I was browsing some well-known theorycrafting websites looking for some information for my alts, and I found some really disappointing opinion sneaking in to some of the guides – that the engineering buff is somehow inferior to other buffs. This is false – contrary to this opinion held by some, Engineering is objectively in the top three, and in my opinion the strongest profession for healers. It might POSSIBLY be different for holy paladins and disc priests, which are two specs I’ve yet to give any time to researching in this expansion and they seem to lack the major raid cooldowns of other specs (and I’m ignoring Monks for now, having not even seen a Monk healer yet), but even then I would argue that Engineering still comes out marginally ahead. Now, this isn’t to say that you MUST take engineering or else you’re wrong – I’m simply trying to highlight the difference so that you can make informed decisions, and Engineering does take a lot more effort for its marginal benefit. Note that the professions are intended by Blizzard to be as close to balanced as possible while still having some small variation. It just so happens that as far as raid encounters go, Engineering’s variation is superior. Also, at this point in time, the Engineering helmet scales better than any other item for Challenge Modes, so it’s pretty much the Best-in-Slot item for everyone in this respect.
What is the benefit from Engineering?
A 1920 intellect use-effect for 10 seconds with a 60 second cooldown.
What about other professions?
Inscription, Blacksmithing, Enchanting and Jewelcrafting all potentially net you an extra 320 int passively, while at this stage Leatherworking will net you an extra 330 int passively. Blacksmithing and Jewelcrafting have a lot more scope than just int – the sockets provided by blacksmithing can be used for gems for all other stats, and Serpent’s Eyes can be cut into bonuses for all other stats too. If you prioritised a secondary stat over Int by greater than a 1:1 ratio, the combination of BS/JC would be amazing, but I don’t think anyone does. Tailoring has a random proc effect that gives a greater amount of int, but again averages to 320 int over the course of it’s uptime + cooldown. Unlike Engineering, you have no control over when it procs.
But engineering is the same as all the others?
People will correctly do the math and work out that 1920 intellect for 10 seconds in every 60 seconds is the same as 320 int passively, but this does NOT mean they are the same. I’ll go into this more shortly, but that average is of course for 60 second blocks. If the fight doesn’t finish at a multiple of 60 seconds, the average will be higher. Obviously, having consistent uptime throughout the fight is vital.
There are two ways engineering excels
1. Fights ending with Synapse Springs during cooldown brings the average up:
If you activate Synapse Springs on cooldown, you gain AT LEAST 320 int on average throughout the entire fight, but if the fight ends between the end of Synapse Springs and the end of the cooldown, the average is greater. See this diagram (mostly because I LOVE showing off my MS Paint skills):
Obviously the longer the fight goes on, the closer the average will get to 320. However, it won’t ever sink to 320 unless the fight finishes exactly as the cooldown expires (i.e. on the minute mark), and will never drop below 320. This is of course so long as you don’t allow accumulate 60 seconds or more of time where Synapse Springs is available but not active. So while the minimum average int bonus for the fight you get is 320 int, if you’re using it all the time the gain will be greater.
2. It’s there when you need it
It actually buffs your cooldowns earlier in the expansion relative to the end If you have ever looked at a graph of healing done, you’ll know that there is not a constant amount of healing happening right throughout the fight – there are spikes and lulls. Sometimes, a bigger burst of healing is required, and sometimes you can sit on Lifebloom with Swiftmend keeping Harmony up. This is pushed to the extreme when you bring cooldowns which are buffed by Spell Power into the equation, which resto druids are spoiled for.
- Nature’s Vigil grants 20% extra healing done for its duration.
- Incarnation: Tree of Life grants 15% extra healing done, as well as pumping up some abilities for the duration.
- Tranquility heals raid targets for (9037 + 83.5% of spell power) + (number of ticks)*(1542 + 14.2% of spell power).
If you activate Synapse Springs, you boost all of these abilities also. Synapse Springs can be activated at any time during Nature’s Vigil to grant 1,920SP. If you had, say, a flat 20,000SP, then with SS you have 21,920SP, which means you gain an additional 20% healing on heals cast with the higher amount of Spell Power – therefore, the bonus from Synapse Springs is increased by 20% as a result. During Nature’s Vigil, Synapse Springs activation is worth 2,304 int. The same is true of Tree of Life and Tranquility – they all benefit from your Spell Power. Therefore, the actual benefit over the course of the fight continues to be greater than the alternative professions if you combined cooldowns effectively.
At this early stage in the expansion (first week of raiding, with only Mogu-Shan Vaults open), that 1,920SP as a percentage of your overall SP is huge. Obviously that will go down over the course of the expansion, but it means that for %-based cooldowns like the three above, they are at the most powerful in ratio with your Spell Power that they will be for the entire expansion.
Numbers when you need them
There are times when you are healing that the bonus from any profession, if active, is just wasted. This is unique to healers. If you cast a rejuv that tops someone up, that would have topped someone up regardless of the 320 int buff in the same timeframe, you have not gained anything from your profession bonus. To put it another way, if your overhealing % is greater than 320 divided by your Spell Power, your profession bonus is useless. Engineering has greater resistance to this effect than any other profession. A lot of people will make the argument that you need to play really, REALLY well for the engineering bonus to surpass the passive int bonus, and some might even argue that very few or even no players do this consistently. They fail to take into account the “wasted” value of their profession, which you must if you are making that concession that Engineering is theoretically better, but in practice it is not. In practice, these players don’t do 0% unneccesary overhealing either.
I’m planning on writing a post soon about how to effectively tie cooldowns together, and what choices you need to make – the only road block for me is a couple of assignments due this week. Definitely check back for that if you’ve read this far as I’m sure it will be of interest!