Spirit Shell Change - Ideas

100 Night Elf Druid
18085
This thread is for discussion about the changes that Blizzard developers can potentialy use to improve the feel of the Discipline spec while still keeping the game balance in check and not over powering one spell/skill.

My view is tailored more towards the PvE side of things but if you feel your have helpfuly insight or input for a PvP idea fell free to post.

The problem:
As it lies Spirit shell is regularly resulting in over 50% of a disc priests heals. If an encounter has any high damage output phase Spiritshell currently can soak/absorb a lot when coupled with Prayer of Healing(PoH).

I personally love the idea or concept behind spirit shell but I also can see how it has become something that game designers did not set out to create. Currently a healing discs rotation give or take a few smites for archangel and a few PW:S for rapture is PoH and Fiend/shell on CD if not in high damage taken areas as a raid CD.

I would like to suggest some possible solutions or at least ideas that could possibly be incorporated into the spirit shell design to improve its functionality (not just used with PoH spam) while still allowing the player feel like they are playing Disc.

There are two potential ideas that would allow Spiritshell be incorporated while still making other Disc spells feasible to use with Spiritshell.

Idea 1:

Spiritshell functions as a toggle option for heals or healing similar to that or rogues blade flurry. Spiritshell healing would reduce all Direct heals by a % figure lets say 60% while buffing the healing of absorb affects. So Flash heal, greater heal, heal and penance get taxed while PW:S, Divine Agis (PoH) get an absorb buff lets say 30%

Missing Links: Whats stopping Discs staying in Spiritshell 100% of the time?
A mechanic would need to be developed to encourage Discs to heal out of Spiritshell.
Many features like this currently exist in game, hunter focus and the use of steady shot to regain it, warlocks and the use of spells outside demon form to generate power.

Idea 2:
Tree form - SpiritShell, disperses your soul over raid members within 40yrds - absorbing (x amount of damage) amount of damage per attack/second/or base amount. Lasts for 20 seconds - 3 min CD
No longer functions as a shell effect instead as a cool down while applies the shell effect, possible even a channel for 3-5 seconds if an instant cast shell is not feasible.

Idea 3:
Spiritshell becomes a passive build up effect. The best to explain this would be the trinket effect from the "Vial of the Sunwell". Healing power is collected or stored for each and every heal that the priest performs, at any point the priest can change to "Spiritshell" and spend this stored healing power on shields and absorbs. The more healing stored the stronger the absorbs. The ability would be a toggle ability with only specific abilities adding to the healing stored.
Links to item
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/item/34471
http://www.wowhead.com/item=34471

If you believe you can improve on or have another suggestion for the functionality of this ability please post here. I'm sure even if this is not used the ideas garnished could help the devs with their next concept.

I would love to see some blues feedback if we can get some reasons why this hasn't worked (if these have been brainstormed before) or if some of the ideas posted may potentially work/not work.
Edited by Stormstríke on 1/20/2013 5:03 AM PST
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90 Pandaren Priest
7670
A minor gripe, but SS doesn't even come close to comprising 50% or more of a Disc's heals.

The intention of these changes is clearly to nerf SS further. With the removal of DA from PoH and a nerf to Rapture, what suggestions do you have to compensate for the proposed additional nerfing of SS?

Our mana is going to be much tighter in 5.2, do you intend for Idea 1 to be used reactively as a throughput boost rather than proactively?

Idea 2 might work with some tweaking. Turning SS into a proactive Divine Hymn or HTT would allow SS to be balanced much better. The downside would be the simplification of the class.

Idea 3 sounds too random to be good. What happens if there's no damage for Disc to heal up? Are we supposed to just overheal to build up the SS charge?

Lastly, judging from logs, if SS is to be nerfed further and with DA taking a hit too, Paladins will actually be able to put out more absorbs than Discs. How do you feel about this? Should IH take a hit too?
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100 Night Elf Druid
18085
The idea of these changes would be to replace the removal of DA on PoH. As at the time of writing I had not read the latest post for the PTR DA change.

As for rapture, I see this as being less of an issue as gear scales percentage based mana returns are always going to grow. Yes, the change is a large one and while I can't or haven't theory crafted all the numbers for just how much of a nurf it is. I can however understand there being a need to reduce the mana gain. I beleive that said it is a side issue from the above mentioned spirit shell change, unless a mana cost of the change were to be implemented.

Idea 2:
I would argue that simplification of a class based off one ability would mean that the ability is missplaced. A Class should be balanced off a range of abilities and not off one CD-ability. This is the whole idea behind the change. Currently SS is the Major 1 spell to use and always use.

Idea 3:
If there is no damage taken for you to heal up on then there would be no reason to use spiritshell to absorb damage as there would not be any.

I can see where your coming from, if there is a down phase then you want to conserve mana not spend it over healing, preparing for the next onslaught or burst of damage taken.
This then becomes a judgement call, where if mana allows you would optimise by overhealing and building shields where if on a progression battle where you wish to minimise healing and conserve mana you would only heal when required and use other cd's or abilities, instead of Spritshell. This would turn Spiritshell into a gradual or rotational type ability and less of a massive raid CD, while keeping it beneficial enough to warrant using.

I personally don't agree with the change to DA, I can see how its overused with PoH currently but I would consider the removal of one of the core features of Disc (DA) from a party heal spell a bit of a stab in the back. Reducing the absorb, making it a significantly weaker shield or increasing the mana cost so you are unable to spam the ability I would have seen as a preferred result. That being said if it is already implemented on the PTR its because the developers and designers have already considered at least some of these scenarios.
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SS can only be 50% of a disc's heals in a LFR situation with poor play on the disc's part, as well as the other healers' parts to some extent.

That being said, I see it being about 25% of my healing regularly on any encounter where I can time it right most of the time, I really don't think the problem is spirit shell, the problem is that this raid tier has so many abilities that line up perfectly with its CD that it appears to be overpowered...
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90 Draenei Priest
11815
Am I just using SS wrong or something? Instant cast but requires ramp up of hard casted heals to get the shields pumped up. Requires knowledge of the fights to use and time properly. What is wrong with that? That's what the disc class DOES. This raid tier has great spots to use it, so we do!

PVP wise, it should not be dispellable. It's unlikely you are going to have wings up (I personally have little time for dpsing and risking a holy school lock out), you won't have time to blanket it with PoH, and using it on single target with flash heals shouldn't be just poofed dispelled. IMO.
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100 Night Elf Druid
18085
The fights I was referencing were heroic encounters with exceptional damage output, things like heroic windlord, heroic elegon, heroic Empress, heroic Tsulong all have high constant damage where even if you mistimed your Spiritshell it would still function as a decent damage absorb. On these styles of fights if its not required as a raid cd and can be spammed you can get up to 50% of your healing from spirit shelling if you use DI and archangel in conjunction.

I agree, with you Alifer, I wouldn't say spiritshell is "broken" in its current form but it has been highlighted for change because at current or at least with the current tier it was no only doing high amounts of healing but Discs were forced to used it as it was a majority of their healing.
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90 Pandaren Priest
12725
I'd like to see them continue to allow SS heals to scale directly with both mastery and critical strike but not DA. In other words make the SS calculation the following for all applicable spells...

SS = average heal * (1 + mastery %) * (1 + critical %)

For PoH DA I'd rather see them drop it back down to 30% guaranteed DA at base value or even as low as 25%. Outright stripping PoH of guaranteed DA is going to cause problems.
Edited by Volios on 1/20/2013 8:03 AM PST
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93 Blood Elf Priest
7430
The problem they had with SS scaling entirely with mastery and crit is that it becomes an HPS increase to use in place of healing. With the amount of mastery I had raid buffed, I could get 80k per person SS with a single poh. Thats 400k effective healing from a single cast.

Instead of being an hps increase to compensate for the little over healing why not make it scale just like our heals normally would however add a 0.9 multiplier or a 0.8 multiplier. Something like this would make it have slightly less output than a poh spam however is less prone to OH aswell. I feel like this could work.

Suggestions would be great.
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90 Blood Elf Priest
16700
I don't think we're going to see any significant design changes to SS until PoH is redesigned. If PoH becomes a smart-heal, SS will need to see some changes as well. My main gripe about 5.2 is that if they're dropping Disc off of a 50-foot cliff, at least give Holy some love!
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90 Gnome Priest
11895
01/20/2013 05:07 AMPosted by Ceddya
A minor gripe, but SS doesn't even come close to comprising 50% or more of a Disc's heals.

Not to nitpick, but it does depend a bit on the fight. I managed 46% on my last Wind Lord kill, and I distinctly remember fudging at least one Spirit Shell entirely.

http://www.worldoflogs.com/reports/d8s52ylbbn1xn9jk/analyze/hd/source/?s=1064&e=1541

Granted, not heroic, but best I can do.

EDIT: Most fights I manage around...25-35% on Spirit Shell.
Edited by Skootalloo on 1/20/2013 11:58 AM PST
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100 Night Elf Priest
13955
01/20/2013 11:25 AMPosted by Amnesty
I don't think we're going to see any significant design changes to SS until PoH is redesigned. If PoH becomes a smart-heal, SS will need to see some changes as well. My main gripe about 5.2 is that if they're dropping Disc off of a 50-foot cliff, at least give Holy some love!


Holy really doesn't need much love, to be honest. It's in good shape overall. Any issues are largely QoL.

On the topic of PoH and Spirit Shell:

I'll be the first to admit that I actually enjoy the party restriction on PoH because it has allowed for the even layering of healing/absorbs to the raid, which I think pairs nicely with the heavier smart healing done by other classes.

That said, one thought I've had is removing that party restriction and doing the necessary power tweaks needed to turn PoH into a smart heal. When under the effects of Spirit Shell, however, PoH could revert to the party restriction to allow for that even layering I mentioned earlier.
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90 Blood Elf Priest
16700
Holy certainly has its own limitations that have plagued it for multiple expansions. Design-wise I'd agree it's in a relatively good place, but there are a few tweaks that could be made to bring it up to par.
Edited by Amnesty on 1/20/2013 9:29 PM PST
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100 Night Elf Druid
18085
There are two current major issues that I understand:

1. Spiritshell produces an immense amount of throughput when coupled with PoH. I'm not sure if this was a design feature but I'm calling it an issue because the 1min cd and the use of the skill tends to place priests in the position where they are able to heal alot of spike damage using PoH and Spiritshell.

2. PoH DA effect currently accounts for alot of a priests heals as currently PoH is almost spammed, (some argue this makes it feel much like wrath with PW:S spamming)

My original post outlines my opinion of the spiritshell issue.

Personally I would argue increasing the mana cost of PoH or introducing another AoE ability would be the resolution to the PoH issue.
From what I understand spiritshell is meant to be a cooldown for discs where absorbs are favored over direct healing. It would maintain its current role/CD with minor tweaks (changes in calculations possibly favouring those mentioned by Volios)


SS = average heal * (1 + mastery %) * (1 + critical %)


PoH is used as an AoE heal where raid members are at low hp and need to gain HP
<Protective Cry> (new ability) shields party members from damage absorbing damage taken (current DA effect) and healing raid members for a minimal amount, maybe a HoT?
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90 Pandaren Priest
12725
There are two current major issues that I understand:

1. Spiritshell produces an immense amount of throughput when coupled with PoH. I'm not sure if this was a design feature but I'm calling it an issue because the 1min cd and the use of the skill tends to place priests in the position where they are able to heal alot of spike damage using PoH and Spiritshell.

2. PoH DA effect currently accounts for alot of a priests heals as currently PoH is almost spammed, (some argue this makes it feel much like wrath with PW:S spamming)


To some extent.... I'd word it more like this though...

Problem #1: SS is not only substantial utility but it's a huge throughput increase under virtually all situations. The utility component is fine. It's the niche of Disc to mitigate large burst damage mechanics. It only becomes a problem when the second component is added into the mix.

The truth of the matter is the cool-down should be redesigned in some way such that it's not a substantial throughput increase, but it continues to be viable for mitigating burst damage, whether it be single target or AoE target damage. For a spell like PoH this means SS PoH should have equivalent output to regular PoH, except with it coming as a full absorb instead of a partial heal+partial absorb. If they do this I don't think the cool-down will be "overpowered" anymore.

Of course, letting SS scale directly with mastery and critical strike, but not DA, wouldn't accomplish this perfectly. As it stands currently the heal scales with mastery, the DA scales with mastery and both of them combined get the critical strike % as a flat bonus on top. One of these areas needs to go because the ability scales in too many areas.

Their first SS proposal would be a good idea in theory. The difference there is mastery only scales with the DA, but not the heal. This would do exactly as I described above, where a SS PoH is equivalent to a regular PoH except it comes in the form of a complete absorb.

My concern with this approach is the same concern I have with PoH DA being a percentage of the PoH heal itself and mastery boosting this DA. PoH at the moment doesn't only consist of PoH. It consists of both PoH and DA. If you buff any of these areas, whether it be PoH itself, guaranteed DA on PoH or Discipline Mastery, PoH becomes stronger. When you're looking at something like 50% guaranteed DA and the way Discipline mastery scales the PoH spell itself ends up scaling too well.

This is why buffing PoH considerably then subsequently buffing guaranteed DA blew me away. I don't see how they couldn't see this coming. It implies they're ignorant, were expecting to have to make more changes down the road or they just don't care.

If they make their initial SS change the same concept applies but it's more at the other end of the spectrum. You're nerfing SS by doing this...but justifiably so. The problem is PoH still scales too much. Holy and Discipline PoH are effectively identical before mastery, chakra bonuses, DA, etc. This puts you in a situation where the only way to nerf Discipline PoH without also nerfing Holy PoH is to nerf guaranteed DA. The problem is nerfing DA after putting in this SS change further nerfs SS.

This is primarily a problem because currently Discipline mastery is only worth much for PW:S and SS. It's also at least decent for PoH DA depending on how you're using the PoH spell (rolling DA). This change makes mastery inferior to critical strike, or even haste under certain circumstances, for SS. If you nerf DA it makes mastery worse for PoH DA and it further makes it worse for SS. Our mastery stat ends up being devalued to the point where you begin to question why we even have it unless PW:S is doing most of the healing.

One area I think they have neglected to address is Discipline and Holy PoH being attached at the hip. I think this needs to go and the spells need to be split.
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90 Pandaren Priest
12725
Problem #2: PoH DA is ridiculously overpowered and scales too well at 50%.

This problem results in some crazy stuff. For instance, right now, my PoH on 4-5 targets, with the heal doing nothing but over-heal, is more total healing than a non-crit Greater Heal. It's actually superior healing to just about everything without factoring in critical strikes. This is an abomination. Again, the fact they let it get to this point just blows me away.

This means in any situation I am technically better off throwing out PoH for maximum healing output if the DA is going to be used. In most of these encounters the DA is pretty much guaranteed to be used up. This is just crazy. Realistically it doesn't work out this way because at times outputting maximum healing isn't what necessarily keeps the raid alive. Yet still, on paper it's the truth of the situation.

And to use an example... Even if two targets take damage... PoH. I could throw out Penance, Greater Heal, PW:S, PoM, etc. Sometimes I do depending on the situation. But often times I sit there looking at the raid and I cast PoH. Because I am getting a 30k+ heal on the 2 targets and about 25k DA on the 5 in the group.

The end point is DA needs to be lowered. 50% is too much. I'd argue they should revert it back down to 30% and test to see how things line up there before making further changes. Jumping the gun and outright removing the guarantee is just going to cause problems. I think it could work if they made a vast array of additional changes to compensate the loss. I just don't think they will be able to pull it off in one content patch. It's going to take 2-3+ patches to get the spec where it needs to be if they go that route. People aren't going to be happy.

It's also going right back to the devaluing of our mastery problem. If you strip guaranteed DA on PoH and you alter SS in the ways they have proposed our mastery is going to need to be completely redesigned. Outside of PW:S it's just going to be a sub-par stat. Having a stat only boost a single spell is just bad design. The only way this wouldn't be true is if they did something to radically push up PW:S usage. I doubt they will find the right balance there and nobody wants to revert back to PW:S spam bots.
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90 Pandaren Priest
12725
In terms of general concepts... I think they need to re balance the ratio of absorbs to heals on Discipline. As it stands now absorbs are providing too much. People can argue about whether absorbs are superior to healing in all situations until they are blue in the face. I don't believe this to be true but I do think absorbs bring utility and in many situations they certainly are superior. Absorbs accounting for so much of Discipline healing is more of a problem due to the utility.

So as a general concept I think they need to find a way to reduce our absorbs outside of the SS CD, but buff our reactive healing. Because as it stands now Discipline is absolutely horrible at reactive healing, but too good at absorbing damage. Lowering the absorbs is fine, as long as it comes with compensatory buffs to the actual healing of the spec. And again, a 20% buff to penance isn't going to get it done and buffing PW:S is simply trading one absorb for another.
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