More details on why I don’t talk about FoL spec04/20/2010
Why the heck not, right? It’s been a long couple of days and I don’t really feel like crunching any numbers right now.
– Introduction type part of the post –
(I’m having issues thinking of witty catch-phrases, can you tell?) My first post on this was a quick explanation of why I don’t want to discuss Flash of Light specced paladins. Of the five, albeit not terribly in-depth, points I made, the second one is the one that people really latched onto and tried to argue against. To quote myself: “There is no way I could keep the tanks up with that on some fights.” Notice the pronoun there? I never said that it will never, ever keep the tanks up. It was quite clear that it isn’t a viable spec for the sheer amount of healing I’m doing. In this case, that means having 5 healers with only myself on the tanks, generally. Rather curious is that no one actually latched onto my other points (ie. trading HPS for HPM, stat scaling issues) to refute, just the validity one.
It has also been said that I’m not writing about FoL spec because it doesn’t work for me. Well… yes? I also have no desire to do any real tanking on my paladin, so I refrain from writing about that, too. The gist of my previous post was that I don’t write about it because I don’t like it. That seems like a valid reason to me.
Let me note that I have used FoL spec before. In fact, there was a time when I used nothing but! There was also a time when I stacked MP5 through the roof and where I refused to spec into Divine Sacrifice because it would hurt my numbers. Thankfully, those times have passed and I have moved on to min-maxing my play.
As per usual, if you want to prove me wrong about some of the factual reasons given in this post, please do so! If you don’t feel comfortable posting your WoL data in the comments, you can also email it to me at leontheyal AT gmail DOT com. Saying “I pull 7k HPS and keep both LK tanks up just fine with FoL spec” is all well and good, but please back it up with proof. I rather like being proven wrong, but anecdotal claims aren’t true evidence.
– First the math-y reasons –
HPM vs. HPS: I just spent some time doing some math, taking into account my current gear (shown here) and optimal FoL spec gear before hardmodes (shown here), calculating the average HPS for each taking into account both SoL/FoL glyphs and crit ratio. I didn’t take into account the healing from the HL glyph because it would make things more complicated and I wanted to focus on the amount of pure tank healing that could be averaged for each spell for each appropriately geared healer. In the end, the combination of the haste cap and the lower spellpower coefficient are really what did in FoL for HPS. (HL has a 188.5% coefficient and FoL only has a 113% one.) On average, FoL will net 5911.5714 HPS while HL will net 9629.1765 HPS. On the HPM side, FoL costs 307.58 MPS, while HL costs 1019.408 MPS. That gives FoL 19.21696 HPM per second and HL 9.4458 HPM per second. That’s a -huge- difference for mana use, but also a -huge- difference in healing. FoL spec leans heavily on the mana efficiency side of the equation and HL spec leans heavily on the throughput side of the equation. The kicker comes in the fact that you don’t need the sort of HPM you get from FoL if you are using your mana regen skills effectively. You end up having an over-abundance of mana and start coming in really short for potential throughput.
Ability to keep tanks alive: This one is more math based that some might think. I’m currently going through the parse from the Lich King encounter (shown here) and I’m seeing that Soul Reaper had an average initial hit of 30798.7 damage with an average tick of 27091.9 damage five seconds later, even with multiple cooldowns up at once. This happens throughout phases two and three, in addition to the average 19905.6 damage melee swings. Looking at the numbers I calculated above, how can HL spec be anything -but- better for keeping the tanks alive? I’m trying to find the Lich King’s average DPS, but I don’t seem to see it. What I can say is that, given the heavy damage in all the most difficult fights, FoL spec seems more a detriment than anything. Couple this with the fact that nearly all fights have lulls where it is safe to regen your mana, the HPS loss for HPM is more than unnecessary. Damage in WotLK has been incredibly spikey, something the developers are trying to move away from in the next expansion. Spike damage of that nature means that your tank may go from 100% health to dead in 2 seconds. Given that, logic dictates that fast, big heals are of more use than a steady stream of smaller ones.
Promoting the use of one spell: Let’s face it, both specs do this. The major difference is that FoL spec can’t support pure HL spam, whereas HL spec completely supports FoL spam. There are fights where I almost cast nothing -but- FoL in my HL spec. Going back to my average HPS calculations (taking into account my current gear and glyphs), I can pull about 5209.515 HPS using FoL. That’s right, my average FoL HPS is only 702 less than what a fully geared/gemmed FoL user sees. The main difference is that when the big hits start coming in, I can pump out a steady stream of big heals for much longer than a FoL specced user could.
Stat disparity: This is an interesting problem, similar to the issues that Disc priests have. What I mean by this is that there comes a point in gearing where only two stats will improve your healing for FoL specced paladins, those being critical strike and spellpower. The other two stats found on gear are considered wasted, because they do no help improve your healing. Haste beyond the 676 cap is considered wasted because you can’t cast faster than 1 second due to the GCD. MP5 is considered wasted because FoL is so mana efficient and HL usage is sporadic, not constant. HL spec, however, sees no stats as wasted so long as a healthy balance of MP5 to crit is maintained. It makes gearing more mindful, rather than just “is it high ilevel with crit on it?” It also means there is less waste in item budget, allowing paladins to get more bang for their buck.
– Less math based reasons –
FoL is boring: It bores the life out of me! It’s a slightly speedier version of Whack-a-Mole, only without the fun elements of getting to see huge crits and lots of little numbers from the splash. It also reduces the amount of regen skills I need to use, meaning fewer Judgments and less general time spent looking at my mana bar. Timing my Pleas well and often, running in to sneak melee swings between casts… these are all things that give me something to do that isn’t straight up heal spam. Yes, I could still do them while hitting FoL, but the point is I don’t have to, so I’m liable to get lazy. I know, I’ve seen myself do it. I want my big numbers and my need for tight mana control. It’s the only way to keep myself interested with the repetitive nature of healing.
Spreading out responsibility for the tanks is bad: This is another subjective one, but the last thing I want to do is to make more work for my team. I want to know that I can keep the tank(s) up all by myself and help them out on raid healing at the same time, even if it’s only with HL splash. They are busy enough as it is! This is similar to my reasoning against 51/5/15 specs; Divine Sacrifice is good for the entire raid, even if you have to lose a bit of your personal bonuses. My HL spec takes pressure off the raid healers, because they don’t have to worry about rolling on the tanks when they’re busy. They know that during single tank fights, I’ll have the tank Beaconed and be spamming a combination of fast FoLs and hard-hitting HLs (with splash!) on the raid to help them out. During two tank fights, they know I’ll have one tank Beaconed and be casting HLs (with splash!) on the tank closest to melee to give them some wiggle room in raid healing. I can help -them- with their assignments, not the other way around.
– But in the end… –
I don’t think my reasoning is going to sway FoL specced healers away from their chosen role. FoL spec isn’t for min-maxing healers, as I’ve shown with my numbers, but it is generally the non-math based reasons that sway most people towards that spec. FoL spec is “good enough,” even if it isn’t optimal.
Before anyone starts telling me that it works just fine for 10-mans, HL spec works just as well for 10s with the added bonus of working best for 25-mans. As always, my motto is “prepare for the hardest content and the rest will be just fine.” I gear, spec, and write so that I can be the very best healer I can be. That is why I don’t write about FoL spec and related tactics. From a min-maxing point of view, it -isn’t- the best healer I be.