Illumination, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the crit.

December 31, 2008

I’m not going to waste time on a first “hello” post.  I’m Dervex, I’ll be your holy paladin guru.  Enjoy your stay.

Crit.  Learn to love it.  Aside from the obvious fact that a 13k critical heal is a gorgeous sight to see, critical heals are becoming the lifeblood of holy paladins as they progress through Wrath of the Lich King.   Before we get into why critical is so good for paladins, specifically, let’s look at some talents that are going to increase critical healing for us.

The first talent that increases critical percent, albeit indirectly, is Divine Intellect.  With 5/5 points in Divine Intellect it grants 15% extra intellect.  For paladins you gain 1% crit for every 166.67 intellect.  At 80 with my (mostly) quest blues and dungeon blues I have around 550 intellect.  This means that Divine Intellect will increase my intellect by 83.  While this is only about 0.5% crit, this will scale with buffs and gear, increasing as your gear progresses.  However, outside of crit Divine Intellect’s increase in intellect also grants mana (15 mana for 1 intellect means we’re getting 1,245 extra mana at the current gear level). 

For the time being we are going to skip talking about Illumination for the moment, and will be returning to it a bit later in the post.

Our fifth talent tier includes not one, but TWO talents directly affecting crit.  The first one is Divine Favor.  This talent gives your next heal 100% chance to crit once every two minutes.    This talent is simple, and great for when you need to make up a large deficit of health (I like to use it when the tank takes a large, unexpected spike).

The second talent in the fifth tier affecting crit is Sanctified Light.  Investing fully specced into Sanctified Light will grant you 6% crit for Holy Light and Holy Shock.  What happens here is that your Holy Light and Holy Shock will have more of a chance to crit than your Flash of Light casts.

Holy Power, in the sixth tier, grants 5% crit to all holy spells.  This flat increase is simple, but since all of our heals are holy based, this affects all of our healing spells.  Awesome.

Tier seven has nothing for us, critwise.

Our final talent in the holy tree dealing with crit is Infusion of Light.  This is, by far, one of my favorite talents.  When Holy Shock crits is gives us a buff that does two things to the next (non-Holy Shock) cast.  It can either make your next Flash of Light instant cast, or your next Holy Light’s cast time is reduced by 1 second.  Personally, I like to pop one of my trinkets, hit Divine Favor, cast Holy Shock, then cast my Flash of Light.  At my current gear level my Holy Shock crits for about 6.5k and my insta-Flash of Light hits four about 2.5k, resulting in 9k in heals in an incredibly quick period of time.

Outside of a very, very indirect buff to crit in Blessing of Kings (10% to intellect [and all stats] with 5/5 talents) the protection tree is not important for this discussion.

Now, if the three paladin trees were children, retribution would be the awkward, red-headed, step-child, who also has bad breath.  But with 3.0.2 retribution has become a great tree.  However, personal feeling about retribution aside, there are two great talents for the crit addict holy paladin. 

Tier three of the retribution tree features Conviction, granting 1% crit per talent point, for a total of 5% extra crit.  Simple, delicious, amazing crit.  Yum.

Tier four gives us Sanctified Seals, very similar to Conviction, in that it gives 1% crit per talent point, but with 3/3 in Sanctified Seals your seals will not be missing or being resisted.  This means, for the holy paladin that is using their seal to continuously keep up Judgments of the Pure, you will NOT be wasting GCDs (which means time not healing) trying to get your seal to hit. 

Now we have this list of talents increasing crit, but what is the point in crit healing as a paladin, aside from a love of large numbers?  Illumination.  Lets break this down.  After any of our three heals (Flash of Light, Holy Light and Holy Shock) critically heal you gain 60% of the mana cost of the spell cast back (assuming 5/5 talents, which I believe is the only way to go).  In other terms – a crit heal costs 40% of what it normally would. 

I’m going to throw down some numbers right now.  First things first, we need to remember that all spells are now a percent of base mana, instead of a flat number value, while this a very small detail, it must be considered. 

A normal Flash of Light will cost 308 mana at 80, holy light will cost 1,274 mana, and a holy shock will cost 791 mana.

Applying the 60% mana return a crit of flash of light will get you 185 mana.  A holy light crit will return 764 mana.  Finally, a holy shock crit will return 475 mana.

Personally, I like mana back.  Combined with Divine Illumination (50% mana cost for 15 seconds) and Divine Plea (25% MAXIMUM mana over 15 seconds every minute [and the 20% healing reduction for those 15 seconds]).

There we go.  With 5/5 Illumination crit = mana.  Plain and simple.  Like mana?  Become a friend of crit.