# Healing Theory, Part 4: Comparison of No-Cooldown Heals

Previous posts in this series can be found here.

The background and motivation for the heal comparison I did here is in the previous post; I recommend you read that if you haven’t. The goal is to compare all of the “filler” heals of various classes, although I may be defining that a bit differently from what you expect. It basically means, anything you can keep casting nonstop. The idea is is that you’re limited in how many Wild Growths or Penances or Healing Rains you can cast due to their cooldown. So if we put aside all of those spells, what we’re left with the spells that are primarily controlled by mana–they’re what to use to turn most of your mana (everything that’s not used on your rotational spells) into healing. The efficiency of the latter spells, the spammable or filler heals, is largely what determines the marginal value of mana for your class.

The goal is to focus on a specific set of heals that’s somewhat limited in scope (i.e. not building a full spreadsheet for every class’s rotation) but is informative on an important cross-class issue, one that’s motivated by the other recent posts I’ve written. The primary result of this is finally having some concrete sense of the relative value of Spirit, but there are other conclusions to be found as well.

# The Data

It’s a bit awkward to present spreadsheet computations in the post. I’m going to give a link to the sheet I was working in, and a screenshot (but you can’t see the formulas), along with a lot of explanation. I’m definitely interested in feedback from class experts on whether I left out anything important. It was a lot of work to try to look up everything I had to take into account for each healing class to give a meaningful and accurate account of the efficiency of a single spell. I tried to pick up the most prominent spells for each class (and some that I was just curious about), but should be able to add anything people suggest that fits the concept.

Screenshot (5/23):

This is a continuation of my Theorycraft 101 post that introduced trinket uptimes and RPPM. I’m going to assume here that you read that post. The main audience for this post is people trying to any theorycraft work, whether making a full-blown spreadsheet or simply doing a standalone calculation about some trinket. You should be able to find the equation you need here without needing to redo a lot of work.

A bit of terminology from last time:

• PPM is the proc’s built-in PPM constant.
• H is your haste factor (1 + your average haste %)
• D (used below) will be the duration of a buff

Our first basic conclusion was that if you ignore the possibility of proc overlaps, the uptime of a proc is:

$PPM \cdot D \cdot H / 60$

We called this value $\lambda$ (lambda) for any given trinket. It’s a good approximation of uptime as long as uptime is low (overlaps are unlikely), and it will also come into many later results. Conceptually, $\lambda$ is the ratio of the buff’s duration to its mean proc time.

The next conclusion was that if you account for the possibility of overlaps, the uptime is:

$1 - e^{-\lambda}$

# Various comments on Bioshock Infinite

Not exactly a comprehensive organized review, but just a series of reactions I had. Focusing more on gameplay than narrative elements, since the latter has been discussed everywhere and the former is where I have some specific criticisms I want to highlight.

First though, a few loose comments on story (since I want to remain spoiler-free for now). The best part is the plot structure and associated twists. The game does have its “would you kindly” moment for sure, and the most important part of a story that visibly about a running mystery like this is that the reveal is properly anticipated (but not too overtly) by what came before it. In this they succeeded. It is rather enjoyable, bordering on necessary, to replay at least the opening portion of the game immediately after seeing the ending. You’ll feel some disbelief at the sheer density of clues, foreshadowing, and double meanings to which you were completely oblivious the first time.

The other story/atmosphere points I want to touch on are really gameplay comments in disguise. Combat based on big, open set pieces was new to the Shock series, and a setting that still “alive” was also new. Regardless of what you think of these individually, their mixture causes some deep problems with suspension of disbelief. Doing FPS-y stuff like looting everything in sight and leaving piles of bodies everywhere and fighting pitched battles with squadrons of enemies does not jive with a living, breathing city that you’re trying to take seriously as an immersive environment. I know you do those things in every FPS, but most FPSs don’t take a city and its identity as their main character. In Bioshock you explored Rapture once it was dead, and learned very vividly what it was like when it was alive. Deviating from that setup did not bring much of anything new to the table, and only caused Infinite to slide more into familiar FPS tropes than its predecessor.

# Bullying is Such a Joke: Problems with the RPG Kickstarter

Last week, a Kickstarter campaign called “9 Year Old Building an RPG to Prove Her Brothers Wrong!” launched, and so far has raised over $20,000 using the marketing strategy that a child’s brothers mocked her plans to go to an RPG-building camp. Therefore, she needs Kickstarter to give her$800 to attend the camp. Rewards for donating $10,000 were added soon after, in which the brothers would apologize for being mean to their sister. No details have been given as to their mean behavior, and it may have been even used as a joke–a joke that was marketed as a serious issue to donors. The project also liberally throws around STEM as a buzzword and links itself to several legitimate issues: harassment against women, and a drastic imbalance between men and women in technology fields. Many parts of this Kickstarter were handled badly, but the part that stood out to me the most was the child exploitation angle. While not a violation of the Kickstarter ToS, interpreting the situation any way is problematic. Before Susan Wilson clarified the intent behind the bullying and gender angles recently, I interpreted the situation in two ways: • If the brothers were bullying their younger sister, the result is that the mother chose to commercialize and encourage the strife instead of putting an end to the bullying. Their bullying was left unchecked to fit into a tidy fundraising narrative, with an apology from the brothers only coming as a$10,000 stretch goal reward. An apology isn’t something you deserve if you only raise money. The whole message of this is that the child needs to rely on the goodwill and credit cards of outsiders, hoping she needs to sell her story well enough, to put an end to bullying.
• If they were having run-of-the-mill sibling rivalry, then the author exaggerated and fabricated events for publicity. This option of faking a situation to pander to a tired tried-and-true narrative is scummy in an equally bad way, that will damage the children when they grow up and realize they were publicly villanized for money. Or, it will encourage lying in the future as a way to make situations more marketable to get ahead in life.

# Healing Theory, Part 3: Mana and other Resources

In the first two posts in the sequence, we started building a foundation of how to think about the task of healing, and conducted a basic survey of how all the various stats might impact your performance. As promised in the last post, this is going to be a whole piece focusing on how to make decisions concerning mana (and secondary resources if your class has them). It will also finally bring us back around to the issue that started me down this whole train of thought in Mists.

## Beyond Spirituality

Everyone accepts what the purposes of Int, mastery, crit, and haste are: to do more healing. You can do more healing in a given amount of time, you can do more healing with a given amount of mana (haste doesn’t actually do this, but that’s not for this post), and ultimately you can keep more people alive over the course of an entire encounter. The first premise of this article is that Spirit is no different. If you’re using a stat, it must be for the purpose of doing more healing, and its value is determined by how much more you can do (usual disclaimer applies throughout–”more healing” doesn’t necessarily mean more meter healing, it means fulfulling your healing tasks more consistently). In order to be worth using, Spirit has to pull its weight by allowing you do more than you could do with an equal amount of crit or mastery. I want to stress how different this is from viewing it as an independent requirement of some kind, a sort of “you must be this tall to ride” minimum to survive any encounter, before you can worry about other stats. It’s a stat like any other, and if it doesn’t pay its dues in terms of added performance, you’re free to replace it with a stat that does.

So what does Spirit do for you? It lets you use your non-cooldown heals more frequently. I’ll only briefly recapitulate the basic dichotomy between cooldown and non-cooldown heals here; it’s appeared in every one of my MoP healing posts thus far. Remember from the previous post that well over half, possibly as much as 3/4 depending on class, of your total available mana is from sources other than Spirit. Even if you had 0 Spirit, you’d be just fine casting your core short-cooldown heals as much as you wanted (Wild Growth, Penance, Holy Shock, Renewing Mist, Riptide, etc.). These heals are cheap and powerful, and form a sort of healing “baseline” that’s mostly unchanged by added mana reserves beyond what you start with. The most important point is that if you find you’re coming up short to cast these at the end of a fight, it is not because of insufficient Spirit. You budgeted your mana poorly and spent too much on less-efficient no-cooldown heals earlier in the fight.

# Strategy Guide for “Trial of the Naaru: Mercy”

This a post I wrote on my guild forum to try to help people in my raid team do this quest: Trial of the Naaru: Mercy. (In 2007).

It’s not just me who thinks of Shattered Halls as the “original” Challenge Mode. It’s a comparison that comes up time and time again, to pretty much anyone who’s been WoW seriously for long enough to remember that zone (up to and including the designers who made Challenge Modes, who have cited Shattered Halls as an inspiration). My recollection is that a SH clear with the best time (saving all three prisoners) was distinctly harder than a Bronze at a typical Challenge Mode. It was probably more akin to Silver, when you take into account that mechanics were somewhat meaner back then, but the timing didn’t emphasize the “race” aspect as much; you mostly just wanted to clear without wiping.

Talking about this just now I remembered that, since I was the raid leader of a somewhat serious progression guild in those days, I had strategy posts on the guild forum about everything, including the Trial of Mercy (which was needed to attune to Tempest Keep until they did away with that in later patches). I thought people might find it interesting to see a description of what that zone contained. For now it’s a straight copy of the notes I made to try to get guild groups through the zone, no edits at all. When I have more time I might elaborate further (also, skimming my long strategy posts for each boss in original Naxxramas gave a burst of nostalgia; it might be interesting to make a post out of those somehow).

# The Glorification of Abuse in 50 Shades

Recently, E.L. James gave an interview in which she brushed off concerns that 50 Shades of Grey glorifies abusive relationships, and implied that anyone who is concerned simply doesn’t understand BDSM. This part in particular has upset many readers:

James says she “freaks out” when she hears people say that her book encourages domestic violence. “Nothing freaks me out more than people who say this is about domestic abuse,” she says. “Bringing up my book in this context trivializes the issues, doing women who actually go through it a huge disservice. It also demonizes loads of women who enjoy this lifestyle, and ignores the many, many women who tell me they’ve found the books sexually empowering.”

You can read the whole thing here.

In addition, she’s been blocking people who raise abuse concerns on her twitter feed and referring to them as trolls. In response to this mess, @50ShadesAbuse has been recently created to raise awareness of E. L. James’ failure to realize that touting her book as a realistic manual to finding the perfect relationship is misleading and potentially dangerous. A lot of people could stomach the phenomenon of this book’s popularity better if it were treated as fiction instead of a realistic, safe, or healthy model.

Unfortunately, that feed’s creation has also unearthed many rabid and often contradictory defenses of 50 Shades. You should read Jenny Trout’s excellent and calm rebuttal of all of these arguments.

This brings me to the point of my own post. I’m often lightly snarking 50 Shades on Twitter and here, but haven’t fully laid out what bothers me so much about it. There’s a danger of sounding redundant with so many recent excellent blog posts out there, but since E. L. James uses her clout to silence people who voice their opinions, the more awareness raised, the better.

# Challenge Mode Primer

Challenge Modes were by far the feature I was most looking forward to in MoP; it’s fair to say they’re primarily why I resubbed after my long break. A few weeks ago I finally had the time/opportunity to get a regular weekend group going, and we’re getting close to completing all of the gold times. This actually brings me to my first point about challenge modes–even after a few months delay on getting started, they’re still exactly the same content for me as they were for the people who did them in the first few weeks. Unlike raid content, I can start whenever I have time and not have missed out on doing it as it was when the expansion was fresh, before everyone outgeared it, etc. That’s pretty novel.

I’ve been putting video guides of zones I’ve finished so far here. I do think those should be helpful for anyone who’s trying to learn any specific instance. But I also wanted to make a post with general information on things you might want to know before making a challenge mode group.

This is primarily for people who are trying to get good at the zones to achieve a certain time (whether your time goal is gold or something lower). If you’re just looking to run a zone once for a daily, which is incidentally the fastest way to get VP, it doesn’t apply as much.

# Problems with Food in 50 Shades — Book 2

First off, big thanks to @Jenny_Trout for linking my post on the first book on her great 50 Shades recaps. She’s currently working on an awesome book in response to 50 Shades, called The Boss. This is radical for several reasons: it presents a BDSM romance in which the submissive heroine is not a doormat and the dom is not an asshole, but I think the really crazy thing here is that the heroine works hard, likes to eat, respects her friends, and worries about paying the rent. Chapters will be posted for free twice each month, and I’m very excited to see how this unfolds.

If you’re new here, much of this blog covers game-related topics, but I do have another 50 Shades piece from the summer. It’s called 50 Shades of WoW and mashes up the game my website covers with the awfulness of 50 Shades.

Anyway, onto food in Book 2:

Christian ordering Ana to eat gets really fucking weird in the second book. We learn he’ll stop ordering her around to eat when he wants sex, even when minutes ago he appeared so worried she was starving. He doesn’t appear genuinely concerned for her at all: ordering her to eat is just another way he can control her when he can’t control her with sex.

This book makes the first book seem healthy in comparison. I’m going to organize this book slightly differently and summarize all the food references for each day, because some days have plot arcs that center around food consumption. These chapters are also laced with control about Ana’s body–from “small” things like arguing to let her drive with music on, to majorly wtf things like forcing her to use birth control because he dislikes condoms, even down to scheduling appointments without her knowledge.

# Healing Theory, Part 2: A Tour of Your Character Sheet

My last post was a trip back to the fundamentals of healing, and claimed to be the beginning of a series where we build from that to more detailed analysis of the various healing classes. There’s still a little ways to go before we’re ready (both in terms of my math work on healing classes, and in terms of laying the foundation in posts) for very detailed cross-class comparison or balance discussion. But let’s get a little less abstract than the first time around, and look at some stats. Along the way we’ll not only relate back to the principles of the previous post, but finally have some foundation to approach the throughput and regen questions of the earlier Int vs. Spirit post.

## Spellpower

All heals scale linearly with spellpower–there’s a base heal amount and then a spellpower term with some coefficient particular to each heal. An interesting point in MoP is that for nearly all heals, the base amount is scaled to be roughly 11,000 times the coefficient. For example, Divine Light has a mean base heal of 16817 and a coefficient of 149%, a ratio of 11287. For the HoT portion of Lifebloom, the base heal of each tick is 9315/15 = 621, and the coefficient is 5.7%, for a ratio of 10894. I actually don’t know of any heals off the top of my head that don’t follow this, but there are probably a few.

The significance is that heals tend to scale in proportion with each other as your spellpower increases. With 11000 spellpower, they all do twice as much as they do with 0, and so on. Since for raiding purposes, your spellpower is affected by a 10% buff, the better rule of thumb is that the base heal is worth 10,000 spellpower. This is handy to keep in mind, as it gives you a concrete picture of what a spellpower increase means to you. If you had 20,000 spellpower when you started raiding and now you have 30,000, you can expect that all of your heals are healing for 1/3 more than what they were before (and that’s before mastery scaling and any other benefits you might have).