Come full Circle – Thoughts on the Healing Changes

Reading through the Healing blog a couple of  things stood out.

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.

That’s absolutely fine as along as DPS scales the same way. It’s that arms race mentality which led to us this point so as long as that is reined in, Heals don’t need to scale in leaps and bounds. However if DPS start complaining that their damage has only increased by 100 points across 5 tiers, then Blizzard have to say “tough”. I know this is primarily a PvP concern but adding artificial rubbish like PvP power isn’t the way to fix it. If Healers scale slowly from gear, Tanks and Dpsers need to as well. Otherwise gearing Healers becomes a waste of time relatively and it takes the “ooh shiny” fun aspect of raiding away. Now I’m not saying that people only raid for loot, far from it but everyone likes upgrading their gear.

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.

Smart heals are up there with shell suits as a contender for the worse thing ever invented. The issue will be balancing what’s left as certain classes rely more on Smart Heals than other.

 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.

This isn’t an interesting choice, it’s common sense or at least it should be. The changes to smart heals should help reinforce this.

Finally, we’re removing the low-throughput, low-mana-cost heals like Nourish, Holy Light, Heal, and Healing Wave, because we think that while they do add complexity, they don’t truly add depth to healing gameplay.

Can’t say I’m sorry to see them go. Although my Priest did the Proving Grounds with huge abuse of Heal it wasn’t fun. Having to use all of your toolbox is always more interesting than using one or two spells but this is something that can’t be forced. Having to heal like Simon Says isn’t fun. Having rotations isn’t interesting. What I love about healing, especially in group PvP is the unpredictable. Blizzard have given me the toolbox but ultimately it’s up to me to figure out how I want to use it. If we lose too many spells and I’m tempted to say one fifth is too much, we lose that choice and that decision making.

It was the last part of the post however which raised my eyebrows. Now I know it does say

Here are some examples:

but I was surprised just how small the list. In a recent post, I briefly touched upon the various instant cast spells and my list was surprisingly long although many of the spells are utility rather than heals .

  • Holy word: Chastise or Holy Word: Serenity (depending on Chakra state)
  • Renew
  • 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)
  • Levitate
  • Holy Nova (Glyph) – Is apparently going to Disc although I haven’t managed to find a proper source for that
  • Guardian Spirit
  • Shadowfiend
  • Power Infusion (Talent)
  • Void Tendrils or Pysfiend (Talents)
  • Angelic Feather (Talents)
  • Shadow word: Pain
  • Fear
  • Void Shift
  • Dispel
  • Purify
  • Leap of Faith

Now Circle of Healing and Wild Growth both gained a cooldown at the same time so I was quite surprised that Circle of Healing wasn’t on the list for cast time.

All of these changes taken together are intended to make gameplay more consistent between PvE and PvP, and invigorate healers with more dynamic gameplay.

Is casting on the move a bad thing? I would actually argue no, it’s not because it requires practice and the ability to do more than one thing at once. I agree that you shouldn’t be able to put out a similar output whilst bouncing around than you can standing still but I think Blizzard are walking a fine line between creating challenging, dynamic and intelligent gameplay versus mindless button mashing whilst standing still. I hope the former wins because I like deciding what I’m going to do, picking who to heal and managing my mana. Ultimately though, this is only one piece of the jigsaw and right now we’re trying to put the puzzle together in the dark.

 

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