Death of the Niche Healer

Death of the Niche Healer

Recently a topic has sprung up among many healers. There are lots of blog posts popping up about it so I figured since I’ve been going on about it for a while now, I’ll add my two copper to the public domain here, but first a story.

In the days of vanilla World of Warcraft, each faction had access to 3 healing classes. Priests and druids on both sides and paladins for alliance balanced by shaman for the horde. The lines between the roles of the healing classes was not as defined as it could be, but raids stacked healers and slogged through 40 man content with two simple commandments;

“Heal thy group! Keep thine tanks alive!

Then along came Burning Crusade. The developers evened out the sides and gave everyone access to paladins and shamans despite faction. The developers then looked at the classes and said,

“LET THERE BE HEALER SPECIALTY NICHES!”

Thus healer niches were born. In Burning Crusade each healing class had something it excelled at. Shaman healers fought with priests for the title of group healer supreme, Paladins ruled the tank healer slot and druids were perfect healers to roll between targets. The roles however got a bit too specific. Restoration shaman spent the vast majority of BC casting nothing but Chain Heal, priests spammed Circle of Healing,  paladins Flash of Light and Holy Light spammed and druids just put a hot on everything they could. As healers our jobs could be boiled down to one button push in many cases. Players geared for it and played accordingly. Needless to say this got boring. As a person who cast nothing but Chain Heal through all of Black Temple I can vouch for this.

With Wrath of the Lich King on the horizon, the devs looked upon their world and saw that groups were picking healers based on class and not skill. So from on high they spoke out their voices echoing from the heavens

“LET THERE BE EQUALITY AMONGST HEALERS!”

Thus each healing class was gifted with new tools to help them fill various healing roles in the group. Shaman gained the ability to heal on the move and gained even stronger single target healing, druids joined the ranks of an accomplished swing healer. Priests rejoiced as discipline became an accepted way of life and paladins embraced their bacon. Raid leaders reveled in the choice of skill versus class and the land was truly flowing with milk and honey.

I hope you liked my little story there, I know I enjoyed it. It is however a true story. In the early days of the game no one really cared what the healers were doing as long as everything stayed alive long enough for the boss to drop. In BC everyone had a specific role or at least a lot more so than the one we had in vanilla. As a shaman I personally cast down-ranked chain heal more times in one night raiding than most people blink. Point was people began to take very specific healing classes for encounters as the healing strengths were specifically needed for that encounter. This is largely how BC ended with each healer falling into the category  of raid healing, tank healing and then the specifics of which flavor of each. To be honest it got a little out of hand. There were several points where shaman for example would claim they couldn’t heal Magisters Terrace, and unless they woefully out-geared the place, they were right. Some healers could walk into a 5 man heroic and not break a sweat while others had to work and work hard in even some of the simplest dungeons. It simply wasn’t balanced.

When Wrath came along all of that changed. The game devs actually went out of their way to make sure tools were put in place to allow each healer to fill each role. Whether it was a glyph, a new spell or tweaking talents and abilities, they went all out in trying to sure up healer equality. It has been a balancing act since that’s for sure, and if anyone remembers back in may when I got on my soap box about the State of Chain Heal, in some cases healers were tweaked too much to the point they were way too far homogenized. However even with the hard mode debacle, for the most part there was healer equality. Each of the classes could heal a tank, or heal a group and each could walk into a 5 man heroic and as long as the player was on their feet and paying attention they were capable of doing it. After the last set of tweaks from the devs this became even more the case. As it stands now each of the classes and in the case of priests, each healing spec, is capable of healing a tank or raid healing effectively. While some excel slightly better than others in those varying situations, the truth is they can still perform in the role and that is what evening out the healing lines is all about.

With all the options we have, I for one am very happy. Recently however there has been a new, for lack of a better term here, healer subculture emerging within the community. Players of each of the healing classes / specs are starting to demand their niches again. Whether it’s a shaman demanding to be the king of chain heal once more or a paladin begging to be only useful on tank heals, the proof is out there. People are actively trying to secure a niche in raid groups. This honestly strikes me as odd. Why would you want to go back to a way of doing things that honestly people complained bout incessantly. Why try to cling to a system that forces you to cast only one spell when you have an entire arsenal of heals available to you for any task you could be handed?

That’s the part I don’t get. I’m ok with wanted to be the best at something or even better than someone else but to actively shoe-horn yourself into a single role seems counter productive. As a healer I love being versatile, being able to sling chain heals until I’m blue in the face or swap out and lay some nukes on a tank, I like having the option. As a raid officer and healing lead I enjoy this versatility even more. I love being able to take a disc priest and tear them off of tank healing to make them raid heal. Same goes for shuffling priests and healers. I like being able to give my healers a little variety so they aren’t doing the same thing every day. I like to think they appreciate it as well. What I love most about it though is not having to rely on specific classes to be present to proceed through content like it was back in BC. So after many players struggling for so long to have this amount of versatility, why try to limit yourself. This subgroup centers around the idea that a healer should perform one function incredibly well, but not much else. A perfect example would be shaman who feel that they should only focus on casting and buffing chain heal, while ignoring all other spells.

So after clawing your way out of the niche market to be viable in all circumstances, why try to go back?

That’s it for today folks, until next time Happy Healing!~

What do you think? Do you think healers should focus on their specialty and nothing more? Do you think healer versatility is key?

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About Lodur

Lodur is the right hand shaman to Matticus on World of Matticus, and a recruiting officer of Conquest and Co-Host of For the Lore podcast. Read more of his works at WoW Insider.

Comments

  1. Ah’m watchin’ joo, blueberreh. Ah know joo up ta no good.

    (( I like my healers like I like my coffee: COVERED IN BEEEEEEEEEES. I like this post. ))

  2. the cake is indeed a lie!
    .-= Nanuki´s last blog ..ICC and you – How to priest in the Lower Spire =-.

  3. After reading this all I can think of is cake.

  4. Thromean says:

    I think that those asking for the return of the niche are those, imo, who want a raid slot reserved for themselves and their class rather than exceling so that they deserve a raid slot over competing classes.

    With that being said, i mostly raid heal. However on a couple of ICC and Toravon kills, I have been a tank healer because i had the most throughput of our healers. LHW +ES + glyphs + hasted HW = perfectly fine tank heals. It was a fun change of pace.

  5. Why am I suddenly hungry? 😛

    I think player confusion lies in that, individually, players want to have a niche role in the raid and not necessarily the for class. For example, I have encountered shamans who excel at MT healing but when I have ask them try their hand at raid healing I was balked at. Why? Not because their class can’t, but because MT healing is what they would like to do.

    What these vocal players crying for niches don’t understand is not everyone wants to JUST MT heal or JUST raid heal. Obviously players these players cry out wanting stronger talents to support those roles. Players like yourself who enjoy the flexibility need to remain as vocal to ensure Blizz keeps it status quo.

    Personally I love the flexibility that my class has at both MT and raid healing – being “niche” at something is just a few talent point changes away in my opinion.
    .-= Napps´s last blog ..When Good Players Act Bad =-.

  6. The cake is a lie, Iris. The cake. is. a. lie.
    .-= Psynister´s last blog ..Mage Leveling Part IV: 58-68 (Frost & Arcane) =-.

  7. I will also join in on ignoring most of your post and only focus on the not-so-hidden message.

    Because I am excited about Portal 2 being released in the near future.
    .-= Darthregis´s last blog ..Need more rage OR need a clue? =-.

  8. Man and I was afraid of all the comments being nothing but people raising their hands that they “get it” too. Yes you’re all very clever. 🙂

    Anyways it’s just another case of the grass always being greener.. people are never happy unless they relax more and just enjoy the game for what it is. I still hear many Paladins complaining that they’re still too stuck in the tank healer niche. Raid geared and can’t keep a 5-man heroic group up, that still seems to be a problem despite all the efforts towards homogenization.

  9. A raid geared paladin should have no problem keeping up a five man heroic group. You beacon the tank and have fun. That aside I don’t think niche healing is close to dead. While other healers can cover various roles certain classes are still king in certain situations.

    Paladins still top one or two target heals where you need the big heals. The dreamwalker fight shows this nicely. Druids excel at raid healing in a big way, and are not really suited for the spiky damage a tank takes. Those are two examples.

    Also as you get into higher end raiding and content you have to specialize in tandem with the rest of the raid. Niche healing dead? Not really, it might be more classes can focus on a niche now but the niches still exist. IMHO they should.

  10. @ Barth I don’t know about that completely. I run a lot of heroics on my tank and I’ve gotten plenty of holy palies that can group heal, sometimes better than others. and I’ll be honest as a tank I’m pretty bad at keeping aggro >.> so there is always plenty of damage going around.

  11. @larsi I will disagree with you on that one, while every class has something they excel at (and they should) what I mean by niche healing is literally the idea of focusing PURELY on one role forsaking all others.

    In higher end raiding if the tank healer dies does that mean it’s a wipe because one of the raid healers can’t switch gears? Shouldn’t be but I’ve seen it happen.

    It’s ok to be specialized, I agree everyone should have a special talent, but there has to be a point of give. I’ve seen paladins get knocked off the top of single target healing believe it or not by shamans. I’ve seen druids left to their own devices hold their own against spike damage like a champ. It happens. The argument though is to a certain degree niche healing should be downplayed. Specializing too far can lead to potentially disastrous results.

  12. I just wonder why they didn’t apply this “LET THERE BE EQUALITY AMONGST HEALERS!” idea to Paladins.

  13. Marymoon ( @flcmoon) says:

    I don’t know, I always wanted to be the best at my class, and I loved the way shamans were needed back in TBC, nowadays, at least on my server, paladins/priests and druids laugh at me….

  14. I couldn’t agree more, Lodur. There arguably is still some variation in the strengths of healers, but by and large I’m appreciative of the fact that healing doesn’t seem to be as gimmicky as it once was. In my opinion, a raid shouldn’t be penalized if they don’t have a multitude of the en vogue healers on hand; they should be able to go in with the healing team that’s worked hard to get to that point. Performance in your raid role should be greater factor than your class.

    Call me silly, but I’d like to be recognized as a skilled *healer* and not a skilled *resto shaman*.
    .-= Vixsin´s last blog ..The Next Step with WoL: Healing Analysis =-.

  15. I’m the healing lead in a 25 man raid, the only holy paladin, and I’ve never played another toon to level 20. Maybe I stereotype our healers into various roles, but they’re all very good players and the raid never collapses when any of us dies during a fight.

    Looking back over the years, I absolutely love my current tool set. It may seem small, but it never fails me. From Halls of Reflection, to XT, to Marrowgar, to Festergut, to solo healing Anub10 and Ony10. I can cover my “niche” and do anything else that might possibly come up.

    I’m not going to promise to change classes if they change paladins. I certainly will not mind if Blizzard makes some changes and I have a couple ideas of my own. I will never whine about another healer’s spells. I just love the game and I love what I can do in the game. I am a paladin and, not to be a jerk, I feel like one of the best healers in the game.

  16. Let there be niches for healers only if there are niches for DPS and Tanks.

    Look, I understand there will be situations where something is optimal, but when you’re excluding a class for part (or all) an instance because they’re pure fail there REGARDLESS how good they are, there’s something wrong. It’s true regardless of whether that’s a discipline priest or a survival hunter or a prot pally. (All of whom have had their time in the midnight sun.)

  17. Actually I’m not sure it’s a niche I’m after. As a holy pally I love the responsibility of the tank health pool, and it’s nice to know it’s something my class does well at. But ya know, I don’t care too much. What I care about more is knowing that when I play, I’m playing a Paladin, doing paladin things, different to a Shaman doing their thing etc etc. What would really bring me to tears is if every class ended up with a Flash of Light (Lesser healing wave, flash heal), Holy Light (Greater Heal… oh lord, we can see where this is going)… I actually just want to stand out as being different to the rest, with my own strengths and weaknesses, but still unique amongst my fellow healers. If we all end up casting the exact same spells just with different names and colours, I dare say I’ll die a little inside…

  18. The post says “Priests rejoiced as discipline became an accepted way of life and paladins embraced their bacon”

    It is *clear* why we are all hungry – not because of cake, but because of BACON!!!! Also, I thought this was a family friendly forum – paladins embracing their bacon sounds a little suggestive to me.

  19. Others have touched on this, but here’s my take on why people want the niche (in no particular order):

    1. Nostalgia. *Everyone* knows raiding in BC was sooo much better than in Wrath, right? Some just want things to go back to the way it was.

    2. Comfort zone. I’m a paladin, and I heal tanks. I do it pretty well. It’s what I know. Recently I put myself on a raid healing assignment because we had *a lot* of Paladins (I’d almost be tempted to say we had too many Paladins, but you can never have too many Paladins). I did alright, but it was definitely outside of my comfort zone. Many people settle into a role and prefer to stick with it.

    5 — err, 3: Security. While the perception among raid leaders that ‘you must have class x to fill y role’ can sometimes cause a person to get left out of a raid, having a niche can often guarantee you a spot. Think about how often you see someone spamming trade chat with ‘LFM need druid healer for ICC’ or ‘Need priest and shammy healer for ToGC’
    .-= jeffo´s last blog ..Batman! =-.

  20. @jeffo Sadly point number 1 is actually one of the points many people bring up.

    2. Comfort zone is different than saying the entire class should do it xyz way. So saying you prefer tank healing is fine, but if you were to say all druids are raid healers and any druid who thinks differently is wrong. That is the mentality I’m speaking against. I personally prefer to raid heal. It’s my happy spot but I can and am willing to heal in any role on the fly.

    3. you would actually be surprised how often i DO see that in trade. I’ve seen it many many times where someone was looking specifically for a certain healer class.

  21. I feel quite differently than you do.

    1) If there is no niche, then why have multiple healing classes? Much simpler to program and balance one class than coming up with 4 shields and 4 party heals and 4 buffs etc that all do not stack and do about the same thing. Bland homogenization with just cosmetic differences strikes me as boring design. (Although my first two 80 healers were Pally and Shaman and it is more convenient to not have spirit ruin rings, weapons and cloaks.) Arguing that there should be a single healer makes more sense than there should be 4 interchangeable equivalent healing classes doing the about the same thing.

    As a pally, my theory is the major emphasis on heroics caused a lot of this. A 20k HL crit is not much help when you and 4 others are frequently on the move and taking damage. So if the design is you need dozens of heroics to get geared up, then pallys need to be able to single heal a 5 person group on the move and raid healers need to be able to keep a tank up and so all healers need to do everything. And to keep the QQ down, they need to do it about the same.

    2) I liked the TBC clarity. If you did not want to cast FL/chain heal, you would not level a pally/shaman 1-70. Now when you start the leveling and getting geared journey, who knows what FOTM mechanic Bliz will implement by the time you are ready to truly use the class. My main was a pally and the new Beacon mechanic of “no tank heals, heal the DK @ 100% health since it costs the same as healing the tank and the DK might take damage while casting” was just too weirdly different and felt contrived.

    Waaaay too much healer movement and emphasis on spamming heals is not something I enjoy. I found TBC’s manage mana, casts and monitor 3×25 unit bars to be a much more enjoyable experience than WotLK’s more frantic twitchfest. I do not see how spamming CH in BT was that different than the Ulduar tanks need a heal every 2 seconds or they die. spam, especially considering all the paladin HOTs.

    The WotLK direction may entice some DPS to the exciting world of healing, but I suspect not all TBC healers are pleased. I have an 80 of each healer but haven’t healed after 3.1.

  22. Well, min/maxing is about finding that thing that you class is the best at and then maxing it out until you are the God of XYZ. For paladins it’s tank healing, for druids it’s raid HoTTing, etc. etc. That’s the way of min/maxing. I’m not going to say that having the option to do other things (like Trees having Nourish for 5-mans) is a bad idea. However, a raid that has a Tree healing the tanks and a paladin healing the raid is “doing it wrong.”

    I agree that things are better than in TBC, but each healing class needs to have a strength that sets them apart. That is part of the issue right now with Holy priests, in that they have nothing that they excel at so they are falling behind. Each of the others have that key trait that makes them a good part of a balanced healing group. That’s really what has changed in WotLK; where as stacking a single healing class used to be the “it factor,” now you have to pay incredible amounts of attention to balancing your raiding group.
    .-= Codi´s last blog ..Trauma – Who should get it and how to use it =-.

  23. As a Holy Priest, I can’t help but feel that the viability of Disc is a liability, not a benefit, to the class.

    Shamans and Druids can heal tanks or raid heal just as well in the same talent tree. They may need to adjust certain talents, but certainly not as many as a Priest. I wish that Holy would get some single-target buffs so we could keep up with the other classes (and disc) in 25 mans.

    As for the death of niche healers, maybe its just our raids, but we’ve come close to canceling raids when our holy paladins don’t show up. I don’t know if this is necessarily due to other classes not being able to tank heal – its more due to the fact that the best choice for a Paladin is always to put them on the tanks – and so everyone else talents/glyphs/gears for raid healing. Even our Disc Priest (heal lead and guild master) has quit healing tanks and started bubble spamming the raid. We are certainly still under the yoke of niche healing. I’ve yet to find many resto shamans and resto druids who spec for tank healing, at least on my server. And Holy Priests have pretty much removed gheal from their bar and their spec.

    I’d love to play the game where healers aren’t assigned niches. Wrath hasn’t been that game quite yet, in my opinion.

  24. @hagu

    If you feel that not having a niche means there’s no room for classes, why don’t we have only one class that can melee DPS, and one class that can ranged DPS and one class that can tank?

    Its more interesting, (but harder to balance), having more than one class that can do the same role. The important thing is that each class isn’t so far behind that raids stop taking that class and instead take the flavor of the month class.

  25. I hope cataclysm (alongside mana management) will bring diversification in talenttrees. It would be great, expecially for 10M raids, if every class could spec for either tankhealing or raidhealing. Holy (AoE) vs. Disc (Single target), (Lesser) Healing Wave specced vs. Chain Heal specced. Sacred Shield spam vs. Holy Lights.

    This is already a bit possible, look at tankheal specced Druids or Shamans (Healing Way) or PW:S raidhealing Disco’s. It shouldn’t mean that you are purely locked in that role, but I think the current discipline priest, and to a lesser extend beacon Paladins, have shown that you can help on the raid when the tank doesn’t need too much help. With the mastery system making room for more diversification in talents, I think this is the way forward.

  26. Trillien says:

    As a priest, I don’t mind not having a niche. I’m good at everything. Except tank healing TOGC. Even as Disc that’s pretty tough and I’d rather have a paladin.

  27. Ginatrout says:

    As far as niche healing is concerned, yes certain healers are better than others. And I choose to heal as my druid, rather than my pally because I love the HoT style of healing.

    But as a player, I don’t want to be locked into the raid healer role only, since that’s a great way to burn out from healing. Do people want to go back to having severe shortages of healers, taking hours to form just a simple 5-man group?

    I played a DPS in the last two expansions so I’m not familiar with what healers went through. But I’m sorry, I don’t want to be excluded from content just because I couldn’t sheep.

    And as people have said up thread, Its good to be diverse to be able to handle those Oh shit moments. And yes. I know how to heal tanks through the spike damage. I’ve always considered myself as a healer, rather than a druid who heals.

  28. Lychordia says:

    My future? Gets closer and closer to Death of a Healer as I slowly get enticed to become a shadow priest. And after some wicked AoE’s can fully understand what all the Pew Pew talk is about. Healing just isn’t what it once was.

  29. Wrath was the Death of Healing Niches? Maybe for you. For Druids, we’ve been forced into a completely different niche from the last expansion. In 25 man content:

    Vanilla: Primarily a Tank Healer, or otherwise targetted groups on fights such as Vaelstrasz.

    BC: Multi-Tank or Single Tank healer.

    Wrath: Raid healer and last choice for Tank healing.

    So really, while the world has gotten wider for the shaman, its just thrown us into a completely different role.

  30. I’ve definitely seen the trade chat thing crop up from time to time. Need SHAMAN healer for Toc10, or Need PALADIN healer for such and such a raid. The niche thing tends to get stuck on players and they choose not to branch out. For as many “you’re a paladin, you only heal the tanks” comment, I see just as many “I’m a holy paladin, I only heal the tanks, you heal the raid” comments.

    Some groups even get bogged down thinking that they can’t possibly do the fight with a shaman and a priest! It can’t be done. It can be done, if you use everything in your toolbox and not just the hammer.

    Get it?
    .-= Borsk´s last blog ..What does Arthas Menethil look like? =-.

  31. What do you think?
    I strongly disagree with your post saying that there is a death of a Niche for each healer. Take for instance RIGHT NOW, go and try and do Lich King Heroic 10 with a resto druid and a resto shaman. At this moment its just not going to happen. Each class i think brings something unique to a raid both in 10 and 25, there are certain parts of a fight that lean towards one healer type over another, but there is no way you can say, that you can replace any healer for any other and say its the same. Yeah, you might be able to kill a boss, but speaking in terms of what is easiest or optimal, healers are not equal. Here is where skill comes into play. Those who are at the top of their game, definitely can make their niche and not only earn their raid spot, command respect for doing their specific job.

    Do you think healers should focus on their specialty and nothing more?
    NO, the best players are able to fulfill their role while adjusting to the needs of the raid. There is definitely a priority between their specialty and what slack is needed to be picked up in the raid.

    Do you think healer versatility is key?
    No, player skill > healer versatility. Thats why i have 4 healer characters.

  32. Ok, show me a holy priest who can dish out such numbers as a holy paladin can, on a tank. While i do agree with the “use the whole toolbox” philosophy, still i don’t think we can argue about whether some healing classes are better cut out for certain jobs in a raid – they simply are. Personally i wouldn’t change that, if we homogenize healing to the point that everyone can do everything just as good, what’s the point of having different classes?

  33. lipstick says:

    Meh. We get healing assignments at the start of each boss pull. And as a Disc priest I’m normally assigned to one of the tanks. But I never -just- heal the tank. I liken the healing assignments given, to being the “motivation” of an actor in a particular scene he’s been given by his director. I am motivated to heal the tank, and he’s going to be given the bulk of my attention/be the back drop for my performance.

    But I’ll also sometimes out of boredom er I mean to be helpful really, I mean to be helpful I’ll play tick-tac-toe with my grid interface and the the weakened sole debuff, covering clothies or other high dps / crucial members of our DPS team in melee who I think might get a lil aggro happy.

    At the end of the day if everyone (or almost everyone) lives, the boss dies. I’m pretty happy. We have awesome shaman/druid raids heals. And Our tank heals is often a mix of Disc priests and Pallys. As disc I’ve had to be on raid heals.

    And to be honest I haven’t enjoyed it. Not because I wasn’t decent at it. But because I didn’t feel -optimized- for the role, and knew my healing output was no match for the other group healers.

    I think that’s the big part of why people want niches. They want to feel useful. They want to feel like their unique talents and abilities are important. I think you can celebrate diversity all you want.. but no-one wants to be that healer that the raid healer goes .. So what do we do with you? Or hey .. do you mind switching to DPS tonight I think we’re good on heals.

    THe more defined your role .. the more your given the ability to shine in that role. Just my opinion.

  34. @Larsi
    “Druids excel at raid healing in a big way, and are not really suited for the spiky damage a tank takes.”

    Please refrain from making sweeping, wrong generalizations like this.

    Druids are excellent at healing spike damage. Stack on full hots and nourish spam. Nourish heals get bigger the more hots there are on the tank, AND it heals big and fast with Nature’s Grace. I’ve chain procced NG nonstop while healing a tank. Any druid worth their salt has 800 haste or more now, so that means faster heals, too.

  35. @Tih

    The point of having different classes is play style. Take mages and warlocks – both cast spells to DPS, so why not make them one class? Druids and priests heal very differently. I’m not the most experienced healer (or general WoW player for that matter) in the raiding world, but there is a clear difference in the ways classes heal. Should this affect what they heal? No. Some players like tank healing. Some players like raid healing.

    Talent trees should be more open and free, allowing every class that heals have the choice whether they specialise in single target healing or AoE/raid. Hopefully Cataclysm will bring that.

  36. @AJMac

    I agree with you on the play style. But that’s not the only point is it? Every class should (and does) have its strengths and weaknesses. Some directly affect their dps/hps, other affect the rest of the people in their group, and yet other affect the way they perform in their given role, be it a tank, healer or damage dealer.

    Homogenization – ultimately it would lead to every class being pretty much the same. Imagine having spells that do exactly the same, and i really mean the same – numbers, cooldowns, ticks in case of HoTs, but are only named differently – that’s the ultimate homogenization. As far as healers are concerned, how much difference can you really milk out of mere play style before reverting one or the other class back to being primarily a raid or a single target healer? Not that much i would say, and that’s why i don’t think homogenization is a good thing in the long run. Eventually it will kill off the need to have different classes.

    (sidenote: Blizz has already walked that path with deathknights – there’s a class that can be a good tank and a good dps, and we were flooded with them for a while, to the point you couldn’t find a warrior tank or a paladin tank if you life depended on it, untill nerfbat started swinging left and right.)

    Now, having said that, what i do like is people being able to master every possible role for their class, regardless of class-specific weaknesses – and that’s the real mastery and beauty of the game. Leave the roles as they are and let the players find the best way to fill in – don’t make us jacks of all trades by default, let us work our way there…

  37. I don’t think ‘niche healing’ is dead. i personally play a holy paladin and every raid I’m in (it never fails), I’m always assigned to MT or OT healing. Which is perfectly fine with me, because beacon makes healing that much easier. The thing that drives me nuts is that I have come across holy paladins in raids (when there is more than 1 in a raid) who insist that they CAN’T raid heal. Because with beacon and the glyph of holy light, raid healing is something holy paladins can do as long as they actually TRY to do it. And I don’t know of any healers (that are good, at least) who, when put on MT/OT healing, don’t spot heal the raid when it’s necessary.

    The dungeons in Wrath were definitely a challenge to heal (at first!) for a holy paladin b/c of having gotten so comfortable with ‘niche tank healing’ in BC. It made me sit up and go ‘oh I have to actually work now” because in BC it was almost boring to heal on a paladin. I personally enjoy how healing has changed for paladins b/c I don’t feel like I’m stuck doing nothing but tank healing.

  38. I don’t “demand” to be in a niche, but I do expect the people running a raid to understand what I’m designed to do as either a Discipline or Holy Priest. I dual spec both so I’m incredibly versatile, but under most cases hearing “just bubble everyone” makes me groan…

  39. I disagree as well. I think certain classes are request to achieve buffs and not just because of that classes niche. I have been in raids in the past where a shaman has been desired just for the totems. I personally am farming first and 2nd wings of ICC 10 man with a druid/Holy priest combo with a Enh shaman as backup heals on certain fights. Any class is capable of filling most rolls, you just have to use a few different tools in your toolbox. In conclusion I think its more wanting to get what the class brings to the raid then wanting that healer class because it fills a certain niche that others cant.

  40. “and paladins embraced their bacon”
    mmm, bacon
    That being said, Great Post!

  41. I wish this was true. I wish niche healing was dead, but it certainly isn’t in my guild. Given the option we will bring, guaranteed, 2 paladins for tank healing. We’ll bring one druid for their awesome HOTS, one Shaman for their awesome AOE healing and one discipline priest. They will then usually bring an additional druid or shaman. Notice what is missing?

    Although priests have two healing trees, most raids will bring one who is specced dicipline/holy. That priest will heal discipline for most of the fights (the priest niche) and go holy for the occaisional fight where the discipline spec is not optimal. The holy priest is left out, unless there is not a druid or shaman available to fill that last AOE heal slot. The nature of discipline healing, makes it counterproductive to bring 2 priests of that spec.

    You go to the healing forum and see folks saying: only idiots use meters when selecting players for healing slots. Well, I don’t think most raid leads really understand that. They see the holy priest consistantly lagging on the healing meters and decide to bring a druid or a shaman, unless the holy priest is close to god-like in skill. The class with two healing specs, the class that was originally most attractive for people wanting to heal in raids is finding itself limited to one healing slot on raids, while paladins are pretty much guaranteed 2.

    I hope Cataclysm will bring some changes to bring holy specced priests back into line with other healers so that, all things being even a holy specced priest has a much chance of being slotted into raids as any of the other healing specs.

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