Cata Healing: Close to Ideal

The way I see it, healing in Cataclysm is getting into that ideal state in the equilibrium between never going OOM and always going OOM, but it's not quite there yet. Obviously, the numbers have undergone plenty of adjustment through beta testing, but I think it's been over-adjusted a tad and needs some fine tuning to get it to that ideal state.

I don't want to go back to the faceroll that was WotLK healing, and neither does any other PVP healer who has been told "your spec takes zero skill to play". I'm enjoying using three bars of keybound spells now, mixing it up every now and then, finding what works. The problem I'm seeing is that as I learn more and more about when to time my heals, I'm learning more and more that even at the smartest most efficient level of healing, we are still running OOM one or two more times than we need to.

For druids, the lifebloom single target change and the super expensive rejuv mean when AOE damage hits (and it always will, in dungeons AND pvp), no matter how skilled we are, we will be losing mana, and fast. For me, I know there's a problem when I have the dps targeted, waiting for those 3 lifebloom stacks to bloom on the tank before immediately applying to the DPS taking the damage (timing lifebloom blooms, by the way, is one essential aspect to our new role, and it's quite fun to learn, but in this case, I'm having to use lifebloom on a DPS, risk wiping the tank, and the whole idea of it seems a bit panicky :P).

Going into Tree of Life form doesn't really help me enough for it to feel like an awesome CD. Why? Insta-cast regrowth isn't worth much when regrowth is the least efficient heal in the spellbook :P. Lifebloom on multiple targets is probably the best benefit it gives at the moment, which is fine, but meh, lifebloom takes time to cast, and time to heal, and three stacks on each of three dps taking massive damage really isn't practical. Essentially, it's become less effective as a panic button than, oh, say, innervate for instance. The spell itself is fine, but the mana mechanic dampens its awesomeness to a great extent.

The solution? That's a tough one. I'm getting a sense for just how sensitive those mana cost numbers are. Perhaps you should up the benefit of spirit to somewhere near where it used to be? Or perhaps introduce some mechanic that causes heals to do more healing as a healer's mana pool gets closer to zero. (Some passive for healers like Vengeance is for tanks, scaling up to something like 15%). That way, since health pools are huge, when we run OOM, our heal numbers amp up just a little bit to give us barely enough of a window to get the mana back for that last healing touch (or whatever respective heal each class has).

I don't claim to be a top-tier healer by any means, but a slight tune-up, I think, would get us to that "smart healers benefit, bad healers lose" state.
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85 Human Paladin
Blizzard stated months ago topping people off was something that wouldn't be all that common in cata. Just because someone isn't topped off doesn't mean they're about to die like it did in wrath due to everyone having such large health pools.

Honestly, healers going oom now has a lot to do with horrible dps standing in things they shouldn't be, or aggroing a mob they shouldn't be attacking in the first place.

Two of my friends that I do heroics with (resto druid, holy priest) love the changes. Wrath was basically the tank gathering all mobs up, and everyone aoeing them down. It was seriously the worst state of gameplay wow has ever seen. It was boring, and it made players lazy and bad at their class.

Now healers, dps and tanks need to actually use their cooldowns and other tricks to survive and successfully clear dungeons. Things need to be marked, CC'd, and targeted down in order. This is good for the game. It should be this way.

I understand that the LFD right now is probably the worst experience ever. I'm not even using it to run heroics because of the wrath kiddies that haven't adjusted yet. People should be running with friends/guildies to clear heroics this early, until people start gearing up. And if you're opposed to this concept then maybe you should find a nice single player game instead.

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Good points Az.

Agreed with you on every point there. I love the changes myself, and the only problem I see is slight mana maintenance problems at the finest grain of the experience. By the way, I don't think everyone needs to be topped off either, but as it goes, pub groups panic when theyre not full hp into every fight :P.

As for the wipes, yes, as you said, a good deal of it is due to DPS not understanding encounters, but wouldn't you agree that a good healer should be able to handle those situations without being punished too hard? By too hard I mean, if we end up having to break our efficient healing rotation due to problems with, say, dps standing in the fire, rather than the DPS inevitably dying because the healer simply can't handle the strain on his/her mana (an impossibility), there should exist some small window for the healer to be able to handle such a case (AKA very hard but not impossible). Thus, one can say that this healer is experienced. A small opportunity arose and he or she took it. It is because this opportunity doesn't arise that I deem healing "too hard", and, like I originally stated, it is VERY close in my opinion to its ideal state. There just needs to be a bit of tuning for the really good healers to be able to say more than "I survived Heroic <Cata Dungeon Here> with my experienced group". Rather, it would be nice to instead say "I managed to heal a very noobish pub group through Heroic <Cata Dungeon Here>". LFD would then be a bit more viable than it currently is.
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85 Tauren Druid
I do think that druids might have a tough time with aoe healing compared to other healers, but we at least are lucky with a very cheap wild growth. I like to use wild growth + heal on those targets for super efficient group healing, although it's true that this never really seems to top them off. Sometimes I will end up throwing an expensive spell on a dps to keep them alive but as long as I'm not oom at the end that's ok.
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90 Night Elf Druid
WG + Rejuv is very effective, and the Rejuv stays on them for your next WG. That's a 10%+ boost to overall healing. You might protest the mana, but on bosses where you actually need to top people back up (not that many) Blizz didn't design the fights to also require heavy tank healing. They tuned the instances very well, I never felt like I *had* to heal the tank and the raid at the same time.
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