These aren’t the buffs (droids) we are looking for

Jedi Mind Tick your concerns about Holy Power Generation, Holy Radiance, and HP finishers.

Jedi Mind Tick your concerns about Holy Power Generation, Holy Radiance, and HP finishers.

Holy Light and Flash of Light got buffed in the recent Beta build.  Here is a look at the changed healing rotation and stat wt. numbers:

Healing Chart 300 HL and FL

Stat Wt 300 HL and FL

Ends up being about a 10% buff.  Still very slow HP generation. Underwhelming HP finishers and Holy Radiance is still an expensive and weak AoE heal.

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The Tower Is Falling Down

The phallic fallacy that Paladins are falling down...

The phallic fallacy that Paladins are falling down…

I was hoping the last build would have started more of the healer balance changes I still expect, but no luck.  But we did get some changes so tank self healing and CD’s which should make our tank healing more important.  But the big thing that has happened is that Tower of Radiance has been changed.  It no longer generates holy power but returns 40% of the mana spent on your Holy Light or Flash of Light that was casted on the beacon.  Huge change.  Since Holy Radiance is so expensive we are not expecting reliable HP generation from casting it and that leaves just Holy Shock to generate HP.  Huge change.  Really slows the healing down.  I agree with the change in the sense that spamming the tank for HP is not good game play and doesn’t lend itself to fun healing play.  In the end, we should be motivated to heal those that need it rather than heal a target for other resources.  The down side is we can expect a HP finisher every 15 seconds or so instead of 5-8 seconds.  Have not had any change in the strength of our finishers to offset this, and in fact EF got a huge nerf (reduced HoT strength).  That is something I would expect to see changed with healing tuning pass that is hopefully coming up.  Anyway, these numbers are still early but I have some fun charts and stat weights based on:

  • 660 ilvl with raid buffs at Approx:  6100 SP, 24% Haste, 24% Crit, 24% Mastery, 8% Multistrike, 5% Versatility
  • Over-healing Estimates at Approx:  5% Mastery/Sacred Shield, 25% Beacon, 30% single Target, 10% AoE
  • Two Sacred Shields up at a time
  • PERFECT beacon of insight usage.  Every heal is casted on BoI.
  • Infusion of Light Procs included in Crit stat wt.

Numbers with no class comparrison!

Numbers with no class comparison!

My recap of the above is:

  • Beacon of Insight if used PERFECTLY is actually pretty strong.  But it won’t take much error for it to lose strength, but then again there maybe several fights double beacon loses potency as well (low tank damage, high raid damage).
  • If we can use Holy Radiance we get a huge boost in healing compared to not.  But Spirit requirement is off the hook 3 times more spirit required.
  • Sacred Shield with LoD is on top of all the other talents by 5-7%.
  • Our Holy Power finisher is worth 10-20% of our total healing.
  • Selfless Healer might actually work’ish but to be worth it Judgement really has to do useful damage imo, might even have synergy with Beacon of Insight due to more time to find the BoI target.  Maybe.

I also included stat weights.  They are relative to 1 point of Intellect:

So many number!

So Many Numbers!

In general we see Int>>Crit>Haste>Mastery>>Multistrike=Versatility.  The biggest variation we see is with Sacred Shield which does better with haste and especially poor with versatility and mastery (both of those stats do not effect SS).  Other than that we don’t see wild variation in stat weights between the primary secondaries (Crit, Haste, Mastery) and the secondary secondaries (Multistrike and Versatility).

My spreadsheets are pretty well setup for WoD and should have quick updates as we get closer to release.

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Early Stat Weights and To Holy Light the Tank or the Raid, that is the true question!

After a bit more raid testing and a beta build that reduced the mana costs of our spells I have had a few questions I was pondering.

  • What are our estimated stat weights?
  • Building Holy Power by hitting the tank with Holy is the go to rotation, but what about raid healing?  What happens when I cast a Holy Light without generating a Holy Power?
  • How much spirit do I need now for HS-HL-HL-EF to be mana neutral?

Stat Weights:

Flame the Crit inc!

Flame the Crit inc!

Crit on top for secondary stats oh-my.  Why?  There are a few reasons.  The first is our rotation is HS-HL-HL-EF.  Lots of HL and it is slow.  When we get an Infusion of light proc we gain quite a bit of haste for cast and our rotation speeds up.  It is a pretty potent HPS increase now.  This only procs when we crit with Holy Shock.  Which benefits double from crit which we already get 5% more of.  Makes it scale decently.  In a land of less over-healing and larger health pools in relation to spell size, crit heals are less wasted.  It still has the unreliability it always had, but some of that is mitigated with our CD Avenging wrath that pretty much makes Holy Shock a guaranteed crit.  This will create a softcap effect, we will reach over 100% crit on Holy Shock, on crit for when we have Avenging Wrath up which will be 11% of the time.  Lifespark from Intplate writes more about this here.

How about the other stats?  Haste is still very strong, more haste, more Holy Light, more Holy Power, more Eternal Flame.  Downside is mana cost, but those got helped recently, more on that later.  Multistrike and Versatility are still the secondaries of the secondaries.  Intellect is still king and nearly double as strong as the next best stat.

To Holy Light the Tank or the Raid:

What I found when testing is that there would be long stretches of time when non tanks would be below 100% health and more damage was impending.  If you healed them you got no Holy Power.  Do this enough and suddenly you have only 1 Eternal Flames out instead of 3+.  Didn’t like the feel of that.  So I tried to take a look at the HPS loss by doing so.  Here is my table:

Nice and Gray Answer

Nice and Gray Answer

So basically we see the difference between a rotation of HL on tanks versus raid is a 20%+ loss in HPS.  But that loss is spread out over 6 holy lights.  Every HL not on a tank is a 3% loss in healing over specific period of time.  That makes it clear that HL not on the tank isn’t a great idea.  BUT! Healing isn’t just a rotation.  People can die.  AND.  Over-healing isn’t just a set number, it can be modified by your choice of target every time you cast a heal.  So.  If you were to only cast Holy Light you would do 14k HPS with 30% over-healing.  18k without any over-healing.  A 4k HPS difference.  So not only will spot healing with HL keep the raid alive better, it might be a trade up in HPS IF the over-healing is significantly different.  Clear as mud what to do right?  Ideally you spot heal with Holy Radiance on clumped targets and then you get holy power and you heal the raid.  Holy Radiance on 6 targets with low over-healing is 34k HPS by itself…  Oh the mana cost.

Changes in Mana Costs:

The cost of our rotation dropped a little.  And now we have a reduced spirit level to make our rotations mana neutral.  Here is an updated mini chart:

Looking more reasonable!

Looking more reasonable!

900 spirit is still high since we only get it on 4-6 items but 900 is much more manageable.  I have found Flash of Light and Holy Radiance to be huge boosts in HPS and the more we can use those the better we will be, will be nice to make the go to rotation neutral.  At least Denounce is free!

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Beta Raid Testing: Beastmaster Darmac

I got to test Beastlord Darmac on 7/31/14 on the Beta.  We went in with a half and half guild and pug group.  Had about an hour on the boss.  He is like an Iron Qon but he gains abilities every time you kill the beast he is riding.  Had a handful of decent attempts but not enough quality DPS to kill it.

I had raid tested Twins earlier in the week and I found out there mana would be an issue when using Flash of Light and Holy Radiance.  Thus I stayed away from them on the test.  My primary strategy was to heal a beacon target with Holy Light and use Holy Shock on raid/tanks on CD and then put out 3 Holy Power EF’s on tanks and people that needed it.  Lots of spamming the tank with hard cast heals.

Break down of one of our better attempts:

Fight Length:  5:38.  Log Link Here. 

HPS:

Based on other logs I have seen 40k+ is great output (minus Druids).  But I am somewhat artificially high in that my overhealing was low due to under healing.  I have seen many logs with 50%+ overhealing which means either:

  • Raid groups are over-healing since it is Beta and they aren’t pushing the healing limits or worried about DPS checks.
  • The healing model of less over-healing/people not topped off isn’t tuned yet or not going to be tuned tightly.
Tank Healing Still High...

Tank Healing Still High…

Where My Healing Came From:  

Looks like our mastery is still very strong.  Very little over-healing and our primary source of healing.  Much of this is due to direct spam on the tanks and the amount of steady damage the fight had.  Based on the amount of damage our raid was consistently tanking it may just be a flattering fight for our mastery.

Beacon of Light (with Beacon of Faith rolled in) was huge healing.  This was with nearly all of my Holy Lights directly on a beacon target and thus diminishing the amount transferred.

Eternal Flame might look lower than expected but you have to add both the hot and the initial heal to be the full value of EF.  At a quick glance it would like it is less useful than Holy Light, but it was 50% more healing with 70% less casts.  Thus the name of the game is still get as many out as you can!.

T-90 Talents:  I did a poor job testing this and didn’t make it a priority, don’t read into it!

Mastery Healing Still High...

Mastery Healing Still High…

Mana:

If you watch my mana bar you will see it slowly go down.  I used only 1 Flash of Light and 2 Holy Radiances on that attempt and I didn’t OOM but I started to get low after 6 minutes.  On another attempt I used Holy Radiance more liberally and I went OOM very quickly.  Once drained dry Holy Light-Holy Light-Holy Shock-Eternal Flame rotation wasn’t possible without OOM delay and running dry will lead to lost cast time.  Our cheapest rotation is still not mana neutral or positive.

Final Musings:

Hard casting Eternal Flame is still a shocker.  Even though GCD wise we are the same, the fact you can’t do little movements while casting EF, or even more awful, when using Holy Avenger, is very noticeable.  It is not an understatement to say our mobile healing has been crippled.  Without playing the other classes I can’t comment on how we compare, but our mobile healing is about zero.

Mana is okay with a Holy Light rotation only.  Use of Holy Radiance and Flash of Light is deadly to the mana pool.  Don’t expect to have a mana neutral rotation when you go dry.

How best to use Holy Light and Tower of Radiance?  I did not macro beacon swap for the attempts.  I left it on both tanks and forgot it.  Beacon has a 3 second CD that is shared with both beacons (Beacon of Faith).  This makes frequent beacon swaps a bit annoying as not all casts will be eligible.  So the question is, do you raid heal with Holy Light when people need it without the beacon swap, do you stick to beacon targets for more holy power generations and use EF for your raid healing, or do you macro beacon swap for both when available?  That is a question I hope to math soon.

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Holy Pally Changes I Would Like to See for Warlords of Draenor

Soap Box 2

I don’t think the Iron Horde cares…

I love holy paladins.  This site exists because musing about holy paladins is fun for me.  I would say I have been passively taking in the changes to holy for Warlords of Draenor and thinking about what I like about the current play style, the play style coming up, and what would make it more FUN.  Below I list the changes I would like to see with the dual goal of making the mechanics more fun evening out the tool kit a bit.  As fair warning I do not pretend that the suggested changes are balanced as is nor do I have much faith there is enough time for anyone with real power to change the class to think about these changes (like anyone would care in the first place….)  But I do believe they are balanceable and they achieve the most important change which is add interesting game play that rewards good game play but doesn’t excessively punish non-optimized play.  Here we go:

  • AoE Healing:  Holy Radiance – Daybreak – Light of Dawn

The biggest deficit in the paladin healing tool kit is AoE healing.  Holy Radiance is expensive with weak splash heals.  In 5.4 I can spend 75% of my time in raid casting HR but it will account for only 5-10% of my healing.  We use it to generate Holy Power and think little of the actual healing it does.  For WoD the only thing that has changed is it costs so much mana now we will only cast it when it is the correct heal, which is good.  But it is such a weak heal when will it ever be the correct heal?  Using HR does generate daybreak stacks which adds AoE healing to holy shock, but it far and away the most over-heal spell we have.  For most of SoO daybreaks over-heal was 90%+.  Daybreak is a neat idea in that it makes you think a bit about where you put your Holy Shock so that the AoE heal can be used.  But the issue is Holy Shock is a use on CD spell and frequently gets used on people not stacked, especially since it is our only on the move spell.  Thus it is a mechanic that has a skill cap but limited by the need for more holy power and its use on CD.  So what about Light of Dawn?  The major issue with LoD is how it interacts with the tier 45 talents (which is up next).  If you take EF you should never/rarely use LoD.  LoD is also “skill-less”.  With EF you get a choice of who gets a hot and allows for good game play.  LoD has no specific target.  You just cast and forget and it doesn’t interact with anything.  There is no way LoD can become better than EF unless there is a specific damage pattern.

  • My Fix:

Totally revamp Daybreak to make Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn interact with each other.  I have a few ideas on this, and since I am hardly a developer I will share an outline of the possibilities.  I have three possible ideas to make HR and LoD more fun, improve our aoe tool kit, add some skill/planning to the spells use:

  1. Make repeated casts of Holy Radiance increase the splash healing range and/or amount healed:  Knowing who to target and when to cast HR will add some complexity and add some power to a weak spell.  The biggest issue IMO of HR is the splash range is so small.  Buffing through spamming will make it a more powerful and interactive spell.  Mana cost would make abuse of this difficult.
  2. Make Holy Radiance Buff LoD:  For AoE fights it would mean using HR as a buff to LoD which would provide a benefit to planning ahead and provide a risk reward for using such an expensive healing spell.  Mana cost would make abuse of this difficult.
  3. Make targets with illuminated healing, eternal flame, or sacred shield take increased LoD Healing:  This would be hardest to balance but would add some complexity to our AoE healing.  The goal would be to have EF and IM from direct heals on the people you want to get the most AoE healing which would require some skill and planning.  Biggest issue with this would be how it interacted with the smart healing component of LoD.
  • Tier 45 Talents – The impossible to balance, fake choice between Selfless Healer, Eternal Flame, and Sacred Shield.

This talent tier has been a problem for a long time largely due to balancing prot and holy.  They changed the play style of holy drastically and much of the time not for the better, especially SH in 25man SoO which makes healing a dps rotation with few healing decisions.  Sacred Shield never took off in MoP and some of it had to do with it being clunky, is an extra thing to cast and track, and had an awkward recharge system.  I have always thought EF should be baseline because WoG is just another version of Holy Light/Divine Light/Flash of Light and is too boring for a big finish.

  • My Fix:

Make the tier 45 talents all modify Word Of Glory.  Word of Glory is our main holy power finisher.  It is arguably our most important spell.  Using talents to modify it provides some great personalization and play style variation without gutting how the paladin plays.  Theses talents would also be much easier to balance.  You can play with the splash, hot, shield numbers easily so they do similar outputs and it is the encounter or play style that min/max it.

The tier of WoG funifications

The tier of WoG funifications

  1. “Splashing” Healer:  WoG heals up to 6 targets within 10 yards of target for x%.  Basically turn WoG into a super Holy Radiance.  Will provide a AoE boost to our single target heal.  Will vary from LoD if the changes I wrote about above go in.
  2. Eternal Flame:  Same as live.  Adds a HoT to WoG.  Good for consistent damage, fun and rewarding play style for rolling on the correct targets.  Boost to beacon healing.
  3. Sacred Flame:  WoG applies the sacred shield effect.  Basically EF but with a refreshing shield.  Has the possibility of being more single target bonus but no ability to heal beacon or refresh IM.  Provides a variation to EF and uses sacred shield without adding the clunky-ness of sacred shield on live.  Can have it scale with HP just as EF does.
  • Raid Healing CD – No more Guardian of Ancient Kings or Divine Purpose.  Avenging Wrath is not enough!

One of my favorite parts about being a holy paladin was the number of CD’s that we had.  This provided us a great way to throttle our healing.  Many times they were paired up, but at least we had 2 pairs which meant we could have more time with buffs, or a short time with crazy buffs.  Now that we only have Avenging Wrath that is gone.  Also, as raid CD’s go, Aura Mastery is the least fun.  You pop it and marginally feel the reduction in damage taken.  It is powerful, but not exciting or the most powerful.  As I have said above multiple times, AoE healing is still the holy paladins greatest weakness so it would be nice to have a healing CD that boosted this.

  • My Fix:

SUPER BEACON!  Makes your beacon of light target a pillar of light that provides splash healing to all (or up to 6 targets) within 30 yards.  50%(or whatever to balance) of all your direct heals to the beacon target hit all (or up to 6 targets).  Provides bonus to AoE healing utilizing our single target healing strengths and feeds off an iconic paladin ability.  Honestly this is just a paladin version of Ancestral Healing.  But this type of CD is my favorite type of CD.  It requires a small change in game play while active and IS active.  You have to do something to maximize it.

A possible fun Holy CD that boosts our lacking AoE healing

A possible fun Holy CD that boosts our lacking AoE healing

 

  • Final Thoughts:

I think the core of the paladin healing mechanics of generating holy power, having strong finishers, and major mechanics like Beacon and our mastery are solid.  They are interesting and differ from other healers and none of them are overly under or over powered.  But when we get a new expansion I think it is reasonable to want some tweaks to how we heal.  For me the dead space has always been Holy Radiance and LoD for AoE healing and the poor choice between Eternal Flame vs. Light of Dawn.  I think having interesting choices, that are modified by spell and target choices makes for fun game play.  Generating holy power and spending it on WoG with modifications (splash, hot, shield) is a good mechanic.  Having AoE builders that make LoD greater than WoG with a heavy mana penalty is a good mechanic.  Having a CD that buffs the weakest part of our toolkit and is active is a good mechanic.  All these changes can be balanced but the important part is more and fun decisions in our healing rotations.  Maybe one day we will have some of this, or maybe not!

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How Much Spirit Do We Need to Be Mana Neutral? – WoD Healing Model Not Adding Up

Now that there are level 100 pre-mades on Beta we can really start to see where thing are terms of numbers and balance. My previous post included mana pool per second costs for our most likely to be used spells and rotations. What I didn’t know at the time was how much spirit we would need to have enough regen to make those rotations/spells mana neutral. This maters for a few reasons:

  • Blizzard has said they want our basic rotation to be mana neutral.  Many players are terrified of what happened at Cata release where healers went OOM at base gear levels before the first pull.
  • Blizzard has ditched active mana regen and have also ditched other regen options like Divine Plea, Hymn of Hope, and Mana Tide!  So spirit is our only way to get mana back outside of a potion.
  • It also maters to see how regen will scale with the expansion.  Will Holy Radiance ever be viable?
Mana Costs Chart with Spirit

77 spirit x 4-6 slots does not equal…

So what are the results?  Not good.  On Beta at level 100 in 660 PvP gear I have 332 spirit from gear.  77-89 spirit on Neck, Cloak, and Rings.  1116 total.  Trinkets can and will also have spirit so we have some wiggle room there but only a few hundred.  The chart is spirit from GEAR ONLY.  So to just cast Holy Shock, Holy Light on the beacon 2 times then Eternal flame we are 718 spirit short of mana neutral…  if our Spirit doubles every tier we wont be mana neutral till the 3rd tier let alone have more wiggle room for Holy Radiance or Flash of Light!

There has been no tuning pass and everything can and will change, but when you hear people complain about mana in the Beta this is why!

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The 0.4% – Mana Cost Sheet

Spirit will decide what any of this means.

Spirit will decide what any of this means.

Base mana regen is 0.4% of mana pool per second.  The above shows we will be spending more than that on anything we do.  Holy Light spam has been said by Blizz to be a mana positive thing in entry level gear.  At 550 Ilvl at level 100 we can expect 265+/- spirit without spirit trinkets.  570+/- with 2 trinkets.  So the question is how much regen will those numbers get us, and as we complete tiers in WoD how much more spirit will we have?  Will we ever hit 3%?  If so mana will no longer matter.

My concern is Denounce dps does not look to be mana neutral as it is more costly than HL by 50%!

 

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Alpha Here I Come!

WoD!

WoD!

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A look at the value of stats in WoD + Infusion of Light Musings

WTB WoD!

WTB WoD!

I have updated my healing spreadsheet to include Multistrike and Verastility.  I also have kept it up to date with the other changes we have seen (Holy Shock crit changes, day break changes, spell power scaling changes, EF changes).  I have also tried to assign a value to Infusion of Light procs (Holy Shock critical effects reduce the cast time of your next Holy Light, Divine Light, or Holy Radiance by 1.50 sec.).

Refreshing!

Refreshing!

Although it is neat it reduces the cast time by 1.5 sec it really does less because you reach GCD cap before you reduce the cast time by 1.5.  For example at 45% haste it reduces the cast time of Holy Radiance from 1.72 sec to the GCD cap of 1.03, so only 0.68 sec.  Still a HPS gain.

But with the current state of Alpha(WoD) healing rotations infusion of light is slightly more powerful because much of our healing is from direct heals and heals like EF and mastery shields have lost much of their potency (I think…).  Thus a buffed Holy Light at low haste levels is a pretty strong HPS gain in addition to the fact Holy Shock will scales doubly with crit now (Holy shock crit is critx2 not crit+25%).

Alpha Healing Spread Sheet - Infusion of Light Table

Alpha Healing Spread Sheet – Infusion of Light Table

First a Look at Infusion of Light:  In Alpha it provides a fair bonus in healing both when healing the beacon target for more HP and when spot raid healing.  But due to Holy Shock’s CD you either cast an extra HL per rotation or you sit and wait on HS’s CD.

Rotation options:  HS-HL-HL-HL or HS-HL-HL-wait

It actually looks better to sit and wait for HS’s CD to come up when you get a Infusion of Light proc rather than cast an extra heal because if you do you go 1.74 sec past the HS CD and if you wait you wait 0.43sec and can cast HS on CD.  Normal rotation has us 0.44sec past the HS CD.  It is a 3% loss in HPS to wait but 33% faster HP generation than casting the extra HL.

So for each Infusion of light proc you gain 8-14% more healing and when scaled to 1% crit and then doubled for the 2x Holy Shock crit multiplier we get a %healing gain of 0.29% to 0.5% for every 1% crit based on the infusion of light proc alone.

Since that is fairly significant, I took a look at live numbers to see if I have been undervaluing crit.  I took my Live Spread Sheet, updated it for 580 ilvl and over-healing on farm content from logs this week, and got new stat weights (10 man EF spec).  Also I calculated the HPS gain of our infusion of light procs with HR but we don’t benefit from critx2 using holy shock on live.  The numbers were interesting in part because farm content has shifted our stat weights a little and it does add to the value of crit, but not enough to ever pick it as our go to stat.

Live - 5.4 Stat Weights with Infusion of light - Farm content and over-healing at 580 ilvl

Live – 5.4 Stat Weights with Infusion of light – Farm content and over-healing at 580 ilvl

A look at Stats in WoD – Crit – Mastery – Haste – Versatility – Multisrike:

Using my Alpha healing work sheet, focusing on Beacon of Faith with Eternal Flame (healing beacon for HP and raid healing variations) I looked at our HPS and then added 5% to see how much HPS we gain.  I also was able to add the Infusion of Light HPS gain to the value of crit.  Results:

A look at HPS gains with the new stats - Unknown how much rating per 1% and their budgets.

A look at HPS gains with the new stats – Unknown how much rating per 1% and their budgets.

What stood out at me is Crit ends up being pretty strong and Mastery is weak but this is likely due to the fact I am figuring 0% over-healing which makes crit 100% effective and mastery works the reverse and although the shields aren’t big they have the relative lowest over-healing which boosts its value (snipe snipe snipe).  Versatility is pretty straight forward gain but I think the budget on it will be low (1% versatility might have the same budget as 2% crit).  Multistrike needs some love or it needs a higher budget (Class balancing will be interesting, might need spec by spec balancing like mastery).

The big x-factor with all of this will be how the new healing model pans out and what percent of raid healing will be over-healing, AoE healing, tank healing, shielding, and OOM’ing.

But for now a shift to crit, as crazy as that is, looks like the thing of the future (Blizz isn’t going to give us 5% more crit scaling for no reason).  I just hope it has more interactivity with our abilities than Infusion of Light.

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Alpha Holy Pally Video – Sorta

Bay at Final BossTV has been going through all the classes in Alpha and Holy Pallies got a little run through on his show. Mostly a focus on graphic changes, spell changes, and SHOCKADIN, but this is as good as we are going to get right now. He starts doing Holy Paladins at 4:45 and goes about an hour.

http://www.twitch.tv/finalbosstv/c/4415126

He obviously doesn’t play a Holy Paladin and I disagree with some of his insights but he is a kick ass streamer and show producer and a joy to watch.

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