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The Light and How to Swing It: The road to 3,500 haste


Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

I love the stat break points in WoW. The idea is that at certain values of a stat like critical strike rating or haste, your character's power improves dramatically due to some complex interaction. Not ever spell scales linearly, and so as you reach certain thresholds, your potency can vary wildly. Holy Radiance's interaction with haste rating is a perfect example. The haste rating we acquire obviously lowers the spell's base cast time, which is how every spell works.

However, at certain values of haste, we can actually cause Holy Radiance's AoE HoT to proc for an additional tick of healing. The extra tick of healing tacks on an extra 10% to 15% healing to each Holy Radiance we cast, dramatically affecting the spell's potency. The problem is that while the first haste break point for HR is easily achievable at 777 haste rating, the next break point requires nearly 3,500 haste rating to achieve.

Why bother?

One of the most common arguments against holy paladins' stacking haste rating is that haste actually has a negative effect on most mana pools. While yes, haste increases our healing output, the other healing stats like mastery and critical strike rating actually improve our healing per mana (HPM). Holy Radiance's haste break point is an exception to that rule, as the additional tick of healing allows us to deal more healing for less mana.

With Holy Radiance's dominance of Dragon Soul, it's clear that it's our signature spell in this tier. As such, we should be doing everything we can to raise its effectiveness. If we're already going to be spamming Holy Radiance when facing Ultraxion or Yor'sahj, why not maximize the healing we deal in those encounters? Improving one of our most-used spells simply makes sense.

Finally, I wanted to reach the 3,500 haste break point just for fun. I thought it would be interesting to have an amped-up Holy Radiance at my disposal, and I wanted to see if I'd notice the difference. Between the 5% buff to Holy Radiance from our four-piece tier bonus and the 10% to 15% bonus healing from reaching the maximum haste break point, my Holy Radiance is quite potent. Plus, I've been itching to try out new builds on my holy paladin ever since the shockadin turned out to be a bust.

Collect a few tears from a restoration shaman

No matter which way you slice it, you're going to need to pick up the Bottle Wishes trinket from the valor points vendor to have a shot at reaching 3,500 haste. We're already going to be squeezing every last drop of haste out of the rest of our gear just to get close. Most holy paladins are nowhere near the 3,500 break point in their regular gear, as 3,500 is still a very big number. While it hurt me deeply to replace an intellect trinket with the Bottled Wishes, I know that it had to be done. I can always just swap back to my other trinket later.

Get Reckless with your gemming strategy

Most of the gear choices we have in WoW come down to relative values. Even though nobody likes it, critical strike rating is still a stat that increases our healing done. Critical strike rating helps us heal better. The problem is that when we're looking at gear, we are typically choosing between either 100 crit rating or 100 haste rating or 100 mastery rating. It's not that crit is bad for us, it's just that the other options are stronger. In order for a stat to be desirable, it has to beat the other options.

The 1:1 stat ratio for stats holds true for most of our gem and enchantment choices. While most paladins are happily socketing their gear with 50-intellect Brilliant Queen's Garnets, I had to obtain a ton of 25 int/25 haste Reckless Lava Corals. I'm essentially trading one point of intellect for each point of haste I pick up. While I normally value intellect much higher than haste, I was forced to make the sacrifice in order to get to the magical 3,500 haste number. I also replaced my 50-intellect bracer enchant with a 65 haste enchant, which actually better than a 1:1 trade between intellect and haste. With my gear, I had to use 11 Reckless-style gems just to hit 3,500 rating.

You'll want a cogwheel and some old boots

While I think that the Maw of the Dragonlord is an amazing healing mace, it doesn't have any haste on it. In order to meet the haste break point, I had to swap to a heroic Vagaries of Time. It's the only Dragon Soul healing weapon with haste on it that a holy paladin can use. The problem is that it's also great for other classes too, like shadow priests, so be prepared to wait a bit if other people need one before you.

Finally, the BoE boots from the valor point vendor, the Silver Sabatons of Fury, are required to hit the haste break point as well. The alternative, Pillarfoot Greaves, simply can't match the 200+ haste that the Silver Sabatons provide. I had to downgrade from my 410 heroic plate healing boots in order to hit the haste break point, but again, I think that the sacrifices are worth it.

Putting it all together

Once you've got your haste-laden weapon, boots, trinket, and gems, you should be nearing the 3,500 haste break point if you've got decent gear from Dragon Soul. You can run into issues hitting the break point if you don't have any rings with haste on them or if you picked the valor point relic that doesn't grant any haste. Some of these deficits can be overcome with more aggressive haste gemming or even using a haste consumable during the raid to put you over the break point. Remember that even with 3,500 haste rating, you'll still need Judgements of the Pure and a Wrath of Air totem active in order to hit the break point.

I'll be experimenting with my new 3,500 haste build in Dragon Soul this week, and I'm hoping to see significantly improved Holy Radiance numbers in my World of Logs reports. One of the best reasons to track and upload your combat parses to WoL is to compare your performance on a weekly basis, to see if the tweaks and changes you're making have any noticeable effect.

The Light and How to Swing It: Holy helps holy paladins become the powerful healers we're destined to be. Find out just how masterful mastery healing can be, gear up with the latest gear, and learn how to PvP as a holy paladin.

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