Binding Heal has had a hard time this expansion, starting with 7.0 where Surge of Light was really valuable, and continuing into 7.1.5 when we moved on to Piety as our primary raiding talent choice on the T75 tier. With the recent tuning changes in 7.2.5 people are trying Binding Heal once more and the results are… interesting to say the least.
Update 6/7/17 – Targeting Bug Fixed
It looks as though not long ago the BH targetting bug was fixed, with recent logs showing all casts are correctly healing the caster, and their intended target. This means (based on data prior to the bug) BH will overheal on average for around 15-20% more depending on the encounter. It still makes for a fine filler, particularly if you aren’t on top of your Prayer of Mending casting, but spamming it 24/7 will not produce the same great results it has been for the last 2 weeks.
Why Even Talk About Binding Heal?
We regularly joke about the ER/Binding Heal(BH)/Benediction play style, and people try it from time to time on farm with varying degrees of success. One log that was pointed out to us was Priestism running this combination on Heroic Kil’jaeden which you can view here. Initially there was nothing of note, with discussion primarily around how BH was effective in situations with lots of spot healing, particularly that of people with debuffs as we see in H KJ (and saw on Tichondrius in Nighthold). We know BH is extremely mana efficient and the smart heal component of the third heal has traditionally shown really low overheal.
There are plenty of other examples of people running BH during H ToS progression this week as well, often with decent success. There are also some great examples out there of BH being used as a filler during lighter damage periods, rather than Heal/Flash Heal.
As with every tier, people try out uncommon talent combinations just to see what works. While you can’t always draw conclusions from these results, with normal & heroic encounters typically being shorter and having less damage which results in different healing patterns, it’s always interesting to see what ideas people come up with or how much success they have with old ones.
This process is particularly valuable for healing as due to the complex nature of healing, we don’t have anything like Simcraft which results in testing having to be primary done in the wild then logs analysed afterwards.
So regardless of what the guides (even ones I write or review) suggest, don’t be afraid to test new combinations talents, play styles and legendaries. After all someone doing this is how we sometimes stumble open great new effective play styles!
Note: Just because these logs and lots of the other top BH logs have Blessing of Wisdom, doesn’t mean playing this style requires it. As with any style BoW is going to help out immensely in getting more healing out.
Investigating How Binding Heal Behaves
A recent discussion about Binding Heal (BH) led to a deeper look into some of the binding heal logs, for this post Naro and I will be focusing on the events filter on this particular log which looks perfectly normal at first glance, but upon further inspection highlights a few strange quirks in how BH works.
BH generally behaves as follows:
- Player begins casting Binding Heal
- Player finishes casting Binding Heal on a target
- Player gets healed from the self-heal component of Binding Heal (happens before the cast finish event)
- A third target gets healed from the smart healing component of Binding Heal (happens just after the cast finish event)
- Target gets healed from the targeted component of Binding Heal (happens last)
Below the events of the very first BH cast for the fight are in the same order as outlined above which is what would be expected of all BH casts.
Note: The event healing the caster appearing before the cast event is normal for many of the spells in our toolkit, so that’s nothing to be concerned about!
So where does it get interesting?
Still on that same page down a bit further to the 26.868 time stamp, there is an occurrence of BH not even healing the caster at all.
Given the tooltip for Binding Heal very clearly states it heals the caster, this is most unexpected. When scrolling down through the events, there were quite a number of occurrences of this happening. To figure out exactly how many, the total number of casts and hits from the Healing tab can be used.
For this log there were 171 casts of BH, and 512 hits (heals). 171 casts should be 513 hits (171 x 3 = 513), but missing one with a spread out encounter and small raid size like that isn’t a huge surprise given the 20 yard range on the smart heal. So presuming BH was behaving as expected then 171 BH casts should have healed the caster. Drilling down into the healing done by BH clearly shows that not to be the case.
Only 106 heals? So out of the 171 times Priestism cast Binding Heal, only 106 of his BH casts actually healed himself, despite the tooltip clearly stating it “Heals you, another friendly target and a third friendly target…“. This is only 62% of the casts behaving as expected.
To document the strange behaviour more clearly, below is a summary table showing the results so far. The logs prove it behaves as expected, and have also shown it can behave in a strange way and not heal the caster sometimes.
The remaining checks are:
- Does it always heal the target?
- Does it ever not heal both the caster and the target?
It Keeps Getting Stranger
Next on the list is to see if BH always heals the target. Going back to the event summary it doesn’t take long to find an instance of it healing the caster (as is expected), but not heal the target…?
Not much more to add here, somehow BH has been cast on a target (Hump) and instead of healing Hump, healed a totally different person. Time to update that table!
The last thing to try and find, is if somehow BH manages to avoid healing the caster, and the target…
Based on the findings so far it isn’t a huge surprise to see this also happen at 1:57.178. We’ve not only managed to find a cast of BH that doesn’t heal the caster, but also doesn’t heal the target.
When Did This Start Happening?
Looking back at a random pre-7.2.5 log from 4 weeks ago, BH is behaving exactly as it should be with the same number of heal events on the caster, as there are BH casts.
So this looks to be introduced around the time of patch 7.2.5.
So there you have it. BH does virtually whatever it feels like looking purely at the logs. It’s basically like shooting 3 paintballs, one at yourself and two at another person… except you’re a pretty bad shot, you even miss yourself about 40% of the time.
Stay tuned for a future post with a detailed look into why this behaviour might be happening, where we’ll go into testing the range and nearby damaged targets to try and determine a pattern behind this seemingly random behaviour. Follow Niphyr @MechPriest if you are interested in getting updates on new blog posts and other random Holy Priest news.