Monday, 22 June 2009

Patch 3.2 review - Part 1: On healing meters and forthcoming changes...

First of all, I can not emphasize how good this post, over at World of Matticus is. It is one of the most insightful posts I have seen on healing and how tricky it is to evaluate it. Sometimes, the results of healing deficiency (or not?) are obvious - kind of like the three MT deaths we had in our last raid. However, saying that its just the healers fault is not very meticulous. And even if an RL has not time to deal with such details and he will simply say it to pump its crew, the healing coordinator and his healers have to take it into account.

Nonetheless, my purpose was to review some of the changes on Holy Paladins rumored or announced for patch 3.2. It seems that Napalm healing (as the notorious Ferraro once named it) is taking a heavy hit. No more Holy Light spamming boys and gals. Now we have to think, when, who, for how long etc. Which brings the ball over at the technical healing court. And finds yours truly quite happy as I consider tech healing more challenging.

Now, lets see those changes:

Mana Regeneration: All items that provide "X mana per five seconds" have had the amount of mana they regenerate increased by approximately 25%.

Ok, more is good but obviously something's got to give...

Replenishment: This buff now grants 1% of the target's maximum mana over 5 seconds instead of 0.25% per second. This applies to all 5 sources of Replenishment (Vampiric Touch, Judgements of the Wise, Hunting Party, Enduring Winter Frostbolts and Soul Leech).

1% over 5sec vs 0.25% over 1. I.e. replenishment ticks with a larger period and returns 0.25% less totally. Personally I find this particular change indifferent, I am more worried about the overall (aggregate) mana return.

Lay on Hands: The buff from this ability now reduces the physical damage taken by the target by 10/20% instead of increasing the target's armor.

Reduces the physical damage. Indifferent, its a situational spell that its core use is to heal a lot fast at no cost (but with some return when glyphed). So the added effect is not important in my opinion.

Sacred Shield: When a paladin casts Flash of Light on a target with this buff, they also now place a heal over time effect on the target, healing that target for 100% of the Flash of Light amount over 12 seconds.

Ok, bearing in mind that Sacred Shield is now unique among your group and its usually casted on your primary assignment the hots will give you a `smoothing' mechanic which buys time to heal other targets (with some assumptions suchs as beacons etc) and allows some nice `matching' rotation schemes among healers. Imagine two paladins rotating among themselves flash of lights and the odd holy light.

Judgment of Light: Now heals for 2% of the attacker's maximum health instead of a variable amount based on the spell power and attack power of the judging paladin.

Ok, JoL now belongs to all paladins, not just the Retry ones. Good for looking good at the meters. Too bad I almost always pick wisdom :p

Beacon of Light: The healing amount on the Beacon of Light target is now based on the total healing done (including over-healing) instead of the effective healing done. Radius increased to 60 yards. Multiple Paladins can now have this active on the same target. Buff indicating a player is within range of the Beacon target is no longer displayed.

Whoa... hang in there! Beacon becomes very powerful (which means I expect it to be nerfed due to some stupid arena-related reasoning). Over healing does count as effective healing now. Which means that less is wasted, its less risky to off-heal and probably allows for some positioning tricks. Does it stack with JoL, I wonder. Do JoLs on multiple targets add-up? I wonder...

Divine Intellect: This talent now gives 2/4/6/8/10% increased intellect instead of 3/6/9/12/15%.

Boo, net nerf. Less intellect. Trickier replenishment. Balance between them... unknown but there is always a way...

Illumination: This talent now returns 30% of the mana cost of the spell instead of 60%.

Boo, net nerf. But... in the grand scheme of things possibly justified. Crit is less important now (but always nice for all sorts of other reasons), mana-per-5 is more important, mindless-spaming of Holy-Lights goes out of the window, Glyph of Holy Light becomes less useful but still there, Fash of light returns imo as the flagship heal and....

... well, overall the requirement for greater awareness crops up. I am not one of the people crying `nerf!!!' when changes like this happened. But I do feel that things need to be `balanced' out somehow and evaluated properly. If trading crit for mana-per-5 produces the same results (ro comparable) in healing output (whatever the latter is :-p) then I see no problems. If however the changes are not overall complementary and properly `matched' then there will be issues. Can't wait for some PTR testing... :p

Well, as with everything related to healing things are not as simple as they seem. The changes seem to follow a trend, which is to make paladin healing a bit more challenging and thoughtful. I am waiting to see the synergy among the changes. People (paladins) have asked for challenge but are bound to complain about it because we (everyone) are intrinsically lazy. I say be careful what you wish for because you might just get it...


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