Smart heal, dumb heal, boring heal, cheat heal?

I have to apologize for this post in advance because I’m feeling whiny and spiteful. This post is terribly biased.

Last night I participated one of the least enjoyable raids I can remember. It had nothing to do with my raid group – we were having fun on Mumble and though things were occasionally a little sloppy, we did okay at killing bosses. It was all about healer balance and my performance in particular. First of all, I was dead a lot. I may as well have been trying to catch the Lightning Diffusions on Heroic Jin’Rokh, I couldn’t have done any worse at that. But what really made the raid unenjoyable was trying to get any healing done with 2 Holy Pallies an 2 Disc Priests healing in the raid. Ugh. 

I’m going to admit something here – I love topping meters. I know, I know, that’s not what healing is about a lot of the time, but I don’t care. I want my orange bar on top. Seeing myself 4th or 5th on a list feels shitty. Hell, I don’t even like to be 2nd. For the first time, taking into consideration my toolkit and the toolkit the other classes have, I don’t think it’s likely I’m going to see my name on top of any meter no matter how hard I try. Unless I sit half my healers to give my HoTs a chance to actually do something – but that’s not very nice.

Last night’s raid put two thoughts into my head.

First, raiding has a huge fundamental flaw. As you progress, you get more gear, you get better at handling mechanics. DPS players are rewarded for this progress by being able to put out more and more damage and watching their number soar. Healers, on the other hand, are rewarded by watching their overheal numbers inflate, having less to do and maybe even losing their raid slots as raid leaders sit them to bring in more dps. No idea how to fix this, but it sucks.

Second, (and this is where I become irrational and  take out my frustration on everyone else) I think some classes just have it easier. I’ve written about how I think too much healing is “smart” before. Spells which require very little effort, thought or skill do the bulk of most class’s healing. Druids are not excluded from this, but we do have the distinction of having our heals be very much dependent on what the rest of the people in our raid are doing.

Let’s take a look at how much thought or effort Druid spells require.

Rejuvenation – Usually does 20-30% of healing. Doesn’t require a whole lot of thought, but if you are careless with it all you’re going to get is a whole lot of overheal and run yourself oom. Takes 12 seconds to complete the heal. (As a side note, we’re the only healer who has the bulk of their healing done by a targeted, single-target heal).

Wild Growth – Usually does 20-30% of healing. Requires next to no thought. Don’t cast on someone standing in a corner by themselves, don’t cast when everyone is at full health and you’ve done your job with WG. Takes 7 seconds to complete the heal.

Tranquility – Usually does 10-20% of healing. No thought required.

Swiftmend (both components) – Usually does 10-20% of healing. Swiftmend often involves making a choice. Do I SM the tank who’s dipping low and end up with the ground effect only healing 1 person? Or do I SM someone who doesn’t really need it, but is standing in a group of people? Placement of the ground heal important, but so is the ability to use it reactively for an instant, large heal.

Lifebloom – Healing really depends on fight and assignment. Can do 5% of total healing, can do 20%. Can be proactively and reactively swapped around to whoever needs to most. Needs to be refreshed often.

Wild Mushrooms – Again, healing depends on fight. Isn’t used at all on some, can make up 20% of healing on others (really only on one other fight though). Need to be positioned properly, need to be charged fully, need to be used at the right time, and you can’t get out of range of them. One of the trickier spells to use.

Regrowth/Healing Touch – Usually makes up about 5-8% of healing. Requires decent reaction/timing.

Now lets look at the heals other classes get that piss me off the most and make my silly little HoTs seem like a waste of time and effort.

Illuminated Healing – This can make up 50% of a Paladin’s healing done. And it’s completely passive. And it procs from overhealing. Seriously.

All of the Priest T6 talents – Instant, only one of them requires a target (and the target really doesn’t matter because it likes to bounce to people really far away). Hit a button and watch your raid take half a million healing in 2 seconds.

Circle of Healing / Light of Dawn – Sort of the equivalent of Wild Growth except they heal instantly so are less prone to overheal. They also trigger Illuminated Healing or Echo of Light for extra free healing.

Prayer of Mending – Instant, super cheap, bounces around on its own! Subject to overpowered set bonuses.

Renewing Mist/Uplift – RM is just like Rejuv. Except it’s cheaper. And it generates a Monk’s secondary resource. And it spreads to extra targets by itself. Is the HoT not doing enough on it’s own? Uplift for burst healing!

Atonement – I’m a Disc Priest. I could literally just Penance/Smite/Solace the boss for the whole fight and still outheal other healers with Atonement and Divine Aegis (especially on bosses/adds who take more damage).

Druids have their share of mindless healing (plus we only have 7 healing spells to use! Give us more!!!). But we also have to actually pick a target for our heals a lot of the time, which is an affliction most classes don’t suffer from :P

I’m ready for my cheat heals now.

18 responses to “Smart heal, dumb heal, boring heal, cheat heal?

  1. I agree that it’s frustrating that healers have to DPS or bench more often as the tier goes to remain challenged, but I think taking it out on other healers is a bit silly. Every single one of those spells that you mentioned for the other classes has trade-offs that you’re ignoring. No one can sit there and mindlessly spam 1 button and be a great healer. You hired those people for your raid team because they’re great players, and it takes being a good healer of the class to do a good job with those spells.

    • I don’t think anyone can sit there and spam one button and be a good healer, but if you take a good paladin or priest and put them up against a good druid (or shaman), the pally or priest is going to do better on 95% of fights. I don’t think that’s right, or fun for the people on the bottom. I really do think that CoH/LoD is a better spell than WG. RM is a better spell (with more synergy with other spells) than RJ.

  2. I don’t think Jasyla’s post is was meant to take anything away from the other healing classes. She’s just pointing out the limitations the resto druid tool set in raids. The point is that if you had a priest, paladin and druid all using their healing spells to the best of their abilities the druid would not come close to the amount of healing a priest/paladin can generate.

    For more on this check out this recap of a post written by Nagura of Method (EU): http://ow.ly/l4atO
    Credit to @Rank4HT

  3. Resto druids not performing well when there’s too much healing in the encounter isn’t a particularly new phenomenon, I don’t think. It’s certainly a bit frustrating that healer requirements tend to shift quite a bit from encounter to encounter, but I’m not sure healer balance when you bring too many healers is really a legitimate thing.

    • How many is too many?

      • I don’t get this. Obviously there is such a thing as too many healers, 8 or 23 healers might be a little over kill. But no third party can say another guild is taking too many healers. We’d need way more details about Jasyla’s guild progression than we have to determine if any changes to the healing composition should be made.
        Ohdin recently posted..The Absorption vs Throughput Complex

  4. I heal in a 10 man with a disc and a pallie. I might as well not show up to raid. It’s killing my enjoyment of the game. It isn’t so much that I want them nerfed, it is that I want to be able to work hard and have something to show for it. My disc friend does half a dps and a full person healing. He gets to skim off the top with absorbs, and then get third of the pie with direct heals. Our holy pallie is the same, but with less dps. I generally get my hps when we have wild spike damage or serious ongoing aoe and my heals actually get to heal.

    I tried to heal the platform for heroic Ji-Kun. I can put out all sorts of numbers, but as soon as we got to 8/9/10, we’d lose a tank. Put the holy pallie in my place and we don’t lose a tank. The absorbs made a difference. I can pull the same numbers or better on the platform, but I just flat out didn’t have the tools for the job.

    Who should I sit, the two guys that have the tools and the numbers, or the one that doesn’t?

    • Those absorbs are especially important for tank healing in the current heroic modes I find. In T14 I’d often assign myself to heal tanks because no one else really wanted to. But if you take a fight like Heroic Tortos (where we were using a Guardian tank), a Druid is just not going to be able to keep that tank up through Snapping Bite because of lack of absorbs.

  5. That is the thing i was talking on MMO Champ forums compare to other healers Resto druid Healing is so target oriented as single target in mean time we put reju on one person other 3 got healed by other healers for example Paladin Holy Radince heals targets Near By in some radius plus put absorb on them disc Priest just nuke boss and heal who ever have low hp and put absorb Shaman have Chain heal, healing rain, Healing Stream Totem whcih works perfectly with there mastery, monk have RM with Uplift for insta burst heal

    • I actually like having to pick targets to heal, but the other classes’ heals have evolved past that so they rarely need to (especially in 25s). There’s a definite imbalance there.

  6. I’ve never quite understood the reason behind making absorbs such a huge function of healing mechanics for any class. An absorb effect in itself is more powerful than any other healing mechanic, simply because it’s evaluated as soon as the tanks mitigation is evaluated in the process. Obviously since healing can only occur as damage occurs, it seems like it would make sense that very strong absorbs could make it very hard to balance healing classes.

    Yet absorbs, even if they were much weaker would have the benefit of smoothing out fights, especially any large spikes in damage. However, if we were to nerf absorbs too much the classes themselves would suffer as well. Most logs I look with absorb specs, the absorbs make up for about 50% of the healing done by X player.

    Not to mention a huge nerf would nearly make pally’s mastery useless, on top of that they’d have to get some boosts else where to do any decent amount of healing. Thus, if a fix were to ever come I think it would have to be done pre-expansion into the next expansion.

    I think their is a valid point to the rest of your argument as well. Druids definitely do have to put in a little more work than other classes to get the job done. The point itself I can’t logically argue, however, I have to say that for me personally, the amount of work and thought I put into my healing makes me feel better at the end of the day. To me, in general, it keeps druids that much more fun to play than other healers.
    Ohdin recently posted..The Absorption vs Throughput Complex

    • I think absorbs have made thing unbalanced in a lot of ways. In WotLK, we had Disc Priests with only Shields and DA. Pallies did a bit of absorbing, but it didn’t account for half their healing. This seemed like an okay amount of absorbs. There were instances where absorbs were more highly sought after than other heals (heroic LK) but this was the exception, not the rule.

      Now absorbs can really change the entire course of a fight – of any fight.

      I also find this to be a problem with tanks (now, I’m no tank expert so take this will a grain of salt). A Blood DK’s absorb mechanics seem to put them ahead of any other tank class when it comes to taking big hits. The amount absorbed by Blood Shield can outheal healers on some fights.

      I’d kind of like to go back to a simpler time when the tanks took damage and the healers healed them up.

  7. There must be something really strange with our raid. I’m a Resto Druid, and the other 2 healers in our 10 man are a Holy Paladin and a Disc/Holy Priest, I’m a few ilevels behind both of them (damn ToT bosses won’t drop my off hand, I’m still using the 476 fan made by Incription), and yet I’m almost always top of the meters every fight. I keep seeing posts on the various blogs about Druids falling behind Paladins and Priests, yet I don’t see it. I don’t think the Paladin and Priest are bad healers either, they have both been playing far longer than I have as a healer (I only started healing in Cata, my main since BC had been a hunter up until then). If anyone wants to take a look at our logs and maybe tell me why our raid seems different from all the others ones I’m reading about, let me know and I’ll get some numbers to look at.

    • I know exactly what you are saying. I also heal in a 10 man and I heal with normally a Disc priest, Shaman and sometimes a Holy pally. Normally I’m way ahead of both and both are great healers. Depending on the fight, if there isn’t much damage going on, the disc will barely beat me. Being top of the healing meter isn’t everything and doesn’t mean you are way better then your other healers, our poor shaman can barely get any heals in with me playing a Resto Druid and healing with a Disc Priest. I feel bad, he must get highly frustrated, but if this was a 25 man, he would probably show me up. I can see why being a Rdruid in a 25 man could be way different though, I wouldn’t want to heal with a bunch of Holy Pallies or Disc Priests either, even in LFR it sucks. Either way, I’ve tried all the healing classes and no matter what Resto Druid will always be my favorite, even if we aren’t always the most over powered healing class.

    • The gap between Druids and everyone else is smaller in 10s, but what you’re experiencing seems very strange to me.

  8. The Resto Shaman agrees. But our problem has a bit more to do with design. Blizzard made Shaman healing strong on a stacked, non-moving raid, but they forgot to make boss encounters that allows stacking. Of course this is even more noticeable in 10-man raids.

    One of two things will have to change, either we need more of the stacked boss encounters or Shaman healing needs a redesign.

    It’s totally OK that Healer1 is stronger in one situation while Healer2 is stronger in another, but when the situation where Healer2 is stronger almost never occurs then something is wrong.

    As it is now some healers just have a distinct advantage over others and it’s very discouraging for those that have to struggle to even get on par with their slacking, “over powered” friend.

    • Exactly. Some classes should be stronger in some situations. But not all of them. Druids are strong on fights with constantly ticking raid damage. But there aren’t that many of them. In the currently tier, most of the fights have spread out periods of burst raid damage, which everyone else is better equipped to deal with.

  9. Whosyourmama

    I completely understand how it’s nice to be on top….but I have to say, I have not had one healer friend ingame tell me my heals suck – we should not overlook the fact that most raids love to have our blooming flowers sprout under their feet. I think about our spec as a compliment to any raid group. I will continue to love my druid until I’m too old to remember how to play the game or the game becomes obsolete!