Why Did You Choose Your Healing Class?

Why Did You Choose Your Healing Class?

why-play-healer

This is a guest post by Professor Beej.

I figure that it’s safe to assume that most of you reading this are healers. What I figure is not safe to assume, however, is exactly what kind of healer you are. Even though Matticus has a plethora of healy Priest goodness here, every other contributor brings something from another healing class. There’s even a Moonkin for good measure.

This crazy amount of diversity among the ranks at World of Matticus got me to thinking a little. The last time you fine folks heard from me, I posted an article titled “Why Play a Healer?”. The responses were many and varied, ranging from the apathetic “Why not?” all the way to “I just like being in control.” There were even a couple of tanks and DPS who threw their two cents in and  told me why they didn’t heal.

It was a very interesting discussion, and one that I think can be continued today very easily, given my train of thought about diversity at WoM. I ask those healers among you now a similar, yet entirely different, question:

Why did you choose your particular healing class?

This is a question I am asking myself a lot lately. At some point in my WoW career, I’ve raid healed on every healing class available except a Paladin. And now, I’m leveling a Paladin to rectify that mistake come Cataclysm.

Maybe.

You see, I am restless and constantly look to new classes to ease that anxiety. I’m not really an altaholic. Even abilities and spells than the one I am playing, I very seldom act on actually starting—much less leveling—a new character.

I started raid healing in Molten Core with my Druid. By the time my guild was working on Nefarian in BWL, I had switched to my newly leveled Priest. When TBC made Shamans available for the Alliance, I shot one to 70, raided through Zul’Aman and Tier 5 and have continued to do so through Wrath. And though I see all the other classes that I’m not playing as having far superior and more desirable

But now, Chain Heal has almost lost its luster and dealing with totems and shocks has nearly become mundane. I am looking at the Paladin to fix this healy-type wanderlust, looking back at the fun I had on the Druid and the Priest back in the day, I can very much see the appeal for grabbing them a few Heirlooms and giving them their first jaunt across Northrend.

Which brings me back to my earlier question:

Why did you choose your particular healing class?

Looking at each particular healing class, each brings something to the table that other classes lack in comparison. The problem is, however, figuring out just what sublime quality makes a healing class “click.” We all have our opinions and biases for and against the other healing classes, our reasons for choosing or not choosing as we did.

Here, you’ll find my take on each of the four healing classes as I try to decide exactly which one of the four is the right fit for me.

Druid

The Druid was my first love and the whole reason I love to heal, although his current incarnation is nothing like it was when I was slinging Healing Touches and HoTs while having to spec Resto for Innervate. While still a HoT slinger for sure, the Druid has some pretty nifty instant and AoE heals. Finally being given a real rez in WLK helps a lot, too. Unfortunately, there’s not a specific niche that the Druid fills, either: they can raid heal; they can AoE heal; they can tank heal. They can do everything and because of that, they don’t really stand out of the crowd.

Nothing about the dual spec excites me. I don’t care for Feral, and the Moonkin’s mechanics have yet to appeal to me. And I am simply terrible at Druid PvP, so there goes that secondary role. The Druid armor looks pretty sweet these days, too, but I would never get to see it because of being shapeshifted constantly, even I do really think Tree form is nice. Still not a real selling point for me, though.

In the end, I think the Druid would only be a backup choice for me, an attempt to regain fun through nostalgia alone.

Priest

The Priest has two real draws for me: I love PvPing on the little fella, and I love being able to specialize—unlike the Druid—in a role for PvE. If I want to raid heal, I can be Holy. If I want to tank heal, I can be Discipline. WLK fixed a lot of what I had started to not enjoy about my Priest. I despise Shadow to the point of never wasting dual spec on it or even leveling that way. And since Cataclysm is going to introduce rated battlegrounds and most of my time in TBC was spent grinding Arenas and BGs with my dwarf, I can see myself quickly falling into that role with him again.

Priest armor is always exceptionally pretty, too. The versatility that I would have with the Priest is unparalleled in the other healing classes, I think, as long as all I wanted to do was heal. Unfortunately, that same versatility is what pushed me away from the Priest at the end of TBC because it seemed Blizzard had no idea where they wanted the class to go.

Shaman

When retiring my Priest from all but PvP, my Shaman became my new best friend. I don’t use the term “easy mode” lightly, but the Shaman seems to have the very best toolset of any healer in the game. Sure, there’s some finesse involved in mana management over long, hard fights, but if things are even remotely under control, pop an Earth Shield on the tank, Riptide him/her, and Chain Heal until you’re blue in the face. Occasionally throw some Lesser Healing Waves when you can to replenish your mana with Water Shield procs. Learn which totems go where in each fight, and you’re avoiding fears, cleansing debuffs, and supplementing everyone in the raid in no time.

Congratulations, you just learned how to Shaman.

Not that many cases are anywhere near that simple, but you get my point. The Shaman’s toolbox is huge—I can tank heal when I have to with ES/LHW glyphs or raid heal with Chain Heal and set bonuses—but I’m still a one trick pony. Chain Heal is the main event. It’s the be-all, end-all of awesomeness. I miss it when playing another class, but I’m also incredibly glad to be rid of it, too. It’s not that it makes things too easy; it’s so good that it makes things too bland.

I think I want my Cataclysm raiding to be spicier. And I only really like about a quarter of the art for Shaman armor sets. Tier 8 was awesome, and Tier 10’s shoulders are neat. Other than that, give me any other healer’s gear to stare at for hours on end, please.

Paladin

My two best friends in the world have played Paladins since release in ‘04. Whenever we have this conversation, they tell me the same thing: Paladins are really good, but they’re really boring. They are even more of a one-trick pony than Shamans, I hear. They’re very good at keeping one target alive indefinitely, and the rest of the raid might as well not exist. Sure, newer changes to Judgment of Light and Bacon Beacon of Light give them some wiggle-room, but watching my buddy heal through a Heroic is like watching a truly talented fiddle player play true Kentucky Bluegrass: the fingers never stop moving and there’s no room for error.

And yet I’m still intrigued. Maybe it’s the lore behind the class. Maybe it’s that I’ve never had a Paladin higher than level 8 before. Maybe it’s my penchant for absolutely adoring tank healing. I don’t know. What I do know, though, is that I am seriously giving the idea of raiding on a Paladin in Cataclysm a shot.

Dual spec will be great, as I love big ole 2-handers. I have the choice of going ret to be able to daily and occasionally PvP, or I could go Holy PvP because Paladins—at least for the first season of new expansion—are ridiculous in Arenas. On top of all that, I love (most of) the armor. With the exception of very few tiers, Paladins have been the best dressed in Azeroth, holding my favorite looks across all the expansions. Tiers 2, 6, and 8 alone are enough to make me work toward a Paladin main.

Decisions, Decisions…

And yet, I’m still undecided. Looking at all the classes from all sides has yet to help me stumble across that single element of a class that makes it click in me that says “I must play this class!” I know some people have that moment. And back in the day, I had mine. Since then, however, I’ve developed quite a “grass is greener” complex. All of the classes are viable now (thanks for that, by the way, Blizzard), and none of the healers totally outshines any of the others.

And that brings me back to my point. You all play your chosen healers for a reason. You weighed the options and came to the conclusion that X class was better than Y because of Z. Now, I ask you to tell me what equals Z for you.

Why did you choose your particular healing class?

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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.

Comments

  1. Wait… I have to pick just one healing class?

    Originally started with Priest b/c in Vanilla WoW that was the defacto healer.

    I’ve started multiple druids and paladins on various servers but have yet to break level 50. Mostly due to soloing burnout.

    My shaman started after WotLK launched and was my first and only character to hit the cap before the announcement of the next expansion.

    I’m eagerly awaiting the Hero healing class to be announced for Cataclysm.

  2. This is a strange question for me since my choice just kind of happened. I was on my first character, completing a quest in TB when I saw a druid in Tree of Life form. Immediately I thought “I want to do that!” At the time I didn’t even know what “Resto” was or what tree form was used for.

    I logged off and started my druid, and he has been my main ever since. Sometimes the most random, and uniformed decisions are the best ones you can make. I can’t imagine playing any other class as my main, I love druid healing, moonkin dps, and the lore behind the class.

    However, my choice for an alt was a bit more informed. My druid healing style is mostly preemptive healing with HoTs, and then swiftmends and nourishes mixed in. I really just wanted to see how the reactive healing of a paladin would compare. It’s quite a bit different, but also very fun. He’ll never be my main, but healing our alt 10 man runs is a blast with Beacon of Light and huge Holy Light crits.

  3. I’m a hard j-RPGer and I’ve been in love with the White Mage class since early Final Fantasy series.

    The one and only class that somehow resembles White Mages are obviously priests, using white/holy magic and running in fancy clothes 😉

  4. After messing around with a few starter charecters i decided that it would be time to reach max level, i wanted to play a healing class at the time and so i went with the most stereotypical class for all things healing; the priest.

    It was a long hard journey getting to max level, helped in no small part to my lack of understanding of the game mechanics and me deciding that Discpline is a cool spec (back in TBC when it wasent cool).

    Everything i learned about WoW i learned on my priest, although as a massive irony i ended up playing shadow for the rest of TBC and dident start healing properly until WotlK hit.

  5. I picked the druid healing class because I was already a feral druid. 🙂

    I actually switched to heals to try and be more versatile for the guild. But that usually left the guild missing a tank, so I continued to do guild stuff as a bear. So now I mostly heal in Battlegrounds/Wintergrasp because healers seem to be rare for those.

    So why didn’t I roll another healing class, then? Well, it’s the HoTs, really. I really enjoy having those. They buy you a few seconds to ignore your tank/primary healing target so you can heal other people relatively stress free. If your primary healee (it’s word, honest) takes a chunk of damage, you know he’s still got something on him to counteract that. Throw out a nourish or two on them and everything’s good to go.

    I just like it to the point that I don’t feel the need to mess with another healing mechanic.
    .-= Darthregis´s last blog ..Okay, I’ll admit it: =-.

  6. I chose a priest on launch day because I had read somewhere that they were versatile, were good at PvP and would always be welcome in groups. I had no idea what would be involved…

    I remember trying to damage and heal in Deadmines, which probably contributed to the wipes and mayhem in that place. I don’t remember doing many instances until Gnomeregan, by then I was mostly healing.

    As I neared 60 I started getting invites to our UBRS groups where I’d be one of 3 healers in a 15man raid, having one party and maybe a tank assigned to me. Downloading and installing early versions of CTRaid that showed all three groups was a revelation to me.

    I was firmly entrenched as a healer when our guild started our early forays into Molten Core. I mostly copied another priest’s early Disc spec (when that topped out with Divine Spirit, hi Moonrender) and got healing coaching (“Always Be Casting” from Nerual).

    I’ve been healing ever since except for a foray into shadow for T4 and the first half of T5 content and of course the dual spec goodness we have now.

  7. I picked Priest because I didn’t know other classes healed.

    Seriously. I played FFXI for 5 years and change, and I was used to the epitome roll concept of that game. The White Mage was the premier healer. Other jobs could heal, but if you wanted a healer, you picked a White Mage.

    For some idiotic reason, I associated “best healer” with “Priest”. Thank god I actually like 1) healing, and 2) healing as Priest.

    Wish I had a better story, but there it is.

  8. My main is a tank, but I heard nothing but constant whining from one of our guildies about how since I can level a toon fast – I should level a healer. Plus we needed a priest for MCing on the Naxx25 runs… someone more experience with tanking.

    So I leveled my priest.

    The whiner said go holy because it’s best and it’s needed for raid heals.

    So I went solidly disc. I love it. Disc healing is like breathing.
    .-= Askevar´s last blog ..Meta Guild Group Leaves WaR 🙁 =-.

  9. I originally chose a priest because when I began playing during Vanilla WoW, the guild that I was planning on joining (which had a bunch of my co-workers) was in dire need of a priest.

    Well, it took me a while to level, and I never got to see raid content during Vanilla, and decided to finish leveling as Shadow. During BC, I never bothered going back to healing, because I rather liked Shadow, but when dual specs came about, I figured I’d give it a try again.

    With that in mind, I have thought about leveling another healer, but can’t bring myself to switch away from my priest. I guess I am a priest for life.
    .-= Spazmoosifer´s last blog ..Don’t be too Hastey =-.

  10. My paladin started as a social alt. My main was an arcane mage on Aerie Peak (oh the pain… leveling arcane), and I started my pally to play with IRL friends on Kel’Thuzad. There came a time when my mage wasn’t doing it for me any more (turns out DPS is too competitive, it makes me have stress) so I was spending more and more time escaping on my pally. I didn’t want to reroll entirely and start over from scratch, so pally it was.

    And the healing was really another accident. It happened because at some point I specced her prot, tanked one thing, and realized I never wanted to tank one more thing ever again. So she defaulted to holy, and fortunately, it’s perfect for me.

    If I had it to do over, though, I’d be looking for the versatility of priest or shaman. Holy pallies really are one trick ponies. And while I can heal a group if I have to, it’s really easier not to try. There’s no leeway at all for a holy pally who has to pick up raid heals for some reason.
    .-= Rhii´s last blog ..Pulling in 5…4…3… =-.

  11. Comment on Holy Paladins – When I first rolled my paladin with the release of the Burning Crusades I wanted to tank. Man I would be so cool with my sword and board and all my fancy flashing spells going off! I was gonna take on all the mobs, all at once! RAR! Unfortunately for me, my guild while I was leveling really needed a healer. Being the nice girl I am , I decided to gear and train for Holy.

    I had heard it was boring and you only press 2 buttons, wah wah wah. And at first, it was. I was frustrated with the lack of healing on the go and having to stand still. But, we constantly had a lack of healers so I stuck with it. Then I began to really read Elitist Jerks and blogs and playing around with spells and combinations. I discovered that if you were just pressing 2 buttons, that YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG! Holy can be FUN!

    With the introduction of glyphs and Beacon and SS and Aura Mastery and Divine Shield I really feel like I make a solid difference to my guild’s raids. They miss me when I am not there. I wear plate and can survive much better than other healers. I rarely run out of mana and never need an innervate. I can effortlessly keep up two tanks, myself, and contribute with my judgements. I am a cleanse machine.

    I usually play a healer because i want to be helpful and useful. A Paladin is the perfect class for me 🙂

  12. Go get your pally healer!!! you are missing out on some of the most fun in the game ! I rolled a pally because in all MMO’s (back to EQ) I was a squishy clothie. A Plate wearing healer, are you kidding me? Think battle mage, yes a mage in plate … that is what I compare pally healers to.

  13. I chose Dwarf Priest back in the day when Fear Ward was Dwarf only, and was reckoned to be one of the great imbalances of the raid game. Although, of course, everyone who didn’t have it said it was just a crutch for tanks who couldn’t stance-dance.

    But I do love my priest. I have an 80 shaman that I’ve done a tiny bit of healing on, and a 40-ish druid that I’ve healed a little on since Dungeon Finder launched.. not enough of either to do a fair comparison, really, but I do feel that priest has the biggest and most interesting box of tools.
    .-= Carson63000´s last blog ..Many people are enjoying Allods. Me, not so much. =-.

  14. When I was a noob and WoW was fairly brand spanking new, I rolled a rogue on the server my RL friends who got me into WoW played on. Then one of them said, “Oh, come to this RP server I made a character on. We have an awesome guild and the roleplay is really fun!”

    So she directs me to the server and the character creation screen and I was like “I’m a noob and don’t quite know what class does what, soooo, what do you guys need in the guild?” I seem to recall fairly randomly settling on a paladin because the lore of the class seemed interesting and healing…why not? 5 minutes later, Endyme was born. I didn’t level her up as Holy because I really didn’t get what all those ‘talent points’ were for. But once I started raiding, except for a brief stint as Ret for leveling in TBC, she went Holy and that was that. Almost 5 years later, I still love her and love healing on her. Yeah, one trick pony and all that and there’s not alot of variety in the heals, but I take it as a challenge. I *don’t* have HoT’s, so I have to really stay on my toes. I can’t heal on the run except for Holy Shock. I can’t explain exactly what I love about my Paladin, but she’s rarely gotten boring. We’ve gotten some icky nerfs, but some awesome additions as well, throughout the years. Beacon of Light was just the best present ever. It’s a life-saver and I sing it’s praises often.

    I’m trying to level up a druid, to eventually see what healing on another class is like, but she’s only level 18, so it’ll be awhile.

  15. All my reasons for picking a NE druid makes me sound like the absolute noob that I was when I started playing this game when it first came out…
    .-= Lissanna´s last blog ..Talent guides of the future: Is all choice good choice? =-.

  16. As a long-time pally healer of both PvP BGs and BC/WotLK high-end raiding, I initially chose the human paladin for the lore; a swinger of light and crusher of dark just seemed to ring a bell in me. Short spouts of tanking and dps highlighted healing as having that special something that the others simply lacked for me. And being the tank healer, having sole responsibility for arguably the most important member of the raid group? What a rush. But for those that think that’s all it is, one button, one raid member, press-heal, press-heal until the boss keels over, this is a slice of action from a recent run:

    Beacon and Hand of Sacrifice the tank, pop a Bubble, Hand of Protection to quickly save the Mage, a Divine-favoured Holy Shock, fast Glyphed Holy Light and two follow-up hasted Holy Lights around the raid, getting people back out of the red all whilst the crud hits the fan during a bad pull, all before drawing breath and firing off another couple of flash of lights, re-beaconing the tank, throwing up a sacred-shield, and divine-plea-ing to get some mana back whilst avoiding the blue flames. That’s maybe ten seconds of healing work?

    It really can be a crazy challenge for those that love that sort of thing, an inducer of raised heart rates and sweaty palms whilst the rest of the raid continues to spam chat with DPS charts. A face-rolling job? I’m sure people could scrape their way through playing like that. But is that fun? Is that useful to the team? Is that someone other people would like to partner, someone that just gets by? Not from where I’m sitting.

  17. When I first started, it was recommended I go with a paladin because it was more non-squishy than the others. I’ve never leveled another healing class. We are less smooshy, that’s true – but while raid healing can be boring, we also get tasked with tank heals and other critical heals that might fail without our backup. There’s a certain satisfaction of standing there over a dead boss knowing without your Flash spam or bubble spec – it wouldn’t have been so without you.

  18. I object to your statement that Shaman healing is easy mode chain heal spam. If that were the case then every shaman would be awesome. I heal 25 mans on my shaman with other resto shaman who can’t come near my healing throughput and it’s because they do NOT understand that sometimes chain heal spam is NOT the right tool for the job, that timing our cooldowns and knowing when to refresh your shields is critical, and that lesser healing wave and healing wave should be used when appropriate.

    I’ve raid healed on a priest and a paladin as well but the shaman is my favorite.
    .-= Tara´s last blog ..Blood Wing cleared =-.

  19. I have 2 healers, a tree (main) and resto shammy. Both have melee dual specs which I often use.

    What I like best about the druid is the mobility. I hate to be rooted in one place and hate having a casting bar. With the tree I can keep 90% of my healing ability even in constant movement.

    What I like about the shaman are the cleanse, dispell, and interupt abilities. Also tremor totem etc. Chain heal is extremely powerful in some cases, but as an aoe i prefer wild growth (instant cast and more control over which targets are hit.). And I <3 riptide. its a better lifebloom.

  20. My first healing class was Holy Pally in TBC. This was done because I wanted to see Kara content, and I wasnt going to get in with a Ret spec (which is what I had leveled in). That was quite fun, though when WotLK was released, it would be the last time I would raid from week to week. When my Pally got to 80, the healing mechanics of the Holy Pally didnt appeal, and I had 9 other toons on the realm to get leveling.

    My second healing class was Disc Priest. This was pretty much a spec du jour thing, and I wanted to see if I could do it. In the end, I found it too frustrating and a lack of numbers to back up my efforts left me not knowing how good or bad I was. Sure, deaths were few, but in the end, it didnt feel natural. If I do level my priest in Cataclysm, I’ll probably go with a Holy spec at lvl85.

    My third healing class was Resto Shaman, but just for PvP. This was mostly as a reaction of there being a lack of healing love in the BGs I was doing with my Warlock. Unfortunately, Resto Shamans seemed to be in a place that wasnt so good for PvP, and I moved on to the next toon to level up.

    And what’s left? My beloved Druid, Dubh; my final healing class. I had leveled Dubh to 60 via RAF gift levels, and then went to 70 as Feral. I had an intention of leveling Dubh to 80 as Balance/Resto dual spec, but since she didnt have any Balance gear at 70, I went back to Feral/Resto instead. When I finally did get to a level where there was a decent craftable set for Balance (level 74?), things were moving so fast with leveling as Feral, I just didnt bother changing back. Finally, at 80, I installed LifeBloomer, did a couple of regular instances, bought/made up a bunch of craftables, hit reg ToC a few times and was ready for heroics. At about the same time, the new LFD tool was released, which made pugging even easier. Dubh now sports 4 T9 for the Rejuv bonus, something that I thought might never happen, given a non-raiding schedule.

    Recently, I’d started a DK on a new server (something in the Oceanic group, which is my actual timezone) with the intention of leveling without a host of alts for support. When Cataclysm is released, I’ll be creating a Worgen Druid and will be leveling that all the way to 85 for more healing love.

  21. My main is a resto shaman. Don’t exactly know why I chose a Shaman in BC.

    In Wrath when I decided I wanted to make a healer, I returned to the Shaman because I had liked it in BC. As I was on a new server I had to lvl up from scratch again, but since then he’s been my main.

    What I like about being a Shaman is I feel useful regardless of if there is heavy raid damage, or heavy tank damage, or even using dispels, or interrupts while healing. More than any other healing class it seems we have to be efficient with our heals or we’ll be OOM long before the boss fight ends. The biggest thrills of a Shaman are that when fecal material is impacting the air circulation device, we can kick into serious overdrive and pump out some massive doses of healing to many people with our laserbeams of big luvin’

    I also play a Resto druid on occasion.
    I get the feeling that if I geared him to the same level as my shaman I’d greatly outperform my Shaman. I do miss being about to interrupt and dispel though. Getting the most out of him takes a little more work than on my Shaman, but it seems to be a lot more forgiving on mana.

    Working on a priest at the moment. So far I’ve only healed random dungeons on him(BRD, and DM) and really it seems like any spec can handle those. I expect I’ll end up going Holy on him when/if he makes it to 80.

    Dunno if I’ll ever get to a pally. Getting too many lvl 80s as it is.

  22. @Actorious: I did the same thing, even though I had done both of the first two tiers of raid content as a Druid healer. There was something that the Priest class screamed to me about being a better healer. And in some ways it was way back when. Thankfully, the balance has been homogenized more and the roles specified.

    @Rhii: The versatility is one of the main things drawing my attention back to my Priest. Yes, the Shaman can do everything in regard to totems, but I’ve found that most healing I do is rather one-trick, too: Riptide, Chain Heal, Chain Heal, LHW if someone needs a quick top, Riptide, Chain Heal, Chain Heal. The Paladin does the same thing, but for some reason I’m very taken with the class and their resilience (not the PvP stat, but the concept in itself).

    @Mally: Now you make me think of Paladin healing as being really fun and interactive. I can’t wait to get a Holy set and into some instances to give it a shot and see if I like it as good/better than my Shaman or my Priest. Because you’ve nearly sold me, I think.

    @Tara: Yeah, it was a vast oversimplification of Shaman healing, that’s true. There are plenty of times when I have to LHW spam and mix in Riptides and maybe even a quick Earth Shield twist on a different target just to keep someone alive since the tank’s taken care of. And while Chain Heal is definitely not a be-all/end-all spell, it’s power really shouldn’t be understated. Popping a Nevermelting Ice Crystal or Tidal Force or other CD really helps, but Chain Heal is still the signature move of the Shaman that—for good or bad—is what makes the Shaman shine in most situations. At least to me.

    @toque: I’ve actually always considered Riptide a better Regrowth instead of Lifebloom.
    .-= Professor Beej´s last blog ..In Defense of God Mode =-.

  23. I’m another “it just happened.” I rolled my druid alt (my second toon) because I was fascinated by the nuke effect of Moonfire. But then I struggled with the bear/cat/caster thing up to about 30 and abandoned her. I was happy to stick with my hunter and pewpew stuff.

    Then, our levelling guild hit Kara, but was short healers – so I volunteered to dust off the druid and was rocketed to 70 healing through instances. And I absolutely loved it. Even to this day, while dual-specced boomkin, I rarely step out of the tree.

    I have dabbled with the other healing classes at some time.. Paladins – ehh. Just can’t get excited. Shamans – well I started one, and got diverted by the melee dps side. I think I just don’t like having to stand still and heal after bouncing around so much as a tree.

    Disc priests intrigue me with the damage mitigation – the pre-planning feels a bit like the ramping up and strategic pre-heal of druid HOTs. I love watching our priests fling the frisbee of light before pulls. And the pop-up “I’m so OP I heal when I’m dead” angel is pretty cool too – a decent trade-off for battle rez I think.

  24. My resto shammy has been 80 for a few months, and I’ve done some raiding on her, but I am frankly a bit puzzled by the “chain heal spam” image presented in these comments. I think Blizz has done a pretty good job of killing that playstyle in wotlk.

    For me chain heal is just one of the tools a shammy has. I use it heavily when there are more than one raid members in close range of each other taking damage, for example melee or tank groups. But just as many fights these days are forcing players to spread out and forcing all healers away from their aoe heal buttons. I’m constantly choosing between riptide, LHW, and HW in most fights.

    Also chain heal is slow, often my target is dead before it lands. A quick riptide or LHW (or HW under tidal waves) would have saved them.

  25. I love my Priest, especially as Holy. I keep thinking I should level another healer, and then I think “but I would be missing this, or that, that I have on my Priest”. So, I may have found my niche. Raid healing is much more interesting to me than tank healing, and Holy has a spell in the toolbox for every situation.

    Every. Situation.

    This versatility, and the inherent complexity built into such a system, is what I like. I like different fights where I have to figure out how to use my spells to the best benefit. Sure, the meat and potatoes is COH, POM, Renew at the moment, but all the other spells get their moment to shine.

    The thing I really like about Holy is Guardian Spirit with the glyph. Its like a Get out of Jail Free card on a 1 min cooldown.

    I also just like the Spirit stat. I like the synergy. Not only does it give me regen, it gives me throughput!

    Disc I am not so excited about. I don’t like mp5 for starters, and I don’t like tank healing in PVE quite so much. I love it in PVP though, it still boggles my mind how I can survive in cloth like that!

    I wish there were better options for DPS specs in the healing classes. Shadow is alright, but it isn’t my favorite DPS spec, and it still tends to lag behind other ranged DPS. However, it is just about the best option – Ret, Ele, Enh, Balance, are all a little simplistic for me. Feral might be an option, but I don’t like being in one form all the time ( I like looking at the armor).

    I have been having a blast as Holy the entire xpac, and hopefully that continues in Cataclysm!

  26. I can’t really explain why I play my pally. I was crazy about her the second she appeared on my screen. I had tried other healer-type characters before, but for whatever reason, the paladin was the one that stuck. 4 years later and I still can’t bring myself to stay interested in a different class. Kind of a lackluster story, but that’s just how it is.

    @Mally I love your description of paladin healing! That’s pretty much how I see it too.
    .-= Ophelie´s last blog ..Holy Specs Debate: The Big Picture as of 3.3 =-.

  27. To be honest, I didn’t choose my shaman to heal. My friend talked me into joining wow the summer before wotlk and I was at the character creation screen, trying to decide what to do. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a melee or a caster, so druid and shammy were the obvious choice. Since my friend was a druid, I went shammy. I didn’t go resto until dualspecs came in as a feature. But I really started enjoying it. Oh, and for what it is worth, I hardly EVER chain heal. Definitely my least used heal.

  28. I leveled two DPS to 80 and I raided on a fury warrior for a year until I decided I wanted to try healing. My boyfriend has been playing a moonkin since forever and has raved on and on about how amazing druids are, so I wanted to see what the deal was.

    Since I didn’t want to be one of those girls who roll the same class+spec as their boyfriend and always tag along for advice, I made my druid on a different server. Ffwd a bit, I moved her back to my main server and circumstances made a main change possible. I geared her up as fast as I could and I joined the guild I’m still in. I love druid healing, it’s amazing to be able to run while healing and I’m dead without my HoTs.

    My second healer is a holy pally (main spec prot) and I’m having a real hard time getting used to her. Standing still and no HoTs is NOT something I’m used to, but I’m trying…

    The latest alt I’m leveling is a holy priest and she’s awesome so far, but then again she’s only level 30.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..A holy paladin walks into Icecrown… =-.

  29. Mi first toon was a druid whom I leveled to 70 as a boomkin back in BC. I was informed by several raiding guilds that boomkins were not for raiding, and they suggested I quickly learn how to tank or heal. I choose the healing since it seemed to me to be the easier of the two choices. It was the best decision I made, but I would not say healing is easier than tanking. The pressure is great, and if we healers make a mistake, we can easily wipe the raid. I struggled with a lot of bias in BC, especially from some very clueless priests who shared the opinion that the only real healers were priests, and the rest of the classes were poor substitutes. I quickly found a guild that had some awesome druid heals and learned to throw my HoT’s with expertise.

    As the raiding in WotLK started, I found myself not only a core part of the raid, but leading our healing team. I quickly realized that my general knowledge of the classes was not enough, so I rolled a shammy, pally, and priest. I have to say that I did not really get the shammy. The pally I found to be a bit on the boring side. I was used to having a heal and HoT for nearly any situation. Focusing on one target was too hard for me- maybe due to a bit of ADHD. Add to that you need to be stationary to heal, I felt so trapped. LOL

    The priest was close enough to the druid that it became very natural for me to play her. I leveled her Holy, using mostly the fast instant heals. I loved having not only a fast instant AOE heal, but a slower bigger one as well. I instantly fell in love with her and started raiding with her in a small guild. When the GM asked me to add to disc as my 2nd spec I thought that would be easy to do. I talked to some very pro disc priests, researched it and tried it out. My guild loves the fact I can jump from tank to raid heals depending on the fights. In a 10 man ICC group I have a great niche. I love learning the disc priest. I feel very pro at the holy spec, but being a serious tank healer, now that is a real challenge! I’ve been raid heals for a long time, and I can nearly do it in my sleep. I find the disc to be very hard to learn. It is not the heals, or the rotation. It is disciplining myself to focus only on my tanks, and trust the raid heals to the raid healers. When I see a dps melting down, it is torture to not drop some kind of heal on it. I wiped out group yesterday on Rotface because I just could not leave the raid alone. We had me on tank as disc, and 2 resto druids (yes, I know not the best mix, but we make it work). Timing is everything, and when I’d jump off my tank to bubble or throw an instant heal on a dps, down went the tank. I admitted to my group that the screw up was mine, and I need to really focus on my job and trust my other healers. Lucky for me I run with awesome people and they can laugh about my mistakes, while reminding me that I really need to stick to my job!
    .-= Arret´s last blog ..TOC On Farm =-.

  30. Great post! Intriguing topic.

    Both of my currently active healers – druid and shaman – were more of a group decision than a personal decision. Sure, they sounded interesting to me anyway, but both were chosen for their support abilities.

    My druid, Mimetir, was born because of a druid’s flexibility, movement, stealth and combat res, primarily for 5 mans, though she does fine in raids too. Apeorsa, my shaman, was born at a later date to provide a shaman’s wide toolkit of totem buffs, self res and (over?) powerful healing.
    .-= Mimetir´s last blog ..Juddr: @professorbeej Great post you contributed to WoM! Good stuff! =-.

  31. Dardrethil says:

    I’ve always played a holy paladin. First it was a dwarf paly at release who, lets be frank, I had no idea whatsoever how to play! Then it was a human paladin, my first 60 ever!

    I stopped playing at BC release but when I came back the first thing I did was role a BElf Paladin and here we are today.

    I initially decided on the role for pure RP reasons. I love the idea of a crusading knight, I love the plate armor and I love the sword wielding even as I keep the tank alive. I stuck with it because I think it is a lot of fun, I like not being squishy and I love the abilities.

    I don’t find paladin healing boring (except in 5 mans, but anything is boring in 5 mans these days) even though often it is just Holy Light spam. The trick then becomes how hard can you spam while still having time to use your Mana abiilties, pop sacred shield, hoy shock a dps and toss a flash of light on another, refresh bacon and still have time to judge the enemy. If all I did was hit the one button on the tank that would be boring, but paladin healing is all about the little gaps between the Holy Lights for me. Hell I even try to mix things up and toss an exorcism or a holy wrath when I can. Nothing says fun like keeping the tank alive AND adding dps to Putricide in phase 3.

  32. My first healer was a Resto Shammy, mainly by default, not necessarily choice. I do enjoy chain healing, but mobility is always an issue that I can’t seem to master. Example: I need mana so I drop my Mana spring totem, a fire appears before me and I need to move, I end up having to move just out of range of my totem – no mana, dead. I think I’m just not very good at it.

    I love my Disc priest, on the other hand. Fun, engaging, lots of spells and damage prevention. Plus, I enjoy tank healing. There’s usually some relationship between tank and healer, but that doesn’t exist with a raid healer. All I get are complaints from DPS on how much I suck. I think i”ll stick to tank heals.

  33. I didn’t really choose a druid specifically to heal. I played kitty until 60, then went resto for main spec. I had a dpser already and I wanted to play something new. So my druid is all I had. After a long time raiding as a resto druid, I was so relieved to level my shaman and begin to heal with her. After WOTLK, druid healing just became boring to me, I just felt like I was running around throwing leaves at people.

    I still enjoy shaman healing, it is probably because it is new. But seriously, I feel like I can be a good tank healer with a shaman. I love earth shield and those big healing wave crits. Chain heal is not as awesome in ten mans when everyone is spread out, but really I think it was just something new. I am currently leveling a disc priest as well, and eventually will learn to priest heal. It is just fun to learn new classes, so you can understand where other people are coming from.
    .-= Kayllnn´s last blog ..Patch 3.3.2- Thank you Blizzard =-.

  34. I didn’t really choose my healing class. I remember installing WoW for the first time and looking at all the class descriptions. I picked a druid because it looked like they were the most versatile. I had no intentions of healing at the time. Once I hit level 56 or so, I was being brought into ZG to heal and never looked back. I loved healing (although looking back on it, I’m not sure what it was about spamming rank 4 Healing Touch that was so appealing…). As druids have progressed through BC and Wrath, our healing arsenal has gotten better and better, and a wide range of instant casts suits my ADD play-style. I will be playing a tree until the end of my WoW days. Although I do hope that at some point in the near future I won’t be forced to heal in such an ugly tree-form.

    The only other healer I’ve played at max level is a shaman. It was fun at first. There was a sweet spot for me during Ulduar when the Riptide/LHW healing style was fun and efficient. But then Chain Heal got buffed and shamans started slipping back into being reliant on spamming Chain Heal for 70%+ of their healing and it became less fun. Poor shaman was then abandoned.

    I’m currently levelling a pally (level 70 right now). I’m looking forward to trying healing in raids. In addition to Beacon’s awesome ability to keep a target alive by never actually casting a heal on him, I like the idea of all the raid-saving abilities pallies have like HoP, Divine Sacrifice and Aura Mastery.

    I’ve always wanted to try out a disc priest, but for some reason have never managed to level a priest past level 30.
    .-= Jasyla´s last blog ..Icecrown Citadel – How to Survive the Plagueworks =-.

  35. I remember it well… I was leveling my mage in the Leftern Plaguelands. Back then, I was alliance. This undead shadow priest kept messing with me and would kill me in literally 3 seconds. I was like, “Whoa”, so I went Horde, and Mortagan, my undead priest, was born.

    I leveled her to 60 as Shadow. We had a group of 5 of us that would run things. I did just fine healing the group as Shadow. Then, the altumatum from our tank….”If we want to progress any further, Mortagan is going to have to go Holy.” I tried for days to play it off, but it became quite clear that I couldn’t be Shadow anymore. It was a sad, sad day…..before duel-spec. I gave up my Shadow priest with all her face-melting abilities for healing.

    At first, I despised priest healing. I wasn’t used to it, I didnt’ know all the spells. There were too many spells….However, once the initial “How do I play this Spec?” shock wore off, I loved raid healing more and more everyday! I didn’t get addons until 25 man Naxx. Yup, I used the in-game raid frames, a wing, and a prayer (literally 🙂 And it was amazing!

    Now, I’m duel-specced Holy/Disc. I love my priest. I love healing. I love the versatility of either raid or tank healing at the change of a spec. I love how many spells 1 have at my disposal. I love keeping up on the healing charts with holy pallies when I’m tank healing, or Truids when I’m raid healing. I love having 2 sets of armor, because for the longest time I was Disc healing in Holy gear. It was a dark, dark time. I couldn’t fathom healing on any other character.

    I <3 my priest!

  36. I rolled a dwarfy paladin back in Vanilla, started out a mix of tanking and healing. In early tbc i focused on healing because it was needed. I love the lore of the class and being a red bearded dwarf rocks!

    For me it’s the hidden complexities of the class combined with the fact I can keep up two tanks by myself. It is like Mally says. We have so many tricks that we can layer together now. DS + our bubble, Divine Illumination used to conserve mana or boost healing if you have the t10 bonus. The way we can cast all day long and do big heals. Judging, and meleeing on the boss to heal is something I love doing. I love that I can take a hit or two. I holy tanked Gluth in naxx once as the OT since our OT tank was late.

    The class is fun to heal with and while some parts are simple, it’s not simple using them together properly.

  37. My main is, or rather, was a mage. It was when I was starting to get sick of being in a social guild and being dragged into horrible 25man wipefests on trivial, naxx-level content (this was back at late 3.1).
    I decided it would suit me better to roll something a little more influencial, and where I could see more clearly the effect of my work. After some thought, I rolled a Paladin. A tankadin.

    It was quite soon I started hating tanking, but didnt give up – I started healing 5-mans, levelling as Holy from about 60 onwards. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with Beacon of Light and its endless supply of tricks. Then I discovered the entire panic mode feeling, when everything goes wrong and its up to the healer(s) to restore status quo.

    Paladins, in my opinion, are great fun specifically because they run on 3 healing spells. Finding new ways to use those three heals (and an arsenal of supportive spells to perform the miracles that PoM/Penance/PW:S would fly through is fantastic fun.

    In raids, I love Holy Paladins because my job is so simple – each spell is reflex and instinctive – I don’t have to go out of my way at all to keep a loose eye out for any opportunities for the hands or Holy Wrath/HoJ/Aura Mastery/Bubble Guardian… they’re all engraved into into habit.

    Paladins also have a trick for almost any situation (which is glorious – you’re pretty much guaranteed to be one of the last to die with the myriad of cooldowns, and can force wipes if needed by DI-ing the tank) and between my brief progression raiding experience in ToC/ICC, I’ve found a use for just about every spell in the book.

    Holy Paladins share a trait and abuse with Arcane Mages for being ‘2 button specs’ – but if you play either like one, you’re going to be very bored very soon, and miss out on a whole lot of depth that can easily be found in the spellbook.

  38. I am a Priest. Other MMO’s I used to play DPS’s as the mage or magic-damage class (whatever that might be). When it came to WoW I decided to try something different and be a healer. My girlfriend at the time was a Hunter so we had loads of fun questing where I would simply keep her up and let her and her pet kill off all the mobs with occasional DPS from me.

    I do however take umbrage to the fact that Paladins seem to think Priests, because we wear cloth, are too squishy. If a Priest is too squishy thats his fault. We wear cloth, true, but thats why we have abilities like Power Word:Shield, Renew, Inner Fire, Binding Heal, etc etc. No Priest should be “too squishy” if he knows what he’s doing.

  39. Nice post Beej, and nice to see the reasons others have for choosing their healer. I was going to respond here, but found it was too long to fit, so I posted a roundabout answer over at my own blog. Hmm, Comment luv doesn’t seem to be working for me now….

  40. I first tried healing as a priest. I leveled shadow until I hit 70 and then went Holy. I actually spent a lot of time in a Discipline healing spec for arenas. I was quite good at it, but I kinda felt like they ruined Discipline in BC when they nerfed Pain Supression and made it castable on other people. My main problem with holy was that while it was a better healing spec, holy priest were way too vulnarable to damage. Discipline was worse on the meters, but had much more clutch survival, as well as the spirit buff.

    I enjoyed healing on my priest, but felt too vulnerable. In Wotlk, I rolled a Holy Paladin. It took me a while to learn how to beat other people when raiding healing in between boss fights; I mainly started spamming FoL.

    I think that Holy Paladins, while maybe a bit borring to play, are the best healing class for me. My next adventure is rolling a Resto Druid …

  41. I started out as a Druid and switched from Balance to Resto somewhere around Level 56, before BC came out. My small, casual guild had only had one or two healers, so I found myself dragged to any and all places they needed a healer (especially when I could fly a few levels before other classes and make it to Botanica etc). I was unsure of what I was doing, badly geared and in general pretty damn clueless.

    Once Heroics were introduced I became a ‘Dreamstate Druid’ — I felt I needed Healing Touch to heal the sheer amount of damage done in Heroics and this was back in the day where casting Healing Touch threw you out of Tree form (hey you kids, get off mah lawn!!!).

    Once I joined a raiding guild I went full Resto for Kara, and played my Druid until somewhere in SSC. I got bored of Druid healing as it was (Lifebloom/Lifebloom/Lifebloom/Lifebloom/Eat dinner/Lifebloom/Drink soda/Lifebloom/etc.) and levelled my Priest, which I played until WotLK/Sarth 3D.

    I loved the big and varied toolbox of a Priest healer — I started as Holy, but went Disc after Penance was introduced and Discipline became a viable raid spec. Eventually even the raid instances became too routine and most of my friends had quit the game, so I abandoned my Priest in favour of Druid tanking before walking away from the game altogether.

    I came back super-casual in November and now really just PvP — either on my Disc Priest or my newly-respecced Balance Druid. I never healed on my Druid after SSC and I’m wondering if maybe it’s time to try… I just wish they gave you different Tree forms based on your hair colour, much like they give you different feral forms.

  42. /2cents

    When assessing Resto Shaman’s the first thing I look at is how much the use Chain Heal. Any more then 30% of their casts, and I dismiss them as not knowing how to properly play their class.

    /end2cents.

  43. I’ve got a priest, druid and shaman at 80. I much prefer healing on the Shaman because they’re the most offensive healer. Between dropping totems, Hexing, to interrupting, purging, or Frost Shocking for the slow, there’s so many other things I get to do while healing. Right now my favorite fight is Saurfang because I two-heal it with a Holy Priest… on the adds I drop a Earthbind to snag the one the ranged burn down, then frost shock kite the second one around while still healing. The priest has some of this, but not as much, but the druid is the worst… I can sometimes pop out of tree and do a bit of DPS, but thats about it.

  44. I have had the privilege to play every healing class in the game up to current icc content. Everything you have stated about each class is very true. My main happens to be a holy paladin. With that said, I would stray away from healing on a paladin, because come Cataclysm, it will no longer be the powerhouse in tank healing. It will also not be very good at raid healing. At the moment, I would suggest paladin all the way, but that’s if you can get some good play time in at 80 before cata. As it currently is, a holy paladin can effectively raid heal or tank heal depending on his or her glyphs and gems. If a paladin gems all intellect and glyphs for the holy light splash and mana reduction, they can tank heal until they’re blue. If they gem spell power with some mp5 and glyph for improved crit on FoL and increased healing numbers, they can raid heal just as well as any other class. This also depends on the player behind the toon. Just my two cents.

  45. David Anstey says:

    I lvl’d my Priest as an old dungeon healer right from Deadmines and swapped back and forth between Disc/Holy, finally settling on Disc as my “natural” healing spec. Disc is a great 10 man healing spec where your sometimes asked to do both tank and raid healing/bubbling within the same fight. I sometimes felt under-powered as Holy compared to Disc. My biggest concern about the upcoming expansion is that they ruin the spec by modifying it too much. I’m not really chomping at the bit for group bubbles like some of my brother priests.

  46. mary07810430 says:

    I like the paladin at level15 in my
    <a href=”http://wow.farmer100.com/Buy-WOW-Accounts/.”>wow account</a>.
    . I want to peotect you in the name of holy light. It is interesting. Now, I am wondering what changes will happen in the coming MOP ?

  47. Broadleaf says:

    My first love is still my only real love, my cow healer druid. Yes I am not best at anything, just like druids are not really best at anything and can do everything, but exactly the last, I can do everything, in raids I fill in, I keep the raid alive and the tank topped up so the paladin and priest we also have don’t sweat blood through every orifice, and I am on top of my game, I love it, trying to look these few seconds ahead in any fight so the longer heals don’t overheal too much and no one dies and the ones that needs it have rejuv and stand in a circle of leaves just as they get cleaved or AoEed or whatever.And I have discovered the thrill of PvP healing, very different and needing of a whole new way of thinking and use of different spells in much more dynamic situations.
    I have alt tanks and dps, but they will every remain alts, only tanking gives a slight reminiscens  of the intensity of healing, and my adrenaline can’t get very high trying to be top of the DPS meter…

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