Continued: Boon of Fortitude

This post is part of a series of posts titled Healing Inspection, which discusses healing abilities and styles.

I said I’ll be sleeping over it, and that I did.

Two days ago, I’ve introduced my personal idea of a future Discipline Priest ability, which I have named Boon of Fortitude (nicknamed boon). At the time, I wasn’t exactly sure how this would work, and I proposed three alternatives.

Sleep helped me reach a decision.

Boon of Fortitude will increase the target’s health by a percentage of its maximal health. And the reason for this decision is quite straightforward – Discipline Priests are slowly shaping to be superior at tank healing (quote), and boon feels like a tank healing tool.

So, here is the final piece.

Boon of Fortitude

Boon of Fortitude

Boon of Fortitude

(Instant, 40 sec. cooldown) Boons the target with fortitude, temporarily granting her 20% of her maximal health for 5 seconds. After the effect expires, the health is lost.

More information, following the break.

!BOON P2L

Learn to Play Noob! or more commonly phrased L2P Noob! is something one can commonly see on forums or talkbacks/comments. Why is it used? Because supposedly, someone is not using his skills as a good player is meant to.

I don’t want this to happen with Boon of Fortitude, so let me first explain how it should be used, then have a look if it should be used at all.

How Us Pros Play the Game

I’d like to think that a good healer can keep his tank, and his group, out of harm’s way as much as possible. But, harm always comes in the way, and avoiding it is really not possible. So, a good healer does his best to keep his allies from dying, while the best do a good job keeping them from being wounded too much.

However, many encounters are designed in a way that the tank or group members will sometimes be very close to dying, and only good judgment and reaction will keep him from buying the farm.

Boon of Fortitude was designed explicitly for such circumstances. An ally is about to die, and nothing short of stopping time can prevent that? Boon will grant him a fraction more of time, for the healer to pull him out of the danger zone.

The fact that it does not cause a global cooldown is the key. It is superior to Power Word: Shield since it doesn’t waste 1.5 seconds of global cooldown, allowing the target to last another hit alive, and still permit the Priest to land a heal on her.

It is meant to be a panic button, but one that must be followed by the right moves, as its duration is extremely short. Failure to react correctly will bring the target back to its low amount of health 5 seconds later, and heals failing to land before the enemy’s next swing will probably result in the target dying.

Why the Pros Bother

Because it is a good skill, and me writing this does not affect my objectivity (*wink*).

It gives the Priest a tool to apply a panic button on his target, giving him slightly more time to react. Yes, it isn’t as strong as innate panic buttons (such as Last Stand), for it would have been overpowered otherwise. Nevertheless, it has the advantage of being under the control of the healer, which usually has a slightly superior vantage point of his group’s health status.

More than that, it provides the healer with a skill that can prevent an ally from dying on the next hit (or at least, increase the chances of survival), even if for a short time only. I don’t think many healers can pass on such a thing.

Now, to the delicate point. The fact that the skill has a very short duration at 5 seconds, which I suppose could cause some to get worked up. The key note to keep in mind here is that boon does not cause a global cooldown; the Priest casts it, but it doesn’t prevent him from casting something else, at the same time. What it means is, that the Priest can cast up to 5 seconds of heals, before it expires. That’s 3 Flash Heals, or 1 Greater Heal + 1 FH, or 1 PW:S + 1 FH + 1 Renew, and you get the point.

And finally, to the amount it temporarily heals. I have decided it would be a percent of the target’s maximal health, which means it is more potent the more health the target has. Which positions this skill as something designed for tanks, but it can still be useful on others, just sometimes not as much.
I foresee it still being used over PW:S on non-tanks, in situations where even a global cooldown cannot be sacrificed, but the healer would still like to grant the party/raid member a degree of some protection.

Score: 9/10

Because it helps saving lives, without disrupting the Priest’s healing rotation.

Plaboon

If a single soldier, or even a small squad sees itself facing a full platoon, odds are they are going to feel pretty underpowered, or feel they are facing an overpowered foe.

Now, would other healers feel the same about Boon of Fortitude? Are their heals underpowered in comparison to it?

Attempting to compare boon to other healing spells won’t do us any good, since it is rather innovative in the healing compartment. How shall we estimate its power then? Tricky…

Boon of Fortitude is a bit like Power Word: Shield, in a way that it provides an additional healing buffer. Now, arguably, Boon is superior, but it can be used once every 40 seconds compared to a PW:S every 15 seconds.

We could hence state that Boon is a fine skill, but we would be disregarding an important point. Both Boon of Fortitude and PW:S are available to a Discipline Priest, so he could use them both, one after the other. That’s a bit of a healing buffer over other healing classes.

Now, to something that keeps popping out lately, and that’s how skills can be abused. An extra 20% health to the main tank is something raiders will be drooling over, and I can guarantee that some will attempt to figure a way how this can be kept as much as possible. A 5 second duration on a 40 second cooldown means that 8 Discipline Priests could keep this up infinitely on the main tank, and the best part is it does not hamper their healing ability, since it doesn’t suffer from the GCD. It would require pretty good coordination to get it starting, but once the boon machine starts rolling, the raid would have a very stoic tank.

Score: 9/10

The abuse part is worrisome, and its cooperation with PW:S might be turning other healers jealous-green.

The Boon Squad

When facing other players, and fighting versus them, it is advised to have your goon squad at your side; because PvP is not a battle to do alone.

How does it feel having Boon of Fortitude in such battles?

Well, it certainly can help. As in PvE, in PvP as well allies can be very close to dying, and only immediate action could hold them from reaching their final destination. The extra health might be exactly what the Priest requires to land a saving heal.

In PvP, Boon of Fortitude has both an advantage and a drawback. On the positive side, it scales excellently in PvP gear, since this type of gear is stamina heavy. On the negative side, healers in PvP have a much harder time landing heals than in PvE; 5 seconds might not be enough (especially when the enemy team is trying to interrupt you), and beyond that the skill has almost no effect.

Probably, the boon buff could be dispelled by the enemy team, removing the extra health instantly. This gives the enemy team two means to counter the ability – either dispel it, or prevent the healer from casting for 5 seconds.

To conclude, such a heal will have its use in PvP, and it could even delay the death of team members when used smartly. If it proves to grant Discipline too much mitigation with their already powerful Shields and the Pain Suppression talent, a revision will be needed.

Score: Good PvP utility.

In Before the Monboon

When a new skill emerges, the weather is bound to change. What starts as sunshine, where everyone is satisfied, can quickly change into the vilest of storms. Before the monsoon of nerfs, things are usually better than they will ultimately be.

And while we are within the calm weather, what kind of nerfing winds can we expect?

  • Cooldown increase. Probably the best solution to most of the problems. 40 seconds is perhaps a bit too short, and an increase is due. 1 minute or slightly longer could do the trick; to the very least, it would prevent chain-using during raids.
  • Duration decrease. Such a nerf must be applied with caution, as a duration too short might cause the extra health to be lost while the Priest casts one of his longer heals, like Greater Heal.
  • Buff decrease. Reducing the health addition will cause the skill to offer little value on encounters where the dealt damage is higher. It is a favorable solution for PvP, but might make it much less useful in PvE. The reduction will probably be small, from 20% down to 15% or similar.
  • Debuff addition. In order to prevent chain-using the skill, we could use a debuff similarly to Weakened Soul. I don’t like such a solution much, as it tends to create a debuff inflation lately. In its favor is the fact that this is the best solution to the raid exploit mentioned above.

I would probably vote for extending the cooldown to 1 minute, then seeing some numbers before further adjustments.

Booner or Later

Sooner or later, someone is going to bring up the lore. He is going to ask, Boon of Fortitude, what does that have to do with Discipline Priests?

And I have a prepared answer for him.

Discipline Priests are about resilience and mitigation. They already have very potent Power Word: Shields, and Pain Suppression which grants the best damage reduction buff currently in the game.

More than that, Priests are already known for granting allies with fortitude, and it even lasts for a long time.

Now, during their extensive training, isn’t it somewhat logical that they learn how to push this limit of fortitude, to grant someone another inch of stamina, even for a little while?

I have said enough.

Watching Carboons

I don’t know about you, but watching cartoons is something I think many can enjoy. I know this has been a poor introduction, but will Boon of Fortitude be a skill many can enjoy?

As for entertainment value, I think one should stick with cartoons… The buff could take the visuals of scale increase, or some particle effect, but lasting 5 seconds, it would be very short entertainment at best.

As for gameplay enjoyment, it isn’t something to vary one’s healing rotation, but it will grant a slight breather in panic situation. Not as fun as it might be stress-soothing, but that is also something.

Baboon

This has nothing to do with anything, but I had to finish the post somehow.

That’s it with Discipline Priest, and now, truly one skill remains to be created. Coming soon!

In most cases, it is not the actual effect that saves one’s life, but knowing that someone attempts to.
In many cases, that is enough.
— Varsuvius, Master of the Chamber of Light

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