Friday, July 2, 2010

Back to Oldschool Healing

As well as my numerous 80 mages I have an 80 holy/disc priest. I've had this priest since the first days of BC and I healed my way through SSC, TK and Hyjal with her. I'm an old school healer, in the sense that I perform best when I'm standing still, looking after one target (maybe two). I like to carefully manage my mana, knowing that every heal I spare the nub dps who just pulled is one less heal for the tank. I like to know the fight well enough that I can time my Greater Heals to land exactly when they are needed, and thus be as efficient as possible.

Nowadays, however, I'm really not a very good healer. Healing just isn't like what it used to be. Even if you know the fight like the back of your hand there still won't be time for you to heal a tank with nothing but Greater Heals - in fact, you'll be lucky to be able to use Greater Heal at all. Instead you'll be spamming Flash Heal and Prayer of Mending, or shielding like mad if you're Disc. That's if you're even given the tank healer job - most of the time you'll be raid healing, even if you're disc. So you'll be spam-flashing or spam-healing the whole raid. Which, I have to say, is really no fun.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see this on Scroll down to the heading "Shifting to triage-style healing". It seems Blizzard has decided to shift away from the spam model and back to the triage/mana management model that made me love healing so much when I first started playing a healer.

I'm not sure if this is their intention behind the changes listed in that article, but it's certainly a step in that direction. I wonder if this represents Blizzard taking a good hard look at what made the game great back when it first started? In a previous post I spoke about epics being made epic again, and to me this change seems like it could have a similar effect, ie realigning the game back to its roots. What I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall at a Blizzard strategy meeting.


  1. I don't think Blizzard can ever go back to the days of Molten Core. Too much has changed.

    Let me be the first to say I think playing Discipline is god damn boring and painful on a fight like Lich King. Spamming shields on 20-23 people is NOT fun, but it's required.

    But beyond that, a lot has changed... we have a lot of smart heals, a lot of passive heals and a lot of classes got small minor heals/components. What I mean is, back in the day we didn't have Healing Stream, Leader of the Pack, Judgement of Light wasn't kept up and Vampiric Embrace was taboo. There was only a maximum of 1 type of HoT on a person at any given time -- not that this is something I agree with, but multiple hots does change healing.

    Right now the healing metagame is just a lot of AoE heals, smart-target heals and a whole bunch of pre-healing. There's really no element of skill to it and it's very hard for an excellent healer to shine. Shield Spam, Rejuvenate Spam or Chain Heal spam you'll look good, but not necessarily be great.

    Tis sad in my opinion, because Shield spamming really is boring.

  2. Hi etai, thanks very much for your comment - I think you're the first! :) It's great to hear the perspective of a more active healer. I'd be curious to know if anyone enjoys the mechanics of healing in its current incarnation? All I've heard from friends, blogs and so forth is that it's a bit boring.

  3. Etai is also known as "Shiva" by the way, just so happens you have OpenID implemented ^^

    Also, I feel honored and special. I got sent this way from PugnaciousPriest. And I liked healing during Ulduar -- but not during Naxx/ToC/ICC it's just too monotonous and boring. Dominated by too few spells and no real choice.