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  1. #1

    Post [Cata] Time to remove Heal from the game?

    Terminology:
    HPS - Healing per second. The output you can get by using only this spell. Or how much output per second you get by casting that spell.
    HPM - Healing per mana. The amount of healing done per point of mana spent. Not counting overheal.

    Over the last few weeks, a repeated claim on the forums as well as on the official boards is that Heal is worthless. I've been one of the propagators for this claim. And since easter means I had a ton of time to burn, I've been doing some spreadsheeting to verify the validity of this claim. The answer surprised me.. but not in the way I .. uh... didn't expect.

    Since I don't have beta access, all this math is based on the status of the live servers. That means this post is cata specific, and its relevance for MoP may or may not be good. Don't be applying these findings to MoP without verification, that's all I'm saying. I will remake this spreadsheet using Beta information once spell costs on the Beta servers finish the mana cost rebalance pass, and we can see what the state of the spell would be in MoP. But for this thread, it's all about Cataclysm!

    This is the spreadsheet I used as a base for these arguments. Feel free to play around with it.

    Base problem with Heal

    Heal heals for roughly a third of GHeal, and cost roughly a third of the mana. Using these ballmarks, Heal is indeed pointless, as instead of casting 3 Heals, you can cast 1 GHeal and idle around for 5 seconds, achieving the exact same result. The only reason Heal is worthwhile is when you are hovering around 0 mana, and Heal allows you to cast that heal sooner than GHeal allows. But at that point, you're royally screwed anyway.

    In addition, Heal doesn't heal for remotely enough anywhere, unless you overgear content badly. This was true in early cata heroics, and it is true in the dragon soul. You can use the heal to stem the tide, but you can never use it to stop it. The next time any of us are likely to actually use Heal is in MoP, but that GHeal is equivalent still stands as a big counterargument to even hotkeying the spell.

    Claim: Heal is always redundant for a disc priest

    For a disc priest, Heal is competing with Penance, Greater Heal, Flash Heal and Power Word: Shield. For completeness I'll also list Renew and Atonement though neither are really considered proper healing alternatives as Disc.

    For the comparison, I will be using a standard Disc build for "tank healing", and a (currently) common 10k spellpower + 18 mastery gear setup. The same results are actually present with a 6k spellpower 6 mastery setup as seen in early Cata. Feel free to play around with the spreadsheet and see if you can find some levels of spellpower/mastery that makes my claims invalid.I ignored Haste and Crit in this comparison, and assume this won't change the relative balance between each spell.

    Explanation: "Real Output" include tooltip damage, spellpower contribution and most common talents and effects. More details in the spreadsheet.



    I did not consider Divine Aegis in this comparison. But as this is applying equally for the spells we care about, it shouldn't matter. Crit tends to double-dip on Atonement, but I'll live with that inaccurracy as well. The biggest problem is that my values for PW: Shield are quite off as I do not count the rather massive mana gains from Rapture, as well as the HPS gain from Borrowed Time. Keep in mind that the value of PW:Shield in the spreadsheet is as such valued notably less than in reality.

    But - judging by these results, Heal is very bad when it comes to HPS, being dramatically outdone by anything including Atonement - and more importantly, dramatically outdone by the damage from even the most trivial non-elite level-appropriate quest mobs on the world map. This is not really any surprise, we all knew the heal sucked. The question is really whether it is efficient.

    Surprisingly, the HPM value show that it is. But not by a whole lot. Heal is 12% more efficient than GHeal, to be precise. This was far more than I expected. Ultimately however, this is irrelevant, as Atonement is also more efficient than Heal. If you ever want to consider using Heal, you should instead pull an Atonement Holy Fire.

    More importantly, these numbers do not account for the rather huge mana saves you will get by abusing Inner Focus. Inner Focus can proc every 45 seconds (every 18th GHeal for free in a spam scenario) and even faster if abusing Train of Thought. Of course, you're not likely to spam GHeal - it's the heal you add in between Penance and shields if you have to. So that means far more than every 18th GHeal is actually free. The number above lists only every 18th heal as free though. And more importantly, Since these GHeals have a larger chance to crit, the HPS and thus also HPM is also going to be massively better than what heal can offer (roughly, 0.5*0.25 extra throughput).

    As you can see GHeal + IF's efficiency is actually managing to surpass Heal. A combination of Penance, Shields and Atonement healing - or Penance, Shields and GHeal - will thus always offer both superior efficiency and throughput to ever casting Heal as Disc. Heal is as such one of the worst heals in the disc arsenal! Stop casting it!

    I will conclude that Heal is indeed redundant for disc priests. The only actual usecase is as a cheap way to refresh grace. And honestly, that's not a very good validation for a button since Penance really does the same thing, better.

    Claim: Heal is always redundant for a Holy priest

    On the Holy Side, Heal is competing with GHeal, Flash Heal, Serenity and Renew. I'll be using the same gear setups as we saw in the disc comparison. I'll also list a few AOE Heals to make a point.



    I did not consider Serendipity or Test of Faith. But I guess that's okay for the same reasons as not covering all the disc talents. They should act the same for most all of these heals and thus won't impact much when it comes to the final conclusion.

    Analysis then. The same results as seen in the Disc side is apparent; Heal is actually efficient compared to GHeal. But as with disc, it's only 12% more so. Since Holy don't have Inner Focus to shift the balance, the simple conclusion is: you should use Heal instead of GHeal if you can manage the risk of doing so. 12% isn't a lot, but at the end of the day it may mean the difference between a wipe and a kill when mana is tight. As long as you avoid the scenario where Heal leads to rampant use of Flash Heal to undo panic you created by casting Heal in the first place, at least.

    But...

    In raids, a holypriest is rarely going to cast neither GHeal nor Heal, as both are pretty inefficient and mana always is a prime asset to worry about. Most holypriests stay in the Sanctuary chakra state for raiding, where as you can see AoE healing spells are notably more efficient than most anything in the single target arsenal can offer. This is of course also true for a disc priest, but few Holypriests are tank healing outside of heroics these days simply because it's just not an efficient use of the spec. To get the most bang for the buck out the limited Holy manapool, you go for the aoe heals, and (outside of random renew bombs) leave the tank healing to other specs unless it's an emergency. At which point Flash Heal is the only real card available.

    So to say that Heal is an efficient heal is a big lie. Sure, it's slightly more efficient than GHeal, and notably more efficient than FHeal and PWS. But that's it. Every other heal in Holy's arsenal is more efficient than Heal. Most are vastly more efficient. The reason Holy even want to use this spell is out of desperation in a pure single target healing scenario where mana is so tight that you cannot even afford to waste or overheal 1/8th of it. That is and will always be a scenario you can outgrow by getting better gear.

    I could here make an argument that Surge of Light will have more proc chances on 3x Heal than 1x GHeal, and thus increase Heal's relative efficiency to GHeal. But as we all know, SoL is such a sorry talent that they had to more than triple its effect to make it worthwhile as a MoP talent, and most holypriests avoid it in favour of "solid HPS boosters" like improved death and rapid renewal (note sarcasm). So I'm not gonna bother.

    I cannot claim that Heal is useless for Holy. But I will claim that it is not efficient, and I will claim it is not special enough compared to GHeal!

    Claim that Heal is useless is invalid for holy then?

    Theoretically, yes. But...

    A relevant question for Holy: Does Heal need a little something to make it more worth the hotkey slot?
    In my opinion, yes. The difference between Heal and GHeal is far too small to even bother arguing about, and as a result almost everyone ends up dropping the spell from their hotbars after decking out in purple gear.

    A serious suggestion is to make it completely free of charge. It's still going to be useless in 99% of all content, but at least you won't feel it's not special anymore. Or at least cut the manacost by a notable amount so that it efficient compared to every other heal in the spellbook except Lightwell.

    Ultimately though, I don't think that the spell is worth the hassle. The cast time is too long and the spell itself is too boring. The hell-bent design idea that we're supposed to enjoy being restricted to this one spell for the duration of the first content patch is imo a mistake, and placing healers in a situation where they have to stick to Heal simply for the benefit of fulfilling this design idea is causing nothing but frustrations. Healing as Holy is the most fun when you get to select and abuse all your heals, and limiting us to be a one-button healer goes against anything the holypriest stands for. I wouldn't mind scrapping the spell altogether. Reduce the cost of GHeal by 12% and presto - Heal is utterly useless. It's not like Holy lacks casting options, and if there really was any spell that didn't fit in at all in the holy toolkit, it's Heal.
    Last edited by Danner; 2012-04-09 at 02:02 PM.
    Non-discipline since 2006. Also: fails. "Chakra, when the walls fell"

  2. #2
    if you are 1 button healing you are doing it wrong.

    I know I will be atonement holy healing in MoP

  3. #3
    The Patient Madam's Avatar
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    Nice post Danner.

    View from a Disc:
    It is interesting....at the beginning of Cata (I was not in Beta) Heal was bright and shinny, many posted that "Heal" was the way to go, even the Blues seemed to explain that the "New Cata Healing style" was to continue casting Heal to save mana and keep up Grace. So off we went into Heroics in our green and blue gear casting Heal on tanks only to be shocked at how little it healed and how fast players would die. At that time damage was heavy, healers had very little mana, was really a hot mess, but fun and new. (IMO that small period of time was the most difficult yet also most rewarding time to be a healer.)

    After a few heroics that didn't run as smooth as I would have liked, I stumbled across a post on the official forums: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/1406726526#1 Note: the link was written 12/12/2010 Thank you, Sotanaht.

    Finding this post changed the way I played and was so surprised to see that "Heal" really didn't turn out to be the "go to" spell that Blizz intended.

  4. #4
    Herald of the Titans Ynna's Avatar
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    As you know, I don't currently play anymore, so this might invalidate my opinion.

    But I must say that (near the start of Cataclysm) I actually enjoyed the Heal-spell. It gave you something (useful) to do when little was going on, and had a couple of additional benefits (stacking Mastery, refreshing Renew...). But for raiding it did become rather useless fast.

    I don't like the idea of scrapping a spell in general. Isn't there something that could be done to make Heal worth casting?
    Retired Holy Priest
    As a rule, I try to act on the internet as I would in real life. If I have offended you, feel free to point it out. Unless I meant to offend you, I will probably apologize.

  5. #5
    Brewmaster Zombina's Avatar
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    I didn't like it, more because of how damaging mana felt at the start of cata. So heal quickly became the 'answer' for everything, basically, if you started casting anything but heal, you were going to oom - so it was like you were doing it wrong.

    It was a case of 1 button healing, or multi-button failing. The three heal paradigm would only feel fun if the mana neutral versions of 'Heal' actually did something to prime your choices later on, as long as it is just a filler, then Greater Heal will always overtake it, esp for disc.

  6. #6
    I only played Cata 4.0 - 4.1. But for that entire time (minus the first two weeks of Cata, believing the devs about Heal) I've always known as a Disc priest that GHeal+IF+ToT has always been the way to go. This was something that every single noteworthy Disc priest guide said and I agree after trying it out myself.

    Trying it out as Holy, the only time I ever used Heal was for 5-man dungeons, using Heal as a cheap way to refresh Renew on the tank.

  7. #7
    Moderator Yvaelle's Avatar
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    I hate heal, I really hope you succeed in making it go away or be free - it really is a serious suggestion, if it were free we would *consider* it, but the pitiful amount it heals for and the time it takes to cast, and the non-trivial mana cost - it shouldn't exist.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Danner View Post
    Analysis then. The same results as seen in the Disc side is apparent; Heal is actually efficient compared to GHeal. But as with disc, it's only 12% more so. Since Holy don't have Inner Focus to shift the balance, the simple conclusion is: you should use Heal instead of GHeal if you can manage the risk of doing so. 12% isn't a lot, but at the end of the day it may mean the difference between a wipe and a kill when mana is tight. As long as you avoid the scenario where Heal leads to rampant use of Flash Heal to undo panic you created by casting Heal in the first place, at least.

    But...

    In raids, a holypriest is rarely going to cast neither GHeal nor Heal, as both are pretty inefficient and mana always is a prime asset to worry about.

    I completely disagree with your assessment, mana isn't nearly as tight as you make it for Holy -- especially at the DS gear level. Heal isn't mostly end expansion b/c it's HPS is horrible and the need to conserve mana to that degree is irrelevant. HPS values are far more important at the 400 ilvl than HPM.

    And how much Gheal is used is very dependent on whether we're talking 10 or 25 man. In a 10-raid, single target heals will most definitely have a presence, and Gheal/Bheal/Fheal dominate due to better HPS than Heal. And while Heal is irrelevant now, it's quite important early on in the expansion when we're first tackling the heroics. It's a staple spell when mana is very tight.

    Looking forward, if Blizzard actually sticks to its guns and keeps mana tight in MoP -- Heal will see a lot more air time.

    Most holypriests stay in the Sanctuary chakra state for raiding, where as you can see AoE healing spells are notably more efficient than most anything in the single target arsenal can offer.
    It isn't just efficiency, it's HPS and while it's true in 25 mans -- in 10 mans its a very different song.


    This is of course also true for a disc priest, but few Holypriests are tank healing outside of heroics these days simply because it's just not an efficient use of the spec.
    This is a matter of perspective, a holy priest can tank heal perfectly fine. Especially now with fixed Serenity crit buff. The HPS is slick, and mana isn't an issue.


    To get the most bang for the buck out the limited Holy manapool, you go for the aoe heals, and (outside of random renew bombs) leave the tank healing to other specs unless it's an emergency. At which point Flash Heal is the only real card available.
    How is mana pool very limited at 6500+ combat regen? Are you serious?


    So to say that Heal is an efficient heal is a big lie. Sure, it's slightly more efficient than GHeal, and notably more efficient than FHeal and PWS. But that's it. Every other heal in Holy's arsenal is more efficient than Heal. Most are vastly more efficient. The reason Holy even want to use this spell is out of desperation in a pure single target healing scenario where mana is so tight that you cannot even afford to waste or overheal 1/8th of it. That is and will always be a scenario you can outgrow by getting better gear.
    Play with the HPM values at differing spell powers, you'll notice Heal's HPM drifts downward as spell power goes up due to the coefficients.
    The spell tends to suck more as the expansion drags out, but early on the spell is quite a bit better.

    ex/ SP = 6k which is around what a dinged 85 has

    HPM for Gheal is 3.66
    HPM for Heal is 4.12

    Heal is 12.4% better HPM wise, when it counts more (in lousy gear)


    I could here make an argument that Surge of Light will have more proc chances on 3x Heal than 1x GHeal, and thus increase Heal's relative efficiency to GHeal. But as we all know, SoL is such a sorry talent that they had to more than triple its effect to make it worthwhile as a MoP talent, and most holypriests avoid it in favour of "solid HPS boosters" like improved death and rapid renewal (note sarcasm). So I'm not gonna bother.
    Agreed, Cata's SoL proc is moot to this argument.


    I cannot claim that Heal is useless for Holy. But I will claim that it is not efficient, and I will claim it is not special enough compared to GHeal!
    While I would recommend not bothering with Heal at DS levels, I'd never go as far as claim "not efficient", that's just patently false. Comparing single target heals and not counting cool down spells, it's the second best spell to use. The first being Binding Heal, which you completely left out of the comparison.


    Claim that Heal is useless is invalid for holy then?

    Theoretically, yes. But...

    A relevant question for Holy: Does Heal need a little something to make it more worth the hotkey slot?
    In my opinion, yes. The difference between Heal and GHeal is far too small to even bother arguing about, and as a result almost everyone ends up dropping the spell from their hotbars after decking out in purple gear.

    A serious suggestion is to make it completely free of charge. It's still going to be useless in 99% of all content, but at least you won't feel it's not special anymore. Or at least cut the manacost by a notable amount so that it efficient compared to every other heal in the spellbook except Lightwell.

    Ultimately though, I don't think that the spell is worth the hassle. The cast time is too long and the spell itself is too boring. The hell-bent design idea that we're supposed to enjoy being restricted to this one spell for the duration of the first content patch is imo a mistake, and placing healers in a situation where they have to stick to Heal simply for the benefit of fulfilling this design idea is causing nothing but frustrations. Healing as Holy is the most fun when you get to select and abuse all your heals, and limiting us to be a one-button healer goes against anything the holypriest stands for. I wouldn't mind scrapping the spell altogether. Reduce the cost of GHeal by 12% and presto - Heal is utterly useless. It's not like Holy lacks casting options, and if there really was any spell that didn't fit in at all in the holy toolkit, it's Heal.
    While I can share in your disatisfaction of healing like an absolute weak wet noodle for the first leg of the expansion, tweaking Heal isn't the way to go. For what it does it's fine. It's a dirt cheap, small heal. Keep in mind that heal coefficients have been ramped up in MoP beta atm, Gheal is almost too big for healing in the dungeon believe it or not! :/

    In MoP it directly competes with atonement Smite, but the key difference is smart heal vs deliberate target. It will get used quite a bit when we first get to 90. Now whether that is true in t16 is a whole other can of worms. And if it doesn't... does it really matter????
    Last edited by Themos; 2012-04-09 at 07:12 PM.

  9. #9
    You're a disc priest. Penance is on CD, as is Holy Fire, and the tank is taking very minimal damage. The group is also pretty much full HP. What do you cast? Do you do nothing then cast greater heal when the tank finally takes damage? No you don't, you cast heal which is your lowest HPS spell with highest HPM. If you know the damage is only going to be low, you carry on casting heal, or switch to greater heal if the tank is taking enough damage for it not to overheal. The "sitting & waiting" kind of healing is a terrible way to play, I've bared the brunt of that myself as a tank & it feels horrible to feel your health slipping away when the healer could keep you topped off. It just cries laziness & I wish no one would do it, there is no excuse.

    Sure with gear how it is now this is a mute point, but it wasn't always the case. At the start of cata the tank would go into a pack & you'd spam greater heal, then as the mobs were killed & the tank started taking less DPS than the HPS GHeal provides (so you go into overheal), this is when you switch to heal.

    It's useless now, but it wasn't in the past & I don't think it will in MoP. I'm not really convinced by your argument for this style of healing being boring, why is spamming greater heal any more exciting? I mean I agree, but greater heal is boring too, in fact all tank healing is pretty boring. Fights are more interesting when dedicated tank healers aren't required in my opinion.
    Last edited by Halaberiel; 2012-04-09 at 08:30 PM.

  10. #10
    As a side note, smite beats Heal by about 20% on HPS and HPM.

    I'd settle for all base healing abilities getting a much larger multiplier in MoP than the rest of our spells. They need to be competitive with AoE heals on effic, since they're hard to justify casting otherwise. Nourish is maybe the most notable exception, because of a few things. Most notably the number of other benefits tied to casting it... but also the insane mana efficiency of WG, SM, and lifebloom (even after the wg nerf) but... even nourish is a bit too small.

    Remember that in BoT/BWD heal wasn't redundant at all. Even the t12 2pc made Heal worth casting sometimes (when high activity time was important for mp5 uptime). Your main point is only 100% true in DS.
    Last edited by zakaluka; 2012-04-09 at 08:32 PM.

  11. #11
    Last time I checked, Heal was not even in the beta, so you lost a lot of time posting this for nothing.

    I was wondering what was replacing it, since heal is basically what you spam when there is nothing going on in case something happens.

  12. #12
    You spend too much time caring about a video-game... -_- sigh.

    Please post constructively.
    Last edited by Arlee; 2012-04-09 at 11:12 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by zakaluka View Post
    As a side note, smite beats Heal by about 20% on HPS and HPM.
    Not if you ignore AA mana gains I think?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spotnick View Post
    Last time I checked, Heal was not even in the beta, so you lost a lot of time posting this for nothing.

    I was wondering what was replacing it, since heal is basically what you spam when there is nothing going on in case something happens.
    When did you last check? It's been there since day 1 & has never been removed... Disc don't have it, but holy still do.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Halaberiel View Post
    Not if you ignore AA mana gains I think?
    Yes, it does, most definitely.

    You can check this yourself by averaging 5 non-crit heals and 5 non-crit smites in excel. Make sure smite is glyphed.

    Or go the more complicated route for nearly perfect answers, get HPM figures from simcraft. Simcraft won't figure AA mana returns into HPM.

    Edit: The loophole here is Grace/Renewed Hope. Heal on a target with 3 grace is roughly equivalent to smite on a target with 0 grace (HPM/HPS). The thing is, 70% of your smites will land on the closest tank (check WoL if you doubt this). Your tank should always have a 3 stack grace (thanks Penance). As a result on average smite is noticeably more efficint than Heal. Smiting with Penance mixed in also won't give give you 100% inspiration uptime; Penancing the tank frequently might give you around 50%. I guess it's a little more complicated than I made it seem.
    Last edited by zakaluka; 2012-04-09 at 08:56 PM.

  15. #15
    Fluffy Kitten Taurenburger's Avatar
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    Heal is pretty damn usefull. I use it to get into serenity chakra.
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  16. #16
    Very well written post. I can see your point. The strongest message I took away from this was when you noted the reliance on Heal, and Holy Light ( I play a paladin) in the first tier of content. That content would have been very difficult without the efficiency of these spells. I fully 100% agree that these "efficient" (and flat out boring/borderline "I feel useless spells") spells should be tweaked so they are more desired. Priests are a bit harder to balance because they have 2 healing specs.

    Nice post.

  17. #17
    Very misleading title, if you dont know that this thread is in the priest section^^

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Halaberiel View Post
    You're a disc priest. Penance is on CD, as is Holy Fire, and the tank is taking very minimal damage. The group is also pretty much full HP. What do you cast? Do you do nothing then cast greater heal when the tank finally takes damage?
    You cast Smite?

  19. #19
    You need to take into account the inspiration proc too.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by zakaluka View Post
    Yes, it does, most definitely.
    You're right, I checked it with simcraft. But with lower gear levels (I checked on a dude with 6.8k SP as oppose to myself with around 12k) heal becomes more HPM than smite. It's not really a surprising result, although not something I've ever thought too much about since I haven't used heal for a looong time. I would think at 90 the base value of a spell will hold more weight, and heal will again be more HPM than smite. This kind of points to a problem in the OPs argument: heal is seen as worse because you're using 10000 SP as your base. The more SP you have, the worse heal is compared to other spells.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ariadne View Post
    You cast Smite?
    You would now, but as above & also bear in mind a lot of disc priests don't even have atonement.
    Last edited by Halaberiel; 2012-04-09 at 09:55 PM.

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