as presented in "The Light and how to swing it" by Uther

"40 men instance raids" article
some corrections in "the mana pool and healing" article (thanks to your feedback)
editing and grammar check on "the mana pool and healing" article (thanks to Aoikaze of Proudmoore server)

Friday, January 27, 2006

The mana pool and healing

"How many lives does a paladin have?"
"The mana pool" (anonymous paladin)

A Paladin has the highest survivablity in game amongst all nine classes. His mana pool can be converted through healing spells into life with a good mana spent/hitpoints healed ratio keeping him away from death like no other class.

Paladin healing spells/abilities are:

  • Holy light (2,5 sec long cast spell, good amount of damage healed)
  • Flash of Light (1,5 sec short cast spell, small amount of damage healed)
  • Lay on Hands (instant, heals up to paladin full health, 1 hour cooldown)
  • Holy Shock (talent, instant 30 sec cooldown small amount of damage healed, bad mana spent /hitpoints healed ratio.
  • Seal of light and Judgement of Light (see regenerating in combat section for more details)

Other spells/abilities/talents that affects paladin healing:

  • Illumination (talent, with 5 points invested all critical heals costs no mana)
  • Divine favor (talent, cooldown 2 minutes grants a critical effect on your next holy light or flash of light spell
  • Spiritual focus (talent, up to 70% to not lose casting time when you take damage.
  • Concentration aura
  • Blessing of light (blessing, increase effect of holy light up to 400 and flash of light up to 115 on blessed target
  • Healing light (talent holy tree, increases the amount healed by Flash of Light and Holy Light up to 12%)
  • Holy power (talent, up to 5% crit on holy spells)

A premise

Our spells have a good heal per second (hps from now on) score and a good healing/mana ratio but aren't built with a primary healer in mind. Casting time is high compared to other healing classes (druids and priests) moreover we don't have group heals or heal over time spells (like renew). Nevertheless we can do our part on large raids supporting healing and it is not a rare episode to see a paladin in the top 10 healers. In pvp things change a lot, our talents and abilities make us the best healer on battlefield. Our healing spells are still the same but our ability to heal without interruption (spiritual focus, divine shield, blessing of protection etc) give us the advantage in battle.

Heal effectiveness

The first step for an effective healing is to know the tools our class has at its disposal. For comparison purposes in order to understand global game mechanics I will show priest healing spells also:

Paladin
Flash of light
Holy light
Holy Shock (talent, instant)

Priest
Flash heal
Greater heal
Renew (heal over time)
Prayer of healing (group heal)
Holy Nova (group heal, talent, no threat generation, costs zero mana)

All spells in this article are represented at max rank.

* Prayer of healing and holy nova are group spells so the average is calculated on 5 characters healed. For Holy nova hps and heal/mana score I've considered a mana cost of 1 (instead of zero) for calculation / comparison purposes.

Hps = average hp healed / casting time
is the same as dps but applied on healing

Heal/mana = average hp healed / mana cost
Shows how many hitpoints (hp) are healed with 1 mana point

A spell with high hps is generally good for critical situation when is necessary to raise drastically a health bar to avoid death and the target is suffering a high dps on him. A spell with a good heal/mana ratio is generally good for long fights like boss encounters in MC or BWL because it is mana conservative.

As you can see from this table a priest's effectiveness in healing seems greater than ours. Priests have group heals and also a heal over time spell (renew) that let warriors have time to build aggro. But stats don't tell the whole story. Effectiveness in a real situation is different.

If you observe a priest behaviour in group he uses usually only 2 spells: renew and flash heal. Greater heal despite is high hps has a slow casting time for a dangerous combat situation and it's casted only at the end of combat to refill the health bars of group members. Holy nova is mana free but has only a limited range (10 yds) and usually priests avoid being in melee range for a lot of good reasons (mob with silence abilities, aoe damage, casting interruption etc). Prayer of healing seems an exceptional spell if you look at raw numbers, but in reality is different. Usually not all party members need healing at the same time, casting time is pretty high, and not all the injured party members can be in range. So hps and ratio score are generally lower than the optimal showed in table.

But let's get back to paladins...

As you can see holy shock doesn't seem effective at all. Its mana cost is too high to justify use as healing spell moreover the amount healed is really low in pve but in pvp situation.

Lay on hands is fantastic but unfortunately is on 1h cooldown (40 min with talents) so it's not for common use.

This leaves us with only to Holy Light and Flash of Light to work with. Both have a good heal/mana ratio.

  • Flash of Light has a short casting time but a low amount of healing (and low hps).
  • Holy Light has a good amount of healing (good hps) but an high casting time

Till now we spoken about Flash of light and Holy Light in their base form, but there are a lot of elements in game that can improve them like talents, % to crit heal and so on. Let's see these 2 spells in detail:

Flash of light


In the first row we have the base flash of light spell.
The second row has the same spell when casted on a target with blessing of light increasing this spell effect up to 115 (this means from zero to 115). So now a single Flash of light can heal from 343 to 498.
In the third row we consider the healing light talent influence (holy tree) that grants +12% on holy light and flash of light spells. (min and max limit of spell are increased)
The fourth row has both healing light talent and blessing of light applied.
The fifth row has all previous effects plus we consider +100 healing effects from items. This means a +43 on every FoL (see stat section for details)
The last row takes into consideration all previous effects (row 5) plus a standard holy specced paladin with illumination, divine favor and holy power talents. I have estimated a lower than average 15% global spell crit chance on holy spells.
Considering that every 100 FoL, 15 are critical and heal for 1,5 the normal amount so we have:

507 + (507 x 0,5 x 0,15) = 545,1

The average mana cost is also lower with illumination talent because critical heals costs zero mana so we have:

140 x 0,85 + 0 x 0,15 = 119

Note that I haven't taken into consideration the divine favor talent (1 critical heal assured every 2 min) so the real average mana cost is lower than this.
As you can see the base spell can be greatly improved becoming optimal for large raids. Hps score is still low (but improved) but healing/mana ratio is awesome and concur to heal over 18000 hitpoints with a 4k mana pool. This is optimal for long boss encounters where conserving mana is a key factor. This spell heals a lower amount of hitpoints than others but in the long distance this can also be an advantage avoiding large overheal.

Nevertheless in pvp spell's effectiveness is lower. Pvp is all about burst damage and FoL heals are normally too low for the medium amount of damage dealt in a pvp fight. An high hps is requested to be effective and FoL lacks in it.

Holy light


Now let see holy light in detail:
In the first row we have the base holy light spell.
The second row has the same spell when casted on a target with blessing of light increasing this spell effect up to 400 (this means from zero to 400). So now a single holy light can heal from 1246 to 1788.
In the third row we consider the healing light talent influence (holy tree) that grants +12% on holy light and flash of light spells. (min and max limit of spell are increased).
The fourth row has both healing light talent and blessing of light applied.
The fifth row has all previous effects plus we consider a +100 healing effects from items. This means a +71 on every holy light (see stat section for details).
Last row takes into consideration all previous effects (row 5) plus a standard holy specced paladin as in the flash of light example. A paladin with a 4k mana pool can heal over 15k hp with this spell. As you can see in the table heal/mana ratio is good but not as high as FoL. However hps is very good and so this spell is the ideal one when you have to restore a lot of hp in few seconds. If you chaincast holy light it is possible for your target to bear (until your mana runs out) a frontload damage up to 750 dps. Not bad ^_^

Conclusions
Our primary healing tools (FoL and HL) compare with those of a primary healer class (priest) and this is a good thing indeed. Obviously we don't have all the flexibility of a primary healer (no group heal, no heal over time etc) but we have a strong advantage: reliability. A priest (or a druid) can heal a greater amount than a paladin in the same time span, but WoW isn't exactly a perfect world for healers you know. Healing spells can be delayed or even interrupted by your enemy with various abilities (damage, fear, silence, stun, sap, gouge, charge, etc.) and healing can become a pain while some mobs / players are bashing you. When this happens, paladins have multiple advantages over other healers:

  • spiritual focus grants up to 70% to avoid spellcast delay on HL and FoL from damage
  • concentration aura grants 35% to avoid spellcast delay (up to 50% with talents +15% to resist silence and interrupt effects)
  • Divine shield lets you cast spells without fear of any kind of interruption/delay
  • Blessing of protection lets you cast spells without delaying from physical damage
  • Unyelding faith gives you up to 10% to resist interruption by fear and disorienting effects
  • Hammer of justice stuns an enemy for 6s, meanwhile for example you can cast 2 holy light
  • Repentance incapacitates an enemy (humanoid mob or players) for 6s

So when you're going to heal in a dangerous situation, switch to concentration aura. With spiritual focus you don't suffer delaying from damage at all. Only spell interruption abilities (kick, fear, blind, silence, counterspell etc.) can stop you from healing. But even so you have some options like divine shield, hammer of justice or pvp insignia trinket for example.

Considering that we wear plate and have usually a lot of hitpoints more than other healers you can understand how our abilities are lower than other healers but our reliability in healing is simply awesome. Add to this the fact our spells have a 1/3 threat value of the healed amount (see aggro section) and you get the full picture.

An important note on counterspell
All paladin spells are from a single school: holy. I know that, for example, blessings are divided amongst holy, protection and retribution on your spellbook but all our spells are based on holy damage / holy resistance and belong to the holy school. The only exception is turn undead which is nature school, don't ask me why. That means also that when a caster counterspells you ALL your spells are on cooldown. Divine shield too. This is the only case in the game when divine shield is not usable. You can use it when you're silenced or polymorphed too and immediately those effects will be dispelled when invulnerability starts.

Editing and grammar check thanks to Aoikaze of Proudmoore server.

23 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that Blessing of Light works just like +heal gear, rather than adding a random amount to each heal.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It should be noted that Divine Shield is a "magic" effect, and can be Shield Slammed away by warriors. Be wary. I also think that it's Turn Undead that is the nature spell, Exorcism is also Holy.

12:10 PM  
Blogger Pacio said...

about blessing of light:
from my tests it seems to work as I've described and not like +heal gear. BTW I will do some more testing on it. Thanks for your note.

About Exorcism:
You got it right. I will correct it asap. Thank you. I wasn't aware of the shield slam thingy. I will test it asap with a guildie. Thanks for your note ^_^

3:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ummm NO. Shield slam cannot remove DS. SS is reliant upon hitting the opponent in the first place. If a warrior SS'd, he'd get the "Immune" message, just like everyone else. This fellow has no idea what he's talking about.

Only a priest's Mass Dispel will remove DS, and that's in TBC.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where you get the idea that holy nova is a free spell, it actually costs a fair amount of mana (around 700 or so at max rank).

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im currently level 11 Paladin and my friend died and it said his corpse was ressurectable. Do you have to be a certain level to ressurect somebody before their spirit is released or is it that i can't ressurect because i have a trial account?

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did you see that Holy Nova is free ? :)
It has an awful Hps healed/mana.

12:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You learn to resurrect through a quest at lvl 12 (if you are a pally or shammy) only priests get it sooner (lvl 10 if I remember correctly).

The Holy Nova Spell of a priest isn't free at all, my brother can usually rather cast a greater heal than a holy nova. O_o

Also, at lvl 70 (I'm not lvl 70 with my Blood-Knight yet, but I have seen a 70 Pally from one of the top guilds of our server in an instance), I must say that Paladin healing is the most mana efficient healing in game (only tree-form druids come close to that).

That 70 pally didn't go out of mana throughout the whole instance and never had to drink.

While priests/shamans (despite they can be wondeful healers) sit down and drink a LOT compared to tree druids or pallys.

Also, 1.5k FoL and 3.5-4k HL are just damn awesome. Plus, the invulnerability bubble and the ability to tank for a while if others are REALLY in a dangerous situation is just awesome, plus, most pally's can match with a warrior's HP and armor, so they are basically indestructable. :)

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comment about Priests only using renew and flash heal if false.The comment about Priests only using renew and flash heal is false. When "Priesting" I avoid flash heal as its very inefficient, mostly I use the Heal spell or Greater Heal of varying ranks for heals, its time to cast can be brought down to match the lesser healing casting time by talents, so its a very effective heal. At the end of a fight I might throw a few renews around and a greater heal to any resurrectee's but it would take too long to go around greater healing all when they should be eating whilst the mana users are drinking/eating. Of course in emergencies I will flash heal, but only to the point when I can return to greater heals.

1:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Divine Shield would also go on cooldown when a warrior Pummel's u.

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Lucianus said...

How come these numbers seem to small? You keep mentioning how flash of light is for small heals, yet on my lvl 70 epic holy paladin with 2100 bonus heal, im dropping 1990 normal heals and 3000 hp crits on tanks...not to mention holy which heals 5k normal and 8.4k on crits, thats a massive amount to heal on a normal person, and 1/3 of the lives of my guild tanks (17k stam). Since im extremely geared, 90% of the time Im using flash of light, especially since in heroics they cant heal as much damage on the tank as I can heal him for, which is hilarious. I rarely use holy light..you should write an article on geared healers such as me.

Lucianus
Primal Might (Top 10 Ranked Guild in Server)
Antonidas Server

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Lucianus said...

How come these numbers seem to small? You keep mentioning how flash of light is for small heals, yet on my lvl 70 epic holy paladin with 2100 bonus heal, im dropping 1990 normal heals and 3000 hp crits on tanks...not to mention holy which heals 5k normal and 8.4k on crits, thats a massive amount to heal on a normal person, and 1/3 of the lives of my guild tanks (17k HP*). Since im extremely geared, 90% of the time Im using flash of light, especially since in heroics they cant deal* as much damage on the tank as I can heal him for, which is hilarious. I rarely use holy light..you should write an article on geared healers such as me.

Lucianus
Primal Might (Top 10 Ranked Guild in Server)
Antonidas Server

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

first off...wow u think ur the best thing to play world of warcraft apparantly...i think he posted that healing chart pre BC cause my pally (2200) BH... heals way more than that

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im disc and i can heal pretty well

all i use is renew, penace and never flash heal!!

sometimes greater heal if needed. :P

3:14 PM  
Anonymous warcraft guide said...

to whoever commented anonymously, Turn Undead is not a Nature spell.

2:51 PM  
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Anonymous Buy Nexium 20 said...

Heal the beacon more with HL when there is nothing else worth healing so you get more HoPo and do more WoGs. Use more HS HL WoG use FoL maybe only 1 in 3 to 1 in 5 heals

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