What a world, what a world.  Blizzard in all of its majestic power decided to completely rewrite what our Hymns do in 3.1!  Given how terrible Hymn of Hope works now (and I suppose Divine Hymn, but I only use that when I feel I need everyone to have a somewhat weak HoT and not Renew five people).

  • Divine Hymn redesigned: You recite a Holy hymn, summoning the power of the Divine to assist you in your time of need. Heals 3 nearby lowest-health friendly party or raid targets for 4960-5208 every 2 seconds for 8 seconds, and increases healing done to them by 15% for 8 seconds. Maximum of 12 heals. The Priest must channel to maintain the spell. Cooldown increased to 6 minutes, up from 5.
  • Hymn of Hope redesigned: You recite a Holy hymn, restoring hope to those in despair. Restores 3% mana to 3 nearby low mana friendly party or raid targets every 2 seconds for 8 seconds, and temporarily increases their total maximum mana by 20% for 8 seconds. After the effect expires, the mana is lost. Maximum of 12 mana restorations. The Priest must channel to maintain the spell. Cooldown increased to 6 minutes, up from 5.

Let’s cut each of these down into what they do.  I hate extra words!

Divine Hymn will

  • Heal roughly 3 people for 5k every 2 seconds for 8 seconds (4 ticks)
  • Increase healing done by 15% to them for 8 seconds (during the ticks)
  • Maximum of 12 heals (which means, the 4 heals you do to the 3 people cannot be extended out further)
  • Priest must channel this spell
  • 6 minute cool down

Hymn of Hope will…

  • Restore 3% mana to 3 people every 2 seconds for 8 seconds (4 ticks)
  • Increase those 3 people’s mana pools by 20% for 8 seconds (during the ticks)
  • Maximum of 12 mana restorations (which means, the 4 restores you do to 3 people cannot be extended)
  • Priest must channel this spell
  • 6 minute cool down

Now, what do these mean.  First off, you have to channel these spells.  The question is whether it would be worth hitting Divine Hymn in favor of any other emergency button (rather, is it equivilant to an OHSHIT button).  My personal answer is no.  First off, you need to have that tank (or tanks) have low health so it does affect them.  Second, that healer probably shouldn’t be the one assigned otherwise you effectively lose another healer.  Third, channeling can be disrupted through damage taken.  If you’re on a fight where you are taking damage, you could face some issues (this is lessened by talenting or concentration aura, and the damage does have to be directly dealt).

The benefit for Divine Hymn would be the amount of healing you could do.  With a base of about 5k healing and the channeling giving it a somewhat high amount of spell power benefits (assuming the channel is more along the lines of a Blizzard mage spell versus Hurricane, where ticks are less frequent), then you could get huge heals coupled with the bonus healing that the spell intrinsically delivers.  If it is possible to stack this with priests, or at least do consecutively, then you could be doing some massive healing.

However, this last point brings an issue with these hymns.  The effectiveness can only be increased exponentially, meaning more priests means more hymns which means more benefit.  If you’re a guild that only runs one priest, then… less benefits.  Yes, spell power does increase the effectiveness, but if you chain these hymns… it could be a very powerful rotation.

Let’s go to the Hymn of Hope.  It restores mana instead of HP, and instead of bonus healing dealt, it increases your mana pool.  This, I think, is very cool.  This means that while you are under the effects of Hymn of Hope, you can gain some larger Replenishment ticks, which making a rotation for this with priests a priority.  You can easily gain a large amount (or give people large amounts) of mana.  The channeling brings another issue because it can still be interrupted a little.  Also, because healing benefits from spell power and mana restoration does not, it’s more important that we don’t get hit than before.  We only have so many mana cool downs, so it’s best to not waste this one at all.

Do I like these changes?  Personally, not impressed.  Anything that forces me to not heal is something I’m afraid of.  Especially because our healing group comp is very Priest heavy (4 priests, 1 druid, 1 shaman, 1 paladin).  If anything, should have kept it a cast-then-forget spell, lower some of the benefits, like Hymn of Hope is now.  The incapacitate with damage reduction was an unique factor.  Whether that is what brought on these changes, I don’t know.  Either way, I don’t know how many times I’m going to hit Hymns.  Currently, Divine Hymn is my last priority mana regen, and I try to be near party members when I do use it (Arcane Torrent -> Shadowfiend -> Mana potion -> Divine Hymn).

To me, this hymn change will not affect me too much.  I might be willing to change my mind once I get my hands on it.  But for now, not so much.