Self-healing is a weird and intricate balance for warlocks because we tend to use our health as a semi-resource bar often enough for healing to matter. There’s the obvious Life Tap that we’ve had for many years, but more recently, Mists of Pandaria brought abilities that cost health, like Unbound Will or Burning Rush.
I feel like this is a subject that the devs still don’t know how to balance correctly yet. The changes tend to swing from not enough to far too much/overpowered, as we know well enough with Drain Life’s evolution, or even with how Harvest Life evolved in MoP beta. We had the Life Tap fiasco in MoP beta where our self-healing was so nerfed so far such that we couldn’t recover from Life Tap, so we eventually either went OOM or dead. So we warlocks have this weird balance where we need enough self-healing to make up for the health-costing abilities, but not so much self-healing that we can basically ignore boss mechanics when we feel like it or an otherwise lack of outside healing.
The major change for Healthstones is that it’s going to be a 1-use per fight (down from 3-5 use) and that it’s tied to the same CD as a healing potion (in Warlords, Healing Tonic). Additionally, the amount a Healthstone heals for also got nerfed.
When the newest build came out, Zinnin () asked Celestalon if Healthstones needed to be nerfed further, because they were already below the potion’s heal. Celestalon replied that the Tonic-Healthstone relationship was supposed to be more like the 300-275 stat food relationship, where one is technically better but the other isn’t absolutely terrible.
The difference between 275 & 300 stat foods is 25 stat,. If you represent this in a ratio, 300:275, then we get 1.09:1. It was further of a minor difference because in Mists, 25 Intellect (e.g.) was almost nothing of a boost compared to what you’d get from a gem or an enchant.
Let’s see how healthstones & tonics compare.
Healthstones: Build 18738
I got to thinking about the influence of Versatility and Blood Pact’s healing increase component, so I asked around on Twitter for a body to eat a handful of cookies for me and Dayani (@healiocentric /Healiocentric blog ) volunteered. After doing some gear switches to play with Versatility a bit, with both of us eating cookies and sharing numbers in party chat, we figured out that the tooltip takes into account the Versatility the user has, but not the Blood Pact passive. The total heal takes into account both.
I’ve unfortunately lost all the exact numbers because I didn’t record our party chat until half of it was cut off by the chat log’s limit. But the important thing is that I can replicate them!
The flat Healthstone heal is 15%. My maximum health will always be 289,740. (Unless I exchange some gear or drink a stamina flask, but warlocks always have the 10% raid buff due to the Blood Pact passive.)
Then you take into account your Versatility. On my premade orc in 660 PvP gear, I have 1.63% Versatility. 15*1.0163 = 15.2445%. The tooltip still says 15%.
Then we need to factor in how I’m a warlock who is at least level 80, which means I have the Blood Pact passive. Blood Pact is a complex passive in Warlords that has 3 parts, but the important part here is that line about “increases all healing you receive by 10%.”
So we take our 15.2445 and multiply it by 1.10, which gives us 16.76895% of max health, which is 48,586.35573 health. When I take a health dip (by using the equipment sets feature to go full nude then fully geared again in one click), then use a healthstone, I receive a heal for 48587. It’s off by 1, so I know from Theck’s lessons that there’s some rounding going on in there. But I don’t care enough about 1 health point to go find out where.
When I put raid buffs on with a cauldron in Shattrath, my theory holds.
Base heal (15%) * Versatility (1.0463) * Blood Pact healing passive (1.10) = 17.2% heal. I should get something around a 50020 heal and I got 50021.
Dayani’s cookie-eating corresponded — on a shaman, her Versatility affected her cookie heal. (Also A’dal’s pesky Shatt buff affected it!)
At level 95, I’m still in my raid gear when I got copied over, which gives me a max health of 148,980 and some Versatility of 1.22% (because I’m human, so I get free Versatility). I also unglyphed Healthstone and didn’t have Grimoire of Sacrifice buffed when I logged in. I was buffed with Dark Intent, but that’s spellpower and multistrike, so who cares.
My crafted Healing Tonic says it restores 56,681 health. When I actually drank the Healing Tonic, it healed me for 62350.
That’s accurate, because 56681*1.10 (to account for Blood Pact) = 62349.1.
The tooltip for the Healing Point takes into account Versatility, as it turns out. The Wowhead tooltip scaled down to level 95 for Healing Tonic is 56000. 56000*1.0122 = 56683, which is close enough for government work. Same thing when you apply it to the level 100 version — 68000 — though the Versatility % tooltip must do some rounding. Eventually you do it the long way through rating and Dayani is amazing again with math and figuring out the rounding spot, and you get basically the correct answer where the 68000 Tonic heals a warlock for 68000*1.0163 = 69109 on the tooltip, but effectively 76019 when we include Blood Pact.
Comparison: Tonics & Stones
So here’s the deal. Give or take some rounding errors, Healthstones work like this:
% max health heal =15% max health * (1+Vers) * Blood Pact
And Tonics work like this:
# heal = 68000 * (1+Vers) * Blood Pact
Assuming a warlock standing around, you get Blood Pact; if you’re some other class or situation, you can get some other healing done/taken effect going on (like A’dal’s Swiggity Swattrath Buff).
It comes down to whether a 68k heal is better than 15% max health. If 68k was 15% of your maximum health, you’d have 453,333.3333 repeating health. So maybe when we get to the end of the expansion and you’re sitting at 453,334 health, your Healthstone will finally match Healing Tonic.
Right now, in 660 PvP gear, we have 289,740 max health (15% = 43461). Even if I use Shadow Bulwark off a voidwalker sacrifice, I can only get up to 376,662 health (15% = 56499.3).
68k right now is about 23.5% max health. That’s almost 1.5 times a Healthstone’s heal. That’s not a better-good competition, that’s a good-crap competition.
At 1.09, Healthstone heals 62385 health, or 21.5% max health.
At 1.10, Healthstone heals 61818 health, or 21% max.
At 1.15, Healthstone heals 59130 health, or 20% max.
At 1.20, Healthstone heals 56667 health, or 19.5% max.
At 1.25, Healthstone heals 54400 health, or 18.8% max.
If I take a look at the Shadow Bulwark situation, where I increased my maximum health without touching my Versatility, where I increased my healthstone’s heal without increasing the tonic’s heal — the tonic is still better, 68000 to 56499 being 1.20 ratio. You’re only going to get to a stamina-only increase like that through a temporary raid CD. Stamina flasks don’t even begin to compare to that (30% max health is in the realm of 85k; a stamina flask is 18k health).
I don’t feel like or think that’s balanced. 15% is way too low.
If 68k is the accepted base heal for a potion, the Healthstone should be brought back up to a 20% max health heal, to at least give a little choice. To go to the 1.09 ratio of the stat foods, Healthstone would have to be buffed from live realms to 21.5% max health.
Otherwise, if we’re tuning to Healthstone’s 15%, the Tonic needs to be nerfed to something like 48k to get to a ratio of 1.09. The compromise 1.20 ratio would be a 52k heal.
Buff Healthstones and/or nerf Healing Tonics.
Edit: Already Changed
I @’d my post to Celestalon, and he replied that Healthstone has already been changed in the next build to be a flat base heal of 50k instead of based on max health percent. So now both warlock formulas for Tonics and ‘Stones are: # heal = [68000 (Tonic) / 50000 (Healthstone)] * (1+Versatility) * Blood Pact.
I’d reasoned out a 1.20:1 ratio as fair, which left me at thinking buffing Healthstone to heal 52k. Not too shabby for speculation!