Now that I’m progressing steadily through Mythic content and actually healing again (most of the time *glares at Tectus*), it’s time to dive back into one of this blog’s staple topics: raid CDs! I’ve been thinking about them a lot ever since I noticed how big of a difference it made when I used my CDs twice during a fight instead of just once. And I don’t mean just my throughput – which I rarely look at! – but moreso my mana efficiency. What makes raid CDs feel so different in Warlords? And what does it mean for how I should be using my cooldowns in raid encounters?
Warlords of Draenor is an exciting new world for healers – a world that we’re probably still getting a little bit used to, one in which our healing decisions actually matter. It’s a stark contrast to the Mists of Pandaria healing style, where I felt like the depth of the healing game eroded as we progressed through raiding content, and while there were many culprits, the Mutually Assured Destruction of raid CDs was one part of it. Our CDs were too powerful and too plenty, and what’s worse, non-healers had CDs that could be just as powerful, meaning healers were riding the bench while their hybrid DPS counterparts were covering our shifts!
Every raid leader in Mists of Pandaria, particularly SoO
Sure, Heroic Thok would not have been possible without non-healers’ CDs being as prevalent as they were. But does that make strong non-healers’ CDs a good thing for the game, or does it make Thok a bad fight? I think the latter, personally; while there was some fun gameplay for your raid leader in organising the CDs to fire off at the right times, so much of that fight was decided by our raid leaders rather than our own healing instincts, and that was just dull.
To address these issues, the developers have redesigned raid CDs, removing some, nerfing others, and restricting certain CDs to heal-specs only. And, having realised that spell behaviour alone was not responsible for the way raid CDs were used in MoP, they’ve also changed encounter mechanics and increased player health pools relative to heal size. All of these changes have been aimed at making our raid CDs less powerful than they were in Mists, so that we feel like our actual healing decisions make more of a difference than our ability to press our CD buttons on command. But how successful were these changes at creating this kind of environment? We’ll have to look at a lot of parameters to find out. If you’re anything like me, that thought (mm, parameters!) makes you feel happy and a little tingly all over 😉
In this article, as in previous posts in this series, I’ll provide calculations of typical raid CD throughput/mitigation, explore a little bit about the philosophy of raid CD usage, and compare raid CD potency to that of previous content patches. I’ve tried to avoid repeating too much of the theory I established in those earlier articles, so if you find yourself needing – or wanting – a refresher on the benefits of effective health CDs versus pure healing CDs, or the quasi-qualitative evaluation of Spirit Link Totem’s health redistribution effect, well, that’s all still there. But for now, let’s get started on dissecting the Warlords raid CD landscape, shall we?