Callin’ it Quits

Sorry friends, I’m retiring. Well, I’ve already retired from raiding a few weeks ago, but I’m also not going to be updating the spreadsheet or any guides in the future. This isn’t a reflection of whether or not I agree or disagree with any changes to the game, it’s just gotten old for me. I’ve been playing for eleven and a half years (with a few breaks), and most aspects of the game aren’t as much fun anymore, so I’m moving on.

You should still be in good hands though. Pelinel from Alacrity is taking over the Wowhead guide and Zerotorescue from the Paladin Discord channel is making his own spreadsheet that will likely be better than mine ever was.

That also means I probably won’t be writing here on Sacred Shielding anymore. I’m not entirely shutting it down, but I won’t be making any updates either.

Thanks for reading and good luck in the rest of Legion!


The Joy of Spreadsheeting


This is not gonna be a fun post for me because, well, I goofed. I made some seemingly innocuous changes to the spreadsheet a while ago that caused it to be less accurate than it normally is (which, for the record, has never been anywhere near 100%), and it’s taken me a while to figure out that there was a problem and then finally fix it.

The short answer is that the spreadsheet has been overvaluing crit since 7.1 was released. In this updated version, you’ll see stat weights that look way off. Specifically, crit is much lower and haste is much higher; this is due to several reasons. The first is the previously mentioned changes that caused crit to be inflated. Second, I had been manually reducing the weight of haste by 10% because of its adverse relationship with mana; I’m no longer doing that. Last, stat weights are going back to what appear to be much more reasonable values, but everyone has been under the impression that crit was so powerful, so they have gravitated toward gear with lots and lots of crit. This makes crit look weaker than you would expect simply by virtue of having so much of it and so little of everything else. By comparison, the other stats will be higher than expected until stat distribution evens out a little more.

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The Artifact Power Grind

There’s been a lot of talk lately on twitter and on the WoW forums about Mythic raiders being burned out by having to endlessly grind Mythic+ dungeons for Artifact Power (AP). There are other factors that have led to the feeling of burnout for several veteran raiders, but the specific problem of feeling like you have to spend your available time getting more AP for more Artifact Traits is what is complained about the most, so I’m going to talk about that.

I should preface by saying that my perspective is of a semi-hardcore Mythic raider, and that I’m absolutely in favor of an uncapped system for acquiring AP. I think that if a cap was added to AP there would still be people who feel like the cap is either too high or too low, and the cap would just be moving the problem to a different set of people. I also think the expectation for how quickly you acquire AP should be set by you or your raiding group and not by Blizzard.

Setting a Cap on Artifact Power

I’ve been playing WoW since 2005 and have seen multiple different systems for capped and uncapped resources. From uncapped Honor grinding in Vanilla to seemingly uncapped Badges of Justice in Burning Crusade to the weekly Valor cap in Mists of Pandaria. The Badge system in Burning Crusade was capped in the sense that there were only a set number of dungeons and raids you could do per day/week, but that cap was so high that it was almost never achieved every day; very few people did all 16 Heroic dungeons in a single day.

Regardless of my opinions on the systems themselves, I was always in favor of an uncapped system because a cap was either too high for me to care about or too low and made me not care about the content. Obviously this is specific to my own determination, but that’s also my point: it’s virtually impossible for the arbitrary cap to be exactly how much content you want to participate in.

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Updates for 7.1



Sorry it took me a little while to update the guide for 7.1. There were several things I wanted to change/update on the spreadsheet, so I made sure to get that squared away first. As a side note, there are a lot more people using the spreadsheet, which is great, but I want to write a post giving some context to what the spreadsheet is and is not good for. I also want to try to make at least some form of documentation for it, but I’ll try to do that when I get back from Blizzcon.

There weren’t too many changes from 7.1, but I’ll give a quick recap for people who don’t want to have to go back through the entire guide to find what changed.

The official changes from the patch notes:

  • Flash of Light now heals for 450% of spell power (was 425%) and costs 18% of base mana (was 16%)
  • The Rule of Law talent now increases the radius of Tyr’s Deliverance by 50% (up to 22.5 yards).
  • Light’s Hammer now costs 35% of base mana (was 40%).
  • Sanctified Wrath now extends Avenging Wrath by 5 seconds (was 10 seconds).
  • The Tier 19 2-piece bonus increases Holy Shock’s critical chance by 10% (was 15%).

The buff to Flash of Light won’t change our gameplay in any meaningful way, but it does further increase the value of critical strike due to even larger Infusion-of-Light-buffed Flash of Lights.

The Rule of Law and Light’s Hammer buffs aren’t really very noteworthy except to say that Light’s Hammer still has issues beyond mana cost that make it a little weaker than Bestow Faith and Crusader’s Might, but this does help some.

The nerf to Sanctified Wrath isn’t too bad. It will still be good to use in burst healing situations and still the best talent for Dungeons. Several Paladins had already started making the switch from Sanctified Wrath to Judgment of Light (especially with the legendary ring), so this change doesn’t have a huge effect on talent selection. Judgment of Light is chosen for most fights and Sanctified Wrath for fights where you need better cooldowns or burst healing.

The change to the T19 2-piece set bonus is understandable. We’re already fairly close to being crit capped for Holy Shock even without the bonus. This does change the crit softcap with Tier 19 to 45% instead of 42.5%. Again, the crit softcap is never something you need to reach, it’s just the point where crit loses a lot of value.

The last significant change from 7.1 is the re-introduction of the new Mythic Dungeon, Karazhan. The 2nd boss of the dungeon, the Maiden of Virtue, drops the Drape of Shame, a cloak that increases the healing of all crit heals by 10%. This is an absurdly powerful cloak and will be best-in-slot at any item level.

(Nov. 7, 2016 Edit: The cloak’s passive is half of what I previously thought. The key difference is that it increases the effect of crit healing, not the crit healing itself. Don’t worry, it’s still really good and better than anything we can currently get.)

Holy Paladin Guide for Legion

Illidan Legion

Alright, alright, it’s finally done! We’ve finished the Holy Paladin guide for the Legion launch. You can get started by clicking here or by going through the menu at the top of the page.

As a fair warning: it’s long. We wanted to be able to provide lots of information, but if that’s not your speed, you can check out the Wowhead guide that has similar information but with much fewer words.

Also, you should check out the Paladin Discord #Hammer of Wrath where Jeathebelle and I can answer any additional questions you might have.

Legion Pre-patch

Hello, everyone!

I’m sorry to say that we won’t have our Legion guide ready by the time the pre-patch hits the live servers; however, you should be excited that our guide is going to have considerably more information in it than normal. Maybe that scares some of you, but TOO BAD!

For now, you can check out the wowhead guide for Holy Paladins in Legion and check back later for our full guide.

An Update

Hello, everyone! I’m sorry it’s been so long since we’ve posted anything. Each new Alpha build comes along at a quick pace (usually once per week) and with it comes a lot of changes. I’ve been keeping my Legion version of the spreadsheet up to date, but because it’s changing so frequently, I haven’t really wanted to share it yet. I’ve also been working on making some additions to the overall functionality of the spreadsheet, but they’ve been mostly underwhelming so far.

Part of the problem with using Google Sheets is that most (if not all) of the calculations are done on the server, so they start to get really slow when you add more. I think I’m starting to get to the point where I might have to make an internal Excel Spreadsheet for some of the more nuanced calculations or just bite the bullet and make an actual program. For now, I like that most of what I do can be seen by everyone.

I have a few thoughts on some of the philosophies of healing in general and Holy Paladins in Legion that I may try to write soon, but I’ve been fairly busy with life stuff, so I’m not sure if I’ll ever actually get around to it while it’s still relevant. Either way, I wanted to let everyone know that we haven’t died or quit updating, there’s just been too many changes to give any updates to Legion that wouldn’t quickly become outdated and I’ve kept most of my thoughts on the official Alpha Forums’ feedback threads. For the time being, you can look at some of my Warcraft Logs from various dungeons and raid testing on the Legion Alpha.

Oh, and Jeath somehow still doesn’t have access to Alpha, so that sucks. #BequeathTheJeath

Legion Spreadsheet Math!

Everyone is super excited about spreadsheets, right? Right?! Well, if you aren’t, then maybe this post won’t be as interesting for you, but at least it will be exciting for the rest of you.

Holy Paladins were enabled on Alpha a few weeks ago, so there’s still a whole lot to discover and even more that could potentially change. I have a working spreadsheet that I’m fairly satisfied with, but I’m holding off on releasing it into the wild until we’ve had a chance to do some raid testing and I can see what realistic overhealing and casts-per-minute will look like for each ability.

These numbers are not necessarily indicative of which talents and abilities we’ll end up using in Legion, but they’re fun to look at in the meantime; just remember that this is all preliminary and more than likely will change before Legion.

Throughput versus Efficiency

One of the major changes in Legion is that there will no longer be spirit on items. We have a base regen that is four percent of our total mana every five seconds and we may be getting more mana regeneration through trinkets, but I think they’re still working on how trinkets are going to work for healers in Legion. This means that an ability’s healing-per-mana (HPM) is going to be more significant for longer than it has been in previous expansions.

In making the spreadsheet, I was surprised to see how incredibly efficient Judgment of Light is. At 28.14 HPM, it’s almost twice as efficient as the runner-up, Holy Prism, at 15.17.

Healing per mana

Nothing in this graph is too shocking. Holy Light is still our most efficient filler spell, but it is notable that Light of Dawn is more HPM than Holy Shock. This is also assuming we hit 5 people with Light of Dawn, something I haven’t been able to reliably test.

While our new ability, Light of the Martyr, is cheaper than even Holy Light (7.5% of base mana compared to Holy Light’s 10%), the effective healing of Light of the Martyr is very low due to the damage we inflict to ourselves in the process.

It’s interesting to note that when we take Stoicism as our Tier 75 talent, Light of the Martyr becomes more mana efficient than Holy Light, but we also lose our unbelievably economical Judgment of Light.

HPM Stoicism

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The Eternal Debate: Selfless Healer vs. Eternal Flame


Now that Selfless Healer has gained more widespread popularity among Holy Paladins, I’ve seen quite a bit of discussion about whether or not Selfless Healer is actually good for progression or if Eternal Flame should really be the only talent we choose when we’re trying to kill a boss for the first time. Personally, I think that both Eternal Flame and Selfless Healer are usable on any encounter, but I want to try to clarify some of the key points in the discussion.

I have yet to see anyone argue against Eternal Flame’s viability, so the discussion is mostly about whether or not Selfless Healer is good for progression. Fair warning: this post is fairly dense, so I’ve added a summarized version at the bottom.

Before I get into everything, I want to point out that this discussion exists because there are some factors that are subjective. Some of the points of contention just don’t have a great answer and you’ll have to form your own opinion about them.

Here are what I think are the four major arguments in the debate against Selfless Healer

  1. Eternal Flame does more healing than Light of Dawn
  2. Selfless Healer is a difficult or clunky rotation and has lots of nuances that require perfect play to truly be effective
  3. The buff from Selfless Healer just leads to more overhealing
  4. Selfless Healer requires too much buildup and people might die in the process


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Happy New Year!

Stormwind Newyear

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’m very happy to announce a new author here on Sacred Shielding: Jeathebelle from <Promethean> on Stormreaver-US! Jeathebelle is a well-respected Holy Paladin with a lot of great insight and I’m excited to start the new year with more perspective.

In the coming months, we’ll both be working on theorycrafting for Holy Paladin in the Legion Alpha/Beta. There’s already been a lot of datamined information about Holy Paladins in Legion, but I’d chosen to wait until after the Holidays before fully getting into modeling for Legion and writing about the new changes.

There’s obviously a lot to discuss already and even more inevitable changes as new Alpha builds start coming in, so stay tuned!