Ask The Devs #11 - Healing (Questions)

General Discussion
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Are there plans to make Atonement more useful in raids? Its a fun mechanic, but the randomness of it combined with the range requirement mean that its usefulness in raids is limited to times when damage buffs make the heal hit obscenely hard (Halfus, H-Nef, H-V&T, etc).
Holy Priests are the only healers that do not currently have a reliable mana-pool based regeneration (a la Divine Plea, Rapture, Revitalize) or a damage-to-mana conversion (Archangel, Telluric Currents) that can be relied on in all raid encounters. Instead, Holy Priests are left with Holy Concentration, which means that Holy Priests are also the only healers that are going to necessitate gearing for spirit via gems and enchants. Is there a reason for this?
Lifegrip was an interesting addition with Cataclysm. It adds a new dynamic to gameplay.

Have you considered adding more unique supportive abilities to healer's arsenal, that aren't necessarily healing/bubbling?
Currently the Holy Paladin's Guardian of Ancient BananaShoulders is a remarkably boring fellow; he doesn't seem to bring much to the table for 5 man content or 10man raiding, especially compared to his DPS and Tanking counterparts.

What do the devs think of him in light of several months of Cataclysm's content? Has he achieved what you hoped as a support boost for healers, or are there plans to make changes to the Guardian to make him carry more weight?
What happened to my spirit/crit and spirit/haste gems?

To elaborate, why the removal of spirit/crit and spirit/haste from our gem choices? We still have intellect/spirit, and we have the addition of mastery/spirit, both of which reliably increase throughput on all five healing specs to some degree, but our other throughput options for hybrid gems were neglected this time around. You are wanting healers (especially holy priests) to rely on spirit in part for regen, but do not provide us all of the tools to allow us both better regen and throughput at the same time. Why is that?
While not exactly a healing question it sort of falls into the realm of healing more than the previous tanking and dps ATDs...anyway my question is:

Will there be glyphs made for the new classes that have battle rez abilities to make them more helpful like the druids battle rez glyph?
I have noticed that a lot of the recent resto shaman PvE buffs have been buffs to mastery, which is very important in PvP, and a lot of resto shaman do like it in PvE. However, when resto shaman mastery is buffed, there is almost no impact on the actual healing output resto shaman are putting out.

Why does buffing the resto shaman mastery have no effect on how resto shaman are performing? How can it be a good mastery if it has so little effect on resto shaman healing output?

This can be seen very clearly on graphs

Patch 4.1 contained a significant buff to resto shaman mastery causing it to effect all shaman healing instead of only about half of it, but at least in 10-man raiding, resto shaman saw no increase in hps. In fact, hps went down when the Healing Surge hotfix nerf went through which a lot of 10-man resto shaman used on spread out fights.
Are there any plans to make Glyph of the Long Word useful? Right now the glyph offers no benefit to trading burst for a HoT since the HoT does not scale with haste nor does the glyph inherently make it heal for more.
Now that content has many fights that have mobs that hits everyone in the whole raid at very set times, healers that can provide a damage reduction cooldown are king, especially since many of these types of fights can't have more than 5 or so healers.

To that end, do you guys honestly think cooldowns that heal up the raid really fast, therefore only do something about the damage that just happened instead of preventing a large % of it from hitting in the first place, are equivalent to cooldowns that just knock off chunks of said damage?

To be honest, after killing sinestra and most everything else, our guild because of this has a really hard time justifying the idea of a resto druid healer, especially since most of these fights have the massive tick, and very little damage just after the fact, giving you time to heal up even with something like Healing Rain.
It was mentioned previously that you guys don't want Holy Word: Sanctuary to become a Healing Rain clone. This is fine, except for the fact that by virtue of the way the spell works (ground-targeted AoE HoT), it already is a Healing Rain clone. Do you have any intentions of making this a more attractive spell for Holy Priests? As it stands, the mana cost is fairly absurd for the low amount of healing done, especially when it hits well beyond its diminishing returns, which can happen in 10-mans, and frequently does in 25-mans. The Echo of Light proc is miniscule and, frankly, laughable.
Are there any plans to increase the repertoire of healing spells that Paladins have? Having all direct healing spells makes the class feel pretty bland.
Haste, Crit and Mastery -- we've seen changes made for all 4 healing specs to make the latter two more interesting, but haste is still considered king of the hill. What is the dev's team view on this, and how do you feel this has this affected balancing abilities, content and tier sets going forward?
With the change to druid mastery and weakness of druids direct heals compared to other classes and the continued reliance on nourish to have a hot just to get its full effect, are there plans to make a druids direct heals more competitive with other healers, including that of regrowth when compared to a priests is much weaker and useless on fights like chimiron where it is better to have the holy pally raid heal while a resto druid tank heals?
Mana tide totem needed to be nerfed in order to stop raids from stacking resto shaman, pretty much the whole community agrees on this, the same went for innervate for druids. However when both nerfs went though druids retained some extra personal bonus from innervate on themselves while resto shaman recieved no personal bonus for using mana tide. Is there any plan to give resto shaman a slightly higher spirit increase from mana tide totem in comparison to what it gives the party/raid?
Will priests be getting any type of interrupt or a CC that doesn't have us standing in melee range like the all the other healers have?
Are Holy Priests going to get some sort of healing increase cooldown? Discipline has three healing/damage mitigation CDs, while Holy has none.

Also, is Divine Hymn ever going to see a cooldown reduction like Tranquility?

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