Does WoW Healing Take A Toll?

Healing. Tanking. Both well-known as high-stress jobs in WoW.

And really, that’s the clue – the fact that they’re almost universally called “jobs”. But are they too much responsibility? Too much effort? And did Mists make it worse?

That’s the interesting discussion that’s blown up in the WoW blogosphere over the last day, all started from Windsoar’s review of how healing’s doing as a play style in Mists

“A lot of things that appealed to me as a tank appealed to me as a healer. Healing is a dynamic role that requires a good understanding not only of the flow of the fight, but of your fellow players, and their foibles. While you might be tempted to fall into a rotation, there are plenty of times when you chuck the rotation and do something on the fly. I feel a personal responsibility for my playmates.

What I hate, and when I know something is horribly, horribly wrong is when I have to be the savior. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it saves an attempt. But it shouldn’t happen. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a tank, dps, or healer: all can play a vital role in saving a bad attempt, but it should not be the norm. I just want to perform my function to ensure that my raid team meets success. Nothing is more satisfying than a clean, well-executed fight.”

This is an interesting overview, but one aspect in particular stood out to blogger Stubborn – the mention of the healer as the saviour of last resort. And in a really interesting follow-up, he discussed the effect of that responsibility on his enjoyment of WoW

“The doom comes very simply; the mechanics mean that while some damage is unavoidable, more and more mechanics put the dps in charge of their own survival. As a result, the mechanics themselves put healers and their team on opposite sides of the success curve. If every dps avoids every potential damage, healing a fight would be much, much easier.

It plays out like this; every time I see a health bar fall because someone fails to execute the correct maneuver – whether it’s boss specific like kiting oozes out of expanding gas clouds or running away to avoid blowing everyone up or general like missing a defensive cool down – I build a teeny tiny “resentment counter.” Now sure, those go away, like every time I know that player did something awesome or simply as time passes and they are forgotten. I don’t really believe they even consciously register, as it’s not something I could have really written about before right now, but now I can see the small increase and steady decrease.”

I can certainly see the issue – I’ve seen people burn out playing healers, more often than any other class. Is it unavoidable? Is it a necessary trade-off?

I look forward to the ongoing discussion.

What do you think?