Holy Power and More for the Post-Cataclysmic Paladin

Please give a warm World of Matticus welcome to guest-blogger Ophelie, and remember to visit Bossy Pally for more great Paladin posts!

I came home from a weekend in the wilderness to discover my class turned upside down. That’s what happens when you spend two days and a night in the middle of nowhere without internet. You come back and you’re lost.

As I was scrambling to piece together the bits of news, Matt suggested I guest post about it. Guest post about the paladin news, of course, not my scrambling. So I did what I always do when having to talk about Cataclysm news. I grabbed a pen, some paper and called up Google.

And if that wasn’t enough, a new beta build was released between then and now, just for confusion purposes.

So…here’s what I found out, and there’s what I think of it all.

Apparently, last Friday there was a certain Twitter Developer Chat. Apparently, some paladiny stuff was said. Apparently, it was stuff like:

All of the paladin specializations will make use of a new resource called Holy Power. Holy Power accumulates from using Crusader Strike, Holy Shock, and some other talents. Holy Power can be consumed to augment a variety of abilities, including:

An instant mana-free heal: Word of Glory
A buff to increase holy damage done: Inquisition
A massive physical melee attack for Retribution paladins: Templar’s Verdict
Holy Shield’s duration is now extended by Holy Power
Divine Storm’s damage is now increased by Holy Power

We also introduced several new heals for Holy Paladins including Healing Hands (an AoE heal-over-time that is applied to all players standing near the paladin), Light of Dawn (a cone heal with a 30-yard range), as well as a new heal called Divine Light, which is similar to a priest’s Greater Heal, and the new instant heal mentioned above, Word of Glory.

As for the release of new talents builds, for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to witness them first hand, here’s a link to the MMO Champion version.

I’m going to stick with the holy side of the things, because I’m primarily a healer and this, after all, is primarily a healing blog. I’m also going to stick with the big picture and what stood out to me. I figure anyone who really cares about the nitty gritty details has already read (if not tested) them anyway.

Back to the dev chat news, in other words, we get a new bar (like a health or mana bar, and yes it’s currently supposed to be an actual bar and not cute circles on our screen) to record stacked up combo-like points as we cast Holy Shock, as we directly heal our Beacon target (via the Tower of Radiance talent) and possibly as we do other things. We’re then given Word of Glory, a get-out-of-jail free card for when there’s need to fill in one of the gaps caused by Holy Shock cooldowns.

More Bars, More Bars!

When I first heard of a Holy Power bar, I froze for a second, worried that my mana bar was being replaced. But no, they’re actually adding a new bar and not removing old bars. I like that. It gives us something else to keep our eyes on and to make the mental hamster run faster. It’s not too complex, after all, last I heard, Holy Power only stacked up to 3. 3 points is totally something I can keep track of.

Forcing us to use Holy Shock regularly, keeping track of Holy Power stacks and deciding when to use a finishing move is a small but welcome addition to the holy paladin thought process.

EDIT : In the comments, Esh, who’s been playing in the beta, reported that Holy Power is actually a buff icon and not a bar, at least at lower levels. It’s been assumed that Holy Power would be a bar due to a post by Ghostcrawler, but a buff icon certainly makes more sense.

Holy Shock: A Love Story

Personal confession time: I love Holy Shock. I’ve always loved Holy Shock. Holy Shock and I go way back. Holy Shock was the whole reason I specced Holy in the first place (hey I was new to the game and didn’t realize there were more efficient ways to deal damage). Though I eventually discovered it wasn’t the wonderful spell I had imagined, it’s still been there for me through all the hard times. Whenever I needed to quickly save someone without abandoning the tanks, it didn’t hesitate. It was my companion during all those ICC fights that had me casting and running (and cursing!) at the same time.  It listened to all my problems and never laughed at me… Erm. Moving on.

In one sentence, it should come as no surprised that I’m thrilled to see Holy Shock finally getting the game mechanics buff it deserves.

Oh, and if adding importance to Holy Shock wasn’t enough, its mana cost is brought down to 8% from 18% and it helps with all the slow casting via the talents Infusion of Light and Speed of Light, somewhat replacing the current Light’s Grace.

There’s also a new spell, Holy Mending, that gives Holy Shock a small heal over time. 15% of a Holy Shock over 9 seconds seems a little silly, but, um, you know, at least they’re trying.

EDIT: Ryonar left an excellent comment that is unfortunately stuck in pending comment limbo. He pointed out that Holy Mending is already in the game: it’s the tier 8 2p bonus. The MMO Champion Paladin page makes it look like a skill trainable at level 80. It either a bug, or it’s becoming a permanent skill in the expansion.

Addressing the Movement Issue

Remember what I said about casting and running at the same time?

Sorry, I couldn’t heal I was moving.”

How often has an embarrassed paladin said that following a premature tank death? (There’s also the slightly more disturbing “sorry, I couldn’t move I was healing”.)

To me, the new emphasis placed on Holy Shock, and the addition of Word of Glory, another instant heal, looks like an attempt to make movement more manageable. I’m curious to see how much assistance the final mechanics of Healing Hands and Light of Dawn end up providing to the current movement impaired paladin. As of now, both are instant and both seem to allow movement during the spell effect.

Healing Hands even increases movement speed by up to 60% when talented into Speed of Light. Being someone who staged a large protest when she couldn’t fit Pursuit of Justice into all her paladin specs, my stomach did summersaults when I discovers the good news.

Feelin’ Like a Paladin

Like druid healers and their tree forms, like shamans with their skirts, like priests with, um, whatever is meaningful to priests (normally I’d make a joke about priests always being dead, but for some reason, it feels like a bad idea to do that here), us paladins have a sense of identity too.

In our history, we’ve been blasphemized. We’ve been forced to wear certain pieces of mail gear because it was better itemized than plate. (Min/maxers even went as far as equipping the Meteor Chaser’s Raiment, which is made of toilet paper, of all things). Again and again, we’ve been sent to the back of the room with all the casters. Many of us were even deprived of shields, resigning ourselves to carrying orbs or lamps in our off-hands. The horrors just never end.

On top of it all, Cataclysm promises to lessen the differences between the healing classes, in an effort to promote Blizzard’s “blame the player not the class” campaign (or was it, “bring the player, not the class”? I can never get it straight.)

But you know what?

I’m ok with it.

Seriously. Healing Hands and Light of Dawn introduce some multi-target healing beyond the limitations of Beacon of Light and Glyph of Holy Light. Healing Hands and Holy Mending/Holy Shock also flirt with heals over time, another element lacking in paladin healing.

Yet, while the end results are similar from one class to another, our ways to reach those ends are tailored to our unique paladin interests (special little snowflakes that we are). The mechanics of our new spells encourage us to get up close and personal (hopefully, my stubborn plate wearing tendencies will finally be useful) and Holy Power…

Ah! Holy Power!

I can just picture my little paladin puffing up with zealousness as she casts, then unleashing it all in one blow.

Oh, and yes, I do agree with Rohan and a number of others in their preference for the term Zeal. The concept of Holy Power is terrific, the name Holy Power, however, makes me think of energy drinks.

But you know that when we’ve reduced ourselves to complaining about semantics, we’re finally getting some pretty promising Cataclysm news.

30 thoughts on “Holy Power and More for the Post-Cataclysmic Paladin”

  1. All in all I’m pleased about one thing right now: change. It has been needed for quite some time now, and looking at the recent patch notes, it will be well and truly got.

    The thing I’m most concerned about however (and actually I think Ghostcrawler said a similar thing recently) is too much complexity.

    Because there’s one thing having Healing Hands and Light of Dawn. But then there’s a whole other thing where Holy Divine Grace (™) has a 20% chance to heal 10% of your Holy Power (Batman) immediately and every second for the next 3 seconds to up to 5 players within 10 yards _unless_ you’re talented into Mystical Intervention which takes it to 4 seconds, 7 players, and provides the caster with a 5% casting haste buff and a free icecream of his/her choice.

    For me mechanics are cool. Even the RNG has its place. But chances of chances of chances, well, they just get my brain all befuddled.

    Complexity aside, the chance to move a lot more and still be an effective healer sounds perfect, the opportunity to do more than single-target heal (assuming a change of mentality amongst our non-healing brethren) is most welcome, and the being able to get down and dirty with our plate and shield is _incredibly welcome. If they manage to do all that, not make my brain hurt in the process AND give us some cool graphical effects that don’t make everything look like we’re merely showering ourselves with pixie dust, then I will be an honest to goodness, no-holds-barred believer.

    Unless they take it all away again in the next beta patch citing scheduling constraints.

  2. @ Mally : I’ll admit I almost burst into tears when I realized I had about 2 hours to figure out the new talent tree and update my post. Yet after going over the tree several times, I don’t find it all that bad. It’ll take awhile to get used to the changes and to understand how to make the most of the new mechanics, but after a few weeks into Cataclysm, it’ll be second nature. I have to say, I am looking forward to learning to play my class again. Since I don’t meddle with other classes much, I really miss the learning part of the game.

  3. So, I’ve seen a number of people mentioning Holy Mending as something new coming in Cataclysm, and if we do get a new baseline or talented effect along those lines, that’s great.

    But Holy Mending isn’t it. What you’re linking to is the 2-piece Tier 8 set bonus. It’s live today, and has been in the game since 3.1.


  4. I was afk when these changes came down (on vacation), so I’m a little late to the party, but I’m feeling pretty good about what I see so far.

  5. @Esh Oooooh I hadn’t thought of that… the return of the Shockadin… kinda sends a shiver of excitement down my spine. Or at least it would if I could figure out how to fit the new spells on top of the 15 I already have mapped to my three-button mouse… :/

    @Ophelie I, like you, love the learning and mastering part too. I can’t wait to see how things map out in the New World for us New Pallies. Oh, and glad you posted – I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on BossyPally all this time! :O

    Incidentally, I wonder if some of these changes are a deliberate attempt to get us to spend more time looking _away_ from Grid/HealAddonOfChoice and heal in the real (online) world? Aside from the new direct heals, it seems the situational awareness needed by the likes of Healing Hands, Light of Dawn and perhaps others, will require an actual _avoidance_ of looking at healing addons to make the most of them. It’d be interesting to know if the thinking is something that’s being thrown around within Blizzard and if so, just how far such thinking could be taken.

  6. @Mally – My interest in the return of the Shockadin is actually greater than my post makes me sound. I’m rolling a new paladin in the beta and am going to play around with possibly leveling as holy to see if it’s ‘easier’. Though I’ve never done ret either and that appeals too. I may have to play around with two noob pallies in beta to get a feel.

  7. @Esh I actually share your interest in both Holy and Ret levelling. I originally levelled as Prot back the day when even Blessing of Sanctuary used to do damage and you’d have packs of mobs just dripping off you. I was going to roll a new Worgen Priest so I could get some broader healing experience, but with all these Pally changes, I’m definitely being pulled in at least 3 different directions…

  8. This makes me think one thing : So… why am I going to continue to try to heal as a priest?

    Wow. I think I should retire my main and re-roll. >.<

  9. So, doing some playing around with a baby pally in beta. Crusader Strike being a baseline ability is nice. It builds Holy Power when it successfully hits. Holy Power is fairly useless until around level 6 or so (I forgot to write it down!) when I got Word of Glory. Word of Glory is the instant cast heal that uses Holy Power. You can not use it at all without Holy Power, and it is more powerful depending on how many stacks of Holy Power you have (which only stacks to 3).

    I think it was an interesting move to make that a paladin’s first heal. It is a great way to teach them how to manipulate Holy Power. Trainers are borked right now so I can’t train my next level ability but, at least I was able to get that far. Hopefully they’ll be fixed soon. The more I think about this, the more I think the Shockadin may end up being viable, though.

  10. Wanted to add without editing (in case someone was already responding to the other post :P): At low levels, at least, Holy Power is not a bar but a buff icon that shows how many charges you have. I don’t have an extra bar. I haven’t played around with a higher level paladin in beta yet (been mainly testing low level content), so I don’t know if that will change.

  11. @Esh That’s interesting! If the blog will let me, I’ll make an edit to the post. I (and pretty much all of the other pally bloggers who wrote about it) assumed it was a bar due to a post by GC.

    There was also a great comment that got stuck in the “neeeding moderation” section that pointed out that Holy Mending is already in the game, it’s currently the T8 2p bonus. I don’t have the powers to approve the comment, but if I can update my post, I will.

    @ Mally Thank you for the compliment!

    I’m excited about the idea of paying more attention to the fight than the raid frames too. Proximity healing is something I’ve wanted for a really long time and I’m happy to see that Blizzard is testing the waters with Healing Hands and Light of Dawn. I dunno, spells like Lay on Hands just seem so silly: I’m going to use my hands to heal you to full health from across the room…yes, my arms are REALLY THAT LONG!

    @ Amonita YESS!!! Come on over to the better side of the game!

  12. @Ophelie Apparently the bar is coming, but we don’t have it yet. As of right now, it’s still a buff.

    By the way, having Word of Glory and Holy Smite made killing Hogger a breeze. I just kept healing myself with my no mana cost Word of Glory and alternating between Holy Smite and Crusader Strike to build up my Holy Power.

  13. HP as buff @ level 6 may still mean a bar at 80. E.g. hunters get pets as companions @ level 1 but a pet bar does not happen till 10.

    I was not a big fan of Holy Shock and one of the appeals of the Holy Paladin was the purity and simplicity of the healing.

    This may be fine but it sure strikes me as artificial/contrived. The most important thing to me is if they keep crusader aura which helps when using my healadin as a bank alt and farmer. Certainly my ex-main pally will not be one of the first toons I level to 80. Which is a good thing. These are such massive changes I expect the Buff/Nerf bat will strike frequently and it is considerably less annoying when you aren’t playing the toon atm.

  14. @Linda It’s not a bar yet, not even at 80. It’s planned though, according to blue posts. Rather like the way the warlock soul shards shows up as a resource bar now.

  15. I am just afraid at 85 with the new heals i might not know how to use them and i will become one of those noobs who are forced to not raid with their end game guilds because an expantion came out and they don’t know their class again!
    And btw we are much more then a tank healing class we top charts beaconing the crappy geared tank and healing the raid aswell.

  16. @Ryan A valid fear, but you have a few levels to start getting used to them. I don’t think any of them you don’t get until level 85, but I could be wrong.

  17. @Ryan My understanding was that Cataclysm healing was going to be less “HS, FoL, HoP, FoL, HoS, HS, JoL” in the space of 2 seconds, and a lot slower, more strategic triage. So in theory, less clicks = more time to think, which should make healing much more forgiving even with additional spells.

    But then again that’s a lot of assumptions and theories… 🙂

  18. Now that we’ve had some time to absorb the changes, and see the new UI… any chances of an update? I had read that the stacking of HP actually increases the cast time of HL… is this right? Are there other ‘side effects’?


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