Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Being a healer

Not that I'm all that likely to produce many, but sometimes it is the shortest blog posts that make you think most. Rohan from Blessing of Kings posted a short update, saying "So I'm guildless, and have been trying to PuG as Retribution. I've done a couple of heroics, but it's quite hard to get groups as DPS. There's a significant healer shortage. It's driving me closer and closer to Holy. I don't really want to, but going Holy just makes so much sense." Now this is interesting because it reveals a completely different attitude to being a healer than I have.

Me, I like being a healer. I even leveled my undead priest with a holy / discipline build to 80, just so I could heal the occasional group while leveling, and only ever played shadow in betas or on my alliance priest. I very much enjoy healing in PvE, both in small groups and in raids. Don't get me wrong, I'm fully aware and enjoy the advantages of the healer shortage, being able to get a group or raid slot easier than most other classes. But I'm not playing that class and build just to get invited. I'm just being lucky that my personal preference happens to coincide with what everyone else wants me to be.

But I do understand the "I don't really want to, but going Holy just makes so much sense." problem, because just like Rohan I prefer cooperative group play to solo play. Retribution paladin is great for solo and PvP, but for groups players are divided into three classes: tank, healer, random; and a retribution paladin or shadow priest would find himself in the least favorable random class. Yes, a group only needs 20% of tanks, and 20% to 30% of healers, which makes it appear as if random dps classes with 50% to 60% would be most in demand. But on the supply side there are far more than 60% of players that play dps classes or dps builds, so in most cases groups find the dps easily and then have problems getting a tank or healer. Since WotLK the tank shortage has receded a bit, due to some death knights tanking, but that only increases the healer shortage. So for people who prefer the dps build, but have a healing build available for their class, there is a difficult decision to make: dps and solo mostly, or heal and group much more.

And Rohan says he is unguilded. Getting into a guild is a *lot* easier if you are willing to heal. Even me, casual as I am, once got picked up by a serious raiding guild at level 60, and got up to the end of BWL with them, just because of the healer shortage. I have no doubt that Rohan, who knows the paladin class better than most, would make an excellent healer, and would have no problem at all to get into the guild of his choice, if only he wanted to heal. On the other hand, he doesn't appear to really want to heal, so in the end he is screwed either way: Play a way he doesn't like in groups / raids he likes, or play the way he likes in hated solo. If your personal preference of how to play isn't all that compatible with your personal preference of what to play, you have a problem.

So as I mentioned in the previous post, I think that Blizzard will add a healer hero class in the next expansion. And before that they plan to add dual spec, allowing healers to have both a healing and a dps spec. But will that help if people simply don't want to heal? Or are just plain bad at it? I'm not underestimating the skills of non-healers in a raid or heroic group, but I can assure you that the skills a healer needs to have a *very* different. You can't just say "today I heal" and expect to be very good at it without much practice. The best thing this can possibly achieve is some more people realizing that healing isn't quite as easy as everybody else seems to think.
Not only that, but as a healer in pugs, you can be sure you are going to get a lot of flak when the inevitable wipes happen.
"WTF??? Healer sucks" is one comment I got this week after we wiped on the 2nd boss of Azjol Nerub. The fact that I got zerged by spider adds that should have been dealt with by other people in the group was of no import; the grouped wiped and so I was responsible.
Healers need a skin every bit as thick as a tank's.
The healer problem is caused by, I think, the way loot is handled. I'm pretty sure more people would be will to level up healers if no drop loot was transferable between characters on the same account.

A group needs a healer? Fine I'll play my healer alt. But I should be able to take some of that loot no one else wants and pass it off to my main. Mail DPS armor drops that's appropriate for my Hunter, and no one wants it? I should be able to take it for my Hunter, and be able to pass it to him through the mail system.

That would be my reward for being willing to play a class that is not my main. I can help my main in the process.

With the current system in WoW perfectly good loot for my Hunter would either be disenchanted, or taken by some random player to be sold. I might be helping my alt healer character, but I can't help my main character. I think allowing no drop loot to be moved between characters on the same account would go a long way toward relieving the lack of healers issue.
I don't know about WotLK. In BC, however, I played a Druid - and I played a LOT (which is, why I stopped. I don't have enough free time anymore and playing WoW for a few hours a day only, is like reading a book one page per day.)

Tanking was by far the most fun. Holding aggro was extremely difficult - especially because I told all the DDs in my party to go all out as soon as they want. The DDs loved me for that - obviously. So I was sweating in front of my screen and got the reckognition for it. Most people I know told e that I am the 'best tank on the server' - Yes - I liked it.

DPSing as feral was quite fun as well. Especially because it was possible to top DPS meters up until Black Temple gear. It was just hard - so I got the reckognition.

DPSind as Moonkin was terrible. Starfire, Starfire, Starfire, Moonofire, Insect Swarm, Starfire ...

Healing was .. fun .. every now and then. I did the math so I knew very soon that +healing was all a tree needed in BC. Keeping 3 Life Blooms on two tanks and putting the last GCDs( - later you could use 4 LBs per GCD) in the crowd was quite button clicking-intensive; but not hard afer a little training.

I loved to proove all those pure healers that even somebody with really bad gear (I did never take healing gear that dopped in a raid) could easily top them - if he had the 'skill' - eventhough I almost never healed. I healed 3 times in a raid - and I topped healing meters each time... and no .. I NEVER whould cheat the meters by healing just for the statistics.

So .. is healing difficult? Yes and no. Yes because obviously few people can do it correctly. No, because tanking back then was a LOT harder.
@Anonymous: Don't you think its part of the problem that you don't even consider to be a healer with your main, but instead want rewards for some DD-char just to play your healer?

@Nils: Thanks to HoTs and Swiftmend every good Druid will top the meters in a farm-raid. On those raids less damage tends to happen than usual and Druids are perfectly suited to heal most of it away before the rest of the classes can even cast a heal. The weakness of a healdruid shows if you ever assign him to singleheal a tank through massive damage while he is a bit underequipped (patchwerk10 for example).

On topic:
If you're a healer, the actual situation is really fun. We're already tank and healer and when looking for DDs we can choose out of 20-50 DDs who are usually desperately searching for a group. You're ready to go in less than five minutes and spend the next quarter of an hour telling the other DDs that you can't take them with you.
I'm also expecting a healer-heroclass, but I'm a bit pessimistic regarding it. I think they will try to make the mechanic "DD-like" and no fun for those of us that already like existing mechanics (or don't like dealing damage). We already do heal, it makes no sense to create something we would like. They will probably create something a DD would like. In addition they will probably trivialise healing to catch those "i like healing but I will raid with a DD because its less straining, i still can heal on my twink when I'm like it" - guys.
And like with Dks there will be a huge mass of people playing this new class who will flat out deny to heal anything because they prefer to play it as a DD ;)
My impression always was that Rohan is playing a paladin, and that his and Blizzards view of what a paladin is has differed for some time. Several of his posts touch on this subject, for example What is a paladin?, discussing the role of a paladin in 5-man groups, and then extrapolating this into paladins role in raids.
You set out to play a healer in WoW, therefore rolled a priest, right? Healer is a role you activly choose and that you feel comfortable with. Rohan, and many other paladins I suspect, did not set out to play healers. They set out to play paladins.
Unfortunatly, the paladin class has some healing spells, and therefore "paladins are healers", or rather can fill a healer raid slot. Since pure healers are few, its more beneficial for the raid that the paladin suck it up and heal.

In the last post I linked is an interesting discussion of how the image of your character affects which roles you feel comforable/happy playing with it. If your image of a paladin is "wearing shiny armor and hitting things with a big hammer", that is quite different from "wearing a dress, standing back and healing the guys wielding the big hammer". I remember you posting about how you could not wear this particular piece of armor on your warrior, becuase it was a kilt. I guess it didn't fit your mental image of your big strong warrior? It just doesn't sound like the paladins get what they bargained for, being transformed from holy warriors into holy priests. What if the healer/dps situation was reversed, and healing priests were no longer wanted? Would you happily take your priest out only to "melt faces", with NO healing allowed?
I healed in healed in MC and BWL as main tank healer, off tank healer, and ranged healer when necessary. I was never the best healer by far and it was very engaging. However it was also very stressful. It is a difficult job at times and I believe it takes a certain frame of mind. I never felt very epic being the healer. I felt like I enabled others to feel epic as they dished out gobs of damage while I mended their wounds.

Now I'm DPS. It's more fun to me. However, yes, their are more DPS toons out their so I don't get to where I want when I want like I could as a healer or tank. To me what it comes down to is tanking and healing feel like a job, and that's just not what I play for. When we have dual specs I may try and strike a balance, but until then - LF1M healer :)
Hey, at least Paladins actually get a choice. That's what they've been asking for since the beginning, and now that's what they have. Too bad for them you need to be careful what you wish for. Those of us who rolled pure DPS classes at the beginning have known since launch how impossible it can be to find groups, even guild groups after instances have been out for a few months. DPS classes are a dime a dozen, and ret paladins especially since they're the FOTM right now. At least speccing to tank or heal is something that a paladin can do in order to help their chances of finding a group they need. Pity the mage/warlock/rogue who is stuck begging for groups and seeing lots of "LF2M for (whatever instance) only need tank and healer".
Do you really think the Healer Shortage Crisis could be resolved by adding a Healer class, even if it is a "Hero"?

Look at the current classes:
Healers - Priest, Shaman, Druid, Paladin
Others - Hunter, Rogue, Warlock, Mage, Warrior, Death Knight

So up until Blizzard added the Death Knight, half the classes were able to spec for Healing.

And yet...there's still a shortage of Healers. Why is that?

As Vlad noted, and as I and many, many others have personally experienced, when a group wipes the Healer is often the first to be blamed.

Here is how the blame for a wipe should be apportioned, but rarely is.

Did the group wipe because the Tank died? Possibly the Healer's fault, possibly the Tank's. What's the Tank's gear like? Did he pull before the Healer finished drinking?

Did the Tank lose Aggro? Maybe Tank's Fault. Maybe DPS and their obsession with Damage Meters. Get a Threat Meter, and learn to manage Aggro.

Did the Healer die because he pulled Aggro? Fault lies with Tank, or CC for not saving him/her.

Did DPS die? Fault lies with DPS for doing whatever stupid thing they did that caused them to die before Healer could help them.

The only time the Healer is responsible for the Wipe is if the Tank died, and that could still be the Tank's fault. Ok, if the Healer got feared into the Whelps then that's his/her fault, but for every other Wipe it is NOT the Healer's fault...and yet everyone is so quick to blame them when things go south.

Blizzard could create all the Hero Healer classes they want and it won't solve the Healer shortage crisis, because despite being in such short demand people still take Healers for granted.
The idea that a Paladin is a healing class is not consistent with previous game dynamics and literature. Therefore it doesn't mesh with folks' expectation.

A Retribution Paladin does more closely match with that expectation.

The core issue here isn't player preference for/against healing, it's poor design that doesn't ensure that the specs are equally desirable in group and raid scenarios.
I admit it, I enjoy being needed in a group or raid. In TBC, I didn't even need to show up early to get a raid invite (like I did as a rogue in vanilla WoW). As long as I got there by raid time, I was in. Of course that cut both ways. If I didn't show up, there was a chance the raid would be canceled altogether. Certain fights required a ton of healers which put a lot of pressure on us to be available for every raid.

We had several full time healers switch to DPS in Wrath. I'm a little envious and did seriously consider switching myself. I liked raiding with my hunter. Tanking with my druid was fun too. But the guild's needs and my own love of healing pretty much made the decision for me. In my opinion, healing is more interactive, requires more focus, and forces you to make constant decisions in the heat of battle. Healing a fight is almost always a different experience whereas DPS'ers are forced to repeat the same sequences again and again with almost no variance. It sure is fun to watch the damage meters and see big crits flying around but eventually even that would seem to get old.
Adding a new healer class will not solve the shortage of healers. People do not heal because it is not fun, period. To be a bit more specific, it is less fun than DPSing or tanking for a large number of people. Mind you, plenty of exceptions exist (such as yourself, Tobold). But not enough for non-healers to get pickup groups or easy entry into raiding guilds.

This is a problem that Blizzard would have to address, if they care enough and don't mind risking it at this late stage of the game. Healing is not fun for many, many reasons, all of which are noted by comments above mine. Anything they do to really make it more fun would have to be a pretty fundamental change, so I would not expect it. As we all know, whenever a change makes one person happier about the game, it makes another two people complain.

They can tolerate the extra demand because it's not killing the game. I wouldn't expect anything to happen in this game, but maybe the next one.
Previous blizzard games do actually have paladins as healers (In D2 that healer role wasn't used much, since it wasn't as much of a team game), but it does fit the role in warcraft 3.

Instead of comparing classes that can heal, compare talent trees that can heal. In Burning crusade, there were 27 total talent trees, out of which 4-5 (I'm not sure where discipline really fit) were healing. this means that, while healers make up maybe 1/5-1/3? (Or whatever the fraction was for raiding) of group members, they only have about 1/7-1/5 of the talent trees as healing. In Wrath of the Lich king, the talent tree fraction is 1/6.

It also doesn't help, as others have mentioned in the past, that solo leveling is best done as a DPS spec.

In general, though, it seems that a lot of players have a "space invaders" type mentality with these games, where the goal is to kill all the aliens (or zombies, mountain lions, power evil wizards, etc.), and doing anything else is boring. Since taking and healing, isn't actually killing anything, just helping someone else to kill stuff, it is boring (And a lot of people will be unwilling to try those roles and actually see how they really play.)
I have quite a few alts that I play, but I'm always a paladin when I can be and my "main" is a paladin. I actually have two human paladins on the same server - one protection spec and one retribution spec. I solo 95% of the time, have absolutely not interest in raiding but do like group play. Unfortunately most of my small guild has evaporated over the last year or so (even my wife no longer plays), which means the only group play for me tends to be PUGs.

I personally hate healing - I like to be up front with the mobs, whether I'm tanking (which is what I prefer to do) or DPSing. In EverQuest I, my paladin ended up being a healer a lot of times just because (early on) we couldn't tank and couldn't DPS. I do believe it takes skill to be a good healer and there's a lot of pressure, but I just don't ENJOY it. Tanking also takes skill and there's a similar sort of pressure (tanks get blamed for wipes just as often as healers do, from what I've seen). To me, there are a couple of issues that lead to people being "forced" into the healing/tanking role:

*DPSing is more "relaxing." I know that in large guilds people watch DPS meters, really have to monitor their threat, etc. but doing group content with a DPS class is NOWHERE near as stressful as being a tank or healer. If you're playing the game to have fun and relax, I can understand staying away from those two roles.

*DPS is still a much easier way to solo. If most people spend most of their time soloing (according to all the research I've seen), then it seems like a pretty simple IQ test as to hwo to gear and spec your character.

I don't see this changing in a big way when dual specs are implemented. I think I'm sort of the best case, in a sense, in that I have plenty of tanking experience on a paladin - but the idea of tanking on my retribution paladin amuses me. On my protection spec paladin, I'm constantly trying to eek out every extra bit of stamina and threat from my gear... my ret spec would have a hodgepodge of tanking gear at best, so the change in spec wouldn't be all that helpful.

The larger point is that you'd need to either change the game design OR the psychology of players to make tanking or healing more "fun" and/or less "stressful." It always shocks me when people are willing to play the game in a way that isn't for them just so they can play the game (by picking a role they don't like, by joining a big guild they don't want to be in, etc.) Well, I say it shocks me but I did the SAME thing in EQ and swore I would NEVER do it again.
You guys have missed the bigges problem keeping good healers. The game has become solo centric. Most people that like to play healers are people that like to play in groups and like supporting the team. As long as the game is solo centric this problem will never go away.
Tobold, you underestimate the usefulness of shadow/ret. Replenishment is something I know a few people won't instance without. Ret also brings a form of crowd control in Repentance. Honestly, I'd bring a ret paladin before I bring a rogue to a 5-man in the current state. The ret paladin might have slightly less personal damage, but he brings in-combat CC (Repentance) and blessings to up the effectiveness of everyone else.
@ Kiseran:
That was the funny thing about Druids. Before you started to heal, everybody told you that all your HoTs would be overheal, because the other classes have flash heals. As soon as they saw were you are on the meter, they told you that it's obvious, because all your heals are instant. Usually the next point was:
"But a HoT keeps nobody alive, so .. You heal 20% more than everybody else. Doesn't matter. "

@ topic:
Healing was fun. But only in bad groups. The better the group, the less you had to do. Eventuall, if you went somewhere with guildmates, it was plain boring.
I used to think that the dual spec would relieve healers and tanks shortage, but thruthfully I don't think it will. It will only help those of us who like playing those classes to have alternate builds for the majority of time we are solo (esp while leveling) Maybe it will help the shortage some so people like me don't quit in frustration at hating the solo grind on our holy spec characters, but those people like me are already playing the support classes and enjoy them. People that don't like tanking or healing, won't want to do it even with a dual spec, and probably won't be good at it either if they don't like it and therefore don't study how to do it well or gear for it.

I don't see any way to fix the shortage except a complete rewrite of archetypes, like CoV, GW, and some other games.

(Though right now I'm playing my priest again (disc). The other day I passed on an item with +hit so the mage in a PUG could have it, figuring I'd be nice. The next boss a nice haste and regen item dropped and I rolled need figuring it would be great for me, and the mage - to return the favor I did for him - also rolled need and won. I was so annoyed. I don't know if I'll be nice next time. Anyway that just bugged me, nothing to do with the post.)
Josh wrote: I'd bring a ret paladin before I bring a rogue to a 5-man

Okay. But a more interesting question is - would you bring a ret paladin before you bring a holy paladin? Probably not, you'd probably bring the holy. And that is what Rohan is musing.

It doesn't matter how good shadow or retribution is, if there is a healer shortage. If you can't do a 5-man or can't do a 25-man without another healer, there will be heavy pressure on that person to spec healer, just so they can help the rest of the group. (For a recent shadow priest perspective of the pressure to go holy, see Pugnacious Priest here and here.)
@ Anonymous - "Rohan, and many other paladins I suspect, did not set out to play healers."

OK, I didn't set out to play a healer either, but it was my first toon and I had no idea what I was doing. I only switched to healing after I saw there was a need when I hit lvl 65. I've loved it ever since. It's especially nice when a tank whispers you during your run and says "you're as good a healer as i've ever run with" (this happened last night and he's run with the best guilds on my server).

@ Tobold - I agree. Healing isn't easy and personally I think it's the hardest role to play. I also believe that it takes a certain personality to be a good healer. Don't ask me what personality, I don't know, but I do know some people who just don't make good healers and you can tell they'd be happier being a tank or dps.

As for a Hero class healer? I would love that! The DK gave us tanks and dps. It'd be the next logical step.
As another one of the (somewhat) uncommon MMO players like Tobold whose preferred playstyle is healing, I've had quite a transition to make moving from Guild Wars to WoW. Because in Guild Wars it's easy to purchase all the necessary healing spells on my alts and then insta-roll a dedicated, max level, fully geared main healer for PvP use only. The hardest adjustment for me to make in WoW was having to LEVEL a healer. (Having to pay for talent respecs in WoW instead of getting unlimited ones for free like in GW was also tough, but I'm coping.) Once moved to WoW, I immediately made the grievous n00b mistake of leveling a shaman to 60 as Restoration spec. If I never see the inside of Maraudon or Blackrock Depths again, it'll be too soon.

It soon became clear to me that I liked the healing mechanics of the priest class much better, and I eventually made the switch. It used to be nice, not being able to inspect someone's talent tree or Armory page to check their talent spec. I got to heal plenty of 5-mans in Shadow spec while just wearing some healing cloth (and accidentally popping into Shadowform once or twice to the utter horror of the rest of the group). But now I have to do my oddball hybrid Disc/Holy spec until 80 when I am hoping to move to a 51-point Discipline main healer spec. I still need to do some research on this but it appears that at last Discipline is not just a "PvP tree." Am I right?
"Adding a new healer class will not solve the shortage of healers. People do not heal because it is not fun, period. To be a bit more specific, it is less fun than DPSing or tanking for a large number of people."

Thats the part I can't understand. In the end every class/spec does the same: Using its abilites. DDs use them to make a bar go smaller, Healers use them to make a bar go bigger. Nobody can survive without the other in a group. Why do you think making bars smaller is so much more fun than making them bigger? The only other difference I can see is that healing requires much quicker reflexes and more knowledge about the game which makes it harder to learn for beginners.
I like healing, especially in raids and PvP. But I hate having to be slower at soloing and there are other roles I like too. So for me, the lure of getting groups easily can be the deciding factor.
I think the lack of healers in the game can be blamed solely on player mindset. Healer is by it's definition a "support" class. It levels slower than any other type of character. Most players want to do only what's in it for themselves so people with the mindset to heal are rare to begin with. I have a priest that I am leveling shadow just because 90% of the time, I prefer soloing to grouping. I will re-spec around 70 to heal instances (in instances my priority shifts drasticly, it is tank, then heals, I honestly don't care for DPS in instances)
I blame WoW's Hybrids and the screw up of the Priest class.
Of course should a healer class have skills that make it possible to solo without the danger of brain meltdown due to boredom. But never should a healer be able to "spec" to a damage build, so that it would only be possible to heal decently after the hazzle of an expensive "respec".
BTW I absolutely enjoyed being in group with a decent Shadow Priest in TBC as a Mage.
I think that for people who like to run an occasional 5 man and spend some time doing dailies dual spec will work out fine.
I played a warrior from 1-60 as prot because I loved tanking in instances. Asking for a healer to go to BRD and then quickly finding 3 more DPSers was great. but one of the hard things about tanking as a warrior was it took DPS knowing when to DPS so I did spend some time training dps classes on when to go all out but that usually only took the first few pulls.
I think with the few changes in the protection tree like, thunder clap, improved defensive stance, charge in all stances, and vigilance, warrior tanking has seen a huge increase in people willing to tank as a warrior.
Someone earlier mentioned that he didn't even have to log in early to receive an invite to raids, and that was the exact reason I rolled a warlock. I could show up late and get a spot in MC while rogues were benched.
My shaman is enh, with dual spec he will be pvp enh or pvp ele and resto. when I want to run 5 mans, I am in, when I want to solo, do dailies, and BGs dps.
I think the biggest thing with dual spec is the glyphs. min/max'ers are not going to buy 25g/ea glyphs every sunday to max out their toon. all this talk about making respeccing easier and encouraging it is undone with glyphs.
Healing has always been the red-headed stepchild of the holy trinity of class design. For whatever reason, less people dedicate themselves to healing than either tanking or DPS. One of the real problems is this often means that the highly skilled WoW raiders don't play healers either. In my raid healing experience, a lot of other healers I come across have just plain not been very good. I think part of it is the perception that "healing is easy." Yes, it's easy to heal a regular five man, but once you get into heroics and raids, healing can be VERY challenging. It is easy to be a passable healer, but it can be quite difficult to be a GREAT healer. Unfortunately, the more skilled types tend to drift towards high DPS or tank classes.

Hopefully the addition of dual specs alleviates the shortage at least a little. My suggestion is that if you've ever considered healing, give it a try. All the healing classes have a viable DPS talent build now anyhow, so what'd it hurt?
I really enjoy healing and (rather uniquely, it seems) I enjoy it because it's relatively simple to press the buttons. No matter how good a player you are, time you spend optimising DPS or HPS is attention that isn't being devoted to situational awareness, which is key in tough encounters. Make a more "interesting" (i.e. complex) healer, and you'll make a worse one on average, because the peak healing output will need to be comparable to existing healers, but it will take more concentration.

The problem with healing classes as they currently stand is not that grouping is less fun, it's that levelling and dailies are absolute agony, so by the time people reach max level, all their skills are tuned to the DPS spec of their class.
Oh, I forgot something.

Whenever a "blame the healer" accusation flies, I have a simple policy. Either he goes or I do. Guess who wins 90% of the time?
"One of the real problems is this often means that the highly skilled WoW raiders don't play healers either"

I have always looked at it another way. DPS players are more or less stuck at a given progression level. Simply because there are more DPS than available raid spots in a given guild DPS players have to perfect their play style to remain competitive and secure a raid spot.

Neither is true for healers. Due to low comparative population and perceived unpopularity, raid spots for healing characters are generally speaking much more forthcoming and if a healer is sat out he/she knows that they can always find a spot in another raiding guild.

This vertical expansion that is much more readily available for healers creates a vacuum that sucks up healers from the bottom up. Thus DPS/tank players in mid tier raiding have to rely on healers that are actually playing at a skill level of a lower-tier raiding guild.

I don’t think that there is a solution to this as long as Blizzard structures healing and raid damage the way that it currently does. Balancing around less healers, and more along the lines of actual population amongst raiders, would require more hard DPS checks and tighter enrage timers.
Oh, I forgot something.

Whenever a "blame the healer" accusation flies, I have a simple policy. Either he goes or I do. Guess who wins 90% of the time?

I'm not sure who wins, but I'm pretty sure the group that's stuck with you feels like they lose. Sadly, it's petty stuff like that people have come to expect from lots of healers and tanks just due to the shortages and people needing to somehow impose their wills on others.
"I'm pretty sure the group that's stuck with you feels like they lose. Sadly, it's petty stuff like that people have come to expect from lots of healers and tanks just due to the shortages and people needing to somehow impose their wills on others."
So you have no problem with people insulting fellow players, but those who refuse to tolerate the insults are "petty"? If "imposing my will" means not grouping with people who are rude or blame others for their own mistakes, I plead guilty.
at last Discipline is not just a "PvP tree." Am I right?

I think so, I'm lvl 75 now, I've been leveling as disc, I didn't take any of the pvp talents and have Penance, grace and the aegis shield (can't remember the exact name). So far it is awesome for single target healing. No one has complained at all about my healing. The trick is to use penance with fully talented Grace to keep them from taking damage in the first place. Plus with the shield and crit mechanics in the talents, you are a real wipe saver that a holy priest just can't pull off.

It's funny when you save a group from a wipe they think you're awesome when really us healers know we should have not let things get to that point, but sometimes I am so bored I just hop around waiting for the tank's health to get so low.. just to have a challenge. (I only do that with people I know heh :) )

Anyway I am loving disc healing and don't think I'll go back to holy, as long as there is room for single target healers in the end game.

With Power Infusion and some haste gear you can spam prayer of healing pretty fast in tight situations, which is good enough for regular intances. Maybe someone can comment on heroics. But yeah, disc is not an aoe healer that is obvious.

My main problem is I can't decide to go for haste or crit. They are both fun. The only drawback is the crit shields on warriors and druids, but usually it does not interfere with rage much.
My theory:
Popularity among tank/healer/DD depends on how clearly the feedback is.
As a DD your feedback is about zero. Even if you raise your unarmed-skill, the other DDs will make up for your shortcomings. And if they don't tank/healer have to hold on a bit longer. And if they can't the healer must be responsible, he did go oom, didn't he? Basicly if he has no damage meter like addon a DD can live forever in blissful ignorance of his own shortcomings. He will never get frustrated.
As a healer on the other side its pretty harsh. From day one its make or brake: Keep the tank alive and you're a good healer, fail and your failure will be obvious to yourself and everyone else. Aside from big raids you can never slack, there is nobody who can cover your job other than you. And if all goes well nobody will thank you. Everyone will brag about how much damage they did, some will praise the tank for holding aggro so good but as a healer you are only the center of attention if you mess up.
Tanks used to be even more unforgiving (and rare) than healers. Blizzard made Aggro a nonissue and now only some raidencounters are still taxing while normal instances can be tanked by even the most inexperienced player. And since then the tank-shortage is oficially "solved".

The #1 reason healers/tanks don't want to PUG are "blame the healer/tank" accusations. If you want me to tank for your group, don't blame me if the group wipes. It's generally ok to have a discussion of "why did that happen" but if I hear a "lrn2tnkn00blololol" I'm out. It's just not worth my time. And quite frankly, it's much easier to replace a generic dps class than a healer or tank.
My main was a Paladin. I healed from ZG to BT. Almost forced to do so because of the inability to be as good or as useful then anything else in a group/raid environment. Now the class has changed and the changes are very much welcomed….. but still….
I did like healing. I did find it fulfilling and rewarding but in the end, I got sick of it so ended up quitting raiding all together and came very, very close to deleting that character. I vowed to never heal again. I wasn’t sure why I felt that way and never really thought about it. So instead, I created a hunter and went the casual way, leveling him up to 20ish. Then it struck me again……MANA. There I was again, sitting and waiting for my MANA to come back…. Needless to say, that hunter got deleted.

Now I play a rogue and I’ve never been happier playing WoW. Looking back at the “not so old, days” what really got boring beyond limits was the mana mechanics. It is still very much present as it’s even been. One could argue that I need to sit and eat to regain my health, yes, that's true, but my argument is that I always have my abilities seconds away, and I never run out.

I know blizzard will not change anything because of the fundamentals of this game but using the same mechanics that vanilla Nintendo was using 25 years ago is just beyond getting old.

New Hero-healing class without the stupid mana mechanics :) yes please. Otherwise , in my opinion, it would just be more of the same which in this case, is less.
Healer pros:
- more group invites
- more raid invites
- a big asset to the guild. I've only once seen a raid cancelled because not enough dps are online, it happens much more often with a healer shortage
- strong in pvp once you have resilience gear
- it's a pretty fun role. The whack a mole whoo hoo I've saved their butts again minigame is rather fun

Healer cons:
- blaming, flaming and other anti-social behaviour
- need to get decent gear to join groups or raids. In the 80 game most people want to start with heroics making it very difficult for a new 80 healer in mid 70s greens
- low solo dps making daily quests and levelling more tedious
- being utterly useless when healing bad players in bgs
- mana
- murdering mobs and players is probably more fun than whack a mole. For me depends on my mood

Having said that you know why I stopped healing heroics? I ran out of stuff to get. Revered Wyrmrest and Exalted Argent Crusade got me all the loot from rep I wanted. My dungeon epic drops all dropped first or second time (plus I could take the mail epic belt instead of waiting for the plate one). I got a few raid drops that filled out some of the other slots. 3 days after dinging 80 I'd pretty much finished with heroics, the loot is simply too easily farmed.

I'm still Holy specced and actively raiding but when there's not a raid I'm out with the rest of the crowd lf1m healer to help my Rogue through instances.
A lot of healers are healers because they now that they cannot be replaced. You need a healer, and there are always more DDs than healers or tanks.

Rohan has the DPS class problem: DPS can be broken down to the simple dps count, who does the most damage?
I blame WoW to favor Hybrids more and more. They are now so close to pure DDs like Mages or Warlocks that a soulstone, healthstone or food soon cannot outweigh a rez and limited healing or this or that abilities.

Rogues are the black sheep in 5 man heroics, limited DD ability - only useful as a lockpick! This is how my friend felt who played a rogue.

Retribution Paladins can do damage, but Death Knights do even more. And if people see a Paladin, they expect him to do what they need... a healer...^^ It is also a problem that people are just accustomed to Paladins as healers.

In a few words, when Warlocks, Hunters, Mages, Ele Shamans, Shadow Priests, Rogues... compete for the DPS slots, nobody really likes a potential healer to join the dps bracket, too.
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