I was cautiously optimistic when Blizzard introduced their plans for healing in the new expansion. The idea that we’d have to heal intelligently, put thought into our heal choices, and once again be something more than bubble-bots or Rejuv-spammers sounded appealing.
As I watched the implementation, I was a bit concerned; all the changes that would make healing “interesting” and content “hard” seemed to boil down to “If anyone screws up, they die”. Fine but…. how to tell the difference between “that mage screwed up” and “the healer screwed up”? I was worried we’d start in on the blame-the-healer game.
And truth be told there’s been less of that than I’d feared. I hear healers being harder on ourselves than most tanks or dps are hard on the healer. I also hear of a lot of us taking abuse, not directed at us or probably intended for us at all, but abuse. If a tank refuses to cc, well honestly it’s not him who shoulders the responsibility of the more difficult pull, but the healer. And so healers need to speak up and tell them to bloody well use sheep.
But as I’ve started to do raid fights, and getting raid geared, I’m noticing what I feared most; healing in this expansion has no in between setting. It’s either “oh god oh god we’re all going to die”, or “Oops, sorry, I forgot to jump on the dragon there because I was alt tabbed out reading blogs, yawn, wake me up at a real fight”. Honestly my healing experiences have been vacillating back and forth between utter boredom and I-just-can’t-do-it, depending on how geared my party was. Healing for Reversion? I’m /afk on Facebook. Healing for Reversion’s undergeared second bear? A full stack of HOTs and rolling Nourish and I can barely keep him alive between Swiftmend cooldowns. And that’s someone who knows every cooldown his class has, uses them, uses crowd control, and is hands down the best tank to heal that I’ve ever played with. Ok I may be biased but it’s still true.
There just isn’t a way to make healing a moderate challenge. I’d like to go in and have a heroic run where I have to work, yes, but it’s not “execute this perfectly, don’t get unlucky, or wipe” level. I want “Let’s practice being really mana efficient, a few moments where I have to use the right spell at the right time” level challenge.
Making me run out of stuff doesn’t give this level of challenge, although parenthetically I noticed I was asked to step in on a Magmaw fight this weekend for another guild raid, as a boomkin, and while my dps was bad, my situational awareness was incredible; I was the first to move out of fire, the first on the worms, got my knockbacks in at just the right time and place – not to toot my horn but when I was the first to switch sides of the room by a good two seconds that says something. I’m biased as a healer toward thinking the meter that matters most is not “damage done” but “damage taken”, and on that meter I did really darn well.
Anyway. Back to what I was saying. Another option I have is to dps while healing. I’ve actually enjoyed my priest’s Smite spec; but it feels more organic than hurling Wraths on my druid. I would have to ditch my boomkin spec for one with free Wraths, and that would make life harder for me while I’m trying to do dailies. I am considering it, but, gosh darn it, if I want to dps I have a mage that I like very much. I want to heal on my druid, thanks, and I’d like a proper challenge for my chosen role.
At least I have an interesting job in raids. That keeps me going, keeps me doing my daily heroic or helping gear up friends. Because in there I really do have to work. It’s incredible; I love it. Halfus is going down, this weekend, he’d better. And I’ll be challenged there – picking the perfect time to pop tree (actually on Halfus it’s a no brainer; I do it almost on pull to get through the first dragon, then when it’s back up it’s usually a good time to get people topped back off) – managing my mana, working with my team to keep people from the brink of death. Even the trash in Bastion is a good challenge, mostly because of the silences. Maybe you can’t have that level of challenge without redundant healers. I’m not sure.
I love healing; my brief stint as raid dps the other night taught me that. In end game, that’s my role. But I wish I didn’t feel burnt out on heroics already.
I’ll blame it on Lost City. I’ve done that place a hundred times, it seems like. I hear there’s this place called Deadmines that’s a lot of fun, but apparently it’s not in my random dungeon queue…