Welcome to our holy paladin guide for WoW Classic! To properly play any healer, you’ll need to fully understand your class and role to fully utilize your character’s toolkit. Fortunately this guide will make that learning process much quicker!
When it comes to playing a holy paladin, there are two main things you’ll need to understand. First you’ll need to understand how to heal, but you’ll also need to understand the paladin class and what it brings to the healing role.
We’ll also cover talent options and which race is the best for a paladin. There will also be an extensive section for optimization, covering stat priority for gearing, professions for added functionality, enchants for added bonuses, and the best consumables you can bring to help you keep your raid group alive. There’s plenty to get through, but you’ll definitely want to check it out if you want to maximize your potential as a holy paladin!
Best Holy Paladin Races
Just like how only the Horde can play as a shaman, only the Alliance can play as a paladin. Race choices are limited to just two; human and dwarf. Strictly for holy purposes, there isn’t much of a difference between the two races. You can check out all the differences here.
Humans have a slight advantage due to The Human Spirit, which gives +5% Spirit and slightly higher starting values for intellect and spirit. However, paladins do not benefit from in-combat regeneration, which makes the ability less impactful for their class. Dwarves also have access to Stoneform, which grants a slight boost to survivability. Either way, humans or dwarves work great as holy paladins.
Holy Paladin Talents
Your talent choices will ultimately depend upon your role within your raid group. There are several different acceptable holy paladin talent trees, but these two are what you’re most likely to use. One is your go-to, everyday build, while the other is a niche build oriented around boosting the power of the casters in your raid.
This 35/11/5 is the standard holy paladin build, and includes everything you’ll need in your core toolkit. Note that it does have 5 points in Improved Blessing of Might, which means that this is also a great build for maintaining blessing buffs. There aren’t really any other talent choices that are worth it unless you’re fully switching to the talent tree below.
The 32/19/0 holy paladin build is the main variation to the one shown above. This one empties the retribution field, while also drawing several points out of holy. You’ll still have enough to access Holy Shock, but this will also allow you 3 points in Improved Concentration Aura. This build is critical for raid groups with many casters and/or fights with consistent damage. If you’re using this build, you likely will want another paladin to keep blessing buffs up.
There are many things that separate an average player from a great player, but one of those things is how you choose to optimize your character. Reaching level 60 and acquiring the rarest armor you can find is a good starting point, but you’ll need to invest much more time if you want to actually be effective! Failing to optimize is simply wasting potential – why wouldn’t you want to optimize?
Holy paladins are slightly different from other healers, mainly because of the talent Illumination, which refunds the mana cost of heals that critically strike. Not only that, but holy paladins do not benefit from in-combat mana regeneration through spirit. To complete the weirdness, paladins are also the only healer to wear plate armor.
Considering all those concepts, here are stat priorities for a holy paladin:
- Healing Power – The only way for you to increase the power of your heals is with healing power! Every other stat is certainly helpful for mana regen, but healing power is the only thing that makes you a stronger healer numbers-wise.
- Intellect – Even though holy paladins are truly a weird healing class, intellect is still very important. Intellect won’t increase the effectiveness of your heals, but it boosts your mana pool and critical chance. Mana is often a problem for holy paladins, so intellect is an excellent way of boosting your total mana pool and regeneration rate through Illumination procs.
- Mana per 5 Seconds (MP5) – Healing power and intellect are the two primary stats for holy paladins, but they’ll find minor benefits from MP5. Paladins don’t benefit from spirit like a regular healer, but they do have the talent Illumination. This means you probably won’t need MP5, in which case you should look for critical strike. If you are running into mana issues, some MP5 can help ease the burden.
- Critical Strike – The last useful stat for holy paladins is critical strike. Critical strike is crucial to restoring mana via the Illumination talent, but MP5 is more effective (and reliable) at regeneration. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with critical strike, but healing power, intellect, and MP5 are all just better.
Weapon skill is not as important for holy paladins as it is for retribution paladins, but it will still give you a slight bonus. It will allow you to land any offensive skills you do cast, but it will also boost your critical strike chance by a small amount.
In addition to making sure judgments land, each weapon skill point gives you:
- 0.04% reduced chance to miss.
- 0.04% reduced chance of opponent blocking attack.
- 0.04% reduced chance of opponent parrying attack.
- 0.04% reduced chance of opponent dodging attack.
- 0.04% increased critical strike chance.
Paladins fall into the special category of classes that don’t require a specific profession to fully optimize their character. This means that you can pick any profession you’d like without seeing too many differences. While you can pick any profession, there are a few that seem like natural choices due to their functionality and relevance to raiding as a whole.
Here are the professions you’ll benefit from as a holy paladin:
- Engineering – There is no secret that engineering is the most popular profession in the game. While it isn’t often associated with the crafting of gear, engineering is actually very useful as a profession. Holy paladins don’t have any special benefit, but they can use bombs for extra utility and damage.
- Enchanting – Another solid choice is enchanting. Enchanting is a profession that doesn’t require a gathering profession, which makes it an excellent standalone choice. Being able to farm and collect your own enchanting materials is a great way of funding your own enchants later on!
- Alchemy – Another option for holy paladins is alchemy. Flasks and potions will always be useful in a raid setting. Considering you’ll need to acquire these consumables anyway, you can make it cheaper on yourself by making your own elixirs!
- Mining – If you decided to pick up engineering, then mining is an excellent paired profession. Most of the materials you’ll need to raise your engineering skill are found through mining, so this will reduce the cost of crafting for you.
- Herbalism – If you chose to pick up alchemy, then you’ll benefit from herbalism as well. You’ll need to collect herbs from all over Azeroth to create potions, flasks, and elixirs. This can get quite expensive unless you actually pick the flowers yourself!
Just like every other class, holy paladins must choose the proper enchants to fully optimize their equipment. Because holy paladins prioritize healing power and intellect, you’ll mainly want to find enchants that offer those very stats.
Here are the best enchants to have as a holy paladin:
- Helm – Syncretist’s Sigil, +10 Stamina, +7 Defense, +24 Spell Power or Arcanum of Focus, +8 Spell/Healing Power
- Shoulders – Zandalar Signet of Serenity, +33 Healing Power (Requires ZG to be released)
- Cloak – Subtlety, -2% Threat, or Greater Resistance, +5 All Resistances
- Chest – Greater Stats, +4 All Stats
- Bracers – Greater Intellect, +7 Intellect or Healing, +24 Healing Power
- Gloves – Healing Power, +30 Healing Power
- Pants – Syncretist’s Sigil, +10 Stamina, +7 Defense, +24 Spell Power or Arcanum of Focus, +8 Spell/Healing Power
- Boots – Minor Speed, + Movement Speed
- Weapon – Healing Power, +55 Healing Power or Intellect, +22 Intellect
- Shield – Greater Stamina, +7 Stamina
Fortunately the consumable requirements for a holy paladin are much friendlier than some other roles. Most of your consumables are actually focused around making sure you have enough mana to last through an entire fight, meaning your consumables are focused on endurance rather than power! Slow and steady wins the race!
Here are the essential consumables you’ll need as a holy paladin:
- Flask – As a holy paladin, you’ll forsake elixirs in the name of using a flask. You’ll want Flask of Distilled Wisdom, which adds +2000 Mana to your maximum mana pool.
- Potions – There are two main potions you’ll want as a holy paladin. You’ll need Mageblood Potion, which gives +12 MP5 for an hour, and Major Mana Potion to restore around 1750 mana on a 2 minute cooldown.
- Food – Continuing on with the MP5 route, you’ll need Nightfin Soup to gain +8 MP5 from food.
- Weapon Oil – Another useful consumable is the temporary enhancement you’ll receive from weapon oil! Holy paladins in particular benefit from Brilliant Mana Oil, which gives +12 MP5 and +25 Healing Spell Power.
- Others – Those five consumables are all you should ever need as a holy paladin. If you want to go above and beyond, there are a few others you can keep handy. This mainly includes Demonic / Dark Rune, which grants around 1000 mana at the cost of a little less health.
Rotation & Gameplay Tips
Now that you know everything that goes into optimizing your holy paladin, you’ll want to know how to actually play! While your job as a healer is to keep your party alive, you’ll have a more-defined role within your raid group. In order to successfully heal as a holy paladin, you’ll need to both understand this role and what spell rotation you should be using.
Another thing you’ll also need to understand is proper use of auras. As a paladin, you have multiple different auras that only apply to members of your individual party. This makes it critical to optimize group composition, so you can make good use of paladin auras. Devotion Aura is great for melee and tank groups, while Concentration Aura is better for casters.
The iconic ability of a paladin is their bubble, which grants temporary invulnerability. This ability is called Blessing of Protection, which offers a whopping 10 seconds of taking zero damage. While the targeted player takes no damage, they are also unable to deal any damage (or hold threat). This means you should save it for emergencies, like when a tank or healer is about to die. You and your raid group should familiarize yourselves with right clicking the buff icon to remove the invulnerability to start using abilities again.
Don’t forget to use Seal of Light and Judgement so that you can help with overall raid healing. This combo will give melee attackers a good chance of randomly healing an ally, and is essential if you do end up assigned as a raid healer.
In every raid group, there is a team of healers. This is often a collection of various classes, each bringing a different toolkit to the raid environment. Some healers specialize at heals-over-time (HOTs), while others are great at area-of-effect (AOE) healing like shamans.
Each healer in the group will have a clearly defined role that takes their specialties and strengths into consideration. For a raid, this is often either healing the tank or healing the whole raid. Druids and priests are often assigned to raid healing due to their flexibility.
Holy paladins aren’t good at raid healing, but they are probably the best tank healer in the entire game. This is entirely because of the paladin’s toolkit, which primarily consists of single-target heals with cast times. While this makes them ineffective for healing your raid, it makes them fantastic for keeping one player, like a tank, alive.
As a holy paladin, you will very likely be assigned to tank healing. This makes your job fairly simple – keep the tank alive!
On top of your designated healing role, holy paladins often have an additional role they need to fulfill. This entails keeping blessing buffs maintained on the entire raid. You’ll likely have access to three blessings; Wisdom, Might, and Kings. You’re allowed to place one blessing on each character, and each blessing lasts 15 minutes. Fortunately, you can place a blessing on one class at at time, but each class will receive the same blessing. This does mean that every 15 minutes, you’ll need to remember to reapply Wisdom, Might, and Kings to the correct classes.
The actually spell ability rotation for a holy paladin is ridiculously easy. This is probably because you don’t have many abilities to begin with. With that in mind, your three main healing spells are Holy Shock, Holy Light, and Flash of Light.
Holy Shock is instant, but heals for a fairly low amount comparable to one cast of Flash of Light. It also has a 30 second cooldown. Holy Light doesn’t have a cooldown, but takes 2.5 seconds to cast. It heals for 4-5 times the amount of cast of Flash of Light, but does cost much more mana.
With that information in mind, you’ll want to spam Holy Light on your tank when they are taking a fair amount of damage. When your tank isn’t taking much damage, you’ll want to switch to Flash of Light. Save Holy Shock to use in case of a big damage spike.When your tank isn’t actively in danger, you’ll also want to refresh blessing buffs that have faded. You’ll also want to keep Seal of Light applied at all times. Use Judgement to help proc random area-of-affect (AOE) healing. As long as you keep the tank alive and blessings active, you’re perfectly fulfilling your role as a holy paladin!