If you're a holy paladin with a pulse, there's no reason not to be raiding Dragon Soul. The Raid Finder allows us healers to find groups in minutes, with no strings attached if you have to leave early. The normal versions of the bosses are all accessible for guilds across the spectrum of dedication levels. Healing a raid in Dragon Soul gives you access to the best gear available and provides us with the greatest challenge we can face today.
I was looking at my World of Logs parses from the old days, and I was surprised to see how bad my HPS looked then when compared to more recent parses. The first step in preparing yourself to heal in Dragon Soul is to realize that the instance isn't built like Bastion of Twilight or Firelands. While the Ascendant Council repeatedly punished the raid for clumping and Baleroc crushed our tanks, many fights in Dragon Soul involve tight stacking and tons of AoE healing. Optimizing our AoE healing has become a key to succeeding in Dragon Soul.
Picking the right Light of Dawn
If you're a Raid Finder healer for hire or a 25-man healing workhorse, you're going to want to use the unglyphed version of Light of Dawn. Without the glyph, Light of Dawn deals the most healing possible, as long as you can hit six people at once. With over two dozen targets available to you, that shouldn't be too difficult. Raiders in 10-man environments can also use the plain version of LoD quite effectively on any stacking fight, which really only excludes Morchok and Hagara. Luckily none of the aforementioned fights focus on heavy AoE damage, and we can usually find an angle to hit six targets anyway. I have relegated the Glyph of Light of Dawn to dungeon use only, so I pick it up in my hybrid shockadin spec.
Because of all the AoE damage being dealt in Dragon Soul, you're going to be using Holy Radiance often. In order to deal with the massive influx of holy power points you'll be seeing from Tower of Radiance, try to have your holy power release ready before you reach 3 holy power points. If you know you're going to cast a Light of Dawn toward the melee at 3 points, you can aim yourself and then cast it immediately after your third Holy Radiance. Trying to figure out what to do with your holy power points on the fly will only slow your healing down.
I know I've talked about how great the Glyph of Divine Protection is, but Dragon Soul's raid mechanics make it more valuable than it has ever been. Every single encounter features incoming magical damage, often in large bursts that are perfect for using Divine Protection to counter. Glyphed Divine Protection becomes a cornerstone of many guilds' heroic Morchok strategy and trivializes the dangerous parts of Warmaster Blackhorn and the Madness of Deathwing. While I hate burning our Speed of Light talent when I don't need to move anywhere, Divine Protection is simply too good to not be using all the time.
Blessed Life is back
While many holy paladins were dropping the Blessed Life talent in the last raid tier, Dragon Soul's raid mechanics make it valuable once again. Most of the boss encounters we'll be facing can activate Blessed Life, and the recent improvements to Light of Dawn make holy power points more valuable than ever. Take a single talent point out of one of your secondary talent trees and drop it into Blessed Life for just one Dragon Soul raid, and you'll see the difference. Blessed Life is especially important against heroic Yor'sahj, as Word of Glory doesn't activate the purple ooze debuff but most of Yor'sahj's attacks activate Blessed Life.
Because of the stackable nature of most Dragon Soul bosses, we're in melee range an awful lot. If you're not casting for any reason, you should be attacking the boss. I replaced my old Judgement button with a "/startattack" macro, which works out nicely to ensure I'm always attacking.
Our Seal of Insight procs return a decent amount of mana, and it doesn't hurt us to melee in our lull periods. You can get a full 20 seconds of melee attacks in on Yor'sahj as he's summoning his oozes, and I purposefully put myself into the melee stack on Zon'ozz to get a few swings in as well. We can always put that extra mana to good use.
Pull Flash of Light out of the closet
I'll admit it, I don't like Flash of Light. I avoid using it at all costs, to the tune of maybe once a raid night. FoL is expensive and typically provides a level of HPS that is completely unnecessary. My thinking was that if I needed FoL to keep someone alive, it was because I was doing my job wrong leading up to that point. My logic was rooted in my testing at the start of Cataclysm, while I was wearing all blues and had less than six digits on my mana bar. I couldn't afford to use FoL, so I had to find a way around it.
With my Firelands and Dragon Soul gear mix, I can now afford to use Flash of Light occasionally. If you're ever in doubt of your ability to save a player's life, feel free to unload a Flash of Light to quickly rectify the situation. I've found FoL to be nearly required for two-healing heroic Morchok, much to my chagrin. Someone targeted by the tentacle grip on the Spine of Deathwing? Flash of Light can handle that. Now that Infusion of Light makes it instant-cast, it's better than it has ever been.
The entire core of the three-heal model is that we get to choose between HPM and HPS, and that choice is what creates an interesting healing environment. We save mana by using our efficient heals and gaming the system, but if we never unleash that bonus mana via powerful healing, what's the point? The new Holy Radiance has reminded me that there's nothing wrong with burning a ton of mana if you get a ton of healing done. Flash of Light won't break our large mana pools, and not using it only weakens us as healers. Flash of Light deserves a spot on our action bar, and it can save you a wipe if used properly.
The Light and How to Swing It: Holy helps holy paladins become the powerful healers we're destined to be. Find out just how masterful mastery healing can be, gear up with the latest gear, and learn how to PvP as a holy paladin.