Hey Pally forum. I just wanted to throw this guide together for players curious about how this pvp 4-set raiding build works and try to get some more information about it together in one place. Feel free to add anything if it seems I've left something out.
UPDATE: As of Patch 5.1, the season 12 gladiator's 4-set bonus no longer grants holy power when EF is cast with Divine Purpose, noticeably weakening the power of this healing style for raiding content.
Although this healing style is weaker than it was pre-patch, it is still a solid healing boost if you do not have access to the 4-piece pve (white tiger set) which has now been buffed to give a 2 second reduction to the HS cooldown (previously 1 second). The increase to holy power generation is still strong enough to offset a small stat loss from using lower ilvl gear.
What is it?
Raid healing with the PvP 4-set revolves around massive use of holy power rather than mana spells to do our heavy lifting. This works because the pvp 4-set allows very high HP generation, allowing us to compensate for the lower than normal spirit we'll be running because of the lower stat weighting on pvp gear.
The Talent Build
Tier 1 - Pursuit of Justice (recommended) or Speed of Light. Long Arm of the Law is going to be a weaker option in most cases because you will want to be using most of your GCD's for holy shock or crusader strike. Pursuit is the stronger option in most cases because you will constantly be generating holy power, giving it an edge on most fights.
Tier 2 - User's choice. I recommend Fist of Justice for most fights since the shortened cd and range increase on our instant stun will frequently be more useful than a cc with a cast time. Burden of Guilt is by far the weakest option here since very few boss fights have snareable adds, and in those situations, snares are better provided by classes with AoE slows like hunters or shaman.
Tier 3 - Eternal Flame. Necessary to the build as this is going to be your go-to heal.
Tier 4 - User's choice depending on the fight. For most fights, I recommend clemency or unbreakable spirit. Clemency doubles our utility spells which have a lot of uses this tier. Hand of Sacrifice and Hand of Protection in particular, though Freedom and Salvation have strong niches as well. Unbreakable Spirit is a strong choice if you don't need the utility of clemency. You'll be using a lot of holy power, so this becomes a very strong option, allowing us to use a second LoH on some fights, and giving more frequent use of our personal defensive abilities. Hand of Purity is generally a weaker choice here, but it is powerful on specific fights.
Tier 5 - Divine Purpose. Central to the build to reduce mana consumption.
Tier 6 - Light's Hammer (recommended). Holy Prism and Execution Sentence have their place, but in most cases you'll want Light's Hammer for a strong AoE healing ability.
First, you obviously need your pvp 4-set. The 4 armor slots you choose are up to you, though I recommend gloves, shoulders, helm and chest. The pvp legs do not have spirit or mastery, making them our weakest piece in the set for pve content.
For reforging, gemming and enchanting, you will still want a good amount of spirit. Generally speaking, intellect is slightly better than spirit, since you'll be depending more on holy power than mana for healing. You still want a good amount of spirit for those times when you do not get DP procs. After this, gear for mastery. Crit is by far our weakest stat for PvE healing. Haste thresholds for EF are 15% and 25%. The 15% mark is easily reachable with raid buffs and should not cost you much to reach. The 25% mark is tough in normal mode gear and will cost you too much spirit and mastery to be a viable goal. Since we won't be using many cast time spells, haste is far less valuable with this build. Additionally, Infusion of Light procs severely reduce the value of haste for spells like DL and HR.
Glyphs don't change much with this build. The notable ones are:
Beacon of Light - Probably the most influential in this build. It allows beacon swapping that is gcd free. Macro BoL to Divine Light and you can boost your holy power generation considerably. Infusion proc, beacon, divine light allows you to generate an extra holy power without wasting an extra gcd to move beacon.
Protector of the Innocent - has a lot of synergy with this build. You will be casting EF a lot, so this glyph provides an exceptional amount of self-healing that is mana and gcd free.
Divinity - 10% of our mana for free is a pretty strong option, particularly combined with Unbreakable Spirit.
Divine Protection - nice for fights with a lot of physical damage (zor'lok and garalon are good examples). If you can spare the glyph slot, its a solid option.
Divine Light - not as strong with this build. You want to constantly be generating holy power, so it is often better to spend the 9 seconds of unglyphed divine plea time meleeing the boss and rotation HS and CS rather than spending a long cast time.
This is the biggest change brought on by the pvp 4-set. Every time you cast EF with 3 holy power or a divine purpose proc, you generate an extra holy power. As a simple example, here's a possible scenario, assuming you start the fight with a full 5 holy power.
(updated for 5.1)
- cast EF on the tank, gain 1 HP from set bonus (now at 3)
- HS (4 HP)
- CS (5 HP)
- EF (3 HP) (divine purpose proc)
- EF (3 HP)
- CS (4 HP)
- EF (1 HP)
- HS (2 HP)
- HR (3 HP)
- CS (4 HP)
- EF (2 HP)
In that chain of casting, you've only spent time on instant casts. You've also only spent about 60k mana over a span of about 14 seconds, meaning you will have passively regenerated almost half of the cost. In addition, you now have 5 EF's rolling on the raid, all of which feed heals constantly to your beacon target (probably the tank). On top of that, EF is constantly building Illuminated Healing shields on all of its targets.
The big differences from the typical holy pally playstyle are the way we manage our casting, and burst AoE healing. For this playstyle, we don't care about being efficient in terms of healing vs. overhealing. If you have EF rolling on a whole raid, you're going to generate a lot of excess healing. Normally, that would mean you aren't being mana efficient. But because you're constantly generating and dumping holy power, your overhealing is not costing you mana. The only mana costs are HS and CS.
As for AoE burst healing, you will approach it a bit differently. In the past, our solution was to rotate holy radiance, holy shock, crusader strike and light of dawn. Although that rotation is powerful, it is very mana intensive. It can be supplemented with Light's Hammer, but the real key is knowing when the damage will be coming. On Zor'Lok for example, Force and Verve is very healing intensive. But if we have EF rolling on the raid, a large amount of healing is already taken care of between mastery shields that are constantly being built up and by the HoT itself. Rather than try to burst heal the damage as it comes, our tools now allow us to preempt the damage by rolling a powerful HoT on the raid, meaning we can spend time using HS/CS to generate holy power that can be dumped into refreshing EF or used for LoD depending on the raid's position.
Pros and Cons
This playstyle changes our approach to healing significantly. Because of that, there are inherent advantages and disadvantages. Our fellow healers in raids should be made aware of how this affects the raid, because the result changes how they will want to play as well, if they are synergize well with a pally running this build.
- We no longer depend on frequent castable spells like HL and DL. Our rotation is primarily focused on instant casts (HS, CS, EF). Because of this, we become much more mobile healers.
- More stable tank healing (through beacon). EF blanketing results in a constant and fairly stable stream of healing constantly feeding to the tank. Rather than needing periodic large heals, this playstyle helps to smooth out the amount of direct healing needed by the tank.
- Endurance. Our mana endurance is now much longer during periods of steady raid damage. Because of this, other healers will be able to spend time at reduced healing or actively generating mana (shaman's telluric currents, for example), while our mana-light rotation continues to keep a raid healthy.
- Proc dependancy. Although it is still a powerful playstyle, the occasional dry spell of divine purpose procs can hurt us, occasionally forcing heavier use of HL/DL to compensate for high damage periods. In this scenario, we may need other healers to smooth over a rough spot while we regenerate our HP stack and recover mana.
- AoE burst healing. Not exactly a weak point, but the approach is much different. We will be EF blanketing to cover damage, but other healers will have to do more work while our HoTs kick in. Alternatively, we can revert to HR/LoD rotation, but this is very mana intensive and will cost us in the long run.
- Reliance on CS for HP generation. Because we want to constantly be casting 3HP EF's, we need to generate holy power through CS as well as HS. In some cases though, we can't be near an enemy mob to hit. In extreme cases, this makes the playstyle less viable, but there are ways to work around it. We gain the mobility so it is possible to drift in and out of melee range on many fights in order to keep our HP flowing.
NOTE: I've tried to update this for the 5.1 changes to our set bonuses. Please let me know if you see anything I've missed that is outdated.