Every Sunday, Chase Christian of The Light and How to Swing It invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. This week, we examine the difference between throughput and longevity, and how intellect skews the scale.
Paladins have an incredible amount of what I call 'support' spells: things that aren't part of your rotation but provide us with quite a bit of flexibility. All of our 'Hand of X' spells would fall into this category, along with several other unique abilities that set us apart from other healers. Our healing toolbox has also expanded significantly, with Sacred Shield and Beacon of Light completely redefining how a holy paladin heals in WotLK. My actions bars are filled with macros and various support spells that I may need on a moment's notice.
Even with the sheer number of abilities that paladins have to deal with different situations, we are left with only two true healing spells to rely on. Holy Light and Flash of Light are our workhorses, with nearly all of our actual healing coming from one or the other. Holy Light provides us with an essentially infinite source of throughput (see the above graph from Valithria Dreamwalker), while Flash of Light's efficiency gives us a longevity that has other healers green with envy. Trying to reconcile the difference between these two paradigms, massive throughput vs persistent longevity, is one of the most intensely discussed topics in the holy paladin community. Read on for my thoughts on the topic.