The Devs recently lit up the official forums by announcing changes in the works for each class. For Medics, the changes to DPS seem especially (although not universally) welcome, but there were also a few changes on the healing side. Reboot is going to proc on targets below 30% shield, rather than zero shield, which essentially eliminates the often frustrating interaction between Reboot and various classes’ small shield heals (in addition to Stalker’s Frenzy T4 bug, which has been especially frustrating for yours truly). 30% seems a bit of an overkill, and I’m guessing it might be reduced before it hits live. Dual Shock will be castable while casting, which is a nice buff to an ability I admit doesn’t see a lot of action in my Action Set. It looks like they are reducing the duration of Interrupt Armor (IA) across the board, which will hit the IA buff to Protection Probes from the Solid State AMP and Rejuvenator T4.
The forum post also included the somewhat cryptic comment: “Specific portions of the Medic’s AoE healing kit are currently over-tuned and will be adjusted.” The most likely target for this incoming nerf seems to be the Mending Probes (MP) T8 + Flash burst-healing combo. Is this nerf warranted? How should it be implemented? Let’s take a look at some numbas.
Consider a standard-issue Medic: level 50, with 2,000 Support Power, 20% Crit, 175% Crit Severity, with Mending Probes T8, Flash T4, and the all three Cooldown reduction AMPs. In order to have some context, let’s compare this to a similarly-stat’d Esper with Reverie T8 and Soothe T4. For the Medic’s burst, we assume they put out Mending Probes and then immediately detonate with Flash. They can do this once every 10.2sec, which is the cooldown of Probes with the assumed AMPs (we assume Flash is off cooldown because of the Flash T4 upgrade). For the Esper’s burst, we assume Reverie with 5 Psi Points, which they can generate in 5sec with 5 casts of charge-2 Soothe T4. Taking into account the 1sec GCD for Reverie, the Esper can perform this feat of golden-lantern goodness every 6sec. We are only going to compare the healing on the burst, not the healing done in between bursts. The table below compares the average heal per player1, assuming no overhealing, for two cases: a 5-man group and a 20-man group. I’ve included two sets of numbers for Reverie depending on whether the targets are above or below 35% health (which determines whether the T4 bonus healing applies).
|Ability||20-man AvgHeal/ Player (k)||5-man AvgHeal/ Player (k)||“Cooldown”|
|MP T8 + Flash T4||5.2||17.4||10.2|
|Reverie T8 (> 35%)||3.4||6.9||6.0|
|Reverie T8 (< 35%)||4.5||9.0||6.0|
Let’s first look at the 20-man case. The Medic’s average healing per player (5.2k) is 52% higher than the Esper’s (3.4k), but only 17% higher on low-health targets, and the minimum time between bursts is 70% longer. In addition, Reverie has a 25m range with a large circular telegraph, whereas MP T8 + Flash requires targets to be stacked up within 6m to get hit by the MP detonation splash. The Medic burst will also have a more varied distribution of healing. Reverie will hit 10 of the 20 targets for 6.9k (9.0k below 35%), leaving 10 of them without any healing. MP T8 + Flash will hit 10 of the targets for 3.6k from Flash T4, detonating probes (hopefully) on 5 of those targets for an additional 3.5k, and then send out 15 splashes of 3.5k heals that might hit 15 targets, or potentially fewer (since a given target can be hit by multiple splashes) leading to more uneven healing (and likely some wasteful overhealing). So, in summary, in a 20-man group Medic’s burst is somewhat more powerful, but on a longer “cooldown,” has a much more constraining positioning requirement, and a more random variation of healing distribution among the targets. This doesn’t scream “overtuned” to me.
Now let’s consider the 5-man case. The Medic’s average healing per player is now 153% higher than the Esper’s (94% on low-health targets), with the same difference in minimum time between bursts. This is a significantly larger gap than in the 20-man case; a 17.4k per player burst heal is very (over?)-powerful. The difference between the 5-man and 20-man cases is all due to the mechanics of Mending Probes T8. Detonating the probes generates 20 3.5k heals, 5 from the Probes themselves and 5*3 = 15 from the splash healing. In the 20-man case these 20 heals are distributed among 20 different targets, producing an average healing per player of just 3.5k. In the 5-man case, you still get the 20 heals, but they are shared among just 5 targets, producing an average healing per player four times greater: 4*3.5k = 13.9k2.
If a nerf to MP T8 + Flash is coming, it seems like it would be appropriate to nerf the healing in 5-man groups without reducing the output in 20-man environments. One way to do this would be to prevent a player from getting healed by more than one splash from the Mending Probe detonation. For example, getting healed by one splash could apply a short-lived (a few sec?) debuff that prevents the player from getting healed by another splash heal. If splash heals also “preferred” targets without the debuff, then when Mending Probes are detonated in a stack of 5 players, they would each get one splash heal, reducing the average heal per player from 17.4k to 10.5k, a 40% reduction. This is still higher than Reverie, as I think it should be given the much stricter positioning requirements and longer cooldown, but it’s not 153% higher, only 52% higher, exactly the percentage difference as in 20-mans. With this change, the average healing per player for a 20-man stack would be unchanged, since there are 20 available targets for the 15 splash heals so none would be wasted. This change would have the added benefit of “smoothing out” the splash healing in 20-man stacks, since you wouldn’t have some targets getting hit by multiple splashes and some getting left out entirely.
Of course, Mending Probes T8 + Flash might not even be what the Devs were referring to when they talk about our overtuned AoE healing kit. Perhaps they mean that Emission’s Support Power scaling with Tiers is so good, as are the Major Tier Upgrades, that Emission T8 is almost mandatory in a healing build. Or perhaps it’s something else entirely, like Crisis Wave. No, it’s probably not Crisis Wave.
- The coming Reboot change is very welcome, but I’m thinking the 30% will be reduced before it hits live.
- The average burst heal per player from Mending Probes T8 + Flash is much higher (3.3x) in a small group than in a large group because the number of splash heals received does not change with group size.
- If Mending Probes T8 + Flash is what the Devs have identified as our over-tuned AoE healing, they could reduce its (overpowered?) effectiveness in 5-mans without changing its (reasonable?) behavior in 20-mans by preventing players from getting hit with multiple splashes.
1 This is per player, not per target, so 20 in a 20-man and 5 in a 5-man. Reverie hits 10 targets, MP + Flash hits potentially all 20, although I guess with bad RNG as few as 10 could get heals. When comparing two abilities that heal a different number of targets, it seemed appropriate to normalize by the total group size rather than the number of targets. Note this is equivalent to comparing the total healing done, but makes the numbers more intuitive because you can compare them to the average health pool.
2 The remaining difference comes from Flash, which hits 50% of the players in the 20-man case and 100% of the players in the 5-man case.