Healer Spell Tuning–Updated Suggestions

My last experiment with suggesting specific healer tuning changes was pretty successful, I thought (Blizzard agreed with a lot of them).  Now that there’s been a little time for that round of changes to sink in, and there have been a few more miscellaneous ones in each patch, I want to look again at where they need to go from there.  The healer array is in a much better place than it was a few weeks ago.

The caveats from last time still apply.  This is still generally based on information from HealerCalcs (now published at that link).  Though it’s still meant to be a brief actionable list, I’m putting in a little more commentary than last time, since the list is shorter and sometimes I want to talk a bit about what’s changed.

I’m starting with the list from last time and showing changes from there.

  • Sruckout entries are things that occurred in patches since the first post
  • Italicized entries are newly added
  • Unadorned entries are changes I still think should be made (usually with comment)

Druid

Significantly Nerf:

  • Soul of the Forest (WG component)
  • Incarnation: This talent was not weakened by the change to work with Rejuv, and is still a huge efficiency increase.  Consider weakening Rejuv cost decrease component.

Slightly Nerf:

Slightly Buff:

Significantly Buff:

  • Force of Nature: huge buff still needed to be competitive with other L60 talents (on the order of 5-6x).
  • Genesis: The idea can still work, but currently very expensive for something that adds no healing.

Notes

  • Remains very mobile, which is a traditional Druid strength and can be important in raids.  No suggested changes, but a notable advantage of the class.
  • Due to Wild Growth’s status as a HoT, and potential for significant overhealing despite being an expensive spell that’s used carefully, I think it’s the rare example of a spell where 5.0-style “smart” healing behavior would be appropriate.
  • The Rampant Growth-Soul of the Forest interaction is seemingly okay at the moment (and is a pretty interesting and complex playstyle).  However, Rampant Growth is a weak PvE talent without it.
  • Total heal output is still high, may need to be tuned down slightly using a knob like Naturalist during final balancing.

Holy Priest

Significantly Nerf:

Slightly Nerf:

Slightly Buff:

  • Clarity of Purpose: Odd talent in that it makes PoH cheaper and changes the shape, but generally does less healing.  Maybe a base coefficient/cost a little closer to PoH would be good.

Significantly Buff:

  • Prayer of Mending (undocumented)
  • Divine Insight (possibly through buffing Prayer of Mending): PoM got stronger, and is a fine cast now for its own purposes, but getting to cast it more often is still not very exciting.  Making the extra PoM free is a possibility, and doesn’t seem overly strong.
  • HW:Sanctuary: oddly low healing compared to similar spells (~1/5 as strong as Wild Mushroom or Healing Rain on full targets), and has the worst cooldown restriction.

Notes

  • The healer in the nicest place as far as a well-rounded, balanced toolkit.
  • Similar to Druid, has a strong mobility advantage, largely relating to Renew and its synergy with CoH.  Could be weakened slightly emphasizing PoH a little more, rather than Renew and CoH, for max AoE output.

Disc Priest

Significantly Nerf:

Slightly Nerf:

Slightly Buff:

Significantly Buff:

Notes

  • Many significant buffs since last time.  Class is no longer unusually weak on paper.  Might take a little more time to totally see where it lands after large buffs.
  • Despite all the frustration caused by overuse of shields in 5.0, I’m tentatively okay with trying this strong PWS.  Shields aren’t as universally good in 6.0, and it would be best if the class could keep its identity/playstyle.  PWS and PoH are a nice complementary duo for strong raid healing options.
  • As before, I’m happy with DPS spells being more valuable through Archangel than through Atonement.  Smite being costed better would provide a nicer way to build Archangel capacity during lulls.
  • Single-target healing is still weak.
  • I’m not that sold on Borrowed Time as making haste much more attractive, but a lot of people like haste more than I do for healers, so we’ll see what happens.

Shaman

Significantly Nerf

Slightly Nerf:

Slightly Buff:

Significantly Buff:

  • Chain Heal (increasing cost as needed)
  • Storm Elemental: Still probably needs more to compete with High Tide and Cloudburst.

Notes

  • A lot of AoE healing strength has moved from Healing Rain to Chain Heal, which definitely helps to be less reliant on Healing Rain.  In stationary situations where Healing Rain is attractive, it can still be improved quite a lot with Conductivity.
  • AoE healing still questionable without High Tide.  Narrowing the High Tide vs. non-High Tide gap a little more would help balance the L100 talent row.
  • Single-target healing is still low.  One way to help HS and HW a bit would be to reinstate the effect of the Tidal Waves perk.
  • Tidal Waves in general tends not to be interesting because it’s always in ample supply and it only consumed during continuous single-target healing.  This is more of an optical issue than a balance problem and might not be a priority.  But maybe reducing TW availability and increasing effect could help.
  • The cooldown on Glyph of Chaining is probably meant to prevent the glyph from being an auto-include, not as a nerf to CH itself, but the effect on CH is annoying to play with nonetheless.  Consider different drawback like mana cost or simply reducing bonus.

Monk

Significantly Nerf:

Slightly Nerf:

Slightly Buff:

  • Eminence
  • Mastery: Might need more (see below).
  • Thunder Focus Tea: The ReM effect is underwhelming after the Uplift capping change.
  • Pool of Mists:
  • Renewing Mist: Raw HPM is on the low side, especially for a long HoT (~2/3 of Rejuv or Renew).  Part of that is due to the Chi, but this spell always wants to feel particularly good to use on cooldown, especially with Jade Mists.

Significantly Buff:

Notes

  • Jade Mists has the problem of both of its uses (Serpent and especially Crane) having significant costs.  In Crane, removing the Chi cost of the extra RSK could work nicely.  This could be considered in Serpent as well, as an alternative to making ReM slightly cheaper generally (this would make Multistrike somewhat strong, but not moreso than it is for Holy Priests).
  • Mastery is tricky to evaluate, but since the raw per-point value is so much lower than typical stats, it is likely still weak.  Its low propensity to overheal is somewhat canceled out by the fact that it doesn’t proc from full overheal events to begin with.
  • Crane is better, with RSK being more useful and more of the healing coming from Eminence.  The basic Jab-based rotation is still very cheap, and the more expensive generators (SCK and CJL) are too inefficient to be practical.  It’s possible that wanting to spend a lot of mana on Crane’s inferior healing will never be attractive.

Paladin

Significantly Nerf:

Slightly Nerf:

Slightly Buff:

Significantly Buff:

Notes

  • Paladins currently have very poor mobility. If spenders were made instant again, their mobility would still be average at best; I see no reason that change can’t be made.
  • The Holy Power change was a significant shakeup which is unusual this late in the process, so it gets a little more discussion:

Overall the concept was good, but the current lack of any option to spend mana to gain extra Holy Power, except when Holy Radiance is a good cast, is a problem (I’m assuming here that being in melee range for Crusader Strike is not intended to be a standard healing option).  It’s a problem in AoE healing especially, because when people aren’t clumped for HR, there’s no good way to generate more Eternal Flames or Light of Dawns.  Generating the HP with Holy Light had the problem of being too cheap, but currently you can’t do it at all, which removes a lot of interesting decisions.

I think a solid brainstorm for addressing this is to reinstate the HP generation on Flash of Light only (with cost changes to FoL as needed).  The option to spend that significant mana cost to get an HP is totally balanced, and is one of the more important decisions that should always be present to help make the class interesting.  It should be available not only when there are clumped raid targets (Radiance), but also spread or single targets (FoL).

The benefits of this should outweigh the fact that FoL on the tank will be the favored target again (changing this was a goal of the Tower change).  Not the biggest deal since I think most classes won’t go around Flash Healing nontank targets very regularly.  The option will still be there if you need a sudden heal and don’t have WoG ready, and it will be inefficient (like it always is).

Conclusion

A lot of the directions I thought should be taken last time have been borne out and (not coincidentally), I think healers have moved a lot closer to a final place.  Some more iteration is needed in some areas and 6.0 is soon, so it’s definitely not an easy task, but I think all of the changes suggested above should continue in the right direction.

The question that’s it hardest to state clear conclusions on is overall ranking of the classes. i.e. Even after all the classes are playing nicely, who’s going to need blanket % buffs/nerfs for class balance purposes before this all goes live.  Definitely an important one, and class toolkits are probably close enough to final form now to develop a clear sense (it was a bit pointless to answer that when key parts of some classes were majorly undertuned).  The devs themselves are best poised to answer that in detail, with all the data from beta testing, but in upcoming revisions I’ll probably be trying to give more thoughts on how it looks from here.

12 thoughts on “Healer Spell Tuning–Updated Suggestions

  1. Testing on myself only, using the combat log, I find that Genesis is consistently about the same to an hps loss, and the earlier I hit the G button, the greater the likelihood of an hps loss. G ticks can crit and multistrike. I need to test further with 2 rejuves going.

    Examples:
    Full rejuve 16006 (no crits)
    Two ticks then G 14207
    0 ticks to G 11600 to 12040

    Naked
    Full rejuve 5207 (no crits)
    Two ticks then G 4903
    1 ticks to G 4842
    a 5 crit G, however (1 tic R) 8899

    Possibly 814 R_tick vs 805/806 G_tick is the time elapsed between me seeing the tick on the combat log and hitting G, factored into the “time left.”

    My other thought is that G ticks aren’t benefiting from the 10% baked in healing bonus, but I think that’s just me grasping at straws.

    PS – I really hate Genesis

    • One thing I think I noticed when I tested Genesis is that, sometimes, it would be twice the correct size. I never figured out what caused this to happen, but maybe that accounts for your oddities where sometimes after waiting longer you got a larger Genesis.

      Other than that, I think what’s going on is that Genesis determines its healing based on the amount of time left on the Rejuv, not the amount of ticks (you can get it to vary by slightly changing when you press it, even after the same number of ticks). This would make sense if the Rejuv gave a partial tick when it was removed, but right now it’s not doing so.

  2. What are your thoughts on the strength of two rdruids in the raid both using rampant growth and maximizing swiftmend use on each others RG/RJ? (rather than their own RG/RJ)

    • Currently on beta you cannot cannibalize another Druids Rejuvenation / Regrowth using Swiftmend + Rampant Growth. If you have no appropriate HoT on the target, it is not a valid target and cannot be swiftmended.

      • Yeah, was going to check this. It probably wouldn’t be overpowered if you could (difficult to coordinate and no huge benefit). But it would be kind of annoying and complicated, probably better this way.

        • In this situation, (SotF/Rampant Growth), based on the wording, I thought that it would only cannibalize your own RG/RJ and that two druids, in the same raid, would be able to setup their UI’s to ensure that whenever they used swiftmend, they were only ever using it on the other druids HoTs’, which would give them all the benefits but none of the drawbacks as the Rampant Growth mechanic wouldn’t cannibalize the other druids HoT.

          Seems like it could be a potentially OP comp, (but oh so much fun), if they let is work like that.

          • I don’t think this would be good. What would likely happen is one Druid skilling into Germination and covering the Raid with long RJs, the other skilling into Rampant Growth and Swiftmend-sniping those with low health (even multiple Swiftmends in direct succession on the same target would be possible!) This would definitely be bad.

            There are multiple ways to handle the situation with two Druids. Those are:

            – Allow the use of other Druids HoTs to be used like your own – this would lead to much hatred
            – Allow the use of other Druids HoTs without eating them – bad as described above
            – Allow the use of other Druids HoTs but handle the Swiftmend like not skilled into Rampant Growth: Imposing a 15sec CD and no +50% power. Possible, but it’ll lead to the situation where you accidentally swiftmended another Druids HoT and have the CD without wanting it ;)
            – Allow the use of other Druids HoTs but impose a 3sec CD – this would mimik that you cannot spam Swiftmend on your own since you have to create a HoT on the target first. Probably a solution, but also probably much too much hassle.
            – Don’t allow the use of other Druids HoTs. This is the current implementation, and I think it’s a good one.

  3. One way to modify Genesis would be to add an amount of Multistrike (like “Genesis has an x% enhanced chance to multistrike”). This would emphasize the emergency nature of the spell. But I’m unsure; actually I like the balance of accelerating but not increasing the heal. Then again, on live the mana cost is much lower …. It is probably the decision between “Genesis is a switch from slow to fast healing without increasing the amount healed” (low mana cost), and “Genesis is an emergency heal and needs more punch” (high mana cost).

  4. To begin with, may I say that I do agree with your most of your points regarding Holy Paladins. Especially so for FoL granting HoPo by default and it’s been pointed out on community fora more than once already, hopefully it will be heard this time.

    There are a couple of extra ones I’d like you to consider however.

    I don’t think (or at least in my Beta Mythic testing experience so far) that LoD hits hard enough or often enough (outside the “Holy Avenger” zone) for making LoD (or EF for that matter) an instant cast to be considered a satisfying solution to the spec’s ridiculous healing-on-the-go state.
    Sure the change would be welcome but it isn’t enough.

    The spec’s dreadful mobility can, in my opinion, be relatively simply be brought back up to a “normal” level by buffing the amount of healing Daybreak does.
    Holy Shock is still instant cast. Daybreak is a spec mechanic that adds choice & depth into our gameplay; we just have to optimize the target we’ll pick to Holy Shock in order to maximize Daybreak’s throughput. This also synergies greatly with Avenging Wrath/Sanctified Wrath, resulting into more meaningful choices; choices that will have a direct impact on healing and it will show on the meters too, a way to separate the very best (or perhaps the coolest of cucumbers) from the rest of the pack.

    I do hope the rant above made some sense^^ Looking forward to your feedback.

  5. Considering your opinions adressing the lack of mobility of Holy Paladins, the lack of some instants (HS is ridiculous) and how strong is the mana return with ToR … I agree that the solution should be making the spenders instant.

    But I think that making instant WoG/EF and LoD will make the paladin staying out of his class goal this expansion. I think that going back to ToR, and adding a chance of getting HoP instead of 100% chance … and getting ride of the the mana reduction … can make more interesting the Holy Paladin and a little more versatile.

    LoD in my opinion is a spell a Holy Paladin should not have, at least as HP spender … should be cheap, shoud have <20% spell power heal, and with reduced mastery, as a cheap heal to use on movement with no ICD. Should be miles away from Priest holy nova, for example, not to compete with other raid healing clases … but just to support them.

    Tunning that % chance of getting a HP is a good way to keep the Holy paladin a bit nerfed or a bit OP, just changing one value.

    IMO.

  6. Is there ever a situation where Glyph of Riptide should be used? Based on my calculations using numbers from Healercalcs, glyphed Riptide has worse HPM than anything other than HS, (assuming CH and HR hit at least 3ish targets), and the absolute worst HPCT of all shaman spells.

    Considering that, even in spread AoE situations where the glyph should be most useful, unglyphed RT with 2 HW on three separate targets would still be a better use of both mana and time. Essentially the glyph makes RT a poor man’s Rejuvenation.

    To make it a competitive choice, I think a buff to the HoT portion is in order (on the order of around 40%), perhaps with an increase in mana cost to compensate. This creates an interesting choice of sacrificing the shaman’s only on demand instant burst with the ability to more capably handle spread raid damage situations.

    I agree with your point on the CH glyph. I think making it baseline, without the CD addition, would make CH more comparable to a spell like Wild Growth.

    Either or both of these would help with shaman spread healing, unless that’s a weakness they are trying to maintain. I can’t imagine why they would be, though.

    Any issues with these ideas you can see?

    • There are various ways you could address things, but both of those are reasonable.

      GoRT isn’t even great on paper, but in practice you can use it as a mobility option. You’d want to be careful about buffing it too much, but it’s pretty unattractive right now.

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