A Change of Pace

As you may have already noticed, things are looking a bit different around here. I took some time yesterday to overhaul a few pictures including my banner to reflect a recent change that has taken place: I changed my main raider to my Druid.

Before we start assuming things, let me make one thing clear: I still love my Priest. Ever since BC, the Priest class has been my favorite class in WoW. I enjoyed spamming Flash Heal, Power Word: Shield, and Renew in Wrath. Even now in Cataclysm, I enjoy the Priest’s way of healing over any other healer.

So why did I switch to playing a Druid?

1. Priest Overload

My guild has been expanding our roster over the past few weeks. Originally, there were only 2 Priests on our roster: An officer who played as Holy and myself who chose to go Discipline. At the time we were an extremely Druid-heavy healing team (I blame Lissanna). Over a period of about 6 weeks we had a few healers leave the guild, so we recruited a few more to fill our roster for some upcoming vacations that some of our raiders would be taking. We recruited 3 Priests. Not 1 or 2. 3 Priests. That very next raid, 5 out of the 7-8 healers were Priests.

This is to give you an idea of our healing roster:

x2 Holy Paladins

x1-2 Restoration Druids (One of our Druids has been going Balance due to being short on DPS)

x1 Restoration Shaman

x1 Discipline Priest

x3-4 Holy Priests (One of our Priests has been going Shadow due to being short on DPS)

Now, I’ve been playing a Priest since BC. I know the strengths and weaknesses of our class and for each spec. Priests tend to excel at healing when people are grouped up or are within the 30 yard limit for Prayer of Healing. This is because most of raid healing Priest’s throughput is based on Prayer of Healing and because PoH is a group heal it’s absolutely essential to be near each other to get maximum effectiveness. It’s the strongest group/raid healing spell in the game, even surpassing Chain Heal. But because it’s limited to groups, it can also be one of the weakest. Overall, I think it’s safe to assume that Priests are balanced around Prayer of Healing.

Too much of one thing can be bad for your healing team. I realized this after the first week of raiding with 5 Priests (some of our DPS were on vacation). Many of the boss fights in Firelands have players spread out, while others have them somewhat lumped together. Where we do quite well on bosses like Shannox due to everyone being extremely close, we really suffered on bosses like Rhyolith where everyone is running around and can be over 30 yards from each other. It was brutal. Priests just aren’t as effective on those fights and it really shows on WoL. Meanwhile Druids and Paladins do exceptionally well. Why? Because Druids and Paladins aren’t balanced around a group heal and can be just as effective outside the 30 yard line as they are within it.

2. A Worthwhile Cooldown

Being extremely Holy Priest heavy, we lacked effective cooldowns. It’s true. I’m one who has been an advocate of giving Holy an effective CD to make them more worthwhile for raids. Could you imagine being in a raid with 4 Holy Priests in a time where CDs are quite necessary to survive boss mechanics? In it’s current iteration, Divine Hymn just doesn’t cut it. It’s on an unbearably long 8 minute CD and heals for significantly less than it’s cousin Tranquility. In fact, a Balance/Feral Druid’s version of Tranquility is stronger than a Holy Priest’s Divine Hymn. Holy doesn’t really have any type of effective CDs that can help stabilize the raid. And apparently Blizzard is OK with that.

Well, I’m not OK with it. If our guild has any chance of progressing we need these CDs to do so. I find it interesting that Blizzard developed fights that specifically call for CDs at certain points, yet they are absolutely OK with the supposed “most versatile” healing class/specialization to not contribute to a CD rotation. Surprisingly, Holy Priests have the strongest tank cooldown in the game, but because Holy doesn’t “excel” at tank healing like other classes/specs the CD tends to not get used as much as it should. It’s also bad enough Holy Priests are balanced around group healing spells, but now they lack a raid CD as well. To be honest, I’m absolutely surprised that people have clinged to the spec for this long. I certainly don’t fault them for it. Holy is a fun spec to play. But there are just too many things that need to be fixed ranging from Intellect and throughput scaling to the lack of a major CD before I consider playing it again.

What I’d like to see get fixed before I consider jumping onto the Holy boat again:

1. Better Intellect scaling

2. Regen less dependent on Spirit

3. A worthwhile CD

I can live with the group healing deficiency because Prayer of Healing is what defines us as a class and I don’t want us to be “perfect” because every healing class has it’s strengths and weaknesses. But in a gaming world where CDs can “make or break” an encounter, it really is important that Holy Priests can contribute just as much as our healing teammates.

Lets get something clear. I don’t want Holy to have a Tranquility clone. I recently had an idea about a good CD for Holy that makes it diverse for both tank healing and raid healing. Blizzard should completely scrap Divine Hymn. Instead, have Chakra affect Guardian Spirit. While in Chakra: Serenity, Guardian Spirit works in it’s current iteration. When in Chakra: Sanctuary, Guardian Spirit becomes a raid-wide ability. Have it prevent deaths to the 10 lowest hp raid members and increase their healing received by 20%. The Guardian Spirits would constantly switch from different raid members depending on who has the lowest health pools for it’s duration. This gives Holy a unique raid-wide CD that can prevent deaths. It’s not a Tranquility clone. It’s not a damage prevention ability like Power Word: Barrier. It’s not a combination of both a la Spirit Link Totem. It’s Holy’s own unique CD.

So overall, I guess you can kinda say I’m “boycotting” the Holy Priest spec. Until Blizzard gets their act together, I’m not going to spec it and I won’t play it in raids. One of our Holy Priests has decided to go Discipline, so I decided to move over to my Druid for some extra healing throughput for our raids and I’m loving it. And no, it’s not because of Tranquility. Harmony has completely fixed what I hated about Druids at the beginning of Cataclysm.

*Disclaimer* To all the Holy Priests out there. Keep in mind I’m doing this because I think it’s best for me and my personal playstyle. What I do for me doesn’t mean it’s the best decision for you. If you enjoy Holy, then play it. I’m an advocate for playing a spec that you enjoy. Everyone has different standards. Currently, Holy just doesn’t match the standards I want for my personal healer.

Side Note: To hear some different opinions on the whole “bring the CD not the player” debate, check out what Oestrus and Tomaj have to say on the topic. I think they both bring up some valuable points.


16 thoughts on “A Change of Pace

  1. First off, thanks for the linkage. 😉

    Anyway, an actual reply to this.

    I do think your idea of a raid cooldown via Guardian Spirit working in terms of Chakra states actually sounds pretty cool. Though, I wonder what they’d do for Chakra: Chastise? Perhaps even Bloodlust of some form? Probably not viable. Still, I’m not sure that I’d want GS to be changed in Chakra states. That, and due to the nature of smart heals and the way GS already works, hooray for wasted cooldowns. Beyond that, even despite being in Chakra: Sanctuary many times in our 10-man environments, I’d use GS as a +healing cooldown for the tank, rather than the “OMGPLEASEDONTDIE” part, which would make it extremely iffy to use in any environment in a Sanctuary Chakra state. Now, if it were a separate button altogether, then we could talk. Though, it’d likely be OP for PvP, and then we play the nerf/buff game endlessly.

    As for me, I’m not boycotting Holy, nor Shadow for that matter. As I mentioned, I have an extremely difficult time playing Discipline for a variety of reasons, so I simply don’t play it. My WoW break actually stems more from an overall healing aspect than just holy priests (though that is a big part of it). Emphasizing using efficient heals, then phasing them out, and returning to Wrath-esque healing… that’s not my cup of tea. The refusal to better balance Resto Shaman and Holy Priests such that they are not as dependent on spirit vs. Disc/Druid/HPal. Blatant failure to acknowledge balancing issues around Test of Faith and Deep Healing that prevent Holy Priests and Resto Shaman from performing as well as the other healing counterparts. Etc., etc. The cooldown arms race, of course, comes into play. A raidwall isn’t necessary, per se, in 25-man, but it’s almost necessary in 10-man. And that hurts Holy Priests more than any other healer. (And, of course, Holy Paladins do need some help with this – Aura Mastery ain’t all that and a bag of chips.)

    Still, if anything, no matter how much flak you might get for it, and I can’t emphasize this enough, leave your feedback on the official forums. It’s one more voice they can add to their probably very long string of feedback regarding this stuff. You won’t necessarily even need to go back to the thread, but if you don’t post there, then they won’t know how you feel.

    • I absolutely can’t stand the WoW official forums. When you actually post feedback on a class or ability that should be tweaked, there is always some jackass that says “UMADBRO??” It’s a shame that you can’t even post decent feedback without being criticized for your own character, gear level, or boss kills. “You’re only 4/7 GTFO.” It would be so much easier if Blizz just read all of the Priest community’s blogs!

      As for the raid wall, T12 has pretty much proven that you need healing CDs to survive. I actually wasn’t as passionate about Holy receiving a viable raid CD until Shamans received SLT. When that happened it just seemed like Blizz was homogenizing all the healing classes and specs to have some type of 2-3 min raid wall, except they forgot to give Holy one too. Now all of the sudden Holy Priests became the weakest raid healer to bring to raids, even below Shamans.

      All in all, if Blizz is going to homogenize the healing classes they need to make sure ALL of them offer something to bring to raids. Even with Holy’s massive toolbox, none of the abilities even compare to Tranquility, Barrier, or SLT. I’d happily give up Lightwell and Divine Hymn just to have a worthwhile CD to contribute to raids.

      • I like to troll there occasionally, but that’s just me. ;P Like I said, though, ignore everyone else that’s naysaying. Just post your feedback and be done with it; whether you respond afterward has no bearing on whether Blizz actually reads it or not. Not posting at all, however, does.

        On the note of raidwaills, I can definitely understand. My personal feelings about it don’t stem from shaman getting SLT (they certainly needed it), but more from people are all “Go Disc or GTFO” for the most part, because of the way fights are designed. PW:B is just that good in most circumstances. I think their idea is that Lightwell IS our “raidwall” but it has numerous drawbacks. For one, there’s needing to glyph it in 25-man, and even then, it only works for 15 people. For two, it can’t be repositioned. And finally, if someone takes more than 30% of their health in one go (read, most boss AoE), Lightwell Renew falls off. Players having to click on it has long become a non-issue, though. Divine Hymn can DIAF. It was great in Wrath as a raid saver, but now it’s just crap.

  2. Sad to say Luner but we are down to two priest again & have a plethora of Druids again. Is it Lissanna’s doing? I switched back to Disc so you can’t have your spot back 🙂

    • So you decided to go Disc again? I knew it would only be a matter of time before your bubbles called back to you! I did take notice of the change to our healing roster and as I said to Ranico, it’s probably for the best. It gives us a much more diverse healing team. I could also argue that stacking Druids is probably easier than stacking Priests based on the pure design of both classes. All in all, I’m quite happy with our healing makeup now. Hopefully with these changes we can perform better on fights where we tend to be more spread out.

      • Yeah, it was pretty obvious running with 3 druids & a shammy that my style of Holy raid healing was a waste of time & effort. With all those hots running the only thing I was really good for was PoH & I can do that in Disc form. Since the priest we have left is Holy/Shadow and now that our mana regen is pretty good again I am looking forward to having having my bubbles back. For now I’ll be leaving my horde priest Holy for raids, but I wouldn’t mind switching her over as well eventually.

      • Having a lot of Druids on your healing team can really affect your playstyle. Echo of Light ends up doing a ton of overhealing in this case, which is why I would choose to stack Haste instead of Mastery in that case.

        Discipline has a strong synergy with Druids and Shamans. The fact that they prevent damage rather than healing it lets Druid and Shaman HoTs tick for their full value greatly reducing overhealing. It’s why I really enjoyed healing with Lissanna as Disc on the Nefarian platforms.

        I don’t think it was completely detrimental. Holy Priests are great burst healers, probably the best in the game. But right now there’s just too many things that need to be fixed for me to consider playing one again.

  3. I have to say that I don’t care for the raid wide GS suggestion that you made. It sounds too much like everything else that is already out there, specifically Spirit Link Totem. That’s how we got into this mess, in the first place.

    I still stand behind my original thought that the game has taken this need for cooldowns to a disturbing new level and that people have become convinced that they need one. Rather than either tell players “no” or create something that’s unique to their niche or play style, Blizzard just hands you a cooldown that’s a watered down version of something else to please people and moves on. It takes that little of something to make the player base happy now and that’s disturbing.

    I miss the days when healers actually, ya know, healed. I think holy priests are strong. I think resto druids are strong. I think resto shaman are amazing. We didn’t need all of these fancy cooldowns until someone else told us that we did. We were fine before and we could still be fine. I think once people get rid of the crutches (i.e. the cooldowns) or the fights are created where the cooldowns won’t literally make or break the fight we will see that these classes have been strong all along and we don’t need these things to make us relevant anymore.

    • You pretty much hit the nail on the head O. The main problem with requiring healers to have CDs are the BOSS FIGHTS that require them. Practically every boss in T12 has some type of “burn, Burn, BURN!” phase where there is a constant stacking damage debuff to the raid. Bethtilac when she is permanently on the ground, Rhyolith P2, possibly Shannox after both dogs die, Alysrazor when she’s grounded, Domo during Scorpion (I believe,) etc. If these phases didn’t exist, there would be no need to have a raid wall except to prevent a wipe. It wouldn’t be necessary to have these CDs if the boss fights didn’t require them.

      I’m perfectly OK with that type of healing. If Blizz wants to make CDs necessary to kill bosses and thinks it’s more challenging for healers, FANTASTIC. But if they are going to shove that type of game-play down our throats then they need to give every healer a tool to combat these challenges. Right now 4 out of the 5 healing specs have some type of ability to counter these situations. Holy has been left in the dust.

      The raid-wide GS was an idea I liked because I feel GS defines the Holy tree. I feel it’s unique in the sense that it can literally prevent deaths rather than being another throughput CD or a damage prevention ability. I’d much rather see GS turned into a raid CD rather than a buff to Divine Hymn which many Priests have been asking for. There’s nothing unique about Divine Hymn. It’s just a half-assed Tranquility combined with a Glyph of Power Word: Barrier. I don’t want “sloppy seconds.” That’s how I would feel if Blizz just buffed Divine Hymn. As Tomaj said earlier, Divine Hymn can go DIAF.

    • I don’t think the problem is that healers have raidwalls – never have, really. It’s that the encounters dictate their necessity. In the effort to get people to use their whole toolbox, Blizzard has gone overboard in forcing cooldowns to be necessary via encounter mechanics. That’s really the heart of the issue more than anything.

      On the one hand, I wouldn’t mind having a unique raidwall. On the other, priests (both holy and discipline) have loads and loads of buttons, and really don’t need another one – especially holy. At this stage of the game, though, it’s practically a necessity to have a raidwall. Moreso, it becomes problematic because of the endless nerf/buff game that is always played due to having to balance around PvP, too, and Blizzard’s refusal to change spells so that they interact differently in PvP than PvE.

      • T11 wasn’t actually too bad when it came to needing raid walls. Only a few fights such as Nefarian, Chogall, and possibly Chimeron come to mind. But it seems that for T12, practically every fight has some type of mechanic that needs a CD to survive. It is because of these mechanics that Holy needs one, especially for 10’s who don’t have access to 3 Tranquility’s.

        It just really bothers me that Blizzard has the “everything’s OK” mentality about it. It’s not OK. “We feel Holy Priests bring many tools to raids and contribute just as much as any other healer.” Yes it’s true, Holy has a ton of tools, but the question is, are any of them TRULY effective? Lightwell- Raiders have to proactively click it, it has a damage limit, raiders can also click it by accident wasting charges. Guardian Spirit- Hands down best tank CD in the game for healers, but ends up not getting used nearly enough due to always being put in raids as a raid healer (although the use in 10’s is probably a lot higher.) Sanctuary- LoL. Divine Hymn- 8 min CD, heals less than a feral Druid’s Tranquility. I would trade ALL OF THESE CDs for just one that’s EFFECTIVE.

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  6. Personally, I am a druid (Stormkurt :US-Blood Furnace) and i love the fact that I am the deciding factor in wiping or suceeding. TBH, for most fights in FL you do not need cd’s per say, but a better way of using them. P2 on ryolith… If you are holy, kill your self and use your huge healing CD to spam heals with no mana cost. If you are in a 25m environment and can spare a Brez do the same, as long as the guild is willing to pay for repairs of course :-). T12 IMO is not about the CD’s as much as knowing your classes. Yes, they have changed, and yes your arguements about requiring Cd’s is perfectly valid, but these types of fights create healing teams. Holy priests can heal amazingly next to a Hpal and druid. each healer uses their cd after the other causing timing – trust relationships between healers. I love knowing that if i am not perfect on my game that my teamates will be there to make up for it.

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