Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mana Regen Changes

I could strangle the Blizzard dev who came up with this gem of an idea.

Both hands. Thumbs on the windpipe.

I could care less about the actual mechanic change, but I'm definitively not happy about the Hill Politician-esque flip flopping from Blizzard.

Flip flopping?

Let me explain.

The core idea behind the change is the notion that Healing is too easy.

Forget about the details of what Blizzard wants Healers to multitask: managing mana, picking the right heals to use at the right time or usage of cooldowns and understand that from Blizzard's point of view, current Healing methodologies are all about mashing your most effective heal over and over until you win. And they're completely right. Why do they see it as such a mindless task? Because they created this monster.

Yep. Blizzard created this situation over the course of the 6 months.

Really? What did they do?
  • Removal of Downranking. Downranking was the single most complicated healer skill out there because it by itself created decision making. If you have no clue what downranking was, to explain briefly: casters could elect to use a lower rank of a spell to create a smaller effect at a reduced mana cost, often with a faster cast time. If someone needed a small heal but didnt want to blow a ton of mana for alot of overheal, a healer could use a midrank heal instead of a max rank heal. Overhealing meters (for non-Druids) actually meant something because it showed mana efficiency and skill, especially on bosses where damage was predictable and burst damage was not expected.
  • 3.0 TBC Boss Nerf. With the release of 3.0, a few of major things happened. The first was the sweeping nerf to all of TBC's 25 man raid bosses. This change allowed less progressed guilds (who were ridiculously undergeared) access to high level content and complete it due to lowered boss HP totals. When a fight is made trivial due to a much shorter encounter duration, healing gets sloppy. Healers were encouraged to dump their mana whenever they wanted because the fights would invariably end before they could run dry. The mentality of blowing your mana pool became a bad habit and with the natural ePeen measuring contests a la Healing Meters, bad healers with no concept of resource management were often regarded as 'good healers'. This was made all the worse by the next point.
  • 3.0 WotLK AoE Healing Talents/Glyphs. WotLK talent trees and glyphs brought out alot of new and interesting abilities and skill synergies for healing classes at the end of TBC's run. Some skills such as Wild Growth were so overpowered that they were eventually nerfed, but for several months, they were allowed to exist in an overpowered state. Much like the previous point, this created 'good healers' out of bad healers simply because they could repeatedly press an iwin button and be rewarded for it. I remember running a post boss nerf pug Hyjal on my Resto Druid, who was both geared and specced for PvP (no Wild Growth), and was made fun of by a Druid in blues/epics because we had just about tied in healing done. I like to think that my witty response of "Because pressing one button means you have skill, right?" shut him up, but in reality, it didn't. I distinctly remember being pissed off at how skill-less healing had become.
  • 3.0 Replenishment. This one actually took a while to become abused, because for a long time people didn't understand the actual impact, but I'd be lying if it wasn't being ridiculously abused by healers today. By stacking Intellect, a caster can expect to get a constant 300 mp5, just for having a raid buffed 24,000 mana pool. If this doesn't scream "cast to your heart's content because mana isn't an issue", then I dont know what would. Understandably, casters are doing just that. The crazy/cool thing is that by stacking Intellect, Spirit based healers are improving their Spirit based regen and all healers are adding a bit of Crit, which seems to proc efficiency or throughput for every healing class. There is NO penalty for stacking Int because everything is healable with just 1900-2000 Spellpower.

So there we have it. The culprits behind why healing is so incredibly easy these days.

So why am I not happy?

Because Blizzard has lured many innocent players into their van with promises of sweet sweet candy and easy gear, only to dash their dreams of being the next raid savior with the classic bait and switch pedastery. I don't quite care about the established and skilled healers, but when looking at the average population out there, healing is about to get a bit more difficult. Healers who have minimal gems, poor enchants, and take gear without any direction/focus are going to get a rude awakening. Same for those who run with guilds who have players who want to raid with their spec, even if swapping to a Replenishment spec would benefit the entire group.

The final questions are: why should healers have something else to think about just to do their job effectively and why should there be yet another barrier to a role that is already suffering from a dearth of active participants?

It's hard enough to even find enough healers anyways


Lycurgusofsport said...

I don't think this change will be as bad as your making it out to be, good healers shall overcome and bad healers shall stand dumbfounded in the dust.

You are right about making it tougher to increase the popularity of healing classes if they keep nerfing them. However on the optimistic side the healers we do find should be somewhat skilled in their class at the least, for persevering through nerfs.

This might get rid of some face rolling idiots that we all seem to come across.

Chu said...

@ Lycur

Definitely. Established and knowledgeable healers will have no problems. Hell, I'm surprised if I even have to pop Fiend/Innervate on any fight these days...

The thing about having 'face rolling idiots' is that without the lowest skilled players still trying to fill their role, you raise the cost of entry. People dont always play the game (or a part of the game) because its difficult.. but because its fun. Having to think may veer people away from even trying this role out.

Oiysters said...

LOL @ Blizzard conspiracy theories. Great blogging though - "lured into the van with sweet sweet candy" and "bait-and-switch pedastery", very nice.

They just went too far when they dumbed down that aspect of the game. They did the same thing with tanking, although they seem to realize that and are making adjustments. Grats them for realizing it and taking steps to fix it. And shockingly, copping to it in the forums and publicly stating their intentions for the change.

I welcome changes keep the challenge up, although I think this change if it's significant will force an adjustment on the part of our guild. Serious recruiting...ugh.

If past is precedent though, this will be such a minor tweak that healers at your level of gear and skill (Brutal helm notwithstanding) won't even notice the change. GC did say that if this change isn't enough to make mana an issue, they will nerf Replenishment next.

Now if they would just come up with a way to penalize dps for being stupid where the blame for the deaths cannot be easily transferred to the tanks or the healers. That would be a beautiful thing.

Chu said...


Lay off my Brutal Helm.