Stick around the priest forums and sooner or later you’re going to run into the concept of downranking. At simplest, downranking is using a lower-power spell than your top-rank spell. I’m going to get long-winded about why, how, and a few niggling details. Before I begin, however, I’ll note that AT THIS TIME downranking isn’t common at the Heroic/Kara level — not that the priests don’t WANT to do it, it’s just the payoffs aren’t there. Let’s get down to brass tacks.
Why downrank? To make the healing fit the need. We’re trying to use the most mana-efficient spell (Heals per minute) possible that will do the healing we need. We’re trying to avoid overhealing. We’re trying to be absolutely quality healers, keeping everyone alive and always, ALWAYS, ready for the next step.
To prepare to downrank, we need to evaluate our lower rank heals by two aspects: How much heal is delivered, and how mana efficient (health points per mana) they are. Since that can leave us with waaaay to many choices, we then winnow our selections. Usually we wind up with the top and one lower rank of each of our primary heals — flash and greater, maybe renew. It’s a rare healer who sees need for (and uses) downranks of heal and lesser heal and Prayer of Healing and, well, you get the idea.
Now there are several positions on selecting which downranked spell to choose. In almost all cases it’s a question of “where are the holes?” Are they the gaps between the top of FH and GH? Or are we wanting some little stuff under FH? The answer is – as is typical – it depends. It depends on your preferences, your talents, your playstyle.
My preference is to have no more than a thousand between heal levels. That’s ballpark, of course, and this is pre-heroic and pre-kara – which means when I was lower level I liked 500, and as I get higher it may change again. Let’s use some numbers that are level 70, every heal talent below EH full (and EH at 3/5), no healing gear. Our max-rank GH is around 2800 per heal, our flash is about 1300, and our renew is about 1400. The GH efficiency is 4.09, the FH is 2.82, and the R is 3.47. By my taste, then, I need two downranked heals. One approximately halfway between 2800 and 1300 — around 2100 — and another around 600-700. Since FH tops at 1300 it’s obvious my ‘higher downrank’ is going to be another GH. I check Nightshroud’s Spreadsheet and discover that GH(4) is an almost perfect fit. When I use it I’ll use about 80% the mana of the max-rank GH, so although it’s a bit less mana-efficient, if I use it when the needed heal is, oh, 2200 I’ll waste a lot less mana overall. But as I said I also want a ~700 heal. Here I have two choices – Heal(3) and Flash Heal (5). The former does about 700 to the latter’s 600, and it’s more mana-efficient. On the other hand, the FH is faster which means unless I’m spamming heals I start my five second waltz much sooner. Since I’m fairly heavy spirit, I prefer the latter. My second downrank is FH(5).
Note that this assumes no bonus healing. The bonus healing will throw all your numbers off. The reason is basically coefficients. ummm, rather than confuse I’ll do the full of coefficients in another post, but for basic awareness: you don’t get your whole bonus healing on every spell. The full bonus assumes a 3.5 second spell, so you only get a proportion based on speed of spell in relation to 3.5 second cast time. And channeling and HoT and AoE modify it. The other coefficient that comes into play for downranking is the ‘too low’ coefficient. That is, if the spell you’re using is way below your level, you are penalized. Let’s not go into details about it here other than to note it happens, and to look at one example of effect.
I’m going to take my previous example but add 800 bonus healing. With this change a few very peculiar things happen that will modify my spell selection.
First, Flash Heal. FH(8) gives me about 1525, and FH(9) 1755 health. But FH(8) has an efficiency of 3.84 hpm, while FH(9) is 3.74 hpm. Which means I can CONSIDER using FH8 instead of FH9 as my primary flash heal.
Second, and nice for “filling the hole,” is that GH 1, 2 and 3 are all more mana-efficient than GH7. GH 7 will do about 3700 heals, and I’ve already noticed that FH8 is around 1500, leaving me a BIG gap. Respectively, GH 1, 2 and 3 give me 1700, 2075, and 2500 health. 2500 is a great solution for “the gap,” but I also want to look hard at GH1. At a value equal to that of FH9, it’s several times as efficient. As a consequence, when time is not the issue GH1 beats FH8. I have the following setups for downranking, then:
FH8 instead of FH9; GH(1) as a slow but efficient alternate to FH; GH(3) to fill the gap. That’s three downranks, though only two are ‘extras’ on my board.
Now I’ve said all this, let me point out that my personal playstyle uses very few downranks. I have them, but the main purpose is when I have a player for whom the downrank heals them when they’re down by about 25% — and the situation is such that I can afford to heal other-than-tank when they’re that healthy. Which means, well, rarely. But there are very good healpriests who use the range of spells to balance mana and health to great effect, so do take a look at the use and benefit.
And have fun.