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PVE Healers, accessibility and Hard Mode Trials

SeaUnicorn
SeaUnicorn
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So the goal of the patch is to improve accessibility right? So is end game PVE healer job more accessible after the changes?
Answer is not at all here is why:
1. 40% nerf on staple HOTs such as Illustrious Healing and Radiating Regeneration that are a key components of success in Hm Trials, like Bahsei HM, vAS HM, Falgravn HM. Nothing in patch notes about adjusting existing trials to meet the loss of healing power.
2.HOTs tick frequency is decreased but there are still enemy DOTs in game that hit every 0.33s, every 0.5s, every 1s. We now have no tools to counteract that, because all HOTs tick 2s except Orb, that ticks 1s. But Orb also tends to float away. So to maximize Orb HPS I need to re-cast it earlier than at 10s. I am not quite certain inexperienced healer is able to cast burst heal at exact 1s frequency to counterplay Yolnakhtiin Flare for example. Not to mention ping and lag issues where even experienced healers fail it just because their next cast registered 10ms later than next tick of the mechanic.
3. Sustain as a healer is worse, here is why: yes HOTs last longer and I cast them less. But what so I cast while not casting HOTs to make up for loss of HPS? That's right AOE burst heals that cost more than HOTs. I do not understand why DD spammable is cheaper than DOT making the changes easier to sustain for DDs, but Healer spammable is more expensive, making it harder to sustain as a healer.
4. Heals with buff components like Combat Prayer and Enchanted Growth still do not have smart targeting for the buff component, so I still have to spam the living hell out of it to get good uptimes. So someone like me who has high APM and able to spam more stuff in a minute will have massive advantage over beginner healer who relies on heavying for sustain and does not have high APM.
5. Combat preview claims that Buffs and De-buffs are extended. But not on the buffs that make biggest difference as a support:
a. Stone Giant still needs to be cast every 5s or less
b. Combat Prayer is still 10s and costs arm and a leg
c. Minor Brittle on Clench/Pulsar is still 4s, Major Maim on Clench is still 5s
d. Minor Vuln component on Necro Totem is still 5s
6. I do appreciate 10s empower on Empowering Grasp, I think that is a good change making Empowering Grasp maintenance more accessible.
7. Warden Changes or lack of thereof is the most baffling to me at the moment. Warden is a staple healer class. Ever since the class was released it was THE healer class, if you want to play healer and want to guarantee spot on trial team - play Warden.
a. Somehow ALL classes that are come-and-go healer meta got their class HOTs of 20s or more, yet warden class HOT is still 6s?
b. Warden got a nice utility attached to Shalks - Minor and Major breach last patch, and its AOE, great for trash ans AOE fights! And now I need to wait 4s for Shalks to go off and apply that de-buff. And I need to mentally make sure I am aiming Shalks correctly 4s after I casted them. This is definitely not something less experienced players will do well and this 4s delay is opposite of accessibility. Not to mention some AOE packs in Dungeons and Trials don't last long enough to make use of that de-buff.

All and all changes did not make it easier for inexperienced healers to compete with experienced ones at all. Experienced healers will still have upper hand on the most impactful uptimes, will figure out how to sustain, potentially find clever ways to make up for loss of HPS.

Imagine inexperienced healer goes to vCR HM after the changes. That fight is long time staple healing challenge that separates healers with high APM and experience that allows them to foresee when and who will be taking increased damage (frosts, baneful, dark drain and so on). With 40% lower HPS noobie healer has no chance vs someone who knows the trial now. And longer duration on some HOTs is not going to help them all that much because it is a mobile fight.

In addition after the changes my HOTs and uptimes have even more disparate durations than before. Rotation difficulty only partially comes from duration of the uptimes / HOTs. After some point longer does not mean easier. Alot of it comes from disparate durations, where you need to track each one, or few sets of those separately. After then changes I tried out my "healer rotation" and it feels just as complex as it was with no good way making it static without running out of sustain.

- 6s on Budding Seeds (biggest head scratcher)
- 6s/9s on POTL (damage and ult gen component/minor breach)
- 10s on Combat Prayer
- 10s on Shalks/Empowering Grasp, Healthy Offering
- 14s on Echoing Vigor making it harder to track Poweful Assault without addons (Console Players get short end of the stick here)
- 20s on Fetcher
- 20s on Wall
- 20s on Shrooms
- 20s on Illustrious
- 30s on Ritual
- 30s on Altar

Another layer of complexity that separates end game experienced healer from noobie healer is class passives, there are a lot of different class passives that proc on short cooldown, in particular ultimate generation ones. NB has 4s passive. As a healer my spammable heals are not among the ones that proc the passive, so I need to mentally keep track of it. Plar has 6s Prism Passive, luckily POTL damage component lines up with it, Warden has Savage Beast passive that has 8s CD and in the past Fetcher was a good option to maintain it, 10s is not that far off from 8s. That layer of complexity is not going anywhere, so by increasing duration on skills that would proc those passives you are making a curse in disguise instead of favor, inexperienced healers will be less affective in certain intricate aspects of their jobs, such as being able to generate Ultimate efficiently and will not know why.

All and all I feel like the changes are not thorough and is more of a detriment than help to inexperienced player who is looking to catch up.

Edit: Proposed solution so its not just whining post :smiley:

- If HOTs must tick less often for server performance reason, either adjust content or healing tooltips for trials. Ideally we would still want at least 2 HOTs available to every class that ticks every 1s if we keep current content as is. Since resto staff is healing skill line its HOT should be probably one of those and tick every 1s.
- Perform a thorough review of duration that take skill line passives into consideration. For example all mages guild DOTs get extended by 2s making them weird odd-one-out in the rotations. May be change the passive where it adds equivalent damage per tick instead of increasing duration. Make sure to adjust ult gen and sustain passives as well so they proc more naturally not just for DDs, but supports too. It is "passive" after all, I should not need to track it actively with all the rest of the tasks I have as a support.
- Review durations of key skills that go on support skill bars, not just DDs. Feels like Tanks and Healers were not a part of this pass of "accessibility"
- Review duration of key support sets. Powerful Assault is a staple used by Tanks and Helers alike. It still has 10s duration, still requires 2 casts per 10s and is now harder to tack without addons. It's "smart" targeting is still wonky, you need to let it fully expire to cover whole team in 2 casts. It does not check remaining duration in its "smart" targeting.
- Settle on consistent not too long / not too short durations on thematically similar skills. Echoing Vigor is AOE HOT, why does it have such an odd duration?

For example

Altar, Expansive Cloak, Ele Drain, Swift Siphon are my long lasting AOE group utility, having them at 30s makes sense, I always put them on same skill slot on my bars too.
Combat Prayer, Empowering Grasp, Shrooms as my forward facing AOE Buffs for 6 people per cast, so I would put those on same skill bar next to one another and cast 2 of each in tandem. So having both at 10s is cool, assuming I can sustain them. If you make them 15s I won't complain :D

Ground HOTs are another category.
In the past when Templar was"the" healer 12s on Illustrious and Ritual felt good. When Ritual became about double the duration it felt abit less engaging but you could devise a static rotation where you alternate Ritual and Altar with 12s static rotation, you could either cast 2 orbs per (at 6s) or undercast Orb (at 10s) depending on content.
But it is odd when you have HOTs at totally different odd durations like 6s, 8s, 10s, 12s, 18s, 24s. You have to track them dynamically and that is what glues our eyes to skills bars. Making them much longer won't solve the issue, because I still need to dynamically track them.
Something like Class HOTs at either 24 or 30s and Skill Line HOTs either at 12s or 15s, with shorter HOTs having higher tooltip, so they are harder to maintain, but provide better healing potential. 20s 10s could be al

In addition please balance PVP healing via the PVP buff. The 40% healing nerf is very heavy handed and not justified with last 3 trial Hard Mode fights.
Edited by SeaUnicorn on July 12, 2022 7:37PM
  • Necrotech_Master
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    Yup. The two second timer on everything annoys me the most I think.

    there are already existing dots with 2 sec timers and they feel insanely slow to me
    plays PC/NA
    handle @Necrotech_Master
    active player since april 2014
  • peacenote
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    Thank you @SeaUnicorn for putting this together!

    I would just like to add two things to this:

    1- "Restoration Staff now restores 2970 Magicka, down from 3219" will also hurt sustain, and, to your point, especially newer healers who might be overcasting and more dependent on HAs.

    2- This is from the perspective of a pure trial healer, which is good, but I'd be curious if you have any perspective on how much the DPS loss is for healers, especially in dungeons or the ones tasked with bringing sets like MK. Personally I think it's important for healers to be able to bring some decent damage in dungeons, to make up for if you get a learning DPS or so as not to be automatically passed over for a full DPS. That is a little bit of a different take than the group trial healer. I DO think when considering the healing-only perspective... it seems obvious that it will be harder for us to sneak in damage if, overall, healing is being made less accessible just with the changes to heals.

    It concerned me that over-healing was mentioned in the notes as the main reason heals should be "OK" as that's not a good indication of anything. It's not like you can leverage that over-healing to another location in a mobile fight - the abilities still need to be re-cast / re-placed.
    U35 Combat Updates: What do you think?
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  • Grandchamp1989
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    I'm very curious about the healer meta for PTS.

    I can see some hardmode encounters for both the latest hardmode dungeons, trials and blackrose arena being brutal to progress through.

    Hope some people on PTS will try to prog these things to let us know if things got harder on the support end. (reason I say support and not healer is because changes to healers output usually affect tanks).
  • p00tx
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    This is a great post. Thank you for all of the detail. We've already tried telling them we don't need more than 2 stacked instances of RR or potentially 4 max of Vigor in PvE content, so they could have chosen to just reduce stackable instances of these skills rather than gutting them. I'm VERY concerned about the newer content as well. Older content doesn't require as much healing/dmg, and can be breezed through by more experienced players still, but people are already struggling in the 2 newer trials. These changes would just make them inaccessible to even the strongest players in the game.

    I recognize the game needs some tuning right now, but it needs to be carefully done with existing content in mind and with a clearer understanding of how players use these skills in combat.
    PC/Xbox NA
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  • SeaUnicorn
    SeaUnicorn
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    peacenote wrote: »
    Thank you @SeaUnicorn for putting this together!

    I would just like to add two things to this:

    1- "Restoration Staff now restores 2970 Magicka, down from 3219" will also hurt sustain, and, to your point, especially newer healers who might be overcasting and more dependent on HAs.

    2- This is from the perspective of a pure trial healer, which is good, but I'd be curious if you have any perspective on how much the DPS loss is for healers, especially in dungeons or the ones tasked with bringing sets like MK. Personally I think it's important for healers to be able to bring some decent damage in dungeons, to make up for if you get a learning DPS or so as not to be automatically passed over for a full DPS. That is a little bit of a different take than the group trial healer. I DO think when considering the healing-only perspective... it seems obvious that it will be harder for us to sneak in damage if, overall, healing is being made less accessible just with the changes to heals.

    It concerned me that over-healing was mentioned in the notes as the main reason heals should be "OK" as that's not a good indication of anything. It's not like you can leverage that over-healing to another location in a mobile fight - the abilities still need to be re-cast / re-placed.

    So we do damage in Trials too. When you off-heal/DPS you usually do anywhere between 50 and 70% of what a DD does and majority of that damage comes from DOTs, you would lay your DOTs and then do ahead and perform any kind of support uptimes you need to do. So with DOTs heavily nerfed we are loosing damage as well. If I were able to parse 50k on Yolna in RoJo with resto, with the changes will probably do 35-40?

    Update: Through, dungeon fights are usually short, so on Dungeon Trash DOTs are not worth now, so you'd have to place few HOTs and spam something AOE like Pulsar or Sap Essence I guess.
    Edited by SeaUnicorn on July 12, 2022 5:54PM
  • SeaUnicorn
    SeaUnicorn
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    p00tx wrote: »
    This is a great post. Thank you for all of the detail. We've already tried telling them we don't need more than 2 stacked instances of RR or potentially 4 max of Vigor in PvE content, so they could have chosen to just reduce stackable instances of these skills rather than gutting them. I'm VERY concerned about the newer content as well. Older content doesn't require as much healing/dmg, and can be breezed through by more experienced players still, but people are already struggling in the 2 newer trials. These changes would just make them inaccessible to even the strongest players in the game.

    I recognize the game needs some tuning right now, but it needs to be carefully done with existing content in mind and with a clearer understanding of how players use these skills in combat.

    I am 99% positive that I stole this idea from your post few PTS cycles back :D
  • Wild_child434
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    Very well said, as a casual healer and tank main I cannot fathom how we are going to get through content that was already hard and on the cusp of clearing
  • SeaUnicorn
    SeaUnicorn
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    code65536 wrote: »
    If HOTs must tick less often for server performance reason, either adjust content
    That's the problem right there. Combat is one team. Dungeons and trials are a different team. And I'm not convinced that they talk to each other.

    That would explain quite a bit.
    At the same time there are some things that are entirely in the hand of Combat team, yet they do not seem to have been thought through, like interaction of passives with the DOTs. Aside from ulti gen passives there are also things like mages guild empower. Passive still gives you 3s empower making it super inefficient compared to DOT durations. It seems that the proposed changes were done a quite a bit of a rush and would be better to gather feedback, re-think and implement more complete solution in following patches, rather than agitating all communities with partial changes. Not to mention we are still pending some changes along with hybrid meta. Whatever happened with hybrid consumables? It was on to-do list for next patch and I still don't see them implemented.
    Edited by SeaUnicorn on July 12, 2022 9:02PM
  • PrincessOfThieves
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    Urvoth wrote: »
    in terms of PvP, the main issue with Radiating is not the heal numbers themselves, it's about how much you can stack it.

    Yeah, if they wanted to fix its impact in pvp, they could just make it so you can only have one instance of radiating regen at once. So that if someone else uses it, it would just be reapplied.
  • WolfySaurusREX
    WolfySaurusREX
    Soul Shriven
    Big facts. These changes are gonna sting. Heals are gonna feel a lot like RNG now. I appreciate the deep dive. Definitely very informational. Hopefully ZOS recognizes the effect that these changes are gonna have and do something about it because ultimately, it is currently helping no one. If anything it hurts more.
  • KlauthWarthog
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    Question (yes, I am installing PTS, but... it is going to take a while)... did they change the duration of the Powerful Assault set buff to match the new duration for Echoing Vigor, or are healers having to recast it early to maintain the uptime? No mention of changes for PA on the patch notes.
  • FakeFox
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    Great post, completely agree.
    EU/PC (GER) 1900+ CP
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  • phantasmalD
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    Tbh Radiating Regen is stupidly overloaded, ~6x healing for half the cost of a burst skill and requires 0 aiming. It's kind of busted.

    Also, how was Illustrious nerfed by 40%? Like sure, it ticks 10 instead of 12 and no longer has bonus power, but the power of the base skill is doubled, so it actually should heal for more. 1.5 x 12 vs 2 x 10.

    On 2s ticks: you can't cast every skills in one second, so HoTs will inevitably get desynced from each other and you'll still have at least one tick every second. Also, I think Lifesteal is still every second?

    If sustain is rough then maybe the goal is to push healers towards selfish sets and end the reign of buff sets. There are a ton of extra sustain and healing sets that never see any use due to the meta being a walking coffee dispenser.
  • Brrrofski
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    They nerfed Radiating because (editorializing here) bad players on the forums think it's the key to PVP ball groups' survivability.

    I've tried to tell them it isn't -- it's actually a lot more complicated than *just* RR, and honestly has a lot more to do with overtuned damage than it does healing -- but they refuse to listen to any reason. So here we are. And when this goes live, I think I know the very people asking for the nerf will be the most devastated by its result.

    In either case, running around and extending every 10 second over time ability to 20 seconds and then just completely without explanation refusing to touch some of the most popular abilities like these really accomplishes nothing for easing rotations. They've kept "required APM" the same in most every case where it matters.

    Nobody asked for it to be nerfed the way it has

    All people asked was fir it to not stack in PvP. Not nerr the healing it did, or frequency of ticks.

    And what's the excuse for the others to be changed? Nobody was complaining about healing springs or Templar ritual in PvP.

    Yet again, another example of people mindlessly blaming PvP for changes.
    Xbox One EU
  • MidniteOwl1913
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    They nerfed Radiating because (editorializing here) bad players on the forums think it's the key to PVP ball groups' survivability.

    I've tried to tell them it isn't -- it's actually a lot more complicated than *just* RR, and honestly has a lot more to do with overtuned damage than it does healing -- but they refuse to listen to any reason. So here we are. And when this goes live, I think I know the very people asking for the nerf will be the most devastated by its result.

    In either case, running around and extending every 10 second over time ability to 20 seconds and then just completely without explanation refusing to touch some of the most popular abilities like these really accomplishes nothing for easing rotations. They've kept "required APM" the same in most every case where it matters.

    Yeah, I've been thinking the same thing the healing nerfs are being driven by PVP complaints.

    My first clue was the comment about making lighting/restoration staff HA last tick dodgeable, and if dodged to return no resource. Only makes sense for PVP. And really they have been asking for just this sort of nerf to "cross-healing" for ages.

    It's going to be just as bad as the DPS nerf, but more subtle.

    PS5/NA
  • mpicklesster
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    SeaUnicorn wrote: »
    In addition after the changes my HOTs and uptimes have even more disparate durations than before. Rotation difficulty only partially comes from duration of the uptimes / HOTs. After some point longer does not mean easier. Alot of it comes from disparate durations, where you need to track each one, or few sets of those separately. After then changes I tried out my "healer rotation" and it feels just as complex as it was with no good way making it static without running out of sustain.

    ^This is a good, massively underrated point. A major stress point for newer players is all of the "timer-watching" you have to do. And you have to do this because the skills in our tool boxes often have very different durations. So it doesn't matter if ZOS shifts HOTs and DOTs by a constant; it won't change the fact that so many skills are asynchronous--and therefore require a lot of "timer-watching". In other words, optimal rotations will still be too complex for most new players, now they'll just be longer, too.

    I hope the dev team has the courage to scrap the current PTS and instead focus on doing an ability duration pass (I believe Code already suggested this, but I'm echoing it). That would help new players a lot more than this current list of changes.

  • Horny_Poney
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    Totally agree with you SeaUnicorn, even bringing points I didn’t think of.
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