Thursday, July 14, 2011

Circle Of Healing

I've seen this filled out by healers on their blogs and I thought it was interesting, but since my blog has what you might call a small audience, I assumed it wouldn't come around to me. However, the writers of a few blogs of larger audience actually deign to look at mine and one of them, Khizzara of [Blog of the Treant] tagged me. So I've been picked!

I always enjoy reading the answers that other healers provide, and Khizzara was no exception, so I'll try to provide thoughtful answers.

As others have noted, the originator of this questionnaire (that's bouncing around the WoW-based blogosphere like a Prayer of Mending) appears to be Miss Medicina. I've noted the more-than-capable blogger who tagged me above and I'll tag someone in turn at the end. (The big question then being whether she'll even notice that I did.)

The Rules

Post this questionnaire, with your answers, on your blog. Pick the healing class you know most about (or is the focus of your blog) for the questionnaire, and then send it over to another healing blogger you know and love who heals with a DIFFERENT class. Include a link to the blogger who sent you the questionnaire, as well as a link to the blogger to whom you are sending it.

1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?

Shanthi, a disco priest.

2. What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)

I do 10-man raids. I prefer the style of fewer people and more personal responsibility (since every failure to perform or death has a magnified effect with so few people) to the equal but different challenge of having to manage more assignments and people during encounters (to say nothing of the potentially nightmarish logistical issues in assembling 25 people every night).

3. What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?

Penance. I love a lot of the spells in the priest toolbox, but nothing beats Penance to me. It looks stylish, it has a machine gun feel and really provides the sense of pouring healing into a target. Power Word: Shield may be the symbol of discipline priests, but I think Penance is the most evocative example of a priest harnessing the Light and channeling it into holy healing.

4. What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?

Renew. It's more of a holy spell (though even holy priests, from what I can tell, are rather split on how much it should be featured) and I really have no talents, as a discipline priest, to get more leverage out of the spell. It's purely niche, at best.

5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?

Flexibility. Whether in discipline or holy spec, a priest can handle just about any assignment, switch roles in mid-combat and cross-heal effectively. We have one of the largest and most varied toolboxes, so we can really adapt to whatever the encounter demands. Further, discipline priests bring all three types of ways to handle incoming damage: healing, absorption and mitigation. Their combination of all three factors is unique.

6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?

At least as a discipline priest, flexibility. *smile* We're not the absolute best at anything. In Wrath, we filled a unique niche...other classes brought best-in-class raid or tank healing, while discipline priests brought absorption to supplement everything else. These days, discipline priests still bring absorption, but they can't blanket the raid in bubbles. Yet we remain not the best tank healer (holy paladins still edge us there) nor the best raid healers (druids, shamans and holy priests beat us out). So we can't claim a raid spot purely from being the best equipped for a single role.

7. In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?

I've done only a few 25-man raids and I've found that, with my lack of experience in that environment, tank healing is definitely the way to go. I would need more experience to handle raid healing with so many people involved, but watching one or two people like a hawk...yeah, I can do that.

8. What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?

That's a really tough one, since I basically just enjoy healing with people who play other classes, so we're complementing each other. To break the tie, I'm going to have to select restoration shamans, for their delicious Mana Tide Totem. Mmm, spirit.

9. What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?

Khizzara worries that I'm going to say druid, because druid HoTs snipe damage before I can cast spells and therefore they lower my meter numbers. And she's right! No, in fact I enjoy healing with druids. The HoTs they provide, especially from Wild Growth and Efflorescence, really provide a soothing blanket on the incoming damage, smoothing it out and making the fight less stressful.

So which healing class do I like healing with least? Blood death knights. Hey, death knights, make up your you want to tank or heal? Leave the healing and absorbing to me and go do your jobs, which is letting monsters slam their teeth into your faces. kthx.

10. What is your worst habit as a healer?

Being too conservative with my mana. In my history as a healer, I've too often ended fights with mana left in the tank. I've been working on it the last few months, trying to be more aggressive with my mana pool without trying to snipe heals.

11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?

People getting out of range. This is not always their fault, but there are times when I feel people scatter a bit too precipitously and trying to run around to get someone into range (and thereby having someone else fall out of range) makes me so angry. Not at my raid mates. At god. For making such a cruel world where people get out of range when they're at 10% health and dropping.

12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?

Absolutely. I think priests are in an excellent place right now. Whether you play holy or discipline, you can pretty much handle any assignment. Priests don't feel much more powerful or less powerful than other healers. They shine especially bright on certain fights, but are overshadowed in certain other encounters. I think each of those axes (plural of "axis" not "axe!") are important in evaluating whether a class is well-balanced.

13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?

For the most part, I really go by whether bosses are dropping in what "feels" like an appropriate pace. Additionally, I'll pay attention to whether my assignments are surviving (last night, I had a rough couple of attempts on Shannox, as Face Rage targets were dying...ugh, fail Shanthi). I will also occasionally use our guild World of Logs reports to focus in on my activity patterns and spell usage.

14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?

That we (in this case, discipline priests) are mostly about shields. I wouldn't say that that's true anymore. Certainly, we can situationally spam out a number of shields but only for special circumstances and rarely. We definitely can't do that throughout an encounter. No, we heal a lot, too, these days.

15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?

When to use each spell in the toolbox. Honestly, there are a lot of spells, especially when you count in cooldowns. Mastering the entire toolbox lends itself to being extremely versatile (as mentioned above) but it takes quite a bit of practice and experience.

16. If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?

Good throughput (counting in both healing per second and absorbs) but low(er) activity rate. Remember that stuff about druids heal sniping? Yes, well, sometimes I don't have much to heal (short of trying to rush in a heal to beat a HoT, which would be silly) and so I stand there watching and letting mana flow back into me. I view myself as something of a "sprint" to provide really good bursts of healing when the time comes. Of course, I don't just wait around for that...I will also provide sustaining heals when there is damage to be healed.

Of course, our healing make-up used to also include a shaman, who's healing totem and Healing Rain also put out ticking healing. He has switched mains to a holy paladin, so perhaps my activity rate is going to be on the upswing.

17. Haste or Crit and why?

Haste. Today. Maybe crit tomorrow. Discipline priests have valued haste, crit and mastery this entire expansion as they all have synergy and upside. Currently, there's a lot (I mean, a lot) of debate over how to prioritize secondary stats. I've been trying a haste-heavy set-up but I keep swapping around reforging and gems, looking for the mythical "perfect" gearing.

I have to say, though, there's really nothing more satisfying than seeing a big green number on a crit, like "89723." (Side note: I vigorously believe that a critical heal on a Face Rage target should end the Face Raging. Maybe the dog is taken aback by the mighty heal. I should absolutely be on the Blizzard game design team with gems like that.)

18. What healing class do you feel you understand least?

Druids. They're weird. Like, taurens-on-shrooms weird. Any healer that thinks they can transform into a host of animals (including some chicken-antelope hybrid) is clearly experiencing drug dreams. And the worst part is, we're all sharing their delusions.

But I digress,

Actually, druid is the healing class I've played least. I've raided with a priest (obviously), holy paladin and restoration shaman. But my druid still languishes at around level 75. Poor thing.

19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?

  • Grid (with quite a few plug-ins)
  • Clique
  • Decursive
  • DeadlyBossMods (it helps me heal by outsourcing some raid awareness)

20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?

I largely strive for balance, since everything is fairly valuable, but I get all the spirit I can (and obviously, intellect always wins). Right now, as I said, I'm stacking a little more haste, but I waver in my stacking priorities and sometimes aim for close to straight balance (among haste, mastery and crit).

Okay, that's it for me. Questionnaire filled out in full, and it was fun thinking about the answers (I had never asked myself whether I prefer healing with certain classes or not).

And, now, I'm taking a tick of damage so this Prayer of Blogging pings on over to Zinn at Jinxed Thoughts. I think she's a very cool and interesting blogger, so she should do a bang-up job with this if it tickles her fancy. Now, I know the rules state choosing a healer of a different class and she is also a priest...but, truth be told, I don't know a lot of healers who blog and most of them seem to have already done this. Zinn, so far as I can tell, has not yet.

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