Like Jasyla, one of the reasons that I started my blog was to participate in Miss Medicina’s Circle of Healers survey. In the past year and a half, the game has changed quite a bit, and so has the blogging community, so Saunder has started it up again.
Lodur tagged the whole Resto Shaman community in his answers. Fannon beat me to tagging Glorwynn, who was at the top of my list if people whose responses to this survey I wanted to see, and she tagged me instead.
So here’s how it works.
Post this questionnaire, with your answers, on your blog. Pick the healing class you know most about (or is the focus of your blog) for the questionnaire, and then send it over to another healing blogger you know and love who heals with a DIFFERENT class. Include a link to the blogger who sent you the questionnaire, as well as a link to the blogger to whom you are sending it.
1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
My main is my Tauren Resto Shaman, Kamalia.
During the past month, I’ve also spent a lot of time leveling a Blood Elf Holy Paladin, Kiraleia, through LFD.
2. What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
Kamalia does most of her healing in 25 man raids. Since Patch 4.2 dropped, she’s been doing Heroics again, but I’m not especially diligent about doing them every day, and I’ll probably stop doing them once we get three or so Firelands bosses on farm.
Kiraleia, who is still leveling, does all her healing in 5 mans.
3. What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
I was pretty excited about Healing Rain when it was first introduced in the Cataclysm previews, and it has lived up to my anticipation. It may not be as pretty as Efflorescence or Sanctuary, but Shaman already have Chain Heal to be flashy with. I love the way you can actually see raindrops falling if you’re zoomed in close enough or otherwise have a good angle on the spell effect. I love the way a well-placed Healing Rain will top off the people who haven’t lost much health while simultaenously providing a buffer for the people who are really hurting until I or another healer can get off a big, slow heal. Once I’ve learned the mechanics of a fight well enough to not feel completely like a headless chicken, I enjoy the challenge of figuring out better ways to place my Healing Rain circles.
With Kiraleia, I really enjoy the Holy Shock + Word of Glory combination. It feels exciting and dynamic to play to me, in a similar way to juggling DPS buff stacking and procs, and it’s been a good match for most of the tank health and damage pattern combinations I’ve encountered in low level dungeons.
4. What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
With Kamalia, probably Healing Surge, with Greater Healing Wave not far behind. I treat Healing Surge as a panic button, but I should use Greater Healing Wave more often than I do.
Kiraleia still has a pretty limited toolbox, and I don’t think there’s any particular spell I really neglect. I use Holy Light and Flash of Light both pretty regularly when people are taking damage and Holy Shock is on cooldown.
5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
Despite the loss of some of our niftiest totems, Shaman are still one of the most versatile healing classes, able to quickly shift the buffs we offer or the roles we fill to adapt to a changing situation. I also really enjoy the active mana regen mechanic of Telluric Currents. Although the damage my lightning bolts do is pretty pitiful, by pure DPS standards, it makes me feel like I can still contribute to the success of the group even when I’m temporarily too dry on mana to heal effectively.
I feel like I can go a lot farther on low mana (40% or less) with Kiraleia than I can with Kamalia because of the effectiveness of Holy Shock + Word of Glory, the talent that allows a free Holy Shock to proc, the talent that allows Word of Glory to sometimes not use up Holy Power, and glyphed Beacon of Light.
6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
The current mana management mechanics of the Shaman and Paladin classes are simultaneously a great strength and a great weakness, precisely because they require the active monitoring of the player. The Paladin healing spells are probably powerful enough to make up for the quantity of GCDs that the player has to spend on maintenance rather than active healing. The Shaman healing spells may or may not be. I’m not sure that I, personally am attentive enough for these mechanics to always be a strength, instead of mostly being a weakness.
Before Patch 4.2, I could keep greater than 80% uptime on Water Shield just by having made an indicator on Grid to tell me if I had it up or not. With Water Shield falling off so much more often since the patch, I’ve had to make a Power Aura to make it much more obvious that I need to refresh it, and it’s annoying how many GCDs I have to spend on doing so.
Shaman also have to remember to spend GCDs on refreshing our standard totems after using our Big Damn Cooldown Totems. Sometimes the lag between the end of MTT and when I either remember to or have a GCD free to re-drop HST can get quite long, and that’s a lot of healing lost and extra damage taken from the missing resistances.
Paladins can regenerate mana in a steady stream by Judging on cooldown, but they have to be in range of a mob to do it, and they have to remember to do it. I haven’t quite made a Power Aura for the cooldown of Judgement yet, but I probably will soon. And, of course, they have to spend all those GCDs on it.
I’d like Blizz to do something about the charges of Water Shield to bring it more in line with a DPS Shaman’s Lightning Shield or even just the 10 charges of Earth Shield. I don’t necessarily think the Judgement mechanic needs to be tinkered with, however, because it’s kind of nifty and certainly gives the Paladin class a different and distinctive flavor among the healers.
7. In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
I try to keep whichever tank I’m Earth Shielding either targeted or focused, and I have the talents and glyphs that buff heals to the person with my Earth Shield. Because of this, I tend to do a lot of tank & melee healing and am less effective at healing the ranged DPS. I am comfortable, however, with being given either type of assignment.
My Paladin is still low enough level that her abilities are primarily focused on tank healing. Having done raid healing with the range and clustering limitations of a Shaman’s Chain Heal and Healing Rain, I think I’d be fine with a raid healing assignment as a Paladin once I had enough practice with the AOE healing tools that a Paladin doesn’t get until fairly high level.
8. What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
9. What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
This depends on group size, really.
In a 10 man, I think it’s better to have all the healers of different classes than to have two healers the same because of how well the classes synergize with and complement each other. In a 10 man, bringing two Shamans won’t make up for the things a Shaman can’t do quite as well as some of the other healing classes. In 10 man, the personality of my fellow healer(s) makes a bigger difference to me than what class they play. Druid, Paladin, Priest — they’re all good, but I’d prefer a Holy Priest to a Disc Priest (although that may be an outdated preference based on not understanding very well how Priests work).
In a 25 man, however, it’s fabulous to have doubles of any healing class, or even of more than one healing class. In a 25 man, it’s great to have two Shamans, because then we can have a Healing Rain for both the melee and the ranged and double the MTT and SLT goodness. In a 25 man, I like to see representatives of every healing spec on the team.
10. What is your worst habit as a healer?
I’m terrible at using my cooldowns, such as they are. When I’m in a 25 man with another Shaman, the other Shaman will inevitably beat me to recognizing an appropriate moment to use SLT. I still fumble with my Paladin’s Lay on Hands cliquebind and too often don’t get it out in time to make the save.
If I work at it, I can train myself to (usually) remember to use a spell CD, but I totally fail at remembering to use trinket CDs. I almost never remember to use my Tyrande’s Favorite Doll mana return in between triggering it as part of my MTT macro.
I’m also bad about spamming my efficient heals, such as Healing Wave and Holy Light, when I should be reaching for my more powerful heals, such as Healing Surge or Greater Healing Wave and Flash of Light.
11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?
In a Heroic, that one ranged DPS who won’t change position to stand in the Healing Rain that I’ve managed to place just right to catch everyone else.
Leveling tanks who pull more damage than my Paladin can keep up with, then blame her for the wipe.
12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
Indeed I do. As I wrote above, I think that a more diverse healing team is stronger than one with too many multiples of the same spec.
13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
If I’m running out of mana excessively fast, I’m probably doing something wrong. Either I’m not paying close enough attention to where I’m standing relative to the rest of the raid, particularly the ranged DPS, and am wasting my Chain Heals and Healing Rains on poor targeting/placement, or I’m spending too much mana healing myself from what should have been avoidable damage.
I used to monitor my spell distribution in real time on Recount. Ever since Patch 4.1, however, I’ve been experiencing severe frame rate freezing whenever I target a boss or add for hostile actions such as lightning bolting or judging. I have therefore been keeping Recount disabled on Kamalia and Kiraleia.
I do usually go look at the WoL parses for my guild’s raid nights, but I don’t generally do it right away. I look at my spell distribution and the uptime of my shield spells. If my guild’s other Resto Shaman was in the raid, I compare what I was doing to what he was doing.
But really, as long as my numbers are in the ballpark with the rest of the healers, and I’m not dying to stupid stuff, and I’m not letting my healing assignments die unneccessarily, and I’m pacing my mana usage appropriately for the fight, I figure I’m doing well enough.
14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
That Shamans are still all about the Chain Heal LOL, I guess. And I’ve heard that at low levels there are folks who think that all Shamans only want Agility, when in fact it’s only the Enhancement Shamans who want Agility and the Elemental and Resto Shamans want Intellect.
As for Paladins, it’s probably the one that I haven’t yet realized that I have myself about how the class works.
15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
Remembering to keep up Earth Shield and Water Shield, and getting to have an instinctive feel for the range of a Chain Heal jump and the size of the Healing Rain circle.
As a leveling Paladin, I’ve been struggling with trying to figure out whom to Beacon in any given 5 man group.
16. If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via Recount or World of Logs, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?
I use Riptide and Unleash Elements more or less on cooldown (I have Power Auras for that). I don’t use Greater Healing Wave and Healing Surge as often as I should. Earth Shield or Riptide is often my third greatest percentage heal, after Chain Heal and Healing Rain, again meaning that I should probably be doing more active healing with spells like Greater Healing Wave. I use MTT fairly regularly, and I use TC lightning bolt regen at some point in most fights, but I forget to use mana/concentration potions and my healthstone. I’m slow on the draw with SLT. Because I food and flask buff for Spirit, not Int, I am usually not in the top three of a 25 man healing team, but I am not so far behind that I could be accused of not pulling my weight.
My Paladin’s meters would see her using Holy Shock on cooldown with Holy Light as the usual filler, interspersed with Judgement at least every minute and occasional panicked Flash of Light spamming. I use Word of Glory frequently, but not immediately upon getting to 3 charges of Holy Power. I will throw Holy Shock on random targets in between pulls just to keep 3 charges of Holy Power up, so that I can unload a fully charged Word of Glory as soon as the tank aggros the next pull. Word of Glory most often goes to the tank, but sometimes I use it on a DPS who is taking an unusual amount of damage. I bounce Beacon around to whichever DPS seems to be the squishiest — or the greatest aggro magnet — in the moment, but don’t often put it on myself because I already have a talent that heals me whenever I heal someone else. Perhaps my greatest misconception about Paladins is that, in a 5 man, I shouldn’t just Beacon the tank?
17. Haste or Crit or Mastery and why?
I’ve been running a Haste/Mastery build. The Resto Shaman Mastery is made for difficult content where health levels are often very low. Haste is always yummy for swifter cast times and more ticks. Crit was nice, but not worth favoring over Haste or Mastery because my proc-on-Crit effects were not a great percentage of my overall healing. With Crit having become more important in Patch 4.2, I need to see if I can reach the 2005 Haste threshold, and if I can’t, I suppose I should prune my Haste back to the 916 threshold in favor of picking up more Crit.
18. What healing class do you feel you understand least?
I read enough Druid blogs that I feel like I sort of understand how they work, but I don’t have a lot of hands-on experience with Druid healing. Although Kerisa has a tree spec and glyphs drawn from my blog studies, I was too intimitated by all the LFD horror stories to queue her up as a healer for very many dungeons in Wrath. I would like to try Druid healing with her again sometime, but first I’d have to get together a tree gearset….
I don’t understand Priest healing very much at all. I don’t read very many Priest blogs — but the ones I do read, Disciplinary Action and Murloc Parliament, have gotten me interested in trying it. I have a level 20-something Priest who is currently rocking a solo questing focused +Smite Disc spec, and I intend to pick up a Holy second spec when she hits level 30, but it’ll probably be quite awhile before I get around to doing any serious healing with her.
19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?
I use Grid+Clique for raid frames & spell targeting and Power Auras to track my various buffs and cooldowns. I have Mana Tide Totem macroed to Tyrande’s Favorite Doll and a /say announcement that I’ve dropped it. I use macros for Word of Glory and Wild Growth in Clique. My Paladin uses Fannon’s focus-the-tank Judgement macro.
20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
By the end of T11, I was trying to keep Haste and Mastery mostly balanced and reforging out of Crit. My guild was doing a mixture of normal modes, for which Haste was favored, and hard modes, for which Mastery was favored, so I wasn’t comfortable with stacking either stat at the expense of the other. I’m not quite sure yet what I’ll be doing in T12, but I’m leaning toward trying to balance Crit and Mastery after having gotten Haste to a threshold value.
I’d like to tag…
Rades of Orcish Army Knife because I know he’s got some healers hiding in his string of alts,
Akabeko of red cow rise because she wasn’t blogging yet the first time around and I’d love to see what she has to say,
Apple of Azeroth Apple because if I’m remembering correctly, her Lisan is the Holy variety of Paladin, rather than the Prot or Ret variety,
and Zelmaru of Murloc Parliament because I could have sworn that she did the Circle of Healers v1.0 as a Druid back in the day (but I can’t find it on Miss M’s list) and she’s now healing as a Priest instead of a Druid.