MoP Mana Regen: Theorycrafting Paladins’ Options

Note: This post focuses on level 90. See here for further discussion on level 85.

Note 2: The level 90 spreadsheet has been updated to account for a potential change to the 4-piece t14 bonus and expanded for higher Spirit values. You may not have edit rights, but you can always save your own copy from the File menu. The spreadsheet, as usual, is found here.

With Mists of Pandaria (MoP) in Public Beta and the pre-expansion 5.0 PTR going live soon, our friendly neighborhood theorycrafters are swarming about trying to determine stat weights, rating conversions, and rotations. In the healing realm we are especially concerned with mana regeneration.

New Ground Rules

To make sure everyone is aware of where we’re starting, I’ll list the major changes to mana use in MoP:

  • Intellect will only increase the power of spells and no longer increase the size of a caster’s mana pool.
  • All casters have the same amount of mana at any given level. At level 90 this is 300,000.
  • With very few exceptions, nothing will change a caster’s maximum mana. Gear upgrades, in particular, have no effect on mana levels.
  • Spell costs are still calculated from base mana, but caster-only classes have 300,000 base mana while Paladins and others have 60,000. Classes without modifiers appear to have wildly cheaper spells but end up about the same. See Flash of Light at 37.8% of base mana while Flash Heal is at 6.6%.


The Paladin’s Holy Insight is one of the new specialization-specific grab bag spells used by tanks and healers in Mists of Pandaria. In Vanilla terms it would have been at least four different multi-point talents. In MoP it comes free when we choose Holy. It includes increased healing power, mana pool size, and combat mana regeneration as well as additional Hit chance for our damaging spells.

Building off Derevka’s work at Tales of a Priest, we have the formula for Holy Paladin mana regeneration in Mists of Pandaria as expressed in the common terms of Mana per 5 seconds (Mp5).

Combat Mp5 = Total Mana *0.02 + (1.1287 *Spirit* Holy Insight%)

This can be used to calculate the value of gear and buffs. It can also be used to compare non-Spirit regen mechanics, as Derevka also did here for racial bonuses.

The Glyph of Illumination

The new  Glyph of Illumination presents another regen option. It is worth investigating for a few reasons:

  • We want to cast Holy Shock often because it is a mana efficient heal and generates Holy Power for more mana-free healing.
  • Shock crits proc Infusion of Light for faster heals.
  • Shock has a built in 25% crit bonus.

Can something we’re already doing also increase our mana regeneration or is this glyph just a bad idea?

The glyph changes two things. It reduces Holy Insight from 50% to 40% and it makes each Holy Shock crit return 1% of our total mana. The formula above provides an easy way to account for the reduction by adjusting one variable. Then we just need to add on the regen from Shock crits. We can use the following formula to calculate the expected Mp5 returns:

Shock Mp5 = Total Mana *0.01 *Shocks per Min *Shock Crit% * 5/60

We can use the following values in both formulas:

  • Total Mana at level 90 is 300,000
  • Use the Spirit value from our character sheet and be sure to include stacking (Solace, HoU, etc), periodic (Heartsong, etc), and raid buffs (food, flask, etc).
  • Figure Shocks per Minute from combat logs or we can start with an estimate of 8. The maximum possible is 10. The maximum with the 4-piece bonus for tier 14 is 12.
  • Shock Crit% will be our character sheet’s Crit% (including other buffs as we did for Spirit) plus 25% built in to Holy Shock.

We can plot the mana returns, both with and without the glyph, onto a chart for a comparison based on selected stats. This helps us determine if the Glyph of Illumination is a good choice. I have the calculations displayed on the first tab of this spreadsheet and we’ll look at one example of what we might expect early in tier 14 raid progression by estimating 8 Shocks per minute and 35% Crit.

Comparison at 8 Shock/Min & 35% Crit

The most important information shown by this graph is the steeper slope of 50% Holy Insight means the glyph will always be outgeared as we increase our Spirit. In this example the yellow line of our expected regen with the glyph is outperformed starting between 6,000 and 7,000 Spirit.

Wowhead’s character profiler easily produces a character with over 7,000 Spirit when equipped with tier 14 Heroic Dungeon and Raid Finder equipment. The usefulness of the glyph appears limited to stat ranges seen while leveling and gearing up through 5-man dungeons.

To avoid testing hundreds of stat combinations we can make our formulas equal to each other, do a little algebra, and create something more useful.

50% Holy Insight Mp5 = 40% Holy Insight Mp5 + Holy Shock Mp5

*Insert math you never thought you’d use outside of school.*

Equivalent Spirit = 2214.9375 * Shocks per Min * Shock Crit%

Now we can create a graph for varying numbers of Holy Shocks per minute. I’ve calculated all of this on the second tab of this spreadsheet where we can also experiment with non-integer values for casts per minute which might better approximate actual encounters. Here is a graph showing several cast rates to help everyone get a rough estimate.

Thresholds for Glyph of Illumination

After selecting a value for Shocks per minute, any range of stats under the matching line should regenerate more mana with the Glyph of Illumination. We can plot actual or theoretical stats onto any point and quickly determine if the glyph is a good choice.


For players prioritizing Spirit, the charts deserves a look if we find ourselves with a lot of Crit or if we wear four piece tier 14 with a lot of lower level gear. Even then, reforging out of Crit is always an option. If the glyph ever becomes a good choice then it is worth auditing logs frequently for cast and crit rates to make sure we continue getting the best deal.

Players might choose, instead, to prioritize Crit over Spirit with the goal of boosting output and relying on cheaper spells to extend our mana. Glyph of Illumination would help offset the regen lost from sacrificing Spirit. To justify one build over the other also requires modeling their potential output, which is beyond the scope of this post. I will say sacrificing other stats for Crit makes our output unreliable. We would dread a streak of non-crits making fights harder or even leading to player deaths.

The biggest hurdle to using the glyph is the prevalence of Spirit on gear and how well it scales for regen. Upgrades which increase Crit usually also come with Spirit. Unless something changes in the future, the Glyph of Illumination looks like a dead end and a reduction to our mana regeneration in most foreseeable circumstances.

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14 responses to “MoP Mana Regen: Theorycrafting Paladins’ Options

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  6. Jonathan Hurst

    Do you plan on doing any updates for this if the 4p Holy set change goes live? It reduces the CD by 2 seconds instead of 1, which means a maximum 15 shocks per minute.

    If you don’t plan on doing an update, could you perhaps allow me access to the spreadsheet so I can do the math myself?

    • Jonathan Hurst

      Since I can’t edit, I’ll just add this in a reply: Would you mind if I expanded your level 85 spreadsheet a bit to work for level 90 and be public as well as add the calculations and graphs for Holy Shock up to 15 times a minute and larger crit numbers?

      • The level 85 spreadsheet is hardly useful anymore, and it was created after the level 90 spreadsheet because of interest in the mechanics before Mists was released. I expanded the level 90 spreadsheet to account for the potential 5.1 PTR change as well as higher Spirit values. You may not have edit access, but anyone should be able to save their own copy by using the command found in the File menu. The updated spreadsheet can be found, as always, here.

  7. I noticed a bit of a discrepancy with this. Last I was able to check (and I can’t even look at either of the spreadsheets you’ve linked above to copy), it said the base mana was 75k. Isn’t it 60k though? Your 85 sheet had 20k as the base and 100k as the holy total, so going up to 90 with 300k total should have it at 60k.

    • You are correct. I originally based the math on Holy Insight’s 400% increase giving me 4 times base mana. Blizzard, however, is adding 400% of base mana which means 5 times base mana of 60,000. I have corrected this error in the post. I blame it on sticking around since the first draft. :P

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  10. OK I came to this as I am wondering how to handle tier 15 4-set. It’s all the more complicated for me as the 4-set involves downgrading two 522 to 502,, but anyway. The question is: is it worth it to reforge/gem for crit instead of spirit/mastery and switch primarily to holy light, given that with the 4-set your holy light gives 100% heal to the chosen raid member and 120% to the tank? Right now my spirit is about 13k and my crit 1.5 k I figure I can boost the crit to 9k by pushing the envelope reforging/gemming-wise. Is this worth it? My tooltip lists 1500 crit–> added 2.5% chance, total chance 13%. (HS crit chance therefore 38%). go 6-fold on crit would pump that up to 27.5? Is the math linear? I’m saving the detailed counts from recount to do realistic (raid fight based) estimations, but i cannot find the actual formulas for MoP… Do you have them? What’s your thought on shifting entirely to crit based on having 4-set T15?
    Tombelaine on Velen

    • That’s a good question. On the one hand, Crit could work well with the 4pc bonus because Beacon heals do not add Mastery shielding. On the other hand, you’ll only cast a lot of Holy Light off-Beacon during two tank fights like the main phase of Megaera and… not much else in the Throne of Thunder. The rest of the instance you’re still going to do a ton of raid healing where you’re getting much less out of the 4pc bonus.

      Also, while Crit is nice for raid healing (EF, LoD, Radiance, Daybreak), you will still tend to get better mileage out of Mastery because it does not overheal and preventing damage is almost always better than healing it.

      With good cooldown usage, you should be able to heal as hard as you need to when it matters. The only real variable is how long you can last in a fight, which is directly related to you Spirit. “Stack Spirit until you’re comfortable” is an excellent rule of thumb, but unless you can change out gear and/or gems a few times per raid then you will want enough Spirit to get through your longest fights. So if you’re going to experiment with Crit then I’d recommend keeping your maximum Spirit and taking it from your current Mastery and Haste.

      As for tier pieces and bonuses, the 4pc t14 bonus is too good to give up at this time. When 5.3 is released then I recommend trying out 2pc t14 & 2pc t15 for heavy raid healing. 4pc t15 isn’t great, but it’s not terrible either. 502 vs 522 isn’t a huge difference and Valor upgrades will cover that gap, depending on what you upgrade and what you replace with new drops. Until you get into certain of the Heroics (and probably even then), your raid’s success is not going to be affected by you wearing 2 LFR tier pieces.

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