This guide is intended at any paladin beginning to get serious at healing in WotLK, you could be respecing or double-specing (after 3.1) to healing.
All long time healers most probably already know all that stuff, but I've been looking for all these info when I moved to healing for the first time with a pally at lvl 80, so I thought putting them here could be useful.
First thing first, most of these info can be found on this page, with the theory backing the up: The Holy Paladin Guide for WotLK, on Elitist Jerks
I will cover the topic in 3 sections, leaving a few things behind as they change a lot with patches and can be found on the EJ page.
Holy Paladin Gear will be covered in a later post, this one will be long enough as it is.
1. Main Stats for a Holy Paladin
I'll start with common sense, for us only two stats have any sort of use. They are intellect and stamina. Strength, Agility are obviously useless, but Spirit also doesn't do us any good, and even less with the nerf of OOC mana regen with patch 3.1.
It is often considered that spirit is a good stat for healers, and someone moving from a holy priest or a druid to a holy paladin could think spirit is good (as they are a key stat for these specs). But I will say it once and for all, Spirit is nearly completely useless for a holy paladin.
So that leaves us with only two stats, Intellect and Stamina, any other stat on a piece of gear will be wasted points, and as such, any spirit item will be less powerful for you than it's equivalent loot without spirit (it is very common that two very similar items exist, one with spirit and one with crit/haste/mp5).
Stamina is obviously only a survival stat, but don't underestimate it, as paladins are very weak at mobility and that will often force you to stay in an aoe to finish landing a big heal, when other healers could move out of the aoe while casting.
Intellect is your bread and butter stat. It will give you mana (bigger mana pool and mana regen with Divine Plea), spell crit (mana regen with Illumination), and mana regen (the formula for mana regeneration out of combat is affected by Int now, though it hardly affect us).
So to sum-up, go for Intellect and Stamina items, anything else is crap.
2. Secondary Stats for a Holy Paladin
Secondary stats for a healer are: spell power, spell crit, spell haste, mp5. They are the same as for any caster, and so expect to be on the rank with other magic dps for your items (oh yes mages and warlocks, these two swords from heroic Nax are sweet, aren't they ? We do love them too ^^)
Now what is the impact of each stat for a Holy Paladin ?
Spell power :
This is your raw power, most of our spells scale extremely well with spell power and there is no cap to it, to more you have the better is it (try to aim at around 1500 for Nax and 2000 for Ulduar as minimums)
Spell crit :
Both powering up our heals with 150% effectiveness and giving us 60% of the mana back with Illumination, spell crit is a very very good stat for a paladin, a good chunk of your spell crit should come from your intellect (40% holy crit raid buffed is a good target for Nax, 50%+ for Ulduar)
Spell haste :
Simply speaking, spell haste helps you landing more spells in the same amount of time, healing faster could make the difference between a living MT and a dead raid, so yes, it is a good stat for Holy Paladins.
Though with talents such as Judgments of the Pure and Light's Grace, we can already achieve a good chunk of speed-up by ourselves. Don't overdo it with haste, the soft cap for us is 682 haste (assuming full buffed), anything more will be mostly wasted.
This is a purely enduring stat, to help you during very long fight with mana regen. Honestly speaking, with the state of WotLK raiding now, it is nearly useless, there will be no fight that drain you OOM, unless you or your raid is severely undergeared for it. Though it is less useless than spirit, so you should not necessarily avoid items with mp5, as there are sometimes few alternatives. Perhaps Ulduar will be hard enough for some fights to give more value to mp5.
So to sum-up on secondary stats:
spell crit > spell power / haste (if less than 682) > mp5
3. A Holy Paladin spells
Ok, you know your spells, I don't pretend to teach you how to heal, as if you're here you're probably not a bad healer ^^
I just want to give opinions on what I've experienced myself while raiding.
Before talking of the spells themselves, I'll address the Overhealing Debate. There is often tensions coming up in a raid between people about their "effectiveness". And most people decide of that using tools like Recount. I will say it clearly, don't give a shit about that! Not that recount isn't a good tool, probably quite effective for dpsers, but it is completely beside the point for healing.
First, it doesn't take mitigation into account (Paladin & Priest shields, for exemple).
Second, it counts only effective healing & overhealing. So it encourages you to land a heal on a raider already hotted to death, overriding the hots and pushing them into overhealing, while they would have been perfectly fine to cap up the raider.
All in all it is a very bad tool to mesure healing effectiveness in a whole. And let not add to that the difference between healers.
As a paladin, you are an endurance healer, the one who should still be up and healing the rank when the druids and priests need a mana pause because they're OOM after their first or even second inervate. And considering the triviality of raiding on WotLK right now, there is no need for endurance. So druids & priests can go all out and will stomp you into the ground with their aoe heals/regen ...etc, unless you start spamming Holy Lights, which is a bad way of healing (but if your raid gives too much credit to Recount, that's your way of retaliating).
I will say it again, you will have overhealing, and that means you were doing your job, even if your heals were snipped by some other healer. If your raid is not being happy about your healing stats, talk to your healing leader or raid leader. If they can't understand, just find a good guild, they will miss their paladin once the content is not so ridiculous anymore.
Flash of Light / Holy Light
The old use was to use Flash of Light at all times and Holy Light for emergencies/enrages. That is for two good reasons: the cost of FoL is very small and it scales extremely well with spell power for such a fast spell.
This as mostly changed because of a simple thing, mana is nearly not an issue right now. Add to that the fact that HL, through glyphing, is our only sort of AOE healing ability. You get one simple result: nearly all paladins are spamming HL nowadays, unless there is really nothing to heal.
I must say that I'm doing the same. Though I was reluctant at first, being so damn low on the raid healing charts turned me lazy and I must confess that HL spamming does push you up on them, though it's a really bad thing to do, but not worse than Holy Priests Circle of Healing spams ...
So well, as long as you don't have mana issues, and keep a good chunk to HL spam to death during bosses enrages, feel free to HL spam, if it not good use of your mana, you'll have a tremendous Overhealing, but who cares as long as you're not OOM?
This is a nice spell, scales very well with spell power, and does not prevent the generation of rage on the first proc. Very useful for some fights (Loatheb), marginaly useful on most. Just try to keep it up on your tanks, don't override other palys ones though (have assignments).
Keep an eye on the rage/mana of your tanks, if they're low, just let them eat full hits for a few seconds before shielding again, that will make them happy tanks.
Beacon of Light
That is your new best friend since 3.0. This spell alone changed the way of healing for Holy Paladins, and it is our only spell that could allow you to raid heal while also healing your tank.
It has a lot of uses, try using it on you in bgs to ensure your survivability for exemple. When this damned rogue will stun-lock you, you'll be full health even if you were focused by a ranged dpser while healing a melee of your group. Use it on your "tank buddy" when you're in the back of the 4 Horsemen room. Use it on a second trainee while healing another in the Razzuvious encounter ...
This ability is mostly only limited by the creative uses you can find it. Learn to love your Bacon :P
Judgment of Wisdom/Judgement of Light
You're being a good paladin, aren't you? You're judging every 1mn at least, aren't you? If you're in charge of maintaining a judgment on a target (Light if you have no prot/ret paladin in the raid, wisdom if you do), try to refresh it each 20s.
Judgments of the Pure give you 15% spell haste for 1mn when you judge something, don't be old school, do it!
Divine Plea / Avenging Wrath
Divine Plea is an awesome mana regen ability, don't hear me wrong, you won't ever be able to not go OOM in a serious fight of more than 5mn without it. It was so awesome it was nerfed, reducing healing by 50% for it's duration, it was 20% before patch 2.09. That is the reason for coupling it with Avenging Wrath that will limit this reduction to 20%. If worst comes to worst, use DP and spam HL instead of FoL, you'll still end with more mana than before your DP.
That's all for this part of the Holy Paladin guide for raiding, I'll cover the pre-raid gear later, though I've discussed most of the choices you have to do in sections 1 and 2 of this post.