Originally Posted by Morello
Healers will be balanced to not negate all damage infinitely, yes. That design is an expectation, unfortunately, because it make the healer fun, but the cost of the game flow is simply not worth it. The direction is to at least make sure that they can clutch save people (Monsoon, Wish, Crescendo) but not have them undo non-burst damage easily.
Healing needs to be weaker than damage, over time, but can have strong bursts. Summoner Heal/Wish Baits are good examples of healthy heals, because you're not going to be topping off Graves with that, but you can save him if he almost dies - the healer feels epic, the benefactor is grateful, and the enemies can capitalize on the long cooldown/opportunity cost.
Right now, Soraka does both of these. We're going to make it so eventually, she can run out of mana and the enemy can seize the advantage. Sona's problem is actually not really her heal right now (that's about as balanced as it can be on that character).
This is the core design problem with not heal spells, but dedicated healers. If someone's only job is to heal, it will ruin the game if it's really satisfying. Instead, in most cases, support characters can heal if they can also do other things, and they're not only about red bars going up. There's still no team-based PvP game I can think of where this is not true.
Question, Morello. You've mentioned that you guys will "ramping up" a couple of things on Soraka, presumably in recompense for the hit(s) she'll be taking from the fix(es) to her infinite sustain. Do these positive changes constitute small buffs to the numbers on her healing (i.e. this matter is purely number-tweaking on HP gain over time from Astral Blessing and MP gain over time from Infuse), or do they affect or are they otherwise aimed at other aspects of her kit (e.g. damage, silence)?
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I don't see how you would change Infuse other than dialing down the mana restoration to Soraka. Since the issue is infinite sustain, the restoration to allies is beside the point. The cooldown is difficult to adjust without touching the silence, as well.
Increased CD on Infuse means that Soraka has a harder time protecting her laning teammate from that AD/tank kill lane (or, God forbid, a double-stun lane). Increasing the silence wouldn't be good - it's already 1.5s at LV1, 2.5s at LV5. Any longer during early game, and it becomes a ridiculous zoning tool; any longer during late game, and you'll be shutting down a caster for the majority of the duration of skirmishes and teamfights (2.5s is already crucial for casters like Brand, shuts down DPS and escapes for assassins like Talon, and with some teamwork can lead to instagibbing characters like Annie).
Decreased CD alone on Infuse should be out of the question (closer to permasilence you get, the less healthy the ability). Decreased CD and silence on Infuse, however, would lead to a mini-silence, which would be of no use to a support character during laning phase. Interrupting a channeled ability, which is all it'd be good for at that point, is more useful later in teamfights, whereas the only use in laning phase would be for notable exceptions such as Jungle Fiddle's Crowstorm which you usually wouldn't see coming to begin with.
Upping the damage component on Infuse wouldn't be good, either - while it'd make for a better poking tool, it's already easy enough to inadvertently killsteal when you're trying to shut down an escape. Taking the kill gold when you should have taken the assist gold only puts your carries and damage dealers behind.
Since I can't see how you'd "ramp up" anything on Infuse, and I agree with you on how Wish is in a healthy, clutch spot right now (ignoring the cheese factor of popping it for assists across the map; I don't want to hear that alternative means of gaining gold is bad when we're stuck in a 0cs-gp10-support meta), the only feasible positive change I can see, outside of Astral Blessing heading towards either a burst or more-frequent-small-heals extreme, would be to increase her damage output. That would mean either a rework of her autoattack or a buff to Starcall. You seem to be hinting at this, but I'd rather read it in English than in Phreakese.
Has her autoattack been reworked? Has Starcall been buffed? Or, again, is this just tweaking-the-numbers-on-sustain?