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.

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