8.2 Preview: Healer Essence Breakdown III
You can find part one of the Essence article here and part two here. Today we’re going to lead with powerhouse The Ever Rising Tide and then for completions sake take a look at the final three which are mostly stat procs. All data is from the PTR and can change before Live but if they’re going to make changes they should really move that to the top of their to-do list. At the end of the article we discuss optimal setups.
Update: I’ve updated the article with the June 20 hotfixes including the heavy nerf to Ever-Rising Tide.
The Ever-Rising Tide
How to get it
Uncommon: Achieve Honored with the Nazjatar reputation (Ankoan / Unshackled depending on faction). It also costs 10 Prismatic Manapearls.
Rare: Achieve Revered with the Nazjatar reputation. It also costs 25 Prismatic Manapearls.
Epic: Achieve Exalted with the Nazjatar reputation. It also costs 50 Prismatic Manapearls.
Legendary: Obtained from the Nazjatar reputation paragon chests. It’s unknown whether this is a 100% drop rate or pure RNG.
- Some pages on Wowhead mention that it cuts mana regeneration in half while active. This is no longer the case. You get nothing for 8 seconds.
Data: 6 (uncommon) / 7 expected stacks (rare / epic), 38000 HPS, one use every 45s, no significant cooldowns popped, 58% chance for minor to proc mana, 11000 intellect
The numbers are taken for Druid but should be close for other specs. Those with strong cooldowns they can push into the healing window will benefit most. Druid / Disc / Paladin have the most synergy.
This is one of my favorite Essence designs because it rewards good play and strong fight preparation as opposed to some of the more passive Essences that effectively give their power for free. It did get a very heavy nerf in the last tuning patch which pushes it out of contention for most players since you need to play at a very high level for it to beat the alternatives. Plan to combine the buff with Flourish, Tree of Life, Lively Spirit, Refreshing Jade Wind or Avenging Wrath and you can singlehandedly keep the raid alive for 10 seconds with a 40%++ healing buff but use it poorly at your own peril.
How it works
- The cost of using the Essence is 6400 mana. It doesn’t matter how many spells you cast in the duration. The cost is 6400 mana per use. This actually adds up quickly during a fight and you’ll want to make sure you are aligning the ramp with the damage patterns of the fight to get value. This makes rank 1 particularly poor as seen above.
- The buff is in two portions. 8 seconds of “ramp” where every spell increases your healing by 4%, and then ~8 seconds of pure buff where you keep your stacks but don’t gain any more. The 8 seconds start from when you cast your last ramp spell so it’ll be a little less than 8.
- Spells need a base mana cost to count as a stack. That means defensives, cat form abilities and free DPS spells don’t give you anything. Spells cast during Mana Tea, Innervate or clearcasting are all fine. The ERT cast itself does give you a stack. There do seem to be some rare exceptions to this rule.
- You don’t have to use it on cooldown. You line it up with the damage patterns of the fight. If that means you only use it once per minute it’s still really damn good. You use this tactfully, not every time it’s up.
- Both the healing and haste buff apply dynamically to all already active HoTs.
- The Essence will introduce Haste breakpoints. We’ll have more information as the patch goes live. The 10% haste bonus during the buff is multiplicative with your existing Haste.
Maximising each use depends heavily on your spec and the fight in question and there will be proper guides as the patch goes live.
This was once a clear first choice for most healing specs. It was recently nerfed by about ~36%. This makes it poor for general usage, however when picked around the fight and combined intelligently with cooldowns it can still be your #1 choice. This is not your default anymore unless you are a Disc Priest. You are picking it for a specific purpose. A mechanic that lasts ~15 seconds or a short end phase of the fight that you can store mana for. It scales incredibly well with your healing output and doesn’t really start beating the alternatives until you’re pumping 40k+ HPS. Rank one isn’t very good at all. Don’t use rank one unless you’re a Disc Priest and even that’s a stretch.
Some example mega combos
- Druid: Pop Innervate ~10 seconds before big damage hits to get a 20s Lively Spirit buff that lines up perfectly with your Ever Rising Tide. Fill your Ever Rising Tide ramp with Rejuvs, and then Wild Growth and Flourish when you’re at maximum stacks. This represents a 210% healing increase. Pepper with Tree of Life or Tranq where necessary.
- Monk: Build stacks with Vivify and Renewing Mist. You can also weave 1-2 Soothing Mist in. During your last GCD pop Thunder Focus Tea for a huge stat buff, hit Refreshing Jade Wind and fill with Vivifies / Essence Font depending on the damage pattern. This is expensive but does push out a lot of healing. You can mitigate some of the cost with Mana Tea.
- Paladin: The mana cost is irrelevant to you so pop it frequently and just do your standard rotation. It’s going to be a mega combo on Glimmer strength alone. Add spices like Avenging Wrath to flavor.
Artifice of Time
How to get it
Uncommon: Complete a quest that has you win a battleground or PVP island.
Rare: Gather 15,000 honor from battlegrounds, PVP islands or brawls. This is a decent amount.
Epic: Gather 50,000 honor from battlegrounds, PVP islands or brawls. This is a lot and you’ll need to commit a lot of time to PVP.
Legendary: Gather 100,000 honor from battlegrounds, PVP islands or brawls. For PVP and hardcore collectors only.
After the excitement of Ever Rising Tide this one is a let down. The effect itself is awesome. It basically pauses all damage and healing on the target for 6 seconds up to the prescribed cap and then slowly drips it into them. Think of it as an ultra pumped up Void Stone. The problem is that it’s on a long three minute cooldown and is up against some incredibly strong alternatives. If you can cheese a fight by using it as a 500k absorb against a specific mechanic then it might see use but I don’t think it has general raid viability outside of that.
The minor seems like it could be good on paper but is tuned very low. You effectively get 60s of uptime per minute spread across the raid. Even on the toughest DPS checks you’re unlikely to give up 5% healing for a small haste buff on random raid members unless the offering is much better than this. I think there is definitely a niche for an effect like this – I just wish the numbers were higher.
It’ll probably fare better in Mythic+ where the competition isn’t so strong but a three minute cooldown feels even worse in a dungeon environment and it’ll offer little help against most of the big healing challenges like Galvazzt or Eudora. Well of Existence and Ever Rising Tide seem to offer stronger packages.
How to get it
Uncommon: Collect 36,000 azerite in Island expeditions.
Rare: Combine fragments of treasure maps received during island expeditions and then complete a quest.
Epic: Recruit a captain follower and complete a mission chain. This is likely a follow up to the Rare essence.
Legendary: Seems to be a chance when completing Mysterious Treasure Map missions. More information to come.
Data: standing by Lifebloom Shard for 90% of their uptime, only person using essence, for maximum throughput assumed 4 stacks at all times.
This drops from islands and you’re probably waiting for me to tell you it’s bad so you don’t have to farm it. It falls somewhere in the middle. If you stack a lot of them through your raid then it can reach moderate to decent output for a minor. It still gets beaten by our top tier though and on any fights with heavy movement or that necessitate spreading its value will drop quickly.
The major is still quite poor.
Ripple in Space
The cooldown on the major will be 1 minute on live servers.
How to get it
Uncommon: Kill 25 players of the opposite faction while in Nazjatar.
Rare: Complete a Nazjatar-specific world PVP meta-achievement.
Epic: Collect an item from the weekly Call to Arms quests. Expect this to take quite some time.
Legendary: Loot 25 War Supply chests in Nazjatar while an assassin.
Data: Procced every 35 seconds. This is a high estimation and you’ll likely see lower on live.
It’s becoming pretty clear why I led with Ever Rising Tide. The rest of these aren’t particularly good. This one might pick up some very very niche value on a fight where the blink Major can pull off some absolute shenanigans. Outside of that it’s not at all great. The int bonus on the minor doesn’t stack up well even if you’re able to use it every 30 seconds which you realistically won’t be able to do on most fights. 5% movement speed is kind of neat but you’re not going to give up huge throughput for it.
So what’s best?
Now that we’ve seen the set, let’s talk through which combinations we might use if they went live as-is. We don’t really know much about the damage patterns in Palace yet so we’re going to assume they’re similar to every other mid-expansion raid – a little burstier than Battle of Dazar’alor. There is a fair chance this will be an easy tier to heal because we’re getting an incredible number of new tools and power that cover a multitude of damage patterns and that can be difficult to offset in the balance department. This is the tier where we all get to feel overpowered.
Here are my preliminary picks for the three specs I personally put time into, aimed at raid and updated with the 20th June hotfixes:
Resto Druid. Major: Ever Rising Tide (rank 3) / Memory of Lucid Dreams. Minors: Memory of Lucid Dreams, Well of Existence.
Mistweaver Monk. Major: Conflict and Strife or Ever Rising Tide (rank 2/3). Minors: Memory of Lucid Dreams, Well of Existence.
Holy Paladin. Major: Ever Rising Tide. Minors: Well of Existence, Vision of Perfection (when it better aligns your cooldowns).
QE Live will have full Essence support when the patch goes live and in-depth guides will exist for Resto Druid and Mistweaver Monk detailing specifics on how to maximise each Essence.