There’s been a lot of debate recently on the healing forums regarding the changes to healing style. Most of it boils down to whether it’s fun or not, and to a lesser degree, how challenging the content is. Personally, I’m one of the people that finds that healing is just fine the way it is. It’s entirely possible to complete the content as it is right now. However, I find that the challenge is actually more than just the difficulty of the encounters, or even the almost necessity for crowd control. It actually is that people aren’t letting go of the mindsets from previous expansions.

There are actually two points to this. For one, there is the “Wrath mentality” that a lot of people mention, which is part of the issue. In part, it’s no longer “spam ability x” in order to keep people alive due to one-shot mechanics. Heroic mode encounters in 5-mans are not faceroll-esque at this point. There are still mechanics that will one-shot people if they aren’t situationally aware (the fire lasers in Deadmines, Ozruk’s smash in Stonecore, etc.). There are downsides to this new challenge, though, which I will cover later. But the main point is, there is no saving people from making mistakes in these circumstances. Either you GTFO or you die, period. This encourages smart play on the whole from all party members. Truthfully, I’m happy to see that this means working as a team in order to accomplish a common goal, instead of as early as ilvl 200 gear in Wrath heroics where heroics were just stupid easy. A lot of people point back, and rightfully so, to BC heroics, when even people in T6 had to watch what they were doing in Shadow Labyrinth, Magister’s Terrace, etc., else it may cause a wipe.

The second point behind the idea of the problem with the new healing model is that people are not really ready to let go of healers making or breaking an encounter on their own. This is a huge thing, but again, brings back the necessity of all of the group members working as a group. It stands to reason that some healers are having a hard time adjusting to not having complete control over the dungeons, but why should they? In all fairness, I rolled a healer to heal, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. Perhaps it’s not in the best way possible, but it’s completely doable, and definitely engaging in a way that Wrath was not.

The biggest issue with healing in Cataclysm, especially heroics, is that even a slight variant of latency can spell certain doom on certain encounters, no matter how good the players are (I’m looking at you, Ozruk and Ashbury). But, that is in the minority, and unfortunate as it may be, one just has to roll on through. There’s a lot that one might consider “unfun” about Cataclysm healing, specifically the amount that heals heal for. Yes, it’s disappointing to see heals only going out for ~7500 or so, but at the same time, encounters are balanced around that, so it’s not as big a deal as a lot of people are making it out to be.

I’d like to be as rational as possible about healing mechanics and how they are meant to interact with the incoming damage. Healing requires a great deal of finesse that a lot of people seem to be missing. It isn’t like DPS or tanking, where everything comes down to a numbers game in terms of either mitigation or outgoing damage. Instead, in addition to the numbers game, there’s also the art behind it, in really making it like the triage healing that Blizzard is striving for. I think there are some fine-tuning things that could be done to improve healing across the board (such as a buff to Nourish, and Nature’s Swiftness, and improving Holy Concentration and Water Shield to be a set intellect-based mana regen mechanic rather than spirit or flat mana, similar to Rapture and Revitalize), but it’d also mean some mechanics overhauls, too.