« What Our Titles Say About Us | Main | BlizzCast Episode 13 Released »

Throwing Out The Big Heal

My second career choice.

 I'll admit it, I did not level my priest from level 70 to 80 as holy.  The dual spec talent, while nearly pointless on my rogue, was too enticing for my priest.  So Solidsagart went to the dark side, literally, while making her way to the end game.  Since reaching level 80 she's done a complete 180, focusing solely on healing.  I've paid my dues (being blamed for everything), learned the ropes (let hunters/rogues die), and found out which responsibilities I like and don't like.

Being the critical person that I am I've realized how poorly designed the healing mechanics are right now.  The developers know there's an issue and plan to rectify the sitution in Cataclysm, a topic I've discussed, but meter epeen blinds many players.  Ghostcrawler summed the problem up nicely in a blue post from yesterday. 

"Now in general I wish there was a little more coordination among healers, but the current damage model we have just doesn't really allow it. I remember when tanking Molten Core, that the priest would say over vent "Big heal coming on the OT!" as he powered up a Greater Heal. You don't have that luxury these days. One of our designers was watching an old Illidan video recently and remarked how everyone was at 50% for so much of the fight. Now days someone is at 100%, will hit 100% in the next couple of GCDs, or will be dead. In that environment, you'd get "Big --" out of your mouth before it would be too late. Players need more health and heals have to be a little more expensive."

As a healer, mitigation or reactive, I am supposed to make sure that everyone is at 100% all the time.  If the raid dips below 75% for an extended length, then I may be considered a fail healer.  But there's nothing that I hate more than overhealing, essentially wasted mana and cooldowns.  It's bad design when healers are ignoring effectiveness and mana conservation just to throw out the biggest heal possible. 

My penchant for efficiency over spamming has caused a few gaffs.  For example, in this week's Ignis assignment the initial attempt melted down to untanked adds.  Despite this, the healing meter was posted.  Although I was on top I apparently wasn't doing it correctly according to the other healer.  Via whispers we exchanged our tactics - both of us are priests - and I was promptly badmouthed in raid chat for my ideas.  By that I mean my tactical decisions, efficiency over spam.  I defended myself, we went back and forth, and the bickering ultimately lead to a second wipe.  We put it past us at that point to get the darn quest done (I paid the bills for the tanks).

Personally, I cannot wait for the 'Big Heal or Go Home' design philosophy to be thrown out the window.  It'll make the healing mechanic far more tactical, which I believe will make it more fun.  On the flip side, I expect some of the blame healers get to become more legitimate, as we won't always make the correct decision under pressure.

Healing shamans, druids, priests, and paladins, are you excited to have large health pools,  smaller heals, and more useful HoTs?  Or are you terrified of having to relearn the craft you've already perfected?

Reader Comments (13)

As someone who's slowly levelling a priest and has only run Stocks and Deadmines, I'm looking forward to more effective healing. I, too, am the type of healer you are - if people aren't at 100% health, that's okay, as long as it won't kill them. If a DPS is down at 75% or so because they got a couple hits off an add that the tank now has under control, I don't see any reason to heal them, at least until after the fight's done. I don't think I should be expected to whip out my CDs and my Big Heals ever time the tank drops below 90% health, because as long as I'm doing my job right, he'll be okay. Honest.

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNait

I have played priest, druid, shaman & paly heals...I prefer paly for the size of the heals and priest for the variety of heals. But tend to lean toward druid for the hots. It seems to be more effective to be a proactive healer rather than reactive. Now I've seen each class really shine at endgame raids...even a Paladin with 40k mana (she made it look insanely easy to heal). I understand there are different mechanics for each class & that's what makes it fun. But I would think that there would be a better way to mitigate healing through the group, rather than having each healer spam their biggest heals all the time. But I guess Blizz is wanting a raid group to be a true team where that won't matter....

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNiqo

Well, I play a holy paladin. When my guild 2 heals Festergut, and Festergut gets to 3 stacks of inhale, I pop all my cooldowns and spam Holy Light. Quite frankly, I see no other way to go about it. The tank drops like an sack of potatoes when I don't pull off 29k heals and 36k crits. Do I like being able to pull ridiculous numbers? Yes. Do I like the fact that I need to do it just to keep the tank alive? No.

The concept of having the tank get hit by a 18 wheeler every melee strike is something I'd rather not deal with. It's not fun to spam the same heal over and over. I mean, I am a holy pally, and only have 3 heals (Lay on Hands not included), but this system does need a revamping. I get bored spamming Holy Light like there's no tomorrow.

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCaptFewocious

It'd be neat if they had a class/spec who's only role was to mitigate damage and buff raids/grp's. Forget healing/dps/tanking it'd be like a whole new way of playing. Or even a class who's role is to debuff mobs and bosses. Take all the spells like Entangle or Power word: Shield and give them to one class. Yeah they would have to have a lvl'ing spec too, but it would be cool for raids. I don't know, just thinking out loud...

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Gone are the days when DPS would bandage themselves, I know some people who don't even level First Aid because they think staying alive is not there job.

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBlurb

From a tank's perspective, I have NOTHING but serious respect for healers geared or otherwise. It simply comes from understanding that I do NOT want to heal. I do or take the damage period. I like the idea of strategic healing myself because that automatically leads into other strategic elements such as target selection, knowledge of target abilities, CC, etc. etc.

Hopefully with Cat on the horizion and looming closer each day, people that like to AOE spam trash into nothing will be taking another look inside their spellbooks and wondering how they can stop that odd mob that won't die quickly enough and kills them in return.

@Ametera, ty for paying the tank's bills. It totally wasn't nessacary but we appreciate it. I myself have unashamedly paid for many a healer's bills myself. I doubt it's that your heals were insufficient, but rather the tanks and dps unable to macro taunts, MD, focus fire etc etc.

when all is said and done, METERS MUST DIE!

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHighwayman

Yes! I play a shaman healer and I cannot wait for some more tactics. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I love topping healing meters by taking a nap while simply spamming chain heal and letting it hit everyone. However, this goes along with my grife with wotlk in general, the game has gotten just way too easy. I understand the whole gear taking a week to get sorta thing because people don't have time, I'm talking tanking mechanics, dps mechanics and obviously healing mechanics. It'd be nice to see people have to use strategy instead of just spamming buttons.

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHepatitis

It's like the first few pulls in FoS. Sure, I can long pull and whatnot but it's amazingly difficult to time so when I have a mage, I'll go a bit oldschool and mark a moon for sheeping. It's amazing the arguments you'll get including one mage who asked me, "What's sheep?"...I was just WAY to stunned to ask if he was serious or kidding. Either way we went through 3 ready checks before it came back all clear.

I've also been kicked from groups just by asking for some CC. It's not difficult, it's not extra time, it's just prudent. In this tank's opinion, surviving in a hero trumps all.

And it's not just CC either. Can anyone else out there remember WAY back in Vanilla WoW when you had to actually compose the groups in raids due to class buffs i.e. demo lock in the tank's party for the imp's stam buff? These days it's just, you fall into whichever group you fall into. Cross your fingers and hope that while things may not get THAT exclusionary in Cata, they'll at least require some forethought instead of the ol' "GS/Acheivement" garbage.

On a side (and totally unrelated) note, has anyone noticed that with all the recent QQing by dps about long random queues, it's usually the DPS that won't respond to a check? It's something I've noticed myself in the past few weeks.

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHighwayman

I'm realy psyched by the effect this willl have on pvp, or atleast what Blizz says this change will do. More health on players all around for more reaction time, and less 'burst' healing. As a feral druid with no dispells or MS it's almost impossible to do anything to healers but dps until they go OOM, and then use the few CC I have to keep them from getting back more mana. Can't wait for this- should be a huge change to raiding and pvp alike.

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeef

I'm realy psyched by the effect this willl have on pvp, or atleast what Blizz says this change will do. More health on players all around for more reaction time, and less 'burst' healing. As a feral druid with no dispells or MS it's almost impossible to do anything to healers but dps until they go OOM, and then use the few CC I have to keep them from getting back more mana. Can't wait for this- should be a huge change to raiding and pvp alike.

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeef

What happened to the FSR? I remember in vanilla as a raiding Priest that staying outside the FSR and using smart mana efficient heals was what made a good healer. Spamming Flash Heal was for noobs who did not know how to heal now it is the norm for healers to be constant casting.

February 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWeeble

Finally i'll be able to rip healers to shreds in BG's on my lock :D Destro or Affli it wont matter lol. esp. resto druids need to be nerfed. Took 3 people in Strand of the Ancients last night 1 full minute to take down a resto druid. and i have a 68 resto myself, way too OP

February 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBane

[Riptide > Chain Heal] > Repeat

Nuff said.

February 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSham

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>