Monday, January 31, 2011

What will the PoH & CoH changes mean for our healing?

I've already had some say on our recent changes to PoH and CoH, back then I wrote;

"Prayer of Healing effectiveness has been reduced by 15%.
Let me just say I am not suprised. I don't know if I mentioned it before but I always thought of PoH as the best aoe healing in the game right now, especially when combined with the PoH glyph. Add to that Lightwell, Sanctuary, CoH and PoM and holy priests were pretty dang good. So good in fact that some guilds preferred to bring them for aoe heavy raid fights. I know those guilds weren't many and probably fighting heroic content, but that is always a sign that Blizzard will take notice of and probably act upon. Just as they did with dk tanks in Ulduar"
"Circle of Healing effectiveness has been increased by 30%.
This is to counteract the nerf on PoH, and welcome of course. Last time I wrote something on CoH I said something along the lines of "this spell doesn't feel like it does much difference, I use it more like a spell to top people up than to actually help me with healing". This will hopefully make CoH a little more worth casting, although I already liked it for when moving around (which we do alot in raids)."

No one is happy about a nerf. In fact I had a commenter who seemed rather devastated by these changes and vented some interesting thoughts;
"I am unhappy with thh [sic] change to Holy Con. Less mana regen does not give me a happy feeling.

Coupled with the fact that PoH took a hit which means less hps, hence more mana needed as it takes more casting of this spell now. CoH got a buff, but its on CD and in current healing mechanics would not be wise to bring off CD due to mana consumption and probable over healing waste."
I simply thought that Blizzard will never allow for anyone to be too good. And PoH was really a little too good. So we were getting an aoe healing nerf.

But wait a minute. Are we really being nerfed? A guildie and fellow healer friend of mine pointed out that the current changes actually point to an overall buff to our aoe healing output, albeit a very minuscule one (around 1%). I was shocked, I hadn't even thought about the possibility. Could 30% CoH actually over-compensate a 15% reduction to PoH? Let's take a look!

I checked the recounts I had posted for the tactics of Cho'gall, Ascendant Council and Maloriak. Here are the numbers I got (and please remember I am daft when it comes to maths, I even had to retake the second simplest course back in high school);

  • Cho'gall - 15% less PoH = 265500 less healing. 30% more CoH = 277200 more healing. Total = gain of 11700 healing.
  • Ascendant Council - 15% less PoH = 118500. 30% more CoH = 131000. Total = gain of 12500 healing.
  • Maloriak - 15% less PoH = 56400. 30% more CoH = 96600 more healing. Total = gain of 40200 healing.
As you can see the gains are close to neglible, but they don't point toward a minus, they are actually a gain although as mentioned a really small one.

But, there will always be a "but". Nerfing PoH also means nerfing Glyph of PoH. If we remove 15% from the total heals from the glyph on these fights we get;
50500 less healing on Cho'Gall, with a total loss of 38800 healing.
22650 less healing on Ascendant Council, with a total loss of 10150 healing.
Less than 20000 less healing on Maloriak (didn't have exact numbers on the glyph there) with a total of approximately 20000 extra healing.

Because CoH is on cooldown
and PoH isn't it means that we "lose" healing the more we fill the time between CoHs with PoH. At face value, CoH buff vs PoH nerf, they actually stand on equal footing. The one compensates the other. But if we add the glyph to the mix, we will find that we fall down on an overall loss in healing.

But look at these numbers. At the fights exampled here we're looking at a couple of thousand in loss over a couple of million in total healing. We're talking about less than a percent in total loss in healing. Less than half a percent for these particular fights. There is really no reason to think anything about our aoe healing output. These numbers are taken from real time fights where I have used both CoH and PoH as much as I thought was necessary, and that is how I, and the rest of you, will continue to use CoH and PoH. And in that situation nothing has changed in our aoe healing output.

So how about disc? They don't have CoH to compensate for the loss of PoH. Even worse, with less PoH, we get less DA. Actually disc are really the ones who should be crying about this. Sure, we are getting buffs to shields and Penance, but that also comes with an increased cost in mana (and disc already had more trouble with mana than holy). Those buffs will not compensate for the nerf to PoH because they affect different areas in our healing. When we want to aoe heal we won't look at our shields and Penance, we use PoH. If we look at the Cho'gall fight I did in 25 man we see that as disc I would lose 292000 healing from PoH, an added 92000 from less DA, and 50000 less from Glyph of PoH, without any compensation. That is an reduction of 9,5% of my total healing output on that fight. Did we really need that as disc? We get buffs to our point healing, but a rather big nerf to our aoe healing, and we were not the ones with the awesome aoe healing to begin with.


  1. Am not worried about the PoH nerf personally. It is so powerful right now with mastery and glyph, it will only get more powerful the higher our stats rise. A nerf was kinda obvious but in essence, you will only feel this short term. and the CoH buff is rather nice as compensation.

  2. I just found your blog and I must say it really rocks! I'm a priest myself and I feel so at home :) Good job!

  3. Being holy I admit I had not thought about the set back the PoH nerf gives Disc. In my mind I always seem to put Disc in as a tank healer.

    Since Disc gets a buff in shield, does this mean more mana back when it is chewed through, and does your Aegis shielding also get benefit from shield buff?

    On the holy front, yes CoH is buffed, and I see your math, though I to am not great with numbers and generally have to go use it in fights, but what worries me is the 10% loss to mana regen.

    Yes Holy had/has good regen, albiet even great at times, but the man cost of the spells are not lessened and with the CD on CoH, you will cast PoH more often. Not to mention you couldnt sustain a CoH spam anyhow.

    And sanctuary is pretty much useless unless you can guarantee the fight will stay in one place and/or the ranged will not have to move as a group to avoid fire/ooze/poison/etc, which is not going to happen.

    PoH is still an awsome spell, but its effectiveness is actually based on how many of the group is actually damaged. For the mana cost and cast time you had best be sure to use it correctly.

    I know its situational, but actually I agree with you on the barrier. Its hands down if used correctly the best overall mitigation/healing spell in game.

    Quick question on penance. I decided to try Disc other day in a heroic run. I am unfamiliar with Disc, but I had though penance had more oomph to it. It seems I was getting about 4-6k a pulse form it. Did it not used to be equal or greater than a Gheal?

  4. @Syl
    Exactly, as always the last say will come from testing, so we'll just have to wait and see.

    Wow thanks, the best review a blogger can get :)

    Oh, another batch of interesting questions! Let's see if I can answer them :)

    No and no on your first two questions :( Rapture is based on your max mana, so buffs to the shield won't affect it. Actually making the shield absorb more could potentially make Rapture proc less often due to the shield absorbing too much damage (this is what happened on LK with too good gear)! But I think most people agree that would be somewhat of a luxury problem, and not something likely to happen ;) Divine Aegis procs on heals, so that too isn't affected by shields. But - it does proc from Glyph of Power Word Shield, so the better the shield = better glyph proc = bigger DA proc.

    I agree with you on the mana regen nerf. I thought they gave us all that extra regen for a reason, don't they think we'll revert to those mana issues if they nerf our regen? I think we might.

    I also agree on sanctuary. Barrier has limited usage too (as you say) but it at least rocks ass when you find the proper places to use it. Sanctuary isn't that imba tbh. Too much hassle and not enough pay off. Maybe that is our drawback for also having PoH, CoH and Holy Nova though.

    Regarding Penance: One of the things that made Disc so good in Wrath was exactly that Penance healed like GH but had way faster cast time. Now my GH heals for approximately 25k (hit) and Penance 12-13k ish (hit). This is one of the issues disc have at the moment imo and also why they are buffing Penance methinks (20%!).

  5. Ok actually my Penance heals more like 17-18k, but the point is still is that although its hpm is greater than that of GH, its hps is lower, and that is an issue.

  6. i think you'r forgetting about the buff to grace (unless that was removed) allowing us to have grace on multiple targets and when you do the math for this

    100%*.85(15%nerf)=85 POH alone is 85% as effective as previously
    however when you add a 3 stack of grace

    85*1.24(.24=24% increased healing from grace)=105.4 roughly a 5.4%increase to prayer of healing

    Disc has always presented a more technically challenging spec then holy in cata.With the new changes to grace it gives us simply another tool to compete with against a bosses dmg

  7. @Tsokin
    No I didn't forget about it actually. However last time I checked, Poh itself won't proc grace (something I had -really- hoped it would since it would be the perfect buff to our aoe healing), which means we would have to apply a 3 stack of grace to all targets one by one. Not something I see as practically happening.