Few thoughts on some GC comments today.
Resto Shaman are in a bad spot; behind in most metrics, including the weakest raid CD in 25s. They need some love in 5.4
What metrics? We find HPS is a poor way to evaluate healer power. Healing often doesn’t come down to just button mashing. (Source)
HPS is a huge metric in what healers are brought to raids only next to utility/absorb, why is it poor viewing?
The job of healers is to keep the raid alive, not heal as much as they can every second. (Source)
HPS can be a useful measurement in that discussion, but too many forum posts and tweets want to equate HPS with “healerness.” (Source)
For example dps < dmg done to the correct target. Topping the meters is fairly easy…
I feel the need to repeat this every so often: HPS from aggregate sites is not a great way to measure who is the best healer. (Source)
Many raid leaders have a good sense for who their reliable healers are, but not the kind of thing that shows up from a simple Raidbots link. (Source)
WoL and Raidbots were some of the best… and worst… tools to put in the hands of the community. (Source)
How about the metric that every shaman that is posting on the forums is all but begging for your attention for change.
That’s not really a useful metric and it’s one shared by all healers. (Source)
This is why a forum discussion of strengths and weaknesses of *all* healers interests me more than the class forum thread. (Source)
Class forums have a propensity for: Bliz has no direction for us, never plays us, doesn’t respond to our threads. (Source)
Stick with class forums for discussions of gems etc. If you want to talk power, do it where other classes will respond IMO. (Source)
TL:DR; Don’t look at healing meters to just a Healer’s usefulness.
This got me thinking, what is the best universal metric for a healer’s usefulness? A useful metric depends a great deal upon what kind of comparison you’re trying to do. Healing meters are often used as a measure of how good healers are for several reasons. The most common is a situation about classes not knowing the mechanics of other classes. This can come in the form of mainly DPS or Tank players trying to judge which healers are performing the best or other healing classes trying to judge how good their class is in comparison to other classes without knowing what the other class’s mechanics are. It can even be the case that the player doesn’t know enough about their own class and believes their class to be weaker than others simply by looking at numbers. Typically people stick to one or two classes for serious raiding or they only prefer to play DPS or Tank classes so it’s very common that misinterpretations happen when taking only healing meters in to concern.
But why do healing meters matter at all? Every time we say “Healing Meters don’t mean anything”, what do we actually think means something? I would rather rephrase the statement to “Healing Meters don’t mean everything” but then I guess that would also suggests that Healing Meters mean a majority of things but you get my point. This is also the part where people start throwing the term “raid utility” around. For example, resto shamans have a lot of “raid utility” despite their low HPS. As GC probably knows, the multitudes are ready to gather their pitchforks and torches at a single poorly used adjective which (ironically) in this case (by my opinion) is the word “poor”. Healing meters are not a great measure of how good a healer is but they are one of the measures and a valid measure at that. I do not mean that how good a healer is can be measured by just one parameter. High HPS doesn’t always just mean button mashing and I am only saying this because it seems that every time the healing meters argument is brought up this is a criticism of it. Part of the time, high HPS means a lot of useful healing. “The job of healers is to keep the raid alive, not heal as much as they can every second.” is true in it’s minimalist interpretation but a fair amount of the job of keeping people alive is to heal as much as you can.
Part of the situation in terms of socially is that so many players out there are so ready and willing to blame Blizzard and stone any other healer who comes in to their class forums to discuss a comparison to a different class. This is often because those other players are also antagonistic and defensive of their own opinions typically something along the lines of “your class don’t need no buffs” without really understanding either their target’s class or their own class. Much of the useful discussion is camouflaged by endless pages and pages of class complaining about Blizzard, complaining about other classes and immediately discrediting anyone that attempts to say anything different. After all, why complain if you have nothing to complain about? It would be awesome to distill all of this atmosphere down to an intelligent discussion between healer classes who understand the mechanics of multiple classes and are ready to argue about ways to change to their class rather about nothing that can be changed at all.
Back to the main point of this post, what are some of the other measures with which ‘healer power’ can be judged? I can name a few things off the top of my head but by no means everything. The first situation listed is one in which the measure has helped in keeping people alive and second is one which it has not.
- Mana return, which is both individual and synergistic or has “raid utility” value. For example, in healing setups where there is a resto-shaman, other healers need not worry overly about their spirit and can focus some of their stats into other secondary stats or intellect. Individually, a healer who has a lot of mana return can literally do the same thing. Mana returns show up in the logs but in terms of HPS, the person with the mana return spells do not always have the highest HPS. Hence a good example of “healing meters don’t mean everything”. Taking the example of a resto-shaman providing a mana-battery:
- Situation 1: Fight is extremely mana intensive, without mana tide healers would run out of mana at various parts during the fight resulting in deaths.
- Situation 2: Healers are fine on mana throughout the fight either being able to regen enough mana even with gemming out of spirit in between damage phases so more mana return doesn’t contribute to those healers keeping people alive.
- Damage reduction cooldowns, prevent damage from occurring but also doesn’t reveal itself in the form of healing meters and rather probably decreases effective HPS overall. This is also one of those it appears on logs but gauging whether it’s useful is hard. What? you think, who can damage reduction cooldowns be not useful?
- Situation 1: Using cooldown at the right time, preventing unhealable damage or high damage which would otherwise waste a lot of healer mana, cooldowns that might be better used in the long run.
- Situation 2: Using cooldown at the wrong time, preventing minimal damage healable with low or no mana loss overall, better used at a different time which now will require more healer mana and other cooldowns to heal through
- Player saving cooldowns, things like Lay on Hands, Hand of Protection, Void Shift, Dispersion (yes saving yourself is also saving someone healers), Pain Suppression, etc…these kinds of things make minimal impact if you just look at healing meters but could be saving pulls which saves time.
- Situation 1: Using this at the instant someone would otherwise die which is pretty hard to determine precisely but you can kind of do this by listening to your other healers go “Heal the TANK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” then after using it for them to go “There’s the lay on hands.”
- Situation 2: Using this any other time which in some cases could end up wiping a raid lolz.
- Performance related skills, unrelated to class and better performing players may end up decreasing overall HPS or increasing HPS depending on what they’re better at. This in my opinion is the main reason why healing meters are not everything. Even though these days screwing up on mechanics is typically unhealable an example of this could be standing in sand pools on Horridon for 2 ticks. The ones that kill you will obviously impact healing meters. On the other hand if you’re really bad at mechanics and are constantly running around to avoid things at the last second you will probably see a drop in healing from all the movement. Also in this category are things such as anticipating damage which will likely increase your HPS. Unfortunately for absorb classes, we’re more likely to have our high effective HPS be attributed to simple button smashing because the fact of the matter is without any type of knowledge about how to play your class, simple button smashing does now increase HPS more than less button smashing. Knowing stat priorities and spell priorities are a given in this and kind of the first steps needed to master the class. This obviously has a positive impact on HPS.
- Situation 1: Anticipate movement, minimize unneeded movement, knowing when to use healing cooldowns, a lot of other things
- Situation 2: Dying, taking useless damage, spamming your spells which does mean increasing HPS, but doesn’t mean a better player
- Class related spells such as Purification (I think) from shamans which increases base health and may sometimes be that last chunk of health needed for a heal to go off and save a tank life. I don’t think there are any non-passive healing spells so this can’t really be controlled. Some other related spells might be the other shaman ability Ancestral Vigor which heals for more at lower life %. This does not translate directly to HPS either which probably explains a lot of why Shamans tend to have lower HPS on Raidbots or World of Logs especially in farm. Lets just take the Ancestral Vigor example and show how it can be useful and not useful:
- Situation 1: Progression fight, people are standing in things everywhere, tanks are undergeared and taking more damage
- Situation 2: Farm fight, people don’t stand in things they’re not supposed to stand in, everyone is overgeared
I apologize for kind of a sloppy job on describing these things. Part of the reason is these types of measure are a lot more subjective to what kind of fight it is, how well people are geared, how well people player and many other things which are a whole log harder to gauge than looking at a single number on a meter. The effect of doing these things rights has a relationship to healing meters but the relationship is not always positive. I think the best way to think about healing meters is that it is a summary of the fight with lower numbers not necessarily meaning worse healer and higher numbers don’t necessarily mean better healer. You can kind of compare how good healing meters are at telling how good a healer to how good a report card is at telling how intelligent a person is. More intelligence is just like a better healer, the qualities are hard to list exactly and the report card is only one indication of a huge number of different actions.
Anyways would love to hear opinions on this topic and would definitely love to see some combined discourse from different classes of healers who actually want a good multi-sided discussion. Waiting on the next build to be released in the next few days 🙂