Thoughts on melee healer change

Oh look, my post titles are starting to make sense. Let’s see how long that lasts.

Mythic is trying to hold true to their promise on balancing healing careers and they are starting with melee healers (WP/DoK). Here is the post on the changes. And below is my reaction.

The actual complaints about discrepancy between melee healers and other healers are that melee healers are too survivable for the amount of healing they can pump out and that their healing is too consistent and powerful because of their mechanic and AoE nature of their heals. Simply put: they’re too hard to kill while group healing for too much.

PS: I use the word melee healers for healers who are classified as such. This post isn’t about melee healing at all.

The numbers

The most important change outlined in that post is the scaling back and removing of the cooldown on Touch of the Divine/Khaine’s Imbrace, which are the two direct group heals. Now, when Mythic say that the HPS (healing per second) value will remain as it is, they aren’t saying that the spell will be healing for the same amount. What they mean is that if you compare the same amount of time spent casting those spells, they’ll be healing for the same value. The heal itself will be reduced in the amount it heals. But because the cooldown on the heal will be removed the player will technically be able to cast more of these changed spells in the same time it took him to cast one old one. The number Mythic is aiming at is probably 3:2 – three new TotD/KE for two old ones.

I’m saying probably here because the nature of the cooldown on these spells isn’t straightforward. Most cooldowns will only apply if the spellcast successfully finishes. But the global cooldown (gcd), which lasts for 1.4 sec, will apply once the spell is used and it doesn’t matter whether the spell is successfully cast or not. With TotD/KE you have a funny situation where the spell itself has a 1.5 sec cooldown but only takes 1 sec to cast. Here’s how the cast of one of those spells looks like in theory:

Time in seconds Spellcast Global Cooldown Spell Cooldown
0 initiated initiated not active
1 finished in progress initiated
1.4 not active finished in progress
2 not active not active in progress
2.5 not active not active finished

This means that in theory, you would be able to cast one of those spells every 2.5 seconds. If you remove the cooldown, you would be able to cast one spell every 1.4 second. In theory anyway.

In practice the cooldown can shorten to 1-0.5 sec due to lag and how the client compensates for it (or even for spammed casting, the spell queueing system does something strange). Which means that casting a TotD/KE takes 2 seconds. However the global cooldown doesn’t need to be shortened and stoically activates at spell initiation and finishes exactly 1.4 sec after it. Removing the cooldown on the spell will therefore result in being able to cast it once per 1.4 sec.

This detour was needed to explain the amount Mythic will reduce the heal value of the spells by. So if they remove the cooldown on it, the value should be scaled down to around 60-70% of the original due to the spell being cast more often. Leaving it above that will improve or buff the spell, changing it to below that will nerf the spell. At least it’s HPS value, that is.

Efficiency

With the spell needing to be cast more to achieve the same HPS, the amount or Righteous Fury/Soul Essence needed to achieve the same amount of healing goes up. Thus the spell is less efficient. This means that in relation to the amount of RF/SE regen you posses, the spell will be nerfed. The more you have of it, the less of a nerf this is, obviously.

RF/SE regen in general usually isn’t a problem for melee healers, as they have tactics and abilities to build it. Most notable Fueled Fury and Fueled Actions tactics, together with Smite and Essence Lash. WPs have an advantage here, as they have another tactic; Charged Fury which increases the return of RF on attacks and because Smite returns more RF depending on the amount of targets hit.

The ramifications of these changes will be that melee healers not geared in Sovereign will find RF/SE to be very valuable and will probably resort to slotting at least one tactic to help them with mechanic points. Which will probably be the one that has a chance of returning mechanic points when hit, but this poses another problem which I’ll talk about later. In any case, players without proper management of mechanic points will find themselves nerfed quite a bit.

Healers in Sovereign will probably be fine though, as the armor pieces have a lot of RF/SE regen, together with a 7-piece bonus proc that regenerates mechanic points (also mythic books/chalices have 10 RF/SE regen). In fact, most WPs/DoKs in Sovereign didn’t even use Supplication/Blood Offering or even Smite/Essence Lash, they were simply swimming in mechanic points. They’ll probably need to start using those again after this change, but shouldn’t have any difficulties adapting.

This change will make any other set then Sovereign a lot less appealing, as the 7-piece bonus will become a bit bonus to healing. The change might result in WPs/DoKs not wanting to upgrade to Doomflayer or even Warpforged since they lack the mechanic points regen proc. Note this as a possible indirect (and probably unplanned) nerf in survivability for higher level players.

Just a note to non-melee healers claiming that WP/DoK mechanic is better for healing than the AP they use, as they can’t be drained: using mechanic points for healing is a double-edged sword. True they can’t be drained like AP, but at the same time there are no RF/SE pots, there aren’t as many ways of increasing RF/SE as there are for AP (for example the new renown ability Efficiency does nothing for such healers) and other players can’t help you regenerate it as they can with AP.

Casting and mobility

Currently, with the cooldown on the group heal, a player can cast the heal and has a second or so to reposition himself or use other abilities. To maintain the same amount of healing after the change a player will need to be casting pretty much all the time. Which means that any movement will impact your healing much more than it currently does.

Furthermore, with having to cast more to heal for the same amount, setback, disorients and interrupts will gain in power. And while they aren’t as powerful on a spell that only takes one second to cast, it’s important to note that they will impact WP/DoK healing much more with the change live. The nemesis of melee healers, the cooldown increaser, will also gain in power, although that won’t be noticeable as it’s already the ultimate counter to WP/DoK healing.

Fueled Fury and Fueled Actions will become much more counter intuitive after the change, as they rely on the player getting hit for returning mechanic points. But with the player getting hit, they’ll be setback more and thus heal for less. The tactics will need to be re-evaluated to determine whether slotting them is worth it.

A minor thing WPs may find themselves puzzled about is Cleansing Power. It has been a tactic worth slotting in favour of defensive tactics, if a player so chose. Cleanse was then usually fitted into a permanent rotation, being cast every 5 seconds in-between the TotD casts (during the cooldown). After the change a bit of healing will need to be sacrificed in order to cast it each cooldown, and thus its value will decrease. Although if the RF shortage turns out to be a problem, a cleanse with no cost might be a lot more valuable.

If you are wondering how healing as a WP/DoK will be after the patch, imagine being under the effect of a permanent Whispering Wind/Chop Fasta but also under the effect of a mild outgoing heal debuff (60-70%). That’s pretty much it.

Other stuff

I’m pretty sure that the “Oops, we managed to overlook the bugged scaling on Pious Restoration and Khaine’s Vigor. Honestly, it took us two years to realise that.” gimmick Mythic pulled is there only to soothe the perceived fall of WP/DoK healing and thus lessen the hit subs might take. It’s a group-wide HoT, it’s not supposed to heal for much, no such heals do (Master Rune of Adamant, Ritual of Lunacy, Leaping Alteration, Rune of Serenity, even group-wide morale heals). With this change, I’m confident to say that the spell will be overpowered (it was fine as it was) and will somewhat negate any shifts in healer balance Mythic wanted to achieve. And no, this isn’t a bug fix, this is the developer throwing the class that is about to be nerfed a bone.

I’d wager that the planned improvement of single target healing capacities of melee healers will result in Martyr’s Blessing/Khaine’s Refreshment being changed into single target channeled heals, a mirror of Archmage’s Funnel Essence. Which will probably be overpowered as hell.

Game balance

There is no denying that the changes will shift the game balance. However I’m pretty sure that they will not shift the healer balance, as WP/DoK healing will still reign supreme. The changes are simply too small, don’t address the real issues and are contradictory with each other. Moreover, the survivability part of melee healers hasn’t been addressed and the actual melee healing of those two careers hasn’t been looked at all.

The only thing that will change is the playstyle of WPs and the TTK (time to kill), which will probably go down. Is that a good thing? Probably yes. But that doesn’t change the fact that the planned adjustments will completely miss their target. And from the looks of what they have in store for other healers (there have been some leaks) I don’t think the balance will ever shift. Archmages, Runepriests, Shamans and Zealots will remain the ugly stepchildren of WAR.

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3 thoughts on “Thoughts on melee healer change

  1. I’m not an ugly step child. It’s just my 3rd arm that the ladies don’t like, no no no, not that kind of arm.

    So what you’re saying is those in powerful armour with high regen can carry on as normal, will be fine while the rest will have to adapt their style/cast sequence.

    • Well it depends on how big the nerf to the heal value really is. It’s very probable tho that everyone will need to change the way they are healing, as even in full sov spamming TotD while under the effect of WW can make you go dry fast. But I still don’t think it’ll be quite as bad as people are whining about. Sure, healing will go down, but tbh it needed to be nerfed.

  2. Pingback: Natt’s weekly digest – CW50 or so | nattpyre.de

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