Monday, March 9, 2009

Haste vs. Crit: A guide for resto druids


Inspired by Alwar's chat message, I decided to look up some information about Crit and Haste. Both of these stats are B stats, and no self-respecting resto drood should stack for either of these at the expense of a greater stat, like spellpower or intellect. This is simply because resto druids use HoTs more than any other class, which have no cast time for haste to work on, and can't crit. That's looking at it simply however, and if you look deeper, there certainly are benefits to both. So if you're looking at two pieces of gear with very similar main stats, but one has crit and the other has haste - which one should you choose? Let's look at the pros and cons of both.


Haste works in three different ways. It reduces your global cooldown, it reduces your cast times, and it reduces the amount of time of time spent on spells that are channeled.

1. Reducing your global cooldown.

First off, what *is* a global cooldown (GCD from now on)? When you use an ability, whether it be a casted spell, a energy using stab, an instant heal, whatever - it triggers your GCD. It's the little "clock" animation on all of your spells that's set off every time you cast something. It's also the reason that you can't spam heals as fast as you can hit buttons or click a mouse (Apologies for the crappy arrows drawn in paint. I know, you can barely see them. The picture is just plain awful. I should change it, but if I work in Paint one more time I'm gonna cut a biotch).

GCDs are typically 1.5 seconds long. You can reduce this GCD down to 1 second with haste and talents, but you can't get the GCD lower than that. One main exception is Nature's Swiftness. NS doesn't trigger any kind of GCD, which is why you can hit it and then *immediately* afterwards hit your healing touch.

With the talent Gift of the Earthmother, a druid's GCDs of instant cast heals are reduced to 1.2 seconds. Any other haste that you have will contribute to reducing this GCD even more. However, as you get closer and closer to a 1 second cooldown, you'll need more and more haste to give you the same reduction. I don't know exact numbers, but I do know that to begin with, you need 32.79 haste rating to give you a 1% reduction (so, .015 seconds) of the GCD. But as you gather haste and reduce that GCD, the last .015 seconds to get it down to 1.0 seconds might require like, 100 haste (up from 32.79). I mean, don't quote me on that. I know that there are diminishing returns; I just don't know the extent of it. I *do* know that you would need quite a bit of haste to get that GCD down to 1 second - a rating of 500 or more, I believe.

Summary: reducing your GCD with haste is pretty rad because it means you can put more HoTs on people in a shorter amount of time.

2. Reducing your cast times.

Now certainly, druids are super HoTastic, but that doesn't mean we don't have *some* cast times: Regrowth, Nourish, Healing Touch. HT shouldn't be an often used spell, but Regrowth and Nourish can get some pretty good use.

Your %of spell haste = your haste rating/32.79.

Let's say I have 200 haste rating. 200/32.79 = 6.1% spell haste. Meaning that if I have a cast time like Regrowth, which is 2 seconds long - with 200 haste, that cast time would be reduced by 6.1%. Which in this case, 6.1% of 2 seconds is .122 seconds. (2 - .122) = a new cast time of 1.878. With a decent amount of haste, you could get Nourish close to 1 second and make it a really zippy heal.

Summary: Reducing your cast times with haste is pretty rad because it means you can put more heals on people in a shorter amount of time.

3. Reducing the amount of time spent channeling spells.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this one here, because really we have only one channeled spell - Tranquility. Yes, if you have haste, it will reduce the time it takes to channel (but it won't reduce the actually healing done - you'll still put out the same amount of healing; it will just be done in a shorter period of time). So sure, haste is good to have for tranquility as well =)


Critical strike chance (typically seen in the form of a percentage) is the chance that you will put a heal on someone that will hit them for roughly twice the amount it would normally. If you have 10% crit, then technically, 1 out of every 10 direct heals you put on a target should crit. Healing Touch, the initial portion of Regrowth, Nourish, the bloom on LB, and a swiftmend all can crit. HoTs however, cannot crit.

Because HoTs can't crit, many people initially think that crit isn't great for resto druids. However, I beg to differ - especially with the changes coming in 3.1.

Reasons crit is awesome:

1. Living Seed: This talent doesn't necessarily account for a significant chunk of our healing, but it definitely is dependant on crit, and is a nice buffer especially for tanks who are taking constant damage.

Side note: I was looking through some other classes' talents, and it struck me that druids only have one talent based on the formula "If you crit, x will proc". Fire mages have three of those: Ignite, Master of the Elements, and Hot Streak. Holy Paladins have two, Infusion of Light and Illumination. It makes sense that we'd only have one talent based on crit (I think it would make sense even if we had none), simply because most of our heals aren't direct crittable heals. Interesting.

2. Regrowth: If you take the talents in Improved Regrowth for the extra crit, this spell can be fairly formidable. It's too heavy handed to use for trash healing and most raid healing, but to bring a tank back from near death with a 9k Regrowth crit PLUS the tick afterwards - now that's a good feeling. Yes, the Improved Regrowth talent is being nerfed in 3.1, but it doesnt change the fact that Regrowth is a still a strong heal that's got a decent chance to crit.

3. Nourish: This spell just keeps getting more and more viable, especially come 3.1. Blizz is buffing its crit chance by 25% by throwing it in the Improved Regrowth talent, and the fact that it scales with HoTs is, well, pretty hot.

4. The BLOOOOM. Guys, after 3.1, this thing could crit for 18k. Hell, with better gear from Ulduar? We're talking over 20k here.


As in, disgustingly AWESOME.

I mean, I know that most/all of that will be overheal, and I know we'll all be out of mana by the time it blooms anyway (lol), but- but - 20k!! Just the number itself makes me giddy.

So where does this leave us?

Both haste AND crit are important to have. Crit will do nothing for your HoTs, but haste will shorten their GCD. Haste does nothing to help you land those crazy big heals, but after 3.1, a lot of crit will make your 3 stack of LB bloom for 670k. Not really. But close to it. Kinda.

Haste allows you to cast more spells in the same amount of time it would take you to cast less spells. Crit allows you to sometimes cast twice-as-big heals. So I would say, get a bit of both. Personally, I like haste - I'm an impatient little bugger and hate waiting for cast times and GCDs. I also like knowing that yes, my Regrowth *will* be .2 seconds faster every time I cast it. Every single time. What I *don't* like is wondering if a spell is going to crit or not. But when it really comes down to it, I never select a gear upgrade based on the fact that it has haste. If it's an upgrade in stats, then I'll consider it, and if it happens to give me crit, or haste, or whatever, I figure, hey, it'll balance out in the end.

TL;DR: Haste is better than crit for resto druids, but not by much. Crit is going to get better after 3.1 with Nourish and teh bloomz getting buffed. However, I still think that haste will take the cake.

Have any of you geared specifically one way or the other? I'm curious to hear what you all think of crit and haste.

ALSO: Check out Syll's post from Rolling Hots about crit here. It's a great resource for all your crit-related questions =D


19 remarks:

Maerdred said... FTW!

comments on the actual substance of this post incoming after a drive home. Work is over!

Anonymous said...

I don't believe the GCD reduction of haste suffers from DR, but merely from a softcap in the case of druids. Meaning, after 505 haste (reduction to 1.3s GCD) you don't benefit anymore, because you cannot reduce it below 1.0s and GotEM gives you -0.3s.


Also, it's worth noting that haste helps you oom quicker, while crit could theoretically save you mana if you end up having to heal less (e.g. it's not wasted on overheal).

Icedragon said...

I generally favor Haste over Crit, purely so I can apply that initial stack of HoTs (Rejuv --> LBx3) faster on a pull, or recover if I was stunned/incapacitated and they ran out.

While I'm starting to like Nourish more and Regrowth is for those bigger-spike-damage fights as a safety net, those are the only spells I cast that can crit, ignoring LB's bloom which I rarely allow.

It comes down to helping all spells versus just 2 (and a half for LB's bloom if you want to count it). Haste > crit for now, but that may change in the upcoming patch, when I'm not quite the "bottomless mana bucket" that I am now...even with my spirit trinket/Innervate trick.

Roman said...

My opinion is haste>crit. It is nice indeed when a spell crits, but that's all. Also Improved Regrowth makes the Regrowth spell crit quite often. And it's like one of two direct heals being in use often enough.
Haste helps you oom quicker if you just keep spamming heals. If nothing's gone wrong, you don't need to. But if something does, 0.2 sec of gcd could make a difference between life and death. Not to mention 0.3sec cast reduction for Regrowth and 0.225 for Nourish (assuming you have 505 haste rating). And what's essential for a healer - it's stable. You know your gcd, you know your casting times, it becomes a part of your healing rotations.
When I was experimenting with druid resto builds, I discarded GotE once to take Naturalist or something... Well... That was a nightmare. Discarding Improved Regrowth didn't even seem to be a loss after that. Still, those experiments showed that both of those talents are worth having. Maybe I just LIKE haste more. If I was a crit-freak, I suppose I could put crits to some good use.
And of course resto druids need no more than 505 haste rating.

Alwär said...

Thanks a lot for this clarification, our raid's resto druid needed some attention to his gear, and I've been trying to convince him of gearing haste instead of crit, and this post will help us more than ever!

I've been playing a balance/resto druid for 71 levels and i think haste is much more better than crit for healing, because resto druids are possibly the only healer class able to lower his GCD to 1 sec, thus allowing them to heal faster than anyone else.

Add this awesome fact to the fantastic raid healing that druids can do, and just enjoy :)

Best regards,

Roman said...

While walking home today I suddenly thought of The Egg of Mortal Essence. It procs quite often, so maybe some kind of "chaotic" healing could be used. Like high (but still not guaranteed) crit chance and frequent (but still not guaranteed) trinket procs.
Sounds odd, but who knows. Maybe it does make some sense after all :)

Averna said...

@Roman: good call. What's nice too, is that the Embrace of the Spider AND The Egg of Mortal Essence don't share a same internal cooldown. I've seen both buffs come up at once for me.

Sylly said...

Averna, thanks so much for pointing me toward this post from my own ruminations about crit today. I didn't take into account at all the crit on the bloom of Lifebloom, which may become very, very important following 3.1. Maybe adding some crit to the gear build is worthwhile. I certainly hope some enterprising druid will run some tests on the PTR! Thanks, too, for supporting my site. I really appreciate it! /hug!

Trismegistus said...

I don't favor either of these stats and I could care less about them.

I have seen no performance difference by changing gear with haste for crit or vice versa.

The only thing that matters in my experience is stacking spell power for throughput and taking Spirit socket bonuses when possible.

Sydera said...

Thanks for this article Averna. I was going to write one myself on the same topic but now I'll just link yours :)

Pantalaimon is right that the haste soft cap is 505. I see no need to get anywhere near there, though, in our current gear, because it would mean a sacrifice of spellpower or spirit. That's not worth it to me.

I'm going for a balance between haste and crit. I think that haste is the clear winner right now, and as such I wish I had more of it, but I think that crit will pull even with the new constraints of 3.1. Hotting more people faster is not necessarily a good thing when we're always OOM. In my experience with BC stacking haste always left a player at risk of running out of gas early.

I am also curious to see the next tier of gear. It's been explained on the official forums that the crit and haste on resto druid gear is due to it being the first tier, but from what I see of ulduar, every piece still has either crit or haste. I'm still not seeing any spirit/mp5 pieces, which would be highly desirable in a mana-scare environment.

Lorangriel said...

I agree with you and Syd, Averna. Haste seems to be marginally better than crit rating, but I have always regarded both as wasted itemization on restoration druid gear. If we could use that item budget on spirit or mp5 or spell power, we would be much better off. I just posted an assessment of Living Seed that plays a little into what you have been saying here. Please feel free to drop by and tell me what you think.

Anonymous said...

Nice guide. I just wanted to point out that some, including me, resto droods spec natures grace, which is another very useful proc after crit.
Immagine a regrowth crit and a 0.8 sec nourish and living seed. Great for bringing up a tank on the verge of death.
Didn't see anything about natures grace in the guide, perhaps you should check that out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the guide, really awesome stuff. I've been wondering on this topic for quite a while, but I've always preferred haste over crit.

I was wondering, is that 505 haste a guideline or soft cap for GCDs (sorry if I missed it in the post, read through the comments before posting mine so I might have forgotten)?

As for the post above me... Nourish doesn't benefit from Nature's Grace... Cause its casting time is the same as the GCD, and both are lowered by haste (effectively making it impossible to cast it faster than a GCD).

Averna said...

@Anon #1: Yeah, you can't have a 0.8 second cast for Nourish. I mean, you *can*, but it's going to clip the GCD. You won't be able to cast anything until 1 second has passed.

@Anon #2: 505 isn't a strict guideline - it's the soft cap. Anything more than 505 will continue to reduce your cast times, but it won't benefit your GCD (can't go under 1 second) and it won't benefit cast times that are already under 1 second (like Nourish, which will just end up clipping the GCD). So any haste over 505 will only positively affect your Healing Touch and your Regrowth.

If you find that you have more than 505 haste, you really should try to switch out some haste for crit.

Personally, I have around 200 haste, and I really wish I had more. I tried regemming for it but I just lose too much spell power. I looked through some of my other gear to find something with haste on it, but I don't seem to have much other than the hero's dreamwalker gloves. My regrowth is a 1.9 second cast, and Nourish is 1.4, and both feel like an eternity.

Then again, I've got over 18% crit raid buffed....

Here's hoping that some good haste gear drops in Ulduar!

Sephimus said...

I have a 19.74% to crit and with nature's grace procing and soul of the dead(oh ya i ninjaed one)i find it quite easy to outheal haste druids plus i don really feel the diffrence from when i had the 400 haste going for me. w/o my sp going up too much i went from doing 2.8k-3.3k hps on serious boss fights i went to 3.4k-4k hps on the harder boss fights in ulduar. But idk recently i have been debating going back to haste.

Anonymous said...

I was with 150-200 haste then lucky me, I get the Lifebinder my haste go to almost 400, and yea, that nourish going a going in no time in almost-wipe-pulls are great. :-D

Anonymous said...

Wocnam, Server: Antonidas US, i decided to start searching some posts on how to jump my healing even father after healing 7k hps vs the Twin Valkyrs, I read many posts on haste cap with 25 buffs being around 320 when i have about 450 haste, 1600 spirit, and 730mp5 while casting, and yet i can use ever innervate in site, but i still push a amazing amount of hps.

Overall i think that haste is the most important stat for any druid, your only healing should be raid healing, we were designed for it, we gear for it, hots make excellent raid heals, now as far as crit goes, very little is dependant on crits for druids, i can crit for 15k nourish with hots on a target but thats not what i heal for, critting is a priests job.

If you have any questions or comments that you wish to share, id be happy to answer them, my email address is if u wish to ask anything or discuss this matter further, u can also reach me in game.

Have fun druids, and good luck healing

Anonymous said...

"your only healing should be raid healing, we were designed for it, we gear for it, hots make excellent raid heals,"

I wasn't going to comment, but the line above made me throw in my two cents. Having been a tree from the very beginning, raid healing has never been an interest to me. Being on the tanks is where it's at; it's the most exciting, for me, and being able to get some hots out on the raid as needed is just a plus.

My main ( I have two resto druids, one on each side ) sports almost 600 haste, in which drops the cast time on my HT. I spec 14/0/57, to get the added haste talents from the balance tree. Granted, you still have the one second GCD, but when HT is critting for 26k+ in a 10man raid on the tank, you don't think too much of it.

Some say I do it wrong, because I put haste and spirit before spell power, socket bonus or not. Right now, I'm at 2300+ unbuffed and outside of tree form and 19% crit. For me, that's enough to not worry about stacking the SP.

It's not unusual for my druid to top out around 7k-8k HPS in fights where damage is consistent on everyone and not just the tank. It's true, druids were simply made and designed for raid healing. However, you will always find my little tree with tank priority and raid second.

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