On Healing in Mists

As I was thinking about this post, I really wanted to talk about the mana cap and the effect it had on healing. But really, you can’t talk about the mana cap without talking about healers in general and the expectations we hold as players and raid members when it comes to the role of healing. Is healing fun, or just necessary?

I was first exposed to healing in BC. I was a tankadin, and while my raid team loved me, it just didn’t always make sense for the consecration maker to tank every fight. We had other options, and so I not only became a switch hitter, I became an off-spec healer. To say that I hated paladin healing would be an understatement. I did not understand how people enjoyed hitting button one or button two in response to falling health bars. I think I aspired to be such a great tank in part to avoid ever having to heal anyone ever again.

Wrath changed my perspective on healers. It wasn’t that I loved paladin healing–I didn’t. But I finally got around to leveling a priest, and lo, it was awesome. I played holy, I played discipline, and there was so much variety and fun to be had, that I finally understood why people would want to do this whole “healing” thing.

A lot of things that appealed to me as a tank appealed to me as a healer. Healing is a dynamic role that requires a good understanding not only of the flow of the fight, but of your fellow players, and their foibles. While you might be tempted to fall into a rotation, there are plenty of times when you chuck the rotation and do something on the fly. I feel a personal responsibility for my playmates.

What I hate, and when I know something is horribly, horribly wrong is when I have to be the savior. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it saves an attempt. But it shouldn’t happen. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a tank, dps, or healer: all can play a vital role in saving a bad attempt, but it should not be the norm. I just want to perform my function to ensure that my raid team meets success. Nothing is more satisfying than a clean, well-executed fight.

healing_team

Because of how I feel about healers, and how they relate to a healing team, I’m of two minds on the healing cap issue. Overall I think it’s a good thing. Having a cap requires me to be what I consider a good healer: a player with a good understanding of my tool-box, well-prepared with a game plan for tackling major healing issues during a fight, but able to adapt and work with my team to cover mishaps. I really think it’s very difficult to heal well if you are responding to health bars, and don’t have a fundamental understanding of the mechanics of a fight. Being proactive is essential to providing excellent and consistent healing to your team.

The reason I’m not totally behind the mana cap is the amount of dead time that incurs over the course of a night. It’s hard to always be casting if you must conserve mana for peak times in a fight. While it’s great to have areas where you’re really pushing the envelope, it sucks to have to stand around twiddling your thumbs because it’s the only way to have the oomph you need at the right time.

The restoration toolbox also plays a role in why I’m uninspired by the mana cap at this point in Mists. The only real decision I make with my spells are whether I have enough mana to cast a Rejuvenation, or whether I should hold back. The new mushrooms are so lackluster I only plop them down if I’m 1) twiddling my thumbs and 2) I don’t expect the melee group to move at all.

For the most part, I agree with other restoration druids about the state of the class even I raid in a 10, and not 25 setting. Having two spells I never use anymore (Nourish and Healing Touch) and a band-aid burst spell that does pretty much nada have not really improved the efficacy of our class, and lead to a rather dull time over the long haul. While I don’t need a spell for every occasion, I’d like a bit more variety in the choices I have to make.

So far, I’m giving Healing in Mists a rating of Neutral. I’m not dissatisfied per se. I feel like the mana cap could be a good way to keep healing interesting up until the end of the expansion, preventing healing “bloat” by requiring healers to make decisions about their spell choices. On the other hand, having to stand and regenerate mana during a fight sucks. Having a limited toolbox is likewise uninspiring. I’d love to see a better balance between mana consumption and casting availability, and for the love of Elune, give me tools that are relevant!

Spinal Tap

If there is one fight in Dragon Soul I could have taken out of the developers lab and down to the local park to shoot, Deathwing’s Spine would have been it. It has all these elements that comprise a fun fight: a gimmick roll, adds to kill, adds to not kill, and a tight schedule to keep, but it is so bloody boring. The fight itself is long, the 3 plate pops reminds me of the 3 strikes and you’re out mode of Zelda without the cute animations, and it does not engage the raid team consistently.

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10-Man Healing Team | Heroic Yor’sahj

This is not intended as a comprehensive example of all viable healing solutions for this encounter. These strategies were utilized by the Production Company healing team, and hopefully, will provide a starting point for starting a discussion about your healing model for the encounter! 

Yor’sahj the Unsleeping is an early healing/DPS check for your team. While we’re not as concerned with kill priority in terms of making sure we’re running in the right direction, knowing what combinations you get will help you plan your healing strategy appropriately. For this encounter, we utilized 1 tank and 2 healers, although this may vary based on your raid composition.

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Double Gearing

Lissanna wrote a really great article last week about gearing your Restokin. Although gear sets are much closer, and many pieces can be shared between restoration and balance nowadays, there’s always a tension that arises when you’re trying to keep two sets in the best shape possible. While I didn’t want to repeat information that has already been covered with finesse, I did want to take a moment to talk about my own experiences with covering a dual role, and how it impacts gear decisions.

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Rejection: Healing Heroic Yor’sahj

I’m not usually one to have a hissy cow when I’m having a bad night on an encounter. Ok, let me rephrase that: I might be  yelling at my monitor, but I don’t usually come screaming at the universe in print. Instead, I’m usually left with frustration at myself. Not my team, not my class, not the encounter being difficult, but how I could do something different, something better, to get the result I want.

Today is different. I don’t feel like I could have done anything better. I healed my little heart out, I tried every trick I could think of, and I still didn’t get the result I wanted.

My nemesis: Heroic Yor’sahj

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Resto Druid Thoughts in 4.3

I debated writing this post this early in the cycle: we’ve barely touched upon the impact, and for a non-theorycrafter like myself, it can sometimes take a bit more time, a few more bosses to feel really comfortable saying “This is how I feel.”

I know as we ripped through Dragon Soul that first week I was a bit bummed. Mana seemed hard again… but it was just me. My healing team compatriots were doing just fine. I was also struggling to match my throughput. It’s been beaten into every druid’s head: who cares about cool-downs, we ARE healing machines. And I must say, it sure didn’t feel like that when the shaman pushed out a couple thousand more HPS, and had less overhealing.

But, because there’s invariably a butt, I now have a heroic mode under my belt, and I’ve had that extra week to work through some gear changes and different healing environments (I’m looking at you LFR). And while I’m not ready to stand on the mountaintops and declare that druids are the most awesome healers in the known universe (even if we are), I am prepared to say that I’ve found acceptance, and here’s why.

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Dragon Soul and the Fall of the Destroyer

I don’t think it ever gets old. Stepping into a new raid encounter is always an experience I savor, and I love exploring new dungeons. Some members of our raid team took a sneak peek Tuesday night, but Wednesday was my first step in to the new dungeons, and Thursday saw the completion of normal mode for our raid team.

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