Madness? This. Is. Healing Surge!

So the question came up in this thread on the WoW EU forums about Shaman throughput issues, and one of the things raised is that Healing Surge is by far and away the more “safe feeling” heal to use in-raid currently.

I decided to have a look at this from a theory-craft perspective (since I’m not in the beta, I can’t try it out) to see if there was any ground to that claim. The result is quite astonishing.

First, let’s start with what we want to know; We want to know the Heals Per Second (HPS) and Heals Per Mana (HPM) for all Shaman single-target heals [Healing Wave (HW), Greater HW (GHW), and Healing Surge (HS)] in the situation where they are used with the Shaman buff Tidal Waves active.

There are several things to consider;

  1. Critical Heals – Crits heal for twice as much
  2. Ancestral Awakening – Any Crits you get also proc another heal for 50% of the base value
  3. The Tidal Waves effect on Crit Chance for Healing Surge
  4. Making this a real calculation using actual numbers and stuff

So I used a gear list provided by Shairo starting here (same thread as before). I totted up all the Crit and Intellect and Spell Power bonuses from the gear. Using the conversion rates;

  • SP = ( (Int*1.05) – 10 )*1.1 [taking account of the Intellect and SP raid buffs]
  • Crit = 2.24% + Int/2625 + Crit Rating/600 (+ optional modifier) +5% [taking into account the 5% Crit raid buff]
  • Heal Modifier for Crit = 1 + Crit * ( 1+ 0.3 ) [1 for the 100% extra on a crit and 0.3 for Ancestral Awakening]

Using Excel, I found that in BiS Heroic Blues at the start of T14, you will have approximately;

Intellect 10291
Crit 13.6%
Spell Power 18022

Using these numbers, I calculated that we have;

Spell HPS HPM
HW 14618 5.3
GHW 26614 2.6
HS 25597 2.1
HS + TW 34170 3.1

Shown graphically;

Somewhat Unsurprising

The shown values for HPS are a little unsurprising; it’s conceivable that the HPS for Healing Surge with Tidal Waves should be the highest by nature of its high Crit chance and short cast time. It’s slightly unexpected that HS should be so close to GHW when Tidal Waves is not used for HS and Tidal Waves IS used for GHW.

Healing Wave, unsurprisingly, comes last on HPS. Now if I were to have predicted what I expected to happen on HPM, I would have said that Healing Surge should be the lowest, with HS + TW coming secong lowest, and Healing Wave at the top. Observe the shock;

Holy Whaaaaa!?

Healing Surge with Tidal Waves is FAR more efficient than Greater Healing Wave! While you won’t want to spam either of them (that’s what HW is for baby), in high damage situations you will always, always, always benefit from using HS + TW over GHW + TW. Note that when Tidal Waves isn’t up, GHW is slightly better than Healing Surge for mana, but not for HPS.

So, PROTIP:

Use Healing Surge.

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About stoove

A physicist, researcher, and gamesman. Likes to think about the mathematics and mechanics behind all sorts of different things, and writing up the thoughts for you to read. A competent programmer, enjoys public speaking and mechanical keyboards. Has opinions which might even change from time to time.
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2 Responses to Madness? This. Is. Healing Surge!

  1. Vixsin says:

    It’s worth noting, Ancestral Awakening is 30% of the value of the original heal (not 50%).

    That being said, my own calcs are pretty darn close to yours, showing TW-HS > GHW in both HPS and HPM. Including the proposed T14 2pc (reduction of the cost of GHW by 10%) brings them much closer in terms of HPM, but still we’re winding up with the Resto-only GHW as a spell that’s unlikely to see much use, if any at all.

    • stoove says:

      Thanks for the correction! I also updated my calculations for base crit of 2.24% rather than 3%. Luckily, all those modifiers affect all the spells equally so my conclusions don’t really change.

      I’d apply the mana reduction from the T14 2pc but I think for that I’d have to do a change to the gearset I used; the gear I took stats from was pre-raid Heroic Blues (supposedly BiS) – I think I’ll take your word for it.

      Honestly, I’m a little disappointed that we’re losing out on some real depth here – if there was a meaningful choice between GHW and HS then the spec would have a whole lot of depth for us to play around with – making the spec more interesting as a result. It’s completely a loss for us to have this lack of choice.

      One situation I do see GHW being useful in is having Ancestral Swiftness macro’d into it so that we get an insta-bomb on (for e.g.) the tank. OTOH, since Ancestral Swiftness seems to be **roughly** on par with Elemental Mastery, this will be on a fight-by-fight basis (hence making GHW’s usefulness fight dependent)!

      Do we know if the balance of HPS and HPM is intentional? Has this been asked on the Beta Class Balance thread on the US forums? I’m unable to do so due to not having a US account. ='[

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