I haven’t commented on the proposed 1.4.1 healer changes yet, but suffice to say that the current version doesn’t do anything to fix the AM/RP/Shaman/Zealot and WP/DoK healing viability disparity. In fact, the changes are so miniscule they don’t signify any major shifts in the playstyle. Healers will be hard-pressed to fit the cleanse tactics into the usual tactic setup, which means that cleansing on the whole will remain as it is. The 0.5 sec reduction on the single target heal is like a drop in the ocean and will hardly have any effect on the frequency of usage. Shamans will be glad to get a nice tactic though. But that’s about it.
This post is about the proposed melee healer change though, so on with it.
Non-specific or shared changes:
Essence Lash/Smite are getting nerfed. They will no longer return SE/RF on activation, but only when they hit. This is quite a nerf to the pure backline healing style of play, as the mechanic management will get a bit hectic now, even with the sovereign bonus and legendary tomes. This will possibly force the healer closer to the frontline and making him a more viable target.
Rend Soul/Divine Assault are being moved to the lifetap/utility trees, Sacrifice and Grace. A tree that melee healers are much more likely to spec when speccing for lifetap healing. But the abilities are also being changed to consume AP instead of SE/RF, which is a big nerf, because AP is the one resource lifetap healers can’t spare. Changing an otherwise costly ability to consume AP instead of the mechanic points will result in Rend Soul/Divine Assault being much less useful for keeping targets (or the lifetapper) alive. Additionally, because almost all damaging abilities build mechanic points, those will now be piling up without the melee healer having any real usage for them. What’s the point of the WP/DoK mechanic if they don’t use it?
Single target heal: if the numbers given are accurate (1375 healing at 1000 willpower/healpower), the new heal is completely over the top. Even with an unmitigatable 5 second cooldown I really can’t see this heal as being anything other than overpowered. This change singlehandedly removes any AM/RP/Shaman/Zealot, that might have nestled in that position after the last WP/DoK nerf, from FotM small-scale setups.
Also note this change, which is not in the notes but explained by Steven Engle on page 7:
Consume Essence is now Khaine’s Invigoration and Divine Strike is now Divine Mend, I noticed that it was not in the original note. This is why the tactics have changed to only increase Sigmar’s Radiance and Transfer Essence. It is also the reason that we are discussing Sigmar’s Radiance and Transfer Essence as they are now the primary source for healing multiple targets for a melee WP or DoK.
This means that the lifetap healers are losing one of the two heals they can use to heal themselves. They’ll be left only with Rend Soul/Divine Assault with its 5 second effective cooldown and high AP cost. Survivability of lifetap healers will inevitably decrease.
Transfer Essence/Sigmar’s Radiance will be changed to healing for 100% of the damage done, having it’s base value decreased, cooldown removed and will heal in same radius as “other “group” radius abilities”. Does that mean that it will heal group members in a 100 feet radius, same as group heals or 30 feet radius, which used to be the radius Consume Essence/Divine Strike used? Depending on the radius this heal can become a semi-viable way of group healing. We’ll see.
AoE detaunt (Intimidating Repent/Terrifying Aura) will now need to be specced for in the healing tree. Which again signifies a decrease in survivability of WPs/DoKs that are not speccing for full healing.
Efficient Patching/Cleansing Vitality: DoKs are getting the AoE cleanse mirrored, good for them. I can’t understand the need to shift the tactic to the eleventh point in the tree, as I can’t remember seeing any lifetapping or dps WP speccing for it, since AoE cleansing is not a role a WP specced in such a way could fulfill. All it does is diminish the possibility of hybrids specs and might kill the Grace healing spec for good.
Empowered Transfer/Grace of Sigmar will now affect only Transfer Essence/Sigmar’s Radiance and increase the healing to 150% of the damage done. Will be a must if those two abilities become a viable way of group healing.
Bleed out: no idea why this needed to be changed. Seems to be an unneccessary change.
Restored Motivation is being mirrored to Refreshing Radiance, which is an AP tactic. Good for them. I’d say I’m glad to get rid of morale pumping DoKs with instant M4 1001k on any encounter, but with the morale ability being nerfed this doesn’t really matter as much.
Thousand and One Dark Blessings: The duration of a very powerful morale being reduced, together with the removal of a morale pumping tactic, will finally shift the balance a bit and contribute to making other healers more viable. Not much though, as this won’t win the war on its own.
Divine Warding was a completely useless tactic and I’m glad it’s being changed, even if the result will be only a marginally better tactic.
Fanaticism is becoming a core tactic and having added a parry bonus along with a heal debuff drawback. Essentially it’s becoming a mirror of the DoK tactic Murderous Intent. Only one of the several melee goodies Disciples refuse to share.
Endless Guilt is becoming a core tactic, possibly to offset the disparity between prayers and covenants, the 20% snare one specifically. But how can a tactic that only affects one melee ability of the WP be an equivalent of a fire and forget ability that affects the whole group and works on all attacks?
Divine Justice will be a mirror of Disciples’ Bloodthirst. But the problem is that it’s taking the place of Divine Reward, which was a tactic utilised by dps or lifetapping WPs to gain access to an AP management tool, something they sorely lack. They would just toss Healing Hand on someone and watch the no-cost tactic proc. Why oh why couldn’t they swap it with one of the dozen of useless tactics?
Gift of Life: Anyone remember how Warrior Priests were calling for Universal Confusion to be mirrored? And how it was mirrored half a year later only after it was nerfed (it was changed to a stagger from a stun)? And now, after about 2 years of asking for a Thousand and One Dark Blessing mirror we get it after it was nerfed to a third of its duration. Anyone sees a pattern here? I honestly don’t think this M4 is worth speccing for a WP, because of the fact that they have no way to pump their morale and make this viable, together with a very hefty nerf it is getting.
Disciples got the rest of the healing tools Warrior Priests had as a “defensive” mirror, the AP battery tactic and an AoE cleanse, with WPs finally getting the 1001k DB mirror, albeit a nerfed one. They are now virtually exact mirrors on the healing side of things. And yet, things like a vastly superior heal debuff, superior covenants, Devour Essence, superior weapon setup (dualwield provides more and more consistent covenant and tactic procs, chance to slot two identical talismans, …) and better weapon setup/tactic synergy still haven’t been mirrored. Honestly, I gave up on the idea of fair mirroring some time ago. This patch just proves me right.
As for making lifetap healing on the whole viable, these changes are far from achieving that. They don’t address any of the real problems, such as mitigation and the melee healers struggle to bypass it and the ton of different ways of mitigating lifetap healing compared to the regular one. I can understand that Mythic is afraid of transforming these two classes into unkillable monsters by buffing their lifetap healing, but this is just scratching the surface.
I fear that any progress made in the direction of bringing melee and other healers on the same grounds regarding viability has now been lost. Warrior Priests and Disciples will still reign supreme.
One step forward, two steps back. That’s the way to dance into the limbo of oblivion. You’re well on your way Mythic, keep it up.