Monday, August 15, 2011

Circle of Healers Q&A

I stole this shamelessly from Nofuneral.

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
Rushift, restoration druid.

What is your primary healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
10 man raiding.
What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
This is really a tough question. The OMGNUMBERS part of me wants to say Wild Growth; it's nearly always at the top of my healing done, and I love seeing numbers everywhere on my screen as it ticks. The power gamer in me wants to say Tranquility because it alters the situation of the encounter in 8 seconds flat (well, okay, less with haste). But honestly, I love Swiftmend. A big number followed by lots of little numbers as Efflorescence ticks away on whoever happens to be standing in it. It's a spell that, used incorrectly, provides nothing but a lot of overhealing, but used well it can make up a huge part of good raid and tank healing. It's a versatile tool.

What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
This is going to sound really strange to people, but I really underuse Tree of Life. I guess it's technically not a "healing spell" but rather a spell that affects healing, but I tend to flounder when tree is up because there's just so much going on trying to roll Lifeblooms across as many people as possible while still abusing instant Regrowths on every of the many Omen of Clarity procs, and then keeping Wild Growth on cooldown all the while. If we're talking one specific spell, then my answer is undoubtedly Nourish. It gets used on a few encounters, but in a majority, I may not touch the button more than a few times during a fight, if that.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
Anyone will tell you that druids are great raid healers, and while that is obviously true, I think an even bigger advantage for druid healers is mobility. No other healing class can jump around the way a druid can while still doing 100% of their usual healing. Sometimes, I won't stand still except to throw out a Clearcasted Regrowth or Healing Touch throughout an entire boss fight. Partially because I'm ADD, but mostly because I can.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
Reactive healing, without a doubt. I have not played Holy Paladin at all (soon though!), and I've only played Disc Priest up to mid-70s so far, but I definitely feel the difference between my Shaman and my Druid when people start getting low on health. On my Shaman, all it takes is one Tidal Waved (or even Nature's Swiftnessed) Greater Healing Wave and BOOM, the tank (or whoever) goes from 10% to 60% or more, 80k in a single heal. On my druid, once I exhaust the two minute Nature's Swiftness cooldown, I have Swiftmend for a semi-decent instant heal on a 15 second cooldown. After that, it's either a) hoping Lifebloom is close to expiring and letting it bloom for a semi-decent heal, b) spamming Regrowth and praying RNG doesn't kill you with non-crits, or c) trying to hardcast a Healing Touch and screaming when it doesn't land in time. If you haven't already prepared big heals for a target, you get behind very quickly.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
For me, personally, definitely raid healing. I fell like I'm very good at stabilizing a raid and whenever possible, even in a 10 man environment, I make other healers tank heal (aside from my rolling Lifebloom and Rejuvenation on the tanks) and leave the rest of the raid to me. I have enough reactive healing to be able to catch anyone who drops below the rest of the raid (provided they don't continue taking a ton of damage) and I can continue to make a significant difference for tanks by using my Clearcasts to drop a Regrowth, or rarely a Healing Touch, on them.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with the most and why?
I'm not 100% sure what this question is asking; Nofuneral seemed to think it meant "What healing class do you enjoy playing the most?" but I think it's actually asking what healers you like to be paired with in a raid.

That said, I love being grouped with Shaman. I feel like a good Shaman can fill in the gaps that I feel a Druid (or at least myself as a player) lacks; they have amazing "clutch" heals. When someone is low on health, I flounder, whereas a Shaman drops a bomb on them and puts them well back into the black. They also do very well in AOE situations so they make a good pairing when it comes to heavy raid damage phases like Beth'tilac's second phase.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
First of all, let me say that I love Disc Priests. But healing with them makes me feel very useless sometimes because all my HoTs get preempted by absorbs. When I usually pull 16k+ HPS and suddenly am only pulling 13k because the raid is blanketed in Shields and Aegises, I get a little depressed, even though I know I shouldn't because this is a team sport and everything. Aside from that, though, it can be harder to predict where I need to lay HoTs when people are shielded; the shield might expire soon (hmmm, I should probably be tracking other healers' shields but jeez, information overload) and my HoT will be needed, or I might HoT and have it immediately invalidated by a shield.

What is your worst habit as a healer?
I've already touched on this one a bit, but it is definitely making poor use of my cooldowns. I am usually pretty good about utilizing Tranquility at good opportunities, but my Tree of Life skillz are seriously lacking.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while raiding?
If I had to pick the single biggest, it's people playing the Blame Game with healers as a default instead of double-checking everything that happened first. I mess up sometimes (okay, a lot of times), but when my failures result in a death or a wipe, I am the first person to say so. When it is not my fault, I will make sure people know that it was not my fault, and if necessary, I will make sure everyone knows whose fault it really was - be it irresponsible DPS standing in crap, tanks not utilizing cooldowns during heavy damage phases, or other healers not pulling their weight or missing their assignments. But I try to never lay blame in a raid in a manner that does anything except correct the mistake so we can move on. (I admit, however, in 5 mans my patience for being kind to people who make mistakes is significantly lower.)

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
Without a doubt Druids are very strong at the moment. I feel, though, that we may be on the road to a nerf simply because many people don't understand the nature of Druid healing. By blanketing the raid in HoTs, we collect a lot of residual little heals that would otherwise be picked up by other healers eventually though larger single target heals. It makes us look really great on the healing meters but it doesn't necessarily mean that we are the most powerful healer, if that makes any sense.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
I use Recount in-game to get a quick look at healing breakdown as well as review deaths to see what could have prevented them; for more in-depth information I use my logs on World of Logs to see how I compare to other Druids and try to decipher how I can eke out more usefulness.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
As I mentioned above, I think the misconception that Resto Druids are "overpowered" is pretty prevalent. Aside from that, I think a lot of people don't realize that a Druid, properly speced, can be an effective tank healer.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
Being a relative newcomer to my class myself, I think I can safely say that learning effective use of Rejuvenation has been tricky, as well as the comments I made before about Tree of Life. It's very easy to slap a Rejuv on anyone that takes damage, but that's not necessarily the best strategy. There are times when I fall into it because at this point my mana pool can support a lot of stupid abuse of HoT blanketing, but I know a lot of times I'm sniping my own Wild Growth heals with Rejuvs or vice-versa.

If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?
Like I said, they'd probably see a lot of Rejuvenation overhealing, but aside from that very little Regrowth or Healing Touch overhealing and very effective use of Lifebloom, especially actual Blooms. I tend to play very well with letting Lifebloom expire at key times to pick up a burst of healing.

Haste or crit and why?
This is a pretty obvious choice for Resto Druids - haste until 2005 rating trumps almost everything else; after that, mastery is considered better than crit, but I tend to go for a fairly balanced setup because I like HoT crits (and I don't care if I'm wrong!).

What healing class do you feel you understand least?
Blood Death Knights. No, seriously. They're practically a healing class all their own, and healing a Death Knight is a lot like healing with another healer: you have to be aware of when they will be healing, know what cooldowns they have, and know how to fit yourself into their empty spots. I don't have it down at all because I don't raid regularly with a Death Knight; 5 mans with a DK tank are kind of a chore for me because I forget how much of the healing work they can do and tend to overheal a lot.

Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
As said, haste to 2005 is super-important in increasing effective healing as a Resto Druid. Beyond that, I like a balance between spirit, crit, and mastery, although I favor spirit fairly heavily because I like being prepared for bad/stressful healing situations.

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