How To: Spec for your type of playing style

Talent Specs. Everyone has them, few players fully understand theirs. I admit it, I’m guilty of not understanding my spec well, even into my young 80 days. Holy Paladin’s are fairly straight forwards when it comes to specing. We have the mandatory talents in the holy tree like Illumination and Light’s Grace, but then we have all these left over points that we can use to choose some skills from the Protection or Retribution trees, both of which are good options depending on what you’re play style is.

Holy/Prot– 51/17/03

This is your typical raiding build, the Bubble Sac. Most high-end raiders swear by this build, and I have known it to save a few raids in its time. If you like quirky, situational abilities you will enjoy the Bubble Sac spec. You’re going to put the 51* points into Holy that both the Holy/prot and Holy/ret builds will take.

Why Prot over Ret:

This type of build is extremely beneficial to a raid group. The skills you go into the prot tree to take are Divine Sacrifice and Divine Guardian. Divine Sacrifice now reduces the damage your party takes by 20%, which is redirected to the Paladin who cast it. The Divine Guardian talent also reduces the damage of the raid and your party by another 20%, and it buffs your Sacred Shield ability allowing it to last 100% longer and making it absorb 20% more. Both of these effects affect party members within 30 yards of you. Divine Guardian procs off of Divine Sacrifice, so you don’t have to worry about hitting both abilities. However, in most cases you’ll want to use your Divine Shield ability along with the Divine Sacrifice (Hence, the bubble sac) so that you won’t A) Die, or B) Cause yourself to dip below 20% health and cancel the party damage reduction effect. EDIT:  Going below 20% health will not cause the raid damage reduction to stop (Thanks Codi!).

In this build you’re going to take the 5 points in Divinity)on the first protection tier. On the second you’ll put 2 points in Guardian’s Favor and either 3 points in Stoicism or Anticipation. Personally I choose stoicism for those situation fights (like faction champs) where that will be useful. In a place like Ice Crown any dodge you have isn’t going to matter anyway, not with the aura that gives you 20% reduced dodge while you’re inside the Raid. In the third tier you’ll put the 1 point in Divine Sacrifice, and then you have another choice to make: You can go 3/3 in Improved Righteous Fury and 1/5 into Toughness, or you can go 4/5 into Toughness. Personally I do not take improved Righteous Fury. Whenever I have I seem to die faster, and in some fights you cannot use it at all for fear of pulling adds to you with healing aggro. If you like to live on the wild side I recommend this talent. But, if you’re like me and play a healer so you don’t have to get pummeled in the face by big monsters, I suggest taking Toughness. It’s passive and always active, and no tank will yell at you for that.

Any points you have left over you can plug either into Improved Devotion Aura, which will give you 6% extra healing to anyone effected by your aura’s, or into Benediction, which decreases the mana cost of your instant cast spells (i.e. Holy Shock, Beacon of light, Sacred Shield). If you have a druid with Tree of Life form IDA will not stack with them, and if your tank is a Paladin who is speced into that already it will not stack. So if you’re in a raid with no resto druids and no prot pallies then it is a hightly useful talent to take. Benediction is a nice substitute for those of us with leafy friends.

If you choose this build make sure to talk with your other Holy Paladin’s or Prot paladin’s who may have this skill, because they do not stack, and you don’t want to pop them at the same time.

*Note: You can take 1 of the points from Benediction(Or if you choose Improved Devo Aura in the prot tree, take 1 point from that) in the Ret tree and put it in Aura Mastery. This skill can be very useful in fights where you’re taking a lot of a particular type of damage. EDIT: Aura Mastery increases the effect of all Auras by 100% so any aura that is up will be affected by your AM. Thanks Ophelie for the tip!

Holy/Ret– 51/3/18

This build will maximize the mana you’ll get back  every time you cast. This build will give you an additional 8% passive crit. This build is more for the person who doesn’t want to (or can’t) handle balancing more than the cool down’s they already have. Your raid will not thank you very much for choosing this build– you may be able to pump out more HPS and top the meters, but I’ve seen many raids saved from doom by a well timed Bubble Sac. If you don’t raid often, or at all, then this is a good build for you.

You’re going to put the 51* points in the Holy tree for this spec as well. Instead of going into the prot tree for Divinity first you’ll head on over to the ret tree and plug all 5 points into Benediction. In tier 2 you’ll put 3/3 points in Heart of the Crusader. You then have some options for your next two points. If you’re short on paladins and find yourself blessing people with might, I suggest putting the points into Improved Blessing of Light. If that would be a waste for you, got for Improved judgements, which will reduce the CD’s on your judgements  by 2 seconds. In the third Tier all your points will go into Conviction for 5% crit. The next tier you have another choice, although it’s not in the ret tree. You can put the 3 points into Sanctity of Battle for 3% more crit, or you can take those and put them in Divinity so that will be maxed out. If you choose Sanctity of Battle you’ll put the two leftover points into Divinity anyway.

This type of build, with 5/5 divinity and 5/5 conviction,  is often used for a Flash of Light build. But, you’re not going to achieve that with the Intellect your average paladin is going to be stacking anyway.

*Note: Like in the Holy/Prot tree you can take 1 point out of another talent for 1 point into Aura Mastery. If you’re not going for 5/5 Divinity and 5/5 Conviction you can take 1 point from Divinity and stick it in AM. However, this build is about the pure healing you can output, and if you’re building like this you’re not going to be able to use the gimmicky things as well as a Holy/Prot paladin. If you feel the urge for fun cooldowns, I suggest you try out the Holy/Prot healing style.

Well these are our two most popular, and most tried and true builds. Of course these are PvE builds, and not recommended for PvP.

Happy Healing!



Filed under Holy Paladin Specifics, Raids

7 responses to “How To: Spec for your type of playing style

  1. Codi

    (Your link to the Holy/Prot build isn’t working, just so you know. :D)

    Generally, I find it’s far more useful to take AM and go 1/2 Imp LoH at all times. No one really uses LoH on cooldown, so that gets lost many times and the extra damage reduction doesn’t really do much the vast majority of times. It only reduces physical damage, which the vast majority of bosses don’t do much of to tanks. And if you’re using it on DPS, you’re much better off using HoProt on them.

    Macroing AM to an aura isn’t a terrible idea, don’t get me wrong, but any fight that’s doing elemental damage, you’re probably -much- better off just running that resistance aura the whole time. Extra resists = less damage = less healing needed. 🙂

    Your info. on DivSac is a little old, just so you know. The only part of it that ends if you dip to 20% health is the group damage redirection towards yourself. The “raid wall” damage reduction takes up for the duration. That’s the reason that many paladins macro DivSac with a cancel-aura function right away for heavy raid damage fights; they reduce all damage the raid’s damage by 20% without having to worry about biting it themselves.

    When you adjust for absorption from DiVSac, as well as the increased absorption and duration of SShield from that talent as well, you generally find that going Holy/Prot is -more- mana efficient that going Holy/Ret, not to mention yields more overall healing. It used to be that Holy/Prot was for raid variety and Holy/Ret was for throughput, but that’s simply not true anymore.

  2. Ohhh okay, thanks for clarifying the group damage wall versus the raid damage wall.

    I suggest macroing the AM and an aura together because in a raid with multiple paladins not everyone is going to be running the aura that mitigates damage. Obviously if it’s your duty to run those type of auras you won’t need the macro!

  3. As far as I know, your Aura Mastery works on any pally aura, not just your own. So as long as the person assigned to a specific aura is alive, you don’t need to switch your aura.

  4. This is making me want to respec. I’m currently 51/3/17 and haven’t so much as looked at my spec since I re-specced after…erm….I guess Lich King came out. *blush*

    I want to be the best I can be and be of the most use to my raid. I’ve been reading around on various blogs and have read a few of the FoL and HL build discussions and honestly, I couldn’t tell you which I am. I think I’m gemmed/specced more for the HL build, but I really just use whichever spell is more useful at the time, I don’t rely heavily on either one. But this handy post spoke to me more. AM seems kinda confuzzling (need to read the tooltip I guess). I remember all the confusion when it first came out and since then, not much.

    So thanks, I may just have to give Holy/Prot a whirl!!

  5. Pingback: Should I finally get dual spec? « (Un)holy Randomness

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