With all that in mind I can say that I am excited for the first time in a long time. Holy is looking good it must be said.
Shall we dive in?
So first up here is what we are losing...off the top of my head, again accuracy is not a priority:
- Chakras!!!! Oh glory days, no more silly stance dancing.
- Void Fiend, Shadow fiend, whatever. I'm gonna miss the little guy. I had that glyph that made him a cute little sha guy. Bit sad about that one.
- Power Word Shield - meh? I don't know, I used it.
- Our lvl 100 talent row. I mean it devolved into a single choice so I get why it went away... head shaking
- That pain DOT thing. PW:Pain? Shadow Word? I don't fucking remember. It did damage.
- Leash, also known as mind sear. A fun AOE dmg dealer. Target the tank and enjoy. I'll miss this one.
- Stam buff. Good riddance.
- Void Tendrils, useful but ok whatever.
- Ok I cheated and looked. Mind Vision? o.O apparently this was a thing.
- Fear Ward, thats the one I was forgetting. This spell always had the potential to be good but fucking PvP kept it from actually getting the short CD or longer protection that it would have needed. Won't be missed in this iteration.
- Spectral Guise, Angelic Bulwark, Phantasm, Mindbender, PW: Solace, Psychic Scream, Power Infusion, Divine Insight, Cascade, all these talents are either gone or rolled up into something else. Cascade was once useful and Guise had its fights but these were mostly ignored talents.
- Twist of Fate on the other hand...its kind of boring so I get why its gone but it was decent.
- Shackle Undead....what? we still have that one? WHY?????
Fairly large list. My bars are going to get cold at night during Legion for sure.
Secondly our talent trees are changing around a lot and some of our staples have migrated onto them. So before we can talk about rotational healing we need to look over the tree and see what are working with or with out.
- 15 - Flash Heal heals the previous flash heal target as well as the new one; or Single target spells refresh renew; or 10% more mana regen
Hmmm well....Honestly it will depend on how mana is doing over the course of the fight. Enlightenment, the mana one, will certainly be the default raid talent until you get a sense of how much mana is needed. On shorter content or fights that leave you with mana at the end both of the other talents actually look useful. Since renew is supposedly not going to be blanketable it won't automagically beat out the Flashy one and instead it will depend on the fight. A spiky fight could easily see flash heal used more than renew while a steadier low damage fight might see renews rolling on a few targets who are taking a small amount of damage for extended periods.
- 30 - Feathers that speed you up; A heal that speeds you up; a personal Oh Shit Button
Two utility speed ups and an emergency heal.... I'll say this, that is a real choice. So my main issue is that Feathers and Body do the same thing...sort of...but body also heals rather decently. Feathers are placeable sure and you can place three out at once but...Body heals. I mean...uhhhh, feathers become very very very niche here. Highly skilled raid groups will likely see the bulk of use here as the heal on Body is just too strong for lower end raiders. And yes I know the old body shielded and feathers didn't do anything other than speed but the difference was that the old body changed a spell you already had so even if you took feathers you still had the shield. Now you either take Body or go without an extra healing spell. And a HoT at that.
Of course you could skip the utility altogether and insure you have an Oh Shit Button on hand. I mean I used that thing a lot in its old form.
This is real choice...the things you have to chose between just seem a bit disconnected.
- 45 - Spirit of redemption lasts longer
What? Oh yeah ok. You also could take a targeted knockback or a stun. So pvp and dungeons you'd likely take the knockback, solo the stun, but in a Raid your job is to heal and the longer you can do that even if you die the better.
Another kind of oddly designed choice tier.
- 60 - Holy Word CD reducer; Gaurdian Spirit CD reducer with some fine print; Raid CD that allows for 10s of mana free casting
Light of Naaru looks really strong. In addition Holy isn't the only healer with the raid wide mana reducing CD so depending on the fight and the comp you might not have to be the one taking it. Then again multiple ones could be abusable so... The 6 min CD is the main thing making the last talent more optional than mandatory. I'll probably start off with Light and swap into Hope if we are struggling with mana. The spirit one is kind of a more specialized use type spell, certainly useful but not more than the other two unless you simply must have another tank CD.
- 75 - Good ole SoL, Bind, or PoM gets added to the serendipity list.
Not so sure about the last one Piety. Don't get me wrong making the Holy Words come back up faster is a good thing but SoL gives you free healing and Bind is a decent AOEish type spell which is already on the Serendipity list. I have a feeling the default will be SoL, which indecently also has serendipity attached to it, and the other two will see use on a per fight basis. Which I am fine with. This is how a talent block should look.
- 90 - Holy Words increasing healing by 15% for 8s, Divine Star, Halo.
If Divine Star is still the king of SoL procing then that will be a natural choice to pair up. In addition Star and Halo once again have their damage elements attached to them making star a mandatory leveling talent and highly useful in dungeons. The new talent, Divinity, has a strong place in raids however. Especially since it replaces an active spell that doesn't effect serendipity. This is the theorycrafters wet dream block. Does DS proc SoL enough to make the pairing a natural? Does Halo hit hard enough under the right conditions to see the massive burst we got from it during HFC? Does the 8s of 15% increased healing come up often enough to be worth more than either of the other two choices? I have a feeling we will see lots of theories and half baked facts about this one and which ever one Icy Viens says is gold you will see as the default never to be changed choice of the non-rankers.
- 100 - Apotheosis*, PoM poops renew on its targets, good ole Circle heal.
*Apotheosis is a 3m personal CD which makes your Holy Words free to cast and improves the recharge rate of the spells that power them. Sounds absolutely amazing at first. The thing is however it only lasts for 30s. So with a base CD of 60s on both Holy Words you need to be able to get at minimum one additional use in that 30s or just after it. Two additional uses would be better. So we will explore this in our math section later but for now this is a theoretically awesome talent.
Benediction, aka Renew pooper. So...this talent could be really nice while running around in HFC tier and paired with some of the other PoM talents. Long term though...this is another highly situational talent that will likely sit on the shelf more than it is ever used. Circle is just too strong even without its old buddy serendipity. Additionally we currently only have like two AOE choices plus a few talents IF we take those so the addition of Circle for raid healing is nice. Its like an old blanket in the hands of Linus, comfortable and useful.
Whew. So that's the talents. Next up I'll go over the spells not in the serendipity chain real quickly then we can dive into some math and semi theory discussion about the new Holy Word/Serendipity concept that is our defining trait.
Renew - our old stand by filler though now it is decently mana deficient. Depending on how Enlightenment is applied we will either be regening .8% without it or with additive Enl 2.8% or multiplicatively 0.88. Renew is an instant cast on the global so without any haste we are looking at 1.5s between casts at a cost of 2% per cast or 1.3% per second meaning only the highly unlikely additive Enl would be able to sustain heavy Renew use for too long unless all you were doing was spamming renew but even that would OOM you before long.
Still this is a solid HoT and will be useful.
Prayer of Mending or PoM - 12s CD, low cost, still has a cast time though, but a good spell to get out there. Logs should show this being cast on or near CD. That said a few missed ones won't be as detrimental as they were during Warlords of Prayer of Mending. Holy shit the devs had a hard-on for that fucking spell this last xpack.
Thats it for healing spells. Everything else is either tied to the serendipity chain or locked up on a talent tree competing with other talents.
Purify and Mass Dispell are back filling their old roles. Mind Control is once again base line, though not being able to effect demons during a demon based xpack leads to think it will collect dust. Levitate is there, Fade for threat dumping, Resurrection. Nothing much to say there. Mass Resurrection is now exclusive to healers, so yeah...there's that. Of course Leap of Faith is still around =D good times.
The big king daddy of utility though is one of my all time favorite spells. Thats right, you all know it and love it, SHACKLE UNDEAD!!!!! WOOOOOOO. Seriously, why do we have this spell? I used that far sight one more over the course of my priesthood than this piece of shit. I mean...it could be useful, maybe, kind of...its just not.
As an asshole and ADD sufferer I really enjoy having offensive abilities, especially combined with a hearty threat dump. So technically Smite and Holy Word Chastise are in the Serendipity chain but they aren't a focus of theorycrafting Holy...at least not until we are at the boredom, outgearing phase late in the xpack at which point you begin trying to beat out actual CPS players with some funky gearing and rotation fiddling.
Holy Fire now has a stacking element to its DoT though interestingly the DoT only lasts 7s while Holy Fire has a 10s CD. Never fear though as Smite and a returned old favorite Holy Nova give a small chance to reset the CD. Holy Nova is pure offense now by the way, a lovely little close up AOE burst. So with the Holy word, Smite, Holy Fire, Holy Nova and a few talent choices we actually have a neat little damage rotation. I have to say I'm kind of excited about questing and even spot DPSing with these tools.
Raid wide we get one baseline and one as a talent. Divine Hymn returns with the same 3 min CD and buff to healing it has always had. Additionally we can pickup Symbol of Hope to give healers a 10s window of no mana use though this is on a 6 min CD meaning you will be lucky to see two uses of it. That said I know that at least one other healer class gets this spell and chaining them could be a nice way to power through the end of a long fight with every one OOM, kind of a Hail Marry pass for mana.
On the external side of things we have Guardian Angle again though the CD has been bumped up to 4 minutes? Yeah I mean was it being abused at 3 minutes? Fights are typically designed to take between 5 and 10 minutes with most in the 7 minute range meaning that extra minute is only preventing roughly 1 extra cast. I don't know? Blizz obviously thought it was too strong at 3 minutes.
On the personal side we have two talents which we can take. Desperate Prayer is available should you decide that no one needs to go faster. A great OSB on a 90s CD that I have used on many....many an occasion to save my own ass. Still the strength of Body and Mind is hard to pass up.
Finally we have Apotheosis* which as noted above will be discussed during the math section.
Just for completeness sake we also have a few passives. Focused Will reduces damage after you take damage so you can take more damage. Its passive, so seriously who cares. Our Mastery again is a rolling HoT that replicates 10% plus the mastery adjustment of healing done over 6s with half delivered at 3s and the other half at 6s. Not to go too deep into stat math here but depending on the conversion of mastery you might get more healing from a larger upfront hit by going for versatility or have it stack faster with haste. I foresee mastery being the stat you take over crit but not the one you are on the look out for. Really haste and Int seem to be the kings during Legion with Versatility being the goto if those haste is not available. But I'm digressing into a stat discussion which is not the topic here.
Finally there is Spirit of Redemption, because you simply can't keep a good Holy Priest down. We fucking heal even when we die. Best. Class. Ever.
Well ok we'll do stats real fast before we talk about the final passive and how it defines our healing.
As Spell Power is derived from Int we will still be looking to stack as much of that delicious Int as possible. The removal of spirit means that nothing will compete with good ole Int for our choice of gear.
But Int is not a fulfilling meal all by its lonesome.
Multistrike, like spirit, has been left in a dumpster behind Walmart so we no longer have that one to look forward to.
Haste is standing out in my mind as a good choice though it will depend on if it effects our Holy Word CDs and also the strength of Verst. The trouble with Haste is that it has the potential to be self limiting if our mana is drying up too fast during a fight. At the same time this is fairly easily solvable with a bit of restraint and as it is not competing with any mana positive stats well its just nice to spend less time casting and cooling down and more time being awesome.
Versatility is a nice flat healing and damage boost. Its just very plain Jane, white rice no butter or salt, non-offensive...you get the idea. What we don't know yet is how strong it will be. Will we see much of it on gear? Will it take a lot of it to boost the performance? As we begin to see the way it works and how much is available we will be able to properly place it but on face value it looks good.
Mastery. Well...you see Echo of Light accounts for a majority of our overheal already so unless we see a healing environment where we are busy healing up low people while people we have already healed spend some time just below full then this is just a dump stat really. In addition because our mastery is a percentage of the healing we do all other stats already effect Echo of Light in their own way. So...I wouldn't kick it out of bed for eating crackers is all I'm saying but I ain't gonna chase it.
Finally Crit. Ahh crit. Holy has always had a kind of love hate, love to hate relationship with crit. You see crit sounds great unless you understand math. Hey a chance to double your healing SIGN ME UP. But in reality it averages out to a much less impressive stat. So again if Versatility isn't complete shit then crit will be the stat we take when there is literally no other option.
OK. Time for the big show:
Serendipity, The Holy Fuel of Choice
Remember I am ignoring Chastise for this discussion.
Blizzard have given us two main and very strong spells to define our class. If you've read much of Hamlet's wonderful work on healing theory and practice (which I can't link to from work so I'll do it later) you know that big powerful spells are locked behind longish cool downs so as to not be the only thing we cast. To make the time pass between casts we have been given several spells which which reduce these long CDs and get us closer to casting that big juicy spell again.
So lets look at all the players and then run some numbers.
Holy Word Serenity is a massive single target heal on a 60s CD. Holy Word Sanctify, similarly, is a massive AOE heal also on a 60s CD. I'm fairly certain these two are on there own CDs and are not sharing one but I do not know that for sure. I will be going ahead and assuming they are not shared.
Serendipity is a passive we have that allows us to use other spells to reduce the CD on Serenity and Sanctify.
Heal and Flash Heal will reduce Serenity by 6s per cast. Prayer of Healing does the same thing for Sanctify.
We also have several talents which play with Serenity. First up Binding Heal reduces both CDs by 3s per cast.
Light of Naaru says Serendipity reduces Holy Word CDs by 2s. So is this 2s per cast of Heal/Flash/PoH/Bind? Not sure so I'll the math with a static 2s reduction and a stacking one. If I had to guess I would say it is 2s per Serendipity since a 2s reduction on a 60s CD is pretty small.
Piety allows PoM bounces to trigger Serendipity on Sanctify though the description was unclear as to by how much though I would assume it is the 6s base line reduction similar to PoH. My guess is Bind is only 3s because it effects both. Oh that also seems to confirm that they do not share a CD =D
Divinity doesn't effect Serendipity but it does give a ToF like effect to Holy Words granting 15% increased healing for 8s so it would be nice to get an estimate of what kind of uptime we can expect.
Finally Apotheosis doubles the effect of Serenity for 30s on a 180s CD.
Math Time. Put on your Number Panties and let's dig in.
Heal has a cast time of 2.5s base. PoH 2s. Flash and Bind 1.5s.
So our baseline reduction is 8.5s for Heal, 8s for PoH, 7.5s for Flash, and 4.5s for Bind though applied to both spells.
Light of Naaru makes this 10.5, 10, 9.5, and 6.5.
Apotheosis would give us 30s of 14.5, 14, 13.5, and 7.5 or 18.5, 18, 17.5, and 13.5.
Leading Apotheosis with a Piety PoM and assuming enough damage to maximize bounces would give us a total reduction of Sanctify by 30s or 40s with LoN.
Heal - we need to cast Heal 7 times before the CD on Serenity resets. This would cost 11.9% mana but we would regen 14% (15.4% with Enlightenment) during this rotation making this a mana positive rotation. This would take 17.5s.
Heal with LoN - would need about 5 casts (closer to 6 actually) at a cost of 8.5% (10.2%) before regen. Still mana positive. Serenity would take just over 12s to come off CD.
Flash Heal - 8 casts taking 12s and costing 22.4% minus 9.6% (10.56%). That's pretty expensive.
Flash LoN - 6+ casts taking 9s and costing 16.8% minus 7.2% (7.92%). A little cheaper.
Bind - just over 13 casts taking 19.5s costing 39% minus 15.6% (17.16%).
Bind LoN - 9 casts, 13.5s. 27% minus 10.8% (11.88%)
PoH - 7 casts, 14s. 31.5% minus 11.2% (12.32%)
PoH LoN - 6 casts. 12s. 27% minus 9.6%(10.56%)
PoH + Piety* - 4 casts, taking 8s cost 18% minus 6.4% (7.04%)
PoH + LoN + Piety* - 2 casts with the last PoM jump just after that. ~7s 9% minus 5.6%(6.16%)
*Assume 1 jump per second for 5s. Cost of casting PoM not calculated.
So then we need to see how Apotheosis works out.
Heal - ~4 casts, 10s , +1.2%(+2%)
Heal LoN - ~3 casts, 7.5s, 5.1% - 6 (6.6)
Flash - ~4 casts, 6s, 11.2 - 4.8(5.28)
Flash LoN - 3ish, 4.5s, 8.4 - 3.6(3.96)
PoH - 4 casts, 8s, 18 - 6.4(7.04)
PoH LoN- 3 casts, 6s, 13.5 - 4.8 (5.28)
PoH Piety - so PoM would clear the CD before the second PoH went off. Still 4s though but you really only need to cast 1 PoH. 4.5% - 3.2(3.52)
PoH LoN Piety - again, only 1 needs to be cast then the 3rd PoM bounce would clear the CD. 3s 4.5% - 2.4(2.64)
Now, presumably you might have Lust going at this time as well making things even faster. The PoH LoN Piety run is going to do a massive amount of healing over that 30s and Lust would just make it stupid and the cost isn't prohibitive.
****note, I need to clean up the maths stuff before this is fully done****