Note: I started this thread before the 3.2 changes came out, and delayed posting it to talk about the 3.2 changes. Now that the dust has settled, I’m updating it a bit and posting it while I’m busy with my sister’s wedding stuff this week. If this is outdated, it’s because I saved it too long…
Come back after you’ve read Sydera’s post. I can wait…..
Done yet? If not, go read it….
…. Done now?
Good! Lets move on.
I see a really, really major problem with the mindsets of a lot of healers right now based off reading the WoW Healing Role forum. What’s that problem? Well, mostly reading recount & other healing meters without understanding them. There is a major problem with blindly following the output that recount gives you, thinking that HPS gives you the same information as DPS. The problem with promoting competition between people to top the meters is that they work on topping the meters rather than sticking to assignments. Only “raid” healers top the meters, wheras anyone assigned to tank healing does not top the meters. This means that recount and WWS meters effectively measure how MANY people you healed during a boss fight, not how well you healed each person during that boss fight.
This means that paladin healing is “low” on the “how many people did you heal?” meter. It also means that holy priest AOE healing is high on that meter. It also means that our Tier 8 bonus has a tendency to inflate the resto druid numbers on that meter, because a bunch of instant 1500 heals add up over time.
Yes, I know that CoH and WG look really good on the meters. But topping off 5 people isn’t nearly as useful as saving the life of one person. You can still target players and heal them. Players do it all the time. PvE healing does not rest entirely on smart, AE heals (though they might look really good on the meters).
We forget this because Ulduar has an over-abundance of raid damage. Just about every single boss fight has high-risk damage to raid members, which is what forces people to have to move, and forces healers to have to “think on their toes”. However, this ridiculous amount of damage taken by the whole raid (combined with no more crushing blows on tanks) means that in a lot of fights, even the people assigned to tank healing are… not healing the tank the vast majority of the fight.
While shaman & paladin healing styles have flaws, what is really the most broken right now is our perceptions of what makes a good healing class. We’re forcing everyone into AOE healing homogenization because we’re following healing meters as though they are superiority rankings, rather than actually caring about whether or not our tanks died. We’re also not caring enough about whether the tank is dieing or not, because in the majority of fights, the paladins and discipline priests (with a little HOTs from the druids) in raids do such a great job of keeping the tank up (sometimes with cooldown rotations for the healers & tanks) that we just don’t even focus on tank healing as a priority anymore.
I know that I’ve accidentally let a tank die when I was assigned to healing them, just because I was too busy spamming my AOE heals on the raids that I missed crucial and unexpected burst damage times (which is why I got myself switched to raid healing to play with the 4-piece T8 bonus instead of being on tank healing the last week).
This style of healing feels new, and it sucks sometimes. I miss the days of caring about how much healing was done to a tank. I can stack all my HOTs on a tank and then spam nourish, but the vast majority of the time, all the tank needed from me was a HOT or two to keep them topped off until they get hit with whatever big magical effect comes on “predictable” intervals. At least in the days of crushing blows, you wanted to constantly heal the tank because you knew they would take random large bursts of damage, so your overhealing was likely to be a worthwhile strategy. We were also able to downrank our spells to make overhealing a worthwhile number to look at. Right now, tank healing feels much less worthwhile, and so everyone only cares about how much AOE healing they can do, because keeping the DPS alive seems like a much more important job right now, with enrage timers and huge burst damage on all the raid DPS being so abundant on Ulduar fights. Hard modes also became “dps faster” modes, so raids are having to drop healers from their raids and stack up more DPS (gooo dual specs!).
The best way to fix healing at this point would be to bring back tank-healing fights, and reduce the amount of AOE healing fights. This would prevent Blizzard from needing to completely homogenize all the healing classes like what is happening right now, with paladin & shaman & even druids needing to be given better raid healing tools to keep up with Holy Priest AOE healing – and nerfing priest AOE healing to make the other classes look better on the meters.
So, back to tank healing. How can we make tank healing fights hard & enjoyable for everyone in the raid without having them be “tank and spank” fights? Well, I don’t have an answer to this question, but it’s something that the developers really need to start thinking about (and maybe we’ll see some show up in the new instance!). We need to have at least some fights where healing the tank matters more than healing the DPS. I miss the days of being able to let DPS die because I’m keeping up the tank, because right now, tank healing means that I sometimes put HOTs on the tank while I’m throwing around wild growths & rejuvs on everyone around me, which is why my Nourish numbers aren’t that high.