Holy Word: Sanctuary, Some Work Needed

Sanctuary could definitely use a buff. I stopped using it a while ago because it wasn’t cost effective. At least its nice to know that it’s being acknowledged as weak.

I had a talk with the devs about this very issue yesterday, and they are well aware of this subject, and tend to agree with those of us (one of my mains is a holy priest) who have noticed that Sanctuary could do with a buff.

There are two things that have to be dealt with here: 1) Holy priest AE healing is pretty decent as-is, and 2) we don’t want Sanctuary to be so similar to Healing Rain.

Again, the devs agree that a modest buff is a fair solution, although it is hard to know when or by what magnitude such a buff might come along.


Ideas on buffs? You know its going to be one of those spells where it’s going to be difficult to buff. Could adjust the Mastery, the mana cost, or the overall power of the spell. Had an idea of maybe introducing a glyph of some kind. What would said glyph do? I haven’t gotten that far yet.

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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. The problem with sanctuary had less to do with its mana cost, and more to do with that in terms of raw healing it did slightly less than a unglyphed PoH.

    Its main advantage was its <GCD cast time, meaning that if you wanted pure throughput for 18~ seconds, on 6+ people, sanctuary was your biggest HPCT (heal per cast time) spell.

    In terms of buffing it? I wouldn't mind seeing the duration tweaked, and the total healing increased slightly, to make it better than PoH, or at least on par.

  2. “we don’t want Sanctuary to be so similar to Healing Rain.”

    LOL, I get it now, all of these spells are some sort of ground effect HoT, the only way to make them “different enough” is to have some of them suck. In fairness the change to efflouresence in 4.1 will make it something unique AND useful, but that was a stroke of luck that the devs can’t count on to fix the rest of these AoE heals.

    Holy Priests are certainly not want for AoE healing so I assume fixing this move to the back burner. You never know though maybe a fortuitous bug will pop up on the PTR the help the devs come up with a solution to the weakness of the spell without un-balancing heals any further.

  3. boozychef says:

    i’d leave the mana cost, healing tick and cooldown as they are, but add a buff (or glyph) to make heals 10 or 15% more effective on players affected by holy word: sanctuary. that’d help make us choose when and where to use it. which is the model bliz seem intent on having us follow.

  4. Glyph of Sanctuary –

    For each groupmember entering the Sanctuary, lowers the cooldown of Lightwell and Divine Hymn by 0.1 sec for a max of 60 sec.

    Doesn’t help Disc get some Divine Hymn love though.

    To be fair, I compared Sanctuary & Healing Rain 2 nights ago, noticed the inconsistency of the numbers and wondered. For almost the same amount of mana the eventual healing done of Sanctuary is between 15-20% of that of Healing Rain. I can understand Blizzard doesn’t want the effects to be same, but when it looks the same safe for some graphics & color and it is used in the same situation, things are bound to be compared. I hope they find a creative and fun solution instead of just lowering the mana or raising the healing. As said, raising the healing will make priests too powerful, lowering the mana seems to be the quickest, cleanest change.

    (More creativity: make sanc regen some mana towards the caster for the number of people standing in it, as a holy priest I still feel short on mana cooldowns.)

  5. What about a small resistance buff while in the Sanctuary or perhaps a reduction to aoe dmg effects but not direct damage.

    Just ideas.

  6. My idea would be to make it heal 25% upfront as the initial tick. Basically a large-ish heal that you would only use once multiple people were standing together, then allow it to tick as normal.

    I envision its usage similar to shadow fury on warlocks only healing!

  7. And apparantly it has received a buff on the PTR, heals for 35% more now. If anyone is on the PTR and can confirm this and let us know if it now feels more useful that would be great 🙂

  8. Tested today on the PTR – noticed NO echo of light procs at all from HW:S….
    Buff is nice though – crits for arond 1.4k self buffed

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