Currently, Heroesprofile puts Whitemane at 7% popularity, a 45% WLR, and her numbers are showing little signs of climbing. We still see regular enough posts by random people complaining about the rework, as well as continuing outcry from people like myself who mained her before the rework.
People weren't playing Whitemane before the rework. People are not playing Whitemane after the rework. People who mained Whitemane before the rework are not happy with the rework. Those who picked Whitemane up after the rework are not making her work.
The rework is not working.
Whitemane is a character who does damage to heal. This idea is core to every facet of her design, from her initial kit, to her rework kit. The core of the idea works. In fact, it works so well that doing damage to heal has become a mantra of HotS healer design. So, why is it not working for Whitemane?
The answer to this is relatively simple. It is working for her, but the means are not. Release Whitemane was an overly complicated, difficult to learn and easy to screw up mess who a few of us successfully one-tricked. I took her to masters personally, and others took her further. This was not healthy design and returning to this would not be healthy. Did I enjoy it, yes, yes I did. That doesn't make it healthy.
New Whitemane is slightly less complicated to play, but has replaced that complexity with a toxic and counter-productive design. Whitemane has become the only character in the game with a self-rooting multi second channel as well as a sustained attack damage buff. No other character has this dilemma where you have to math out in your head what precise breakpoints are for when you should use your basic abilities.
Whitemane is a character with minimal inherent CC and the lowest raw durability of all healers. A small slow that is also a self root, the lowest base HP of all healers, and a near complete lack of mobility is a core part of Whitemane's design. While you can talent to overcome some of these issues, they are inherent issues.
Whitemane used to get around this through a simple fact. Old Whitemane's numbers were higher than other healers. In exchange for CC, mobility, and durability, Whitemane did more healing, and did more damage. It was not rare for me to surpass bruisers in damage output, nor was it rare for me to beat out the enemy healer by a comfortable margin. Nor was it rare for this to be true and for me to lose anyway.
Whitemane's healing is AoE by design. While her numbers are high, those numbers are spread among multiple characters, and often are waste healing. If Leoric took 50% of his max HP total across the entire fight, then I could have applied 0 healing to Leoric, and gotten the same result at the end of the fight as if I made sure he left it at 100%. Compare this to a more direct healer such as Tyrande, who gets lower healing numbers than Old Whitemane and yet could precisely choose who got each point to healing to maximize value.
New Whitemane's healing is balanced around being relatively equal to other healers when played well. This is a problem. Whitemane neither has utility features such as stuns and roots in her base kit, nor is her healing precisely targeted. If New Whitemane gets the same amount of healing as another healer, it is likely that a larger percent of her healing was waste healing. We do not begrudge Lucio for having more healing, because his healing is blatantly AoE healing and he cannot heal with precision.
Whitemane's claim to utility is her damage. Whitemane's kit contained and continues to contain multiple methods of damage amplification, and thus healing amplification. It's core to her design as 'the healer who heals by damaging enemies'. However, especially with the most recent patches, Whitemane does not do more damage than other healers.
Let me reiterate this, Whitemane, the healer who does damage to heal, does not do as much damage as other characters who heal. Alexstraza pulls 162 DPS at level 0, Whitemane pulls 137 With W cooldown considered and 117 with constant AAing instead. Lurking arm alone pulls 136 at level 0 and it is an AoE silence. Kharazim, a healer actually associated with DPS pulls 240 using nothing but Deadly Reach and 120 with no cooldowns at all.
So, Whitemane, a character with no utility, also performs less DPS than other healers. While also healing equal to or less than other healers. But what about her activatable trait? 25% more spellpower has to improve this math, yes? That would mean, every minute, Whitemane's DPS spikes up to 220 for a period of just a few seconds and a single spell rotation. Still lower than Kharazim just pressing his E. Worse still, it has worse uptime than Dragonqueen, no way to reduce its cooldown, and makes Whitemane even easier to kill.
To summarize, Whitemane does less damage than other healers, does equal total healing to single target healers while being an AoE healer, is the least inherently durable of all healers, and brings among the lowest amount of utility of all healers.
So, how do we fix this? First off, contrary to some people's opinions The idea of Whitemane basic attacking is not bad. Ask any player who played old Whitemane to a high skill level. We did a lot of right clicking. There's a problem with her current design however. Right clicking on Old Whitemane was done to buffer cooldowns and fill time, much like how Lucio's healing boost gave passive healing over time and surged during Amp. Creating a passive, extended duration AA boost does not work for Whitemane because Whitemane's statline does not support close quarters combat for extended periods, making extended AA builds unreliable.
Current Saintly Greatstaff was added to fix this, giving Whitemane burst on her AA's that she could activate for more healing and encouraging dipping into AA range for a short period before retreating. But its numbers are hilariously low. Charged Blast does 87 damage on an ability with half the cooldown. 50 is not enough. 50 is laughably low. Even the patch notes agree, stating it is at 75.
Whitemane's AA talents and build should be pushed more towards making it a thing you do between spellcasts. Saintly Greatstaff is good but severely undertuned, and Unwavering Faith conflicts with Inquisition, resolving these issues will improve Whitemane's viability.
Inquisition is a joke. I can't word this any better. Azmodan does almost 50% more base damage per tick, with an explosive damage burst at the end that does almost as much as the full channel of inquisition singlehandedly, has less than half the cooldown, and he can move while doing it. Obviously, giving inquisition All Shall Burn's statline would break the game, because All Shall Burn doesn't also heal your teammates, but the fact nobody complains about All Shall burn doing just shy of twice the damage with less than half the cooldown just shows how weak this ability is.
Inquisition has a second issue however. Inquisition has no talents between level 1 and 13. The ability already has garbage stats. It's already so bad that it's only a marginal gain over just auto attacking. But it also has a lack of talents that support it, making it even less attractive, especially when It is in direct competition with other talents that increase healing when you are not using it.
Inquisition needs an increase in damage output as well as the introduction of additional talent support to become viable.
For some good news, Searing Lash is actually a good ability. Its talent support is strong, and its synergy with the rest of Whitemane's kit is good. Whitemane's low WLR suggests slight improvements could be made to Searing Lash, but it is actually healthy.
Whitemane's Mana costs have become managable with the recent changes. They are still difficult, but that is part of her core design and always has been. The main problem with them is not that Whitemane's mana costs are high but that there is little in the way of mechanics to make Whitemane's mana costs less high. Improving on this would go a long way to making Whitemane easier to learn and grasp. Zealous Spirit is not a good talent for this, as Scarlet Wrath outperforms it at its own role, and it has anti-synergy with Scarlet Aegis, making Zealous Spirit a bad talent outside of very specific niche setups.
Blizzard, let me be quite frank here, speaking as someone who has played over a thousand games on Whitemane. Who has talked with and played with others who have mained the character. As someone who has been watching the community reaction for over a month now.
The Rework is not working. Moreover The Rework will not work until you give Whitemane damage again.. No amount of trying to tune Whitemane by doing this or that or fiddling with her cooldowns a bit will fix this problem, because Whitemane neither does damage nor heals as well as her competition, and until she can make up her lack of durability and utility with potency, Whitemane will never be viable.
TL;DR, please read the marked sections. For citation, type Whitemane into subreddit and official forum search and sort by new, ignoring every post I made.
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