#1 - 2011/05/11 11:30:00 PMAfter spending a small amount of time on the PTR, it's pretty plain to see holy paladins are in a world of trouble. I could even go as far as to say these changes are going to cripple our usefulness in Heroic Raid content. Our spell costs have gone up drastically and there is no compensation for it. Our divine plea still reduces out healing by 50%, our judgment is still based off of BASE mana, innervates can be completely ruled out, and mana tide has been cut in half, and after spending 5 months killing 13 heroic raid bosses this tier I still feel holy power is an extremely clunky system to try and balance a healer around.
Right now the PTR seems to be bugged as it's missing the CD reduction on Holy Radiance and Divine Protection is not giving the intended Speed of Light proc. Missing those two small buffs isn't really going to matter much though as they are just that, small buffs.
On the surface, the cool down reduction to holy radiance looks like a good thing, it really isn't going to help us all the much though. The way raid damage comes in we can do quite fine with the 30 second cool down. The type of damage holy radiance heals rarely comes more often then every 30 seconds, and when it does 20 seconds isn't going to fit in the extra non holy radiance anyway. Another problem is that mana cost of Holy radiance is still high. Casting a high mana cost spell more often when we already can't maintain casting our current bread and butter spells is just going to make the mana problem worse. Since holy paladins are also very CD based with divine favor and avenging wrath, and since we already don't have enough cool downs to ensure every holy radiance has a healing cool down tied with it on fights where we do use it on CD, the additional holy radiances that do get cast will have lower healing done than the ones we are currently casting.
Another problem is our mastery still works against our single target healing. First off, the shields are too small, the amount that it absorbs is not useful enough to save a life and what little bit it does prevent could easily have been healed up by a number of passive or smart heal spells like holy radiance, healing rain, circle of healing, light of dawn, etc... When we cast on top of our same target more than once the shield effect is wasted since it doesn't stack. When we make good use of our mastery it's effectively little more than a heal snipe and a worthless gain to HPS. On top of all that, the spells that do get an effect from mastery now costs considerably more.
Our 4.2 2 pc set bonus also works against us now. When we heal on top of the beacon we effectively loose 50% of our healing throughput, and with the increase in spell costs we are going to need all the throughput we can find. The 2 pc just does NOT provide enough mana return to justify loosing 50% of our heal. We will actually save MORE mana by NOT healing on top of our beacon than by healing on top of the beacon because we will have to heal less often to get the same amount of throughput. This is just really backwards thinking.
You can't really argue the mana nerfs are to make up for the "buff" to crits. First off, no other healer has had their mana costs increased this patch, and holy paladins really don't get much a of a benefit from crit. The only benefit we get from crit is conviction, and once we can keep it up 100% of the time there is little need to have more crit. The huge increase in spells costs are going to make conviction harder to keep up since we will not be able to cast as much as we used to. Holy paladins are still the masters of over heal. Our beacon, protector of the innocent, enlightened judgments, and large heals all tend to over heal and hence, suffer from crit stacking. If we try and wait for a person to take a bit more damage so we can take advantage of a crit heal one of two things will happen, either another healer who can afford to waste mana will get the injured person first, or they will die from the next hit they receive. Of all the healers, holy paladins will feel the double crit "buff" least of all.
I would really like to hear what Blizzard's intentions with Holy paladins are. Does Blizzard just not realize how we heal in raids? If so can Blizzard please talk to some of us that do heal in raids? If you want us to heal a certain way it would be nice if we knew what it was. As it stand now, I've had to relearn how to heal as a holy paladin at least 5 times since 4.0.1 came out. It's getting really old.