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Raid Rx: Mists of Pandaria healing additions, changes, and 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.

Were you excited about the latest changes that were made to the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator that was introduced last week? Some earth shattering changes all around but who do you think won out? Let's examine!
Shaman
  • Healing Stream Totem Summons a Healing Stream Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 1 min that heals the most injured party or raid member within X yards for 81 every 2 sec.
  • Ascendance The Shaman surrenders his physical form to the power of the elements, transforming into a being of raw elemental energy for 15 sec. Restoration: While in the form of a Water Ascendant, all healing done is duplicated and distributed evenly among nearby allies.
  • Purification Increases the effectiveness of your healing spells by 25%, and the healing done by your Water totems by an additional 50%. No longer reduces the casting time of your Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave spells.
  • Riptide Heals a friendly target for 2,405 and another 6,822 over 18 sec. Your Chain Heal spells are 25% more effective when their primary target is affected by your Riptide. (No longer consumed)
  • Mana Tide Totem Party and raid members within 40 yards of the totem gain 200% of the caster's Spirit.
My eyebrows shot up in surprise the moment I saw these changes. Let's take that Healing Stream Totem change. Historically, that totem supplied constant AoE healing to the players around it. It experienced a large share of nerfs over the years, but now the totem has been reduced to healing one target! But that's okay, because if you look at the rest of that list, you'll notice there's a new wave of tools to be excited about. Ascendance form looks attractive due to the healing duplication and distribution. Chain Heal not consuming Riptide is a nice change. Whenever I played my shaman, I found I'd often have a decision to make. Do I want to pop the Riptide buff for the extra boost or target Chain Heal on a nearby target so that the original Riptide still ticks?

Still waiting for those level 90 talents. Any guesses as to what they might be?

Druid
  • Nature's Swiftness 1 minute cooldown but does not affect Mass Entanglement.
  • Dream of Cenarius Non-instant casts of Nourish, Healing Touch, and Regrowth increase the damage done by your next damaging spell or ability by 30%. The bonus lasts 30 seconds and cannot be gained more than once every 30 seconds.
  • Remove Corruption Removes all poison and curse effects on a target but has an 8 second cooldown.
  • Innervate Regenerates 10% of the caster's maximum mana over 10 seconds and an additional 10% if cast on the druid.
  • Symbiosis May not be cast on other druids and the effect is lost if the linked targets are too far apart.
  • Aessina's Blessing Grants a benefit which varies by your combat specialization. For resto druids: You gain 50% haste for your next spell when you cast Swiftmend.
The attractive abilities I've noticed here are Symbiosis and Dream of Cenarius. Symbiosis allows the druid to trade spells with another player. It seems that the spell is going to depend on what spec the druid is and what the target's combat role is. The spell will change if the role is switched. If a druid casts Symbiosis on a healing priest and she switches to a shadow spec, the spell changes accordingly. For example, a balance druid switching with a mage might get Mirror Image but a resto druid would get Ice Block. These changes look promising. I still feel that resto druids have quite a ways to go compared to other healers.

Priest
  • Spirit Shell now lasts until cancelled, up from 8 sec.
  • Rapture now triggers off of dispels in addition to being completely absorbed.
  • Greater Heal cast time reduced to 2.5 sec, down from 3 sec.
  • Heal cast time reduced to 2.5 sec, down from 3 sec.
I wanted to add some thoughts about Spirit Shell. That ability is a neat alternative to bubble spamming. During Wrath of the Lich King, discipline players were extremely potent. A popular style of healing involved priests rapidly shielding groups of players when a major boss ability was being cast to help mitigate that incoming damage. However, developers felt that it wasn't really engaging since discipline players spent a majority of their time mashing one button. That's not to say absorption is a terrible style of healing. It was the execution at the time that was the problem. In order to reconcile the need for reduced shield spam and the mitigation style that priests liked, Spirit Shell looks to be the solution. Priests can now repeatedly cast protective shielding on players but they need to make a decision: Instant, expensive shields or affordable shields with cast time?

Paladin
  • Eternal Flame: Consumes all Holy Power to place a protective Holy flame on the target, which heals them for 2404 per charge of Holy Power every 3 sec for 30 seconds.
  • Sacred Shield: Protects the target with a shield of Holy light for 30 sec, which increases the critical chance of your Word of Glory on the target by 30%. The shield also absorbs 5 353 damage when the target takes damage, but no more than once every 6 sec. Can be active only on one target at a time.
  • Hand of Purity: Places a hand on the friendly target, reducing the damage of harmful periodic effects by 70% for 6 sec.
  • Unbreakable Spirit: When your Divine Shield, Divine Protection or Lay on Hands are on cooldown, spending Holy Power will reduce the remaining cooldown by 1% per Holy Power spent, up to a maximum of 50% reduction.
  • Holy Prism: Sends a beam of light toward a target, turning them into a prism of Holy energy. If an ally is the prism, they are healed for 3509 and radiate 527 Holy damage to 5 nearby enemies within 10 yards.
  • Light's Hammer: Hurl a Light-infused hammer into the ground, where it will blast a 10 yard area with Holy magic for 15 sec. Allies within the area are are healed for 6 every 2 sec while enemies take 6 Holy damage every 2 sec.
  • Selfless Healer: Now reduces the cast time of your next Flash of Light by 50% each stack instead of decreasing the mana cost.
  • Clemency now also finishes the cooldown on Hand of Salvation.
  • Boundless Conviction (Passive): You may store an additional 2 Holy Power beyond the maximum of 3. No ability ever consumes more than 3 Holy Power.
  • Beacon of Light now has a 10 second cooldown.
  • Holy Radiance grants a charge of Holy Power.
  • Holy Insight (Passive) increases your mana pool by 400%
As much as I enjoy rivalries with my plate wearing friends, it is rather nice to see their arsenal expanded with new spells. Paladin AoE healing gets some increased firepower. Remember back in the old days when paladins were expressly labelled as tank healers because that's all that they could do?

The rest of the paladin changes seem to help with Holy Power management. Boundless Conviction lets paladins save up their Holy Power in excess of what they can actually apply to a spell. Hand of Purity seems to be a super situational spell since it only reduces periodic effects. I guess teams will be bringing in a plethora of paladins to counter warlocks in PvP.

Next week, we'll take a closer look at Hagara on hard mode. My team managed to take her down last week on 25 and if you're struggling with her, the upcoming 5% nerf should offer a slight boost.
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: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

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