Paladin Healing

While the two healing spells available to a Paladin have only 1 second difference in casting time, easily reducible to 0.5 seconds difference (or less) through the talent Lights Grace, and are both direct single-target healing, their use and characteristics are very different.

Flash of Light (FoL), has a very, very low mana cost and heals for a small amount.
The second heal, Holy Light (HL), costs almost 5 times as much as FoL, but also heals for a much greater baseline.

The greater mana cost of one cast means that HL takes more advantage of illumination.

One way to find an effective medium between mana cost and heal amount is to downrank your healing spells.



The goal of downranking is to select 1 FoL and 1 HL that you will cast when you want to conserve mana but still maintain enough healing output to keep your target alive.

If your healing target has only taken a small amount of damage it is a waste of mana to cast a heal larger than the deficit needing to be filled. Often, especially in the case of Holy Light, using the maximum rank in all situations results in a high amount of unnecessary overhealing; wasted mana.

While overhealing in and of itself is not a bad thing, if difficult encounters where you must be able to keep healing for a long time, you will run out of mana and be ineffective earlier than necessary, which can result in a failed encounter.


Before going further, however, note that there are no prizes for ending a fight with a large amount of mana remaining. A living tank, a dead boss, and an OOM Paladin are a much better result.


Lower ranks of the healing spells will cost less mana and thus may reduce excess mana expenditure, adding to the length of time a healer can remain effectively healing.
As the amount of +healing gear worn increases, the player can bump down rank by rank by rank and receive the same healing output as the higher rank spell did with less +healing itemization.
To avoid people stacking large amounts of +heal gear to enable their heals to be downranked so much that the mana cost becomes trivial, Blizzard implemented a multiplier on how much of the player’s total +heal each rank of a heal will get.
This multiplier is based broadly on the length of the casting time that spell requires.


Note that Holy Light enjoys the same coefficient when reduced in casting time to only 2.0 seconds by Lights Grace as it does normally at 2.5 seconds.
Coefficients are based upon base casting time, and remain the same despite any haste or casting time reductions the character may acquire through gear, buffs, or talents.


For a paladin the downrank % are as follows:

Downrank Penalty

Flash of Light:

Rank—-Downrank %








Holy Light:

Rank—-Downrank %












The percents listed above are the percent of the spell’s NORMAL COEFFICIENT that that particular rank receives.

As listed in the Spell Coefficients section, the normal coefficients for Holy Light and Flash of Light are as follows:

Holy Light – 71.4%
Flash of Light – 42.9%

The percent of a player’s total +healing itemization a spell receives is multiplicative with the percentage of that value which is applied for the given rank of that spell.

For Holy Light and Flash of Light, the percentage of your Total +Healing stats gained by each rank consists of:

Effective Coefficients

Flash of Light:

Rank—-Downrank %








Holy Light:

Rank— Downrank %












Some Paladins occasionally cast a very low rank of Holy Light in order to keep Lights Grace active. For example, Rank 4 HL only costs 190 mana (10 more mana than highest rank FoL), and only heals for 146 less(356 naturally vs 502). Keeping Lights Grace up can save a tank when they need a large heal, quickly.



The stat to look at when doing heavy downranking is the effective mana cost of the spell.
Effective mana cost (EMC) is the cost of the spell after taking account spell crit + illumination returning mana and the mana returned from mp5 while casting.

As you downrank, it is possible that the EMC of a spell will become 0 due to your mana regeneration and restoration crossing over to an equal or faster rate than the mana-expenditure rate of chain-casting that spell. This means that you can essentially downrank to the point where you are able to heal infinitely (forever) using that rank. While this sounds appealing, remember that, by downranking your heals, you are healing for less.
The rate of healing-done output a spell has is known as it’s Healing per Second (HPS). It is defined as the average reliable amount the spell will heal for divided by it’s casting time.

Downranking seeks to select the lowest rank of your healing spell that has a HPS equal to the approximate rate of incoming damage.

For example, if the deficit being restored by each cast is about 800 health, you could cast a downranked FoL Rank 4 (90 mana), or a rank 3 HL (110 mana). It would not make sense to cast a Rank 7 FoL (180 mana) which would overheal for 500 hp. Using Rank 7 FoL in this case would be accomplishing the same healing done, but by use of more mana, so under this circumstance when 800 health must be restored HL 3 and FoL 4 have a higher Healing-Per-Mana ratio than FoL 7.

Healing-Per-Mana (HPM) is the amount of health effectively restored by one spell cast divided by the mana-cost of casting that spell. It helps determine the spell and rank that would be most efficient in a given circumstance.



There are several important differences between FoL and HL, besides their essential stats, which affect decision-making on their use and the stats you choose to stack in your gear.

- Holy Light’s Effective Mana Cost takes more advantage from Illumination and increasing spell crit chance than Flash of Light. This means Paladins who focus more on HL have a greater incentive to acquire higher spell crit than Paladins who’s play style is more oriented around FoL.

- Holy has a higher HPS (rate of hit points returned per second) than Flash of Light. This is true both at a baseline level and especially with increasing amounts of +healing itemization, as HL enjoys a more favorable coefficient.

- FoL has a higher HPM (Hit points returned per mana) than HL, making it generally more efficient in a broad sense. (there are exceptions)


(this section is still being fact-checked and should be read with critical analysis)

Blessing of Light bonuses to Holy Light and Flash of Light are significant in that they are not factored through or divided by any casting-time coefficient. Each spell receives precisely the flat bonus shown. The bonus healing is therefore far more effective in increasing the size of heals than +healing itemization of the same amount.
This means that often Holy Light ranks gain an advantage over equivalent HPS but higher rank Flash of Lights as the flat bonus added on to a Holy Light is higher than that given to a Flash of Light.

The addition granted by BoL is added at the end, after all other modifiers, and cannot be increased.

At very low ranks, Blessing of Light does apply a downranking coefficient to its bonus healing but it is not particularly noticeable until Holy Light 4 and below.


Flash of Light (w/ buffs)

Rank—-Avg 100 Heals-Eff. Mana Cost-HPM—-HPS—–# Heals to OOM—–Time to OOM





5______1025.37_______0.20________5188___683.58___589.44_________884.16 sec (1473.6 min)

6______1200.12______19.28________62.23___800.08___604___________906 sec (15.1 min)

7______1340.39______49.82________26.90___893.60___233___________350 sec (5.8 min)

Holy Light (with buffs)

Rank—-Avg 100 Heals-Eff. Mana Cost-HPM—-HPS—–# Heals to OOM—–Time to OOM





5______1454.99______47.45________30.66___581.99___245___________613 sec (10.2 min)

6______1879.86______110.76_______16.97___751.94___105___________263 sec (4.4 min)

7______2360.03______181.11_______13.03___944.01___64____________160 sec (2.7 min)

8______2878.35______262.01_______10.99___1151.34__44____________110 sec (1.8 min)

9______3381.64______318.28_______10.62___1352.66__36____________90 sec (1.5 min)

10_____3642.08______353.45_______10.30___1456.83__32____________80 sec (1.3 min)

11_____4260.68______444.90_______9.58____1704.27__26____________65 sec (1.1 min)



Intellect is one of the few stats that can increase several healing stats for a paladin (mana pool, spell crit, +heal), depending upon current spec.

Overall trends are as follows:

- Increasing intellect increases avg. healing, HPS, # Healing until OOM and time of healing until OOM

- Increasing intellect improves Effective Mana Cost


Comparison between benefit provided by
+30 Intellect vs +81 healing enchants:


Avg Heal____+81 Healing

HPS________+81 Healing

EMC________30 Intellect



Before OOM___30 Intellect


Before OOM___30 Intellect


Intellect vs mp5:


Avg Heal______1 Intellect

HPS_________1 Intellect

EMC_________1 MP5


Before OOM_____1 Intellect

(except for high ranks of HL)


Before OOM_______1 MP5

+heal and increasing mp5 will have a greater time increase than if you
increased intellect. The other thing to notice is that intellect has a greater benefit for casts of holy light. If you find you cast more Holy Lights than you have different options for changing gear than if you cast more Flash of Lights.

As with all healing, balance is the key.


Q u o t e:
/cast [modifier:alt,target=player] Flash of Light; [target=target,help] Flash of Light; [target=targettarget,help] Flash of Light; [target=player] Flash of Light

In one line of code I have made this handle pretty much all situations.
-The first part says that if I hold down alt and click on the macro, I’ll heal myself with FoL.
-The second part checks to see if my current target is a friendly, if so FoL him.
-Third part checks to see if my target’s target is a friendly, if so FoL on friendly.
(useful when you can’t tell who is tanking a boss – just target him and spam away)
-The last part says when all else fails (ie no target selected) heal thyself.

This macro doesn’t ever change your currently selected target. This macro I’ve found is very useful and highly intuitive to use. Something to note is that I purposely put the [target=target] ahead of the [target=targettarget]. This is because I want to avoid the possibility of my friendly target, who is targeting another friendly and his target ends up with my heals (hope that makes sense).

Also swap Flash of Light with Holy Light and you have your Holy Light macro.


Alternative to the above:

Q u o t e:
-= The fowling macros needs to be key binded to work correctly =-

Healing macro. If you point on a player or a player frame it casts Holy Light on the one you point. But if you do not point on any one it checks you target and if its friendly it heals your target. At last if no one off the earlier conditions was met it heals your self.
/cast [target=mouseover,exists,help] Holy Light; [help] Holy Light; [target=player] Holy Light

The same as above but Flash of Light
/cast [target=mouseover,exists,help] Flash of Light; [help]Flash of Light; [target=player] Flash of Light

If you want to down rank you can try this one.
/cast [target=mouseover,exists,help] Holy Light(Rank 6); [help] Holy Light(Rank 6); [target=player] Holy Light(Rank 6)

Decursing macro:

/cast [target=mouseover,exists,help] Cleanse; [help] Cleanse; [target=player]Cleanse
/cast [target=mouseover,exists,help] Purify; [help] Purify; [target=player]Purify

New Bandages macro. With this macro you cant cancel bandaging by double clicks.

/use [help,nochanneling:Heavy Netherweave Bandage]Heavy Netherweave Bandage; [target=player,nochanneling:Heavy Netherweave Bandage]Heavy Netherweave Bandage

Credit: Leftquark and Joanadark

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17 Responses to “Paladin Healing”

  1. 1 ashalfour July 25, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    this helped me alot thanks

  2. 2 TMT August 5, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Good job, keep it up<3 healingpalas ftw

  3. 3 Asu August 27, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    You can condense your macros like this:

    /cast [modifier:alt,target=player] [target=target,help] [target=targettarget,help] [target=player] Flash of Light

    /cast [target=mouseover,exists,help] [help] [target=player] Flash of Light

    /cast [target=mouseover,exists,help] [help] [target=player] Holy Light(Rank 6)

    /cast [target=mouseover,exists,help] [help] [target=player] Cleanse

    /cast [target=mouseover,exists,help] [help] [target=player]Purify

    /use [help,nochanneling:Heavy Netherweave Bandage] [target=player,nochanneling:Heavy Netherweave Bandage]Heavy Netherweave Bandage

    I include [targettarget=help] too, so that I can target the boss and still get heal the tank.

  4. 4 Asu August 27, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    Er, and I of course meant target=targettarget and in fact that was in your first example. >.>

  5. 5 arndt September 19, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    I was working on my own calcs on downranking today. thanks for the info. Could you post the stats used in your calculations for the tables showing heals to OOM? I am interested in your +heal, MP/5, and int to get the results.

  6. 6 Minsom November 11, 2007 at 12:43 am

    Wow great write up. I play a human pally on Amenthul (Oceanic) and have found that I had to shift from +healing/intl to +healing/mp5. I was previously all for +healing because I thought it would make a more effective healer in raids. However, a question was put to me, “How long can you heal for at that level?”. Now I sat on this for a while and did some research into Mp5 and decided to resocket all my gear and re enchant it so that it was more on the lines of +healing/Mp5. This gamble paid off as I decreased my +healing (1600 unbuffed) but increased my mana regen. I was able to solo heal the tank through Kara no problems and my consumption of mana pots was greatly reduced. As I am overseas working atm, my wife tells me when she plays my toon that I can sit on 1900 +healing/ 256 Mp5 and 12k mana pool with full raid buffs. As my raid experience is very limited (ZG, MC, UBRS, AQ20/40 and a very brief encounter in Nax), is this the best way to go? Or should I incoporate the downranking of spells as well? If so is there any add on that will support this?

  7. 7 Leykis January 15, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Those stats Minsom, are really good for Kara. But in ZA and other instances, it could be a different story…for example, I was just in ZA the other night and we had two other healers besides myself. All are comparably geared to me. I have about 250 MP5/resting – 150 MP5/casting, +1800 healing fully raid buffed and 14k mana (ok, 13,875) with a 20% holy crit rate (26% for holy light). I barely…and I mean BARELY finished the lynx boss with pots and blowing all my trinkets (lower city prayerbook, shade of aran trinket, divine blessing and the 1/2 mana for 15 seconds talent) on a continuous basis.

    Keep in mind that +100 healing is about 71 HP healed for a max rank holy light. What keeps me on top of the healing charts is healing the party when not in combat….no seriously…mana conservation is a big deal. Once you know your tank, you know how hard he’s gonna get hit and how to manage your healing ranks accordingly. But I usually just don’t bother. I usually heal max rank and manage my healing with pots and item effects that allow higher mana regeneration.

    High crit rate helps me a lot. I get a 6k heal off instead of a 4k heal, and it cost me 60% less mana too! Take this example…chain cast 20 Holy lights at max rank with my stats. The average non-crit heal is 4100, crit heal is 6100. So at a 20% holy crit rate, on average only 4 of those will crit, I will have healed approximately 90,000 HP for a cost of 15840 mana (I used 900 mana for holy light to make the numbers easier). For most pallies, that kind of casting power requires high MP5 and or pots. Now assume 30% crit rate. 6 (instead of 4) of those spells will crit, meaning that you will have healed for 94,000 HP and it will have cost you 14760 mana. That’s 1000 mana less for a 5% crit rate boost. If you can also get good MP5 regeneration, you can mix holy light and flash of light and spam heal for a very, very long time.

    So I achieve maximum mana conservation through high MP5, item use effects and a high crit rate. The +healing needs to sorta keep up, but I have given up over 100 +healing to get another 25 MP5 and 2% crit as well as a large mana pool (through int) and have seen a good increase in my healing output.

    -Leykis, Crushridge

  8. 8 Leykis January 15, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    For the above crit rate example, I meant to say holy light crit rate, not holy crit rate.

    One final note…I usually have a 50/11/0 healing spec, where I get blessing of kings in the prot tree. I start a fight off with kings and once the boss gets to around 75% health, I switch myself to blessing of wisdom. Helps mana regen at the cost of minimal spell crit.

  9. 9 Minsom January 15, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    Cheers Leykiss!!..

    in recent weeks when our guild went to ZA, they said that its a big gear check. I have recently changed to ret to see what the hype was about and tbh, I’m really digging doing burst damage. I can’t heal myself to save me but the cahnge from healing to DPS is great. Altho I have resided the fact that I will require to respec as the guild goes further into the content so I can’t get tunnel vision and look at souly gearing for Ret becuase that would defeat the purpose of a hybrid class. On that note I have started compiling a wish list from each tree to see me through to heal/DPS and eventually tank raids/instances. I will embark on this adventure when I get back home later on in the year. One thing i will not do is become a loot hog and get pieces pending that no-one else can use it etc (unless I am trying to bring up my stats for that spec ie healing).

    I think mana management is paramount skill to have, i had macros set up so that it would activate trinkets and all mana reducing talants in 1 hit and basically use that in the rotation of spells so it is constantly being used etc.

  10. 10 Leykis January 16, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Ret is a solid raid build now. We have a ret pally that is usually at or near the top in DPS, and we have VERY solid DPSers. Just keep in mind that to be the most valuable in a raid, to spec abilities that are helpful to the raid. A DPSer that can also provide buffs, auras, and damage boost for the whole group makes a valuable member of the group. And make sure you have a shammy with windfury and a hunter in your group.

  11. 11 Minsom January 16, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    yep i agree, a ret pally might not be able to do as much damage as a pure DPS class, however given the right grouping and coresponding buffs and self buffs they can deal out a fair bit of damage. Also taking fully advantage of the hybrid class, a pally can carry multiple sets that allow them to augment the stats that are lacking when required. For example, at a raid I will carry all three sets, a full healing set made up of pieces of T4, Kara drop and BOJ, a few pieces of tanking gear, just random blues and purples that have stam built in on the off occasion that they require me to hold down a target (in my case pretty rare this or even help out with AOE and also what I’m wearing as a Ret pally.

    By bringing extra gear the hybrid are able to multi task as the rite gear can still yield a strong healer for instance. Even in Ret spec with all my healing gear on I can still produce a healthy 1500+ healing and a steady amount of Mp5, altho lack the other mana regen talents from that spec it can be countered with trinkets and mana pots (lower city prayer book FTW!!!!). As a off healer it is enough to help out with the heals, nothing to flash tho and will never top the charts but still enough to top people up, spot heal etc.

    I think the skills u pick up in all the other trees are beneficial to gain as it allows you to multi task if need be and push the limits as a “Jack of all Trades but a master of non”..

  12. 12 Valanar March 11, 2008 at 7:22 am

    Hi! Our guild just recently entered BT/Hyjal and was wondering how much healing is too much? I play in Kil’jaeden and my +healing so far is 2006 unbuffed, 230/98 mp5 and bout 26% crit. Im thinking of switching some gems around once i get more loot from Hyjal, but knowing wut number I can watch out for will let me gem my items properly (So I dont have to regem).


  13. 13 jasje March 23, 2008 at 5:33 am

    if u dont have any Sp in your raid work on crit(u get mana back)
    if u do have a sp in your group then work on +healing(atleast i do)
    we are full cleared MH guild and 4/9 BT and i have other gems then my fellow guild pala i do +healing atm got 2180+healing and 26% holy crit
    without buffs i say the key is a SP if u dont have enough crit or if u dont have it work on crit

    (sp =shadow priest)


  14. 14 Bartlescriv January 18, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Question for the Holies out there. What would you say is the range of the basic stats for an 80 Her. healer? Sp, mp5, and crit. What, in the end, should i be aiming for?

  15. 15 Genesis February 9, 2009 at 8:58 am

    To Bartlesriv, you should be looking for Intelligence mostly. It gives the biggest upgrade to mp5, SP, and crit, while also increasing your base mana pool.

  16. 16 Monti April 12, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    With 264 gear (for the most part) and gemmed all intellect with the exception of a blue and red somewhere for required Meta gem socket..I spam Holy light thru out the raid overhealing by 10 million in ICC to the 4 th boss…and never go OOM…helps having a 38000 mana pool and knowing when to make mana. Intel gems are the way to go, 49% crit, 2800sp,works for me.

  1. 1 Downranking Holy Light | Trackback on August 17, 2007 at 8:57 pm

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