Yeah, I have the PTR but I haven’t done anything on it. I just wanted to take a look at some of the proposed changes, how I think they may impact our performance
Changes to Riptide
At first glance, the way Blizzard has proposed the change is garbage. But that’s it. Just first glance. I come to that conclusion because of how riptides typically play out in today’s raiding environment. At the beginning of the tier, even with mostly 372 gear, people were staying low enough for long enough to where a Riptide had a better shot at running its course, or most of it. With the recent nerfs and better gearing, that’s just not the case any longer. A buff to the HoT component of Riptide will work wonders if people leave my targets alone (we can roll 3 targets at all times glyphed). The problem lies in how other raid healers respond to a low frame on their UI. Regardless of how “triage healing” has been forced down our throats, healers cannot stand to see players sitting below 100%. This causes my Riptide to knock out a quick instant cast and then the HoT from it just rolls on a 100% HP player. In this scenario, the buff to the HoT does nothing for our throughput at all.
However, there are occasions where the tides will be allowed to roll on a less than 100% player. There always has been those times in raids, and there always will be. But, I fear that most of the time, as history is the best indicator of the future, my prior hunch will be proven true. Another option which is highly unlikely is to train other healers to leave my Riptide targets alone if they’re not in immediate danger of damage again. That’s only possible if those healers have riptide visible on their frames which would really be clutter for them. So they would have no way of knowing quickly. Basically, the change to Riptide supports the triage model (which doesn’t exist most of the time), is useless by itself most likely, but can work hand in hand with the other proposed change.
Max HP Increase on AA Procs
Since we know that HoT’s are now calculated every tick, this could prove very useful for that Riptide change, more so due to how our mastery works in conjunction with percent HP. This could also strengthen the stability property of Spirit Link totem but is highly unlikely that AA and Spirit Link will be a game changer. This is because for this new HP buff to work, a single target crit has to occur prior. The real benefit to this will be for Earthliving. Even though Riptide is controllable, it may very well not be off CD when the AA happens. And tick for Tick, ELW is loads stronger than RT is, even with the changes.
I’m still undecided as to whether or not this is going to be a noticeable difference in Shaman throughput. What I have been seeing though is what I like to call the “Shaman Tank Healing Fallacy.”
Our niche is still going to be heavy AoE stabilization. I don’t think the focus of the changes is to move us away from that. Blizz made it pretty clear that they wanted us to be stronger in spread phases and single target healing. They never indicated that they wanted us to move 180º from AoE specialization. What I’m seeing from the uneducated masses is that Shaman are going to be the new tank healers. False. Thing is, we *can* already out-heal most other classes on tanks as it is. Most won’t see that because they’ll look at “healing done” and immediately pass us off. We’re slow. I think everyone knows that. But when our heals land, they can be colossal. If you look at healing received on a tank with a Shaman on him/her, those big numbers add up. However, the HPS suffers because we have then been taken out of our design (raid stabilization).
So how does this relate to the AA proc change and the fallacy? Because we will still be centered around AoE healing and stabilization (yes with some modification to some single target spells), all we’re doing with that proc is giving us more HP to heal, whether that’s through direct heals or the Riptide and Earthliving HoT’s. Putting us on that tank will not necessarily be the big boost to tank healing some may think it will. It will only manipulate the healing received and overhealing to a degree.
Another potential disadvantage that I’ve been contemplating is how this could possibly prove detrimental to a very specific type of mechanic that has been used numerous times across raids. Let’s think T12 just to keep it simple and current. Baleroc’s Decimation Blade. Tank needs to be above 90% before the next one comes. Great. I land a big fat GHW on him that puts him just above 90%. But, as (bad) luck would have it, I get an AA proc and his health just increases by 20%. Decimation lands and wipes the raid. See, 90% just became an entirely different number, didn’t it? Although this is stretching it a bit, I don’t think it’s irrational to consider it. If this type of mechanic is seen again, I can see Shaman being sat for the encounter so we don’t risk unnecessary deaths caused by a shift in HP (thanks for the “buff,” Blizz).
Don’t get me wrong. I think the subtleness of our buffs can provide the gap closing healing we need. I just don’t feel that these were the best otions given the many thing they could have done with our spec. Thoughts?