Wow, Blizzard is really passing the information out since the preview. We just got a little bit more clarification on both Hands of Healing and the Critical Healing mastery.
As paladin healers, we have almost always looked for Crit Rating/Crit Chance, etc., on gear. Esepecially since BC and WotLK was released and the addition of Illumination and Infusion of Light. Our spells become more powerful with Crit, and with already high spell coifficients on our biggest spells, we can get even more out of them with Crit. Fortunately, Blizzard seems to be following this vision and making our Crits even better.
Critical Healing (Mastery)
I’m not sure I understand the logic here. Having larger crits makes crit chance attractive on gear, but I don’t think the reverse is true. You won’t be at a disadvantage if you have high crit and low mastery because you will just crit more often. You won’t be at a disadvantage if you have low crit and high mastery because when you do crit, your heals will be larger. Crit and mastery do complement each other well and I can understand why it might be a problem if haste and Spirit weren’t attractive stats so you were pigeon-holed into just crit + mastery gear, but those should both be very good stats.
(I’m ignoring the effects of Illumination, overhealing and the (specious) argument that “crit is inherently bad because it’s RNG” to keep things simple, so let me know if any of those is key to understanding this.)
This explains the importance, yet seeming to restate the obvious again, of having Crit chance on gear. With the new Mastery system, the more crit you have, not only will you crit more often, but because of “Critical Healing Effect” you will have more heal per crit.
Also with the changes in encounters and tank damage, I don’t feel that those bigger Crits are going to be overheals as often as they are now.
Holy Light Heal – 11,000
Holy Light Crits – 22,000 (100% Crit)
Holy Light Heal – 11,000
Holy Light Crits – 27,500 (150% Crit Healing Effect Bonus)
It’s a simple concept in all reality. Now I don’t think that I have the numbers correct (percentages), but I’m just trying to help visualize the concept. I personally think that the Critical Healing Effect Mastery is going to help place us in the tank healing area, even though Blizzard is still pushing for us to escape. However, this will also affect other healing spells as well. So, our FoL, HL, and HL+ will all heal for more when they crit… but so will Hands of Healing. Since Blizzard is pushing to have all HoTs and DoTs crit, will this work with HoH as well? To tell you the truth, HoH almost feels like a self-centered AoE HoT, since it will be constantly “pulsing” from you… (as a side note, Blizzard has a thing about letting your mind slide towards the gutter when talkinga bout paladins). In this case, will each pulse have a chance to crit based on your Crit Chance? If so, this may allow for some increased usability of the spell, though some of those Crits may be wasted if not hitting a target. I’m really interested in how they develop this spell.
On this subject, another thing was mentioned as well.
Healing Hands is one of the ways we want to let paladins raid heal and it might even be the dominant way. We want to give them a group heal that isn’t Circle of Healing or Chain Heal, because we’ve already done those spells and we want to do something new here.
What we want to avoid: “Well, we don’t have our paladin tonight to heal the tank, so let’s call the raid.”
What we also want to avoid: “Well, we have too many paladins and they can’t raid heal, so let’s replace one with an undergeared alt.”
There are extremes of course. All things being equal, we’d rather you not stack too many of any one spec. We just don’t want to make it impossible to heal a raid if your group of friends just happens to have a lot of Holy paladins. (Source)
I don’t really think they are extremes, at least not in today’s PuGtastic world, where players only state what they happened to hear form their brother’s-fiancee’s-roommate’s-sister’s-boyfriend, and take it as truth. This attitude is subject for a completely different post, so I won’t get into it here (see here for example). However, I feel that it will change how raids will react when a paladin shows up to heal. Instead of simply saying “Heal target X, don’t worry about the rest”, they may instead start talking to the whole raid (if it’s a competent Raid Lead), and changing strategies slightly, based on the fact that the Paladin’s AoE heal is only at such and such range. It does allow for more flexibility in healing assignments, and a bit of utility (think mobile Healing Stream Totem).
I do fear, however, the stigma that is going to be placed on the Paladin, and the attitude of “why should we change our raid placement, simply because the Paladin can’t target his AoE?” I’ve stated this again and again, but really we can’t make any justifications or judgements yet… we just haven’t seen it in action yet.
On a side note, it will allow for us to have massive Paladin Only raids on some current content… That. Would. Be. Awesome.