In my previous post, I touched on the Selfless Healer talent and how it felt clumsy and led to overhealing. I do still think that Selfless Healer is a little awkward, but I was wrong in assuming that the talent wasn’t an option for currently raiding Holy Paladins. So wrong.
A Holy Power Spender By Any Other Name
The first thing to discuss is why we haven’t seen Selfless Healer at all this expansion. A big factor is the power of Eternal Flame vs. Light of Dawn. Historically, Eternal Flame has been the strictly superior option as a Holy Power spender in comparison to Light of Dawn. The main reason for this is because Light of Dawn has an abysmal 15% transfer rate for Beacon of Light whereas Eternal Flame has 50% — the same as most other heals. When you consider that most Paladins take Beacon of Faith for raiding, that gap becomes 30% of Light of Dawn compared to 100% of Eternal Flame. Beacon of Light is often the biggest contributor to a Holy Paladin’s healing and one of the most compelling aspects of a Holy Paladin’s toolkit so it’s easy to understand how the Beacon transfer disparity between the two spells would influence a lot of thinking.
The Eternal Flame vs. Light of Dawn dilemma can be tricky to nail down because Eternal Flame, Light of Dawn, and Beacon of Light have varying degrees of overhealing. It’s very hard to give an accurate number to overhealing for each of these spells, but I’ve looked at quite a few logs to determine what I think are reasonable averages to work with:
- Eternal Flame: 53% Overhealing
- Eternal Flame HoT: 62% Overhealing
- Light of Dawn: 43% Overhealing
- Beacon of Light: 70% Overhealing
It’s important to note the overhealing percentage of Beacon of Light: 70%. That’s a pretty hefty margin. The difference between Light of Dawn’s and Eternal Flame’s Beacon transfer rate isn’t as much of an issue when you see how much Beacon healing ends up being overhealing. Before we conjecture anymore, let’s take a look at some real numbers based on the overhealing percentages mentioned above.
To calculate how much each spell will actually heal for we really only need to assign numbers to Haste (for the EF HoT) and Mastery (because they have different overhealing amounts and thus different portions of their effective healing coming from Illuminated Healing). Crit, Multistrike, and Versatility would increase both numbers at an equal rate, so we can leave them out. Let’s assume 40% Haste and 30% Mastery; both of which are fairly average numbers for a Holy Paladin with 4-piece Tier 18 in a mix of Heroic and Mythic gear. With these numbers we see that Eternal Flame still edges out Light of Dawn as the premier Holy Power spender, but not by as much as you might think:
Eternal Flame: 755% Spell Power
Light of Dawn: 667% Spell Power
If you have EF talented, you should still be using EF instead of LoD because EF is, frankly, better–about 12% better. Like I mentioned earlier, Beacon is pivotal to the Holy Paladin’s role in a healing composition and having a steady flow of healing to the Beacon targets is not something we can easily dismiss. However, we have to remember how much less Holy Power spenders contribute to our overall healing than Holy Light and Flash of Light, especially once we obtain the Archimonde trinket.
Eternal Flame vs. Selfless Healer: Judgment Day
Early on in Warlords of Dreanor Holy Paladins adopted the Holy Shock > Holy Light > Holy Light rotation that is currently still in use. It’s a great rotation. There’s just barely enough time to get in both Holy Light casts before Holy Shock comes off cooldown and it’s incredibly mana efficient — something that was a staple to Holy Paladins throughout The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. There hasn’t been much deviation from that initial rotation because there really hasn’t been much room to improve upon. There was always an option to cast 3 Flash of Lights between each Holy Shock but at almost 3 times the mana cost.
So what’s changed? In patch 6.2 there are actually three changes/additions that influenced the rise of the Selfless Healer talent.
- Infusion of Light now also increases the heal of Flash of Light by 50%.
- The Archimonde class trinket, Libram of Vindication, increases the healing of Holy Light or Flash of Light after a Holy Shock by between 88% and 127% based on difficulty.
- Demonic Phylactery can boast up to the equivalent of 650 spirit on just the Heroic version (depending on your number of casts) but still has reasonable throughput stats as well.
The Selfless Healer rotation has always been marginally more healing (~13% more per rotation) but at a higher mana cost. More spirit on gear in Hellfire Citadel and Demonic Phylactery make the mana costs much more manageable. This allows Selfless Healer to be playable for every boss in Hellfire Citadel.
The biggest reason Selfless Healer is viable is from a combination of 1 and 2. These two shifted a much larger portion of our healing onto Holy Light and Flash of Light. Before patch 6.2, Holy Light accounted for roughly 43% of all of our healing and Eternal Flame itself was 10%. This includes Mastery and Beacon transfer. Now that we have the Archimonde trinket and the Infusion of Light buffs, 57% of the EF-style healing comes from Holy Light and Flash of Light and switching to Selfless Healer increases that number to 60%.
When so much of our healing relies on Holy Light and Flash of Light, the difference between the two rotations is magnified. The Eternal Flame vs. Light of Dawn debate may have mattered in the past, but now Eternal Flame only accounts for 7% of the total healing. Being 12% better than Light of Dawn is dwarfed by the difference of the core rotations mattering so much more.
So, should you switch to Selfless Healer instead of Eternal Flame? If you have the mana to sustain the rotation, absolutely! It may feel a little awkward at first, but it shouldn’t take too long to get used to it. I think Selfless Healer is now a very viable option and a welcome addition to the Holy Paladin’s repertoire.
Until next time! Thanks for reading.