***** I want to say that this post is now outdated due to recent changes within the game. Feel free to review it and see if there were any ideas presented which you may find useful. Again, the spells have been changed slightly on some of the core abilities and has resulted in this information being outdated. *****
Here lately I have had a lot of questions via e-mail and in-game from people want to know how I am healing or what type of rotation/priority am I currently using. A lot of these individuals are people who have Holy as an off-spec build or maybe have not touched the class in a very long time. I think the main concern most people have is they went from two to three healing spells to having a whole bar full of healing options and they have no clue what to make of all these choices. Even worse than the choices is when they go into a run and attempt to heal it and struggle through because Flash of Light drains their mana or Holy Light doesn't heal the way it use to. It is very confusing and you are not alone. The good news is that we are not too far different from what we have always been in terms of healing. We just have a few extra options is all. Stick with me and let's try to make some sense out of all of this ok?
So let's talk about the healing spells and what is really different and what may not be so different! I was a Flash of Light kind of guy and so I will start with this one first. It is definitely not what it once was that is for sure. It takes a large chunk of our mana in order to cast, but it also provides a large heal back in return. In my opinion at current Wrath end game, this is probably our best large heal spell due to the time it takes to cast, but it is not something we are going to want to be spamming a ton because it will drain you way too quickly. Holy Light has lost a lot of its bite and I cannot argue that, but it is meant to be a filler heal now, much the same as Flash of Light use to be. It is inexpensive in terms of mana and provides a weaker heal when compared to its counterparts of Flash of Light and Divine Light. Divine Light is a spell that is meant to be our king of the mountain heal, but currently just takes too long and cost too much to make it a go to heal. Notice I said currently. At level 85, I fully expect this heal to be the king of the hill heal and so do not ignore it, just do not rely on it at this time. Now we come to our instant heals, Holy Shock and Word of Glory! I love instant heal spells! In the case of Holy Shock, it is now our prime heal. Everything we do is going to be based around it and its cool down. Word of Glory is still up for debate on when to use it and who to use it on. For me I personally relish using it on a non-tank who is about to bite it or a tank who takes one of those crazy hits six times in a row. In my opinion, regardless of who you heal, it is the "oh shit" heal option that I use to reserve Holy Shock for. Now that doesn't mean never cast it, but if you know your fights then you know which bosses will put you in those "oh shit" moments and therefore you can save it for those occasions. Finally, we have Light of Dawn in all of its blinding glory. All you need to know on this one is that it is situational at best, but play around with it and have some fun as well. It packs a decent heal but a long cool down so you just want to make sure and not blow it too soon.
Alright, so now we got through the quick hit version of what these spells are and now let's talk about how I choose to use them. This is important to note right here that I do not use a mathematical spread sheet or a formula that illustrates a perfect situation with a perfect raid group because I run in non-perfect situations with far from perfect raid compositions and occasionally have to bring a PuG in which usually never turns out to be a good player. Consider yourself warned! So to answer all those questions about my priority/rotation for healing here is how I usually go in PVE situations:
1. Holy Shock
2. Holy Light (Wrath end game)/ Divine Light (Cataclysm end game) - It is important to note that you should have Infusion of Light 2/2 for the speed bonus which makes casting both Holy Light and Divine Light directly after Holy Shock a must.
3. Flash of Light - Quick and powerful and due to the speed up of Holy Light a great filler in this slot right now during the remainder of Wrath.
4. Rinse and repeat!
A few things to point out:
1. This is a foundation to build on. Do not consider this to be the Bible of Paladin healing because things will be tweaked and new abilities will provide different options.
2. Light of Dawn is not listed, make sure and use it. It is a great ability for healing while moving. If two or more party/raid members are lined up then hit this ability.
3. Do not be afraid of Flash of Light. Yes it cost a lot of mana and therefore you have to think while casting. In PVP situations, Flash of Light is going to be your bread and butter so if you are an arena or battleground junkie, then you better not remove this spell from your hot bar/keys/mouse!
4. Beacon of Light is not what it once was. It does not allow us to heal multiple tanks at once. We are only capable to heal one and a half tanks now, which even with our avoidance of math here at Holy Shock tells me that one and a half is not two.
5. Word of Glory is my "oh shit" heal. I hold on to it like nothing else. I splash it around to save a high DPS when needed, but attempt to reserve its use to always have it ready to save someone's butt. I would not recommend using it every cool down simply because of its value to saving someone in a rare moment. If memory serves me correct, this spell is not on our global cool down table and therefore literally can save someone when no one else is available.
There is so much more I really want to talk about, but I think this covers the main question I have been getting. Remember that Cataclysm is just a couple weeks away and now is a good time to start developing good habits for healing. I encourage everyone to try out different ways of healing. In my own experience, this simple four heal rotation has proven to work in both dungeons and raids. It is steady, eats up spike damage and does not drain our mana down to nothing. What more could we ask for right?