With all the various things I focus on lately, one thing I haven’t been doing often enough is giving play advice and analysis of my favorite class, Resto Druids. Today I want to give a detailed discussion of one of the topics that has gotten a lot of attention lately–whether our most favored stat should be haste or mastery. In my Resto Guide I say haste, but don’t have the opportunity in that format to explain the recommendation in detail. Here, my goal is to work through the question very thoroughly, answer your questions, and see if I can help get you comfortable with a stat decision for this expansion.
Mastery increases the bonus from Harmony by 1% per 88 rating. It is additive with a flat bonus of 16.25% from the baseline effect and raid buff. Measured against a starting point of having no mastery from gear, each relative 1% increase requires 102.3 mastery rating. So long as the buff is maintained, it improves all healing other than the Lifebloom bloom, Ysera’s Gift, and Dream of Cenarius.
Haste has two effects. First, it increases the tick frequency and therefore the total healing per cast (I described the mechanics details here) of any HoT effect by 1% for every 90 points (as of this week). With Resto’s attunement taken into account, this is 1% every 85.7 points (haste rating is not additive with anything). Second, it reduces the time it takes to cast all spells by the same amount.
Breaking Down Haste
Because so much of Resto’s healing is in the form of HoTs, haste, above and beyond its cast time and GCD reduction, directly adds healing done to many of our spells. For most other healers this is a feature generally reserved to non-haste stats, which contributes to my low view of haste for other healers. For Druids, most heals go against the general rule and increase their output with haste like they do with other stats. This includes Rejuvenation (except for initial tick), Wild Growth, Lifebloom (except the bloom) and Wild Mushroom. It also includes a few rarer spells, Force of Nature and Dream of Cenarius, which are essentially throughput increases since they get cast time reductions with no related mana cost.
The important heal effects which are not improved by haste beyond the reduction to cast time are Tranquility, Swiftmend, Healing Touch, and Regrowth.
The basic analysis of haste in this post will be done by keeping the two components separate throughout, and remembering that haste is as strong as their sum:
- The cast-time reduction, which applies to all spells, but does not improve healing per cast. Therefore, it increases HPCT (healing per unit cast time), but not HPM (healing per mana), of all spells, by an amount equal to the haste percentage. Because some spells have cooldowns and some don’t, it only increases the cast frequency of certain spells.
- The value of added healing on certain spells, which increases HPCT and HPM to those spells and does nothing for the others.
The result is a complex mosaic of effects, unlike Mastery’s totally uniform HPCT and HPM increase to nearly all spells. Some spells have their healing per cast increased and not the rate at which you cast them (Wild Growth), so the effect is parallel and easily comparable to mastery. Some spells don’t have any healing per cast, HPM, or frequency increased at all (Nature’s Swiftness-HT). And on the flip side, some get an HPM increase as well as a double-dipped HPCT increase (Rejuvenation). So there’s no simple comparison; it will largely come down to the frequency with which you use the various types of spells.