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The Light and How to Swing It: Major AoE healing changes in the Mists beta


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.

Blizzard has been deploying beta patches at a record pace, which has a lot of stale info being bandied about as fact. The official Mists of Pandaria talent calculator is wildly out of date, and much of the commentary made over the past week is now superannuated. The developers haven't been shying away from making major class changes in these early days of the beta, and so everything is still up in the air.

What we do know for sure is that there's work being done to modify our holy AoE arsenals specifically. First, Holy Radiance still generates holy power points for us. The holy power generation mechanic was moved from Tower of Radiance and placed directly onto Holy Radiance itself. Other than that, every other piece of our holy toolkit has been updated, and for the better.

Holy Radiance drops the HoT

Rather than leaving a persistent HoT effect on our Holy Radiance targets, the new beta version of HR just immediately heals everyone nearby the original target for 50% of the initial heal. The change makes Holy Radiance quite a bit burstier and allows us to forget about rotating through targets to ensure we don't overwrite our own HoT effects. Our Illuminated Healing bubble is also being applied to all of the healed targets as well. The downside is that the spell now simply scales linearly with haste, removing all of the cool haste breakpoints that granted us extra ticks previously.

Holy Radiance empowers our Holy Shock

Daybreak is back, although in a vastly different form from before. Now, after casting a Holy Radiance, our next Holy Shock will additionally heal nearby targets for 50% of its initial healing. Currently, the 50% AoE heal isn't being split, so every nearby target is getting 50% of the Holy Shock's initial healing. In essence, Holy Radiance makes our next Holy Shock like a miniature Holy Radiance.

That's pretty cool. It gives us a reason to continue to cast Holy Shocks during our AoE healing rotation. The boosted Holy Shock can also activate Infusion of Light, which then leads us into a quicker Holy Radiance. Flipping back and forth between Holy Radiance and Holy Shock will be our ultra-efficient healing rotation.

light of dawn
Light of Dawn pulls a 360

Since we're going to be generating so many holy power points with our supercharged Holy Shock/Holy Radiance rotation, we need something to burn those holy power points up. Light of Dawn's frontal cone effect is now removed, allowing it to heal the most wounded targets within 30 yards of the casting paladin. I like that effect even better than Prayer of Healing, which continues to only affect a single party.

I don't consider Light of Dawn to be an AoE heal anymore, but rather a multi-target heal. AoE's key word is area, and since the area is now most of the battlefield, that designation is now outdated. The new synergy between Holy Shock, Holy Radiance, and Light of Dawn looks to give us one of the most dynamic and flexible AoE healing rotations in the game. That's a huge step up from not having a single AoE heal just one expansion ago.

Holy Radiance and Beacon make nice

The new Holy Shock/Holy Radiance synergy is cool, but it's not going to break anything. Holy Radiance's improved burst healing will be helpful but doesn't change much. Light of Dawn losing its facing requirement is simply a quality of life change for me. The headline promised major changes to our AoE healing arsenal, and none of our AoE heals was changed that dramatically.

That's because it wasn't an AoE heal that received the tweak -- it was Beacon of Light. Beacon will now replay a percentage of the healing we deal with Holy Radiance. My beta sources say 10% right now, but we'll see what the final value shakes out to be. The key is that some fraction of all of our AoE heals are replayed through Beacon of Light, allowing us to focus more on AoE healing and less on keeping a tank alive.

Holy paladins are looking pretty good

I'm pretty happy about the changes that are slated for Mists. At least, so far. In Wrath, we were a one-button healing class with zero depth and one job. In Cataclysm, we've evolved into more developed healers, with a variety of tools to accomplish our goals. Now, in Mists, we're transforming into the complex and capable healing class that I always knew we could be.

I know that there will be a ton of players choosing monks when Mists is released, and we'll be competing against mistwalkers along with the rest of the healing cadre. For the first time in my holy paladin career, I know that we're going to be able to hold our own. Holy paladins have always found a way to beat the odds and to defeat our weaknesses, but soon, we might not have to. I am looking forward to an expansion where I don't ever feel like I don't have the right tools to do my job.

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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