Monday, June 24, 2013

Eternal Flame in 5.4

I've talked about Holy Paladins and Eternal Flame Blanketing before. It's the practice of putting 1-point EFs on many members of the raid, and relying on the fact that EF extends our mastery shield to absorb a fair bit of damage. At the time I didn't think it would be viable in raids, but it turns out that it is very viable. The majority of max healing parses for Holy Paladins feature this trick.

This isn't the way Holy Paladins were meant to be played. It's more like a Druid playstyle. Instead of being optional, Holy paladins are in danger of having this playstyle be mandatory. So Blizzard is taking aim at this practice. The last PTR version featured several major nerfs:

  • Initial heal of EF decreased by 30%
  • The HoT part of EF no longer gives mastery shields
Now, Blizzard has walked back these changes, but it is pretty clear that some sort of change will come to Eternal Flame.

After the mastery nerf in 5.3, Holy Paladins are not overpowered in PvE. It's more that EF was becoming mandatory, and that Holy Paladins were being pushed to heal in non-traditional (at least for paladins) style. The second part is why EF will not become a baseline spell, and instead will be nerfed.

Here's my suggestion for an Eternal Flame nerf:
  • Make Word of Glory and Eternal flame cost exactly 3 Holy Power.
Right now, WoG and EF can be cast for 1, 2, or 3 Holy Power for a scaling effect. If you can only cast 3pt EFs, you can keep them up on about 2 people at a time. You can do more sporadically with Divine Purpose, and go nuts with Holy Avenger on cd, but those can't really be counted on (and note that both can't be used together). Instead you'll effectively maintain EF on a tank and one other, maybe yourself or the other tank. If EF is on a tank, mastery shields will get chewed up pretty quickly, so having EF extend mastery is not an issue.

It would also match the other Holy Power finishers. Templar's Verdict, Divine Storm, and Shield of the Righteous all require exactly 3 Holy Power.

Now, this might not be a strong enough nerf to make EF optional. At that point, Blizzard would have to look at stronger actions, or strengthening the other talents in that tier. However, a fixed Holy Power cost is the smallest change that attacks the playstyle directly, and is more in-line with how Eternal Flame was original designed to be used.

6 comments:

Infamy.Deferred said...

I will say that as Prot, the ability to cast a 2-HP WoG has saved my life before; I'd be upset if such a nerf wasn't limited to holy spec.

kyazaofgreymane said...

As a fellow hpally, I can't say I like the way they are changing EF. While we weren't meant to be hot healers, EF has practically forced us into that role.

And this change to EF, while a significant decrease to our thorough-put, isn't so significant that Selfless Healer or Sacred Shield will win out over it.

If Blizz doesn't want us to be hot-based healers, they need to give us a stronger toolkit to work with in place of EF.

Selfless Healer (PTR version) could potentially be useful if they allowed holy shock to proc stacks of it instead of just judgment. Without that, they are forcing us to waste a global on a non-healing spell. And sometimes you just don't have the global to spare on judgment.

Talarian said...

Nope. I'd rather they remove Eternal Flame entirely than force us to cast Word of Glory at 3 HP. I use it way too often to top people up in an emergency as one of our only instant heals beyond Holy Shock. I already have way too much trouble healing on a fight like Tortos because I can't stop at all during rockfalls.

Removing the Shield component of EF is a start I suppose, but I agree with kyaza above that by itself, it's not sufficient to displace Selfless Healer or Sacred Shield. The other two talents are pretty terrible for Holy in general, unless you happen to be using LoD instead of EF a lot, in which case SS is okay.

Megacode said...

I like the thought of EF usage on 3 HP only, that's exactly my style. On our ten man team I focus heal the tanks keeping 3hp EF's on them. Question now is, with the removal of Mastery shield procing from EF, will Haste be coming back to some degree for the extra tics.

Megacode said...

I like the thought of EF usage on 3 HP only, that's exactly my style. On our ten man team I focus heal the tanks keeping 3hp EF's on them. Question now is, with the removal of Mastery shield procing from EF, will Haste be coming back to some degree for the extra tics.

Vicki and Stephen said...

I can't stand EF blanketing - if I wanted to be a druid, I'd play a druid and not a paladin. I really hope they make some kind of change to remove the EF-blanketing strategy. I want paladins to be big-heal-bombing, raid-saving paladins again!