Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Priest Healing, a declaration of love

It's time for a rant methinks. The other day (I love saying "the other day" when really it was two weeks ago, but time flies eh) our dear guild leader asked us fellow guildies what we wanted to play come MoP. Most people said they wanted to continue with their current class, a few mentioned they might be interested in rerolling. And me? Priest of course! No questions about it. Or is there?

I didn't have a doubt in my mind as I responded as to what I wanted to do in MoP. I definitely want to continue on my healing priest path. But then a couple of days ago I started thinking - do I really want to play priest or do I only think so because I've always done it? The fact is that ever since I started raiding in beginning of BC I have never mained anything but my lovely Zinn. How long is that now? 5 years? Something like that. I started out as priest, I only briefly swapped to warlock because I thought I wanted to give something else a go but I ran back to healing almost immediately. And I still love it damn it! Although I play almost every other class more often than I play my priest (because I usually only raid on my priest and do dungeons on everything else) I am determined to play my priest in raids. There is without a doubt nothing else I enjoy doing as much in WoW as priest healing in raids and the only reason I eventually stop doing it in dungeons is because it gets too easy frankly. So what then exactly is it I love so much about healing generally and priest healing specifically?

It might go as far back as when I started my very first character, an undead priest named Lahmia on a server I no longer remember the name of. Back then I only had a very basic idea of what WoW was all about and as my brother, whose account I was using at the time, explained the general idea of the holy trinity I recall there being something about the notion of healing that really got to me. I remember my brother describing the healer as something that "every group really needed" and "relied upon". And I definitely wanted to be needed. But that could be said for any of the three roles right? Any group needs a healer, tank or dps (setting aside that tanks and some dps are basically one man groups on low levels). Groups need more dps than healers/tanks, yet healers/tanks always have an easier time finding a group. This has always been so. But that isn't necessarily because healers and tanks are a more important part of the group, only that they're played by a lot less people.

Although I've only ever really mained one class, and cared about knowing everything about that one class alone, I do consider myself fairly knowledgeable about most classes and at least all of the roles. It is true I enjoy some classes close to as much as I enjoy playing my priest, like all of the tanking classes, all of the healing classes and some of the dps classes. Yet there is something particular about priest healing that makes it extra special to me.

One could venture into the dangerous argument jungle of "women always choose nurturing roles". Be that as it may, I'd like to counter argue that no role requires nurturing, patience and herding children as much as the role of the tank. So let's leave that discussion for now.

I've always had the feeling that healing gives more variety to what you're doing than tanking or dpsing would. But this is only partially true. Let's just focus on endgame to narrow things down at least a tad. There is a range between something being too easy and very damn difficult where you have some possibilities to just fool around as a healer and possibly more so than you could as a dps or tank. But when things are very easy you tend to just use a handful of spells over and over and when things are really difficult, like progression raiding, you end up in a meticulous rotation just like any dpser. I have to carefully plan when to use my cooldowns, and how to use my spells around those cooldowns and mechanics of the fight. When every heal can determine the outcome of the fight, there is little to no chance of doing things in just any way. Just thinking back of how I have been doing progression healing on the last couple of fights in Dragon Soul I know I pretty quickly end up in a firm order of how I use my spells. Sure, I might swap a few heals here and there to accomodate minor changes in how the fight runs, like rng, but that is true for all the other roles in the raid.

All classes have to adapt to mechanics of the fight, things that change between fights and that changes a "normal" dps rotation, making dpsers, tanks and healers about equally varying to play. Tanks don't really have a rotation to start with, yet when it comes to tanking raids I'd say that tanking is the least varying, but that is a side note.

I've had plenty of arguments with other healer classes regarding which healer actually has to use the most spells in a generic fight. I even started a thread on my guild forums about it, which received mild interest from the rest of the healers. This is important damn you! But anyway, eventhough there might be one class which has to juggle the most skills (it's priests btw *cough*), the end result is still that most healers have to think about as much as the other and I don't honestly think any one of them is more difficult to play than the other (that doesn't mean there aint any that is better than the other! *coughpaladinscough*). And all healers usually end up spamming one or two spells mostly anyway. Paladins are currently stuck in Holy Radiance, Priests mostly spam PoH, shamans spam water shield and Healing rain and well resto druids still have to keep things like LB and Rejuv up at all times as far as I know. Paladins have it worst at the moment, but that is just bad game design, normally the meters would show a handful of spells way ahead of all the other skills we occasionally use, for any healer.

If it isn't the amount of spells, or how they're used, maybe it is the specific combination of spells? Have you ever been kickass at one class and sucked ass at another although they're quite similar? I consider myself a decent fire mage, but I was seriously dreadful at destruction warlock. Much of it comes from practice obviously, but certain spells just speak to you more. I enjoy the certain set of spells that priests have, with its combination of hots, aoe healing and point healing depending on how you spec. Of course priests also offer the unique possibility to heal with absorbs. Although I enjoy healing as every class, I couldn't see myself wanting to main any of the others healers because in the end their way of healing just doesn't speak to me. Druids use hots too much, paladins use hots too little, shamans have their annoying totems (but not for long!). They each have their charm, but I love the versatility of the priest, being able to do anything decently and most importantly being able to satisfy my need for change occasionally. Only the priest can offer me two vastly different healing styles in one class. So we're back to variation then, the priest being such a varying style of healer depending on spec, and sometimes even spec within spec (atonement or no atonement) is what has kept my interest for so long?

So we might've found a reason as to why I prefer priests over the other healing classes, but that still doesn't explain why I prefer healing over dpsing or tanking. One thing I've always really enjoyed about healing is the special bond that flowers between you and your fellow healers (which probably is just on my end, but anyway). The way you need to communicate to time cooldowns with eachother, relying on eachother, the trust, the love! I could go on and on, but it would turn into an erotic novella before long. I know it sure doesn't seem like anyone else has this close knit bond, but I also know I'm probably naive to think healers are special in this aspect. The entire raid has to trust every member of the raid to do their part to even get the boss killed. Tanks double-tanking often have to have very strict communication to not actually wipe the raid. And the entire raid has to trust every member of the group to do their job to actually get the boss killed.

But above this raid teamwork, there is also the teamwork of the healing group and unlike the occasional teamwork that can arise between two tanks, two (or more) dpsers or between the tank and a dpser depending on fight, the teamwork of the healers is there for every fight because every fight requires at least two healers. This might explain why I enjoy healing so much in raids specifically, since I must say I don't necessarily think healing is the most fun job to do in dungeons. I can't explain why this aspect of healing is so important to me, but it does give me a further sense of accomplishment I think. Not only did I make my raid proud by not letting us die, I also made the healing team proud by using my mana cooldowns at the right moment, timing my tank and raid cooldowns to make all of our jobs easier and so on. It is a role I thouroughly enjoy and strive to always do as well as possible.

So in the end I can actually say, I enjoy priest healing specifically because of the variation it gives me, the style of healing it has and because of the special sort of teamwork that exists between healers. All of these might sound obvious, but as with any relationship you have to take a moment to ponder what it means to you and why. I am looking forward to yet another expansion doing what I have always done!


  1. Totally agree with you - there simply is nothing better than healing with a priest <3

  2. Are you...

    I can't believe you were CONSIDERING cheating on the Priest class?


    1. Even in the best of relationships there will come moments of weakness! But nothing happened, I didn't go through with it and it stopped at nothing more than a feeble thought. I think it has only made our relationship stronger <3.