Looking Forward: Healing Treatise

85 Goblin Priest
9855
This is a look at what's going to happen in 4.1 and 4.2, a bit down the road. Mana, aside for the "gearing up" stage in heroics, is pretty much a non-issue now. Let's take a look at what went right, what went wrong, and where do they go from here.


What went Right:

For a brief period, mana really mattered to some classes; Priests (of both specs) especially. You had to be extremely careful in heroics about spell selection. You had to run with a good tank. You had to use CC and be coordinated. Heroics were fairly challenging - with most ending in failure when you tried to blitz through them, or simply didn't read up on the encounter. Heroics being challenging again was extremely enjoyable for me, and I'm not the only one.

What Went Wrong:

Gear. It was pretty tricky to get(at first), but once you are in 359s, mana is irrelevant. It is already largely irrelevant in 346s. They are some exceptions for some classes - The "Flash Heal/Flash of Light" type heal is still incredibly draining and can't be maintained for long.

GCD's: Outgoing damage was supposed to be slower, with time being given to choose and select heals. It's really not. At least not on tanks. It's just as much a spamfest as LK was - with the only exception of you now don't spam Flash of Light - you simply spam other heals, particularly your "auto-attack" one, in case you have time before another gigantic pulse of AoE damage. This is mostly because (at least in my opinion) health pools weren't increased enough. The outgoing raid damage feels good, but the health pools should have been doubled again. This would have had the side-effect of fixing PvP, probably one of the burstiest seasons to-date, despite hopes to the contrary.

Where Do We Go From Here?

I think Blizzard is in a box. They may or may not admit it. Mana costs are static. You simply cannot increase the quality of gear and expect mana to remain a consideration. They knew this. They expected, in later tiers, to demand the usage of the "Fast, very inefficient" heal to increase the mana consumption. However, this means we're simply back to LK. We're now back spamming Flash Heal in case we need it.

How will they fix this?

They really can't. They CAN slash(and probably will) slash replenishment, active forms of mana regeneration (Plea, Innervate, Shadowfiend). Perhaps we'll see a "Chill of the Throne" type debuff appear again - This time maybe reducing ALL mana gains by 50%.

One of the big drawbacks of this system is Mana Tide Totem. It was obviously intended to be a shamans "perk" for being brought, like Disc Priest's have Barrier, Paladins have "Beacon" and Aura Mastery, and Druids have Rebirth and Innervate. This spell really needs it's group-wide benefits removed and self-only benefits increased. It undermines the system entirely.

If they DO slash replenishment and active forms of regeneration, you might expect to have heroics more challenging again, but nowhere near the level they were when they first came appeared. People will know the fights and what to do - but it'll still be fairly rough on newer characters.

Looking FAR Ahead:

Did their new system work? Briefly - and it was good. Will it STAY working? No. Perhaps, if I were in their shoes, I might perhaps change spells to work off total mana next expansion - and change passive forms of regeneration to a flat percentage - like Rapture and Divine Plea.

It may perhaps be better if all spells cost 5% of total mana, you gain a flat % of your mana across a certain time; with the trade off being the spells are more powerful and therefore incoming raid damage can be safely increased. This revamp might have been too radical for LK, or perhaps they just wanted to see if the system would work in the first place.

I think this post has gone on long enough now, so - constructive posts welcome. Let's discuss what you think Blizzard can go from here.
Edited by Venaliter on 8/10/2011 11:44 PM PDT
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85 Night Elf Druid
8400
Here's what went wrong:

Priests and paladins are awesome, shamans and druids are not. PoH costs less than Regrowth and heals for over 6 times more. The best way to tackle hardmodes is to bring a paladin/priest healing team.

Blizzard needs to give shamans and druid raid mitigation CDs and nerf PoH into the ground.
Edited by Puca on 1/25/2011 5:22 AM PST
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
11220
@Puca: You missed the entire point of the post. Thank you for your contribution.

@Venaliter: Wonderfully put. You summarized the key developer goals from their blue posts over the last 13 months perfectly.


They CAN slash(and probably will) slash replenishment, active forms of mana regeneration (Plea, Innervate, Shadowfiend). Perhaps we'll see a "Chill of the Throne" type debuff appear again - This time maybe reducing ALL mana gains by 50%.


Although I don't forsee changes to replenishment (the ability is already anemic as is), I do think we will likely see zone-wide debuffs later on down the line (all they can do really). Another possible solution is to decouple Intellect's effect on Spirit-based regen.
Edited by Lebeau on 1/25/2011 5:58 AM PST
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85 Night Elf Druid
8400
Look, the issue is not regen. The issue is that (a) spells are too efficient (see: PoH), and (b) the only way to make encounters challenging to healers is to put out raid damage that is only healable by spamming (and only with mitigation CDs on top for really big damage phases).

It was never about triage on hard modes. Healer imbalances are the real problem, triage was never going to work as a challenge mechanic for healers in hard content once people got heroic blues. The only way triage is coming back is on gimmick fights (like a Cata version of Vezax.)

The other problem with triage is that it only works for priests (and only if PoH is nerfed into the ground, it's almost always the best thing to cast now). What sort of spell selection do druids have? Keep lifebloom on tank, WG if more than 3 people are at a deficit, and rejuv the rest. Occasionally Regrowth for NG.. Mana doesn't even enter into it, druids have no real tools to choose from.
Edited by Puca on 1/25/2011 6:16 AM PST
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85 Goblin Priest
9855


<snip> ...druids have no real tools to choose from.


While I would agree that Druids really possibly use some kind of additional "Group-ish" type heal, this isn't the point of the post.

The point is, mana is largely already irrelevant and it's going to get worse.
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85 Troll Druid
4620


<snip> ...druids have no real tools to choose from.


While I would agree that Druids really possibly use some kind of additional "Group-ish" type heal, this isn't the point of the post.

The point is, mana is largely already irrelevant and it's going to get worse.


You can't avoid stat inflation in an RPG. Sure, they can scale it down so it won't be as insane as it got in wrath, but gear makes you feel powerful, and feeling powerful is not going oom.

It's bound to happen.
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85 Gnome Priest
7595
Prayer of healing is already getting nerfed, so just calm down.
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
8995
With everything(hps, mana regen, mana pool) scaling, and scaling so quickly, how can mana continue to matter unless they force us to spam our quick heal, with heaps of fast damage?

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85 Undead Priest
6235
They nerfed PoH into the ground on the ptr and now disc has no raid healing tool.

AoE healing should have been the mana sink. Strong group heals that cost 10k+ mana, and as tiers go by more and more raid damage comes out requiring those heals.
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85 Tauren Druid
7030
01/25/2011 8:42 AMPosted by Outiluke
You can't avoid stat inflation in an RPG. Sure, they can scale it down so it won't be as insane as it got in wrath, but gear makes you feel powerful, and feeling powerful is not going oom.

It's bound to happen.

You can however make logarithmic growth, or more synergy not to stack 1 stat.

The devs however seem to suck at math :P
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85 Troll Druid
4620
01/25/2011 8:50 AMPosted by Garii
You can't avoid stat inflation in an RPG. Sure, they can scale it down so it won't be as insane as it got in wrath, but gear makes you feel powerful, and feeling powerful is not going oom.

It's bound to happen.

You can however make logarithmic growth, or more synergy not to stack 1 stat.

The devs however seem to suck at math :P


Isn't this why we have haste breakpoints?
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Idk our druid healer is awesome and has no trouble keeping up w me, she's pretty valuable to our raids .. we pretty much run neck in neck, and as far as mana regen .. ugh no mana regen cuts plz haha
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85 Gnome Priest
7595
01/25/2011 8:47 AMPosted by Elbeghast
One major thing that went wrong is they made healers feel weaker at 85 than we were at 80. Our level was going up but our moral went way down. Five more levels should make us feel more powerful...but I guess Blizzard didn't see it that way.
That isn't what went wrong. That was what was intended to create this new way of raid damage occuring.
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85 Troll Shaman
0
01/25/2011 8:47 AMPosted by Elbeghast
One major thing that went wrong is they made healers feel weaker at 85 than we were at 80. Our level was going up but our moral went way down. Five more levels should make us feel more powerful...but I guess Blizzard didn't see it that way.


That's because at level 80 a well-geared healer could get an ally from critical to full health in usually less than 5 seconds and our spells were so efficient we could do this continually for 5+ minutes at a time. Anything that took more than 5 seconds to kill you was pretty trivial to deal with unless it was hitting the entire raid at once. (This also had negative consequences for PvP design and balance, because the only way to kill someone supported by a healer was often to CC the healer for a few seconds and then burst down their partner from full health to dead during that brief window, which just leaves all parties frustrated.)

If we had actually gone up from there when leveling to 85 as you suggest, where would we be now? This would eventually force Blizzard's encounter design into a situation where instant-kill mechanics would be the only thing they could use because anything else is healable.

As to the original post, though, I think the problem is mana regen is scaling too fast with gear. I'm not even in full 359's yet and I'm already starting to feel largely unburdened by mana when doing anything other than spamming Healing Surge or going for very high Healing Rain uptime (and it's my understanding that shaman mana longevity is below average among the healing classes.) I didn't think I'd be at this point so soon. I think that Blizzard is probably going to nerf mana regen across the board so that we can't trivialize the mana cost of most spells using just the first tier of normal mode raid gear.
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85 Tauren Druid
7030


You can however make logarithmic growth, or more synergy not to stack 1 stat.

The devs however seem to suck at math :P


Isn't this why we have haste breakpoints?

Humm, not exactly. AFAIK haste was a PITA to put in healers and mainly in cloth caster DPS because locks and druids had little benefits from it, thus leading to that abomination that locks were in BC.

So, how to remedy that? Make haste affects dots and hots, and how? well, the easiest way is to make them tick faster, which is what they did.

Works well, but i wouldn't call it "brilliant dev". Affliction during Karazhan, THAT i would call brilliant design.
Edited by Garii on 1/25/2011 9:16 AM PST
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86 Tauren Druid
11230
01/25/2011 5:56 AMPosted by Lebeau
@Puca: You missed the entire point of the post. Thank you for your contribution.


He didn't miss the point, he just drew a different conclusion, and I tend to agree.

From my perspective, while there are scaling issues that will be problematical in future content patches, 'what went wrong' is not necessarily the 'healing model', rather that the devs severely over-tuned heroic content for the gear and class tools available.

While normal dungeons are fine, heroic dungeons are extremely bi-modal, overly dependent on player skill, and gear does little to compensate. Some casual folks will never step foot in normal raids and all they've got to look forward to is heroic dungeons. Unfortunately, you very quickly hit a brick wall in available gear and it becomes a viscous cycle of, "I need heroic gear to improved my success in heroics but it's such a soul-sucking experience because the instance mechanics are so unforgiving, I'm loathe to continue this abuse for what little I gain."

Normal raids are also fine, but from everything I've read (no, I'm not doing heroics yet and this is just my observation), the instances have been heavily tuned to be reliant on individual mitigation cd's and aoe burst-healing. Clearly, druids and shamman *can not* compete in this current environment and the frustration is palpable.

From this context and my POV, Puca (and Greentouch in other threads) are spot-on about 'what's wrong' in 4.0 and what the dev challenges are for current and future content. Either give all healers damage mitigation and aoe burst tools or re-tune/create the instances to make them less dependent on these gimmicks.

Edit: typos
Edited by Hoodathunk on 1/25/2011 9:30 AM PST
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85 Tauren Druid
7030
From my perspective, while there are scaling issues that will be problematical in future content patches, 'what went wrong' is not necessarily the 'healing model', rather that the devs severely over-tuned heroic content for the gear and class tools available.

From this context and my POV, Puca (and Greentouch in other threads) are spot-on about 'what's wrong' in 4.0 and what the dev challenges are for current and future content. Either give all healers damage mitigation and aoe burst tools or re-tune/create the instances to make them less dependent on these gimmicks.

I disagree, from my experience i entered my first heroic saturday on launch week, cheesed my ilvl to get in, didn't read about them and went to farm em without issue. Was it easy? Not really, wipes were common, but with 1 lvl 80 mana pot per fight it was totally doable, even when the tanks and DPSers were as undergeared as I.

And for the record, i haven't seen Greentouch ever complaining about heroics (that would be sad), he only states we lack tools for Hard Mode raids.
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86 Tauren Druid
11230
01/25/2011 9:33 AMPosted by Garii
And for the record, i haven't seen Greentouch ever complaining about heroics (that would be sad), he only states we lack tools for Hard Mode raids.


The damage mitigation and aoe burst healing tools is with respect to heroic raids, not dungeons.
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85 Goblin Priest
9855
I was particularly looking for feedback on the possibility of making spells cost a percentage of total mana, and just increasing the incoming damage considerably in later raid tiers.


If spells cost 5% of total mana, but say consuming a water shield charge (Shaman) restores a flat 2.5% mana, this would still make Intellect a sought after stat without the accompanying mana inflation.
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