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Healer Metagems – Let’s be frank

02/26/2010

I’ve written about this before, specifically for healadins, but I’ve been seeing terrible advice floating through the “blogsphere” for other healing classes.  I’m glad there is such a wide variety of healing points of view out there; I just wish people would do their research before posting things that will mislead new players.

- You only get the one, so make it count. -

First, let’s get a happy list of what all the options are, just so there’s no confusion.  I’m listing only the ones applicable to raiding; there’s no excuse for taking the snare/stun/silence resist metagems in PvE.

Beaming Earthsiege Diamond – 21 Critical Strike Rating and +2% Mana
Bracing Earthsiege Diamond – 25 Spell Power and 2% Reduced Threat
Ember Skyflare Diamond – 25 Spell Power and +2% Intellect
Insightful Earthsiege Diamond – 21 Intellect and Chance to restore mana on spellcast (~70MP5)
Revitalizing Skyflare Diamond – 11 Mana every 5 seconds and 3% Increased Critical Healing Effect
Tireless Skyflare Diamond – 25 Spell Power and Minor Run Speed Increase (8%)

It is important to keep in mind that you only get a single metagem slot, so it is really best to maximize what you can obtain from that one slot.  Also, you -must- keep in mind that you are not picking a metagem in a vacuum; your choice will be working in concert with the rest of your gear, enchants and gems.  The flexibility you have in other areas helps make up for the lack of choices you have here.  (ie. choosing a regen metagem because you know you can gem for all throughput, choosing a non-run speed metagem because you can easily get Tuskar’s Vitality enchanted on your boots, etc.)

A few of these can be pretty easily weeded out as far as good choices go.  As healers, we simply do not generate enough threat to make it any sort of worry.  If you are getting aggro over the tanks -and- over the DPS, then there are bigger worries than you.  So that negates the Bracing as a choice.  The 8% run speed from the Tireless might seem tempting, but the ease of getting Tuskar’s enchanted on your boots, with the added bonus of extra stamina to go with the speed, means that using your metagem for it is a complete waste of potential.  (I should add that I highly, highly recommend that all healers get Tuskar’s Vitality enchanted on their boots.  There are enough movements fights out there to make the 8% run speed more than make up for the small amounts of Spirit, MP5, or crit you’d be missing.)

Looking at the Beaming might make it seem really tempting.  I have a lot of mana as a healadin, but you only really need to stop and consider what 2% really means to see the issue with this one.  For the sake of argument, we’ll say I have a 50k mana pool.  (I wish!)  2% of that is 1000 mana.  That’s extremely “meh”, dare I say a drop in the proverbial bucket.  For healadins, if we pretend you have 100% up time on Replenishment and Divine Plea on cooldown (both unlikely), at that mana pool size you’d be getting ~20 MP5, including from the crit.  That’s pretty much terrible.  Yes, the crit rating gives a small amount of throughput, but the secondary effect is going to be utterly useless, especially to any class that doesn’t have the healadin mana pool or Divine Plea.  Overall, a really horrible choice of metagem.

- Quick chat about Revitalizing -

How about that Revitalizing metagem?  Again, it seems really tempting.  The secondary effect of adding a scaling bonus to critical heals seems like it could be a fantastic idea, doesn’t it?  There is sadly a major problem with it, though, in that most critical heals result in at least partial overheal.  No healer is going to rely on a crit when it comes to healing their target.  Crits are considered nice bonuses (and for many classes, a source of mana regen).  Increasing the healing during those times when you’re already wasting part of your heal is just silly.  You gain nothing from it.  There is a noted raiding example where this could actually be a very good metagem and that is in the case of Valithria Dreamwalker.  Overheal is completely taken out of the equation in that fight if you are healing the dragon and this metagem could see some -excellent- use, especially when your healers have a specific set of “throughput only” gear for it.  Even the requirements for activating it (2 red gems) help in making it perfect for a “Dreamwalker gear set.”

There has been some buzz in the Resto shaman community about using Revitalizing instead of the IED when you are using both Solace trinkets.  What happens is that the HEP value of the Revitalizing beats that of the IED by about 10 points when using both the regular and the heroic Solace.  I’m not terribly sold on that yet, as there haven’t been enough HEP reports to really get a full grasp on the situations where it’s true.  My reservations are based on the fact that I’ve been hearing a 75% overheal report from the extra healing Revitalizing gives  while spamming CH and also on the fact that it’s incredibly easy to gear towards haste/crit, minimizing the amount of regen you obtain from gear.  I’ll keep my ear to the ground on this situation, although I’m pretty sure the vast majority of Resto. shaman who use double Solace are skilled enough with theorycrafting that they don’t need -me.-

- ESD vs IED!  Fight, fight! -

I’ll be honest with you, I can get really riled up about this competition.  My theorycrafter’s blood gets boiling and I lose the ability to speak clearly and plainly.  Pretty silly, huh?  Let me calmly go about things in this bit.  Note that I’ll be focusing on non-healadins, since I’ve covered it for healadins before.  I’m addressing this mostly to priests, druids and non-Solacex2 using shaman.

First, let’s acknowledge that part of the problem is how these two are compared.  Many people compare the primary stats on each (21 INT vs. 25 SP) and then the secondary (mana return vs. 2% INT).  What seems to happen is that people look at them and say “okay, I use SP and don’t need more mana.  I’m going to ignore the secondary effects because they both give mana and just take the SP one.”  That is a very, very limiting point of view to take.  Your metagem is just a part of the rest of your gear.  I see this most commonly in priests and druids, who also seem to go about using Spirit gems.  (The amount of throughput you get from Spirit, druids?  1 SPI = .194 SP  And you holy priests?  1 SPI = .25 SP)  I shake my head at the irony that switching their gems to SP and their metagem to the IED will net them -more- throughput at the same time as -more- mana regen…

But let’s break into the math on this so I can show exactly why the ESD will never catch up to the IED.  I’m going to work with 1500 INT and 1500 SPI when applicable in this example, since I’m feeling lazy.  First, let’s figure out how much MP5 the ESD is worth to each spec.  We’ll be adding in Gift of the Wild and Arcane Brilliance, but not Kings, as that applies to both metagems and just equalizes out.  So with those, we’re up to 1597 INT and 1597 SPI.

What we’re looking at then is 25 SP and 32 INT for the ESD, 60 MP5 and 21 INT for the IED. (I usually calculate 70 MP5 for the proc, as that’s closer to what I get, but I went more conservative this time for the sake of argument. So 25 SP and 11 INT vs. 60 MP5. That’s still a little hard to compare, so let’s work out what the INT would net each of the healing classes. Let’s note that 11 INT will net everyone 3.096 crit rating.

For Holy priests:
11 INT = 2.0625 MP5 (from Replenishment, 100% uptime)
11 INT = 2.1227 MP5 (from Meditation with 1597 SPI)
11 INT = 2.2880 MP5 (from increased mana pool in a 6 minute fight)
11 INT = 1.1440 MP5 (from Shadowfiend in a 6 minute fight)
11 INT = 7.6172 MP5 total

For Disc priests:
11 INT = 1.6918 MP5 (from Rapture, maximum amount possible)
11 INT = 2.1227 MP5 (from Meditation with 1597 SPI)
11 INT = 2.0625 MP5 (from Replenishment, 100% uptime)
11 INT = 2.2880 MP5 (from increased mana pool in a 6 minute fight)
11 INT = 1.1440 MP5 (from Shadowfiend in a 6 minute fight)
11 INT = 9.3090 MP5 total

For Tree druids:
11 INT = 2.0625 MP5 (from Replenishment, 100% uptime)
11 INT = 2.2880 MP5 (from increased mana pool in a 6 minute fight)
11 INT = 2.2084 MP5 (from SPI based mana regen with 1597 SPI)
11 INT = 6.5589 MP5 total

For Resto shaman:
11 INT = 2.2880 MP5 (from increased mana pool in a 6 minute fight)
11 INT = 2.0625 MP5 (from Replenishment, 100% uptime)
11 INT = 8.4700 MP5 (from Mana Tide totem)
11 INT = 12.8205 MP5 total

That gives us a much more solid base of comparison! Now let’s show that comparison again for each class. Remember that this is under ideal conditions favoring the ESD. Such conditions are unlikely to occur during actual fights.

Holy priests: 25 SP and 3.096 crit vs. 52.3828 MP5
Disc priests: 25 SP and 3.096 crit vs. 50.6910 MP5
Tree druids: 25 SP and 3.096 crit vs. 53.4411 MP5
Resto shaman: 25 SP and 3.096 crit vs. 47.1795 MP5

As you can see from this, the value you get from IED is far superior to that from ESD, even taking into account unrealistic situations that blatantly favor the ESD metagem.

- “But I don’t need mana regen!” -

Ah, the most common thing I hear when I tell someone how much better IED is than anything else…  Do you know what the most common cause of having too much mana is?  Not casting enough!  Unless you are getting GCD locked with a 1 sec GCD (or casting every single moment of the fight, for those of us without instants), you can’t really know how much mana regen you do or do not need.  If you -are- GCD locked, take a look at your gear, gems and enchants.  Are you fully maximizing for throughput or do you have several sub-optimal choices going on?  (ex. SPI enchanted to your boots instead of Tuskar’s Vitality, more than one SP/SPI (or MP5) gem, any straight SPI (or MP5) gems, SP/MP5 shoulder or head enchant, etc.)  Tweak those to get the most out of what you have; maximize your choices while minimizing wasted ilevel points.

If you feel that casting more will just get you more overheal, then you’re simply running too many healers.  I know that we all hate to hear this, but it’s true.  Most fights can be accomplished with 5 healers, so long as they are playing their best.  Heck, sometimes you can run fewer than that, if you don’t mind extreme stress and your crew is in tip-top shape.  Don’t remind me of the time back in the day that I had to solo-heal Beasts-hardmode-10 as a healadin…  Boy, was I glad I had min/maxed myself when my other healer went down to the first fire!

In the end, this is very much about “skill and knowledge.”  I’ve shown why the Insightful Earthsiege Diamond is the best healer metagem in the game.  (And it took me several days to write all this up, it’s so long.)  Use that knowledge and go forth to improve your healing!  Let’s all strive to be better than average!

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16 comments

  1. Actually the primary strength of RSD for resto shaman is for situations where you would benefit from larger Ancestral Awakening heals.


    • Ah, I can see that, yeah, although I still need to see more HEP reports on it. It also makes me wonder what both metagems would score for HEP with extremely low MP5 gearing. I’m going to be gearing my SOs shaman towards all crit/haste, so I find it an interesting suggestion.


  2. Let me offer a different perspective on the Revitalizing Skyflare Diamond, from a Discipline priest. I believe Disc has a particular synergy with the RSD, for two reasons.

    First, Disc priests are unique in that their critical heals are never wasted. They just turn into Divine Aegis bubbles. The bigger crits, the better!

    Second, in my experience I generally have no mana problems when Disc, thanks to Rapture. Even chain casting and with all runed gems. So although IED offers seriously awesome mana regen, if I can’t use the mana I have to prefer a throughput-focused gem.

    This also highlights that the RSD is the only meta gem whose throughput component scales with gear. As a result I think the RSD is worth considering for anyone who has “enough” mana, and is especially the best meta gem for geared Disc priests.


    • The throughput increase for Disc from Rejuvinating would be so incredibly low, since the vast majority of their “healing” should be from PW:S. Disc is one of those specs where having too much mana is absolutely the result of not being GCD locked. The CD on Rapture procs really limits the amount of regen possible for Disc. My numbers given for the post was assuming insane amounts of Spirit, far more than any Disc should ever, ever have. On fights like BQL and Sindy, I was having to scrape for every bit of mana possible, even with Rapture returning mana every CD. Bubble spam + PoM on CD + Penance when needed = huge amounts of mana usage.


      • Regarding mana, maybe it depends on the individual and their raid group. I use every GCD and don’t gear or gem for regen, and I rarely have mana worries. Every priest’s situation is unique, but in my place I find that extra regen is wasted, so I grab throughput where I can.

        Regarding the throughput, I admit that the RSD is only going to add a few hundred extra healing to a crit Penance or PoM, and only 30% more of that as Divine Aegis, but that’s more than the 25 spell power or 21 crit rating the other gems will give, and so it’s why I like the RSD.


    • (WordPress completely won’t allow me to reply to your newest reply, silly thing!)

      I’d love to take a look at a WoL for your guild. :D Being proven wrong is actually something I really enjoy, but it’s just too easy to fall into “feelings.” I’ll try to hunt up a couple of WoLs for myself. (They’re hard to find for my Disc priest sometimes, since those runs aren’t official for us.)


  3. […] Moar HPS wants to speak frankly about healer metagems. […]


  4. […] Moar HPS wants to speak frankly about healer metagems. […]


  5. […] Moar HPS wants to speak frankly about healer metagems. […]


  6. i would like to see a discussion on the activation requirements for each meta as well. I must say it is precisely the tie breaker when deciding on a meta gem for my priest. with a red gem only requirement for esd, i find it far superior to forcing blue gems i may not want or need.


    • The activation requirements for the IED is a non-issue, really. Just pick an item with a non-red socket and a SP bonus, then stick in a Nightmare tear. Doing it in the helm socket is the most common, since that’s a 9 SP bonus, meaning you lose only 12 SP to activate the IED. Thus activation requirements is not at all a good excuse for not using the best healer metagem in the game.


      • Nightmare tears are not the right choice for all healers.

        A paladin, who needs mana (and therefore Int) more than SP, can use a nightmare tear. But anyone who needs SP (which is almost all the other healers) or anything different from pure stats (like a Resto Shaman and haste) will benefit more from using the appropriate Orange, Purple or Green gems for their spec.

        If we take a red, yellow and blue socket for each healer, and assume that each socket bonus gives 5 SP, then we get the following:

        Resto Druid
        Runed Cardinal Ruby, Reckless Ametrine, and a Nightmare tear gives 35 SP, 10 haste, 10 int and 10 spirit. Socket bonuses give another 15 SP.
        Runed Cardinal Ruby, Reckless Ametrine and Purified Dreadstone gives 47 SP, 10 haste, 10 spirit. Socket bonuses give another 15 SP.

        This, is 10 int worth more than 12 SP? No.

        Resto Shaman
        2x Quick King’s Amber and a Nightmare Tear gives 40 haste and 10 int. Socket Bonuses give another 10 SP.
        Reckless Ametrine, Quick King’s Amber and a Energized Eye of Zul gives, 12 SP, 40 haste and 5 mp5. Socket bonuses give another 15 SP

        Using your calculations above, we can figure that 10 Int is about 11.6 mp5 in the best of circumstances.

        So is 6.6 mp5 better than 17 SP? Probably not.

        For a Holy Paladin
        2x Brilliant King’s Amber and a Nightmare Tear gives 50 intellect. Socket bonuses give 10 SP.
        Luminous Ametrine, Brilliant King’s Amber and a Dazzling Eye of Zul give 12 SP, 30 Int and 5mp5. Socket bonuses give 15 SP.

        So is 20 intellect better than 17 SP and 5 mp5? Almost certainly (especially when you factor in kings).

        I’m not as familiar with Priest healing, so I can’t speak to them, but if they need SP, haste or crit more than they need Int or Spirit, then they probably won’t benefit from a Nightmare Tear either.


      • Some good discussion can be made about Nightmare Tear vs. one orange and one purple/green, but that wasn’t what the previous comment was talking about. The previous commenter was saying s/he viewed the ESD as the superior choice due to the requirements to activate. (Calling it a “tie-breaker” makes me laugh, though, since the IED far outweighs the ESD in budget.) Whether a Nightmare Tear would be better than two multicolored gems is very much gear and stat weight dependent. The more “single stat driven” a class is, the more a Nightmare Tear can benefit them, especially when that single stat is not often seen as a socket bonus. That’s why healadins use them. But for others it truly is gear dependent; sometimes there simply -are- no good socket bonus that you can get with two multicolor gems.


    • That’s easy. Should we assume that a red gem = Runed? The simple comparison for IED is to use 2x Spellpower/MP5 gems, but holy priests and druids would clearly benefit more from the spellpower/spirit (thus leaning the decision towards IED than already shown). However, remember that blue gems will get you, on average, 7 extra spellpower from filling socket bonuses. So for every blue gem used, I consider it coming with an extra 7 sp.

      Using the calculations presented in the article, we arrive at the following:

      Holy priests: 37 SP and 3.096 crit vs. 62.3828 MP5
      Disc priests: 37 SP and 3.096 crit vs. 60.6910 MP5
      Tree druids: 37 SP and 3.096 crit vs. 63.4411 MP5
      Resto shaman: 37 SP and 3.096 crit vs. 57.1795 MP5

      In conclusion, the requirements don’t sway anything towards RSD. Holy Priests and Resto Druids look even better than they do here, since they’re using Spirit and thus gaining even more spellpower from those blue gems. And some class tier sets can let you find a way to net 16 spellpower from socket bonuses (hat & pants) instead of the average 14. In other words, IED all the way.

      Note: Resto Shaman probably want as many pure haste gems as they can find, so theoretically using Runed gems for them is pretty unexciting. But I left it for ease of napkin math, because I still think the results are clear as day.


      • EDIT: I was thinking IED requires 2x blue gems, but it only requires one. Still, the rough idea remains the same.


      • Wait, you really confused me now. LOL I thought you were arguing -against- using an IED! I still support the use of a single Nightmare Tear for most healers, though. It just makes gemming clean and simple.



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