New Condensation Totem Animation for Shamans

If you aren’t in the Warlords of Draenor Alpha/Beta yet and haven’t made a pre-made 100, the animation for the new Condensation Totem is definitely eyecatching.

With a cooldown of only 30 seconds, I suspect the animation will get pretty old, pretty fast.  And imagine an LFR with a few Resto Shaman all dropping the Condensation Totem at the same time…

We will also be adding new videos for new spells and animations for all the healer classes, so be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel too!

Changes to Garrosh Heirloom Weapons in 6.0

garroshThe heirloom weapons from Garrosh (flex, normal and heroic) will still be available in 6.0 – the pre-expansion pack patch that will last around 4-6 weeks prior to the release of Warlords of Draenor.  There are some changes planned for heirloom drops when 6.0 drops.

First, raid difficulties will change to the new structure, where Heroic becomes Mythic, Normal becomes Heroic and Flex becomes Normal.

Then, when a raider kills Garrosh on either Normal, Heroic or Mythic, they are guaranteed a 100% drop for a spec-appropriate heirloom weapon.  The drop rate for subsequent heirlooms will also be increased, although we do not know by how much.  However, for those after the guaranteed drop from the newly branded Mythic Garrosh (currently Heroic), keep in mind that it is also being reduced for a raid size of only 20, meaning there is much less room for carrying buyers and fewer of each guild’s raid group will be able to get in for those kills.

Once Warlords of Draenor launches, these Garrosh heirlooms will no longer be available, meaning many people won’t be able to complete a collection of heirlooms, regardless of which ilevel they are (Flex, Regular or Heroic).

For reference, here is MMO-Champion‘s handy heirloom list.

mmo-heirlooms

Heirloom drop rates are currently very low.   I have one heirloom weapon on my main – thankfully a heroic one – despite over a dozen kills.  Some guildies have 3+ while others have yet to see one drop.  It is also worth noting that for Resto Shamans, the first heirloom for your spec is the staff, and not one of the Main Hand or Off Hand options, so chances are good that Shamans might not get the Intellect Mace or Shield, which is unfortunate for those looking for a bit more flexibility when they are replacing weapons at level 100.

They have also confirmed that the drop rate for the Kor’kron Juggernaut, the Heroic Garrosh mount, will change to a rare drop rate when Warlords of Draenor is released.

And for those looking for Ahead of the Curve or Cutting Edge Feats of Strength, they will be removed in 6.0.

Siege of Orgrimmar Not Getting a Zone Wide Buff or Nerf

soo

Raiders have been pretty used to seeing zone wide nerfs and buffs on current raiding tiers once the main progression race is over and less progressed guilds are still struggling to beat bosses.  Blizzard usually gives a raiding instance a zone wide buff, such as the DPS buff we saw in ICC or a zone wide nerf to boss health and damage, such as as we saw in Dragon Soul.

But even though this is an expansion ending raid tier, Blizzard confirms we will not see the same buff or nerf for Siege of Orgrimmar.  Instead, they plan to look at progression and make targeted nerfs instead.

The tweet was actually made last month, but MMO-Champion recently highlighted it, as it was something many people missed.

soobuffnerfConsidering we are looking at many more months of farming Siege of Orgrimmar, it is still going to make farm nights a challenge without a buff or nerf to help less progressed guilds along.

This will also likely make the market for heroic Garrosh mounts last longer since fewer guilds will be killing heroic Garrosh than might have done with a buff or nerf to the instance, which is good news for those who are killing heroic Garrosh easily enough that they can carry an extra body, but bad for those who were hoping for a nerf to be able to kill the boss.

 

Unleash Life can no longer empower Healing Rain

Using Unleash Life + Healing Rain has long been a major part of a Resto Shaman’s healing toolkit, but it is being changed in Warlords of Draenor.  Unleash Life will now only “increasing the effect of the Shaman’s next direct heal by 30%”.  This is a change from Live where it says “increasing the effect of the Shaman’s next direct heal or Healing Rain by 30%”.

For those hoping Shamans would see a buff to Healing Rain because of the change, no such luck.

Is the ULE-Healing Rain buff being built into the baseline spell, or is HR just effectively getting nerfed 30% from that change?
Do you not think Healing Rain needs a nerf, compared to live? (Celestalon)

 

Earth Shield can be placed multiple times on the same player

If you have ever played a Resto Shaman, you have probably played Earth Shield wars a time or two, especially if you happen to have more than 2 Resto Shamans in a raid.  So of course it makes perfect sense that when they are dropping the size of the raid that they make the change to allow multiple Earth Shields to stack on a target.

This change means you could have multiple Earth Shields on a single tank for high incoming damage parts of a fight and you don’t have to worry about accidentally overwriting another healer’s Earth Shield when you go to reapply it on a tank.

No mention of Earth Shield in the patch notes. Surely you are scrapping that, it’s such a pain with multiple Shamans!
Multiple Earth Shields can stack, not a pain. (Celestalon)
So you are changing Earth Shield so 2 can be on the same target at a time finally?
Yes. (Celestalon)

This change is a long time coming, but it is a shame they didn’t make the change long ago.

Mistweaver Monk Changes in Alpha Patch Notes for Warlords of Draenor

spincraneMistweavers have some pretty significant changes come Warlords.  On the positive side, they have a new stance which is designed specifically for those who want to fistweave, with the ability to swap between fistweaving and healing without too much difficulty.

First, Uplift now has a 1.5 second cast time, up from an instacast.  This is part of blizzard’s plan to tone down the abundance of instacast heals in the raid.

Mistweavers get a brand new passive called Focus and Harmony.

Focus and Harmony: Haste effects lower the global cooldown of your spells and abilities.

However, with this new ability, Mistweavers will lose Stance of the Wise Serpent and its ability to increase Haste from items by 50%.

Several abilities will no longer generate Chi for Mistweavers.  Crackling Jade Lightning and Soothing Mist won’t generate Chi.

Thunder Focus Tea has been redesigned.

Thunder Focus Tea now causes the next Renewing Mist to jump up to 4 times (used to cause the next Uplift to refresh the duration of Renewing Mists on all targets).

Ah Healing Spheres, Mistweavers love or hate them, and usually it is hate them unless it is a fight that sees raid members constantly on the move all over the place – but even then, it isn’t unusual for raiders to run around them, mistakenly believing they are some bad boss mechanic.

First, Healing Spheres as the spell are being removed. Instead, Gift of the Serpent will summon Healing Spheres.

They are getting a change that increases the range and healing they give on expiring.

Healing Spheres now heal an ally within 12yd (up from 6yd) for 100% (up from 50%) of their normal healing, when they expire.

Another new ability for Mistweavers is called Detonate Chi, which is another way to put those healing spehres to work.

Detonate Chi: Instantly detonate all of your Healing Spheres, causing each of them to heal a nearby ally within 12 yards of the sphere. 15 sec cooldown.

They’ve also solved the issue where a slightly damaged raid member could run through the Healing Spheres and detonate them all at once. Now, a player will only consume as many as needed, leaving the remainder on the ground.

Mana was another area where Mistweavers had no problem whatsoever.  They could happily choose gear without any spirit at all, and reforging away as much of the spirit as possible that they had, and mana regen still wasn’t an issue – so rather than solve that issue, Blizzard worked the class around low spirit instead.  Blizzard is trying to rectify this in the new expansion, back to a place where Mistweavers have to care about mana and spirit.

The alpha patch notes have quite a bit about the new Stance of the Spirited Crane, aka the Fistweaving stance.

Stance of the Spirited Crane is a new ability for Mistweaver Monks, which replaces Stance of the Fierce Tiger.

The Spell-Power-to-Attack-Power conversion effect has been moved from Stance of the Wise Serpent to Stance of the Spirited Crane.

The Eminence effect has been moved from Stance of the Wise Serpent to Stance of the Spirited Crane.

Teachings of the Monastery now makes Spinning Crane Kick heal friends instead of damaging enemies, while in Stance of the Wise Serpent (previously, it would heal allies in addition to damaging enemies).

Mastery: Gift of the Serpent’s Healing Spheres now scale with Spell Power instead of Attack Power.

Serpent’s Zeal has been removed. Eminence now always includes Auto Attacks.

Muscle Memory and Vital Mists have been merged. Muscle Memory now requires Stance of the Spirited Crane, and passively increases the damage of Crackling Jade Lightning by 100%, causes Tiger Palm to trigger the Vital Mists effect, and causes Blackout Kick to hit 4 additional nearby targets for 50% damage.

The following abilities now require Stance of the Wise Serpent for Mistweavers:

Enveloping Mist, Renewing Mist, Soothing Mist, Uplift

The following abilities now require Stance of the Spirited Crane for Mistweavers:

Blackout Kick, Jab, Tiger Palm

These are quite significant changes that Mistweavers will have to learn and cope with. It’s great that they’re getting to stance is so they can split between being that hybrid healer/DPS or a straight healer, something that’s is usually advantageous during progression when every little bit of DPS matters.

It is definitely worth it for Mistweavers to either hit the beta when it’s available to learn the new nuances of the class, or plan to hit 6.0 hard with raiding, so you can be fully competent once all these changes go live.

As always, these are Alpha patch notes and Blizzard is subject to change them at any time.

Resto Druid Changes in Alpha Patch Notes for Warlords of Draenor

druid

Resto Druids seem to be looking pretty good after the drop of the Warlords of Draenor Alpha patch notes.

Innervate has been completely removed, so Resto Druids will no longer have a spell and they can use for matter return on themselves or others. Blizzard has said that they have adjusted the mana cost of Resto Druid healing spells to compensate for the change. It is worth noting that Mana Tide totem has been given the same treatment that Innervate originally was given, where it really was only beneficial to the casting Resto Druid, and Hymn of Hope has been removed as well.

Tranquility is being changed to be a resto druid only spell. So Druid tanks and DPS will no longer be able to cast the spell themselves.  How Tranquility works is also being adjusted, however, the adjustment seems to be a change to simply remove the raid environment and lag issues.

Tranquility now heals every Party and Raid member within range every 2 seconds for 8 seconds. It no longer places a periodic effect on each target. The total amount of healing it generates in Raids should be approximately the same as before this change.

Symbiosis is being removed from the game.  Resto Druids symbiosing a Resto Shaman for Spirit Walker’s Grace was pretty popular, as it gave Druids the ability to cast Tranquility on the run.  However, the loss will likely be felt more significantly by other raid members who were benefiting from Symbiosis perks.

Nourish has been removed as part of Blizzard’s plan to remove those fast low-cost heals.  Here is how they see heals for either efficiency or throughput.

Druid Higher Efficiency: Healing Touch, Rejuvenation, Efflorescence

Druid Higher Throughput: Regrowth, Wild Growth

Because of the nature of Resto Druids with hots, and they are not affected to significantly by the change to cast times.  However, Wild Growth now has a 1.5 second cast time, up from its previous instant cast.

Most Resto Druids were using the cliff added in patch 5.4, where Efflorescence was attached to wild mushrooms rather than Swiftmend, so the change has been made permanently without a Glyph spot being wasted.

Swift Rejuvenation has been removed, as Blizzard found the passive was making it too strong in raids where the Druid was hotting everyone with Rejuv, and they didn’t like how Druids were utilizing haste because of this change.

Nature’s Vigil has been changed, to increase the single target gains while reducing the AOE healing.

Nature’s Vigil, while active, increases single-target damage and healing caused by healing spells by 16% (down from 25%), and all single-target damage spells also heal a nearby friendly target for 35% of the damage done (up from 25%).

Druids are definitely the healing class that has been changed the least. Because the majority of their spells are instacast hots, they weren’t affected by the change that saw so many healing spells go from being instacast to having a 1.5 second cast time.    Of course, these are only the Alpha patch notes so we could see some significant changes between now and launch.

Holy and Disc Priest Healing from Alpha Warlords of Draenor Patch Notes

discpriest

Healing priests are seeing many changes in the Warlords of Draenor alpha patch notes.

First, Disc Priests will certainly to be disappointed to know – however, not likely to be surprised – that Atonement is getting nerfed.  Blizzard admits that he grew out of control during Mists of Pandaria, and it wasn’t unusual to see Disc Priests doing nothing but Smiting with some Power Word: Shields thrown in for good measure.

Atonement healing has been reduced by 25%.  However, Smite has been buffed by 20%.  What does this mean overall for Atonement?  Fortunately, Twintop (@TwintopTahoe) has already done the math for us at H2P.

Smite does 100 dmg now. Atonement does 90 healing.

The atonement change, 25% less, means Atonement (should) now do 67.5% of the dmg done as healing.

If Smite is buffed by 20%, then our Smite cast now does 120 dmg, and 120 * 0.675 = 81 healing.

So it is a net nerf.

Disc Priests have also become overpowered with their level 90 tier talents – Cascade, Divine Star and Halo.  When Blizzard removed AOE cap from the spells in that particular tier, Priests completely dominated healing meters for the majority of fights, due to the way the overhealing interacted with Divine Aegis, which meant the raid was being shielded with huge absorbs.  This left other healers with little to heal, while waiting for the damage to burn through the huge Disc Priest absorbs first.  Blizzard has returned AOE capping to Halo and Divine Star.

We are also seeing some changes with Chakras, because they were concerned about it being a penalty for being in the wrong Chakra, as opposed to the planned bonus of being in the correct one.

Chakra: Serenity now increases healing of single-target spells by 10% (down from 25%).
Holy Word: Serenity now heals for 40% more than before.
Chakra: Sanctuary now increases healing of area-of-effect spells by 10% (down from 25%).
Holy Word: Sanctuary now heals for 60% more than before.
Rapid Renewal no longer reduces the global cooldown of Renew.

Prayer of Mending is undergoing a change which many priests are to be pretty happy about. Prayer of Mending has the stipulation that “This spell can only be placed on one target at a time.”  It wasn’t unusual for Prayer of Mending wars to break out, especially for those looking to rank on fights.  Multiple priests can have Prayer of Mending on the same target now.

Holy Nova has been made a Disc Priest only spell, and will no longer require a glyph.  Healing from it has been increased, to provide Disco Priests with an AOE heal.

Many instant cast heals have been given a 1.5 second cast time, which includes the 90 tier talents.

Prayer of Mending now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast).
Cascade now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast).
Divine Star now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast).
Halo now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast).

Heal has been removed.  But they have made their differences between what they see as mana efficient versus mana intensive with a higher throughput.

Priest Higher Efficiency: Greater Heal, Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Holy Nova (new Discipline-only version), Penance

Priest Higher Throughput: Flash Heal, Prayer of Healing

There is also a significant amount of abilities being pruned from Priests (and from all classes).

Binding Heal is no longer available to Shadow Priests.
Hymn of Hope has been removed.
Heal has been removed.
Greater Heal has been renamed Heal.
Inner Focus no longer provides any mana cost reduction.
Rapture has been removed.
Renew is now available only to Holy Priests
Shadow Word: Death is now available only to Shadow Priests.
Void Shift has been removed.
Inner Fire has been removed.
Inner Will has been removed.

The Hymn of Hope removal (and the nerf to Mana Tide Totem) will be felt from healers relying on those mana sources for mana regen.  Blizzard felt too many healers were reforging out of too much spirit while relying on outside mana sources.  However, this will definitely be felt in WoD when every last mana point counts.

For Disc Priests, their power has always been in their ability to create those huge absorbs. What does this mean for disc priests going into WoD? Blizzard is planning to have less first healing, and they don’t expect the raid to be at 100% health the majority of the time.  But whatever there is any kind of damage going out, disc priests nearly always will perform well – although at the start of Mists of Pandaria, Disc Priests were fairly weak compared to other healing classes.

On the positive side, Priests have the ability to change healing specs between Disc and Holy depending on which spec is looking the best once we hit the first tier of raiding in WoD – other healing classes don’t have that luxury, as it will require leveling another healing class to 100, if their preferred healing class isn’t performing well.   And healing Priests often found themselves having to switch specs this expansion since some fights heavily favored Holy while others heavily favored Disc.

We will have more Disc and Holy Priest notes as we continue to watch blue tweets.

Blizzard confirms number of healers for Warlords of Draenor raids

Ever since blizzard first announced the changed to 20 men Mythic raiding, there’s a lot of concern from healers about what this means for them.  Coming during a tier that required up to 9 healers for progression 25M heroic Thok, the fact that the healing roster might have to be cut by two thirds was a huge concern to a lot healers. Not to mention, there is a huge disparity between the number of healers required this tier, from a high of 8-9 for Heroic Thok, to only three healers for Heroic Garrosh.

Healers finally has real news about the number of healers for Warlords of Draenor, and it isn’t quite as dire as many people were suspecting it might be, however healer heavy rosters will be facing some cuts. They are suggesting 4-6 healers for Mythic, and trying to avoid fights where 3 or 7 healers would be the ideal comp.

I’d say 4-6, 5 average for Mythic. We’re going to try to avoid 3 or 7 ever feeling like the right answer. (WatcherDev)

It also makes one wonder if healers, in order to keep their raid spots, will need to have more than one healer class ready to go depending on the healer comp card for a fight. For six healers, that is one of every class, but there always sites that require specific healer types.  Likewise, there could be heavier stress on healers that can flip to DPS, or DPS that can flip the heals.

An example would be progression heroic Malkorok where at least two Mistweavers was really needed, although could be done with a minimum of one.  And with discs being particularly strongly this tier, many progression guilds ran two or three per fight.  Looking at the first tier, it was Mistweavers who were God-like, and many guilds had 2 on the roster, and usually with 1 or two Monks who could flip.

Unless your guild has a huge healing roster, going into Warlords of Draenor with 6 heals should be a strong healing comp, as long as you don’t have 3 of the same healing class making up the 6.  But even for 4 healers fight, that will be a lot of bench time for some healers yet again.

It is too early to make predictions about which healing class will be “best”, and we likely won’t know until we see the next raid tier in beta, but even then, classes that perform well in the beta, don’t always perform as well once a tier goes live, so even that will have to be taken with a grain of salt.

Healers with DPS abilities (Monk’s new Fistweaving with Crane Stance, Disc Priests, Resto Shamans) might be slightly more in demand with 20M raiding, especially for progression when every DPS hit point can make the difference between a wipe and a kill.

Added: For a full overview of all the changes announced so far, read Lots of new healer changes announced for Warlords of Draenor

Lots of new healer changes announced for Warlords of Draenor

Healers finally got a nice big Dev Watercooler today and had a great deal of information tp finetooth comb over about the upcoming expansion and how it will affect healers in Warlords of Draenor.

First, we also have posts on the individual classes if you want more specifics where I am adding all the class specific tweets the Blues are making today, so definitely check them out for even more detail…. Resto Druid, Resto Shaman, Holy Pally, Holy & Disc Priest, and Mistweaver Monk

Rethinking Health Bars

Blizzard doesn’t really like how the healing game has changed from thinking about every heal and every individual player’s health pool, to the current “spam them as fast as you can to heal them to 100%” with *absorb* *smartheal* *absorb* that is happening now.  And this is actually the reason why we saw a lot more bursty damage this tier than in previous tiers, because bursty damage was the only way to challenge healers – and really, that’s not a challenge, its all about who has the fastest trigger finger and the most haste after the mass absorbs fall off.

One of our goals for healing in Warlords of Draenor is to tone down the raw throughput of healers relative to the size of player health pools. Currently, as healers and their allies acquire better and better gear, the percentage of a player’s health that any given heal restores increases significantly. As a result, healers are able to refill health bars so fast that we have to make damage more and more “bursty” in order to challenge them. Ideally, we want players to spend some time below full health without having healers feel like the players they’re responsible for are in danger of dying at any moment. We also think that healer gameplay would be more varied, interesting, and skillful if your allies spent more time between 0% and 100%, rather than just getting damaged quickly to low health, forcing the healer to then scramble to get them back to 100% as quickly as possible.

Watcher also tweeted the same sentiment about how it isn’t an ideal situation.

When healers can top off critically injured players in seconds, encounters have to try to kill players before healers can react. Not ideal.

Blizzard wants to see things back to the time where the raid wasn’t at 100% health, but you didn’t have the “OMG he/she is going to DIE!!!!” you sometimes get now.

To that end, we’re buffing heals less than we’re increasing creature damage. Heals will be deliberately less potent compared to health pools than before the item squish. Additionally, as gear improves, the scaling rates of health and healing will now be very similar, so the relative power of any given healing spell shouldn’t climb so much over the course of this expansion. For those concerned about what this means for raiding, don’t worry—we’re taking all of these changes into account when designing Raid content for Warlords of Draenor.

This will be nice and make healing a lot more challenging to healers over the course of an entire expac, rather than generally getting less challenging overall (raid mechanics aside) when healing.

Percentage of Health Spells

Blizzard is making changes to many spells based off percentage of health, although they say the changes are actually in line with the changes to other healing spells.  They haven’t gone into specifics yet, but hopefully we will know more soon.

Added: Gift of the Naaru is one that will be changing.  It is currently “Heals the target for 20% of the caster’s total health over 15 sec.”.  Will now be “Gift of the Naaru heals for 4% of your max HP, every 1sec, for 5sec.”

Many Instant Casts now have a 1.5 second cast time

Many, many instant cast heals have gotten reworked with a significant 1.5 second cast time.  Blizzard felt the mechanic of running and healing at the same time removed some of the complexity and decision making behind healing.   For instant casts, all of the following have been hit with a 1.5 second cast time: Druid’s Wild Growth; Monk’s Uplift; Paladin’s Eternal Flame, Word of Glory and Light of Dawn; Priest’s Cascade, Divine Star, Halo, and Prayer of Mending.  Shaman’s did not have their one instant cast (Riptide) reworked with the cast time.

The loss of insta-cast heals will be pretty significant from a “OMG, save the tank!” moments when all the healers decided to target someone else in those crucial seconds or if the tank missed a cooldown and the other tank forgot to taunt and you need to attempt to keep him up.

Right now, these are the only instant-cast heals being affected by the new 1.5 second cast time, so you can breathe a sigh of relief over anything left.

Yes. The only currently planned changed to cast times are the ones listed in the blog.

That said, Nethaera says (in comment on the watercooler) they are planning raid encounters in WoD to take into account these changes.

We’re also taking a look at Raid design as a larger part of all of these changes. So, rather than having to make encounters that do a lot of damage to counter the large health pools and player healing ability, we can pace the damage in these encounters a bit better and allow healers to make better healing choices as a part of the gameplay.

However that won’t really help save people who stand in bad for a tick too long or don’t use personals.  And a bitter part of me suspects PVP also had a role in this change, since these are now interruptible.

Mana in WoD

They are planning to focus on making healers be but much aware of their mana and their subsequent healing decisions based on it.   However, there are changes to spirit and baseline regen according to Watcher.

Baseline regen will be higher, Spirit will still be good where you can get it.

But they did make one nice change – healers are so used to sucking mana dry at the start of an expansion, but they are making it easier for healers this time around.

All of this discussion of efficiency may cause most healers to start worrying about mana regeneration and their mana pool. To allay those concerns, we’ve increased base mana regen a great deal at early gear levels, while having it scale up less at later gear levels. This will make all of these changes play well even in early content such as Heroic Dungeons and the first tier of Raid content, and also play well in the final Raid tier without mana and efficiency becoming irrelevant due to extremely high regeneration values.

For some healers, it has almost become a game to see how low they can get their spirit (and then cry for Mana Tides).

Speaking of Mana Tide, Blizzard has not said anything about MTT, so it is unclear if it will be reworked yet again.  I do miss the Cataclysm days when it became an art to drop Mana Tide when your Tsunami Darkmoon Card Trinket proc’d, I would love to see there be some wiggle room again by allowing spirit proc trinkets work with Mana Tide, even if other tricks don’t work.

Baseline spirit is going to be higher, which is important since healers won’t be getting as many gear pieces with spirit, which is a definite turnaround from the usual “every piece has spirit unless you specifically choose a non-spirit one”.  Celestalon stresses that gear will not matter less to healers because of the change, although many guilds tend to gear DPS first to meet early DPS checks in early expansions.

Low Cost Spammable Heals Gone

Blizzard has given the axe to many heals they saw as being both “low-throughput, low-mana-cost heals” – basically the healing spells healers do when everyone is topped off, there is no imminent incoming damage, and you want to maybe spam heal the tanks without wasting mana if it is an overheal.

While it seems they haven’t included all the heals, they have listed several kinds as being removed including Nourish, Holy Light, Heal, and Healing Wave.  They are reusing some of these names with the less mana efficient big brother of the heals, such as Greater Healing Wave being renamed Healing Wave (yes, I can see this causing all kinds of confusion when it goes live).

I can see why Blizzard did this, as they want to make healers think about every heal they make, and lose some of the “afk spam” type heals we all do at some time or another.  The comparison was made that these low cost heals end up as being like an auto-attack for healers, which is probably a fair comparison.

However, how does this affect the “always be casting” mentality and the goal to have 100% uptime – even if healers feel this isn’t ideal, many raid leaders who don’t know much about healing will cite “But your uptime was only 82% according to logs!  FIX IT!!”  Perhaps that 18% was everyone topped off and it was a non-absorb class.  And by the same accord, healers don’t generally like fights where they sit around twiddling their thumbs with nothing to heal either.

Low throughput heals served a role of feeling like the auto attack for healers. Do healers frequently do nothing during combat?
Your efficient single-target heal (Healing Wave, Holy Light, etc.) should still be a mainstay. Unrelated: Big fan of Healer:ALitD (WatcherDev)

Having a heal you can always be casting without worrying about the mana cost seems important to prevent healers just watching.
Agreed, I see the value there. For some, a DPS filler can work fine (free Lightning Bolt for shaman, Atonement for Disc, etc.). (WatcherDev)

Which heals for which jobs

Along with the changes to the low-mana low-efficiency heals, they are also prioritizing which heals they feel healers should be using depending on the situation:

Druid Higher Efficiency: Healing Touch, Rejuvenation, Efflorescence
Druid Higher Throughput: Regrowth, Wild Growth

Monk Higher Efficiency: Soothing Mist, Renewing Mist
Monk Higher Throughput: Surging Mist, Spinning Crane Kick

Paladin Higher Efficiency: Holy Light, Holy Shock, Word of Glory, Light of Dawn
Paladin Higher Throughput: Flash of Light, Holy Radiance

Priest Higher Efficiency: Greater Heal, Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Holy Nova (new Discipline-only version), Penance
Priest Higher Throughput: Flash Heal, Prayer of Healing

Shaman Higher Efficiency: Healing Wave, Riptide, Healing Rain
Shaman Higher Throughput: Healing Surge, Chain Heal

Watcher has also said that it will be your efficient single target heals that will be a big part of your healing toolkit.

Your efficient single-target heal (Healing Wave, Holy Light, etc.) should still be a mainstay.

Along with this, they want to stress that healers should be in the business of decision making which heals to use, rather than just using your go-to heal as many do currently.

The goal isn’t to make healing harder, actually. I’d say it’s to replace testing reaction time with testing decision-making.

Passive and Smart Heals

There has been a lot of backlash against passive and smart heals this time.  We had two trinkets this time around that did some form of smart healing (Cleave and Multistrike), heals have become “smarter” and it means a lot less healing is left to be done by true targeted healing.

We also took a look at healing spells that were passive or auto-targeted (so-called “smart” heals).

We want healers to care about who they’re targeting and which heals they’re using, because that makes healer gameplay more interactive and fun. To that end, we’re reducing the healing of many passive and auto-targeted heals, and making smart heals a little less smart. Smart heals will now randomly pick any injured target within range instead of always picking the most injured target. Priority will still be given to players over pets, of course.

On one hand while this will bring some cheers, it will also be jeers with the mechanics.  Remember some of the “dumb heals” we got from trinkets/weapons in previous expansions where we would see a trinket heal go and heal someone missing 2 health points and bypassing the tank who was about to die?  It became a contest of sorts after every boss to see whose trinkets actually did real healing instead of overhealing.

I’d almost rather see it go to the most injured player within a closer distance (ie. heals the most injured player within 20y instead of 40y) but then I could also see that cause a huge issue with Mistweavers rocking those heals because range healers had to be 30-40y out because of some boss mechanic.

So I am not sure what the real solution is, since smart heals have been so dominant, but I can see a lot more overhealing.

Celastalon has also confirmed that all smart heals will be changing.

It’s safe to say that we’re changing all smart heals.

Blizzard also likes the idea that “smart heals” will turn into “not-so-smart” heals, making them random and unpredictable.

That’s the point. It also emphasizes single target heals in supplement.

We are also going to see the 6 player cap on “smart heals” for performance issues.

Probably will have a target cap of 6 for better client/server performance. Will hit 6 random injured players.

Absorbs

Ah, absorbs, the bane of every healer’s existence but Discs and Holy Pallies.  While it wasn’t such a headache for non-absorb healers earlier this expac, this tier has been pretty painful.  Blizzard had previously said they were going to make some changes to absorbs, but while they once again acknowledge the problem, they haven’t really said specifics, other than they will stay true to Disc being an absorb class.

Additionally, we’re toning down the power of absorbs in general. When they get too strong, absorption effects are often used in place of direct healing instead of as a way to supplement it. We will, of course, take these changes into account when tuning specializations that rely heavily on absorbs, such as Discipline Priests.

But with the changes to the health pool, where Blizzard doesn’t necessarily want everyone at 100% nor healers have the ability to just easily top the entire raid off quickly and efficiently, absorbs will have a lot less of an impact to overall healing numbers, and could make them quite poor on some fights (think of a fight like Valithria Dreamwalker, Tsuong or Chimaeron where raw HPS output is needed)

Single versus Multi-Target

Blizzard wants to make healers have to think about what kind of heal they want to use, a single target or multi-target heal.   As such, they are reducing the mana efficiency for many multi-target heals.

Another of our goals for healing in this expansion is to strike a better balance between single-target and multi-target healing spells. We’ve taken a close look at the mana efficiency of our multi-target heals, and in many cases, we’re reducing their efficiency, usually by reducing the amount they heal. Sometimes, but more rarely, raising their mana cost was a better decision. We want players to use multi-target heals, but they should only be better than their single-target equivalents when they heal more than two players without any overhealing. This way, players will face an interesting choice between whether to use a single-target heal or a multi-target heal based on the situation.

There is no word on how this change will affect Shamans, whose toolkit is really geared towards multi-target healing with Chain Heal and Healing Rain, and it really is their niche.

Back to Cataclysm?

The changes seem to be another throwback to Cataclysm, and I am not the only one who sees that and is concerned about it for the health of healing overall (no pun intended!), but Watcher had a bit of reassurance for those with bad memories of the start of the first Cataclysm raiding tier.

Cata’s healing had upsides and downsides. We’re capturing the upsides, and preventing the downsides.

But Cataclysm also brought a fair amount of healing issues with healing being so difficult and painful that a lot of healers switched to tank or DPS instead.  And don’t even mention the abuse we endured back them while trying to heal a some of those dugeons, like heroic Grim Batol – if you got past the first boss, you were #winning.

It may give exceptional healers more room to distinguish themselves. But we plan to avoid the pitfalls of early Cata healing.

Fortunately, Blizzard does acknowledge that mana regen was a serious issue in early Cataclysm days.  I remember farming non-stop for the Darkmoon Card: Tsunami trinket and the Archaeology trinket Tyrande’s Favorite Doll just so I had a tiny bit more mana and mana regen for bosses because going OOM was such a real issue.  And yes, it would be really awesome to have another version of Tyrande’s Favorite Doll for WoD, so those who are really suffering (or want to be super awesome) can farm it.  It was a real shame that the Archaeology items this expac were only blue quality and not epics, and no decent healing item.

Mana regen was a huge issue early Cata, along with overtuning. Created a trap for many healers; too easy to OOM.

Final thoughts

Fortunately, Blizzard says they will keep a close eye on how testing goes with the changes (speaking of which, hopefully we get beta soon, especially since we will have to do the 90-100 grind to get true level 100 testing in for healing).

The developers plan to keep a close eye on how testing goes in the beta with all of these changes. It’s a lot of interconnected systems changes so there’s a lot to take into account. Hopefully, with some great focused (and constructive) feedback, they’ll be able to continue making solid decisions to get the results they (and the community) are looking for. (Nethaera)

And don’t forget this is just a slice of the current changes – I have many things in my mind I think would be pretty awesome if they changed for healers, so my fingers are crossed that some of them could possibly happen.

What do you think?  And don’t forget the indivudual class posts which have more class-specific info from the Dev Watercooler and all the zillions of tweets the blues are doing today: Resto Druid, Resto Shaman, Holy Pally, Holy & Disc Priest, and Mistweaver Monk

Happy healing :)