Healing Theory, Part 5: Haste

Previous posts in this series can be found here. In particular, the Haste section of Part 2 might be useful background.

Haste is the most complex of the healing stats, and often appears to be the least well understood. Its effect is a combination of added throughput, increased mana consumption, and increased HoT healing due to those “haste breakpoints” that are so easy to look up online but so hard to evaluate in importance. Part 2 in this series, linked above, gave some high-level comments on the behavior of haste, and generally concluded that based on its basic function, it’s likely to be unattractive. I said that I would dig into its effects on a class-by-class basis in the future, and that is what I’m doing in this post.

Incidentally, this post is written from a patch 5.4 perspective. Among various other things, haste will have no effect on the RPPM proc rate of the legendary meta (and legendary cloak), greatly simplifying the analysis.

Concepts

First, a slightly different framework for how haste effects the two main categories of spells. We’ll refer to this throughout the post.

1) Non-HoTs. Haste does not increase the healing per cast (HPC), nor therefore, the healing per mana (HPM). It increases the healing per cast time (HPCT) by 1% every 425 rating. It is worth pointing out for comparison that a typical mastery, like Druid, Holy Priest, or Paladin, increases all of these metrics (HPC, HPM and HPCT) by 1% per 480 rating. In general even from a pure HPCT (spam throughput) perspective, haste tends to be only slightly ahead of stats that increase your healing on a per-cast basis.

2) HoTs. Haste now increases the HPC. An important point I want to press on: in the long run, haste still increases the HPC by 1% per 425 rating. The “haste breakpoint” (HBP) phenomenon means that that increase to HPC comes in clumps, but the average gain is unchanged. Especially late in the expansion when the difference between a high-haste and low-haste build may be 20000 rating, it’s this overall scaling pattern that generally determines the relative attractiveness of the two. HBPs tell you what haste points to “snap” to in your reforging, but generally don’t control the overall value of haste. The only general exception is the first non-automatic HBP for any important spell, which requires a smaller investment to reach.

Haste2

What about the HPCT of HoTs? After all, if the HPC of HoTs increases, and the cast time comes down, the HPCT should increase like the square of haste. Here is the second important point: nearly all important HoTs have cooldowns or other mechanisms that prevent this. Wild Growth, Healing Rain, Renewing Mist, Riptide, Healing Stream Totem, and Sanctuary have cooldowns. Rejuvenation and Renew have fixed 1-second GCDs. Lifebloom and Efflorescence are persistent and only allow one concurrent instance. The only notable cases where haste increases both the tick count of a HoT and the frequency with which it can be applied are Eternal Flame (tricky, see Paladin section below), Glyphed Riptide, and Tree of Life.

Summarizing: Haste increases HPC for HoTs but not for other spells. Non-haste stats increase HPC for all spells. Haste increases HPCT for (generally) all spells, but so do non-haste stats, and haste rarely gives a double benefit, so this factor is close to being a wash. Also, HPC is the more important metric than HPCT since firstly, mana is a relevant factor to healing, and secondly, many (most) important spells have cooldowns and cannot be spammed.

The key factor then in evaluating haste for any class is the portion of its total output that consists of HoTs. If a class gets 20% of its output from HoTs, there is essentially no way to justify spending rating to increase that portion of your healing by 1% per 425 rating, instead of increasing all your healing by 1% per 480 rating (or a similar amount depending on the class and stat in question). If a class gets 90% of its healing from HoTs, then in the long run, increasing that 90% by 1% per 425 rating is likely to be the strongest stat allocation.

Since most of the classes wind up with a little more nuance to the analysis that this, I’m going to move through them one at a time, rather than simply posting some WoL breakdowns and being done.

Disc Priest

I’m going to start with an easy one. Disc has the DoT component of Holy Fire and that’s all (ignoring an occasional Renew, if that). The DoT is about 1/6 of Holy Fire, which is itself a few percent of Disc healing. With only a negligible portion of heals having their per-cast strength improved by haste, the attraction of haste for this spec is nil.

One related issue: haste lets you cast more Prayers of Healing during the 10-second duration of Spirit Shell. But of course, what matters isn’t the number of casts you apply, but the total amount of Shell shielding applied. Mastery is nearly as strong as haste for this, doesn’t cost extra mana every Shell, and actually gives a benefit during the other 50 seconds of every minute. So there’s nothing here strongly favoring high amounts of haste. Under the principle that a first HBP is usually efficient, you might make sure to have enough haste to cast 5 Prayers of Healing during 10 seconds. But with the T16 set bonus and if you start Shell with Borrowed Time up, this is only 2116 haste (with some leeway for latency since this isn’t a true HBP).

Haste does theoretically increase your number of Smite casts in a fight, which saves a half-second of Penance cooldown here and there (frequently amounting to nothing if you’re on GCD when the Penance cooldown finishes). Again, nothing approaching a meaningful reason to use the stat.

Conclusion: gear for minimum possible haste.

Holy Priest

Renew, Sanctuary, and Lightwell Renew. It’s something, but by no means a predominant majority of healing done. A skim of a few top logs shows less than 20% of healing from these spells typically (it tends to be slightly higher in 10-man where Renew/Cascade/Serenity builds are more likely). Not much to add here. It’s simply not enough to make a stat attractive when it adds HPC to this small a portion of your heals, while other stats add slightly smaller percentages to all your heals.

As usual, you can tweak around low breakpoints a little. Your first Renew tick at 3039 (4721 if glyphed) is essentially a free large bump to Renew since you can’t dip your haste much below it anyway (this is what I said above about first breakpoints of important spells generally being good to pick up). Beyond that, 4717 for a 1/3 increase to Lightwell Renew might be worthwhile if Lightwell reaches around 10% of your healing, but this is dubious.

Conclusion: gear to minimum haste, but not below 3039.

Shaman

Now we’re getting somewhere. Healing Rain, Healing Stream Totem, Riptide, Earthliving, and Healing Tide Totem (although you might argue that raid cooldowns are best ignored for this purpose). The exact breakdown varies due to content, but over 80% is very common (or even 90% in some 25p encounters), with more Healing Rain at a stationary fight like Megaera, and more HST at spread mobile fight like Primordius. It’s easier to look at it inversely and see that it improves essentially all significant heals except Chain Heal and Greater Healing Wave, which tend to be a small percentage in 25p and higher (often 20-30%) in 10p. When looking at Shaman breakdowns, remember to exclude Restorative Mists, Ancestral Guidance, and Ancestral Awakening from the tally.

So we don’t have a clear conclusion yet, and my purpose here is more to discuss the mechanics and see where the value of haste is than to completely solve Shaman gearing. Also, more detailed log studies will be better conducted after 5.4 due to the huge buffs incoming to Chain Heal, Healing Rain, and Healing Stream. The above somewhat suggests that you should favor a high-haste build in 25p, and that 10p will be closer. This is all complicated by Shamans’ strong crit and mastery bonuses as well (not to mention Spirit in 25p due to Mana Tide).

Assuming for the moment you do conclude that haste is strong due to a very high usage of the spells listed above, you then do have to consider HBPs. The goal is to pick a level that picks up big chunks of healing on important spells, to minimize the extent to which haste is wasted by ending between HBPs on other spells This does mean that some of the value of haste is always lost at the top end, since the last few points aren’t benefiting all relevant spells. In this case, the 8 ticks of Healing Rain (HR-8) HBP is at 50%, and Healing Stream-11 is at 46.7%. This makes 50% (15316 rating with Ancestral Swiftness) a good stopping point, without another good one until HR-9 at 70% haste, unlikely to be practical or efficient even in better gear. Aside: Healing Stream HBPs are not precise since they depend on the latency of when the totem disappears, so don’t gear exactly to them.

Conclusion: pending 5.4 log analysis, but in general, if using a significant ratio of Chain Heal and other non-HoTs, minimum haste since other stats are better. If output is dominated by haste-favored spells, consider going up to HR-8 unless Spirit stacking for Mana Tide in 25p.

Druid

The HoT class, although as we’ve seen, that moniker is just as apt for Shaman. Haste adds healing to each cast of Rejuvenation, Wild Growth and to the small HoT components of Regrowth and Tranquility. In addition it smoothly improves the tick rate of the omnipresent Lifebloom and Efflorescence (in 5.4). In the non-haste column is healing done by Swiftmend, heals cast with Nature’s Swiftness and the T16 2-piece, and Wild Mushroom non-bonus healing (Mushrooms will charge faster from stronger Rejuvs, but this is irrelevant unless you usually use them before full charge).

The situation is very similar to Shaman, in that the HoT portion is in the ballpark of 80-90%. And again, it’s hard to pin down right now since spells on both sides of the line (Efflorescence and Wild Mushroom) are getting improvements that, while not as dramatic as the Shaman ones, will cause them to do more healing. I’m going to be revisiting this more on EJ since Druid is my native class, but where I’m leaning right now is that making Efflorescence, Rejuvenation, and Wild Growth stronger is generally more important than making Wild Mushroom non-bonus healing and Tranquility stronger. Rejuvenation is actually just about dead even on haste vs. mastery since the instant tick doesn’t benefit from haste, but both the T15 4-piece and T16 2-piece bonuses make the extra tick a better way to deliver the heal. Small soft factors push towards haste as well–increased Clearcasting procs, shorter GCDs on many instants adding a small amount of convenience, better use of Tree of Life, and a better proc rate on some trinkets.

As to HBPs (emphasizing again that we first look at the overall value of haste, then worry about finding a convenient stopping point): Haste without Rejuvenation is a nonstarter. This is exactly why Resto Druids ignored haste in MoP until just now when the Rejuv-6 HBP at 13163 is coming into reach (those middling HBPs for Wild Growth or SotF were never particularly efficient). Rejuv-7 isn’t until 23262 rating and may not be practical even in this tier.

Conclusion: 13163. However it’s only a small benefit over the familiar 3043 Rejuv/Tranq-5 HBP, and the latter may be more convenient depending on gear. Stay at one of the two to avoid wasting stats.

Monk

Back into simpler territory. The only important HoT in this toolkit is Renewing Mist. And while it’s a lot of healing, it’s not over 40% or so (Monks would start liking haste at a lower HoT threshold than other healers since it’s 50% stronger due to Stance). Moreover, their fixed 1 second GCD means that haste’s benefit to HPCT is much more limited than usual, and haste does nothing for some spells. In particular this includes Soothing Mist: due to a quirk of the way the channeling is implemented, spamming the button every GCD allows you to get exactly 2 ticks per second regardless of haste.

So the conclusion is simply going to be to always sit at the lowest convenient Renewing Mist HBP. The conclusion would be to absolutely get down to the lowest possible HBP, but Monks have the unfortunate situation of not liking Spirit or mastery either, so you may not find it to be worth the trouble to shuffle those stats around after maximing crit however you can. Again, the goal here isn’t to write a guide for each class but to discuss the benefits and limitations of haste.

An added complication of Monk healing makes it especially important to reforge to some HBP: you care not only about healing output of Renewing Mist, but also the duration, since that affects your ability to Uplift more targets. Duration of a HoT is highest just after a HBP, when it is half a tick longer than the listed duration, and steadily declines until the next HBP. Dayani at Healiocentric discussed this at length for Monks here (and she also helped me with research for this post). There are lower-order effects where higher haste HBPs slightly reduce total Renewing Mist duration, but slightly speed up the jumps to new targets, shortening or lengthening Uplift windows by fractions of a second in either case. For our purposes here, the important conclusions are that you do not want to have any extraneous haste beyond an RM HBP, but being at higher ones is not especially helpful.

Conclusion: any low haste breakpoint, after you’ve shifted all possible stats to crit. The lowest few are 3145 (RM-11), 6151 (RM-12), and 9158 (RM-13).

Paladin

Before Sanctity of Battle included Holy Shock, what this would come down to is the amount of healing accomplished by the HoT portion of Eternal Flame (including its effects on Beacon of Light and Illuminated Healing). Suffice to say, it was not high enough to justify haste on its own. But let’s put that aside for a moment, since things are lot more complicated now

Sanctity, in brief, reverses the usual function of haste. Its benefit is that it allows the Paladin to use cheap Holy Power generators more often, thereby displacing some portion of more expensive spammable generators that would otherwise be used. The key fact is that the only benefit to all this is efficiency. The biggest problem haste runs into, then, is that the best alternative to the Sanctity-affected spells is Holy Radiance, not an especially inefficient spell. A stat whose principal function is to displace Holy Radiances from your rotation has a big hill to climb in making itself attractive. To be clear, getting to cast Holy Shock more often is still better (that’s why you use Shock on cooldown). The problem comes up when you talk about paying for that privilege with a heavy investment into a stat.

Without building a full-blown Paladin model in a spreadsheet or describing one here, an efficiency-based comparison is therefore a good approach for a simple evaluation. Let’s start with 5.4 Selfless Healer setups.

With no haste, you can cast 10 Holy Shocks and 10 Judgments per minute, as well as 3.33 free buffed Radiances. What happens if you invest into 10% haste (4250 rating)? Now you get 1 extra of each, plus 1/3 of a buffed Radiance. All in all the haste has given you the opportunity to spend 28% base mana to get 2.33 HP, plus the healing done by one Holy Shock, 0.53 Radiances, and 0.33 Daybreaks. Without the haste, 2.33 HP would have cost you 2.33 Radiances, or 84% mana, and I’d also have gotten the healing done by those 2.33 Radiances and 2.33 Daybreaks. The latter option costs more mana (specifically, 56% of base, or 33600 more) and does more healing. To see which is better, realize that instead of 4250 haste rating, I could have taken 4250 Spirit, which gives me 37370 mana in 1 minute (taking Divine Plea into account). So haste, in the end, has saved me less mana than Spirit would have, and caused me to do substantially less healing (as 1.8 Radiances and 2 Daybreaks is far more healing than one Holy Shock).

Eternal Flame builds make this trickier, as haste now provides both a benefit from Sanctity, and a boost to the Eternal Flame HoT. The Sanctity benefit is much smaller than before, since now it doesn’t even give you the extra HP or special buffed Radiance. All you’d get from that 10% haste is 1 more Holy Shock per minute, saving you 20% mana compared to getting that HP from a Radiance (equivalent of 1000 MP5), but doing less healing.

We now have to finally revisit our usual analysis of seeing how much healing is done by the Eternal Flame HoT. This is hard to estimate in logs due to Illuminated Healing and Beacon, but on paper, a Holy Shock+EF pair does 37% of its healing with the HoT, and a Radiance+EF pair does 23%. 30% overall is a fine estimate for now. This by itself, going by the logic throughout the post, would not be enough to justify haste based on the HoT effect. The proper comparison of heals affected by haste to heals affected by mastery would be 30:70, not 30:100, since mastery doesn’t affect the HoT, but that’s still not enough. Let’s even assume that instead of comparing, say 4250 haste to 4250 mastery (8.8% mastery), we siphon off 1400 points into Spirit to account for the 1000 MP5 mentioned in the prior paragraph. Mastery being 1/3 weaker even still doesn’t make the comparison attractive for haste. It looks something like 30:50 now in terms of weighting, analogous to a class that did 60% of its healing with HoTs. But not only does that still make haste subpar, but there’s the value of the extra Holy Radiances in the Spirit/mastery build that we never took into account.

Conclusion (a surprising one, I think): minimum possible haste. If using Eternal Flame, keep the EF-13 HBP at 3506.

Summary

The following healers should avoid haste rating beyond minimal HBPs, if any: Priests, Paladins using Selfless Healer, and Monks.

The following healers get some reasonable value from haste, but barring more detailed models, it appears to be weaker than other stats: Paladins using Eternal Flame, and Shamans who aren’t fully AoE healing.

The following healers get enough value from haste that it is likely advantageous over other stats, but not drastically and only when set to efficient HBPs: Shamans who are fully AoE healing, and Druids.

35 thoughts on “Healing Theory, Part 5: Haste

  1. Disagree slightly with the Holy Priest eval. Due to the 4pc set bonus for T16, Sanctuary healing is likely to be much, much higher than it is currently. Right now it only ticks for about 3-4k, but it should be ticking for around 13k with a full 3 stack application of the 4pc bonus. This is going to push Haste’s value up for Holy.

    I think it’s also important to remember that Haste decreases the cast time on Smite and Penance for Disc, and I also feel that you are downplaying the importance of getting extra Spirit Shell casts. Mastery isn’t nearly as important to Spirit Shell as, say, Crit (since it is only factored in on the theoretical “Divine Aegis” that is calculated in as part of the overall healing). While it is true that Mastery has a small direct benefit to healing itself (and it is also true, as far as I know, that this is factored into the calculated amount of the “PoH’ part of each SS cast), as far as I know, Mastery doesn’t scale directly with Spirit Shell in the way that Crit does. In a 25 man setting, with the reduction in Spirit Shell’s duration, getting out more casts is going to be much harder now.

    (I feel like I didn’t explain that correctly, but I’m not sure how else to put it.)

    • Sanctuary will be higher, but not enough to take HoTs from 20% of a Holy Priest’s healing to anything approaching 70 or 80%. Nothing about the conclusion will change.

      Decreasing the cast time of Penance/Smite isn’t an especially good benefit compared to adding crit and mastery. Penance in particular is an important spell and gets next to no benefit from haste due to its cooldown.

      Crit vs. mastery for Spirit Shell was outside my topic here. In the end they provide similar gains, but at typical values, say 35% crit and 35% mastery buffed, putting points into mastery will increase your Shells by slightly more than putting them into crit.

      If you want look into it in more detail yourself: Spirit Shell size is the base heal times (1+C*(1+M))*(1+M/2), where C is your crit % as a fraction and M is your mastery % as a fraction. Remember that you can gear for 1.6% mastery for every 1% crit.

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  3. Resto Druid 10 man raider PoV

    Haste has intangible benefits that don’t model well. I don’t raid 25s anymore, and I don’t have the luxury of simply casting my most efficient spells and blanketing the raid. (Not that 25s really do, but more so than 10s.) As a 10s raider I juggle tank healing and raid healing, and I do a lot more clutch healing than I wish was the case.

    The value of haste for casted spells is not fitting in more spells over the course of a fight, but rather a quicker cast at a specific moment in time.

    *A reactive heal to a raider taking unexpected ticks of damage from a raid mechanic needs to land before the expected raid aoe damage kills him.
    *Spike damage to a tank can be anticipated usually, but may require multiple quick casts to full recovery within a limited time frame.
    *Tanks take continuous high damage in some fights which require chain casting. For example, single tanking Tortos has short periods of very high tank damage when the bats are up, and if the bats are stunned and synchronize their swing timers, the damage becomes amazingly spiky.

    TLDR – Over the course of an encounter, haste as a method of fitting in more casts doesn’t affect me. I lose more time in reacting to fight mechanics than I can ever make up with more efficient casting times. The value of haste for me, setting aside the effectiveness of my hots, lies in rapidly dealing with short periods of spike damage, whether expected or no.

  4. Addendum to the Holy Priest comment:

    The mastery healing: Echo of Light can make up a substantial amount of a HPriest’s healing from 20% – 40% of healing done.

    It does not necessarily justify going past the 3039 haste breapoint (as it follows the renew HoT pattern) but does skew the HPriest healing portion to approximately 40-50%.

    • I might want to verify this since it’s been a while, but I think the amount of healing done with Echo doesn’t actually scale with haste. It’s always computed directly by multiplying the underlying heal by your mastery %, and then that amount is added into the pool of Echo healing remaining on the target. I don’t actually remember whether haste increases the tick frequency (it might not, like Ignite), but either way it shouldn’t affect total healing done.

      • The Mastery HoT does not scale with Haste, no. Currently, the two primary reasons for pushing past the 3039 breakpoint are the Lightwell Renew breakpoint at 4717, and HLG’s scaling with Haste (which will change a bit in 5.4, but currently is too good to pass up).

        • I wouldn’t say it’s too good to pass up. It’s a big draw for high haste right as we speak on a class like Druid that has independent reasons to value haste. But for Holy, who has very little other value from haste, accelerating the procs of your LMG isn’t worth the entire budget of a stat all unto itself.

          4250 Spirit could give you 2400 MP5. In order for 4250 haste (increasing the LMG proc rate by 10% of its base) to be comparable, the value of the LMG would need to be on the order of 24000 MP5, or 288000 mana/minute. Since you don’t cast anywhere near 288000 mana worth of effective heals during the 4 second LMG window every time it procs, this is not an efficient gearing approach.

          The fact that haste increases the proc rate of the LMG and Horridon’s essentially refunds a small percentage of the cost of the stat. If haste were 90% as good as other stats (potentially true for Druid/Shaman), the fact that haste returns maybe 10-20% of its stat value in the form of added mana procs would help to swing the decisions. But for classes where it’s not a mechanically strong stat at all, adding up these small benefits that you can point to here and there doesn’t get you very far.

          • I think the problem is that you’re doing this math in a vacuum, and I’m looking at it from the standpoint of actual raid encounters and what I need for them. When a trinket is returning anywhere from 120-140k mana to me, consistently, on encounters where I need to do more healing, it’s valuable enough for me to cater to. When catering to that trinket also means that I’m catering to one of my strongest spells (Lightspring), and increasing my overall throughput (because Haste -does- increase your overall throughput, though it runs through your mana faster), I don’t see the loss in running medium high Haste (which is how I define my current ~5k Haste). I’m sitting at close to 30% Mastery as is, and I don’t see the need to stack more at the present time. I especially don’t see the need to drop Haste when it’s doing so much for me. And while I know you will disagree with me based on your spreadsheets, I suspect that we will be stacking more Haste by the end of the expansion.

        • Replying here since I can’t nest comments further:

          Ultimately, there’s nothing I can do when someone says “the math says X, but I feel like doing Y.” I don’t even mind–unless you’re in my raid group, it doesn’t affect me. But my entire goal in basically all my WoW writing for all these years is to help people figure out what X is. People can do with that as they like.

          Without a specific claim about errors in anything I said, there’s not much else to reply to. Telling you how to play just isn’t my goal. My goal is providing, to anyone who wants it, information on what’s likely to be the most effective way to play.

          • I just don’t think that healing can be properly modeled in a vacuum. It’s not DPS.

        • I agree entirely with that. However I certainly don’t buy it as some sort of catch-all statement that undermines any rigorous analysis of healing of the sort that I’m trying to do on this blog.

          • Well, I think, for instance, you value Mastery too much for Disc Priests. While it is a strong stat, it’s going to be less valuable for Priests that focus primarily on Atonement, Spirit Shell, and PoH spam, and more valuable for those who do a lot of Bubble spam.

            I think you undervalue Haste for Mistweavers. Even after reading what you said about their breakpoints, I don’t understand why you would tell Mistweavers to stick to that 3k breakpoint when every decent Mistweaver is sitting at 9k+ – with good reason, because it’s such a throughput increase for them.

            And I think you undervalue Haste for Holy. Echo of Light is a huge part of my healing, but so is everything else I do. So is PoM (not affected by either). So is PoH (affected by both Haste AND Mastery). Etc. I feel like you’re not factoring in RRPM trinkets and Meta, and that you’re not really looking at how important the Cloak proc is going to end up being. More Haste means more HLG procs for me, and because the majority of procs happen when I’m actively pushing healing, they tend to occur when I actually need them. Sure, I might get one or two procs when I’m derping around with Divine Star, but when we hit P2 of Ra-Den, Iron Qon, Twins, etc, and I’m having to push hard, those stacking procs are a lifesaver. They give me mana when I genuinely need it. And at the same time, I need more throughput, faster, because the damage isn’t letting up. So there I am, with Haste to speed my cast times, to give me more LMG procs, and more HLG procs. To speed my Lightwell Renew ticks along. I’m not even using Renew as is, because I’m in Sanctuary when the ultimate shit hits the fan. And next tier, with the 4pc, Sanctuary is going to be a big part of how I evaluate my need for Haste.

            Maybe it doesn’t math out that way in your spreadsheets, but that is how it tends to actually -work- out for me when I’m healing encounters.

        • I can’t keep replying too much more if you don’t accept that my project here is to evaluate _how_ big each of those various effects is. If we can’t see eye to eye on the basic principle, we’re not going to get anywhere further. Even though healing is complicated, we can still try to evaluate things mathematically rather than guessing, or basing our decisions on completely unreliable intuitions, or just doing whatever it seems like other players do.

          I know what mastery does for Disc and what haste does for Mistweavers and how much mana Horridon’s gives. You’re not adding to the discussion by pointing out to me that these mechanics exist. How could I have written these posts if I didn’t know about them? Valuable discussion would involve an approach that makes different assumptions from mine, explains them, and uses math based on them to reach a different result.

          • Alright, so what I’m getting from this is, “You won’t agree with me, so go away because you have a different perspective.”

            Alright, then. But this, Hamlet, is why I find it hard to give you credence when you post about these things. Often you have good points, but you are so hung up on the spreadsheets that you refuse to acknowledge that they often do not work out in the real world. And apparently because I am not hung up on spreadsheets, I can’t contribute to the discussion. :-\

        • There’s a big difference between making a supposition based on math, then trying to apply that to real in-game healing on raid encounters and saying “well this is how I feel, and I don’t have any math to back it up, and you can’t disagree with me because of this anecdote that I have and the relative success I’ve seen in my raid group.”

          It’s entirely possible to reach conclusions about stats, spell usage, etc. by using math and spreadsheets and then leverage those conclusions within actual raid environments to maximize your play. Sure, you may like having more (insert stat here) than Hamlet is saying would be optimal from a TC standpoint, and maybe it fits your playstyle better, but if we’re talking seriously about optimization and min/maxing, you have to look at things mathematically.

          Changing topics completely: I really enjoy this series of posts, Hamlet. I haven’t healed much progression this expansion, but your posts about resto druid stats make it easy to at least get the gear side of things right.

  5. My personal issue, Hamlet, isn’t your math, it is your model. Encounter damage patterns are not one size fits all, and healing follows damage patterns. I’m dead certain you’ve seen this, but take a quick peek: http://www.sacredduty.net/2012/11/06/stamina-vs-hit-vs-exp-will-it-blend/
    “But spirit scaling failed to make healer mana a real constraint, so we ended up not caring much at all about total damage taken. Which meant that our deaths were generally due to spikes, rather than trickle-down “deaths by a thousand cuts.” It shifted our view from “need to survive two boss attacks in a row” to “need to survive 5-6 seconds with minimal healing,” but not to “need to reduce damage taken to preserve healer mana.” ”

    Thek’s points for tanks apply for healers as well. I find that your models look at healing over the course of a generic fight, but don’t take into account the need to react to periods of burst damage. My personal gearing strategy is to have multiple sets like a tank to compensate for the needs of various types of fights. I compromise between the stats that work best for the long term course of the fight, and the stats that allow me to mainline my mana bar into a tank and then recover afterwards.

    Your results are generally spot on for any fight where my tanks rarely take spike damage and carry on with benign neglect – I have a gearset with low spirit, 3080ish haste, and as much mastery as I can pile on for those encounters based on your advice.

    Your results are not spot on when I need to switch to effective healing over efficient healing. For fights where I know beforehand that there will be short window spike damage, I need to gear to the needs of surviving that window, and for recovery from that window, not for efficient output over the course of the fight.

    Why am I saying this? Because I’d really like for you to say – do this one thing for pure long term raid healing, and value these other stats for spike windows and/or tank healing. For example, right now I sacrifice mastery for more haste and more spirit, but perhaps I’d really be better off with more haste and more crit. I’m quite willing to be a sheep. ;)

    • I did touch on your point most closely when I talked about how the HPCT advantage of haste over other stats is not dramatic. Overall, you’re right about the more complex nature of healing, but what this post is doing is very simple in concept: looking at the relative effect of various stats on our healing spells.

      Healing is more complicated than DPS in some ways like you mention, but it’s less complicated in other ways. Your spells aren’t woven together in a tight continuous rotation that varies in complicated ways when you change your stats. In fact, aside from the variance between HoTs and non-HoTs when it comes to haste, nearly all spells for a given class scale in the same way with the various stats. So putting aside haste for a moment, comparing healer stats often goes to the tune of “I can increase all my spells’ output by 1% or I can increase them 1.2%” (this is how a typical crit/mastery comparison goes). You don’t have get into a complicated question of how they’re used in order to answer that.

      Haste is not to different in the end, once you break spells into HoTs and non-HoTs. Your comments on burst healing are just a different way of recasting the slight HPCT advantage that haste has. But it’s slight, it’s ameloriated by the fact that it does nothing to add to the healing of cooldown-based spells, and it does nothing for you for the majority of any encounter.

      Haste seems well-suited to “burst throughput”, sure, just as a matter of concept. But it’s a matter of looking what you actually get for X points in different stats and comparing. Something that should raise a red flag is that haste is reasonably tuned for DPS classes, who have no mana or efficiency consideration and spam spells continuously. In that milieu, it’s sometimes good, sometimes bad, based on exactly how the rotation works. For healers, we’re no longer in a world where you just spam spells continuously trying to do as much as possible in the limited time of the encounter. So it would stand to reason that haste is much less desirable. Put differently: we have considerations other than spamming out spells as hard as possible for start to finish (unlike DPS). In fact, that’s not even the majority of what we care about! But it’s all that haste helps you do.

      My entire analysis absolutely does take into account different raid sizes, encounters, and situations: it depends on spell breakdown, which depends on all those things.

      edited

  6. I need to think for a time to come up with a less hasty answer, but here’s the off the cuff version:

    Our job as healers is to get more or less everyone alive through the encounter.
    *Tanks have enough self healing to cope with minor damage, to keep them alive we have to get them through spike damage.
    *DPS shouldn’t waste their precious gcds or pots on self healing. To keep dps/heals alive we need to heal both raid aoe damage and raid mechanic spike damage.

    For the purpose of looking at haste, you excluded cd based heals. CD based heals, which are primarily the aoe smart heals, cover the majority of aoe raid damage, which leaves the value of haste for responding to spike damage on the tanks and the raid.

    What I posit is that for encounters where tank spike damage is particularly high, the part of the encounter to gear towards is the short window of spike, not efficiency for the encounter as a whole. Haste as a stat is much more compelling in a 5-15 second window where the goal is the most healing possible, and heals per mana is largely irrelevant.

    (If you want another cheerful argument, we can talk about encounter design and whether heals per mana is truly a relevant metric for all encounters.)

    • I’d turn it around and say we absolutely do not want to ignore the vast bulk of healing that’s anything other than “emergency” or “spike” healing. All those baseline cooldown heals are covering a huge majority of what you do, and making them stronger helps you in very material ways–most importantly 1) using less mana and 2) they cover more of the heals, so you have to resort to less efficient spike heals less often (and people are in danger less often). It’s not good enough, analytically, to pick out one small slice of healing and say that’s what you “gear for.”

      The small advantage of haste in one narrow scenario/metric might matter a lot more if it were a big advantage. But it’s not, and compromising the strength of the great bulk of your most powerful heals isn’t something you can just ignore while focusing on the small advantages that one stat has.

      I’d also remind you, this post already favors haste for Druids. If you’re visualizing your Druid experience and common situations that arise and how haste would affect them, nobody is denying its benefits.

        • This isn’t a helpful comment without any info on how you evaluate the benefit of haste vs other stats on your ability to prevent the tank from dying.

          Much of what I was getting in some replies above is that, if you take burst HPCT as a proxy for your ability to keep a tank up, haste is only slightly ahead of mastery at best. Narrowly enough that it’s very questionable to base your entire gearing strategy around that one consideration. Outline of the thinking is:

          –Even considering a very vanilla direct heal, haste’s only advantage over mastery is getting 1% per 425 rather than (typically) 1% per 480.
          –But this advantage is even lessened due to the fact that haste doesn’t improve the value of your cooldown-based burst heals. If the most significant/common thing I do to a tank who’s in sudden trouble is to NS him or use a similar burst/instant/cooldown, haste doesn’t even enter into it.
          –How often are you in situations where you sustain a tank though constantly life-threatening damage by pouring max possible spam HPCT into him for many seconds?
          –And if this _does_ happen to you often (which would seem odd), then the fact that haste doesn’t improve the HPM of spam burst healing spells at all starts to become a real problem.
          –Finally, having stronger baseline cooldown heals (your PoMs, your Shields, your Penances, etc.), means you get into dangerous situations less often, because these heals are much more effective at keeping the situation stable on their own. Haste doesn’t contribute to that effect at all (except for HoTs, fitting the premise of this post).

          • To be frank, as a Holy Priest I depend on Chakra:Serenity and Guardian Spirit to keep tanks and other critical members of a raid alive. Every single millisecond counts to get the most out of it. I don’t use cooldowns other than that, for the rest I use Flash, Binding, and Greater Heal combined with FDCL procs, which are stacked with Serendipity which are saved right before the big hits come. As for PW:Shield, I never use it as its a waste of mana for a weak shield that Disc is better off using with their anti-haste ideals, with which I agree with you.

            Spell order: 2x Serendipity stocked, 1 or 2 Instant Flash from FDCL stocked, Guardian Spirit, Serenity, Near Instant Greater Heal, Instant Flash, Instant Flash, Greater Heal in split seconds, all with Serenity and Guardian Spirit still up to boost it. The hps is insane. And if I need to do a bit of side AoE heals for the rest of the raid while in that tight spot, I let my Greater Heals proc instant chain PoMs from Divine Insight.

            All the actual spells I use depend on haste generating the procs consistently and in time to get the most use out of it. No other stat for holy does that. I don’t depend on crits to proc or to get another Flash or Greater Heal during that time span of Guardian Spirit, haste is what allows me to do this.

            You assume that I can stop dangerous situations from happening, but that is impossible. I can’t use absorbs effectively no matter what, so the tank and other raiders are going to be in a tight spot for key points in a fight when the big multiple 300k hits come that I can’t possibly stop. What matters is what I can do in the split moments after to save them immediately from the next hit KOs. Reaction time is everything at that moment. I can’t stress that enough. Big cooldowns definitely help, but they aren’t the entire solution. They don’t help procs, and can only be used a few times in a fight, where they may not be available anymore. During intense fights where my raid is not geared enough to take the hits, that split second when they are too slow to get out of the void zones, what do I do when no other big cooldowns are available, yet he’s at 23k health left? Do I cast a Flash Heal? Nope, too late, using your mindset it would take over 1.5 seconds to do. How about have it stocked for instant casts from FDCL? Nope, its not available because I can’t proc it often from the lack of casts previously. So he dies. It doesn’t matter if I could heal him from 23k to 560k instant if he’s dead by the time I’m done casting.

            As a further note, I already consider the limits of haste. I know those limits well, and I plan around it with injects of other stats to mix and maximize my overall potential in a fight. I’m not blind to your other theories which I actually agree a lot with, but if I used all of your methods of near pure direct throughput with minimal spells cast and efficiency up the ‘wazu’, I wouldn’t be able to use up my mana, which you would think is a good thing, but its a waste of healing that could have been used during the fight, especially at those unavoidable dangerous moments where numbers don’t matter aside from where a person merely survives those seconds that a non-haste, cooldown used-up priest cannot possible save in time. Dead members means 90k dps loss, tanks dead highers the chance of a wipe. I can worry about getting them to full health later, what matters is that I can heal them just enough to let them take another big hit half a second later.

            The irony is that in many fights, I actually have a ton of mana left even with my liberal blitz of spells, yet still have the ability to top everyone off with my big cooldowns. Maybe its because I have less overheal? Or some other complication that saves mana overall and highers throughput. Whatever the reason I must be doing something right to get great numbers (both hps and total healing done) in all types of logs. I’m not saying I’m a superstar, in fact you’re probably a lot better than me in a ton of ways. What I’m saying though is that, even if your theory was, in practicality, much better than my own actions and theories, my own “less” useful actions are still viable.

            Like a hunter choosing a pet, one may prefer a raptor over a wolf, they have their differences, and one may, overall be better than the other, that doesn’t stop the hunter from having a personal favorite that may not be absolutely optimal. If I used that supreme “it has to be this way to be the best” I’d have rolled Disc ages ago. Even with their nerfs they top many charts over holy spec priests, for bosses in ToT, for nearly all modes, be it 10m to 25m Heroic.

            Haste is viable, that’s really it. If I was raiding in a super hardcore guild like Method, then yeah, I’d throw preference out the window and stick to whatever numbers and styles the wind blows for each patch and tier blizzard does. For my guild raids though, its what easily tops the charts for the bosses we have the most healing intensive phases with, like say Tortos or Megaera, which you would think haste is horrible for, and yet I pull through for us as mvp for those fights consistently. And no, its not just gear doing the work for me, for the last few months I’ve actually been behind our Disc priest who had the cloak and 2H thunderforged weapon, where I only had a 522 valor cape and 516 weapon. In fact, at one point I forgot to re-equip my weapon for a Meg fight, yet I still topped the charts. Even I was baffled at that, so something about the way I think and do things must be viable somewhere.

  7. I completely disagree as a Holy Priest. HoTs seem to be everything in your mind for haste, since it directly increases throughput per spell, but that’s not the point. The more spells you cast, the more procs, the more healing we do in critical points in a fight. We worry less about cooldowns, since they are shorter overall, and have more of our tools laid out for us at any point in a fight. Hymn of Hope and Divine Hymn are absurdly useful with Haste put into them giving more ticks for mana and healing for the whole group at important points. I was baffled when you didn’t mention them at all.

    Red Chakra: DPS is also much higher with smites and procs to FDCL giving much needed healing and dps for soloing content. It also works well with getting critical hits more times per fight. The same thing could be said for criting all healing detailed below.

    For Yellow Chakra the renewing of Renew (along with its direct boost) is vital for keeping tanks up too, and does insane HoTs if your using Cascade to renew it for the entire raid, especially in 10m when you can use it on near everyone.

    Blue Chakra is very good with haste too, especially when you use sanctuary with the raid stacked up on say Megaera or Jin’rokh. Divine Insight depends on procs too to use Prayer of Mending to chain heal repeatedly. Combined with T14 2pc it gets even more healing, boosting 10% more heal to a person each jump. Even without the proc to that its still incredibly useful to use Prayer of Healing to heal those most in need. If it takes forever to use one while other party members are dying, or you have to be quick on your feet, its almost useless if you don’t have haste.

    Overall, many fights require avoiding things which means channeling is bad. The less time you need to channel the better to get out of the way or go to places where you are needed.

    Using all this, I was able to push my guild of many raiding newbies and several inept healers (to put it bluntly) in a 25m raid each and every week. I love being at top in numbers through my own theorycrafting being used in practice for saving the day. This is not arrogance, simply the reality of how important haste is to my style, so when you say to limit haste near anywhere it is very laughable. I’d be crap without it. That said, I agree on your points for Disc, which should stay away from it like the plague.

    • After re-reviewing all spells affected by haste, I just now learned that in MoP, HoH and DH were not given additional ticks anymore. Still, the lower cast times help me a ton more than you would think, and leave me able to use other spells without direct cooldowns far more often, which is great for all the crits I get as a result, that other non-haste priests would not have time for. This ironically has granted me more throughout than most, in addition to the life-saving potential and additional procs that overall save a bit of mana (free flash heals, serendipity, lack of overhealing)

      The downside is obviously efficiency, but I’ve simply covered that with direct intellect and spirit gem injects/reforges, and smartly using casts where it is needed, not just to top someone off. I’ve seen those who have a ton of mana waste heals because they are too slow to heal verse me, or can’t keep the tank up to save the raid’s lives…. The only other downside is obviously cooldown heals not affected by haste at all like Circle of Healing or Divine Star, but I only use those in intermediate areas where I can’t channel but need to heal at that moment too.

      Overall, I would say it comes to preference and playstyle. I put a ton of weight onto throughput, burst, reaction speed, and hps, while others preference efficiency per cast spell and big cooldown spells. Its like arguing that a character with light combo jabs is inherently worse than a character with huge slow hits, which I disagree with doing. They both have their downsides, but they are both viable in my eyes.

  8. Wow – more Holy Priests commenting on this than I knew existed. Hello – Holy Priest here. I run with about 9000 Haste for a reason that wasn’t mentioned in your post:

    Squeezing in as many Flash Heals and Instants as possible during a Legendary Meta proc.

    With a 1.25 second cast time, I can always get in two flashes and sometimes an extra instant within the Proc window – which amounts to a LOT of HPS and a full stack of Serendipity.

    Sure, its mathematically possible to do the same thing with a longer GCD, but I’m just not that coordinated :)

      • Correction: at 25% haste my cast time on Flash/Instants is 1.19, not 1.25.

        Alright… if I went back to the Glyphed Renew break point (which for this conversation I’ll assume is worth it) – that frees up 4279 secondary stat points. Since I’m talking about saving mana on Flash Heals (which I’ll definitely want to be casting with my T16 bonus) then lets say I convert those numbers into Spirit.

        Assuming my meta procs every 43 secs, that’s 18,619 mana I would make in that time (20,769 – 2150 because I also lose a tick of Shadowfiend over a 43 sec period).

        This is more than the cost of an entire flash heal, and since this haste level takes me to 1.29 (0.1 sec slower), I would probably only miss out on a double free flash maybe a 5th of the time.

        So yes, by itself this is not worth the haste, maybe I should head back to the drawing boards then.

        • Right. And there are always lots of other factors to try to take into account, but a basic estimate like the one you just did is a good way to get a starting point of whether a particular effect is big or small.

          Two side notes:
          –Glyphed Binding Heal probably also very nice with T16 + meta.
          –Curious since I’ve never looked that closely at Shadowfiend. It hits around 9 times at low haste? So you’re saying adding 10% haste (4250 rating) should give it something in the ballpark of 1 added hit on each summon, or 1/4 hit in 45 seconds?

          It’s a good simple result to file away that the value of haste on Shadowfiend is around 1/10 the mana you could get from a comparable amount of Spirit.

          • Shadowfiend/mindbender scales with haste. They have a default attack speed of 1.5 seconds that is affected by the priests haste.

            With 10% haste, you’d be able to fit in 11 attacks with mindbender and at 12.5% Shadowfiend would fit in 9 in its 12 sec duration.

  9. I love this series. I’m fairly new to healing, having only played pure DPS classes before. But, leading up to SoO I rerolled a resto druid to help fill in on a 25m team. Perhaps I’m just spoiled from the easily accessible spreadsheets and number-crunching available to damage dealers, but I was incredibly disappointed in the resto druid healing guides I found on the popular sites (IV, Noxxic, etc.). I’m in general not good at video games, but I can be a very consistently high-performing damage dealer in WoW because I’m much better at math and spreadsheets. When I found your article on spirit (from a while back) misunderstandings (Flask of 2 rejuvs, well put), it made me feel like I could after all, analyze and improve healing. So thanks for these articles.

    I also wanted to respond to the spirit in which a lot of the other commenters are commenting. The wonderful thing about math (and I suppose the scientific method in general), is no one has to be upset or offended. I make a claim, I do the math, I test the theory. Because it’s based on math and not our “intuition” or emotions, we can discuss and disagree with logic and questioning and discussion of data validity rather than insults or even frustration.

    So in addition to the praise for the great series of articles, I also wanted to thank you, Hamlet, for the spirit in which you wrote the articles, and responded to other commenters.

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  11. 10-man Resto Druid perspective.

    As I’m now using mushrooms to place my Efflorescence, and in some instances it’s lasting for minutes at a time, I’m curious if the HBP for Eff (or possibly the SotF HBP for Eff) has gotten more significant?
    Assuming Eff is doing a higher percentage of my healing than pre-5.4, does it shift the Druid’s balance farther in favor of haste?

    • The HBPs for Efflo no longer matter with the Glyph, just think of it as something that scales continuously like Lifebloom.

      Haste does get a little more valuable by virtue of the fact that Efflo is a bigger portion of your healing.

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