Ask a beta healer

Hey everyone, hope your friday hasn’t been as eventful as mine. Electrical problems have been plaguing the train systems here. Some areas are single track only. Ended up being late for my chemistry class (but thats okay, it was a refresher on scientific notation, moles and balancing and oh my god its been 6 years since I’ve seen this stuff).

I hit 85 over the past week on beta and if you’re curious, I wrote about my experience and thoughts on healing so far. You can see Lodur’s done the same here as well.

So for a rainy friday post, I wanted to open the floor to you guys. Feel free to ask any questions about the beta or healing or instances below. Come monday, I’ll try to round them all up into an answers post. I admit, I’m not as well versed in the state of paladins or druids so far. Hopefully I can tap into the wisdom of both Kurn and Lissanna (I think I ran into her in Twilight Highlands as I was leveling, but I can’t be sure). Of course, I’ll try to harass Lodur as well if there are any Shamanistic shenanigans I should know about.

Anyway, whatever your healing class and whatever your questions, I’ll see if I can answer to them. If I can’t, I’ll find someone who might know.

Have a good weekend!

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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.


  1. If you need my help with something, let me know. I’m a couple bubbles from 85, but I’ve been healing & running instances on my moonkin (with other people healing), so I have a good handle on the current beta state of druids. I’m hoping to run more instances “soon” now that resto druids have a full set of glyphs to work with.

  2. I think you could lifegrip flightform druids, but I think they want it to be limited to people in your party/raid, right?

  3. Deandre - Dalaran says:

    Can you grip people while moving or while jumping?

  4. I’ve been hearing a lot of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth over resto druid changes. Some of itsimply QQ for no longer being able to push HPS with two spells, but also some possibly worrisome developments:

    1) Our single target healing is not competitive and we will end up being “OT healers” at best, and yet our raid healing will be significantly nerfed – possibly making us the worst healing class in the game;

    2) Other healing classes bring additional healing utility that resto druids do not. Our utility was our remarkable throughput. With that gone, and no utility to replace, why bring a druid healer?

    3) Our “heal types” (HoT, Short/expensive, Long/cheap) etc. are not competitive with other healing classes.

    4) Some of the talents/talented effects are lackluster

    Keep in mind these are observations I’ve heard/read. Math makes my brain go all woozy, so I usually prefer to make my own judgements in a more hands-on manner (yet that beta invite remains elusive 😉 )

    My own concern is that when I was heal lead, I utilized a layered approach to healing – not a big fan of assigning groups. I had my two tank healers and my priests/shammies/druids were to keep everyone alive. Maybe it was just our group synergy, but my team knocked it out of the park healing-wise. My personal fear is that come Cata, we won’t be able to be dynamic in our assignments. Just how badly does mana management affect healing assignment sensibilities?

    Another concern is this idiocy regarding having healers DPS to get mana back – even if this is “toss two wraths and heal, it’s still a pain. How intrusive is this mechanic proving to be or is it negligible?

    Anyway, keep up the great work. 🙂

  5. Happy to help out if you like. I plan to ding 85 and hit up some instances this weekend. My experience while healing has been, er, weird. In some cases, it’s a breeze. In others, it’s more painful than BC heroics.

  6. I think some of the consternation is unfounded. Healing the new Cataclysm 5 mans sounds a lot like healing Wrath 5 mans…if you’re doing it with undergeared toons in normal instances. Get a healing alt to 70, and try to heal normal UK sometime – you’re undergeared, more than likely your tank is undergeared, the tank may or may not know the fights or their class, same for the DPS…surprise surprise, you can barely make it through trash pulls with your mana intact.

    I think a lot of the problem is that healing 25 mans, where everyone is geared and knows what they are doing more or less, is a very different experience than healing a new 5 man, and that is something we haven’t done in a long time.

  7. I agree with you to an extent, Felade. I remember having a lot of grief in my first few UK runs on my Disc Priest, and eventually resolved to come back after questing in NR a decent amount.

    However, as a Paladin, I feel Blizzard haven’t managed what they set out to do. I’ve felt vulnerable during AoE. Granted, it’s been manageable, but I haven’t reached the higher end of the cataclysm dungeon spectrum yet. Most of my gear still beats quest rewards. To top it off, my weaker-geared Holy Priest seems to plain outperform my poor Pally in most respects.

    With the new talent tree, everything seems to be modifying Holy Shock, even moreso than it did Intellect in Wrath. I find myself counting down the cooldown on the damn spell, as it’s just plain better than everything else. Stronger than Holy Light, faster than Flash of Light (and also not sickeningly expensive) and more efficient than Divine Light. AND it gives Holy Power. AND it makes my next Holy/Divine Light faster. AND I can cast it whilst moving.

    Just like on my Disc Priest alt, when I was starting to raid with him. much like I struggled to keep up between Bubbles and Penance, I either fall behind or chew through mana between Holy Shocks and Words of Glory. Word of Glory itself is just Holy Shock with a different resource for Holy Paladins, only it doesn’t have so many handy procs.

    The new Light of Dawn spell seems pretty useless; its output per person is very low, it costs a large amount of mana as well as eats Holy Power, it has a 30 second cooldown and also has a small-ish range of effect. While our other healing spell is significantly better, it also shares a 30 second cooldown. Having only those two AoE healing spells, and a beacon that’s only strong enough to keep a non-tank going, it’s a bit nerve-wracking at times. Especially as I’d rather use my Holy Power on Word of Glory, which is plain better.

    Flash of Light is entirely outclassed by Holy Shock, and Divine Plea’s mortal strike effect makes most spells vastly inefficient, except for – you guessed it – Holy Shock. At least we still have the seal that lets us melee enemies for mana.

    To top it off, they seem to have taken away our only passive ‘healing’ spell, Sacred Shield. Beacon appears to be more useful on a DPS or myself rather than the tank, since it generally means I don’t have to worry about them at all during AoE, whilst it’s only a small buffer on a tank’s health pool.

    I don’t know where I stand, really. I’m getting used to the situation fast, and it doesn’t yet seem as bad as I was told, but I feel with lack of gear, the higher level instances are going to be more painful than they’re worth. For now, anyway. I’m fairly excited about the new healing approach, but I’m not satisfied with the feel Paladins have.

  8. I think it is clear that Paladins and Druids need some help. They seem to be adjusting

  9. As someone who absolutely loves the way my Paladin has played throughout Wrath I’ve kept a careful eye on the Catanews. I’ve also tried very hard to trust that Bizzard knows what it wants and what it’s doing, and that they’ll get it right.

    About three/four builds ago I like very much what I was seeing on paper with regards to Holy Paladin talents. The last couple of passes have left me feeling underwhelmed and concerned.

    On the other hand, I’ve read more than a few reports from the beta that says the new Paladin healing model is fun, and that it’s not as horrible as many people make it out to be (I know that for a lot of people, any change is bad, bad, bad, and they react to anything different with a knee-jerk ‘the sky is falling!’).

    Any further word from any Betadins would be greatly appreciated!

  10. They aren’t going to ship a game where Paladins somehow can’t heal 5 man instances. Paladins are going through a lot of changes (again) so it is to be expected that they’ll have a few more kinks than the other healers. Remember, beta is beta.

  11. Felade – I think familiarity and reliance on people to know what they’re doing is part of the problem I’ve encountered on beta, but not the entire problem. I’ve levelled a priest, shaman and druid (all primarily as healers) through Wrath as basically undergeared toons with only the chest and shoulders and a weapon as decent gear (the heirlooms). I’ve healed Utgarde Keep at 68 with all three of those healing classes and suffered through a variety of tanks and DPS who didn’t know what they were doing and still managed to get through if only because I had an idea as to how to work the class I was playing.

    Considering the trouble I had a few builds ago (6? 7?) healing Blackrock Caverns and Throne of the Tides as a paladin in mostly 264 and 277 gear, even when crowd control was used a lot, it makes me nervous. These are the entry-level dungeons. The mechanics aren’t all that challenging, but the damage output vs. my healing output was just ridiculous. This was before Word of Glory/Holy Power was introduced and before I got Holy Radiance at 83, but if someone with my experience and gear was having trouble just putting out enough healing to deal with the incoming damage, it’s a little worrisome.

    Isseit – Sadly, with the recent change to Holy Shock (30% less healing), it now heals for less than Holy Light. They’ve also changed the mana we get back from meleeing/judging with Seal of Insight from 4% of maximum mana to 4% of base mana, which is a huge change in regen, even if all you did was judge regularly to keep the judgement debuff up (which is either gone or temporarily missing at the moment anyways).

    I agree with you that we’re lacking in AOE heals. Light of Dawn is the most lacklustre 31-point talent considering that even with 3 charges of Holy Power, it only hits for about 4k per person (and doesn’t heal you, either). Holy Radiance is much more situational due to the range requirements, but Speed of Light’s speed boost helps here.

    jeffo – Three or four builds ago was a fun time. Holy Power was new, Word of Glory was new, you could get 2 charges of Holy Power via Holy Shocking your beacon target… there was some actual synergy between the spells we were using and our talents.

    All – Ultimately, I think I got a taste of what Blizzard wants things to be like when I healed a Grim Batol run the other day, but I don’t THINK a DK tank healing himself for 17k on most Death Strikes is really what Blizzard planned. If I’d had to deal with extra damage that the DK wasn’t healing himself for, it wouldn’t have been nearly as pleasant a run as it was. I still used Lay on Hands on some trash, definitely used Hand of Sacrifice, even had to BOP the tank on a buggy boss encounter, but it was absolutely within my own capabilities as a healer — but that includes insane amounts of self-healing, plus one of the passives a blood DK has. They get a shield for about half of what their Death Strike hits for. So not only was he healing for 17k, but he was shielding himself regularly for 8.5k.

    If you remove all of that, I probably would have spent half the run in a state of panic…

    I’m not inclined to panic about paladin stuff quite yet, but the removal of Illumination, the changes to Divine Plea and Seal of Insight, plus the fact that our “go-to” heal of Holy Light hits for like, 7k and takes 2.5 seconds to cast (talented!)… it’s all frightening on paper. I hope to get into more instances this weekend and report back on my blog.

  12. Kurn –

    You’re more undergeared than you think because you’re running in there with gear that’s (the wrath equivalent of) 4 or 5 levels of gear below what you should have. There’s no gear in those last zones, so you and everyone in your group is undergeared. Also, unlike UK with a group of 68s, you don’t know the fights – no one does. Consider how bad some people are at 5 mans even when they know (or have had ample opportunity to learn) how to do the fights.

    You can worry yourself sick about the beta, but it really doesn’t matter one whit (except in the feedback you provide blizzard) until we see how it goes on live. It seems clear to me that 1) whenever Blizzard wants something to be balanced, it becomes balanced 2) if there is something that becomes unbalanced (in Blizzard’s view) they balance it.

    I know 1) is probably controversial, but really, even when you bring up some serious balance issues we’ve had in Wrath (Ret in Season 5, DK tanks in late Naxx/early Ulduar) Blizzard has gone out to fix the issues.

    I’m not saying Blizzard is perfect (not by a long shot), and their philosophy has changed each expansion pack. They are pretty committed (see: dungeon finder doesn’t filter class, for instance) to every class of every spec being able to do their jobs in 5 mans. If it isn’t that way, they’ll fix it. If it isn’t that way in the beta, say so to Blizzard. Don’t say “I feel worried or concerned” say “X, Y and Z are problems”.

    I think people worry way too much about their class. If you look at live right now, yes there are issues, but there isn’t really any class (there are a few specs) that you would just out of hand not let them do an encounter (even heroics) or just leave behind completely. That’s about as good balance as you’re going to get in a game as complex as this, and of course, they’re working on improving it. I go through raid after raid and hear “OMG THAT CLASS CANNOT DO X Y Z IT IS IMPOSSIBLE RAWR” and unless we’re talking about something silly like Shaman tanking I’ve been able to prove them wrong (whether it’s my class or theirs) pretty much every time. Don’t try to figure out what your class *can’t* do – figure out what you *can* do with your class.

    WOW is really about player, then gear, then class. I think you’re underestimating how much gear will really make a difference. And if it doesn’t I think it is clear that they want Paladins to be able to heal 5 mans without too much difficulty – or at least no more or less than the other healing classes.

  13. The short version of druid problems:
    A) Mastery that goes against what people’s instincts tell them to do (ie. people want to use HOTs on targets at high health, and direct heals on targets who are about to die.

    B) HOTs just aren’t as good in Cata as they were in WotLK in general. They’re too mana expensive to “roll” like we do now for AOE healing, so we really only have one AOE healing tool these days (wild growth), and otherwise we’re limited to reactive single-target heals.

    C) lifebloom is super sucky, and Blizzard seems to want to tie our set bonuses to a spell I’d rather just not cast at all

    D) Regrowth is great. If I had endless mana, I’d spam regrowth around all the time. Unfortunately, my mana is limited.

    E) shifting into tree form encourages you to only use high mana spells and drains your mana pool super fast.

  14. I am also worried about the state of resto druids in Cataclysm. Everything that Lissanna said (and that has been repeated in many blogs and comments) has not been addressed in any way by Blizzard. Are there not enough resto druids in beta, or are they just not bothering to post their woes on the beta feedback forums?

    My questions:
    1) Is our current mana inefficiency a result of poor gear? All healers go oom in normal instances in Wrath, even in heirlooms. How do we compare in terms of mana efficiency to other healers that fill a similar healing niche?
    2) I have heard opinions that we went from 2 spell healers using Rejuv and WG to 2 spell healers using Nourish and LB because that’s all we can afford mana-wise. Is that true?
    3) Seeing that health pools in Cata are much much bigger, how does the Efflorescence from Regrowth fit? Is it like a Trauma proc, but scaled down proportionally because of health pools? Does it stack if 2 or more people in the same cluster get the crit effect?
    4) What is the status of Swiftmend? Are the cooldown reducing effects in effect and worth it? How does it compare with other big heals mana-wise?

  15. Most of those questions are hard to answer, honestly.

    1) It could be a gear problem, but it might not be. I have no way to know until they itemize.

    2) I can’t just cast LB & Nourish. Also, the nourish refreshing LB mechanic is currently bugged and not working right. If you cast nothing but those two spells, I can guarantee that people will die. You have to cast other heals.

    3) Effloresence stacked as of the last beta build. I haven’t tested that this build, and no idea if it will stack on the live servers.

    4) Swiftmend requires a HOT to be on the target, and there isn’t always a HOT on the target when I need a quick heal, so I’m more likely to use regrowth than swiftmend when a target really needs burst healing fast. I could try to use more swiftmend, though.

  16. All things told, should we be concerned that what we are seeing now has just been pushed to the PTR or will additional balancing/tweaking continue and the ptr refreshed?

    Also, I’m just curious if the changes in how druids need to approach healing is in alignment with how other classes are being changed. It’s not: do we all have the same spells, or the same buffs, but if you look at the resto druid toolkit is it as effective as the priest toolkit or the shammy or the pally for how we need to approach healing? Blizzard has been well known to forget to provide classes with functionality (remember when Moonkins had no aggro-dump? They still don’t outside of their racial, but at least they eventually got something).

    I just still seem to be getting the impression that our most effective heal is gone, we’re being forced into using a spell that isn’t doing what it should for being our “most important spell” that we are being forced to burn through mana unnecessarily for our “hokey smokes” moments and all the little talents are lackluster at best. And this at a time where other classes are, well, not blindly saying “yay” but are definitely putting out a happier vibe overall.

    I’ve been busting out all my spells in anticipation of Cata, so it’s not like I’m concerned about being weened away from rejuv/WG spam. I’m just going to be very unhappy if (everything else being equal and level appropriate), all the other classes are properly tuned with some fun talents and resto druids are sitting there in our potato costumes saying “I got a rock”.

    I’m not gonna give up on my druid, I’m a scrapper and I’m more than happy to needle the devs, but I know a fair number of resto druids on my server are already powerleveling/gearing other classes for a class change come Cata. Pretty harsh considering some of them are saying they’d rather sacrifice all of their achievements on their current mains in order to have a healing class they feel is more functional.

  17. This is a bit discouraging. The funny thing is before the feedback I saw here, I would have pegged druids as the most powerful healers in this expansion for a few reasons.

    In the scenario where you don’t want to keep everyone at 100%, a druid functions much more efficiently. I’ve found in our current raid setup (granted its 10 man), druids suffer because the pally healers bomb the ever loving crap out of anything that even so much as takes a hint of damage. Druid healing takes time, and if you can’t let it tick 2-3 times, our heals are wasted. In theory, cataclysm healing sounds like it should be geared toward druid healers.

    Unfortunately it sounds like mana is such a huge drain and issue that we just can’t maintain any semblance of healing proactively which is where druids used to shine. You could prep for damage by spreading around your HOTS and be ready for the spike. Now it sounds like its just too cost prohibitive to be casting anything before any damage has arrived.

    Eh… well I look at it this way… Blizzard usually delivers on their promise to make things balanced. Druids are usually the last ones tweaked because they are the hardest to balance (considering they are one of the ONLY classes capable of filling every single role in a raid). So they really need to take their time on balancing druids abilities so you don’t get tanks and dps that just rip off amazing stuff.

  18. Deandre - Dalaran says:

    If they nerf the everliving crap out of the AoE from our side of things, are they doing the same to the dungeons? Or are they at least keeping it to mostly avoidable AoE like puddles of bad crap?

  19. I’ve heard a report from a friend’s friend’s friend that GC has stated in a blues post that Druids need more work. I’m inclined to say “ss or it didn’t happen.”

  20. I will actually be starting the Beta this weekend and I plan on taking a LOT of notes and being VERY vocal about things I feel need to be changed. We already have a few folks that are crusading very hard for us (<3 Lissanna), but I don't think we can speak loudly enough to insist things change for the better. It's optimistic to state that druids come last in balancing and we're sure Blizz will get around to it – but I want to make sure they come around to it.

    I should not be this full of the urge to re-roll to something else and I should not be enjoying the talent trees and the data coming out about said class more than my own. I love this class and I would like to continue loving it into the next expansion… and others after that.

  21. I had a chance to play on the PTR and though I can’t talk to numbers, Efflorescence is definitely a FUN talent.

    The first thing that happens is that I spam the people around me until Eff procs. Eventually, someone notices they’re standing in a green pancake. There’s a comment about “where’d this come from?” Others will start jumping into the pancake. I had one player jump from proc to proc, like hopscotch.

    As this goes on, the area gets more crowded. I keep spamming. I found Mana was not catastrophic, btw. I expected far more loss. I have about 35K mana on the PTR.

    But to continue. As the area gets more crowded, other *healers* come out and suddenly I’m enveloped green pancakes, shiny bubbles, ground rumbles and blasts of light. This then evolves into group heal-spams amongst the healers.

    Aside from just brining a little bit of fun to what is otherwise a boring PTR (what else is there to do if you can’t find groups to test out your new specs?) I was trying to see how long I could go before I OOMed, how Efflorescence interacted, procced, etc.

    I found that Effloresence procced a lot. You could also “stack” the *effect*. I am not sure of the healing stacks though. I am also not sure if it hits only at the beginning either, because I saw people get their Regrowth, move and then drop the pancake. I found it encouraging that everyone seemed to know to stand in the green pancake, but my fear is the effect is just too similar to evil pancakes, and we really can’t have well-meaning raiders figure out the hard way they have the wrong pancake.

    I can’t talk to numbers because 1) I was healing people at full health doing nothing more than standing around and 2) Math and I are not on speaking terms.

    I am really liking the talent though and am encouraged about the spec overall. However, I still am dying to get some hands-on dungeon time in and see for myself what’s doing.

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