Number of healers in Cataclysm 25 v 10?

On the train this morning I read Everblue’s blog on the coming raid changes, and he pointed out a factor I hadn’t thought of yet: the varying healing requirements of 10 and 25 man. I quickly checked and wom, no comments there. Whilst Everblue’s a clever chap, surely one of the thousands of noisy bloggers has talked about this already?

He points out that tanks will have the same stamina in 10 and 25 man raids, unlike now, where a 25-man tank has a lot more stamina than a 10-man because of iLevel differences. Raid buffs will be close enough, with the auction house variety of many buffs helping any gaps in a 10-man team, that a tank in 25-man tank could only have a tiny bit more HP. He won’t get any more stam from gear than the dedicated 10-man tank (the 25-man tank will just get it sooner, since Blizzard intend to give a higher drop rate per person in 25s than 10s).


So 25 and 10 man tanks are interchangeable.

The dps will be the same per person, too, just scaled up by the quantity of deeps. A 25-man raid will have a higher rDPS just as now, but not because of gear.

Healers the same, too.

The boss will have more HP in 25-man to offset the increased incoming dps.

The 25-man boss cannot do more dps to the tank, though, because the tank will not have more stamina than in 10-man.

So Everblue points out, this means you could walk into a 25-man with the same number of MT healers in your raid as you do in a 10-man.

Isn’t that an interesting mechanic for Blizzard to design around?

What variables can Blizzard tweak?

More tanks!

If there’s one primary tank target in 25-man, he can be healed by the same 2 healers who looked after him in the 10-man. So stick a few more tank targets in there, and give the remaining healers something to do.

Or, loads of raid damage!

A few more bosses for the other tanks! That’ll keep the healers busy.

Or, make the healers dual spec dps (that will not be popular, so therefore not their preferred option) since there would be otherwise no-one for them to heal.

More tanks!

Perhaps this is implying the change that Veneretio and I wrote about a while ago; wanting a higher number of tanks always required in raids?

What I’d said before

To recap, I looked at the supply and demand sides effecting how many tanks you need, using the diagram below. You can use your massive brainpower to reconsider those dimensions for healers in Cataclysm 25-mans.

I talked also about game design, pointing out that Blizzard just needs more bosses for us to smackdown. In Cat, more bosses = more healers required.

I really do wonder about the implications of this future scenario; what will happen to the number of healers required in a raid? How will Blizzard create enough work for them since the boss isn’t going to be any more threatening between 10 and 25-man raids?


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17 comments to Number of healers in Cataclysm 25 v 10?

  • Valen

    I think what is being overlooked is the idea tanks won’t be sitting at 100% health most of the time.  At least, that’s what has been stated as a goal.  You can view incoming tank damage more in terms of DPS in situations like that than strict bursts-of-death, in which case 1 vs 3 dedicated tank healers really can deliver more HPS without things being too lopsided.  The main difference is a tank with 100k health and 4k incoming DPS vs 12k incoming DPS means you take longer to just plain die; however, if your healers only provide 3.5k hps then you will erode over time.
    Of course, Blizzard could always do something like have a scaling HP buff for tanks or the raid that is proportional to the number of raiders present.  That would be peculiar, though.

  • Kaletri

    “The 25-man boss cannot do more dps to the tank, though, because the tank will not have more stamina than in 10-man.”
    I don’t understand where that conclusion is coming from. The tank health pools will be the same, yes, but that doesn’t have anything to do with incoming damage. What keeps you from single healing a 25 man tank right now? Too much damage for one healer. There’s no reason that can’t still be true in Cataclysm.
    Let’s say a tank has 100k health. A 10 man boss does about 20k dps to the tank, meaning the tank will die in 5 seconds if he doesn’t get any heals. A single healer then, has to be able to produce 20k hps to keep him alive.
    Now for the 25 man scenario: Let’s say the boss now does 30k dps, so one healer cannot keep him up alone, he needs help. The tank still doesn’t die in one hit, and the two healers have to work together to keep him up. Maybe one of them floats a bit or just keeps hots rolling while directing heals elsewhere. It doesn’t really matter, the point is the tank isn’t getting insta-gibbed by the higher damage output because he has more healers. If you tried to single heal it, you would fail.
    It’s pretty easy to adjust the numbers however you want, but quite simply: When a tank does not die in two hits, increased damage can be dealt with by increased healing.

  • Gravity
    Twitter: gravitydk

    Oh nice thinking, yes, let’s talk that through though because I think it goes against their goals to have tanks die more slowly.

    10-man tank has 100K health, can die in 10 seconds (time to live).

    25-man tank has 100K health, can die in 5 seconds (since boss does more damage, compensated by needing more healers); but … doesn’t that go against Blizzard’s design intent?

  • Anaroth

    It’s a very interesting topic.  Until now blizzard hasn’t really had to balance the 10 and 25 man raids, and now unless they backtrack on there stated goal they will.  The gear level difference was really an excuse, 25 man content has always been harder than (even strict) 10 man content.

    Blizzard have plenty of ways of requiring you to use more than one tank, they don’t always choose to use this in existing content however, and that is something they may need to look at.  (I quite like preforming dual roles, but that’s harder to justify in the new system).  The amount of healing required for a given fight can also generally be tweaked by changing numbers, so I think they could with enough effort balance things overall.

    The real challenge is how to you do a single target tank-and-spank portion of a fight, while preserving the flavour between 10 and 25 man raids and still have a useful role for stamina.

    For a lot of the time, TTL is largely irrelevant, if you’re tank is just taking a large number of small hits then you’re dealing with an incoming damage vs incoming healing situation and you can probably just double the damage to require more healing, of course that’s really testing a sustained healing setup, and doesn’t have much dynamics to the healing, so you will need some bigger hits or special mechanics.

    One thing is you could put up a debuff that absorbs or requires a certain amount of healing in a quick time or something bad happens.  That way you force the use of quick heals, and you can still have a larger effect in 25 man.  The other option I can see is to increase the frequency of your special attacks rather than have them hit much harder.

    One big issue is balancing the role of stamina across the two raid sizes.

    There’s the boring options, scaling debuffs / buffs.  You could even have a tank mastery / talents for damage absorption/incoming healing/stamina that scale with the raid/party size.   

    In a way it might be good if they removed stamina from gear, or made it more like armour, that way it’d be easier to balance tanking as you don’t have to worry about a large range of avoidance vs stamina balances.

    There’s plenty of things blizzard could do, I’m curious to see how easy they make it on themselves.

    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      The single-target situation is exactly the issue; how do they make that interesting and balanced in a 25-man raid, whilst not reverting to a 3-hit tank death scenario?

  • Traumatica

    I’m a big fan of pwnwear stuff since I was looking towards learning more and more about dk tanking, I’ve found the material, discussions and thinkings just awesome, and everyday I check for more and more :-)
    As a side note, I love tanking, have a tankadin, a bear and a blood dk, and can you guess wich one I enjoy the most? yup, the Dk, but I have to admit it was the hardest one to master for me!
    On topic:
    The way I think Cat boss fights is intended can be easily seen as the first reply says:
    Tank time to live = Initial tank health – Boss DPS + Incoming HPS
    Let’s say a boss fights is about 5 minutes, what I foresee is the tank health bar going down slowly, no amount of healing could make the tank stand at 100% health like now, so at some moment there will be the need for an off tank to get the boss while the MT health is replenished.
    So during the fight tanks will have two phases: erosion phase (while tanking), and recovering phase (switching) that will last till the actual tank is in danger.
    Is it said that bosses will not one or two shot anymore, that the health pool will be larger, and that the healers mana pool will have to be handled carefully. In actual raiding there is no need for a recovering phase healer, because if tanks are not at 100% it’s a wipe, but in the way I see Cat encounters, every tank must have a dedicated healer almost all time, so my conclusio is that the number of healers will be the same as now :-)
    And that will mean a couple of interesting things:
    a) Death Strike’s overhealing will be really close to 0%, as a tank will not be at 100% for long, and the new shielding will be really a plus.
    b) I have doubts about Blood Gorged talent,  in my scenario 75% health is a bit too high to be very useful.
    Well, those are my thoughts, keep the good work going!
    P.D: Excuse my poor english, as I am spanish
    Traumatica, EU-Tyrande

  • PhantomBuddha

    Unless I missed something in the absolute flood of spam about this topic recently….why are we assuming the 25man boss will increase the damage the primary tank takes over a period of time?  It seems to me either it would be easy for that to stay consistent(especially given their new paradigm of raid healing), or only increase marginally(N+1 healer required) and that any increase in healing would be from secondary tanks, raid heals, or heavy truck AE incidental.
    I’m expecting to see more soft enrage, high mobility, multiple healers due to the amount of movement changes in 25s, or something that is fundamentally, mechanics changing for how we think the world is supposed to work.  They aren’t just rebalancing this equation, they are reinventing the math that is used to solve it with.

  • Gravity
    Twitter: gravitydk

    @Traumatica, your English is excellent. Good points about DS and Blood Gorged.

    @Phantom, Blizzard hasn’t said bosses would hit harder or softer, so I’m assuming they’ll hit about the same because the tank’s HP is about the same. The other contention is that they can hit harder, because the tank’s HP pool will be large enough you won’t die in 3 hits, so the harder hits are offset by more healers in 25-man. The question is, how can Blizzard still make it feel slower and more strategic if the pace on tank damage is different between 10 and 25 mans?

  • Kaletri

    Well, here’s the way it looks to me: It doesn’t matter how long your tank lives without heals, really. That’s not a scenario that comes up in raiding. Blizzard’s actual design goal is to give healers enough time to make a smart decision about which heal to cast. If a 25 man tank is taking more damage but has more healers on him, his health bar might be jumpier, but it will still be inside of a range, and a healer can choose whether the tank needs a big heal or a small one. That’s all that really matters. In a two shot scenario, no healer has that time, they have to cast their fastest or biggest heal all the time or the tank goes splat.
    Here’s an illustrative example: pretend the tanks health is a container of water with a hole in the bottom. There are faucets at the top adding water in. The hole is the damage taken, the faucets are the healers. In a 10 man scenario, the hole is smaller, but there’s only one faucet. The container will generally not be full, and the one faucet (healer) putting water in has to monitor the overall level of water and turn the faucet up or down as needed so that no water (mana) is wasted, but also keeping the container full enough so that a sudden drop (spike) doesn’t make it run empty (dead tank).
    Now in the 25 man scenario, the hole is much larger, and the water draining far more quickly. But at the same time, you’ve got three faucets pouring in. Because of the increased volume coming in, the overall water level looks about the same as the 10 man version, and each faucet can gauge how much it needs to be putting in. Maybe you give one of the faucets the special job of a constant amount of steady water (hots), and the other two turn on or off as needed to keep the level safe.
    I think the picture of tanking that we’re used to discussing just isn’t the same as what Cataclysm will bring. Time to Live and Worst Case Scenario gearing stratgies may become a thing of the past, as the real goal is to find ways to reliably stay between 50-80% health so the occasional spike or special ability or fight mechanic doesn’t kill you. Tanks will have a reasonable choice between making their container bigger (giving the healers a larger range to work with) and closing the hole (reducing incoming damage through avoidance or mitigation).
    TL;DR: The things we use to describe the Wrath model of tanking just don’t fit Cataclysm. In fact, it may just not matter if a 25 man tank takes more damage than a 10 man tank, because both raids have the tools to keep them alive and still make good decisions.

    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      I like your analogy. What I wonder about is how quickly the tank empties when one of the faucets is off. If it’s not very fast, then why did you need that faucet in the first place? If it is very fast, then Blizzard are beginning to defeat their design goal of a slower pace. Regardless of which is true, I think the question about what healers will be doing is interesting. More raid damage? More water tanks to look after?

      • Kaletri

        If you were to turn one faucet off, the remaining two will need to increase their output to keep up. How fast does the water drain? Again, I’m not sure that’s as important as it sounds. All Blizzard needs to accomplish their goal is the time for a healer to make a decision. Two hits doesn’t give that time, but four hits does. That’s still pretty quick, but it’s enough time to think.
        The picture I have mostly looks like this: Start off with three healers on the tank. Everything is going fine. Suddenly one of the healers gets controlled by a fight mechanic. The remaining two healers note the tank health dropping and switch to their high throughput spells. But instead of topping the tank off or giving them breathing room, it’s now only enough to keep him alive. Now they’re chain-casting high mana high throughput spells, but they’ll run dry if they don’t get assistance from another healer or a tank cooldown or something soon.
        To answer the question: The tank’s health does start draining more rapidly. Not instantly, but the healers will find themselves using all their high mana spells to keep him up, and they will run out. That’s why you bring the third healer. Without that extra buffer, two healers will run dry. To me, this model also makes tanking more interesting. Using Vampiric Blood when a healer gets sheeped or whatever allows the remaining two healers to keep doing their thing without stressing their mana pools. I could envision a fight mechanic where the raid suddenly takes so much damage that the MT healers might have to help the raid, and that’s the moment when a cooldown can help, even if the tank isn’t the one in danger of dying.

  • Anaroth

    A little riffing on your points about tanks, as I’m not sure how easy it is to change the number of tanks in 25 man raids.
    One thing that struck me recently is how much the tanking balance in the 10 man game is better done than in the 25 man.  Actually a better way of putting that would be blizzard have only rarely designed (even in 40 man raiding) encounters that need more than 3 tanks.  I’m not sure there’s a single encounter in WotLK where you’d use 5 tanks (except maybe FC in TotC, but that’s a bit of an anomaly).
    Pretty much all encounters need 2 tanks in 10 man, and it’s pretty easy to create natural type encounters that are setup that way.  For 25 man raids, 3 is probably the normal number, but in ICC, 2 tank encounters are probably more common, which could be thought of as rather poor design.  My guild has just started heroic modes, and it’s pretty frustrating to have to sit tanks to optimise the raid.
    This is potentially a major flaw with the idea of running 10 mans when you’re guild is going through a bit of a rough patch.   One solution would be to increase the number of tanks in 25 man raids, but that’s much easier said than done.  For one, a single target fight with tank swapping or cleave mechanics with more than 3 tanks will lead to a lot of downtime/boredom for at least some of your tanks, and possibly some logistical issues.
    This is relevant because while you can scale up the healing required for the raid by effecting more targets, there is only very limit scope for doing that with main-tanks in boss fights. So we get back to having to have the tanks take more damage in some way or another.
    Actually having a small proportion of tanks gives us another interesting issue, there is little overlap between tank gear and dps gear.  Dropping the base stamina on tank gear will help a little bit, but unless they add appropriate ways to get rid of undesirable stats you’re still going to have dps gear and tank gear.  So do you adjust the drop rates of individual items for 10 man vs 25 man?  Perhaps not,  there should be less chance of rot in a 25 man raid, which will probably get 3 times the amount of loot (seems like a pretty fair guess, given the additional logistic issues in forming 25 man raids).  That I guess does allow you to gear up 1-2 offspec tanks in case you have to switch to running 10 mans, although with the amount of loot coming from your limited income badges, they’re going to be more poorly geared.  Also, your 25 man MTs are going to gear up quite a bit quicker than a 10 man MT assuming they get first pick of the gear.

  • Gravity
    Twitter: gravitydk

    I guess we’ll have to wait for more gossip on how healing and tanking will work out. :)

  • Snakefist

    I think the thing people are missing will be boss health.  Let’s say in 10 man that killing a boss is a race between the main tank healer going oom and the boss dying.  If you keep to the same line and double the boss health, all of the sudden I need two dedicated tank heals because main tank healer will be oom by the boss reaching 50%, requiring that you have a dedicated tank healer team working closely together.

    This would allow Blizzard to keep boss damage similar, while keeping to the stated idea that mana should be an issue.

  • Scripts

    I can see the focus of tank healing becoming the synergy between tank cooldowns and healer cooldowns (IE: Anti-magic/frostbite on Torovan/Metoer Fists on VoA Fire Guy/3rd inhale on Fester).  I agree that gearing up multiple tanks, with single ids, will be more difficult, and you may run into situations where an alt group is = gear to the main group (IE: Main 25 man raider, alt 10 man raider), depending on the raid setup, etc.  I don’t think we’ll see a lot of 3 tank encounters, unless they bring back the idea of a range/kite tank (Lock/Hunter/Mage/Etc.)

    We’ll know more once we see some alpha/beta materials.

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