A new patch, a new zone, and most importantly to us raiders, a new raid has been released in Warlords of Draenor. Fury of Hellfire has some great new bosses, class changes, and loot for us to test, analyze and have some fun with. This is going to be a multi-part series to layout some “need to know” information in order to prepare you for this new tier of raiding. First, we are going to start off with what has changed from tier 17 to now. This means balancing changes, tier bonus, class trinkets, and a general overview.
- Devotion Aura now reduces all damage taken from only magical.
This is probably the biggest class change for raids in the patch. This makes Devotion Aura extremely strong. Although a majority of Raid AoE damage is generally magical, when it is physical this reduction cooldown is now king. Gone are the days of stacking to get use of the Shaman’s spirit link totem or a Discipline Priests Power Word: Barrier. Now we can stand wherever we want in order to get this effect in all situations.
Priest (Holy & Discipline):
- Surge of Light now triggers from Power Word: Shield and Clarity of Will.
In the current state of Discipline, Flash Heal is not to be the focus point in your healing. Outside of the very critical moments where Flash Heal is relevant, do not worry about the process trigger. With Holy, the trigger is still very important, but the new spells added to the trigger provide no added benefit as Power Word: Shield should almost always be cast solely by your raid teams Discipline Priest.
- Chain Heal now heals for 25% more.
- Riptide no longer increases chain heals effectiveness by 25% on the primary target.
This is a huge change for the Shaman’s toolkit. No longer will you have to preemptively set up Riptides on the raid.. As well as having to make the hard choice of wasting time applying a new Riptide before casting Chain Heal or healing a non-riptided target. This makes Chain Heal become more user friendly, especially with those still learning the class. While it is a “quality of life” change for the better, some see it as a negative because it took some of the more complex game play out of the class. Ultimately, it’s a buff to those newer to the class and more casual raiders.
- Tier 17 4pc has changed to 50% reduced cost on Chain Heal for 8 seconds from 75% reduction for 10 seconds.
While generally you want to get your tier 18 set bonus as fast as you can, make sure you keep your tier 17 4 piece set until you get your new 2 piece set. This set bonus was, and still is, ridiculous for raid healing and, while significant, does not change how strong it is comparatively.
- Hunter: Aspect of the Fox has been removed.
- Mage: Amplify Magic has been removed.
A huge loss for healers with these removals. Aspect of the Fox helped keep Holy Priests and Restoration Druids strong. Without Aspect and with the amount of movement in raids, currently Monk and Shaman cooldowns totally outclass them in utility. Amplify Magic was a great extra cooldown to use on moderate end of boss AoE phases and with its removal, timing on personal reduction cooldowns are even more important.
- Seed of Creation: Rejuvenation, Lifebloom, and Genesis ticks have an N:7.31%/H:8.41%/M:9.67% to heal another ally within 15 yards.
Like the Monk trinket, it’s very situational. If you have a strategy for an encounter that requires prolonged periods of stacking then I could definitely see the benefit. Outside of this situation, I just don’t see it worth giving up the static attributes.
- 2 piece: Your Lifebloom has a 30% chance to bloom when it periodically heals.
Considerably stronger and is just a straight HPS increase to Lifebloom. Pretty simple, the only thing to remember is that this does not consume the Lifebloom; it just applies the ending proc.
- 4 piece: You can Lifebloom two targets at once.
Combined with your 4 piece, this bonus can get pretty insane. On fights where both tanks are taking some serious damage (like Hellfire assault and Tyrant Velhari) your HPS receives a serious increase. Overall, the set bonus is pretty simple and provides some great tank healing support to the toolkit.
- Sacred Draenic Incense: Soothing Mist also heals allies around the target for N:32.94%/H:37.89%/M:43.56% of the primary heal.
The way I believe you should look at this trinket is it would be extremely strong in certain situations and next to worthless in others. If there is strong stacked AoE phases where you mainly are in Stance of the Wise Serpent, this trinket is a throughput machine. However, it’s quite the opposite in encounters you see significant time in Stance of the Spirited Crane or the raid is generally just plain spread out.
- 2 piece: Your Renewing Mist also applies Extend Life to the initial target, instantly healing them for 105.8% of your spell power and increasing all healing done to them by 15% for 12 sec. Your Rising Sun Kick increases the damage the target receives from your abilities by an additional 6%.
Considering these two spells are keystones in their respective stances, giving buffs to both of them is just insane. More healing in Serpent Stance and more damage in Crane Stance, What’s not to love?
- 4 piece: When you heal with Enveloping Mist or Uplift, 50% of the heal is also applied to targets with your Extend Life effect. When you use Rising Sun Kick, you have a 50% chance to apply Renewing Mist on a nearby injured ally.
Compounding on the power of the 2 piece, the 4 piece takes it to the next level. The tier bonus make Monks stand out in respect of straight HPS power. Rush this, monks, RUSH THIS!
- Libram of Vindication: Healing with Holy Shock increases the healing of your next Holy Light or Flash of Light within 6 seconds by N:87.82%/H:101.03%/M:116.15%.
Ding Ding, we have a winner! This is easily the best class trinket for healers out of the group. If you are correctly performing your PvE rotation it is a 20-40% HPS buff, of course that is depending on if you include your AoE spells and your ilvl. It’s crazy good, that’s really all you need to know.
- 2 piece: Increases the amount of healing transferred to your Beacon of Light targets by 25%.
This does two things for Holy Paladins; first it makes two Paladins almost redundant and secondly, it is a straight HPS increase that should be highly coveted. Considering Beacon is about 25-30% of total healing it comes to about a 6-8% increase in total.
- 4 piece: Your spell haste is increased by 2% every time you heal your Beacon of Light target. It lasts for 6 sec and stacks up to 4 times.
Considering Eternal Flame ticks will trigger the 4 piece almost 95% up time on 8% spell haste is feasible and should be aimed for. Not much else to say about the Paladin tier. It’s simply strong and effective.
- Repudiation of War: Increases the mana cost and cast time of Heal by N:49.41%/H:56.83/M:65.33% and the healing by N:98.81%/H:113.66/M:130.67% in Chakra: Sanctuary.
If you are raiding one word, no. Challenge modes? Sure! Maybe even mythic dungeons. Basically it comes down to the fact that if a big single target heal is needed in an encounter and it takes longer to get there it will get sniped away from you.
- 2 piece: You gain 2% spell haste for15 sec when Prayer of Mending bounces. This effect can stack up to 3 times.
Through the Words of Mending talent, consistent 6% haste buff uptime is to be expected. Solid bonus, but not great.
- 4 piece: Your Prayer of Mending has a 10% chance to split when it bounces, healing an additional target nearby.
This has great potential for large amounts of healing and also has a great chance to over heal on the split. This is because the split does not sit on the target, but applies the heal instantly. All things considered, it’s pretty inconsistent which is not a spot you want to be in as a healer.
- Repudiation of War: Penance, Flash Heal, Heal and Prayer of Healing reduces incoming damage by N:6.59%/H:7.58%/M:8.71% for the next 10 seconds.
As a Discipline Priest, you rarely ever cast Heal/Flash Heal. Basically what this trinket comes down to is if you are losing power on your Power Word; Shield and Clarity of Will (generally around 60-80% of your healing) is worth the reduction on your Penance target. If Prayer of Healing was sustainable to cast within a rotation we could come back to this, but the amount of spirit required is almost impossible to acquire at the moment.
- 2 piece: Your Penance damage and healing is increased by 12% for 15 sec each time it deals damage or heals. This effect stacks up to 6 times
Every Penance cast is 3 ticks, so after 2 full casts you will have a 72% increase to Penance throughput. Roughly a 7% increase to HPS.
- 4 piece: Each time Penance heals, it has a 50% chance to heal another injured ally near your target.
Functions similarly to the tier 17 Restoration Shaman 4 piece, but it is a considerably smaller increase to total HPS.
- Core of the Primal Elements: Casting Healing Surge, Chain Heal, or Healing Wave on a target with Riptide has a N:54.90%/H:63.14%/M:72.59% to spread Riptide to a nearby ally.
This class trinket is just plain neat. It interacts with the set bonuses quite well and is very flexible in multiple situations. The only problem is that it isn’t very good. The throughput increase isn’t very high. Basically, it’s all flash and no substance. Bottom line, it is not comparable to the standard tier 18 raid drops.
- 2 piece: Increases Riptide’s Critical Strike chance by 25%
Just a decent 2 piece, as it provides a small throughput increase, but it does trigger Resurgence. A pretty boring bonus, but an increase is an increase.
- 4 piece: Chain heal has a 65% chance to apply Riptide to the main target.
Now this is the interesting one as it has a lot of effects that interact with the bonus. The short and sweet is that it is a sizable increase to your healing (around 10%). The long version is that first the Riptide is applied before the Chain Heal, upfront heal and all. The bonus Riptide and your casted Riptide can stack; it’s basically a Restoration Druid’s germination! These Riptides interact with High Tide as well, and combine this with the class changes and maintaining optimal chain heal efficiency, it is stronger than ever before. The 4 piece is mandatory as it makes your baseline AoE healing and your 2 piece even stronger.
Very few changes in terms of balancing and some very simple set bonuses highlight this tier. Discipline Priest and Holy Paladin still rule the roost on the healer hierarchy with Shamans lagging only slightly behind. The current healing meta thrives on utility and shields, which these classes bring at least one of in massive amounts. Monks, Druids, and Holy Priest continue to lag behind because of shields reducing their effectiveness. While Monks look like throughput machines it doesn’t help their small amounts of utility in comparison to the top 3. As I see it right now, the healer ranking goes like this:
- Holy Paladin
- Discipline Priest
- Restoration Shaman
- Mistweaver Monk
- Restoration Druid
- Holy Priest
Holy Paladin and Discipline Priest are the top two and depending on how you value certain things are interchangeable, basically 1a and 1b. Shamans ranking is based on their flexibility and multitude of various throughput and utility cooldowns. Monks with their 4 piece look to be throughput powerhouses comparatively to other healers and although this power isn’t always necessary the ability to fist-weave is there for those times. Druids and Holy Priests are the bottom not cause they lack power, it’s that they lack the flexibility of the others. They are still fine healers and should not be disregarded as the HPS power is still there.
In Part 2 I will go over the fights in Hellfire Citadel and what your healing cores should look out for, as well as some possible solutions for them at the normal and heroic difficulties.