The Beta Experience So Far

*Some light Cataclysm spoilers are in the post*

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the beta recently in between raids. A lot of peole ask me “Why? Don’t want you want to enjoy the experience when its all polished and stuff?” Yes and no. I plan to rocket my Priest to 85. That’s a directive I’ve issued to the guild. We’ll begin raiding operations the moment we have the man power to do so. For the most part, everyone’s bought into that idea. I’m taking the time right now in the beta to explore the world and try out different quests and really take in the sights. For me, the game has always started at the end. The levels in between were just a means to it. But with so many changes I noticed when flying around, I’m going to have to level at least 1 alt to see what’s been happening to the world.

Andorhal a three way between Scourge, Undead, and Alliance forces? Hogger in Stockades? Alliance offensive in Southern Barrens? What’s going on here!?

I want to talk about beta testing for a moment.

I think there are different categories of beta testers. Some like to sit in a city, and cast spells over and over to make sure it functionally works.  Others prefer to fly around all over the landscape and note any rocks that don’t seem to fit or waterfalls that disappear into open air. Players like me prefer to actually do stuff in a practical environment where all these skills can be applied. And others like to wipe repeatedly to test out new boss mechanics. Each person has their own specialty and preference. So if you have access to beta, don’t waste it please. There are a large number of people I know that want to get in and want to help prepare the game for launch. Play the game and send in some feedback. It kills me when I find out about people with beta access who only log in once or twice, complain about its incompleteness, then never go back in again.

If anyone has a spare key, I know a certain Priest from who would love to test numbers while standing in a capital city.


I had a few people inquire as to my thoughts regarding on Chakra.

In a word, I like it.

I hope this iteration of it makes it through until release. If you’re not quite sure about it yet, I encourage you to check out Derevka’s post and his video:

Conceptually I understand it. For me right now, the difficulty lies in executing. I’ve been working on getting into 5 mans and attempting to try different specs and cast sequences. More thought on Cataclysm healing will come later though. I’m going to record a few videos myself healing in the beta and provide commentary while doing so.

It’s a definite unique addition to our class and I hope to master it and share the details with you (to at least help ease the transition process).

If you’re curious about the new Holy Word: Chastise and how it interacts with Chakra, I shot a brief video of my own here:

State of healing

Heal, the spell, needs to work. I feel like I’m doing this handicapped.

Still not sold on the whole DPS and heal mechanic. I have enough mental bandwidth to do one or the other really well, but not both. The game needs to slow down a lot before that can happen. This is coming from a guy who’s played his share of RTS’s and FPS’s and has been able to “read” the play and make the appropriate responses to the situations at hand.

The typical situation I’m encountering in a 5 man goes something like this:

Group has taken half damage.
Tank is continually taking damage.
Matt’s mana is less than 30% and will be empty within the next 20 or so seconds at the rate of consumption.
Do I DPS and utilize those mana returning talents? Or do I drop the quick or group wide heals to bring everyone else back to full and sink my mana even further?

For me, the latter will always take priority. I am watching mana a lot closer than usual. I can’t help but think that if Heal were to hit for the appropriate amount, I’d have a different read. I’m still falling back to Flash Heal or Greater Heal as my answers to the time vs efficiency deal.

I can’t say I’ve ever chosen to use my DPS options. Ever. My job in the game right now is to heal. Its what I chose. I like having the option to chip in on DPS once in a while if I can afford to, but I should not have to rely on DPSing in order to carry out my role as a healer.

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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. Its called beta for a reason

    • Kimboslice: Of course because its largely incomplete. I could provide feedback AFTER the game goes gold, or I could do it now while its still under development.

  2. My impression was that “DPSing as healing” was intended for when you grossly outgear the content, so it sounds reasonable that you aren’t.

  3. First off – not in the beta. QQ

    I’m still pretty conflicted about Chakra. I feel like it is taking flexibility away for us (as a tradeoff for raw power that comes with your particular Chakra state). In particular, I don’t like being locked out of the other Chakras for 1 minute at a time. Yes you can still cast your other heals, but the strength of Holy to me has always been the ability to switch roles and spells on the fly. Chakra discourages this, even if only a little.

    The new Holy words seem fine.

    The other thing that bothers me are those mid-tier talents, specifically Twirling Light, Lightwell, and Spirit of Redemption. None of those talents really seem all that appealing to a PVE healing build, not even in a utility sense (like Body and Soul, which will be nice to be able to pick up without giving up throughput talents).

    What I’d like to see is more useful utility talents (they don’t have to be useful all that often even) than the ones we have. Someone over at Blizz just can’t stand to see Lightwell go, and I feel Spirit of Redemption is in the same boat as Lightwell, now that it no longer buffs your Spirit stat. I’ve never saved a wipe with angel form – I’m usually one of the last to die! Does Blizz expect me to start running into fires on purpose?

    That said, its nice to see Holy getting a revamp. It has long been cluttered with ancient vanilla-era talents that just don’t fit into the modern game.

  4. “Some like to sit in a city, and cast spells over and over to make sure it functionally works”

    Well, sometimes I don’t JUST sit in cities. Moonglade has a druid trainer, too! It’s easier to test & learn spell mechanics outside of instances, and then after I know how functional the spells are, it then becomes easier to deal with actual instancing. I really just don’t like the state of instances available right now, which makes it hard to test them…

  5. I was commenting more on peoples whining about things in a Beta

    Not that you are whining not saying that either

  6. I’ve always thought that with the betas, especially the Blizzard betas as keys are in such short supply compared to demand, that inactive players with beta accounts should lose their beta access. Example – if you receive a beta invite, log in, then don’t log in again for a week (or maybe two weeks would be more realistic) you lose your access and the key is put back into circulation to be given to another opted-in player.

  7. Do they even still give ‘keys’ as such? I was under the impression they would just set a flag on your account if you get choosen for beta.

  8. I’d have to respectfully disagree with your premise: that decisions should be about how to heal, versus involving other factors. Even now we have one mana-throughput decision to make in the form of hymn of hope: do you stop healing for 8 seconds now or later?

    Just think of this as a more interactive version of the five second rule. In your scenario as a holy priest I’d probably toss out a GS on the tank, renew, then POH to get the group back up and buy myself a few seconds to regain mana.

    • @Serrif: That’s a little different though, because when you’re dropping a mana hymn, its usually done once (maybe twice) a fight. I don’t know. I’m not a fan of it. Again, mostly mental bandwidth. Having a hard time to find keys to bind to Chastise and Chakra and so forth actually ^^.

  9. (It’s not letting me edit me way to get used to this style of healing is to run current 5-mans as shadow but in the healer role. You’ll get a feel very quickly about how to switch very quickly from healing to dpsing. This will handicap your healing a bit so that you’re not completely overpowered but still allow you to experience the decision of “when is healing needed” vs. “when can healing be done” vs. “when can healing be done efficiently”

  10. Deathknome says:

    Holy Word: Sanctuary (Prayer of Healing) looks pretty cool. Maybe priests will start using this spell again.

  11. My beta key was credited to my account automatically, so I’m unable to simply give it away. When I first signed for beta I was totally unprepared for the amount of downloading it would require, and living in Australia, where bandwidth limits are still a pain in the ass, there’s only so much I can afford to download each month before I have to put priority to maintaining a high speed connection for raids.

    As such, after a few days of testing (and a ridiculous amount of patching) I simply couldn’t justify continuing to download patches and test the content.

    I would be extremely happy to help this mystery priest on have some time in beta. The best I can offer him is preorganised access to my account, in which I give him log in details and an authenticator code. Obviously with time zone differences it would be extremely messy, and difficult to organise, but I’d be remiss to let the key waste.

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