Spiritual Guidance: For the love of Lightwell

Dawn Moore
D. Moore|06.14.10

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Spiritual Guidance: For the love of Lightwell
Of the redeeming traits of Fox Van Allen, it is his unusual ability to sense the migratory paths of arctic terns within a 500-mile radius that has led to his success. Fox Van Allen can also boast that when he cooks an omelet, four out of five of them are not burned. Fox Van Allen also writes the Wednesday edition of Spiritual Guidance. Unfortunately, today is not Wednesday, and instead you will have to contend with Dawn Moore, a young woman whose super powers include predicting upcoming traffic junctions by suddenly feeling worried that she missed them, and an immunity to skunk spray. Dawn Moore writes also about healing for discipline and holy priests.

When I was in sixth grade, everyone made fun of me. I'm not quite sure why, as there was nothing particularly noticeable about me at the time. I was very average: quiet, didn't get straight A's and looked about as ridiculous as everyone else at that age. For whatever reason though, I got picked out among the throng of students to be the kid who gets stuff thrown at her in the dressing rooms, has trash shoved into her locker and is called all sorts of names that none of us actually knew the definitions to. The oddest thing about it was that the students who harassed me most were people I didn't even know. I didn't know their names, had never talked with them and only had maybe one class with them -- so it's not like any of them knew anything about me to justify what they were doing. At this point in my life, the only guess I've got is that making fun of me was the cool thing to do at the time.

Nowadays, I'm not sure if making fun of me is still the cool thing to do, but regardless, the reason I bring up the story today is because I'll be talking about Lightwell. Don't see the connection? Well the way I see it, Lightwell and I are kindred spirits. After all, Lightwell is the kid no one wants to be friends with, out of fear of suffering the same ridicule by association. Lightwell is so unpopular it doesn't even get the chance to be picked last in gym class; instead, the teachers have Lightwell sit in the office and do worksheets, since the last time they let it play with the other kids they found it collapsed behind the bleachers with a bloody nose.

Well, Lightwell, I love you. I see past the trash talk and the ridicule. I see you and your individuality. You haven't given up, and I haven't given up on you either. So today, I'm going to try and make everyone see what I see in you. Mon chéri, je t'aime.

There has been a lot of talk about Lightwell recently. Late last week, Blizzard released a talent preview for the priest class, and it revealed that Lightwell would now be a mandatory talent for players who wanted to take Chakra. This reignited the Lightwell debate, and as such, I will be discussing Lightwell again today.

Before we get started, I want to quickly outline what I'll be doing today. First, I want to discuss the facts about Lightwell. After that I'll give you some information on the Lightwell debate and suggestions that have been made in regards to fixing, changing or removing Lightwell. After that, we'll finish the article with cookies and punch that Lightwell's mom made for this occasion.

Lightwell facts

The following is some general information that you may or may not know about Lightwell.
  • Light well has .5-second cast time, a three-minute cooldown and a 40-yard range. It costs 17% of your base mana.
  • When you click Lightwell, you will receive a six-second HoT called Lightwell Renew. The HoT will tick three times before expiring.
  • Lightwell has 10 Lightwell Renew charges.
  • Repeatedly clicking a Lightwell will not consume multiple charges as it once did. To receive a new Lightwell Renew buff, the current one must first expire.
  • Lightwell Renew is not removed through damage unless a single attack hits for 30% or more of the character's maximum health.
  • Clicking on a Lightwell does not activate the GCD.
  • You must be in melee range of the Lightwell to click on it.
  • Clicking on a Lightwell will cause you to drop your current target and target the Lightwell.
  • You can interact with Lightwell through the "interact with target" keybinding, provided Lightwell is targeted and in range.
  • Lightwell does not take AoE damage, but can be killed by direct damage.
  • There is a Glyph of Lightwell that increases the healing effects of Lightwell by 20%.
  • Lightwell gains the bonus spellpower from proc or on-use trinkets and profession buffs if it is cast while under the effects of the buff. All charges of the Lightwell will reflect that buff, even if it has expired on the priest.
  • Lightwell does not disappear when you change to a different spec.
  • Lightwell receives 100% of your spellpower bonus.
  • Lightwell heals way more than your stinkin' bandages. Yeah, I said it.
Additionally, you can click Lightwell when you are ...
  • moving
  • jumping
  • casting
  • stunned
  • sapped
  • asleep
  • silenced
  • feared
  • mounted
  • hearthing
  • falling
  • eating
You cannot click a Lightwell while you are ...
  • mind controlled
  • disoriented (from Blind or Scatter Shot, for example.)
  • channeling a spell (rather, you can, but it will cancel the channel)
I feel it's important to give some further context to Lightwell currently. As a level 80, self-buffed holy priest, I have 4,000 spellpower (thank you, Spiritual Guidance.) With the Glyph of Lightwell equipped, each individual tick of Lightwell Renew heals for 5.5k; that's 16k healing over six seconds.

The Great Lightwell Debate

Despite the raw facts behind Lightwell being quite favorable, the majority of players still do not care for Lightwell. As of May 2010, 83% of level 80 holy priests didn't take the Lightwell talent (thank you, Armory Data Mining -- /kiss); the major argument of these players is, "Lightwell is a powerful spell, but no one is going to stop what they're doing to use it." Because of these sentiments, many players have made various suggestions over the years on how to fix Lightwell. Many of those suggestions have been compiled by Sinzh into a thread on the official priest forums. The highlights are as follows:

In regard to changing Lightwell to a passive ability, suggestions include ...
  • Make Lightwell work like the Lightwell in Trial of the Champions. (Dawn says: This has been suggested 2.86 x 10 ^ 6 times.)
  • Let Lightwell float around and heal players in its path.
  • Have Lightwell pulse every few seconds; players within range will gain a HoT that refreshes each pulse.
  • Make Lightwell a healing bomb that goes off on a timer.
In regard to removing Lightwell, suggestions include ...
  • "Just do it already!"
  • Give priests a plus-healing talent to all healing spells instead.
  • Replace it with a Holy form talent. (Blizzard has already said no to this.)
  • Offer an Improved Spirit of Redemption talent instead.
  • Give priests a healing pet that we can control.
In regard to fixing Lightwell, suggestions include ...
  • Increase the range that you can click it from.
  • Make it so that clicking Lightwell does not break current target.
  • Make it so that damage doesn't remove Lightwell Renew.
  • Allow macros to target and click Lightwell.
  • Make Lightwell more visible.
  • Make Lightwell a buff that when clicked off, heals the target.
  • Make Lightwell baseline instead of a talented spell.
In regard to dramatically changing Lightwell, suggestions include ...
  • Make Lightwell heal players in range for a portion of the damage they are doing.
  • Change the healing effect to something else (such as mana regeneration, attack power, spellpower, armor, haste, decreased damage, decreased threat).
  • Make the Lightwell a bomb that, when healed to full, will explode (Dawn says: Valithria Well?) into a large, AoE heal.
  • Make Lightwell a smart heal beacon: heal the Lightwell, and the heal will disperse to the five members lowest in health among the party or raid.
  • Make Lightwell a self resurrection (like shaman Reincarnation).
  • Make Lightwell a battle resurrection (like druid Rebirth).
So, if you were thinking of drafting up a new, original Lightwell suggestion that will catch Blizzard's attention, you might want to doublecheck this list beforehand. Of course, if you like any of the ideas above, expanding on them in a nice, constructive presentation (possibly with drawings -- everyone likes drawings) may help restart the discussion regarding that particular suggestion.

Cookies and punch

While we enjoy these delicious cookies (you got some, right?), I want to close with my own thoughts on Lightwell.

Concerning DPS The most popular argument against Lightwell is that the DPSers don't use it. It's not their job to heal themselves; it's their job to do damage. I find this a pretty valid argument, and I understand that DPSers want to do their jobs to the best of their ability. However, I don't understand why exactly this argument that DPSers won't use Lightwell is the reason to not use it. A party or raid contains more than just DPS.

Concerning tanks I have seen many tanks use Lightwell without complaint, as one of the things tanks prioritize is staying alive. Fights where a tank is stationary means you can drop the Lightwell next to him and forget about it until it's off cooldown again. He might not receive a full-duration Lightwell Renew, but every little bit helps, and I find tanks like to have as much control over their destinies as possible. I've even had tanks who, after being introduced to it, always wanted one put in place so they could click it as they felt the need.

Concerning healers No other healer has a spell like Binding Heal as priests do. For this reason, I know many healers sometimes neglect themselves for the good of others. Since the Lightwell doesn't consume a GCD and can be clicked while casting a heal on a player you've already targeted the heal to, it makes perfect sense for healers to use a Lightwell to heal themselves between casts. We switch targets so frequently anyway, why not? Healers are generally out of the way of direct damage too, so unlike tanks who may only get a single tick from Lightwell before it is removed, healers can generally get the full duration and effect of the HoT.

Oh, and maybe you could just use it to heal yourself and nothing but. Would that really be so bad? It's way more cost effective -- and again, no GCD.

That said, I still have more thoughts concerning the DPS. While I don't think it's unreasonable to ask a DPSer to click Lightwell, I get that they probably won't want to when in the heat of battle. That's fine, but what about when you're not in the heat of battle? What about when you're running for your life from goo, adds or cataclysmic events? What about when the boss is in a phase where you can't reach it? What if you have to run out of the raid because you have a debuff that harms your party? During all these times in a fight, DPSers are usually not doing damage, so what's to say a player couldn't click on the Lightwell during that time, possibly while running by? Sure, the healers should keep healing everyone in the raid, but most players still help themselves to healthstones and occasionally use their own defensive abilities, too. Lightwell should be seen as the same thing, and depending on what the fight demands, placed in a location where players will have Lightwell available to them as an option.

Recognizing opportunity

That brings me to another point: recognition. I think the No. 1 reason players don't use Lightwell currently is because they can't recognize times to use it. Worse, they don't know what to do when they see one, because really, when was the last time you saw one? After that, many players don't even know how it works and are not comfortable using it.

From my experience with Lightwell, I can tell you that if players get used to those tools being available to them, they will start using them. At first, a Lightwell might get ignored or laughed at, but if you stick to it and keep putting it down so members of your raid keep seeing it, eventually it's going to start being thought of as a member of the team. One day you'll hear something like, "How about we move the Lightwell over here, so we can use it when we're doing ...?" (Oh! Did you hear that, Lightwell? They like you! They really like you!) It sounds utopian, but I promise you I've experienced it -- and you will too if you get over the stigma and misconceptions and give it a second chance. A real second chance. Maybe you've never even given it a chance, and in that case, you should do so and form some opinions for yourself. Did you know Circle of Healing used to be loathed at the beginning of Burning Crusade too? Well, Lightwell was a late bloomer in comparison.

Come Cataclysm, it looks like you're going to have to take it anyway, so you might as well stop fighting it and start thinking about how you can use it instead. As it stands right now, you can pick up the talent and get some practice without losing much. That one lost point in Blessed Resilience isn't going to hurt anything, and if your team starts using Lightwell now, then that is a whole new form of min-maxing that will trump a single point in Blessed Resilience any day. Give it a shot. Really.

Finally, I recently thought up a new idea for fixing Lightwell. I've given some suggestions before in a previous article, but this time I think I'm really onto something. This fix would completely remedy the problem of players not wanting to click on Lightwell. I hope Blizzard will give it a serious look. I present to you, Lightwell 2.0:

Want to find more great tips for carrying out your priestly duties? Spiritual Guidance has you covered with all there is to know. Check out Holy 101 or Disc 101 for an introduction to healing as a priest, or for the party-minded healer, check out a priest's guide to tanks.
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