3.2 – first live impressions

August 6, 2009 at 2:38 pm (Paladin healing)

Last night my 10 man team cleared the new raid content added in patch 3.2 (all one boss of it) and I got my first look at the new changes in action.  We again ran our 2 tank, 2 healer strat (4 ranged dps and 2 melee).

Flash of light hot

I didn’t even notice it.  I spent a while configuring power auras to show me when it was up and when it wasn’t (unsuccessfully I fear – certainly didn’t seem to show it correctly).  Generally I target the boss anyway (so I can get those sweet mana replenishing melee swings in) so I could kind of look at it from there.  I spent a while trying to keep it up 100% of the time.

By the end of the night I was only putting it up when I had a spare GCD or two with no really heavy healing required.  Sure it does some healing but 2 things strongly mitigate its use.  First, it doesn’t give any benefit to the beaconed target (as an aside I think in any fight where there is 2 tanks taking roughly equal damage it will be much more beneficial to split beacon and sacred shield onto 2 targets).  This means that, in circumstances where a target other than the tank and the tank both need a small heal (ie pretty much all the time) you would need the hot to completely tick out to do the same amount of healing as just a single flash on the non-beacon target. 

Secondly, FoL simply doesn’t make a dent in the damage taken most of the time.  Every time I used FoL, unless it was a rare period of minor damage (start of Gormok, after the ram headbutts the wall etc), we got behind in healing damage taken and I had to spam HL to keep up.  Once I lost a tank because I hit him with a flash instead of a HL (at about half health at the start of the cast, died before the second heal hit him).

Verdict:  much stronger in pvp (where FoL DOES keep up with the damage done) than in pve.  A nice addition, but 100% uptime isn’t a necessity.

Beacon changes

I have said all along that beacon won’t make it live in the form that it is in now.  Clearly I was mistaken.  I still firmly believe that beacon will not stay in the form that it is in now for long.  The sad thing is that it’s not even overpowered in its current form.  There is no question that, in a normal fight, the buff to beacon increases throughput.

Last night beacon was about 25% of my total healing (unfortunately I only ran recount last night so there may be a reduction for SS).  Pulling up a log from last week’s hard mode encounters beacon sat at about 10-15% so I think we can safely assume that there is a buff of sorts.  Of course given that it’s a 2 tank encounter with fairly consistent damage at times, its likely skewed towards beacon anyway.  My total overhealing actually went down by about half too.  There was a fair bit of damage flying around.

Something that has changed for the better, I would often use holy shock to guarantee a quick beacon heal before HL’ing another target (so it wouldn’t matter that much if some of the HL got sniped because the HS would have landed).  This is no longer necessary, which is good cause I aint got the mana for low HPM heals.

However, the extreme range and the complete overhealing transfer are going to be problems for pvp (which is why this was pulled on beta).  It has to be.  The maximum transfer range for a heal is nearly 100 yards (60 yards on the beacon and 35yds on the heal).

Of bigger concern (given my disinterest generally in pvp) is the lag between the original heal landing and the beacon heal (there must be a better way to do this – I raid from Australia and there is a noticeable gap between the two, presumably because the server has to send info back to my client and then return it).

Verdict:  fight bias aside, its clear this is a buff in most situations.  It doesn’t synergise well with the FoL hot and is likely to be hot fixed but at the moment you can pump out some healing.

Mana

Another holy pally in my guild commented last night “mana was something I used to worry about, you know back when I had any”.  Yeah :(

One of the first things I did when I logged on last night was to set up a power aura’s reminder of divine plea again (I used to have it but I stopped using divine plea as much so I turned it off).  The first time we took Gormok (just before the instances shut down) wasn’t terrible mana wise, mostly cause everyone died pretty quick.  The second time we went a bit longer, I used divine plea once and then again and then… I went OOM.  At most we were 2 and a half minutes into phase 1.

People have been posting things on various fora (plural of forum?), ridiculous comments about how the nerfs are fine based on a single 10 man Naxx run.  This was the first fight in CC, the raid damage is not THAT high and it was rough on mana.  I think if:

  1. you have all relevant mana buffs (replenishment, mages, druids etc);
  2. you can melee the boss or a mob periodically (or all the time);
  3. you watch your mana like a hawk;
  4. you have pretty well geared tanks; and
  5. your raid doesn’t take a lot of unnecessary damage,

then you’ll be ok (and I don’t mean good, I mean ok).  If you’re missing some of those things, its going to be brutal.

My impression was (this was in a 51/20/0 fyi – yet to try the 51/2/18) you need to be constantly aware of your mana and I mean CONSTANTLY.  I spent most, if not all, of the night under 10k mana.  I hit 25k when I melee’d the stunned ram and I almost cheered.  The thing you can’t do is focus too much on healing the incoming damage.  You’ve gotta be pretty ruthless about what is healable immediately and what isn’t.

I don’t find this constant attention to mana fun.  Its not nearly as fun as immersing yourself in the mechanics and pitching your healing against the bosses damage.  That said, aside from those damn snobolds, I thought the new encounter was fairly cool.  Not horribly tuned, its not anything like as hard as Yogg or Mimiron (especially pre-nerf) but its not as easy as say Kologarn or Razorscale.  I’m looking forward to the rest of them :)

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