So, I mentioned in my last post that one of my two major concerns about healing as a holy priest or restoration shaman was reliance on Test of Faith and Deep Healing – and how these can have unintended consequences on overall healing performance, and how raid encounters are going to be set up in the future. My other biggest concern is mana regeneration. Currently, holy priests and restoration shaman are the only two healers that don’t have some sort of Intellect-based mana regeneration. For discipline, this would be Rapture, and Archangel for Atonement priests; for paladins, Divine Plea; and for druids, Revitalize. This should go without saying, but also Arcane Torrent for any Blood Elves.

Revitalize

In essence, this is again an observational post – not something to be taken at face value, but something that is a concern for later on. Moreover, I’ll probably delve into other somewhat tangential things such as Mana Tide Totem, and how this can affect a restoration shaman’s gearing choices. There’s actually a specific post over at Totem Forest that explains that a bit more in detail. Moreover, shaman do have the otion of Telluric Currents, which is a huge mana gain, too – so holy priests are still kind of left in the dust here.

To that end, the things that I mostly want to discuss are specifically in regards to Holy Concentration, Water Shield and Mana Tide Totem. To be realistic, shaman have it easier than holy priests due to not only Water Shield procs, but also Improved Water Shield and Improved Shields.

One might argue that Shadowfiend and Hymn of Hope are going to make up for that lack, but there’s a couple things to consider there, as well. First, Hymn of Hope is not guaranteed to give every tick to the casting priest. Secondly, the shadowfiend can (and does, occasionally) die.

From our most recent Nefarian attempts, we had 16 attempts in one night – we did sub out our druid for a paladin for the last hour, however, so there were seven attempts with the paladin healer, and nine attempts with the druid healer. Over the course of the entire night, the breakdown of Hymn of Hope gains were as follows:

HPriest      22 ticks     48,845 mana gained
Rshaman      22 ticks     56,822 mana gained
HPaladin     12 ticks     29,738 mana gained
RDruid       6 ticks      15,308 mana gained
ArcMage      4 ticks      8,664 mana gained
DesLock      3 ticks      6,286 mana gained

Believe it or not, the full breakdown of mana gained is even worse. (I won’t include the mage or warlock for this one, though.)

Rshaman      687,904 mana gained
HPaladin     508,192 mana gained
RDruid       447,866 mana gained
Hpriest      422,939 mana gained

To look at this more in detail, let me just say this: Yes, there were times where HoH was interrupted because I wasn’t watching for Onyxia’s Tail Lash. But also, there’s a couple other things here at work, as well. Remember that the druid and paladin were both not there for the entire night, and yet I still am lowest on the totem pole for mana gained. I did manage to get 15 Surge of Light procs, however, so I saved a total of 86,475 mana with Surge of Light alone – essentially bringing my total to 509,414. That’s still just above the druid (but again, he wasn’t there the whole night), and just barely over the paladin (who was only there one-third of the night). Serendipity likely saves me a good chunk of mana, too, but that’s not something I’m really able to find in World of Logs, since it doesn’t record reduced mana cost spells – just that the spells were cast.

Now, I agree that perhaps I’m gaining more mana overall through Serendipity and Surge of Light than our druid, but I’m still a long way behind our paladin and our shaman – especially our paladin. The paladin actually gained more mana through just Seal of Insight alone than I did from any singular mana source. Then again, it also doesn’t record free spells from Clearcasting procs for our druid, so I may yet still be behind on mana gains.

On that note, after fooling around on my alt shaman, I took a look at Telluric Currents and noticed that it was an amazing source of regen – for each Lightning Bolt cast, in 5-man heroic level gear with some elemental pieces mixed in (given elemental is my shaman’s main spec), I was gaining around 700 mana per Lightning Bolt. That’s a pretty significant source of mana, and only scales better with more Intellect (and haste/crit, of course).

So where does this bring me? Well, in short, holy priests are not scaling as well as other classes in terms of mana regeneration as other classes. This is mostly due to other classes having some sort of mana-pool bases regen. Rapture, Archangel, Revitalize and Divine Plea, and to a lesser extent, Telluric Currents. It almost means that we have to rely on other people – namely druids’ Innervates and/or Mana Tide Totem from shaman – to be able to remain up to par with our mana regeneration.

In forward content, this is possibly going to hurt more. We saw a buff to Holy Concentration early in the expansion (and a subsequent nerf, but on the whole it was a buff), and then nerfs to some of our other spells to compensate for the pure raw healing that holy priests were capable of. Since we rely almost entirely on spirit regen for raiding (especially considering the Replenishment nerf that came with Cataclysm), it comes to me to wonder how well we’re going to be off toward the end of the expansion.

Looking back at Wrath, holy priests were the ones that suffered the most from mana regeneration issues – I know that mana wasn’t that much of a concern in Wrath, but the point remains that holy priests were the worst off out of all the healers. It wasn’t exactly a shock to me to see that holy priests don’t have a mana-pool based regen ability like other healers, but I find myself saddened that there isn’t one, at the same time. All in all, what worries me is that while other healers are going to get back to being able to stack Intellect gems, are holy priests still going to be the sole healers stuck gearing for Spirit at the end of the expansion?

Having to gem for Spirit causes problems in a couple of ways. First, it means that we don’t get to gear for Intellect as a sole stat. That’s a loss on mana, as well as throughput, which ties in a little with my previous post and how priests are going to scale with Test of Faith (and moreover, Mastery). It means that holy priests are going to have the smallest mana pools again, and we’re going to see fewer returns from raidwide regeneration mechanics (outside of Mana Tide Totem, which is likely the best possible regen mechanic from an outside source for holy priests). At least, this may be the case in 10-mans. 25-mans are a different animal altogether, and gearing seems different for 25-mans as a general rule.

As a final note, again, this isn’t a post that’s meant to be any sort of be-all, end-all. It is, however, meant to be a thorough look into my concerns for holy priest regeneration and why I have concerns about them to begin with. It’s feasible to extrapolate that mana gains across the board are similar, but I don’t have the time or inclination to look through a billion logs to find this information. I think maybe overall from the start of the post I got less about shaman and more about priests, but so it goes.