18 February 2009

"I don't get the regen nerfs"

No time for a long post today. Thanks for the great response to the two intro healing posts; I have good plans for part 3.

There is a great thread ongoing on the official forums about the incoming nerfs to mana regen (through the five second rule) and how that relates to healing overall. For reference, here is the overall thread and here is the BlueTracker which highlights the Ghostcrawler (Blizzard developer) responses.

I don't have a complete response to this, and it's an ongoing discussion anyway. But I wanted to call out a few interesting points.

We actually want for healing to be less spammy and more about decisions and coordination. But if we did that sans other changes, everyone would be out of fsr even more and the content would be too easy. Make sense? Making regen more consistent is also the key to making healing more tactical and less monotonous and frenetic.
This really helps understand what they're striving for in 3.1, but I think it elides a significant point. 5SR regen doesn't directly make the content too easy, it makes regen too easy. That in turn means there's no penalty to spamming heals, so that becomes the right strategy to beating the content, and your best strategy is to cast your biggest heals as fast as possible.
Sunwell and similar content were tuned to where you couldn't realistically stop casting for regen anyway. If you are stopping now, it's because Naxxramas is easy. On challenging content, all 4 classes already spammed heals pretty consistently. That meant the out of FSR breaks came mostly from clearcasting procs or encounter mechanics that forced you to pause. When that happened, mana felt limitless. As I've said, we would rather shift back a little (A LITTLE) from GCD-constrained healing to mana-constrained healing.
This helps clarify the intent even further. In my IDH Base Concepts post, I intentionally put GCD before mana. GCD-limited healing is by far the biggest concern — today. The goal for 3.1 is that you're weighing it more against mana management.

The tough part is that in that kind of design, if your raid is undergeared or handling the encounter badly, you'll find yourself spamming heals to survive and then wiping when the healers go OOM. That will feel weird, and we'll need to adapt.
This change won't change the relative values of Int and Spirit. Int was already a good regen stat (in part because it provides other bonuses). However, you are rarely ever choosing between a +100 Int chest and a +100 Spirit chest (though you might be with gems). More to the point though, the regen formula is SQRT of Int * Spirit * a constant. We are just lowering the constant. If Spirit was good for you before, it will still be good for you.
This is really only partially right. Spirit gets hit harder because it no regen value outside this equation, while Int also builds up your mana pool (and adds Crit besides, which procs some mana-saving talents). So if you're going OOM, you'll first stack Int and MP5. Spirit will still be a Spellpower stat for Druids (Improved ToL) and (I think) Priests, so that should help mitigate a bit.
If you mean these changes will nerf Innervate, yes, it will. On live Innervate can be 120% of your bar, say 25,000 mana. Historically it was more like 75% of your bar, and it should be closer to that with these changes.
Pretty clear answer. This will feel like a nerf, for sure. It will definitely affect your choice to pop Innervate. Right now, I wait until I'm just about OOM... and even then it's a license to spam (even more) for a few seconds.
The problem is simply, the 5sr adds too much variance into your regen that non-spirit classes don't deal with. Blizzard wants to make fights that challenge your mana pool, but they have to be able to model what your mana pool should look like over the course of the encounter. When luck based factors can greatly affect that, there's no way to model it.
(Not a blue post, but endorsed by Ghostcrawler.) This is very good at explaining the motivation behind the change, and it clarifies how the developers got from point A (want more interesting fights/less spammy healing) to point B (nerf the 5SR regen). That linkage was unclear before.

The right conclusion is that yes, this will have a big impact on how we approach healing. At first it will be less obvious when you undergear the content — you can keep everyone alive, after all... until you go OOM. You'll feel like you just need more potions/Replenishment/Innervate/faster DPS. Adjusting to that mindset will be a challenge. It probably means some low-intensity long-duration fights. It also means a lot more attention to healing assignments (overheal is now a lot more painful) and the mana efficiency of heals (do more with less).

I'm still not completely settled into an opinion on how well this will work. We'll have to see what happens first on the PTR. In the meantime, my advice is twofold. First, don't make major adjustments to your gear choices, but you might start backing off just a hair on Spirit. Second, chill out. More changes will come, so there's no point to getting mad at this yet. At the least, save your nerdrage until you see problems on the PTR.


Kiryn said...

I think people are complaining a little too much about this change. In my personal experience, I didn't have mana issues the first time I went to Naxx wearing mostly heroic blues and a few heroic and badge epics. I think I used innervate on myself once or twice in the whole instance, and certainly didn't use any mana potions. I regularly went through entire heroic instances without drinking a single time.

After experiencing this, I seriously changed my outlook on my gear choices. MP5 was suddenly a non-stat, I would look at it and think to myself "eew, mp5. Why would I want that?" and I was mainly only taking spirit because it gave me more spellpower. I have a trinket I can pop to give me more spirit, but when I use it alongside innervate, I go from empty to full with 7 seconds left on the innervate timer, spamming the most expensive heals I have to minimize how much innervate-mana is wasted.

I'm really looking forward to this change. Yes, it's a nerf, but I don't think this particular nerf is a bad thing. It will make the raids a challenge again, and make the stats I feel I should be stacking actually valuable for me. I can see how some people might disagree, but in my opinion, more fun > a more powerful character.

Marc said...

I don't like spirit being made so valuable and then becoming less valuable when everyone has it stacked. They could make spirit provide more spellpower for druids to retain its value or everyone is going to stack intellect like crazy (including druids and priests).

Marc said...

Just read some stuff over at the Matticus blog. Apparently the OO5sR regen is getting nerfed while the MP5 during casting is getting buffed a little to compensate.

Also spirit and int contributions are being retained for the most part.

Since I (personally) hardly spend any time OO5sR in the first place and still have no mana issues (without using Innervate), I'm (druids) actually getting a buff?

My armory if you care: http://tinyurl.com/cntghb

Dave Ciskowski said...

Marc, I'm not sure about your playstyle, but Druids have historically used more O5SR regen than just about anyone. The typical case is pausing in casts while Lifebloom and Rejuv tick. The effect is even more pronounced now that mana regen is continuous (not based on ticks). Even a second or two O5SR has an impact, so you can benefit from O5SR even if you're not consciously trying for it.

I do need to post more about the most recent comments, but the Matticus article does a great job of clarifying the changes based on yesterday's news.