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[Holy] Thinking of putting this on the official forums...

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[Holy] Thinking of putting this on the official forums...

Postby sherck » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:14 am

Any thougths, good or bad?
Paladin healing in 4.0.1 (and Cata)

The first thing that I would like to point out is that Paladin healing is fine in 4.0.1.

If you did your patch conversions (re-forged your gear, re-gemmed to get socket bonuses, re-enchanted where appropriate, re-glyphed and picked proper talents) then you have had zero mana issues in 4.0.1. And while throughput issues exist now that Beacon is a pale shadow of its former self, you are still able to rely on Divine Light spam when needed to get through any content you want in ICC.

However, one mechanic of the new Holy Paladin spec has me deeply concerned and, while it is not an issue now, I suspect it will be an issue at level 85 when Divine Light spam will NOT be available to cover up the limitation. This issue is the dynamic tension between the talents Beacon of Light and Tower of Radiance. This dynamic tension is set up by the competing “desires” of these two talents.

Beacon wants me to cast every one of my heal spells on someone other than the Beacon target; however Tower wants me to cast every one of my “core” healing spells (Flash of Light, Holy Light, Divine Light) onto the Beacon target. Virtually every single time I cast one of these “core” healing spells in my ICC run this week, I had the desire to cast it on someone else due to the mechanics of those talents. If I cast it on the Beacon tank, then I lamented the lack of throughput because the heal was not replicated. If I cast it on a non-Beacon target, I lamented the lack of healing efficiency because I was not building up Combo Points as fast I could have been.

Now, in 4.0.1, this dynamic tension merely produces mental stability issues in my mind because, as I said above, mana is not an issue so you can always pick the throughput option when needed. However, at level 85, I have to wonder how the developers are going to balance these two competing talents so that they are not spec breaking.

I am thinking that developers have to pretty much assume that any heal a Holy Paladin casts is getting replicated through the Beacon (and is adding additional healing through Protector of the Innocent). That “extra” throughput has to be calculated for because it is a core mechanic of the spec. It is THE way that a Holy Paladin reliability heals more than one person in any GCD during the long course of an encounter notwithstanding the momentary spikes in AoE healing represented by the new geographic AoE heals Light of Dawn and at level 83, Divine Radiance. Other healers have different ways to heal multiple people in a single GCD (mutiple shields, multiple HoTs, non-geographical AoE heals like CoH, CH, WG, PoM, PoH, Tranq, Hymn, etc); however, Paladins only have the Beacon and PotI mechanic.

If that throughput is part of a core assumption about the spec, then when that core mechanic is not used (in order to employ the Tower of Radiance efficiency mechanic), then I worry that Holy Paladin throughput will fall behind the calculation curve of the other healers.

Conversely, I am sure that developers looking at mana efficiency (a big deal in Cata, remember?) have in mind how much they think the Tower mechanic will be used and thus how often a Holy Paladin will have a mana free heal available to them. However, if the Tower mechanic is used more often or less often than that model, then Holy Paladin longevity when compared to other healer specs will be at risk.

It has been forwarded by theory-minded Holy Paladins that the “proper” way to try and employ this dynamic tension is that you only ever cast your “core” healing spells on your Beacon target (typically the Main Tank) and you only ever cast your other single target healing spells, Holy Shock and Word of Glory, on you non-Beacon group members. This way, you get maximum Combo Point build up for Cata-like efficiency and you get at least some throughput through the Beacon from HS and WoG. You then have Light of Dawn and Divine Radiance to add in around the edges when you need a large Beacon boost (assuming they replicate through the Beacon) or you are helping out on raid healing.

Fine. If this is the “model” that Blizzard is using to resolve this dynamic tension between these two talents, then I guess I can deal with it. I don’t like that it is impossible for me to have both efficiency and throughput at the same time like it appears that other healing specs can, but I can deal with it.

However, what happens when your throughput is not sufficient to keep up the non-Beacon group members with just the “non-core” heals? You are now taking core heals (FoL, HL, DL) off the tank, losing efficiency and potentially losing throughput to the tank because Beacon only replicates half the efficient heal now. How is that going to be “modeled” and balanced since it is dependent on SO many different factors that play into it?

And, I wonder if any of the other healing specs have to deal with this “either/or” type of dynamics in their healing game? I have both a resto Druid alt and a holy/disc Priest alt at level 80 and while I have not been following their changes nearly as closely as the Paladin changes, I don’t know that I see the same type of talent design conflict as I see in the Holy Paladin tree.

I guess you could say that since they both have the ability to cast DPS spells in order to get some healing benefit (mana back through Evangelism, OOC proc, + healing buff ?, etc) that their dynamic tension is wanting to squeeze in a Smite/Wrath instead of a heal. But I don’t think that nearly approaches the conflict that Holy Paladins have with their spec.

I would guess that while Blizzard if fine modeling healers doing enough “attacks” to get self-buffs up (9% haste for Holy Paladins), I would be shocked if they are modeling these healers spending so much of their time DPSing for those benefits that they become dependent upon them like Paladins are dependent on both Beacon and Tower to do their job.

I don’t know that I have a solution for the above dynamic tension between Beacon and Tower. I just wanted to see what other people thought and to see if anyone else was worried by this.

[EDIT: I guess I do have a suggested solution and that would be to change Holy to have another, reliable Combo Point builder besides needing to heal the Beacon target. I don't know what that would be but that would "solve" my problem.]

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Re: [Holy] Thinking of putting this on the official forums...

Postby rodos » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:17 pm

I haven't actually healed anything since 4.0.1, but from what I've been reading "moar holy shock" is the order of the day. My feeling is that Tower of Radiance is there so that you don't feel "cheated" when you have to directly heal the tank to maintain throughput, and that we will not be balanced around maximizing HoPo generation through this mechanic. I see it as more like Ret's Selfless Healer, which gives a damage boost to make up for the loss of a TV, but Ghostcrawler specifically stated that Ret is not supposed to be weaving heals into their regular rotation to maintain this buff.
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Re: [Holy] Thinking of putting this on the official forums...

Postby allikat » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:34 pm

Not sure if a month counts as necro...
But my alt-spec is also holy, and I've settled on the tactic of spamming holy/divine light on the beacon target (with a modicum of mastery reforged in, so he gets the absorb shield), and using the stacks of holy power this generates to flash heal those in need. Occasionally this does still need a shift of target off the MT/Beacon to put some additional healing in to someone who needs it, seems to work ok for me.
Vanilla paladins, never forget, never forgive.
Quel'serrar serrar... whatever I am, I tank :)
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