The Flash of Light Spec

This is a guest post by @Dtotheug

What spec and glyphs should I should I use as a Holy Paladin for raiding?

That is a good question and really depends on how you want to play and what your role is in the raid. Currently there are two prevailing specs and each have their plus and minuses.

The first spec is the Flash of Light spec (51/5/15) which focuses on a bigger Flash of Light (FoL) heal, more mitigation via Sacred Shield (because Sacred Shield scales with Spell Power), increases the HoT effect of your Infusion of Light talent, and relies more on your healing spells to crit. The problem with this spec is that if you are not mostly using FoL you’re going to have to watch your mana pool closely because Holy Lights and Holy Shocks are going to eat through your mana pool.

This spec also greatly benefits from the four piece bonus of the T9 set which increases the HoT of your FoL by 100%. The major glyphs I would recommend if you are thinking about using this spec are Glyph of Seal of Light, Glyph of Beacon Light, and Glyph of Flash of Light.

Glyph of Seal of Light is a flat 5% increase to your healing spells and since you will be criting more with this spec (which means more mana being returned) you won’t have to worry about your mana as much, which means this glyph is going to benefit you more than the Glyph of Seal of Wisdom.

Glyph of Beacon of Light is chosen because it is going to add 30 seconds to Beacon of Light which means you don’t have to worry about it dropping off your target as quickly. In addition you won’t have to worry about trying to cast Beacon of Light and Sacred Shield (both have a 30 second durations) at the same time, it will also conserve some mana because you won’t be casting it as much, and plus it will let you focus on using your healing spells more.

Glyph of Flash of Light is a must have for this spec. It increases the crit chance of your Flash of Light by 5% which calculates out to a 1.5% mana return and a 2.5% increase on your Flash of Light heals.

If you are going to be the main tank healer in a 10-man or 25-man ICC raid I would suggest against this spec, you’re are going to be clicking FoL so much you may break your mouse. There are two situations when I would use this spec. The first is if this is my off-spec and I was running a 10-man or 25-man and if an extra healer was needed, I would step in. Between your Beacon of Light, Sacred Shield, and FoLs, this should give the other healers in your raid the buffer area they need to keep everyone topped off.

The other situation I would use this spec in is if I was backing up the main tank healer or helping with raid healing in a 25-man raid. Your FoLs will be filling in the gaps of the other healers and help keep everyone topped off.

EDIT: Forgot to mention there’s a part 2 coming

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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.

Comments

  1. cornelious0_0 says:

    I have always found the FoL spec interesting but as I am typically the only Holy Paladin in the raid it’s not beneficial (and is actually limiting) for me to spec for FoL.

    Beyond this, some downsides are that you need the PvP libram to boost FoL’s spell power and you should be gemming fully for SP. All this equates to a completely seperate gear set. If you’re going to build out your holy spec for FoL you need to go all the way, if your crit FoL’s aren’t hitting for darn close to 10k it’s tough to justify raiding with the spec in terms of healing output and mana efficiency. So many people use the FoL spec 51/5/15 and still stack Int or they spec for FoL and have the proper libram but don’t gem for SP…they key is going for it 100%…especially as this spec/build needs to be maximized in order to be viable in many raid encounters.

    Still…a good read and a nice point of reference, thanks Matt.

  2. Actually, the Holy/Ret (also known as crit) spec on its own is better for mana because of the extra crit triggering Illumination. I usually recommend new level 80 holy paladins to go with that spec because they can especially benefit from the extra mana and heals from the crit.

    That said, if you replace Glyph of Seal of Wisdom with Light, like you suggested, and gear for Flash of Light (in a nutshell, gem mostly for SP instead of Int), then yes, you’ll be tight for mana!

    I don’t like to think of Holy/Prot as the HL spec and Holy/Ret as the FoL spec, since both specs have advantages for both playstyles. What Holy/Prot offers is an extra healing CD and a shortened HoP (good for those dps with no self control), while Holy/Ret gives a little oomph to your healing spells and extra mana regen. (Also note that Holy/Prot offers a talent that increases the strength of your Sacred Shield!)

    I do agree with your choice of Glyphs for a FoL healing style and the situations where FoL healing is optimal!
    .-= Ophelie´s last blog ..The Elegant Art of Complaining =-.

  3. Normally posts here are of fairly high quality, but this doesn’t really fit within the norm.

    First, using FoL and gemming Sp is not a valid spec. It works for gimic fights (Vezaxx) but shouldn’t be considered viable. It is inferior to HL in every sense of the word.

    Second…

    [quote]you’re are going to be clicking FoL so much you may break your mouse.[/quote]

    Any credibility this author had just went out the window. Clicking? Really?

  4. @wow Im gonna go out on a limb and guess that he means he uses grid+clique or heal bot. Meaning he is CLICKING a button to cast his heal. L2think nub

  5. Ey, Shut up. says:

    @wow

    First, I don’t know much about holy pallies or which spec/itemization/glyphs would be better, but to completely dismiss an idea that was thrown out there by calling it inferior in every sense is just ridiculous. Both replies before your acknowledged that this spec was viable and gave their own opinion on it and though you provided an opinion you didn’t really give much credit to the author who took their time to write a decent article.

    Second…

    What kind of healing system are you using where you’re not clicking? I know for a fact that every single person I’ve ever raided with or been in a guild with uses Grid/clique or healbot which as dtotheug stated “you may break your mouse” by using.

    Show some courtesy next time you decide to trolol on someone’s article.

  6. ToyChristopher says:

    I really do think that flash of light offers nothing over a spec that focuses more on casting holy light. Holy light spec can still cast flash of light but since they have a larger mana pool they can really switch to holy light when it is needer and sustain both for longer periods of time.

    With the higher ilevel gear even a paladin that gems completely for int will still have high levels of spellpower and their flash of light will still heal for a good amount. If you focus on haste instead of the devalued crit flash of light isn’t even that much faster than holy light.

  7. The only comment I would really say, is that while with this spec, you will definately be critting with your FoL’s more, your SS is not going to be stronger than that of a DS/DG spec’d paladin.

    If we figure around 3k spell power raid buffed for a HL centric caster, and maybe 3500 spell power for a FoL centric caster (remember, the libram doesn’t help SS, so doesn’t count for this), then your SS will absorb the following:

    HL centric SS (with DG):
    (500 + 3000*.75) * 1.2 = 3300 absorbed

    FoL centric SS (without DG):
    (500 + 3500 *.75) = 3125 absorbed

    The spell power required for the non-DG spec’d paladin to match SS strength would be:
    3300 = 500 + x *.75
    x=3733

    Granted, I pulled the base FoL spell power values out of thin air, however, they are in the realm of what I have seen our FoL paladin’s having.

    Also @wow: FoL is a valid spec, however, it has a very niche and unconventional use. The paladin raid/backup tank healer. It does generally lack the throughput of a Holy Light centric paladin, however, if you have three paladin healers in the raid, having one go this route could help with smoothing out raid damage via fast heals to those in danger, as well as providing CDs to the tanks when needed.

    Just because it isn’t valid for your case, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its uses.
    .-= Ditto´s last blog ..Rotface[25] Down =-.

  8. The spec posted is simply the highest HPS spec, and nothing more. I use the exact same spec, but with glyphs of Holy Light, SoW, and Divinity because I find they are more useful in a pinch, fixing up any mana problems that come from actually casting spells instead of channeling a HoT (which is what FoL spam pretty much is.)

    Gearing for SP and ignoring Int is somewhat puzzling to me, as you will have more SP than you need just gearing for Int anyway.

    So rather than mentioning the spec at all, since you’re using such a general healing spec, why not focus more on the gearing and glyphs, and call it the “Flash of Light Healing Style” instead?

  9. Okay, I’m very mad that a post like this one happened. I’ve been making the argument that there is no such thing as a “style of healing” to playing a Holy Paladin. Dividing Holy Paladins into either FoL or Holy Light starts to drive me insane. I’ve been making occasional rant-driven posts on the Wowhead forums for the past 6 months on this subject.

    The healing spells in a Paladin’s spellbook aren’t enough for you to limit yourself to FoL primarily like this. It’s not a good idea. I’ve found the scaling your spell usage back and forth between low and high between lulls and bursts in an encounter is more effective than straining yourself when you’re going to use a spell you’re “not geared for” or now “not spec’d for”. There will be points where FoL spam will not cut it. There will be points when HL spam is just plain dense of the healer.

    Gem for intellect. Talent for raid utility when you’ve hit an acceptable mana pool. Know that your FoL will always be enough for the lulls in a fight, and you’re completely capable of using Holy Light when it gets to a burst phase. Just remember to always have a spell to be casting, a GCD to be using, and being aware of your raid.

  10. After reading this I got one thing out of it.

    FoL holy pally is a good off healing healer. If the pally is asked to heal the MT then this build isn’t good.

    Then why the hell we bring a pally to off heal when we have all other healing classes can do this if not better at off healing?

    Personally, I have not seen a single FoL build pally out heal a HL spamming pally.

  11. It is important to remember that for the FoL holy spec to work correctly you must have at least ~30 crit from gear. This will allow you to ignore divine plea almost entirely. Also the 3% crit heal meta gem is a must to maximize you HPS.

    I find this most effective to keep a SS on the MT, keep your FOL/SS hot running on him 24/7, beacon on him 24/7, and heal the raid.

  12. I am somewhat reluctant to post here as part 2 could have a lot of missing info. That said, there is a couple of things here I disagree with and some stuff that really should be in the first part.

    I would STILL advocate taking some variant of the 51/20 prot subspec even for FoL style – mostly because the increase on SS in Divine Guardian (plus DG itself) > 5% crit from ret.

    Second, the most important thing about this spec is you need HIGH level gear for this to work. I posted on this a little while ago positing in 3.2 you needed more than 3k sp unbuffed. That may even be low. I’d be shooting for 4k buffed SP for this to work.

    In perspective this is basically b.i.s gear full gemmed for SP (with the highest arena libram you can get). If you don’t have that don’t try this.

    As an aside, if you are having mana problems with this set up either (1) your gear isn’t good enough for it or (2) your raid isn’t good enough for it (you’re casting too many HL’s or casting off the tank too much).

    Which brings me to my last point – this is NOT a support healing setup. If you are going this route you are SPAMMING FoL (breakdown is about 60% FoL, 25-30% HL and the rest HS) on a SS tank. Its the HoT tick that makes this viable. If you want a raid healer get a different class. Even HL geared pallies make better raid healers (because they can bring a raid member from empty to full in 1.3 secs).

    It needs a second, HL geared pally to have full effectiveness – any other tank healer makes HL gearing MUCH more beneficial.

    As for Brique’s comment, this is about min / maxxing tank healing for hard mode content. No-one who heals that content is pretending FoL is the only spell they use – its about the PRIMARY set-up. Either you gem / trinket Int and your main, everyday tank-takes damage spell is HL OR you gem / trinket SP and chain cast FoL for the hot. All FoL pallies in that content MUST cast HL – its about knowing when to do it.

    Some of the top paladin healers in the world run this set-up because in their view a FoL paladin and a HL paladin is the most efficient tank healing set up (theoretically).

    My blog on this – http://silkwow.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/why-a-flash-of-light-set-up-is-viable-and-why-you-should-never-play-it/
    .-= Silk´s last blog ..Happy Birthday Australia =-.

  13. Dammit, this is exactly the topic I used for my application at WoW.com . . . damn you, Chase, damn you!!!!

    Sorry, had to get that off my chest. I think this article is spot on (assuming there is a part 2). On the official WoW forums there is a bit of a HL vs FoL build debate going on, but I think some of the commenters before me nailed it: though a FoL spec is viable, it is extremely situation i.e. when the rest of your healing team is comprised of Paladins and Disc. Priest. But in such a case, I would change a few things, namely sticking to the DS/DG spec for the stronger shields and oh s#%$! raid save of DG as well as replacing Glyph of Bacon with Glyph of HS. The reason for this is that I like to move my Beacon around when I know big raid/tank damage is incoming and place it on myself. That way I can pop DS/HoSac and just worry about the raid.

    Well theoretically I could, since I tend to spec utilizing the gifts our Devs gave to us . . .

  14. Any FoL paladin (which I am) which dips into the Ret tree for Crit rather than the Prot tree for DS/DG is doing it wrong.

    The build is often characterized as FoL vs HL, but really it’s a matter of stacking throughput over longevity. With Intellect, we can cast more spells for longer, but with Spellpower, our spells hit harder. We don’t really care if they crit, because they hit so much harder baseline.
    .-= JK the Slacker´s last blog ..Spinlock – a webcomic for slackers :: Comic 6 =-.

  15. Lot of talk – Lot of opinons – Lot of Math – Thanks for the info all.

    No mention of fun. Which is the funner spec to play ? Since we all know WoW isn’t real, we all know WoW is a game, we all know that we play games to have fun.

    FoL imho is hella fun compared to HoL. Beacon your assignment, start targeting/casting FoL like a madman. Fun.

    HoL imho is hella boring. Beacon the OT, start casting HoL. Throw out an occasional FoL if your targets fine. SNOOOZE.

    Enjoy your Game – Enjoy your Life – Have a little fun…

  16. So I realized this guy had no idea how to play once i read this..

    “If you are going to be the main tank healer in a 10-man or 25-man ICC raid I would suggest against this spec, you’re are going to be clicking FoL so much you may break your mouse. ”

    Dont know about you but.. anyone who is decent at this game is probably not clicking anything.

    Secondly, this is my spec and when i get 10k FoL crits in 25mans and are putting a 2k HoT on the tank cant say theres to much of a downside. Also considering i cast 2 FoL’s in the time i cast 1 HL and the HL only gives me 2000 more healing at the cost of 70% more mana.. its really a no brainer. Also with all the haste itemization on ICC gear I cast FoL’s in .93 seconds as long as I keep my judgement up.

    Now dont get me wrong I use holy lights when needed and if you look at a recount of my overall spells i used its always about 25% FoL 20% Holy lights and 15% Holy shocks.. i just use my heals when i should instead of spamming holy light and stacking int.

  17. I wrote about this months ago ( http://ferarro.blogspot.com/2009/11/flash-of-light-vs-holy-light.html ), and my viewpoint is still the same: Given the right amount of gear and the proper playstyle, both specs can work to tremendous results. I’ve outhealed HL’ers as FoL and I’ve outhealed FoL’ers as HL – it had nothing to do with my spec or gems or enchants. It was because I knew my class, knew the encounter and it’s rhythm, and I knew how to capitalize on my current build.

    If you like the big mana pool, go for HL. If you like hard-hitting heals, go for FoL. Anything else in between, it’s all up to your own personal skill level.

    ?F.
    .-= Ferarro´s last blog ..The New Protection T10 Gloves and Chest =-.

  18. Well, I’ve always thought the whole aspect of a Holydin being naught but a brainless HL spammer was stupid. For each their style, but I resent the comments about FoL not being viable. I’ve been my guild’s main tank healer since when we begun raiding, and never ever have I failed at my job, even though I’m focused on using FoL and HS as my primary heals, and use HL mainly in enrage situations or others where the tanks gets repeatedly hit hard. My FoL crits basically every time, and it heals for about 7K a pop. Not much, but that seems to be quite enough for 10-man environment. I cast two of those basically in the same time where I’d get off one HL. I never run out of mana this way. Or, perhaps if they implement a 30 minute bossfight one day. Smart use of Beacon lets me handle both MT and OT, or in a fight where there is a lot of raid damage and only one tank taking damage, helping the raid healers as well.

    So yeah, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but perhaps you should try before deeming a spec or a healing style not viable. And you know, not just quickly check it out, but actually l2p it. This kind of attitude makes other healers feel oh so superior compared to poor old one trick Pallies, when we have so much potential to be versatile and useful. Just consider that maybe, maybe there can be actually very skilled FoL Paladins who rock at what they’re doing. Or hey, maybe that’s so against theorycrafting that it can’t be.

    I like the comments above, who seem to be people who have actually tried to play as a FoL paladin. I find other healing classes to be a bore, because I am constantly in action with my Paladin and can’t have that with any other class. It teaches one to be alert and have quick reactions, both of which I assume are good for (even) healers to have in a raiding environment. After spamming FoL like I’ve never spammed before, WoW almost feels like actual exercising! 😀 So hey maybe we should also get into theorycrafting the health benefits of this playstyle..

  19. HumbleHealadin says:

    I don’t have much to say other than the fact that I don’t use this spec…I’m a critadin healy spec and unless the raid healers are not doing their job have settled into a nice HL/HS/FoL balance that is great for mana conservation and bomb heals with my HL haste making it a short cast.

    Anyways, I searched the comments over to see if anyone had brought this up and I don’t think they have but your article is wrong:

    “you won’t have to worry about trying to cast Beacon of Light and Sacred Shield (both have a 30 second durations) at the same time”

    Beacon of Light is a 60 second cast and the Glyph extends it to a minute and a half. That is also why I chose Holy Light glyph over BoL. And if someone is having a hard time watching their Beacon fall off, I recommend the addon needtoknow and setting it to focus and the tank is your focus.

  20. …why do people say that FoL spec is more fun than HL spec? Do they not remember how freaking -boring- healing in TBC was???

    The problem with the spec offered here is that you’re giving up a huge amount of raid utility and healing power for the ability to ignore Divine Plea. I can’t even begin to imagine trying to, say, solo heal the tanks on Blood Queen-25 as this spec, let alone the fact that you’re missing a huge opportunity in using DS (cancel-cast works well, especially) when she starts flying. By not going Holy/Prot you are effectively screwing over your raid for a very mediocre amount of crit.

    The whole “HL spec vs. FoL spec” thing is a misnomer, considering that people using the stereotypical “HL spec” -use- FoL, when it’s appropriate to do so. Fights like Rotface are a great example of this. A “HL spec” healadin will cast FoLs when damage is low (the tank damage is mediocre on this fight), whipping out HLs the last 50% or so when things get chaotic and they have to make up for sloppy fighting. A “FoL spec” healadin will be casting FoL the entire time, not having the mana to change up their playstyle to the more costly HLs for the back-half.

    Choice of spec should come down to what’s best for the raid. Not using all the tools available to a class in favor of easier, less thoughtful healing is just nerfing your progress.
    .-= Codi´s last blog ..Zero Add-on Project =-.

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