The time has come, the Bear Priest said, to speak of many things. Of buffs and wipes and long cooldowns, of loot rolls and of bling. Of why the Spine is such a pain, and how to heal through things.
If you know where that came from, you may feel a sense of foreboding.
The word I bring you is mostly positive, much as our species is ‘mostly’ harmless.
I, that is me, the player sitting here in this chair, is in a raid team.
Ho no? Ho yas!
And even weirder… I’m raiding as a healing Holy Priest.
Yeah, I may have to give some of you a few minutes. That’s cool, I’ve got chips, I’ll go take a break, be back in a bit.
Okay, *munch munch*, we all set to continue?
All right, damnit, how do you eat chips and not get cheese crap on the keyboard? Fine, I guess I am destined to live my WoW playing life bereft of cheese-flavored snacks.
What? Oh right, healing as a Priest in a raid.
Yeah, Penumbria has done a little raiding. Only a little. If you really cared, you could even Armory her to look at progression, if only to see that I’ve only raided a few times.
I have a few observations to make, inspired by Allison Roberts’ latest WoW Insider post.
I ran LFR as a Healer from start to finish, several times, and I have healed Dragon Soul 10 person normal a few times.
Point the First: I am here to tell you, without reservation, that it is more challenging to heal LFR than Normal.
When I started with my Priest as a healer in heroics and LFR, it was challenging. But, by the grace of God and the teachings of Tyben, I made it through. I struggled, I actually used my cooldowns and learned what did what for whom, and felt I was doing well.
How is that for a blog name, btw? The Teachings of Tyben. I know I’d read it.
And then came the day I filled in as a healer for Team Snuffleaupagus, and it was, comparatively, easy.
First, in a real raid the people all stood in the right places, clicked the little buttons at the right times, and used THEIR cooldowns.
That, all by itself, was a game changer.
Before I ran in Normal, I never knew that if everyone that gets a red beam on the crystal on Morchak STANDS ON THE CRYSTAL, the crystal gets much smaller.
I’d never seen it shrink before. Huh.
Also, did you know that it’s not normal for half the raid to be below half their hit points after every Hour of Twilight? I know, right? In an actual raid, where people actually clicky their buttons, they don’t almost die every time for me to frantically spam heals!
This is a new concept for me.
And, oh wow, did you know that in normal raids, when the tank has the hideous amalgamation, he actually holds the thing without ANY stacks until it’s at about 12%, and only THEN drags it through all the pools of blood?
OMIGOD, right? What kind of lame raid is it where you don’t have an amalgamation doing blasting AoE damage to the entire group at 6 or 7 stacks for the whole fight?
And don’t even get me started on the gunship and Twilight Onslaught.
It really does come down to this one, simple thing – healers in LFR are expected to heal other people through being rock-bottom lazy, inconsiderate, stupid motherfuckers that stand in place and shoot, and to heck with the rest of the raid.
I am not surprised that in LFR queue, healers have about a 3 second wait time. No surprise whatsoever.
Point the Second: If people don’t almost die, they get sloppy.
I have been running all sorts of heroics and even a normal Stonecore, and I’ve seen one common theme in all of them.
Someone will be a little boneheaded, almost every time. Pushing the ‘pull for the tank’ boundaries and taking some hits to the face to spike the DPS charts, ignore the puddles on the ground, don’t run out of Fel Flame, etc.
If you let them drop to almost dead and then heal some but not all of the way back up, they get careful. They manage their shit.
If you just heal them up with uber lightning-fast reflexes… they get sloppier and sloppier until they don’t get out of anything, ever, and you’ve got an extra wanna-be tank.
They slack off on being careful or playing properly… and you get punished more for doing your best.
Point the Third: If you get raid gear, it gets MUCH, MUCH better.
Once you get some actual gear, the comfort curve goes through the roof.
I am not a good healer. Okay, maybe I’m good by LFR standards, but I’m not good by good raid team healer standards.
But I now have decent raid level gear, and I am now finding that I’m careless as hell of mana management, because my regen and tools are great, and my HPS are high enough to keep me from having to cast as many heals for the same effectiveness.
I have begun, in heroics, to be able to heal people through the stupid. And to still have more than 100,000 mana afterwards.
If you got a ton of Valor gear, you could do this too. I am not special. I cannot stress it enough, a Holy Priest in 397 Valor gear is a force to be reckoned with in heroics and LFR. Oh yes, and LFR. Powerful AoE healing? Yes, I think so.
What is it I’m doing, anyway?
This next bit, you can really just stop reading unless you’re actually interested in what I’ve got configured for playing a Holy Priest. Really. No more of the funny. Bah-bye.
There is no secret to what I’m doing. I’m actually still working on adding more tools in, but the basics are my Vuh’Do settings, and a mouse with left, right, middle, and two side buttons.
The mouse button configuration I use as a right-handed player is:
I never said I was an artist. THIS is why I don’t create my own fancy icons, lol.
The point is, these are my fast-response time clicks on a nameplate in Vuh’Do. The only spell I used that isn’t on here is my Holy Word: Sanctuary, which I simply hot key and place.
My spellbar is spread out so that my long cooldown spells AND spells that have 10 second or other multi-second cooldowns are clearly visible, so, for example, I can easily see what the cooldown is until the next time I use Prayer of Mending. Maybe there is an addon like Bad Kitty that shows you when the cooldown wears off on your spells, but I’m okay this way for right now. I don’t lose even a second on my PoM. Or my Circle of Healing, for that matter.
It’s been a lot of fun. Really.
My only gripe is, if I’m in Chakra: heal a single target, then having to Shift-Right Click to do Holy Word doesn’t really flow smoothly. I can nail every single other spell fast and smooth, but that one is apparently outside my ‘panic mode’. In a clutch, I Flash Heal or Greater Heal instead, wasting the power of Holy Word. I’m thinking I could swap with PW: Shield, but the fact is, I don’t use any of the Shift level buttons as much as I could. I can Ctrl-click with the best of them, but my pinkie apparently isn’t as bendy as it should be.
But that’s okay. Realistically, in ‘lazy healer’ LFR mode, I can go into Sanctuary, use PoM on the tank, spread Renew around, CoH and spammed PoH on the raid to top them up, Holy Word glowies on the ground for the bad moments of stacking, and Flash Heal and Greater Heal for the serious business, and do just fine. JUST fine.
And when in doubt and it’s all going to shit?
Divine Hymn is your friend, your best buddy, your long lost lover you meet over a cup of coffee after a few years apart and catch up with. It’s got a short cooldown compared to the stuff other healers get, too, so use it.
If I have a moral to this story, it would be this.
If you tried to heal in LFR, saw how bad it was and thought, “Hell with this, if it’s this bad here raiding must suck”, don’t give up hope just yet. With solid gear, good LFR and heroic stuff, and omigod the Valor stuff is OP, you will be a powerhouse.
Second, you will come to enjoy those 3 second queue times. No, really. I run heroics JUST to get past the Valor cap so I can get extra Justice Points to convert into Honor Points to buy heirloom PvP gear for mogging. And come on, you know me and pugs. If I’m willing to queue as a healer in a Stonecore pug just to get some Therazane rep from the killing Ozruk quest, you know it gets pretty damn overpowered.
Really, that’s the main point. If you tried it or are afraid of the learning curve getting in, don’t stress too much. You can always go as Shadow, rack up some Valor, buy healing gear and get healing drops, and step in as a first time healer already in OP gear. If you use the single-target optimized Chakra in 5 person heroics… you will not have to struggle very much, if at all., to learn as you go.
Just remember, especially on Mannoroth… Fade is your very bestest friend. Right after Divine Hymn.
There. I promised Tyben I was gonna write about Holy Priests. That is about all I can say about them, besides how healing as a Holy Priest gives me an ever-increasing opportunity to see people at their very worst, and learn to love the new reporting tools.
Oh yeah, one last thing. Once you get powerful enough to heal ’em through the stupid, ah the Skinner games you can play.