1. #1

    5.1 PoH vs 5.2 Atonement

    This post won't really teach or contribute any relevant info about priests (so if you are here for that, no need to keep reading, the only somewhat relevant part is the weaknesses about PoH that I bring up), it's mostly a cause of me lying sick in bed and wanting to rant a bit about all the players who frequently claim that the PoH spam we did in (25 man) 5.1 is just as mindless as the atonement spam we do in (10 man) 5.2. I don't claim that the playstyle we had in 5.1 was very interesting, it really wasn't, I just claim that it was significantly more challenging and interesting than our current playstyle.

    Initially it should just be said that comparing PoH to atonement as a whole is a bit missleading. You still casted holy fire and penance (offensively) in 5.0 as well, if only for evengalism/archangel stacks. The spells to really compare are really the 2 fillers, smite and PoH. Worth noting that one can argue that the rotation outside of the fillers is slightly more interesting in 5.2 (cds are comparatively stronger to fillers, pw:s has a lower cost, binding heal glyph is cool), but generally you are using the same spells then as now (just different amounts/times, e.g. more smite/bh/pom, less gh/poh). PW:S weaving (currently the most effective way to deal with sustained aoe damage) being far more interesting than 5.1 PoH spam is a very good point in favor of 5.2, but this gets nerfed in 5.3.

    ---

    The first difference is targetting. PoH has a group targetting system. Yes, there are addons out there that'll chose the "ideal" target for you, but this isn't necessarily always the right choice. E.g. sometimes you'd rather PoH 3 targets and include the squishy, than 4 durable ones. It gives you another thing to think about when positioning yourself, you can use yourself as a "PoH beacon". You need to consider and set the groups up properly before the fight,
    this doesn't always mean the melee in one grp and the ranged in one, there are many fights where you'd rather have a "healer/melee/ranged beacon" in each group instead.

    However the most important thing is that your addon does nothing to tell you what group is the more important or how many targets you actually will hit with PoH. Generally you'd rather SS all 5 people in 3 groups twice and let your reactive healers/partners take care of the other groups than to SS groups where you only will hit 3/5 players.

    Compared to this, smite is targetted at the boss, period. On some fights there are adds present but there's still usually an obvious targetting priority for you (mobs with +% dmg->normal dps prio). If you play with ToF sniping procs for this with smite, while still not making your smite completely wasted due to the add dying, can present a slight challenge. However this is rarely so predictable that this is a better option than just solacing/holy firing it in ToF range.

    ---

    Difference #2. Cast time. PoH's long cast time allows and even encourages you to predict damage, and start casting it before it went out making it hit just as the damage arrived. A longer cast time also forces you to pay more attention to your other healers actions to ensure that you don't end up doing only overhealing. With the guaranteed DA application in 5.0 these two things hardly had that much impact, but still worth noting.

    That being said, the main challenge that a longer cast time presents is the fight and any mechanics forcing you to move. You need to ensure that you can stand still for over two seconds when you start casting a PoH (or that time is wasted), this both means that you need to take more care in your positioning and pay more attention to the incoming mechanics.

    Compared to this smite has close to a one sec cast time, there's very few mechanics where you need to move so quickly that you can't simply finish the cast and then move.

    ---

    Difference #3. Spell synergy. PoH works is affected by/works differently with SS/IF. Proper use of PoH doesn't only mean using this specific spell properly, it also means knowing when you use your IF and SS with it. There's also the matter of haste "breakpoints" for PoH/SS. Not only can you gear around the haste required to get one extra PoH in during SS, you also need to consider how this amount changes if you factor in borrowed time and even PI, while also changing your playstyle/spell usage to accomodate for them giving an extra PoH (or not). PoH also doesn't provide evengalism and forces you to weave in other spells at the right times to ensure archangel uptime.

    Smite on the other hand has the holy fire debuff. This does bring smite closer to greater heals hps but doesn't really change the output ranking of all our spells or our spell usage. You should not delay your hf/solace to maximize the amount of smites during the debuff. You will use smite as a low/medium hps filler when holy fire/solace and penance is on cd, with or without the holy fire debuff up. In very specific situations the absence might force you to use a different filler, but 99% of the time you will use the same spells regardless of this debuff. Something worth noting that did give the 5.1 PoH playstyle slightly less complexity is that it basically eliminated the usage of PoM (except during movement), unlike 5.2 where the spell has far more use (and the charge system makes it an interesting spell).

    ---

    The effort to usefulness ratio of this post turned out to be even lower than I expected, I guess I'm really bored atm.
    Tldr version: Nerf atonement to the ground!
    Last edited by Cookie; 2013-05-06 at 01:54 PM.

  2. #2
    You certainly made a case for PoH healing and Atonement healing being different. Get well!

  3. #3
    #1 doesn't matter most of the time as you will circle through groups anyway. Don't make it sound more complicated thatn it is.

    #2 While I agree with the staning still part - which has an uniquely big impact on disc priests as they have no alternatives aside from offensive penance and the lvl90 talent which has a long CD - the other part is again listing something that while potentially true isn't so in reality and even if it was would cancel out #1. PoH has a long long cast time during which you cannot react to what other healers are doing. So you don't. You can specify which groups you will heal ahead of time, but then #1 doesn't apply anymore, you can decide from case to case, but then its basically #1 just worded differently.

    #3 Adjusting your haste after both the number of PoH castable during SS with and withoug PI happens out of combat if at all. Any moving while SS is active would make any efford to exactly reach the softcap a waste of time. 'Interaction' with IF and SS is also not quite as complicated as you try to make it sound, in fact since both affect PoH and PoH doesn't affect them (like GH would) it isn't even a proper interaction just a onesided fire and forget modifier to those spells. And don't forget that atonement doesn't take those spells (or PoH) away, they are stilll used. So a healing style including atonement and those is more diverse than one excluding either. Casting atonement spells exlusively is not viable in more challenging encounters anyway.

    Instead of nerfing atonement the way they currently do, they should instead buff the procs and interactions of the spells and balance it as a whole afterwards.
    The holy version of DI and FDCL as well as making that glyph they nerfed baseline would be a better way to improve the diversity of the playstyle and reduce the relative time spent on smartheals (the absolute number of smartheals going out isn't really worse than for other specs, disc just spends more time on casting them and the logs don't distinguish between them).
    (But I suppose your goal is not to make the playstyle more interesting but to get rid of spells targeted at mobs.)

    Tltr: Buff interactions and procs from atonement spells and balance hps afterwards. (I would add get rid of PoH the way it currently works but as long as we still have another spell without a long CD to work with alongside it it is ok for now I guess, otherwise it is horribly outdated.)

  4. #4
    #1 doesn't matter most of the time as you will circle through groups anyway. Don't make it sound more complicated thatn it is.
    Just because you can "get by" doing it a certain way doesn't lower the skillcap for doing it properly. If you aren't prioritizing some groups over others while SSing, or at least making a decision which group(s) gets the extra 1-2 PoHs/which one you use IF on you aren't playing optimally.

    #2 While I agree with the staning still part - which has an uniquely big impact on disc priests as they have no alternatives aside from offensive penance and the lvl90 talent which has a long CD - the other part is again listing something that while potentially true isn't so in reality and even if it was would cancel out #1. PoH has a long long cast time during which you cannot react to what other healers are doing. So you don't. You can specify which groups you will heal ahead of time, but then #1 doesn't apply anymore, you can decide from case to case, but then its basically #1 just worded differently.
    Longer cast time requires you to be more proactive and predict outgoing mechanics more, especially to avoid overhealing. On the other hand of the spectrum are instants, which are almost purely reactive. I don't see how you can argue that a spell with cast time doesn't need more thought behind it to use to its fullest.

    #3 Adjusting your haste after both the number of PoH castable during SS with and withoug PI happens out of combat if at all. Any moving while SS is active would make any efford to exactly reach the softcap a waste of time.
    Nope, but you do make different gameplay decisions depending on the caps you do (or don't) reach with borrowed time/PI. The amount of movement being higher and SS being weaker in tot does mean that the haste caps have a smaller effect right now, but in 5.1 they were definitely worth considering.

    'Interaction' with IF and SS is also not quite as complicated as you try to make it sound, in fact since both affect PoH and PoH doesn't affect them (like GH would) it isn't even a proper interaction just a onesided fire and forget modifier to those spells.
    You still have to make decisions about the right time to use them. I don't claim that it's very advanced, but for smite you have essentially nothing to make decisions about.

    And don't forget that atonement doesn't take those spells (or PoH) away, they are stilll used. So a healing style including atonement and those is more diverse than one excluding either.
    Barely, PoH outside of SS is a very rare spell in most fights atm. 5.1 also used the atonement spells, just less of those and more of PoH.

    Casting atonement spells exlusively is not viable in more challenging encounters anyway.
    It's perfectly viable for most fights, and for periods/if you are 3 healing possibly even the optimal way.

    Instead of nerfing atonement the way they currently do, they should instead buff the procs and interactions of the spells and balance it as a whole afterwards.
    Nerf atonement far more, buff our actual healing spells. Make sure that there's a choice, either more hps or damage+smart heals, drawbacks and perks to both spells.

    The holy version of DI and FDCL as well as making that glyph they nerfed baseline would be a better way to improve the diversity of the playstyle and reduce the relative time spent on smartheals (the absolute number of smartheals going out isn't really worse than for other specs, disc just spends more time on casting them and the logs don't distinguish between them).
    (But I suppose your goal is not to make the playstyle more interesting but to get rid of spells targeted at mobs.)
    Yes, those would be interesting changes.

    Tltr: Buff interactions and procs from atonement spells and balance hps afterwards. (I would add get rid of PoH the way it currently works but as long as we still have another spell without a long CD to work with alongside it it is ok for now I guess, otherwise it is horribly outdated.)
    Blizzard remaking us entirely is hardly going to happen in this expo, but I agree in general. PoH is outdated, but atonement healing (and hell, smartheals in general) is an abnomination that never should've been used for more than niche spells/situations. Incredibly boring mechanic.

    ---

    You certainly made a case for PoH healing and Atonement healing being different. Get well!
    Thank you<3
    Last edited by Cookie; 2013-05-06 at 02:45 PM.

  5. #5
    The thing about forethought and long casttimes is that while they require more forethought than short casts when on their own in a realistic healing enviroment with other healers using faster casts much of the benefits of "thinking ahead on the fly" is negated by those faster heals - which is exactly why too big a portions of heals being smartheals is bad. PoH is too slow compared to other heals (without SS, while SS is active it is adequate most of the time).
    In case I wasn't clear enough before - which is most likely due to problems expressing myself in a second language which was never my forte - I agree with you about disc (and other healers) spending too much cast time on smartheals, but due to past history I'd prefer Blizzard would for once find an alternative first before destroying the status quo.
    The biggest part of atonement on the logs is offensive penance, which is a bandaid to the outdated PoH mechanic and their failure to complete the changes to Holy Nova in the beta.

    Nerfing atonement to the ground will just shift the problem to the next spell. We need more cross-interaction between spells if we want a more diverse spell usage.
    The glyph was actually doing something like that, FDCL would, as would the holy version of DC.

    The problem is that the last few nerfs to disc all reduced the value of those interactions, just look at the crit change and what it did to IF - it almost destroyed it and with it the incentive to combine it with GH or even cast a GH to reduce its CD.
    Look at FDCL which was a good talent combined with smite and grace to toss targeted heals when you need them.

    Smartheals should be used to top people off, not to pull them up, unfortunately the 'best' a disc priest can do to pull groups up now that IF is useless to increase direct heals is casting atonement spells. PoH is long and people run around a lot in current encounters so that you loose a lot to things that might happen while you are casting and which you can't control or foresee. Maybe if we could choose the target after the cast time was complete it would be a bit better.

    The other problem with disc spells is that their direct healing is too low, but buffing them would make no difference on most encounters as the hps requirements are so low and constant. If there were periods of time (longer than what SS can bridge, which would further require more max mana for healers) with high damage followed by phases where mana can be regenerated the higher hps possible with direct heals would actually matter (and currently make disc unviable as they couldn't match those right now).

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