Healing Rotation: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Look at this blue post below. It appears that Priests are about to get additional sweeping changes to the class.

We have some exciting changes planned for priests. Many of them will make it in 3.1 (Ulduar). We hope to have them finalized enough to be able to announce some in the next couple of weeks, but that date might not work out for a number of reasons. The community has a way of overlooking all those caveats such as “at this time” or “assuming nothing changes” and suddenly we are “breaking promises.”

Source: Two Non-QQ QUestions for the Devs

I don’t plan on being a cynic. I am not particularly good at being a cynic. I’m far too hopeful and optimistic for my own good. Other bloggers are way better at that than I am. All I can say is that I’m really looking forward to see what these changes are.

Despite all the improvements and changes made to the Discipline tree, I can tell from the amount of emails I read, tweets I get, and forum posts I peruse that there is a significant number of players who remain skeptical about the healing capability of Discipline.

A change like that doesn’t occur overnight. A change happens like that from player to player. All it takes is for one Discipline Priest to heal a Heroic expertly. Then those 4 players that partner with them will spread the word allowing that Priest to heal for other players. Then he gets invited to raids and so forth. Being accepted as Discipline takes time.

Even I was skeptical until I tried it out myself.

I asked everyone around the table if they would feel comfortable having a Disc priest on main tank duty even with no paladin. Every one of them said yes.

Source: 8 Reasons

Healer Rotations

Here’s another forum post located in the same thread as the last one.

When I say we want healers to have rotations, that doesn’t necessarily mean you always press 112311231123 forever and install cooldown timers so that you don’t go insane. Some dps classes are closer to that, but dps classes in general don’t have to be as reactive to situations as do healers, so they can handle it.

What I am really getting at are things like Swiftmend and Riptide. Swiftmend is a very fun spell — IMO one of the best ones in the game. But you can’t spam Swiftmend. In fact, you have to be pretty smart about when you set it up and when you use it. And yes it has a cooldown. Riptide has a similar mechanic where you want to X when Y happens and you can come up with a lot of other examples. Riptide is fun. Swiftmend is fun. Greater Heal… eh, it does the job. But it’s not a particularly fun button to use.

Disc gets this vibe with some of their shield mechanics, Grace and Penance. I do think that Holy could use a lot more of it though. The main "interesting thing" that happens with Holy is Holy Concentration and its Improved version. That’s not bad, but we’re not sure it’s enough. I don’t think we would actually use this specific example, but imagine a talent that sped up Greater Heal’s cast time when you cast enough Flash Heals. Now you have a reason to "weave." You have a mechanic that rewards you (but doesn’t require you) to switch from one thing to another. Another idea (off the top of my head) is that CoH healed more on targets with Renew on them (this steals too much from the Resto playbooks IMO). These don’t necessarily have to be random procs or cooldowns, though sometimes these systems end up using those specific mechanics.

This is the kind of thing we’d like to do to Holy.

This is an approach that has merit. I admit I have not played my Shaman as Resto yet. Therefore, I don’t know what it’s like to use Riptide with its bonus effect.

I know for me when it comes to healing, I will make whatever move necessary to keep my players from dying. I’d call it the Dominik Hasek approach since he was known for doing whatever was necessary in keeping pucks out of the net.

And the same thing applies here. As a healer, it’s your role to do everything in your power to save. Calling it a healing rotation though implies that there should be a specific sequence of spells you should cast to best “optimize” healing done. By doing that, you’d gain additional bonus effects of some sort if you can combo 3 Flash Heals and a Greater (as an example).

Unlike DPS players, it is not always possible for healers to to stick to a specific sequence. On my Elemental Shaman, it’s Flame Shock, Lava Burst, and about 5 Lightning Bolts before I start it all over again (Single mob, will throw in Chain Lightning for multiple ones).

We’re not going to constantly use up our Global Cooldown because we might need it (although to be fair that is encounter specific).

On the other hand, I have a feeling that by implementing a change like this into the game, it may slow down some healers. I’m referring to the decision making aspect.

“I could use this Instant heal now, or I could cast my big heal which activates my other healing increase bonus to my lesser heal but if I do that he might di- Oh crap he’s dead.”

The point

I am totally in favor of more changes to the Priest class to add in bonuses for using specific spells after certain conditions. But I won’t always exercise the option to use them because of how the nature of healing is.

When I was Holy, I’d often get Surge of Light procs. I’d wait and watch for players to heal before I converted it to a free Smite instead. Sometimes we just don’t have an occasion to use spells.

This is especially true when tanks have a hard time taking damage.

The Question

Do you think added bonuses from using spells at specific times is going to help you or hinder you? (Don’t worry about the class you play. It’s directed to all healers).

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. i think the concept of added bonuses from a specific spell adds a depth to the game. as a holy pally i love the fact that i get lights grace when i cast a holy light, i get a 15% haste increase when i judge a mob, i get 1 sec off my next heal when i crit a holy shock, and i always have the option to use divine favor and make my next heal a guaranteed crit. these (along with several other new spells and specs) have made my class a lot more interesting (and difficult) to master. i no longer /spam FoL on the tank all day!

    however, i would be incredibly disappointed if these “bonuses” i got made it too easy to heal or if they were so good that i could simply use the 1 or 2 specific spells or effects and didn’t really have to cast anything else. currently i think the paladin is just about perfect right now (possibly a little too good a healing class, but i’m not going to complain).

  2. I don’t think the word “rotation” should ever be used in a conversation involving healers. When I’ve been specced holy in the past, I’m very reactionary. In fact, I didn’t do well when I first started raiding 25-man content in BC because I couldn’t latch my brain around the idea of spamming GHeals on the tank, whether he needed it or not, which is what my raid leader wanted me to do.

    I’m a fan of paying attention to what the boss is doing, knowing the tank and his abilities, and making my best guesses as to when he’s going to take damage. At the very least, I’ll cast a GHeal and cancel it before it casts if the tank doesn’t need it.

    Where I had the most fun though during raids, and my raid leader eventually realized this, was when I was assigned raid healing. Multiple targets taking damage all at once? Sign me up!

    The frantic pacing of it made it all the more interesting for me as I fought to keep everyone up while making sure my mana pool didn’t run dry.

    This interest eventually culminated in experimentation by my raid leader, as she began to assign me with “special” tasks during encounters, such as healing the warlock kiting the strider around during the Vashj fight. I like running. 🙂

    In any of this, rotations of any sort just won’t work. I have my spells that heal. I don’t need spells that I have to hit to make the healing spells better. If I’m healing, I just want to heal, not continually self-buff.

    Dave Hustons last blog post..Coming soon:

    • @Dave Huston: A long, long time ago in a raid instance deep in the depths of Blackrock Mountain, there was a boss. And his name was Chrommagus. And he took 30 minutes to kill. Healing rotations were setup to allow Priests and other healers to heal for a certain fixed amount of time before switching out for someone else to take over.

      Good gravy.

  3. Matticus,

    Good point. I forgot about THAT kind of healing rotation.

    Dave Hustons last blog post..Coming soon:

  4. Adding additional effects based on specific (or non speciifc) spell casts won’t necessarily help or hinder how I heal. I personally find them more fun. That’s specifically what I want to see out of the changes, make healing more fun.

    Since I’m avoiding going on a soap box, (that’s what my blog is for!) I think added bonuses for using spells at specific times will hinder my healing. There are a couple basic assumption we can make about those specific times:

    1. The target(s) want(s) to avoid the damage.
    2. The target(s) is/are almost fully healed.
    3. The target(s) will die if not healed.

    I’d rather that I create the situation by placing a specific “prayer” on the target that allocates a bonus to my play style. Structured quite unimaginatively:
    1. Prayer of Confidence – Increase all healing done by your spells to the target by x%
    2. Prayer of Mending – if I take damage, bounce to someone else!
    3. Prayers of Protection – The target avoids 25% of all damage taken and your healing is reduced by 50%. Target must be healed by the healer every 4 seconds or the prayer is lost.
    4. Etc etc

    Healing by its nature is reactive. Give me some proactive choices that add in specific situations and THAT will help my healing!

    Jays last blog post..Lost in Space and six weeks later!

  5. @Matticus: Healing rotation? All I did was spam cleanse! Whyfor do you remind me of such torture!?

    Anyway. I think a ‘bonus’ would be neat if it worked something like pally ones do (yes, I like some aspects of how paladins work): Doing X causes Y affect, and Y can be used to benefit multiple other healing spells. Or for a more specific example: Judging causes haste, which benefits both our healing spells. Or a crit holy shock gives us an instant FoL OR a shorter HL. Things like that would be okay, more so than Casting X benefits Y only.

    Ambrosines last blog post../panic

  6. I’d much rather have a carrot as incentive to use a variety of spells (like IHC) than a series of cooldowns to monitor. They did a better job with the Discipline tree in this respect.

    However, discipline currently forces an awkward choice on the healer: burn cooldowns and have good throughput, or save cooldowns and have mediocre throughput.

    Discipline would be a solid tree if they’d increase healing throughput a bit, amend the double PW:S cooldown to make it less awkward, increase the utility of spells like Inner Focus and Power Infusion, and fix the bugs.

  7. Comparing druids and priests is kind of apples and oranges, and I don’t particularly like doing it, but that said…

    Druids since swiftmend have been increasingly built on this model. We set up swiftmend with rejuvenation, we stack lifeblooms and can carry them or let them expire to meet the circumstances, we have a glyph (regrowth) that encourages a regrowth-regrowth “combo”. And I like this style A LOT. Playing my priest feels monotonous and random by comparison.

    Granted, I am much more experienced with my druid, and personal preference definitely comes into play. I do have problems seeing how making the game more engaging for other kinds of healers is necessarily a bad idea.

    With Blizzard, though, implementation is everything. 😉

    Lilivatis last blog post..Friday 500 Submission

  8. The fun in healing to me is all about on the fly decision making that is almost completely missing when playing DPS. Adding more cooldowns, both long and short, adds to the options you ave and therefore makes things more fun, at least to me.

    That said, if they’re making changes to holy they should really take a long look at shadow as well. The spec is underpowered in pvp and mind-numbingly boring in pve. Whatever happened to facemelting? 🙁

  9. The thing I like about healing is that there are no rotations.

  10. dscomboulat says:

    dude its gonna suck.

    I’ll need another addon like “thank god”
    (btw if you are a holy priest and arent running.. umm ya are gimping yourself.)’

    matt… I appalaud you at trying to prove blizz correct that discipline is viable bro.mmmmmaaayyyyybeeee in 25’s.

    I’ve carried an undergeared raid through a 9man patch and a first run horsemen shot in ten mans.

    with a few good other players, and YES a pally and a druid. shammys make it easier but i’ll take the pally and druid.

    I can tank heal.. mm greater heals and surge of light holy concentration procs, raid heal? lol ok guess i’m gonna pull 700 dps now while healing.

    point is blizz claims this is to make it “more fun”

    I havent’ seen one thing they have done to healing to make it more fun, besdies fun for the noob priests spamming COh in nerfed 3.0 or the two button shammys and pallys swiggin a beer.

    this holds nothing for me.

    I like my 8 spells I use. yeah friggin 8

    and then my dps ones ok make that 12

    because I don’t suck. the further I get away from shammys and pallys and what blizz has them doing the better.

    hell I’m playing darkfallonline in feb.

  11. Personally, I love my “whack a mole” style, because it works for me. Even when I’m on the MT (usually, because I make the assignments), I’m tossing a renew, flash, or even greater all over the raid.

    I’m not doing it to snipe heals; I KNOW how useless meters are. I’m doing it because I can (and because I haven’t yet convinced the rest of my healing team that they must use LibHealComm…but that is coming).

    Rotations? If I want rotations, I play my Hunter.

    Kestrels last blog post..Naxx-25 Starting to Jell; OS-25 Almost There

  12. dscomboulat says:

    matt to sum it up, I smell a warlock nerf coming. well… for priests… if theymake it a chore to play an already complicated class (no priests atm are the exact opposite of what warlocks staring at their surge of oh I mean molten core procs were…. or are… )

    ya see where i’m going here.. my mage is lvling and quick.

  13. I think priest healing could use something to make it more interesting. Back in the days of downranking you could save some mana if you were smart enough to use the right heals and it felt as though you had more to choose from.

    But comparing it to (frex) druid healing now, I know which is more fun. Looking forwards to seeing what they come up with, it’s been a long time coming.

  14. WTB reliable way to tell why going disci drops my coh/pom/renew spamming aoe HPS (recount ftl) cos im singletank healing and thus become a ‘bad tank healer with low hps (*Recount spam here*), can you even keep them up?!’

    Grabbing the modified recount from wowhead ( http://www.wowhead.com/?forums&topic=68238&p=725586 ) would seem bit cheapy too, it seems to differ from the “official” meter bit too much to be guild-trusted by the non understanding rogues 😛

    Sorry for the offtopic, reading your posts and other blogs/forums made me believe I’m not the only one having a quite loss of output going from aoehealspam to singletarget shielding (yeah, that’s a very rough exaggeration)

  15. Cast the spell that is needed for the situation, not the spell that procs the shinies or that gets you the highest meters.

  16. dscomboulat says:

    shyraia exactly. and if they add more “rotation” or watch for this or that to proc and do this its going to kill what I love about the class. versitility. in my opinion its one NON boring healing class atm. I don’t want my casts to be determined by a RNG

  17. I don’t like the word rotation in reference to healing. The closest I’ve gotten to healing with a rotation was timing Lifebloom-blooms on Lotheb and I don’t like it.

    Swiftmend really is fun. I love the way druids heals work. Nourish working better after the application of hots, crits procing Nature’s Grace, etc.

    Druid healing spells work well together. They make you think before you use them, but not too much. I don’t need to get out my calculator to decide what spell to use… I’ve just learned it so knowing when to hit Swiftmend or Lifebloom automatic.

  18. Boondockst says:

    Yes, I think that it will help, but it needs to be a passive bonus that we dont have to pay attention to.
    I’m referring to the holy talent that will increase crit or the amount healed (not sure which it is) when the target is below a certain % or the borrowed time effect. Adding in haste when we use a certain spell is awesome, and I think if they added in a way to make more crits or the heals in general stronger is best, but not the way GC said it.
    His example (of weaving) actually scares me a lil. I will use a less efficient heal or ability over and over again, just so I can get this other effect to occur. I can see this now: we are healing the tank: flash, flash, flash, flash, oh shit! I cant keep up with the dmg, but I need to cast the next flash to get my super-crit-acular greater heal, but I cant afford to cast another flash b/c I need the greater’s throughout now and if I dont cast the flash now, I will loose the stack that I already built up…. shit, the tank just died.
    My point is, we need to keep these abilities as simple as possible, and GC’s was just awkward.

  19. MATT! Thanks for the video. That made my day. Hasek was my hero growing up. My grandfather is Czech so we cheered him on in the 1998 olympics. I always wanted to play goalie growing up, but my dad always told me “We can’t afford dental for you so your not playing goalie.”

    PS – I was watching #2 on the list live when it happened. That was amazing.

  20. LOL of course Disc can heal in raids.

    I didn’t realise this was still an unknown. I’ve never been asked to respec Holy to raid and, as far as i’m aware, i’ve never been passed up for a slot because i’m Disc.

    Gobble gobble.

    BobTurkeys last blog post..Updated Priest Stat Targets

  21. I think the closest I come to a “healing rotation” is the fact that the MT is going to get smacked with PoM almost immediately after he hits his target. Or perhaps on Patchwerk, where my assign is usually to shield the tanks and help keep them all alive.

    We’re a reactionary bunch by nature. Not all fights are the same, not all healers are the same, and not all players are the same. Changing up the MT for the night (assuming I’m on MT heals that night) will sometimes drastically change the way I use spells that fight. (For example, our prot paladin takes so little damage that if I shield him every time it’s up (so that Renewed Hope is in effect) then he tends to get mana-starved.)

    I do wish they’d drop the CD on Pain Supression a bit. Even with 2/2 in Aspiration we really don’t tend to be able to use it more than once or twice per fight.

  22. Serendipity says:

    I agree. Healing and the words spell rotation shouldn’t be used in the same sentence. Healing is very situational. You can’t always rely on a set cycle of spells to use or a lot of times, you are just throwing away mana.

    Additionally, as far as Disc priests go, I think the biggest problem going for them is players not understanding how to play or gear a disc priest correctly. Other than PvP or making a hybrid build to the IMP:DS 31 point talent (pre-Wrath), there wasn’t much use for Disc in a raid setting.

    I can definitely see the improvements and I have been intrigued enough to try a Disc build in the future for raiding.

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