Holy Paladin Guide
Stat priorities, or stat weights, are a means by which to guide your gearing process as you advance through more difficult content and find newer and better items. Each piece of gear, with the exception of Trinkets and jewelry (neck and rings no longer have primary stat), will have intellect, stamina, and one or two of these secondary stats: critical strike, haste, mastery, or versatility. Stat weights are an attempt to give value to each secondary stat and provide an idea of which items are better to choose based on their stats.
- Critical Strike: Increases the chance for your abilities to critically strike, dealing double the regular healing or damage.
- Haste: Reduces the cast time of your abilities as well as the cooldown of Holy Shock, Crusader Strike, Light of Dawn, Consecration, and Judgment. Also reduces the global cooldown (GCD)–the minimum amount of time between each ability. The GCD is 1.5 seconds and can be reduced to 0.75 seconds with 100% haste.
- Mastery: Increases healing based on our proximity to the target.
- Versatility: Increases damage and healing by a flat percentage and reduces damage taken by half that amount.
- Critical strike
Critical strike, mastery, and versatility are all much closer to each other in priority than they have ever been. Critical strike is still our best secondary stat due to its interaction with Holy Shock and Infusion of Light, but mastery and versatility aren’t too far off. Mastery has the potential to increase our healing-per-second more than critical strike but is much less predictable and can vary based on the fight and how spread out the raid is. By contrast, versatility might be less throughput than mastery or critical strike, but its also reliable and gives damage reduction. Haste is by no means awful for us, but it does have the side effect of making us burn through mana faster, thus having a lower relative value than any other stat.
The particular stat weights of each secondary stat can vary depending on your character’s current talent selection and items. If you would like to see the weight of each secondary stat specific to your character you can go to this spreadsheet and find them for yourself. If that seems like too daunting of a task, you will be just fine following the stat priorities listed above as a guideline.
Where is Spirit?
In Legion, we no longer have spirit. It doesn’t exist anymore. Now, all healers regenerate 4% of their maximum mana every 5 seconds–both in and out of combat. Some healers have talents or artifact traits that increase this amount, but there won’t be any spirit on items. There are a few trinkets that give mana back in various ways, but we won’t be seeing a dramatic shift in how often we can use abilities due to spirit.
A note about determining stat weights for healers:
Stat weights for healers are more subjective than stat weights for damage dealing specializations. In a raid setting, every healing team is trying to minimize the amount of overhealing while still maintaining enough collective healing-per-second to keep the raid alive. This balance of efficiency versus output creates a spontaneous environment that is often hard to accurately replicate for the purpose of determining which stats and abilities will garner the most from our available resources. The best we can do is mimic the actual outcome, but the results will never be as concrete as the simulations available to damage dealers.
Stat Scaling in Legion
In previous expansions, all stats scaled at the same rate with item level. An increase in item level increased any stat on a piece of gear by 1.15 ^ (1/15) per item level. For example, getting a typical Warforged upgrade (+6 iLvl) would increase all stats by 1.15 ^ (6/15) . Part of the problem with this design is that primary stats increase our relative power linearly, but secondary stats increase our relative power exponentially, so our HPS at the end of an expansion was significantly higher than our throughput at the beginning of an expansion. This is also why healing tended to gravitate toward feeling much more bursty in the final raiding tiers; our ability to heal increased at a much faster rate than player health (stamina is a primary stat), so we were able to use fewer abilities per person to top them off. Dayani wrote a great piece specifically about this on her blog.
In Legion, this scaling is still true for primary stats (intellect, strength, agility, and stamina), but our secondary stats scale at a slower rate. Celestalon wrote in this update that the percents for secondary stats will start higher than they usually do but will scale slower. You can read his post and follow-up replies for more details, but this essentially means that item level will almost always trump the specific stat allocation on a piece of gear, especially with how close the relative weights of all of our secondaries are.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to stop us from writing way too much about each secondary stat. You will still need to understand what secondary stat to pick for gems, ring enchants, and food buff, so it’s still somewhat important to understand how each stat affects our healing. However, knowing the specific stat priority for Holy Paladins will be an incredibly small contribution to your HPS, so it’s not something you should heavily focus on.
Advanced Section About Each Stat
Before we get into more about each specific stat, we want to clarify a choice to be more careful with our use of the terms softcap and breakpoint. It seems that there’s still a stigma from when haste used to have softcaps. Before Warlords of Draenor, haste used to affect damage-over-time and healing-over-time abilities by creating an additional tick of damage or healing at very specific levels of haste, but between the points where you created additional ticks, haste was essentially useless for that ability. This caused people to get as much haste as they could to reach a specific softcap and then avoid haste after they reached that point. Now, any additional haste accumulates into a fractional tick at the end of the ability, so we don’t have to worry about it anymore.
In a previous guide, we would mention getting to the critical strike softcap, but what we really should have called it was a breakpoint. From now on we’ll refer to a breakpoint as the point where a stat loses some value but doesn’t change in priority, and a softcap as the point where a stat loses so much value that it moves lower in priority.
There are two important relationships between Holy Paladins and critical strike. The first is that Holy Shock has double the normal chance to critically strike, and the second is that a Holy Shock crit gives us the Infusion of Light buff–increasing the HPS of Holy Light or Flash of Light. This synergy means that critical strike is usually our best stat due to how much of our healing comes from Holy Shock, Holy Light, and Flash of Light.
Since crit is our highest priority and what we’ll likely be gemming and enchanting for, we should try to figure out how much crit is too much. We receive an additional 20% critical strike chance while Avenging Wrath is active. This means that we only need 30% critical strike as a base to ensure that Holy Shock has 100% critical strike chance during Avenging Wrath: (30 + 20) * 2 = 100. This will be our first crit breakpoint in Legion; however, we also need to consider that our Tier 19 2-piece further increases the critical strike chance of Holy Shock by 5%. This amount is applied before our base critical strike is doubled. Instead of 30%, with the Tier 19 2-piece we only need 25% chance to crit for Holy Shock to be a guaranteed crit during Avenging Wrath: (25 + 5 + 20) * 2 = 100.
We’re able to achieve 25% chance to crit very early in the expansion. On the one hand, it doesn’t have an effect on crit’s priority, so we don’t really have to worry about it. On the other, it means that we might see crit reach the softcap where Holy Shock has 100% chance to crit outside of Avenging Wrath. We would only need 45% chance to crit for Holy Shock to be a guaranteed crit with the Tier 19 2-piece: (45 + 5) * 2 = 100.
A Blood Elf (+1% crit racial) only needs 12225 base crit rating to have 45% crit chance with the +375 crit Well Fed buff. At that point, crit falls to the lowest stat in priority and we should gem, enchant, or get the Well Fed buff for a different secondary stat.
Here’s a table showing the relative breakpoints and softcaps for each unique scenario you might find yourself in:
|25% (breakpoint w/ 2-piece)||30% (breakpoint w/o 2-piece)||45% (softcap w/ 2-piece)|
|Non-Blood Elf with +375 Food||6425||8425||14425|
|Blood Elf with +375 Food||6025||8025||14025|
We will only need to worry about the numbers in the far right column, but the Avenging Wrath breakpoints are there for anyone who is curious. The unbuffed numbers to watch out for are 14025 for Blood Elves and 14425 for non-Blood Elves. If we reach those values, we should change our ring enchants, gems, or food.
If we will go over the 45% crit softcap with +375 crit food, we should swap our food to a different secondary stat rather than try to stay under the softcap with lower quality crit food.
In this graph we can see how crit falls in relation to the other secondaries as our stats increase. The first drop comes at 6425 crit rating (25% with crit food), but is only a breakpoint as it doesn’t shift the stat priority. The second drop is at 14425 rating (45% with crit food) and is our softcap for critical strike.
Again, we shouldn’t go out of our way to get this much crit. As we can see in the graph, we don’t get any noticeable increase when we reach that value; only that it severely diminishes after we’ve reached it.
Mastery is calculated in a slightly strange way. Most secondary stats are calculated as a flat amount of rating per percent for every class, but mastery is different for every spec, so the amount of rating per percent is different for every spec. The default way to calculate mastery percent is 400 rating per 1% based on an 8% starting mastery. If the starting mastery is not 8% (e.g. Holy Paladins start at 12%), your rating per 1% is adjusted by the same rate as your starting percent. For us, our inflation rate is 12/8 = 1.5; meaning we actually get 1.5% per 400 rating or 1% per 266.67 rating. This rating is important because it’s the lowest amount of any stat we need to achieve 1%:
Rating per 1%:
Critical Strike: 400
Because mastery affects all healing equally, this means that mastery has the highest potential HPS. Unfortunately, mastery isn’t all that reliable.
Our mastery increases healing based on our proximity to the target. We receive full benefit from mastery on any target from 0-10 yards away from us. After that, it starts to scale linearly with distance until it has no benefit at 40 yards. If we were able to keep everyone in the raid within 0-10 yards of us, mastery would be our highest priority by quite a large margin. Unfortunately, boss encounters and mechanics don’t allow the raid to be stacked together like that for the entire fight. Some fights will be better than others, but there will be times when we have to be spread out among the range far away from everyone.
The effectiveness of mastery is limited by each specific boss strategy, so determining a value for mastery is very subjective. In this graph, we can see how the value of mastery diminishes as the average player distance increases:
The relative weights of each secondary stat will fluctuate depending on talents and gear, but the important thing to note is how much mastery begins to fall off at higher distances. Mastery’s effectiveness at 15 yards is around 83% and falls to 67% by 20 yards. A fairly small distance has a substantial impact on how valuable mastery is for us.
The difficulty in assigning a value to mastery is in how far apart we feel the average player will be from us. Beacon of the Lightbringer is helpful in any situation where we have to be with the range group, but it doesn’t solve our issues on fights with lots of movement or where all of the range has to be spread out.
For most of our testing and modelling, we’ve kept the effectiveness of mastery at 80%, or an average distance of 16 yards. In most cases this has meant that mastery is right behind critical strike in value, but we’ll need to do more testing to try to get a better judge of the average distance.
Haste is unique in that each new source of haste increases the previous amount multiplicatively rather than additively like other secondary stats (this is not how acquiring more haste on items works; that is still additive because it’s still part of the same source). When you add the 20% crit from Avenging Wrath, you simply add 20% to whatever amount you already have, but when you add the 30% haste from Holy Avenger you increase your current haste by 30% and then add an additional 30% to that. This used to be very important because we had so many different sources of haste: items, 10% from Infusion of Light, 5% from the raid buff, and 20% (or 10% with the Glyph of Merciful Wrath) from Avenging Wrath. This meant that any amount of haste we had from items was magnified by a considerable amount due to how many different sources of haste we had. Now, we only have the haste from gear and the talent, Holy Avenger.
Haste has several interactions with our abilities. It reduces the global cooldown from 1.5 seconds to as low as 0.75 seconds with 100% haste; it reduces the cooldown of Holy Shock, Light of Dawn, Judgment, Crusader Strike, and Consecration; it reduces the cast time of all of our casted spells; and it increases the frequency at which the healing of Tyr’s Deliverance ticks.
All of these interactions do provide an increase to our HPS, but it also has the negative effect of increasing the rate at which we use abilities and mana. Crit, mastery, and versatility increase both our HPS and our healing-per-mana (HPM). Haste increases our HPS at a relatively similar rate, but it has no affect on our HPM. This is very important to healers in Legion as we won’t be seeing an increase to spirit over the course of the expansion. This doesn’t mean we should avoid haste, but that we should be mindful of this fact when acquiring gear.
Haste also has no affect on a few of our abilities: Light’s Hammer, Bestow Faith, Aura of Mercy, Holy Prism, and Judgment of Light. Haste does reduce the cooldown of Judgment, but haste would only benefit Judgment of Light if all of the charges were consumed before Judgment came back off cooldown, which sometimes doesn’t happen in raids (though not that often) and definitely doesn’t happen in dungeons.
Versatility has typically been treated as a sub-par stat due to its higher conversion rate than the other secondaries. It does take more rating per percent, and thus has a lower value purely for HPS, but that’s because versatility also reduces the amount of damage you take. The damage reduction component of versatility is more impactful than people give it credit for. We plan to do a more thorough look at trying to figure out if we can assign a reasonable value to the damage reduction from versatility, but for now we can rely on the fact that versatility is only slightly behind purely for HPS and assume a higher value based on the damage reduction component.
Holy Paladin Guide