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More Paladin Musings

Faith mentioned something to me yesterday that I’m not sure is a good or bad thing, at least not until I test it. Holy Paladins are probably the least squishy healer out there just because they have: plate armor; shields; a tank-based sub-spec. Even completely unbuffed my armor can mitigate 60% of all incoming physical damage, avoid 14% of it through defenses and cast a variety of bubbles on myself to reduce or entirely mitigate anything left. The only place they seem to fall down is magic damage, and being a Blood Elf, I have a 2% gain over any other Alliance Paladins right off the bat.

But I won’t ramble too much about defense, I’m a healer, not a tank. What I will talk about though, is the Divine Sacrifice Paladin, a Paladin who ventures 17 points into the Protection Tree to pick up Divine Sacrifice (redirect 30% of all damage to the party onto the Paladin) and Divine Guardian (provides a 20% shield wall to all raid members for 6 seconds). So you’re giving a 50% reduction to your whole party (usually all healers together, though as a Paladin you should probably be in with the tanks for this very ability) and a 20%  reduction to the whole raid. If you’re expecting a 10k*25 hit on your group, this ability alone can mitigate 50k damage in a single GCD. Of course, you’ll also be taking 8k+(30% of 8k * 4)22.4k damage from the AoE itself plus the redirects, so this skill is pretty much bound to Divine Protection or Divine Shield, lest you get yourself deaded. However, in order to pick up Divine Guardian, you’re going to need 3 points in Improved Righteous Fury (6% damage reduction for all incoming damage), so that figure will shrink once again, and then, right at the bottom of the list on the RNG you could even go so far as to pick up Blessed Life for a potential (10% chance) of reducing the damage of a single hit (though each hit is rolled separately, so you might get all or you might get none!) by 50%!

So musing rambles asides, I was seriously looking at the idea of getting Blessed Life for the 10% chance of a half damage hit. In places like ICC where raid damage is usually significant I can see this being quite a good thing to take, the only problem is I need to pull 3 points from somewhere else. Oh, I know, from the Protection tree.

Why am I so anal on being a good damage sponge, anyway? Well, with Mist being heavy on Resto Shamans, I’m going to almost always be able to expect a Mana Spring totem down, and by default all Resto Shamans (should) have the improved version of this, providing it with a further 20% extra healing which is the same as our Improved Blessing of Wisdom. Because the Shaman talent is mandatory, and our talent is only optional, I can afford to skip on this talent for any raid that has a Resto Shaman in it. So now I have two spare points, both of which I point into the next talent over, Blessed Hands. Now I know it’s not my job to watch the threat of DPS, but giving a DPS of my choice a 40% threat reduction/removal over 10 seconds (probably Runningwater and his Swipe happy playstyle) is rather nice, but more importantly, being able to give a tank a 40% shield wall for as long as it takes them to absorb 30k damage on a single GCD seems unfoundedly useful. Maybe. On the other hand, because this is always capped at 30k damage (my ICC25 buffed HP as the caster), I can’t help but wonder if it’d be better to absorb that 30k over a long (untalented) or short (talented) period of time. A lot of care has to be taken here too, because a tank taking two big hits in a row could leave me with half of my HP wiped out, which is where things like Divine Protection and Improved Righteous Fury come in.

Holy Paladins are tank healers, yes, but that’s only one of their two niches. Their other niche is raid utility. We have Blessings, we have Hands, we have Aura Mastery, a ton of raid-wide skills that might make or break a hard mode, and I can’t help but think that any Holy Paladin who puts their spare 17-20 points into Retribution probably have a lot to answer for in terms of why they’re being lazy and aiming to crit high for the sake of the meters than make the life of the other 24 players that little bit less taxing. The reason I’m going for these changes is because I’m pulling talent points out of places that they were otherwise wasted. Improved Blessing of Wisdom? Same as the mandatory Shaman talent in the Restoration tree. Improved Devotion Aura? Same as the mandatory talent in the Protection tree for tanks and the Restoration tree for Druids. A lot of the talents in my build can be done the same or better by other players, which means that rather than create duplicate effects, I might as well go for something unique that no other player or class can do, like my 20% raid-wide shield wall or my 40% single target sacrifices.

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