Analysis, Obsolete, Spells and Talents
One of the most frequently asked questions on the official Druid Forums seems to be, “How much +Healing do I need to successfully heal in Karazhan/Heroics?” While different players may choose to focus on one stat or another (pursuing longevity through MP5 or a larger mana pool through Intellect), due to the balanced nature of most of the items that can be acquired before entering Karazhan and Heroics, +Healing is a good indicator of the overall quality of a healer’s equipment. But how much healing is enough? For Karazhan, somewhere around 900 is recommended. But what does this number mean and how does it apply to the myriad of healing spells available to the Druid?
+Healing increases the HPM (healing per mana) of a given spell; this is sometimes referred to as “scaling” since it allows the same heal spell to become more and more effective as its caster’s gear improves. However, +Healing affects different spells and spell ranks differently, the degree to which is determined by two factors: the casting time of the spell (or, in the case of Heals over Time, the number of ticks) and the level of the spell’s rank relative to caster level.
There are several types of heals (direct, heal over time, channeled, area of effect), and casting time affects the scaling of each type differently:
- Direct Heals (Healing Touch)
To determine the scaling of a spell with a direct heal component, divide its cast time by 3.5:
Sdirect = cast time / 3.5
- Heals over Time (Rejuvenation)
The scaling of HoTs is directly related to the spell’s duration:
Shot = duration / 15
Rejuvenation, lasting a total of 12 seconds, receives 80% scaling divided over each of its 4 ticks.
- Mixed Method Heals (Regrowth)
Some spells such as Regrowth have both a direct heal component as well as a portion that heals over time. The scaling for these spells are divided between the two portions and are determined as follows:
- Area of Effect Heals (Tranquility)
Because Area of Effect heals hit multiple targets, the benefit of +Healing is divided by 3. Otherwise, it uses the same formula as a direct heal:
Saoe = (cast time / 3.5) / 3
Since Tranquility lasts eight seconds, the scaling for this spell is 76% divided among its four ticks or 19% per tick.
Spell Level vs. Caster Level
Spell Level is defined as the level before which the next rank can be trained. For example, since Rank 8 of Healing Touch is first trained at level 44, the effective spell level for Rank 7 is 43. To discourage downranking (using a lower level spell with a large amount of +Healing to increase its HPM), Blizzard reduces the +Healing awarded to spells whose effective spell level are significantly below that of the caster:
Sdownrank = (spell level + 6) / player level
Thus, a level 70 player casting Rank 7 of Healing Touch would have her +Healing bonus reduced to 70% ((43 + 6) / 70). These diminished returns have eliminated the technique of using the faster-casting Rank 4 of Healing Touch that was popular before the release of the Burning Crusade since Rank 4 only receives 44% of +Healing. Note that the ranking modifier cannot result in a bonus to +Healing; the maximum is 100% regardless of how the calculation works for later ranks.
Here are two figures which illustrate the HPM statistic (healing / mana cost) for ranks 4 and 10-13 of Healing Touch as +Healing increases from 500 to 1500. Notice that as +Healing increases the HPM efficiency of Healing Touch Rank 4 increases more quickly than that of ranks 10-13, even after the mitigating penalty is applied. The penalty keeps this spell from being especially viable, however, as an average untalented HT 4 is only 847 with +1000 Healing so don’t let the figure mislead you into reconsidering downranking to such a degree.
* Healing Touch talents under consideration include Empowered Touch, Naturalist, Tranquil Spirit, and Gift of Nature.
Bonuses and penalties to a spell’s +Healing benefit are cumulative. A spell that is downranked to receive only 70% of +Healing and that has a 2.0 second cast time (57%) that is cast with +1000 Healing would receive 399 points of healing (1000 * .57 * .7 = 399).
Individual Spell Scaling
Because spells scale according to their cast time, duration, type and rank used, the relative efficiency of Druid heals (measured in HPM) fluctuates as the amount of +Healing changes. Below are two figures which describe the relative scaling of the various heals available to Druids, including talented versions if applicable. Lifebloom has been separated from all other heals to prevent its high HPM values from skewing the graphs:
Clearly Lifebloom outclasses all other heals, even without considering the 20% mana reduction afforded by Tree of Life. Also notable is that, as +Healing increases — representing an improvement in gear — the HPM efficiency of an untalented Rejuvenation eclipses that of untalented Regrowth (although a fully talented Rejuvenation far outperforms a talented Regrowth). Also notable is that, while it would seem that Healing Touch is an underperformer in the HPM stat, it does make a superior showing in the HPS stat, as any Heroic healing Druid can attest.
The two figures below demonstrate the healing power (measured by HPS) of Druid heals. Figure 5 compares the HPS of Healing Touch against the initial direct heal component of Regrowth and the final burst heal of Lifebloom were it allowed to expire. Figure 6 compares the HPS of all heals over their full duration (for example, for Regrowth, total time is 2 seconds of casting time plus 21 seconds of healing over time).
As predicted, Healing Touch is a better choice under a high damage scenario where mana is less likely to be a factor (such as trash mob fights in Heroics between which the caster is free to drink). The other HoTs such as Rejuvenation and Lifebloom are efficient enough to be used to provide some padding against emergencies, however.
While none of the data collected and presented here invalidates the use of a particular spell or style of healing, it does demonstrate the relative strength — and subsequent prioritization — of certain spells over others under specific conditions. In general, Lifebloom is an excellent choice for low, sustained damage levels. Should DPS increase beyond that which can be handled by a triple stack of Lifebloom alone, Rejuvenation can be applied. At further escalating levels of damage, a Tree should fall back upon a combination Swiftmend and Regrowth. A non-Tree druid would instead fall back upon Swiftmend (if available) and the highly powerful, less efficient Healing Touch. So, too, might a Tree druid, should Regrowth prove insufficient to the task.
The bonuses of Tree of Life are not included in any of the above calculations, due to the fact that — in its current form — it is too impractical to be used most of the time. In general, this would push the HPM efficiency of all HoTs up slightly, but you would lose the ability to handle burst damage (not to mention the ability to decurse and remove poison). The subjective viability of Tree of Life is something that will be addressed in another post.
Assumptions: The following talents were factored into the “talented” statistics for each heal:
- Healing Touch: Empowered Touch (20% scaling bonus to +Healing), Naturalist (-0.5 seconds cast time), Tranquil Spirit (-10% mana), Gift of Nature (10% bonus to the end total)
- Regrowth: Empowered Rejuvenation (14% scaling bonus to +Healing of the HoT portion), Gift of Nature (10% bonus to the end total), Improved Regrowth (50% additional crit rating)
- Rejuvenation: Gift of Nature and Improved Rejuvenation (resulting in a cumulative bonus of 26.5% to the end total (1.1 * 1.15)), Empowered Rejuvenation (16% scaling bonus to +Healing)
- Lifebloom: Empowered Rejuvenation (+10% single stack, 31% for a stack of 3), Gift of Nature (10% bonus to the end total)
References: Many of the formulas and values included in this article were taken directly or derived from the following articles on WoWWiki.com:
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