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Optimism: Healing Absorption

April 21, 2010

Continuing my attempts to reconcile myself to the death knight in Cataclysm, I now turn to our tanking mastery.

“Healing Absorption: When you heal yourself, you’ll receive an additional effect that absorbs incoming damage.”

The first thing to point out is the sheer number of things we don’t know about the effect. Any of these could be tuned to make it more or less useful:

• will the shield be a fixed percentage of damage off the next blow, a damage shield that stays up until a certain amount of damage has been absorbed or a shield that takes a fixed amount of damage from one blow and then breaks?

• if the amount of damage absorbed is based on the amount healed, will it take overheal into account?

• Even more importantly, will it get refreshed and will more healing add to the existing shield? If not, the small continuous heals we now can get (from e.g blood worms, mark of blood and improved blood presence) will move from not very / situationally useful to positively bad.

• if a fixed percentage, will it proc when we are at full health. If not, I can see arguments with healers in heroics:

“You’re far squishier than the warrior, dks suck!”

“You keep healing me, of course I am squishy.”

“I’m the healer!”

::runs away and sobs in the corner::

• is it percentage based, will it stack? Or like bears will we have serious problems against multiple mobs? And, yes, I know I won’t be aoe tanking as much. I’d still like to mitigate more than a maximum of on blow per gcd!

Basically, we don’t know how much damage will be absorbed or how often it will be up. These are huge questions to be answered before any real evaluation happens.

My ideal version would be a shield (preferably that looks like a blood red pally bubble) that goes up as soon as any healing ability is used and then adds a percentage of all healing and overhealing to the amount it absorbs. I suspect this is overpowered.

More realistic, and still not annoying would be a bubble that goes up everytime you heal yourself and absorbs a set percentage of damage.

Least good would be a bubble that absorbs a percentage of self-healing but does not accumulate and gets overwritten by less powerful effects.

The truth is it will probably be none of these.

Hmm, not very optimistic so far. More questioning. Ok, two happy thoughts:

1) The description currently reads damage which implies it might mitigate spell damage as well as physical. A nice harkening to when we were the magic tanks.

2) The developers say they want to get to a mana starved world for healers. If this happens then self healig may end up high on a raid’s wish list.

All in all, I think Healing Absorption has potential. It’s a much more fun and flavoursome ability than pallies and warriors. Whether it will be potent enough is yet to be seen.

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