Monday, July 18, 2011

Circle of Healing Webring - Zinn Edition

I've been seeing this Circle of Healing meme going around, but unfortunately it started just when I went on vacation so I didn't really get a chance to check it out, and then somehow, it fell out of my memory. Until I noticed that Oestrus over at the Stories of O, Rades over at Orcish Army Knife and then also Minstrel over at Holy Word: Delicious (and maybe even more people, omgomg I am famous) had "tagged" me to do my own version of this rather long questionnaire. Well, that must mean at least THREE *holds up three fingers* people are interested in knowing what I have to say about this, and three who also happen to be some of my favorite bloggers, so let's give it a shot! I must admit, I have been enjoying reading what other priests have had to say. I remember my first impression of this was "woah!". The questionnaire is rather long, and equipped with questions that each on their own could warrant a full post. I feel like the challenge here is to say something concise, which really isn't my strength at all *cough*. All the better. So let's get to it.

1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
My main currently, and has been for some 5 years (except for a brief blackout as a warlock), is Zinn the Priest. I started out as a pvping shadow boob, but was eventually coerced persuaded to do some healing. After a lot of healing, it actually grew on me, up to the point where I realized I love priest healing and hate shadow priest dpsing, I switched and never looked back. I alternate between disc and holy, partially because my raid group has varying demands and partially because I seem to enjoy the different specs in periods. In early Cata I preferred holy, and then when they fixed disc somewhat I turned back to that (I had primarily played disc in late Wrath). So although I'm in a disc-phase right now (31/8/2), it could easily turn into a holy-phase.

2. What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
I heal on many chars, and they all have their own little niche. On occasion, my main isn't even the one I heal the most with, which might make you question the valiability of calling it my "main" at all. But that's matters for another post. With Zinn I've primarily healed raids the last couple of years. With each new expansion there are loads of dungeon crawling of course, but I quickly turn Zinn into my raids-only-character, where I only log on to her to do raiding. Nothing else, not even dailies (because doing dailies as a healing priest really sucks). I'm currently in a 25 man raiding guild, and have been for the last year. After having played in a 10 man raiding guild for some 3 years, I think what I enjoy about 25 man is how it allows me to tailor my stat gearing to my liking a lot more than a 10 man would. In a 10 man I always felt it like I have to adapt my playstyle and gearing to a large degree to what the rest of the 10 man group looks like, while in a 25 man it's a lot less vulnerable and I can play and fool around a lot more. Not in that I take 25man raiding less serious, but it allows for more experimenting and individuality. In a way that is what I enjoy about priest healing over all, that it holds so much possibilities to heal different situations in varying ways, and these possibilities really bloom in a 25 man environment. Some people say they like the challenge that the 10 man restrictions put up, but I say screw restrictions.

3. What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
I know I probably should say Power Word: Shield, but really I don't like that spell much at all. Why you ask? Because you don't notice it. PWS is the absence of healing. Although I really love the concept of absorbing damage, and think it is superior to conventional healing, there is no denying that there is something really special in burning off a 50k critted Greater Heal. Ok, so much for why I don't like PWS. But I do love Prayer of Mending. I think of Prayer of Mending as my sidekick. Whenever I pop it I think "I CHOOSE YOU PRAYER OF MENDING!" and imagine this awesome something something that jumps forward and does my bidding by jumping from person to person and heal. I do this because I'm crazy it heals while I heal (such an awesome idea), and it's mostly smart. I'm very proud of my Prayer of Mending. Whenever there is some tough aoe going I can hear my PoM bounce around while I pump those Prayer of Healings and I think "yeah yeah yeah!". And cackle devilishly. It is one of those spells I really miss when I heal with other healing classes. I completely ignore the fact that it more often than not, ends up on someones pet. I forgive it. When it comes to effectiviness, there is no denying that the Shield probably tops it. One spell that single handedly makes out 30-40% of my healing done just has to be loved.

As holy, it's still Prayer of Mending that I like most for the same reasons as above. As for effectiviness, it's a tough choice because so many of the skills are fun to use. I'd probably say Renew. It had a downer in early Cata, but has made a great come back imo, and I am reverting back to my old renew-spamming, wannabe-druid healing style more and more, which I actually enjoy. Circle of Healing and Lightwell come in as close seconds.

4. What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
Flash Heal. Funny, because it was probably among my most used spells in Wrath. Then came Cata and Blizzard threw out flashy looking slogans like "mana management is the new black" and "once you go slow you never go low" (no actually I made those up myself). I thoroughly learned NOT to use Flash Heal in early Cata. Having to struggle with slow-ass heals like Greater Heal and Heal (and actually anything with cast time besides Flash Heal) was torture (which explains my stat choice, more about that shortly), and I think somehow, deep inside, I blamed Flash Heal. Like "you used to be my friend but you completely turned your back against me. How can I ever forgive you?". I can't. And I haven't. Eventhough using Flash Heal now isn't the end of the world that it was in early Cata, I still use it way less than I should - I even use Renew more, especially for 5 mans. I think being in a 25 man environment also makes it less necessary because I can rely on other healers with way better fast heals to do that sacrifice instead of me. It does make me lazy for when I, albeit rarely, heal 5 mans and 10 mans, and I should probably practice that Flash Heal finger some more. I mean, I don't even have it bound to a click button!

5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
Versatility. Unfortunately less now than ever before. Not that we've become less versatile, but that all the other healing classes have become less rigid. I remember all through Vanilla, Bc and Wrath, whenever a healing situation arose, or you didn't know how to tackle something, someone always screamed "THROW MORE PRIESTS AT IT!" and it almost always solved the situation. Druids, paladins and shamans all had their very cut out role. They've all had glory moments (ok, not shamans), but in the end there were still things they just couldn't handle. Not so for priests, we can do anything. But as with any class that can do anything they suffer from it sooner or later. Just look at hybrids, because they could do everything, they didn't do anything with prominence. I never thought that way about priests, we didn't win the meters, but we were the most trusted to really get our job done regardless. Any fight and you knew the priest would at least be useful. I feel that less and less the further into Cata we get, where they tweak and pull the other healing classes left and right, but just seem to have given up on priests. Or maybe we're just perfect.

6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
Like I mentioned above, I feel like priests aren't awesome at anything. Or actually, let me put it this way. I know priests are awesome, but I can sometimes feel like everyone else think they're not good at anything. Like they think they can't reliably put us to do neither tank healing nor aoe healing, that we've somehow just become the backup healer. Or like they know what the paladin, druid and shaman are good for, but what do we do with the priest? When people assign they think "ok, the paladins does this, the shaman does that, the druid does this and the priest... can do whatever she likes". Maybe I am burned from how much priests sucked in early Cata, to the point where people actually lfgd for a healer with the clause that it couldn't be a priest. Maybe I am burned by the fact that I never got the feeling that Blizzard actually knew how they wanted to design priests for Cata and that we've somehow ended up half done (that might be true for many classes though). Maybe I am just being whiny while writing this.

7. In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
Oh, hmm. Any I think. I like change most of all, and I would've rather chopped off my pinky toe than play through what paladins did in Wrath - "Ok paladin, news for you. You heal the tank!". Looking at the same healing situation every fight is probably what scares me the most, and I enjoy taking on a little of the crazy stunt healing assignments that pop up, like healing a kiter or being the one to run three times around a pillar or whatever a fight might include (Blizzard have such wacky ideas nowadays). I especially love to pinpoint what could be my strength in a particular fight and do that, which can vary between fights and raid setups. For some fights I might be the best choice for aoe healing, for some the tank healing. As long as I get to try different things I'm happy.

8. What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
When I first read this question, I understood it as "which healing class I enjoy to play the most". Altoholic as I am. But I quickly noticed, by reading other peoples answer to this question, that that's not it at all. My answer in any case, is that it varies. It's not a particular class as much as someone that can complement my healing style, depending on the fight. If I want to focus on the aoe healing, I might want someone who is good at tank healing. In the end I probably prefer some certain people rather than some certain classes.

9. What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
It used to be druids, because they facerolled over the keyboard and won the game. Which maybe should've made me love them, but it only made me feel useless. They're still pretty much like that, but I've come to terms with it. Or have I? Again, I would have to say it's more about people than class. Since Blizzard really have streamlined the classes so that all of them should be able to fill out any shoes at least half decent I don't ever feel like a certain class does a job less good than anyone else. A good player can get any job done, or at least nearly any job. Another disc priest does make things tricky though, fortunately not as much as back in Wrath. Nowadays I can at least remove the other disc priests pesty Weakened Soul debuff with my heals and sneak a new shield in there before they ever knew what happened. Come to think of it, that's actually rather fun. But maybe not very effective.

10. What is your worst habit as a healer?
You can't see this, but it is taking me a really long time to figure something out. I have loads of bad habits as a person, but I don't know about my healing. I'm actually quite proud about my healing. I do mistakes like everyone else of course, but I like to think that I learn from them and that I'm quick to adapt to new situations. I have been doing this for 5 years after all, at some point you should become pretty good at it, or just give up. If I had to think of something, it'd probably be that I can sometimes be a little too defensive with my mana pool. I sometimes choose the cheaper, lesser heal eventhough I really should've chosen the bigger, more expensive one (this is true for all my healing chars). Fortunately, in a 25 man environment, this kind of healing works out fine, and that might actually be the reason I've put on that habit in the first place. I save myself for when I'm really needed, which of course sometimes means I was too cheap and someone died due to lack of healing. But I rarely let that mistake happen twice in the same fight though.

11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?
I bet many people have said this, but I'll have to say it too - asking for heals. Dude, I'm here to heal - trust me I will. I am as eager to have you survive as you are, so if I'm not healing you it's because I was busy healing someone who is more important. Actually, that a healer doesn't heal at all has very, very rarely been the issue when I do pugs. They might heal badly, but they always do heal, so I never quite understood it when people start capsing "HEAL ME!".

But overall I am the most relaxed when I heal and very few things bother me. Overpulls, bad pulls, bad players. It's ok. As the healer I have tremendous power and can punish people as I like. I think that makes me more relaxed, and ironically, more forgiving.

12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
At the moment, I do. I don't think things are perfect, they never are, but I'm quite happy about the priest healing situation at the moment, despite my earlier whining. I always think priests have been in a good position healing wise, with some highs and very few lows. We're reliable as a class and as a design concept in Blizzards brain, and I can only take the complete lack of any changes to healing priests in 4.2 as an indication that Blizzard agrees with me.

13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
I wish I had a fellow priest healer in my guild (or otherwise close to me) who could help me evaluate my ideas and healing, but I've never found one. The only time I ever felt like I had a priest with me that was on par with my own healing and equally interested in discussing it was in my old guild and early BC. But alas, she switched to druid healing (Traitor! *shake fist*). Eventhough I play with other healing priests all the time, it's rarely the same person for a very long period of a time or they're just not as interested as I am. But enough about that. The tools I do use are regular old logs and damage meters. I compare my performance with myself in previous, similar situations, or to other priests in my raid or even complete stranger priests on occasion. Whenever I find a new priest (on a blog or application or whatever) that seems to be in my situation raiding wise, I check out their stat choices, spec, glyphs, reforgings and muse over why they've decided to go the way they have.
More actively, in an actual raiding situation, I often think through a wipe to try and figure out what I could've done better. The good thing about it is that I very rarely tire of wipes. On tougher fights I often find something I could've done even better with every wipe, be it as little as standing 5 yards to the left or saving a cooldown for another 3 seconds. I probably wouldn't have enjoyed doing the same thing for as long as I have if I didn't love tweaking myself this way.

14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
Like I said earlier, I don't like that people seem to think that we're not good for anything, save perhaps for our cooldowns. People will probably say that holy priests are pretty good aoe healers and disc priests are pretty good tank healers, but not much else. In reality, a holy priest can do some really good tank healing and a disc priest can do some good aoe healing. But again, because we don't do it as good as the other classes (druids for aoe healing and shamans/paladins for tank healing) people just think of us as "not as good". That might be true, but that does not mean we're not good enough.

15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
Since I play both holy and disc, I've been writing from both these perspectives so far. The difficulties differ between the specs however. As disc I would say balance. To find a good balance between the stats and the skills is the tricky thing as a disc. How much should I shield? How much mastery/haste should I have? Disc priests play pretty differently, and finding a good balance that works for your healing goals is the biggest challenge imo.

As a holy,
it's probably to figure out when to use which skill. Because holy have one trillion billion skills, all of which have some sort of area in which they can be used (yes, even Holy Nova!), the dangers of holy priesting is that it overwhelms you and you start spamming Flash Heals just because you don't know what else to do. Ironically, I feel like this problem is bigger for 5 mans, since you mostly just spam Prayer of Healing in raiding. In 5 mans you'll really get to work your arsenal (if you're badly geared) to get the most out of each situation without ooming yourself too fast.

16. 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)?
You mean, what are my weaknesses/strengths as a healer? As mentioned above, I tend to unconsciously become overly mana efficient, this eventhough I have tweaked my gear to have just enough regen and advocate a "rather one heal too many" healing style. But it's not in the amount of heals I can fail, it's in the size. In my recount you will therefor see a lot of Heal, both as disc and as holy. My overheal is generally low, but disc overhealing is very low as compared to other healing classes because of how absorbs work. My healing style also helps to keep overhealing low, and I usually pride myself more in being last on overheal than being top on healing done (which is pointless, I know). Overall I think my logs are pretty conventional and boring, as disc I've got Shield as number one healing done except for those occasions where I aoe heal in which case PoH takes that spot. Prayer of Mending and Divine Aegis are up high too of course. When tank healing there can be more Greater Heals. Pretty average me thinks!

17. Haste or Crit (or Mastery) and why?
I'm going to be boring and direct you to the post I wrote in the matter, and also I've answered this somewhat further down. For holy, which I haven't played for a couple of months so I might be out of date, I'd primarily go for mastery. It does depend a lot on healing situation and raid setup however.

18. What healing class do you feel you understand least?
Shamans. And I've played shaman fairly much. In Wrath it was probably the healing class I played second most and I raided loads on it. I really liked it too. Then came Cata and for some reason I just couldn't get it to work anymore. I know in theory what to do, but I don't do it right. I oom way too fast and I never quite can figure which skills to use. Paladin and druid are so simple in comparison, I've given up on my resto shaman for now, out of laziness.

19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?
I use Vuhdo for my healing at the moment, no macros though. Not much to say about that, except that if you're raid healing and not using some sort of clique-alike-addon or mouseover macros, you're doing it wrong. Taking a target and then throwing the heal is just so much slower, you can't even imagine the difference until you've tried it yourself. Overall I'm actually quite bare when healing, or maybe I use more addons than I think. They've become second nature, or like an extra skin. I just don't think of them anymore. I've got some timers that I never look at for instance, but I'd probably miss them unconsciously if I'd remove them and that would have me fail miserably. I know it.

20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
I've currently focused on Haste, which isn't because I think it is better than mastery, but because it suits my healing better at the moment (and to try it out). For disc, mastery is a great stat, unfortunately it only affects 50% of our healing. The same goes for haste though, so as a disc you go for either one, depending on heal style, or strive for a balance. I tried mastery at first, now I'm haste heavy. I might go back to mastery soon if I can get myself to not nerdrage over the extremely slow heals. The way I have figured now is that with more haste I get more shields, since haste = more casts = lowered cooldown on Weakened Soul and more DA procs. It is working pretty well, and especially for 5 mans where I can't rely on another healer to help me out while I do my slow casting. Now that 4.2 is out and I might do a lot of instances, I'll probably keep my haste heavy gearing, but once I go back to only raiding, I might go mastery again.

And now to tag someone else to do this. Unfortunately, many of the ones I would've chosen have already done theirs!
Does it have to be healers?
I'll have to be the ever-loyal girlfriend and tag Eldhorn to do his version, either as resto druid or as feral cat.

Here are a couple of bloggers I'd like to see fill this out, either class/role they like - because honestly most healers are taken, and I'd love to see other perspectives on this (if you've already done it, please link!);
Elfi at Elfi's World
Vixsin at Life in Group 5
Pradzha at Piercing Shots
Gavendo at Rapid Fire


  1. Hey Zinn! It was fun reading your responses, I always pore over your Priest thoughts to keep my rarely-used Priest on top of things. And Prayer of Mending is TOTALLY your little healing buddy, going to work even while you're stunned, incapacitated, whatever! :D

  2. I wish I would have a blog :)
    Awesome to read, as always.
    You probably noticed that I very rarely post any comment... it's becouse I have nothing 'smart' to say :P
    PS: We can always talk about priests!
    PS2: Making priest nau!

  3. @Rades
    Good! I really tried keeping it short, but I'm no good at that ^^

    Of course you should roll a priest! Although they're not very fun to level :/ They're awesome at max level!