Are some classes still better at this than others at 85? I haven't been paying as much attention to the beta as I should, and frankly, i'm wondering if i'll be able to raid heal as a holy paladin and put a priest/shaman or even a druid on the tank without gimping the raid.
Obviously I will be able to, but would I be better at healing the tank than one of the others? Or is it truly balanced around skill?
At this point in the game it looks as if any type of healer is going to be able to tank heal. Shamans and Holy priest are a little weaker in some aspects, but make up for it in others. Shamans crit affect of heals doesn't always affect the tank and weakens shamans in that aspect, but thier mastery increases healing on more injured tanks, which is very nice. Holy priests direct heals outside of chakra are a bit weak and their HoT affect mastery might not be great for tank healing, but by entering a chakra state with heal their direct heals become much stronger and they have a very good tanking cooldown for when things go back. Some healers might work well on tank healing together such as a druid/shaman/holy priest with a paladin/disc priest. The Shamans, holy priests, and Druids would be providing slightly better healing output/effects while the paladins and disc priests put out similar or possibly stronger healing, but also provide mitigation via shields. This isn't to say paladins can't tank heal with disc priests, I mean the more mitigation the better, right? That is assuming they stack, which I'd assume they do. Also, holy paladins and disc priests bring damage reduction cooldowns via pain suppression, barrier, and hand of sacrafice (any paladin can use this). Paladins also bring the sexy that is beacon as double tank healing powerhouse. Seems to me all healers will be viable tank healers, or at least until something like hardmodes makes a better distinction of the best. If I had to estimate a guess I'd say paladin > disc priest > druid > shaman > Holy priest (I thought about putting shaman last but shaman's mastery might turn out to be rather amazing. Had a hard time placing holy priests since I'm usure of just how strong they are but I've heard they have great direct healing in the right chakra state and guardian spirit is good. I think a holy priest in a group will generally go into raid healing over tank healing if given the option though).
Raid heal, however, is not quite near as equal imo. Priests, especially Holy, have arguably the most availability to aoe heals via PoH, holy nova, CoH (holy), and PoM. Druids are probably a bit weaker with Wild Growth and Efflorescence along with thier HoTs. Shamans chain heal and Healing Rain would probably put them a little under druids in aoe healing, not including direct raid healing. Paladins aoe abilities are a bit more limited in use. Light of Dawn requires holy power, which can take time to build, and out side of that Holy Radiance is a 1 minute cooldown that lasts 10 seconds. Paladins raid healing seems to conisists of more direct heals and instant direct heals, but that's not neccessaily a bad thing. Estimated guess: Holy priest > disc priest > druid > shaman > paladin. Disc priest might belong behind druids and maybe shamans, but I think a disc priest using PoH with guarenteed shields and thowing in shield and PoM can put out very good aoe healing.
This is my current view on tank and raid healing between the classes for cata. Last note: Anyone else think shamans could use a long cooldown unique skill either tank orientated or raid orientated? They seem to lack the neat tools that other classes have been privy to. Paladins get lay on hands (if no forbearance) along with BoP and freedom for curtain cases. Druids have tranquility and tree is pretty nice. Priests have divine hymn and, although it's not for healing speciically, hymn of hope. Shamans don't seem to have a nice cooldown ability that differentiates them and provides them with thier own unique trait to thier class. I'm not saying they need one, but it doesn't really seem fair.