Tag Archives: Healing

Healthy Gameplay

A new Dev Watercooler went up today and it addressed a topic near and dear to my heart, healing. Specifically, it told us some of the changes we can expect to see to the healing game in Warlords of Draenor.

The first topic brought up is about health and resilience. It’s mainly related to PVP, so I don’t really care. I do think beginning the Watercooler with this was a mistake, as it open it up to cries of “Waaah, PVE healing is being nerfed because of PVP” and “you’re making healing too hard!”

Airplane 2 - Jerk off

Here’s the problem with that argument. It’s stupid. Okay, I’ll explain more. Nerfs (and buffs) relate to class and game balance. If you overhaul all of healing – reduce effectiveness of spells for each class/spec, add cast times, try to make each healer think and plan more – no one is getting nerfed. As a Resto Druid, I’m not any worse off than the Resto Shaman who’s seeing the exact same types of changes to their spells. People may not trust Blizzard to fix things correctly, but are they going to completely break the PVE game so no healer is capable of keeping their group/raid alive? No. They’re not.

Let’s move on to the changes that are being discussed.

Healer throughput will be toned down relative to the size of player health pools

…healers are able to refill health bars so fast that we have to make damage more and more “bursty” in order to challenge them. Ideally, we want players to spend some time below full health without having healers feel like the players they’re responsible for are in danger of dying at any moment. We also think that healer gameplay would be more varied, interesting, and skillful if your allies spent more time between 0% and 100%, rather than just getting damaged quickly to low health, forcing the healer to then scramble to get them back to 100% as quickly as possible.

To me, this sounds fantastic. I know it’s something that was tried before, but I’m glad Blizzard is giving it another shot. Hopefully it works this time. Health bars do get filled way too fast, and people spend way too much time at 100% health. Healing has turned into a very twitchy game, a contest of who can get those heals out first. As a Druid, the idea of people not being at full health very often is fantastic. I don’t want my Rejuvenation to be 60% overheal anymore, I’d love for it to do more effective healing. As a healer in general, I also really like this. I don’t want to play whack-a-mole. I want healing to require some thought and planning. If a tank dies, I don’t want it to be because I missed the 1 GCD that I could have healed her in between damage ticks. I’d rather it be because for the last 5 or 10 seconds I didn’t prioritize or anticipate damage correctly, and I got too far behind to save them.

Additionally, we’re toning down the power of absorbs in general. When they get too strong, absorption effects are often used in place of direct healing instead of as a way to supplement it.

Obviously absorbs create huge balance problems. It’s nice that this is acknowledged, but we didn’t get much detail about how this will be fixed.

We also took a look at healing spells that were passive or auto-targeted (so-called “smart” heals). We want healers to care about who they’re targeting and which heals they’re using, because that makes healer gameplay more interactive and fun. To that end, we’re reducing the healing of many passive and auto-targeted heals, and making smart heals a little less smart. Smart heals will now randomly pick any injured target within range instead of always picking the most injured target. Priority will still be given to players over pets, of course.

I’m a bit torn on this. I think smart heals are a huge problem. However, I’m not sure that making them dumber is the answer. I’d rather see less smart heals overall and have the ones left be less efficient. On the other hand, having my Wild Growth target a person at 70% health instead of the person at 30% health will force me to use some targeted heals on them, which I think we need to do more of.

Another of our goals for healing in this expansion is to strike a better balance between single-target and multi-target healing spells. We’ve taken a close look at the mana efficiency of our multi-target heals, and in many cases, we’re reducing their efficiency, usually by reducing the amount they heal. Sometimes, but more rarely, raising their mana cost was a better decision. We want players to use multi-target heals, but they should only be better than their single-target equivalents when they heal more than two players without any overhealing.

On the surface, this sounds good. However, thinking more about it, I see a problem. Earlier in the post they mentioned that they don’t want players to be sitting at 100% health so often. If that’s the case, multi-target heals should usually be hitting two or more players without overhealing, meaning they’re usually better than their single-target equivalents, meaning there’s really no decision to be made. I think that efficiency/mana costs will need to be adjusted even more if this has any chance of working.

Finally, we’re removing the low-throughput, low-mana-cost heals like Nourish, Holy Light, Heal, and Healing Wave, because we think that while they do add complexity, they don’t truly add depth to healing gameplay.

Excellent.

…we’ve increased base mana regen a great deal at early gear levels, while having it scale up less at later gear levels.

In theory, this should mean that we can’t spend our mana willy-nilly in the last tier of the xpac. As long as they don’t add in things like the legendary meta-gem to ruin it.

Less instant cast heals

Over time, healers have gained a bigger and bigger arsenal of heals that they can cast while on the move, which removes the inherent cost that movement is intended to have for them, while also limiting players’ ability to counter healing in PvP.

Now this change does actually seem to be mainly about PVP. But, I think for many of the spells they mention getting a cast time (Wild Growth, Uplift, Word of Glory, Light of Dawn, Cascade, Divine Star, Halo) a side effect will be that these smart/multi-target heals are even less efficient, and encourage people to think before they use them. I do have a couple concerns with the spells they’re giving a cast time to though. Giving Prayer of Mending a cast time seems unnecessarily punitive, as does giving a cast time to Wild Growth, a HoT. If they do this, I think WG needs a small instant heal component like RJ does, otherwise it takes too long after you decide to cast it for it to start ticking.


Overall, I’m impressed with the information they released and really hope that everything works out. I think a few of the points need some more thought in order to accomplish the stated goal, but I’m hopeful.

I think a major overhaul is just what the healing game needs. Right now it’s about as engaging as swatting flies. Make mana matter, force us to make choices, let us use our whole toolkit without 1 or 2 spells making up the most of our healing. If they can pull it off, healing should be fun again.

The 80% of comments whinging on the watercooler post really boil down to this:

We fear change

How to Evaluate Resto Druids with World of Logs – Updated!

Mists of Pandaria as been out for a year now, and Resto Druids have undergone a number of changes, especially in patch 5.4. I thought it would be a good idea to update my guide on how to evaluate Resto Druids with World of Logs. This has also been updated on my big WoL Guide page (where the pictures will be less squishy if you want to look at it over there).


Here are specific things to look for when analyzing resto druid logs. It’s best to look at specific kills or attempts in order to get meaningful numbers.

Druids are primarily Heal Over Time (HoT) healers with great mobility and a decent amount of utility. Though Druids have generally been considered raid healers, they can also be strong tank healers. In 5.4, a Druid’s healing output should be high.

Total healing done

Healing by Spell

WoL - Resto Druid Healing by spell
There are a number of things to look for on this screen, including:

Spell selection – Is the druid using all their available spells?

Druids have: Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, Wild Growth, Efflorescence, Regrowth, Swiftmend, Healing Touch, Nourish, Tranquility, Wild Mushrooms and passive healing from Living Seed. Depending on spec they should likely also have Ysera’s Gift and Nature’s Vigil.

Healing from Lifebloom, Rejuv, Wild Growth, Regrowth, Swiftmend, Efflorescence and Tranquility should be seen on every fight.

Healing Touch, Nourish and Wild Mushroom: Bloom may more sparingly. Whether Nourish is used a matter of personal choice, though it will not provide much healing (I haven’t even had this keybound since all expansion). Healing Touch should only be used in combination with Nature’s Swiftness. Wild Mushrooms will mostly provide some healing on fights where the raid is stacked up.

You should not see healing from Renewal; this is a poor talent choice for a healer.

Top Spells

A druid’s top spells will vary depending on the nature of a fight and how spread out the raid is. Wild Growth and Rejuv will generally be at or near the top on any fight. Efflorescence should also be up there, especially on fights where the raid is grouped up. Tranquility can also be one of the top spells for healing done when it is timed well and can be used multiple times throughout a fight. If the Druid is tank healing, expect to see Lifebloom and Regrowth higher on the list.

Overhealing

Druids will generally have high overheal because of the nature of their HoTs. This isn’t something to worry about. Lifebloom and Rejuv will have quite high overheal while you should see lower overheal on smart heals like Wild Growth or direct heals like Regrowth.

Notes on specific spells:

Lifebloom

Lifebloom World of Logs

Uptime is the key metric here. Lifebloom is our source of Omen of Clarity procs and provides a steady stream of heals to whoever it’s placed on (usually a tank). It should be pre-stacked before the pull, moved around to whomever needs it most and not allowed to fall off. Allowing a 3-stack to fall off, unless it’s timed perfectly to provide an emergency heal from the bloom, means you have to waste time and mana building the stack back up. Lifebloom uptime should be in the 90-100% range on most fights.

Tranquility

Tranquility WoL

The first thing to look for is whether Tranquility was used at all. It is our best spell in terms of HPS and HPM and should be used on every fight. With a 3 minute cooldown it can be used 2-3 times on most fights.

Next look at the number of direct heals – Each Tranquility should tick at least 20 times (more if the Druid has a lot of haste or uses Soul of the Forest and casts it after Swiftmend). See the 12 direct heals in the screenshot above? This means my Tranquility was interrupted (I cast it before a Shock Pulse like a bad Druid).

Overheal should be fairly low, but the HoT portion of the spell can increase this number.

Swiftmend

Swiftmend World of Logs

Check how many times Swiftmend was used by looking at the number of direct heals. Swiftmend has a 15 second cooldown, so it can be used 4 times per minute. It’s unrealistic to use SM every time it’s available but it should be used often (especially if the Druid is specced into Soul of the Forest).

Since Swiftmend is no longer mainly a vehicle for Effloresence, overhealing has become more important to look at. Since this spell is instant, overheal should not be too high.

Efflorescence

Efflorescence - World of Logs

Efflorescence should make up a good amount of a Druids healing, as it should be active pretty much all the time. It will do more healing on fights where the raid is stacked, but should do a fair amount even on fights where the raid is spread out or moving a lot, since it’s so easy to move now.

If healing from this looks low if could mean the Druid is not keeping the spell up via a Mushroom all the time, is not moving it appropriately, or is not using the Gylph of Efflorescence (which is terrible). If you’re in raid with the Druid, make sure the green Efflo circle is not often out in the middle of nowhere.

Wild Mushroom: Bloom

World of Logs - Wild Mushroom

How much healing WM does will depend on the fight. Personally, I don’t like to bloom Mushrooms much, unless the raid is stacked and taking significant damage. Blooming your Mushroom means 3 seconds before you can get Effloresence down again.

Nature’s Vigil

Nature's Vigil - World of Logs

NV is the strongest talent in the level 90 tier so you should see healing from it on most fights. If used close to on cooldown (as it should be, since the cooldown is short) it can provide a large amount of healing.

Cenarion Ward

If the Druid has this in their spec, the most important thing to look for is overheal. If the overhealing on the spell is very high, the Druid is not using it optimally.

Direct Heals

Direct heals should not make up the bulk of a druid’s healing, but Regrowth should be used fairly often. Low use of direct heals will likely mean that Clearcasting procs are being wasted.

Healing Touch should mostly be used in combination with Nature’s Swiftness, unless the Druid has the 2T16 set bonus, in which case you should see it used fairly often.

Spirit of Chi-Ji

This is the proc from the legendary cloak. The healing from this is not really controllable and how much healing it does will depend on the fight. Expect this to make up anywhere between around 4-10% of total healing.

Buffs Cast

This screen will tell you how often a druid is using their cooldowns, along with the uptime on key abilities.

World of Logs - Resto Druid Buffs cast

Lifebloom – As noted above, uptime should be as close to 100% as possible.

Harmony – This is Druids’ mastery which increases the effect of all HoTs while it’s active. Harmony should be up as much as possible, look for 90%+ uptime. If uptime is much lower, the druid needs to cast more direct heals to keep it active.

Barkskin – Barkskin can be used once every 45 seconds. It should be used often to mitigate damage taken (though not necessarily on cooldown). If a Druid is only using it once or twice a fight they should be using it more.

Tranquility – As noted above, Tranquility should be used on every fight. You should see at least 20 ticks per use.

Nature’s Vigil – Nature’s Vigil has a 1.5 minute cooldown. The talent should be taken on most fights and it should be used close to on cooldown.

Innervate – Innervate has a 3-minute cooldown. It should be used at 70-80% mana the first time, then whenever it’s off cooldown to get as much mana as possible.

Ironbark –  This is a damage reduction spell Druids can cast on someone else, it has a 1 minute cooldown. It should be used often on every fight.

Nature’s Swiftness – This spell makes your next spell with a cast time instant, larger and mana free. It has a 1 minute cooldown. This spell is often used for emergency heals, but you should see it used at least a few times on every fight.

Clearcasting – Compare the amount of Clearcasting procs to the number of Regrowths cast (this is found in the Healing by Spell tab). The Druid should have at least as many Regrowth casts as CC procs.

Trinkets – If the druid has an on-use trinket equipped, check the cooldown on it and the amount of times used. They should be used the maximum amount possible.

Movement abilities – On fights that require movement or kiting, look for things like Dash, Stampeding Roar or Displacer Beast too see that the Druid is making the most of their abilities.

The following are talents, so whether they appear in a Druid’s logs is spec-dependent:

Incarnation – Incarnation has a 3 minute cooldown. In your average 4-7 minute fight it should be used twice. A third use can be squeezed into fights that last longer.

Heart of the Wild – If the Druid has this in their spec, they should be using it on every fight for the 25% healing increase for 3o seconds. The cooldown is 6 minutes, so it likely won’t ever be used more than 2x per fight. 

You should also check to see if the Druid is using abilities given to them by Symbiosis. For the list of those, check here.

Druids also have a new spell, Genesis, which speeds up existing Rejuvs. Unfortunately, this spell will only show up if you search for it in the Log Broswers or Expression Editor.

Smart heal, dumb heal, boring heal, cheat heal?

I have to apologize for this post in advance because I’m feeling whiny and spiteful. This post is terribly biased.

Last night I participated one of the least enjoyable raids I can remember. It had nothing to do with my raid group – we were having fun on Mumble and though things were occasionally a little sloppy, we did okay at killing bosses. It was all about healer balance and my performance in particular. First of all, I was dead a lot. I may as well have been trying to catch the Lightning Diffusions on Heroic Jin’Rokh, I couldn’t have done any worse at that. But what really made the raid unenjoyable was trying to get any healing done with 2 Holy Pallies an 2 Disc Priests healing in the raid. Ugh. 

I’m going to admit something here – I love topping meters. I know, I know, that’s not what healing is about a lot of the time, but I don’t care. I want my orange bar on top. Seeing myself 4th or 5th on a list feels shitty. Hell, I don’t even like to be 2nd. For the first time, taking into consideration my toolkit and the toolkit the other classes have, I don’t think it’s likely I’m going to see my name on top of any meter no matter how hard I try. Unless I sit half my healers to give my HoTs a chance to actually do something – but that’s not very nice.

Last night’s raid put two thoughts into my head.

First, raiding has a huge fundamental flaw. As you progress, you get more gear, you get better at handling mechanics. DPS players are rewarded for this progress by being able to put out more and more damage and watching their number soar. Healers, on the other hand, are rewarded by watching their overheal numbers inflate, having less to do and maybe even losing their raid slots as raid leaders sit them to bring in more dps. No idea how to fix this, but it sucks.

Second, (and this is where I become irrational and  take out my frustration on everyone else) I think some classes just have it easier. I’ve written about how I think too much healing is “smart” before. Spells which require very little effort, thought or skill do the bulk of most class’s healing. Druids are not excluded from this, but we do have the distinction of having our heals be very much dependent on what the rest of the people in our raid are doing.

Let’s take a look at how much thought or effort Druid spells require.

Rejuvenation – Usually does 20-30% of healing. Doesn’t require a whole lot of thought, but if you are careless with it all you’re going to get is a whole lot of overheal and run yourself oom. Takes 12 seconds to complete the heal. (As a side note, we’re the only healer who has the bulk of their healing done by a targeted, single-target heal).

Wild Growth – Usually does 20-30% of healing. Requires next to no thought. Don’t cast on someone standing in a corner by themselves, don’t cast when everyone is at full health and you’ve done your job with WG. Takes 7 seconds to complete the heal.

Tranquility – Usually does 10-20% of healing. No thought required.

Swiftmend (both components) – Usually does 10-20% of healing. Swiftmend often involves making a choice. Do I SM the tank who’s dipping low and end up with the ground effect only healing 1 person? Or do I SM someone who doesn’t really need it, but is standing in a group of people? Placement of the ground heal important, but so is the ability to use it reactively for an instant, large heal.

Lifebloom – Healing really depends on fight and assignment. Can do 5% of total healing, can do 20%. Can be proactively and reactively swapped around to whoever needs to most. Needs to be refreshed often.

Wild Mushrooms – Again, healing depends on fight. Isn’t used at all on some, can make up 20% of healing on others (really only on one other fight though). Need to be positioned properly, need to be charged fully, need to be used at the right time, and you can’t get out of range of them. One of the trickier spells to use.

Regrowth/Healing Touch – Usually makes up about 5-8% of healing. Requires decent reaction/timing.

Now lets look at the heals other classes get that piss me off the most and make my silly little HoTs seem like a waste of time and effort.

Illuminated Healing – This can make up 50% of a Paladin’s healing done. And it’s completely passive. And it procs from overhealing. Seriously.

All of the Priest T6 talents – Instant, only one of them requires a target (and the target really doesn’t matter because it likes to bounce to people really far away). Hit a button and watch your raid take half a million healing in 2 seconds.

Circle of Healing / Light of Dawn – Sort of the equivalent of Wild Growth except they heal instantly so are less prone to overheal. They also trigger Illuminated Healing or Echo of Light for extra free healing.

Prayer of Mending – Instant, super cheap, bounces around on its own! Subject to overpowered set bonuses.

Renewing Mist/Uplift – RM is just like Rejuv. Except it’s cheaper. And it generates a Monk’s secondary resource. And it spreads to extra targets by itself. Is the HoT not doing enough on it’s own? Uplift for burst healing!

Atonement – I’m a Disc Priest. I could literally just Penance/Smite/Solace the boss for the whole fight and still outheal other healers with Atonement and Divine Aegis (especially on bosses/adds who take more damage).

Druids have their share of mindless healing (plus we only have 7 healing spells to use! Give us more!!!). But we also have to actually pick a target for our heals a lot of the time, which is an affliction most classes don’t suffer from :P

I’m ready for my cheat heals now.

Evaluating Holy Paladins with World of Logs

The second part of my updated Guide to Evaluating Healers with World of Logs focuses on Holy Paladins. Thank you to Jacii, one of Apotheosis’s amazing Pally healers for reviewing and contributing to the post.

(This post may be easier to read, with less squishy pictures, over on the guide page).


Here are specific things to look for when analyzing holy paladin logs. It’s best to look at specific kills or attempts in order to get meaningful numbers.

Healing Done

Paladins are great tank healers and are also very strong at healing the raid when they are grouped close together. They have a number of utility spells and cooldowns to juggle. Holy Paladins should be evaluating not just on their output but also how well they make use of their abilities.

Healing by Spell

World of Logs Paladin healing done

There are a number of things to look for on this screen, including:

Spell selection – Is the paladin using all their available spells?

Paladins have: Divine Light, Holy Light, Beacon of Light, Holy Shock, Holy Radiance, Word of Glory, Light of Dawn, Lay on Hands, and passive healing from their Mastery – Illuminated Healing. They also have either Eternal Flame or Sacred Shield (level 45 talents) and one of Holy Prism, Light’s Hammer or Execution Sentence (level 90 talents). Healing from all of these spells should be seen on most fights. The only spell that is not typically used much is Flash of Light due to it’s poor mana efficiency (though it can be excellent on fights where mana doesn’t matter so much).

Top spells – A paladin’s top spells will vary based on the fight and their assignment, though Illuminated Healing will generally be at or near the top on any fight, along with Eternal Flame if the Pally has taken it.  For fights that are heaviest on tank damage Beacon should be doing a lot of the healing. When the raid is grouped up, Holy Radiance will often be one of the top heals even if the paladin is assigned to tank heal.

Overhealing – Overhealing is dependent on spell. Spells like Beacon of Light and Holy Radiance will generally have high overheal, which cannot be avoided so it is not a useful metric to look at. However targeted, single target spells such as Divine Light and Holy Shock should be low on overheal.

Notes on specific spells:

Divine Light vs. Holy Light
Two slow, direct healing spells. Divine Light costs 3x the mana and heals for 3x as much and gives Holy Power if cast on the Beacon target. The amount these spells are used will depend on the fight and damage taken. Check the amount of overheal on these two spells. If the overhealing on Divine Light is too high (nearing or over 40%), the paladin may be wasting mana and should be relying more on Holy Light. Paladin have so many other spells to use, and group heals that transfer through Beacon that you may not see a lot of use of either of these spells.

Holy Shock

World of Logs Paladin-Holy-Shock
Holy Shock should be used on cooldown to maximize Holy Power gains. Though it won’t be on top in terms of healing done, it should be near the top in terms of number of times it is cast. It has a 6 second cooldown, or 4 seconds with 4T14. Compare the number of direct heals to the maximum number of times it can be cast.

Holy Radiance and Daybreak
Daybreak is a buff that you get every time you cast Holy Radiance.  The buff will make your next Holy Shock cast within 6 seconds duplicate into a second heal that will heal all targets within 10 yards of the initial Holy Shock target. If Holy Radiance healing is high, but Daybreak doesn’t make up at least a few % of total healing, the Paladin is likely not using Holy shock appropriately.

Word of Glory (or Eternal Flame) and Light of Dawn

Paladin-Eternal-Flame,-Light-of-Dawn
These are the spells that use up Holy Power. Word of Glory/Eternal Flame should be used more often when tank healing or people are spread out, while Light of Dawn becomes more useful as people are grouped up, or damage is more bursty. One of these spells (or a combination of them) should make up a significant portion (20%+) of total healing. If they don’t, the Paladin may not be using their Holy Power optimally.

Lay on Hands
The first thing to look for is whether Lay on Hands was used at all. In addition to providing a huge amount of healing, with Glyph of Divinity LoH also returns mana. Though it may not get used on every fight, it should be used on most fights. A lack of LoH over a raid night should set off warning bells.

Tier 3 Talents
Tier 3 gives Paladins a choice of 2 new healing spells (yes there are 3 options, but Selfless Healer is the wrong one).
Eternal Flame – This spell replaces Word of Glory, turning it into a 30 second heal over time. If the Pally has this talent, it should account for a lot of their healing, especially if they apply the HoT to as many raiders as possible.  The HoTportion of Eternal Flame transfers to the Beacon at 50%.
Sacred Shield – This provides a shield (can only be on one person at a time) which absorbs damage every 6 seconds. If the Pally takes this talent, SS should be up on their primary target all the time.
You’ll also want to check the uptimes on these spells. (See next section)

Tier 6 Talents
Paladins get a choice of 3 new heals for their Tier 6 talent. These talents have very short cooldowns, and should be used often. Use can be delayed for predictable damage, or in combination with an output cooldown.

You should see healing from one of the following:
Stay of Execution (from the talent Execution Sentence) – Single target heal over time. 1 minute cooldown. This is a good choice on fights with very heavy tank damage. You can see the number of times this was cast on the Buffs Cast screen.
Holy Prism – Can be used as a single-target heal or a small area of effect heal. 20 second cooldown. This is the only option with a mana cost.
Arcing Light (from the talent Light’s Hammer) – An AoE ground heal that lasts 17.5 seconds. 1 minute cooldown. Light’s Hammer is a good choice on fights where the raid is grouped up and more AoE healing is needed. Light’s Hammer’s heals transfer to the Beacon target at a rate of 15%.

Buffs Cast

This screen will tell you how often a paladin is using their cooldowns, along with the uptime on key abilities.

Paladin-buffs-castBeacon of Light – Paladins’ signature ability. Should be up all the time. If it’s cast pre-pull and never put on a new target, Beacon will not show up here. Make sure Beacon healing is present in the Healing by Spell tab.

Eternal Flame – If specced into this, it should always be up. Look for 95%+ uptime.

Sacred Shield – If specced into this, it should always be up. There are two buffs that will show up for Sacred Shield. You want to look for spell ID 20925. Uptime should be 90%+.

Guardian of Ancient Kings – When activated, it will heal the target of your next 5 heals and everyone within 10 yards of them. 5 minute cooldown. Will generally only be used once per fight, but can be used more on long fights. This should be present on every boss fight. GoaK will show up as a pet on the Healing Done screen.

Avenging Wrath – Increases healing and damage by 20% for 20 seconds, 3 minute cooldown. This should be used often, generally 2-3 times per boss depending on the length of the fight.

Divine Favor – Increases haste and crit chance by 20% for 20 seconds, 3 minute cooldown. This should be used often, generally 2-3 times per boss depending on the length of the fight. Can be paired with AW for a super cooldown. Click the # next to each of these spells to see if they’re being used together or separately.

Holy Avenger (optional talent) – Makes Holy Power abilities do 30% more healing and generate more Holy Power for 18 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.

Devotion Aura – Reduces magic damage by 20% and prevents silences and interrupts for 6 seconds. 3 minute cooldown. This should be seen on any fight with raid-wide magic damage. The chart will tell how many people were affected by it (which will include pets and things). Click the # next to the spell to see a when and how many times it was used.

Divine Protection – Reduces magic damage taken by 40%, 40 second cooldown. With the Glyph of Divine Protection, it will also reduce physical damage taken by 20%, and will reduce the magic reduction to 20% as well. This should be used often, whenever the Paladin is taking significant damage.

Divine Shield – Used in emergencies, it makes the Paladin invulnerable to damage. It won’t be used often, but if you find the paladin is often dying without ever using it, there is a problem. DS can be used with Hand of Sacrifice to prevent unfortunate deaths..

Hand of Sacrifice – This is great for times of heavy tank damage. Paladins should be making regular use of this. It has a 2-minute cooldown, but if specced into Clemency, the spell can be cast twice before incurring a cooldown.

Hand of Salvation/Protection/Freedom – These are situational spells. They probably won’t be used too often, but I see their proactive use as a sign of excellent raid awareness.

Hand of Purity (optional talent) –  If the Pally is specced into it, you should see it used on fights with hard hitting DoTs (like bleeds or magic effects). It has a 30 second cooldown.

Trinkets – If the paladin has an on-use trinket equipped, check the cooldown on it and the amount of times used. They should be used the maximum amount possible.

Paladin-Power-gainsSeal of Insight – Has a chance to give mana back on melee swings. Should have 100% uptime. This does not always show up under buffs. If it doesn’t, check the Power Gains table on the Buffs Cast screen. Since the paladin will not always have the opportunity to melee the boss, this may not be a big source of mana.

Divine Plea – Restores mana over 9 seconds at the cost of reduced healing, 2 minute cooldown. If glyphed, the spell has no healing penalty, but a 5 second cast time. This should be used often. If a paladin complains about running oom, but doesn’t use this close to on cooldown, there is a problem.

Evaluating Resto Shaman with World of Logs

The second part of my updated Guide to Evaluating Healers with World of Logs focuses on Resto Shaman. Thank you to the amazing Vixsin of Life in Group 5, who reviewed the post and shared her wealth of Shaman knowledge with me.

(This post may be easier to read, with less squishy pictures, over on the guide page).


Here are specific things to look for when analyzing resto shaman logs. It’s best to look at specific kills or attempts in order to get meaningful numbers.

Shaman are versatile healers who can do well at either tank or raid healing. They really excel on fights where people are grouped up and they can make the most of spells like Healing Rain and Chain Heal. Though Shaman do not have a huge assortment of healing spells to choose from, they a lot of buffs and cooldowns they need to manage throughout fights.

Healing by Spell

World of Logs - Shaman healing doneSpell selection – Is the shaman using the appropriate spells?

Resto shaman heals include: Healing Rain, Chain Heal, Greater Healing Wave, Healing Wave, Healing Surge, Riptide, Unleash Life, Earth Shield, Healing Stream Totem, Healing Tide Totem, Restorative Mists (from the cooldown Ascendance) and passive healing from Earthliving and Ancestral Awakening.

Top Spells

A shaman’s top spells will vary by fight, assignment and raid size.

In a 25-man raid, a Shaman’s top heals will generally be Healing Rain, Healing Stream Totem and Healing Tide Totem. On fights where the raid is tightly grouped Chain Heal will be up there, while Riptide will be higher on fights where people are more spread out. Earthliving and Restorative Mists can also provide a sizable amount of healing.

If the Shaman is assigned to tank heal, you should see more direct heals, like Greater Healing Wave, used.

In 10s, where tank vs. raid healing assignments are less stringent, Shaman will likely cast a variety of both single-target and group healing spells. Because there are fewer people to stack up in 10s, Healing Rain and Chain Heal will not account for as much healing as they do on 25, and you will likely see Riptide and Greater Healing Wave accounting for a lot of healing.

For any assignment you should also see healing from Earth Shield and Unleash Life, though they are unlikely to provide more than a few percent of overall healing.

Overhealing

Spells like Healing Rain and Earthliving will cause Shaman to be fairly high on overhealing, this isn’t something to be concerned about.

Notes on specific spells:

Unfortunately, the Healing Done and Buffs Cast tabs don’t give much useful information on many important Shaman spells and cooldowns, so use of the Log Browser is often needed. I’ve provided query strings that you can paste into the Log Browser to find the spells you’re looking for. Just remember in each one you need to replace the name “ShamanX” with the name of the Shaman you’re evaluating.

Earth Shield
Earth Shield should be up on a target all the time (more information in Buffs Cast section). The shaman’s direct heals are more effective on their Earth Shield target.

Healing Surge
Due to the high mana cost, Healing Surge should not be used as a staple heal. When it is used, it should have low overhealing compared to HW or GHW, otherwise the Shaman is wasting mana.

Unleash Life

WoL - Shaman-Unleash-Life
Unleash Life provides a small, mana-free heal and buffs the Shaman’s next direct heal by 30%. Healing Rain is included in this, so you should see Shaman casting Unleash Life before each Healing Rain. If Unleash Life use is low (or absent) there is a problem. Check the number of direct heals for Unleash Life – though use will vary per fight, you should be seeing at least 2 direct heals per minute of fight.

If you want to dive a little deeper, you can also check to see if the shaman is casting Unleash Life before Healing Rain in the Log Browser. Paste the following query (be sure to replace the Shaman’s name):

[{"spellNames": ["Healing Rain"], "eventTypes": [6], "sourceNames": ["ShamanX"]}, {"spellNames": ["Unleash Elements"], "eventTypes": [6], "sourceNames": ["ShamanX"]}]

Then you can check the timestamps to see if Healing Rains immediately follow Unleash Elements casts.

Healing Tide Totem

WoL - Shaman Healing Tide Totem
Healing Tide Totem is an optional talent but because it is a very powerful cooldown, it’s what most Shaman will use on most fights. You should see a significant amount of healing from it on each fight. The number of heals the totem will do is dependant on haste levels when it is dropped (and is a little buggy, I believe), so there’s not an exact number of ticks you can look for. It will generally heal between 25-35 times per use.

HTT has a 3-minute cooldown and Shaman should be trying to get maximum use out of it.

Healing Stream Totem

WoL - Shaman Healing Stream Totem
WoL displays the healing from this very strangely. The Crits and Direct Heals columns are showing the same heals. The Ticks column is showing the number of non-crit heals. To get the total number of ticks from this, you need to add the numbers from the Ticks and Direct Heals columns. Like Healing Tide Totem, the number of times Healing Stream ticks is dependant on haste. You should generally see about 9 ticks per cast.

This is a powerful smart heal with only a 30 second cooldown, so you should see it cast often. If a Shaman’s healing is low, not using this spell enough is often the problem.

To see how many times the spell was cast, use the Log Browser, paste the following query:

[{"spellNames": ["Healing Stream Totem"], "eventTypes": [6], "sourceNames": ["ShamanX"]}]

Spirit Link Totem

World of Logs - Shaman Spirit Link and Steon Bulwark

This is another powerful cooldown that should be used on any fight. It has a 3-minute cooldown. To tell at a glance if it was used, check the general Healing Done tab. It will appear as a pet under the Shaman’s name. To see how many times it was used, you’re going to have to use the log browser:

[{"spellNames": ["Spirit Link Totem"], "eventTypes": [6], "sourceNames": ["ShamanX"]}]

Stone Bulwark Totem
Stone Bulwark is an optional talent. It has a 1-minute cooldown and should be used often if the Shaman is taking damage. To tell at a glance if it was used, check the general Healing Done tab. It will appear as a pet under the Shaman’s name. To see how many times it was used, you’re going to have to use the log browser:

[{"spellNames": ["Stone Bulwark Totem"], "eventTypes": [6], "sourceNames": ["ShamanX"]}]

Mana Tide Totem
Mana Tide is another important cooldown, not just for the Shaman, but for the rest of the healers in the raid. The only way to see how many times it was dropped is with the Log Browser. Mana Tide has a 3 minute cooldown and should be used as much as possible.

[{"spellNames": ["Mana Tide Totem"], "eventTypes": [6], "sourceNames": ["ShamanX"]}]

Call of the Elements
Call of the Elements is a talented 3-minute cooldown that resets the cooldowns on all totems will a cooldown of 3-minutes or less. It should be used as much as possible so the Shaman can get in extra uses of Healing Stream and Stone Bulwark, as well as utility totems like Grounding or Tremor on certain fights.

The only way to see how many times it was used is with the Log Browser:

[{"spellNames": ["Call of the Elements"], "eventTypes": [6], "sourceNames": ["ShamanX"]}]

Buffs Cast

This screen will tell you how often a shaman is using their cooldowns, along with the uptime on key abilities.

World of Logs - Shaman Buffs Cast

Earth Shield – Earth Shield should be re-cast whenever it runs out. However, on fights with heavier raid damage, the Shaman may prioritize other spells over refreshing this. Look for uptime of around 80% or higher for raid healers. For tank healers, uptime should be close to 100%.

Ancestral Vigor – Whenever a Shaman heals a target, the target’s maximum health is increased. Since the Shaman should always be healing, uptime should be close to 100%.

Riptide – If the shaman is tank healing, Riptide should have an uptime close to 100% overall. You can look at the tank’s Buffs Gained screen to see the uptime of Riptide on them specifically. When raid healing, uptime will be lower but should still be around 70% or higher.

Tidal Waves – Tidal Waves triggers when Riptide or Chain Heal is cast. Since Riptide and Chain Heal are two of a Shaman’s main spells, you want to see high Tidal Waves uptime. If focused on the tank, uptime should be over 90%. If focused on the raid it will be a bit lower, but should still be over 70-80%.

Earthliving – Every heal has a chance to trigger Earthliving. The only thing to look out for is that there is healing from Earthliving present. If it is absent, or extremely low, the shaman has likely forgotten their weapon enchant or it has run out in the middle of the fight.

Ascendance – This is a major cooldown that copies and distributes all healing done by the Shaman for 15 seconds. It has a 3 minute cooldown, and should be used often.

Spiritwalker’s Grace – This spell allows the shaman to cast while moving for 15 seconds. It has a 2 minute cooldown, it should be used on movement-heavy fights.

Astral Shift – If the Shaman didn’t spec into Stone Bulwark Totem, they will probably have this. It has a 2-minute cooldown and reduces damage taken by 40% for 6 seconds. It should be used when they’re taking a lot of damage.

Ancestral Swiftness – This spell makes your next healing spell an instant cast and has a 1-minute cooldown. If the shaman has this in their spec it should be used frequently.

Elemental Mastery – Another talent on the same tier as Ancestral Swiftness, this increases haste by 30% for 20 seconds and has a 2 minute cooldown. It should be used often.

Ghostwolf – This allows Shaman to move faster and how often/if it’s used will depend on the fight. You should see it used on a fight like Blade Lord, but not so much on more stationary fights like Wind Lord. If a Shaman is not using this, they are missing some opportunities to get around/out of bad faster. However, they also shouldn’t be using it too often as you can’t heal while in Ghostwolf.
Fire/Earth Elemental – If the Shaman is using the talent Prime Elementalist, an Elemental should be dropped once per 5 minutes of fighting (Fire Elemental can be dropped once every 3 minutes if glyphed). *See end of section for for more on this*

WoL - Water ShieldWater Shield – Water Shield provides passive mana regen along with mana return when the shaman is hit by an attack or critically hits with a healing spell. If it’s up all fight, you won’t see it in the Buffs Cast table, but the active mana returns will show up under Power Gains.

Telluric Currents – This is an optional glyph which causes Lightning Bolt casts to restore mana. If the shaman has this glyph you should see mana gained from Telluric Currents under power gains.

Other things to look for:

World of Logs - ReinforceWorld of Logs - Reinforce
If the Shaman has specced into Primal Elementalist their Elemental can channel a healing buff onto them. If you check the Buffs Gained tab, you should see the buff Reinforce (if an Earth Elemental is dropped) or Empower (if a Fire Elemental is dropped). This has a maximum uptime of 60 seconds per Elemental cast, the aim is to have it up as long as possible.

Evaluating Resto Druids with World of Logs

Last year I wrote a series of posts on how to evaluate raiders, specifically healers, using World of Logs. I’ve finally started updating the guide for Mists of Pandaria, starting with – what else? – resto druids!


Here are specific things to look for when analyzing resto druid logs. It’s best to look at specific kills or attempts in order to get meaningful numbers.

Druids are primarily Heal Over Time (HoT) healers with great mobility and a decent amount of utility. Though Druids have generally been considered raid healers, they can also be strong tank healers.

Healing by Spell

World of Logs - Druid healing by spell
There are a number of things to look for on this screen, including:

Spell selection – Is the druid using all their available spells?

Druids have: Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, Wild Growth, Regrowth, Swiftmend, Healing Touch, Nourish, Tranquility, Wild Mushrooms and passive healing from Living Seed. Depending on spec they may also have: Cenarion Ward and/or Force of Nature, though these are weaker than the other available choices in most cases.

Healing from Lifebloom, Rejuv, Wild Growth, Regrowth, Swiftmend and Tranquility should be seen on every fight.

Healing Touch, Nourish and Wild Mushroom: Bloom may not appear, or appear only sparingly. Whether Nourish is used a matter of personal choice, though it will not provide much healing. Healing Touch should only be used in combination with Nature’s Swiftness. Wild Mushrooms may provide some healing on fights where mana is tight or the raid is stacked up.

You should not see healing from Renewal; this is a poor talent choice for a healer.

Top Spells

A druid’s top spells will vary depending on the nature of a fight and how spread out the raid is. Wild Growth and Rejuv will generally be at or near the top. When the raid is tightly grouped up Swiftmend will provide a lot of healing on fights where the raid is grouped up, but less when spread out. Tranquility can also be one of the top spells for healing done when it is timed well and can be used multiple times throughout a fight. If the Druid is tank healing, expect to see Lifebloom and Regrowth higher on the list.

Overhealing

Druids will generally have fairly high overheal because of the nature of their HoTs. This isn’t something to worry about. Lifebloom and Rejuv tend to have quite high overheal while you should see lower overheal on smart heals like Wild Growth or direct heals like Regrowth.

Notes on specific spells:

Lifebloom

WoL - Lifebloom

Uptime is the key metric here. Lifebloom is our source of Omen of Clarity procs and provides a steady stream of heals to whoever it’s placed on (usually a tank). Allowing a 3-stack to fall off, unless it’s timed perfectly to provide an emergency heal from the bloom, means you have to waste time and mana building the stack back up. Lifebloom uptime should be in the 90-100% range on most fights.

Tranquility

WoL-Tranquility

The first thing to look for is whether Tranquility was used at all. It is our best spell in terms of HPS and HPM and should be used on every fight. With a 3 minute cooldown it can be used 2-3 times on most fights.

Next look at the number of direct heals – Each Tranquility should tick 20 times. If this number is not a multiple of 20 it means Tranquility is being interrupted. This is most likely due to casting it at the wrong time and needing to move mid-cast, or interrupting it before it finishes.

Overheal should be fairly low, but the HoT portion of the spell can increase this number.

Swiftmend

WoL-Swiftmend

Check how many times Swiftmend was used by looking at the number of direct heals. Swiftmend has a 15 second cooldown (12 with the T14 4-piece bonus), so it can be used 4 or 5 times per minute. It’s unrealistic to use SM every time it’s available but it should be used often (especially if the Druid is specced into Soul of the Forest).

Note: Swiftmend has two different spell IDs. 18562 is the direct heal, while 81269 is the ground healing portion (previously known as Efflorescence).

Cenarion Ward

If the Druid has this in their spec, the most important thing to look for is overheal. If the overhealing on the spell is very high, the Druid is not using it optimally.

Direct Heals
Direct heals should not make up the bulk of a druid’s healing, but Regrowth should be used fairly often. Low use of direct heals will likely mean that Clearcasting procs are being wasted.

Buffs Cast

This screen will tell you how often a druid is using their cooldowns, along with the uptime on key abilities.

World of Logs Druid buffs cast

Lifebloom – As noted above, uptime should be as close to 100% as possible.

Harmony – This is Druids’ mastery which increases the effect of all HoTs while it’s active. Harmony should be up as much as possible, look for 95%+ uptime. If uptime is much lower, the druid needs to cast more direct heals to keep it active.

Barkskin – Barkskin can be used once every 45 seconds. It should be used often to mitigate damage taken (though not necessarily on cooldown).

Tranquility – As noted above, Tranquility should be used on every fight. The amount should be a multiple of 20, indicating the druid channeled the spell for the full duration (Note: There are 2 Tranquility effects listed, the one to look at is spell ID 44203).

Innervate – Innervate has a 3-minute cooldown. It should be used at 70-80% mana the first time, then whenever it’s off cooldown to get as much mana as possible.

Ironbark –  This is a damage reduction spell Druids can cast on someone else, it has a 2 minute cooldown. It should be used on every fight.

Clearcasting – Compare the amount of Clearcasting procs to the number of Regrowths cast (this is found in the Healing by Spell tab). The Druid should have at least as many Regrowth casts as CC procs.

Trinkets – If the druid has an on-use trinket equipped, check the cooldown on it and the amount of times used. They should be used the maximum amount possible.

The following are talents, so whether they appear in a Druid’s logs is spec-dependent:

Nature’s Swiftness – This spell makes your next spell with a cast time instant, larger and mana free. It has a 1 minute cooldown. This spell is often used for emergency heals, though if the Druid has it in their spec, you should see it used at least a few times on every fight.

Incarnation – Incarnation has a 3 minute cooldown. In your average 4-7 minute fight it should be used twice. A third use can be squeezed into fights that last longer.

Nature’s Vigil – Nature’s Vigil also has a 3 minute cooldown. In your average 4-7 minute fight it should be used twice. A third use can be squeezed into fights that last longer.

Heart of the Wild – If the Druid has this in their spec, you may not see it used. It’s generally only used on fights where the Druid has the room to stop healing and do some damage. Otherwise, it’s just taken for the intellect buff.

You should also check to see if the Druid is using abilities given to them by Symbiosis. For the list of those, check here.

Size Matters

I have a problem with the current state of resto Druids. A resto Druid with a complaint – shocker!

My complaint isn’t about low healing output – I think my output is okay for the most part.

My complaint isn’t about mana – I like to run with as little Spirit as possible and I enjoy the mana management game (since I no longer have to worry much about LB or Harmony management).

My complaint isn’t about a lack of utility – between Symbiosis, our mobility, and all of our talent options I think we have immense utility.

My complaint is that I just don’t have enough healing spells. I want more buttons to push. Looking at actual healing spells (not cooldowns or passive effects) our basic toolkit is just too damn small.

Druids have 9 healing spells (Nourish, Regrowth, Healing Touch, Rejuvenation, Lifebloom, Wild Growth, Swiftmend, Wild Mushroom: Bloom, Tranquility). When you consider which healing spells are actually worth casting, we have even less.

Let’s take a closer look at our direct spells (I’m using my current stats for the values of these):

Nourish

  • 2.5 second cast time
  • Costs 6120 mana
  • Heals for ~24,500, or ~29,400 if the target has a HoT on them
  • Without a HoT on the target: HpS = 9800, HpM = 4.0
  • With a HoT on the target: HpS = 11,760, HpM = 4.8

Healing Touch

  • 2.5 second cast time
  • Costs 17,340 mana
  • Heals for ~71,600
  • HpS = 28,640
  • HpM = 4.13

Regrowth (glyphed)

  • 1.5 second cast time
  • Costs 17,820 mana
  • Heals for ~77,000
  • HpS = 51,333
  • HpM = 4.32

Regrowth does more healing, is faster and is cheaper than Healing Touch. Regrowth does almost 5x the HpS as Nourish. Though the HpM of Nourish is slightly better (and only if the target already has a HoT on them), you’d need to cast almost 3 Nourishes to do as much healing as one Regrowth. So there really isn’t a reason to use Nourish or Healing Touch, glyphed Regrowth outclasses them both in speed and output.

Then there are Mushrooms. In a 25-man raid, when they’re hitting so many people (and pets) and suffering from diminishing returns they do very little healing per person. Plus they are awkward and unweildly (yes, yes, beating a dead horse). Sure, they don’t cost much mana, but they also don’t keep people alive. They’re slightly more useful in 10s, where they will hit less people for more, but still aren’t as good as a Wild Growth or Rejuvs on multiple people. Unless you are standing around, twiddling your thumbs with nothing to heal there’s not much incentive to set up Mushrooms.

If you take a look at the top ranked resto Druids on World of Logs you’ll notice that most of them don’t use Mushrooms at all on most fights (10s or 25s). You’ll also notice that most don’t use Nourish at all, and the ones who do only use it a handful of times. Healing Touch is generally used only a handful of times per fight as well, in combination with Nature’s Swiftness.

When we take these factors into account, that leaves our toolkit looking like this:

  • Rejuvenation
  • Regrowth
  • Lifebloom
  • Wild Growth (8 or 10 second cooldown with glyph)
  • Swiftmend (15 second cooldown)
  • Nature’s Swiftness + Healing Touch (1 minute cooldown)
  • Tranquility (3 minute cooldown)

We only have 3 healing spells that are worth casting that we can cast whenever we want – Rejuvenation, Regrowth and Lifebloom. Lifebloom isn’t really even an option. Once those initial 3 stacks are up, you only really cast LB when there is a tank swap, you’re in ToL, or once every 15 seconds to refresh (if you don’t refresh it with a direct heal). All of our other useful healing spells have cooldowns of 8 second or more.

This complaint isn’t coming from a desire to top healing meters. It’s coming from a desire to have an engaging playstyle that forces me to make decisions about which spells to cast to keep the raid alive. Imagine this scenario: you’re healing a boss fight, there is raid-wide damage going out. Wild Growth and Swiftmend are on cooldown. There is 8 seconds left on your Lifebloom stack. The damage isn’t enough to warrant casting Tranquility (or it’s already on cooldown). What do you cast? Rejuvenation or Regrowth. You only have 2 options! This is not an interesting or engaging decision. It’s also the only decision we get to make for 50% of our active time in fights.

I really like a lot of the things that have happened to Druids in this expansion. I enjoy figuring out if Heart of the Wild or Nature’s Vigil will help me more in a fight. Or whether the utility of Incarnation will be more useful than the output of Soul of the Forest. I like figuring out which Symbiosis target will be the most useful. But I’m starting to feel like all the thinking I need to do takes place outside of the encounters – I figure out the optimal talent and glyph setups for each fight, the best time to use all the cooldowns, and then I execute. When I’m actually healing there’s very little decision-making to be done and very little room to heal any differently from encounter to encounter.

Our toolkit needs something to spice it up a little bit. We need more healing spells, or refinement of the ones that are currently useless, so we have the ability to adapt our healing to different encounters or different damage patterns. As it stands now, the lack of options in our toolkit does not let us do that.