Monday, April 11, 2011

In Regards to the Holy Paladin Mastery

I've been working my way through a massive backlog of posts in my feedreader recently and I came across a post entitled Illuminated Healing: An Examination of the Holy Paladin Mastery from Kurn's Corner. In it Kurn talks about the problems with the current Holy Paladin mastery and why the proposed changes in patch 4.1 will do little to make it a more desirable stat for Paladins. She also compares how aptly the Illuminated Healing mastery fits with WoW's Holy Paladin and proposes several alternate masteries she feels would fit the class/spec better.

Kurn's post got me thinking: if I had the opportunity to make it happen, how would I change Illuminated Healing to not only make it more appealing to Paladins as a whole, but also make it feel like a better fit with the class. Here's what I came up with:

Essentially, there are two parts of the current Holy Paladin that still feel a bit off to me. The first part is the new Paladin mechanic, Holy Power. Personally, I think the mechanic should be further ingrained into the Holy spec by tying it in some fashion to the mastery system. The easiest way to do this would be to have mastery either influence its generation or trigger an effect on its expenditure.

Some possible ideas in this regard are to change Illuminated Healing so that it instead:

  • allows Holy Light a (mastery-based %) chance to generate a charge of Holy Power when cast; or
  • increases the healing done by Word of Glory or Light of Dawn (by a mastery-based %); or
  • gives a (mastery-based %) chance for Word of Glory and Light of Dawn to proc a significantly large absorption shield (say anywhere from 50-100% of the amount healed); or
  • causes Word of Glory and Light of Dawn to trigger a buff that increases the healing of the next healing spell cast (by a mastery-based % modified by how many Holy Power charges were consumed); or
  • has an Elemental Overload/Wild Quiver effect, i.e., a (mastery-based %) chance for Word of Glory or Light of Dawn to trigger an extra healing effect on a nearby injured target. Or, alternately, a set % chance to trigger the effect with the mastery stat determining the size of the effect.
The second thing about the current Holy Paladin that I feel is somewhat off is the lack of synergy with the crit stat. Previously, Holy Paladins were very reliant on crit because we had a talent called Illumination that refunded mana upon critical heals. Sadly, Blizzard removed Illumination from Paladins and instead gave it to Shamans in the form of Improved Water Shield, and now crit is regarded as roughly tied with mastery for being the worst relevant Holy Paladin stat. As such, it would be nice if Blizzard brought Illumination back in one form or another to replace Illuminated Healing. Even if a resurrected Illumination were not directly tied to crit it would still be a welcome nod towards the class' history.

Several possible incarnations of a revived Illumination might be for it to:
  • once again restore (a mastery-based % of) mana on critical heals; or
  • allow critical heals to reduce the mana cost of the next non-Holy Power healing spell cast (by a mastery-based % of mana); or
  • cause critical heals to trigger a buff that restores (a mastery-based % of) mana over x seconds which can roll so that multiple crits in a row do not waste the buff.
Now, some of you are undoubtedly thinking, 'Wait a minute! Paladins don't need any more mana regeneration! Giving them more would be overpowered!' Generally speaking, that's true. Holy Paladins don't really need more mana regeneration. However, currently Holy Paladins value two secondary stats very highly (namely Spirit and haste) and consider the other two secondary stats (crit and mastery) to be mostly worthless. By linking crit and mastery together as well as making mastery a mana regenerating stat, what you get is the emergence of a secondary style of Holy Paladin that substitutes mastery and crit for Spirit and haste. Since Spirit is one of the primary means of Paladin mana regeneration, this substitution means that very few Paladins would actually get more regeneration, since they would effectively have to pick either Spirit or mastery. If they instead tried to keep both Spirit and mastery at the expense of haste and crit, the result would be that their heals would lack throughput and the mana regeneration from mastery would be extremely sporadic and unreliable since it relies on crit (which the Paladin would be avoiding) to trigger.