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Friday, March 4, 2011

[4.0.6] Self-Heals, They Ain't Only For Ferals Anymore


Remember when self-healing melee was something primarily associated with Feral Druids?  It made sense, of course, since Druids draw their power from Nature and who wouldn't expect magical Bears and Cats to have remarkable healing powers?

Over time, the other melee DPS from classes that can heal, Shaman and Paladin, have gained increased abilities to heal themselves.  I am cool with that.  Again, any class that has magical abilities to heal should be able to tap those in a limited form even if they are melee DPS.

Well, now we are in a strange new world where self-healing is the norm for melee DPS, even the ones from classes that can't heal:
  • Death Knights - all specs have the self-healing of Death Strike, and Blood DKs have ridiculous abilities to heal themselves
  • Rogues - they have gained the surprisingly potent Recuperate, which will be buffed in 4.1 (although those with two points in the Improved Recuperate Talent will see no change)
  • Warriors - they had some self-healing that was generally on the low side; then they got a big pulse from Victory Rush and some time during Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK) Blizzard decided that Warriors needed a big heal button just like Druids and they were given Enraged Regeneration, which is many ways superior to the Druid's Frenzied Regeneration.
So, how does this compare with our Leader of the Pack Talent? You did know that we actually have to buy the ability, right?  Yes, us Nature-empowered magical beasts have to invest a Talent point for our ability to self-heal. /sadface

All righty, let's start with Death Knights.  Aesthetically, I have to concede that the notion of Death Knights draining the life force of others is nothing new.  It has been present in multiple iterations.  They can heal for a minimum of 7% of their maximum health with each Death Strike.  This is a class-wide ability.  For the most part, that means at least 14% of their Health every 10 seconds, which kicks the crap out of LotP.  My only real complaint would be that they simply do it too well/easily for undead creatures that are not actual Vampires.

Giving Rogues a self-heal really blew my mind.  LotP gives a Feral Druid a maximum of 4% of their Health every 6 seconds.  The basic Recuperate in 4.0.6 gives 2% of their health every 3 seconds.  While Rogues need to burn combo points, Ferals need to score critical hits in melee, so as soon as we stop hitting something, our self heals come to a dead stop and, given the timing of crits, it is virtually impossible that we will ever maintain the maximum healing rate.  So, out of the gate, every Rogue can self-heal for more.  If it's Talented, it jumps up to 4% per 3 seconds, or TWICE what a Feral Druid can do.  On top of that, the Talent confers a 6% damage reduction.

In 4.1, the baseline Recuperate will jump up 50% to "3% per tick".  However, the Improved Recuperate Talent will come down to 0.5/1% bonus, meaning they will still heal for the same amount.  So, every Rogue will be able to self-heal for significantly more than a Feral Druid.

Warriors.  They have had some self-healing Talents for some time, but I never really paid attention.  I cannot imagine for a moment how it makes any sense whatsoever for a Warrior to have a self-heal.  They are completely non-magical in every way.  They are not spell users, they are not Jedi-like characters, they are not like the Physical Adepts of Shadowrun that channel magic to enhance their bodies and physical abilities.  They are guys that wear heavy armor and swing weapons around.

I comprehend the desire to convey a Berserker type of character, but I would STRONGLY argue that when you think of that, a Warrior is probably the wrong person.  The canonical Berserker comes from the Celt armored only in blue paint, or the ancient German tribesman clad mostly in animal skins.  The premise being that they are so fired up that they get into the fray and slaughter things before they get killed, avoiding the damage or simply not caring about it until they drop dead.  Admittedly, Last Stand fits this concept, but it just doesn't make sense for the guy clomping around in Plate.  But I digress.

So how can Warriors self heal?  Well, everyone of them now has Enraged Regeneration, which I stated is superior to Frenzied Regeneration, the ability from which it was copied (sort of).  You see, Warriors had  Last Stand and Bears were hurting for a lack of survival cooldowns, abilities that allowed us to weather large spikes in damage.  Well, as the bastard children of Warriors (mechanically-speaking) one of the abilities given to Druids was a Last Stand-like ability with a Druid twist.  We got the same ability with Frenzied Regeneration, but it also came with a self-heal.

Historical note:  This used to work a little differently.  Survival Instincts raised your Health and  Frenzied Regeneration was just a heal.

Well, time passed and someone decided that Warriors need a heal that copied the Bear's Frenzied Regeneration.  So they gave it the rather unimaginative name Enraged Regeneration.  If you do the math, if Frenzied Regeneration heals us for the maximum amount possible, then it heals us for 30% of our maximum health, just like a Warrior's Enraged Regeneration, but it consumes 100 Rage in the process.  Warriors can pretty easily pop into an Enrage state, so their Enraged Regeneration is superior in the sense that it costs no Rage, so they can be sure it will heal for the full amount, and they can reliably activate it whether or not they have Rage, even out of combat.

It is worth noting that all Druids have access to Frenzied Regeneration.  All Warriors have access to Enraged Regeneration (the heal), but you have to be a Protection  Warrior to pick up Last Stand (the ability to temporarily increase your Health Pool).  HOWEVER, you have to be in Bear Form, generating Rage for Frenzied Regeneration to work.

But that's not all of the healing they have.  Arms Warriors, and anyone who wants to dip 7 points into Arms Talents, can get Second Wind, which has a self-heal.  Fully Talented, it actually give 5% of your Health over 10 seconds, which matches LotP.  Yes, you have to get struck by a Stun or Immobilize, but in PvP, that's so bloody common, I could imagine this heal being active most of the time.  So, this puts Arms Warriors in the same ballpark as Ferals.

Fury Warriors get two self-heals.  The first, Blood Craze, only requires 3 Talent points in the first Tier of Fury, so really any Warrior can pick it up.  It heals for 3% Health over 5 seconds, which is better than a Druid, but it only has a 10% chance to be triggered from damage.  I am not sure how much that stays up in combat if the Warrior is not being focused.  However, Fury Warriors also get a self-heal from one of the DPS abilities that they tend to spam, Bloodthirst.  Since Fury Warriors dual wield two-handed weapons and I am not sure if this is triggered by special attacks, I am not sure how fast those heals happen.  If they were consumed before the next Bloodthirst, then that would be 1.5% Health every 3 seconds, which, all by itself, would match Feral self-healing.

So, there you have it.  With the advent of Death Knights in WotLK and the changes to Rogues in Cataclysm, Ferals are barely competitive in the self-healing department...and definitely not at the front of the pack.

In researching the above, I had this weird thought...Fury Warriors are better at being Feral than Feral Druids are.  /sadpanda

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