Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's about healing in WotLK ?

Ok, you're getting used to it, yet another rant ^.~
I could been seen as a grumpy person, it's not the case, but when things don't go right, I just want to say it. Anyway, off with the mundane talking and let us get on topic. Be careful it's going to be a long post.

An introduction to the problem.

If you've healed in WotLK, and especially if you've also healed before in classic WoW and TBC, you can feel a real difference. Let me stress out the main differences:
  • mana issues have nearly disappeared;
  • damage is very spicky, and that is the only reason for someone to die;
  • there is a lot of aoe damage;
  • mobility can be a real issue.
Most of these points were not as strong, or even not existing at all before.

Spicky damage is obviously very bad from a healer point of view, it stops you from thinking, reduces your choices of spells and encourage you to constant healing spam. Even if your tank is full life, you will precast a heal, because if you wait for him to be half-life before you start casting a big heal, he could well be dead before your heal land.

Aoe damage is bad as a mechanism, it promotes spells like Circle of Healing that are no-brainers (no harm intended to the priests). It encourages behaviours such as Holy Light spam to get some raid heal (thx the glyph), which is the worst thing I've ever seen on the side of mana efficiency. It also promotes all the "fast" or "aoe" healers over the other ones on the charts, and I know you should not pay attention to them but too many people do. I've already discussed about overhealing and healign meters in a previous post.

Mobility can be interesting in fights, even if it's sometimes gimmicky, it adds variety to simple tank & spanks. Now ... mobility is very bad for some healers, especially paladins and shamans. And fights such as the end boss of the Nexus (don't say me Hodir, it's going to be worse) are very bothering (I don't say hard, I say bothering) for a "static healer". Promoting this kind of fights just tend to ostracize some classes.

Now the biggest point : where did the mana go ? Do you even see your mana bar going dry ? Ok, paladins are the best at mana endurance, so I'm not the best to tell, but seriously, every healer I've talked to or read is saying the same. Mana started to be a non issue at the end of TBC, which was a clerly pointed when Circle of Healing spam started to be something you can do. And now the "problem" is even worse. To the point that Blizzard is nerfing mana regen, but only out of casting (see this post on WoW Insider).
Going out of casting was a "trick" for priests and druids to get a few full mana regen ticks from time to time. Was is still used a lot ? Is it going to change much of the mana regen state ? I think not !
They buffed all the regen while casting with talents, making these ones even moer mandatory than before (if they were not enough already). All in all the net result is the end of this little trick which was often a sign of a good player. you can now spam your heals without thinking about timing at all (or nearly). Your mana regen won't change much.

Some discussion over the web.

Before going further, let me point you to a few other blogs, with very good articles I sincerely encourage you to read if you're interested into healing:
So what are Blizzard answers ?

First, the mana regen nerf announced for patch 3.1
(see this post on WoW Insider). I'll refer you to Sydera post just before who discusses that in depth, for a class much more affected by it than mine.

And now for my paladin and shaman friends let's grin with this piece of news on WoW Insider :
Blessing of Wisdom and Mana Steam totem go exclusive. Some of the best mana regen buffs out of Replenishment are nerfed to not stack anymore. Even if it's another step to address the infinite mana problem, it's a bad step if you ask me. Why ? Because it's yet another nerf to the worst healing class right now ... A word of Lodur on that same point on World of Matticus. Yes, it's a really sad thing and another step towards reducing diversity between classes.

Are these changes going to the right direction ? I think not !

The nerf of the mana regen through spirit, and the removal of the Blessing of Wisdom, Totem of Mana Stream, are steps to go even more towards int over spirit. Intellect is already a much better stat for Paladins, but it wasn't for tree druids and holy priests up to now.
These changes are obivous nerfs for tree druids and holy priests, if that will perhaps reduce their strength, and make other healers less pitifull in comparison, that is not the right way to go.
Holy priests will just be replaced by discipline priests in raids if they start to have too much mana issues (Disc Priests already stack intellect over spirit). And tree druids will have to use mp5/int over spirit ... which will just be a nerf for them in the end, going against the design.

The real reason behind all of that ? There is one !

Mana regen through spirit was too strong, so they nerf it. They decided to make Replenishment (which is based on your mana pool, so int) a mandatory buff for raids, so they nerf all other forms of mana regen (which was mp5, so independent from int).
In the end, your mana regen depends on the same stat as your mana pool : Intellect is the kind, and spirit disappear into history. This is a bad design choice, reducing player choices and classes diversity, even more...

1 comment:

  1. Good post, but I disagree about one thing.

    AoE Raid damage doesn't encourage Intellect stacking or Holy Light spam. In fact, the opposite is true. Trying to heal raid damage with Holy Light is extremely slow and inefficient. Holy Light will almost always significantly overheal anyone but a tank and the AoE glyph splash is really not that large of a heal, especially with its small range. And you mentioned its very mana-inefficient. A much better strategy to handle AoE damage is to stack Spell Power and spam Holy Shock and Flash of Light on the raid with Beacon on the tank. In fact, the more AoE damage there is, the more mana-efficient a paladin can be because every heal will be doubled on the tank. You can pump out a huge number of heals that are the perfect size with Flash of Light and Holy Shock and keep up the raid while also helping keep up the tank at the same time. You also have much better mobility with Holy Shock and Flash of Light. Holy Shock and Flash of Light are so quick that you can handle spiky raid damage with no problem.

    Holy Paladins have all the right tools now to handle raid damage and mobile fights without any problems. Stacking Intellect and using Holy Light is really most useful when spamming heals on the tank and letting others raid heal (like on Patchwerk and Sarth 3d). But stacking Spell Power and spamming Flash of Light and Holy Shock on the raid is also an awesome way to heal, and in my opinion, is much more fun.