So the very first thing I see is that they are increasing every healing spell we have by a few percentage points, except Holy Shock. This fits in with their desire to have healers be more selective of what heals we are using for certain situations. I really do not care about this one too much because my mana regeneration has been so good during this expansion that I do not think I will mind it too much. That and I would rather have them mess with my mana than an outright actual nerf to the amount we heal.
Moving on we see that Beacon of Light can no longer be dispelled, but wait... what is this? It is now going to transfer 100% of Holy Light to our beaconed target? In my own opinion, that is the single greatest thing that Blizzard could have done. Yes, I am greedy and would like to see them return it to its former glory of all heals going through, but at least it will now work for the spell that many Paladins use as the spam heal. Very good news and I cannot wait to get out there and see what effect it truly has. My guess is that it will make life a little bit easier for us!
The change to Denounce is pretty much useless for PVE. As trying to DPS as a Holy Paladin simply will not work at 85 due to the lack of scaling for our class. In terms of PVP, it is slightly interesting, but honestly how many Paladins are taking these talents? I have messed around with different builds in an attempt to incorporate the talents that provide me with a little punch, but have come to the conclusion I would rather take talents that simply help my overall healing. So again, it is interesting, but unless they come out and try to make Holy a viable caster DPS spec then I feel it is just wasted talents.
Now the change that was added in specifically for this most recent update, as it appears in red, is in relation to our mastery. For me personally, I have avoided mastery rating like it was the black plague. With this change it makes me somewhat curious as to the overall effect it will have. If you have not read the patch notes for this one I will post it for you here:
Illuminated Healing (Mastery) has been adjusted slightly so that if a paladin refreshes an existing copy of his or her own Illuminated Healing on a target, the new absorption amount will be added into the old absorption amount and the duration will be reset. The total absorption created can never exceed 1/3 of the casting paladin's health.
It sounds really nice and it makes it seem like it will add up to be quite a large amount when you see that it cannot exceed 1/3 o the casting Paladin's health. The problem is that in the higher end content, a lot of the damage coming out will eat your little absorption before you get a chance to stack another one it. Do not get me wrong. It is a nice start, but I do not think that in a lot of PVE situations that it will be as useful as it appears. Now I could be wrong, but I think it is one of those changes where it sounds much cooler than it actually will be.
In terms of PVP, I think it can be used to a slight advantage for the right type of team in arena. What I mean is that if we start healing before the match begins, then we have a good chance of building up the absorption to the maximum level and all we have to do is simply spam our strongest heals once we have our partner(s) buffed up. That could provide a nice little buffer and make certain comps approach teams with Holy Paladins on slightly different. I do not think this is a make or break change, but I do think it is interesting and I look forward to playing around with this change on my own arena teams. (I sometimes feel sorry for my partners as they are just giant guinea pigs!)
The Infusion of Light change is a nice one if not abused. I say it that way because if we abuse that and cast Flash of Light at the speed of light too often, then we will find ourselves in a sad place very, very quickly. I say it that way because as I have ran on some alts that were not healers, I have come across quite a few Paladins who flirt with running out of mana becuase they are using Flash of Light far too often.
The changes to Speed of Light are interesting. Triggering it off of Divine Protections, as well as Holy Radiance is going to be extremely useful for Paladins in both PVP and PVE. After all, more PVE situations now cause us to move and we are always running for our lives in PVP. To me it is a minor change, but one that can improve our quality of life. Oh and let us not forget that we can hit Holy Radiance more often as well!
The last change listed is the one regarding Walk In The Light. This one is nice because it is boosting Word of Glory by 30% in addition to what it has done since they rolled out the new talent trees for Cataclysm. I use Word of Glory as often as I can and I welcome any increase in healing to any of my spells.
So there you go. I think a lot of what they are doing with the Holy tree is interesting to say the least. To me it is a lot of experimentation with tweaking minor things in order to see if it helps improve the overall feel of the spec right now. The increases in mana cost for our hard cast spells would be significant if they were not providing us with so many minor changes. As I looked at each one individually I was not overly impressed. It was when I started thinking about the overall picture that I felt much better. We get more healing off our beacon now, we are much more mobile with being able to get our speed boost off of Holy Radiance and Divine Protection. They reduced the mana cost of Holy Shock, which feeds us Holy Power and that in turns allows us to cast Word of Glory which will now be healing for 30% more. It is a give and take change, but one that I think offers us a lot more for a few percentage points of mana.
I think of all the changes they have talked about up till now, the one I could care less about is going to be in regards to mastery. In my opinion, I would still take haste first, crit second, and if all else fails then mastery. I know a lot of people have made suggestions about how to better utilize the Paladin's mastery rating and I too have my own opinion. I would personally like to see them scrap the absorption concept and have mastery allow an extra percentage of heals from all of our spells to pas through to the target of our Beacon of Light. The percentages would have to be carefully set up to not allow this to become too overpowered, but I feel it would be a better overall boost to our healing and also fit much better in with the perception of the class versus an absorption. I do not work at Blizzard though and therefore I have no say so, but a guy can dream can't he?
So what about the patch has you excited or scared? Any nerfs to your class that makes you want to reroll?