I’ve talked here before about switching from my current (55/0/16) build to a prot-subspec build that focuses on Divine Guardian and sacred shield as a method of mitigating incoming damage. (I have concentration aura for group buff/synergy reasons.)
Once I finally got the tokens together to get a 4 piece Tier 8/8.5 set bonus, I picked up a 54/17/0 “bubble” spec as my secondary dual spec (goodbye shockadin build 🙁 ) and started tinkering around with it.
This past week, I used this new Bubble Pally spec just to see what happened, and I had the following observations.
- I did not miss the critical strike rating that I lost from the ret tree as much as I thought I would, with the exception of Holy Shock. (I think this is probably due to picking up 5/5 Divinity)
- I DID miss the 10% reduced mana on instant cast spells – not just Holy Shock but Beacon of Light and Sacred Shield especially.
- In general, though I never went completely out of mana, my mana did not go nearly as far as I was used to, and I had to switch healing styles. I think this is a good thing, 90% of the time, and I think I was a better balanced tank healer for it. That last 10% of the time is any fight or period of time where the tank is getting his face beaten in (Hard Mode Auriaya, for instance). With this spec, it is not possible to chain cast Holy Light for more than a very short time. Divine Illumination helps some with this, but not much, and not nearly with enough regularity to make a real difference.
- The mitigation is awesome. Having Sacred Shield as a 1 minute buff is even MORE awesome. Because the 1 minute cooldown is easier for me to manage, the combination of increased uptime and increased absorbtion with the increased proc rate resulted in more than twice the absorption over the course of a 25 man raid than I’ve seen with my other build.
- I’m still torn between Glyph of Divinity and Glyph of Holy Shock – the lowered cooldown on Holy Shock is really nice – but it’s a lot more of a mana hardship to use it all the time. Remembering to use Lay on Hands every fight isn’t something I’m particularly good at. Probably could go either way, really.
Oddly, when I went back to do the numbers, I didn’t see a lot of change in my overall Illumination and Replenishment mana regen, which is slightly disturbing for the success of this build post 3.2. (I’m particularly surprised about the lack of change in Illumination regen, since this build carries 6% less crit than my ret-subspec build does)
Because of the huge nerfs to Illumination, Replenishment, and Divine Intellect, I’m worried that this build won’t be sustainable as a long-term tank healer in 3.2 raiding. Unfortunately I don’t know that the standard 51/5/15 or 51/0/20 builds will work much better, so we’ll have to see how that shakes down.
Fortunately, I didn’t find myself totally useless or my overall throughput diminished at all. Your mileage may, of course, vary – depending on the other healers in your raid, the buffs you’ve got flying around, and your own personal style of healing. I’m quite pleased, though, and will continue to experiment with this particular spec, at least until further experience says that I’ve got a real problem on my hands.
Image Credit Dimitri_C
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