I recently came back from an absence and wanted to try something new for Cataclysm as my main character. I've only every filled a tank or dps role in guild raids and, so far, I've found that I really enjoy healing as a pally so far.

I'm not completely new to healing - I have a priest alt that I occasionally did five man dungeons with during Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. However, since I would like to use this Holy pally spec for my main now, I want to figure out some of the finer things that will help make me a far more efficient healer.

I'm familiar with sources like ElitistJerks and while I do gain useful information there, a lot of what I find is posted by people with an already outstanding knowledge of how exactly every detail of the class operates, so sometimes I end up wondering what some of it means.

Any tips for healing as Holy that you might have would be greatly appreciated, anything from when to use certain abilities to mechanics themselves.
Ok, lets see what we can do here, I'm gonna assume you're talking about PVE healing and not PVP, mostly becasue I'm terrible at PVP.

First of all the notes for a returning holy paladin:
We now have Holy Power, which can be used for 2 different mana-free heals
Holy Shock got buffed, and now gives Holy Power on cast
Sacred Shield is gone
Beacon now costs no mana and lasts 5 minutes, but only transfers 50% of heals
Flash of Light is now a quick, big, expensive heal
Holy Light is now a medium speed, cheap, weak heal
Divine Light is new, a slow, expensive big-ass heal
Word of Glory is a new, mana-free single target heal that uses your HP stack
Light of Dawn is a new, mana-free cone aoe heal that uses your HP stack

First of all mana is a much bigger issue now than it was during Wrath, if you heal at full power you'll be mana dry very quickly and most of our mana recovery tools have either been removed or nerfed. It's not all bad news, happily, as we now have more tools at our disposal for the conservation of mana, as well as a buff to the amount of healing we can put out.

What I've mostly found on forums to do with healing deals with the Tower of Radiance rotation, where you cast Holy Light orDivine Light on the beacon, then Holy Shock on the raid, Divine or Holy Light the beacon target again to get 3 HP, then use WoG on the raid and repeat for eternity.

The pros of using this rotation: decent healing on the tank + raid for very little mana cost.

The cons: virtually no flexibility in your healing and no ability to deal with bad situations where tank or raid damage exceeds your output.

So while the ToR rotation is nice to keep in mind and great to use in the situations it works, most of the time you'll be ignoring it completely and spamming heals on either the tank to keep him alive, or the raid to top up health.

Personally I prefer to use Divine Light to spam on tanks for the better HPM, but on dps where likely they dont have enough health to make DL effective I use FoL due to it's slightly lower mana cost.

Healing as a holy paladin in raids doesnt quite feel like it used to. We used to be fantastic, endless tank-health batteries. Now we constantly need to watch our spell selection and mana to ensure we dont run out, but in return we can now raid or tank heal as we choose, and on fights where big heals are required we can pull out the stops and really top the charts.
As for efficiency as a healer, it just comes down to using heals when people need healing, and sitting back when they dont. It sounds simple but it's all too easy to get into the rut of chain-casting a rotation, even when it isn't necessary.

My most important advice by a wide margin would have to be: Go and heal things.

You cant learn something as complex as healing from reading forums, go roll for a group and try things out. Sure at first you might not be as polished as you'd like, but that only comes with time and experience.
Wow!!! I just came back myself and it sounds to me like they totally revamped how a pally heals from the ground up. Good advice.

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