Circle of Heartbreak: Proposed Fixes

Circle of Heartbreak: Proposed Fixes

959623_64813149

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

Epic Guest Posting Guidelines for the Matticus

Epic Guest Posting Guidelines for the Matticus

SONY DSC

Would the World of Matticus ever feature a guest post from you?

In a word, yes. The first thing you have to remember is that in the World of Matticus, there is but one god: Matticus himself. Guest posts usually happen when I put the word out that I needs help.

In the past year, I’ve opened up guest posting to bloggers and writers that were interested in getting their feet wet. Today, I’m officially announcing the green light for open guests posts as well as setting down guidelines and suggests for writing them. Here’s a few examples for you to consider.

While I admit that my standards are high, I’m not asking you to solo Illidan or do heroic Occulus. What I do want is to illustrate reasons and qualities for a World of Matticus guest post.

Why write a guest post?

Exposure - By writing compelling articles, stories or posts in general on other blogs (not just mine, mind you), you increase your own visibility and exposure. View it as a chance to promote yourself and your work! Now you be thinking to yourself "why write on someone else’s blog when I can augment my own?" I encourage you to think in a different direction. By writing an insanely awesome blog post for another blogger and having it published, that blogger’s audience will want to know more about you and what else you have to offer.

Trial – Not sure if blogging is the right thing for you? At the very fundamental core of blogging is to communicate. You are translating your ideas and visions from your mind onto the screen. Don’t spend time establishing a blog only to discover that writing is difficult for you or that your interest has waned. Do the writing first then build the blog. Try writing a sample post and determine if it’s something you think you’ll enjoy down the road. Web sites come in all sorts of designs and styles. The one thing that all blogs have in common is the display of information.

You’ve decided to write a guest post? Excellent! Here’s a few things you might wish to consider:

Consider the audience

In the beginning, this blog catered towards Holy Priests. As time went on, it slowly included aspects for the raiding Holy Priest. Guild business and leadership was mixed into the blog. A Resto Druid was added. Now it includes material that Guild leaders would be interested in reading.

The majority of readers on World of Matticus are primarily healers, raiders, and bloggers. That’s a pretty wide sphere of influence, if I do say so myself. Keep the audience in mind when you’re writing a post. For example, most healers may not understand certain tanking concepts and you may wish to elaborate more on terms that you’ll be using.

If you’re writing about the nature of Hunters, PvP skills for Warriors, or the latest fashion news on Death Knights, you’ll want to consider another blog unless you can make it relevant for the World of Matticus readers.

What makes this blog appealing for you? Chances are, your answer will be the same as the other many thousands of readers. Browse through the archives to find some of your favourite posts and you’ll get a handle for what works and what doesn’t.

Matticus is beneficial

The one thing I stress most from the team here is to make your information useful. Give the reader something to take with them when they finish.

How does a Discipline Priest react in this raid situation? Did your GM handle a particularly difficult problem in a smooth fashion? Topics like that would be right up the alley in the World of Matticus.

Content in the World of Matticus should help answer problems that players find in the World of Warcraft.

Matticus is professional

I don’t care if you’re on the top 5v5 team in the world, or the best ranked Ret Paladin on WWS. I’m not expecting you to be Dan Brown either.

Sydera, Wynthea and I are really picky. Syd’s a teacher (not high school, but the best one can professionally be). Wyn usually shreds my posts because they’re not technically correct or sound. I harp on the other two if their posts do not look good.

Keep the post as clean looking as possible. White space is good. If necessary, format the post and add images to help spice and liven it up more.

Check your tone. Have a unique style. Make sure what you write can be understood. This isn’t a journal or a computer operations manual. Be clear, be concise. Add some personality. Don’t be afraid to write as if you’re speaking. Be interesting and humorous. Feel free to tell a story to get your point across.

Most importantly, spend as much time on thinking of a title as you do on your post. No other WoW blogger puts as much thought, time or emphasis into post titles as Matticus.

Spell check it.

Fact check it. If you’re not sure about spells or abilities, use WoWHead.

Not all of us are blogging gods by any means (but that Matticus comes close). We’re not the best. We’re only human. Typos will creep in or lawn gnomes will occasionally break a few things. All of us invest a lot of time and care into making our post the best as possible.

Some guest bloggers in the past have been rejected and told to rewrite. Go through multiple drafts. Ask someone in your guild to look it over. World of Matticus does not involve writers who write drafts then immediately publish them. Posts will stew around for days or even weeks if they do’t feel right until a “Eureka” moment strikes.

Sounds great! How do I sign up?

Drop me a line on my contact form. You can include a post within the body of the form there or get in touch with me first and float an idea my way to see how it sounds. I’ll respond with a confirmation and a giant thank you! If I don’t respond within a week, I must’ve not received it or I completely forgot about it. Feel free to poke me with a gentle reminder!

If you have a blog, it’s a good idea to link to your best blog posts. Note that it’s not required that you have a blog.

Image courtesy of Cierpki