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The Light and How to Swing It: Holy Powah!

Gregg Reece

With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon, an entire flight of black dragons. Please send screenshots as well as any comments to

Well, Chase decided against using "Holy Powah!" as the title for his paladin article on the subject for healadins, so I am selfishly going to grab it.

For those of you who haven't been keeping up with paladins since the Twitter developer chat on Friday, we're getting overhauled yet again and more deeply than ever before. Not only are things being simplified and condensed again like we saw at the beginning of Wrath, but we're getting an additional resource system on top of mana. That's right, additional and on top of mana, which means we're going to be the second (or third?) mana-based class with an extra resource bar to watch.

This new system is called holy power, and no, it isn't referring to a talent in the holy tree that adds crit. It is a mixture of combo points and runic power. This whole conversation is going to take a while (and a couple of blue quotes), so let's continue after the break.

Let's start out with what the devs themselves have said and how they dropped this news on us.

Q: What is the goal when re-designing the paladin class? How do you plan to change rotations, talents, etc?

A. All of the paladin specializations will make use of a new resource called Holy Power. Holy Power accumulates from using Crusader Strike, Holy Shock, and some other talents. Holy Power can be consumed to augment a variety of abilities, including:
  • An instant mana-free heal: Word of Glory
  • A buff to increase holy damage done: Inquisition
  • A massive physical melee attack for Retribution paladins: Templar's Verdict
  • Holy Shield's duration is now extended by Holy Power
  • Divine Storm's damage is now increased by Holy Power
We also introduced several new heals for Holy Paladins including Healing Hands (an AoE heal-over-time that is applied to all players standing near the paladin), Light of Dawn (a cone heal with a 30-yard range), as well as a new heal called Divine Light, which is similar to a priest's Greater Heal, and the new instant heal mentioned above, Word of Glory.

We'll be able to accumulate holy power using Crusader Strike which is available to all paladins at level 1 in Cataclysm. Holy Shock is no longer going to end up baseline (although it is right now in the beta as what we presume is a bug), so that's going to be left to the holy tree as its spec skill. These things, we're going to start calling holy power generators (HPG), because we've got to start the terminology somewhere. There will be HPG talents like the new retribution coodown ability Zealotry that makes your CS give you 3 holy power points per hit. This means you'll be able to pretty much hit Zealotry and then hit Crusader Strike followed by Templar's Verdict for 30 seconds, although you might toss some Judgements in there so you don't go completely and totally out of mana half way through.

As for using this holy power earned, which we're think about about calling holy power points (HPP). You're going to be able to earn up to 3 of these total. However, it isn't target-dependent like a rogue's combo points. Think of it more like a death knight's runic power, but in smaller combo point chunks. Right now, there isn't any special user interface for them yet on the beta, so they're just being handled as a stacking buff that lasts 30 seconds. With the passive Divine Purpose for retribution occasionally dumping more HPP onto the pile just off of melee swings, it's really hard to keep track of where your resource is without any good UI elements.

Q: Can you give us a sneak peek at one or two of the new Retribution abilities or talents?

A. Templar's Verdict: An instant weapon attack that causes a percentage of weapon damage. Consumes all applications of Holy Power to increase damage dealt:
  • 1 Holy Power: 55% Weapon Damage
  • 2 Holy Power: 125% Weapon Damage
  • 3 Holy Power: 225% Weapon Damage

Word of Glory: Consumes all Holy Power to heal a friendly target for a specific amount per application of Holy Power (0 mana cost, 0 cooldown, instant cast).

As a ret paladin, the primary abilities that eat up your HPP will be Templar's Verdict for single-target and Divine Storm for multiple targets. Being as "holy power dump" and "holy power discharge" both sounded rather bad; we're calling these types of abilities holy power releases (HPRs). Word of Glory is an HPR that retribution might use in a pinch, but it will primarily be a holy thing and possibly a protection thing based on the apparent lack of other current abilities available. In addition to these, you'll also have the talented ability Zealotry that we mentioned above. You need a full 3 HPP in order to activate Zealotry in the first place as it doesn't allow for 1 or 2 HPP. Also, we're getting an ability called Inquisition that will boost our holy damage by 30% for 10 seconds per HPP.

Protection's main HPR looks to be Word of Glory which is an instant heal. We'll also have the re-designed tanking cooldown Holy Shield. It won't be a maintained ability anymore, but will instead have a 1 minute cooldown with up to a 30s duration. Holy Shield's duration will be determined by the amount of HPP you had stocked up as it lasts 10 seconds per HPP. Crusader Strike is baseline, so you will have that as your HPG. In the downtime of Holy Shield, it looks like you'll be hitting Word of Glory as your HPR. It has an instant cast and right now it's about all you've got as far as selection. It's not a threat ability, but it will certainly keep your healers happy.

Prot and ret will also have access to a new ability called Inquisition (see completely unrelated video, above) at around level 83. This HPR will increase your holy damage done by 30%. Similar to the new Holy Shield, its duration is 10 seconds per HPP so it will last the same length as your Zealotry for Retribution. There's a lot of not yet implemented stickers covering this ability, so we'll see what all happens with it in the future.

All in all, this solution answers an issue that I've had for a while now about our class. With the current state of retribution and protection, the class wasn't working well with the concept of being mana-based. Even holy was having some issues with an overabundance of it. This provides a mechanic that will allow for more interesting uses of abilities and increases the depth of the class without adding the complexity of a multitude of talent procs that you have to watch and manage. It also removes some of the dependency of mana for big abilities off retribution and protection, which is always a good thing.

The Light and How to Swing It tries to help paladins cope with the dark times coming in Cataclysm. See the upcoming paladin changes the expansion will bring. Wrath is coming to a close and the final showdown with the Lich King is here. With Cataclysm soon heating things up, will you be ready?

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