Good Times and Drama on the Healing Forums
If you’ve not stopped by WoW’s official Healing Forums recently …. well then don’t. I’ll save you the headache and sum up what you’ve missed in the last week. The fight over whether healers prefer Cataclysm’s new style of healing has gotten ugly, really ugly. When I say “ugly,” I mean name-calling, ultimatum-giving, boycott-calling, mean-spirited haiku-writing ugly. It’s bad out there.
It’s hard to say what the low point has been thus far. I’ve seen posts calling for all healers to queue as DPS to make the already lengthy LFD wait times even longer, essentially holding the LFD system hostage until Blizzard makes the changes they want. I’ve seen people evoking, again and again, their right to play the game the way they want to play it because they pay Blizzard $15 every month. I’ve seen people telling such notable druids as Keeva and Lissanna that they need to learn how to play their class. O.O
The argument now seems to have mostly settled into two camps: seasoned “elitist” veterans who think people with complaints need to shut up and L2P, and spoiled so-called “Wrath babies” who are too used to having epics handed to them upon hitting the level cap. Somewhere in there you’ll find an occasional post by a player who is actually attempting to give constructive advice about ways to make the healing load easier, but this generally gets shot down by a barrage of “No, you obviously didn’t read my post because you’re not getting my point.” The point, of course, being that healing mechanics must return to their pre-Cata state or all the healers in the game will up and run for the hills.
I’m trying hard to figure out whether the entire WoW population has had a significant long-term memory loss, or if there are truly this many people playing now who weren’t around for the beginning of Wrath. (It’s really difficult to tell just how much experience the posters on the Healing forums really have, since most are claiming such illustrious credentials as having downed C’thun a few dozen times during Vanilla in order to avoid being labeled “Wrath babies.”) Here’s the thing that strikes me as odd about the entire arguement – heroics weren’t exactly easy at the beginning of Wrath, either. In fact, some of them – and some bosses in particular – were damned hard.
My fellow blogger and guildmate, Squelchy, wrote about this a few months ago. We as a player base seem to have developed a collective amnesia about just how rough it could be to run Wrath heroics in regular dungeon blues. He mentions the Bronzebeard event in Halls of Stone in particular; the one that sticks out in my mind is Loken in Halls of Lightning. There were days when you just didn’t get him down. Loken was a serious gear-check for everyone in the group. If you had less than 13k health, you probably weren’t going to survive Lightning Nova if you stood in for it – which, by the way, was not a given at the beginning of the xpac. It was customary to check with your healer as to whether she was comfortable healing through the blast if the group stood in. (I wonder how many people are even aware that there’s another strategy for how to do that fight?) Remember that, with DPS barely cracking 2k at that point, you weren’t going to be healing through just one Lightning Nova, but more like 3-4. That’s significantly more than any healing class would have cooldowns for.
I don’t mean to get all “We walked uphill ten miles in the snow!” here, but what I’m trying to offer is some perspective. WoW’s dirty little secret is that everything gets easier with better gear, and that’s no less true about Cata than it was for Wrath. Until more of us have access to epics from the first tier of raiding, heroics will be pretty unforgiving. In the meantime, we need to be helping ourselves out as much as possible by gemming, enchanting, and reforging correctly. It’s also absolutely essential that we stay within our own armor type – Leather Specialization gives us a free 5% increase in our Intellect, which is much better than choosing a cloth piece because it has a bit more haste on it. If you’re spending Justice Points on cloth gear, I’m sorry to say that you’re wasting them.
The other important thing to keep in mind is that the rest of your group is just as responsible for your success right now as you are. There are really very few bosses in Cata heroics that do massive AoE damage spells at some point during a fight which cannot be avoided. In the case that a boss does have something that simply must be “healed through,” it doesn’t happen more than once a fight and you should be saving your largest cooldown for then. Nine times out of ten, if your group is taking too much damage for you to heal through, the issue isn’t that you’re healing incorrectly; the issue is that the encounter is not designed to require as much healing as you’re having to do. The vast majority of the wipes I’ve seen in heroics so far, both when I’ve been healing and when I’ve run with other guild healers, have been due to flaws in execution and not in healing.
It’s probably beyond obvious by now which side of the argument I’m on. Personally, I’m loving the changes to druid healing – particularly the fact that I have a good reason to use each and every spell in my spellbook now. I like the challenge of new content, even though I do occasionally get frustrated by it. In a recent blog post about tanks and threat mechanics, Ghostcrawler explained, “We want encounters to be fun, and for most players, that includes both rewards and risks.” For me, that means enjoying these first few weeks of Cataclysm, even with the repair bills and corpse runs, because progressing through new and challenging content is what keeps me playing this game.