Thursday, December 16, 2010

Haste Versus Crit for Holy Paladins

In all the theorycraft for Holy paladins I've seen so far, everyone automatically values Haste above Critical Strike chance. I'm not really sure I follow this logic.

Haste improves your Healing-Per-Second (HpS). But it also hurts your Mana-Spent-Per-Second (MpS), and does not change your Healing-Per-Mana (HpM). Crit, on the other hand, improves your HpS and HpM, but does not change your MpS, at least not directly.

Right now, it seems to me that the real limit on healing is mana. Therefore we should be valuing stats which improve HpM above all else.

It's true that you can't count on crit in the short term, but you can count on it in the long run. In the current environment, one heal isn't enough to restore someone to full health. In that environment, crit helps a lot. It buys you time, and allows you to get away with casting less spells. If you need three casts to bring someone up to full, and one of the first two spells crit, maybe you don't need to cast that third spell.

If you need high HpS, that's Flash of Light and Divine Light are for. Haste was awesome for the world when you absolutely need the heal to hit right now or the tank dies. But I find that I don't really encounter that situation, at least in heroics. Or if it's close to that, Holy Shock, Word of Glory, and Flash of Light are fast enough already.

What I've found in heroics is that I really, really want to see spells crit. A crit spell usually means that I don't have to cast a follow-up spell on that target, and I can move onto the next target in triage faster.

So that's my view on crit versus haste. As of right now, I think I'd rather take crit gear over haste gear. I just don't think the advantages of haste gear are of real value in the current healing environment.

A couple of caveats, though. I haven't tried any raids, so I don't know if this changes. Second, this is just haste versus crit. Spirit is still the best secondary stat, while I think the jury is still deliberating over Mastery.


  1. There are two statements by Blizzard (both paraphrased) that lead me to believe that we're all both right and wrong.

    1) If you heal well, you should be able to maintain your mana through the entire fight.

    This leads to haste being more productive, since mana won't matter for those who play very well. IE, instead of taking crit over haste, you can take haste and practicepracticepractice to achieve the same efficiency as crit gives while maintaining the bonus speed and high HPS when you really need it.

    2) If any one stat becomes too valuable for a class, Blizzard is going to nerf it.

    This makes me believe crit and haste are fairly competitive with each other so far, given that they've already made healer "adjustments" recently and haste and crit weren't brought up.

    Over all, I believe there's still room for personal preference and playstyle, even in the highest challenges where it really counts.

  2. I think Paladins devalue Crit since it no longer gives back any mana, and overvalue haste since Holy Light and Divine Light take so long to cast. But a holy light that crits isn't as small as first thought.
    The only problem is that our combat ratings are so small that we'd need large amounts of Haste or Crit to really make a big difference. 10% crit is only going to be about 5% extra healing (with the 1.5 x effectiveness). And there are definitely times when I'm casting Holy Light or Divine Light an looking at the cast timer inching along.

  3. I'm with Benjy on the ratings. Stacking Spirit has a *much* more noticeable effect on my healing than Crit, Haste or Mastery. The ratings are just too small. We also only have 1 talent that procs off crits and that's for Holy Shock only.

  4. Benjy:
    I think crits don't give any mana back because they are supposed to be good enough by themselves - first, the players are not supposed to be at 100% health all the time so crits are less likely to overheal, second, if you need up to 10 heals (I'm not sure about the number as I'm not 85 yet) to heal anyone to full, the randomness of crit does not matter as much.
    I guess in Wrath an extra incentive was needed in order for the players to take crit while Blizzard thinks it will not be needed in Cata.

    By the way, I've heard that spirit is too valuable too. I wonder if they planned it this way...

  5. Given the Olympic-sized health pools everyone is rocking I think you can indeed make a legitimate case for crit. Also I've noticed that, at least in normal dungeons, players can survive for surprising amounts of time with 90% of their health missing, including tanks. In this environment haste over crit is not as much of a no-brainer as some would have you believe.

    Ultimately it's up to each one of us to figure out what's going to work best within the context of the gear/stats we have, the content we're in, and the ability/level of the group around us.

  6. I asked a similar question to a theorycrafting holy pally in my guild yesterday.
    He said he values haste more than crit, because haste actually is an HPM increasing talent, as well as HPS.
    When he has more haste, he is able to do more of his healing with Holy Light, his cheap heal, since the cast time is caster and faster, and he's able to move through his triage list faster with it.
    So by altering his spellrotation as his haste changes, and favoring more Holy Lights over other spells, which he's able to do because of his ability it cast more spells, he's able to treat haste as an HPM stat.

  7. Merris of Outland EU6:54 AM, December 17, 2010

    I can see your point when it comes to healing in Heroic dungeon, however it's clear that you haven't moved onto raiding encounters yet. Bearing in mind that theorycrafting is mainly targeted at raiding where the small differences really matter, I would definitely choose haste over crit. Since:

    "Haste was awesome for the world when you absolutely need the heal to hit right now or the tank dies"

    This story repeats itself in cata raids too, and being able to use more HL with the help of massive ammounts of haste seems the way to crank up the mana efficiency for me atm.

  8. Nicholai, I'm wondering whether that's really applicable for Cata. I'm really sorry if there is something obvious that I'm missing based on my inexperience - maybe Blizzard did fail on the "no need to top people off" part.
    Crit and mastery increase the HPS of heals too, so they should be able to make him use HL instead of the big heals too. They are slower to cast so the hasty healer is healing the most injured people twice but the one with crit kept some on higher health so she can leave those for later and the one with mastery prevented some damage - which means their groups are at higher health levels while the one with haste has to spend additional mana to bring them to this levels.
    Of course, neither of this helps in situation where multiple people would die if they were not healed RIGHT NOW - nor does it help when people need to be kept at 100% because crit/mastery would only help to increase overhealing.
    Just out of curiosity - how quickly do people die in raids (assuming they don't stand in stuff)? The faster they do, the better haste is because:
    1) it is entirely predictable
    2) if someone dies faster than the healers can cast a spell, there's nothing that can be done to save him/her

  9. I did some maths based on Elitist Jerks' data ( and found this - note that both HL and DL double their power at roughly 10k SP if I understand it right, FoL seems to have a higher coefficient:
    HL spam with 0 SP:
    HPM = 2.09, HPS = 1760
    3xDL + WoG spam with 0 SP:
    HPM = 1.97, HPS = 4622
    3xFoL + WoG 0 SP:
    HPM = 1.5, HPS = 4730

    I might be wrong but it seems to show that for single target healing, DL+WoG has a slightly lower HPM but packs 160% HPS extra. Of course, for double target, it's different as DL can't generate HoPo unless you're healing the bacon.

  10. One more post - I understand that raw math is of course not applicable to all situations (more like none) but the point is:
    What if I used DL more and HL less and tried to tried to increase HPM by having higher crit/mastery and using WoG more (assuming I can afford to heal the bacon with DL)?
    (I'm just being honestly curious, it makes sense to me, yet nobody seems to be doing it, where the hell did I make a mistake?)

  11. As an Arcane mage, I've been popping my Focus Magic on the healer in all my 5-mans. I figure this way they'll possibly prioritize me over the hunter and warlock's pet. I've also stayed specced into Evocate, which gives me a 40% self-heal when I evoke for more mana, and I try to mention this to the healer when we start the run.

    The healer's mana bar is my responsibility. The sooner everyone learns this, the smoother all our runs will be.

  12. Haste for me is a necessity. When haste isn't available what about crit vs spell power. Does spell power do anything?

  13. @Xaxziminrax II: It's not just a matter of healing well -- there are fights where you will be going OOM at one point or another. Magmaw, for example, is a healing intensive fight that demands the healers to use as little mana as possible while getting the throughput to deal with massive raid damage. The first time my guild downed him, I was averaging 11.2k hps over the duration of the fight. At this point I tend to stack more crit than I do haste because it gives me that extra mana. Theoretically I *could* be doing even more with haste stacked, but I was pretty much OOM at the end of the fight and would have gone OOM sooner without the crit.

    There are basically two ways in which haste can serve to increase your mana efficiency and your HPM. The one channeled spell we paladins get is holy radiance, which benefits dramatically from haste in the form of more ticks. I like to pop divine favor and use this spell to maximize its value, and my healing goes through the roof. The other way that haste can benefit HPM is if it lets you cast more holy lights instead of divine lights. At this point, given the gear and scaling, I don't think that this is realistic. People in raids are taking too much damage to not be using divine light. Therefore, as I see it, there is only one HPM benefit to haste that doesn't really justify reforging away from ALL of my other spells that benefit from crit.

    I will acknowledge, however, the disadvantage of crit: the healing you get out of it is spikier and therefore less reliable. It is important in heroics and raids to be healing somewhat preemptively of course rather than waiting for the tank or the raid to take a lot of damage and then play catch-up. Depending on crit requires a little more awareness and preparation, but at this point in time I think it is the stat to stack as a paladin. Maybe once people get their T11 4-piece set bonuses I'll change my mind (holy radiance --> 1610 spirit, making it MUCH more efficient healing).

  14. I know this post is old but im curious i have very high spell haste (like 1400 11.35%) my spell crit is at 14% .. after reading this i think i may have over valued haste
    i do chain heal using an addon to see when when i can cast the next heal as the first is still finishing.. i am a very strong healer and dont have alot of problems with mana right now im trying to get more heals out u know?
    right now it feels like im not casting fast enough but i dont think any more haste will help my primary spell is holy light and i cant make it cast any faster lol