We wanted provide clarifications on some of the confusion surrounding Spell Power, and to address the perception that healing has decreased in effectiveness.
The only two healing spells which have a non-standard interaction with Spell Power are Heal and Mass Heal. They each receive 50% of your spell power total. This number was chosen to ensure that, cast by a level 11-20 character with level appropriate equipment, the performance of Heal and Mass Heal remains approximately equal to its performance before the expansion pack, erring on the side of a small buff to effectiveness for characters whom are diligent in upgrading equipment as they level.
Before the expansion pack, items had Spell Damage Amplification. This was a percentage of a spell's base damage that added together with your enhancements, and was then multiplied by the metamagics you were using with the spell. This meant that metamagics, such as Empower and Maximize, were a very significant portion of your spell damage and healing. Activating Maximize doubled the damage or healing of your spells, including the bonuses from your spell damage amplification.
This old Spell Damage Amplification system had difficulty scaling into higher level content. Because of the way it multiplied with metamagics, even a small increase to the available damage amplification could result in a large increase to your total spell damage/healing. While this doesn't sound bad, it made for problems in balancing increased Spell Damage Amplification from multiple sources, such as items, enhancements, and the Epic Destinies which we released with Menace of the Underdark. Had we kept the old system, we would have had to provide extremely minimal or no increases in the available Spell Damage Amplification from those sources.
The way that portions of the old system worked were also not easily transparent to the player, and was subject to odd rules, such as items only working to boost spells below a certain level. We determined that it would improve gameplay for spellcasters if we simplified it so that all your bonuses to spell damage added together directly, and worked on spells of any level. This allows us to provide linear benefits to the power of your spells, from multiple sources, and have them stack in an easily identifiable way.
Now with Menace of the Underdark, we have replaced Spell Damage Amplification with Spell Power.
Every point of Spell Power adds 1% to the base damage or healing of a spell. Your enhancements and metamagics now function just like Spell Power, and it is all added together. One of our goals was to keep player spell damage and healing equal to, or better than, their current effectiveness. Because metamagics were no longer multiplying on top of the bonuses from spell amplification, we needed to make up for that somewhere else: we chose to increase the amount of power your items provide to your spells, and double the value of your spell damage enhancements.
For example, if you have 100 Healing Spell Power on a scepter, 100 Healing Spell Power from class enhancements, and Empower Healing active (+75 Healing Spell Power), you can expect your cure spells to provide 275% extra healing, for a total of 375% of their base effect.
To summarize, the results of these changes are:
1. Metamagics are a smaller portion of your spell power total than they used to be.
2. To make up for it, we dramatically increased the casting benefits from equipment and enhancements.
For most players, this is a buff, as it provides the option to turn off your metamagics and conserve Spell Points, while still dealing capable damage.
The spellcasting effectiveness of low to mid level characters was greatly increased as a result of these changes, while at mid to high levels, when many advanced players tended to use metamagics, their damage varies between being approximately the same to having been slightly increased.
However, we felt some spells and abilities would be unbalanced if they received the full amount of Spell Power, so we made some exceptions, in order to maintain the current balance of the below listed spells:
The following spells currently receive reduced benefit from Spell Power:
• The Heal spell: 50%
• The Mass Heal spell: 50%
• Necrotic Touch (Pale Master): 50%
• Necrotic Bolt (Pale Master): 50%
• Necrotic Blast (Pale Master): 50%
• Arcane Bolt (Archmage): 50%
• Arcane Blast (Archmage): 50%
• Summon Archon (Favored Soul): 50%
• All Runearm Shots: Between 50% and 80%
Why these spells?
These spells are not affected either by Empower Spell, Maximize Spell, or both, and never have been.
We set the percentages of your Spell Power for the above spells to ensure that a character, upon the release of the expansion pack, at the same level and with equipment appropriate to their level, would see similar results with those spells.
If they did not receive reduced benefit from Spell Power, those spells would have been too powerful, since Spell Power amounts on items and enhancements now eclipse the old Spell Damage Amplification bonuses.
In other words- Metamagics were not as big of a factor in making those spells good. These spells would have gained the benefits of buffing spellpower on equipment and enhancements, but would NOT have had to worry about the decreased importance of metamagics: resulting in a huge buff to these spells.
Note that those spells still get full benefit from the metamagics that can be applied to them- Empower Healing when used with the Heal spell still provides the equivalent of 75 Spell Power, for example.
Why not just let them get buffed?
Answer: For the most part, they didn't need it.
We are always watching the performance of groups in content, and will make further changes if needed.
For most players, Heal and Mass Heal are functioning approximately the same as they did before the expansion pack, and characters who use level appropriate gear have also seen small increases in the power of those spells. That small increase would have been a large one if we had done nothing, and we made the decision to maintain the current balance of the Heal and Mass Heal spells.
If we observe that Heal and Mass Heal are not performing sufficiently in Menace of the Underdark, we'll address that.
Going forward, if we alter the Spell Power coefficient of a specific spell, we intend to update the tooltip to reflect either "This spell receives reduced benefit from Spell Power" or "This spell receives increased benefit from Spell Power". This will allow us more control to boost "weaker" spells as needed without over-boosting already powerful ones.
As a long-term goal, we also hope to be able to improve the player's Character Sheet to show Spell Power for each spell damage/healing type, as well as to show other statistics that currently do not appear on it, such as increased or decreased threat, healing amplification, and others.
What do I need to do to make sure my spells are as good as possible?
While "Potency" items which have Universal Spell Power (which boosts all spells) are useful to make sure your spells are strong, they generally provide two thirds the amount of bonus that an item of the same level which boosts one type of Spell Power does.
So, for example, if you want your Healing spells to be as strong as possible, use a "Devotion" item of as high of a level as you can.
TLDR Version: (Quick Summary)
• Some spells gain reduced benefit from Spell Power.
• This is because they are not affected by one or more metamagics.
• This keeps them approximately the same or a little better than they were before the expansion.
• This maintains the preexisting balance between those spells and other spells.
• If you want your spells to be as strong as possible, use an item that boosts that specific type of Spell Power.