When Cataclysm released, the word on the street was that healing was going to change and that mana was going to be at a premium. Which, of course, meant that mana regen was going to be something that was seriously considered when we were looking at gearing options. The general consensus was that our stat priorities should be Int -> Spirit (until comfortable) -> Haste (to cap) -> Mastery -> Crit -> Haste (past cap).
However, with the release of 4.2 and the ever growing amount of intellect and spirit available to us, there has been some interesting discussion about the ongoing value of spirit. While it is still true that you want to stack spirit until comfortable, the question to ask is what is comfortable?
There has been some interesting discussion happening lately over in the Resto Gear Discussion Thread on EJ that has started to explore the value of spirit. And there has been some interesting thoughts with regards to the matter. Now, I’m not entirely sure which side of this fence that I fall on, but I thought I might share the conversation to see what other people are thinking on the matter. (I will add some of my thoughts at the end).
The conversation started with an observation and question regarding some trends he was noticing in the community and trying to work out what they mean.
I have noticed some restoration druids are gemming +40 intellect (ignoring the bonuses) then I look at other guilds and I see druids gemming to get the bonus using a +20 int +20 SPIRIT gem. This befuddles me because Hamlet said spirit generally gives around as much MP5 as Int, but gives no mana pool increase and no throughput gain at all, so is rather useless. You are usually only supposed to gem for the bonus if the bonus gives you +20 or more intellect. I have also been on the edge of the spirit – > mastery/haste thing. I see most top druids are reforging out of it – but they also have woe/domo trinket. Fights like Heroic Beth are still really healing intensive and require alot of mana, so I don’t want to run out of mana. I don’t know if I want to reforge out of spirit.
In response to his questions, there have been two posters who have offered some thoughts. One who devalued spirit, and one who did not. Both of which were quite interesting to see. The first commenter was Affinity, who is a 25 man raider working on Heroic Ragnaros.
I was extremely hesitant to reforge spirit—>mastery/haste at first due to fights like beth, but after doing so and being slightly more careful with mana I was able to pull it off. Mostly I am doing this for Heroic Rag, but overall it has worked well for other fights such as Beth when you take a more conservative mana approach to the encounter. The best suggestion is to do what you feel comfortable with, and tweak it as you go. You can slowly reforge spirit off, or you can do it all in one chunk and pull some spirit back in if you feel you absolutely need the regen.
I’m to the point where if I could get the Alyzrazor trinket I’d be dropping jaws on most of the encounters as I am finding I have too much regen now, but this also comes with the fact that dps is getting better so the fights die a lot faster.
You can definitely reforge out of spirit even without a Shard of Woe, you just have to be a lot more careful when doing so. Use your healing style and your better judgement to figure out what a good number is :)
A little bit later in the thread, he comments on how his mana has been working through the T12 content after his changes:
Mana gets a tad tight but I have made it to p4 with full mana, an innervate off CD, and a free conc pot. You can do it without negatively affecting your healing, but it requires fairly tight mana management to pull off. Basically requires shard as well, but if you have access to shard and aren’t using it you are doing it wrong so.
Now, on the flip side of the coin, Gamon, a 10 man raider working on Heroic Ragnaros, takes the opposite view of spirit, where he states he found continuing to stack spirit, even at the higher levels netted more favorable results for him – even losing a decent bit of mastery.
6/7 10 man here and 2 healing p4 rag (I know, 25 is harder, but 2 healing rag has actually been quite challenging). I dropped 8.5% mastery for 1000 spirit (~2700 total) around baleroc, and I cannot emphasize enough how important this was.
P2 beth for example, the week after that reforge I shot up at least 2000 HPS, my best is around 27500 but that’s alongside 2 other amazing healers. Being able to afford 3-4 rejuvs between every WG/SM is incredible. Pre-hotting is a must for rag 10 man, and it sure helps on domo. I’m not sure how it could be done without at least 2500 spirit. Getting extra stacks on bal regrowth-spamming is a viable strategy too – I’m usually ending that fight 140+ now with more regen.
Tonight I was lucky to get enough to get a H-[Jaws of Defeat]… low and behold the “on use” stacks with SoW (!), I expect to reforge some of that spirit back to mastery, and go 3/3 genesis.
It’s really nice not having to be so frugal with rejuv anymore, if you haven’t tried a high spirit set, you might want to give it a whirl. If you’re ending fights with mana, just rejuv more, you’ll come out on top of your mastery set ;)
My Initial Thoughts
As I stated earlier, I’m not really sure how I feel about this argument. I did start reforging spirit to reach my haste breakpoints once I hit about 2800 spirit, but I was also very conservative in doing so. I found I was very nervous to let go of something that seemed so important to maintaining my precious blue bar. However, this past week when I picked up my 4 T12 to play around with, I lost almost 200 spirit on my gloves. A couple of weeks ago, I picked up the cloak from Sinestra - which also lacks spirit. And before that I had opted to reforge the spirit on my helm into haste and hold onto the mastery.
When all was said and done I ended up being down over 400 spirit.
I went into last night’s raid at 2286 spirit. Now, it’s not quite the ~1700 that Affinity dropped to, but it’s a fair bit less than I had the last time I saw these encounters. And you know what? I found that I could heal about the same way as I did before. I wasn’t completely bottoming out my mana bar, and I was ending fights with some measure of mana left. Which of course, has me now wondering if I might be able to drop more spirit.
Which ultimately leads to the question “what is my comfort level”?
I’m not entirely sure that I have an answer to that yet. And after tonight’s H Beth, I may well change my mind on being “ok” with the spirit that I dropped. But so far, I’m not entirely certain that I will miss it. In fact, I’m toying around with the thought of tinkering around a little more with my reforging and dropping a touch more spirit. Of course, I can also definitely see Gamon’s point on not completely devaluing spirit.
In the end, I think it’s probably going to be one of those things that is player driven. The amount of spirit you need to feel comfortable will likely depend on your healing style and the other members of your healing team. And even to an extent, the level on content that you are working. I’m not really sure that there is a “right” or a “wrong” here, as much as there is a “this works for me”. I, personally, intend to toy around with it some from both angles and see what yields the best results for me. But I am curious what other people think about the possibility of dropping spirit in favor of other throughput stats.
What do you think? Where do you place the value of spirit? Would you be comfortable removing spirit from your gear?