Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Necessary but unloved
Rohan from Blessing of Kings has a great post on the problem of WoW healers:
"However, my problem is that it doesn't look like that many people want to heal. In my experience, healers are almost always the bottleneck in recruiting, and they burn out the fastest. Then the top tier guilds recruit healers from the lower tier guilds, and that means the lower tier guilds have even harder time picking up new healers. ... The basic fact is that the number of healers Blizzard wants to balance around simply does not match the number of players willing to heal. That contributes to the instability of raiding, and makes it harder for people to actually raid."Very good observation. Your best chance in World of Warcraft to get invited into a top raiding guild is to make a holy spec priest. Been there, done that. Fortunately I belong to the minority of players who actually like raid healing. I once went to Karazhan with my frost mage, and was bored to death by the experience. Raid healing is a LOT more exciting than spamming damage spells. But I agree it is also stressful, and your most likely to get blamed for other people's mistake if you play a healer. Certainly not for everyone.
So how can we fix this? Rohan sensibly suggests tuning raid content for a lower number of healers. Only problem is making sure that it doesn't get too easy if raids bring more healers anyway. If really nobody wants to play the healer, maybe the raid group can get some NPC mercenary healers: SOE just announced the 15th (!!! Take that, Blizzard !!!) expansion for Everquest, and it'll have AI-controlled NPC mercenaries. I just doubt they'll heal well enough to raid with.
The other possibility is making healers more popular. Mythic has announced that healers in WAR will be more than just healbots. (More on that after the NDA drops.) The idea here is that if healers are better in PvE soloing and in PvP, more people will want to play one. And even Blizzard improved healers some time ago by making one third of their healing bonus count as spell damage bonus. Wrath of the Lich King even completely removes the distinction between spell damage bonus and healing bonus, and rolls both of them into one single stat, which hopefull will increase the damage output of holy priests even more. The downside of this is that now priests will have to fight mages and warlocks for the same cloth gear, while the other healing classes still are the only takers of leather, mail, and plate armor with spell bonuses. I hope Blizzard did consider that with their loot tables, because otherwise there will be some nasty guild drama everywhere, and ultimately even less holy priests.