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.
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!