When a Bonus is More than a Bonus

When a Bonus is More than a Bonus

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Thanks to MMO Champion and it’s data-ming ways, we now have access to a preliminary version of the Tier 8 set bonuses. It’s anyone’s guess whether these bonuses will actually go live. The bonuses for Resto druid appear to be excellent, though there’s one catch: the 4-piece bonus for Tier 8 is much too good.
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Here we have a classic example of a good set bonus and a “bad” set bonus. Lest you grow angry at me for complaining about buffs as well as nerfs, I’ll explain what I mean.

What makes a set bonus good?

The two-piece Tier 8 bonus, which gives a 10% boost to the throughput of Swiftmend, will be nice to have. Swiftmend is a spell almost every healing druid talents for, and it can be used by both raid healers and tank healers alike. The bonus doesn’t conflict with or double the Glyph of Swiftmend, which is a different and even stronger throughput increase which allows Swiftmend to be applied without consuming one of the druid’s HoTs (either Rejuvenation or Regrowth). Moreover, if I had one piece of advice for most Resto druids, it would be to use Swiftmend more. Many forget all about it because it’s a two-step spell–HoT setup plus instant top-off. I find that I perform much better if I use it whenever it’s up. Still, this bonus will never be overpowered, even in combination with the glyph, because Swiftmend continues to be on a cooldown. Druids will get this bonus and enjoy it, perhaps giggling to themselves over their WWS reports. However, it will be a set bonus that the druid can bear to leave behind for whatever Tier 9 gear has in store.

What makes a set bonus bad?

We’ve all seen set bonuses that are lackluster or unusable. The Tier 6 4-pc Resto druid bonus to Healing Touch comes to mind as a particularly useless one. I passed on Tier 6 pants in favor of badge pants because this bonus simply wasn’t one. However, a bonus that goes in the other direction, becoming so good that it overshadows all other gear upgrades, is actually more harmful to the class and the game. Take, for example, the much-lamented 4pc Tier 5 mage bonus, which entirely changed the functioning of Arcane Blast, greatly upping its damage output at an increasing mana cost. I still /spit on this bonus. It caused the four raiding mages in my former guild to hold onto 4-pc Tier 5 until they were able to equip 4 pieces of Tier 6 at once. The consternation this caused them probably cost my guild several extra hours of loot debate. The mages also faced accusations of DKP hoarding as they waited to buy the early Tier 6 pieces. They had much more DKP than they could spend because of their need to hang onto T5. Moreover, the mages themselves didn’t always pay the increased mana cost. Instead, the druid healers Innervated them. We didn’t mind, exactly, because mana was plentiful for healers at that point, but I couldn’t Innervate all four of them, and I always felt bad when I didn’t have any juice left for a player who asked. However, the most pernicious aspect of the bonus had to do with play style. It pigeon-holed mages into an arcane spec and a set rotation, turning three trees into one for a tier and a half of content. I know one determined fire mage who switched to her warlock in Tier 5 because she didn’t like the arcane playstyle. In the end, the T5 bonus was judged to be too strong, nerfed, and finally taken away.

Ghostcrawler has actually said in the past that a tier bonus should be just that–a bonus. I wholeheartedly agree. However, the 4 pc T8 bonus isn’t going to just be a bonus–it’s going to radically change most druids’ rotations.

Rejuvenation has always been a good spell, but its limiting factor is that it doesn’t tick for 3 seconds after it is applied. In essence, that turns it into a HoT with a long cast. Rejuvenation is probably the druid’s most over-written spell. Thankfully it’s also our most efficient. With the bonus, I would get a tiny burst of healing–1997 in Syd’s current gear–when I cast the spell. That’s less than a Holy Shock, but it has a huge impact. With even a small initial heal, Rejuvenation would be “fixed.” It would go from being something that some druids don’t cast, preferring the faster-ticking Lifebloom and Wild Growth, into the raid healing spell. I think this is a very innovative and necessary addition to the spell; however, it doesn’t belong in a set bonus. This “fix” would get druids away from using Lifebloom for every situation, and that’s great. However, if this change is truly imagined as a “fix” to the spell, it needs to be made permanent through talents. Hell, I think it’s worth 5 of my talent points–or even the entire space in the tree occupied by Revitalize and Living Seed. This one little set bonus would give druids what they’ve always wanted–a tool to keep others from sniping their heals.

“Sniping,” for the uninitiated, is the practice of going outside one’s own healing assignment to heal someone else’s target, particularly a target that already has a ticking hot or a slower-casting incoming heal. Typically, players snipe with quick heals–Flash Heal, Flash of Light, Chain Heal, even Nourish or glyphed Healing Touch. As I’ve explained before, healers will never stop sniping–in any case, not until the default UI shows incoming heals and HoTs, mana is as scarce as roses in the Alaskan winter, and healing meters go extinct. Druids are incredibly vulnerable to heal-snipers as most of our healing takes a bit of setup before it starts to work. Ghostcrawler has said in the past that heal-sniping is a valid concern, but it’s not going to be fixed through nerfing mana. Other tools have to be used against it, and the new Rejuvenation is a perfect fit. Healers who play without any incoming heal data will be able to see that the target is covered and consequently will turn elsewhere, even (gasp!) back to their own assigned target.

The change to Rejuvenation needs to be either a talent or a glyph–and I would prefer talent, because then it would correspond to priests’ new talented Renew, which just got a similar front-ended burst. Renew has never been as good as Rejuvenation in the past, but with a small initial burst, it might just be better than Rejuv post-3.1.

In any case, if this tier bonus remains unaltered, druids will wear their Tier 8 until they have 4 pc of Tier 9–and maybe even beyond. This set bonus is more powerful than any one gear upgrade–and I would say, probably more powerful than four. It steps beyond what a bonus is supposed to do. At maximum, I’d say the set bonus for a previous tier should maybe give a player pause about equipping just two pieces of the new tier or item level, as it may be. Not all the best pieces are part of a set. However, when it gets to three upgrades over the stats on the old tier, players should be happy about making a change.

I’m concerned, Blizzard–very concerned. Thinking as both a raiding druids and a guild officer, I’d rather not wrestle with this particular angel, as good as that set bonus may seem when we’re sitting at the beginning, not the end, of Tier 8.

More Shaman 3.1 Changes (With Edit!!!)

More Shaman 3.1 Changes (With Edit!!!)

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Lodur back again with more Shaman changes on the PTR. There was a recent patch and it looks like this is what we got changed

Restoration

  • Healing Stream Totem range increased from 20 to 30 yards.
  • Mana Spring Totem now restores 91 mana every 5 seconds at max rank. (Old – 34 mana every 2 seconds)
  • Nature’s Swiftness changed to – When activated, your next Nature spell with a base casting time less than 10 sec. becomes an instant cast spell. Nature’s Swiftness shares a cooldown with Elemental Mastery.
  • Restorative Totems now Increases the effect of your Mana Spring and Healing Stream Totems by 4/8/12/16/20%. (Down from 5/10/15/20/25%)
  • Healing Grace has been moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2.
  • Ancestral Healing has been moved from Tier 2 to Tier 3.

Totems

Nature Resistance Totem, Stoneskin Totem, Fire Resistance Totem, Frost Resistance Totem, Strength of Earth Totem, Flametongue Totem, Wrath of Air Totem, Windfury Totem descriptions have been changed to reflect the latest changes, they now affects all raid members. ( But will not Stack with some class buffs)

Healing Stream and Mana Spring totems will not be combined at this time.

So, what do we think about all this?

The Healing Stream Totem range increase is nice, I’ll give them that. Not going to really elaborate on that one.

Mana Spring Totem change brings it to 109 MP5 with talents, making it the exact same mana regeneration as Blessing of Wisdom. To be honest, we knew this was coming since BoW and MS no longer stack. This goes hand in hand with the Restorative Totems Talent

The Natures Swiftness change is more PvP centric. It seems to take down the Hybrid spec people were running around with letting them get Elemental Mastery and Natures Swiftness and then have an “I kill you now!” button.

Healing grace and Ancestral Healing Swapping places does not really affect us, that’s more just housekeeping. You still spend the same amount of points in the tree to get what you want without having to take anything you really don’t.

Totems tooltips were updated, that’s about it for the top part there. The big news here is the decision to not combine Mana Spring and Healing Stream totems. With them tweaking MS, I’m not surprised. As much as I would love to see that combination, I personally think it wont happen, at least not till they figure out how to handle mana regeneration for everyone.

Playing around on the PTR (when the world server is active) Nothing really feels different in the play style. I’m hoping to get into an ulduar group (hopefully the raid invite goes through this time =P ) so I can test it out on some heavier content.

What do you guys think ?

*EDIT*

Restoration

  • Mana Tide Totem: This spell no longer costs mana.
  • Restorative Totems: Reduced to 3 points, down from 5. Increases the effect of your Mana Spring Totem by 7/12/20%, and increases the amount healed by your Healing Stream Totem by 15/30/45%.

There it is. Was waiting for the shift in restorative totems. Could be quite nice.

Image from wikimedia

Hymns Updated to 2.0

Looks like updated Hymns were snuck in with the recent PTR build. The big news? Hymn of Hope is back and flashier than ever!

Divine Hymn redesigned: You recite a Holy hymn, summoning the power of the Divine to assist you in your time of need. Heals 3 nearby lowest-health friendly party or raid targets for 4960-5208 every 2 seconds for 8 seconds, and increases healing done to them by 15% for 8 seconds. Maximum of 12 heals. The Priest must channel to maintain the spell. Cooldown increased to 6 minutes, up from 5.

Hymn of Hope redesigned: You recite a Holy hymn, restoring hope to those in despair. Restores 3% mana to 3 nearby low mana friendly party or raid targets every 2 seconds for 8 seconds, and temporarily increases their total maximum mana by 20% for 8 seconds. After the effect expires, the mana is lost. Maximum of 12 mana restorations. The Priest must channel to maintain the spell. Cooldown increased to 6 minutes, up from 5.

Well? What do you think?

Shamans and Paladins mana buff get hit! (With edit)

Shamans and Paladins mana buff get hit! (With edit)

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I just got off of lunch here at the office and happen to see this in my blue tracker.

Click here to see!

For those of you who can’t read it at work or school here it is copied for you

From Eyonix:

We are making a change to these spells so that their benefits are exclusive in patch 3.1.0. The buffs will be equivalent, but will no longer stack. Mana Spring will affect the entire raid instead of just the shaman’s party. We felt that both paladins and shamans brought too many unique buffs to a group. Additionally, we have been trying to tone down mana regeneration in large groups, and were concerned raids would feel the need to stack paladins or especially shaman to have enough Mana Spring totems. We have also been trying to get more benefits out of the party and into the raid, and Mana Spring previously was still a party only buff. With this change, if there is only one paladin, he or she can bring Blessing of Kings while the shaman offers Mana Spring. If there are two paladins and the second offers Blessing of Wisdom, then the shaman can offer healing or cleansing with their water totem instead.

What does this mean? It means you can’t have both. They are essentially removing another source of mana regeneration from raids.  As you can imagine there is a large outcry among both Shamans and Paladins. From the shaman stand point I’m a little upset to be honest, I’m also waiting for the other shoe to drop. The comment about Shamans bringing too many unique buffs to the raid made me scoff a bit. Strength of Earth totem which combines STR and AGI buffs gets overridden by a Death Knights horn of winter, often times leading to that being used for Stone Skin which is negligible benefit to the raid at best. Flame Tongue totem gets over ridden by Demonic Pact if you have a demo warlock in the group, and the other flame choices are Frost Resist or doing dps. Which if you’re healing, you arent in range for that most of the time anyways, and taking the time to stop healing run in and drop a magma totem is normally not a good idea. You guys see where I’m going with this.

Here were some suggestions of what we can do with the slot instead, and ultimately what our totems can add to a raid.

Healing Stream Totem. It’s group only, and still has to be in range. If you’re healing, more then likely you’re going to be with the casters in the back, not taking damage. While it does have places where it can be nice, it’s largely wasted in my opinion.

Cleansing Totem. Great for fights where you need to purge Diseases and Poison, but wasted and useless any other time. With curses being more prevalent then Disease and Poison that’s another totem we’ll see situational use out of.

Wrath of Air. Yes we still offer 5% spell haste. Yes that is good, but it is also redundant. Currently two other classes also offer haste. Retribution Paladins and Balance Druids.

Blizzard is trying to simplify raids, and I can appreciate what they are trying to do… to a point. A Lot of people think they are trying to make fights harder by nerfing mana regeneration, posts like this just add weight to that argument.  Homogenize every class, and then what do you have left? I posted in my last post that one of the best things about playing a Shaman was the uniqueness of our class, and totems were right up there in that list. Slowly it seems like it’s being whittled away. Streamline don’t make obsolete!

Redundancy is good in a raid, but at what cost?

I’ll update this as time permits today and as updates are brought to my attention.

What are your thoughts?

*EDIT*

Ok, so now that my initial shock has worn off and I’ve had my cup of coffee and a chance to sit and think about it in more depth, I’m not overly concerned any longer, in fact I’m quite ok with it now. This is just another in the series of small tweaks to get everything on a level playing field. The impact to the raid shouldn’t be that big, if anything more raids will see a boost from this then any sort of detrimental outcome.

I think my biggest reaction was just it seemed like a change out of left field, I don’t think anyone saw that coming. I am curious however as to what else will change in the coming weeks. Shamans have their Heroism / Bloodlust shifted slightly to keep it as a “Shotgun” buff and now the Mana Spring totem has been adjusted just a little bit. Lets see what else they tweak.

Val’anyr’s Secondary Abilities Unveiled and new PTR Build

MMO Champion has reported that Val’anyr has a new effect added that lends more weight to the fact that it is a hunter healing weapon.

Val’anyr Hammer of Ancient Kings – Equip Effect — Your healing spells have a chance to cause Blessing of Ancient Kings for 15 seconds allowing your heals to shield the target absorbing damage equal to 15% of the amount healed.

This sort of sounds like Divine Aegis on a stick.

I want to stress that there’s still not a whole lot of information about the weapon yet to effectively conclude who can make the best use of it. For now, based on this one effect, it seems to be a favorite for Holy Paladins and Discipline Priests. I think more information is going to be needed like a rough proc rate. Heck, this might not be the only ability. It could be one of a multitude of effects.

I’ve got another post on the way in the future to help discuss Val’anyr and what to keep in mind among all healers when looting the shards.

Anyway, here’s the list of healer changes.

Priests

Discipline

  • Mental Agility changed from 5 to 3 Ranks. Now Reduces the mana cost of your instant cast spells by 4/7/10%. (Old – 2/4/6/8/10%)

Holy

  • Serendipity now reduces the cast time of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing spell by 4/8/12%. (Down from 6/12/20%)
  • Body and Soul *New Talent* – When you cast Power Word: Shield, you increase the target’s movement speed by 30/60% for 4 sec, and you have a 50% chance when you cast Abolish Disease on yourself to also cleanse 1 poison effect in addition to diseases.

Paladin

  • All paladins auras had their range extended from 30 yards to 40 yards.

Holy

  • Sacred Shield now cannot be on more than one target at any one time.
  • Infusion of Light no longer has a chance to reduce the casting time of Holy Light, but increases the the critical chance of your next Holy Light by 10/20% instead.

Druid

Restoration

  • Tree of Life mana cost has been changed from 28% of base mana to 13% of base mana.

Your thoughts?

Lifebloom nerf for 3.1: WTF?

Lifebloom nerf for 3.1: WTF?

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I thought I was having a nice Friday afternoon, and so I said to myself, “Self, why don’t we read a little Elitist Jerks forums before we leave work?” Good idea, right? Not so much. Here’s a little jewel, quoted from the European forums of all places, for your reading pleasure:

• Lifebloom: Mana cost of all ranks doubled. When Lifebloom blooms or is dispelled, it now refunds half the base mana cost of the spell per application of Lifebloom, and the heal effect is multiplied by the number of applications.

Fortunately, my leafy friends have already been at work, and GC has made some responses. Here is the discussion–it’s actually quite instructive and I feel like I learned a little bit after reading the whole thing. The surprise, actually, is how constructive the community is being–sucking up, I guess, versus Ghostcrawler’s uncharacteristically snarky attitude. GC seems to think we have all been triumphing over an OP Lifebloom and just waiting on a nerf. In my experience, that’s just not the case.

Why Oh Why Did this Happen to Us?

The stated reason for the efficiency nerf to Lifebloom is, quite simply, to de-incentivize stacking the spell on multiple tanks. Unfortunately, the nerf targets single tank stacking as well. From the math, it becomes horribly inefficient to refresh Lifebloom after the initial triple stack. In the future–especially in a mana-scarce environment–we will need to manage both the bloom and the roll, instead of now just worrying about the roll.

Most posters believe that the bloom of Lifebloom will be mostly overheal. I concur. There are many situations where my Lifebloom blooms. Sometimes I refresh too early, but sometimes, well, I’m too late. The “too late” problem is exponentially more likely to occur in busy fights with lots of movement or sources of damage. Yes, I know, I’m a bad druid. I use Grid to display my current Hots, but I’m not running a big splashy HoT timer like I used to in BC. I can tell you that the bloom of my Lifeblooms tends to wash out at around 1% of my effective heal in any given fight.

Who’s Facerolling Lifebloom Now?

This nerf really puzzles me. Are any of you, dear readers, topping healing meters by rolling on multiple tanks? That used to be me–back in Hyjal. Most of the current fights are either one-tank only, see me raid healing, or require so much movement (Sarth 3D) that facerolling LB gets to be impossible. I used to love stacking LB on 4 tanks–it felt dynamic, and the contribution of the heals was large enough in proportion to the tanks’ health that I felt like I was doing something. Now, not so much. The proportion of the tank’s total health that a triple-stacked LB is able to heal has decreased, such that Lifebloom looks like it’s not doing anything. I’ve spent some time looking at my WWS v. my guildies, especially when another druid outperforms me on the same assignment. It looks like right now Lifebloom is doing a decent job raid healing, but it’s usually not triple-stacked or rolled. It’s doing a lot of healing on tanks, but Regrowth is doing even more.

Maybe Ulduar is Hyjal 2.0 with four tanks in play. That’s the only setup I can imagine where this change would be absolutely necessary in order to keep resto druids from having a distinct advantage over other healers. That’s bad–a lot of guilds choose their number of tanks based on content, and right now you need a maximum of three. I wonder where everyone’s going to find their fourth?

Goodbye, Lifebloom?

The saddest thing about this change is that it adds yet another thing for druids to time perfectly. I’m in the fair category at perfect timing–I’m more into using my HoTs as a set-it-and-forget-it type heal. As such, Rejuvenation is my favorite spell, and if there’s a silver lining here, it’s that I’m about to actually be rewarded for casting it instead of kicking for using it. Right now, Rejuvenation is a poor bet–it’s going to get overhealed, and in the current environment, the numbers show a single Lifebloom to be more effective as a raid heal due to its faster tick. Presumably, the change to mana regen will be enough to tone down the endless sniping and spamming that goes on now. Right now, it’s very easy to pad the meters by ignoring your healing assignment in favor of whoever’s lowest or taking damage, but in the future I look for tighter assignments to be the norm.

However, my head already hurts contemplating what I believe will be the new use of Lifebloom: stacking on the MT to three and letting it bloom, and then immediately stacking again. It could be all-Loatheb, all the time–we’ll have to refresh our 3-stack selectively in order to time the bloom of Lifebloom to a point where the burst will be needed, or at least we’ll feel compelled to try.

Sure, the best restos will do that. Others will simply start to play sloppy. My healing, worst case scenario, could go something like this: I’ll cast whatever number of Lifeblooms from 1-3 that I feel like on the MT and then go do other stuff. Sometime later, I’ll get back to my target and say hey! Why don’t I stack on you again, using up a lot of GCDs in the process? Because I didn’t pay attention to timing, my blooms will be 100% overheal, and because the tank didn’t always have 3X Lifebloom as a buffer, he came close to dying a couple of times. And at the end of the fight, there I’ll be, hanging down at the bottom of the meters, standing alone, like the cheese in the Farmer in the Dell song. I’ll end fights wondering if I did anything worthwhile at all, besides, of course, the obligatory Wild Growth cast every time it’s up. Man, I wish I had started working on my shaman like I intended to six weeks ago!

It might be easiest just to take Lifebloom off the bar. After all, there are druids who stopped using it after the last round of nerfs. It might take down my potential effective healing, but it might be worth it just to have a little more breathing room. After all, I decided not to play my Affliction warlock at all in the expansion because her expanded DoT rotation got to be too much to handle. They’ve just made her easier to play by eliminating Siphon Life–now why would they do something to a HoT class that has an opposite effect? However, if I, as a tank healer, take Lifebloom out of my rotation, I miss out on the full bonus to glyphed Nourish, which is shaping up to be 3.1′s prize pig. What’s a poor weepy willow to do?

On Change

I usually like change, but this time it’s a little different. I had to relearn my class for Wrath, and I have to say, I preferred the TBC Lifebloom-heavy healing model. I felt important, and what I did for the tanks seemed dynamic and useful. I learned to work with the limitations on my rotation and my movement–I was good at that. Now that I can do anything, I’m less likely to know what to do! I’m overburdened by choice already. Adding one more thing to manage–and at that, a burst heal that happens 8 to 10 seconds after the original cast and requires three more GCDs to be spent after it–in an already full rotation–just seems daunting.

3.1 PTR and Shamans, Lodur’s Initial Thoughts.

3.1 PTR and Shamans, Lodur’s Initial Thoughts.

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So the PTR is upon us and Shamans have a few changes to contend with. For those of you who haven’t been following the changes I’ll post the notes here before I give my comments on them so far. I’ll only give a list of the ones that affect restoration shamans but the complete list can be found Here

Shaman

  • Bloodlust/Heroism: Cooldown reduced to 5 minutes, but Sated and Exhausted now last 10 minutes.
  • Poison Cleansing Totem and Disease Cleansing Totem have been merged into ” Cleansing Totem. ” Cleansing Totem pulses every 3 sec, down from 5.
  • Talents
    • Restoration
  • Ancestral Awakening: This talent now accounts for your ineffective healing, rather than effective.
  • Cleanse Spirit now has a new icon.
  • Riptide: This spell has a new icon.

Bug Fixes

  • Tremor Totem: Now correctly pulses every 3 sec, up from 1 sec.

I really like the combining of totems so far. I’ve been begging for totems to be less cumbersome for ages now, and it’s finally starting to happen! I think this is going to prove especially nice in encounters where you have poison and diseases flowing around. Just drop one totem and like our buddies at Ronco with their Showtime cooker, you can set it and forget it. Tremor totem is also being fixed. While I know some of you are going to be sad about it no longer pulsing every second on the second, let me tell you this is a good thing. First of all I don’t know if you’ve had this happen yet, but I’ve been having tremor totem completely fail me as a result of this bug. It will be down, there will be a dispellable fear, I’ll be on top of the totem and even after it “ticks” I’m still running around like a Shaman with my Totem cut off! Right now on the PTR everything is back to normal with this totem apparently.

One change I’m not looking forward to is the Change to Bloodlust / Herosim. I might be missing it but it almost doesn’t make sense to me. Personally I think how the spell works on live is preferable overall to the way it was changed for 3.1.

Ancestral Awakening change is very interesting, and a significant buff to the talent. Ineffective healing, if my understanding of it is correct, is more then just your overheal. Ineffective healing is any healing lost from the initial cast/roll of the spell. Example would be, your tank has a healing debuff that reduces the incoming heals by 50%. When you cast your spell lets say you roll a 9,000 crit heal. The debuff takes it to 4,500 healing, making 4.5k of it ineffective. This talent change would count the whole 9,000 heal if I’m understanding  this correctly. This also means that if I roll a 20,000 crit heal (to borrow from my previous post =P ) That’s going to be a 6k heal on someone else in the raid. This is going to require some testing, I’ll let you know more after I’m done running this one through the ringer.

On the purely cosmetic aspect I’m pretty excited about Cleanse Spirit and Riptide getting new icons. Lets be honest, the ones we have now are pretty lame. I’ll post screenies of them later on.

Glyphs

With new new patch we see some new glyphs pop up for the Shaman of many persuasions. Here’s what you have to look forward too.

  • Glyph of Thunderstorm *new* — Reduces the cooldown on Thunderstorm by 7 sec.
  • Glyph of Feral Spirit *new* — Your spirit wolves gain an additional 30% of your attack power.
  • Glyph of Riptide *new* — Increases the duration of Riptide by 3 sec.
  • Glyph of Earth Shield *new* — Increases the amount healed by your Earth Shield by 20%.
  • Glyph of Totem of Wrath *new* — When you cast Totem of Wrath, you gain 30% of the totem’s bonus spell power for .
  • Glyph of Hex *new* — Increases the damage your Hex target can take before the Hex effect is removed by 20%.
  • Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem *new* — Your Stoneclaw Totem also places a damage absorb shield on you, equal to 4 times the strength of the shield it places on your totems.

Nice additions, but the restoration ones are only ok. The Riptide one is pretty meh, 3 extra seconds on it are not as good as some of the other things we can glyph for (LHW, Watershield etc). The Earth shield one is really good. Too good to be true. I foresee that 20% dwindling to a much smaller number, especially considering how our talents currently affect the spell. Glyph of Hex is interesting. The spell is good for what it is, I use it quite a bit in 5 man heroic groups and I’ve found myself using it in 25 man raiding as well (Kel mind control targets make great frogs). Having my target take a bit extra damage before breaking could be quite handy.  I don’t know how I feel about Stoneclaw totem. Right now at max level it has 1620 health, it’s effect protects your totems by absorbing any damage done to them back to the Stoneclaw. By all appearances it would seem that the Glyph includes you in that bubble, and if it is 4 times the current amount, that’s 6480. That’s not a whole heck of a lot, and it seems that if someone was enterprising enough they would just attack your totems instead of you. This Glyph will probably not be used if it stays as is.

Minus the Heroism / Bloodlust nerf (and yes it is a mighty nerf) the rest seems pretty good. The streamlining of totems is pretty awesome, the Earth Shield glyph is fantastic for as long as it lasts and the Ancestral Awakening change makes me downright giddy. I’ll have more detailed information after this weekend. Lodur is copied over and ready to roll, time to see what we can do with our new cookies. =D

Please feel free to share your input or any thoughts you have on these changes

Until next time, Happy Healing.

Thoughts on Rapture and Mana Regen

Thoughts on Rapture and Mana Regen

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I wanted to put some thoughts together on the post 3.1 Rapture ability and our overall mana regen. A lot of players have contacted me and wondered why I thought it was a buff and asked what it meant for their mana regeneration. Why am I so optimistic about something that’s going to tank our regeneration?

Two key concepts

Mana regen is but one important piece to the whole puzzle. But here are two important concepts:

  • Regen: Your ability to grain the resources you need to perform your skills.
  • Obstacles: This is stuff that makes you use your skills and drains your resources.

We have access to half the puzzle right now. We sort of know what our mana regeneration mechanics are going to be like (in theory).

But we presently don’t know is under what conditions they’ll be stressed. We don’t know what our opposition is like yet. We don’t know how combat’s going to be in Ulduar. We don’t know the fights, we don’t know bosses, we really don’t know anything.

Calm down.

This is the public test realm. Players on there are supposed to provide honest feedback about what they feel works and what doesn’t. I’m not complaining about any of the changes yet because I haven’t been able to test them in combat. I don’t have any healing dummies, unfortunately.

Here’s the new Rapture:

Rapture ( Tier 8 ) revamped. Now a 3 point talent. When your Power Word: Shield is completely absorbed or dispelled you are instantly energized with 1.5% of your total mana, and you have a 33% chance to energize your shielded target with 2% total mana, 8 rage, 16 energy or 32 runic power. This effect cannot occur once every 12 seconds.

Fully talented, the 1.5% of total mana becomes 2.5% of total mana and the 33% chance becomes a 100% chance to energize. I’m not sure if the second effect applies to Priests who cast it on themselves. I think the 12 second limitation effect is for the latter component not the Priest’s mana energized component. So if you’re shielding 3 tanks and they wear off one after the other, that would be 3 separate activations of the mana return. Only one of your tanks would get the benefit from the 8 rage.

I just can’t test that theory out right now.

Anyway, it’s a buff in the sense that the players we Shield will gain a return of some sort to their power. Warriors will no longer have a reason to cry and request zero shields on themselves. You are getting bubbled whether you like it or not.

With extra gravy.

We are now glorified battery chargers.

On the other hand, you could always click it off.

I’m okay with nerfs

They can nerf our regen if it’s proven that we (as Priests) don’t need it. Decently geared players don’t have to watch their mana as much. I’m not potting, I’m not hitting my Hymn of Hope, I’m not asking for Innervates and I’m not breaking out the Shadowfiend because they aren’t necessary right now.

When does it become a problem?

If our nerfs our active and we’re hitting all of our consumables and mana regen abilities and we’re still running out of gas? That’s when it becomes a problem.

Holy changes

Serendipity has lost its mana gaining flare. This is supposed to be counteracted by the revised Holy Concentration.

Holy Concentration (Tier 7) changed to: Your mana regeneration is increased by 16/32/50% for 8 sec after you critically heal with Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal or Renew. (Previously had a chance to grant clearcasting effect)

Beneficence started a thread on Plusheal regarding the new 3.1 mana regen mechanics. Be wary as it is numbers heavy. The bottom line from Bene:

The HC change itself strikes me as about even with it’s current iteration, by itself. Once you factor in the oo5sr changes that can result from that, it looks like a light nerf. The loss of serendipity’s mana restoring mechanic though, can be a pretty noticeable loss, even if you are relatively efficient.

Why so optimistic?

In my line of work, I kind of have to be. I have a fun job where I get to write about a game and a class I truly enjoy playing. Every buff, every nerf, every change I view as fascinating! It’s just another step in the evolution of the Priest. If all I did was zero in on nothing but nerfs, I’d end up being just a shell. I’m being optimistic because my sanity depends on it.

Ever watch or read the news lately?

There’s always a shooting. There’s always a homicide. Someone gets robbed. Someone gets sexually assaulted. Even in newspapers, you read about corruption and what’s wrong with our society today. Good news is lucky if it even makes it on to the side bars.

It’s depressing.

Now imagine what kind of blogger I would be if I approached every change negatively. If I said our class was getting wrecked left and right. If I told you to all reroll Paladin (heaven forbid). If I told you I was quitting the game. I’m sorry, but that’s not who I am. My glass is not half empty. It’s going to be completely full.

In the sense of the Priest, some parts of us are getting hit with nerfs. Other parts are getting buffs. We’re getting non stop changes.

A majority of us have yet to try out the changes in the situations where it matters: On the field.

And once I do, you’ll get an honest, zero BS assessment. I won’t bore you with numbers. It will be a straight up yes-or-no answer to the important question we’re all dying to know: Are we running out of mana in combat?

Besides, we’re apparently missing a few talents in the Disc tree.

For another point of view about Rapture, try this:

Priest Changes – Build 9626

Pulled from the fine folks at MMO Champion.

Discipline

  • Grace doesn’t reduce damage dealt to the target anymore but now increases the healing received from the Priest by 3% (Up from 2%)
  • Renewed Hope now also give you a 100% chance to reduce all damage taken by 3% for 20 sec to all friendly party and raid targets when you Power Word: Shield a friendly target.

I remember that Grace conflicted with a Paladin ability before (Improved Devotion Aura). Perhaps now this won’t be a problem. Don’t forget that Grace can only affect one target now.

Renewed Hope just got buffed in a big way. With Soul Warding (Reduced cost and cooldown of Power Word: Shield), Shields just improved even more. A damage reduction on a target? Even when the Shield is removed or falls off? Good stuff! My gut reaction is that we’ll be casting Shields a lot more often on more players.

Thoughts and initial impressions?

Hymn of Hope is Removed and New Power Infusion Graphic

Hymn of Hope is Removed and New Power Infusion Graphic

I checked.

I checked all possible trees (including Shadow but I didn’t screenshot that). Hymn of Hope is gone.

Yes, I know there was a new glyph added:

Glyph of Hymn of Hope *new*  — Your Hymn of hope provides 3 times the normal amount of mana per time, but its duration is 50% shorter.

But Hymn of Hope isn’t there and I have nothing new to learn from the trainer.

disc-tree holy-tree  base-line-tree

Below is the new Power Infusion graphic on my Shaman. It sort of looks like the Shaman’s Elemental Mastery but with a bit more flare to it.

pi-1

I’d say it blends with the Shaman set quite well!