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Holy Word: Sanctuary – Scaling in Mists of Pandaria

Holy Word: Sanctuary has been a spell that has been in flux since its introduction at the start of Cataclysm… and that continues to happen even on the Beta–  HW: Sanc has undergone a few changes in preparation for Mists of Pandaria, one of which Ghostcrawler commented on from a question I posted in the Beta Class Feedback Forum.

 ”Sanctuary should scale with haste like Efflorescence. It just adds more ticks.” 

Well, I must say I was pretty darn excited! It didn’t make sense that it didn’t scale from haste previously.  I quickly logged into the beta to test out the breakpoints I had previously calculated and to see these additional ticks at work…

But wait… they added Haste scaling, but took away mastery’s scaling from HW: Sanctuary. Noooooo!  I then broke out our handy-dandy spreadsheet and started to crunch the numbers trying to answer the questiosn: What does this change mean? Is it a net buff or a net nerf? How does this impact our gearing choices? 

First I looked at 3 breakpoints assuming NO raid haste buff:  and that worked out to a net healing loss of ~25.58% at the first gained tick. It wasn’t until the second additional tick of Sanctuary where having Haste Only scaling work out about neutral to Mastery Only scaling, and it wasn’t until the third tick where haste started to creep ahead. (note: Haste breakpoints are available under Resources Menu: here)

Now, since most of us here are raiders, we can probably assume we’ll be running with a raidwide Haste Buff (provided by Shadow Priests, Moonkin,  and Elemental Shaman), which tilts the numbers slightly making haste better than mastery, but only specifically at certain breakpoints, before or after a break you fall behind what we .

Below is a chart illustrating the scaling of Haste Only and Mastery Only for HW: Sanctuary. I used a 2,000/tick healing point, but because these numbers scale linearly, the scaling is the same regardless if you used 1,000/tick or 50,000/tick. Each tick is capable of critically healing, but for purposes of analysis, and the fact that Holy will not be stacking crit analyzing crit’s RNG impact will not be done.

Now, of course if we look at JUST HW: Sanctuary, Haste seems devalued between breakpoints. The argument is moot, however, since Haste (and crit)  is  the combat stat that scales HW: Sanctuary. The biggest thing to look at is the trend line in these charts. It scales pretty similarly, and works out about the same…  So overall its a nerf at the interim points. However, interim haste ratings, will increase the HPS of Sanctuary by increasing the speed in which it ticks, but not adding additional ticks and thusly not affecting HPM.

At the end of the day, the change really won’t be a huge change to the HPM of the spell, and works out pretty close to nuetral. (ie. At the 4,717 haste breakpoint, the difference is under 2%) It does mean we will be looking at Haste a bit differently since we’ve now “lost” a spell that is affected by Mastery and gained one now affected by Haste….  Breakpoints are important to know, particularly if it means that a simple gem swap or reforging into haste to hit that breakpoint. (Of course, providing you are using the spell that is reaching that breakpoint).

All this analysis is done with the point of showing the change, not that Mastery is better— why? Well because Mastery does not affect HW: Sanctuary any longer… haste does. We have no choice, this is the stat that scales the spell and this is how the stat interacts with it.

From my raid testing, Mastery is still a potent stat for us, and will be the go-to stat for Healers in between attainable Haste Breakpoints.

Commentary and Concerns About HW: Sanctuary’s Scalability -

If you compare HW: Sanctuary to the current Live version, it has scaled the least of our spells from 85 to 90, has regained its 6 Target+ DR, and has lost its CD reduction from Tome of Light– I would much rather see its mana cost increase, and output increase as well… since right now there is little incentive to use Sanctuary unless you have surplus mana to burn.

This chart and post has been updated as of Beta Build 16004, and includes the changes to HW: Sanctuary extending to 30 second duration. You’ll notice that this affects and makes early haste breakpoints easier to hit.


Written By: on July 28, 2012
  1. Remember that while Healing Rain can have near 100% uptime, it is so mana prohibitive relative to Shaman regen that you’re unlikely to see it used with anywhere near the uptime that you see in DS.

    I actually feel the same way in raid testing about Healing Rain that you do about HW: Sanctuary; it is generally not worth casting unless you have excess mana and the raid is heavily stacked.

    1. With exception that HR’s HPM is better than that of Sanc…. especially after you layer in haste/mastery scaling- after layering that it, it actually becomes substantially different. I don’t want to turn this into a pissing contest over HR vs Sanc (though Sanc is pitifully weak; especially in comparison). My main concerns are related to long term scaling and Tome of Lights absence.

  2. My issue with this spell is that it is still so hard to get decent healing out of it in a 10 man except in the most stack-friendly situations, and that our healing is balanced around the throughput we get from this spell…throughput we don’t see a benefit from in 10 mans quite as much.

  3. So with the low throughput and high cd on HW: Sanc, do you think it’s just an oversight by Blizzard? Also without Tome of Light won’t all HW spells have a ridiculous cd? I think it’ll probably change before MoP is released to be something like what it is on live without 4p t13 and scale with haste. If not I will be highly disappointed as HW: Sanc is one of the coolest spells in the priest spellbook (especially with the awesome animation it has :D ). From reading the beta notes, I think Blizzard has been focusing on Shadow and Disc changes more than Holy.

    Also did they change Holy mastery? I don’t remember reading anything regarding mastery but I could be wrong.

    1. No change really. What makes you say that.

      They changed the way it works on the Character Sheet…

  4. I wouldn’t mind seeing this as a 1 min CD that lasts 10 seconds but actuallys heals people rather than tickle their feet.

    Also, if this is another spell that doesn’t interact with Mastery, how come our mastery gain is the least of all – 1.5% for Paladins, 1.5% for Druids. We get 1.25% (as a HOT of all things!) improved throughput for 600? Mastery rating on some spells vs Paladins getting 1.5% as a Shield! on some spells and Druids turn that into just passive 1.5% on all spells (practically passively at this point now Harmony is 20 secs).

    I know we also get 10% throughput from EOL baseline, but that just means that come T16 all our Mastery is giving us so much less in the form of a HOT!!!! compared to other healers.

    1. The other problem I have with Sanc is that it is 18 second duration – really how often can people stick together for that long?

      Holy is really missing throughput increasing tools á la Divine Favour, AW, Ascendance so please thurn this into a powerful 1 min CD that has a short duration.

  5. Updated to latest build with 30 sec duration.

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