Posted by: Makakai | July 15, 2011

Healing Survey 4.0

So the healing survey started by Miss Medicina is circling the healer blog community again. I didn’t get tagged myself, probably because I’m not on twitter with the rest of the healers, but since I joined in the last time I figured I’d get back into the swing of things again with my updated response. Since it is an update I’ve followed the same format as my old post, while here I actually cover all of the healing classes.

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
Druid: Restoration Druid U and primarily raiding geared healer.
Priest: Discipline Priest A and primarily PvP, but has some raiding experience in the current content.
Paladin: I actually have 2 Holy Paladins, O at level 84 and Y at level 85 (and doing heroic dungeons).
Shaman: Restoration Shaman H and the last class to hit level 85 so a bit behind the curve (I’m still in regular dungeon content).

What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
Druid: Mostly 10-man raids and 5-man heroics.
Priest: Gets a wider variety with lots of 5-man heroics and PvP battlegrounds, and a little arena and 10-man raids.
Paladin: Mostly 5-man heroics and I’ve not gotten into any raiding on my paladin since WotLK.
Shaman: I’ve done a couple of 5-man regulars and I’m about to be able to get into the heroics.

What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
Druid: Swiftmend is probably still my favorite druid spell, even with the changes it’s undergone in Cata.
Priest: Still Penance because it’s a great burst heal and has a chance to proc and stack Divine Aegis as well as Grace, even with the mana changes it’s undergone in Cata.
Paladin: Word of Glory has turned out to be pretty awesome, I love the holy power mechanic, it’s like free heals!
Shaman: Earth Shield and Riptide oh how I love you, these two together make Shaman great healers in my opinion.

What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
I’m horrible about using my cooldowns on most of my healers (except my priest – must be the pvp experience) so I’ve had to set up Power Auras to make me think to use them.
Druid: Tree of Life, I guess I’m so used to it being a stance that using it as a cooldown just messes with my brain.
Priest: Power Infusion, I have no problems with Inner Focus (yum!) but this one just slips through the cracks sometimes.
Paladin: Divine Favor and Aura Masterynever seem situationally appropriate. Even with 2 Paladins I can honestly say that this class and I don’t click very well so learning to use all of the tools for the right situation has given me a lot of frustration, but I’m stubborn enough to keep banging my head on it.
Shaman: Nature’s Swiftness, probably because I’ve not been in any situations yet that I’ve needed to use my Emergency button.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
I think what makes a healing class unique is their strength, and interestingly my old responses still hold today.
Druid: Lots of HoTs. We have basically 4 different hots in our arsenal, plus a direct heal that uses those HoTs to heal more.
Priest: Damage mitigation. We absorb or buffer the tank to prevent damage from even getting to them.
Paladin: Cooldowns. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the various different bubbles and hands Paladins bring to the table.
Shaman: Totems. I’ve found that a key totem drop can make a huge difference in some situations by mitigating extraneous sources of damage and allow a clinch heal to land.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
Druid: My old response was “Not being able to dps while in tree form”. Wow, it’s almost like blizzard read my post… In Cata though I think our biggest weakness is the way they have designed Lifebloom and our reliance on Nourish, to me it feels like they monkeyed too much with our ability to be the ultimate moving healer.
Priest: My old response was “Raid healing as Discipline”. I still partially agree, but mostly due to the mana constraints of regular use of Prayer of Healing. Which as a pvp’er is really where our weakness comes into play, priests are probably the most mana starved in arena teams in Cata.
Paladin: To me it feels like the dependence that Holy Paladins have on Holy Shock to be really effective at keeping a good balance of throughput and mana regen.
Shaman: Again in the Cata world I’d say that so far the biggest weakness I’ve found is the situational usefulness of our group heals, if I have a situation of a group of nearby party members great, if I don’t not so great.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
Uhmm. I didn’t do much 25-man raiding in WotLK, and none since Cataclysm.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
My old response still stands…”Since I’ve seen several different interpretations to this question I’ll try to give a couple of answers to meet these different interpretations. First, of my healers I think I enjoy my druid the most because she was my first max level toon and I’ve seen so much healing with her. Secondly, from the perspective of which types of healers do I feel compliment my healing the most, I would say Paladins, because their “bacon keeps my bacon from becoming crispy”, or their healing style complements the HoTs and Mitigation styles that I like to play.”

What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
Yes, still standing by my old answer…”Sorry, but as you may guess I like all healing classes bunches, so really the only type of healing I don’t enjoy are healers that don’t know how to play their class.” However, I want to add that of the four classes I have to say that the Paladin has been the most difficult for me to really enjoy and love because I’m more of a mitigation healer and while Paladins have lots of cooldowns, they are built more as responsive healers.

What is your worst habit as a healer?
My old response was my use of mana regen sources and let me tell you, this expansion has certainly taught me to use them. In Cata my biggest weakness as mentioned above is the use of my healing cooldowns, which I think in most cases has just been lack of opportunities to try them out to understand how they complement a situation the best.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?
My class response above in terms of group environment still holds. Additionally, the fact that WotLK trained many players to ‘assume’ they will get healed regardless of the fight mechanics, and that fight mechanics are not worth following once the dungeon has been released for a while. I keep meaning to write my Healing 101 post for a leveling healer, since I can’t tell you how many times while leveling new characters I’ve seen groups completely disregard fight mechanics for the “old” content. To paraphrase another blogger: If you don’t follow them now you are only doing yourself a disservice since you will not be expecting it in later content when you really need to get out of the fire.

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
“Yes, I think most of the healing classes bring unique strengths and weaknesses to the PvE environment.” Yes, kind of a cop-out answer, but I’ve not felt on any of my healers that their strengths weren’t making up for their weaknesses.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
Everyone in the party is alive + I have mana to move onto the next pull = success. I also use the healing options in skada when I raid to see what spells the other healers are using as a mental check that I’m where I should be for my spell use and gear level. Also it’s a great spoof when someone in a dungeon asks for someone to link recount to link the healing meter 🙂

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
Druid: “I have a lot of guildies comment that druid healing is harder than say paladin or shaman healing. That’s because it is much more pro-active rather than re-active, so it’s a completely different style and you need to give it a chance to really understand it.”
Priest: “That a Discipline priest is not as good a healer because their mitigation doesn’t show up on traditional meters.”
Paladin: I’ve actually had pug groups comment right when I load into a dungeon on my Paladin that Paladins aren’t good healers. I can only guess that this is based on some bad experiences for pug groups. I hope that the experienced paladin healers out there step up to the plate and educate pugs.
Shaman: That shaman healers are really only useful for their Mana Tide Totem. I think raiders are seriously shorting themselves by not taking shaman into raids for that reason.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
In general I would point you back to my Healing 101 post to get a feel for my perspective there.
Druid: How HoTs work and that druids are not really reactive healers, but provide lots of over-time healing.
Priest: My old response pertained to the ways that “discipline differs from holy”, which still stands as true.
Paladin: So far the biggest difficulty for me has been doing more reactive healing than I’m used to with my druid and priest.
Shaman: There have been a lot of changes to totems and there aren’t really any good guides on which totems to use in which situation. Also, while leveling the three basic heals for shaman feel very similar in terms of throughput vs. mana efficiency so that could certainly be a stumbling block if you are new to healing.

If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?
You do know that meters are a bad measure of healers right, since different healing roles will perform differently on the meters even? However, in general there are a couple of points that I would like to mention since they relate to other answers.
First, on Recount and Skada the damage-absorbed and healing-done are on two separate tables (with Recount requiring a separate ‘plugin’) so you’ll usually see lower healing output from a Discipline Priest. Secondly, Paladins heal more constantly than other healers so their output and overhealing are going to be very high (if they aren’t they are probably doing something wrong or are in poor gear). Also, Druids have high overhealing since our HoTs are ticking whether the target is taking damage or not. Finally, Holy Priests and Shaman are going to depend a lot more on their healing style and assigned healing role, so the combination of healing output and overhealing will be a little more complex.

Haste or Crit and why?
This has certainly changed since Cataclysm, and in some cases Mastery has muddied the waters a lot.
Druid: I’m looking for MOAR haste for my druid. However, for the most part I stay close to the WG haste breakpoint.
Priest: My old answer is still valid (“Crit to get more uptime on Grace and Devine Aegis.”), but I’m currently playing around with stacking more Haste since I PvP.
Paladin: Another class that certainly benefits from more haste, as the Mastery bonus is not designed very well for Holy Paladins.
Shaman: I’ve not gotten to a point in gearing where I look too much at secondary stats, so this is a hard one for me to answer at this point. However, Crit and Mastery are probably going to be good choices.

What healing class do you feel you understand least?
I think I’ve mentioned that I don’t feel very strong on my Paladin, but I’m working on it…

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?
This is my favorite topic and worth many more posts, but in general I recommend Mouseover macros to non AddOn users. However, those comfortable with using AddOns I recommend your healing addon of choice Healbot/Grid/VuhDo and/or a UnitFrame AddOn (e.g., Grid/XPerl/oUF). Also, Tidy Plates, Quartz Cast Bars, and Power Auras all provide a ton of perks.

Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
Druid: Intellect + Haste
Priest: Intellect + Mastery
Paladin: Intellect + Haste
Shaman: Intellect + Mastery (so far)
Hmm, I think I see a pattern here…

Happy Healing!

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