You know, after reading through and playing around with a holy paladin on the Mists of Pandaria beta, it looks like paladins didn't get a ton groundbreaking class changes. In a way, though, that's a good thing! You still get to keep the same style of play, except you have a few new spells and abilities to really augment your healing even further. You don't even have to learn any new playstyles.
If you're an awesome healer now, then you should have no problems moving into the next expansion at all. The additional AoE helpers are a bonus. Even though Holy Radiance is awesome, it'd be nice to have a few other AoE healing spells for a change.
More AoE healing
It has become much easier for holy paladins to AoE heal targets now, compared to previous expansions when paladins were labelled as pure tank healers. Back then, their AoE healing prowess was weak. They've come a long way since then. The next expansion will give paladins even more tools to help shake off that stigma even further.
Daybreak means you'll be following up Holy Radiance with a Holy Shock almost immediately to help keep up your group's health. It's a nice upgrade from the old Daybreak. Naturally, the effectiveness and smoothness is going to take some time to get used to. The ability to test it on beta should help.
The bonus resource for paladins is going to be here to stay. If you were adept at balancing and maximizing your usage of holy power, then you'll be in excellent shape. Take a close look at Holy Avenger and Divine Purpose at level 75. While Divine Purpose has a chance to make your next holy power ability free and act as if 3 holy power were used, the problem is that it's a chance and isn't something you can inherently rely on consistently. On the other hand, Holy Avenger is on a 2-minute cooldown.
- Glyph of Light of Dawn
- Glyph of Divine Plea
- Glyph of Beacon of Light
- Glyph of Flash of Light
- Glyph of Illumination
Love the level 90 talents and can't wait to give them a spin. All three of these talents can be used to interact with both your allies and your enemies.
- Execution Sentence Out of the three level 90 abilities, I don't think I'd favor this one over the other two. But that largely depends on how much that final burst healing. With its 1-minute cooldown, I'd sit on Execution Sentence and save it for any damage burst phases on the tank.
- Holy Prism Fairly long range on this ability. You'll just need to find time to lob it at a boss or a mob. I'm not sure if it's going to be a spell that you're going to want to keep spamming on cooldown or anything, but it's nice to know you can use it to supplement your AoE healing during any intense raid-wide damage phases.
- Light's Hammer Finally! Another AoE healing spell that doesn't operate in a conical shape! Drop it and forget it. Nice to know it can double as a damage ability too. Hint: Try to use it on melee players.
There was some discussion and speculation on allowing paladins to benefit from spellpower in other areas instead of relying on intellect plate items. The initial thinking was that holy plate was a type of gear designed to fit a narrow playerbase (plate armor with intellect). Paladins are the only class that benefit from it. That brought up additional questions such as what would hit and expertise become? Should holy paladins wear mail instead?
With monks using leather, paladins will continue to be the only class with access to intellect plate. It seems like the developers will be sticking with that for this expansion.
Nothing has changed here. Paladins will continue to be really good at tank healing. You get some nifty new spells from talents like Eternal Flame.
As an aside, it appears retribution paladins experienced a slight spellpower change as well. Sword of Light, which normally buffs their two-handed melee weapon damage, also grants spellpower equal to 50% of your paladin's attack power. Other sources of spellpower won't benefit you at all, however.
Where are paladins going to fit in the raid teams of Mists? In a word, anywhere! I mean, theoretically, you could run a viable 4-healing-paladin composition for 25-mans with other healing combinations if you really wanted to. Paladins will continue to be extremely strong tank healers, since none of their major core healing skills have been negatively altered (at least, not significantly).
Healing leaders will want to start thinking about where they want paladin coverage now in addition to who they're healing. Some of those talents have powerful potential depending on where the paladin is relative to the raid (in a location sense).
Do you plan on continuing to heal on your paladin going into Mists of Pandaria?
Need advice on working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered. Send your questions about raid healing to firstname.lastname@example.org. For less healer-centric raiding advice, visit Ready Check for advanced tactics and advice for the endgame raider.