Posted by: Kro | April 19, 2010

(Outstretched) Healing Hands

From MMO-champion   Ghostcrawler talking about early criticism of the Paladin AOE heal “Healing Hands”

There are a lot of strange assumptions in this thread.

Our goal is for paladins to be able to raid heal. Don’t look at the designs for spells that none of you have even been able to try and conclude those mechanics can’t possibly allow you to raid heal and therefore our goal can’t possibly be met and will therefore be abandoned. It’s fine to raise concerns — that’s one of the reasons we announce stuff like this early — but some of you are trying to get a spell buffed that you haven’t even cast yet.

I will say our vision for the AE spell though is not that the paladin runs around constantly, but that you position yourself where you can do the most good. Sometimes that will be back with the healers. Sometimes that might be in the melee. Sometimes you’ll have to spread out and your group healing won’t be as efficient (in the same way a shaman’s group healing isn’t as good in the same scenario).

Tranquility is on a very long cooldown. It is not the way druids AE heal. We want to shift it from 5-person group to raid because we’d like to do that with every spell. Having to organize players by arbitrary group is a strange concept since it doesn’t actually manifest itself in the real world (in the way distance from you on the battlefield does).

We aren’t going to give paladins anything resembling Circle of Healing. One (or two) of those spells in the game is plenty.

Spirit will be a good stat to stack but only to a point. Once you can heal say a six minute boss fight without going out of mana, then any additional Spirit is pretty much wasted. At that point stats like crit start to look pretty attractive because they increase your spell’s throughput without increasing the mana cost. Maybe you’ll be able to heal someone with one cast, allowing you to swap over and heal another player. In today’s healing environment, where a lot of that excess healing will be wasted overhealing, getting a huge crit on a spell isn’t nearly as valuable.

We’ll have to see how raid healing goes. We might be okay with the tendency for groups to still assign paladins to tank healing because they are particularly good at it. What we want to avoid are those cases where a group feels like they can’t possibly keep tanks alive because they lack a paladin or they can’t possibly keep groups alive because they have too many paladins.

So a clarification on healing hands, or rather, trying to ease the early animosity for the spell.

I’ve bolded what I think is important and what I can extrapolate from this.

1. In a seemingly contradictory statement, were told it’s fine to raise concerns, however we shouldn’t ask for buffs to a spell we haven’t cast yet.

I think it’s fair to assume we can understand how healing hands will work. It’s a short-range aoe heal that is not targeted, instead it emanates from the paladin. Sure it’ll likely be used on cooldown which is great however as far as area effect healing goes it can’t possibly put paladins on par with other healers tools. We don’t need to see how much it heals for, how many targets it hits, or what encounters will look like in Cata to know this will fall short of making paladins an aoe healer.

2. Comparing shaman chain heal to this spell is laughable. Sure if every person is spread out 11 yards from anyone else itll be just as useless as chain but the difference is Shaman become useful as soon as 3 or maybe even 2 people start grouping up. Paladins on the other hand will need to constantly yell at 4 other people to quit moving and hold their healing hands the whole time. The paladin will also have to make sure his 4+ lackies take all the raid damage. So he’s not running across the room constantly.

Shamans can manage if not thrive with 4 groups of folks all over the place. If 2 groups of 8 total raiders take damage at the same time, 4 40 yards from the other 4, a paladin will have the choice of spending 10 seconds running (and not healing anything) or calling on vent for someone else to cover that healing. Priests, Druids, and Shaman all have viable tools to handle this situation. Paladins will be chained to healing one group tops.

3. Tying (our hands? ) it all together, they say they might be comfortable with the tendency for paladins to remain the assigned tank healers. They are right in that it will be a tendency but it won’t be because paladins have experience at it after doing it for years, and it won’t be because we are the premiere tank healer like we are now in WotLK. The healing dynamic will likely remain what it is today but instead of the other classes not healing tanks because paladins do it better, it will be because paladins are worse at anything else.

Does this help balance fights like Saurfang Hard where a 10 man group is severely crippled without a holy paladin.. absolutely. (and that’s a good thing.) Will there be a reason to exclude paladins because another class with perhaps less skill has better tools overall… it may be to early to tell and taking GC’s word that we shouldn’t judge a spell by its tooltip, I’ll reserve final judgement for beta.

As it stands now, healing hands is a fun sounding spell. It’s original, fits the class lore, and will involve mastery of the class to use it properly. You’ll need to know where to stand, when to move, when to be in melee or follow a tank and melee around. This is a great spell and I like it a lot, however as the solitary area effect spell for a healing class (unless they give holy paladins a passive sprint), they are going to lag behind all other healers especially in an environment where all 4 healers are given near identical tank healing ability.

I suppose I should be thankful. If they balance healing to bring the player not the class, I’ll be better suited to swap away from paladin and play priest in Cataclysm. The farther down the paladin goes, the stronger my argument for playing my fourth healing class main.

I’m still waiting for Chakra to be explained a bit more before I completely jump ship, but regardless of my plans to migrate from paladin healing, I don’t want to see holy pallys falter too much.

-edit- wanted to add something I thought of browsing some priest stuff. Would any priest trade Circle of Healing or Prayer of Healing, or Prayer of Mending (forget trading all 3) to have Holy Nova become a cast once and it goes off 4-5 times while you cast other stuff. Imagine trying to raid heal any encounter if this was your only means of healing multiple players.



  1. Should post this on the wow community forums. It would fit there.

    • Is that sarcasm because the post was whiney? (it does seem a bit whiney / give me a ponyesque).

      I haven’t spent a lot of time on the community forums lately, is there still a stigma about posts there?

      Or am I misinterpreting your comment.

      • I simply cannot understand how you can complain about a spell being previewed that hasn’t been quantified with things such as range or healing amount, nor qualified by not yet seen Cataclysm raiding encounters.

        To critisize a spell based on a brief rundown (without actual number values) of its functionality with no more than current raid encounters as your review environment is akin to calling a Cataclysm magic damage reduction talent useless because ICC encounters don’t feature magic damage as the primary source of damage.

        This type of “there’s no way it’ll work no matter the numbers or future raid encounters” type of attitude is usually reserved for entitled and short sighted community forum frequenters, not experienced and analytical minded raiders who usually provide very interesting insight into the WoW experience.

      • Let me try and help you understand where I am coming from then.

        As GC mentions, they welcome concerns. Concerns are all I offer. I wrote this post in the style of addressing GC, but it is intended to be an outlet of why I believe it won’t work.

        Of course they can fiddle with it, or give paladins another AE healing spell, but from what has been given to us so far, I give back my thoughts.

        I feel like your example is unfair as well. You are correct it would be dumb to assume a magic damage reduction cooldown would be useless because the current tier X has no big magic damage.

        However, as that relates to healing hands (a specified short range AE heal that cannot be cast on others, they must be near the paladin), the raiding model where healers and ranged do not always stand next to each other, and raid healers are often expected to cover more than a select few players, I’d guess you can see the difference.

        I dont believe you are suggesting I should leave open the chance that all Cataclysm encounters will have all the ranged holding hands with healers in a small group. I also find it out of the realm of possibilty that in Cataclysm we will be taking 10 healers all required to only heal a few people around them.

        They want paladins to be raid healers as stated in the quote so I will assume the heal amount is comparable to other AOE heals in relation to HP and damage taken in Cataclysm. A quantified (if non specific to the yard) range has been given; Short.

        As healing hands is presented, and with the ability to extrapolate information and project it to a similar but variant situation I’m comfortable saying that whats been presented won’t work.

        If Healing Hands makes it into Catacylsm conforming to what they have already said about it, paladins do not receive another raid healing ability, and paladin healers are perfectly acceptable raid healers in whatever raid environment changes we see in cataclysm, then I will gladly eat my words.

        I’m comfortable that my opinion will stand up though.

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