Circle of Heartbreak: Proposed Fixes

Circle of Heartbreak: Proposed Fixes

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This a guest post by Jason who examines other ways that Circle of Healing can be “fixed” other than using a cooldown.

Within my guild I’m referred to as the “Pre-Nerf Priest,” lovingly, I’m sure.  However, I’ve recently started getting in-game whispers asking me to heal some heroic “before the nerf hits.”  It’s one thing for gentle ribbing from your guild, those you live, die, and progress with.  It’s a different matter entirely when strangers are bringing it up in the first line of dialogue they’ve ever had with you.  It’s the latter scenario that has really opened my eyes to just how big this coming change is.  Not only are the Priests concerned, but also it appears that every class is painfully aware of what’s to come.

Of course I’m referring to the proposed Circle of Healing nerf coming in patch 3.0.8.  For the uninitiated, Circle of Healing is the spell responsible for life on this planet, grants Chuck Norris-like invincibility allowing all DPS to AoE at will with no ill consequences whatsoever, and (rumor has it) Circle of Healing has beaten WoW.

Twice.

Alright, so maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration. Circle of Healing (CoH) is actually one of four AoE healing spells available to Holy Priests, and the only one requiring a specific talent build as it’s the 41-point talent in the Holy tree. CoH heals five targets in the party or raid within 15 yards of the target. It is one of two spells that can effect targets in the entire raid, and it and Wild Growth (Druid specific ability) are the only instant-cast AoE heal in the game with no cool down timer. In that last part we find our problem.

Blizzard has expressed concern with the over-use of CoH by holy Priests. I’ve personally witnessed usage up to 50-60%. Blizz reports that there are individuals out there who are using it 70% of the time or more. Understandably, they feel that if we’re leaning on the spell this heavily, it’s overpowered.

The proposed nerf is a 6-second cool down to be applied to the spell.  To me this means the spell isn’t healing for too much, it’s an issue with the raw number of times it’s being cast in a raid/dungeon. Their developers and designers put a lot of hard work into those other spells, and dang-it, you need to use them more!

For me, CoH has always been that emergency spell I can pull out of my pocket when things are out of hand or when the boss mechanic calls for it.  Those accidental patrol pulls with vicious AoE, Loatheb’s 4-second window to heal, Malygos’s Vortex ability are all examples of situations where CoH is a godsend and can save a raid.  This is the true value of the spell: the utility of it.  Yes, the 6-second cool down would indeed lower the number of times a Priest can use CoH in an encounter, but it also removes all the previously mentioned utility and, to me, removes all purpose and uniqueness from the spell. 

Further, how creative is a 6-second cool down?  Come on Blizz, you can do better.  However, since you seem set on your solution, let me propose a few of my own.  The idea here is to create a limitation on the use of CoH by giving the players a choice with consequences, as well as retain the core purpose of the spell. 

Think of healing as a water balloon fight. Throwing a water balloon at a single target is relatively easy.  You have one balloon, one target, and two hands (in most cases).  You’re clearly well equipped for this task.  Now take 5 water balloons (6 if you have a special piece of paper stuffed into a book) and hit the 5 driest targets at the same time.  Not so easy is it?  Not only do you have to aim these 5 harbingers of the soak, but it also takes 5 times the effort to throw them.

Yes, you could alleviate the additional strain by waiting 6 seconds between tosses to make up for the additional strain.  However, the purpose of all these water balloons is to make a lot of people wet, fast, in the case of a heat wave.  What do you do?  You have two choices.  Toss progressively smaller and lighter water balloons until you are no longer able to do so, or continue to strain with the same size balloons, throwing slower and slower until your arms give out.  At that point you rest, recover your strength, and are able to resume barraging your victims… err… targets. 

So let’s apply this to CoH with some game-specific mechanics.  While there are several ways to do this, I’m going to mention the two that makes the most sense to me:

Holy Exertion
– Casting CoH causes the debuff “Holy Exertion” to appear on the caster.  The debuff lasts for 6 seconds and can stack up to X number of times, with each cast of CoH refreshing the debuff timer.  Each additional debuff lowers the effectiveness of CoH by a set amount in one of three ways (not all three, just pick one):

  • With each use of CoH within the 6 second window, one less target receives the heal until it reaches 0.
  • Each cast heals for Y% less healing until the amount healed reaches 0.  So if Y is 25%, then after four CoH casts within a 6-second window, you have 6             seconds before casting it will generate heals again.
  • Increased mana usage.  Each cast within the debuff window requires 50% more mana, for example. 

Holy Exhaustion – Similar to the above mechanic with a 6 second timer on a “Holy Exhaustion” debuff, however, there is a more severe penalty for over-using CoH.  In this case, all of your healing spells would be impacted by your decision to use, or not use CoH.  See the following two possibilities:

  • Every time you cast CoH while the debuff is active, you become exhausted.  Each cast causes some percentage decline in your haste rating.  For example, you cast CoH once, the debuff becomes active, no haste penalty.  You cast it again within that 6-second window, and you take a 5% haste penalty.  Again and it’s 10%, then 15%, and so on and so forth.  Sure, this won’t impact CoH as it’s an instant heal, but 6 seconds with a flash or greater heal that takes 50% longer to cast could be fatal to a tank or dps player.
  • The other option is that once the debuff reaches a specific number, you are exhausted and can no longer cast any spells for 6 seconds.

So why are these better solutions to the problem than just slapping on a 6-second cool down?  These allow the spell to remain true to its design and purpose while adding a degree of penalty if over-used.  Now instead of spamming CoH, or under the proposed solution, hitting it and counting to 6, we have to analyze the fight on the fly.  Is it worth taking a possible haste reduction or losing all my heals for 6 seconds to get off this one last CoH? 

Blizzard has said they want to make healing “more fun” and move away from the whack-a-mole model we currently have.  I think they have a great opportunity to start moving in that direction with the CoH change.  Let the players know the risks and weigh the consequences.  Give us something with substance to it, not just another bland spell we’ll tap every 6 seconds.

Image courtesy of woodsy

Guides to 3.0.2

Didn’t feel the need to do one of my own. Already technically contributed to the Priest column (and really inaccurately at that).

Happy patch day!

Most likely not going to update a whole lot of addons. Not sure how much more we’re going to raid. Just going to update raidframes and thats it. Going to try to configure key bindings via WoW default interface (Thats going to be fun).

To do list

  • UBRS for the Leeroy title
  • Leveling every capital city and smashing said leaders
  • World domination

Might squeeze in some study time in there. Who knows?

Priests: Matt Needs Your Help!

My bosses at WoW Insider have commissioned me to write a piece on how Priests will change in Wrath. Specifically, how we can adapt to all the changes that are going on. But, I need your help. I’ve played Naxx and Obsidian Sanctum extensively. I’ve done a few 5 mans. Things have become second nature to me now.

Ask me questions. I’m giving myself 72 hours so I can have this piece for your Sunday morning consumption. 24 hours right now to gather as many questions as possible, another 24 to pick out the ones that I think are the most important, and another 24 to go in game, get the shots, get the techniques, and get the evidence I need to share with you what I’m doing and why.

Paladins, Druids, Shammies sorry, I can’t help you here. But feel free to ask anyway! Maybe you have some questions about synergy between other healing classes. It doesn’t have to be just Priests.

I’ve dedicated myself to helping this community. But I can’t do it alone. There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

I’ll be pulling questions from this Plusheal thread that Doug started and from any comments that I garner from here as well.

A Note about Doomsday Raiding and Multiple Authors

A Note about Doomsday Raiding and Multiple Authors

It just occurred to me that a lot of readers tend to skip over anything that’s italicized. As a result, if you read the Doomsday Raiding column this morning that was written by my Guildmate Aylii you might’ve missed that subtle fact. Although there were some particularly stinging comments directed towards me, I definitely will not shy away from them.

Aylii came to me late last night and raised some points about it. I encouraged her to run with the idea and I’d help her make any technical edits and formatting along the way. I couldn’t pen the post myself as I was already committed to a last minute Karazhan and Arena point earning (which by the way culminated in Brutal Gladiator’s Mail Leggings for my Elemental Shaman and Brutal Gladiator’s Mooncloth Gloves for my Priest).

I’m delighted at the discussion that’s happening. One camp’s just shrugging it off and believe it isn’t going to be a big deal. The other thinks that it’s something worth stopping and pausing over.

My personal belief? Whether or not there are sweeping changes, I will welcome them with open arms and adjust to them as necessary. I’ve never really been one to complain about changes to classes or gear or what not. I’d discuss it, analyze it and try to give a thoughtful opinion about it. But I’ve always been one to accept changes to the game without fuss. Because I know that despite how much I may hate changes, I will always be a fan of this game and I know I will play this game for a long time. Even Starcraft 2 will only hold my interest for so long before I come back to WoW because so far no other game has offered the type of experience that WoW offers.

So I can either spend my time depressed about the patch or I can spend it constructively and devise new tricks to take advantage of it. And that is the way of Matticus.

Back to the post, I probably should have spent more time editing it and back checking it myself. My fault entirely and I certainly deserve all the criticism mentioned in the post. Everyone makes mistakes except when I make mistakes, it’s viewed by over 1500 people =D.

Identity Crisis

I’ve had difficulties in the past trying to ensure that guest bloggers and writers would get the proper credit they deserve. A post by Wyn announcing open season recruiting by her guild had readers think that it was Carnage which was recruiting (Matt’s guild).

Currently, I’m experimenting with a WordPress plugin called Post Avatar which would give authors the ability to embed a picture or a graphic to their post to help visually differentiate it even further. Italicizing and other text effects have failed me. I want to make sure that anyone who writes and anyone’s work who I showcase gets the proper credit that they deserve. I toyed with the idea of setting up individual accounts for people, but for security and practical reasons I shot that down. I may yet revisit that idea later on.

guest-post Ergo, I’ve decided to (at least as a temporary measure) append a little graphic in the corner of guest posts to serve as a gentle reminder that although it’s a damn thumpin’ good post, it’s not written by me.

(Mental reminder to crop out the whitespace on the left and top part of the image)

Guest posts right now usually have a little emphasized blurb at the top along with a link back to the original author’s blog, if applicable. Right now, if I were to publish a guest post, it would say that I have written it. Again, for practical purposes, it’s being served under my administrative account even though I was not the original author.

Now let’s hope it works!

On another side note, I hoped you’ve enjoyed today’s SYTYCB posts! You’ll be getting 3 more tomorrow with the remaining 2 on Thursday!

My raid’s been cancelled tonight which is a mixed blessing for me. That does give me ample time to work on the 3.0 version of Matticus, however.

Cheers and have a good evening!

Going Priestly in Patch 2.4: Things Adam Holisky of WoW Insider Forgot to Mention

Going Priestly in Patch 2.4: Things Adam Holisky of WoW Insider Forgot to Mention

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Photo courtesy of Carey Tilden

A couple of days ago, WoW Insider had a quick summary article on Priests and what they can look to expect in 2.4. Although Adam Holisky was able to nail some of updates that were made to the Priests, there were a few things that he might have glazed over. But don’t worry! Matticu^ will save the day!

The Technical

  • The amount of players that can be Mass Dispelled has dOubled. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the radius has improved in size any. At least during phase 2 of the Zul’Jin fight, you’ll only need one Priest to Mass Dispel now.
  • Power Infusion: Perhaps this is the one change that could very well fly under the radar. Discipline Priests are still considered a rarity in raids. Unfortunately, it can’t be stacked with other haste-like effects (IE, Heroism) but with the proper coordination, I do think it can be chained one after the other for longer periods of heavy fire power. Is it possible to PI a mage, then pop Heroism, then blow Icy Veins or some such? To my Knowledge, there are no drawbacks or debuffs. Lucky mage that would be, I think.
  • Silent Resolve: Nice. It now affects more spells. Too bad most Priests I know don’t spec into Silent Resolve. Why? Because real PvE Priests know how to manage their aggro. If you’re PvPing, I totally understand.
  • Kirk broke this news first courtesy of an email he received. Now I may be Asian but my math skills are T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E. He’s calculated that with the rigt talent points in the Disc tree (namely, Enlightenment) there is a potential for 33% mana regen to continue in combat.
  • I notice I don’t have to drink as often during raids. Before, I topped out at around 296 MP5 while casting with consumables. Now I hit about 340ish with full ‘onsumables.

The Gearical

  • When (and I do mean when, because I know everyone’s going to want to hit exalted) you manage to grind your way up, there’s a nice neck piece just waiting for you. It’s the Shattered Sun Pendant of Restoration. It goes for a c0ol 23g. The only stats it has is Stamina. So you don’t get Int or Spirit. It’s also got some healing on it. For some reason, I smell Holy PaladiN trinket, but I could be wrong. Anyway, it has a chance on heal to proc a different effect depending on whether you are Ald0r or Scryer. The Aldor proc is known as Light’s Salvation which increases healing done by 220 over 10 seconds. The Scryer proc is known as Arcane Surge which instantly heals a target for 618 – 682 (Source comments: WoWDB, WoWHead, WoWWiki). This item is listed as level 115 which is supposed to be on par with Shining Chain of the Afterworld. I’m going to assume that there is a hidden coldown of some sort, but I have yet to find out what it is. I won’t be replacing Lord Sanguinar’s Claim, that’s for sure.
  • Finally there is now a purchasable blue 1H for freshman 70 Priests to use. You won’t have to rely on the auction house to pick up the Essence Focuser. For a nominal fee of four daily quest rewards (43g), you can have K’iru’s Presage.
  • Vial of the Sunwell. Obtainable in Heroic Magisters Terrace. It’s got nice MP5 on it, and it’s a guaranteed 2000 heal every 2 minutes. I’m not too sure about this one, to be quite honest.
  • Start saving up or pumping out Primal Mooncloth. You’ll need it for both the Robe of Eternal Light and Hands of Eternal Light. They require 20 Primal Mooncloh and 18 Primal Mooncloth respectively in order to craft. The items are bind on pickup. Sweet deal for the lucky Sunwell Raiders.

The Face Melters

  • With the changes made to haste, I think Shadow Priests are going to take a good hard look at that as a stat to invest in since it alters global cooldowns. Hey! Shadow Priests! Is haste changes good or bad? Educate me so I can educate everyone else! I don’t have an idea!

No doubt I’ll have forgotten a few important other important things. Suffice it to say, this latest patch does have a few things all of us varsity Priests or otherwise can look forward to. Any other substantial, earth shattering changes that raiding Holy Priests might stand to be aware of?

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