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WoWJun 15, 2015 1:00 pm CT

Lightsworn: Playing the Shockadin

With the recent announcement that flying will be coming to Draenor, everyone’s all astir with excitement! We’re going to have to earn our wings, though — flying will require the upcoming patch 6.2 meta-achievement Draenor Pathfinder. Two of the requirements for Draenor Pathfinder are Loremaster of Draenor, which means finishing all the major quest storylines in each zone, and Securing Draenor, which entails completing each level 100 Draenor “bonus objective” area at least once.

Now, I’m guessing there are at least a few Holy Paladins out there who want to fly, but they’re dreading all those quests and daily objectives because they don’t want to play Retribution. Shhh, you’re among friends, it’s okay to admit it. Just don’t tell Dan. Maybe you don’t have a good strength weapon. Perhaps you just simply hate playing melee. Or maybe your offspec is Protection, or even another Holy spec! (It’s not uncommon for Holy Paladins who do a lot of both PVE and PVP to have a dedicated spec for each.)

So how are you going to get through all those quests? Respec? Run heroics to pick up a strength weapon and some trinkets? Enlist one of your DPS friends and get them to kill everything while you tag along, healing the tiny amount of damage they’ll be taking?

Well, you could do one of those. But aren’t you forgetting something?

We’re Holy Paladins. We can do anything.

Meet the Shockadin.


The Shockadin is a Holy Paladin build that trades some of our healing power for the ability to do some legitimate DPS. Named after our signature healing spell, Shockadins use Holy Shock, Denounce, and Word of Glory to sear their foes with righteous indignation. It is not a true DPS spec, and we should never regard it as one. But it is absolutely a viable alternative for Holy Paladins who just want to quest or finish up their Securing Draenor achievements without having to hit things with a big stick.

The Build

  • Glyph of Holy Shock  Makes Holy Shock heal for less, but deal more damage when used on enemies. Straightforward. As you may have guessed, Holy Shock will usually end up being our largest source of damage.
  • Glyph of Denounce  One of our few purely offensive abilities, Denounce will be a solid #2 damage contributor behind Holy Shock. We’ll be casting Denounce repeatedly and shouldn’t ever get more than one stack of this glyph’s effect, but even a 0.5 second faster cast helps!
  • Glyph of Harsh Words  Normally, we can only spend Holy Power on Word of Glory/Eternal Flame or Light of Dawn. This glyph allows us to use Word of Glory offensively on enemies, giving us a much-needed third hard-hitting attack spell! It’s very important to note that this glyph does not work with the Eternal Flame talent, though.


  • Sacred Shield  As mentioned above, Shockadins cannot take Eternal Flame, leaving Sacred Shield or Selfless Healer as our other level 45 talent options. You might think Judgment would be an important spell for Shockadins, therefore making Selfless Healer a natural choice. After all, Judgment is one of our few offensive abilities, and our Retribution and Protection buddies use it! Unfortunately, our Judgments deal almost no damage (about half as much as Denounce), and unlike other Paladin specs, they don’t generate any Holy Power for us. As a result, Judgment and Selfless Healer are lackluster options for Shockadins and should be avoided, making Sacred Shield the winner by default.
  • Sanctified Wrath  Of all our level 75 options, Sanctified Wrath is the only talent that converts 100% effectively to Shockadin DPS, increasing our offensive secondary stats and damage, and allowing us to Holy Shock every other cast. Holy Avenger is less effective than when healing since Shockadins have fewer ways to generate Holy Power — we won’t be casting Holy Radiance, and using Crusader Strike is a DPS loss that the extra Holy Power gain doesn’t make up for. Similarly, we simply aren’t generating and spending Holy Power fast enough to make Divine Purpose worthwhile.
  • Level 90 talents  Choosing a “best” Shockadin talent this tier is tricky. Against single targets, Execution Sentence will contribute the most damage. However, the Shockadin build’s most glaring weakness is a complete lack of AOE damage, making any fight against multiple foes a pretty painful experience. In fact, I have found that fighting multiple weak enemies (the type that would normally be mowed down with a few AOE hits) is actually more dangerous than taking on elite mobs! Because of this, Shockadins might find the precious AOE damage (and self-healing) from Holy Prism or Light’s Hammer to be more valuable.
  • Saved by the Light  Our other level 100 talents are designed to enhance our healing, which makes them mediocre Shockadin options. So we may as well go with the talent that might actually do something for us! A once-a-minute, automatic life-saving shield can certainly come in handy when out soloing, especially in some of the level 100 areas where elite enemies are wandering around.

150615_holypally_header_pitThe Rotation

Shockadins have a very simple priority system, since we only have a handful of offensive spells.

1. If you have 5 Holy Power, cast Word of Glory so further Holy Power gains won’t be wasted.
2. Cast Holy Shock, your level 90 talent, and Hammer of Wrath (once available), all on cooldown.
3. If you have 3 Holy Power, cast Word of Glory.
4. When you can’t do any of the above, cast Denounce.

Other tips and tricks:

  • Don’t be tempted by Judgment or Crusader Strike. They are DPS losses.
  • Make sure Denounce is bound to a comfortable key, because you’ll be casting this a lot.
  • Use Avenging Wrath’s massive DPS boost for difficult foes, or when you’re up against multiple enemies that you need killed quickly.
  • Always cast Sacred Shield before entering combat, and re-apply if it falls off while you’re still fighting.
  • Make frequent use of Rebuke and Fist of Justice to interrupt dangerous (or annoying) enemy spells, such as enrage effects or heals.
  • If there’s a group of enemies standing close together that you don’t want to fight all at once, talent into Repentance and incapacitate one of them until you’re ready to deal with it!
  • If you get in trouble, remember that Hand of Protection will make you immune to physical attacks, and won’t interfere with any of your Shockadin damage spells.
  • Shockadins may be capable of dealing out some good damage, but remember that we’re still healers! Don’t be afraid to stop DPSing for a few seconds to cast Flash of Light a few times if you need it.

150615_holypally_header_smv01The Gear

For the most part, Shockadins function just fine using their normal healing gear. However, there are a few adjustments we can make, if we have the spare equipment pieces available.

Spirit and Mastery do not increase our damage at all, so replacing items (especially trinkets!) that have these stats for ones with more Intellect or any of the other secondary stats will net you better DPS results. Don’t swap out a piece for one that’s more than 5-10 item levels lower, though — it’s not worth losing the extra Intellect. You can also feel free to break your Tier 17 item set, since the 2-piece and 4-piece bonuses only provide additional healing.

Finally, if you have a choice between a shield and an offhand of equivalent item level, go with the shield — enemies will be smacking you in the face, so the extra armor a shield provides can help. I wouldn’t go out of my way to acquire Shockadin-specific pieces, but if you have better optimized options sitting around in your bags already, why not use them?

150615_holypally_header_warsong02The Results

Playing a Shockadin is a fun alternative for Holy Paladins, whether they’re questing through Draenor or tackling level 100 bonus objectives. We may not deal as much damage or kill things quite as fast as our DPS friends, but we’ve got unsurpassed durability on our side and can typically heal through whatever enemies can throw at us. We’re also great in groups for tougher areas like the Pit, where we can contribute decent damage and still toss out strong heals when required.

What about other PVE content? Can Shockadins hold their own in dungeons or raids against other DPS classes? Sorry to burst your bubble, but the answer is no. I took a trip through Raid Finder to test this. While my Heroic Blackrock Foundry-geared Shockadin did top the damage meters on single-target fights like Gruul, Oregorger, and Blackhand, I was doing comparable damage to players roughly 30-40 item levels lower than me. And on a multiple-target fight, our lack of AOE abilities would just make this difference even more severe.

That’s okay though. The important thing is that we can finish up our flying prerequisites while still playing our preferred talent spec. We should consider ourselves fortunate, really! Most of the other healing classes don’t have this luxury, and have to use actual DPS off-specs for questing, which they may not enjoy playing.

Which just goes to show that Holy Paladins are, as always, the best.

What a shock.

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