Patch 3.2 – I can haz mana?

July 22, 2009 at 12:01 am (Paladin healing)

Henny Penny got nothing on me cause dammit if the sky aint falling.

When I am looking for excuses to hate the rest of humanity I visit the official forums.  It’s occasionally funny, mostly horrifying.  One thing they are up in arms about at the moment is the changes to pally healing coming in patch 3.2.

Let me tell right now both why things are going to be ok and why they are not.

Firstly why things will be ok.  Things are going to be ok because, for the most part, guilds simply cannot afford to replace ANY of their healers.  Guilds will mostly preserve with their current healers regardless of how effective they are.  Like most nerfs to healers and tanks – they will be effective only in making encounters tougher or easier for guilds that rely on those healers and tanks.

So stop worrying you’re going to be dropped.  Only the very hardcore will drop their raiders for performance reasons anyway.  In addition, as naïve as it sounds, I don’t believe that Blizzard will leave one healer so underpowered as to be useless for an entire patch again (yeah I played a mage and a pally – hai Sunwell).

So why then will things be bad?  Well that’s simple too.  Paladin healers had a niche and, while people didn’t really like the single target tank healing niche THAT much, it was a niche that was useful.  After all every raid has a couple of tanks and therefore a couple of tank healers were kinda handy.  Of course now paladins are being shifted out of that role.  You don’t think so?  You don’t believe some random person on the internet you don’t know?  I’m both surprised and disappointed in you.

Apparently current encounters require bosses to hit SO hard because tanks have too much mitigation and tank healers can churn masses of heals indefinitely.  Nerfing tank healers will allow bosses to be friendlier to tanks, loving stroking them WITH THEIR GIANT SPIKY HAMMER. 

Now add to this the follow factors:

  1. Both shammies and druids will have their single target healing buffed (shammies especially may be even better than pallies were);
  2. Paladins have been given NO additional tools with which to raid heal (currently pallies in hard content are beaconing the tank and raid healing to a certain degree anyway, in any event transfer of overhealing won’t do a single point extra healing to the raid members being healed – only the tank);
  3. There has been one, lamentably poor, buff to our healing spells (don’t kid yourself, the hot is that a drop in a damn big ocean); and
  4. Our mana regen has been significantly reduced.

Do you see what I see?  I see our only real advantage (continuous, strong single target heals) disappearing. 

What’s worse is that the proposed changes will hit the hardest in the very content that paladins have struggled with the most (hard modes).  This is because hard modes (almost inevitably) involve some combination of heavy raid damage, high movement and rapid, flexible responsiveness.  In the hard modes I’ve done (mostly 10s to be honest) it’s a constant stream of HLs pouring into raid members (and via beacon into the tank).  The more generalised raid damage, the less overhealing is done and the closer the 3.1 beacon comes to the 3.2 beacon (you know the buff that was supposed to make up for the massive regen nerf). 

In fact, in circumstances where there is at least 1 target other than the tank that needs significant healing the 3.2 change to beacon has no real effect at all.  The regen nerf will have an effect though, because at some point (much sooner than it does now) that stream of HLs becomes unsustainable – and there is nothing left to replace it with.

Next time, we’ll play with some numbers and see what’s what.

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