Holy Paladin Review - Battle for Azeroth Community Opinions
Throughout the pre-patch, we'll be launching a community opinions article for every class and spec. We're continuing our Battle for Azeroth Class Reviews and in this post, we'll be taking a look at the state of Holy Paladin. See if this spec appeals to you in Battle for Azeroth!
We reached out to the Holy Paladin community to give their thoughts and opinions on the changes and current state of the spec.
If this spec appeals to you after reading this article, check out our
Battle for Azeroth Holy Paladin Guide
- Paladin Theorycrafter, Guide Writer, and raider in War Front of Kel’Thuzad-US.
- Paladin Theorycrafter and raider in Temerity of Hyjal-US.
- Guide Writer and raider in Alacrity of Area 52-US.
- Hammer of Wrath staff member and raider in Safety Dance of Argent Dawn-EU.
- Raider in Vision of Thrall-US.
Holy Paladins received relatively few changes in the transition from Legion to Battle for Azeroth. We retain solid utility and have a defined niche of spot/tank healing. We mostly saw some talents get shuffled around and some new ones added. Most notably, we saw the addition of an existing PvP talent,
, added as a new talent in the level 90 row.
was moved to the level 75 row,
was moved to the level 100 row, and
was added as a new talent named
in the level 90 row. Some of the weaker talents, such as
, were removed to make space.
We also lost the perks from our artifact, which mostly consisted of power gains and adding to the “high’s” of gameplay (more on that below). Legendaries also helped to shake up the gameplay, which will now be gone. The core idea of the paladin has not changed, but the paladin will feel significantly different than its Legion counterpart.
The first thing you will notice early in Battle for Azeroth is that the gameplay will feel a lot slower. Many of our game play ‘accelerators’ are weaker, or removed entirely, due to the loss of our Artifact, impending loss of legendaries, and talents being shuffled around.
on the level 100 row makes it a less desirable choice, and
isn’t as impactful without
. This means you will spend far more time in Battle for Azeroth casting
On top of this,
no longer gains double your critical strike chance; instead, it adds a flat 30% crit chance. This means that
crits will happen less often, so
buffs will be less frequent. Furthermore, the
traits being removed with our Artifact makes our core short cooldown spells less impactul, and therefore less satisfying to cast.
This means that you will often feel like you are treading water by casting
waiting for the next
to come off cooldown. However each of those spells feel significantly less powerful and rewarding when you end up casting them than in Legion. This makes the rotation feel less engaging, with few significant high points, and sluggish due to the high amount of time spent hard-casting spells.
This leads us to believe there aren’t enough decisions to be made in the core gameplay rotation and that you don’t get the same level of satisfaction as in Legion when navigating the encounter correctly (or dissatisfaction of doing so incorrectly). Furthermore, the class still lacks a true ‘mana dump’ (a way to convert excess mana into increased healing) as the difference in healing per second between
is insignificant for the mana spent. This greatly reduces another potential layer of decision making; Mana management.
The “Battle Healer” playstyle still functions as it did in Legion with the addition of
is slightly less potent as
had its cooldown increased from 4.5s to 6s. This style is also hard to nail down in competitive environments as you may not always want to be in melee range to take advantage of it. But may be useful if you really need to provide extra damage.
Below we will go over some of the talent rows that had relevant changes.
This row remains ultimately unchanged. As mentioned above,
saw a slight nerf combined with the reduction in power of
becomes more attractive with the slower gameplay as it helps fill that downtime of
still exists, but largely does not do competitive healing due to its high mana cost, long cooldown, and positioning requirements.
Our Aura row saw some large changes.
was re-designed; it still transfers damage to you, but you only take a portion of the damage transferred. More importantly, the
was changed from a large heal to a large damage reduction. The problem with it is that the spell will stop transferring damage to you if your health falls below 75%. This means that in order to take full advantage of the 30% transfer, you would need to invest significant resources - either your own or those of other healers - to get the full benefit of the talent.
is similar to its Legion version; the passive effect was simply reduced from 20% damage reduction to 10% damage reduction. However, it has been changed to provide greater overall damage reduction for large groups than in Legion. The
is still the same.
All of this combined means this row is relatively simple. You will nearly always take
in all forms of content. It will be more reliable than
, it’s easier to use, and doesn’t have the drawbacks of
. There is some concern that some people may choose
as it is the only of the options to show up on healing meters and could push people to take a sub-optimal talent in order to get better logs.
This is now our most interesting row. All three options are good, but some are better in specific situations. The healing of
is still possibly on the weaker side, but it doesn’t seem to be too far off.
is still going to be powerful -- particularly with some of the Azerite traits (see the Azerite Traits section for more information).
is still a solid cooldown, but the largest advantage
had was that it could be paired with
. Without either of those cooldowns,
isn’t nearly as impactful. Also,
was added to the GCD, so it remains to be seen exactly how necessary it will be in cutting edge content.
In this row,
is completely unchanged, and
were added to replace
. For the most part,
is the weaker option. it’s a relatively low payoff for a low chance of procing. Randomness is rarely good for healers as damage patterns on fights vary, and it’s entirely possible it will proc and be completely wasted.
is a popular and potent choice on this row, however, this comes with the major drawback of forcing you to be in melee and to weave both damage and healing elements. For this reason it may not always be optimal to use. Some fights may require a Holy Paladin to position in ranged for the best benefit of
. The spell also has an element of RNG to it, as it is not a true “smart heal” it may not heal the targets who need it, making it in some scenarios unreliable.
is a tried and true staple of the class. It will be useful in nearly every situation and should be your go-to if
It is worth noting that
is not affected by
. It’s not clear if this is intended or a bug, but this has a big impact on our stat priority.
In this row,
was replaced by a buffed
was nerfed from a 20% reduction to a 30% reduction in healing transferred, and
remains as an incredibly powerful tool for dungeons.
This row will likely shift between
for dungeons and
for raids. Having two Beacons is extremely valuable as you no longer need to spend globals swapping Beacons, and
will have a hard time competing with that.
Unfortunately, few of the Azerite traits available to Holy Paladins will shake up the gameplay in a meaningful way. Most are just passive power gains, or a nice quality of life change. It is possible that future raid tiers will have more interactive traits.
The primary traits you will be looking at are,
. These traits seem to be the most potent.
will be less useful in PvP and mythic+ but will excel in raiding, and
is going to be a nice quality of life change, but could be setting a dangerous precedent as it appears on dungeon gear, meaning we may always need to farm a piece of gear with it for each new raid tier. But if the new raids traits are top notch, this may not be a problem.
is simply a trait that provides decent healing in all situations that will scale well with our
Critical Strike chance.
The only outlier on the negative side is
, which is awkward to use. To get any benefit it forces, you to do things that are an HPS loss - casting
excessively - for a negligible gain on a spell you don’t use frequently. There aren’t many uses for this trait and as such it will probably be avoided.
Though much of our discussion here has been negative, that is simply because the Legion version of Holy Paladin was one of the better iterations of the specialization in many years. Holy Paladin will definitely still be a viable choice for anyone wanting to heal in any aspect of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth at all levels. Most competitive raid teams will likely have a Holy Paladin in them; and while not as dominant at the top end of the Mythic+ scene as they were late in Legion, Holy Paladins will retain their status as a one of the preferred healers in the format.
The current state of Holy Paladin is slower and less complicated than it was throughout Legion, with a greater emphasis on being in melee range and dealing damage while healing your allies. Our talents and azerite traits provide a few additional spells or nice interactions, but with rare exceptions, don’t alter the core gameplay of the spec. If you are looking for a healer that is sturdy, easy to learn, has great utility, and likes being in melee range Holy Paladin is the spec for you.
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