7 Important Healing Lessons I Learned from 1 Quest

Blizzard quest developers, please read this. I’m writing a request and I don’t know if it’s in your plans for Cataclysm.

I want to share with you a story when I started out as a wee, young Priest. After farming for hours on end in Darkwhisper Gorge and taking down Majordomo Executus with my guild at the time, I had finally united The Eye of Divinity and The Eye of Shadow. All that remained was to complete the Balance of Light and Shadow and I’d get my Benediction.

That quest singlehandedly taught me how to raid heal. How?

Eris Havenfire, the quest giver was not able to save the peasants that were trying to escape from Stratholme. I was asked to try to do what she could not do: Save as many peasants as possible. If 15 peasants were lost, it was game over.

I remember standing on the hill frantically Renewing everyone that was going by and Flash Healing those who were at critically low health. Even though I had already cleared Molten Core a few times, this was truly a humbling quest. Peasants would spawn at different places. They would have varying degrees of health. Some would move at different rates. Others would be pursued by skeletons. Many were afflicted with a disease.

And it took me a disappointing 14 tries before I finally managed to get through it (Oil of Immolation did the trick).

What I learned

  • Target priority – Skeleton archers were picking off peasants as they ran by and the diseases weren’t helping either. Priests had to know who was going to die first and heal accordingly. Just because some peasants were below 50% didn’t mean they were going to die. Oftentimes, it was the peasants at full health being drilled by Skeleton Warriors and suffering from diseases that were the ones in danger.
  • Spell priority – If all you have is a hammer, every problem is going to be viewed as a nail. I had to rethink which spells I wanted to use next. Not every healing problem is best solved by repeated use of Flash Heal. While yes it does bring peasants above the near death zone, it wasn’t the best answer all the time. Abolish Disease or Renew would have been the better choice.
  • Reading the health bar – With the health bar up, I could deduce how much each weapon swing was hitting the peasant for. Knowing this, I was able to figure out how much time a peasant could go without healing before they fell. It played a big part when I prioritize healing targets.
  • Value of HoTs – Renew was a spell that I often thought was fairly useless. I could wait out the whole duration for it to work its magic or I could drop a quick Flash Heal on the target and call it a day. With so many targets, I needed to use Renew. The point of Renew was never to top off the peasants. It was to keep them alive long enough for them to get to that white light. I rightly gauged that a Renew on a peasant would be enough to keep them alive from Skeleton Archers as long as they weren’t afflicted with a disease.
  • Mana management – At the time, I had to rely on downranking spells and using potions to maintain my mana supply. At level 60, I had about 1700 healing power (which translates to a little under 600 spellpower by today’s numbers). My mana regeneration was a paltry 150ish MP5. Holy Nova would clear out skeletal mobs with a few ticks but it would also trash my mana pool. I had to keep a very close eye on the mana bar and use cheap spells when I felt I could get away with it.
  • Cleansing – Another early mistake I had was not removing diseases and thinking I could simply brute force heal the damage that was done. Now that might be fine with 1 or 2 targets. But when you’re trying to save 50 peasants where most of them have been infected, getting rid of the infection might be considered a smart move.
  • Shaking out tunnel vision – Unfortunately, there are no raid frames to use. I had to rely on constant toggling of name plates (and all I had were the default ones at the time) in order to look at their health. I’d often be so glued to my raid frames in Molten Core, I’d miss the obvious player who had been targeted with Living Bomb (an ability where the player explodes and deals massive damage to anyone else around them). I was able to see which peasants were likely going to be in danger first simply by watching which ones were being chased by skeletons. Just follow the path since they run in a straight line. This bought me a few extra seconds since I could anticipate their targets easily.

I understand that there it’s against the current WoW philosophy to introduce class quests again.

But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with inserting in role related quests. I’d like to see a Shaman, Paladin, or Druid try their hand at that quest. I imagine that they would take a completely different approach. It would be difficult to balance the four healing classes around such a quest and I wouldn’t dream of suggesting where to start. But at the very least, please consider it. I wouldn’t have become the healer today had I not completed that quest.

The Rhok’delar questline taught hunters how to kite (I think). If there’s any Vanilla hunters, how difficult was that quest when you were 60? What was it like then?

This would be simple Warcraft Mechanics 101 type quests. Tutorials disguised as quests that can help new players L2P! Quests that underscore the basic mechanics of the game would do wonders for new players who don’t understand different concepts. The random dungeon tool exposed me to players who had no idea what threat meant or what CCing was.

For tanks, maybe a quest on how to generate threat. Or how to maintain threat on multiple mobs as they try to juggle them around pylons (like a driver’s test).

For DPS, a quest on the basics of crowd control (if applicable) or on how to kite (possible for some classes but not others).

For healers, maybe a recreation of a similar scenario above. Healing multiple targets as they try to run away.

How could it be worked into Cataclysm?

Perhaps the town of Healshire is about to get overrun by Deathwings minions and the job of the healer is to protect the evacuees as they make a run for a portal. I don’t know but I’m sure it’d be easy to insert that lore.

Please. Recreate that experience. A new generation of players would be all the better for it.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. what would be nice for a DPS quest would be one where they have to hit what the tank is hitting. shouldn’t be to hard to implement.

    really nice post Matticus

  2. I can see it now.. “LF2M Healers for XYZRAID, link [Achievement for Healing Quest], pst!”

  3. I’m a big fan of the mechanic-teaching quests.

    As a hunter, I remember several quests that you had to control your pet or you’d fail. I haven’t been playing my hunter since Vanilla, so the epic bow quest line wasn’t done at 60.

    It’s a crazy thought, but something else that really taught me how to kite is running lower level instances (60-70ish range) solo, or with one other person, preferably a healer since bandage spec takes too long.

    Ultimately if you’re challenging yourself to do something by yourself that was originally meant for 20 people, you’re likely to learn something new about your class or spec — and probably be a better raider because of it.
    .-= Morynne´s last blog ..In-Depth: Hunter Tier 10 =-.

  4. I 100% agree with you. I *just* did this quest on my level 80 priest after getting the Eye of Divinity from an RP run in Molten Core.

    I failed this quest probably far more times than you did, even at level 80. Since we cannot downrank anymore, even a simple renew was eating 800 mana, and cleanse disease the same amount. I ran out of mana more times than you would think possible for a level 80 on a level 60 quest.

    Finally getting it down those was an amazing accomplishment, and I learned more about mana management from that quest than I learned anywhere else. It was a great experience, and I wish Blizz would create more quests like it.

  5. Oh what a fantastic post.
    On so many levels.
    I -for one- had almost completely forgotten about this quest from back in vanilla. And this is exactly the sort of thing this game needs.
    Maybe even have this as a quest that needs to be completed in order to open up heroics. (then again, that would mean that some classes needed to do more than one of the quests, and some only one of the quests..)

    Maybe if it was implemented as a 3part vehicle quest thing, where everyone needed to both heal, tank and dps -of sorts.

  6. I have been following many WoW sites for years and this is one of the BEST posts i have seen in a long time. I agree that blizzard should add these kind of tutorial quests back into the game. There are still core things about being a good tank and threat generation that i learned from things in vanilla that you just dont see in BC and WotLK. I keep finding myself frustrated with some players’ lack of understanding when it comes to game mechanics only to find out that they simply never learned them. There is a way to keep the game appealing to casual players while also keeping the difficulty above that of Club Penguin. I’d like to see that.

    • @Orikujjin: Thanks for the words. Every once in a while I’ll dig deep and manage to strike some kind of a cord with most readers. Glad to see this was one of them ^^.

  7. Oh I wish they would do something like this again! I came in near the end of vanilla and never had the chance to do the benediction quest and it would be great if they had something similar tuned to today’s game. It speaks wonders to a player’s abilities if they are able to complete these types of challenges and wish there were more in the game to do at this level of play.
    .-= Napps´s last blog ..List of abilities to add to Grid for ICC encounters =-.

  8. The hunter quest, prior to the trap change (when you could drop traps in combat, this happened a bit prior to the release of TBC, if I can recall correctly) was dangerously hard depending on your circumstances. You had to utilize most, if not all, of the aspects… including Beast, where if you screwed up, you be dead for reals.

    You couldn’t have any one help you directly (that didn’t mean a dwarf priest back in the day couldn’t fear ward you, or a shaman to drop a grounding totem to eat fears), which made it difficult.

    Also, to add— I think the best way I learned how to raid heal wasn’t through the priest class quest (which I never did until WotLK, when I cared enough) but was through experiences in raiding in general. That, and whack-a-mole. :p
    .-= Hikari´s last blog ..Rabble rabble rabble… =-.

  9. Shamelessly self promoting me riffing over this very nice post:
    .-= dw-redux´s last blog ..ideas for Cataclysm (Thanks Matt) =-.

  10. You are a true leader and healer mentor. How sweet you are in anticipating the need for that next generation of healers! It is a good idea, and one I would benefit from greately if I was just starting out, heck and probably even now! Nicely done.

  11. I sadly was never around for Vanilla, but it already makes me sad that quests like these don’t exist anymore. The problem with being such a vast game is that you don’t have to play it one certain way. With that, comes people ignoring the motivation to learn the different mechanics available. Sure, there are Target Dummies, but there are no incentives to learning how to CC, or how to manage your threat, or how to build proper threat, or tank multiple mobs.

    If only the devs would take this post to heart, Matt. I know we all hope they do.

  12. Since you asked, I did the hunter “epic quest” back in vanilla. And believe me, the quotes shouldn’t be there, because it truly was epic. You really had to use your whole arsenal. You needed to figure out the weaknesses of the four demons you needed to kill and use them against them.

    The sad part is that you could spawn the demons, then get another hunter to kill it for you. (It had to be a hunter. If a non-hunter aggroed the demon it would oneshot him/her.) I am halfway proud to say that I only asked for help with one of the four demons. Ironically, this was the one that had to be kited. I just was so sick of running into trees all the time… I didn’t learn proper kiting until TBC, Mount Hyjal.

    I would really love to see this kind of quests again though, it truly added flavour to the game. I had to learn healing the “hard” way on my shaman, by jumping into the deep end of the pool, doing instances.

  13. 14 tries Matticus? For shame! I did it in 6, though two attempts were lost because I was ganked while I was halfway through the quest (PvP server).

    This was a fantastic quest though, and very difficult at the time. Probably my all-time favorite by far.
    .-= Malekk´s last blog ..Comparing 10 and 25 person Raids =-.

  14. One thing that still irks me is that I have never completed the Benediction quest. I still have an Eye of Shadow and Eye of Divinity sitting in my bank, mocking me.

    Like Raydra said, this quest is still ridiculously hard even at 70 now that downranking has changed. I haven’t tried it since 80, so maybe I can do it now. My main complaint is exactly the things that you hold out as advantages, though. Because I have no raid frame, I couldn’t keep up with the situation. (Being on a 5fps machine when I was 60 didn’t help.) If I could see more than 15 yards or so with nameplates, I’m confident I would have crushed that quest, but I’m very reliant on the party/raid interface. Given that the interface is a ubiquitous part of the game, I disagree on whether or not quests should ignore it.

  15. A quest for DPS, to learn how wo watch aggro and to assist the tank. I run arcane so I don’t have a lot of threat, but if I am in a random pug with a tank significantly less geared then me, and I am talking a difference of 2k in gearscore, I have to watch my threat constantly.

    Now that I have a low level (42) warrior that I am learning to tank with, I wish more players knew how to assist and watch threat.

  16. Quests like these would have done me wonders in the beginning. I wish I had done it early on and now I’ll do it just to prove to myself I can! 🙂

  17. Benediction… this quest was my favorite of all time. A couple of guild friends leant moral support as I struggled thru the quest (more attempts than i want to admit to) … a sense of satisfaction in the end that has not been matched since. Benediction still sits in my number one bank slot!

    Great article… for the memory it invoked and for the possibility that the developers consider the future benefits of similar events!

  18. yess! Benediction is by far one of my favorite quests in the game ^^ I have done it on three priests, at 60, 70, and 80. first attempt every time ^^ I love that quest so much.

    I was reading like CRAZY and preparing for it when i first did it at 60 for a long long time! (Watching vids, reading guides, and so much more!) When I finally got my Eye of Divinity, my friends and i ran out and farmed Eye of Shadows off the mobs in Winterspring. I had a TON of those Oil of Immolation in my bank that i had prepared for this moment (my priest was an alchemist)! Then we headed to the Plaguelands, and we found a group of alliance who were waiting for the same quest giver. Back then we could still Mind-Control /emote talk so we did that with the other priest and we all got on the same vent to chat. I let their priest go first and unfortunately he failed it, but we were all cheering him on 🙂

    I had to wait 2 hours for the girl to respawn, and when i logged back on someone else was already doing their quest! I had to wait another 2 hours and i finally got my Benediction at about 6am iirc. I still had a bunch of buffs my friends gave my character hours before and i was running out of Oils, when the quest finally completed i realized i could breath again. XD

    I have one of my best game memories surrounding that silly quest ^^ they should definitely add more class-quests into the game, I miss those!!

  19. Yes, the Benediction quest was epic 🙂

    I got it at 2nd try but only because I used oil of immolation and had a guild druid with thorns on standing on the way and passively helping to get rid of the skellies.
    I still have the staff in bank 🙂

    Yes, I’d also love seeing more of these quests that teach harder class mechanics.

  20. Back in vanilla, I failed this quest more times to Horde interference than my own failings.

    It took a 3 am attempt to finally get it done.

  21. Sadly, I never had a chance to do the level 60 hunter quest, though I did it at 80 when it was a joke. I really wish I’d had that chance.

    Unfortunately, as I didn’t really start playing until Wrath, I learned to kite on Gluth 10-man. Just you and healer trying to keep a bunch of zombies busy while the rest of the raid depends on you. For seasoned kiters, I’m sure it’s no problem. But for a while I was the only hunter in the group and had never had to rely on kiting. As much as I hate that fight, it really did make me a better hunter.

  22. I completely agree with you about that quest.

    After a retro raid run netted my t8ish holy priest the Eye of Divinity, I decided to put together Benediction and was completely ashamed when I failed the quest the first *two* times. Sure I toggled on the NPC health bars but I hadn’t realized how dependent I’d become on raid frames after years of healing both as a priest and a druid. Since downranking spells is worthless now I also, gasp, ran out of mana thinking I was uber enough to Holy Nova my way through it.

    As you say, the key to that event really is cleansing the disease, watching who’s being targeted by the zombies and honestly, knowing when to let some of the peasants die in order to save more of the others. All of which are key raid healing lessons. In fact, knowing when you simply can’t, or shouldn’t bother to, keep someone alive is probably the best healing lesson I ever learned — while I learned that way back in Wailing Caverns, it was humbling to revisit the rules in a lowbie class quest.

  23. I like the idea of the tank quest. However, I think it would need to be more of a stresstest, where multiple adds come in that could easily kill anyone but you, come in from behind but need to be placed in front from randomly in the room, with you needing to generate as much threat on a target as possible while ensuring the next spawn hits no one else. Basically, a solo version of the Yogg-Saron encounter would do with the addition of a colorful stuff on your feet and you need to move mechanic.

    I can also attest to the fact that the Rhok’delar questline was the definitive kiting questline. Considering all the mobs were unleashed from their points, it was up to you to decide what buffs you wanted, what pots to use and the best route to take. It tested your ability to trap/prep and kite. Of course, once UBRS was nerfed, Kiting General Drakkisath was probably the easier way to start.

  24. I whole-heartedly agree with you here – Blizzard really should re-introduce such quests, also in a l2p yet friendly manner. I don’t think those quests should necessarily lead to achievements that people in /2 then start yapping about “LFM1 healer ICC25, must have gearscore 5k+ and [Healer L2P Quest] completed!”, but I do think it would be a good way to measure progress.

    The point about the random HCs is good. Since 3.3 hit, I have done a ton of the random HCs and I have sometimes been shocked by how little players know about their class. If I then could simply refer them to a quest they could do on their server (cross-realm HC means I cant give tips after the HC) then that would be great.

    Also, thanks for a great blog. I have been a reader for a long time, and I guess this is my first comment.

  25. Great write up!

    I also wish we had more class quests. With the new LFG system in place I predict a lot of players are going to want to level in instances. An interesting idea is to make most quests outside instances class quests.
    .-= Skonged´s last blog ..2009 is gone 2010 is here! =-.

  26. I remember reading up quite a bit before I took a shot at this, back in Vanilla. I had my Oil of Immolation ready to go, bars visible, and leet mana regen gear like my Mindsurge Robe + Mindtap Talisman.

    I got to the NPC, and there was another priest there, getting ready to start herself. I’m not sure if it’s still the case these days, but back then you could ‘cheat’ in a way. A second priest who was also on the same step of the quest could stand perfectly still on top of the questgiver and heal the Peasants. If they moved, though, or if either Priest healed each other, you’d fail it.

    Anyway, I ended up doing it with the other Priest helping, and we got through it on the first try. Still definitely a challenge, though. 🙂

  27. I love this idea. The Druid class quests were a bit less interesting – focused on teaching you forms – but didn’t deal with talented abilities like tree form or laser chicken. I’d love to see some healer-focused quests.

    The Rogue quest — Klaven’s Tower for Alliance — is another great example. It’s only level 20 but it used to be a great test of your rogue skills. Stealth, Pickpocket, Ambush, and Sap were all key to the quest. Now, the elites have been nerfed, so you can just waltz in an murder everyone — much easier but a lot less fun.

  28. I did the epic hunter quest back with 60. It took me around 3 month of trying to finally complete it. Partly because of the fact that anyone could just accidently “help” you which despawned the mob. Or the respawn timer of about 3 hours. But mostly because it was the first time I really had to play my hunter to the limit.

    There where four demons to be killed.

    The one in Winterspring needed to be kited while keeping a dot on him without either coming to near (hitting you with a dot) or to far (resetting) until he was dead. Oh and when you didn’t do any damage on him for too long, he would reset as well. This was arguably the most hated of the four demons among my fellow hunters.

    The one in Ungoro required you the basically melee him, while keeping his pet away from you as long as possible (traps).

    The demon in Silithus required you to damage him from distance while keeping an eye on little bugs coming at you. You had to move in-between shots and now and then do a little AoE to kill them. Oh and a nice little fear that often enough put you right in the middle of the bugs. 😉

    The one I hated the most was the one in Burning Steps. You needed to melee him for a bit, until he enraged. Then you got to hit him with the hunter’s snare, bring some distance between you and the demon and calm him down with the ranged snare. And at that time the minimum shooting distance was 8m. 🙂 But the main problem with this demon was that it was located near the Blackrock and a lot of people we’re traveling the road there. So you got a lot of “help”.

    There was not one instance or event or raid boss fight or anything that did put you to the test as a hunter just as this quest line. And I’ve never encountered this feeling of accomplishment again ever since.
    .-= Lowtec´s last blog ..2010 =-.

  29. That’s quite thought-provoking. I can’t think of a quest that taught me tanking in anywhere near the way that one helped you, back in the day.

  30. Savagefred says:

    For clarification, the demon in the Burning Steppes is a foe that every single hunter should have the opportunity to practice on. I did this demon just before the 2.0 launch, and it took about 20 minutes to finally kill him. This kite is the absolute test of hunter kiting skill, and I loved every minute of it.

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