Breaking Down a Paladin’s Efficient Heals

Breaking Down a Paladin’s Efficient Heals

pally-equation

This is a guest post by Hitty the Pally. Be prepared for heavy math towards the end of the post (well, at least, it was for me :D).

I recently went back to becoming a full time Holy Paladin for 3.1.0 for many reasons including having some of our healing raiders leaving the guild.  Just to give you a quick history lesson on Hitty the pally, I started as holy hybrid in 1.0 dispelling my way through MC and switched to protection spec in 2.0 to fill a large gap left by our MT taking some time off.  Eventually he came back and ended up being a ret paladin in the late stages of TBC and stuck with it for 3.0.  I’ve always enjoyed being a dependable raider filling in all three roles when needed.

So here I am, most of my core training was from healing lava packs in Molten Core and boy was I in for a holy shock.  There are so many new toys to play with outside of the simplistic trio of Holy Light, Flash of Light and Cleanse.  So here I am getting the crash course on healing by a fellow holy paladin teammate with all these fancy terms like Bacon, Sacred Shield and JotP.  My pally friend has this enact ability to top healing charts with his eyes closed.  Now I know and understand thoroughly that being a healer you are part of a team.  Everyone on this team plays a role in which if everyone succeeds the raid will have a good chance of winning (its NHL playoffs isn’t it Matticus?). 

Editor’s note: Playoffs ended when the Canucks were eliminated.

Not to take anything away from my counterpart.  He is just that good and dependable (except with buffing… I can win there!).  The common joke in our guild is he has a big red button that he presses when he wants to top the healing charts.  Anyways he plays a major part in our guilds progression and we love him for it. But there’s a dps fire inside of me   I want to become number 1!   Talk about ego and insecurity problems /sigh.

The goal is to beat my friend and wins the heal meters among pallys!  So with every raid night the past 3 weeks, I start by pumping myself up to prepare for the challenge.  I put on some classic energy songs before raids such as Welcome to the Jungle by Guns n Roses to “Remember the Name by Fort Minor to Crowd Chantby Joe Satriani.  Hungry like a dps machine to test myself against my competition I wait for the perfect opportunity.  The chance arrived in my lap, there was no danger to the raid and I went for it. FAIL.  Next boss to try again, FAIL.

It seems that I have a gear issue in that my mana isn’t as infinite as my counterpart.  This was to be expected as my gear is inferior to my opponent but there was a few interesting findings in Recount and WWS logs.  I was able to keep up my effective healing on three conditions.  1, the fight must be short as I am chaining holy lights till I’m oom or 2, there are enough ppl who required healing or 3, stand in the fire and selfishly heal myself.  The short story is I need to boast my mana regen capability which means I need more Cowbe- err Crits!!!

Mana regeneration for Paladins have always been interesting compared to the other healers.  The bread and butter of our mana regen are through Divine Plea and critical proc heals with the Illumination talent.  Generally speaking we are never out of the 5 second casting regen not to mention Spirit doesn’t do pally’s any good.  In combat mp5 regen isn’t much better as it is very hard stat to stack as most cases the preference would be to increase Int for divine plea, +spell, and +crit.  Illumination is a talent that has a 100% proc rate to gain 60% of the base cost of FoL, HL or HS.  Looking specifically at spell crit, I have a lot of work to do.  Generally speaking, my sworn enemy will have more crits than normal spell casts in every category with a crit rate of BLAH.  My numbers really show as I would be opposite with more normal spells than crits.  Alright!  Time for science.  Divine Favour allows me to crit one of my spells every 2 minutes, which spell would be optimal to use in conjunction with Divine Favour to return the most mana. 

Please keep in mind that all these numbers and calculations are very simple math equations without factoring many different buffs, procs, talents and environments. 

Illumination Rank 5

After getting a critical effect from your Flash of Light, Holy Light, or Holy Shock heal spell you have a 100% chance to gain mana equal to 60% of the base cost of the spell.

Divine Favour

3% of base mana

Instant cast                                         2 min cooldown

When activated, gives your next Flash of Light, Holy Light, or Holy Shock spell a 100% critical effect chance.

Holy Light Rank 13

29% of base mana

2.5 sec cast                                         40 yd range

Heals a friendly target for 4888 to 5444.

Flash of Light Rank 9

7% of base mana

1.5 sec cast                                         40 yd range

Heals a friendly target for 785 to 879.

Holy Shock Rank 7

18% of base mana

Instant cast 6 sec cooldown         20 – 40 yd range

Blasts the target with Holy energy, causing 1296 to 1402 Holy damage to an enemy, or 2401 to 2599 healing to an ally.

Okay, starting in 2.4 there were certain spells that required a percentage of the base mana.  With 3.0, it’s pretty much the norm.  Now this basically means the amount of mana a certain class has before any modifiers such as int, racial or buffs.  So I got nekked for the purpose of science and found that for a Paladin, your base mana will always be 4394 at level 80.  I tried to ask a blood elf to help me confirm my findings but all I got was a slap.

Divine Favour = 4394*3% = 132 mana to cast.

Holy Light = 4394*29% = 1275 mana to cast.

Flash of Light = 4394*7% = 308 mana to cast. 

Holy Shock = 791 mana to cast. 

With these values now, we can find out how much mana it cost to cast both spells plus how much mana is returned.

DF/HL 132+1275 = 1407 mana cost.  1275*60% = 765 mana return for 2.5 second cast. 

The net cost to cast a HL would be 1407-765 = 642

DF/FoL 132+308 = 440 mana cost. 308*60% = 185mana return for 1.5 second cast.

The net cost to cast a FoL would be 440-185 = 255.

DF/HS 132+791 = 923 mana cost. 923*60% = 475 mana return for 1.5 second cast. T

The net cost to cast a HS would be 923-554 = 448.

Woot! Let’s break this down to mana regen per second. 

HL would be 642/2.5 = 257/1,

FoL would be 255/1.5 = 170/1 and

HS would be 475/1.5 = 316/1. 

The winner is… Holy Shock! 

So here we go, I found a new trick to add to my trade and hope it’ll help me inch closer and closer to my formidable opponent.  Here’s a new trick for an old dog.  If anyone has any other tricks to share, please do!!  I can’t wait till the next opportunity I get.  Nothing’s wrong with a little competition, ya?

Post edited with updated values May 27, 09

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

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

2642941376_237f0b1008_phixr

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.

A Druid’s Response to the Upcoming Change in Mana Regeneration

A Druid’s Response to the Upcoming Change in Mana Regeneration

tree

It has been a hard week to be a druid, dear friends. Not only did restoration druids miss out on any significant buffs in the most recently announced draft of class changes, but we’ve also been faced with an upcoming nerf to mana regeneration that stands to affect us more than any other class. As such, druid bloggers have taken notice; both Phaelia and Keeva have their own takes on the 3.1 changes. In this article I am going to take a look at the specifics of the changes to mana regeneration and speculate on possible ways to play around them. In case you missed the big blue letters, I’ll quote the substance of the change to mana regeneration below:

Regeneration while not casting (outside of the “five second rule”) will be decreased. We think that (1) the ability to cast heal over time spells and then sit back and (2) benefitting from a clearcasting proc that also gets you out of the five second rule both provide too much mana regeneration, even over short time periods.
To make this change, we are reducing mana regeneration granted by Spirit across the board. However we are also boosting the effects of talents such as Meditation that increase regeneration while casting. The net result should be that your regeneration while casting will stay about the same, but your not-casting regeneration will be reduced. This change will have little impact on dps casters, since they are basically always casting.
The specific talents and abilities being boosted are: Arcane Meditation, Improved Spirit Tap, Intensity, Mage Armor, Meditation, Pyromaniac and Spirit Tap. Yes this makes these “mandatory” talents even more mandatory, if such a thing is possible.

Since paladins rely less on Spirit as a mana-regeneration stat, we have to address them in other ways. We don’t want to change Illumination or Replenishment. However, we are going to increase the healing penalty on Divine Plea from 20% to 50%. Divine Plea was originally intended to help Protection and Retribution paladins stay full on mana. It should be a decision for Holy paladins, not something that is automatically used every cooldown.
In addition, we are also changing the way Spiritual Attunement works. In situations with a large amount of outgoing raid damage, as well as in PvP, this passive ability was responsible for more mana regeneration than we would like. We want to keep the necessary benefit it grants to tanking Protection paladins, while making it less powerful for Holy paladins in PvP or raid encounters with a lot of group damage.

We are also taking a close look at clearcasting procs themselves. One likely outcome is to change them to an Innervate-like surge of mana so that the net benefit is the same, but healers won’t shift to out-of-casting regeneration so often.

We balance around the assumption that even 10-player groups have someone offering Replenishment. To make this even easier on players we are likely to offer this ability to additional classes, as well as make sure that existing sources of Replenishment are more equitable.

These changes are ultimately being done to bring the different healing classes more in line with each other as well as to give the encounter team more leeway when designing encounters, who can balance with these new mana regeneration numbers in mind. In a world with infinite healer mana, the only way to challenge healers is with increasingly insane amount of raid damage, so that global cooldowns become the limiting factor since mana fails to be. An example is the Eredar Twins in late Sunwell. We weren’t necessarily happy with that model, and this change hopefully allows us to move towards giving healing a more deliberate and thoughtful pace rather than frenetic spam.

So, What Does All This Mean?

For those of you who may be puzzled by Blizzard’s language, I will sum up by saying that our mana regeration, which is admittedly too high at the moment, is going to be reduced by a number of combinatory factors, including both an across-the-board nerf to Spirit and tweaks to individual spells and abilities. This is the worst kind of nerf to receive, because it will be pretty difficult to tell how each of these points affects the others without extensive testing. Here’s hoping that enough people get on the PTR to avoid major bug fixes or crippled classes. I know that I’m planning to do some PTR raiding myself to test this out. Some posters on the WoW forums and on PlusHeal are predicting that nothing will change for them, or that they won’t “feel” the changes–that’s wishful thinking, or keeping one’s head in the sand. We’re going to notice. In terms of magnitude, my guess is that this one outpaces even the great nerf to Lifebloom in patch 3.0. And we’re going to notice out of combat. Questing as a healer is about to become very, very expensive as we’ll have to sit to drink much more than formerly. As many forum posters suggested, they’re going to need to put in some bigger, faster waters.

Why So Severe?

Bornakk’s post offers some justification for the changes. He says, “When mana regeneration is trivial then certain parts of the game break down – classes that offer Replenishment are devalued, stats that offer mana regeneration are devalued, and spells that are efficient are neglected in preference to spells with high throughput.” I am sympathetic to this point. I see druids stacking Spirit over Mp5, because it’s been widely believed throughout Wrath that Mp5 is too expensive a stat in terms of item budget. I’ll also note that there’s comparatively little of it available, at least compared to the ubiquitous Spirit. More and more healers are stacking Intellect as well. There’s every reason to believe that this practice will continue, and in fact become more common. I’ve also seen many raiders glyphing Healing Touch, preferring a very fast, but not very efficient spell over the slower Nourish, which when supported by 4pc T7 becomes our most efficient tank heal. And guess what? They’ve been beating me on the meters. Evaluating spells by HPM has become a practice for theorycrafters and not players. So yes, I agree that some changes are in order. I just don’t like the direction they’ve taken.

Why Should Druids Worry?

More so even than priests, the healing druid’s fate is tied to that of Spirit. I remember when the initial changes to Spirit were put in place for 2.3. Before that time, one resto druid in each raiding guild would stack Spirit in order to sit in the tank group and give a passive buff to tanks. Like all other buff-givers in BC (ahem, shadow priests), a Spirit-stacking druid traded some of her individual power for the buff. A Spirit-stacker had to sacrifice healing throughput (+heal) and efficiency (Mp5) as a tradeoff for a high amount of Spirit. It’s hard to tell without testing it out myself on the PTR, which I certainly intend to do, but my guess is that we’re about to return to pre-2.3 regen values for Spirit–or else come very close to that number. Druids have a number of abilities and talents that depend on Spirit, most notably Innervate, Living Spirit, and Improved Tree of Life. I would also argue that Intensity is greatly dependent on Spirit. As a consequence, druid gear weights Spirit very heavily. Up until now, it has been projected that at high levels of gear, a player should strive to keep their Spirit to Intellect ratio at 1.1 to 1. This has been very easy for resto druids–in fact, we’ve risked having too much Spirit–just through picking up our tier pieces and emblem items. It is not going to be easy for us to de-emphasize Spirit. We’re going to get stuck with a certain amount of it.

If Spirit is Junk, What Can We Do?

At a certain point, we are limited by the gear available to us. Because one of our cherished techniques–rolling HoTs and then pausing to regen–is about to go the way of the dodo, we’re not going to have a lot that we can actively do during a fight to counter the nerf. The overall advice is going to be “heal less.” There’s no two ways around it–we’re not going to be able to maintain current levels of throughput or coverage in the raid. I can already run myself out of mana, and I’m usually doing so to try to be competitive on the meters. I have a good sense of how long inside the FSR spam casting can last, and even with my current mana regen, it’s only a very few minutes, possibly 6-8, but not 10. In terms of technique, we are going to be swapping glyphed Healing Touch for Nourish. We are also going to be keeping to tighter healing assignments. As S13 put it last night, “Tank healers will stay on tanks and just that.” Sniping heals will no longer be common practice, as we won’t be able to afford it. As for Innervate, which isn’t on the list for a buff and stands to be very greatly affected by the change, I’m expecting that it will still do at least a little something for us–half a mana bar maybe, as it might if you were now in greens with little to no spirit. We’ll probably be glyphing it and using it on ourselves only.

Gear and Gems

In terms of gearing and gemming, we can actually mitigate how much this nerf will hurt us. Despite the laments of many healers, Replenishment seems to be here to stay. The most persuasive argument I’ve seen for preferring this new regen mechanic to the traditional Spirit-based regen is its predictability. It’s admittedly much tidier than giving all dps casters their own native regen mechanics like healers have. To take advantage of Replenishment, we need Intellect and Intellect alone. I don’t expect healers to suddenly be able to roll on gear earmarked for DPS casters, so we will have to be creative to get around our gearing. I expect that, like Innervate, the Spirit World Glass and the Majestic Dragon Figurine will continue to have some use for regen, but the best trinkets in the new order will become, respectively, Je’Tze’s Bell and the Darkmoon Card: Greatness, Intellect version. Malygos’s heretofore lackluster Living Ice Crystals will also be worth equipping. We’ll also be putting yellow intellect gems in our gear where possible. The smartest thing to do would be to buy them now, when they might be selling low, and replace our Spirit and Spellpower gems later. As for a meta gem, we have two choices: Insightful Earthsiege Diamond and Ember Skyflare Diamond. I think the former will be more useful, but it really depends on the levels of Intellect a player is able to attain. As far as enchants go, in some cases we’re stuck with Spirit. There’s not an Intellect or Spellpower option for everything. However, I fully expect to use the Spellpower weapon enchant and Tuskarr’s Vitality for extra speed on my boots. If Spirit is giving a poor return, let’s make the tree go faster. That’s always good for hard content anyway.

Are There Good Effects to the Nerf?

I can think of one consequence of the nerf that will, in the end, favor healers. I know it seems that healing–and healing difficulty–is being made the balance point of encounters in 3.1. However, I am going to forward the radical idea that the difficulty that raiding healers currently experience will not change at all. Over time, guilds tend to take less and less healers to the same encounters. Our sphere of responsibility gets larger as the guild gets “better.” Encounters go faster with more dps, and guilds typically sit out more dps than healers on progression content. These dps want in for the farm content, and the overall load on the healers in the raid becomes greater. In fact, even in an era of enrage timers, one of the best ways to guarantee an easier time at a new encounter is to take one healer more than the most hardcore strategies suggest. I can feel the difference between 5 healer Naxx and 7 healer Naxx, both of which Conquest has done based on the players who happened to show up. I’m predicting that Ulduar is going to feel like the 5-healer Naxx–except that there will be 7-8 healers sharing this load. This change will allow a few new healers to get raid spots. Of course, the shaman (predictably) comes out looking the rosiest after the nerfs–and yes, I’m a little jealous. I’m sure that resto shamans will have many opportunities to join top-notch raiding outfits. Many guilds of all types will be looking to add a new healer to their rosters, and guilds like ours, who are actually carrying extra healers, will be able to dip into their bench. Each one of us can only do so much. We will continue, as now, to do our utmost, and no more can be asked at that point. I expect the standard number of healers for Ulduar encounters to vary between 7 and 9, as it did for most guilds in Black Temple. If Dual Specs come in, there may even be some 10 healer encounters in the future.

A Word of Encouragement

Dear friends, we have all faced the nerf bat before this moment. This current danger to our mana regeneration is in truth no greater evil than the changes to Lifebloom, which we all suffered and survived, though our tanks have taken more spike damage ever since. Some day, we will look back and remember this mana regeneration nerf, as even now we look back on the nerf to Lifebloom. Let us continue on, then, healing faithfully in raids as we always have before.