The evolution of gear, a Holy Paladin perspective

Today I’m going to talk about the differences between the current T7.5 sets and compare the itemization and set bonuses with the Ulduar T8 version to see how ‘upgrading’ to the higher ilvl items will effect our class.

Looking at the T7 gear from Naxxramas, for paladins you’ll find a very large amount of crit on the gear.  Given the talent builds and more specifically our ‘Illumination’ talent,  we have with patch 3.0-3.1 Paladins gain a significant amount of replenishment from crits, so logically this is the most reasonable choice for ‘best in slot’ purposes.  It comes with a sizable amount of spell power and can be gemmed to suit any healing build reasonably.  The Tier 7 set bonuses are (2 piece) Holy shock gains +10% crit chance (4 piece) Holy Light’s mana cost is discounted 5%.

The 2-piece set bonus is fantastic, Holy Shock costs a sizeable amount of mana, so the increase in crit chance helps alleviate that cost by returning mana through illumination when it -does crit-.

The 4-piece set bonus is great because during longer fights when you have to use your largest healing spell, the 5% mana reduction can add up.  This will allow you to practically chain cast Holy Light to your hearts content. 

With the current state of Illumination, the T7 set is an excellent set for raiding.  It hits home on our most prized talent for replenishment and gives us enough spell power to cast 20k Holy Light crits, gotta love it.

Now lets take a look at the Ulduar gear upgrades, in comparison to the T7 Naxxramas gear, you’ll find that the total gear only crit is REDUCED from 184 to 153!!  What happened to 31 points of crit on our gear?!!?  Spell power was increased significantly from 391 to 481 spell power.  MP5 on the new T8 gear was buffed up from 35 to 74 Mana Regeneration.  So let’s think about what happens here, our crits ultimately decrease by a marginal amount reducing our replenishment from illumination, our spell power is buffed so we’re going to cast larger critting heals when we -do- crit, and we get double the amount of MP5 which increases our baseline replenishment across the board no matter if we crit or not. Let’s look at the set bonuses: (2 piece) Holy Shock crits place a Heal over time effect healing for 15% of the shocked amount (4 piece) Sacred Shield triggers every 4 seconds instead of every 6 seconds.

The 2 Piece bonus I think is kind of nifty, Paladins at the moment don’t have any HoTs they can apply to targets, binding your Holy Shock with your instant crit ability will make this a really nice bonus.

The 4 Piece bonus is nice as well, this would ultimately proc the +50% chance to crit with FoL and keep a 100% up-time, coupling this set bonus with the Holy/Prot build would practically make you have Disc Priest sized shields on the tank yes? (maybe i’m exaggerating lol)

Why would blizzard ‘buff’ MP5 and not crit for holy paladins?

The class designers for paladins have mentioned in their forum posts that they’ve wanted to make MP5 a bit more of a stat that Paladins look at as a source of significant replenishment, but not to the point where we would ignore crit completely.  As of right now, most paladins are gearing/gemming to completely ignore MP5 and it’s working.  This makes our Illumination talent, ‘Overpowered’ in the eyes of the game developers when we rely to heavily on one specific stat when crit in reality isn’t a pure ‘replenishment’ stat. HOWEVER, developers were okay with Illumination being overpowered because we are SINGLE target healers, they could justify our class to have unbelievable single target healing ability, because we aren’t viable to heal raid damage in most cases.  This will change after patch 3.2…….why you ask?

Beacon of Light will allow us to be ‘raid healing viable’ duplicating 100% of our heals (even if overhealed) to the beaconed target.  Probably the biggest buff to Paladins healing since WOTLK, but with great power comes great nerfs to balance….

So after patch 3.2 hits, our beloved Illumination talent is going to be hit with the nerf bat.  Instead of being credited back 60% of the base mana cost, it’s getting nerfed to credit back 30%, a 50% slashing of replenishment from crits alone.  Our Divine Intellect talent is ALSO getting the nerf bat increasing intellect 10% down from 15%.  All because they feel we’re ‘raid healing viable’ now.

They’re buffing MP5 on all gear after 3.2 as well i guess to alleviate some of the replenishment issues by focusing on crit purely.  We’re not going to get as much mana back from crits like we used to, and -SPAMMING- Holy Light is not going to be an option for Paladin healers any longer.

After patch 3.2 MP5 will/should be raised to reasonable levels to make us think of stacking it for replenishment.  At very high levels MP5 -can- be overpowered, but rest assured the game developers will be keeping a close watch, and will make adjustments as they see fit if MP5 starts to get out of hand.

SO, as you can see there is an ‘evolution’ of gear moving from T7 to T8, pre patch 3.2 I would say T7-7.5 would be ‘best in slot’ since it capitalizes on our main illumination talent, and provides the best mana efficiency to our most mana costly spells. 

After 3.2 launches and the talent tree changes take effect, T8 would probably be best in slot.  T9 gear will also be available after the patch so we’ll do another comparison then once it goes live to see how it fares to the new mechanics of pally healing and see which set capitalizes on our strengths the most.

Below is a link showing the item comparison on wowhead.com:


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