written by Jeathebelle
Dreamguard’s excellent Holy Paladin Guide for 6.2 explains the basic Selfless Healer Rotation. In this guide I will explain the nuances of the Selfless Healer playstyle and describe how to perfect your play.
With hats off to Isaac Asimov, the Three Laws of Selfless Healing:
- A Paladin may not delay generating a Libram of Vindication proc, or, through inaction, allow a Libram of Vindication proc to be wasted.
- A Paladin may not delay generating a Selfless Healer proc, except where delay is necessary to avoid conflict with the First Law.
- A Paladin must continue casting, as long as such casting does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Thus, the Selfless Healer Paladin is constantly evaluating two questions: (A) What is the current cooldown of Holy Shock? and (B) What spells can I cast during the current Holy Shock cooldown?
There are five Holy Shock cooldown scenarios:
- The Basic Rotation, during which Holy Shock is on its standard cooldown.
- The Enhanced Holy Shock Proc, providing an extra Holy Shock that requires a transitional rotation to resume the Basic Rotation.
- The Avenging Wrath Rotation, during which the cooldown of Holy Shock and Judgment are de-synced by the effects of Sanctified Wrath.
- The Bloodlust Rotation, during which the cooldown of both Holy Shock and Judgment are significantly and identically reduced.
- The Lusty Wings Rotation, during which the cooldown of Holy Shock is ludicrously reduced by Sanctified Wrath, 10% Avenging Wrath haste, and 30% Bloodlust haste.
#1: Basic Rotation
With no other effects active, you can fit three global cooldowns between each Holy Shock. Those global cooldowns should be Judgment, then Flash of Light, followed by either Holy Prism, Light of Dawn, or another Flash of Light.
Note that I recommend casting Holy Shock before Judgment. Casting Judgment before Holy Shock is identical in effect; however, due to the effects of Enhanced Holy Shock, correct play will always return to Holy Shock before Judgment, even if you began by casting Judgment before Holy Shock.
#2: Enhanced Holy Shock
Each Flash of Light has a chance to make your next Holy Shock not have a cooldown; i.e. you can use it twice in a row. The effect does not reset the cooldown of Holy Shock, so when it procs you must finish your current rotation for it to come off cooldown before you can use two Holy Shocks with no cooldown.
Generating and consuming both Libram of Vindication procs is more important than generating Selfless Healer stacks, so skip the Judgment cast after the first Holy Shock, which has no cooldown, and cast it instead after the second Holy Shock, when the cooldown returns and you are back in the Basic Rotation:
Above, I explained that due to the effects of Enhanced Holy Shock, correct play will always return to casting Holy Shock before Judgment. If you began by casting Judgment before Holy Shock, when Enhanced Holy Shock procs your next rotation will begin with Judgment. Then, Judgment will be off cooldown after the second Holy Shock triggers the Holy Shock cooldown. Thus you will naturally find yourself reverting to casting Holy Shock before Judgment, even if you began the other way around:
#3: Avenging Wrath Rotation
Avenging Wrath provides 10% haste, reducing the cooldown of Holy Shock, Judgment, and your global cooldown. However, due to Sanctified Wrath, the cooldown of Holy Shock is reduced significantly below that of Judgment. Accordingly, the following sequence will maximize your healing:
This rotation will generate and consume maximum Libram of Vindication procs. Only the final cast in the sequence is not a Libram of Vindication Flash of Light, and hence replaceable by Light of Dawn. It is quite likely that with Enhanced Holy Shock procs you will cap and waste Holy Power during this sequence. It is better to waste Holy Power than to waste a Libram of Vindication Flash of Light (per the First Law of Selfless Healing), because a buffed Flash of Light does much more healing than the Light of Dawn you could cast with the wasted Holy Power.
Holy Prism muddies the waters a little bit. You should cast Holy Prism twice during Avenging Wrath, as it is one of our highest HPS spells and two casts fit in the duration of Avenging Wrath. If you followed the above rotation, it would only fit as the final cast in the sequence. That is not optimal, because you would be unable to cast it twice during Avenging Wrath; and is much too rigid, because you want flexibility over several seconds to cast Holy Prism at an ideal moment.
Accordingly, I advise replacing Judgment with Holy Prism, when you decide to cast it. E.g.:
#4: Bloodlust Rotation
Bloodlust provides 30% haste, reducing the cooldown of Holy Shock, Judgment, and your global cooldown significantly and identically. During Bloodlust, the only way to avoid delaying Holy Shock is to adhere to the perfect, I’m-too-sexy-for-unbuffed-FoL, Selfless Healer Rotation:
Just as with Avenging Wrath, you should never delay Holy Shock or waste a Libram of Vindication buff to spend Holy Power, because a buffed Flash of Light heals much more than Light of Dawn. Thus, during Bloodlust, you should not spend any of your Holy Power.
Just as with Avenging Wrath, I advise replacing Judgment with Holy Prism when you decide Holy Prism is optimal:
#5: Lusty Wings
If you cast Avenging Wrath during Bloodlust, your Holy Shock cooldown is reduced by 50% by Sanctified Wrath, and additionally by the 30% haste from Bloodlust and 10% haste from Avenging Wrath.
For the duration, you are no longer a Selfless Healer Paladin. Instead, you’re Healing Incarnate: the inarticulable nightmare of all other healers, the object of all their pent-up insecurity, frustration and rage, as they wonder why your Lay on Hands appears to no longer have a cooldown because you’re casting massive, insanely fast Flash of Lights on all the things.
Never spend holy power during Lusty Wings.
When you cast Holy Prism during Lusty Wings–and you should–it will delay Holy Shock. Can’t be helped.
This is a guide for optimizing Selfless Healer play. As with all guides for optimizing any healer gameplay, if someone will die during global cooldowns necessary for optimized play, do whatever it takes, optimal or not, to save lives. If someone will die before Rejuvenation will do anything, before you can finish your Holy Fire and cast Archangel and PW:S, before you can finish your Holy Light, or, in this case, before you can cast Judgment then Flash of Light, then cast something else that will save lives.