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)
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.
Wild Growth (with cost reduction) Healing Touch: Even with nerf, Druid still has strong ability to heal tank very cheaply with HT layered over HoTs. Maybe reconsider the Perk.
- Wild Mushroom
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
Clarity of Will (possibly only need to fix a bug adding 25% to the size)
PoH(via Enlightenment) Flash Heal (putting aside how this can be done independently of Holy): (Discipline is exactly this, a way of buffing these spells for Disc only)
Penance (but probably increase cost a bit) PWS (consider reinstating Rapture) PoM(undocumented) Disc needs a use for haste.(Borrowed Time)
- Smite (cost)
- 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.
- Healing Surge (see below).
Earth Shield (possibly only through reinstating the ICD)
- Cloudburst Totem: Numbers still don’t stack up to High Tide, and the talent is more situational.
Chain Heal (increasing cost as needed) Storm Elemental: Still probably needs more to compete with High Tide and Cloudburst.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- Tower of Radiance (mana return): But see below on Holy Power
Holy Shock (increasing cost) Holy Light
- Sacred Shield: At least, probably too expensive right now.
- Make HP spenders instant cast
- 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).
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.