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Mists of Pandaria’s Spirit Regen and Mana Models

One of the biggest changes that all healers need to adjust to in Mists is the change to our mana pools, and the impact that will have on our regen. In case you missed the details: Intellect will have zero affect on our total mana pool, and primarily will be used in our Spell Power calculation and Critical Strike calculation. One more time to be clear: regardless of the amount of intellect you have, you will always have the same size mana pool, it will not increase.

At 90, all Priests will have a total mana pool of 300,000 regardless of intellect. Spells will now cost a fixed percentage of total mana (changed from Cata’s “% of base mana”). This is means if Greater Heal costs you 6.6% mana (or 19,800 mana at level 90), it will always cost the same amount regarless of gear level. This addresses and interesting issue that Blizzard has always struggled with: mana cost scaling as people gear up through tiers.

Remember hitting 85 and realizing that the one greater heal you just cast seemed to cost 20% of your mana pool? Well, thats because they needed to balance mana costs so the cost scaled with gearing. Look at yourself now in Cata, probably walking around in Dragon Soul gear… one greater heal is a fraction of your mana pool. Well, in Mists of Pandaria that cost is going to feel the same at just hitting 90 and being geared to the teeth in full T14 gear.

This also impacts how we look at our regen as well, and means that mana regen abilities that used to scale with our gear will not do the same in Mists of Pandaria. Take Shadowfiend for example: Shadowfiend restores 3% mana per swing. Well, in Cata this 3% scaled as your mana pool got bigger, increasing the value of Shadowfiend’s regen as you geared up. Well… in Mists, it will still be 3% per swing, however since our mana pool will not increase that 3% per swing at Level 90 is 9,000 mana per swing. That is 9,000 mana as a fresh level 90 in quest greens, or in full Tier gear. The same logic applies to Hymn of Hope, Innervate, and all the other “percent of mana” restorative abilities.  Since these are now essentially fixed amounts of restoration, you can think of them similar to a Mana Potion: a flat amount of mana you will get back that does not scale.

What does this all mean?

Well, it means we have to look at mana a bit differently. It really will become a finite resource and the way we look at our pool will be the same regardless of gear level…. until we layer in regeneration. Aside from our static regen abilities (Shadowfiend, Hymn, Mindbender, and Mana Potions) we will have spirit based regeneration. As of the latest beta build the spirit regeneration while in combat is provided by Meditation.  Holy and Disc have their own versions of Meditation (Currently, both Holy have 50% of their spirit based regen, continue while in combat), while Shadow does not have a spirit based regen model while in combat. (their primary regen is through Vampiric Touch).

This means, Disc and Holy will need to look to Spirit as their go-to stat for regeneration.

Every priest, regardless of spec, spirit level, or combat status will have an innate baseline regeneration amount. This is 2% of Total Mana every 5 seconds. After backing into the ratio in the charsheet, Spirit, is worth 1.1287 MP5.  This then allows us to back into our formula:

Combat Regen = Total Mana *0.02 +(1.1287*SPI*Meditation%) 

Now that we have our formula, we can take a look at how spirit as a stat will scale for both specs. Baseline, they have equal regen based on spirit. However, it is important to note that Disc still has the Specialization ability Rapture. Putting my personal feelings about this ability aside, Rapture now creates a really tricky balancing act for the developers to keep Discipline’s mana in check.

What Rapture provide’s Discipline, isn’t necessarily “regen”, but when Power Word: Shield is used on Rapture’s cooldown, it provides a Shield at a very reduced cost. This is because when the Shield is fully consumed, the priest is restored mana based on their total spirit… essentially providing an exceptionally mana efficient shield.

At 90, with Inner Fire active, PW: Shield costs 6.1% mana or 18,300– with 10,000 spirit, attainable in the first Tier of MOP raiding, Rapture restore’s 15,000 mana, which means this shield costs 3,300 mana. Exceptionally efficient– regardless of how much it shields for.  From a scaling perspective, this could put Discipline at a marked advantage, providing them with a “free PW: Shield and additional regen” once they reach 12,200 spirit. (The point where Rapture restores the full cost of PW: Shield)


Since Combat Regen scaling is so single stat-linear now (unlike in Cata it had interaction with both Intellect and Spirit), depending on the total amount of spirit available on MoP gear, there WILL come a cross over point where there will be threshholds on where spirit will be devalued. (there is in the Cata model as well, but its less evident given that it moves based on two stats vs MoP’s single stat)

Its actually pretty easy to model since you know how much MP5 a finite amount of spirit restores, and you could make mana consumption assumptions. Its one of the downsides and follies to having total mana and the per point value of spirit equal in Quest Greens at 90, and Full Epics at 90.


The take away for everyone is:  Spirit will play a notably important role for both Disc and Holy’s mana regen model. Now, spirit, while not a direct throughput stat like Crit, Haste, or Mastery… it does provide indirect or “pseudo throughput” since you will have more mana regenerated, and thus will be able to cast more spells.

This will be different than what Disc priests  have been used to up until this point, who have always looked at Intellect as their go-to stat… However, ultimately, this new model could result in balance cross-tier if they can balance how fast Spirit/Spirit Regeneration scales in the long term. I do have some concerns that upper tier will result in so much spirit based/innate regen that this balance could tip… but time will tell.

Editor’s Comment: Updated as of 8/28/2012


Written By: on June 9, 2012
  1. Thank you for posting this! I had no idea our mana pools were going to change. Think I will update my beta tonight. I got in way too early when it was overcrowded and should try again now that it may have subsided.

  2. Nice info, thanks.

    I would like to note this:
    “For purposes of parity, you need to ignore PW:S’s spell cost, as you would have likely cast it anyway and allowing us to not factor in the mitigation it provided.”

    PW:Shield is a tricky spell. The true OP’ness came from Druid and other class mana support. This was the cause of many nerphs.

    The really tricky way in this calculation is the uncertain return. The cost is VERY high and if not fully absorbed the loss can balance things. So mana costs ARE a factor.

    Yes our mana regen MAY be higher; however, absorbs are very tricky thing. Cast a few to keep people alive and loos part of the asord and we have wasted mana.

    A strength of Disc is that we can sield targets near death as the druids/shaman/HPriests can heal them up. Loose this from the loss of mana regen will hurt the raid healing Disc Priest.

    If pure tank healing, you will receive the higher mana return; however, Raid healing DISC Priests will suffer some with a nerf. If Rapture is removed, PW:Shield’s mana cost should be adjusted some.

    1. You don’t include the cost of PW:S in the benefit of Rapture when theorycrafting, for two reasons.

      1) Talking about Rapture at all means that you were successful at proccing rapture. Rapture only procs if you use all of your PW:S. Therefore, we can say that 100% of PW:S was healing on every rapture proc. That’s healing you would have had to do anyway (and the Holy priest has to do without the benefit of also getting a rapture proc), so since it is always there we can safely ignore it. In the real world, this means Holy has a slight advantage in mana regen during down periods when you can’t get rapture procs, but that hasn’t been a problem in the past.

      2) Blizzard is balancing (as you can see from Derevka’s graphs) around less-than-perfect rapture usage. You don’t have to be perfect with Rapture for it to become overpowered. Yes, you do have to work a tiny bit harder for your regen, but once you have it, you are getting a significant advantage in regen over Holy, and Rapture isn’t that hard to get. So yes, there could be a problem here.

      I’m with Derevka. Remove Rapture. At least then, it will be BOTH Priest specs complaining about mana issues, and/or it will become more clear where Holy is bleeding mana like it does currently on live.

      1. Well summarized, Felade. The Holy/Disc balancing act has no reason for Rapture to be the variable/wild card…

      2. I agree with the generalization that omitting PW:S costs is the same as omitting Holy’s tandem healing costs. However, the generality could lose simplicity if the cost of PW:S is increased.
        I think we’ve all seen how many times Devs have attempted to curb PW:S by increasing its mana cost, particularly during Cataclysm. What I would hate to see is the cost of PW:S becomes the lever used to balance Rapture-based regeneration in a (MoP) rhealm of spirit-based regeneration. I’m not saying they will but we saw quite a few knee-jerk changes to PW:S (some warranted some not well thought out…aka PW:S spamming Holy priests for three days of glory) and I would be disappointed to see this attitude filter though into a new tier.
        This is purely hypothetical and leans closer to fear-mongering-ish presumptions than I usually feel comfortable with, but I am suspicious of Blizzard’s interest and use of Rapture.
        In summary, Rapture needs to burn in a toilet fire.

        1. The devs are definitely between a rock and a hard place with PW:S’s power and mana cost. Namely, they can’t make PW:S too weak (which would be fine in PVE, the spec has lots of other tools) because too much is tied to it in PVP. PW:S is the linchpin of Disc PVP, Disc is simply not viable without a powerful PW:S (For evidence, see Priest PVP in 4.0).

          A powerful PW:S, however, is what makes shield spam so boringly attractive. This playstyle is one they want to discourage. Beyond just being a boring playstyle, it presents balance problems: it depends way too much on absorbs rather than actual healing (so any mechanic that punishes or rewards absorbs overly affects Disc), it elevates the problem of Weakened Soul restricting the number of Disc Priests you can have, and it affects the performance of other classes (it is basically the perfect heal for sniping).

          Adding the cooldown back in the beta seemed to go over like a wet blanket. Thus, all the devs are left with as far as balance knobs is the mana cost, OR – make Priest PVP less dependent on PW:S. This would be *a really good thing* for (competitve) Holy Priest PVP, and that is also why the new Phantasm talent is *a really big deal*. The more the devs divorce Priest PVP from PW:S, the more Disc can have a sane PVE experience.

          Blizzard’s original intent was to remove Rapture. Then a whole bunch of Priests complained (probably without realizing that Rapture will be going from overpowered in the Cata model to being a big drawback, on the order of Chakra, in the MoP model, as Derevka has been pointing out the past few months) and we got Rapture back.

          I think its clear they are doing some serious work under the hood as far as mana regen goes. They’ve torn out the guts of several specs (Holy Concentraion, Judgements of the Pure, Resurgence), a few parts are still dangling from the chassis (Spirit Rapture and Revitalize) and the rest is all spread out on the floor in a giant mess.

          Personally, I think it would be cool if Rapture became a bonus healing proc, although that muscles in on Borrowed Time’s turf a bit, and might be awkward to take advantage of. It is kind of neat to be rewarded for your shields being used completely, though. THAT is a neat mechanic worth preserving. Just not the whole mana return part.

          Big post. Sorry Derevka for cluttering your interwebs.

  3. On MMO-champion today:

    Power Word: Solace (New) Strike an enemy with the power of the heavens, dealing (2,098 + 40.0% of SP) Holy damage and restoring 2% maximum mana. 40 yd range. 1.5 sec cast. Requires Level 45.

    Really dumb idea: Dump spirit for haste, weave PW:Solace into your rotation roughly every 5 seconds. That would double your base mana return (2% from base, 2% from PW:Solace every 5) giving roughly the equivalent of 10,000 spirit for holy (and around the same for disc assuming rapture mana return is going to get nerfed).

    I don’t know what haste rating for level 90 is (I’m not in the beta), but if it provides anywhere near 30% haste then you get damage for free (e.g., 30% haste lets you cast 5s of stuff + 1.5s PW:Solace in 5 seconds). I.e., if haste rating is around 500, then 10,000 haste -> 20% haste (almost there). That haste would have the benefit of extra ticks of renew for holy priests.

  4. “We’re just not seeing a big discrepancy in longevity between Holy and Disc whether they are trying to heal efficiently or inefficiently. Hopefu”lly with raids opening today, we’ll get more feedback from players trying the content to see how mana feels.”

    The guy/people they’ve got over at Blizzard playing/designing Holy Priests is either really good, or really bad. It is clear theoretically that for a modicum of effort with Rapture procs (say 30 seconds), Disc can blow Holy’s regen out of the water. To say nothing of the fact that Disc’s healing is more efficient and gives more throughput anyways right now.

    O Derevka, ye with Beta Access, go! Right this wrong done by the internet crab!

    1. As much as I think he’s off base… we’ll see what happens in the raids. I respectfully replied here:

      1. Don’t misunderstand me, I meant no disrespect to GC. He does good work. Good post.

        It just seems to me that it will be really easy to get more benefit out of Rapture than Holy will ever see with baseline Spirit. How hard is it to pop a shield every 30 seconds?

  5. I for one don’t see an issue with Rapture.

    Your graph shows that Discipline priests with 15 sec Rapture will have 30 % higher combat spirit based mana regeneration than Holy priests. At first glance that seems a lot but we also have to take into account the static not-spirit-based mana regeneration abilities (Shadowfiend or Mindbender, Hymn of Hope, and Mana Potions), Mana Tide Totem, and Power Word: Solace. Now I don’t have any numbers and they would depend on length of fight and gains from Power Word: Solace, but the total mana regeneration between the two specialisations is much, much closer than those 30 %, only marginally in favour of Discipline, I would assume.

    Also as noted before, Discipline frequently throws out high mana cost, often mana cost inefficient Power Word: Shields to prevent deaths, so a slight advantage in mana regeneration is a part of the balance.

    1. Actually you shouldnt since its available to both specs… you could, but it wouldnt materially affect the results since both Holy and Disc have Solace/MB/Fiend/HoH. It just muddies the water.

      1. You are right. And your theorycrafting is great as it is.

        My point is that 30 % advantage in combat spirit based mana regeneration provided by efficient use of Rapture, possibly, leads to “only” 5 % (or whatever the correct number) advantage in total mana regeneration. Nothing to be too concerned about, in my opinion.

        Plus, I like the Rapture mechanic. It requires additional work and attention, is probably annoying and can have random success, but it is an active mana regeneration tool, and requires skill to yield the best results.

  6. This post has been updated as of 8/28/2012

  7. You really cleared something up for me.

    looking at the 5.2 rapture “nerf” I’m not that worried. I actually don’t think it will be a nerf so much.

    makes those 2 extra spirit gems from blacksmithing profession look even tastier.

  8. Hi !

    Is the formula “Combat Regen = Total Mana *0.02 +(1.1287*SPI*Meditation%)” still accurate ? I need to be certain of that for some math i’m doing on my guides, and I can’t find this value while doing IG test (by I might be wrong, clearly).

    Thanks !

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