+Heal vs +Int

A reader asked:

What I’m struggling with specifically is +heals vs +int. So far, my research (all of one source to date) has turned up that all other things being equal, +3.8 Healing = +1 Int. So, given the choice between a +40 healing item and a +11 Int item, the latter wins.

I’ve seen the comparisons, and the problem is in some assumptions. Rather than go through the details, let me start with the general question: Is it better to have a larger mana pool from which to play, or to get more use out of each mana point you use? And the answer is – in general, it depends on how you play.

Yep, never an easy answer for that one. But I can show you how to figure out what it is for YOU. Here’s the route.

First, you need to determine what your personal spell use rate is. You need to go back to your own stats, of course, to see what spells you tend to cast at what frequency. Now you’re going to refer to this list a couple of times.

The first time, you’re going to determine your basic HPM (Healing per Mana). List your spells and how frequently you use them. Determine how much mana each uses. Determine how much healing you get – and don’t forget to work in the healing from crits. For each healing spell, you get a healing per mana value. Multiply that by the percentage of time you use each spell, and add those numbers together. Congratulations, you’ve got your average HPM.

Multiply that by the amount of mana you’re thinking of adding — in this case, 165 (11 int) — to determine how much healing this enchant or gem is nominally providing. Got it? Good, now let’s go get the other half so we can do a flat comparison.

Back to your list. Now for each of your spells you need to look up one little thing — the coefficient value for spell bonus. While there are several good sources, I still tend to use Wowwiki’s page. Now, for each spell multiply the bonus heal times the appropriate coefficient to get how much +heal that spell gets. Now divide THAT number by the mana cost for the spell so you get a rather tiny number (almost always far less than one), which I’ll call +heal per mana. OK, now that number is going to get even smaller. You’re going to multiply THAT by the proportion of time the spell forms your healing package, and then add all those together. Now you’ve got your average +heal per mana, and if we stopped there you’d have a very, very small number. Fortunately, we’re not done. One more step:

Multiply that tiny number, the +heal per mana, by your mana pool. Now once more we’ve got a “depends on play” issue. If you consistently play buffed (food, arcane intellect, potions/elixirs, and so forth), then use your normal buffed mana pool. If you play mostly unbuffed, use that number. This number will tell you how much (nominal) additional healing the +heal will add.

Compare, and lean toward the better choice. I said lean – it’s worth remembering that +heal is only 1/3 as useful for things like grinding. Which means once more that the numbers will have to be adjusted based on YOUR playstyle.

Let’s take an off-the-cuff example to pull all this together. Let me assume, just for a minute, that I only use Renew Rank 12 with Spiritual Healing and Improved Renew but have no other bonuses. And while I’m at it, I have a mana pool of 6000. Finally, I’m wanting my raw base value, so I’m going to compare +1 int to +1 healing.

The spell gives me a nominal 1404 healing from 450 mana. That’s 3.12 hpm.

+1 int will give me 15 more mana, or 46.8 more healing out of my total pool.

The coefficient for renew is 100%, so +1 healbonus is still 1. 1/450 is 0.222(repeating) +heal per mana. Multiply that by my mana pool of 6000 and I have a total gain of 13 1/3 additional healing.

Which means for THIS example caster +1 int is nominally equal to 3.51 +heal.

But the example caster isn’t you and it isn’t me. And my number for my caster with my current values won’t be your caster with your current values.

I’ve got one more bit to really make things murky. There are valid reasons for making the estimate based on your BASE (ie, without gear) and on your current FULLY GEARED numbers. I tend to lean toward full gear, but the arguments for base as well are quite valid. There is NO ONE RIGHT ANSWER – no one-size-fits-all solution. I know that’s frustrating, but it’s reality.

The best answer FOR YOU depends on you. Worse, what’s right today may not be right tomorrow – your playstyle may change, or the buffs and gear available change. But hopefully I’ve given you enough guide to figure out what’s best for you.

Go have fun.


~ by Kirk on January 14, 2008.

8 Responses to “+Heal vs +Int”

  1. Another factor to keep in mind is the encounter you’ll be healing on. Is it a DPS burst race with the tanks tanking massive damage? Is it more of an endurance forcing you to manage your mana as efficiently as possible? While the differences can be marginal, it’s certainly another thing to keep in mind.

  2. I think the answer is fairly straight forward for Priest. If you are disc or shadow build then +Int. Extra +int more mana and higher crit. If you are holy build then go for the +Heal. Holy priest will benefit a lot more with the +Heal. With enough +heal, it is easeir to dance the 5SR.

  3. Disc is fairly similar to Holy in terms of Healing gear (spirit gets a little less valuable).

    +Heal vs +Int is a matter of “feeling”. Once you feel you have enough +heal, +int can give you some (marginal) benefits. Still, for yellow sockets, I prefer +heal/+int to pure +int gems

  4. You also have to consider the time factor as said by Matticus. If you don’t have enough +healing to keep the tank up during frequent damage spikes then your mana pool size doesn’t matter. I had the same problem with +healing and mp5 and while i upped my mp5, my +healing was too small and so i had to cast all the time to keep tank alive. You have to keep everything in balance so no one thing will cripple your otherwise good healing setup.

  5. sigh – What part of the first and last paragraph saying, “it depends on how you play” did you miss?

    @Priestofone – sorry, not always. Not least because as shadow I don’t think of +heal at all. And if I’m comparing +spelldamage to +int, well, once more it depends on my playstyle but generally I’ll take the extra damage.

    @Rav, yep, but what I’ve tried to do is give a bit of quantification to the feeling. +1 int vs +80 heal is easy. +20 int vs +1 heal is easy. Where inbetween is the balance point?

    @Matticus, agreed it’s another factor. As I said, it depends on your playstyle. Not just instance to instance unless you’re at the level where all you do is one or two raids.

    @Hundilooja, it depends on playstyle. Not just yours, but your tank’s as well. And after a certain point, the playstyle of your other healers. If everybody is the same, you’ve made a hole in your coverage.

  6. I personally have been focusing on +heal and also MP5 to allow for faster regen and more healing each time. Currently, I am on the low end with +1400 heal unbuffed, yet my MP5 seems larger than some with 175+ while casting. I prefer instancing, so chose that route to allow for the boss fights and large health reductions in players. Even with that focus, I still have 10k mana to play with. My main reason for posting, though, is I want to learn if that is right for ME, like the original post said, but I could not follow all the things I needed to do to get my raw numbers on +heal or int. Can I get help with that?

  7. Yay for a can of worms!! Thanks for answering…erm, postulating on, yeah that’s it, my question. My head started hurting and my eyes glazed over on about the 5 paragraph. (a comment on me, not you!) lol.

    I really do appreciate your comments on the subject and will try again to understand the theorizing. In the mean time, I do feel comfortable that my play style and my build suit each other. I’m not sure which caused which, but I’m able to fill any of the EgoRaid Roles (10 man only) with relative ease.

    So, I apologize that I can’t quite wrap my mind around your answer to my question, but hopefully I’ve gleaned something useful out of it! 8~) But in the end, I’ll definitely be staying true to rule no. 1, play to have fun!


  8. One thing to watch out in the comparisions between the two stats is the length of the encounters you have to heal.

    As a raid healer +healing will almost always beat +int. In a typical raid encounter you will use several times your normal mana pool, fueled by potions and mana regeneration. So a calculation based on using your mana pool *once* can’t reflect the true value of int vs. heal.

    The problem with +int is that it basically only comes into play at the start of the encounter – defining your initial mana pool (ignoring the small +crit bonus).

    On the other hand the benefit of extra +healing keeps adding up over the duration of a fight. The longer the fight, the more heals you cast, the bigger the benefit. And many raid encounters last a long time, making the difference between the value of +int and +heal so great that +int becomes one of the least important stats.

    Stamina, mana regeneration from Spirit and mp5s, as well as +healing are the stats that matter for raid-healing priests. Stamina to survive, mana regen to keep going, and +heal for that extra punch. Int can be largely ignored in favor of these other stats.

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