Recently, Ghostcrawler provided the player base with some insight to why some healing mechanics were changed in Cataclysm. Sort of going over comments, I already see that there are many interesting reactions to what Ghostcrawler has said. I, for one, actually enjoy the change to healing: it requires all roles and their aspects to play smarter than what is normally expected in WotLK!

The average healer in Wrath of the Lich King will need to perform stronger and pick the right spells in upcoming content. A healer cannot be expected to maintain the health of players who ignore facets of a fight because mana is simply consumed too fast in comparison to damage being taken from things that just should not be healed through. The fast heal and the big heal are extremely expensive at level 85— even with your mana pool, you can’t be expected to spam Flash Heal (for priests) now and get away with it. Even spamming a Power Word: Shield ends up becoming excessive in the 5-man situation. The right heal for the right situation will always win versus thoughtless performance!

In the instances I’ve run on beta, the worst part of healing is when PUG’d DPS ends up getting sacrificed because of tanking. The issue is usually either the tank or the DPS, and neither party likes to take responsibility. Tanks need to be vigilant on their usage of cooldowns, and DPS must adhere to fight mechanics to prevent unnecessary damage! If you’re like me, you probably get frustrated from the lack of respect healing gets from people who really don’t know how it works; these people will become your worst nightmare, for sure.

There are some common threads throughout the player responses that, I think, aren’t valid to all healers. Here are some of my favorites:

  • “We’re going back to Vanilla WoW and healers will just stare at bars and not experience the fight.”

Honestly, if you have to stare at your bars the entire fight, then it’s because people aren’t doing their job as DPS or tank. If a tank or DPSer is taking extra damage beyond the constant factors, then it’s their fault. Awful to say that the blame game will be easier in Cataclysm if you are a smart person, but it’s true.

I think another issue with this point is that it doesn’t factor in how the raid is handled: if you have a healing leader, or at least good communication, responsibilities should be delegated and it should prevent poor healing coverage… hopefully.

  • “People won’t change how they play and it will make healers jobs even harder.”

Unfortunately, people who do not change how they play (such as pulling without regard to healer mana, DPS who do not wait for threat, stuff of that nature) will get creamed. Tanks are there for a reason: they soak damage so you don’t have to! I know for a fact that if someone pulls that shit in any of my groups or raids, they should expect to pay repair bills because I don’t have the time or patience for someone who not play with skill. It’s not hard to play with skill; it is learnable throughout the leveling and instancing process. tl;dr— make smart friends, don’t be a bitch.

  • “Priests never have the ability to multi-task! Druids have widespread HoTs, Shaman have Chain Heal, Paladin have Beacon of Light… and we’re stuck using our GCDs.”

Prayer of Mending. Lightwell. Circle of Healing. I would say that if you’re more worried about using cooldowns, especially in a raid, then someone isn’t doing their job (and it could possibly be you). No healer should expect to carry a raid; this is a poor situation for any smart person who just wants to have fun and contribute. I would like to add that most situations where this may be a factor is probably going to be a poor raiding environment. Also, it’s great to know who you’re healing with and what they can do— as a heal lead, I knew that my favorite partner as a Discipline priest was a Restoration shaman because not only was he good, but he knows what my role is and how I fit into the group. Smart people always trump dumb people, and especially PUG’d people who quote a GS and expect epic wins.

  • “You’re making the healer the point of failure in groups!”

Not really. The point of failure comes from many sources: inability to DPS consistently or efficiently, inability to pay attention to fight mechanics, inability to spec/anything that has to do with gear properly, ignoring ANY cooldown (survival, especially)… there are so many points of failure. And rarely is it the case that only one thing is a factor. One major failure point can be DPS that is just bare minimum of what a fight expects in conjunction with healers running out of mana saving any player from themselves and tanks not responding to abilities with taunts or movement quickly enough.

I also want to add that healing needs to be a challenge. I, personally, hate sloppy kills of bosses. A kill may just be a kill, but it is not an equal representation of the skill of the players— especially when it’s something easily fixed by any role and not just a healer one! Furthermore, healers have been getting trivialized through the assumption that everyone must always be topped off. This is a developer issue in that there needed to be so much damage— whether being dealt to a tank in the form of a 99%-to-dead-one-shot or a lot of AoE damage.

But what do you think? Do you like the changes? Do you dislike the changes?