Once again this is going to be a bit of a meta topic, relating to healing a bit, and how combat ratings are going to scale this expansion, and to healer mana regen.
Blizzard want to increase the required hit, avoidance and so on in T12, the firelands raid, and beyond
Blizzard stated in some form or another, through one of its many developers (probably GC) that they want to increase the hit required in later tiers of cataclysm raids (this is reaffirmed here), to stop certain it being unwanted in later raid tiers. This also applied to other stats such as crit, and tank avoidance. They stated that they want later tier bosses to behave like a slightly higher level mob (without actually being higher level), they will have a greater chance to hit our tanks, less likely to be hit and crit by us. The exact mechanics of this are as of yet unknown (but I bet we’ll be finding out soon).
This is essentially to prevent what started happening in ICC, players had so much hit that some players would avoid hit like the plague, while in the earlier tiers players would flock to the hit rating gear.
But what about mana regen? At the moment it looks like healer regen is crazy as people get into BiS gear
Granted I don’t know this first hand, but by all second hand reports healer regen is getting a little bit crazy in BiS gear. Spirit for healers is somewhat analogous to hit for DPS, and this is an example of that, once you have enough spirit to hit the unlimited mana point, you don’t need anymore, in a similar way once you have enough hit to always hit the boss, you don’t need anymore. Granted the spirit cut of point is much more of a soft cap effected by far more things than hit, such as spell selection.
If developers want to bring this under control they have several ways they can bring this in, historically its been done with increasing the encounter length to the point where because healers have to heal Conservatively in order to last the full 10-15 minutes, this was typically how it was done in the burning crusade. However will this work now? Healers especially in raids have more mana cooldowns than ever before, and its not uncommon for healers to be able to bring a healers mana up from almost empty to full with a few select CD uses. If a raid can stack enough mana CDs, they can simply rotate through these on long encounters to essentially give healers unlimited mana again. The other way is to ramp up the damage, but blizzard have stated they don’t want the raid damage to be hugely spikey, which this will likely lead to.
So this leaves us with a bit of a issue, of the 2 most commonly used mechanics developers have to control healer mana, one is likely to not work anymore, and the other goes against the stated design intent of cataclysm raids. The developers need a new mechanic to bring this under control.
What if this “firelands and above radiance” mechanic (note, not debuff) also somehow reduced the amount of regen healers had?
The most likely course of action to me seems to be simply have this mysterious mechanic simply somehow reduce the amount of regen healers have, either absolute or relative. By this I mean either straight up make each point of spirit simply gives less MP5, or that somehow your regen or mana usage goes up.
For example, imagine if this mechanic also increased the cost of all friendly spells by 20%. While you would still have more regen than the last tier, your heals will heal for more than the last tier, but you will have less regen relative to your mana usage. This to me seems like the most likely course of action.
But what about healers that don’t do so well at low mana regen levels?
This is going of on a slight tangent, and a bit out of my area of understanding, and of on a tangent, but its currently my understanding that early on raiding this tier restoration druids were in a bit of a odd spot. They didn’t have the regen to cast enough of their big spells to be able to be competitive. Once they got over this little hump they magically started catching up to the other healers in leaps and bounds, but before that point they were a bit left behind. What if this mechanic would push them back to that point? It would kind of suck to be the crap healer at the start of each raiding tier because of (relatively) low mana regen. I think that blizzard would need to look at this, and potentially fix it if they were to take this route.
While we’re talking about firelands, one last thing to leave you with
Did anyone else notice that magni’s picture is included with at least one of the firelands previews? Which seems a bit odd… but keep in mind that ironforge was invaded by fire elementals as well as earth elementals, something tells me we’ll be seeing more of Magni.