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Monks will probably unleash a mad rollercoaster of balance in all 3 departments if DKs are any guide.
I plan to level a monk (have several other healers too so why not another one!), but probably won't raid on one (unless it's an alt raid or something). I love my druid too much :P
WHAA? DKs can't heal others silly
It's going to change every tier anyway. In the last two expansions, here is what the best healer has been by tier.
T7 (Naxx) - Holy Priests and Druids dominated with no CD Wild Growth/CoH
T8 (Ulduar) - Holy Priests and newly buffed PoH were dominant
T9 (TOGC) - Paladins - The redesigned 100% full overheal transfer Beacon was made for every fight that tier
T10 (ICC)- Disc Priests - The nature of the stacking buff (and how much overhealing it created) meant that shields were king. Also, absolutely mandatory and OP on Heroic Lich King
T11 - Holy/Disc Priests - Paladins were initially ridiculous until the Tower of Radiance/Light of Dawn hotfix. After that, one priest spec or the other took turns dominating - changing sometimes weekly with the amount of healing hotfixes that went in.
T12 - Druids - The design of Firelands (all kinds of spread, highly mobile AoE healing) plus their gear scaling made druids dominate T12.
T13 - Paladins - The new Holy Radiance design was made for Dragon Soul and the raid stacking.
As far as how I think the healing specs line up as of right now for T14, this is my wild guess.
1. Monks - They are either going to be absolutely terrible or totally overpowered. The nature of the DPS to heal mechanics mean that even if they are balanced with the other healers, they will still be overpowered. Best bet is they are totally overpowered to the point you stack 4-5 monk healers a fight in the first tier before being nerfed to near uselessness by T15.
2. Druids - They are getting the most love of any of the healing specs, with all kinds of nice utility being added (Symbiosis, Ironbark, Healing Mushrooms, etc). They also have the strongest regen of any class still.
3. Disc Priests - Spirit Shell will be a nice addition, and I see them scaling better than any other healer, given that Rapture will directly scale with gear.
4. Shaman - Very little changed over how they are now. That will be a good thing if we get another tier like DS with lots of raid stacking. It will be very worrisome if there are a lot of spread and mobility mechanics, because these issues haven't really been addressed (I don't see the Chain Heal glyph as cutting it for spread AOE).
5. Paladin - I am probably in the minority, but I see paladins being atrocious if they go live how they are currently setup. Very little new has been added and a lot has been removed (Divine Favor, 12% passive haste, Judgements of the Pure, Holy Radiance HoT, etc). I think paladins will have the worst regen of any healer once we get past 5 man content and HP heals carrying us. The lack of HoTs, shields or any kind of controllable burst single target mechanic will make us weak tank healers as well.
6. Holy Priest - They really haven't done much of anything to Holy, aside from removing Holy Concentration, which isn't a good sign for a spec that has been considered barely viable the last 2 tiers. I forsee it being held back by terrible regen mechanics and totally overshadowed by Disc.
It maths out significantly better when you factor in Inner Focus, one of the two mana efficiency talents they will be taking and the fact that Rapture scales with gear unlike other active regen sources.
90 Pandaren Priest
I will have to full heartedly agree with you, Tiberria. Amongst playing the beta, and I have a 90 of every healer in the game (aside from a 90 monk healer... it seemed to cliche for some reason). Monks, as I've seen in videos etc, are just either incredible or total garbage. Granted, player level might have differed. I will say, that when choosing my next main for this expansion, I had to imagine what kind of healer would be a good choice for the entire expansion. Priests, don't have as much versatility as every other healer in the game, so I imagine that they have to make at least one of their healing specs extremely good because it's not like they can tank.
So as to the original question, Priest is a good decision because Blizzard is forced to make them somewhat decent because of their innate lack to do more.
However, I'm seeing shaman become more and more prominent, because as mentioned in this thread, mana isn't a huge issue for them. Although, as agreeing once again with Tiberria, their scaling is always a tad off (as according to Blizzard's tendencies). Paladin's are ALWAYS in a tight spot because they're either the best (holy radiance in DS, I mean come on...) or the worst (like right now in MoP).
Healers are always fun to play, and if you're truly a good healer you make it work regardless of how crappy blizzard has made the class. I'm sure MoP will be a blast to play, and fiddle with all the new quirks. Although if I had to pick one or two... it'd be priest or druid.
I don't see resto shammy being that great, like Tiberria showed, resto shammy have always been bottom of barrel heal, now maybe bliz will decide to change that, but i doubt it since there not fixing shammy inherent problem, inability to do well on spread out and/or mobile fight. Seems like at best they'd be hit or miss healing class, changing effectivity based on the actual fight.
I remember them saying they didn't want TC to be an ability that actually restored mana (they wanted it to be make LB mana neutral), so I guess if they see shammy actual use it actively, they'll just nerf it to oblivion. Also mana problem will become less important in T15 and will become meaningless in T16.
My guess would be monk initially, then they'll get hit by nerf bat 2-3 time and become the worse before being buff to average. I'd see priest being consistently above average to best, druid starting underwhelming but become the best end of expansion. Holy pally are really the wild card, but I would expect they would become worse and worse as the content progress because the free heal become less and less important.
Edited by Meiam on 7/1/2012 7:47 PM PDT
We don't know that yet.
Most of this is totally contrary to what happened in Cata. What makes you think this is how it'll turn out?
It's going to change every tier anyway. In the last two expansions, here is what the best healer has been by tier.
T7- It didn't matter. Talking pvp no one could remotely stand up to the paladin. In PvE t7 was pathetic.
T8- It was absolutely a druid world. PoH wasn't bad, but can't standup to paladin utility and rejuv/wg. Priests were a great filler heal, but druids were the FOTM for progression. Disc being the underdog FOTM for top guilds(most others considered having a disc priest as unacceptable)
T9- Paladins ruled this. Although 100% beacon was good, it was mostly due to fight design and most fights being more front loaded on tanks and no other healer being able to remotely compete. Also the fact that HoP, HoSac, and HoF proved to be irreplaceable utility.
T10- Absolutely resto druid until LK. LK's difficulty overshadows memories thinking that disc was OP, when druid reigned until LK then paladins took over. Although disc had a mandatory role on LK, it was so brutally easy to have an offspec holy/shadow priest simply fill the role for one boss. All the way until LK though paladins with JoL and druids with rejuv/wg was absolutely better on every fight. However even on LK, first kills needed 1-2 paladins alongside the disc. Disc was a gimmick niche in T10, but not the best.
T11- It was Holy Paladins/Holy priests. Disc were pretty bleh. Druids had a hard time though. But disc was not FOTM by any means.
T12- Paladins. I don't even know why you mentioned druid when 2 paladins were brought for every top kill of FL. I guess Rag bias, but even still it wasn't like you were going to sit a paladin for a druid on Rag.
T13- Shamans actually. Although paladins seemed FOTM through ultraxion, the rank defining fights were much more approachable with shamans. If you want to get nitty gritty, it would be about a tie, but shaman utility/strength shined far more brightly than other healers. Disc would probably be second to the throne in T13, mostly the tier was defined by mitigation raid CDs and it made the difference for almost every fight.
I honestly have no idea how you did your list, but you apparently remember a very different game from how the top guilds were approaching the tiers.
If I had to speculate, my gut wants to say monk due to the dk fiasco known as WotLK, but right now monks have the worse raid cds and if blizzard keeps generating healed fights, the ability to bring healers with less utility and more throughput isn't feasible. So I'm going with shaman right now. It's the most well rounded healer with some of the best utility. There are buffs with little nerfs for shaman right now and the buffs target their weakest areas. Also druids might comeback with symbiosis and new barkskin.
EDIT: I know its a necro, but it's a necro of a discussion that isn't dated. Knowing it's a necro, I wanted to make a point that I disagreed with what the necromancer was supporting.
Edited by Ados on 7/1/2012 8:25 PM PDT
Well shammy were constantly bottom of barrel, monk didn't exist and priest were constantly above average to best, so that's fine.
Now druid were 2nd worse early cata, but then they got much better when they got a buff. Pally started being best/tie with priest but they the other caught up, then they got super OP holy radiance, so that kinda made stuff weird, that's why I call them wild card. But no, I think what I said wasn't all that different from cata.
Well, druids aren't that great in T13. We're acceptable, but we're not incredible.
Priests have had their ups and downs, and both were pretty terrible in 4.0.0. Holy was passable from 4.0.6 until 4.2, at which point it got completely overshadowed by druids. It's decent in T13, but still not great. DH is its saving grace. Disc was important early T11 for Barrier, but they didn't really bring much else to the table. They were passable in T12, but they played nowhere near the role druids and paladins did. In T13 they're in a very good place.
You could, I suppose, say that at least one of the specs was always at least passable, so this is the only point I'll grant any concession on.
Paladins were absolutely not a wild card in Cata; they have been present for progression in every tier, haven't had a definite "low point," and are very potent in T13. Furthermore, there is nothing to suggest that they lose potency relative to the other healers due to HoPo devaluation.
Personally, I don't see monks as ever being below average. The way the class is now, the gap between top players and average players will be huge, and Blizzard is far more likely to buff monks in order to appease the average players than they are to nerf them to level the progression field.
Meters obviously :p
If DKs are any indication, Monks will do very well until at least 5.1.
They also have an instant flight form with a minor glyph and a Monk only place, so they've got two of the big reasons why I like my Druid. It's really tempting to bite the Monk bullet, but without a beta account to try them out on, I'll probably chicken out of making one my new main.
Edited by Hoticehunter on 7/1/2012 11:08 PM PDT
Here are some more thoughts on where I think the healing specs will be, having seen some level 90 stuff.
Monks - They are highly likely to be dominant in terms of output for the first 1-2 tiers. They obviously won't be as dominant as they are in raid testing, but they will probably be the #1 throughput healer. However, I can see some real dangers for Mistweavers in terms of class design. A lot of the complaints about the spec (weak/lack of raid and tank cooldowns, AoE healing being heavily automated/not as controllable, lack of burst, etc) sound a lot like Cata resto druid complaints. Right now, it sounds like Mistweavers need to bring the throughput, because they don't have as much going for them as other healing specs. The problem is, once the FOTM fad wears off, and once the outrage over perceived throughput discrepancies set in, there's the real danger their output will get nerfed, and they won't have the utility/cooldowns to fall back on. I could see a situation like Resto Druids in early Dragon Soul repeating itself.
Shaman - A few class design factors will make them most likely mandatory and less likely to be squeezed out of raid spots to make way for monks than paladins/druids/priests will be. No other spec brings the 10% HP buff and no other spec brings something as powerful as Mana Tide (and with regen being much tighter across the board in MoP - it will become more significant). Also, Stormlash Totem is a huge factor; we have to see just how significant a DPS boost each Stormlash will be, but on a heavy DPS check fight (and assuming that all healers are acceptably equal), I could see world first guilds stacking Resto Shaman for the DPS boost. Spread AoE healing is still an issue, although it's somewhat improved with new Chain Heal/Riptide glyph options. Being the only spec without a tank cooldown at all is a bit concerning, but they do have 2 effective raid cooldowns (Spirit Link/Healing Tide). I suspect Shaman throughput will continue to be balanced to be at or near the bottom of the specs to balance around the high amount of spec unique utility.
Druids - From first glance, it looks like a lot of the complaints with the spec have been resolved. A tank CD was added, Lifebloom can be moved to a new target with a single GCD, Regrowth can be glyphed into a Flash Heal for single target burst and Harmony and Lifebloom have had their durations increased. Burst AoE healing still looks a bit sketchy still, but they will likely be relatively high throughput healers. The problem they don't really bring anything unique to the table, their blanket HoT type niche is being crowded by monks, and that could mean they're the first spec squeezed out of raid representation.
Priests - I haven't really looked as closely at priests as I have at other classes. Holy seems like they have barely changed it at all, so it will probably stay average to below average. Disc looks interesting. There will probably be a lot of fights where Spirit Shell will be really OP in the hands of a skilled player, although I still think it needs to be better than a 1:1 ratio.
Paladins - Paladins look like a complete mess currently. The loss of passive spell haste is really going to hit the spec hard, because (at least pre-Dragon Soul Holy Radiance craziness), fast, efficient single target heals have always been the Holy Paladin niche. Now, they have no real advantage as a single target/tank healer over any other healing spec unless the fight is highly Beacon favorable. Holy Radiance has gone through another complete re-iteration, which is effectively a 70-80% nerf over how it is on live, which is likely to make it not even worth casting unless they can come up with a balanced solution. This makes paladin AoE healing back to being the bottom of the pack (and they no longer have the tank healing niche to fall back on). On top of that, they are the only healing spec that brings no unique raid utility or cooldown to the table, with Aura Mastery/Devo Aura given to all 3 paladin specs. They will still have a niche on fights where two tanks are taking heavy damage at the same time, but outside of that, they're probably the first healer you bench or make respec.
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