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Raid Rx: Patch 4.3 healing thoughts

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poohbah of World of Matticus and a founder of Plus Heal, a discussion community for healers of all experience levels and interests. Catch his weekly podcast on healing, raiding and leading, the Matticast.

There are a plethora of healing changes that are about to make their way through in the upcoming 4.3 patch. While shaman, paladins and priests are going to be receiving changes or buffs, druids will be on the business end of a nerf bat. We now have a first look at the tier 13 healing set bonuses. Instead of playing off mana regen similar to tier 12, it'll instead have an effect on spell usage affordability. Speaking of tier bonuses, overall raid survivability goes up with the introduction of tank four-piece bonuses.

Let's examine the upcoming healing changes, shall we?

Resto druids
We all saw this coming. Resto druids were doing extremely well this tier. Personally, I was expecting a nerf to come earlier, but it appears there will be no changes until the next big content patch. The glyph modification is an interesting addition. You get the trade-off of an extra target versus a longer cooldown timer. I wonder if raid size will play a factor in druid decisions. You might favor the glyph for 25-man, but with fewer players in 10-man, the glyph may not be as necessary.

Holy paladins
  • Holy Radiance now has a 3-second cast time, no cooldown and requires a player target. That target is imbued with Holy Radiance, which heals them and all group members within 10 yards instantly and continues to heal them by a smaller amount every second for 3 seconds.
  • Seal of Insight, when Judged, no longer returns 15% base mana to the paladin. Judging Seal of Insight still causes damage, and melee attacks will still restore 4% of base mana.
  • Clarity of Purpose now also reduces the cast time of Holy Radiance.
  • Illuminated Healing (mastery) now also applies to Holy Radiance.
  • Infusion of Light now applies its cast time reduction from Holy Shock critical effects to Holy Radiance, in addition to its current effects.
  • In addition to providing haste, the effect from Judgements of the Pure now increases mana regeneration from spirit by 10/20/30% for 60 seconds.
  • Light of Dawn now affects six targets (base effect), up from five.
  • Paragon of Virtue now lowers the cooldown of Divine Protection by 15/30 seconds, up from 10/20 seconds.
  • Speed of Light no longer triggers from Holy Radiance and no longer lowers the Holy Radiance cooldown. Speed of Light now only triggers from Divine Protection.
  • Tower of Radiance, in addition to its current effects, now also causes Holy Radiance to always generate 1 charge of holy power at all times.
Looks like holy paladins receive the brunt of changes for the next patch. Holy Radiance is going to be one of the bigger spells for any paladins placed on raid duty. With the cast time, the lack of a cooldown and the player target requirement, Holy Radiance becomes even more important for group healing. Curious to see how that will play out and how useful and competitive it will be compared to the other classes.

Healing priests
  • Divine Hymn now affects five targets, up from three.
  • Atonement will now account for the target enemy's combat reach when calculating proper range, enabling it to be used on large creatures such as Ragnaros and Ala'kir.
  • State of Mind has been redesigned and is now called Heavenly Voice. Heavenly Voice increases the healing done by Divine Hymn by 50/100% and reduces the cooldown of Divine Hymn by 2.5/5 minutes.
  • Glyph of Circle of Healing now also increases the mana cost of Circle of Healing by 20%.
Discipline players will get the luxury of a quality of life increase with regards to Atonement. But the biggest supplement is for holy players. State of Mind right now is a talent that is considered expendable largely because a 6-second cooldown reduction to Chakra isn't that big of a deal. There aren't that many encounters that call for frequent Chakra switching. By adding the Divine Hymn component, the new Heavenly Voice talent warrants a closer look causing holy priests to really think about how they want to lay out their spec. There are many worthwhile talents, but there aren't enough points to select all of the really good ones.

I'm liking the Divine Hymn additions and changes. With this change, I believe we'll see priests switching back to holy for a while (at least, the ones who reluctantly switched to discipline). No actual number changes were made to other healing spells. Guess we're in a good spot for those.

Resto shaman
  • Wind Shear now has a 25-second base cooldown, up from 6 seconds.
  • Ancestral Healing now also causes shaman heals to increase the target's maximum health by 5/10% of the amount healed, up to a maximum of 10% of the target's maximum health for 15 seconds. The effect does not stack if multiple restoration shaman are present and does not apply to heals from procs.
  • Riptide's periodic healing coefficient has been increased by 50%. Initial direct heal is unchanged.
If you've ever engaged in any sort of PVP against those crazy resto shaman (and you're a caster), then you must be breathing a massive sigh of relief. Getting shut down by Wind Shear every few seconds is enough for players to go crazy. Wind Shear will continue to be prominent for DPS shaman, but those of the healing variety will be losing that level of utility. I have to admit, it was nice to have for PVE content in case there were no other interrupters (or if they weren't able to nail their interrupts).

A large increase to Riptide and the additional effect to Ancestral Healing should see resto numbers rise higher. If nothing else, it'll make life easier for them in 10-man raids. This will also amplify the value of shaman in larger raids. I think we'll end up seeing them favored in order to stack Ancestral Healing across multiple players. I'm worried that they'll be viewed as a surefire requirement because of that buff. Tanks with 200k health will have 220k health (which is a fairly decent jump). If it becomes too strong, maybe we'll see a limitation on the amount of applications in a raid setting.

If you play one (or any of these) healing classes, how do you think it will affect your personal play? Any spec changes or style changes in the future for you? For the raid leaders, will you be changing up your healing team as a result?

Need advice on working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered. Send your questions about raid healing to mattl@wowinsider.com. For less healer-centric raiding advice, visit Ready Check for advanced tactics and advice for the endgame raider.

Filed under: Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

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