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Hello people of the healing forums. Healing is something that I've wanted to do for quite some time now but never really got into it. I like all of the things healers do and my guildies say that it's really fun. But I do have one problem with it.
It's not the type of competition of worrying about finding a raid spot over other healers but the competition of healing. As a DPS I am competing with my fellow DPS on who can do the most DPS or damage on a single fight. Do healers do that sort of thing? Like I'm a pretty competitive person and that DPS competition is a big thing that makes this game so much fun for me.
Yes and no.
In LFR, people go ape over hps and whatnot. In reality HPS is a very subjective number. You shouldn't be pulling up the meter at the end of every fight and gloating over being the top as a dps would. You are trying to fill your role as a healer the best you can for the class you have chosen. They all have their niches, strengths, and weaknesses. 99% of the time once you've gotten the hang of whatever spec, as long as you are doing your best and not just standing there, you will be fine.
When going up against other healers, especially in 25mans, you are going to run into being sniped. This leads some to piddle around, because they feel they aren't contributing to anything. You will eventually learn the threshold at which you will not be sniped, along with learning fights and knowing when the damage is coming in order to not be sniped/use your appropriate skills.
If you are going to be LFR'ing mostly, I would recommend Monk or Disc. Purely because in LFR 6 healers is overkill. With monk or disc you have the option to dps heal and not be a complete waste of a raid spot when there simply is nothing to heal because 1-2 healers with greater gear are covering most of the healing requirements.
My personal opinion
Shaman has the stacked niche. When there are stack fights, you feel like a god. When there aren't you feel a little helpless. You will constantly be casting, moving, and requires a high level of spacial awareness. My personal favorite.
Pally has great stacked power, and isn't helpless when not stacked. I personally dislike pally healing. It's too proc-y, and a large portion of your healing is almost passive(mastery). The utility of hand spells are nice to have, only if you are actually making use of them. Prob a good starter choice as well.
Priests have an abundance of healing tools, almost too many. No real aoe range limitations. Disc can pretty much just sit there and atonement spam for great result(5.3 changes though). Holy is pretty well rounded. I would recommend priest to anyone wanting to get started healing.
Druid have hots. That's their thing. Sniping occurs more frequently. Auto-pilot aoe heal. Have never given mine much attention outside of pvp. Lifebloom management is what kills druid for me. I want it to bloom, or be able to control it. But you just keep it rolling on the tank, on a relatively short timer that needs to be hawk watched. If you don't want to look at timers, this is not for you.
Monk. Mine is but a baby still. Can't really comment much on it other than as said prior, you get the dps heal option. Monk dps healing is much more rigid and stressful than Disc to make the most of it. You lack complete control over your aoe healing. Choose this to be a special snowflake, for I don't see to many mistweavers running around. Godmode in pvp would be the biggest perk(if that affects your choice).
All my opinion so take with salt. None of the healing specs really get their set of tools until ~60. Before that, they all feel relatively the same(cheap heal, expensive fast, big heal, some sort of filler never used spell til later). The best way to find your healer is to try them though.
Edited by Foc on 4/20/2013 4:02 PM PDT
My suggestion is, go on PTR, and test the different healing classes out at max lvl. See which one fits your playstyle. This is my opinion, focusing on healing meters in raids is kind of silly. Make sure you keep your group alive, don't go oom.
Do some research on the fights, coordinate with your fellow healers, when to use your big healing CD. Some classes are great for tank heals, and others are more suitable for raid heals.
There are fights when one healers shines, and the other don't.
I'm a little biased, but I think Paladins are excellent healers for learning. The direct healing style is more forgiving than the "pre-healing" style required by HoT classes like druid and monk.
Paladins are exceptionally mana efficient, due to Seal of Insight, so if you can manage to stay meleeing the boss throughout the fight you will get a stable mana return in addition to your spirit regen. The biggest downside when levelling a holy paladin? Gear. Get used to dealing with people in dungeon finder yelling at you for needing that cloth helm. Int plate never drops when you have a paladin in the group, and int mail is rare below level 40 because shamans can't wear it before then.
Now, I also play around with a mistweaver monk, and if you want a hectic but very rewarding play style, thats for you. Monks are all about raid blanket healing, with renewing mists, and spamming uplift to use up chi. I'm not sure I'd recommend monks as an introductory healer, however. They don't play like other healing classes; it's a bit of a paladin/druid combination feel.
I have a soft spot for shaman healing. To me it feels powerful and slow. You need good reaction time because shamans don't really have much by way of instant heals, but if you get those casted heals out in time you can do huge amounts of healing, particularly during heavy damage when player health is staying low. Shaman mastery, in the right situation, is obscene!
I would suggest priest or paladin. It almost is down to whether you want to be melee off spec or ranged (or heal/heal).
I loved my druid in Wrath, and to an extent even in Cata, but atonement healing brought me over to the priestly side of things, and I wouldn't give it up now :)
(And I do not like mushrooms, getting healing mushrooms just killed it that much more for me)
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