The State of Healing

Healing dungeons with my guildies

Healing dungeons with my guildies

You knew it was coming.  The inevitable.  The inescapable.  The healing article for Warlords.
Duh duh duhhh!

As  you probably already guessed, I’ve been doing a lot of healing recently.  Up until two days ago, I was the only healer in our guild at max level.  So I was healing just about every dungeon we ran. My gear is far from great due to my forever terrible loot drops, so for the majority of my healing I was around 600 ilvl.  And because of this, I have only healed normals.

My first reaction to healing, is that is hard.   A lot harder than it ever was in Pandaria, even in the beginning (I started healing in MoP, so I’m not sure how hard it was compared to earlier expansions).  There’s a lot more button mashing frantic spamming than I remembered. However, I noticed five big things with healing, that both made it harder and easier.

Number One: Less deaths
Maybe this was just me and I’ve mastered my pally this well, but there were a lot less deaths.  Near death accidents? Oh plenty.  But full on deaths? Not as common.  A combination of a decrease in spike damage and my Lay on Hands spell seems to help prevent the issue.  I have the time to react and throw out an appropriate heal.  Death isn’t as sudden and unavoidable as it once was. And this I really, really like.  I feel like I’m getting the chance to make a difference.  If someone screws up on mechanics, there is now a small window of time where I can save them.
I’m liking this less death thing.

Number Two: Less Spike Damage
I’ve definitely noticed this one; there is less spike damage.  No longer does the tank drop from 100% to 25% within a second.  Damage is steady and predicable.  But I’m not saying there is less damage, in fact I’d argue there’s more.  Damage is high but steady and sometimes heals alone cannot power through it.  There have been plenty of bosses where my heals simply could not spam through the damage and I have to pop some sort of cooldown.  My Gift of the Naaru has gotten quite a lot of use this past couple of weeks.  It takes more cooldown mastery instead of blink luck to keep people alive now.
I’m liking the less spike damage, but managing all my cooldowns can be stressful.  So I’d say this one’s in the middle for me.

The powah!!

The Powah!!

Number Three: Cooldowns are a lot more Powerful
In Mists, popping a healing cooldown on my paladin was a little boost to my healing but more meter padding.  I could feel a little increase in power, but not much.  Not now.  Now, when I pop my cooldown, its like I’m unleashing my inner angel of healing.  I grow larger, get freakin’ wings, and can heal like a beast.  For that brief space in time, nothing can kill my party members.  A couple of my AoEs and they are at full health.  Cooldowns are last resort, super charged moments of awesomeness.  And I absolutely love it!
But this is a double edged sword.  Sure, I have a button of awesomeness, but it has a three minute cooldown.  And I only have one button of awesomeness.  It’s really my last resort button because if I push it too early, we all can die later when I truly need it.
I have to say, I’m really digging this new powerful single cooldown thing!

Number Four: Mana Isn’t too big a Deal
I think I’ve only gone oom mid fight twice out of dozens of boss fights.  All my single target heals barely cost any mana.  Even when I spam Flash of Light on a tank, I don’t lose too much of that blue bar.  What really drains my mana is when I cast my AoE over and over again.  That’s when I go oom, and when everything falls to pieces.  This mana cost has effectively gotten rid of AoE mashing for a whole fight.  I will admit, it definitely took some getting used to after the AoE spamfest that was SoO.  But its admittedly more fun.  You gotta plan which heal to use instead of AoEing for all damage.  Sure, you still can AoE and it still will heal up everything but then you run out of mana.  And with spirit and mana regen spells gone, then you are kinda screwed.  You gotta know your spells and know your cooldowns.
I am really really liking this change!

Number Five: Some Fights are Very Movement Heavy
There are some fights that are extremely movement heavy.  As a  healer, I sometimes have to move constantly.  And with the decreased amount of instant casts, this is somewhat of a problem.  I often can’t stop to shoot off a heal, because if I do I’ll be dead or falling off something.  But if I don’t shoot off a heal, my party members will die.  It’s this wicked struggles, and I haven’t quite figured out the trick.  My fights with the most wipes are the ones with the most movement.  Ner’zhul and That Guy On The Train come to mind right away as some of my least favorite fights because of this.  Perhaps, as my gear improves and my one instant cast spell gets more powerful this will be less of a problem, but right now I’m struggling.
This change is not my favorite.

All in all, healing seems to have moved to become more cooldown and spell mastery than spirit stacking and AoEing.  And, even though its a lot harder I’m liking it more.  No, this is not me being elitist (I am far too lazy and goof off too much 😛 ) but me knowing what is best for me as a healer.  This new style of healing has kept me on my toes.  I’m relearning cooldowns and honing my reaction times.  I’m becoming a better healer and overcoming the difficulties.

Also as a side note, Proving Grounds Silver for heals, a total snooze-fest! I was able to two shot it (the first time failing due to a buggy mechanic) without busting out any cooldowns.  I will have to go back and try out gold, but that was super easy!  And a pretty bad preparation for dungeons unfortunately.

This has all been from the perspective of a holy paladin, so other healing specs might find they have different experiences.  I have not gotten the chance to level my druid or priest, so I’m going from this one view.  What has been your experiences with healing of any class?

11 thoughts on “The State of Healing

  1. I found silver in the Proving Grounds was easy as a Holy Priest, was too busy saving my cooldowns for emergencies I was kinda surprised when it ended without me using them. I’m finding mana okay although I miss being able to stack spirit for a rainy day even if I don’t need it all. In my albeit limited experience, because I don’t like doing random content with randoms, the few deaths so far have been down to stupid rather than lack of healing (although some of the stupid was definitely me, especially my comedy death in Skyreach).

    • From what I’ve heard, I’m thinking some classes are having a really hard time while others are flying by. My resto shaman friend struggled with getting her silver while I breezed through on my paladin. I’m currently leveling my druid so I can try that out too.
      By comedy death, do you by chance mean the wind tunnel floor? I once saw a druid die on that 10 times in a row before he gave up and dropped group. 10 deaths. With speed buffs and following the path and everything. I’m still not sure what he was doing wrong, lol.

      • Yep, I went back to show someone else how it was done have already successfully navigated it on my first try. Watched him manage and was chatting in guildchat about something else so wasn’t quite focusing and managed to fall off myself. The moral of that story is probably pay attention :p

  2. I used to heal in Wrath on my Disc Priest until Cata hit. Disc was nerfed so bad and so terrible at the beginning of Cata I would get kicked right at the start of a dungeon because “lol Disc Priest.”
    I quit healing after that and never looked back 😀
    I keep thinking I’d like to try again and even leveled up another Disc Priest to 90 in MoP, but yikes it was just so stressful I gave up. Maybe someday I’ll try again or maybe I need to try a different healer class.

    • Well I hate to break it to you, but if you had healed in the later end of MoP as disc, people would have invited you the moment you said your spec. Disc priests were very overpowered during Siege. 😛
      It saddens me that someone was pushed away from healing because of negativity! But if it makes you stressed, I completely understand. One of the hardest parts with healing is managing people.
      And if you do ever want to return to healing, I’ve heard that holy paladins are pretty good… 😉

      • I was stressed because I’m a terrible healer 😀 I did level up a Disc Priest (cutest little Panda) in MoP and even healed a few of the lower LFR raids, but I really didn’t “get” how Disc worked anymore so I kind of left it.

        I got a Paladin to about level 40 in Cata and after the MoP changes never did go back to figure it out again.

        I started a Draenei Paladin this week (my theory is learn from ground 0) and she’s about level 5 now so I’ll see how it goes 😀

        • Good luck! My tips for healing as a paladin would be:
          Don’t forget to use Beacon of Light! (when you get it, it’s the ‘signature’ spell of holy pallies)
          Try to use your whole toolkit (I only used Holy Light when I leveled, and subsequently I had to relearn how to heal at max level)
          Actively use your Hand spells (these, especially Lay on Hands, can save lives!)
          I hope you enjoy your paladin! 😀 And great choice with a draenei!

  3. As a devoted dps player, I can’t say much about healing myself, but from what I observed with party members: it’s very, very tricky now.

    We ran UBRS normal yesterday. I started from the very beginning, and I had like 13 group members to join and quit during the dungeon. Obviously they got used to the Big Rabbit with Carrot Puking who dies within 1 minute with undergeared party, huh.

    We had enormous amount of wipes (zero red gear – twice!), and 3 different experienced healers (they could perform party leadership duties) didn’t cope with the encounters. Our tank was always somewhere near 30-40% or less (although he didn’t stand in fire), and what killed me was not standing in the fire or silly approach into boss AoE either. We got small or medium shots which didn’t get properly healed, and in the end of all the next 30%-healthbar boss ability kills us. It seemed that the healers were so damn busy that they just can’t cope with all the party. Also all of them by the end of encounter severely ran out of mana, barely scraping the last crumbs for spells.

    So: mana management matters much and it’s the hardest time for each and every party member, including healers. I love it 🙂 But I cannot even imagine now what is it like in Heroics.

    P.S. After 7 wipes Zaela was still alive >_<
    P.P.S. Moderately easy proving grounds / silver for dps. Did it with 602 ilvl.

    • I have not run UBRS yet, but from what I’ve heard its a real tough one. I’m sorry to hear that your run went so roughly.
      I’m wondering though, were the healers using a lot of AoE heals or single target (if you could tell)? I’ve found that while AoE are moderately powerful, they drain much more mana for the amount of heal they give out as compared to single target. That might explain the constant oom. Also were any of them paladins? I bet you every single healing class is different right now! Paladins have no mana issues that I have come across but for example, druids might be starving for mana every fight. I haven’t leveled my druid yet so I don’t know. There’s so much to do and test!

      There have been times where I’ve had to let some dps die in order to keep the tank up, so I don’t know how unusual that is. But from what you wrote, it sounds more like dps just aren’t getting healed period! Like I said, I haven’t done UBRS yet so I have no idea what the damage is like, but that sounds odd! Man, I really want to run a dungeon not in healer spec, so I can see how others are faring!

      As for heroics, I’ve finally gotten the ilvl, but I don’t dare try them without a guildie in the group! They are just too intimidating!

      • We had a shaman and 2 paladins, so each of them was in trouble with mana. Maybe it’s also the cause of unsufficient dps, cause the encounters go really long, up to 10 minutes. Although different people came and went, and still UBRS seems the hardest dungeon so far. I’ve finished Auchindoun (it was moderately easy), Skyreach (moderately hard) and Necropolis (there were 2 tricky encounters with numerous wipes). Oh, and that first ogre one, didn’t even notice how we rolled through it.

        From what I can tell, the dungeons remind me now more of raids for 5. The same number of boss tricks to be avoided like at SoO. And if I don’t wanna die, i must run with my tongue out most time of the encounter. Like Thok was a sprint race from time to time, well UBRS is a constant marathon. Being a mage who should stay in one place to cast, who cannot self-heal at least a bit and is actually a paper doll is not exactly a vacation.

        • Huh, I have not run into mana problems at all! I guess I’ve got a good build going.
          For dungeons, the absolute worst is Everbloom. A huge map combined with tricky mechanics and a really creepy theme (seriously, that place gives me the chills) make it my least favorite of the dungeons. Skyreach is relatively easy and so is Shadowmoon Burial Ground, or whatever it’s called. The train one can be hard if people don’t CC, but that one’s not too bad. But Everbloom… cursed Everbloom….
          I am in the process of leveling my mage, so I cannot weigh in on all things magery right now. Hopefully soon!

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