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The morning of the all hands summon to the Blasted Lands, Aely went for a walk. The late fall air was clear and cool, and leaves crunched under their feet in the less-traveled parts of the streets. She and Roger took the long way around Old Town, south through Tanner Circle and down Bulwarks, across […]

filed under Feature, Healing, Paladin, Raiding
Spec Shenanigans – Sacred Shield Redux
comment 6 Written by on July 29, 2009 – 8:53 am

Before you read this post, go ahead and catch up on the discussion.  I’ve been tossing around some ideas for Paladin healing builds in 3.2, particularly the possibility of using a Holy/Prot build instead of the commonly touted Holy/Ret build that’s so common today.  Siha‘s talked a little about this build as well, and it’s something I’ve been trying (quite successfully) even in pre-3.2 raiding.

Reading over the “bug-fixes” part of the most recent PTR build I noticed the following:

Sacred Shield: This buff will no longer have any effect if the target is another player engaged in a duel. In addition, the heal from this buff will no longer cause the paladin to stand, and it is no longer possible for two paladins to both have the spell active on one target.

This is… not good.  Not good at ALL.  Among other things, it means that Divine Guardian is no longer nearly as useful for Protection Paladins, since Holy Paladins will need to be using Sacred Shield on their tank targets in order to get the buff to Flash of Light:

Sacred Shield: When a paladin casts Flash of Light on a target with this buff, they also now place a heal-over-time effect on the target, healing that target for 100% of the Flash of Light amount over 12 seconds.

After 3.2, an effective tank-healing Holy Paladin absolutely must have Sacred Shield up on their tank.

This is one more reason that the 51/17/ +3 build – Holy and Protection – is going to be MORE viable in 3.2, since Protection Paladins are likely to want to spend their talent points elsewhere. Unless they raid with no Holy Pallies, there will be no real reason for a 25 man tanking Prot Paladin to have buffs to Sacred Shield.

That’s actually not what’s bad about this change though. That’s annoying, but not awful – it’s a mitigation change, but not really a massive shift in gears.

Why am I concerned about this?

It is not uncommon for a raid to have two Holy Paladins, especially with the vast quantities of constant tank damage that seems to be the flavor of the month for “how to make healing hard”.  Multiple Beacons of Light can now stack on one target – and they remove the stacking ability from Sacred Shield? So your two Holy Pallies, who are 90% of the time assigned to healing the tank, now must BOTH must have the Bubble Pally build, and they must coordinate who has Shields on the tank.

Two Pallies.  One Tank.  See the problem?

With Sacred Shields no longer stacking, the “second Holy Paladin” (especially if that paladin prefers the crit based 51/5/15 build) can not be as effective as a tank healer.

If Blizzard wants us to bring the player, not the class – then why are they shoehorning raids to only have a proper use for one Holy Paladin, and making the mechanics enforce that bringing two actually diminishes the effectiveness of the second Paladin? The Beacon Stacking issue is now something that they’ve fixed for the same reason.

Why fix one such issue only to create yet another one?

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6 Responses to “Spec Shenanigans – Sacred Shield Redux”

  1. I talked about this very thing in my Bug Fixes post this morning and I’ll be covering the spec implications for Protection in my 3.2 Talent Build post tomorrow.
    .-= Honorshammer´s last blog ..R.I.P. PVE Ret Paladins =-.

  2. There are conflicting reports about the issue, so I can’t be 100% sure either way until 3.2 goes live, but I hear that any Paladin’s Sacred Shield will allow for any Paladin’s Flash of Light to leave a HoT. In other words, Flash of Light will leave a HoT even if a different Paladin was the one who cast Sacred Shield on the target.

    So, coordinating Sacred Shields isn’t going to be that big of an issue other than obviously wanting the Paladin with the best Sacred Shield to cover the primary tank. The big potential problem lies in the fact that the HoT components don’t seem to stack. So even if Paladin A shields Target A and Paladin B shields Target B, Targets A and B will only be able to have a maximum of one Flash of Light HoT each at any given time. Additionally, I don’t know if the more powerful HoT is given priority to heal the target, or if the more recent HoT will simply overwrite the previous one regardless of power.

    Either way, while Holy Paladins still won’t be 100% stackable, we’ll certainly be much more stackable in 3.2 than we are in 3.1.

    PS: The most recent discussion about Sacred Shield, Flash of Light, and patch 3.2 can be found here if you’re interested.

  3. The nerf to illumination really does diminish the main attraction of the ret sub-spec. I can’t see the benefit in taking any variation of 51/5/15, 51/2/18 or 51/0/20 when the throughput advantage from crit is quite low and the mana regen is halved.

    Of course the bubble spec is not without its drawbacks either. Its not long before you break the t8 set which dimishes the benefit of SS greatly (which is one of the troubles with making a spell viable by linking a set bonus to it – I am looking at you 4p t9).

    I think the bigger concern (if you could call it that) is reports from the PTR suggest that Divine Guardian has been fixed / nerfed so that it only absorbs 150% max health regardless of whether you are bubbled (on live it doesn’t have that restriction). You may not think that is that much, but it works out to a 130k per use in 25s (on fights like Hodir, Ignis and XT).
    .-= Silk´s last blog ..When to start hard modes? =-.

  4. Sooo…

    2Pallies1tank, amirite?

    By Magejuego on Jul 30, 2009 | Reply
  5. “2Pallies1tank”

    Now MUCH more viable than 3.1. It might still be a little spiky, but I have found it difficult to run two holy paladins on a tank as the damage patterns get erratic and overhealing gets out of control when either gets out of sync. The changes is 3.2 will definitely increase overhealing but stacking bacon combined with throughput on overheal will smooth out a lot of things, particularly tank swaps.

    Though I am a little worried a dual bacon’d tank will be too tasty for the boss…

    By JoeEgo on Jul 31, 2009 | Reply
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