Healer vs Healer – is the “class X is OP” fight turning nasty?

by on January 6, 2012


I’m always interested when I see multiple blogosphere posts on a single day talking about the same issue, particularly if they’re coming at it from slightly orthoganal points of view, but heading in the same direction.

And so it has been today with Kurn and Windsoar, both of them talking about the problems with WoW healing class abilities, but from different angles.

First up, we have Kurn, who has been watching a worrying trend amongst her fellow healing commentators – an increased tendancy to cheer at nerfs to other healing classes:

“When resto druids got a 20% nerf to WG’s healing and a glyph change that is ridiculous, I didn’t cheer, I didn’t express my sheer joy. I was upset on their behalf. When holy priests complained of not having a really viable raid cooldown during 4.0-4.2, I was right there with them, saying yes, it would make so much sense for holy priests to have a real raid cooldown that matters! When they got their Divine Hymn buffs, I was thrilled!

When resto shaman got Spirit Link Totem, I was really pleased for them, same with when resto druids got the reduced CD on Tranquility. And in the early days of T11, I got spoiled rotten by having not one, but two Power Word: Barriers at my disposal, thanks to Kal and Num.

My question here is… why does the success of my class make people feel so angry that they then feel HAPPY when my class gets nerfed?”

Obviously, it sucks to be on the receiving end of a nerf. And, obviously, the internets have never been short on crowing over another class’s abilities being nerfed. Hell, even the devs have gotten into the act sometimes – hence the enduring power of the phrase “to the ground, baby!”.

But I’ve not seen this sort of in-fighting from healers in the past. DPS, of course, and tanks to a certain extent, but I’ve not heard of such competitiveness for the top of the meters in the healing world before. And as Kurn says, she’s not seen it as much, either.

Why should it be happening now? Well, it might just be the result of the state of the world – uncertainty and fear are the zeitgeist in a lot of parts of the world right now, and that spreads into everything. It might be a Winter Thing. Or it might be a natural result of the aging of the game, which sees all things inexorably slide to a fight over meters.

But Windsoar’s post today – which I should stress is not one of the posts that Kurn is talking about, but a commentary on a part of the game that reflects upon the entire discussion – may provide another reason.

Windsoar has been attempting to heal Heroic Warlord Zon’ozz, and in doing so has come face to face with a situation she’s not experienced before – the feeling that the only thing she could have done better was be a different class

“Last night I went to take a look at paladins healing Yor’sahj. What could our paladin friend be bringing to the table that I wasn’t? And I found that it wasn’t something I was failing to do, it was something I downright couldn’t do. I don’t have bacon. No, that’s not right, I always have bacon… Beacon, that’s it. I don’t have Word of Glory. These are frankly, powerful healing tools that don’t stack the debuff that I can’t bring to the table. Every single one of my heals does bad things. I can’t keep Lifebloom on the tank during a purple phase. I don’t feel comfortable casting Swiftmend on anyone (which is why pets are awesome). Rejuv, Wild Growth, Regrowth, Healing Touch, Nourish: all add stacks. And don’t even go near your Tranquility button or you’ll be watching an explosion of your raid mates across your screen.”

It might be my imagination, but it feels like we’ve seen a lot of posts complaining that the balance of healing is off right now, and has been for a while. From Vixsin’s superbly-argued posts on Resto Shamans to Beruthiel’s takedown of variable-healer-number fights, it feels like we’ve been in a very unbalanced place for healers for a while now.

Maybe the crowing over what are seen as nerfs to OP classes are actually a result of too much dissatisfaction and frustration for healers, for too long?

What do you think?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

The Renaissance Man January 7, 2012 at 12:09 pm

While I never kept close tabs on the healing community, the whole schadenfreude nerf cycle is something that happens with alarming regularity in the tanking community. When DK tanks got shattered after patch 3.2, many in the tanking community applauded. When paladins got their stam scaling cut in half in 3.3, many people applauded. They cheered for nerfs to paladin mastery scaling and divine guardian nerfs in 4.1, and they cheered when druid and DK damage output got wrecked in 4.0.6.

I’m certain that the DPS community has similar issues, and I share Kurn’s disdain for those players who derive pleasure from seeing their raid’s effectiveness be diminished so that they can get an edge up on the meters.

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Mike January 7, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Maybe the rejoicing on the part of the other healers is just a “thank goodness they got nerfed this time and not me” sort of reaction rather than actual happiness that other people got the short end of the stick. They probably just felt relieved it wasn’t them suffering (yet!).

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Zy January 8, 2012 at 12:08 am

I never, ever cheer when somebody else gets nerfed. It sucks for them and it sucks for the team. I’m the only resto druid in my raid and the rest of the healing team seems to feel the nerf was justified so I hold my peace despite how unhappy I am with how the nerf was handled. Once again I think Blizz missed the real problem.

Honestly, the whole buff/nerf cycle is one of the reasons I’m getting tired of WoW. I understand why they have to nerf but frequently they go about it in all the wrong ways. And yes, I think you are right that need to be a bit more careful about how they handle healers. We’ve had so many drastic changes over the last couple of years (homogenizing, the attempts to make mana matter, heroic agonies) that many healers are tired of getting stomped all over. Folks can only take so much as evidenced by how much healer burn-out I’ve seen this X-pac.

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~Deni~ January 9, 2012 at 11:43 am

I too have struggled with some of the changes that have happened in this xpac. That said i have to say through all the good and the bad it boils down to one thing ….control. Sorry to say but exit the days of blanket healing and enter the time of “healing when necissary!” As a Disc priest i’ve seen those times of feeling totally anemic compared to my comrades in battle, however we all need to remember that while in some cases we take a lead roll … in others we need to stand back and support more! Heroic Zonn’oz for example … yes the HoTs stack debuff quickly … try direct heal support to “control” those stacks … i know this is contrary to most Druid style healing but in this case wouldn’t you say better? Yes you won’t top the meters this way but hey a win is a win as far as i can see, and in the spirit of progression i guess i’m willing to take that back seat to a comrade for the sake of the whole. As far as the changes they are going to happen lets embrace them and go forward using the tools at our disposal to perform our task the best we know how!!

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Hugh Hancock January 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm

@Zy – I wonder if the buff/nerf cycle is another example of a rather short-term policy to maintain WoW’s playerbase, much like the current implementation of LFD. For the first year or so, it’s exciting – you have to relearn your class fairly frequently, you get occasional “wow, I’m imba” moments. But after a while, it starts to grind on everyone…

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Imakulata January 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm

@Hugh Hancock, would you rather be sat out in any but the most casual raids for a couple of years because your class just doesn’t perform?

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Hugh Hancock January 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm

@Imakulata – I’m not entirely sure what you mean. It would seem obvious that’s a poor result, but I’m not certain how you got to there from what I said?

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