The Juggernaut Lives – Glimmer Paladin in 8.3 (Updated Nov 19)
Update: On the 19th November Glimmer was nerfed by an additional 12% on top of the target cap. It is discussed below.
Glimmer of Light paladin in the Eternal Palace has been ultra powerful to the point where it quickly overshadowed other specs. We always knew nerfs were coming, but we weren’t sure what form they would take or if they would be significant enough to kill the build. With the 8.3 PTR now live we have a much better idea. Glimmer will have an eight target cap and see a 12% reduction in healing. The eight target cap is still a clunker but it seems like they’re sticking with it. We’ll cover both changes in this article.
It must be mentioned that the less experienced you are with Glimmer the less you will feel the impact of this change. It is common for even raiders working through early mythic to flirt with 8+ glimmers only rarely.
If there’s a question that’s missing, feel free to drop a comment.
Do offensive Glimmers count toward the eight target cap?
Does this change our stat priority?
No. Maybe. Haste loses some value since it won’t double dip after you have eight Glimmers out. It’s still a very good stat. Don’t start tossing Haste out just yet. You’re very likely to keep a balance of secondaries going forward. We’ll be able to answer this question much better closer to patch release. Stat tools like Wowanalyzer will be updated with the change.
Will this change the Essences we use?
Not to begin with. We have two viable setups in Vision of Perfection and Ever Rising Tide depending on the damage pattern – Vision of Perfection was king in Eternal Palace and will likely stay that way. They are buffing the Vision of Perfection proc chance by 12% in 8.3.
How does this change impact us in Mythic+?
This is a minor nerf overall to dungeon strength. It’s rare that you’ll have more than 8 glimmers out at a time, even on large AoE packs and Glimmer makes up less of your healing than in raid.
Is the Avenging Crusader build now competitive with Glimmer?
No. We would have to see further nerfs for other Holy Paladin builds to catch up.
Is Holy Paladin still viable for Mythic raiding?
Yes. With the changes currently slated it will remain a top 2 healing spec.
Will this change any of the talents we take?
Likely not, but stay tuned. You still want to take talents that maximize Holy Shock casts because Holy Shock + 8 Glimmers is still an incredible use of a global cooldown and the alternatives aren’t making strong cases for inclusion outside of niche fights.
We have 2 / 3 / 14 Holy Paladins in our healing team. Will this be ok in 8.3?
It’s still too early in the PTR cycle to start selecting your ideal healing comp for 8.3. If your paladins are enjoying their work then there should be no reason for them to change. Paladin strengths remain convincing and dominant.
When a Glimmer buff is overwritten by casting a new Holy Shock, does it still heal?
Yes it heals one last time as the buff fades.
The change in-depth – Target Cap
Eight Glimmers (or seven + one on the boss) is actually a lot to have active outside of Wings windows and the period following them. The nerf barely touches your regular healing windows and you can expect only a small nerf to your general healing. We’re talking 5% or less here. For a great portion of the population there’ll be no change at all outside of wings.
It’s much more interesting to see what we’re losing during our burst. On Live a good glimmerdin can easily hit 250k+ raw HPS during wings. Incredible. Let’s see how it holds up when we add the eight target cap.
Stats: 10500 int, 20% crit, 32% haste, 10% versatility, 18% mastery, triple 445 Glimmer traits, no glimmer on boss during wings, table represents 90% of our HPS during wings
Data averaged from ten 85-95% Eternal Palace logs. Beacon should receive roughly the same contribution from both so shouldn’t change the percentage. 12% nerf not included.
We can also break this into the first half of wings (where we’re ramping), and the second half (when the number of Glimmers out are maximized).
This is a significant difference and a heavy nerf to Holy Paladin burst healing but here’s the thing. Glimmer is ridiculously ahead of any other healer right now. The nerfed numbers above are still 40% higher than a Druid in Tree of Life (which has the same duration and twice the cooldown) and 70% higher than a typical monk during Way of the Crane (which lasts for half as long and carries a hefty mana cost). We’re also about to get a 30 item level buff to our Glimmer item level as we transition into 460 and 475 pieces in 8.3. That itself is a 23% buff to our Wings window above and effectively cancels out the power reduction of the nerf. Other healing specs don’t have azerite that scales nearly as well since it makes up a smaller percentage of their healing.
The change in-depth – Percentage healing nerf
This one is a little easier to parse. A log in which Glimmer (and resulting beacon heals) make up 50% of the throughput will see a 6% nerf to its raw healing. Raw healing isn’t quite the metric we’re looking for though since our favorite azerite trait overheals substantially and that overheal effectively cushions the nerf. Let’s dive into some logs to see how insignificant this really is. I’ve included a mix of PTR and Live logs. Until next weekend, if you DM me your log on discord I will add it to this chart.
So we kind of end up at a 2.5-3.5% change. I know this isn’t what you are looking for, dear reader, but this is a warranted and appropriate nerf to a still overperforming spec. It shouldn’t come as any surprise if this isn’t the last we see.
Did it have to be this way?
There are three fairly easy approaches they could have taken with a potential glimmer nerf. A flat nerf to its raw healing (which we’re getting in some capacity), the currently planned target cap, or a reduction in the duration of Glimmer itself. I’d like to argue that option #3 is a better approach than option #2. Reducing the duration of each Glimmer to 20 seconds is a ~15% nerf to the overall power of the spec that maintains the ramp and burst components. I think every effort should be made to avoid a system where you’re only able to Glimmer an arbitrary number of targets. It doesn’t increase the skill cap. Most of the time you won’t pay too much mind to who has Glimmer outside of rare priority targets. You’ll just Holy Shock whoever needs it most. The cost of overwriting a Glimmer buff is less than on live because it’ll be falling off eight Holy Shocks later anyway. Nerf the strength of the spec, don’t make it worse to play. Compensate the Mythic+ playstyle elsewhere in the kit to avoid the spec falling behind in dungeons. A buff to Infusion of Light could both re-introduce spell variety to raid while maintaining current Paladin dungeon power where spending charges is already common. The PTR is open for another two months. Experiment. Try something better.
The sky hasn’t fallen. Combined they represent significant nerfs to a very overpowered spec. Holy Paladin raid utility is still unrivaled and the combination of top-tier HPS, raid-wide damage reduction and the ability to handle multiple damage patterns keeps them in a dominant position near the top of the standings. Blizzard need to look away from hitting just healing numbers, and tackle utility too if they want to bring Holy down a notch. The current nerfs are still on the light side when you consider what the spec brings to raid. Put away your alts and your Avenging Crusaders.
Two rounds down. The king still reigns.