Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Impressions of Holy in 4.0.6

Although I am totally in love with disc at the moment, I wanted to try out the changes made to holy too. I'm just too curious to not to! We've already got a bunch of holy priests in my guild, so they usually want me to go disc, but for the easier bosses they don't mind much either way. We started out on heroic Halfus, and because I feel more comfortable in my disc spec at the moment, I decided to not start out experimenting with holy here (also we already had two holy priests, and the raid wanted a Barrier). Instead I did the rest of BoT and Conclave as holy, and here is my verdict - a slightly wiggling hand (which means; not much has changed, we're about as good as we used to be, but since everyone else seems to have gotten a buff, except paladins, it really doesn't leave us in a very interesting position).

Here were some of the questions I wanted to get answered when I tested it;

Is renew worthwhile now?
Although the hps of Renew wasn't improved, only the hpm, I had somehow hoped that might still be enough to make it more worthwhile. Many holy priests will have removed as much as possible associated with Renew - talents, spell usage, even glyphs (I didn't go that far yet, simply because I haven't found a better substitute). Renew is like the Akhenaten of spells, it goes its own way and so we don't want to have much to do with it. We wanted it to work kind of like Rejuvenation, blanketting our targets to give us time for the next heal. This is how it was used in Wrath, and I liked it. Renew was never as good as Rejuvenation, but in Cata it dropped to near uselessness. I removed it from my prime keybinding (right mouse) to a less important one (alt+left mouse). I hoped that since Shields got a comeback (and some comeback that was), maybe Renew would've become a little better as well. But the problem with Renews was never that they were too mana consuming, they just don't heal that much. The hps is about one fourth of our slowest and smallest heal - Heal. It has the same hpm as Greater Heal, but 1/10th of the hps. Instead we can have it on multiple targets simultaneously, but that's alot of gcds used to get it to some proper hps. Renew isn't bad, I just don't know what to do with it? It's not good for blanketing, it's not good for cushioning. Right now I feel like, and a commenter pointed that out as well, it is best used when you can't use any other spell. Like on the move and CoH is on cooldown. IF you were put to tank heal, Renew is a decent complement to rolling Heals. But how often will you focus on tank healing as holy? Not very often, I can tell you that. Nonetheless, I feel like that is where my Renew fits the best - as a complement to my Heal (or as mentioned, for something to do on the move).

So again - did renew become more worthwhile? Not really. The way we used it previously got buffed in that Renew costs less mana, but I don't see us using it more. The problem areas are still there. It doesn't heal much enough and it doesn't heal fast enough. It doesn't really have any own area of coverage, so to speak.

Do we really need State of Mind now?
I did play around with SoM before the patch to figure out just how useful it was. As I argued in another post, it doesn't really bring any extra healing throughput, and could barely be counted as a utility talent. It was a "comfy" talent, and the usefulness of those are very low. SoMs only usefulness was to make it slightly easier for us to switch stances. Having no point in it meant I had to recast Chakra every 30 seconds, and since I most often use Chakra: Serenity, that meant clipping my stance by some seconds (while casting Heal to refresh the new stance). That wasn't the end of the world, but having one point in SoM sure made things alot comfier. So that's what I used. Post-patch, I decided to try out using no point in SoM again, because possibly, they made it even less useful. Now SoM doesn't increase the duration of your stance, it lowers the cooldown of the skill, so that you can switch stance every 24 seconds instead of 30! Useful? Not very often. I rarely feel like getting stuck in the wrong stance is the problem. I can't remember the last time I thought "drat, I wanna switch stance noooow or everyone is going to die!". With some moderate amounts of planning, this will never be an issue. Considering Chakra now lasts for 1 minute and the cooldown is 30 seconds, switching stances has become alot easier. And best of all, we don't have to worry about rolling heals to keep up our stance (one of the things I didn't like about Chakra). It's not like we had to do it, but you know... So to answer my question - No. We don't need State of Mind.

What about PoH and CoH? How big were the changes?
Like I wrote in my post on disc, the nerf to PoH is very noticeable, but no one will be suprised about that. I was suprised at how good CoH had become however. 30% is alot of course, but I had it crit some 10-12k the other night. This of course makes Glyph of CoH completely mandatory. PoH will still be your main healing done, simply because it is spammable while CoH isn't. But if you keep CoH on cooldown it will at least be second on healing done, and in fights where we move alot, it will jump to first place. Like I wrote about in another post, this still means we got an overall nerf to our aoe healing output, but it doesn't mean we suck at it now. We're still among the best aoe healers, especially with spread out targets (where rains and efflorescences don't work very well).

And the new Prayer of Mending glyph?
I could whip myself. I had completely forgotten about it for my raid, so I haven't actually got to test it myself (and that means the pom in my logs is unglyphed, sadly). Unglyphed, one bounce has about half the hpm of a Heal, which means it had to bounce at least twice to be as mana efficient. It still meant most of us used it every cooldown, and in raids especially you could count on it jumping more than twice. Increasing the first jump by 60% healing effectiviness doesn't mean we'll change the way we use PoM. We'll still want to use it every cooldown. But it means that it has become alot better for our first target, which usually is the tank. So it's just a straight up buff. Considering our Major Glyphs weren't exactly the shizzle, we just got another mandatory major glyph.

And now, some logs! I only did 4 bosses as holy, and since I was disc for heroic Halfus the Worldoflogs will be mixed up with that, so I won't add that here unfortunately. Hopefully the logs will still give you an overall idea about how holy healing looks right now. Basically, it's still alot of aoe.

Valiona & Theralion - Lots of aoe damage and running gets the new and improved CoH to first place. People are also very good at using the Lightwell! (Although there was competition from two more Lightwells). Prayer of Mending should be higher, but I forgot to glyph it /facedesk
Ascendant Council - I'm very low because there wasn't much to heal except in the last phase (I really should've saved the overhealing logs to compare myself with the other holy priest). Renew is pretty high on healing done, but then I am using both Glyph of Renew and the Improved Renew talent.
Cho'Gall - More healing to do, I turn up the gears (maybe I am also just getting into it, after a break from Holy tbh)
Conclave of Wind - No use comparing with the other healers here. Since we play on different platforms, one self will always be highest on the meters. Renew on top? :O Yes, very little aoe healing on this fight (only during the times I was healing Nezirs Ultimate). Most of the time I healed a tank.
The reason I am really low in some fights and higher in others is due to various factors. One reason is of course because it takes a while to get efficient after not having healed that way for some time. Also I tried to experiment with the usefulness of Renew for the first fights. And another issue was that I always drop to some 2-6 fps on V&T (I forgot to cut out the comparison for that fight though. Or was I unconsciously trying to hide my abyssmal performance? Hmmm). Another reason could be an issue I graced upon in my post about disc healing. The better gear the raid gets, the more healing becomes like it was in Wrath. Triage healing goes out the window, healers have mana to start spamming their heals, and sniper heals are the ones that are going to "win". The reason disc priests and resto druids topped the meters back in Wrath was because their heals healed "first". Absorbs goes before everything else, and then resto druid hots lay there as a blanket of heals, always grabbing hp. People with slower heals like paladins and shamans dropped on the meters, not because they were less good healers but because their heals worked in a different way. They had the big slow heals. We are seeing this returning more and more now in Cata. Disc and resto druids lie high because of the mechanics of their heals. Holy used to be able to lie high because they blanketted the raid with Renews, which worked pretty much like Rejuvenations. That isn't the case anymore. Holy has become pretty much like Shamans in that they work mainly with slow heals. In a fight with little aoe damage (like Ascendant Council), holy and shamans will drop because they don't have the sniper healing. Does this make any difference to how good a class is? Not at all, it only means some healers eat the cake faster. If there is still cake left when they've had their share, the other slower healers will take care of it just as good. Just in another way. This is something I might expand upon in its own post.

Overall Holy is still as good as ever. Chakra has been made alot smoother, in other cases things work pretty much like before. PoH was nerfed, CoH was buffed, leaving us with basically the same aoe healing output. Renew hasn't changed much. Not much is new! But the healing environment changes, and so holy might seem like it's in a different position. But it really isn't.


  1. I’m just a 5-man healer now, still working to get raid ready, but the changes for Holy ain’t that significant indeed.
    The nerf in Mana Regen is for me the most significant (about -10% Combat Regen for me), so I’ve to watch my pool a bit more closely now.
    I don’t get why Holies seems to throw Renew aside, I don’t see a viable subsitude though. Maybe because I’m still only a 5-man healer = tank healer, but I use Renew a lot, rolling on the tank and to replenish DPS. Chakra Serenity, which I’m almost contantly in, for the refreshing and the extra tick out of Haste makes it quite efficient imo. I only use AoE heals when the whole group takes damage. Switch to Chakra Sanctuary more often now when AoE heals are needed, because of the lowered Regen.
    Although the duration of Chakra is increased to 1 min, I miss the refreshing out of SoM a bit. In longer fights I’ve to reactive it iso it get refreshed constantly by Heal. Also I’m looking for a more useful use of the SoM points now. 6 sec shorter CD on Chakra ain’t that useful in instances.

  2. I use Renew myself in 5 man runs, but in raiding the damage done is more than a renew can help on its own. Since raid damage is likely to occur more often than the time needed for a renew to actually cycle through all of its ticks,renew is not efefctive enough to burn the GCD nor actually use the mana on. If you are moving and CoH is on CD as as Z mentioned then yes throw it out, but its not a spell to rely on.

    I have noticed that on many fights the lightwell is one of the higher ranked heals on recount. Way to go DPS!

    Z, I have would like to know how you rand Mastery. I may have missed a prior post on it and if I did I am sorry. I noticed on your runs posted here that EoL ranks high fro you in healing, even 2nd on one of the runs. I find mine to generally range in the top top at all times and at times is 3rd as most healing done. Do you know of a numbe rthat is a "goal" to reach for mastery? I am currently running with about 16%, maybe a little more, what number should I be stacking for?

    As for SoM and its points, the problem is finding something useful to put them into. I dont shield so BaS doesnt help my play style, nor does it actually help with healing. The problem I see with Holy, and probably other classes may have same issue, there are just not that many talents that good alternatives. There are the "must have talents" then you basically are filling points to just get out of your tree. I have maybe popped GS twice, and without the old glyph its a lack luster talent in my book.

    I currently still have the SoM just for the occasional mess up on my part of dropping a PoM without thinking about it and accidently going into Sanc, which is really sad in my book, high cost, and becomes less and less effective if mreo ppl are in it. Straneg they would make a spell become less effective the more ppl can use it. That coupled with the fact that it has a small area makes me throw my hands up in frustration. Its only viable to use efefctively in a 5 man run if its a stand still fight.

    Oh well, I have hit you hard enough with this wall of text, hope nobody got hurt when it fell on them.


  3. @Asverze
    My wording could probably be better regarding Renew - I make it sound like it is always useless. As I point out in my post however, it is decent for point healing, but holy will only ever point heal in heroics. That is when I use it the most as well. In heroics, when we can focus on refreshing renew, it becomes a good complement to heal. Unfortunately refreshing it only makes talents like Empowered Touch useless, so again - what do Blizzard want us to do with it? Once you reach raid healing you will notice, as Solaril points out, that it is too weak to use a gcd on in most cases, and is mostly used in lack of better alternatives. It deserves better imo.

    No I haven't said much about Mastery really, I've mentioned it in passing by. I should tell you that I'm not a theorycrafter, I'm an experimenter. I try different stuff out, see what works and then I go check the numbers, instead of the other way around. My assessment of Mastery is:
    For holy it feels like it really is our best rating (intellect being the only better stat). But, we do want a nice set of spirit before we go crazy on mastery because all the mastery in the world won't do us any good if we oom too fast.
    According to places like EJ, haste is better than mastery up to 12,5%, which is what we need for that extra tick of renew. Considering I'm no fan of renew, I haven't bothered with this tbh. I've put all my eggs in the mastery basket!
    Holy = Int-Spirit-Mastery-Haste-Crit

    The mastery for disc isn't as good as holy, but it is still good. But we also benefit alot from crit (due to Divine Aegis), and we of course want spirit too. Since I go with the same gear for holy and disc (which works alot better now than it did in wrath) I will have alot of mastery as disc too. It works very well. I wouldn't tell you that it's a -must have- stat however, as disc you really should go for both mastery, haste and crit or as EJ puts it "Keep a balance to your other secondary stats. None of them are great, but they synergistically increase each other's values."
    Disc = Int-Spirit-Mastery/Haste/Crit

    And again, spirit is only better as long as you feel like you have mana issues.

    I agree there are no good alternatives to SoM, but I definitely feel like both Blessed Resilience and Spirit of Redemption are more useful. I don't use GS much either, but remember it boosts all healing to the target with 40%. It should really be used any time the tank is taking alot of damage, even if you don't expect him to die. It is a great healing tool for just one talent point.

  4. Holy / Shadow priest from LONG ago, revisiting healing between 80-85 in the Cataclysm expansion.

    At 82, the Chakra system feels convoluted and I'm not quite seeing the mana return on pace with how quickly it gets spent. I get some extra crits with my heals, but things never felt adequate to cover a whole group without running OOM. Mob AoE damage in instances got bigger. More instant death mechanics since 4.0. Even the 81 trash mobs hit like a truck. Alot of extra button pushing for a 10% boost.

    5 man healing - I'm thinking of making a macro "USE the Effing Lightwell!!". So many melee players run past that lightwell to go stand in a pool of fire.

    Good advice. I'll keep ya posted if the Chakra thing finally clicks for me. I still have a couple weeks before I start with Heroics and Raid content.