Lightsworn: Leveling as a Holy Paladin in Legion
The goal is for healing specs to be fully viable for solo questing outdoors. https://t.co/n3mxNyXu0k
— WarcraftDevs (@WarcraftDevs) November 10, 2015
It’s official: Blizzard wants healers to be able to quest in their healing specs in Legion. Not merely possible via an extremely specific, mandatory combination of talents and glyphs, but an actual, legitimate alternative to playing a DPS offspec! This is only what healers have been asking for since, what, Vanilla? That’s right, folks — it’s time for the Shockadin build to take center stage.
It’s not called the Shockadin for nothing
If you’ve tried out Holy DPS before, you’ll be happy to learn that Denounce spam is a thing of the past. Our rotation has evolved, and while we’ve lost some spells and gained a few new ones, Holy Shock will still form the core of our rotation after receiving some nice attention in the form of buffs and talents/artifact traits that bolster it. We’re still Shockadins, and the moniker has never been more appropriate.
First of all, Holy Shock’s damage has been buffed from 210% of Spell Power to 300%. (Its healing has also been increased, but we’re going to focus solely on damage/questing changes today.) We’ve also got the new level 15 talent Holy Bolt for a further 30% buff, a vastly superior version of the old Glyph of Holy Shock. And no matter what path you choose to pursue first on the Silver Hand Artifact tree, we’ll all be starting with the mandatory initial trait Lightburst, which will not only make our Holy Shocks create a light beam granting increased damage, but will also increase the damage of our next Holy Shock, creating a nice circular loop of Shockadin fun.
Sounds pretty great! However, there is one little bit of bad news. Holy Shock’s cooldown has gone from 6 seconds up to 8 seconds, perhaps to compensate for all the buffs described above. But don’t fret — our second mandatory Silver Hand trait, Shock Treatment, will make Holy Shock reduce its own cooldown whenever it crits. At the maximum 3 ranks, we’re talking about a tasty 3 second reduction. And since Holy Shock innately has double our regular critical strike chance, we’ll be critting with it a lot.
For extra fun, talent into Sanctified Wrath, bringing Holy Shock down to a 4 second cooldown and massively buffing its critical strike chance. Rapid-fire, machine-gun style Holy Shocks? Well, if you insist!
DPS rotational spells and changes
Clearly, we’re going to be leaning pretty heavily on Holy Shock. But what do we cast when we’re not Shocking people?
With the removal of Holy Power, we’ll no longer have access to the Word of Glory/Glyph of Harsh Words combination, for obvious reasons. Blizzard is also removing most execution-style abilities, which means we’re also losing Hammer of Wrath.
Judgment will be worth using in Legion, as it is being changed to deal 150% of Spell Power damage (rather than the bizarre 62% of Spell Power + 75% of Attack Power formula it currently uses). This will make it deal roughly double the damage it does in Warlords of Draenor, and will hit harder (and therefore be higher priority) than Denounce. It will also reduce the cooldown on our stun if we talent into Fist of Justice. Like Holy Shock, however, Judgment’s cooldown is increasing from 6 seconds to 12 seconds.
We’ll still have Denounce to fall back on, which is completely unchanged, dealing damage equal to 132% of Spell Power. It still has a cast time and the damage isn’t great, but it’ll be there when we need it (i.e. have nothing else to cast).
In a surprising move, Holy Paladins are getting Consecration in Legion. Thematically, I’m pretty excited about this! It even has a cool new sound/animation. When it comes to numbers, though, I’m less enthused. Currently the datamined version of Consecration has it keyed off Attack Power, which means it will do laughably low damage for Holy Paladins. If all our other damaging spells are on cooldown (and you don’t feel like casting Denounce), Consecration will be better than nothing…but just barely.
Speaking of additions to our toolkit, technically the new talent Shield of Vengeance does damage and is still listed as one of our choices, but given that the tooltip says it’s Retribution-only, I’m skeptical it’ll stay. The talent as it’s written now wouldn’t be worth using anyway, since it is also based off Attack Power. While it might do a tiny, miserable amount of Attack Power-scaled damage while questing, the benefits and utility of the other talents on that tier, Beacon of Hope or Unbreakable Spirit, will be far, far more beneficial.
Finally, while we could talent into Light’s Hammer and/or Holy Prism for questing, I’d advise against it. Holy Shock is going to be our most important source of damage, so in my eyes Holy Bolt and Sanctified Wrath will be too good to pass up. That being said, we’re going to still have essentially zero AOE damage at our disposal (ugh!), so if you’re doing a quest where you need to fight multiple foes at once, keep these two talents in mind.
Crusader Strike, you’re forgiven
Traditionally, Crusader Strike has always been a terrible source of damage for Holy Paladins due to it being keyed off weapon damage. One-handed intellect weapons? Not exactly known for hitting hard. In fact, out of curiosity I checked to see how much damage Crusader Strike currently does with a Heroic Hellfire Citadel one-handed caster sword equipped, which has a 275-511 weapon damage. The result was a whopping 1800 damage. You could sneeze on a mob and do more! To make matters worse, Crusader Strike is actually being nerfed in Legion, going from 130% Physical Damage to 100%, and no longer even granting a charge of Holy Power. We might as well just remove it from our bars, right?
Well, hold on just a second. Holy Paladins are receiving an interesting new passive ability in Legion called Reprisal, which supercharges Crusader Strike after we get struck by a melee attack. In Warlords, I wouldn’t care about this ability at all, since we’re all still using Intellect weapons that hit as hard as a wet noodle with resurrection sickness. But in Legion, we’ll all be wielding the Silver Hand, which actually has a shockingly high 1297-2409 base weapon damage.
Not only is that far higher than any current one-handed intellect weapon (a Mythic Warforged 2/2 upgraded Gavel of the Eredar from Mythic Archimonde only has a 579-1077 weapon damage), but it’s also on par with one-handed melee DPS artifact weapons such as Icebringer or the Doomhammer. In comparison, the weapon damage of other one-handed caster artifact weapons such as Xal’atath or Fel Melon are appropriately low, as expected — because those classes aren’t expected to hit things with their artifacts.
What does this all mean? It means that when armed with the Silver Hand (wink), our Reprisal-buffed Crusader Strikes will actually deal some respectable damage! This won’t let us rocket up the DPS charts in dungeons or raids, mind you, since we’ll only receive Reprisal’s buff when enemies are hitting us with melee attacks. Which…shouldn’t be happening in dungeon/raid groups, obviously. Clever design there in Reprisal, Blizzard. Clever.
As healers in plate, our survival capabilities are already off the charts. But with new talents Beacon of the Savior and Judgment of Light, we’re not even going to have to actively heal ourselves anymore! Simply cast Beacon of Light on ourselves, then sit back and focus on going through our DPS rotation. We’re talking about a free, automatic Beacon of the Savior heal that’s almost as strong as Holy Shock nearly every global cooldown, simply for using spells that we’ll already be casting!
Judgment of Light is just the icing on the Holy cake, and provides more free self-healing as long we’re casting Judgment. Honestly, with Beacon of the Savior we don’t even need this free healing, but the other level 90 talents — Stoicism and Daybreak — are completely useless to us while playing solo. So…more self-healing it is!
Forget good survival — Shockadins are going to be unkillable while questing. Especially since we’ll still be able to cast actual heals if we really need to.
The new Shockadin rotation isn’t exactly rocket science (it’s no JOHN FREAKING MADDEN), but hey, it’s better than just binding everything to Denounce and rolling your face across the keyboard!
- Holy Shock on cooldown. (Be sure to stand in the resulting Lightburst light beam.)
- Judgment on cooldown.
- Crusader Strike, but only if you’ve taken melee damage to activate Reprisal’s buff.
- When you can’t do any of the above, Denounce.
While I’ve never minded playing Retribution, I can’t wait to get out there in Legion and level as my primary spec without feeling like I’m punishing myself by doing so. Long live the Shockadin!
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