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?

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.

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