Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Patch 4.0.1 is going live. You are not prepared!

It's announced on MMO Champion (you can read the official announcement here) :
Extended maintenance will begin tonight at midnight, Tuesday, October 12 for the release of patch 4.0.1.
Patch 4.0.1 is going live on the US servers, it should be the same on the EU servers tomorrow. Time to work on your new talent tree if you have not yet, to get all the glyphs you can get your hands on before their price explodes (glyphs cost 3 times more ink to make after the patch), and all the jazz.
If you have not yet downloaded the 6.5Gb of prepatch data, it's probably a good idea to start now if you don't want to be out of the game for hours once the patch is live.

As one of our good friend would say "You are not prepared!" and I think he's right, I'm really not prepared for the huge change coming.

This post will be extended today with all the changes to expect for Holy Paladins: talent tree, gear, glyphs, librams ...
see you later for all of that.

Part I - Gear changes

A lot of stats change with patch 4.0.1 but the main impact for Holy Paladins is that spell power disappear and will come straight from your intellect (not that we usually lack on that), and that all your mana regen based on crits is now something of the past (I can't tell you how much I'm worried about my mana right now) and you'll be based on spirit as all other mana classes.
Intellect will probably remain our main stat, spirit will probably be second as we won't have other sources of mana, I think haste will be vastly preferred to crit now even though a "small heals" build could benefit from some crit (more on that later).
Reforging is also introduced and will allow you to change between haste/crit and mastery, even perhaps remove things like hit rating if you're using a dps weapon right now, for example.

A note on mastery.
We have three ranks as you can see on the empty Paladin talent calculator from wowtal. The three ranks will be gained simply by having 31pts in the Holy tree. The two first are fixed, the efficiency of the third one will be based on your mastery rating:
Your healing spells also place an absorb shield on your target for x% of the amount healed lasting 6 sec. Each point of Mastery increases the absorb amount by an additional x%.
Obviously anyone having ever looked at the stats of a Disc Priest in raid knows the potency of Divine Aegis, which is roughly what our third rank of mastery does. Putting a shield on anyone we heal. I definitely like this ability.
Now if we think about our usual role in raiding, tank healing, spamming heals on the tank will not use this ability to the fullest as shields will erase each other.
If your mostly a tank healer, skip mastery, if you're raid healing, invest as much as you can into it.

So to conclude on gear and how you should use reforging:
Intellect > Spirit > Haste (tank healer) or Mastery (raid healer) > Crit

Part II - Talent Tree and Gameplay Mechanics

Talent trees change *a lot* with patch 4.0.1. They are reduced from 51pts depth to 31pts depth, and we'll roughly gain one point every 2 levels starting at 11. At level 80 (79 exactly) you'll have 36 talent points and 41 at lvl 85.
I'm not going to discuss talents points at lvl 85, because I think they will change until the release of Cataclysm, and we still have 2 months to learn to play and adapt to the probable numerous changes to come (remember the end of TBC anyone ?).
My goal is to give you inputs on a lvl 80 Holy Talent Tree and the reasons for my choices.

First thing to know is that you have to invest 31pts into a tree before being able to put any point into another. Which means we'll need 31pts at least into Holy, and hence only 5pts at most into others.

Second thing to know is that our mana regen has been Nerfed to the Ground Baby! (thx GC)
We don't get any mana back from critical heals anymore, Divine Plea has been nerfed hard from 25% to 10% of our total mana while still having the 50% heal cut nerf attached to it, and to add the last stone, Divine Favor doesn't cut heal costs by 50% it's now just a panic button to burst heals for 20s.

Third thing to know is the introduction of Holy Power. This new "resource" is similar to combo points capped to 3 that you'd get when using some abilities and that allow you to use special abilities linked to that resource.
How do you get Holy Power? You get one when using Holy Shock (so we'll shock as often as we can) and when casting a regular heal (Flash of Light, Holy Light or Divine Light) on the target of our Beacon of Light.
How will we use Holy Power? For Holy Paladins the answer is quite straightforward at lvl 80: Word of Glory. So we will now have 2 instant heals (aka usable while moving) one on a cd and one depending on our Holy Power stack.

Fourth thing to know (yes yes there are quite a lot of changes) is that all healing classes are now based on the same basic core abilities:
Flash of Light (FoL) will probably just disappear from your cast bar, it costs too much and will mostly be replaced completely by Holy Shock / Word of Glory.
Holy Light will be our regular spam heal and Divine Light will be the "emergency" big heal that will probably not be used much before Cataclysm is out with its huge life pools (expect more than 100K hps for a tank starting raids in there).

Now that we have cleared all the general changes to the gameplay mechanics for Holy Paladins, let's look at the talents. First look at the non holy talents to decide if we want to invest 5pts out of the Holy tree. Id advise you to open another window and use
wowtal to look at the talents while reading this section.

The Protection Tree
Divinity: 6% bonus to healing is good, we already had it and we liked it, if we can we'll want to get these 3 points.
Eternal Glory: 30% chance to not use your Holy Power when casting Word of Glory will be a huge boost, if you've read the section before you know we will use WoG a lot, as much as we can but most of the time only with 3 Holy Power, these 2 talent points can give us 3 free points of Holy Power 30% of the time we use WoG

The Retribution Tree
Crusade: 30% boost to the healing of Holy Shock, considering we will use it on nearly every cooldown, that is also a no-brainer talent to take.
Improved Judgement: give you an increased range for your Judgements, will be necessary to reach the distance we have right now it's a filler to get the other talents more than a necessity.
Rule of Law: 15% more crit to Word of Glory, once again WoG will be used as much as we can, 15% crit will help turn it into a strong burst heal ability.

First analysis here: it is clear reading these talents that they are very nice to get, there are a lot of synergies with the Holy Shock / Word of Glory combo that we've discussed before and that will probably be the core of our healing.
At lvl 80 we only have at most 5 points to invest into these two trees, I will definitely invest these 5 points and for me the choices are: 2 points into Eternal glory, 3 points into Crusade.

The Holy Tree
Now we know we'll have 31 points to put into the Holy Tree, and we'll want to reach the top of the tree to get our mastery and the last new ability: Light of Dawn.
I'm not going to analyze all the talents, most of them are just no-brainers. I'll list the ones that I consider as PvP talents or talents for other specs, and that should be avoided into a Holy PvE spec: Arbiter of the Light, Blazing Light, Denounce, Blessed Life.

Now I'll discuss about 3 talents:
Protector of the Innocent - Casting a targeted heal on any target, including yourself, also heals you for 1241 to 1427 / 2482 to 2854 / 3722 to 4282.
Enlightened Judgements -
Grants hit rating equal to 50% / 100% of any Spirit gained from items or effects, and increases the range of your Judgement by 5 / 10 yards. In addition, your Judgement instantly heals you for 1241 to 1427 / 2481 to 2853.
Paragon of Virtue - Reduces the cooldown of your Divine Protection by 10 / 20 sec and the cooldown of your Avenging Wrath by 30 / 60 sec.

The choice here is to go PotI 3, EJ 2 or PotI 2, EJ 1, PoV 2. Most trees I have seen are going for the
PotI 3, EJ 2 build. Going for 2 points into Paragon of Virtue will give change your Avenging Wrath CD from 3 minutes to 2 minutes which is about a 1.1% healing increase if you use AW on cd in both cases.
You lose mostly 5 yards range for your Judgements and gain 1% healing. The amount healed by PotI is strong with our lvl 80 health pools and having 2 or 3 points into it isn't meaningful much in PvE, 2 points will be mostly enough to keep you up in most encounters without even having to heal yourself.
The only problem is that, not having Improved Judgements from the ret tree yet at 80, we would have to get into 20 yards from a boss to judge with only one point into Enlightened Judgements.

I guess it's more a question of testing both, and choosing what you feel the more comfortable with. Just be aware that the two choices exist and I can't say right now if one is strictly better than the other, especially at 80 with short range judgements.

So here are the 2 Holy talent trees that I would advise at lvl 80, both are 31/2/3 trees.
First one is based on PotI 3, EJ 2.
Second one is based on PotI 2, EJ 1, PoV 2.

Part III - Glyphs

And we're nearly done, what a wall of text today. Last point we need to address are glyphs. With patch 4.0.1 changes to talents glyphs had to change, but even more we get 3 ranks of glyphs now instead of 2: Prime Glyphs, Major Glyphs and Minor glyphs. As their name states, they go from stronger to weaker.
I'm going to list all of the glyphs relevant for Holy and discuss them.

Prime Glyphs

Divine Favor - Increases the duration of Divine Favor by 10 sec.
Holy Shock - Increases the critical effect chance of Holy Shock by 5%.
Seal of Insight - While Seal of Insight is active, the effect of your healing spells is increased by 5%.
Word of Glory - Increases the healing done by Word of Glory by 10%.

I'm going to skip Divine Favor and go for the 3 other glyphs. SoI is obvious and HS/WoG are going to be the core of our healing "rotations".

Major Glyphs

Beacon of Light - Increases the duration of Beacon of Light by 30 sec.
Cleansing - Reduces the mana cost of your Cleanse by 20%.
Divine Plea - Your Divine Plea provides an additional 5% of your total mana.
Divinity - Your Lay on Hands grants twice as much mana as normal and also grants you as much mana as it grants your target.
Light of Dawn - Reduces the cooldown of Light of Dawn by 10 sec and the amount healed by 20%.
Hand of Salvation - Hand of Salvation no longer permanently reduces threat over time but instead reduces all threat as long as Hand of Salvation lasts.
Long Word - Your Word of Glory heals for 50% less up front, but provides an additional 50% healing over 6 sec.

Harder to chose here, as we have more choices. I'm going to skip Light of Dawn because I need to test that spell that seems very situational to me. Long Word seems to be a protection glyph to me as the hot would erase itself if you recast WoG on the same target, but once again as we discussed in the gear section, if you're a raid healer more than a tank healer, that glyph could be very strong for you (shield + hot with a single WoG that's just really huge).
I have said that I expect strong mana issues so I'll definitely go for Divinity. On the mana side, Divine Plea and Cleansing are also contenders. I would probably go for Cleansing because the mana cost of all dispel abilities has been increased. I'm not sure about Divine Plea because it is now so weak I'm wondering if we'll use it at all in a raid encounter (50% less heal for just 10% mana over 15s isn't that attractive).
Beacon of Light could be a good idea, it would save you mana, and reduce the chore of recasting it every minute.

In the end I'll go Divinity/Cleansing for sure, and perhaps Beacon third, or Light of Dawn if it's nice to use after some testing.

Minor Glyphs

Blessing of Kings - Reduces the mana cost of Blessing of Kings by 50%.
Blessing of Might - Reduces the mana cost of your Blessing of Might by 50%.
Insight - Reduces the mana cost of Seal of Insight by 50%.
Lay on Hands - Reduces the cooldown of your Lay on Hands spell by 2 min.

Lay on Hands, Insight for sure, and Kings probably as a filler for third. I hope we'll get more choices later on, the only one I really like is Lay on Hands for the combo with Divinity.

And that will be all for now. Probably long enough for a single post. You can find more info on Coriel's blog, he's also discussing talents and glyphs though we differ on some small points.

Next one will be about the changes of gameplay after I'll have experienced them on live myself. Until then if you want some inputs from the PTRs, go read the elitist jerks thread about Holy Paladins :P

Take care, have fun people.


  1. Thanks! This info helped me get on track and is the basis for me in Cata. Appreciate it.

  2. You're welcome, happy it can help. That's mostly all the info I could get before the patch. After my first evening playing with it I'll write a "live" post.
    Good news is, if you've followed this guide you're not going to have any sort of mana issues, the Word of Glory spec & gameplay is just completely awesome :)

  3. Q - What is the purpose of having the Divinity glyph, cos LoH is not a spell u will use very often, it was and still is a panic button, and cos of long cd a ability u can only use once every other raid fight. Before Patch 4.0.1 I never had to use it, and I probably almost never will.

  4. Why Divinity? I guess this depends on your raid and play style. I had it before and I loved it, I was worried about mana regen and hence kept it in my template. These are the basic reasons.

    Now, I'm envious of you if you've never had to use a Lay on Hands. I used it on nearly all hard raid fights I had to do, mostly Lich King and some hard modes in recent ICC environment. Worst case you can use it on yourself for a big mana regen.

    If mana is a non-issue as it seems to be at 80 then it should be replaced.