Active Mana Regeneration: Not a Fan

Edit: This feature has since been removed from Warlords.

Have you seen the latest news for healers? They took away our Hymn of Hopes, our Innervates, and stuff.

Actually, they gave Innervate back. Have a gander at the latest section from the patch notes:

Active Mana Regeneration (New)

Another part of the changes to healing is providing a way for them to better manage their mana. There are ways to spend more mana for more healing but, we’re also adding methods for healers to trade extra time or healing or more mana to use later in a fight when they really need it.

Druid

  • Innervate has been redesigned to now have a 2-second cast time with no cooldown, and causes the Druid to gain 2.5% of maximum mana every 4 seconds for 8 seconds.  Spending any mana on a healing spell will cancel this effect.

Monk

  • Crackling Jade Lightning‘s channel duration has been reduced to 4 seconds.
  • Stance of the Wise Serpent now also causes Crackling Jade Lightning to cost no mana, and restore 2% of the Monk’s maximum mana if the ability is channeled for its full duration.

Paladin

  • Divine Plea has been redesigned to be instant cast with no cooldown, and consume 3 Holy Power to immediately regain 7% of maximum mana.

Priest

  • Atonement is no longer triggered by Penance.
  • Penance now also refunds 1.1% of the Priest’s maximum mana each time it deals damage.
  • Chakra: Chastise in addition to existing effects, now also causes Smite and Holy Fire to restore 0.75% of maximum mana each time they are cast instead of costing mana.

Shaman

  • Telluric Currents is now a passive ability for Restoration Shaman and causes Lightning Bolt to restore 1.25% of maximum mana each time it is cast instead of costing mana.
  • Glyph of Telluric Currents: This glyph has been removed.

Huge, yes? Our combat regeneration has evolved quite a long way. During vanilla, we had to work with the 5 second rule: Stop doing anything for 5 seconds to unleash the full power of our mana regen. Then we went to a model where classes had different abilities to use on cooldown (while other classes just didn’t have to worry about mana at all). More changes are being worked with now to shake things up.

What happened to Druids?

I can see Druids are understandably upset with how Innervate’s going to work now. It was originally supposed to be removed but now it’s back. Are Druids really supposed to just sit there for 8 seconds and not do anything while Innervate does what it does? Any healing spells automatically interrupt it. But if you cast your damage spells, you’re negating the damage you’re regenerating.

Doesn’t make sense.

Unless you consider that Wrath isn’t going to cost you any mana.

Now you’ve got something to do while you wait for Innervate to gas you up. Spam that Wrath! But know that you can always cut Innervate off at anytime with a healing spell. Useful for those unexpected emergencies that tend to flare up during raid combat.

What happened to Priests?

Out of all them, the Priest mana abilities are the most interesting. And I say that not because I’m a Priest. I’m just that biased. Because Priests are the master class.

I’m a little concerned about the Penance one. It’s normally used on cooldown for me. There’s almost always someone that can benefit from a fast burst heal. So to use that on a hostile target instead of a friendly is concerning. Can’t quite place my finger on the why.

The Holy Priest side of things is going to be even more engaging. Now I have to actually bind a key to the Chakra: Chastise stance specifically. Priests will need to really get used to Chakra dancing. There were times through this expansion you can get away with being a little lazy and be in the non-optimal Chakra. But with the removal of Hymn of Hope, you have to pay attention and ensure you’re in the right stance or else you’re not going to have any mana left to do anything.

What’s this mean for healers overall?

Much of the regen mechanics are designed to give healers key decisions to make. Do I continue to burn through my mana reserves? Or should I take a moment now and risk raid integrity and regenerate mana? If you’re not already communicating with your other healers now, you need to start. Practice with mana potions or something. Raids in Warlords will typically be rocking 4 to 5 healers at most. If a Resto Druid needs to stop healing for a bit, the rest of the healers need to know. That’s 20% to 25% less healing power during those brief seconds. It helps to know the encounters inside and out. When are the less stressful parts of the encounter? When is the most stressful part? At what stage should I ensure I have a sufficient amount of mana reserves remaining? Not sure how tightly tuned the next raid instances will be, but you’re going to have to practice doing some DPS.

I’m going to miss just relying on Hymn of Hope and Shadowfiend. As if we didn’t have enough to do already. Didn’t exactly sign up to DPS. I just want to stare at health bars and do what I do best: Heal players, not spend part of my time DPSing because I have to.

Eh, I have no doubt I’ll probably change my mind later when I can give the game a spin. Until then, I’ll just keep on griping.

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First impression on raiding with fixed mana in MoP

So we’ve just had our first raid in MoP, Mogu’shan Vaults. It was pretty interesting from a healer perspective. Fixed mana has been one of those ultimately strange concepts from the time it was announced, and to be fair we weren’t quite sure how it would play out in a regular raid. I’m here to give you my first impressions on it, and a few opinions.

Again these are just my opinions, and my observations.

Read moreFirst impression on raiding with fixed mana in MoP

Were the Priest Buffs Needed?

Yeah, probably. I didn’t realize that Priests were a little underpowered in the regen department. That’s one of the benefits of doing stuff in guild groups. I was getting the encounters down, but they weren’t exactly the prettiest kills. Over the previous weekend when we were grinding out the heroics, I would almost get to the of end fights with zero mana. Actually, it wasn’t uncommon for me to hit 0 mana at 10% of encounters and just tell the rest of the DPS they’re on their own because I had to dump all my spells on the tank.

I haven’t had a go with Discipline yet, but I understand there’s a few challenges with it on the heroic side of things. I want to try it out sometime on the weekend. 

  • Blessed Resilience now increases healing received by 15/30%, up from 5/10%.
  • Focused Will now reduces damage taken by 5/10% and 10/20%, up from 4/8% and 6/12%.
  • Healing done by Glyph of Dispel Magic no longer improperly caps out at a certain health pool range.
  • Holy Concentration’s mana regeneration component has been increased from 10/20% to 20/40%.
  • Player-controlled vehicles return an Invalid Target error when attempting to use Leap of Faith on them.
  • Rapture’s mana regeneration component has been increased from 1.5/2/2.5 to 2/4/6%.

On the raiding side of things, we’ve started entering 25s and put in several legitimate shots on Halfus. Him and his drake buddies are kicking our butt. The current progression focus is going to be on him but I’ve authorized guild groups to take charge and set up their own 10 mans if they wanted to try to push for Throne of the Four Winds or Blackwing Depths. With the logs data from Argaloth and the observations on the Halfus attempts, the leadership team’s going to try to split the top 20 performing players so they can  head back in on monday. I want that sucker down before Christmas. I had no illusions that were going to be able to get him down on 25 largely due to gear, inexperience and other factors. That fight changed since beta and it’s incredibly front end loaded. I think we if can just time our cooldowns a little better (we’re able to get the first drake down) and really shut down the interrupts, we should be able to get him. Nether Scion and Storm Drake are tough cookies though. Our current approach is unlocking both Nether Scion and the Emerald whelps simultaneously. The whelps are split between both tanks but they’re still getting almost insta-gibbed.

By the way, if you’re having trouble healing heroics (as in you’re not sure what to do from the healer side of things), check the YouTube channel. I’ve been trying to upload a video a day of a boss on heroic from my viewpoint and narrating what I do. Wasn’t able to get to one yesterday night since it was a raid night.

If there’s any specific ones you want to see, give me a shout here. I’ve done just about all of them except for that Lord Commander guy in Shadowfang Keep (third boss). He just keeps stoning my group.

Special Delivery: Roundup Of This Week’s Best WoW Posts

Time for a look at the week that’s passed, before Wrath passes and we’re all sat waiting for the servers to come up or freezing our branches off in queues on Monday night. Ayup, this is the last roundup I’ll be doing before Cataclysm hits and while this week’s posts are all really interesting reads and useful for the coming Cataclysm, I’ve got a twinge of sadness. Everything will be a bit different come this time next week when the long wait’s over and I’m posting a roundup of blog posts talking about a new world.

Mind you, that’s what I’ll be doing over at MMO Melting Pot from the moment Cataclysm hits and people can tear themselves away from playing long enough to write. So come next weekend I’ll be used to the new, excitable blog posts about people doing rather than planning. Y’know, actually going out there and slaying them thar fish people/dragons/unfortunate critters caught in AoE. And then I can send you on to the ones more healery, more leaderish, more guild related.

This week’s bound to be an exciting time. But before we get there, have a read of last week’s healing and guild related blog posts. And talking of healing – don’t forget: if you want to join the new World of Matticus podcast, today is the last day for applications. C’mon, join us… we don’t bite.

  • Cataclysm Faction Rewards For Priests – this one kind of does what it says on the tin, but let me clarify a bit. Oestrus is guest posting at Ecclesiastical Discipline and has narrowed down the Cataclysm factions to the top three most useful to grind for your holy priesties out there. In each of her top three she goes into detail about the items you can pick up and why they’d be worth it. Great post, I wish there were more like it popping up for other classes/roles.
  • Be Prepared / Looking At Pre Raid Gear – two different posts from two excellent bloggers catering for the resto druids among us. Both Angelya and Rank4HealingTouch. The first post is Angelya’s: her guide is an extensive list of options to up for every slot including weapon slots. She’s given the items stat weightings for how useful they are and included the stat formula she’s based the list on. Looks like a great resource. Same can be said of the one from Rank4HealingTouch, though he says his post is a direct repasting of Elitist Jerks’ recommendations. This list has less options on it, which might suit indecisive folk (like me!)
  • Comparison of Healing Spells – this is a really interesting read given that we’re just going in to new content. Jasyla’s been looking in to how many spells each healing class has and has presented her findings in a combination of easily referenced tables followed by written analysis of each section. She’s gone through single target spells, AoE heals, cooldowns and extras. I’ve played all the healing classes and always wondered at the sheer amount of baggage my priest had to carry around with him in comparison to my druid, so Jasyla’s curiosity here is something I can really relate to.
  • Paladin Raid Healing – Porkchop (great name, right?) has an argument for paladins being just as capable in the raid healing department in any other class – especially come Cataclysm. He covers the holy paladin toolkit from hands to the shiny new AoE holy paladin spells and gives examples of how they can be used. Being completely honest here, holy paladin is my least played healer class so I’d be really interested to know if you agree with Porkchop or are inspired by his enthusiasm to the role. I’m not saying he’s wrong, I just don’t know as I lack the expertise for this class – what do you think?
  • The Hybrid’s Dilemma – Vidyala’s guild is preparing for Cataclysm and some of their members are changing characters for raiding. That includes Vidyala, who’s changing from a hybrid-capable druid to a single focus mage. She’s thought long and hard about it and recounts tales from her Wrath raiding experience of how being a hybrid has affected both her group and her own playing fun. She discusses with us why she’s made the choice to move away from the flexibility of being a hybrid character and is comfortable with that – great read.
  • Reunited With My Holy Half – Shintar over at Priest With A Cause disliked what happened to holy in the Big Spec Changes in patch 4.0 a few weeks ago. But since 4.0.3a hit and along with it some extra tweaks to the holy spec, she’s been looking at holy priesting again. And she’s found she quite likes how things are balanced now. She takes us through the major holy priest abilities as they are post-4.0.3a, talking about why she likes them and how they sync together. She also gives a sample spec right at the end which might be good reference for any priests out there.
  • Int regen mechanics – Velidra over at Emberstorm has been drawn towards healers recently and has some musings on how intellect will play out for healer classes. He’s mostly looking ahead at Cataclysm based on what we know already but for anyone who’s not sure on what intellect does or how mana regeneration will work, this is a great introduction to the new concepts. His look at intellect as a healer stat is particularly clear – he also lists each of the ways that healing classes will be able to regen mana and has a brief analysis of how strong each class is in this respect.

There we go. Pre-Cataclysm roundups… that’s the last one. ONWARD, to our first ever Cataclysm-live roundup – I’m expecting the blogosphere to be full of juicy posts next week, so check back. I’ll be letting you know where and what those posts are so you’ve got somethiing to do in your offline time, or even in your in-flight times. I’ll even have a new header picture by then!

Meanwhile, what do you think – what sort of posts are you hoping to see ASAP in the blogosphere? Theory on a particular class, gearing lists for a particular spec? Folks recounting their adventures of a class you’ve not yet got round to playing?

Lodur’s Final Thoughts Before 3.1

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I’d like to condense my final thoughts on the Restoration Shaman Changes so far, since the patch is imminent at this point and shouldn’t be too far off.

The hottest topic for Shamans as of late has been the Blessing of Wisdom and Mana Spring Totem stacking change.  Understandably we were all a bit shocked by this change. This is pretty much taking the stars out of alignment for us. I know I reacted harshly to it first in my post Shaman and Paladins Mana Buff Get Hit! . This was before I got a chance to actually test it out as well as sit down and think about it.

Lets talk about mana regeneration from an encounter design standpoint. In a raid how often do you run out of mana now? For me I know it’s never unless a lot of other healers bite the dust and I have to pick up the slack. How often do you have to use mana potions? I think I’ve used 5 total in about 8 weeks, and those were on heroics. That’s with moderate gearing, not even a heavy MP5 set. That’s honestly not good for designers. In order to compensate for ungodly amounts of healer mana developers tend to make encounters with more widespread raid damage instead of other much more fun mechanics. Personally I’d rather have fun mechanics, I like variety! (read as less Whack-a-Mole plx!)

Raid wide we lose 109.2 MP5 from this change and I can tell you from testing it, it’s not that bad. I’ve spent a lot of time on various iterations of Lodur on the PTR testing the changes out, doing raids, seeing how regen was affected… and to be honest it really wasn’t affected as majorly as many people think. Right now on live I can end a fight like Kel’thuzad or even Sartharion with drakes with around 50% mana, and that’s with chain casting. On the PTR I was ending with about 35%. Honestly it’s the difference of a mana potion.  We’re not really going to see a shift too dramatically. Rejoice! We are the mana base line!

There is also another great part of this for Shaman in general that I’d like to take a moment to point out. There was a discussion about totems and macros and such on PlusHeal and a very interesting point came up. A lot of shaman over there refer to our water totem as our swing totem, and I agree with this. The water totem slot is our most versatile of the lot and tends to get the most use. By changing the way mana regen stacks it allows us to take a Blessing of Wisdom, and then use our water slot for something other then just Mana Spring. Healing Stream totem is getting a buff through talents that makes it a very attractive choice (AoE hot? yes plz!) and lets not forget our brand new Cleansing Totem that will take care of both poisons and diseases. With the new change we wont have to sit and worry about taking away mana regen by dropping a poison cleansing totem or what have you. I found the ability to not have to worry about having Mana Spring down all the time was like a weight lifting from my shoulders. I have a feeling once you guys see it in action you’ll feel the same =D

Here’s a recap of the Patch Notes relevant to restoration Shamans.

Restoration

  • Ancestral Awakening: This talent now accounts for your ineffective healing, rather than effective.
  • Ancestral Healing and Healing Grace have swapped places in the Restoration talent tree.
  • Cleanse Spirit now has a new icon.
  • 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%.
  • Riptide: This spell has a new icon.
  • Tidal Force: Now has a new spell effect.

General Shaman Changes

  • Bloodlust/Heroism: Cooldown reduced to 5 minutes, but Sated and Exhausted now last 10 minutes.
  • New! Earth Elemental Totem: The summoned Earth Elemental should now have significantly more health and slightly more armor.
  • New! Fire Elemental Totem: The summoned Fire Elemental should now have moderately more health and mana, and its damage scaling has been increased. In addition, the Fire Elemental’s spells now cost less mana.
  • Flametongue Weapon: Bonus damage from spell power now based on weapon speed. Slower weapons will benefit more from spell power.
  • Frostbrand Weapon: Damage increased by approximately 20%.
  • Mana Spring Totem: This totem has been redesigned. It now provides the same mana benefit as Blessing of Wisdom to the entire party or raid, but is exclusive with that effect.
  • Poison Cleansing Totem and Disease Cleansing Totem have been merged into “Cleansing Totem.” Cleansing Totem pulses every 3 sec, down from 5.

Another item was the change to Heroism / Bloodlust. The change is that the debuff and the cooldown are being flipped around. Cooldown has been changed to 5 minutes and debuff has been changed to 10 minutes. At first this seems like a big hit from the nerf bat, and at first I thought so too, until Matt and I had a great conversation about it. Heroism / Bloodlust is an optional raid buff, unlike replenishment which Blizz feels is a mandatory buff. Encounters are not tuned with you having one every try in mind. It’s a raid leaders shot gun buff, on Sarth 3D we use it to burst down the second drake for an example. It’s something you use when you really need to have something dead and fast. The change allows for you to use it more inline with progression fights. Lets say you pop it, and you die. Dying clears the debuff but if the ability is down and you don’t have another Shaman, fat lot of good it’s going to do you. This will allow groups that only have 1 Shaman to always have this buff available when learning fights. I think this is actually a good thing.

Elementals are getting buffed, which is long overdue. This will bring them back up to something a little more useful then were they currently are. I know my Fire Elemental when I break him out on Sarth adds doesn’t really do a whole lot and tends to run out of mana fast. Which his damage scaling more and cheaper spells he’ll just be that much more useful. Earth Elemental getting a health increase is also really good. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dropped him to make a get away only to have him die so fast it doesn’t matter that I dropped him at all.

Bottom line here is we really made out this patch. We didn’t get godly buffs, but we avoided the nerf bat and remained largely unchanged. The changes we did get will actually help our utility to a raid, and can be looked at as buffs in a way. The Mana Spring totem change really benefits us more then it hurts us. It gives us a bit more freedom to roll around totems. I am looking forward to this patch for many reasons, not least among them Ulduar.

What about you? How do you feel about the imminent patch?

Till next time, Happy Healing.
~Lodur

As always feel free to follow on twitter http://twitter.com/LodurZJ And don’t be afraid to ask questions using direct message there or the contact form here on the site!