Entering The Heartsong Vs. Power Torrent Debate

18 Jul

To some extent, the debate over whether Heartsong or Power Torrent is better for holy priests is like comparing apples and oranges.  It doesn’t change the fact that this is one of the most hotly debated topics in the priest community.

I have always stayed out of this discussion, because I felt like I didn’t have enough of an understanding of the issue to properly talk about it.  However, with the impending loss of spirit that I’m facing by picking up Firelands gear and by breaking my T11 bonus, I have been dwelling on this topic a lot more.  Since I know I’m not the only one thinking about this, I figured I would share my findings here and what I’m ultimately choosing to go along with.

In order to determine which enchant is a better choice for you, we need to first determine what it is that you are looking for or what you feel you need more of.

Heartsong has a chance to give you 200 spirit for 15 seconds when casting spells.  Keep in mind that spirit is purely a regen stat.  It does not give you any increases to your spell power or to your mana pool.

Power Torrent has a chance to give you 500 intellect for 12 seconds when casting spells.  Intellect serves a number of purposes.  Each point of intellect after the first 10 increases your mana pool by 15.  It also increases your spell power, at a rate of 1 spell power per point of intellect.

Spirit and intellect both factor into the formulas for in combat and out of combat mana regen.

In Combat

Base mana regen + % of spirit based regen from Meditation & Holy Concentration x 0.016275 x spirit x square root of the total amount of intellect

Priests have a base mana regen of 1029.5 every 5 seconds.  Meditation gives you 50% of your spirit based regen while in combat.  Holy Concentration increases this amount by an additional 30%.  Currently, I have 2509 spirit and 5415 intellect.  The square root of 5415 is 73.59.

1029.5 + 0.80 x 0.016725 x 2509 x 73.59

Next, we do our math from left to right, starting with the multiplication.  The final numbers will always be rounded down, for the purpose of these calculations.

1029.5 + 0.01338 x 2509 x 73.59

1029.5 + 33.57042 x 73.59

1029.5 + 2470.4 = 3499

Out of Combat

Base mana regen + 0.016725 x spirit x square root of the total amount of intellect

1029.5 + 0.016725 x 2509 x 73.59

1029.5 + 41.963025 x 73.59

1029.5 + 3088.1 = 4117

These figures show what my regen would look like without any of the enchants mentioned above and without any party or raid buffs.  Now let’s take a look at what my in combat regen would look like if I had a Heartsong or Power Torrent enchant on my weapon and the enchant procs.  I’m choosing to go with in combat regen here because I don’t feel these enchants would have as much weight if you were standing still and not in combat.

In Combat (Heartsong)

1029.5 + 0.8 x 0.016725 x 2709 x 73.59

1029.5 + 0.01338 x 2709 x 73.59

1029.5 + 36.24642 x 73.59

1029.5 + 2667.4 = 3697

In Combat (Power Torrent)

1029.5 + 0.8 x 0.016725 x 2509 x 76.91

1029.5 + 0.01338 x 2509 x 76.91

1029.5 + 33.57042 x 76.91

1029.5 + 2581.9 = 3611

As you can see, the difference is quite miniscule.  You are getting more regen from a 15 second Heartsong proc than you would from a 12 second Power Torrent proc, but not by much.  The Power Torrent proc also temporarily increases your spell power by 500 and the size of your mana pool by 7500.  So it could be argued which enchant you’re really getting more out of.  Heartsong is great for regen, but only regen.  Power Torrent may increase your regen by a smaller amount, but also buffs your character in other ways.

One way that you can close the gap between Power Torrent and Heartsong is by timing a Power Torrent proc with your Shadowfiend.  Shadowfiend restores 3% of your total mana with each strike and usually strikes a target 10 times.  If you have a larger mana pool, Shadowfiend will give you back more mana.  This is one of the big reasons that Shadowfiend works so well with Hymn of Hope, which also temporarily increases the size of your mana pool.  Let’s see how much mana Shadowfiend would return to you, using my unbuffed mana pool as an example.

103,122 mana x 3% = 3093 returned per swing
3093 x 10 swings from Shadowfiend = 30,930

Now, with the temporary boost to my mana pool from Power Torrent

103,122 + 7500 = 110,622
110,622 x 3% = 3318 returned per swing
3318 x 10 = 33,180

Power Torrent clearly came out ahead on that one.  Keep in mind that this is only if you use your Shadowfiend when you have a active proc from Power Torrent.  If you time it wrong, you won’t see the increased returns.  This may require you to have Power Auras set up to indicate that you have the proc active and that it would be a good time to use your Shadowfiend.  Feel free to use this export, from Rezznul over at the Red Noob Diaries.

Version:4.21; icon:Ability_Paladin_SacredCleansing; buffname:Power Torrent; x:80; texture:54; alpha:0.85; owntex:true; exact:true; size:0.19; randomcolor:true; y:-142; timer.a:0.85; timer.enabled:true; timer.Relative:BOTTOM; timer.x:-8

So which one am I going to choose?”

For now, I’m going with Heartsong.  I feel that Power Torrent is great, but it requires too many things to happen in order for it to be effective.  Heartsong gives me consistent regen and I don’t have to rely on my Shadowfiend to make it shine.  Shadowfiend has never been completely dependable and I don’t feel comfortable relying on that to make Power Torrent work for me.  I realize that I am giving up a slight spell power boost and an increase to the size of my mana pool by not using Power Torrent, but I am prepared to get that intellect in other ways (i.e. trinkets and gems) if I have to.

At the end of the day, I would rather be the type of healer that has longevity in a fight instead of the healer that has a lot of throughput but can’t keep it up through a long encounter.  Of course, these are just my opinions.  Feel free to do what works for you and to try both of these wonderful enchants out and see which gives you more bang for your buck.

Many thanks to Hamlet from Elitist Jerks for being gracious enough to not only give me these formulas, but to help me understand all of this enough to where I felt confident in writing this post.  Thank you!


27 Responses to “Entering The Heartsong Vs. Power Torrent Debate”

  1. Tomaj July 18, 2011 at 8:23 am #

    One of the big things to note with HS vs. PT is that HS has a much, much, much lower ICD than PT, so you’re definitely much more likely to see higher returns on the fight from Heartsong simply due to its higher uptime. That isn’t to say that Power Torrent is necessarily a bad choice, but I’m still a Heartsong person due to that alone (and I’m also a regen-oriented player; I can’t cast spells if I don’t have the mana).

    • Oestrus July 18, 2011 at 8:33 am #

      Hi Tomaj,

      I admit I didn’t even consider the internal cooldown part of the argument. But you’re right, HS does have a lower internal cooldown than Power Torrent does and that only adds to the notion that Heartsong could be seen as much more reliable and consistent than Power Torrent is.

      Ditto on the not being able to cast spells if I have no mana!

      • Tomaj July 18, 2011 at 8:59 am #

        Definitely. I think Heartsong has an ICD somewhere along the lines of 3 seconds? This is as opposed to Power Torrent, which is 45 seconds. Due to this, Heartsong has a lower proc rate, but as said, is much more reliable and consistent, which is why I prefer it in almost all scenarios (I only used Power Torrent seriously on lolRohash platform in Conclave for bonus smite damage).

        • Tomaj July 18, 2011 at 9:00 am #

          And it seems I was wrong on the ICD (as said by Derevka down below – hooray for not actually looking things up or refreshing the page ;P).

  2. Derevka July 18, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    PT has a 45 sec ICD, while HS has a 20 sec ICD. So by nature, you’ll have higher uptime of HS over PT.

    Additionally, and if we are to be fair, I’d encourage weighing in Replenishment to PT as part of the regen assumptions.

    Further, I would consider using HS as your ‘regen’ weapon. I’ve enchanted my Heroic mace from T11, with HS to swap in (it does trigger an GCD when you swap weapons) mid fight if I get under 15% mana. This might be the Burning Crusade Raiding lingering in me (does anyone remember Caster Weapon Swapper mod and the Spellsurge enchant?)

    Deciding between the two is simply a matter of Regen vs Throughput. That will vary player to player, raid to raid, and playstyle to playstyle. Me? I’m a Throughput healer.

    • Oestrus July 18, 2011 at 8:56 am #

      The problem with Replenishment is that it gives up to 10 party or raid members the buff. There is the chance that you may not be one of those 10 people to receive the buff. Correct me if I’m wrong on that one.

      I feel that while Replenishment can contribute to PT being a powerful enchant for regen, it also contributes to how unpredictable PT can be. Too many stars need to align for PT to outshine Heartsong and I would rather not run the wager of all of those things not happening when I need them to.

      Regarding weapon swapping, I didn’t even know that still worked. I don’t recall ever doing it in BC, but I still shudder when I hear the word “Spellsurge.”

      I’d be game to give it a try if it was working again. So you’re saying that you would swap to a regen weapon/enchant when your mana is low and then use Shadowfiend, HoH or something else?

      • Derevka July 18, 2011 at 9:10 am #

        To that, I can only say: look at your WOL, and filter out the “fades” “refreshes” etc… Replenishment is such a freely given ability nowadays… granted my guild typically runs 3 shadowpriests 2 resto druids, not to mention warlocks, ret pallies, etc…

        As far as weapon swapping, I’ll toss on a HS weapon mid-fight if I am close to OOM and without cooldowns/potion. I figure the delayed GCD from swapping is worth it.

    • Tomaj July 18, 2011 at 9:04 am #

      With Replenishment, though, you’ll get at maximum three ticks since it only hits every 5 seconds (1 second in, 6 seconds, 11 seconds), so it is possible that it could be fairly minimal. I suppose on the other hand, it also relates to Hymn of Hope usage, as well as Mana Tide Totem.

      The weapon swapping idea does sound good, I think, though, when/if I do get back to raiding, so it’ll be something to keep in mind. (Hooray me – stuck with two ZA maces -_-)

    • Tomaj July 18, 2011 at 9:07 am #

      (Sorry for the ghetto edit, just remembered something.)

      By the by, it’s also possible to have both Power Torrent and Heartsong up at the same time. After testing for some time a while back, swapping the weapon in does not reset the ICD on the enchants, but if you do gain a Power Torrent proc, you can swap in your Heartsong weapon and potentially double dip on the regen. Obviously, due to GCD-issues, this can be harder to manage, but something to make note of.

  3. Valen July 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    I had no idea people even considered Heartsong; it’s clearly an intro level enchant. Certainly for Disc there is no real question (PT is superior in every regard). 20-25% uptime of PT (net result, 100-125 Int) vs 75% for Power Song (net result, ~150 spirit). The Int brings with it decent regen (particularly if you factor in replenishment, which, with two ticks when you have 500 more Int, is 150 mana per 10 when it procs, or 75 mp5 20% of the time, or another 15 mp5 net). Factor in the metagem, Kings, and AI for a bit more regen from that; maybe 16-17 mp5.

    In terms of regen, that is really pretty close. The throughput gain of Power Torrent is quite significant, though, and can’t be ignored. Are you really so tight on mana in current encounters that the 60 mp5 or so difference (which amounts to 7200 mana over a 10 minute fight) is worth scavenging for?

    Looking at it another way; if trading 125 Int from the proc for 150 spirit is worth it, why have any red gems at all? That 125/150 ratio, in terms of gemming/enchanting, would be 20 int and 24 spirit. Why put 50 int on your bracers rather than 50 spirit? Or use Int/Haste gems in yellow sockets instead of spirit/haste? Spirit flask and food instead of int? etc etc. It just seems pretty inconsistent.

    • Oestrus July 18, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

      Hi Valen,

      I really didn’t know what to expect, going into Firelands. I knew that I would dealing with a major loss of spirit on my gear and I wasn’t sure how to prepare for that or how to deal with it, once it happened.

      Personally, I feel it’s hitting me quite hard. For someone like me, who prefers to last longer than hit harder, it’s been a challenge. I don’t feel that we should be looking at things in such extremes as “throughput” or “regen.” I would like to think we could have both and I have always tried to find a nice balance between the two.

      Nothing about my character is set in stone. I’m currently 4/7 in Firelands and I’m constantly seeing what I can handle, how I can push myself and then adjusting my gear accordingly. I’m certainly open to ideas and open to feedback on how to better myself in this new tier of content.

      While my stat choices and how I choose to meet those requirements is still up in the air, I could say the same for PT. PT is not consistent. I feel like using PT is like playing a slot machine. IF you have Replenishment. IF you get Blessing of Kings instead of Blessing of Might. IF you time it correctly with your Shadowfiend, etc. That’s a lot of IFs and too many, if you ask me.

      I worry that while there are healers who are acting a bit too devastated about the loss of spirit that they’re facing, there are others who are far too willing to give up on spirit altogether and have convinced themselves and others that they simply don’t need it anymore when that’s simply not the case.

      • Valen July 18, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

        Not sure I understand what massive loss of spirit you mean; your spirit should go up, not down, as you gear. There are fewer offset pieces with spirit, definitely true, but you want four piece. At the 378 ilvl you can get spirit in every slot except the belt, and at 391 I think it’s belt and boots. Has your spirit really gone down significantly? There’s a ton of fuss in the blogosphere and forums but it doesn’t seem hugely grounded in numbers.

        It is very easy to measure things like Replenishment uptime (browse to yourself in a WoL report, click “Buffs” and then click the “#” next to the “Replenishment” column; be sure to view it in a boss fight and not the entire report). I’ll bet it’s pretty high, in 10 or 25.

        What fights do you feel stress your mana the most? What is your over-healing in those fights? 10s or 25s? etc? TONS of things can factor in. Also a big deal is DPS is the best form of mp5 — are your DPS doing their part? Staying alive, using healthstones, clicking lightwells, standing in heal-y puddles, using personal cooldowns, etc?

        • Oestrus July 18, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

          Yes, we want the four piece bonus. But who has their four piece bonus already? You’re also not taking into consideration that there’s probably going to be stiff competition for the T12 tokens (head and shoulders). So in a perfect world, yes – you could solve everything with a very simple “Get your 4 piece bonus.” In the real world, it may not happen that quickly and so we need to use off-set pieces until that time comes. And that means losing a lot of spirit.

          I would have to say I’ve certainly felt the mana issues on all of the fights. I tend to stay active, usually with an 85-95% active time and I’m keeping Renew on the tanks. I’m keeping PoM going. I don’t really stand still for long and I like being that kind of healer who is always doing something. I don’t like feeling like I don’t have the resources to keep going and I’ve felt like on some fights I couldn’t really go “all out” like I wanted to. And maybe I didn’t have to. I’ll admit that.

          • Valen July 18, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

            Very few have their four piece — my point though is just to pass on cloth without spirit if you feel spirit-deprived and build your tier set. Nothing says you have to replace your old cloth with new cloth just because something drops that you can use. The spirit on your current gear is still there, after all! Especially as Holy, you can’t give up tier pieces til you can get 2pc T12. It may take time to get your four piece, but hopefully whatever loot system your guild uses will recognize you didn’t take other loot and you will be towards the front of the list.

            Just because cloth drops and no mage/warlock wants it doesn’t mean you have to take it and drop 200 spirit; if nothing else, take it but don’t use it on fights that are tight. Disc is a bit different. of course — int upgrade generally trumps lack of spirit, since int is so much better and spirit so much worse.

            I definitely agree that healers should mostly Always Be Casting, no argument there, unless there is absolutely nothing to heal or nothing coming (and tanks don’t need Inspiration, etc).

        • Tomaj July 19, 2011 at 7:17 am #

          I just wanted to comment on this; if you’re “gearing” through Firelands (boss drops, anyway), that gear doesn’t have spirit. In this case, as a priest, your spirit goes down as you pick up that gear. Since you seem like you’ve visited forums, it’s plastered pretty much everywhere that “BiS” holy priest gear is a loss of something like 1500 spirit or so versus T11 gear; if someone has 4pc T11, it would take 3pc T12 to even break even on spirit/mp5 just from the T11 set bonus alone. In truth, if you’re really wanting to stick to the regen style, there are no upgrades from Firelands itself (I’ll disagree with this to a point, just making note of it).

          And yes, you can get spirit in every slot except the belt. At the cost of 11 weeks of VP capping to do so.

          • Oestrus July 19, 2011 at 7:53 am #

            Valen does bring up a really good point. We’re not required to take every drop that falls off of a boss in Firelands.

            I’ll probably have my 2 piece T12 in the next few days and that’s from the chest and the gloves. My legs will probably be my next purchase. Shoulders and helm will probably take a while, as I would assume the competition will be fierce and I’m fine letting others getting ahead of me in line for those.

            3 pieces of T12 isn’t that difficult to get, especially when I’m pretty dedicated to being VP capped each week.

          • Valen July 19, 2011 at 11:20 am #

            How can it be BiS if you are losing so much spirit? Sorry, I don’t get it; sure someone can make a list of gear with tons of crit and haste, but that doesn’t make it BiS.

            If you’re talking ilvl 391, then feet, wrist, waist, one finger slot, and cloak lack spirit. Going from ilvl 372, that’s a loss of 791 spirit. However, in the other slots, you *gain* around 670 spirit from the ilvl difference in other slots. The net difference is a little over 100 spirit. Given the Int increase, your mana regen will be equal or higher than what it was in 4.1 (ignoring Mana Tide and Innervate nerfs). This doesn’t even include reforging, of course, which can trivially regain that lost spirit.

            At the 378 gear level, it is even better as there are spirit crafted pieces.

            Check it out for yourself; don’t believe random postings in the WoW forums of people who think a raid is a 5 man heroic.

            391: http://www.wowhead.com/items?filter=minle=391;maxle=391;ub=5;cr=79:23;crs=3:1;crv=0:0;wt=24:103:96:170;wtv=1:0.75:0.5:0.25;gb=1#ranged

            378: http://www.wowhead.com/items?filter=minle=378;maxle=378;ub=5;cr=79:23;crs=3:1;crv=0:0;wt=24:103:96:170;wtv=1:0.75:0.5:0.25;gb=1

  4. velidra July 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    Personally I strongly dislike power torrents proc nature. Sure you may gem for 20 int over 20 spirit, but you will always have that 20 int, would you gem for 20 spirit or 40 int half the time? Granted, thats not to say I would never use PT, if I absolutely wanted to squeeze the absolute most throughput possible out then PT is my “last resort”, likewise if I want more regen then HS is the first thing to be brought in.

    And yes, its probably needed to include the ICD when considering this debate at the least, you can also end up saying how deep does the rabbit hole go? Do you then want to account for how long each one takes to proc? Do spells like PoH/CoH have multiple chances to proc them? etc etc

    Another idea O, if/when you do use PT and want to time fiend etc around PT is to actually track the ICD, so you have a vague idea of when it will next be up, instead of just “oh crap proc! FIEND NOW”

    Hopefully I haven’t ranted to much, and more importantly, hopefully I made sense 🙂

  5. Joe Ego July 18, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    3697 Mp5 for Heartsong vs 3611 Mp5 for Power Torrent while they’re active?

    Heartsong: 15 seconds active with 20 second internal cooldown. Potentially 75% up time.
    Power Torrent: 12 seconds active with 45 second internal cooldown. Potentially 27% up time.

    In practice, taking a look at our last Baleroc kill, I can compare two PT users (Druid & Disc) vs four Heartsong (2 Paladin & 2 Shaman). Heartsong activates 12 to 14 times during the fight while Power Torrent activates 6 times.

    While PT regen can be enhanced with other procs, I cannot reliably base my regen around this timing. As a Paladin, I would ideally want to tie it together with Divine Plea. The problems are I cannot Plea any time it procs and if I did try to maximize usage with Plea then I’m losing out because cooldowns don’t line up. The only other bonus I receive from PT procs is 500 spell power at uncontrolled times when it may not even be needed.

    I am open to the possibilities for stacking PT procs with other regen mechanics, but I can’t place any value on the periodic throughput boost. What am I missing that makes it look like Heartsong provides twice the effective regent of Power Torrent? Do Replenishment and other mechanics boost PT regen so much? Do non-Disc healers really place so much value on a periodic throughput boost?

    • velidra July 19, 2011 at 1:38 am #

      A point with your argument, while using real logs to back up theorycrafting is excellent, a lot of procs interact weirdly with spells that heal more than one target (for a excellent example, see O’s post regarding binding heal/Surge of light). As far as I know Baleroc doesn’t include a lot of need for multiple target spells, instead favoring single target spell usage.

    • Oestrus July 19, 2011 at 7:55 am #

      I think what people are saying, Joe is that when you compare Heartsong and Power Torrent based on regen alone that the gap is really quite small. If you judge them on other factors (like spell power) Power Torrent not only provides comparable regen, but also increases your throughput and can tie into other spells or abilities (like Shaodwfiend, Replenishment, etc.)

      Most people are willing to give up that small amount of consistent regen for more throughput and increases to the size of their overall mana pool throughout a fight.

      • Joe Ego July 19, 2011 at 9:36 am #

        And my point is that Heartsong procs twice as often. So even if PT is approximately the same Mp5 during the proc it still falls behind because of overall up time during a fight.

        Further, as a Paladin especially, the Intellect buff is difficult to leverage for extra regen and of little use as a throughput increase. 500 extra Int will not lead me to change my spell selection for more mana efficiency.

  6. Felade July 18, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    If the fact that HS has a higher uptime means it gives a significant regen boost when compared to PT it could be a nice way to make up for the lack of spirit cloth in firelands.

    However, if regen is roughly equal but PT gives a throughput boost I see no reason to use HS.

    • Oestrus July 19, 2011 at 7:57 am #

      It’s tricky. I know with me farming the Heroic 5 mans to help keep me VP capped each week, Heartsong really helps there. I admit that I’ve gotten cocky or confident enough to not need to drink in those instances and I can feel the difference when I don’t have Heartsong.

      I can see why PT would shine in a raid setting, with all of the raid buffs and such. I think I’ll give it a go on Thursday and see if I can feel or see a difference.

  7. Solaril July 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    I beleive casting time was mentioned in passing above but never really used as a factor. Since nobody has 100% casting time and you cant control when PT nor HS procs, I would give HS the edge as it will have more uptime.

    It gives more regen via spirit so it is not dependant on your other spells or abilities. If I have a spot in a fight where I am not casting and I have achoice between PT or HS, obviously HS which is still providing mana regen beats out PT which is doing nothing for you at that moment.

    You cant even claim throughput on PT all the time as it will not always be procced during times when you need it.

    This coupled with less overall spirit (which means less regen) with gear as you collect pieces in firelands for me as a Holy priest makes HS the easy choice.


  1. Priestly Predictions For 4.3 | The Stories Of O - September 28, 2011

    […] Speaking of Spirit, I was pleased to see that the initial batch of datamined items shows some off-set pieces and even weapons with Spirit on them.  I know many holy priests struggled with the loss of Spirit on their gear, leading up to obtaining their T12 set pieces and even beyond that.  I would have liked to have seen some change to our regen mechanics, since we are still extremely dependent on Spirit for mana regeneration, whereas other classes are not.  While Holy Concentration will still be a required talent for holy priests, I also believe that Power Torrent will remain the enchant of choice for our weapons.  You can find more information on my findings relating to Heartsong vs. Power Torrent here. […]

  2. 4.3 Discipline Priest Compendium - Elitist Jerks - December 1, 2011

    […] posted by Oestrus on The Stories of O In order to determine which enchant is a better choice for you, we need to first determine what it […]

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