I actually had to read this a few times to make sure I was reading it correctly. I swear, blue language happens to take a language on its own entirely. It’s like lawyerspeak but for gamers. This is a passage taken from the Firelands Q&A that was released a few days ago.
Q: It can be anticipated that mana regeneration and maximum mana will increase from gearing up with the new Firelands equipment. Isn’t there a possibility that healers can spam big heals again (and more quick heals) just like in WotLK? If so, is there any plan to handle this without class nerfs? – Whitewnd (KR)
A: As damage increases, healers will need to use their largest, most inefficient heals more regularly to keep up. That’s fine and was all part of the design. We just didn’t want players to opt out of mana regeneration too early in the content because then Spirit (and mana-related procs) on gear wouldn’t be attractive, and because we’d have to balance difficulty by making the tanks die in a couple of GCDs if not healed continually. Most progression-oriented healers still want large amounts of Spirit, often in every single slot. As they get more comfortable with their mana, they’ll be able to replace some of that Spirit with other stats, but the Spirit will still be valuable; more Spirit on a set piece for example might mean being able to use a different enchant or reforge on another piece.
This is still a much better place to be than we were with Lich King content, where mana stopped mattering in the first raid tier. Aside from the mana changes we’ve already made to Innervate, Mana Tide Totem and paladin heals, we don’t think an overall regen nerf is necessary.
The first two sentences pretty much gave it away. We started the expansion heavily relying on triage healing to get things done and to be as efficient as we could. Heal was extensively relied on as our filler spell (for Priests). Other healing classes had the same. Drawing back from the previous years and expansions, we knew that as encounters got increasingly difficult, our gear levels would rise with it. The only constant here is mana cost. The mana cost of Flash Heal stays the same whether we’re working on Tier 11 or Tier 15. So we’re seeing a trend where Heal is going to gradually be rotated out of our spell usage in favor of high impact, inefficient spells – Largely because of necessity. It appears that in Firelands onwards, mana neutral spells can’t even be considered anymore.
For example, during the first part of the expansion, I relied on Heal as my filler spell. I was always casting something on players where damage was expected. Now I’m relying mostly on Renew as a filler spell for Holy. I’m hoping healing in the final tiers of Cataclysm aren’t going to be as mind numbing or stressing as they were in Icecrown Heroic. With higher health pools across the board for everyone, we should still have some time to react to incoming damage. Instead of dying in 1-2 shots, players would die in 3-5 shots.
This appears to be part of the design intent (Sentence two). Rising gear levels means larger mana pools and larger secondary stats. We’ll have much more flexibility when it comes to stat allocation. Right now, we need around 2100~ Spirit to function. The rest of it goes to your Mastery, Haste or Crit (Whatever tickles your fancy). From Firelands PTR testing, we’re going to need a little more Spirit for sure to be do our jobs. We’ll have much more stats to move around though.
Have you seen the Discipline numbers on the PTR? 40000+ Divine Aegis crits and absorbs (stemming from the 200% bonus to crit instead of 150%). I wonder if stacking crit and mastery is the way to go. Decisions, decisions!