Aiii, Not the Face – Healers on Cata-Pain

by on December 17, 2010

I must confess, I’ve not hit 85 yet – stuck at 84 instead thanks to a week full of busy evenings and crazy-mad weekdays. And I’ve certainly not hit 85, or even 81, as a healer. But a fair number of people have, and it appears that hitting Cataclysm with a new healer is a bit like hitting a powerboat propeller with a club made entirely of jelly.

Zan at Altoholic Anonymous is certainly feeling the Cata-Pain. As of a week ago, he’d yet to compete a single heroic on his Paladin healer, and since then, things seem not to have improved much. He’s arguing that not only is healing brutally hard and thoroughly horrible when using the LFD system right now, but that healers have been robbed of the gratification of healing by the new paradigm:

Healers watch their unit frames and are used to see press their buttons and see things happen. In Cataclysm we don’t see that, we no longer get a noticeable change in our target’s health. We no longer get a visual gratification for pressing our buttons. This combined with the mana problems, the slow cast times, the lack of real change in the way damage is taken, and the shit healers have been getting in randoms has taken the fun out of the game for a huge number of people.

I could care less about how hard heroics are. I only care a little about baddies and being vote kicked, or even spell efficiency, but not having gratifying results when pressing my buttons steals away a good deal of my fun.

Meanwhile, Disciplinary Action (great name, guys) is also feeling the pain of  healing in Cataclysm.

You’re running out of mana every two mobs and the group keeps pulling, oblivious to your panicked squeals for mana, mana, mana! Bars are dropping. You pop triage heals on the DPS, even though you can’t spare the mana, because you know you’ll wipe for sure without that strangely tough hunter because your tanks’ health is dropping faster than a brick on fast-forward and he’s vying for the title of World’s Biggest Dick anyway.

The ‘lock Life Taps six times in quick succession, the tank pulls the boss while you’re counting the seconds on your Shadowfiend cooldown and sobbing softly while whacking the last three mobs feebly with your stick, and then it happens:

You wipe.

And then the group boots you.

They’ve been learning from the pain, the wipes, and the noobs, though, and present an excellent list of tips for surviving the Cata experience, including some suggestions of helpful communications macros to help stem the confusion and/or noobitude. And they’re even suggesting returning to Wrath instances – but just to improve your new skills in a less-terrifying environment.

Have you levelled a healer in Cata yet? Is it as horrible as everyone’s saying? And do you have any tips to help improve teh haelz?

Quotes taken directly from Zan’s posts and Disciplinary Action’s post.

Find Altoholic Anonymous here, and Disciplinary Action here.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Rigor December 17, 2010 at 10:58 pm

I havn’t gotten any of my healing toons into a group yet, life is crazy busy but it sounds like healing is finally going to be a challenge again, looking forward to it.


Egonor December 18, 2010 at 6:07 am

I haven’t had many problems.  There are gonna be bosses that are tough or frustrating to heal (like the first boss of SFK) and others that are long and an undergeared player will run out of mana (last boss of Grim Batol).  And there are some mobs that just hit extremly hard (ghouls in SFK or drakonoids in BC) but it can all be handled if done correctly.  The healer pain rest mainly on the poor quality of tanks available.  DPS can wipe your group now if people suck but in general I just let them die if they’re not worth healing.  It’s they’re own fault if they stand in a Blitz or Shadow Gale.  ITT: Join a guild.


Zan December 18, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I’m in a guild, but the healer to tank ratio is roughly 2 and 1/4 healer per tank so some of us are having to hit the LFD.
I’m fairly sure Cata heroics are balanced to be doable by people in quest greens and blues with a spattering of gear from normal instances. I doubt tank gear has as much to do with the trouble as folks not doing their jobs properly, in the case of DPS who’ve had an easy ride through most of BC (except for H Magister’s) and Wrath, doing things like CC.
If tank gear was a problem, how did raids down bosses that first week?
Letting people die because it’s All Their Fault™ does not make you immune to being blamed for wipes or the votekick.


Darraxus December 18, 2010 at 7:48 pm

I havent leveled my healer because I see the pain. I play a tank and I feel for the healers. DPS don’t want to CC and Tanks just take too much damage to AOE pull everything. I don’t think it would be a bad idea to have a dps class that can heal throwing a few heals around. Utility is under utilized in WoW. Leveling my Shaman as Elemental, I pew pewed and threw some heals as needed. DPS isnt just DPS anymore. Their role has become much more impotant than just filling 3 random spots. CC, interrupts, and awareness are all mandatory and perhaps more imporant than the actual output of the DPS. Aware DPS can make the job easier for the tank and the healer.


Disciplinary Action December 19, 2010 at 4:06 pm

I completely agree. I’ve seen tried the two-healer guild run (queue regularly with three deeps, one healer, and one tank, and then one of the DPS switches over to healing also) work amazingly well.
Thanks for the shout out, MMOMP!


Janyaa December 20, 2010 at 7:48 pm

I’m not going to lie, heroics have been a struggle. There have been wipes on trash and bosses. I think there are two things that are contributing to the healing “problem.”

1) Lack of patience.- It seems that the expectation of many people is that they will be able to walk right into new content and breeze through it. That is not the case. The content and fights are new, as well as the mechanics. There isn’t any shame in wiping in a heroic 5man. We are all here to learn. People need to plan accordingly and reserve more time for their runs and be willing to stick it out a bit. If we all downloaded the expansion and rolled through the content on the first two weeks, where would the fun be in that?

2) The changed role of healers.- We can’t heal/ save everybody anymore. Mana is a precious commodity that everybody in the group needs to actively preserve. For so long now, dps have been able to focus solely on their recount meters. As long as they were cranking out large numbers, they were doing their job. Now, it’s about how big can you make your numbers without pulling aggro, and knowing how to CC/kite. Tanks used to be able to stack stamina and live through anything. Now it’s about learning how to balance that with mitigation. Because a hit avoided is one less hit I have to heal. As people accept these concepts and become comfortable with executing them, things will get better.

Overall, I don’t mind the new healing game. I’m having to think more and it’s definitely a challenge. However, I’ll admit I miss being able to “heal through stupid.” Maybe that’s my ego talking, but I kind of liked being Mighty Mouse…”Here I come, to save the day!”


Morituri December 21, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I agree with Janyaa (imagine that…guildies agreeing!). We really have to prioritize our healing, and yes that means letting dps die, honestly if I got kicked from a group for letting a DPS die, then I think I would rather not be in that group. I am deffinately thankful for a few things in Cata

I have learned my CDs better, as Disc I have Pain Sup, PW:Barrier, and yes, I now use Power Infusion on some fights on myself (take that Casters everywhere!)
I have better learned my arsenal of healing spells, Wrath brought me things like “bubble spam” and…well I was a Disc Priest..that was pretty much it.
If a renew can’t keep you up as DPS (on most trash), then you need to Learn To Play.


Grimnur December 30, 2010 at 9:00 am

As I can see that for some the healing experience might suck, I for my part have to say that my holy paladin is doing quite well even in LFD groups. IF, and the if is important, all people try to avoid unnecessary damage.
And that’s in most cases just a matter of keeping an eye on shiny ground effects and moving out of it.
There were groups where I barely ever had to heal anyone but the tank. And another day the same encounter with different people was a complete mess.
So my suggestion is: communicate! Talk to the people. (Yes, even the text chat is a nice tool in LFD groups) Try to teach them how to use their class. And if they resist everything you say: Let ‘em die. Leave. Their problem. Sounds hard. But that’s life ;-)
Overall I am happy with the difficulty of the new content. It’s challenging and everyone needs to avoid mistakes. And we need to talk to each other again. Nice work Blizzard!


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