Why I recommend Lightwell.
I’m still seeing a lot of disparagement of lightwell. I’d like to mention and respond to the common complaints, followed by a discussion of how to use the spell. Hopefully I’ll persuade a number of you that this just might be something to add to your inventory — or at least move it from “no way” to “darnit, another choice for a limited talent pool…”
Let’s begin with the common complaints.
1) “The healing breaks on if the target takes damage.” Yes, it does. So does healing from bandages. Bandages, however, do not allow movement or attacks. For that matter, Greater Heal (and Flash heal and…) can be interrupted and delayed. And both Circle of and Prayer of Healing can have some of the party out of range, ‘wasting’ most of their healing power. Like all our healing spells, this has a weakness, and we merely have to use it in the right place and time. Which in turn exposes the real issue behind this complaint — it is useless for healing tanks, and potentially useless for all the melee classes. It’s extremely mana efficient, it’s a use and forget spell – no maintenance required – that is available to provide healing up to three minutes after you cast it (and so works even if you are OOM or dead), but it doesn’t work for tanks so its worthless. I disagree with your weighting of worth.
2a and b) “Players rely on the healer to provide health, not on what they can do themselves.” An absolutely false argument – else bandages and healthstones and healing potions and several other consumables and trinkets would be, well, unused. There is, however, a slightly more true variation: “Players forget it’s there and so don’t use it.” Most of them forget because they never see it – a self-fulfilling prophecy in action. When it IS there, however, a couple of reminders seem to resolve the problem nicely – once when it’s cast, and once when you see a player needing it while you’re unable to provide assistance (as when you’re spamming GH on the tank). In short, a valid but easily surmountable argument.
3) “Players waste the well by clicking multiple times – intentionally as well as accidentally.” This used to be an extremely valid argument, but it was fixed with this most recent patch. If they’re receiving the buff they can’t pull another charge.
4) “The amount healed is too small.” Another somewhat valid argument prior to this patch, assuming 787 per tick/2361 total healing is “too small”. While the spell still gets no benefit from talents like Spiritual Healing, it does now get boosted by healing bonuses at a 100% coefficient. And at high-raid levels of 1800 to 2000 +heal, it’s outperforming any other player-initiated heal — competing favorably with max rank GH heals, but over 6 seconds. Remember it takes bandages 8 seconds to work fully, and you can’t move or attack for them. Yes, potions are faster but have a 2 minute cooldown. What you’ve got is one more tool that’s finally doing a good bit of work.
5) “The cooldown is too long.” Agreed. So is the cooldown for the shadowfiend, which does not require a talent point. It makes this a situational spell like Circle of Healing or Holy Nova, meaning whether you get it or not will depend not a small amount on whether you expect to see those situations to any significant degree. Which leads me quite nicely into how I use this spell for which I paid so much…
1) Grinding. (Huh?) If I’m in a target-rich environment, I’ll put the lightwell in a convenient location. Starting with the second target (usually 30 seconds per target), my routine is click LW, shield, start the attack. Due to my combat method the mob is usually chewing on me at the end – I’m taking a bit of damage. The LW means I am not ticking mana in the middle of my grind, however. Just HF, SW:P, smite, MB, and wand to finish in most cases – with restoration of most mana before I take on the next mob.
2) Instance runs, rooms with multiple pulls. Especially with warlocks in the party. This is a great opportunity, as not only can ranged players who took a turn as George recover after the tank’s regrabbed the mob(s), but some players can top off swiftly before the next pull while I regenerate mana. And as for a warlock in the party … this is almost as beautiful a synergy as the warlock/shadowpriest combo. Life tap for mana become nothing.
3) Boss fights. I often try to time the use of this like I do shadowfiend. If it’s going to be a long fight, drop it early enough I get to do it twice. If it’s going to be a less-than-5 minute fight, I pop it around the 1 or 2 minute mark. If I die and it’s not on cooldown, it’s the second button I hit (first being a renew on the main tank), followed immediately by a PoM.
And I’m going to start using it in the arena. See, another fix is that the other side can’t drain charges any more. No more “five fast clicks to waste mana”. I doubt most of my team will get the full three ticks, but a single 2-second tick of 787 + 1/3 heal bonus is still going to matter an awful lot of the time.
Is it a perfect spell? Heck no. Is it a viable spell? I believe so. I believe most of the objections have been surmounted by either pointing out their spuriousness or by fixes that have been made. I would like it to get more improvement – it and Circle of Healing and, well, several others. But I think it’s worth adding to the priest’s inventory, not necessarily as a CORE spell, but definitely as one of the major supplements.
Your mileage may, of course, vary.