What’s most interesting to me about the change to have Intellect affect Spirit-based mana regeneration is that it’s a further buff to the longevity of Priests and Druids, two out of four of the healing classes (Shamans have received similar boosts to their mana regeneration in previous patches). This is on top of the changes to Intensity/Meditation that came with Patch 2.3. An exciting change to be sure, but one has to wonder what Blizzard is thinking as they continue to make mana less and less of a stumbling block for content completion.
Those of you familiar with the raid content from EverQuest 1 will likely remember something called the CH-rotation. This was a chain of Clerics dedicated to casting the Complete Heal spell every X seconds. The harder-hitting the boss or less geared the tank, the faster the rotation needed to be. Your raid lost when your Corps of Clerics ran out of steam. Or when one of them exploded in a fit of drama over loot, shattering your guild into a meelion tiny fragments. (Clerics in EQ were notorious for their sense of entitlement, perhaps because they had one of the most mind-numbingly boring but nonetheless essential roles in the endgame.) Blizzard seemed to initially carry this idea into their first raid content. Despite encounters which were much more dynamic, the responsibility for a raid’s success often lay squarely upon the shoulders of its healers; just think back to fights like Lucifron and chain decursing.
Now with TBC raiding content, healers’ roles have further diversified. We focus on different stats (spell crit for Paladins, Spirit for Druids and Priests, MP5 for Shamans, +Healing for all). Rather than the pre-TBC focus on direct healing at varying speeds, we now fill different niches (direct heals, group heals, “jumpy” heals like Prayer of Mending and Chain Heal, and heals over time). Add to this the buffs to mana regeneration we’ve seen over the past year and a much increased emphasis on healers in PvP content, and it’s a great time to be a healer.
While healers are expected to do more in terms of movement, positioning, and decision-based healing — and thankfully, far less in terms of decursing — TBC encounters also tend to have a much higher emphasis on high DPS. With soft enrage timers (whereby the mob in question hits harder but not to the point of becoming unmanageable), “hard” enrage timers, and mechanics like Gruul’s progressively harder-hitting growth stages, it’s become more important than ever for DPS to be on the top of their game. Because while mana may be less of an issue, eventually the HPS of your raid’s healers won’t be able to keep up with the DPS of some encounters.
I personally view this as a positive paradigm shift. When so much of the responsibility for my raid’s success lay upon my shoulders and the shoulders of other healers, failure often felt personal. Now the responsibility is more evenly distributed among all raid members, and it’s less a case of finger-pointing (or branch-pointing) than it once was. Although it is amusing to watch healers blame DPS and DPS blame healers on Gruul’s.
Admittedly, my experience is limited only to Gruul’s Lair, the first few encounters in Serpentshrine Caverns (Lurker, Hydross, and Morogrim), and a couple of as yet unsuccessful attempts on Magtheridon and Void Reaver. I’m very interested to hear the perspectives of those readers who have advanced further. I know from previous comments that there is a increased emphasis on increasing HPS via +Healing since mana regeneration becomes less of an issue. Is this due to enrage mechanics or something else altogether?
Just a real quick note of apology about my lack of responsiveness the last week or so. I’m in the middle of a big project release at work and don’t have the spare time I sometimes do. I’ve been working my way through comments today and will be turning my eyes to contact requests over the next week. Again, sorry if I haven’t answered your requests yet. I’m working on it!
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