Does Surge Of Light Proc More From Binding Heal?

6 Jun

While I was doing research for my previous Surge of Light post, I got to thinking about just how this polarizing talent works.  I would read the description over and over again:

You have a 6% chance when you Smite, Heal, Flash Heal, Binding Heal or Greater Heal to cause your next Flash Heal to be instant cast and cost no mana.

One thing that struck me as odd about this was the lack of definition, regarding whether you have a 6% chance per cast when you Smite, Heal, Flash Heal, Binding Heal or Greater Heal or if you have a 6% chance per heal when you Smite, Heal, Flash Heal, Binding Heal or Greater Heal.  I began to theorize that if it ended up being per heal and Binding Heal actually heals two people instead of one,  maybe Binding Heal would have a greater chance of triggering the Surge of Light effect and there could be some advantage to using it then.  If I was right, that would mean that each time you heal yourself and someone else with Binding Heal you would essentially have a 6% chance with each heal to trigger Surge of Light, instead of just healing one person with something like Heal or Greater Heal and only having one 6% chance to trigger it.

Being a novice theorycrafter, I didn’t really know where to start with trying to prove this.  Derevka and Lodur both suggested an add-on called Proculas, which you can use to keep track of various procs that come from things like enchants, trinkets or talents.  Lodur went on to suggest that I set up Proculas and cast whatever spells that I want to test for a set amount of time and then use the add-on to track how many times each spell triggered Surge of Light and the total uptime.  He added that five minutes seemed like an appropriate amount of time to cast for, if I wanted to simulate an actual boss fight.  I would need to burn cooldowns, potions, and whatever else I may need to keep myself casting for the entire five minutes.  I took a few minutes to set up Proculas, filled my bags with some potions and headed over to the area with the targeting dummies in Stormwind.

I used the stopwatch feature in the game to keep track of my time and made sure to stop the clock at exactly five minute.  Potions of Concentration were used for the purpose of this experiment, which I started to have second thoughts about as I was getting started, but I went ahead with it anyway.  For the trials where I was using Flash Heal, Greater Heal and Binding Heal, I consumed a total of three Potions of Concentration and used a Hymn of Hope/Shadowfiend cooldown.  For the trial spent on Smite, I only used two Potions of Concentration and an HoH/Shadowfiend cooldown.  That means I spent at least thirty seconds per trial not casting, due to getting mana back.  Otherwise, I was casting continuously for the entire five minute time span.  For the Heal portion of the test, no cooldowns were used, because my mana regen was high enough where I was getting the mana back faster than I could spend it, due to its low mana cost.

I also decided not to actually use the free heal that came from triggering Surge of Light, except when I was testing Flash Heal.  For the other times that I was testing, I would simply let the proc expire without using the free Flash Heal that came from triggering the Surge of Light effect.  I felt that if I used a Flash Heal during a time when I was testing something other than that, it could skew the overall results.  For example, if I cast a Flash Heal while testing Heal and then that Flash Heal happened to proc another free Flash Heal (which is rare, but it does happen), Proculas would add those procs to the counter and it would like Heal triggered Surge of Light more than it actually did.

After five test runs, at five minutes a piece, here are the results of my findings:

Heal x 7
Flash Heal x 7
Smite x 8
Greater Heal x 9
Binding Heal x 14

As you can see, Binding Heal does appear to trigger Surge of Light more than the other spells included in this talent.  I did another round of testing with the same variables and these are the results that I got from the second batch of trials.

Flash Heal x 3
Greater Heal x 6
Heal x 6
Smite x 7
Binding Heal x 11

Again, Binding Heal seems to trigger Surge of Light more than all of the other spells.  At first glance, it would seem that my theory was correct.  However, there were other factors that would need to be included in order to genuinely determine that Binding Heal has a higher chance of triggering Surge of Light than the other spells do.  I would need to keep track of how many times I cast the spell and compare this to how many times the effect was triggered, to determine which spell had a higher percentage of this effect happening.

I went back to the drawing board and asked Lodur to run logs while I re-created the previous experiment.  We decided that I would cast each spell for only three minutes this time and we would then calculate the proc rate after each round of testing.  The results that we came up with were as follows:

Total procs:  2
Number of casts:  54
Proc rate:  4%

Flash Heal
Total procs:  4
Number of casts:  56
Proc rate:  7%

Greater Heal
Total procs:  5
Number of casts:  47
Proc rate:  11%

Total procs:  9
Number of casts:  74
Proc rate:  13%

Binding Heal
Total procs:  9
Number of casts:  50
Proc rate:  18%

Now, there’s a couple of ways that you can look at this.  Binding Heal did in fact have the same number of procs as Smite and both had the highest number of procs of all the available spells, with 9 procs each.  However, I had to cast Smite 74 times to get those 9 procs, whereas I only had to cast Binding Heal 50 times to get that same number.  You could also look at the fact that Binding Heal was cast 50 times, but actually healed 100 times (two people get healed once with each cast) and only triggered Surge of Light 9 times out of those 100 heals, which would then only give Binding Heal a 9% chance to trigger Surge of Light.  This would be less than Smite and Greater Heal and may call into question whether or not my theory is entirely correct.

What I choose to take away from all this, especially in light of the developers going on record to say that inefficient heals will be necessary in Firelands is that spells like Binding Heal, which may not have seen much use in this current tier of content, could increase in value and see more use come Firelands.  I feel there is certainly some evidence that these normally inefficient heals, when paired up with a talent like Surge of Light and even a talent like Serendipity (both sort of seen as underdogs in the holy tree) have the potential to become more efficient, when the chance to give free and instant healing is increased.  I foresee many situations where we will be taking damage at the same time someone else is and I think that increased Binding Heal usage could lead to the weaving of Flash Heal into our rotation, which means more chances to take advantage of Serendipity and that leads to cheaper and faster Greater Heal and Prayer of Healing usage, as the situation calls for it.

From doing all of this, I feel more optimistic about Surge of Light and Binding Heal than I did before and I hope others feel the same.  We have talents that do work and are useful, they may have just taken more time to figure out and get comfortable with than some others that are available.  I look forward to getting more use out of everything mentioned in this post, seeing  if other priests feel the same and seeing if they are as excited about things like Binding Heal. Flash Heal, Serendipity, and Surge of Light finally coming into their own as I am.


10 Responses to “Does Surge Of Light Proc More From Binding Heal?”

  1. slice213 June 6, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    Hmmm. Very interresting indeed. Nice work O!

    Personally I love Binding Heal 🙂 Especially in fights like Magmaw, Omnotron, Chim.

    I cannot wait to see how the firelands will shape up and how Flash Heal will fit in. Maybe it’s time to dust off that Holy Spec.

    • Oestrus June 6, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

      Hi Slice,

      Thank you for the praise! I realize I could have probably done more to prove my point and I’m not even necessarily sure that I *did,* but I feel like I saw enough to convince me that BH should be used more and I’m excited to see if my theory holds true in Firelands and beyond and if others feel the same.

      I just like the feeling of knowing that talents which everyone has written has off as useless maybe aren’t. I try really hard not to *look* for things to hate about my spec, I try to find a use for everything. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

      In this case, I think it does!

  2. Zinn June 6, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    I actually do use BH a lot, especially in Heroic modes, it’s really a great spell when you think about it (although the auto-self heal that druids and glyphed shamans have is comfier). But they still need to buff SoL for me to want to spend 2tp on. The added hps gain from it is… abyssmal to say the least.

    • Oestrus June 6, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

      Where else are you putting those 2 points? Renew talents?

  3. V June 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    There are a few variables that I believe need to be given attention in this experiment to yield data that reflects the overal usefulness of the talent. Disclaimer: This is a wall of text and math, so you might want to make sure you have a decent chunk of time (and possibly a stress ball) when you read it.

    1. The cast times of the spells, including the variables that affect them, such as Divine Fury and Haste. The number crunching I’ve done below reflects an ideal environment in which mana regeneration (both via Spirit and items) is not part of the calculations.

    With 3/3 Divine Fury (I believe it’s safe to assume most people would take) and no effect from haste, the cast times are Heal (2.5s), Flash Heal (1.5s), Smite (2.5s), Binding Heal (1.5s).

    Using those numbers, you would be able to cast these spells the following number of times in 60s if they were spammed: Heal (24), Flash Heal (40), Greater Heal (24), Smite (30), Binding Heal (40).

    Assuming that SoL has a 6% proc chance with these spells and no ICD, the following number of these casts would trigger SoL within a minute (not rounded): Heal (1.44), Flash Heal (2.4), Greater Heal (1.44), Smite (1.8), Binding Heal (2.4). If Binding Heal had twice the chance to proc SoL, that number would be 4.8. In five minutes, it comes out to Heal (7.2), Flash Heal (12), Greater Heal (7.2), Smite (9), Binding Heal (12 or 24 with double chance).

    The issue with neglecting cast time as a variable is that it directly affects the amount of times the spell can be used over the course of 1m, and thus also greatly affects the probability. To approach the question of whether or not Binding Heal has twice the proc chance, I would suggest casting each spell 100 times and analyzing that data to see if it reflects your hypothesis about Binding Heal.

    Your personal cast time, which will be affected by your haste, will also have a powerful effect on the probability. If you’d like to use the per minute calculations still, I’d suggest finding out how many times per minute these spells could be cast with no haste (the numbers above), with your personal haste, and with a few break points that are commonly reached.

    2. A weighting value for the spells that trigger SoL to determine its efficiency, which I believe is the ultimate goal of your experimentation.

    The real pisser (in my opinion) about calculating the usefulness of SoL is that it can be triggered by multiple spells, each of which have very different purposes (even in my non-raiding experience). Spamming them (with the exception of Heal) is neither realistically possible, nor useful in the field.

    That being said, I mentioned before that a spell’s chances of triggering Surge of Light are also directly affected by how many times per minute it can be used. In determining Surge of Light’s overall efficiency, the question is, instead, “How many times per minute -will- I use (insert spell here)?”.

    For instance, when I was looking at your spec, I saw that you took 3/3 Inner Sanctum, 1/1 Spirit of Redemption, and 2/2 Blessed Resilience, which leads me to believe that Binding Heal is probably seeing more use than normal since I’d venture that self-preservation is a priority in your current endeavors. However, since it shares the same mana cost as Flash Heal, it’s not going to be something you’re spamming and, when you’re not using it, its probability to proc Surge of Light is 0.

    You could begin by using ideal values instead of field data to determine (with your haste as a factor) how many times per minute you can cast these spells and how many of those uses (at the flat 6%) would trigger Surge of Light. Then, calculate the mana efficiency of those spells (not worrying about Spirit for now) by comparing the cost to the average amount healed (you could calculate this with your spell power/crit chance or just cast each a certain number of times and use your average normal/critical numbers). The spell you’re most likely to use in a conservation phase is the one with the best efficiency (I’d assume). The ideal spell for triggering Surge of Light would be the one with best mana efficiency and best chance per minute of triggering it. Here comes the practical part.

    Using your logs (preferably recent, but not brand new ones so Hawthorne effect and your focus on Surge of Light don’t affect your results), get a more objective feel for the decisions you make on the fly. Rather than the amount healed by a certain spell, I’d look at how many times they’re being used over the course of a boss encounter or raid instance.

    The more runs you factor in, the more valid the data will be. I’d get an average of how many times you casted (as a percentage of all casts) each of the spells in question, then determine what percentage of all casts is made up of spells that trigger SoL. With these numbers and a sizable spreadsheet, you can get a rough idea of how likely your personal healing style (rather than a particular spell) is to proc Surge of Light and how much time and mana the free/instant Flash Heal would conserve.

    With all that done, weigh its overall value against the value of other places those talent points could be spent with a similar process.

    Horrifically inadequate TL;DR summary – The answer to whether or not Surge of Light is worth the 2 points relies on whether or not the potential amount of mana mana/time its proc effect saves you is significant.

    That’s all and I hope it was worth the time it required to read it. My brain needs to go back on the charger now.

    • Oestrus June 6, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

      Hey there!

      Wow, I’ve known you for how long and I had no idea you had all of that in you. You should let it out more often!

      I agree with just about everything you said, with the exception of your interpretation of why I wanted to write this post. I already feel Surge of Light is worth taking. I know that part of it boils down to lack of other solid options and it being the lesser of two evils, sort of speak. But for the most part, I enjoy it and I see potential there. With inefficient heals supposedly seeing more use in Firelands, I saw an opportunity to potentially find a way to take heals that we wouldn’t typically use a lot of or spam and find ways to make them be more efficient and if we can dust off some underused talents at the same time, so much the better. So I wasn’t trying to justify taking Surge of Light – I was trying to find ways to make it more useful and other spells, too while we’re at it.

      The sad reality is that we don’t get asked to tank heal a lot and for the most part we get asked to raid heal, in which we only rely on a couple of spells to get by. Most of the single target, direct heals don’t see any use. That’s a large part of the reason Surge of Light gets overlooked. I noticed that when I used Binding Heal, I felt as if I was triggering Surge of Light more. I felt if that was true and if that was something I could prove, that would be really great. It’s easy to say that a talent sucks, but I try to find use for anything I have before I go there and make that statement. This was my attempt to do just that.

      • V June 7, 2011 at 9:49 am #

        I see. Well, it’d be lovely fuel for proving its usefulness, then!

        The talent’s starting to look more and more appetizing for me personally since the Serendipity + GH combo is seeing a lot of use in pre-raid content with the PuG tanks who hold threat like a naked mage with a whiffle bat.

        My latest discovery with Serendipity (and I think this is one of those things that you -know- is possible, but don’t really consider when you’ve just started playing the class) is that it’s actually insanely versatile. The other day, a light bulb clicked on and I realized I could use FH and BH in any combination or order to trigger Serendipity, or even wait for a moment to trigger the second stack as long as I did it before the first wore off and more opportunistically time the modified GH. It’s been particularly nice when the whole party (including myself and the tank) is taking a lot of damage. I’ll fling two binding heals to triage the worst of the party members and get myself secure, then use the GH on the tank. Binding Heal has -so- many applications that I’m sure go largely unnoticed.

        I’ve started really enjoying Tranquili… I mean, Divine Hymn a lot, too.

        I’m working on a minor in Accounting and I’ve been through something like empirical research boot camp this past semester, so this spreadsheet + number crunching + experimentation process makes my geeky side want to tap dance. You might see a lot more of it after I hone the direction I want my blog to take, because I’m realizing that this game has a lot yummy numbers, the application of which would most likely significantly benefit me as a player.

        And speaking of numbers, based on yours, it does seem like BH did twice the triggering of FH. If you have the time, it might be worth it to cast a few sets of 100 (FH and BH, since they’re good candidates) and find the average proc rate to get some even more solid data on this point. I think you’ve succeeded in your objective, though, as well as enforcing the idea that it’s worth it to think outside of the box with the toolkit we’re given.

  4. Tomaj June 6, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    This is good information, however, I think the results, overall, fit a very small margin, since it can’t necessarily be extrapolated over the course of, say, an entire raid night, where you might actually be spending as much as an hour and a half or more casting heals. Moreover, the number of iterations (56 maximum), this is actually a very small number insofar as theorycrafting is concerned – generally, one would want closer to 500 or so casts each – obviously a lot more difficult without more external cooldowns (e.g., Mana Tides, external Hymns, Innervates, etc.). Still, I would imagine that even despite that, it could be done without being continuous, too, since raids never really are constant casting over that amount of time, much less the same spell over and over and over again.

    To that end, it is entirely possible (and I believe it is) that Binding Heal does trigger Surge of Light more than single target spells. Binding Heal definitely does have its place more in 10-mans than 25-mans (Chimaeron excepted), but hopefully will see more usage in 25-mans than we do now.

    Also to that note, what I might have actually suggested was actually to make cancelaura macros for Surge of Light, if Proculas was still able to count the procs for Surge of Light. Additionally, if you were using Flash Heal to consume those procs, that’s actually additional global cooldowns that would’ve been wasted in your tests. As V up there said, though, when you’re not casting the spells, their probability is 0, but even more than that, it’s a matter of getting a broader perspective of how many casts will equate how often Surge of Light actually procs. (I hope that last sentence made sense, I’m actually really tired right now.)

    Keep in mind this isn’t to discount your testing, it’s definitely valuable information, just some food for thought. 😀

    Even so, like I said, Surge of Light will likely be a mainstay in 10-mans, just because Renew isn’t quite as valuable there (it has its place, just not as much as actual direct heals do), since raid damage seems on a little bit of a different pattern overall when compared to number of healers are available and what type. In other words, depending on what healers you have is definitely going to make your healing style different. Not having a resto druid or a reliable discipline priest, for example, means that I’m more likely to actually have to heal through damage than not, because there’s little to no buffer via shields/hots.

    • Oestrus June 7, 2011 at 7:10 am #

      “Binding Heal definitely does have its place more in 10-mans than 25-mans (Chimaeron excepted), but hopefully will see more usage in 25-mans than we do now.”

      In the end, that’s what I was trying to go for. If there is something that could make Surge of Light more useful and that could turn normally inefficient spells into efficient ones, then I would like to know about it and try it out for myself.

      Some tiny part of me wishes that I do 10 mans more, in addition to 25s, because I feel sort of left in the dark from how the other side lives. I would love to get more out of my spellbook than I do right now and I feel like if I were doing 10s, too I could maybe do that. It would be nice to do something other than the standard CoH/PoH rotation that I have kind of fallen into now.


  1. Revisiting Binding Heal & Surge Of Light « The Stories Of O - June 21, 2011

    […] short time ago, I began to wonder if Binding Heal had a higher chance of triggering Surge of Light than other spells that are included in the talent.  I set out to try and prove this, but only got […]

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