Regional FlagHealing in cata .. [blizz post]Source
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#0 - 2009/12/05 03:14:33 PM
Quote from Blizzard staffHealth Pools in Cataclysm
Health pools will be much larger in Cataclysm and healing will be lower. That should help address some of the overly binary feel of PvP and PvE encounters.

You'll still be able to kill people as well as be able to heal them. The pace will just be a little slower and both healing and killing should require more than 1-2 buttons. (Source)

Tanking and Healing in Cataclysm
You missed the part where I said health pools will be higher. Imagine a boss that takes say 3-4 hits to kill a tank, but it also takes a healer 3-4 heals to top her back off. Now efficiency of a healing spell can be as much of a consideration as direct throughput, since the tank is unlikely to die in your next GCD. Now coordination among healers can be a bigger deal since efficiency will matter. Now maximum health on the tank classes will matter less because the question of how long you can survive without a heal landing is largely academic. Now avoidance on a tank can matter a little more because saving healer mana becomes as important as being table to take the next hit.

As an aside, healers will actually need enough healing tools and enough distinction among them so that they are really choosing the big, expensive heal vs. the small, cheap heal vs. the fast, expensive heal, to name just a few examples. (Source)


... discuss

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#6 - 2009/12/06 04:42:25 PM
Q u o t e:
Something I've never got, why is intensive management of your mana pool tedious and horrible for caster dps and pally tanks but fun for healers?


I see this sort of question a lot, and it's usually phrased in terms of how we love dps casters and make things easy for them and hate healers and want to make them suffer.

When you think about the actual experience though the difference comes down to more damage nearly always being better while healing has a target, beyond which more healing isn't necessary because everyone is at 100% of their health. Overhealing exists as a concept, whereas overdamage does not (except in a few isolated fights or when threat is an issue). In a very coarse sense, damage is about as going as fast as you can while healing is about hitting your target -- damage is a 50 yard dash, while healing is playing darts.

Furthermore, most healing rotations aren't terrible complicated because they can't afford to be. If you had to get up e.g. 3 periodic spells and self buffs before you could even do your job, then a lot of time players would be dead before you could ever get around to actually saving their lives. Having a long ramp up time would just kill healing.

So the healing game ultimately becomes more about using the right tool for the job. If someone takes a little damage but isn't likely to die, a hot is a great idea. If someone is about to die, you might need a very fast spell or even a cooldown. If a lot of players take damage at once, an AE looks attractive. If you know you won't be able to cast for awhile (maybe you're moving) then again something with a duration like a hot or shield is the ticket. And so on....

Mana efficiency is ideally part of this calculus. If mana doesn't matter, then either your highest healing-per-second spell or your fastest spell (depending on the situation) is always the best choice. Increasingly in LK, it's just the fastest spell that wins because of the nature of incoming damage. If mana doesn't matter, then you aren't trying to hit the bullseye I described above because missing the bullseye (overhealing) has no consequence. If you use the proverbial bazooka to kill cockroaches, then who cares?

Many long-term healers (and I'll include myself in that) enjoy healing because you feel smart when you do it right. Part of that "smartiness" is using the right tool for the job. It's a different approach to the game than say a mage or warlock uses however. To some degree it's hard for me to understand how you like healing if you don't like mana management. :)

Now, in much of the above, I'm describing an ideal situation. Mana generally matters a lot less in Lich King for healers than we'd like, so instead of challenging healers to hit the target we just challenge healers to keep as many darts in the air as possible. If you miss even a single GCD, then it's possible someone is going to die. That doesn't feel like smart playing to many players. That feels like whack-a-mole.

Now don't jump to the opposite extreme and assume what we intend for Cataclysm is for healers to stand around a lot and regen. What we'd rather see is that say a Holy priest uses Renew in some situations, Flash Heal in others, Greater Heal in others, CoH in others, and so on. Furthermore, we'd like to see more coordination among the healers (again because the risk of going OOM exists). That doesn't have to mean talking on Vent, though it could be that too. It could be as simple as assigning more targets or roles for your healers instead of just "You heal the tank, everyone else heal the raid."

In addition, once the group learns that healing mana matters, then individual survivability matters more too. Health stones, pots and even bandages do something. An avoid-damage ability like Barkskin or Dispersion is an interesting part of the dps toolbox instead of a PvP-only spell. Standing in fires is dangerous rather than just sloppy playing. Avoidance on tanks is more attractive because being the guy who requires tons of healing can be as much of a liability as the guy who dies from big boss hits.

Yes, the risk is that the game becomes so stressful for healers that it's not fun for them. But I think healing can definitely be stressful now, and in a physically exhausting way instead of a I-need-to-make-smart-decisions-quickly way.

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#18 - 2009/12/06 05:25:00 PM
I've addressed the downranking issue enough that you can probably find a good explanation for why we nerfed it.

The big problem with downranking was it propped up coefficients at the expense of everything else. It wasn't just that the lower ranked heals were cheaper. It was that the higher ranked heals just didn't have much to offer because the coefficients so completely trumped the flat points of the spell. The part of downranking that was choosing the cheap, small spell over the big, expensive spell was compelling, I'll grant you. But the part of it that was ignoring new spells because high spell power (or + healing back in the day) gave the lower ranks such great legs was just problematic for many reasons.

I agree that we need to make sure every class feels like they have the choice between big and small heals, and that may mean adding new heals to Cataclysm. On the other hand, priests have say Flash Heal and Greater Heal now but don't necessarily use them equally.

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#149 - 2009/12/07 05:20:23 AM
Q u o t e:
Lightwell has been around for how long? And how many people use that?

People aren't going to care that the mechanics have changed, they're still going to be mindless DPS.


I don't think Lightwell means non-healers don't care about their health. Lightwell means they aren't willing to take a huge dps hit (including losing targeting) to get it. Most players will use Healthstones in my experience. They just don't feel like they offer that much currently because the healers will be able to cover them.

Q u o t e:
The plain simple fact is that replenishment accounts for far too much regen. Its no trivial amount.

Look at it this way. Compare replenishment to another regen buff.


I know Replenishment is a popular bogeyman, but we don't think Replenishment itself is the problem. It's just a generous source of regen at a time when there are many generous sources of regen. We'd more likely to nerf everything than just Replenishment, because we like having player power grow so much when you're in a group.

Q u o t e:
As it is, I'm worried that in the cataclysm world (when intellect grants spellpower) the existing problem with replenishment can only get worse because all casters will stack intellect, not just healers.


I'm not sure Replenishment even makes sense in its current incarnation in Cataclysm. Once all healers like Spirit, then Replenishment could just boost Spirit-based regen. But this is something we haven't worked completely through yet.

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#206 - 2009/12/07 07:45:26 PM
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I don't know.... If my Mana Regen is going to be crap then I'm going to want as big a mana pool as I can get. A lot of the current regen effects are based on a % of max mana pool. Unless that changes or my Mana Pool in Cat is tied to Spirit I can't see myself not wanting Int gear.

One of the ways to get around poor regen is simply have a hell of a lot of mana in the first place.


First, regen based on % of mana pool will probably change. It has to work the way it does now because half the healers want MP5 instead of Spirit and some of the casters don't want either.
Second, you can't necessarily gear for Cat Int the way you can currently. Currently, spellpower is on your gear in relatively fixed amounts. The same will be true of Int. Now you can always gem or enchant it.
Third, it's possible Int will provide less mana (though still some) in a world where it also provides throughput. The same is likely true of crit. Int should be desired mostly because it makes your heals bigger. If it also increases your longevity a ton, then it's just going to be way too good.

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#255 - 2009/12/08 05:19:53 AM
Q u o t e:
"Second, you can't necessarily gear for Cat Int the way you can currently."
I think its a typo. Because this is grammatically incorrect.

I think he meant to say this:
Second, you can't necessarily gear for Cat in the way you can currently.


You can't necessarily gear for Cataclysm Intellect the way you can currently.

Or if that doesn't work for you:

You can't necessarily gear for Intellect in Cataclysm the way you can currently.


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#256 - 2009/12/08 05:21:13 AM
Q u o t e:
Q u o t e:
How is a Disc Priest going to distinguish themselves from a Holy Priest if gear selection and stats are the same?

Uh.... huh? Spell selection seems like too obvious an answer to be correct, or are you just trying to keep us on our toes?

Today, when a ring with spirit drops, some GMs have to stare at it a while emulating the RCA Victrola dog before passing it along to the healer with the most tenure who happens to want it, without realizing that maybe it's better for holy priest and resto druid than the long-term but half-stupid resto shaman.

In Cataclysm, when a ring with spirit drops, the GM can happily just give it to the healer who wants it. That fact doesn't mean we suddenly all cast exactly the same spells and have absolutely no distinction between classes. Holy priests will still cast lots of AoE, disc priests will still cast lots of shields, shaman will still cast lots of CH, druids will still cast lots of hots, and paladins will still cast lots of heavy single-target heals.


I suspect crit, haste and mastery will be valued by different specs differently, though hopefully not as extremely as they are today.

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#257 - 2009/12/08 05:23:22 AM
Q u o t e:
Q u o t e:

Third, it's possible Int will provide less mana


Neat, another bombshell. Our main stat may scale poorly, on top of the lacking regen. Fantastic.

Anything else to look forward to?


While a single stat that provided spell power, mana pool, crit chance and possibly regen might be attractive, we think it would probably be too attractive. :)

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#258 - 2009/12/08 05:26:16 AM
Q u o t e:
Q u o t e:

So you know lightwell has still been rather bad yet keep it the same?


See his comments lead me to believe that they think it's fine, but that it's the dps that just aren't willing to, or don't need to, ever really take the time to click it. Which is silly because they won't use it when our mana is more limited either. They won't bandage, and they certainly won't waste their only potion on a health pot.


No, it's bad. It's actually a huge heal, but the costs of using it are too great. My point was that I don't think you can assert that because dps classes won't use Lightwell that they won't work to keep themselves alive. I think you can assert that they might not use bad ways of healing themselves to keep themselves alive.

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#260 - 2009/12/08 05:31:59 AM
Q u o t e:
Haven't you technically already solved this problem? Why not make lightwell be like the ones the priests in the TOC5 man trash drop? I'm not sure whether it does damage or heals, it seems negligible either way, but its definately significantly better than the current human player alternative.


It's cool in that encounter, but if the Holy priest version worked like that, we fear it would feel too much like a Healing Stream Totem. Priests already have a lot of fire and forget heals. What we want is something that feels more like a warlock Healthstone. "Here, I am giving you this ability to heal yourself later in the fight. Use it well." I don't think Lightwell is working like that now, but that's the intent, and we're not ready to give up on it. Someday.... :)

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#279 - 2009/12/08 04:41:35 PM
Q u o t e:
Isn't it a bit telling that GC hasn't said anything to assuage the rather rampart concerns about mana.


Don't overheal ridiculously and don't use a bazooka to kill cockroaches and you'll be fine. Play badly and you might run out of mana. That seems fine to me.

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#280 - 2009/12/08 04:45:36 PM
Q u o t e:
Damage dealers get higher numbers and more DPS.
Tanks get bigger health pools and more avoidance.
Healers get smaller heals and less mana regen.

As a healer, its not about bigger and better, its about playing either wack-a-mole healing or managing mana. As a healer, starting from ZG, I never really thought about mana management as our 'fun' thing, it was just something I did. Now I'm being told that its all about the mana management and not how big the heals are. It just sounds like something boring for me to do.


Your'e writing that up in such a way to make it look like healers are being singled out.

Tanks and everyone else will have larger health pools (and LESS avoidance).
Damage dealers and creatures will do about the same damage (meaning they won't scale up for increased health pools).
Healers will heal about the same healing (meaning they won't scale up for increased health pools). Since it will take more healing to top someone off, mana will therefore matter more.

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#287 - 2009/12/08 05:16:40 PM
Q u o t e:
You miss the point of helpless. That's a VERY bad feeling and one you should avoid as it causes people to quit their class or worse the game. You should strive to keep the player hopeful all the way to failure. I should be able to feel like I can do something all the way to the end. Starting at an OOM screen doesn't do this. It's why I heal with my Druid and go Shadow with my priest. You could nerf the Druid, but that would just mean I would stop healing.


If you're feeling helpless it's because you're trying to do content that is too difficult for your group, or at least for the approach you are using. Improve your gear, make sure you have a strong group, and minimize incoming damage. If you are routinely running out of mana in today's encounters then something unusual is going on.

Now, if you can't run out of mana (which is typically the case today) then there is no reason to use anything but your best heal and there is no reason not to spend every single GCD on a heal. You might as well heal the tank just in case because there is little penalty in not doing so. Realistically the only way people wipe today is they are A) undergeared or skilled for the content or B) healing the wrong person at the wrong time. It's unlikely for groups to wipe due to overhealing. Overhealing is not at all a bad thing in the current environment, and we think that's a problem. We end up balancing around missed GCDs. If you healed the tank instead of the rogue just then, the tank may die and you wipe. Or else the rogue dies. Healing would have more depth if the potential mistake was using too big a heal to heal the rogue or not having enough mana to heal the rogue because you overhealed the tank. Again it comes back to rewarding healers for playing smart instead of punishing them for failing to cast their best spell every GCD.

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#464 - 2009/12/16 12:24:17 AM
Q u o t e:
I know, but how he deals with ICC tells us a bit how he wants to deal with Cataclysm. In the end mana should never be my primary focus as a healer. This seems to be where GC disagrees.


I wouldn't look to Icecrown as a taste of what's to come with regard to healing. Icecrown is at the end of this expansion. At level 85 it's okay if things feel a little different.

At a very coarse level, if you have a free GCD and can choose one of two spells we'd like for that choice to be between for example A) Your cheap spell that doesn't heal for much and B) Your expensive spell that heals for a lot. Currently cheap vs. expensive is pretty meaningless so your choice is between small spell or big spell, which doesn't feel like much of a choice, especially given the damage bosses can do.

But imagine that if you cast B every time when A would have been more appropriate, then the risk is you will run out of mana. You aren't choosing your spells based solely on the mana (so it isn't a primary focus) but better healers will be those that use the right spell for the situation.

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#465 - 2009/12/16 12:33:50 AM
Q u o t e:
One thing to notice is that infinite mana has not broken the game. The content is still challenging and fun. People are not leaving in droves because they have infinite mana. Players are not the only ones that can claim the sky is falling. Sometimes it's the developers. We know it's possible to have infinite mana and to have a viable game because it's happening now. I want to change my attention from the blue bar to the characters on my screen. That's what I find fun.


We don't think the sky is falling. This change would primarily be for three reasons:

1) You care more about mana regen on gear instead of just throughput. This is the least important consideration because it still works today to some extent.

2) You care more about your whole arsenal of heals instead of just the biggest, fastest one. Paladins for example currently can go for a Flash of Light build or a Holy Light build but they aren't often mixing the two together. A Holy Light focused paladin isn't using FoL to hit the tank from a small hit. They're just using HL and overhealing.

3) Boss encounters don't need to be built around destroying the tank in 2 hits. Currently, that is one of the few ways we have to make players actually lose a fight. (The other is that you lose enough healers or dps through attrition that you just can't keep going). Healers running out of mana used to be another point of failure and it pushed things in slightly different directions. Tanks for example cared slightly more about avoidance stats because nobody wanted to be the dreaded mana sponge. Standing in fires didn't have to be about dying in 1 sec if you didn't move -- it was more that you wasted healer mana by taking unnecessary damage. DPS who didn't do enough dps risked the fight going long and the healers running out of mana. Currently the long fight is only an issue if it opens up more chances for tank death or there is a severe berserk timer.

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#466 - 2009/12/16 12:35:33 AM
Q u o t e:
It seems like you have two people in this thread. Those that like a challenge and think that raids should be fun, challenging, and rewarding.

Then you have another type of player, like Etal/Etai the restoration druid above me, that doesn't find challenges fun and only wants to clear content for the sake of clearing content. This type of player almost assuredly uses invincibility/infinite gold cheat codes when playing single player games, even though these codes take all of the challenge out of the game for the sake of "making things easier".


I think you are putting the second type of player in an unfair bucket. I'd say it was more about some players like white-knuckle challenges and some just want to see the encounter and experience the epic moment. There is nothing wrong with the second type of player, and that's one of the reasons we offer two difficulty levels on our dungeons and raids now. We just need a way to challenge the first type of player too.

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#467 - 2009/12/16 12:39:41 AM
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1. Using fsr was more fun than mp5 style mechanics


We're not sure the five second rule is a rousing success. It's not necessarily fun for players to stand there and do nothing. It definitely wasn't fun to heal in rotation and do nothing for a minute or two so you could regen.

What I'm talking about is just returning HPM (healing per mana) to being a consideration that actually matters again. Do you want to use the cheap spell or the expensive spell? Currently you only really care about the fast spell or maybe the big spell.

Healers will need some tools to manage their mana, and they already have some like Innervate and the Shadow Fiend. Those tools can't be counted on for unlimited mana of course or we're back to the same problem.

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#476 - 2009/12/16 03:33:51 AM
Q u o t e:
I think you're putting the second type of player in an unfair bucket as well. Etal doesn't just want to stroll through content, he just enjoys the more cerebral challenge of careful spell selection and mana management over the GCD-locked spamfest "white knuckle" challenge. It's a valid position that isn't exclusive with enjoying challenging content at a high level like you seemed to imply.


The more careful selection of spells is actually what we're going for. I think that can be just as challenging, and personally probably more fun, than the miss a GCD and the tank gets it style.

But really I was trying to offer reassurance to those healers who seem terrified that we're going to make healing too hard in Cataclysm. That's not the goal. Making it fun is the goal. However, when healing is too easy, it's hard for it to be very fun. As I've said before (maybe in this thread?) DPS specs can try to see how fast they can make a farm run. The healer doesn't really get to try and "heal faster" or whatever. The most fun a healer can have in content on farm status is trying to keep everyone alive as efficiently as possible. Efficiency implies a mana component.