Friday, November 7, 2008

AoE heals under fire

Uh oh.

Are CoH and WG better than Chain Heal? 11/04/2008
From what I've been seeing and hearing they're performing far better in Sunwell and BT. Is the supposed AoE healing class being out healed by the HoT and all-around healers? Why? What changes should be made?

Circle of Healing and Wild Growth are definitely on our radar. This would be a good time to discuss them.

Our concern is that they are turning two classes with a large arsenal of healing spells into single-button healers. Meanwhile, ironically, the other two healing classes have fewer heals to use in the first place.

We have seen raid parses where 75 to 90% of a priest's healing is through CoH. It's a good spell, useful in a variety of situations. But I think you can understand our concern.

A priest said to us the other day "Please nerf Circle of Healing so I can push another button!" He's even thinking of going Disc.



OK, first off, I'd like to know which raids these raid parses are coming from. Northrend beta raids? Or live Sunwell raids? I sincerely hope people aren't judging these spells on Sunwell parses, that would be incredibly stupid. Take an instance built around massive, constant raid damage, add some (supposedly) "smart" heals, take away the mana constraints for the time being, and what do you get? Of course you're going to see parses like that.


Mash, mash, mash, wheeeeee! Look at my HPS!


The T6 guilds are bored and zerging for gear now as we countdown to the expansion. There's not really much challenge in healing any fight at the moment, perhaps with the exception of KJ in the latter phases. Everything else you can buttonmash and collect your epics. I'm the designated Burn healer for Brutallus; the other night I fell over dead quite early due to lagging and getting a Burn/Slash combo - and even though the raid ended up with about half a dozen Burns, he still died easily. The point is, mana is not too much of a concern at the moment, plus we have these shiny new toys, and Sunwell's huge raid damage lends itself to AoE healing. Of course people are going to start mashing those buttons.


It is easy to become a masher when you have no mana problems and a heal that targets people for you. I get lazy sometimes - I have been known to blindly mash WG on trash. I actually DON'T like the "smart" aspect of these heals. I am completely against the game choosing who to heal for you - I want to be able to choose who needs my heals the most. Unfortunately it is probably the best way for WG to work; if they made it the 4 closest people to your target, or party only, it would be highly situational and lead to a lot of wasted healing. It would be fine for fights like Felmyst or Bloodboil, but otherwise not so great.


But the button mashing won't last long. It's not going to be like that at 80, when we are having to make much more judicious use of our mana. At least I certainly hope that will be the case, because I hate button mashing. Unfortunately though, if a fight lends itself to group heal spam, then group heal spam it is. Just look at how CH dominated most of the latter part of TBC - because that's what the fights called for. You can't really blame the spells for being overpowered when it is the encounters that force people to use them.


I think CoH is the one mostly under fire though, because yeah, CoH does seem pretty ridiculous at the moment. I don't like seeing healers nerfed, so I hope they are making these calls based on beta raids and not live - at least give the priests a chance to heal at 80 and then judge whether CoH needs to be tuned.


WG is probably up there because it's new, and people have trouble adjusting to new things. It is powerful in situations where the raid is taking constant hits and WG is able to tick, as well as the raiders being fairly close together; otherwise it is fairly weak. Because Sunwell has a bunch of fights where groups of people (or the entire raid) takes constant damage, of course it is going to shine - but again, that is encounter design, not a fault of the spell.


Honestly, if they nerfed WG's healing, I am not sure I would use it. At the moment it ticks for around 500 with full raid buffs, and that's not too bad, providing a couple of ticks get off, to get your money's worth. If they nerfed it down to 300 or 200 or something, I just don't think I would bother with it.


Time will tell; I just hope they aren't too heavy-handed. WG has only just been buffed back up from being useless, I hope they don't send it back again, to be relegated to being the 51pt talent for 5-mans.



From mmo-champion: (digest version)

Based on feedback from this forum, elsewhere and our own brainstorming, what we are thinking about right now is something like a 6 sec cooldown for Circle of Healing and Wild Growth.


We decided it was a problem based almost entirely on numbers coming out of Naxx. CoH and WG were doing the heavy lifting on almost every encounter. They were easily the top two heals for many parses. CH wasn't. Your individual raids may vary, but that is the overall trend. If we go ahead and make this change and see CH then completely fill the void left behind, then we would nerf CH as well.


We don't like the stacking mana cost solution in this case, though we did talk about it a lot. We suspect that would actually lead us to the land of priests saying their mana regen sucks because they have to spam CoH to be competitive, and I'm not sure we can count on all you guys to be around to explain the logic when that happens.

We don't want to just nerf the healing throughput on the spell because then it won't be able to do its job. CoH was in this state before when Holy just ignored it.

A cast time might work, but the instant nature of both spells is part of what makes them so useful in emergencies.

We're not crazy about reverting the smart heal aspect, though that is still on the table. Having too many spells that favor party over raid forces you back to having to worry a lot about your raid composition. "Oh, sorry hunter, we can't bring you because we need another melee for our melee group or else CoH won't reach you."


OK, I'm happy with this.


A) They're not just listening to people whining about Sunwell parses (phew).


B) They're not nerfing the healing of WG again, thank goodness, or it would go back to being nearly useless in raids.


C) They didn't up the mana cost.


D) I'm fine with a 6 second cooldown because I usually DO use other spells during that time, and I do prefer to still keep lifeblooms and rejuvs up, throw regrowths, etc. This basically allows me time to do those things without feeling that I should be spamming WG instead. I like that. It guards against us being button mashers.


A tentative thumbs-up from me!



Mel said...

Hi Keeva :) this is Khaya/Amarant from Quit. I like your blog, it's great read and I'll be subscribing to it. I've just started my own one, too.

Keep up the good work :D

Keeva said...

Thanks :D

Amradorn said...

Personally I've been so disgusted with the state of Resto druids since I was in the Wrath beta that I have pretty much refused to even spec into Flourish (Wild Growth). I've been able to hold my own fairly well in Sunwell raids so far. Maybe by the time I'm level 80 they will have stopped messing around with our spells enough that I might consider picking it up. That is of course if I haven't given up on Resto all together and gone Moonkin by then.

Aertimus said...

Great post.

I'm personally very torn on this issue. I need some time for self reflection before I take a stance/intelligently rant about it!