Sep 02

Soul of the Forest vs Incarnation

Ed: This post, posted on 2nd September 2012, was relevant to patch 5.0.x. Soul of the Forest has changed and so this post remains as it was. I’ll do another comparison for the current state at some point. Don’t look to this for advice in 5.4

Today, I’m going to tackle talent synergy a little. I see a lot of questions about Soul of the Forest lately. There’s a trend that healers are choosing Incarnation almost by default, and that’s actually with pretty good reason. So in order to demonstrate, I’ve come up with a rotation that I believe maximises Soul of the Forest’s effect.

The goals are simple:

  1. Maintain 100% harmony uptime
  2. Cast as many swiftmends as possible
  3. Dump Soul of the Forest procs into Wild Growth (my chosen ability because WG gets the greatest benefit from haste outside of Tranquility, and is able to be cast frequently).

Nature’s Swiftness and Soul of the Forest
Glyph of Healing Touch

If you have 2503 base haste at level 85, the SotF bonus will put you at 3754 after Swiftmend, and net you a 10th tick of Wild Growth/Efflorescence.

One rotation to optimise SotF usage is:

Swiftmend -> Wild Growth -> Healing Touch -> Healing Touch -> Rejuventation -> Wild Growth -> Healing Touch -> Swiftmend

Remember, the point of this rotation is not that it’s viable – it’s that it allows the use of SotF to be maximised. Every 2nd WG nets an extra 10th tick (2 WG casts per Swiftmend), meaning you average 9.5 ticks or gain about 5.5% extra WG healing overall (it’s actually a little less because of how WG diminishes over time).

Let’s compare to the exact same rotation with Incarnation substituted for Soul of the Forest. What this does is serve to keep all other variables the same (casting time of Healing Touch, ability to use NS, frequency with which you can WG) the same. The difference? I have 2005 flat haste. I reforged 498 haste from my previous total of 2503 into mastery. That amount of mastery adds a little over 3.47% to all healing overall, not just WG. This means that even if WG accounts for up to about 63% of our overall healing done, mastery gives a bigger boost to overall healing. The thing is, there are periods in raid-heal intensive fights where your WG contribution will be over 63%, and that will be worthwhile. However, you need to be able to identify these periods and assess their importance – is it worth sacrificing some general throughput for situational throughput?

What it boils down to is that taking Soul of the Forest should have a very specific motivation behind it if you want to maximise throughput at level 85. Incarnation will give you the best general throughput increase while SotF gives better situational throughput. In saying that, the difference is not so big that you are useless if you don’t pick the wrong one, and if you stylistically like the idea of managing a haste buff in a similar way to Nature’s Grace, go for it!

If you disagree, or you can think of a way that SotF can just be generally better than Incarnation, I’d love to hear it.

Permanent link to this article: http://sometimesatree.com/soul-of-the-forest-vs-incarnation/

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