Healing Discussion Podcast #13

Back for one more extra-long podcast with Dayani, where we first catch up on a few ongoing 6.2 points.  Then we turn our attention to the state of healing overall and what we’re thinking about with the impending 7.0 announcement.  Finally, since this is our final show, we talk about how great it’s been to have everyone’s interest and discussion this whole time.

Thanks for listening!


0:00 Introduction & Catching Up

1:05 Etheralus, the Eternal Reward
> 1:15 Basic Etheralus mechanics (Dayani’s post)
> 3:45 How to use the ring CD

8:30 6.2 Trinket thoughts
> 9:15 Demonic Phylactery
> 10:45 Mark of Supreme Doom & the DPS/survivability tradeoff

18:40 Warlords of Draenor Healing Retrospective
>19:10 Our positive experiences in WoD
> 22:46 Mana management/Spirit in HFC (referenced Phylactery spreadsheet)
> 34:24 Smart healing/AoE healing/Targeted healing balance (and http://www.healergame.com/ )
> 47:30 Aesthetic feel & feedback from healing spells
> 53:30 Positioning/interacting with the game world/encounters

58:25 Healing gameplay derived from encounter mechanics/design
> 59:45 Healers’ role during damage lulls
> 66:00 Encounter comparison: Iron Maidens vs Gorefiend
> 69:50 Use of healing CDs – Gorefiend’s Feast of Souls vs Kromog’s Stone Breath, Mar’gok, Hellfire High Council
> 74:27 Role of healing CDs in WoD vs MoP;
> 78:10 CDs and unavoidable damage as a method of enforcing # of healers; the Mythic Tectus example
> 82:25 Healer-specific mechanics; an Iskar interlude

88:35 Summary of our WoD survey
90:00 Outro: Good-bye and good luck to Hamlet at Blizzard!

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Raid Awareness WeakAuras, Hellfire Citadel

I’ve been busy lately and not as much into theorycraft projects as usual.  But a lot of people have asked me during this first week of Hellfire Citadel whether I was going to reprise my Blackrock Foundry Weakaura project for the new zone.  Since this is something I wanted to do anyway to help my own raid group, I figured I’d try to get a basic version ready for people who were interested.  Note that a lot of these are untested; I’ve only seen about half the fights so far, so give me any feedback on how it works.

Once again, I got Dayani from Healiocentric to go over all these fights and mechanics with me, as she put a huge amount of work into learning them on the beta for the purpose of writing her guides.  If you want any explanation of the encounters/mechanics listed here, I recommend you take a look at those.

For I’m just going to include the WeakAura downloads and the list of abilities I used.  See the BRF post for more explanation of the setup if you need.

WeakAura Downloads

Addon: WeakAuras 2

Awareness Auras (debuff alert and standing-in-fire alert), v 0.9: WA String

Interrupt Bars (target/focus castbar showing important spells), v 0.9: WA String

So far, includes Heroic difficulty mechanics only.  These include all the bosses already, but I haven’t gotten to test the later ones, so please report anything odd on those ones especially.

Last time around, there was a bug, I think on the WA side, where the icon displayed wouldn’t always match up to the current debuff (I have the display set to “Automatic Icon”).  I worked around it by breaking a lot of debuffs into separate auras and setting the icon manually, but that was a pain and made the package a lot bigger.  So far I haven’t done that here; let me know if you see anything wrong (or are a WA expert who might know how to address this).

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Healing Discussion Podcast #12

It’s been a while!  But here we are again, starting to ramp up thoughts for 6.2: both reviewing where we’ve gotten on some topics like Spirit and trinkets, and anticipating what the most important issues might be for potential class changes.


Topic List:
0:00 Intro
1:53 Spirit Growth in 6.2
> 2:35 Mana Economy and Spirit Acceleration in 6.1-6.2 (my recent post)
> 6:15 Mana inflation in previous expansions
> 8:20 Flattening the Spirit growth curve
> 14:45 Adjusting to a lower Spirit playstyle (Current 6.2 trinkets)
> 30:00 Design Principles: Constraining player ability to promote engaging choices
35:15 Raid comp balance for healers
> 35:40 Where we were at the end of MoP
> 37:55 The guaranteed Disc Priest raid spot
> 40:26 Interlude on using HPS meters to evaluate class balance
> 48:10 The guaranteed Holy Paladin raid spot
> 49:05 Interlude on Raid CDs, their role in healer balance, and Avenging Wrath
> 53:52 WoD Beacon : tank healing :: MoP smart heals : tank healing
> 56:28 Holy Light’s efficiency, and Holy Power’s diminished role
> 66:56 The tank healing “niche” & the value of Clarity of Will
> 69:15 Dayani’s rant about Resto Shaman perception
73:40 The TL;DR: Mana failed to matter, and this skews class balance
76:30 Outro

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Healing Discussion Podcast #11

After a bit of a break, suddenly a huge heap of new information from 6.2 patch notes and data (and items) gives us no shortage of things to talk about.  As soon as it all started coming out, we got together to discuss our immediate reaction upon reading it, recording 2 segments over the course of the evening.  So, an extra long show today (or 2 shows, however you want to listen!) with everything that healers should be interested in in the initial 6.2 information.

Part 1


0:00 Intro
0:25 Patch 6.2 Notes
> 1:50 Losing Aspect of the Fox
> 6:25 Losing Amplify Magic
> 10:32 Mistweaver Monk changes – DPS nerfs and Crane stance
> 12:50 Resto Shaman changes – Riptide/CH spell interaction is gone!
(Dayani’s older post on High Tide math)
19:10 Patch 6.2 Speculation
> 21:00 Addressing mechanical balance concerns
> 22:45 Discipline Priest speculation
> 26:38 Holy Paladin mobility and utility
31:16 Mythic Dungeon thoughts & Challenge Mode comparison
42:06 Outro & Good night

Part 2

0:00 Intro
1:10 Legendary Ring procs (examples discussed: HealerCasterTank)
6:45 The Archimonde Class Trinket
> 9:45 Druid (TrinketFlourish)
> 13:40 Monk (TrinketSoothing Breeze)
> 15:40 Paladin (Trinket; Magnifying Light)
> 17:52 Priest (Disc) (Trinket; Naaru’s Discipline)
> 22:20 Priest (Holy) (Trinket; Complete Healing)
> 25:35 Shaman (TrinketLow Tide)
29:35 Healer Trinkets & Spirit Balance (Previous podcast about Spirit Balance in 6.2)
> 31:55 Healer Trinket 1
> 32:37 Healer Trinket 2
> 34:50 Healer Trinket 4
> 38:34 Healer Trinket 3
42:18 Tier 18 Set Bonuses
> 43:05 Druid (2pc 4pc)
> 45:01 Monk (2pc 4pc)
> 48:00 Paladin (2pc 4pc)
> 48:20 Priest (Disc) (2pc 4pc)
> 50:51 Priest (Holy) (2pc 4pc)
> 51:40 Shaman (2pc 4pc)
55:50 Outro & Good night (again)

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Healing Discussion Podcast #10

Back for another show!  We start with some current goings-on related to trinkets; there have been a few recent changes that affect healers.  That gets us into a discussion of some aspects of healer stats generally and the mana situation.  Then we use remaining time to get started on a topic we’re both always happy to talk about, Challenge Mode healing.


0:00 – Intro & Catching Up
1:35 – Recent Healer Trinket Changes
> 1:55 – Patch 6.1 Changes to healer loot tables (background)
> 3:20 – Spirit’s historical budget & value on trinkets
> 7:20 – Bonus Armor analogy and why Blizzard made the change
> 12:50 – Loss of interesting loot choice
> 14:45 – Mana inflation concerns (my post on the situation before this)
> 20:55 – BRF Trinket re-evaluation (AutoclaveTalisman)
> 23:30 – Distinguishing Int DPS trinkets from Healer trinkets
31:35 – Alchemist Stone trinket
36:55 – Tertiary stats and the case for Avoidance
40:35 – Challenge Mode Healing
> 40:35 – Differences from raid healing
> 44:20 – Tank healing & encounter knowledge
> 45:40 – CM mana management
> 50:40 – Spirit vs Int for CMs
> 57:35 – Pacing for speed in CMs
> 1:00:55 – Hamlet’s Gold CM guides
1:02:05 – Outro & good-bye!

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Quick notes on Int/Spirit trinket changes

Quick notes for now since I’m at PAX East. I’m I’ll give this more discussion going forward, probably on the next podcast (hopefully soon) especially.

As many healers have noticed, in Patch 6.1, all non-Spirit items were removed from the healer classes’ lootspecs.  So healers can’t get them from any source that respects lootspec (bonus rolls, personal loot in dungeons or raids, LFR, mission tokens, challenge mode rewards, and so on).  This seems like an odd choice since Int vs. Spirit, especially on trinkets, was generally considered an interesting loot choice and there was a lot of variation in people’s views on it.

To briefly summarize why it happened: tanks have a similar situation with Bonus Armor, and for them there isn’t as much choice.  Bonus Armor is unequivocally better for tanks, and so this change was needed in their case–it prevent them from getting non-Armor items they’d never use.  But for healers, Spirit is not always unequivocally far better than Int; in fact many healers have situations where they choose Int on trinkets.  So this change has the odd effect of removing an interesting loot choice.  Blizzard’s stated reason is that they want “healer” and “DPS” trinkets to be clearly delineated, so there aren’t items with overly broad competition in a raid, which is frustrating.  That makes sense, but overall I don’t think the 6.1 solution is a good way of addressing it.

There are some mana balance issues unrelated to all this.  Disc has a super undercosted spell so they have excess mana (separate class toolkit issue). Paladin doesn’t have heals with enough marginal gain over Holy Light casts (separate class toolkit issue).  For now, let’s take a class with a very well-working mana game, and a good spellcasting options which are influenced by mana constraints (Shaman or Druid).  Right now, the weird thing is, things should be totally fine for these classes.  Int and Spirit (on trinkets) are reasonably well-balanced options.  That’s a hard thing to do and it’s done surprisingly well.  There are good cases for both stats and it can vary with content/encounter.  Furthermore, they removed the choice from most slots (4 where you always want Spirit and many where you never do) to prevent being able to swing it too much, but left the choice in 2 important slots (trinkets).

Everything about this, so far, is so good and healthy that it’s a little bizarre that they feel a need to stamp it out.  We’re talking about removing actual, good, gameplay in the form of meaningful stat choices (one of the most prominent places such a thing remains).  The biggest problem with the solution is that it seems to ignore that the class/stat design doesn’t support this notion of Spirit being unequivocally far better in every situation.  That’s not even close to true, even for a class like Druid (even if Spirit is often slightly better in many situations).  That might take an expansion-level change, again.

And furthermore, they’d have to massively buff Spirit in a way that didn’t accelerate mana flooding (which is okay in Warlords, but touchy, as I got into here: Healing Theory: Warlords Spirit Update | It’s Dangerous to Go Alone ).  That’s okay–for example, the recent Monk change was careful about this.  Watcher’s suggestion in a recent interview of making Spirit also give SP to healers would do it for all healers.  But totally reworking the function of the stat seems like next-expansion territory.

If they do make an big fundamental change, wouldn’t it better to still have the option of regen stat vs. throughput stat–an option that is already designed, implemented, and well-balanced (rather than mashing them into one stat)?  It would be perfectly fine to have Spirit and Heal Power trinkets, both of which were not shared with DPS.  Or simply go the Mists route of having some trinkets that only proc on damaging events and some that only proc on heal events.  There are various potential ways to have clearly-defined “DPS trinkets”, “Healer Spirit trinkets” and “Healer throughput trinkets.”

In short, this change feels a little reactionary in response to players exercising a choice of stats (which is of course a good thing).  Not only does it sacrifice a solid, if minor, bit of decisionmaking, but it doesn’t even solve the problem.  Healers will still want exactly the same items they wanted before, but now, in certain cases, it will be much more annoying to get them.

Challenge Mode Video Guides for Warlords

In case anyone follows this blog and hasn’t come across me talking about these elsewhere, I just finished a pretty large project: a full set of video guides for the challenge mode dungeons in Warlords.

Click for a playlist with all 8

These provide a lot of detailed info on everything you should need to know about each zone to seriously work on getting the Gold time.  Let me know what you think with comments here or on the videos!

Healing Discussion Podcast #9

Getting back together after only a few days to start digging into Blackrock Foundry healing.  We talk about both interesting healing details at some of the encounters in early Blackrock, and how they raise various general principles of setting up a healing team.


0:00 – Intro
1:05 – Set Bonus discussion Follow-up
>1:20 – Mistweaver 2pc (Serpent Stance) applies MS bonus to instants
>6:15 – Discipline Priest 2pc and value of a Penance tick
10:15 – our Blackrock Foundry WeakAuras project
13:00 – BRF Encounter thoughts
>13:45 – Gruul & understanding a damage profile
>21:40 – Oregorger & mitigating Acid Torrent
>26:30 – Flamebender Ka’graz & the value of stacking the raid for healing
>32:20 – Hans’gar & Franzok & Bloodlust/Heroism on a %hp-based fight (my post on use of Bloodlust)
>39:50 – Operator Thogar &  Bloodlust/Heroism on a time-based fight
>45:10 – Beastlord Darmac & dropping healers
>59:15 – Kromog & adding healers
1:08:10 – DPS vs Survivability, revisiting the Butcher discussion (at 41:30), and Versatility
1:16:15 – Outro

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Healing Discussion Podcast #8

Dayani and I have both been occupied with various projects lately, particularly her raid guides and my challenge mode video guides.  But we finally got back together to catch up on healing, and spent most of the time on a topic we hadn’t gotten into yet, T17 set bonuses.


0:00 – Intro & What we’ve been up to
1:30 – New Patch 6.1 Notes — Updated HealerCalcs
1:45 – PW:S nerf, and what it does for Disc Priest priorities
8:15 – Resto Shaman’s Restorative Waters buff
12:30 – PoM charge change reverted
13:20 – Crane Stance/Rising Sun Kick buff
18:45 – Challenge Mode difficulty
21:00 – Tier 17 Set Bonuses
23:00 – Shaman Set Bonuses (2pc 4pc)
31:20 – Druid Set Bonuses (2pc 4pc)
39:50 – Holy Priest Set Bonuses (2pc 4pc)
45:00 – Disc Priest Set Bonuses (2pc 4pc)
56:00 – Paladin Set Bonuses (2pc 4pc)
1:06:10 – Mistweaver Monk Set Bonuses (2pc 4pc)
1:16:00 – Good-bye!

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