Resolved: Nature’s Vigil has higher healing utility than Heart of the Wild in most raid situations.
Let’s break it down a bit to see if this is actually the case…
- Duration: 30 seconds
- Cooldown: 90 seconds
Effectively this spell can be up for 1/3 of any encounter. The uptime alone makes this a very viable healing spell for raid healing, particularly in situations where there is a lot of raid-wide damage.
- Effective Range: 40 yards
The range make Nature’s Vigil useful in almost all raid encounters. Seldom is it that the raid will be spread to a point such that Nature’s Vigil does not affect everyone.
- Effect: Single-target healing spells heal a nearby friendly target for 30% of the initial healing done.
This needs some additional thought. The assumptions I’m making are as follows, some of which need to be confirmed with some additional theorycrafting.
- The healing done by a single-target heal only hits one additional target.
- The effect does not trigger itself, otherwise there would be an infinitesimally shrinking heal effect over time.
- [Confirmed] This effect is triggered off of HoTs and single-cast heals.
- The effect is triggered on HoTs that are ticking prior to the activation of Nature’s Vigil.
In particular the first bullet point warrants some thought. Compared with Heart of the Wild, this means that each heal that is cast, you get an additional 30% healing; this alone makes it weaker than the bonus gained from Heart of the Wild which is a 35% increase. Luckily that’s not all we have to consider.
Heart of the Wild gives a bonus to all healing that might be useful when keeping a tank alive during a high damage situation or when using Tranquility to get out of tight raid-wide damage; that much can’t be denied. That said, the cooldown on Heart of the Wild is ultimately what gimps it.
I’d personally much rather have 30% healing spread over 33% of an encounter (10% overall single-target increase if you average it), spread across a raid, than a 35% increase with a maximum uptime of 12.5% (4.375% increase to overall healing).
While spells like Tranquility may not benefit from Nature’s Vigil, the fact is that Tranquility has specific usage that requires raid-wide coordination. Coupled with a mage’s Amplify Magic, you still get a lot of utility out of Tranquility without the 35% buff provided by Heart of the Wild. What’s more is that you’ll only get one Heart of the Wild for every two Tranquility uses, so unless the raid is consistently wiping on a massive AoE damage effect, the overall 10% boost that Nature’s Vigil affords during an encounter is likely to be superior.
EDIT: Logs from last night’s raid in which I had not been using Nature’s Vigil on CD.
The logs above show that the spell accounts for ~4% total healing during boss fights. This breaks down to about 70 hits per cast, or 2.3 hits per second. Tonight I will be focusing on optimizing my usage of the spell to get some better data.