If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
All the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry
No, I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me
From the song Stand by Me.
I know Blizzard are going to be posting a blog post about the up coming Healing changes either later today or tomorrow but thought I’d throw in a quick post about potential changes first partly because I drafted it a week ago and also because wild speculation is always fun.
This post was sparked by a comment of Prinnie’s
But now, apparently, the WoD thinking is, “CASTING WHILE MOVING IS BAD.”
which only took firm hold in my head later on when I read this on MMO-Champion.
Raid encounters will have more interesting mechanics for healers, allowing them to avoid the boredom that comes with just spamming the same skill over and over.
I must admit these two so innocent looking sentences when added together have me considering a whole new career as some sort of dpser. For interesting mechanics my mind wanders back to Instructor Razuvious and that sinking feeling I’d get whenever we entered Naxxramas, made ten times worse by the memory of the night where I effectively had to solo tank him due to our other Priest’s mindcontrol deciding not to work whilst our raid was working on Immortality. I think of General Vexaz, a fight I hated as a Holy Priest and who can forget Leotheras the Blind and his inner demons which were a whole lot of pain to kill as healers and of course I think of vehicle fights in general.
Now I’m not denying the days of being able to spam Circle of Healing and win were boring in the extreme but I also don’t know many healers who like having the success or failure of raid depend on their ability to deal with “interesting mechanics”. I know we lost healers in Wrath over mindcontrol and also over tank cooldowns because they couldn’t cope with the fallout of timing it wrong and being yelled at by our angry raid leader, they just wanted to stand at the back and heal.
In a conversation with my Guild Master the other day, the phrase “interesting times” was used and certainly with every detail which drips out, it seems accurate in the extreme.
In terms of casting on the move:
- Holy word: Chastise or Holy Word: Serenity (depending on Chakra state)
- Power word: Shield
- Cascade or Divine Star or Halo (Talents)
- Prayer of Mending
- Circle of Healing
- Power word: Solace
- Desperate Prayer or Spectral Guise (Talents)
- Holy Nova (Glyph)
- Guardian Spirit
- Power Infusion (Talent)
- Void Tendrils or Pysfiend (Talents)
- Angelic Feather (Talents)
- Shadow word: Pain
- Void Shift
- Leap of Faith
That’s 21 abilities that depending on my talents and glyph choices I could cast whilst running for my life. Out of that list, I currently have access to 19 (don’t have angelic feathers or power infusion on my Holy Priest) and 9 of them are ways in which I can increase the health pool of other people. Is that too many? Perhaps, I would definitely see no harm in adding a half second cooldown to the level 90 talents. There is probably room for Prayer of Healing and Circle of Healing to merged in some way, perhaps by making Prayer of Healing smart rather than having the party limitation and adding a small cooldown to stop it being spammed. When you’re AoE healing you are unlikely to being either of the instant cast Chakra power words, so they are fine. Tank cooldowns like Guardian Spirit and Void Shift I feel should be instant cast as they should be reactive not cast at x percentage of the way through the fight. The same is true of Leap of Faith, especially from a PvP perspective. Void tendrils/Pysfiend/Fear don’t really have raid uses and shadow word: pain isn’t likely to kill anyone. Holy Nova is little more than a gimmick, I have it because it’s still useful for finding stealths in PvP as well as stopping people tagging flags.
So in terms of what is useful in healing most aoe raid encounters we’re looking at:
- Cascade or Divine Star or Halo
- Prayer of Mending
- Circle of Healing
- Guardian Spirit
- Void Shift
- Power Solace if talented but the others require a lot less time management
which is a much shorter instant cast list.
I’m not going to do a comparison for every Healing Class, but thought I’d have a brief look at what’s available to a couple of other classes that I play.
- Wild Growth
- Ysera’s Gift/ Renewal/Cenarion Ward (Talents)
- Wild Mushrooms
- Wild Mushroom’s Bloom
- Faerie Fire
- Wild Charge
- Nature’s Swiftness
- Nature’s Cure
- Disorienting Roar/Ursol’s Vortex/Mighty Bash (Talents)
- Stampeding Roar
- Force of Nature (if Talented for)
- Mass Entanglement/Typhoon (Depending on Talent choices)
- Nature’s Grasp
I deliberately tried to avoid anything which required cat or bear form but that still left me with 21 instant cast spells from the Druid. Like the Holy Priest a good few of those are utility spells and many match up, for example I suspect shadowfiend is instant cast because innervate always has been. Mass Entanglement too might be further down the tree than Void Tendrils but the two spells are very similar in every way apart from graphics. Of these stampeding roar and nature’s grasp definitely shouldn’t have cast times in my opinion as this negates their purpose, i.e. helping you escape.
- Healing Spheres
- Chi Wave/Zen Sphere (Talents)
- Renewing Mist
- Nimble Brew
- Expel Harm
- Thunder Focus Tea
- Chi Brew
- Tiger’s Lust
- Dampen Harm/Diffuse Magic
- Summon Jade Statue
- Ring of Peace/Charging Ox Wave/Leg Sweep
- Chi Torpedo/Rushing Jade Wind/Xuen
- Life Cocoon
- Zen Flight
- Blackout Kick
- Tiger Palm
- Touch of Death
- Grapple Weapon
- Mana Tea (can be glyphed to be instant)
So in the notes on MMO-Champion, I did notice that they’re planning on removing Healing Spheres as an actual spell because:
We’re removing it because of the bad gameplay it provided, despite its power. Healing Sphere was spam clicking on an intended target’s feet, trying to account for their movement and latency, tight hit area.
Which personally I disagree with, never having had issues and would rather be in control of where I place my healing tools so that there is a small chance people other than myself will actually use and benefit from. It would also make the current Proving Grounds somewhat harder for Mistweaver Monks.
I find the fact that Summon Jade Statue is instant cast when Lightwell has a cooldown interesting but mostly these spells fall within definite categories. Each one has a hot of some sort, spells which deal with mana regeneration, i.e. innervate, shadowfiend, power word: solace tend to be either baseline instant cast or have the ability to be modified in that way. All single target dispels are instant too and so are movement modifiers whether that’s clearing snares like Nimble Brew or just increasing speed like Stampeding Roar, Roll or Angelic Feathers.
These lists are actually longer than I expected them to be given these are just abilities you can cast whilst moving and perhaps more importantly, they highlight the fact that too much choice can sometimes be a bad thing, especially when it comes to balance. I’ve been watching a quite a few PvP streams on Twitch lately and whilst you tend not to notice it when you’re the one running around chased by three male Bloodelves all wearing plate, carrying very big swords and spamming /lick macros, one grumpy Orc who can’t stop spitting and a gossip of Goblins, spectating on PvP shows just how much of it is done with instants these days. In fact I suspect that’s the issue, each expansion has seen huge amounts of interrupts and crowd control given to every class and in order to counter that, everyone has been given instants to actually be able to cast something. Pare back the control and there is much less need for instants in any aspect of the game.