Sunday, 24 October 2010

Healing Cho'gall - Numbers and a Positive Outlook for Resto Druids

Hopping onto the beta just now, I realised I still had my healing data from Cho'gall up on Recount. I was going to just add it on to the end of my post on the Bastion of Twilight Beta Raid Testing, but decided it deserved its own post.

Druid healing is doing very well at the moment! We're still excellent on raid heals and our HoTs are very strong and our tank-healing toolset is a lot stronger. Two healing the 10 man gave me a good feeling of it as well, 25 mans have been good to show how all the healers are doing in comparison to each other and working together, but two healing the 10 is a bit more challenging as there's less room to fall back on. It was also good to see the druid and the pally, as pallies are seeming a bit overly strong in the 25s, but we were looking very even in the 10s.

As you can see in the screenshot below, we both pulled about 8.5k HPS and about 37% each of the healing done, so very, very even, and both had similar mana levels and management throughout the fight.

Let's go to a close-up of that recount window now:

Rejuvs and Wild Growths are still very important in both raid healing and also on the tanks - my WGs were typically cast on the melee to hit the tanks as well. Remember our Mastery bonus as well - Symbiosis - your heals will be boosted by the presence of another HoT on the target. So if you have a Lifebloom stack up on your tank, your Rejuv and WG will be hitting him harder as well as your Nourish and HT.

There are a lot of Swiftmends (though Efflorescence isn't showing up as it's being recognised as a 'pet heal') which I was casting mostly on the Tanks and melee to get that AE heal on them. Lifeblooms are high up there as I was always keeping a stack up on either one of the tanks. 

I popped Tranquility at the start of phase 2 to top people back up and heal through that initial shock of AoE damage. You can see some Nourishes on there from tank healing and there are also Healing Touches (not visible on that screenshot unfortunately) from both tank heals and a Nature's Swiftness cast. There are also some Regrowths in there, a mixture of some quick heals on the tanks that were necessary and also some instant Regrowths on raid members when I popped ToL in phase 2. I also used the extra WG HoT and was throwing Lifeblooms on many raid members in phase 2 while in ToL, and had my innervate and mana pot available for that phase so that I could really keep the heals up in that phase.

Now for the additional information:

For those who are curious, this is how the Pally healer's spells were broken down:

I can't do a great analysis on this, unfortunately, as I've been slacking on updating my Pally since the patch (he's currently Prot, and I'm still debating whether I want his OS to be Holy or to try Ret) and focussing more on updating my priest and shaman healers. What you can see though is Paladin healers are also using a lot more of their skillset, and their new AE heal Holy Radiance does a lot.

What is particularly interesting, though, is the breakdown of heals on our two tanks, and also what this information (combined with the quantity of heals from Holy Radiance) means for these two classes and their roles and flexibilities within raids.

This is the breakdown of healing taken by our Paladin tank:

Healing taken by our Warrior tank:

The big key in those two sets of data is how even the druid and paladin heals on the tanks are. In the Wrath model you likely would have seen the Paladin's heals dominating the tanks and the Druid dominating the raid, with some cross-covering but still a clear difference in designation. What you're seeing in Cataclysm raids with this example is a much better balance and varied toolset for two classes which were generally pigeon-holed in Wrath into either 'the tank healer' or 'the raid healer'. The Paladin now has some strong AE heals and us Druids have been given a stronger tank-healing toolset.

This is a very positive direction in my opinion. From just a basic gaming and enjoyment standpoint, I think it makes healing as specific classes a lot more fun. You won't necessarily be stuck doing the same thing every raid because your skillset is flexible enough now that you can focus on one role or the other (raid or tank healing) or, even better yet, cover both within the same raid. I think this may also encourage more cooperative and engaged healing. Often in Wrath I ran into healers who would only heal the raid or only heal the tanks, and completely ignore the rest of the group because it wasn't who they were supposed to heal. It's nice to see here just how even the healing was and we were both equally doing our part and working together to keep the entire raid up. 

There will certainly be times when roles and assignments play a part, particularly in 25 mans, and some additional direction and strategic assignments can be helpful, but it's largely nice to see here just how flexible this looks so we're not completely restricted to one role. 

This is a nice reflection on druids as well, as you can see both our AoE and our tank heals are doing well and certainly going in the right direction. There is a change in style across all of healing in Cataclysm, both for druids and for healing in general. I think it's a really positive change encouraging us to make intelligent decisions while healing, and it's been a lot of fun so far in Beta. There's a lot to look forward to!

As for the spells used - you can see the breakdown of which spells I used on our two tanks. (Note; Efflorescence is registering as a pet and so is not listed as part of my heals there - it is actually listed as an entity healing the tanks in the top part of the window).

As you can see Lifebloom is the number 1 and 2 heals on the two tanks - it did more on our warrior simply as I was usually keeping the full stack up on him and swapping it to our pally as needed. Rejuvenation is up there as well and was pretty consistently up on the tanks for both the HoT heal it provided and for the ability to Swiftmend, which you can see is also high up on both tanks healing taken. There are also Nourishes in there and a few Healing Touches for those bigger cast heals on the tanks. A big thing in these two sets of data is the variety of heals used - I'm using all of my spells both in this entire raid and on the tanks. They're getting HoTs, Swiftmends, my Wild Growth is hitting them, they're getting Living Seed procs, on and on. There was definitely a lot more thinking about 'which spell should I use here', 'can I afford the mana cost for that spell?', 'can I afford to use this cooldown now, or should I save it?'

All in all, a pretty interesting look at just what was going on healing that fight. It was a very fun fight to do, particularly while healing it, and I think this is a good example of the positive direction Resto druids and healing in general is headed. 

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