A bit of heat and talent

Over on Ego’s site, there’s a bit of heat developing because she didn’t consider Inspiration to be mandatory. Since I’m one of those fanning the flames by agreeing with her, I decided to pull the hotpoint to my blog, making a fuller discussion.

I’m going to object to Inspiration being mandatory on two bases. One, already mentioned on Ego’s site, is that priests do not crit well, and a ‘mandatory’ that relies upon crits is flawed. The second – one I’m actually going to start with first – is that it’s a waste of points for main tank healing at Kara and above. In other words, the major argument — it’s “For the Big Boys especially” — is wrong.

Armor is capped at 75% mitigation. A Kara or better main tank is approaching the armor cap (with buffs, etc), and even when out of kara will have over 60% mitigation. That 25%… isn’t. It’s 75% minus the tank’s mitigation value. Most main tanks with whom I work – and we’re just starting SSC – are well over 70%, which means for my tanks I’m adding, well, 0 to 3% in my case.

And a quick perusal of main tanks of post-kara guilds shows they tend to be in the same ballpark. Which means the argument that it’ll make a huge benefit for the main tank in later levels is mistaken.

Now where it WILL make a difference is when you’re healing tanks that are extremely unlikely to see that armor cap. Up to level 60, in fact, the arguments can work — they’ll get almost the full value of the buff when it procs. Which brings us, of course, to the second issue – the one which I’ve argued in the past.

Priests should not rely upon crits. There are classes that should, and do, rely upon them. These classes do not have to choose between wasting the effect and doing too little. These classes have multiple talents that benefit from crits in ways that enhance their role. And… they are able to push crits to acceptable levels of occurrence without hampering the rest of their performance. Indeed, for classes such as rogues avoiding crits actually hampers their output.

Priests, on the other hand, are not crit oriented. There are only two talents in the healtree that require crits to trigger, and only one is beneficial to the healer. The gain from it is very nice, but situational.

In many ways, the issue is the reason damage meters for priests – for all healers – are poor tests of skill. We’re about quality, not quantity. Crits complement quantity nicely, as there will be plenty of hits with which to generate the extra benefit of the crit. But priests – we want to place the heal that’s needed when it’s needed. We cannot count on that crit ‘now’, and so it’s automatically a waste.

And since crits are so antithetical to effective healing, I am averse to saying a crit-based talent is a mandatory choice for anyone.

Now let’s be straight here – I think Inspiration is a very nice talent. And if I’m casting about for a few more lower tier places in which to place points so I can support the higher levels, this always gets at least a look – usually a point or two. But it’s not reliable, and therefore I cannot recommend it as a ‘mandatory’ talent choice.

Note that this doesn’t even consider the arguments of consistency. That being: if you insist a crit-based talent is necessary, it behooves you to work to make it useful on as close to a regular basis as possible. Thus talents in Holy Spec become necessary, along with gear that’s spell crit and int instead of heal and mp5. Oh, not exclusively, but if it’s really that important, it’s important to adjust the weighting of your selections.

I think Inspiration is a good talent on which to spend a point or two when you’re done with the ‘gotta have’ talents. But it’s pretty much worthless for top level players, and it relies upon an untrustworthy event, and between the two I cannot consider it a mandatory talent.

~ by Kirk on November 12, 2007.

14 Responses to “A bit of heat and talent”

  1. You analysis is somewhat misleading. Though it might not change your view there’s a couple of things you might want to consider:

    To get 75% Damage mitigation against a level 73 mob you need 35880 armor (source: http://www.wowwiki.com/Formulas:Damage_reduction)

    Inspiration’s effects will not get clipped until your tank has 4/5ths of this or 28708 armor – this in itself is over 70% mitigation.

    The other point is that each percentage of mitigation is progressively more useful. To see this, consider a tank with 10000 hit points, and calculate how much physical damage he can take before he dies with different levels of mitigation:

    0% – 10000
    25% – 13333
    50% – 20000
    75% – 40000

    The first 25% gave an increase of 3333, the second 6666 and the third a massive 20000.

    Whether this will change your mind, I don’t know. I personally flip between having it in my build and not. I guess one really ought to do some kind of statistical analysis rather than just write it off.

  2. I’m thinking about this way too much now – but I only just noticed that then the more armor your tank has the more beneficial an inspiration proc is (until you really do hit the armor cap).

    When it procs, you are effectively giving your tank

    H * A

    extra hit points. Where H is his current hit points and A his normal armor value. Of course, this only applies to physical damage.

  3. Loz,

    75% in your example should be 30,000, not 40000. 10000 additional hit points over what the 50% gave. (Correcting this will also show you the error in the second comment – I’ll leave that for your fun. The idea is right, the formula is missing just a touch. Hint – it’s on the wowwiki page you linked.)

    As to the rest of your point – I see what you’re saying, and I’m going to have to ponder this as it may change my mind. Thank you.

  4. I am just a shadow priest now, but when I was healing I must admit that even then I relied more on my spell hit rating rather than my crit rating. It is my humble noob opinion that for the priest class you should never have to rely on crit which is exactly what inspiration relys on. Also since as a priest of any sort we do not have an effective means of completely shedding agro(threat) like a number of other classes, crit would not be a good thing except on occasion. If you have a higher crit chance and you do end up critting say 3-5 times in a row then you are definately going to be tanking a mob amd priests do not make good tanks lol.

  5. 40,000 raw damage taken – (40,000 * 0.75) damage mitigated = 10,000 net damage taken.

  6. It’s a bit difficult to show working out in blog comments – but I derived my formula doing the following (only considering level 73 mobs, and ignoring the armor cap):

    Let A be an armor value, H be tank hit points

    Let R(A) represent the damage reduction for a given armor value

    R(A) = A/(A + 11960) — from wowwiki

    Let T(A) be the damage taken for a given armor value – then

    T(A) = 1 – R(A) = (11960 / A + 11960) — (1)

    Let D(A, H) represent the damage a tank can take before dying for a given armor value A, and base hit points H

    Then D(A, H) = H / T(A)

    If we let I be A * 1.25 (i.e. the amount of armor under inspiration), I was figuring out

    D(I, H) – D(A, H): That is the difference in the amount of damage the tank can take with his increased armor value

    Expanding this gives

    … = H / T(I) – H / T(A)

    … = H [ 1 / T(I) – 1 / T(A) ]

    Now if I substitute in from the formula marked 1 – taking reciprocals as I go:

    … = H [ (I + 11960) / 11960 – (A + 11960) / 11960 ]

    … = H / 11960 (1.25 A + 11960 – A – 11960)

    … = H * (1.25A – A)/ 11960

    … = H * 0.25A / 11960

    … = H * A / 47840

    I know it’s difficult to follow ASCII math – grateful if you could show me where I went wrong

  7. Ack – I didn’t realize you were arguing this here too. I just posted (another) huge thing over at Ego’s – please check that.

    TL;DR summary: Crit% is overrated for Insp uptime, don’t gear or spec for it so much. The buff lasts 15 seconds, which is a long, long time in combat – you don’t have to trigger it all that often to make a big difference.

    A couple of points not made there:
    – Warrior/Paladin tanks are nowhere near the armor cap – 60% mitigation + 25% armor value is NOT “85% mitigation” – nowhere near it.
    – One other thing to keep in mind is that the DR from armor is before block value. This is huge – the damage prevented by armor actually makes BV scale extremely well – the block is preventing a greater percentage of damage when the incoming hits are smaller.

    Now, both of those (and Inspiration in general) apply to Warrior and Paladin tanks only, not bears. Bear tanks are already (or nearly) armor capped, and they also don’t block.

  8. Loz,

    I had a different “final answer”. Fortunately, I take time to check my work when confronted with something different.

    Your number’s right, mine is wrong. I apologize. And will add this to my file of useful information.

    So long as 1.25A <= 35880 for a level 73 mob, then the proc does add a hit point equivalent of:


  9. Hmm – one caveat I just noticed about this whole thing.

    From your “regen” post:
    “(50% renew, 30% PoM, 15% GH, 5% PoH)”

    If that’s your casting ratios, then Inspiration isn’t much good for you (but then again, neither is Empowered or H-Concentration). You are healing a lot like a druid would, it seems. (Not saying that this is bad, BTW – just a different style)

    I was always a “GH cancel-caster”, with far less Renews thrown in there (while raiding), so Inspiration was up a lot more for me.

  10. Jabari, exactly. Style of play matters. And this pattern works for me as MT healer in Kara – though I may adjust as I move upward.

    Again, I think it’s an excellent talent – highly recommended. It’s just not one I’d label mandatory.

  11. “Highly Recommended” is a lot different than the “Useless” category that Ego put Inspiration under in the original post (which is what got me started on the whole thing in the first place)


    I wish that CoH would trigger it, but that might be overpowered…

  12. Sorry for double post – I noticed one last thing about this.

    “this always gets at least a look – usually a point or two”

    This is bad, if I understand the mechanics correctly.

    When you crit-heal with Insp, the target gets a 15-second buff for +25% armor. If that buff already exists (from either a Priest or a Shaman), the new one will replace it, resetting the time back to 15 seconds.

    If you only have 2/3 Inspiration, your buff is only 16%, and is “weaker” than an existing buff. If you crit-heal while the buff is already up, you won’t affect the existing (25%) buff at all – the current one is “stronger” and stays as-is, without resetting duration.

    Because of that, Inspiration should be either 3/3 or 0/3.

    (I could be wrong on the mechanics, but it should act similarly to trying to replace a higher-rank Fort with a lower-rank one)

  13. I’m really confused about all this passionate argument that it’s “not mandatory” when no-one even claimed that it is. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    The fuss all started because the original blog entry claimed it was useless, which it clearly isn’t. It’s a solid talent.

    Furthermore, there are some points that will end up here purely because there is no-where else to put them. I’d like to see a raid build that puts no points in holy spec or inspiration. It would be strange, not because those talents are “mandatory”, but because you’d have to put points in other talents that really would be a waste.

    I’m way too late with this post, but ah well.

  14. @Tova:

    I probably said that it was mandatory at some point, which Kirk disagreed with, and here we are 🙂

    Anyway, a spec with 0/5 Holy Spec and 0/3 Inspiration would probably max out Spell Warding, which is supposedly fairly useful for later raid instances (Magic AoE damage pulses such as Essence of Anger), but I obviously don’t have first-hand experience with it.

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