Written by | Posted September 8, 2015 – 9:51 pm Descent and Ascent

It didn’t take long to get from Thunder Bluff to the Echo Isles – Ankona took advantage of a wyvern so she could think and plan before getting to her destination. She had information to confirm with the spirits – was Gromnor dead? Was he really in the northern part of the Eastern Kingdoms, somewhere […]

filed under Feature, Healing, Paladin, Raiding
State of the Raid: Paladin Healing
comment 18 Written by on April 21, 2009 – 4:46 am

We’ve largely left Naxxramas and the days of bottomless mana behind, tackling the harder challenges of Ulduar and the taint of an Old God.  In that light, I think it’s largely time that Blizzard took another look at Paladin healing.  While we’ve come so very far from Molten Core, and Paladin healing has some amazing tools and abilities, we’re still facing some serious obstacles that are made painfully clear in Ulduar, especially in 10 man raids.

This is particularly directed at the Holy Paladin’s lack of raid healing abilities.

Flash of Light is now useless in 10 mans, and only usable in 25 mans as a method of regaining mana, when there’s not much going around so your other healers can pick up your slack.  Mana efficient it may be, but it’s not effective as a raid healing tool, since it just doesn’t heal for enough – and, even with haste and Light’s Grace, Holy Light is just too slow.  Which leaves Holy Shock – which is still on a 6 second cooldown for me, since the Glyph of Holy Shock isn’t available on my server yet.

Mana is continually an issue, since the entirety of 10 man Paladin healing is literal Holy Light spam, with an occasional Beacon or Sacred Shield refresh.  In a 10 man, fighting XT-002 Deconstructor, every heart phase had me DPSing, with Divine Plea and Judgement of Wisdom, since every normal phase took me down to 10-20% mana.  Fortunately, Deconstructor is set up for that to be possible.  Kologarn… isn’t.

We’ll leave behind how entertaining it is to push one button for 4 hours, since I mind that less than most.

Obviously this is less bad in the 25 man setting, since a team of healers has a lot more support options between them, and since I can literally worry ONLY about the tank and myself, and ignore the raid, because I know my raid healers are that good.  In a 10 man, they’re still that good, but there aren’t that many of us and we’re required to overlap sometimes, especially with the levels of damage in Ulduar.

Now, I’m sure I’m going to get accused of overindulging in QQ, and of ignoring the awesome raid healing that is Beacon of Light, and in not realizing how awesome Paladins are at being MT healers.

First – Beacon of Light is not a raid healing ability.  A heal that heals only two people, and then only if the first person isn’t overhealed, is a heal with a splash component, just like Binding Heal isn’t a raid heal ability.  No other raid healing ability is dependent on the first heal not being overheal (see: Chain Heal) – and even then, Beacon of Light hits a maximum of 2 people, while Chain Heal can (glyphed) hit 4, and Circle of Healing, Prayer of Healing, and Wild Growth hit up to 5.  In addition, though this is touted as a mana saver, it’s extremely mana intensive to keep this spell activated all the time – as has been necessary in Ulduar – and Beacon healing does not count towards Illumination.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Beacon of Light is an awesome spell, and it saves my arse and my tank in 25 man situations frequently.  It just doesn’t cut the mustard in 10 man raids.

Second – Paladins ARE awesome at being MT healers.  /flex! When it comes to keeping a tank alive?  That’s my job, and I’m fine with that – it’s what I do, and I don’t want to change that!  I like being a tank healer, and I try pretty hard to be good at it!

However, *NO other healing class is so pigeonholed*.  Priests can choose whether to be holy – and be able to do BOTH kinds of healing, but raid healing better – or Discipline – and be able to do BOTH kinds of healing, but MT healing better.  Druids can, through their HoTness and choice of spec/focus/glyphs, be either raid healers or MT healers.  Shamans can, through their chain-healing and choice of spec/focus/glyphs, be either raid healers or MT healers – though their raid healing is still stronger.

Holy Paladins can not do sufficient raid healing to be acceptable raid healers in Ulduar, even in a pinch when things hit the fan.  This has been a problem for awhile (Heroic Loken as a Paladin is nearly impossible until a certain gear level – which for me was unobtainable outside of Naxxramas. Having healed it as a Resto Shaman in mostly blues, I find the dichotomy striking.  Not to mention Ahn’Kahet and Azjol-Nerub.  And remember Magister’s Terrace?), and I’m not the only one that’s noticed it.

Ok Anna, you say, that’s a lot of griping, and we get the point.  So what about a solution and not just whining?

Well, I’d come up with one, but there’s already one out there that I would love to see implemented.

The wonderful Coriel of Blessing of Kings (if you are a pally and don’t read BoK, you should!) has proposed a simple solution, used through a Glyph, that would really help alleviate this – especially in the current situation where FoL is largely unusable as a tank-healing spell.  The basic gist is a new glyph that would increase the cost of FoL by 100%, but make it hit two targets – or increase the cost by 50% and have it hit a second target for 50%.  Having this as a glyph would allow Paladins that only raid 25-man content to skip it, where it is much less needed, but would let other Paladins pick up a little extra oomph to be more versatile in their 5 and 10-man groups.

Or even (gasp!) build this type of functionality into a talent, to encourage Paladins to Dual Spec for each role, as Druids and Priests (and to a lesser extent Shamans) are able to do.

I’m not asking for Paladins to be the end-all, be-all of every kind of healing.

Being a specialist in tank healing is a strong and viable role, much like Shamans are specialists in raid healing, and it’s one that I’ve come to be quite fond of (as I’m fond of raid healing with my shaman).  I want to be able to survive in other roles if I have to – even if it’s not the best or most useful way to heal, because sometimes other healers die or have to be mobile.  As yet there is not a fight in Ulduar that’s not had an insta-gib mechanic that you HAVE to move out of or run away from (Kologarn’s Eyebeams anyone?) and if your healers can’t trade off roles, at least keeping everyone alive while the others execute a Monty Python-esque RUN AWAY strategy, there’s a problem.

Paladins are lacking the appropriate tools to be able to handle those kinds of 10-man situations.

I would never to go to a 10 man Ulduar, Malygos, or Sartherion+ raid with two Holy Paladins, even if they were the only healers I had available.

If Wrath of the Lich King is about “bringing the person, not the class” – there needs to be an adjustment.  Not an overhaul, not a total re-tooling of the class, not a negation of the strengths of Paladin MT healing.  An adjustment that would allow enough flexibility to not be isolated on the basis of class, from healing roles.  Being the best tank healers is great – but being the best tank healers at the expense of being able to back up your healing team isn’t so great.  In a 25 man that matters a lot less, but in 5 and 10 man content, that’s a bitter pill to swallow.

TLDR Version: Healing Paladins are largely unprepared for the AOE damage of Ulduar for raid healing, and back to one-button spam for tank healing.  This is particularly exacerbated in 10 mans, where healer over-specialization is detrimental to the survival of the raid.

If you enjoyed the article, why not subscribe?

18 Responses to “State of the Raid: Paladin Healing”

  1. All other healing classes have to make a choice in their talent tree to either be good in group healing and do a tiny bit of single target, or be good in single target, and do a bit of group healing. So a glyph to add grouphealing that is actually useful would be way too OP.

    Paladins are uber in single target. There is no other class that I rather see healing the MT.

    Rather than giving them group heals, I would like them to give the paladin abilities to move on the fly, while still being a one target at a time healer. That way you can heal more targets in the same time, move while healing, and still maintain your single target healer position.

    So a glyph that reduces FoL cast time to instant, but upping the manacost would be a better choice perhaps. Or maybe reducing the amount healed, while becoming instant.

    Shyraias last blog post..Ulduar – resources overview

  2. @Anna: When you said, “We’ll leave behind how entertaining it is to push one button for 4 hours” it made me smile. That’s was the final straw for me to leave behind my Paladin. Well, that and the fact that I never saw a boss in all of Naxx because I was staring at green bars.

    Bens last blog post..Being Real in a Fake World

  3. I will argue from a 25 man standpoint only:

    You are right, paladins are extremly crappy aoe healers. You might even right about all healing classes doing a pretty good job at single target healing (with shamans still pretty much at the lower end of the food chain). Now most paladins I play with, are single target healers by choice. I don’t see balancing paladin healing as easy as just adding a glyph. If the glyph would be good, every paladin would take it, in the end a strong group heal is much more important than a tiny little bit additional single target HPS. In my books, paladins should get group healing abilities through their talent tree, in a way that they won’t be able to reach some strong MT healing abilites, this is absolutely required for class balancing.

    Paladin healers in my guild do a fantastic job. Ulduar boss design helps them even more. Lots of heavy damage on tanks. And a lot of damage on a single target. Lots of fights require a lot of spreading out, making paladins as good a group healer as shamans.

    Now do paladins need a group heal? I’m not sure. Should we be able to beat all 10 man content with 3 paladins and 7 hunters? Every call for balancing rises other questions. Should prot warriors be better AoE tanks? Is tanking dps balanced? Should every 10 man group have access to bloodlust?

    drugs last blog post..Enthusiasm, I have it.

  4. @Shyraia –

    Thats another possible solution, and one that would also be beneficial. I think the raid healing issues would hurt much less if there wasn’t a mobility issue as well. A 6 second cooldown means one heal per “RUN AWAY FROM THE EYEBEAMS” on Kologarn, and that’s… just not enough. Maybe a Nature’s Swiftness type talent that makes your next heal instant, say on a 2-3 minute cooldown? It wouldn’t fix everything, but it would certainly be a good oshit button and help some with mobility.

    Waiting desperately for a Glyph of Holy Shock, and praying I don’t hate myself for not being able to take Glyph of Divinity.

    By Anna on Apr 21, 2009 | Reply
  5. @Drug –

    Yeah – between what Shyraia was saying and this comment, I think a talent would be better suited than a glyph – say a 3 point one, deep in the holy tree, which would make it impossible to get the crit talents in Ret or Divinity in Prot (or possibly both, if it was a 5 point talent). It would further bloat the holy tree, but it could help.

    And, as I mentioned, a mobility change would be beneficial as well – though obviously balance would be an issue, so probably one or the other for now. And I do *like* being a tank healer – I’d not have stuck it out as a Paladin if I didn’t (especially with a Shaman at level 80!). I just don’t like feeling that I can’t pull my own weight in a group.

    Ulduar boss design is pretty mixed in terms of “helping” a Paladin healer – sure the boss is dishing out tons of damage, and that part is “good” – however, every single fight has a high mobility element unless you Geometry your way out of it (like we’ve had to do on XT-002 Deconstructor), and high mobility + high tank damage = dead tank, if you’re a pally healer. And not even Paladins can spam max rank Holy Light for 6 minutes without going out of mana (unless I missed a major Paladin memo, ’cause I certainly can’t).

    As far as balancing goes, I don’t think we should be able to beat all 10 man content with 3 paladins and 7 hunters. But I don’t think that “Looking for one more healer for Ulduar10, no paladins” is fair either – you can tank Naxx with two warriors. Your question is whether prot warriors should be “better” AOE tanks – among the pack, they may be the weakest… but they still HAVE AoE tanking abilities. Paladins do not have a group heal OR a reasonable mobile heal for the amount of damage that Ulduar is dishing out. Obviously granting both on the level of, say, a Druid’s mobility and tank healing would be amazingly out of balance – but a hat tip in that direction would go a long way towards making Pally healing more tolerable.

    By Anna on Apr 21, 2009 | Reply
  6. Devil’s advocate.

    The problem I have with this is you’d be essentially buffing the paladin class /again/, and right now, in arenas and pvp, you can’t touch them. No literally, you can’t. People do not want priests/druids/shamans in arena, and as you know Bliz balances this game around what works there. In order for pallies to be balanced, you would essentially have to take something away from them so they didn’t just completely eradicate other healers in a pvp venue. Hate to say that, but if you look at the 2v2 team stats right now, you won’t see druid/warlock teams anymore. You will see eighty billion paladins plus DK’s or . . . maybe something else, but it’s mostly dk’s.

    I’m also going to play the class purist card, here, and you’ll likely think me a jerk for it. Hybrids are supposed to be good at things, but not necessarily the jacks of all trades in every single one of their talent trees. If they could flat out do everything a priest can do, there’d be zero reason to play the priest class as you’d have their viability plus plate.

    My main is a druid – another hybrid. Druids I’ve always felt were better raid healers than MT healers for the one simple reason that Healing Touch is completely ineffecient (especially since they’ve buffed nourish so much, but even that is essentially a flash heal and just doesn’t hit as hard. Figure HT would equate to a pallies holy light or a priest’s greater heal, nourish is a really cheap FoL.) A druid can’t just roll lifebloom on the tanks anymore, either – they have to bloom – so they can (if they’re not dumb) hot up your tanks and still wild growth/rejuv/bloom the raid while they wait for bloom to proc. They are nearly AS GOOD as shamans on a raid especially since their rejuvs/regrowths also proc mana returns/runic power/energy/rage to their targets. Are they truly great tank healers? No, because they don’t have direct heals to save the day. They too are sort of pigeon holed with their strengths. Paladins got the single target heals, druids got the strength to spread the love with aoe & hots. They’re opposite sides of the same coin. “We are good at one thing in our trees, but there’s blazing weaknesses elsewhere.”

    It’s just my 50 cents, but the more you start to blend the talents of each class, the less each class’s strengths become apparent. I really wouldn’t want the healers to have all the same spells/capabilities just with different names or what’s the point in really picking a class? You can face smear on character roll and be fine either way. I realize that beaconing/sticking on an MT might be boring, but truth be told, paladins are THE BEST tank healer in the game bar none. They likely shouldn’t be peeling off those tanks to raid heal anyway, or your other healers simply aren’t pulling their weight.

    Yvas last blog post..That’s Loremistress, If You Please

  7. I have to admit, I’m a bit rusty with my holy paladin knowledge. But I checked your armory and I understand what you mean. I don’t know how the Holy Light glyph aoe heal feels as a paladin, but from the healing output I see in my raid, it is pretty impressive.

    The mobility issue has been brought up various times by various classes. Shamans are in the same boat as paladins, riptide is incredibly weak, but while we move, there isn’t anything else. This could be seen as a bad thing, but often it is the paladin or shaman healer, who will learn positioning as fast as no one else, just because every split second he can stand still, he will put out an insane amount of healing. And I’d sometimes prefer to bubble the aoe damage and heal through everything over an instant cast.

    What I miss in the paladin healing three, are talents, that help out reducing the talent while on the move. This could be a shielding mechanic, a HoT, a damage reduction proc or something along those lines.

    The Ulduar encounters I’ve seen are all mobility heavy, but nonetheless still very friendly to spells with cast time. Also tanks have tons of damage reducing abilites on short cooldowns. A good tank will pop those when his healer struggles with some AoE.

    drugs last blog post..Enthusiasm, I have it.

  8. This is so disappointing to read. I haven’t stepped foot in a raid in roughly four months, but I kept hoping before Wotlk that Blizzard would use all these new abilities to make our healing into something fun (and less mana starved). What little I saw of Naxx and heroics before I took a break indicated that wasn’t the case. Hopefully they’ll fix us some day, right?

    Hammardins last blog post..Back – now with 99% less qq

  9. Level faster Hammar! QQ

    Itanya Blades last blog post..Recovering from various wow crap

  10. I agree that paladins are weak in 25s atm but I think that giving them a raid heal or hot would be a band-aid. The concept of a paladin is a strong single target healer… and yeah, sure, they’re ok – but really, any other class can come close to pulling what a paladin can at the moment and have much more utility besides. You’re also right on another thing – I would never choose more than one holy paladin per 25 atm.

    What I’d like to see is for paladins to keep their niche (because, really, we do not need any more raid healers…) and move towards a more disc-like healing strategy based around mitigating incoming damage rather than just spamming big-critting heals at it. *That* seems more paladin to me than most other suggestions I’ve seen. They already have bubbles, and sacrifical talents etc. and the extention of *protection* to the raid, rather than more healing would be far more beneficial.

    This is of course looking at it from a raid perspective where I always have way more raid healers available than single target…


    Auriks last blog post..Lucky Stars Fishes

  11. A fair solution to a clear problem. If only 25 mans existed, I would say Pallys were fine, but they aren’t the only thing that exists. My one complaint is that the talent seems to smack too much of chain heal.

    What are you thoughts on just making flash of light always heal the previous target that was flash of lighted? (or the previous 2 targets) It would be kinda odd and maybe not as powerful as a straight smart heal, but it’d be different and give you some party healing that you lack.

    Veneretios last blog post..Shattering Throw: The Best Ability you’re Not Using

  12. Vene, If I understand you correctly, I see that idea as either a contributor to our existing issue with overheal or just not an effective solution. If you’ve just healed someone, it’s not likely that they need healing again unless they’re the main tank. We already have the bacon for that. I think what most paladins want (and what I want) is a way to deal with situational, aoe damage fights. I know this is an old example, but I’ll always remember how abysmal it was healing the last boss of Sethekk Halls. He did that awful channeled aoe, and as a paladin with alright gear, your choice became who to let die. In the instance of a fight like that, having a flash of light that did that would be like an uphill battle. Sure, it’s healing an additional person but in the mean time Gary the Undead Mage is getting his face arcane missiled off, because your flash is only healing 2 (or 3) people instead of your entire party.

    Hammardins last blog post..Holy Speccing for Dummies

  13. Since 3.1 the beacon’s target is healed for the full amount, not only effective heal. Especially the way several fights in Ulduar are setup (e.g. Razorhide – lots of damage on ONE person that needs to be healed asap) I think Paladins are still in a pretty good shape.

    By gphreak on Apr 23, 2009 | Reply
  14. Ya, you’re right… I was looking at things from far too much of a tanking standpoint. (and clearly I really love bacon) However, I still think that what blizz wants is something that feels very different than the other classes abilities. Maybe even an AOE heal that uses the circle on the floor for targeting (like Blizzard for mages) and does like this massive heal that’s split between all targets within the area. It would be pretty average with 10 people there, but really cool with a set of 5 and even effective at healing like 3 tanks standing together.

    Anyway, my silly brainstorming aside… I can’t emphasize enough that I don’t consider Holy Paladins to be QQing. You guys are absolutely right that something needs to be done and I just don’t understand how or why Blizzard hasn’t already addressed this.

    Veneretios last blog post..The Art of Warbringer

  15. As far as I know, beacon does not transfer overheal amounts, even in 3.1.

    I also disagree that pallies can’t raid heal. I have a MT spam set (chock full of int and haste *yawn*) and a raid healing set (chock full of sp, sp, and crit). With Judgements of the Pure, I can spam out 6k base / 9k crit flashes every 1.1 seconds. This is a crazy amount of throughput, and it’s enough general healing that I can do it while assisting with the mt healing or keeping an OT up. I find that it’s actually a much more reliable beacon return for tank healing to heal this way; I don’t have to worry that my 20k nuke is going to in overheal and fail to heal the OT.

    As far as mobility, macro divine favor to HS so that when you hit a modifier, you get an auto-crit HS and thereby proc an auto-cast FoL. There’s not so much movement that this won’t be enough to catch the couple of people that are in danger of dying while you shift (and it’ll also send at least a 15k heal to your beacon target).

    As for “discipline priest like” abilities, check out the prot tree…bubble + divine sacrifice every 2 min (rotating your bubbles) is pretty gold for the amount of raid damage being flung about in Ulduar. It also extends the longevity of your SS, which scales fantastically if you stack a lot of SP. The downside is that you lose the 8% crit from the ret tree…and unfortunately a lot of Ulduar gear is stats confused at best.

    By No on May 11, 2009 | Reply
  16. I have had no problems with healing ten man ulduar so far. My guild only runs it with two healers, me and a Druid and we do an awesome job. It’s all about just bein geared well enough for it. My fol hits for 6 k on a regular basis and I have 33percent crit so my hs crits often. With a beacon on the tank I can usually safely divert quick heals to those who need them. As far as mana goes I do not have a problem. It’s all about properly managing ur cds. Yea it’s a challenge but it’s not supposed to be easy and the kill is more satisfying when u have to fight for it

    By Joe on May 12, 2009 | Reply
  17. I am a holy paly and HAVE one healed Maly 10, I had a walock with heathstones for the vortex, and had the warlock help with heals during phase 3, but holy palys can raid heal some fights with the right makeup. That being said Ulduar is no joke and I would not want to raid it with anything other than my druid heal partner (or other class equel!).

    By Brombal on May 12, 2009 | Reply
  18. Judgement of Light could be the Pallies AoE heal if we got the best numbers out of it. For PvE, I’m really disappointed that Blizzard lets Ret or Prot pallies get bigger numbers then Holy Pallies.

    By Lilchileah on May 27, 2009 | Reply

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

Want to subscribe?   

 Subscribe in a reader Or, subscribe via email: