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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It was the best of times – A Blog Azeroth Shared Topic

The Shared Blog topic over at Blog Azeroth this week is as follows:

I know we heard the word “Throwback” many times around the net, but as part of World of warcraft expansions. I want to know what is the best expansion in game that really highlights a lot of your accomplishments in game especially that the new upcoming expansion is coming its nice to look back it could be the one when you started playing with your main character, getting a cool mount, being in a great guild, or your very first screenshot in game if you still have it or being in PvP battlegrounds or Arenas, even your raiding experiences back in BC or PRE-BC, Cataclysm, etc. You can be creative how you want to do this it could be storyline, poem, screenshots up to you it is pretty much a throwback experiences you can share to everyone.

Suggested by Amerence.

For me this has to be a toss up between the original game and Wrath.

When I first started playing, it wasn’t long before I found myself in a hardcore guild fighting for and indeed winning server firsts on everything from Vael onwards all the way to Naxxramas mark 1. Despite there being over 40 of us, despite there being a fair number of giant egos and quite a few times when I would have liked to kill at least one person in the guild, there was also a sense of pride in our guildtag. We played on a PvP server and it was more often than not a case of attack one and get swarmed by the rest of the guild.

Also of course there was the newness factor, I’d never ever played anything multi player besides first person shooters across a LAN with friends so suddenly raiding with 39 other people from across Europe including Russians from Vladivostok who would get up early to raid before work felt amazing.

Getting my Benediction as the second Priest on our then server and of course getting the only C’thun kill  (no one else killed him until the Burning Crusade) naturally rank high on my list of things achieved in the days before “achievements” but it was the silly things which stand out more. The long drawn out fights between Southshore and Tarren Mill, getting rank on my little Warlock before she was level 60 when the pvp system first came out and of course later on, same server Alterac valleys. The conversations in Priest chat, like the one which put me off eating seaweed for a very long time and doing things like drunken LBRS runs with 3 dpsers all desperately trying to beat each other by pulling as much as possible and no tank these are the things which stand out.

Selling the clothes off my back to buy my first mini pet because I hadn’t found the auction house and 40 silver was a lot of money back then, to me at least. Not to mention many of my favourite outfits are based around gear which has been available since the start, the Devout set, the Wildheart set and the Robes of the Guardian Saint are three examples which quickly spring to mind.

Wrath didn’t have the newness factor but it had several elements I enjoyed. First up a proper end boss, demons really aren’t my thing and the Sunwell didn’t exactly have the happiest of memories for me. Then there was Ulduar, quite possibly my favourite raiding instance of the entire game. As with the original game I was raiding at a fairly high end level and enjoyed completing for things like server firsts and also ticking off what were then hard achievements. When we got A Tribute to Insanityit felt like killing C’thun all over again especially given that we usually wiped to stupid on something. It also brought me my favorite 5 man of all time, the Halls of Reflection. Call me weird if you want, but I rather like being chased through frozen halls by a man with a very large sword (and based on what I found when I went and read WoW fan fiction with the  mature filter turned off) I’m apparently not alone.

There was the nakedness bug

WoWScrnShot_092109_202735

and Gnomes in the fish feasts. I got my one and only legendary, although I have to admit the lack of RP was slightly disappointing even though some of my guild kindly tried to improvise for me. There were flying carpets and real story telling. The Wrathgate chain for example still makes me teary eyed.

Ultimately though, there has been one constant to my journey across Azeroth.

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Mr Harpy and given that he’s currently in the process of leveling warrior number 3, this shot of us snuggling on a beach in Silverpine way back when our adventure was just starting seemed appropriate. I’ve enjoyed the vast majority of my time spent exploring this strange new world and am looking forward to everything that this new expansion brings.