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  1. #1

    Holy & single target efficiency

    Holy gets a couple changes in 4.3 that change tank healing pretty significantly. I found myself wondering, again, how holy will stack up against disc tank healing.

    Some things come into play. Holy needs to be MORE mana efficient than disc to be competitive, because:
    Disc has 15% more mana and lots of active mana return.
    Holy heals are about 7% larger than disc's (after disc 15%int, holy 15%heal).
    Holy mastery scales better against single target heals than disc's, even with PW:S (on paper, in practice it's a challenge to make this hold up).
    Very high Serenity uptime will have a pretty huge effect on Holy's healing efficiency.
    GS buff comes into play too. GS is better for triage than PS. PS is best used pre-emptively.

    Some of the following will seem like I'm advocating a rigid healing rotation. That's not true at all, though! Healing is all about matching damage patterns. But I can say something like: if I'm a main tank healer, a lot of my time will be spent on a very specific fill pattern. So I'd optimize around that.
    -----

    To me it seems like the best way to gear would be to pick a haste value that would let us cast HW:Serenity on cooldown outside triage, and leave time for an occasional GCD. The goal would be for every single target heal aimed at the tank to gain benefit from Serenity's 25% crit buff. When the tank needs triage, leave the whole plan behind and just FH-FH-GH or GS (idea: crit is good for sustained healing, not very good for triage).

    Serenity is on a 7 second cooldown, so that'd look like: Serenity GHeal GHeal PoM. Second time around, CoH in place of PoM. This cast chain takes 6.7 seconds (giving room for latency) at around 1350 haste rating with 3/3 darkness. An idea for a new haste plateau, if holy winds up being viable at tank healing: get just enough haste to fire every Serenity on time.

    I stacked this setup against a disc priest with almost the same gear that just tunnels single target heals on a tank. PW:S Penance into GHeal spam. To make the two profiles more comparable, it also casts PoH every once in a while. Specifically, to make PoH the same % of disc's output as CoH is of holy's output.

    A pretty interesting result pops out of the simulator!
    For Holy, this setup/healing behavior is worth 14.5 HPM.
    For Disc, this healing behavior is worth 12.6 HPM. The disc's behavior is extremely unrealistic, but it's the best comparison I can think of.

    Is it enough of a difference? Will Holy be viable in a tank healing role post patch?

  2. #2
    Don't forget the Divine Aegis. This is actually tilting the tables quite a lot in the favor of discpriests.

    That said, mana efficiency isn't the most important thing here (otherwise we would only be casting Heal). Throughput matching the damage spikes is. An infinite mana holypriest is a beast of a healer, probably the best healer in the game. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with the HPS of either specc when they can go all out. Holy can definitively go more "all out" than a discpriest, though.

    I consider this the core of the specc design. A druid have two very defined "overdrive buttons". They rely on personal cooldowns like ToL and Tranquility if they need to go all out, but don't really have to do this very often since WG is ridiculously cheap and effective. The major complaint of druids right now is that they worry about how to deal with raiddamage phases when WG is less of an answer to everything and the alternative heals are less godmode. Bottom line is - druids are cooldown based healers when they need to go all out.

    In comparison, a holypriest don't really have an all out button. Our current all out button include Divine Hymn (which typically lowers your HPS right now) and Guardian Spirit (one target only). Very few holypriests take AA since smite/holyfire is so worthless as holy. What we do have is a large toolbox of heals. None of them are remotely close to WG when it comes to efficiency, but Prayer of Healing in particular is spammable and without a cooldown. They also cost a crapload of mana. Any holypriest can empty their manabar in less than 30 seconds if they go all out with serendipity rotations. But the HPS will be insane.

    I fully believe this method of healing is the holy overdrive button. Just go all out and use those big heals nonstop. It's not a bad design idea, because we are at the end of the day limited by mana, just like druids are limited by cooldowns. What a holypriest don't have right now is a fallback. When you are oom, and you will be, you are left with Heal. Which is pretty much worthless for all raiding content. There is no mid-sized heals in the holypriest arsenal. If WG is a short-term cooldown in the druid toolbox, keeping them (more than) afloat, the priest lacks a mid-cost spell that covers regular healing. I really hoped that Greater Heal would be that spell in cataclysm, but it is just too expensive to use non-stop, and the HPS difference from Flash Heal is very very small.

    Disc is a bt of a hybrid, getting the best of both the druid and the holypriest. Borrowed Time, Power Infusion and penance gives the discpriest a very strong toolbox for overdrive healing (none of which you added in your calculations above, zakaluka). On the other hand, the discpriest really need this toolbox due to all priest base heals being rather weak. The HPS may be good, but the throughput from individual spells often leave something to be desired. The crit buff in 4.2 changed some of this, but still. We're not exactly shammies or paladins here.

    --

    Either way, I believe that Holypriests need more mana regen to be truly competitive in single target healing. That is at least my personal opinion. There is nothing wrong with the throughput, and if the tank is overgeared we can always hold back enough so that it is not a major issue. But when facing a bad group with a bad tank, the holypriest is simply powerless. The much required overdrive button simply runs out halfway into the fight.
    Last edited by Danner; 2011-10-16 at 10:00 AM.
    Non-discipline since 2006. Also: fails. "Chakra, when the walls fell"

  3. #3
    Danner
    Don't forget the Divine Aegis. This is actually tilting the tables quite a lot in the favor of discpriests.

    That said, mana efficiency isn't the most important thing here (otherwise we would only be casting Heal). Throughput matching the damage spikes is. An infinite mana holypriest is a beast of a healer, probably the best healer in the game. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with the HPS of either specc when they can go all out. Holy can definitively go more "all out" than a discpriest, though.

    I consider this the core of the specc design. A druid have two very defined "overdrive buttons". They rely on personal cooldowns like ToL and Tranquility if they need to go all out, but don't really have to do this very often since WG is ridiculously cheap and effective. The major complaint of druids right now is that they worry about how to deal with raiddamage phases when WG is less of an answer to everything and the alternative heals are less godmode. Bottom line is - druids are cooldown based healers when they need to go all out.

    In comparison, a holypriest don't really have an all out button. Our current all out button include Divine Hymn (which typically lowers your HPS right now) and Guardian Spirit (one target only). Very few holypriests take AA since smite/holyfire is so worthless as holy. What we do have is a large toolbox of heals. None of them are remotely close to WG when it comes to efficiency, but Prayer of Healing in particular is spammable and without a cooldown. They also cost a crapload of mana. Any holypriest can empty their manabar in less than 30 seconds if they go all out with serendipity rotations. But the HPS will be insane.

    I fully believe this method of healing is the holy overdrive button. Just go all out and use those big heals nonstop. It's not a bad design idea, because we are at the end of the day limited by mana, just like druids are limited by cooldowns. What a holypriest don't have right now is a fallback. When you are oom, and you will be, you are left with Heal. Which is pretty much worthless for all raiding content. There is no mid-sized heals in the holypriest arsenal. If WG is a short-term cooldown in the druid toolbox, keeping them (more than) afloat, the priest lacks a mid-cost spell that covers regular healing. I really hoped that Greater Heal would be that spell in cataclysm, but it is just too expensive to use non-stop, and the HPS difference from Flash Heal is very very small.

    Disc is a bt of a hybrid, getting the best of both the druid and the holypriest. Borrowed Time, Power Infusion and penance gives the discpriest a very strong toolbox for overdrive healing (none of which you added in your calculations above, zakaluka). On the other hand, the discpriest really need this toolbox due to all priest base heals being rather weak. The HPS may be good, but the throughput from individual spells often leave something to be desired. The crit buff in 4.2 changed some of this, but still. We're not exactly shammies or paladins here.

    --

    Either way, I believe that Holypriests need more mana regen to be truly competitive in single target healing. That is at least my personal opinion. There is nothing wrong with the throughput, and if the tank is overgeared we can always hold back enough so that it is not a major issue. But when facing a bad group with a bad tank, the holypriest is simply powerless. The much required overdrive button simply runs out halfway into the fight.
    You need to back this up with math.

    DA doesn't help Disc all that much on single targets (at least, not as much as EoL helps Holy, as zakaluka said, on paper) because it only procs off of a Crit and your PW:Shield, whereas EoL procs off every heal, and rolls.

    Currently, with broken HW:Serenity, Disc's only real advantage over Holy is (a ridiculous amount of) efficiency (and absorbs being generally a more effective mechanic than reactive healing when damage intake is constant and spikey, but that's not really relevant). For comparison, Penance is about as efficient at healing a single target as COH is at healing 5 or 6, and PW:S, depending on your Mastery and if you are getting rapture on that particular PW:Shield can approach the HPCT of a 5 target POH from Holy. As you mentioned, Holy can burn some mana to reach some very high HPS numbers (although Serendipity is pretty efficient too and actually is a much better talent for single target healing than group healing), but at the moment, Disc can pull the same or higher numbers without straining their mana by relying on Flash Heal like Holy does.

    What I think Zakaluka is saying is that when we have a fixed HW:Serenity, Tome of Light and our new 4pc set bonus, Holy will actually be pretty decent at tank healing because (assuming his math is correct, I haven't done any 4.3 math) Holy will actually be more efficient than Disc, which will make up for our smaller mana pool and lack of active regeneration (active regeneration, obviously, is an advantage while actually healing whereas passive regen like HC works better if you can take regen "naps").

    Also, Holy is currently fine at healing tanks. It is probably just as good as Shamans, and might even be better at it (at least in terms of burst and target switching) than Druids. It just isn't as good (read:efficient) as Disc and Holy Paladins, thanks to broken HW:Serenity if Zakaluka's math is correct and I'm understanding him correctly.
    Last edited by Felade; 2011-10-16 at 12:15 PM.

  4. #4
    This is not exact math or exact numbers but they are close enough.

    For Disc tank healing single target casting Greater heal on a target with 3x grace I heal for 30k and crit for 60k the DA shield created is 28k that is equal to 88k completely unbuffed, now Felade mentioned crit being a factor which it is but at the moment raid buffed and with renewed hope / weakened soul active my crit is 45% and up to 70% with inner focus so I tend to crit very reliably and often gain stacking DA over lap and possible overheal due to the DA cap so in terms of actual omph between a holy vs disc casting only Greater heal I would say disc would win with the correct stats.

    Tbh even now before the patch holy should be decent at tank healing hell all classes could do it and the argument regarding cooldowns I don't know how that even factors in the only time I ever have to pop pain suppression is when poop hits the fan or when I get bored healing the tank and want to chill for a bit I have never had to rely on it for any fight, barrier on the other hand is op like druids tranq.
    Last edited by CoolNitro; 2011-10-16 at 01:59 PM.

  5. #5
    I tank heal fine.
    And the only place I have serious mana issues is on Heroic Baeloric. But I'm using Power Torrent and spiritless shoulders/belt/staff.

    The hardest tank healing encounter in Firelands for me is Beth'tilac. I'm the one going up the web and we also send 2 DPS up as well. It gets a little dicey, with GCD locking myself if I fuck up and let renew fall off someone, but that's human error and not a limitation of my spec.



    For tank healing, EoL is great and you can NOT discount the perpetual Renew in your math.


    Regarding the 4.3 changes, I welcome the buffs and fixes to Serenity. But I don't think it was uber necessary.
    If anything the Serenity cd change will effect PvP way more than PvE

    -T
    Last edited by Themos; 2011-10-16 at 02:32 PM.

  6. #6
    Holy Word: Serenity isn't going to keep a tank alive. Holy doesn't have the mana regen to bomb Greater Heals for most of the fight like Disc does because of Inner Focus, and that will be required.

    Also when I am Disc tank healing, DA is either my first or second heal. So yes, DA needs to be counted for.

  7. #7
    thank you, themos.

    I've tried this on PTR a bit, and I notice that the only fragile thing about it is manapool. A holy priest tank healing has to be pretty careful about overheal. There's a slight mentality difference from disc on when Gheals are necessary and when filler Heals are appropriate. For me, especially with 80% serenity uptime. I always want to GHeal when Serenity is up, but now I have to tone that back.

    To afflictd: 55% crit, with 100% uptime on my tank heals, is significant.

    I do think though that the fix to hw:s was necessary, but not necessarily the CD reduction. We don't really have the mana to pump GHeals nonstop, so extra Serenity uptime mostly only grants us some extra flexibility (not much extra throughput). In my experience holy wasn't very good at tank healing in firelands.
    Last edited by zakaluka; 2011-10-16 at 03:20 PM.

  8. #8
    What do Holy priests get from critting other than a slightly larger HoT? A Disc GH crit will be the same as another power word: shield. Disc also has extremely high crit on tanks.

    Heal isn't going to cut it for tank healing as the hits keep getting larger, so what do you plan to use if you aren't using GH?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by zakaluka View Post
    thank you, themos.

    I've tried this on PTR a bit, and I notice that the only fragile thing about it is manapool. A holy priest tank healing has to be pretty careful about overheal. There's a slight mentality difference from disc on when Gheals are necessary and when filler Heals are appropriate. For me, especially with 80% serenity uptime. I always want to GHeal when Serenity is up, but now I have to tone that back.
    I assume you tried the 5 mans? Depending on the run I definitely had mana issues, but I think this was mostly due to people dcing (4 manning buggy content is win \o/ ) and the fact that there's a lot more hard hitting stuff in the new content that can be interrupt-able and wasn't. There's also the fact that ilvl is capped at 353 in 5 mans, so any regen you're used to on live is going to throw you off and make mana feel more terrible than it is.

    I don't know if the crit fix to the Serenity buff on the tank is fixed yet. I haven't loaded Skada on the PTR yet, but I will for today's runs.
    I'll be running PTR 5 mans more today with my raiding buddies this time. Which should minimize white noise, and give me a better feel for the changes.



    I do think though that the fix to hw:s was necessary, but not necessarily the CD reduction. We don't really have the mana to pump GHeals nonstop, so extra Serenity uptime mostly only grants us some extra flexibility (not much extra throughput). In my experience holy wasn't very good at tank healing in firelands.
    *twitch* hw:s can apply to both sanct and serenity *twitch*

    The CD reduction will be a huge factor in arena. Being able to Serenity spam myself more often will be a *HUGE* buff as I'm mostly juking my cast time direct heals to throw off people and force an interrupt/silence, and rely on nearly pure instant cast spam on myself to keep myself alive.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Themos View Post
    I don't know if the crit fix to the Serenity buff on the tank is fixed yet. I haven't loaded Skada on the PTR yet, but I will for today's runs.
    I'll be running PTR 5 mans more today with my raiding buddies this time. Which should minimize white noise, and give me a better feel for the changes.
    As of a couple days ago, the alpha version of recount is fixed to work for PTR.
    After a little self testing, it's pretty clear the Serenity fix went in.

    *twitch* hw:s can apply to both sanct and serenity *twitch*
    yeah sorry, easy mistake to make. The context of this post was single targeting, I was talking about serenity

    To afflictd: it's a controlled mix of heals and gheals, with the goal of keeping the tank's health hovering around 85% (rather than 100% which is disc mentality). Your comparison misses a few points. The few most notable: Disc can expect around 30% crit in 25man without stacking crit. Disc mastery ONLY works on crit, while holy mastery works for all heals. Yes, it's a challenge to train myself into a new healing strategy, but with a few rules in place we CAN make use of that HoT. Our emergency cooldown is much better suited to helping us out of an excessive tank health deficit anyway, so the general approach may work. There's a lot more to say, but I'm not inclined to defend myself against "this doesn't work because of X" posts. I'm much more interested in a perspective like: "Let's see what the various weaknesses of this approach are"

    Even after considering mastery, simc puts every one of Holy's heals (except PoH) at higher HPET than disc's. When you start to incorporate Serendipity, short bursts of triage healing wind up far more efficient than they are for disc, as well as being significantly higher throughput. I'm trying to figure out what your core assumption is.
    Last edited by zakaluka; 2011-10-16 at 03:54 PM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by zakaluka View Post
    As of a couple days ago, the alpha version of recount is fixed to work for PTR.
    After a little self testing, it's pretty clear the Serenity fix went in.
    That's good to know. Thanks.

    yeah sorry, easy mistake to make. The context of this post was single targeting, I was talking about serenity
    I knew the context, just was pointing it out b/c it's a very bad habit to get into on these forums ;D

    To afflictd: it's a controlled mix of heals and gheals, with the goal of keeping the tank's health hovering around 85% (rather than 100% which is disc mentality). Your comparison misses a few points. The few most notable: Disc can expect around 30% crit in 25man without stacking crit. Disc mastery ONLY works on crit, while holy mastery works for all heals. Yes, it's a challenge to train myself into a new healing strategy, but with a few rules in place we CAN make use of that HoT.
    In a raid environment, my typical EoL overheal is usually around 15% which is very acceptable. Holy mastery is very powerful and very reliable.
    And as zakaluka says, keeping the tank at 100% is very bad for Holy. It's not just EoL, we have a perpetual Renew ticking away as well, and that overheal should be considered as well whenever you decide to top off the tank.

    Our emergency cooldown is much better suited to helping us out of an excessive tank health deficit anyway, so the general approach may work. There's a lot more to say, but I'm not inclined to defend myself against "this doesn't work because of X" posts. I'm much more interested in a perspective like: "Let's see what the various weaknesses of this approach are"
    PS and GS direct comparisons are always dicey. Depending on the situation, one is better than the other.

    In general, what applies to PS and GS applies to the specs in general:
    -Disc does better with known incoming damage
    -Holy handles random bursts much better

  12. #12
    Simply put. Placing a Holy Priest in a tank healing position in a 25man would be a complete waste. Just because you CAN tank heal if you do everything perfectly to get the same results as real tank healers, doesn't mean you should. Holy is a sub-par tank healing spec, and you are wasting its AoE potential on it.

  13. #13
    If I go dig up your logs, will I see bubblespam? That was good in WoLK, right?

    The point is that this change might be more significant than it reads to be. It's always worth re-evaluating old strategies that used to be bad in light of changes to the game.

    Themos: my reference to GS isn't meant to be 'gs vs ps'. I'm saying it strengthens this healing strategy a lot, especially with the buff.
    Last edited by zakaluka; 2011-10-16 at 04:48 PM.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Afflictid View Post
    Simply put. Placing a Holy Priest in a tank healing position in a 25man would be a complete waste. Just because you CAN tank heal if you do everything perfectly to get the same results as real tank healers, doesn't mean you should. Holy is a sub-par tank healing spec, and you are wasting its AoE potential on it.
    I'd be inclined to agree with you 100%

    My guild did 25 man first tier this expac, and I almost always was on raid duty. Holy's burst HPS, even discounting Sanctuary cheese, has always been powerful b/c it prevents deaths. On 10 man however, our raid burst healing quirks aren't as useful/reliable b/c PoH is much less used. So our tank healing potential becomes more prominent, couple that with much less healer class/spec variety and you basically have to work with what you have.

  15. #15
    What does the bubble spam comment have to do with anything? I use bubbles on tanks on weakened soul cd. I don't even have to PW:S cooldown talent. SO no, I don't bubble spam. Do you know why I use PW:S on Weakened Soul CD on the tanks? Because Disc is efficient enough to do that.

  16. #16
    With the HW:Serenity fix, crit is high enough that Inspiration uptime is near 100% as well.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Denae View Post
    With the HW:Serenity fix, crit is high enough that Inspiration uptime is near 100% as well.
    Implying you get inspiration as holy in 25. Also, Disc inspiration is up 100% always anyway.

  18. #18
    Holy Word: Serenity isn't going to keep a tank alive. Holy doesn't have the mana regen to bomb Greater Heals for most of the fight like Disc does because of Inner Focus, and that will be required.
    This is Wrath thinking. Burst healing isn't what is important anymore (although burst is a strength for Holy). Efficiency is what is important now, and buffing HW:Serenity will drastically help our efficiency on single targets.

    Also when I am Disc tank healing, DA is either my first or second heal. So yes, DA needs to be counted for.
    On paper though, EoL is better - it procs for about the same amount of healing as DA, but it procs from all heals, not just crits. In practice, a fair amount of EoL just goes to overhealing. Abosrbs are just a better mechanic for healing single targets, assuming the target keeps taking damage.

    What do Holy priests get from critting other than a slightly larger HoT?
    Almost exactly the same amount of healing as Disc gets from DA. And they also get healing from non-crits.

    A Disc GH crit will be the same as another power word: shield. Disc also has extremely high crit on tanks.
    Actually, its not nearly that big, and Holy is going to have a ton more crit than Disc in 4.3. Disc's crit isn't what makes them good anyway - its PW:Shield, Penance, Inner Focus and the talents that support these spells.

    Heal isn't going to cut it for tank healing as the hits keep getting larger, so what do you plan to use if you aren't using GH?
    Did you know that Serendipity is actually a very efficient use of your mana already, and with Serenity on the target its going to be pretty darn nice?

    Simply put. Placing a Holy Priest in a tank healing position in a 25man would be a complete waste. Just because you CAN tank heal if you do everything perfectly to get the same results as real tank healers, doesn't mean you should. Holy is a sub-par tank healing spec, and you are wasting its AoE potential on it
    We say it is a clock. You say it is not a clock. We present you with evidence; it has two hands that move at regular intervals and numbers denoting those intervals. You say it is still not a clock. Where is your evidence?

    Here is why Holy never tank heals, and everyone says it is bad: People have simply been repeating that Holy is bad at tank healing since early Ulduar, and generally no one challenges this assumption. The fact is, Holy really is fine at tank healing.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Felade View Post
    In practice, a fair amount of EoL just goes to overhealing
    Define a fair amount? Mine does about 15% overheals, and that's on par with my actual healing spells. Completely acceptable and not worth using it as a strike against EoL, it's excellent Mastery that borders on overpowered. :/



    Here is why Holy never tank heals, and everyone says it is bad: People have simply been repeating that Holy is bad at tank healing since early Ulduar, and generally no one challenges this assumption. The fact is, Holy really is fine at tank healing.
    ./waves
    I've been tank healing all of Firelands on 10 man as Holy and haven't felt like I can't do my job ever.
    And yes, I haven't been able to do that with this spec since TBC.

  20. #20
    Ok, I'll go in order.

    With that idea that burst healing isn't what is important anymore, that would mean that Resto Druids would be the best tank healers because they are the most efficient. Right? But that isn't true. Having a 15k short CD heal isn't going to keep a tank alive, no matter how efficient it is.

    This goes for the next two quotes. DA will always be better than EoL for tank healing just because DA can stop a killing blow. It softens the next damaging attack. A 1-1.8k hot isn't going to stop a tank from dieing next swing.

    How are your DA's not nearly as big as your PW:S? My PW:S absorbs around 32-34k. My GH crits put up a bubble for around 28k. And no, Holy won't have a ton more crit than disc. Although Holy will have more, you are forgetting discs 15% int and 10% crit from talents keep them pretty close.

    How is Serendipity efficient at all? You have to cast two Flash Heals just to have a lower costing greater heal. You are better off just spamming greater heal.

    A clock salesman is offering to sell me two clocks. The clock on the left is an old grandfather clock that will require a lot of maintenance to keep in working order but even then will slow down, the clock on the right is a nuclear clock that will never slow down and always do it's job correctly. Just because the clock on the left CAN work with a lot of maintenance doesn't mean that it would be the right choice to pick that over the nuclear clock that WILL perform the job better than when the other clock needs fixing. I obviously choose the clock on the right.

    Also, what evidence have you given me other than "Man this 15k heal is totally going to keep tanks alive because it is on a shorter cooldown and gives an increased chance to crit." You can't depend on crit for tank healing... or healing in general. Every time you use Serenity, there will be a gcd + the cast time of your Greater Heal until another heal lands. If you are tank healing with flash you have already doomed yourself.

    Serious questions, because these are the ones that really get me. Why would you play Holy as a tank healer when it is (and still will be) much harder to play as efficiently and as effectively in that role than Disc? Why would you play Holy as a tank healer when it's AoE healing is so strong and only getting stronger next patch? What would be the advantages of having a Holy Priest in a tank healing position instead of a Disc Priest?
    Last edited by Afflictid; 2011-10-17 at 07:59 AM.

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