It’s no secret that I’ve taken some time off from WoW. Although I recently did a podcast with LeetSauced, I must admit that for some time I’ve been growing tired of the game. Cataclysm brought back the feel from pre-Wrath for healing, which was great for me. It was a new and fresh challenge (well, not really, but more of a “going back to my roots” type of thing, I suppose) when it came to healing. Heroics at the start of the expansion were challenging, if not outright difficult (I’m looking at you, Deadmines). Tier 11 raids were a little over the top, but nothing unmanageable. It was all doable.

Enter raid cooldowns.

I’ve always been kind of a stubborn person. I refuse tooth and nail to play Discipline. Part of this is because, while I understand how it’s supposed to work, it doesn’t “click” with me, and actually applying that knowledge is extremely difficult for me to do. Part of it is to go against the grain. It’s the little bit of a rebel in me, I guess. The other part is because I feel that I need to be able to prove that Holy can get the job done. Why is that? Because I was given three options when I rolled a priest. I chose the one that appealed to me. I should not have to – nor should anyone have to – play a spec that is not fun for them because of social pressures.

Power Word: Barrier is an extremely strong cooldown. Divine Hymn… Well… It’s mana efficient. It’s really not a great spell. We saw Resto Druids get a buff to Tranquility in the form of a reduced cooldown. Resto shaman got a much needed cooldown, Spirit Link Totem. Paladins have Aura Mastery. Holy Priests have Divine Hymn. As we saw with Valithria Dreamwalker in Icecrown Citadel, Holy Priests are actually not the preferred healer for certain encounters – arguably one of the weakest healers. See, Baleroc. Back during ICC, I was always one of our portal jockeys, even as a holy priest. I was also insistent about people learning to use a Lightwell. It was actually great back then, too, if people used it. And I trained my guildmates to use it. Unfortunately, it’s not a raid cooldown.

At this stage of the game, it’s become an arms race for healers, and who has the best cooldowns available to keep the raid alive. Currently, that does not include Holy Priests. Oh, sure, we have Guardian Spirit. Outside of Vampiric Blood, it is bar none the best tank cooldown in the game – especially in combination with Enraged Regeneration, Frenzied Regeneration or Gift of the Naaru. But, Holy Priests are relegated to the raid healing role in most circumstances. The funny thing is, in addition to Pain Suppression, Power Word: Barrier can actually be used as a tank cooldown. Divine Hymn can’t. Nor can Guardian Spirit be used as a raid cooldown.

I’m not trying to make this a doom and gloom post – this is just the way it is. They are facts.

Add in that it was mentioned that Blizzard is perfectly okay with phasing out the efficient heals. This kind of thing just makes me question what the point of giving them to us was, if we’re just going to be going back to Wrath-style healing again. I thought the idea was to get away from that. On the whole, it’s a huge disappointment to me to even see that kind of thinking.

To that end, I’m taking a break from WoW. Instead, I’m playing Rift. I’m having a blast with it. The graphics are great, the events are awesome, and it’s a new experience that I’m so far extremely happy with. Chances are, I’ll start blogging about Rift, as well. Sentinel healing is really, really fun. Healing Communion is every bit a mana hog as Prayer of Healing has ever been. A targeted Tranquility via Healing Benediction? Yes, please. Shaman is also loads of fun for melee DPS and bashing things in the face with a big ass hammer (or shovel!). Justicar tanking is a good challenge. Clerics in general are great fun.