Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Comparing the 4 Healing Classes

I'm a tank, so what am I doing talking about the 4 healing classes today? Well I'm glad you asked!

I've never enjoyed healing on my Paladin. Being a walking HoT just wasn't fun. Doing something with a game, by definition a fun activity, that I didn't find fun, kind of didn't make sense. I had wondered if it was healing that I didn't like or just the 'flavor' of Paladin healing. I had thought about rolling a different type of healer to see if I would enjoy it more, but never really had the inclination to do 1 to 80 again.

Then I heard that some friends from my old guild Heroes Inc were rolling Horde alts. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to try out the healing side of the game. But which healer to roll? Moreso than just about any other role, a Healers life changes dramatically in that final ding. Most healers level in a spec that is not their healing tree. Because the experience can be so different I wanted to interview a healer of each type and find out what life was like at the top, before I put in the long hours of going 1 to 80. I placed a call to Team Matticus.

The Healers who so kindly consented to this interview were Matticus - Priest, Sydera - Druid, Lodur - Shaman. We also have represented a Holy Paladin. Blood Prince is a Holy Paladin who is a frequent poster to MainTankadin and agreed to be interviewed for this post.

1. What is it that you enjoy most about healing in general?

Matticus - I enjoy the challenge and the thrill that healers get. I do thrive in these sort of high pressure situations. I've always been a support player, not so much a front line player.

Sydera - I think I was originally in it for the feel that I was helping people, but now I love it because I can really see my contribution to raid success. Healing has pretty much instant gratification--I don't need to read the meters afterwards to know if I did a good job.

Lodur - What I love most about healing is the stability and responsibility the role of a healer has. You are responsible for the health, at least partly, for every member of your raid. The raid cannot succeed without you, and you can't succeed without the raid. I like feeling like an important and integral part of the machine while still being able to indulge my hero complex.

Bloodprince - Getting to the end of a difficult encounter and seeing my teammates still standing rather than corpse running. I can still remember a Deadmines run that I did at the appropriate level on my Pally with a pretty solid group. But one of our DPS pathed too close to the right edge of the ramp coming down into the foundry room and aggroed a bunch of mobs. Our Warrior tank was trying to get aggro on all of them but they still killed two of our DPS and our feral DPS Druid dropped into Bear form and it was just the three of us. As we would get near killing some mobs, one would run and aggro a new group from around the room. Combat ended up lasting just over six minutes (which is forever at that level) and I cycled between wacking mobs with Seal of Wisdom up, waiting for my mana potion CD to cooldown (pre-potion nerf) and casting timely Holy Light's when I had enough mana and we were able to survive the fight and down all the mobs at the end. One of my most "epic" encounters and the one that cemented my love of being a healer.

2. What led you to roll a healer instead of a tank/dps?

Matticus - At the time, I got in to the game with other players. All of the roles were decided upon. I went with a healer because it's a role that I had the most experience with.

Sydera - I was attracted to the supportive, helpful nature of healing. It didn't hurt that my fiancé played a warrior, and I enjoyed healing him while he killed things.

Lodur - When BC came out my original goal was to melt faces, but a lack of healers lead my guild leader to ask me to heal for a couple Karazhan runs. It was love at first Chain Heal! Healing just clicked with me more then DPS ever did. The game took on a new face and long story short, it immersed me back into the game in a new and exciting way. I love the math of healing, the responsibility of it and the feel of it. Healing has a sort of flow to it other roles don't have, it's very fluid even in the most hectic situations. DPS may need to stop DPSing a mob, tanks may need to run around and pick up adds, but healers are always healing.

Bloodprince - I rolled Paladin in order to tank. I had every intention of tanking. However, a funny thing happened along the way to leveling up and that is that I found out that I did not have a tank's mentality. I found out I had a healer's mentality. A healer has an almost pathological need to see the team's health bars at 100% all the time. They have a need to Cleanse their teammates as quickly as possible. They have a need to see the team succeed. As long as they stayed alive, healing was "good enough."

3. What do you you enjoy most about healing as your class?

Matticus - The Priest class has the MOST options when it comes to healing. Whether it's AoE, or direct, there's always a spell for different situations.

Sydera - I love HoTs, particularly Lifebloom. I like a dynamic casting style with lots of spell casts. I love the pre-emptive nature of healing with HoTs. There is such a thing as too many HoTs/DoTs in the rotation.

Lodur - I love the versatility of being a Restoration Shaman, but most of all I love the uniqueness. On the fly we can switch from a massive single target healing machine to a raid roll healer within the blink of an eye. I know other healers can do it, but I don't think any of them can do it as well as we can. The other classes also just don't have our distinctive talents and abilities that make a Resto Shaman so enjoyable to me. Chain Heal, Earth Shield and our army of totems are Iconic to the class.

Bloodprince - I love that every combat ability I own is an instant cast so that I can Judge / Consecrate / Holy Shock / Hammer of Wrath the bad guys and the only thing that I really lose for doing so is a single GCD. Holy Light the tank, get a GCD or two to deal damage, and Holy Light the tank again. Obviously, I am not doing that during Patchwerk but just about any other time I am. I also love that when Healing Plate items drop, they are MINE. No competition for gear. Yeah, I have to compete against Resto/Elemental Shamans if some great mail piece drops, but those seem to be very rare in my guild so I have little competition for gear if it not a cloak/neck/ring/trinket/weapon Spell Power drop.

4. What do you not enjoy about healing as your class?

Matticus - I can die really fast if I'm not paying attention. It can be unforgiving especially as a Priest since we're clothies. The other 3 healing classes can survive a bit longer then Priests.

Sydera - I hate the Tree of Life model. My elf model is beautiful, and I never see it. The tree badly needs a model update. I keep pushing for seasonally changing leaves and a less grumpy countenance. If I could choose, I'd be something pretty, like a willow or a poplar, slender anyway, and with pretty leaves. Either that, or I'll take a dryad model.

Lodur - The thing I dislike most about healing as a Restoration Shaman is Totem Juggling. I hate choosing between dropping a totem or tossing out a heal with an extra second attached to it. I think once blizzard is done consolidating and revamping totems it will be much better. We can see this starting with Strength of Earth Totem and now Mana Spring / Healing Stream and Poison / Disease Cleansing totems being rolled together.

Bloodprince - I know we really seem to feel the lack of an AoE heal, but my FoL is so fast that being able to zip around and heal three party members in 3.45 seconds (with a fourth getting healed through the Beacon) just seems fast enough to me. What I don't really like is the perception that Healadins cannot do any healing job except for single-target healing so I feel like I miss out on many interesting healing assignments because of that. During 4-Horseman, I am only ever either a tank healer or one of the ranged tanks for the back bosses. I never get the opportunity to heal the Meteror damage on the DPS on the front boss that is killed first and I think I would like to try that sometime. The perception is what kills me. And fricking Curses. I wish I could Cleanse those darn Cruses. Sigh...

5. How would you describe the leveling/soloing/farming aspect of your class when speced for Healing?

Matticus - Leveling wasn't a big issue for me even though I'm not optimized for it. Soloing isn't so bad either. I just have to grind out the mob and outlast it. Farming isn't exactly something I'm great for. I have to rely mostly on crafting stuff to get money to make purchases for stuff I need. Farming for raw mats isn't a possibility for me, unfortunately :(.

Sydera - It's pretty grim. I never level in Resto, and I keep farming to dailies that I need for reputation. I make money--not much, but enough for raid repairs--through selling the products of my crafting professions on the AH.

Lodur - Personally I think Shamans have it pretty easy in this regard. Being a DPS / Healing hybrid we have access to many of the DPS tools even specced Restoration. At the same time Restoration affords us a higher survivability due to such wondrous abilities like Earth Shield and our various totems. Our totems can be used both defensively and offensively and allow us to greatly reduce our down time. The same things that make it enjoyable to level as restoration make it easy and enjoyable to farm and solo as Restoration. Overall the experience is quite enjoyable, especially after the change from +Heal to Spell Power took effect.

Bloodprince - In a word, ugly. DPS as a Holy Paladin just pretty much sucks. Blizzard has helped some. Adding the 25% Seal/Judgement damage to Judgements of the Pure helped. I could have specced into Seals of the Pure for additional DPS if I had really wanted to without sacrificing a ton of healing for leveling purposes. And the addition of being able to use Exorcism on any type of target in patch 3.1 will be a huge DPS boost for Holy. When leveling, it is also really substandard prior to level 60 because of the TERRIBLE lack of Spell Power plate prior to The Burning Crusades. Leveling as Holy prior to level 60 was just dead, dog slow. I leveled Holy, but it was slow.

6. What will your 2nd spec be in 3.1 when Dual-Specs are introduced?

Matticus - Probably deep Holy and deep Disc. I don't PvP. I like the flexibility of switching between two different healing styles.

Sydera - I will take a raid-viable Balance spec. I'd like to learn to Boomkin, and I have almost all the hit I will need.

Lodur - When Dual-Spec are available I plan on having a PVP Resto spec to go along with my PVE Resto goodness.

Bloodprince -I plan on going Protection as my second spec in 3.1. I have zero desire to Main Tank raid bosses but want to be able to either heal or tank Heroics as my friends need me to, be able to off-tank in Raids as required, as well as to be able to grind out dailies/farm quicker.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Great post, nice job Honors and ty to all the moderators. I've always been Holy on my paladin, but never rolled another class of any spec. Very interesting!

Burntpepperoni said...

Nice article. I was riveted the whole time. It's good to see some insights into the minds of those strange guys who stand in the back and stare at green bars.

Anonymous said...

I leveled 1-60 as a holy paladin and it took forever. 60-70 took a lot of time as well. Maybe, just maybe, it would be easier today with the spell power change. I know 70-80 was a breeze, even when soloing.