I hate healing dungeons. It didn’t always used to be that way. Cataclysm dungeons (pre-nerf) used to be a great experience. Players had to employ crowd control to su-CC-essfully get through trash pulls. Even Pandaria and the challenge mode system that spawned from it were aspects of the game that I looked forward to.
Something happened over the course of Warlords, to Legion, and then to Battle for Azeroth. The shine began to wear off. The anticipation I used to feel going into fun, 5-man dungeon content morphed into a sense of anxiety and dread. When my guild asked if I wanted to do keys, I began to sidestep and volunteer one of the other healers such as a Druid or a Shaman.
Take one of them! The run would go overall much smoother!
I’d end up doing one key for the week on a Monday night last call just for the weekly chest. Over the course of 3 expansions, I had completely lost my confidence to heal a simple dungeon.
It wasn’t until recently that I finally figured out why. You see, I had been repeatedly exposed to information that being a Holy Priest is a liability in dungeons. Even now, you can discover YouTube videos and Twitch streams of players discussing the states of healers and ranking their perceived performance in various aspects of the game. Holy Priest just isn’t looking that great right now. It’s not because the spec is bad or anything, but the other classes happen to do something better. I would be hard-pressed to name even one thing that a Holy Priest can excel at.
That mindset is going to wear people down just like it did me. Even doing keys now (which I stopped running halfway through July once we began to consistently defeat N’Zoth) where if a tank went down or a wipe occurred, I wouldn’t even bother trying to track down the root cause. Why? It was probably my fault. Except it’s not my fault, it’s because he’s a Holy Priest.
“Group wipe? Not his fault he plays Holy.”
“Tank died? Not his fault he plays Holy.”
“Didn’t 3 chest a key? Not his fault he plays Holy.”
The expectation is that as Holy we’re just going to be good enough and that’s it.
During the end of expansion review, our guild likes to expansion exit interviews individually with the raid (What they liked about the expansion, approach to raiding, things that felt disappointing, things they appreciated, etc). It also gives options for players to switch classes or specs (or roles) going into Shadowlands. It’s a great practice and if your guild doesn’t do this already, I highly recommend it. I’d get asked if I was considering moving to a Monk or a Paladin to heal entering the next tier. I’m sure the question was asked in jest, and the idea was even floated during raids. The subtlety wasn’t lost on me — Holy wasn’t looking too hot and it might be time to go run flavour of the month, people were implying. This, to me, the guy who cleared all of Burning Crusade, Wrath, Cataclysm, and so forth as but a lowly Holy Priest.
It’s enough to make me second guess everything. Why bother even trying hard when the effort to try when everyone already has a pre-conceived notion of performance to begin with, right?
Objectively, it’s going to be difficult for a Holy Priest to competitively heal high keys. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t bother trying to do anything more than a 17. I think my highest was a 19 (timed) during this expansion. The weekly chest change in terms of required activities is a huge relief. I can still get the weekly reward and all I need to do is raid and do the bare minimum when it comes to keys (or skip it entirely, if I so choose later on when I feel I’ve reached a comfortable power level).
I’ve mentally reached the point now where I’ve associated an inability to heal high keys to an inability to heal any key. Maybe we’ll get some help in the legendaries and soulbinds department but I’m not going to hold my breath. I’m still glad I’ll have my cloak back and can pseudo-cheese raids (and be useful for another form of wipe protection, whoo).
That’s an internal mindset problem, though. If I don’t think I can do it and the world is saying that I can’t do it, then there is no point in trying. Here we are with another expansion and what looks to be another two years of mediocrity.