How Cataclysm Simplified Holy Priests

85 Blood Elf Priest
0
I'll post the TL;DR at the top for the terminally lazy. Just read the bold below, and then skip to the next block of bold near the bottom:
In Vanilla, BC, and even WotLK, healers have had three questions to answer: "Who do I heal?" "What spell do I use?" and "When do I cast it?"

Obviously, there are several skills involved in healing - reflexes used to play a role, triage plays a role, et-cetera, but most of these can actually be boiled down to a single skill: Predicting the future.

In order to select the correct heal, a healer has to read 2.5-5.0 seconds into the future to see if the tank will still be alive when your Heal lands, and if s/he'll have time to cast a Greater Heal after that. A healer with five-second-clairvoyance can answer the first two questions 100% correctly, 100% of the time. (Obviously, it took even less in Wrath)

The first two questions also have a finite number of answers. There are only so many people in the group, and for any particular person (or group of people for AoE spells), there are only 1-3 heals anyone would really actually consider healing them with. Even without actively thinking about the future, it's fairly easy to learn by observation what heals to cast in what situations.

The third question is much harder. Cast a heal too soon and it overheals. Cast it too late and the target's already dead. Between the two, there is a range to select just the right moment in order to maximize the time spent outside the five-second-rule.

In order to maximize time outside the 5SR, a healer had to see the entire fight and then plan a strategy around it. Even a healer with 10-minute clairvoyance would also need a strategic mind. It would sometimes be a better idea to start casting a Prayer of Healing two seconds after another heal and not dodge the 5SR at all in the short term, if doing so would allow the healer to take a nine-second nap afterward.

Obviously, the answer to this question affects the other two as well. We might use a Renew instead of a downranked Heal in order to cover for damage that would be taken later.

It is no accident that the healers which used all of their spells rather than just a couple (Spam of Light and Brain Heal) were the ones that cared about the Five Second Rule.

Cataclysm inflated health bars, making the range of when we can cast heals very wide, and removed the five-second-rule, so the exact time within the range completely unimportant. This means that healers now only have to answer the easier two questions: "Who" and "What." "When" no longer matters.

So in Cataclysm, we only have the first two, and they're not hard questions to nail 99% of the time. This creates an extremely low skill cap on healing.

Give me back my five second rule. Do not make me a spam-of-light Burning Crusade paladin.
Edited by Nwimarae on 12/19/2010 3:49 PM PST
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85 Goblin Priest
3035
I agree with most of what you said. At least they made cata instances much harder.
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85 Blood Elf Priest
0
Hard in the same way tic-tac-toe is hard, and about as deep. It's easy to play perfectly, you screw up sometimes, but even if you don't, whether you win or not is completely out of your hand.
Edited by Nwimarae on 12/19/2010 5:37 PM PST
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1 Human Warrior
0
If its such a low skill cap, then why is it so hard for people?

The fact that you don't NEED to keep everyone at 100% health and that you can keep people at 30% health through minutes of the fight is why healing is supposed to not be as hard.

Problem is, healers get nervous if everyone isn't 100% health and DPS stand in fires which do 90% of their heatlh in damage and feel responsible if you wipe.
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80 Tauren Druid
4640
SO I have an 85 priest kk, and would just like to smack down everything you just stated!
so i would liek to make a couple of key points to you lacking argument
1.) Shure we have more hp but the mobs still hit very hard and the health still drops fast
2.) the boss fights are way more complicated than any boss fight in wotlk and require you to actually do something rather than sit there spammin flash heal
3.) LMAO AT SAYING HEALING WAS HARD IN WOTLK-ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS SPAM FLASH HEAL SINCE MANA WAS ENDLESS
4.) mana is hard to conserve now and you have to heal ppl at the right time with the right speel sso you dont go oom and have a wipe
5.) going oom is 1 billion times easier now
WHAT REALLY annoys me the most tho is saying that cata is easier than wotlk, its obviously alot harder....
Edited by Zurky on 12/19/2010 6:01 PM PST
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90 Blood Elf Priest
10380
It's hard for people because it's a low skill cap with a steep learning curve. Once learned, it's easy. I'm posting on the forums while healing a heroic as we speak.
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85 Blood Elf Priest
0
If its such a low skill cap, then why is it so hard for people?

The fact that you don't NEED to keep everyone at 100% health and that you can keep people at 30% health through minutes of the fight is why healing is supposed to not be as hard.

Problem is, healers get nervous if everyone isn't 100% health and DPS stand in fires which do 90% of their heatlh in damage and feel responsible if you wipe.


Low skill cap means you can't do any better after a certain point, not that you always win. You can be completely at skill cap and still wipe, because the group took more damage than anyone could possibly heal in your class/gear.



SO I have an 85 priest kk, and would just like to smack down everything you just stated!
so i would liek to make a couple of key points to you lacking argument
1.) Shure we have more hp but the mobs still hit very hard and the health still drops fast
2.) the boss fights are way more complicated than any boss fight in wotlk and require you to actually do something rather than sit there spammin flash heal
3.) LMAO AT SAYING HEALING WAS HARD IN WOTLK-ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS SPAM FLASH HEAL SINCE MANA WAS ENDLESS
4.) mana is hard to conserve now and you have to heal ppl at the right time with the right speel sso you dont go oom and have a wipe
5.) going oom is 1 billion times easier now
WHAT REALLY annoys me the most tho is saying that cata is easier than wotlk, its obviously alot harder....


Let's pretend for a moment that Wrath of the Lich King never existed, and that healers went straight from Burning Crusade to Cataclysm.

1. Yes, but not as much more damage as the health increase. Rather than smacking a 14k (thinking low-gear Burning Crusade here) tank for 3k damage, they're smacking a 120k tank for 15k damage.
2. Granted. The boss fights are harder. Much harder than Wrath, and a little harder than Burning Crusade (except for Priestess Delrissa). The mechanics are certainly more complicated. This doesn't change the fact that the healing aspect is less complicated than ever.
3. For mana regeneration, granted. This was not true in Burning Crusade.
4. You have to cast the right heals; there is no right time. Instead, there's a 2-3 second range of times which are all equally correct, because your spell will not overheal and the tank will still be alive to receive it.
5. It's certainly easier to go OOM if you're trying to go OOM, but if you're trying to go OOM, you're doing it wrong. If you're trying not to go OOM, it's very easy to not be as efficient as possible and not go OOM unless the group is taking way more damage than anyone could possibly heal in your class/gear.

Difficulty is a weird metric. I can write you three tic-tac-toe AIs, one of which will block all "strategies" except for one, another will play badly for the first 3 seconds of each game (so that if you can fork it in that time, you win) and after that become unbeatable, and the third will play 100 games perfectly and then forfeit the 101st assuming all 100 of them have been ties. You can't argue that one is "obviously" a lot harder than the others.

The first one requires knowledge, the second one requires reflexes, and the third one requires patience.

What I can say is that (when compared to The Burning Crusade) healing in Cataclysm requires LESS foresight and LESS planning capability; I haven't seen any skill that it actually takes more of.
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