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).

Chain Heal Rises as Circle of Healing Falls

Chain Heal Rises as Circle of Healing Falls

This is a guest post by Lodur, a blogger from Way of the Totem. Today, he examines the nerf to Circle of Healing, the impact it will have to Resto Shamans and how they may need to compensate.

The patch notes can be found here: PTR Patch Notes!

This is going to be important to us in several ways, not least of which is the change to some of the other classes. I’d like to offer my opinion on it. Let’s take a look at priests.

Holy: Circle of Healing now has a 6 second cooldown.

This is going to be extremely important to us. The fact that Circle of Healing is getting a 6 second cooldown is huge. My current experience with CoH raiding priests is they blow group healing out of the water. One of our Shadow priests rolled over to Holy to fill a gap for raiding in 25 man Naxx. With no gear change, he was able to blow past me in healing output while maintaining mana. Now I’m not suggesting that we need to be the kings of the roost, nor am I doubting the abilities of this priest, but it was a difference of almost half a million pure healing output over the next closest.

In a normal raid you would find a few percentage difference between the top 4 or 5. maybe 1-2% difference. Between healer in first and second was a whopping 6%. As someone who has poured over stats and combat logs after raids trying to figure out how to keep the tanks up while maintaining the raid’s health, let me tell you, that’s a lot. The higher the discrepancy between places, the more over-healing there is, the more mana issues during the actual encounter is, and so on.

This "nerf" to CoH to me, is an attempt to try to bring the spell back into line and make healing more consistent. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, I do however think 6 seconds is going to be a bit much of a cooldownn, but only time will tell as the PTR is being run. I’ve been pestering my priests about it, so we’ll see what they say. In the meantime it means we should be preparing for another reliable group heal not being as powerful or present as it was before, we should be ready to pick up the slack so to speak.

I’ve gone on and on about the joys of haste, you can see it here For those that don’t remember there is a formula we follow to figure out the cast time of your spells and how it’s affected by haste. And look, here it is!

newcasttime

Importance of Haste Rating

If you want to spam your chain heals and heal a raid it’s time to start looking at your haste gear and to start looking at your glyphs.

First of all you should be shooting for somewhere near 350-400 haste. 340 haste with a Wrath of Air totem will net you a 2.2 second Chain Heal cast time.

Your goal should be around a 2.0s cast time on your chain heal.

This will allow for your Global Cool Down to be up but also allow you to keep a constant stream of CH casting. By using the formula above we see that 2.0 seconds = 820 haste rating, however one must take into account the haste around you in a raid. The trend of almost every raiding guild I’ve seen has been to include at least one Retribution Paladin, and lets face it, Balance Druids have come a long way since vanilla and have found their way into raids quite frequently.

I’m going to make the assumption that you’ll have at least a Ret Paladin. So we can assume you’ll have 350ish haste, Wrath of Air totem down and a Ret paladin, your chain heal will be 2.2 seconds. Not bad. If you snag yourself the all holy Egg (which currently does not have a cooldown on the proc) the proc will put you at a 1.9 second cast time. This is good as this thing procs off just about everything. You can see more about the egg proccing in my post here. Now the reason you want to shoot for a 2.0 second cast time is other haste effects. Heroism / Bloodlust give you 30% increase in your casting speed. If you push too much haste, when you use it you will push yourself past your global cooldown timer, causing you to trip over your heals and keeps you from being able to heal effectively.

Glyphs

To go with your haste gear you should also be looking at glyphs. If you are going to be raid healing I have three major suggestions.

  • Glyph of Water Mastery: Will help keep your mana supply coming in good order (30% counts for a lot more then you would normally assume),
  • Glyph of Chain Heal: Necessary. The extra target just makes the spell even more effective. This again allows it to claim the title as most mana efficient heal around.
  • Glyph of Earthliving Weapon This one is a must for a few reasons. First, the Earthliving Weapon ability can proc of any heal, and each target of Chain Heal counts towards it proccing. Second, is the fact that the egg procs off HoT ticks. So, with chain heal delivering Earth Living to everyone and ensuring you have 4 targets and more then likely a HoT up at all times, your egg should be giving you an almost constant 505 haste. Pushing you right at 1.9 – 1.8s chain heals constantly allowing you to keep that raid nice and topped off.

Mana Regen

Now I’m sure many of you are asking "but what about mana regen?"

MP5, the magic shaman stat, is still present. If you are collecting gear based on haste, much of it also comes with a healthy dose of MP5. With that said, it is well within reason to have around 350 haste while still being able to pull off close to 550 mp5 while in combat. Once you reach your haste number, start getting a few pieces with MP5 in spades and everything will be fine.

On the topic of MP5 we do have a change on the horizon that will help with this.

On the PTR currently we see these:

Healing Way: Now only one application is required to reach full benefit. No longer stacks.

Improved Water Shield: Lesser Healing Wave now has a reduced chance to trigger this talent WOOOOOO.

First, of all lets talk improved Water shield. On a crit of Lesser Healing Wave or Riptide It will consume a charge of water shield, giving you the mana return as if you were hit. This is fine and dandy but in the heat of a battle, there are times you won’t be able to give up the Global Cool Down to put it back up instead of healing. A reduction in the proc rate down from 100% is very very good as it allows the orbs to stay up giving use more passive mana regeneration, which will come out to more overall MP5 in the long run.

Second, the change to Healing Way means we only have to plop down one Healing Wave instead of the 3 we normally would have, which means we can conserve that mana and still get the full effect.

Front loading the effect was an amazing move on the part of Blizzard.

That’s it for my thoughts on this patch at this time. I’m currently waiting on a response from my priests as far as their input goes on the talent change, but in the meantime, be prepared to step up and fill the gap.

Happy healing!