Monday, 27 June 2011

4.2 Resto Changes and You!

Patch 4.2 is finally upon us and should be landing this week! There are plenty of changes and new content coming, including the new Firelands raid zone! For the latest news and updates I suggest checking out MMO-Champion.

I'll be updating my Resto and Feral guides over the course of this week. For the moment though I'd like to focus on two important changes for Resto: The Innervate changes and the new Mastery.

Innervate in 4.2

Innervate is undergoing a change in 4.2, but it's important to fully understand this change.

Innervate used on oneself is unchanged.

When the casting druid uses Innervate on his or herself, the druid will still receive 20% of their maximum mana.

The change to Innervate is when it's cast on other targets, eg, the druid casts an Innervate on a Pally. In 4.2, an Innervate will cause a target to receive 5% of their maximum mana pool - so, in the example of a druid casting their innervate on a Pally, the Innervate will give the Pally 5% of the Pally's maximum mana pool. This is a substantial nerf to Resto and Balance druid Innervates (though it's technically a slight buff to Feral Innervates), as apparently sharing Innervates was accounting for too much mana savings, especially at higher gear levels.

So what does this mean for us? Well, you'll be much less likely to be giving your Innervates away, and overall Innervate will be a bit less desired by other healers. An important thing to note is trading Innervates with another Resto druid will no longer be a mana gain - the Innervate you give to the other druid will be substantially less and vice versa, so this is no longer a viable strategy for mana return. For maximum mana gains, you'll want to be Innervating yourself.

Glyph of Innervate
It's very very important this is understood - Glyph of Innervate is unchanged in 4.2. The tooltip has been updated to reflect what this actually means - the casting druid will receive half of their Innervate when they cast Innervate on another target, ie half of 20% of their maximum mana pool, that is to say 10%. This means you will still receive 10% of your maximum mana pool when you cast your Innervate on another target while glyphed.

With that in mind, Glyph of Innervate is still a useful glyph in 4.2. While your Innervate won't be as valuable to others as it is currently, it can still be extremely useful for people, especially if a fellow healer is out of mana (or perhaps was just battle rezzed), or even for a DPS that could use it. Balance druids can also still help out their healers with an Innervate. The nice thing about continuing to use this Glyph is it gives you the flexibility to share your Innervate with someone else should they need it while still receiving some of the mana return yourself.

New Resto Mastery

I discussed the new Resto Mastery some already in an earlier post, but I wanted to refresh on it with 4.2 finally going live. Our new mastery is the following:

Harmony: Increases direct healing by 10% and your direct healing spells grant you a 10% bonus to your periodic healing for 10 sec. Each point of mastery increases each bonus by an additional 1.25%.

This is a really nice change for Resto druids, increasing our direct healing and making a nice interaction between our direct heals and our HoTs. Every time we cast a direct heal (Healing Touch, Nourish, Regrowth, and also Swiftmend), we will gain the buff Harmony which increases the healing done by our HoTs.

We ideally want to maintain as close to 100% uptime on the buff as possible. It will be very important for raid healers to make sure they're maintaining the buff to increase their HoTs as well as the tank healers. Swiftmend will proc the buff, but the cooldown on Swiftmend is 15 seconds and the buff remains active for 10 seconds, so you'll be losing uptime on the buff if you only refresh it with Swiftmend. It's reasonable, but ideally you won't be losing any uptime at all. If you're largely raid healing, you're still likely keeping your Lifebloom rolling on the tank or another person, so refreshing it with a Nourish or other direct heal should help you maintain the buff. Tank healers and those who watch both shouldn't have too much issue maintaining the buff.

Keeping track of the Harmony buff will go a long way to helping you maintain good uptime on it. For those that use the addon Power Auras (an excellent addon which I highly recommend), the following is a code I made which is helpful for keeping track of the mastery buff. It will show you the buff is active and the time remaining on it so you can see when you need to refresh it.

The import code is this:
Version:4.19; b:0.0549; g:0.4863; icon:Spell_Nature_HealingWay; buffname:Harmony; r:0.1843; x:-85; customname:Harmony; texture:23; alpha:1; inVehicle:0; wowtex:true; combat:true; size:0.25; y:-160; ismounted:0; timer.b:0.9294; timer.h:2; timer.Texture:WhiteRabbit; timer.enabled:true; timer.r:0.9882; timer.cents:false; timer.Relative:CENTER; timer.UseOwnColor:true

The Aura itself looks like this (seen with my full Resto power aura setup):

The Harmony aura is the leaf on the left hand side with the timer.

My full set of power aura codes are available in my post here: My User Interface / Addons.

Happy patch day! Don't forget to update your addons!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

PTR Feedback - Resto Mastery Duration

I decided to make a post on the WoW PTR Discussion Forum regarding the Resto Mastery to give some feedback on the Harmony duration and thought I'd post it here as well to hopefully increase readers of it a bit! You can see the original post on the forums here: [Feedback] Harmony (Resto Mastery) Duration. You can upvote the thread by hitting 'Like' in the top right hand corner and feel free to contribute with any constructive comments, thoughts, or ideas of your own! (Just keep it constructive so we avoid the forum trolls).

Full post is the following:

As a preface, I’m very pleased and excited about the 4.2 mastery changes for Resto druids. The change not only boosts our direct heals and our interaction between our direct heals and HoTs (with the former activating the HoT buff), it should go a long way to encourage more direct healing from Resto druids and clever play and not just mindless spamming. I was also pleased to see on PTR that the direct heals actually proc a buff for Harmony, which is extremely helpful in tracking its uptime, whether through an addon like Power Auras or simply glancing up at our buffs to ensure it’s up.
My only concern is with the actual duration of the buff. At only 10 seconds, it’s feeling very restrictive. Taking into account the GCD following the spell which activated it, the buff is only active for ~9 seconds, and 1-3 seconds of that will be required to reactivate it (through casting a direct heal) if we want to maintain continuous uptime, which will be the ideal we aim for. 
A 15 second duration would be nice, however, that may seem a bit too easy to want to implement, as it could easily be refreshed by simply Swiftmending on cooldown, which could quickly become a mindless auto-cast without any real thought. Particularly with Swiftmend, we don’t want the spell to become the main mastery activator, especially for raid healers, as it could likely just lead to wasted Swiftmends hit unnecessarily without thought just for the mastery proc.
The 10 second duration should be very maintainable in 5mans, and likely not too bad in 10mans, where there's generally plenty of direct healing going on along with party/raid healing, especially in 10s with generally only 2 or 3 healers. In 25 man raids in particular I see this being much more difficult and restrictive, particularly for those druids who are focussed primarily on raid healing rather than necessarily tank healing. If refreshing the Mastery with a Nourish or Healing Touch, that's essentially 2-3 seconds of the buff spent simply refreshing it. You could arguably refresh with a Regrowth, particularly if you have an OoC proc, but that seems like it might just encourage poor and random Regrowth use. 
A 12 to 14 second duration for the buff seems like it may be a good balance. Not so long that it could be so easily refreshed by just spamming Swiftmend off CD without thought, but long enough that you don't feel you’re constantly struggling to refresh it and can actually make good use of spreading your HoTs on targets while raid healing and take advantage of the HoT boost component of the mastery. Regardless of final duration time chosen, definitely something that should be adjusted and ideally increased.
Overall, very positive about the mastery change and am looking forward to when it goes live.