With patch 9.0.5 officially announced for next week (March 9/10), it’s time to look at what this patch has in store for us. Many of you will probably agree with me when I say how much this balancing patch is needed at this point. And so does Blizzard, given that this is the first time in history we get a x.0.5 patch after the expansion releases. So without further ado, let’s get to it.
Blizzard’s official patch notes
What this means for us
Clouded Focus buff
We can be short about the change to Clouded Focus: this still doesn’t make the legendary desirable for general use. In most situations, you will not have to channel so much healing into a single target that you can make full use of this buff. In niche uses (spot healing people with the Heart Hemorrhage debuff on Stone Legion Generals) you will see some value from it, though.
The only fight where this legendary will actually shine more and be desirable is Sun King’s Salvation. As we progress further into the tier and gear levels shoot up, Kael’thas will be healed up quicker and quicker, which means that you might not get full value out of a second Yu’lon cast and thus Invoker’s Delight could drop a bit in value, with Clouded Focus possibly taking its place. Keep in mind this does still heavily depend on how quickly you push Kael’thas. If you can get full value out of your second Yu’lon, you may still want to keep using Invoker’s Delight.
Renewing Mist mana buff
This is a really welcome change to one of our rotational spells. For every Renewing Mist we cast we now save 200 mana (from 1100 down to 900) every 9 seconds, or 1333 a minute on average. On longer fights that can last up to 10 minutes (Council of Blood, Stone Legion Generals and Sire Denathrius) this amounts to 13330 mana saved per fight if Renewing Mist is hit on cooldown (which you should). In perspective: this amounts to 7 Vivifiess, 7.6 Refreshing Jade Windss or 3.7 Essence Fonts.
Vivify mana buff
The effect of the change to Vivify’s mana cost is a bit harder to determine. Even though it’s a reduction of 150 mana (from 2150 to 1900, or 7.3%), the amount of Vivifiess you cast, and thus how much you profit from this change, can vary greatly from fight to fight. Therefore we’ll look at data taken from 3 players’ public logs who have killed all ten Castle Nathria bosses on Mythic difficulty. For every fight, I selected 3 kills per player at random (or 1-2 if they don’t have 3 kills) and looked at the amount of Vivify casts per minute. Then, I averaged them out per player. The results are in the table below. For comparison reasons, I added the amount of mana saved on Renewing Mist if cast every 9 seconds and the lower and upper bounds of Vivify casts per kill.
As you can see, there are wild differences in how often Vivify is cast. The only true outlier is the Sun King encounter due to our ability to quickly heal Kael’thas back up. Coincidentally, that is also the fight where we are spoon fed Innervates and Power Infusion to increase our output even further. If we ignore Sun King for that reason, the next highest mana saving on Vivify is found on player 1’s Stone Legion Generals log with 484 mana saved per minute. This is partly explained by the spot healing required on this fight to deal with the Heart Hemorrhage debuff. On the low end, we can look at player 1’s Council and player 2’s Sludgefist log, where both would save 55 mana a minute with Vivify casts.
So, does this mean the change to Vivify’s mana cost is negligible? Not necessarily. As these logs are from players in the top segment, all having cleared the entirety of Castle Nathria on Mythic difficulty, they will try to maximize their healing per mana. If they raid with classes suited better for spot healing, such as Shamans and Paladins, they will likely let them take care of spot healing more often while casting more efficient spells themselves. To truly comprehend the value of this change, we need to compare how efficient Vivify is now and how efficient it is come these changes with 9.0.5, in relation to the rest of our healing spells. We can do this by taking a look at the efficiency of our spells, which is exactly what we’re going to do now.
In order to put out as much healing as possible, we need to prioritise casting our most efficient spells. We can determine a spell’s efficiency by offsetting its healing in a percentage of spell power (SP%) to its mana cost. The results for most of our base spells, excluding Vivify, Revival and Soothing Mist, can be found in the table below. These do not account for secondary stats.
The larger the number in the last column is, the more efficient the spell is. We can see that Enveloping Mist with Yu’lon out and Mist Wrap talented is our most efficient heal and we can see that Renewing Mist is about 25% more efficient than it was in 9.0.2. Now let’s look at what this means for Vivify.
Considering the mana nerf was 7.3%, these new values do not come out of the blue. The most interesting things to look at here are the bottom 2 rows. Whereas in 9.0.2 Vivify with 5 Renewing Mists out was equal to Essence Font in terms of efficiency, it now has a higher efficiency, making it generally more desirable to cast! Furthermore, in situations where your 5th Renewing Mist is about to drop off, you don’t have to worry if you can still get your cast off in time as a Vivify with 4 Renewing Mists (when following another 5 ReM Vivify cast) is just as efficient on average. Plus, seeing as the efficiency gap between a 4 ReM Vivify cast and Essence Font is now smaller, it’s now a bit more attractive to resort to casting a Vivify for more targeted healing than casting yet another Essence Font and hoping someone else deals with the single target damage.
A Vivify with 4 Renewing Mists active is now more efficient than Essence Font, making it a very desirable cast to use! This increases Tear of Morning’s potential (perhaps even knocking Invoker’s Delight off of the second spot!) as you will be casting more Vivifiess than before, which is some good news for all you casting MW lovers out there! Downside: you will still need to use Rising Mist to consistently have 4 Renewing Mists out. Otherwise your 4 ReM windows will be scarce and require you to use Thunder Focus Tea on Renewing Mist so you can have a 9 second window with 4 Renewing Mists active (see for more info: Mistweaver Ability Spotlight – Renewing Mist | Peak of Serenity). If you play Rising Mist, however, you can work up to those juicy 5 active Renewing Mists to Vivify for even more efficiency, putting it almost exactly in between Essence Font and Refreshing Jade Wind in terms of efficiency.
Predictions regarding performance
Now, the part you’ve all been waiting for: how much extra healing are these changes going to bring you? In terms of performance, do not expect these changes to be a miracle. Even on a 6 minute fight (which seems to be average for progression this tier apart for Council/Generals/Sire), if you cast 5 Vivifiess a minute (which is on the high end) and hit Renewing Mist on cooldown, you will save 12500 mana (compared to 9.0.2) which amounts to ~6.5 Vivifiess, ~3.5 Essence Fonts or ~7.1 Refreshing Jade Wind casts. To visualize how much extra healing this amounts to, I’ll use my own character stats (shown on the right) to run the math. In this image I’m using Critical Strike food and a flask. For the effect of Mage buff you can add 5% more to it.
Essence Font: 3.5 * 11.52 * 1636 * 1.2891 * 1.161 = ~98724 raw healing or 274 HPS (excluding HoT extensions or Haste scaling on HoT, which is a very small effect)
Refreshing Jade Wind: 7.1 * 9.048 * 1636 * 1.2891 * 1.161 = ~157294 raw healing or 437 HPS
For good measure, the other end of the spectrum: if you do not cast any Vivifies (apart from the ‘free’ ones you’re going to get with saved mana), you will save 8000 mana from casting Renewing Mist on cooldown. This amounts to ~4.2 Vivifiess, ~2.2 Essence Fonts or ~4.6 Refreshing Jade Wind casts.
Essence Font: 3.5 * 11.52 * 1636 * 1.2891 * 1.161 = ~62055 raw healing or 172 HPS (excluding HoT extensions or Haste scaling on HoT, which is a very small effect)
Refreshing Jade Wind: 7.1 * 9.048 * 1636 * 1.2891 * 1.161 = ~101909 raw healing or 283 HPS
So, overall, depending on what spell you pick, your playstyle, proper spell usage and gear, you will probably see around a 150-250 HPS increase. More often than not, Vivify and Essence Font are better picks for the situation than Refreshing Jade Wind.
Overall, I’m happy with these changes as a first start. We are a very, very mana hungry healer and it’s good to see that Blizzard acknowledges that. Personally I wouldn’t even mind seeing a small reduction in spell power coefficients if that means they’d further reduce mana costs, as there’s no worse feeling than not being able to cast a spell due to mana problems.
Regarding the Clouded Focus change, I’m not exactly sure what they wanted to achieve. It is still not a desirable legendary to use, apart from niche uses in the form of prolonged single target healing (Sun King’s Salvation).
For the Mythic+ enthusiasts, this change will slightly relieve the need of having to drink as much between pulls. However, as long as Enveloping Mist costs this much mana, that need will stay right where it is, at least to some extent.
For an x.0.5 patch, this is definitely about as much as I’d expect to kick us up a notch until the next major patch, 9.1, which hopefully sees a bit more class balancing and allows the more caster-focused Mistweaver playstyle to be closer to the fistweaving style in terms of throughput. Because even though the mana changes help the caster playstyle, it’s still not enough to be at the same level as the fistweaving style.