Monday, January 10, 2011

Inspiration versus Surge of Light

Inspiration versus Surge of Light was one of my least certain decisions when I was putting together a talent spec. When I swapped to Smite from non-Smite, it seemed like Surge would be better given that Smite does not proc Inspiration but does proc Surge.

Well, I have some real data now, so I can actually see how much physical damage was dealt to people in the 15 seconds following me landing critical heals on them. I'm working from our World of Logs reports, so it's a little cumbersome, but foolishly I haven't been running my own logs up to this point.

The result for Magmaw is that Inspiration would have prevented around 90k damage, and on Omnitron it would have prevented 139k. On both encounters I healed around the same amount, approximately 3.15M. So as a percentage of total healing, it was 2.85% on Magmaw and about 4.19% on Omnitron.

I calculated the expected number of Surge procs given the coming patch that will allow Flash Heal and Greater Heal to proc it. Surge did not fare to well, with only 3.5 procs on Magmaw and 2.9 on Omnitron. Even allowing that the free Flash Heal will be able to crit *and* will be substantially more likely to benefit from Grace, this is substantially less than the damage reduced by Inspiration.

Of course these numbers are pretty far from telling the whole story, given the very different ways that the two talents function. Surge gives a heal that takes my time to cast but that I get to personally direct. Inspiration is sort of a blanket over the raid, randomly reducing bits of damage. But I think in the intangibles category, Inspiration has a bit of an edge for a two reasons.

First, Inspiration does not take time to cast to extra "healing".

Second, while I would normally be in favour of benefits that I get to personally direct rather than benefits that are handed out at random, when the personally directed benefits are so heavily dependent on procs, they become very random. I can't make the best use of an instant cast, free Flash Heal if I can only use it three times a fight and if my windows to use it are only 10 seconds long. If those windows don't correspond to the best time to use it, then I am having to make decisions to direct it without getting the benefit of making decisions. In this circumstance, I'd rather have it just be handed out at random.

If the way in which the benefit is handed out is preferable and it's a bigger quantity of health over the fight then the choice is pretty clear. I'll be moving those points over in my build.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you did such a thorough analysis of the difference between the two because Surge of Light and Inspiration have been my agonizing turnpoint since I went Disc on my Priest.
    Surge of Light tends to save me from a lot of situations where the tank - or DPS - would otherwise have died, where a well placed and almost simultaneous -Heal- + instant Flash Heal (one one character or on two seperate ones both near death) can heal for up to 150k health, depending on the situation, Grace, Archangel, and other healing increasing effects.
    In high level Heroic dungeons and Raids I find it much harder to "Smiteheal", even with the intermittent Shield/Renew. So eventually Inspiration would be a better choice, in the long run of a battle. As it would prevent much damage I wouldn't have to rush to heal or create Mana depletion spikes.
    I am curious however, as to if the damage reduction applies to when Power Word : Shield is active or not. Because that would mean that with the proper Mastery spec focus and Inspiration, damage ratios would be highly lowered. Does the Shield absorb 10% less damage as well with Inspiration? Or does it not count?
    I've been lucky enough to have very well timed Surge of Light procs, but all in all I'm very seriously thinking of switching to Inspiration. It's a little unsettling because Surge of Light still seems more rational in lieu of focusing on Smite and Holy Fire to deal damage.
    My problem is this : Not so much for Archangel, but for the Evangelism buff, I generally do DPS during single-target (Boss) or easy mob fights. The Evangelism buff, stacking up to 5 times, actually increases the damage and thus the healing done. At this point, with my gear, I hit for about 12k to 17k per Smite or Holy Fire, and that heals the closest ally and lowest on health by 20k to 26k. Which is not that bad a rate, though low, obviously. What this really favours is mana conservation. In general it takes up to three Smites in a row for my mana to stop catching up in terms of regeneration. In general the tank is the one healed, and the rest I simply Shield.
    In contrast, switching to Inspiration makes the Evangelism buff in itself quite useless... And thus would be better without an Evangelism talent tree, as I'd feel like the only reason I use Smite (if I use it at all) is to reach Archangel state. No point causing damage if I'm going to mainly heal, which would be certain to cause the Inspiration effect on my target, compared to a lousy - but useful - 6% chance of getting a free instant Flash Heal. The difference being that Inspiration is caused only by healing spells, and that Surge of Light can be caused by pretty much every spell in your arsenal, offensive or defensive.