Monday, February 16, 2009

Mana Regeneration Nerf and Healing Fun

A few days ago developers announced that mana regeneration will most likely be nerfed in content patch 3.1, since they believe it's currently too powerful.

A list of some of the changes in short:
  • Decreased mana regeneration outside the five second rule.
  • Reduced mana regeneration granted by spirit across the board.
  • Boosted effect from spirit regen ---> mp5 abilities/talents.
  • Increased healing penalty on Divine Plea from 20% to 50%.
  • Spiritual Attunement won't be as effective for holy paladins anymore.
  • Clearcasting procs won't keep you out of the five second rule.
  • Raids will be balanced with the assumption that replenishment will be present.

The changes should have the following impact on the different healing classes:

  • Druids and priests: Will be less tempted to regen mana outside the five second rule. The change to clearcasting procs will make it harder to remain outside previously mentioned rule. Intensity/Meditation will be buffed so that mana regen within the five second rule will remain roughly the same as before the nerf. Will have more issues recovering mana out of combat (have to drink more).
  • Paladins: Will not have a very favorable mana regen in encounters with heavy raid damage, and thus have a more even mana regen. Divine Plea will not be cast mindlessly anymore.
  • Shamans: Won't be affected much by the nerf. The other classes will be brought down to the shaman class in terms of mana regeneration.

Nerfs to mana regeneration has happened several times since the dawn of the game, and this won't likely be the last time. I agree with the developers that mana regeneration needs to be kept in check. While it's never fun to be nerfed, it's not fun to never have to think about mana either. A mana regen nerf will mean that mana efficient spells will have a comeback, and with them come a new level of skill: to know when to use the appropriate spell. So in this case a nerf = more fun.

However in some ways I don't agree with how they choose to nerf mana regen. For instance how they nerf the potency of mana regen outside of the five second rule. First off making the most out of out-of-casting regen takes some skill, but most of all it's fun. Do healers need less fun at this point? I can hardly believe my eyes when Ghostcrawler say, after all the talk about mana regen nerfs, that they'd like for healers to be able to pause without disaster as a result... Ehm, wouldn't the five second rule be a nice incentive to take it easy? The current changes bring spirit closer to mp5. Depending on how much they choose to nerf regen outside of the five second rule, they might not be encouraged to pause at all.

By the way, isn't it about time that Intensity/Meditation become baseline for druids/priests? They were as must-have as talents get for balance/resto/disc/holy/shadow even before the buff. After the buff it's just silly...

What's next on the agenda...ah yes, replenishment. I like the idea of replenishment. I don't like how they are making it mandatory for raiding. What happened to "bring the player, not the class"? A mandatory replenishment goes against this goal, and it doesn't even make raiding more fun in the process. It would be better for the game if it was made into a minor buff that a few classes brought as a bonus, and that replenishment is balanced around existing mana regen instead of mana regen getting balanced around an imbalanced replenishment.

They said the high mana regeneration at the moment devalues the ability. I'd say that the pathetic raid difficulty at the moment devalues the ability. In Ulduar we will see replenishment's true colors, and I'm certain it will be deemed overpowered at that point.

On the bright side, paladins have so far been nerfed in ways that doesn't make them less fun to heal with. The change to Divine Plea should even make things more interesting and fun. Wish that druids and priests could recieve the same treatment.

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