Tobold's Blog
Monday, March 10, 2014
Warlords of Draenor healing changes

I am still undecided whether I will resubscribe to World of Warcraft for at least a few months when the next expansion comes out. However I do like what I hear about the announced changes to healing in that expansion. Basically healing will be slowed down, making it less twitchy and less susceptible to both reaction time and lag spikes. At the same time the changes will force healers to think more about who to heal, because there will be less "artificially intelligent" healing.

I liked healing in vanilla WoW, where for some time I was in a serious raiding guild. To me it seems as if the changes move healing back towards the intelligent healing of vanilla WoW, instead of the twitchy healing of the later editions. The smaller raid sizes today prevent us from getting mechanics like healer rotations back (where a healer deliberately didn't cast spells for some time to regain mana). But as long as your decision who to heal matters more than your ability to press a button within milliseconds, I am happy.

We should set up a betting pool for how long it will take before Blizz goes back to the current healing paradigm.
Don't believe it. "slowed down" is another phrase for the triage model with larger health pools in relation to damage taken and mana efficiency being key.

We have been promised that in the last few expansions and both times all we got was the same massive incoming damage but with some classes mana starved and others with plenty.

Casual players in particular suffered as they took a lot longer to acquire gear with confortable regen.

Believe it when I see it.
Triage healing all the way. I miss the "limit healing" we used to call it in vanilla - where you simply couldn't heal everything and had to make important choices all the time. more fun for team dynamics too.
I like triage yet am very sad for these changes. I.e., I think even with these changes healing will be far more "twitch" than in TBC because movement is so much of the fight. If "learning the dance" is far larger determinant of success than playing your class then reducing the healing button twitch does not help much if you are having to spam strafe and running to raidmarker#7. I would love to be stationary and looking at health bars and making lots of interesting decisions on who to heal. But the WoW devs are too cool to allow such boring (to them/fun for me) fights anymore. So if I am twitching across a room, I want smart and instant heals and regret their demise.

IMO, Blizzard has a history of overreacting back and forth so initial indications are that this will be Cata 2.0. Far too early to predict but my plain guess is that the mythic raiders will really like a lot of this and it will be very popular with forum posters, just not paying customers.
Thanks for the link Tobold!

I think the big caveat here is did Blizz learn their lesson with Cata? And what lesson was that?

I've stated it before, and in my blog post, but I'll state it here, too. As long as Blizzard keeps a lower floor on difficulty rather than only giving people ultra-hard content like they did in Cata, then it shouldn't matter to the grand majority of the playerbase what the new model looks like: they should be able to play just fine.

The changes really should only massively affect folks in normal raiding and above (or the new difficult heroic 5-mans).

Again, assuming Blizzard learned their lesson. And given some of the information and tweets we've seen from Watcher and Celestion, I think that's definitely at the forefront of their minds.
This sounds like a positive move for healing mechanics. Anything that any developers can do to make the job of the healer more interesting/fun I'm in favor of.

At least as far as I'm in favor of dedicated healers. Personally I think we need to grow beyond that old trope.

I main healed with a Cleric in EverQuest, and when WoW came out I immediately rolled a healing Druid, "because I'm a Healer-Main."

One of the things that made me really unhappy returning to the dedicated-healer role that I enjoyed and was very good at, was that I had just spent a solid year playing City of Heroes. CoH's Support-Role Archetype, the Defender, actually wasn't "just a healer." While there was one power-set which was just that, heals and buffs, the other 8 focused on buffing your allies mitigation or de-buffing your enemies attacks; to the point where a dedicated healer became unnecessary. This proactive style of Support was a great deal more fun than the standard reactive style you get from being a healer.

I honestly believe that we need to drop the dedicated healer all together and bring back crowd control, and meaningful short-duration buffs. Make playing Support fun and active, with more interesting and/or tactical decisions to be made.
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