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Since Rivs is leveling up a holy paladin and asked about tips, I thought I’d make a post about the basics. This is just how I play, and things that have made me successful at healing.

A holy paladin is good at many things, but the first and foremost is single target healing. Compared to the other healing classes, we don’t have many spells in our repertoire, but what we do have enables us to excel as tank healers, and we’re certainly able to break out of that mold as needed. Paladins also tend to have very large mana pools at later gear levels, and are able to last a long time without running dry. This is a catch 22 – because you’re a holy paladin, your tank will almost never stop and let you drink because he has never heard of a paladin dipping below 50% mana, but at the same time that’s okay, because being a holy paladin means that you probably won’t need to.

The basic foundation of the holy paladin is two spells: Flash of Light and Holy Light. Flash of Light is the smaller of the two heals, with a quicker cast time, and Holy Light is a longer casting, more mana-expensive heal that has roughly five times the base healing output of Flash of Light. Flash is the quick filler spell that you use to top off dps who stand in The Bad Things or tanks who aren’t taking much damage, and Holy Light is a bomb of … well, holy light, that’s best to drop on someone who is taking very large hits that Flash just can’t keep up with, like a tank who might have rounded up a few extra adds and the boss. It’s really a matter of preference as to which one is used more often – some of us are devoted Flash of Light spammers, while others have embraced the strength of Holy Light’s powerful heals (how else would I ever hit 6k hps?).

When it comes to 5 mans and leveling as a healer, you’re going to be at a little bit of a disadvantage compared to other healers, because a lot of the things that make paladins good aren’t available until later levels, like Divine Plea at 71. As soon as it’s possible to get Beacon of Light (earliest is level 60), your job will be a lot easier. I recommend always keeping Beacon (along with Sacred Shield) on your tank, and sprinkling around FoL on the dps as they take damage. Don’t be afraid to use Holy Shock – it eats up mana and it’s not all that strong, but it’s very much necessary when there is heavy AoE damage, and can proc an instant FoL for you, which will be a real life saver. Always stay on the ball with casting your Judgement, because the haste buff that you get is crucial. The most important thing in 5 mans is that you will have to be on the ball and react quickly, because you are constrained by your cast times. An example is Argent Confessor Paletress: in that fight you have to be able to heal up five people in between fears, and that means taking advantage of all the time that you have. Become intimately acquainted with your cast times so that you are able to chain cast without pauses – a cast bar addon, like Quartz, can help a lot with this. Don’t forget that you also have Divine Illumination and Divine Favor at your disposal – the 50% mana cost reduction and 100% crit chance of those two will definitely come in handy.

When it comes to speccing, I prefer to go into the protection tree for my other 20 talent points, rather than retribution. That’s just a personal preference that fits my play style – I think crit is no longer the amazing stat that it used to be for paladins, while having the extra mitigation of an improved Sacred Shield, improved Devotion Aura, and Divine Sacrifice available for times when you just can’t keep everyone up are absolute life savers. I would imagine that if you don’t have a retribution paladin or balance druid in your raid group, then a holy build that makes Heart of the Crusader available would be nice to benefit the raid as a whole, but I’ve had the most success with 51/20/0.

I joke about it, but my rule for successful paladin healing really is ABC. Unless you’re geared to the teeth and running heroics for fun, your tank/party will be taking damage, and you will need to always be casting to top it off. Usually spamming FoL is sufficient outside of raids. Learn to love your FoL button, you two will be seeing a lot of each other.


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