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 :)

New Resto Shaman Healing Changes in Warlords of Draenor Announced

We have some brand new Resto Shaman healing info this morning in the Healer Watercooler.

Healing Wave has been removed as part of the low-throughput, low-mana-cost heals that have been removed from most classes.  Greater Healing Wave has been renamed as Healing Wave.

Because Shamans don’t really have an instant cast heal like other classes do, other than Riptide, Shamans did not get hit with an instant cast heal removal like all the other classes did.

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

With absorbs being nerfed in Warlords, this should help Shamans see their hps go up once again, especially when there is more than one absorb healing class in the raid.

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.

Watcher has tweeted that they feel Shaman’s healing is too much smart healing and does acknowledge the fact Shamans do have fewer instants than the other healing classes..

Shaman has far fewer instant heals than most. And yes, between CH, HR, and HST, too much of a Shaman’s throughput is smart atm.

Smart heals have always been a huge part of the Resto Shaman toolkit, with spells such as Healing Rain, Healing Tide Totem, Healing Stream Totem and Chain Heal (within range).  And unfortunately, it looks like that will be changing for Shamans, and the question included “pruning”, so there is a chance Shamans could see another whole redesign yet again.

Smart heals are changing, does that mean you will be changing or pruning abilities like healing stream/tide and healing rain?
It’s safe to say that we’re changing all smart heals. (Celestalon)

 

 

New Mistweaver Monk Changes for Warlords of Draenor

There is new healing info for Mistweaver Monks announced today in the Healer Watercooler.

With Instacast heals bring largely removed, Mistweavers will see their Uplift now has a 1.5 second cast time.

Blizzard didn’t announce any low-thoroughput, low-mana-cost heals from Mistweavers, although they could still have something in the works and just not mentioned it.

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

Mistweaver Monks had a hard time this tier, a lot because their healing style didn’t really mesh well when healing with super absorb classes like Disc Priests. So the toning down of absorbs should help Mistweaver’s shine once again.

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.

For concerned Mistweavers that there isn’t much change going on here (although lots has been announced previously), Watcher says:

Mistweavers will be seeing other improvements — we’re not looking to leave their effectiveness at the mercy of random jumps.

 

New Resto Druid Healing Changes for Warlords of Draenor

The Healer Watercooler today had plenty of Resto Druid changes in it.

Wild Growth has been changed, and it will now have a 1.5 second cast time, bringing it in line with the other healer instant cast heal changes.

They have removed Nourish from the game, although they could re-use that name for a different spell.

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

With absorbs being toned down, this should help druids get more healing out of their rejuvs, which quite often just go into overhealing when a raid is mostly BIS.

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.

Efflorescence is on Shrooms baseline now. (Celestalon)

New Holy Paladin Changes in Warlords of Draenor announced

We have new Pally healing info from the Healer Watercooler today.

Instacast heals are being removed.  Eternal Flame & Word of Glory now have a 1.5 second cast time for Holy Pallies.  Light of Dawn is now also a 1.5 second cast time.

Holy Light as been removed, although they are re-using the spell name for a different heal.  So now Divine Light is called Holy Light.

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

They plan to dampen down the amount of absorbs in the game, and while this won’t affect Paladins as much as Disc Priests, it should be noted.

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.

Upcoming Disc & Holy Priest Changes in Warlords of Draenor

The new healer water cooler came out today with some great information.

Priests are losing many instant cast heals they currently have.  Cascade, Divine Star & Halo now all have 1.5 second cast times.  Prayer of Mending is now 1.5 second cast time.

Heal is being removed (although the name could be reused later).

Divine Star will be nerfed (sorry Priests!)

Divine Star is probably the most overpowered spell in the game, currently. It will be nerfed in 6.0.

They have also broken down what they see as higher efficiency heals vs higher throughput (but more mana expensive) heals:

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

They plan to dampen down the amount of absorbs in the game, but say they will still be conscious of the fact that Disc relies on absorbs for its healing spec.

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.

There are some Atonement changes as well, according to Celestalon.

Atonement will not be as much healing throughput as normal healing. Does significant damage when you don’t need as much healing.