Thoughts On Cataclysm’s Healing Model

So, I have been a bit of an alt addict lately.  In addition to Fire, I now have 2 other 80’s.

The first, as you all know, is the DK Tank.

But the second is a Priest.

WAAAAY back in the time of BC (and keep in mind I dinged 70 not too far before BC was going to end – I think I had like 8 or 10 weeks with the Ilse of QD dailies before Wrath was released), my guild was struggling with its identity – are we raiding, leveling, pvp?  Well, some of us newbies (we all start somewhere, right?) decided to take on the lvl 70 dungeons.

We did alright, for the most part, in every one of them except shadow labrynth.  Boy, that was not a walk in the park back in the day.

Well, after getting stuck on the voidwalker boss for the umpteenth time, we decided to retry.  And we picked up a priest healer, who was in the full avatar regalia (which is my favorite, btw), and we tried again.  We wiped once, but after the priest got the feel of the group, we finally downed the boss.  We all cheered and jumped, and issued profanities at the dead boss.

And you all may be laughing at me right now.  But keep in mind, everyone has to start somewhere, right?  For us, it was that boss.  It gave us that itch, and it spread through our guild like a wildfire.

In any event, it made such an impact on me, that I created a priest and started leveling him as holy (OMFG, right?).  Well, I got him to his 30 somethings before Lich King came out and shelved him for a bit.  But slowly every slowly I had been leveling him up, picking up dual spec so I could kill things without taking like 30 minutes per mob (I actually made it to lvl 55 as holy, before I hit WPL and literally could NOT kill anything anymore.  Went shadow and never regretted it).  Well, this past week he dinged 80.  I didnt do it solely through questing either, I did my fair share of healing level up dungeons.

First and foremost, priest healing is a much different beast than pally healing.  DUH, I know that.  So many more tools in my box, that I was literally overwhelmed at first.  And everytime I failed I can pretty much boil it down to not using the tools, and trying to spam heal.

In any event, when I dinged 80 I had my fair share of dungeon blues and crafted (or bought) epics.  I was, what I consider, Heroic ready.  So I jumped into heroics.

HOLY hell.

I have to say that healing heroics are a different beast entirely than healing the level up dungeons.  The level up dungeons being that the overall damage is toned down a TON.

But I managed, and I got the hang of it, and I picked up two upgrades – the tier chest, and a crafted set of bracers.  And you know what?  Still in some greens, mostly blues, and 4 purples, I was thrown in to H FoS.

I panicked.  No way in the world I was going to be able to heal this, right?

WRONG.

It was difficult, no doubt.  I used a SP elixer, regen food, got the pally to buff me with Wiz (for whatever reason he thought it better to give me kings – go figure).  And I told the group my issue (being freshly dinged), but they were all for trying.  So we headed out and pulled the first waves.

And I practiced triage.

Again, it was difficult.  I ended up losing 3 people the whole run (to be fair, one was a rogue who tried to stand through the wailing beam on the last boss, cant really do anything about that).  We had to make directed pulls (didn’t have to CC, but we did silence a caster or two).  I had to drink after EVERY pull.  Everyone was overgeared to the point of having very large health pools, and the incoming damage was big, but not un-manageable.  And comparatively speaking, my heals were a bit on the weak side compared to the health pools.  And, when the pulls were over, often no one was at full health.

But in the end it was FUN.  And not just for me.  The party was laughing and chatting, and after some really big pulls, they were like “WOW, I thought you were going to lose me for a few seconds there, but I popped (insert something here) and we managed, didnt we?”  It was interactive on a GROUPWIDE level.  They had to be conscious that I couldn’t always get the big heals out on the tank and 2 dps at the same time, and if they were dumb, they would likely die.  At the same time, they knew that they could pop Icebound Fort or A pot or a healthstone or one of the billion other cooldowns long forgotten in Lich King dungeoneering, and survive just a bit longer before I got a heal over to them.

If this is what cataclysm healing is going to be like, then I can not wait for it.

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