Holy Light Spam – Less Calories than the Original

Holy Light Spam – Less Calories than the Original


This is a guest post by Sientina, a Holy Paladin

I’ve been reading a few (okay, a bit more than a few) paladin threads lately, sifting through the arguments about what to gem and what is the premiere paladin stat. It never fails that in every single thread at least one or more people comment how ‘I have X amount of Y and I spam Holy Light for the entire boss fight’.  With how healers mana is in the current content, I can understand why they would just spam Holy Light, and if glyphed, AoE five melee around that particular tank.  But with the exception of Patchwerk or Instructor Razuvious (on the Understudies if your priests were a bit off their game) I can’t think of a single boss fight in the current content that would warrant Holy Light spam.

There’s always a defensive reply from the paladins who spam the light when they’re confronted.

“My overhealing meters don’t count if no one dies!”

No, but unless you’re healing a five man, there are others healing with you.  Are your raid healers going low on mana?  Think about helping them out.  Why not spread some Flash of Light throughout the raid? If the tank needs a heal bomb, Divine Favor + Holy Shock + Instant Flash of Light at the cost of two global cooldowns for about the same healing as one Holy Light will work just fine.  Perhaps you’ve been working on the 6 minute Malygos achievement but haven’t gotten it yet. If more healers were being mindful of who else is taking damage and taking care of it instead of mindlessly spamming, maybe you could run it with one less healer. Who’s pulling the healing weight in your raid?

“If I have the mana to support spamming Holy Light, why shouldn’t I?”

If you have the mana, you’re overgeared for the content. Plain and simple. If you are overgeared, your overhealing is through the roof and into outer space assuming your tanks are overgeared as well. If you don’t need the extra healing, why do it? DPS a little, judge a bit more often.  Of course, keep an eye on your tank but watch everything else around you.  Get in the mindset of watching what happens to the raid. Warlocks that get high up on threat and need a Hand of Salvation. That mage that tends to pull aggro at the wrong time and needs a BoP.  We are currently in Kara-like content, people.  This is easy mode.  Ulduar will not let you get away with just pressing 2-2-2-2-2,. Getting healer tunnel vision will screw you over later.

Ask yourself this question. Why would Blizzard change the paladin class from spamming Flash of Light to spamming Holy Light?

Back in vanilla wow, Flash of Light was a paladin’s bread and butter spell.  All one did was hit FoL over and over and over again while refreshing 5 minute blessings.  In Burning Crusade, we were gifted with Holy Shock, a very mana inefficient spell with a long cool down, but it was great when everything went to hell.  Once Wrath came, we were reworked into a healing machine. Holy Shock got a longer range, critting with it made our Flash of Light instant or our Holy Light faster.  On top of that, we got Sacred Shield and while it was active, our Flash of Light gets an extra 50% to crit.

Blizzard made our spells to be synergistic. Use the mechanics to make the best out of the paladin class. Play with your spells. We are still the healers of the main tank more than any other class, but we are not limited to just that.  Sure we don’t have a chain heal, a wild growth, or a circle of healing, but who cares? With the mana regen changes coming in 3.1, Shamans, Druids and Priests will have to be more mindful of mana. I know I’ll be there backing them up.

So please, lay off the canned meat. Its just not healthy for you or for your raid.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.


  1. Hear, hear! We have a lot of excellent tools in our repertory now. Obviously Holy Light is the biggest and baddest, but if you’re not judging, casting Sacred Shield (on the tank and possibly on raid which are going to be taking splash damage or DoT ticks), using shock (on the tank for damage spike or on the raid when you can’t risk leaving the tank, and especially on raid if you’ve beaconed the tank), using shock combos (I recommend a one key Divine Favor + Holy Shock macro), and, yes, occasionally saving yourself a bit of mana with some old school flash spam, you’re just not being all you can be.

  2. Yes, blizz gave us synergestic spells, but they also gave us a pretty decent jump in crit for holy light. That means as your gear progresses, and your crit rate is increased, the cost of holy light drop significantly to the point where flash is nearly a waste of a gcd. I pretty much only use flash when I do a holyshock/flash combo, which is every six seconds, with holy lights in between. I have a problem sometimes keeping track of when light’s grace is up too if I’m trying to spam flash instead of holy, and that’s no good to try and cast holylight when your light’s grace isn’t up.

  3. I’m very much a HL spammer.

    In my guild most healers hate tank healing. People sometimes refuse or ignore assignments that ask them to focus on a tank. Everyone is a raid healer or a ffa healer except for 2 of us.

    When we did Malygos I spammed HL on the main tank, another pally assigned to him was reacting with FoL to main tank or whoever else needed it. According to Recount 52% of the healing on the main tank was done by me, 33% by the Discipline Priest and 15% by the other Holy Paladin. We wiped repeatedly because the main tank died.

    If it is possible for your tank to go from 30K to dead in under 2 seconds then why would you not HL bomb him? If it is not possible, then it’s probably not really a healing challenge and it doesn’t matter what you do.

    Last night was a horrible night of wiping, mainly due to tank death. We were doing Sarth 3, a boss we beat on Monday. We used 5 tanks, a main tank with 2 healers on him, 2 add tanks, a tank for dragons 1 and 3 and a tank for dragon 2. But we couldn’t keep our tanks alive and spend a frustrating night wiping.

    There were a number of reasons why our tanks died, many not relating to the healing team but often the reason a tank died is because our healers aren’t used to prioritising a tank. They never want to do tank healing, don’t like it, aren’t good at it.

    I think one needs to adjust one’s personal tactics to complement the rest of the healing team. If you’re in a guild full of tank healers then the cross-healing you describe is probably an excellent approach.

    But from where I’m sitting HL bombing is fine. It’s letting tanks die that is an undesireable playstyle.

    Another thing: I fail to see how finishing a fight with 25k unspent mana and 15% overheal is better than finishing a fight with 20% mana and 80% overheal. The purpose of avoiding overheal is not to oom, no? So if you aren’t ooming why spent your raid nights at 99% mana?

    For all that it’s a very good post that may be of benefit to people who are in a very different healing team to mine. Your underlying points: think about what your doing, use your full toolset are certainly true for any healer.

  4. “Blizzard made our spells to be synergistic. Use the mechanics to make the best out of the paladin class. Play with your spells. ”

    Yes, yes, a thousand times, YES.

    I think I love you.

    HL is great, but not to the exclusion of everything else.

    Ambrosines last blog post..Musings on Upcoming Mana Regen Changes

  5. @Gothica I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place to drop Holy Light bombs, but there are plenty of healers that do nothing but. Doesn’t matter if the tanks aren’t taking enough damage to warrant a Holy Light, you’ll see them sitting there hitting holy light while the rest of the raid suffers.

    I use Holy Light a bunch of 3D Sarth, as I am always healing a tank. To the point that I spam it? No. To the noob that got hit with firewall, I have a flash of light or I holy shock as I’m moving out of void zones. I’m not saying to cut out holy light, but to use all of our healing abilities – there is no situation out there that only requires one of our spells to be used exclusively.

  6. I think this mind set should be applied to all healers. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it is a good habit. I do have to admit I do love popping off a 17000 heal every once in awhile.

  7. most healers have the exact opposite problem of this post, like gothica pointed out. most pallies would much rather ffa heal the raid and justify this by keeping beacon up on the mt. i can’t think of any healers i know that sit on the tank and spam HL. they spam HL… it’s just mostly on the raid group and then to the MT through beacon.
    the danger with doing this, of course, is your awareness of your tank. lots of times you’ll be healing a ranged dps who is out of beacon range of your tank or someone who is actually assigned to ffa raid heal will be on the ball and heal them to full before your HL hits them. if this starts happening and your tank is dropping dangerously low then you do need to get a little more situational awareness and tunnel your tank more. also, on real encounters it is generally best to trust the other healers to do their job while you focus on yours (9 times out of 10 you heal the MT). can you help them? sure. but doing so can wipe the raid if you’re not careful.
    as far as the question “should i spam HoL” my answer is always if you have the mana why not? overhealing isn’t a bad thing if you end the fight with mana to spare.

  8. @Gothica – it sounds like the issue is less you need to spam Holy Light and more your healers need to stick to their assignments, and to be corrected when they don’t do so.

    As far as Holy Light spamming, I’m guessing one of the things Blizzard wants to do with Ulduar is not only nerf regen, but to make fights longer, forcing us to pay more attention to our mana. If you’re just Holy Light spamming, then best guesses are that it won’t be sustainable in the future, either because you’ll run out of mana, or because in timing it so that it’s mostly effective in order to avoid running out of mana, the tank takes too much damage in too short amount of time to get the heal off.

    Holy Light is a bomb heal, but using it effectively requires timing on your part. The purpose of this article is to try to get people off of current habits that may prove counter-productive later, which I agree with. Don’t think that Blizzard isn’t considering the fact that paladins are constantly spamming their highest-cost heal without regard for mana when they talk about their upcoming mana changes for the class.

  9. Maybe I’m just too old to learn new tricks, but I still only use HL when required except to keep haste up occasionally. Otherwise, I’m still a FoL spammer through and through (along with judging, shielding, cleansing, etc.)

    kyrileans last blog post..Crap! Ky DC’d again!

  10. shieldangel says

    personally… HL spamming is just a current trend that alot of holy pallys have gotten into, i mean think about it its a moral booster and a bad habit all in the same spell sequence, when they finish a heroic or naxx for example, they tell all there friends about what they just did, but the real question is? how many disease cures did u toss? did u help dps? how many aura changes did u make in bad situations? did u cast salvation on the one amazing 3k dps boomkin, lock, or mage that was over compensating for others crappy dps? how many beacons did u throw, and for each beacon how many other raiders did u heal up out of the melee bubble? These are some of the ?’s that i ask myself everytime we wipe or down a heroic boss or naxx boss, did i do my job and did i help out another healer in a bad spot on that night!

    As holy paladins we have to remember its not about who has the biggest healz, cuzz any decent geared pally can drop 18k+ Holy Lights on a regular basis, and upwards of 27k on blood dk’s, with there hlz spell up…. It’s our job to do what other classes cant hit those spam hlz that are needed while doing some utility work on the side… if you are watching the fight your not fufilling your full potential!

  11. The reason HL is used is that Flash of Light is really underpowered. You would see things change if the buffed it a little.

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