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.