Priest - Least Effective Healer in Cata?

by Bieberfever | 22/10/2010 02:57:07

Bieberfever

EDIT: Blue post <3

Highlights of this thread:

GC knows holy priest regen is low.
Holy priests regen will NOT be buffed, rather other healers will be nerfed accordingly.

They are taking a look at HR/Rejuv.


Good day all

[ Post edited by Bieberfever ]

by Ghostcrawler | 17/10/2010 21:47:43

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
Perhaps if GC would explain -- why -- these changes came down the pipe we could understand the "devil in the details".


I feel like we have done this several times and what many paladins are looking for is not an explanation, but buffs. Nevertheless, I'll take you at your word and try and boil down our design intent.

The Past

The BC and LK design of the Holy paladin was basically to use one or two spells and get a lot of use out of them. This is sort of like the mage dps design, where there aren't a lot of sources of damage, but there are a lot of other factors (cooldowns, procs etc.) that make how you use those spells more interesting. So rather than the paladin having 5 different heals, they pretty much used Flash of Light or Holy Light (depending a little on what gear stats and encounters looked like at the time) but with other spells to boost those heals, such as Beacon of Light and Divine Favor, and then all the paladin support abilities, like the Hands.

Paladins (all three specs really) were designed to be a really passive class, with Protection doing a lot of passive threat generation (e.g. Consecrate) and survivability (e.g. Ardent Defender), Ret doing a lot of passive damage (e.g. Seal damage, Vengeance) and Holy doing a lot of passive healing (e.g. Judgement of Light).

It made paladins play really differently for sure, but it was also kind of boring. Because so much of what the class did was passive, players weren't making a lot of choices. Because they weren't making a lot of choices, there wasn't a huge difference between good and bad paladins except gear. I don't really think any of the specs were as "faceroll" as they often get labeled. However, the deltas between the good and bad player weren't large enough -- great paladins were great and bad paladins were pretty good. Honestly, the group to whom that is the most unfair is the paladin -- you can work and work just for a marginal gain above the guy who just picked up the class.

We made some pretty radical changes to the paladin class for Cataclysm. There is another resource to master. There are opportunities to do the wrong thing. A great paladin will have earned his or her greatness.

The Holy paladin niche, especially in Lich King, was to be the single target healer. In a raid, this almost always meant the tank healer. We designed boss damage to tanks specifically around what Holy paladins could heal. It was okay for paladin healing to be overpowered, because they really weren't competing with anyone for tank healing privileges and we could just make the bosses hit harder. The paladin tree wasn't very sexy though. It came with a lot of passive, boring or downright useless talents. Paladins were at the forefront of our mind when we decided to change talent trees.

Being in the same role all the time also gets boring. Imagine only one melee class (say rogues) had a reliable interrupt, so rogues were always given interrupt duty. Imagine mages had the only form of crowd control -- every encounter that's what the mage would be doing. When the Holy paladin can only heal the tank, then every encounter starts to feel similar to the poor paladin healer. They never have a chance to offer to stick with the second group or to raid heal or to watch the melee. With our attempt to make 10-player raids feel more legit, we wanted to handle the possibility that you might end up with two paladin healers (or perhaps a Disc priest and a paladin healer). We'd prefer you to run with a diverse raid comp, but we understand that isn't always possible.

There are Holy paladins who are used to being overpowered, because frankly that's the way things were for a long time (again, metered by the fact that your niche was very narrow). For them, anything is going to feel like a nerf. Likewise, there were players who were attracted to the class because it was very simple. We heard for years from the paladins who wanted something more to do, so it doesn't surprise us that now that we're delivering on that, some of the paladins who were fine with the status quo are now voicing their displeasure. Overall, we're very happy with the new design. We think it's fun to heal as a paladin. The numbers might not be quite right yet, but that's the kind of thing we're still tweaking. Perhaps two years from now there will be a lot more going in with Holy Power, but we think we have a good framework from which to iterate.

The Future

We think Holy paladins are good at 85. Holy Radiance is a powerful AE heal. Light of Dawn is too, though it's more situational. It really shines in larger raids. (Maybe we should have switched which was the talent and which was the core ability, but we knew Light of Dawn could have a more dramatic graphic effect since it was instant, which we wanted to reserve for the healer.) Paladins have more choices now about how to heal single targets -- they have a similar arsenal as the other healers when choosing between efficiency, speed or throughput. They can choose to avoid healing the Beaconed target or go ahead and heal the Beaconed target, with different results for each. They still have a little bit of self healing with talents light Enlightened Judgements and Protector of the Innocent to try to keep that feel of them healing two targets at once, as well as being sturdy healers, as fits someone wearing plate and carrying a shield. Mana efficiency is something to keep an eye on, but we have a lot of knobs to turn with things like Seal of Insight and Beacon of Light. We recently made a change to make Judging Seal of Insight provide more mana to the paladin. Paladins can heal fine in 5-player dungeons and are doing great in raids so far, though we're about to get a whole lot more data on that.

The Present

Unfortunately, many of these strengths don't show up at 80. Missing Holy Radiance is huge. Mana isn't much of a problem on live today partially because health pools are still much smaller. There isn't much of a choice about whether to use Holy Light because the comparatively low expense of Flash of Light, coupled with the risk that someone may die at any second makes the decision about which heal to use not too challenging. We haven't seen too much evidence yet that paladins are much poorer tank healers than other classes, though I understand many of you feel that to be the case. (It also doens't help that the popular logging programs and websites aren't showing Holy mastery yet.) If we do decide Holy can't competitively tank heal any longer, then we will buff them. This is tricky though. Too much of a buff and paladins and raid leaders are just going to conclude "Oh, Holy paladin = main tank healer" again. Contrary to what you might suspect, our blue posts reach a very small fraction of even the raiding community. :( Mana may be a bigger problem at 80 just because we tended in the past to avoid putting regen stats on healing plate, and many paladins are sticking with the old models of stacking spellpower or haste, even when faced with mana problems.

Also contrary to how you might feel, we think we did pretty well with healer balance in Lich King. All 5 healing specs were represented. We think we can erode their niches a little, such that the two druid raid can heal fine, or such that you can put a Holy priest on the tank and a paladin on the raid, without having the healer that nobody will want. We haven't been in a situation where a healer gets sat for a long time. I don't think it will be that way in Cataclysm either.

As a footnote, it's always hard to talk about the "average healer," let alone the "average WoW player." There were paladins struggling for mana before this most recent patch and those who balanced their Flash of Light and Holy Light use. There were probably some who healed the raid and doing an awesome job. We have to look at lots of different players and often talk about you in more general terms than you actually possess. Just because any of the above doesn't apply to you personally doesn't make it an invalid conclusion. Just keep that in mind.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 27/10/2010 00:56:35

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
Over a thousand MP5 difference is pretty amazing. The problem will only get worse in Cata.


We're still comparing all of the active and passive sources of healer mana to make sure things feel even among the different classes, but we feel pretty confident that the mana from Revitalize is too high. The Holy priest at 85 feels the closest to how we want mana to feel at 85.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 27/10/2010 01:43:37

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
And what about throughput? Is the holy priest model for throughput also closest to the design intent? It too seems low compared to that of the other classes.


It's hard to just provide throughput as a simple number. It varies enormously depending on the encounter mechanics you're talking about. Many of the logs I have seen posted by unhappy priests have Holy Radiance and Rejuv (to name two spells) healing as a much higher portion of total healing than we typically want to see. Some of that is encounter specifics, though those two spells in general are still probably too good. The Chakra mechanic is also something we are continuing to tweak, so that makes direct comparisons tricky at the moment.

As a general rule, the community still focuses way too much on healing meters as a proxy for how good a healer they are. Meters aren't even that great for comparing dps without a lot of analysis.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 18/10/2010 01:36:56

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
Have you ever heard of the saying, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"? Well, you broke it. Can you fix it please :)?


We thought it was broken. We know many players did as well. Not all of them did, which is totally understandable in a game with an audience of this size.

By contrast, we thought e.g. the Protection warrior was working really well, so we didn't make giant changes to the way their rotation or mechanics.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 18/10/2010 01:48:24

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
I'm going to sum up everything that GC said in response to paladins. "We at Blizzard don't care about Holy paladins, and never will. So in Cata, we have made them unuseful and will not do anything to change that fact. Thanks, and have a great day!"


And I am going to ban you.

Plenty of players have found ways to express their concerns without resorting to garbage posts. If the difference eludes you, then we'd all be better served if you read more and posted less.

I am grateful -- extremely grateful -- for any intelligent post, even if it disagrees with our design direction. Please don't waste my time with unintelligent ones.

I am not going to mention moderation again in this thread. I suggest you do not either.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 18/10/2010 01:57:26

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
I think that Elo hit most points square on the head. The top point that he made concerns Enlightened Judgments and Protector of the Innocent talents. I am not sure how exactly Blizzard attains all of the information needed to decide whether a class needs a buff or to be toned down. But from our perspective, we have meters and sites like World of Logs. These 2 talents are the only thing keeping us in the healing column, albeit in last place, but still. The worst part of this is that these heals provide absolutely no benefit to our raid group. Yet, in a majority of the fights, Protector of the Innocent is in the top 3 in terms of our healing done. This is simply unacceptable.


Trying to evaluate how awesome a healer you are by looking at healing meters is extremely dangerous. Heck, it's even dangerous to compare dps if you don't look at what's really going on.

Compare your attempts to keep a tank alive to another healer. You can compare your attempts to keep a raid alive too, but without Holy Radiance, you'll probably come up short. If another class is significantly better at single target healing and you can't attribute it to gear or skill or anything, then we have a problem.

I wouldn't give Protector of the Innocent and Enlightened Judgements much weight in examining meters. They are likely to be overhealing much of the time anyway. I would consider them one of those often unmeasurable bonuses, in the same way a druid has battle rez or a shaman can ankh. The extra healing will mean paladins are a little harder to kill. Maybe they ultimately translate to a little mana or GCD savings for someone. Those are hard things to measure though. Players sometimes seem as if they are trying to give everything a score: druid healing is 7 but they get 2 points for Mark of the Wild and 3 points for Rebirth, and 1 point for hots, so that their total healing score is 13, while the paladin's healing is 6 but they get 4 points for self-healing so their total package is 10. That makes no sense.

Go read the dungeon and raid forums. In the current raid testing, paladin healers are doing really well, both on single target and AoE healing. If they are underpowered at 80, we need to figure out a way to buff them that won't translate into them being overpowerd at 85. If despite the current testing, paladins are weak at 85 for some reason, then we can address that. If they have mana problems, that is one of the easiest things to fix.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 18/10/2010 02:09:24

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
In a game where parity is the goal it was broken. Not saying you couldnt have kept the same niche based healing model but I think most of us understand that with parity as the goal we needed changes.


While I agree with you, I actually meant the design of having one heal that got 90% of use wasn't good for the long term health of the game.


Q u o t e:
However alot of us who have seen the endgame, have seen these sort of issues playout before see the problems on the horizon. The current mechanics of light of dawn and HR are going to cause you nightmares if you try to balance them. That wouldnt be a problem if they werent huge spells, but they are pillars of the paladin now, its going to cause big problems if our pillars are bad in 5 mans, ok in 10 mans, and omgwtfjesus in 25s. For parity we need to be competitive in all phases of the healing game, atm we arent.


We're willing to take the risk that some mechanics are hard to balance. While balance is extremely important to you and to us, it doesn't accomplish much to have a game that is very balanced but boring. When you have a player who gets bored of priests and decides to try healing as a shaman and realizes they play pretty much the same way, then that player is not just bored of one class -- he is bored of healing period. The same is true in a larger sense if someone ever realizes that every BG and every raid encounter sort of play out the same and that class composition is as largely irrelevant as race composition. One of the biggest risks WoW faces, in my opinion, is class homogenization. We have to figure out ways to make classes more or less equally powerful while operating differently.


Q u o t e:
And to touch on the current situation on live servers, its disheartening to play a class that is so weak, even if you have a belief that at 85 it will be ok. I would love to hear that you guys are willing to turn those knobs a bit for 80 balance, even if they get turned back.


Yes, absolutely. We haven't done it yet, because we're not convinced that paladins are that weak. When the current patch first went live, it was without the healing buff we had recently applied to the beta version of the data. So we had to get that change in place to see what happened. Then we wanted to watch paladins get adjusted to the new mechanics. As I said, some refused to gear for any Spirit at all and then were surprised when they ran out of mana. Some were trying to heal exactly as they did before the patch. Some were trying to heal the way they thought they should for Cataclysm, and then realizing that there wasn't much of a need to rely on Holy Light because mana wasn't strained and speed was still important. Players are adjusting to all sorts of changes -- guilds with heroic content on farm suddenly wiped repeatedly because so many class mechanics were new (or in some cases, because we hadn't adjusted the content to match those new mechanics). We learn more and more every day.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 18/10/2010 02:15:42

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
Still waiting on a response about DP vs. Innervate.

I don't see a reason why we still have a 50% reduction on our healing.


I've answered this many times. If you're "still waiting" have you tried at least to see if we've addressed the question before?

With no penalty to healing, Divine Plea would be used on cooldown. There would be no reason for it not to be. At that point, why not just make it passive regen instead of requiring you to push the button?

Classes are different and we want their spells to be too, insofar as we can make them. Innervate can be used on other players. Many times in Cataclysm, the druid will need to save it for themselves. But the possibility remains that it could be used on someone else too, so the druid needs to keep that in mind. I'm not arguing that the decision to Innervate someone else is of the same magnitude as weakening your own healing to return mana. But we do want both spells to require some decision on the part of the player. I really wouldn't compare Innervate to Divine Plea or Shadow Fiend. We're not trying to just give every healer the same version of that spell. Druids might have a more powerful regen mechanic, but they don't have emergency buttons such as Hand of Protection or Sacrifice. As long as paladins don't have massive mana problems or as long as paladins don't require a larger brain pan to play, it shouldn't be a problem.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 18/10/2010 02:18:48

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
Also, I would like to point that you only talk about the 'greatness' of Light of Dawn in 25m raids. Well, since the Blizzard design is now 'bring the player, not the class', I would like to know how we are going to work around Light of Dawn healing two or three people, if correctly positioned, while our other AoE heal is on CD.


I didn't say Light of Dawn was only useful in 25-player raids. I said Holy Radiance is probably less situational. Light of Dawn always heals yourself, so you should almost always be able to heal at least two folks at once. If we made 5-player encounters where we required you to simultaneously heal 5 players or die, then it would be a problem. But we don't make encounters like that. Much of the time, you'll be fine casting Holy Light one at a time on each player. If that's too slow for you, use a couple of your instant heals or your Flash of Light too. You can probably get through every dungeon with just that strategy, but you won't need to because you do have group heals as well.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 18/10/2010 02:22:02

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
The problem is that Druids and Shaman aren't required to spec into Battle Rez and Reincarnate. If a Paladin chooses to not spec into PotI they HAVE to choose a DPS talent that has no effect what so ever on healing. Enlightened Judgements can't be skipped because missing a Judgement is far too costly, and if you are judging just as the buff is running out to avoid wasting mana on Judgements then you will be without a major buff until the cooldown is finished and hope RNG loves you.


And druids currently have to spec into Natural Shapeshifter and Fury of Stormrage, which have almost no effect on their healing. Different classes are different. You're better off comparing the whole package then trying to single out individual talents or spells and trying to find analogues in other classes that appear more generous than yours.

Missing a Judgement isn't costly. The haste buff lasts for longer than the Judgement cooldown and you can live without a little bit of mana and self-healing.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 18/10/2010 02:23:35

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
That is what you get when you try to directly compare spells or abilities between classes, there are far too many other factors to be considered to really effectively do that.


That's the intent. There are some that are still too close together, and we'd like to eventually address those. In an ideal world, we wouldn't have had to make sure every healer had the efficient heal, the fast heal and the big heal, but we were nervous about our ability to make mana relevant without being painful without those baseline spells.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 19/10/2010 00:50:30

Ghostcrawler

After looking at more of the raid attempts on beta, we are worried that Holy paladins are doing too much area healing and not enough single target healing.

While we definitely want to scoot paladins away from their Lich King monopoly on tank healing and towards raid healing, we don't want to go too far. We're thinking about nerfing Holy Radiance and buffing single target healing. Again, the goal is not that Holy paladins only ever heal the tank, but we want them to actually be able to heal the tank as well.

On Holy Radiance, we think the 20 yard range shifted the spell from one where position was relevant to just blowing it on cooldown. We'll probably keep the 20 yard radius, but have a falloff to where the healing is highest within 8-10 yards of the paladin. This will also help the spell stay relevant in 5-player dungeons without being overpowered in larger raids. The cap for Holy Radiance (and Healing Rain for that matter) also aren't working correctly at the moment.

If we decide to buff single target healing, it would probably just be points on the 5 direct heals. We think Beacon is in a good place and aren't looking to overhaul the overall Holy mechanics. It's just a numbers issue.

Judging Seal of Insight (a change I alluded to earlier) will help with mana problems, especially when Divine Plea is on cooldown or you're nervous about using it.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 19/10/2010 00:54:26

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
I believe the latency issue with Holy Power is being addressed, Blizzard knows it is a problem so I believe that it is only a matter of time before it's resolved.


If you look at the way Holy Power worked for Ret, it used to have a slight delay and now has a much shorter delay. It will always have some delay given the realities of the Internet. We think we can get Holy down to that same delay.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 19/10/2010 01:08:30

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
Are you sure it's not a numbers problem and not a playstyle problem? As you said they are bugged caps and range might be an issue. I haven't used Holy Radiance but this statement goes counter to everything I was looking forward to in Cata with my Holy spec...


No, we're not sure it's a numbers problem instead of a playstyle problem. We need to see more raids. I'm just sharing the conversations we're having today. A lot of this job is predicting what is going to happen in the future. You can't always be certain things will change and you can't always be certain they won't.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 19/10/2010 02:51:30

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
I'm still concerned about mana regen - primarily Divine Plea...would you consider increasing the mana return siginicantly, along with the healing reduction and cd? (and if not, please a brief explanation as to why)


I have answered this before, but if we need to increase the mana from Divine Plea, that is easy to do. Getting mana from Judging Seal of Insight will give you an extra tool when you can't use Divine Plea, such as when it's on cooldown.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 19/10/2010 02:58:23

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
I understand what the poster of your quote is trying to convey, but the Blue's typically respond better to ideas and details....saying "it's broken" even in an "inspirational" way doesn't help them see what you believe the problems are.


Right. Just quoting another player, no matter how eloquent, doesn't really add much to the conversation and is the kind of thing that makes these threads grow to many, many pages.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 19/10/2010 03:07:56

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
Still seems like it would be tricky to balance our single target throughput while simultaneously having 50% of said throughput transferred to a secondary target without being overpowered :<


That's just the way the spell works. Druids and priests can have hots going on multiple targets at the same time, and choose to heal one of those targets directly. That's very powerful too, but it's hard to put a quantitative value on the ability to heal more than one target at once. (Heck, if you want a more egregious example, look at the old Judgement of Light.)

We thought Beacon was overpowered when the paladin could literally heal two targets to 100% at once. In that era, there was never a reason to heal the Beaconed target. Not only was it powerful, it was really easy and required little action or decision on the part of the paladin. Having the Beacon splash some healing onto a target who may or may not need it feels balance-able to us. It means the paladin still needs to decide when to heal the Beaconed target indirectly (i.e. use Beacon) or when to heal them directly. It means there is the risk of doing the wrong thing, which could mean switching Beacon when you shouldn't have or healing the Beacon when you should have healed someone else.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 19/10/2010 03:10:09

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
Even if SoI does proc on judges, it wouldn't even break even when casting Judge on cooldown. On live, we gain mana back by judging on cooldown. On beta, we average ~500 loss per cast assuming it could proc on Judgement.


No, that's not what I meant. "Unleashing this Seal's energy will deal Holy damage to an enemy and restore 15% of the paladin's base mana." Maybe 15% is too generous, but you get the idea.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 19/10/2010 03:16:38

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
Are you simply trying to remove "niche healing"? Such as tank healing, or raid healing, essentially do you want all of the 5 different healers to be able to accomplish it just in a different way?


We're trying to erode it a lot. I hesitate to say that every healer will be equally viable at both tank and raid healing in every situation, because then e.g. you'll see players protest in say the fight that requires the raid to spread out, thus making Holy Radiance less effective.

In Lich King, the conventional wisdom was you had to have a Holy paladin healing the MT or you were horribly gimping yourself. You needed a Disc priest for Infest or you were going to struggle. We'd like to see more raids where the Holy priest is on the tank and the paladin is on the raid, or have the paladin join a pug and ask "Who do you want me to heal?" Because healers heal differently, there are going to be moments where they shine, in the same way rogues do well on Saurfang and mages do well on Festergut.

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

by Ghostcrawler | 19/10/2010 03:19:05

Ghostcrawler


Q u o t e:
make up ur mind do you want us as raid healers or single target healers.


We want you to be able to do whatever you need to do to help your group. We don't think "I'm the best at AE damage" is a great role for dps or tanks, so why should it be for healers?

Ghostcrawler
Lead Systems Designer

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