Healer Spell Tuning–Current Suggestions

I want to get into discussion of healer spell tuning, and there’s no reason to be blocked by how long it takes me to write up long-form blog posts with lots of explanation.  Instead I’m going to post a whole bunch of conclusions–i.e. what spells I think should go up or down, and see how they jive with what others expect.  That way they’re at least here to start discussion, and I can elaborate more as needed.  So tell me if any entries seem out of place, if you want to know why I think they need a buff or nerf, or just post your own comments on what spells should be numerically stronger or weaker and why.

I haven’t looked at every spell and talent in detail, but I’ve looked at a great majority of them.  I’m leaving out obvious bugs.

In general, factors I’m thinking about include:

  • HPM/HPCT metrics.  Whether a spell comports with the usual overarching tradeoff off efficiency vs. burstiness.  No strict formula.
  • How a spell fares against other options of that class. Does it need to be weaker or stronger to result in an internally balanced toolkit for the class.
  • Relatedly, whether a spell is solely responsible for too large of a component of the class’s performance.
  • How a spell fares against similar spells of other classes.  Spells in the same “category” don’t have to be strictly balanced across healers, but big outliers are a red flag.
  • How a talent fares against other talents in its row (even if the power level of the talent isn’t otherwise an issue for balance purposes).

This is generally based on theory and not on reported experience from raid tests.

Some helpful references might be my recent posts on healing theorycraft, as well as my big spreadsheet, current version found here (user-friendliness is making progress, but not ready to be published as a stand-alone tool).

Without further ado:

Druid

Significantly Nerf:

Slightly Nerf:

Slightly Buff:

Significantly Buff:

Druids have the potential for very strong throughput, but also have expensive spells.  This is a good foundation for a skill-intensive class, but it still might need to be flattened out just a little.  I don’t want to draw conclusions on overall strength until the huge throughput of SotF+WG or and huge efficiency of Incarnation are reined in.

Holy Priest

Significantly Nerf:

Slightly Nerf:

Slightly Buff:

Significantly Buff:

Holy is in very good shape right now. Good choices on single-target and AoE healing, and cheap and expensive spells.  Surge of Light is a really great fit for the class and fun to use–I wouldn’t want to nerf it too much even though it’s very attractive for Holy.  You could make a good case for Surge of Light being baseline Holy.  I’ve left off PWS, which is quite terrible for Holy, since it’s not entirely clear to me that PWS should be any good for Holy; the class already has a lot of strengths.

Disc Priest

Significantly Nerf:

Slightly Nerf:

Slightly Buff:

  • PoH
  • Flash Heal (putting aside how this can be done independently of Holy)

Significantly Buff:

  • Penance (but probably increase cost a bit)
  • PWS (consider reinstating Rapture)
  • PoM
  • Disc needs a use for haste.

The healer in the shakiest position right now, toughest to fix with numbers alone, but I think this is right direction.  It doesn’t have the proper foundation of core rotational spells right now.  Penance needs to have a role as a powerful way to actually heal a target up, which Disc will struggle with even if its shields are better.  Atonement heals are extremely weak, but I didn’t list them for now; I like the gameplay where DPS spells contribute to healing through Archangel moreso than through Atonement.

Shaman

Significantly Nerf

Slightly Nerf:

Slightly Buff:

Significantly Buff:

A lot of the Shaman toolkit looks nice and I don’t have much to say.  But the AoE throughput isn’t there, and that’s all on the back of Chain Heal.  Chain Heal has to get all the way up to the point where it’s a reasonable way to raid heal without High Tide (and then to conform to that, High Tide may have to weaken somewhat).

Monk

Significantly Nerf:

Slightly Nerf:

Slightly Buff:

Significantly Buff:

A lot going on here (partially since this is both Crane and Serpent).  Probably will have more revisions due to how complex this class is. Serpent is pretty nice, except that Uplift isn’t strong enough to carry the AoE healing. Chi Explosion currently provides a way around that, but that shouldn’t be the only good way to AoE heal. Crane currently gets very little healing from all the Eminence heals, especially RSK, but Vital Mists still allows a lot of free healing, so that should be smoothed out.

Paladin

Significantly Nerf:

Slightly Nerf:

Slightly Buff:

Significantly Buff:

Paladin is currently pretty weak healing individual targets, but quite nice in situations where they can leverage EF and Beacons, as always.  In all cases they don’t spend enough mana.  Given how strong EF is even in this iteration, moving some healing from EF back into HP generators will allow for more varied playstyles and also require a little more use of mana-costing heals.

Disclaimers

There are always multiple ways to solve problems.  That’s part of why I refrained from suggesting numbers even though I sometimes have them in mind–different people could agree on the direction for these spells while coming up with different sets of numbers that all work out right.  I think the most important feedback for the devs while they work on numbers tuning (especially since they’re very busy), is to see if we’re in agreement on what needs to happen before getting bogged down in long explanations of details.  Also, it’s too ambitious to jump right to “this is what the final tuning should be” in one leap, because it necessarily takes some iteration.  This post shows where I would try to go in the next iteration if it were up to me; I’m looking forward to seeing what actually happens and revising from there.

11 thoughts on “Healer Spell Tuning–Current Suggestions

  1. Paladin perspective:

    I agree that Eternal Flame is forced as the clear choice as currently configured.

    The other portion is that due to the inclusion of the Beacon of Faith combined with the Eternal Flame working with Beacon & Illuminated Healing it is reinforcing what many are calling poor play style by using Beacon (glyphed) on a target and then Holy Light or Flash of Light through a macro in between Holy Shock CDs to generate more Holy Power. Using the Holy Power on Eternal Flame spreading is the only way it can stay competitive on the meters (not that this means much, but it provides the illusion of parity).

    I have not done the raids personally, but it matches the calculations I have been seeing as the sweet spot between efficiency and throughput by having Holy Light as a Holy Power builder.

    The other concern outside of your post is mobility. They are saying Druids are really high up there due to Rejuv and Pallies are at the other spectrum as standing mortors and next to useless while moving.

    • Yeah, moving Beacon around quite so freely probably shouldn’t be allowed. It was always possible, but much more realistic with two Beacons.

      Mobility does seem to be an issue. Personally I like healers to be more mobile–I see nothing especially wrong with the current 6.0 Druid and Holy Priest in this regard. They have a lot of instants, but a few key spells that require standing still. If Paladin is adjusted so that Holy Light and perhaps Flash of Light are used more, you could make a case for removing the cast time on the spenders (although it might be too late for that now). One issue with the cast time on spenders is that WoG is currently a really boring heal. It’s just Flash of Light that spends Holy Power instead of mana.

      • “If Paladin is adjusted so that Holy Light and perhaps Flash of Light are used more, you could make a case for removing the cast time on the spenders (although it might be too late for that now)”

        You do realize paladins are using holy light, right? The playstyle now is to holy light beaconed targets (using macros+beacon glyph) between holy shock to get holy power for eternal flame.

        • Yeah, that’s generally why I think this is a possibility. It seems to be like having Shock and spenders as instants, and HL/FoL/HR still requiring casts at all other times, is a pretty good mix.

  2. Why leave Holy Radiance off the buff list for holy paladin? At the moment holy radiance is garbage and not worth the mana. If it was worth using you would see an increase in the amount of mana paladins use. The efficient spells are working as intended, the developers have just failed to give paladins a reason to switch to casting the inefficient spells. And doing something to encourage alternating between Word of Glory/Eternal and Light of Dawn would be good as well.

    • Hi,
      Correct, HotW is weaker now since it lost the main passive benefit. That’s part of why it seemed on the weak side, which is why I suggested a slight buff in this post.

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  4. Priest PoV:
    I just happened to find this post and I agree in most cases. But I would try a slightly different aproach in buffing/nerfing some abilities.
    I don’t get why you want Rejuv to be buffed and Renew to be nerfed slightly. If you compare both, Rejuv just costs 25% more mana but is 25% stronger and scales with mastery, so let’s say it’s 40%-50% stronger. Renew has a refresh mechanic. I think both are fine right now.
    Binding Heal is a very strong, but instead of increasing it’s cost, I would decrese the amount healed slightly. You will break Holy if you take away the only efficient way to stack Serendipity.
    Nerfing Surge of Light from 15% to 8% like Blizz just did sucks. Of course it was to strong, but that’s only because Flash heal is 33% stronger than in Mists. In my opinion keeping the old proc rate but (somehow) decreasing the amount healed would keep the gameplay more interesting for holy. Maybe add a low mana cost. You save enough mana with Serendipity anyway.
    Spaming fast, low cost spells to stack Words of Mending, proc SoL and stack Serendipity, so you can afford PoH and: use CoH often, that’s Holy in a nutshell.
    Regarding Disc I agree in most points. Holy Nova would still be fine if Blizz nerfed it by 20% and added 50% manacost.
    What’s your opinion of the lvl 90 talents? Holy Nova outperforms Divine Star in 5 points right now: Costs less mana, heals only insured targets, deals damage, heals more and has no CD.
    If you are interested, I made a post at MMO-Champion about Disc/Holy. (Be warned, wall of text + bad english)
    http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/1574347-WoD-Disc-Holy-list-of-Bugs-balancing-changes-and-guides

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