Healing Reflections in Cataclysm

Almost a month! I am sorry for my lack of posting. My excuse? Leveling characters to 85, of course 😉

Sadly, Kandin is still sitting idly at level 81. I wish I could’ve leveled her first, but this way I know I’ll be able to take my time with her and really enjoy all the new content rather than rat-race to get to 85. I ended up leveling Mertaka and strangely enough Roneka first. The guild needed healers to start some dungeon running, so I is it.

I will say this now, to lay my cards out on the table. I started WoW with Wrath. Wrath is the only measure I have to go by. And I loved healing in Wrath – I loved the fast pace and the feeling of being able to bring things back from the brink…who doesn’t enjoy feeling like the hero? I liked that my ability as a healer didn’t hinge on the performance (or lack thereof) of my other 4 group mates? I loved that when I hit someone with a heal, it made a noticeable difference. I enjoyed the challenge of keeping up with the fast incoming damage.

However.

I will not say that I totally and absolutely HATE the healing mechanics in Cataclysm. It *is* just a game, and hate is kinda strong for this. I am gradually adapting to the way healing works now (on my shaman at least; priest doesn’t have enough Spirit to dungeon run yet)….but it is certainly NOT fun. I have my good healing days where I’m the windshield, but I have many, many more bad healing days where I am most definitely the bug. There is quite a bit of hot discussion in the Healing forums right now on the WoW Community site between the Old School Vanilla players who absolutely LOVE the new system because it’s like The Good Old Days, and the people who started in TBC or WotLK who are adapting but not having fun or just hate the new system out right. Healing has been quite a chore – and I have been continually asking myself why I’m paying $15/month to do a chore. I am currently the only healer in our guild while our other two are out of the country visiting family, and I am worried as well that when they come back and try out the new healing mechanics that they too will no longer want to heal and then where will we be? It seems that there are already quite a few healers who have quit the game or tucked their healing spec and gear into a dark corner of their banks and I don’t want to bin Mertaka and Roneka. I don’t want to bin my entire account because I have so many other characters and aspects of the game that I enjoy so much.

Mana costs are up. WAY UP. Spell throughput is low – entirely too low for the amount of mana they consume. Mertaka’s Healing Wave spell costs 1981 mana and heals (according to tooltip) for 5727 to 6232. Factor into this now the fact that everyone has staggering health pools. Suddenly, that 5700-6400 heal spell doesn’t seem so great. It doesn’t even top off a hunter’s pet. But Blizzard wants this to be our auto-attack type heal; this is what we throw off when we feel like we need to do something but a big heal isn’t necessary and AoE healing isn’t efficient. I’m fine with using a small heal, but I do think that Blizzard needs to revisit the definition of “efficient.” On top of the meager amount healed and the mana cost for that amount healed, we have the cast time. Healing Wave is a 2.1 with the TW proc.  I understand that as a healer it is not my job to save people from themselves, but even in the course of regular healing the cast time feels cumbersome. Then there is also the aspect of shaman healing presently that while it hasn’t been borked too badly…it’s a little boring: Riptide, any two direct heals, Riptide, any two direct heals, Riptide, any two direct heals, wash – rinse -repeat. AoE heal as needed.

Healing used to make me feel excited to get in game and to be a strong pillar of a party or raid. I loved that I had the power to turn things around if they started to go downhill and that there was some margin for error (not necessarily outright stupidity). Now I just feel powerless; I feel like a weak point in a group because as a healer I feel that it is my job to save and to help…and in this expansion I can do neither. I feel that healers are now nothing more than a band-aid until a wipe happens and then we’re brought out for a public stoning. I really just can’t find the right words anymore to properly convey how utterly useless this expansion makes me feel when I’m healing. These feelings are compounded by guildies who upon reaching the minimum item level requirement for Heroic dungeons, want to run nothing but Heroic dungeons. None of them have played a healing class in this expansion yet and have not had any hands-on experience with new mechanics. So then I go from general discontent with new healing to anxiety as we claw our way through a Heroic dungeon. It’s sad because it’s starting to make me resent my guildmates a little bit as well. I want to see the end game content, I really do. I would also like to have all of my hair, sanity, and not develop a hard drug habit when/if I get there.

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