Welcome to 5.0.4! I thought I should take this opportunity to throw together a quick little guide to what’s changing for all healers. I promise it’ll be more informative than /trade! 🙂
There’s a lot of change for us in the new patch, but I’m here to tell you that everything will be okay. Here are some quick links so you can jump to the part of my post most relevant to you:
- Where Has all the Mana Gone?
- New Talents and Dispel Mechanics
- Restoration Druid Changes
- Holy Paladin Changes
- Discipline Priest Changes
- Holy Priest Changes
- Restoration Shaman Changes
Your mana bar is likely to look a little leaner after the patch. That’s because it is no longer affected by your Intellect on gear – mana will now be limited by level instead.
At level 85, this means that – unless you use the Ember Shadowspirit Diamond or are a gnome – you will have 100,000 mana, no more, no less. For those of you decked out in Heroic t13 gear, this represents a likely 50-80k mana pool loss.
Before you panic, take a deep breath. Spell costs are likely to go down. Just as an example, prior to this patch a Shaman’s Healing Rain costs somewhere between 10-11k mana (depending on mana cost reduction talents); after the patch, it should cost 8,620 mana. Everyone should see similar cost reductions across the board.
Mana regeneration is changing a lot too. Base mana regeneration is set at 2% of your mana pool every 5 seconds, so at level 85 that will be 2,000 mp5. Out of combat, your mana regen will be determined by (2000 + 1.128*Spirit) mp5; in combat, your mana regen will be (2000 + 0.564*Spirit) mp5. This is standardised across all healers now; Holy Priests and Holy Paladins no longer gain additional Spirit-based regeneration in combat.
External mana regeneration buffs such as Replenishment, Mana Spring Totem, and the mp5 portion of Blessing of Might, will be gone. For changes specific to your class, scroll down a bit further 🙂
The new Talent system will be deployed in this patch, and is a little different from the Talent systems we’ve had previously.
In the new Talent system, you will choose from 5 tiers of Talents (a 6th tier is unlocked at level 90, so you’ll have to wait until Mists of Pandaria comes out to access them). Each tier has three options, and the options are generally united along a theme of some sort, such as Mobility, Utility, Survivability, or Throughput.
The goal of the new Talent system is that there should be no obvious choices; every choice should be valid, and you should be able to freely select the Talent that best synchronises with your personal playstyle.
Talents can be changed any time you are not in combat, and no longer require a trainer. It simply requires one Dust of Disappearance for each Talent you wish to reassign. This makes respeccing between fights a lot faster and I would strongly encourage all healers to consider tailoring their build for specific fight mechanics.
Speaking of specific fight mechanics (how d’you like that segue!), dispelling is changing a bit in the 5.0.4 patch as well. Friendly dispel effects now have an 8-second cooldown (and Mass Dispel has a 15-second cooldown). This will make coordinating dispels on the Warlord Zon’ozz fight a little more tricky.
Heroic Spine of Deathwing’s Blood Corruption: Death mechanics have been altered accordingly; it will now mutate to Blood Corruption: Earth after a single dispel. However, it may still be worthwhile assigning more than one dispeller to the task since three or four debuffs can be out at once during rolls.
I’ll be brief; for a more detailed guide, see my Druid Changes page.
- Lifebloom’s duration has been increased to 15 seconds;
- Harmony’s duration has been increased to 20 seconds;
- Mastery can now be maintained by Swiftmending on cooldown;
- Ironbark is a new tank cooldown, reducing damage on your target by 20% for 12 seconds, with a 2-minute CD;
- Wild Mushroom: Bloom causes your mushrooms to deliver direct, AoE healing;
- Several new Glyphs will significantly improve our quality of life:
- Glyph of Lifebloom allows you to swap a full stack of Lifebloom onto a new target with a single cast;
- Glyph of Blooming restores Lifebloom’s 10-second duration, prevents direct heals from refreshing it, and increases its bloom portion by 50%;
- Glyph of Regrowth removes the HoT portion from the spell but ensures it is a guaranteed Critical Strike (and thus a guaranteed Living Seed application);
- Glyph of the Treant allows you to heal in the old Treant form again!
Because Swiftmend allows you to maintain your Harmony, more of your healing may be HoT-based than before. You may find it more mana-efficient to recast Lifebloom to increase its duration rather than using your direct heals.
Wild Mushroom: Bloom is probably not worth using unless you can set it up during a lull in healing requirements. The mushrooms disappointingly do not heal for very much, and can be very cumbersome to use.
I won’t get into Talents too much here, as there are no real right or wrong answers anymore. This is my best guess as to what will be most generically useful in Dragon Soul, but you should consider which talents will be most useful in your group and for your level of progression.
While I haven’t finished all the Talent evaluations and healing spell calculations for Paladins, I’ve played on the Beta enough to have an idea of what is different. So, in brief:
- Judging no longer provides Haste or additional Spirit-based mana regeneration;
- Seal of Insight additionally provides 10% Spell Haste;
- Crusader Strike’s mana cost has been increased, and since we no longer have a Spirit to Hit conversion, it is more likely to miss, making it a less efficient method of gaining Holy Power;
- Holy Radiance’s healing has been reduced, and it no longer applies a HoT effect;
- Light of Dawn no longer has a directional requirement, instead healing 6 (or 4, if Glyphed) of the most injured targets within 30 yards of the Paladin;
- Guardian of the Ancient Kings also provides a stacking Haste buff whenever it delivers healing; and
- Daybreak no longer provides a Holy Shock off the cooldown; instead, after casting a Holy Radiance, your next Holy Shock will be copied and distributed over all targets within 10 yards.
What this really means is that Holy Power might be a little slower to generate for Holy Paladins than you may be used to. Holy Radiance is not as powerful as it used to be, although with the severe stacking requirements in Dragon Soul it may still be worthwhile casting. But Crusader Strike is now more expensive and unreliable than before, and Daybreak is no longer a source of additional Holy Power income.
Other than that, most of your healing style should remain unchanged. Standing in melee range of the boss will still allow you to generate additional mana via Seal of Insight, which may be necessary in heavy AoE-healing fights, although since Crusader Strike is less useful to us it is not so bad if we end up standing with the ranged group.
I haven’t fully evaluated all the Paladin Talents yet, so I’ll link my best guess at a generalised Talent build. I’ve chosen Selfless Healer as the free, instant Flash of Light spells are incredibly strong. However, if you find your Holy Power income is quick enough, Eternal Flame is also a very good choice, giving Holy Paladins access to a HoT. Similarly, I’ve taken Clemency for flexible utility, but Hand of Purity could be incredibly useful on some fights, e.g. Heroic Yor’sahj, the first part of Heroic Warmaster Blackhorn, and perhaps saving the tank from periodic damage during the black phases of Heroic Warlord Zon’ozz. I strongly encourage you to consider what will work best for your group and your level of progression.
Like Paladins, I haven’t finished all my Priest calculations and evaluations yet. But I have a pretty good idea of what will be different:
- Rapture now returns mana equal to 150% of your Spirit when a Power Word: Shield’s full absorb is used – making it no longer mana-positive;
- Discipline Priests no longer have access to Divine Hymn;
- You have a new cooldown, Spirit Shell, which transforms your Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Heal, and Prayer of Healing into absorption shields for 15 seconds; and
- Evangelism, Atonement, and Archangel are now baseline spells for all Discipline Priests, and Archangel now provides 5% stronger healing per stack instead of 3%, although it no longer returns mana when used.
The removal of Divine Hymn and the addition of another absorption mechanic has cemented Discipline’s niche as a preemptive, proactive healer.
Spirit Shell is amazingly powerful – it caps at 60% of your health pool and lasts for 15 seconds. The size of the absorb scales with your Critical Strike rating, Mastery, and possibly includes Divine Aegis as well. (I am still sorting this out, but I’m getting a 44.55% increase from the size of the heal to the size of the Spirit Shell shield, and Crit+Mastery only accounts for an approximate 40% increase, but Crit+Mastery+DA is more like 47%.)
Spirit Shell applies Grace and benefits from it. It does not currently benefit from Archangel, unfortunately. This sets Discipline Priests up with two distinct methods of increasing their throughput – Archangel for direct healing after a high-damage ability, and Spirit Shell for pre-stacking absorbs on the raid in advance of a high-damage ability.
Archangel’s increased power makes Atonement/Evangelism healing a little more attractive, as well. Discipline Priests who previously did not use it may want to give it a try now that they don’t have to give up anything to access it.
Talents are largely an individual choice, but here is my best guess at a generally-useful build. I’ve chosen Mindbender because Power Word: Solace interrupts Grace/Evangelism maintenance a bit too much in my opinion, and I don’t like proc effects like From Darkness, Comes Light for healing. Similarly, I’ve chosen Power Infusion for similarity’s sake, but Twist of Fate could be handy on fights like Heroic Madness of Deathwing, where a great deal of the healing output occurs when there is an enemy target under 20% health.
If you’ve read this whole page you’re probably tired of hearing this, but … I haven’t finished my Priest calculations and evaluations yet. That said, I have a pretty good idea what is changing for Holy Priests after the patch:
- Holy Priests no longer benefit from Holy Concentration, only regaining 50% of their Spirit-based mana regeneration in combat;
- Renew now deals 15% more healing and delivers 15% of its healing upfront, and retains its 1-second GCD;
- Chakras are no longer triggered by casting Chakra then casting a specific spell, and are instead directly selected from a pull-out menu; and
- Serenity Chakra has changed somewhat, granting 15% additional healing to single-target direct heals instead of 10% Critical Strike chance.
Not a great deal has changed for Holy Priests. Probably the biggest change to the Holy Priest playstyle will come from the change to Serenity Chakra. This change was aimed at improving Serenity’s usefulness in all forms of content, but some Priests have voiced concerns that the opportunity cost of selecting a Chakra state is now too high. These Priests feel forced to choose between strong single-target healing and strong AoE healing, and feel that the 30 second cooldown on Chakra states is working against the traditional level of flexibility that Holy Priests have always enjoyed.
Lightwell can now be Glyphed to become Lightspring, which turns it from an interactible, player-initiated heal into an automated smart-heal, throwing out a Lightspring Renew on a target below 50% health once every second. For Priests who mostly raid LFR or in groups that are not good at utilising a Lightwell, this glyph will provide a significant increase in healing throughput. The Lightspring Renew is equivalent in strength to a Lightwell Renew.
As I haven’t completed my Talents evaluation yet, I won’t talk too much about your Talent choices. This is my best guess at a generally useful Talent build, using Talents that mirror Holy’s pre-5.0.4 playstyle; of course, every Priest should consider what is best for their group’s needs and their level of progression.
I’ll be brief; for a more detailed guide, see my Shaman Changes page.
- The Totem system has been completely reworked – instead of static buff sticks, each Totem now provides a more powerful, situational effect;
- Healing Stream Totem now heals the most injured person in the party or raid group every 2 seconds for 15 seconds, and has a 30-second cooldown;
- Unleash Elements now increases Healing Rain’s throughput by 30%;
- Chain Heal and Healing Rain are both stronger relative to their pre-5.0.4 healing strengths;
- Water Shield is now a 60-minute duration buff with no orb limit, meaning it will no longer fall off all the time during add-heavy or damage-heavy fights like Heroic Spine of Deathwing; and
- Telluric Currents is now a Glyph, and its mana return is no longer linked to damage done – it returns a net 0.58% of your mana bar (580 mana at level 85).
For Dragon Soul raiding post 5.0.4, the changes to Healing Rain and Chain Heal are huge. However, our mana regeneration is going to take a significant hit thanks to the elimination of Telluric Currents’ gear scaling. This may make it difficult to keep Healing Rain down 100% of the time, and it may be worthwhile to cast it only when Unleash Elements is available for the 30% boost.
Other than these changes, most of our playstyle adaptation will come from finding keybinds for all our unique, short-cooldown Totems, and we should now have more free GCDs with which to use these Totems since we no longer have to reapply Water Shield so frequently.
This is my best guess at a generally useful Talent build. However, Shaman Talents are extremely situational, so it is certainly worth buying a big stack of Dust of Disappearance and switching your Talents out for each fight. As always, consider what is best for your raid group’s composition and progression level, and spec accordingly.
I hope this has helped! I will be running LFR on all four of my healing characters (after I get a little sleep) and will report back with any new insight I’ve gained from it. I also hope to raid on each of them this week so I can provide more useful encounter-based advice. This could be tricky since I am neck-deep in Priest spreadsheets right now 🙂