycrafting at its most crude. In actuality, you'll be casting slightly more because the haste granted actually reduces the global cooldown and the GCDs will eat up strategic timing in PvP.

One other problem is that the benefit of Judgements will plateau at a certain point. If we Judge every time it's up, we gimp our mana and set ourselves back even further with the GCD. If we cast six times over one minute, we lose about 9 seconds to the GCD. Of course, we'll need our Judgements to land, too, which is where the added +Hit from Enlightened Judgements come in handy. The point of all this is that I believe in Judgements and I believe in haste. I think everything still needs some work, but that's where I stand. Because at crunch time, I really want to be able to cast that .625 second Holy Light.

Finally we have Beacon of Light. Take it. It's one point and you've gone this deep into the tree. No 11-point talent will compare with this. Trust me when I say that you will learn to love it and adjust to how it only works off effective heals. It takes skill to use and eases the strain on multiple target healing. Furthermore, Blizzard has also stated that they'll be watching this ability further -- and I'm certain it will be tweaked for the better.

Holy can still use some love, yes. But the tree is far from broken. It's far better than it was in The Burning Crusade, certainly, and when it comes right down to it, being a Paladin -- even a Holy one -- rocks.

Ok, I was supposed to put this up along with talent guides to Protection and Retribution, but right now my brain's been squeezed dry from trying to theorycraft and champion Judgements of the Pure. The rest of the Paladin guides to follow real soon.

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