Last weekend, I was leveling my Druid (AKA pretending at being a boomkin BADLY) with my friend Finalflame’s Priest. We managed to get both to Level 90, and then we began piecing together the best iLevel gear we could find for his Priest. We fairly easily got her to LFR, and I accompanied him with my Paladin, Lazheward. (Yes, yes, the gender-reversal did not escape either of us. lol)
I quickly remembered how much I enjoy healing on my Pally!
Granted, his gear is a tad high for Mogu’Shan Vaults LFR (about 501), but there were fights where he pushed nearly 40% of the overall heals, similar to my Monk’s recent LFR adventures. Even with his gear, this surprised me.
Final was doing incredible as Holy for his entry-level gear, but OOM’ing himself regularly.
As the day and the LFR’s progressed, we chatted about what I was doing, what he was doing, what could be improved.
Many a time, Final bemoaned the fact that there was nothing to heal. (Sorry!) This, while I continually cast spells, and rarely stopped even when I had to move out of bad on the floor.
That was when it hit me…
On my Monk, I never stop casting unless I have to. I am maintaining Renewing Mist. I am Uplifting. I am filling in with Soothing Mist to keep my Chi flowing. I am using Thunder Focus Tea on cooldown to lengthen my Renewing Mist ticks. I am using Mana Tea on cooldown, along with my Soothing Talisman of the Shado-Pan Assault, to manage my mana.
But my Monk is a constant flow of casting/spending: mana -> Chi -> Mana Tea -> mana -> etc.
I then thought back onto some of the frustrations of doing LFR with my Shaman recently. During T14, when I was still raiding on my Shaman, I excelled with single-target healing. I rarely touched my Healing Rain or my Chain Heal. This had carried over with me from all of Cataclysm – I enjoy the triage healing that was introduced there. But I realized in recent LFRs, that that is not performing as well as we move further through T15. I bemoaned this fact to our guild’s now-sole Resto Shaman, Walterpayton, and he agreed with me, but admitted that Unleash Elements -> Healing Rain -> Chain Heal -> Chain Heal -> Chain Heal was his new mantra for Shaman healing. I tried this, and quickly realized that the 8k Spirit I was carrying over from T14 was NOT cutting it in the transition from single-target to AoE.
It was a harsh reality, but one I am trying to adjust to. Because, honestly, the game is not going to change around me – I need to evolve with the game. I realize and accept this.
For my Monk, there was no adjustment, she is a completely new character to me. I have no habits to carry over from Cataclysm.
But I healed in Wrath, and I remember the style of healing from then. So let me try and impart some of that mentality onto those who may have also happily pushed it aside for triage, or did not raid before Cataclysm:
- Blanket your heals (AoE, AoE, AoE and manage those HoTs)
- ABC – Always Be Casting
- Anticipate hits/Pre-heal
- Snipe those heals!
Admittedly, I didn’t miss heal-sniping, but it has become clear to me over the course of T15 and playing my Monk, that it is once more the way of things. Uplift and Revival are my lifeblood. A well-timed cast of either is the only thing currently keeping me competitive as a 25man raid healer.
Maybe 10man healing is different, but I can only speak to 25man. I do not heal in 10mans near enough to comment there.
In our 25man, it is a regular occurrence for the Druid/Monk/Shaman healers to be topping the meters, and our Priest/Paladin healers to be further down. I have finally started to figure out why – HoTs and AoEs. Priests and Paladins tend to thrive in the triage situations with more powerful single-target healing and bubbles.
So let me try and give some more specific pointers for the tactics mentioned above:
- Druids: Keep HoTs rolling – use these to your fullest advantage with other spells
- Monks: Keep Renewing Mist rolling on as many targets as possible – Uplift often and fill-in with Soothing Mist to keep your Chi up
- Paladins: Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn as often as possible – weave in single-target heals as needed
- Disc Priests: Always be casting Smite/Penance – Spirit Shell/Prayer of healing on all parties as you can and Cascade/Halo on cooldown
- Holy Priests: Prayer of Mending, Circle of Healing, Holy Word: Sanctuary and Cascade/Halo on cooldown – weave single-target heals as needed
- Shaman: Healing Rain on cooldown – Chain Heal and Healing Stream Totem while HR is down
Note: Smart Heals are your friend. They will target and respond quicker than you can. (Except in the annoying instance they instead heal a pet. heh)
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a firm believer that keeping the raid (especially the tanks) alive is the primary goal of the healers in any raid encounter. But as we progress through T15, especially through Heroics, I am seeing more and more need for large amounts of raid-wide healing. This lends credence to the idea of focusing on AoE heals, constant casting, and smart heals.
I also realize that this means we probably all need more Spirit than we originally think we do. But with gear increasing dramatically, especially with another tier coming soon, this is less of an issue than I originally thought with my Monk. She hit 10k fairly easily, and has been increasing in small increments beyond that since. I consider myself to be good at managing my mana and continual casting is no issue, but I find that Spirit buffer to be good for clutch/oh-shit healing AKA Surging Mist. (It is also really nice for fistweaving, but that is beside the point. heh)
Just remember, and I personally find this the bitterest pill to swallow: blanketing heals and constantly casting will equal a large amount of overheals. There is really no way around this, and it is just the name of the healing game as it currently sits.
These are my thoughts, discovered through trial and error and play on my various healers, and I hope they prove to be some useful pointers to others.
AND I have happy news to add to this State of the Raider post: a new Heroic kill!