Au revoir, Overflowing

Huge shout-out to Vall, who went out and got this screenshot for me

Ding dong, the witch is dead! And by witch I mean Overflowing affix for Mythic+ dungeons.  And by dead I mean being removed with patch 7.2.  Hooray!
For those who don’t know, Overflowing was the one healer specific affixes for Mythic+ dungeons.  Well, at least, it was supposed to be healer specific.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of the affix, it ended up only really applying to certain types of healers.

The tooltip for Overflowing reads: “Healing in excess of a target’s maximum health is instead converted to a heal absorption effect”.  Jargon aside, that basically means that any overhealing done turns into this really awful shield that absorbs the next couple of heals.  And additionally, that really awful shield doesn’t just absorb the amount of heals that went over, it absorbs 300% of the amount of overhealing.  So let’s say you accidentally overheal your tank by 300,000.  Because of Overflowing, you now have to heal through an absorption effect of 900,000 health points before your healing abilities start actually healing the tank.

The solution seems quaintly simple: don’t overheal! And while the goal of all healers everywhere is to avoid as much overhealing as possible, because of the nature of some healers’ tool kits, that goal not always successful.  Especially if, say for example, the healer stacks crit as their main secondary stat.

Let’s take my Holy paladin for example.  The stat priorities for holy paladins place crit as our number one secondary, as has been the case for quite some time.  And consequently, I’ve been doing just that; right now, I’m sitting at about 38% Critical Strike Chance. However, holy paladins also can get extra crit from multiple other sources.  These range from the 20-45% crit increase during Avenging Wrath (our main healing throughput cooldown), an additional 50% crit chance increase for Holy Shock (our primary healing ability), and a few other specific ability crit increases in our artifact talents.  Long story short, holy paladins have a lot of crit.

This huge amount of crit makes a lot of sense for our healing style.  Holy paladins, in this expansion especially, are the masters of large single target heals.  We have one area of effect heal and no heals over time to speak of, but we can single target spam like a beastie.  However, because we are experts at big, single target heals, we often overheal by a large amount on that one single target.  Especially when combined with our crit, it is not untoured for me to crit heals of 2-3 million health.  And when I’m only trying to heal someone for 1-2 million, that extra chunk of healing all becomes overhealing.

Usually, this isn’t a huge deal.  But now, enter Overflowing.

Let’s take that same scenario where I’ve healed for 2 million but only needed to heal up 1.5 million.  I’ve just done 500,00 overhealing, which translates to a 1.5 million absorption shield.  Wonderful. I’ll need to heal through that shield in order to be able to start healing my target again but if they haven’t taken damage, I run the risk of criting again and creating yet another shield.  Not a great position to be in.  I either have to throw some small, lower crit chance heals on to try to get rid of the shield or just hope that, when they do take damage, it won’t immediately drop them to 10%. And seeing as how Mythic+ dungeons are considered the ‘raiding experience’ of five mans, the damage can get rather spiky.

Or, let’s say they are taking damage and now I need to get through that shield as fast as possible to heal them up.  But I can’t heal them up too quickly because I could break through the shield, crit and overheal, and have to begin the process all over again.  It’s a constant battle with RNG.

So to avoid creating that terrible shield, I won’t heal the tank until they drop below 70%.  I won’t even apply big healing abilities until they hit 50%.  And I’ll have to pray that the damage is smooth enough that they don’t drop from 60% to 5% in the space of a few seconds.

I do proclaim! that Overflowing is the worst affix ever!

It’s an incredibly nerve wracking experience.  And especially when you start getting up to the higher level of Mythic+s, it starts becoming untenable.  I have to keep a super close eye on health bars and shields and which heals I press, along with dealing with all the other mechanics of the fight.  I’m generally a pretty competent healer but this was getting to be unfun.

Now this affix wouldn’t be ‘the witch’ if it had applied equally to all healers.  The problem was, it didn’t.  Holy paladins and holy priests dreaded Overflowing with all their being.  Resto shaman and resto druids especially loved this affix like a dear friend.  Because for them, it was like the affix didn’t even exist.

I’ve talked to a few of my resto druid friends about this (mainly to complain about how awful Overflowing is for holy paladins) but their general experience with the affix was that they’d never had an issue with it.  Because the majority of a restoration druid’s overhealing comes from the little ticks of HoTs, the shields they were getting were tiny by comparison. And those little baby shields were really quickly healed through by the continuing HoT ticks.

Talk about unbalanced.  While some healers would be working their butts off to deal with the affix, others didn’t even notice if it existed or not.  As a result, certain healing classes stopped being brought to those higher level Mythic+s.  Even in my own guild, while I knew it had nothing to do with me as a person, I stopped being asked to run mythic dungeons because I just couldn’t keep up.  And there was no comparative affix that was difficult for those other healers.

Luckily for myself and the other holy paladins and priests of the world, Overflowing is set to be removed in the coming patch. In it’s place is an affix called Grievous, with a description that reads “While below 90% health, players are afflicted with Grievous Wound”.  Obviously, I’m going to reserve final judgement until I actually get to experience the affix firsthand (after all, I did think that Overflowing could be fun at first, what a naive fool I was then). But for now, my holy paladin is satisfied.  Avoiding overhealing is a fun exercise in theory, but in practice, it ended up being a lot more stressful and uncontrollable than I ever could have expected. Can’t wait for 7.2!

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9 thoughts on “Au revoir, Overflowing

  1. I actually wrote the exact opposite of this post, from the perspective of a resto druid…But reading this post now I really understand why it is being removed because that’s really not fair how great a difference you find as a different class.
    However, are there affixs that you are better at as a pally that I suck at as a druid, do you think?

    • I was actually partially inspired to write my post because of yours! I was doing a bit of reading on all the 7.2 changes and what folks thought of it and your post, along with a few other folks’, encouraged me to throw my own thoughts into the ring (also, I’d just been talking about the affix with some of the druids in my guild just yesterday).

      I’ll be honest, this expansion I’ve pretty much been restricted to my paladin, so I haven’t gotten a chance to compare other healers to my main using personal experience. However, just looking through the list and guessing based off of what others have told me, I would venture that potentially Volcanic and Necrotic might favor paladins a touch? Volcanic because paladins are typically in the melee and thus do not have to deal with that mechanic. Although… because it’s ranged based rather than always applied for certain classes, other healers could definitely avoid the mechanic by standing in close with the mobs. As for Necrotic, the very thing that makes paladins so bad at dealing with Overflowing (our huge single target) may make the reduced healing a bit more manageable for the sole reason that we heal so darn much. Paladins may be able to brute force their way through higher levels of stacks. But again, the Necrotic stacks shouldn’t be getting out of hand for any healer if the tank is doing a good job. And really, no healer can heal effectively if that gets up above 75% 😛

      I think, because each healer class goes about healing in a different way, there will always be affixes that are better or worse for particular classes. Druids will rock at countering undispellable DoTs. Paladins will shine when heavy tank damage is going out. Having different strengths and weaknesses is by no means a bad thing, but it’s always good to have a balance between those. Overflowing always seemed to be so much in the favor of the ‘Resto’ healers that the balance swung way out of wack.

      But hey, you’re far more knowledgeable about restoration druids than me, what do you think?

      • NUUUUUUU don’t tell other healers to stack with melee on volcanic! It’ll just put volcanic in melee and now everyone has to deal with it. Which is harder in melee because there’s mobs standing on the volcanoes so we don’t see them as easily. Volcanic will favor paladins as long as you have at least 2 ranged to be targeted by it.

        • I could be wrong but I thought that Volcanic was ranged based, and if you were within a certain radius from the mobs, the volcanoes wouldn’t spawn? That seemed to be my experience with it at least.

          • I don’t know about ranged based because it always goes on me when I’m running with 4 melee. So I figured it goes on the ranged first and lacking that onto the healer. Last volcanic run I did there was me, a hunter and a lock and all 3 of us were getting it.
            Are holy Paladins considered melee?

                • Holy is great fun this expansion! Takes a little gear (and haste) to really get started but once you’re going, you’re rolling! Lemme know what you think!
                  Also, I really need to level my restoration druid. I’ve just been so busy that practically none of my alts have gotten leveled so far. Hopefully soon!

      • I normally run my higher mythics with a group that rarely includes ranged so I find when volcanic is out, I’m having to stand out to make sure it goes on me and not into melee if I was stacking with them. I find it’s much easier to dodge if I’m not with ranged and it rarely interrupts my casting… but when I’m with ranged and they don’t move fast enough getting them healed up is a pita because my ‘burst’ healing can take a few spells to set up. I think you’d rock there because of your large single target heals.

        Necrotic is a pain for everyone I’m sure, it drives me nuts and there’s plenty of times I feel my heals aren’t doing anything to get the tanks health back up but it does make for good stories.. I’ll never forget the tank at 131% reduced healing..

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