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Mists of Pandaria – Priest Regen Talent Choices

Important Comment as of  8/28/2012: This post is updated through 7/30/12, and will be updated after 5.0.4 to reflect the changes from Beta to Live. Additional information will be made available on our Resources pages (Menu at the top of the site). 

Regen will be a big part of our playstyle and gearing in Mists, so it is important to understand how each of our regen abilities work. I think we’ve covered and understand how Spirit and Rapture work from my previous post (here). But let’s take a look at the talent choics in our Third Tier that is available at Level 45.

**note that this post has been updated on 7/30/12 to contain data from Beta Build 15913**

From Darkness Comes Light – FDCL is arguably the hardest talent to quantify the amount of mana we ‘regen’, since it mostly is a mana savings ability. That said is is the least predictable source of mana regeneration since it purely revolves around RNG. Additionally, for FDCL to proc you have to be casting one of the required spells to trigger it— depending on your role, casting a Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, or Smite might not be something you do with much regularity (ie. If you are primarily raid healing). If that is the case, you might not proc FDCL often enough to benefit from it. If you are doing a lot of Single Target Direct Heals (STDH) , and have good RNG on the proc, it could work out greatly to your advantage. And for Holy priests, FDCL’s free-Flash Heals, also can translate into discounted Greater Heals and Prayer of Healings via Serendipity.

Mindbender – We’ve seen this little critter get changed a number of times over in the last several builds– most recently increasing it from 1% to 1.3. (though the math seems to be using 1.33…%) The first thing to keep in mind is that this replaces Shadowfiend. If you do not spec into this, you will still have access to baseline Shadowfiend. The latest incarnation has it have a 60 second cooldown, and restore 1.3% mana per swing. The biggest boon with this change is that we can cast it more often (well, duh)… It gives you greater uptime of the spell, despite per CAST Shadowfiend restores more mana. The fact that you get more off in a given encounter is the critical point.  That said there are some issues with both Shadowfiend and Mindbender. We should be able to assume SF would give us 8 swings (3% regen per swing), and MB would give us 10 swings (1.3% regen per swing). Even with 0 Haste (remember MB/SF swings are affected by haste, so it is possible to get MORE than 8 or 10 swings) you can be ‘shorted’ swings and in turn result in less mana restored. For purposes of analysis, we are going to assume we don’t lose (or gain) swings.

Power Word: Solace – A 2 second cast that simply restores 2% of our mana back. Currently, even if you miss damaging the target with the spell, you are still granted the 2% mana back. (Resto Shaman everywhere just screamed… since missing a TC Lightning Bolt was painful). For priests who are comfortable with ‘weaving spells’ (e.g. Atonement Priests in Cata), this could be a net gain back for you. The question is, will you be GCD capped too often that you won’t be able to weave these back in. That said, potentially the biggest strength of PW: Solace is its granularity in the method it regens (ie. you dont have to worry about holding off on the spell to ‘cap’ your mana pool).

Ok lets take a look at some of the numbers— for purposes of this analysis, lets ignore Haste as it will provide scaling for all 3 options, and any ‘Free/Discounted Heals’ provided by FDCL will be consumed as raw healing.

Per Proc/Cast Analysis – Data

From Darkness Comes Light – when proc’d is worth a free Flash Heal, at a mana value of  19,800. (A each Stack of Serendipity provides a discount of 1980 on GH, and 1500 on POH.) Per proc “Regen” is worth 19,800 for Disc and 21,300 – 21,780 for Holy. We will not deduct the cost of the spell that proc’d FDCL as that is a sunk cost. (The same reason we do not count PW:S’s cost into Rapture regen assumptions). Average regen: Disc at 19,800 and Holy at 21,540

Mindbender – provides ~40,000 (rounded due to repeating) mana per cast.

Shadowfiend – (remember if you don’t spec MB, you  still have SF!) provides 72,000 mana per cast.

Power Word: Solace – provides 6,000 mana per cast.

Potential Simulation and Theoretical Mana Returns

Now that we have a per cast, calculation we need to equalize the information (for ease of consumption, we will use a per minute comparison). Additionally we will need to make assumptions regarding FDCL procsrate, and the number of possible PW: Solace casts you could weave in during a given period of time. Additionally, the FIGHT DURATION is important, as you may or may not be able to get full use of Shadowfiend. (ie. 2 minutes left on CD of Shadowfiend… Mindbender would have had 2 additional casts). To equalize that, let’s take a look at a 5 minute fight. (This is typically the standard fight assumption). (2 casts of Shadowfiend, and 5 casts of Mindbender) Perhaps most importantly, we need to keep this haste nuetral as you must create a constant.

Lets look at these one by each, first the easiest comparison….

Mindbender vs PW: Solace…. Ready? Fight!!!

Lets take a look at the lowest common denominator… a 3 minute fight, where you get 1 Shadowfiend and 3 Minbenders– aka Advantaging Mindbender as much as possible given the synching of CDs. This means Mindbender grants you 117,000 mana (3 casts, regenning 40,000 each). With two casts of Solace Per minute, you’ll outpace. In fact in this example, you’d only need one additional solace over the 3 minutes to match Mindbender. Simply, you’ll need 2.6667 every minute– since you can’t cast .6667 of a Solace,  any additional casts of Solace beyond your 3rd would put PW: Solace in a superior position (over the length of the fight)… again, provided you can find the GCD to not heal, and cast Solace. It might require slightly more work or planning on your part, but if you can find your way to cast additional, you’ll be able to outpace Mindbender. 

It is important to recognize that the 3 minute fight advantages Minbender as much as possible (because of the length time and how it syncs up with cooldowns). The 5 minute fight, at ~3 casts per minute is about equal to Mindbender (though slightly more) given how the cooldown of Shadowfiend lines up and ‘catches up’ any disparity in mana. The key you need to remember is that this assumption forces you to have 6 seconds (3 casts at 2 seconds per cast) with no raw cast-healing output. Inspired by some numbers that Malevica did, I want to present the information similarly so you can easily see how the fight duration impacts “which is better” at what interval, and number of Solaces.

This chart illustrates the importance of understanding the fight’s length and when/where additional Solaces might be needed.

From Darkness, Comes Light is a bit trickier… with a 15% proc chance, normalized, you would need to cast 7 qualifying spells to proc it once. Again, under zero Haste assumptions, this means (provided you are chain casting spells that could trigger the proc) the most you could get in a minute (normalized) is roughly 3 (potentially 4, depending how often you cast Smite). How likely are you going to be chain casting those qualifying heals? Not very. Normalized, you should only be experiencing 1-2 per minute…. that is, if you are remembering to cast those Single Target Heals! It really will vary depending on how much triage healing you’ll be doing, and how much AOE healing you’ll be doing. For argument’s sake lets also account for Serendipity‘s discount as well.

PPM = Procs Per Minute. FDCL numbers include Shadowfiend Regen

Now it is important to realize that FDCL, might look incredibly overpowered… but its not ‘true’ regen. Its illustrating the psuedo-regen from the fact that you could heal with that Surge of Light proc for free, and then the impact of the cost savings from Serendipity (if spec’d Holy). So, you need to ask yourself “Will I be in a raid encounter that requires me to single target heal often enough, to then need a free single target heal again? Is that the regen/mana savings I need?”

With that in mind, I foresee FDCL being powerful for Priests who are doing a good deal of single target healing; be it 5 man healing, 5 healing in raids, or raid encounters that demand single target healing… (eg. Baleroc, Spine of Deathwing…). Now we could simulate triage healing, and 15% chance of that triage healing… but making up simulations like that is a bit of a red herring. A 10,000 foot view of analysis is sufficient to get the big picture… running parses in real raid encounters is typically superior form of analysis. Besides…. maybe you do single target heal a lot in your raid group. If so… FDCL, might be the talent of choice.

Based on the facts current as of Beta Build 15882… PW: Solace still seems to be the strongest potential for regen. FDCL is the hardest to evaluate but really depends on your spell and damage design of a given encounter. (Our ability to respond to the encounters, illustrates the benefits of the MoP talent system very well). Mindbender’s buff was probably due… and it really depends on how much movement, and your ability to weave and learn how to get those PW: Solace casts in. (A simple mouseover/assist macro should make this easier for folks) Mindbender is much stronger than the previous Beta build, however has a finite amount of restoration, while Solace relies on how much YOU can cast it– thus greater potential regen.

These abilities, just like the rest of our talents we need to remember that we can respec! A measly 12 gold will allow us to buy a reagent to respec. So, if you are in a fight where you think one ability is superior… then by all means use that one over the other. The biggest change to the talent system is something that allows us to respond to the encounter:  Evaluate the encounter– look at your spec, and respond accordingly.

Written By: on June 23, 2012
  1. Here’s some additional commentary I made on the official forums to Ghostcrawler.

  2. Currently Mindbender is returning more than 1% mana. It must be affected by something else, or it is bugged. I am getting 4,008 mana per swing with 300K mana. I get 10 returns in my ilvl 432-ish gear (5% haste), and 12 returns if I cast Mindbender with Borrowed Time up (20.89% haste). Don’t forget that Mindbender can be used while channeling Hymn of Hope whereas Solace cannot. I think Solace is interesting, and probably very useful in some situations, so it is nice to have the option. What I hate is the efforts of people to declare whats “best” and if you use anything else you are a stupid priest. I feel that attitude on MMO-Champion, particularly from the elitists. I find the number crunching constructive to put spells into perspective but I loath the priests that use that to belittle others.

    1. Its bugged… you get the same awkward results when you are nude as well. You should go by the tooltip and patch notes in this example. Its simply just a bug and not hidden scaling.

      Haste: its usually considered better to theorycraft at a constant… particularly in this case since both MB and PW:S scale with haste, and nearly the same rate. It made more sense to make the data in this post digestible to not layer in even more confusion to the analysis.

      HoH is a mess, and frankly should die in a fire. The fact that its better (notably) for me to spam PW:Solace instead of channeling HOH for 8 seconds is proof alone. HoH’s affect on Mindbender is entirely irrelevant as you can just cast Shadowfiend with HoH and net more mana than you’d get with Mindbender during HoH’s buff. (Layering in HoH actually HURTS Mindbender more than helps it)

      Onto the implication that doing the analysis is sanctimonious– its hard not to take that personally. The purpose of this post is to help people understand the mechanics of the 3 choices. No where in this post did I say anyone was stupid/foolish or bad; While, I do personally think its foolish to say that you can’t find a spare cast to do 1 Solace a minute… (and as is, PW:Solace does math out to being the best choice; PROVIDED you can ‘spellweave’) Frankly, I find it offensive to the implication.

      1. I hope the sanctimonious comment is just baggage and not specifically directed at Derevka. He (and Ava when she was around) always tried to help us think for and improve ourselves.

        I’m really excited about PW:Solace, but I think FCDL may be an excellent choice for those starter heroics when we’re mostly tank healing.

        1. It actually wasn’t aimed at Derevka at all, for the record. I find Derevka’s analysis and comments to be fair and I don’t see him posting comments to just flame others. I didn’t mean to suggest that.

  3. PW: Solace looks quite strong (perhaps too strong); it depends quite a bit on fight design, but in 25 man raids, it is extremely common to be able to find time to regen and still have adequate coverage from other healers, even on relatively intense fights. Moreover, you get very fine-grained control over the regen (being able to weave it in smoothly rather than waiting until you’re low enough to not waste Shadowfiend or Mindbender). It also is better affected by haste since it won’t break down on discrete swing timers. Very strong ability. The cast time is basically the same as Mindbender, too, albeit not castable while moving.

    The new talent system definitely encourages changing between fights, meaning we’ll always be able to fall back to the less gcd-intensive choice (or, more likely, upshift to the active ability for fights with periods that afford it).

    Being able to actively control regen is a very nice skill differentiator. Much like Rapture! :)

    1. I agree completely. Well put.

      1. Well, maybe menus the Rapture bit. ;-) I still HATE it.

        1. Minus (auto correct)

    2. What I like about Solace, in particular, is that it reminds me of the old 5sr days. You have to find windows to squeak in room for regen. It made for skilled playing, and I think this really could do the same. I’m looking forward to playing around with it.

  4. Telluric Currents (and the lack of a self-only mana CD) has been one of the reasons I’ve always avoided Shaman.

    I don’t think using it is particularly difficult, but even just listening to Shamans in my raid complain about how they can’t find enough time to weave in enough lightning bolts whenever anything bad happens or the healing gets the least bit intensive. I also have a real problem with the whole idea of DPSing while healing.

    I do like how they’ve put it in the talent tree, so they are committing themselves to making sure we have 3 balanced choices (though it is clear they have some work to do). I also like that PW:Solace will always return mana, and that it has only a 1.5 base cast time (LB is too long and I think Shaman have had to take a glyph to make it always hit as Resto?)

    Honestly, with this spell being added to Priests, there is little reason that Shamans should still be without a self-only mana CD. MTT != Shadowfiend or Innervate, because it buffs the rest of the group as well as the Shaman (so it is balanced around the benefit the rest of the group gets and the Shaman will be behind in mana regen). MTT = HOH (in theory and usage). There’s a hole in the toolkit at Shadowfiend = ? for Shaman.

    I’m still concerned that we’ll be forced to take PW:Solace and that we won’t be able to find enough GCDs to make up enough mana with it, like Shamans struggle with today. But the fact that it is in our talent trees and isn’t baseline assuages my fears a bit.

    Hopefully this means Shaman will be seeing a buff or a new ability for mana regen though.

    1. Shamans have Water Shield and the procs from Water Shield when you crit with healing spells to make up for some of the regen Shadowfiend does although I’m not sure how much it returns and it also scales with gear (whereas Shadowfiend does not, I think). Also Mana Tide is guaranteed to give you mana back for the full duration of the spell where Hymn of Hope does not. I do think it would be cool if shamans got a water elemental totem to generate some mana or something.

      I think they will probably nerf PW: Solace than buff TC, because right now I don’t see how Disc priests will lose mana unless they are unable to cast an PW: Solaces at all. I see them making it a 2 second cast or something like that.

      1. Resurgence from Water Shield = HC, Rapture, JotP, Revitalize
        MTT = HoH
        ? = Innervate, Shadowfiend, Divine Plea, (TC does not go here, it is supposed to be “optional” if you like to DPS while healing)

        Because MTT buffs the entire group, it brings the Shaman up to par but gives every other healer an extra mana CD, so its pretty clear to me why Shaman are behind.

  5. I think its worth mentioning that SF + Mindbender can miss, meaning you lose out on the mana return which makes Solace even better. I’ve seen upwards of 1 of 8, and 2 of 10 misses on our little buddies which is ridiculous.

  6. See personally i dont think all of the mana regen things they are giving us now is useful. And this is my reason we now have a 300k mana pool obviously spells will cost more than live i realize that, but i can heal a complete heroic spine fight w.out mana starvation in disc or holy i just dont see why there is a need for so much concentration on regen. Specially for disc with the awful talent rapture we dont need these. I wish they’d give us better talents than regen.

    1. Did you play cata when it was released? Healing was the biggest b!tch known to man. I was the only healer in my guild willing to bash my face against the wall on heroic 5 mans. Everyone else switched to dps becuase mana and spirit came at such a premium and they couldn’t keep groups alive without going oom very quickly. PW: Solace is a godsend if heroics are going to be that difficult but I don’t think they will be. As gear gets better I’m sure you’ll see less people picking PW: Solace and more people picking FDCL. I will say that while I think disc priests don’t need this because of Rapture, Holy priests will love it, especially early in the expansion. I’m not sure if holy still has Holy Concentration but it is nice they have another form of regen besides spirit. Maybe make this a Holy Word spell exclusive to hpriests? Idk. I guess we’ll see in a few months.

  7. This post has been updated to include information from Beta Build 15799

  8. Updated again for 15882

  9. Updated again for 15913 – 7/30/12

  10. Out of curiosity – Are you accounting for the fact that free flash heals can proc another SoL, or are you figuring that that just counts as part of the however many single-target heals per minute are being cast and thus it all balances out?

    1. You have to assume it in a proc per x, otherwise you are overstating and overcomplicating the analysis.

      So it’s included in a high level average.

  11. Has this been updated for Solace being nerfed to .7% mana?

    1. Not yet. I am holding off until we get slightly more finalized information and will likely have it stored under the Resources menu here. (Top of the page)

      I just got tired of redoing all the calcs every 3 days! lol

    2. I have calc’d it out just as Derevka did. Currently you need 8 PW: Solace per min to outpace Mindbender.

  12. Lovely post, thanks a lot for the number crunching (sparing me some brain cells ;) I think every option looks pretty good and I am happy Blizzard have managed to give us skills where we can choose largely based on playstyle and fight rather than what is best. Since I am lazy and never liked FLCD I will most likely go for Mindbender, but I can see myself use Solace in the right setting.

  13. Glyphing Holy Fire and casting it on CD followed immediately by Solace provides an easy mechanism for keeping stacks of Evangelism and regaining mana. Aside from the fact that I get at least 5 Solace casts per minute (6 if I can do it exactly on holy fire cd) it really reduces the cognitive load. Hope this helps.

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