A post over at Healing Way , and a response from twenty-five boxes (one of my new favorite blogs!) got me thinking. If one of the Developer goals for Cataclysm is to make healing more fun, what can they do to make this happen?
First off, it takes a certain type of personality to truly *enjoy* healing. You don't usually get the e-peen rewards as a healer that many dps can get, so if that is the source of your fun and your pride, healing is likely not for you. However, healing is also one of those strange roles where, if everyone is doing their job properly, healing can suddenly become very boring. Sometimes I get so bored I furtively try to nudge that little gnome mage next to me into the NooBSauce, just so I have something to do. No really - when I'm dropping F-bombs left and right in my basement, I'm actually having *fun*.
That having been said, I can think of a few things that would improve the overall healing experience in WoW.
Change the stupid UI More than any other role out there, healers have to use all kinds of add-ons to do their job to the best of their ability. Though there are macros you can use to tweak the UI without getting an add-on, the fundamental basic way to heal in WoW is to target the person you want to heal, and then cast a spell on them. It just takes too damn long. We need a way to have Clique like effects without putting in an add-on or trying to figure out how to write a macro (my most complex macro is /e pulls out her Snark-o-Meter.)
Situational Awareness We rarely get to actually SEE the fights. No, I do not have a solution to these UI problems. That's why you're paid the big bucks and have iphones and yachts. I'm looking at you, Ghostcrawler! My biggest hope is that Cataclysm will bring with it some solid UI changes that will benefit healers, and actually allow us to stop glaring at healing bars every now and then!
NPC Healing Sometimes, when running CoS, I like to heal Arthas. Of course, I don't need to, but it offers up a new challenge for me. I always liked the escort quests where I could just keep the NPC healed up (as few as those are, since the NPCs rarely do any real damage). I'd kinda like to see this in raids too. Wouldn't it be neat if instead of needing to stand near the NPCs in the Hodir fight to get the benefit, you could send some heals their way, and they buff you in gratitude?
Fight Mechanics So far, one of my favorite fight mechanics is the Incinerate Flesh ability of Jaraxxus in ten man TOC. I'd love to see more of these kinds of challenges that require us to take a step away from the tank and use our healing abilities to essentially dispel something.
Less Priest, Moar Cleric One of the things I'm enjoying most about 4th edition D&D with my friends is this entire other world of healing. I spend less time healing as a Cleric in 4e, and more time finding ways to keep others from taking damage. All my abilities are still based on hitting the foe though. It reminds me a lot of some of the Pally abilities... between all their many hands (which I have yet to figure out), and then different judgements, they may not be doing a lot of damage, but in addition to the healing they do, they also have other bonus abilities to help out their allies. I suppose Resto Shammies are similar, with their totems. Priests don't have much other than bubbles, and Power Infusion if you're disc - until you move over to the Shadow side, which is truly intriguing. No matter what spec of Priest you are, there are ways to do some healing. Druids have Innervate, but that's actually more helpful to other healers more than anything else. I'd like to see healers brought not only for their ability to heal, but for some of the other abilities they can provide. I realize this is not an easy thing for Blizz to do, however, as then we get back into the era of raiding in which you feel required to bring certain classes.
I see this happen a lot, and I'm quite guilty of it myself, but we all also need to get out of the mindset that the only thing that matters is raiding. The problem with being a healer is that it is very raiding focused, or perhaps group pvp focused. Despite all my insisting that Holy DPS is a very effective leveling build, after level 40 it is difficult to compete with Shadow. With the exception of a few things such as Glyph of Smite, Blizz seems to have little interest in giving healing specs viability for leveling or questing - I will say, however, that the Holy Healers have it better than the Nature Healers. Penance and Holy Shock both do damage OR healing, and Surge of Light for Holy priests allows for benefit to dps or healing.
There are some things that I don't *want* to see change, however. The healing community, unlike the tanking or DPSing community, has a much warmer and closer bond - mainly because it is stupid for us to try and compete with one another. Sure, some people still do it, but those of us who "get it" usually just roll our eyes at them. When I hear about "heal sniping", I roll my eyes. The REAL healers are usually trying to work TOGETHER to keep everyone alive. If I see that the pally is running low on mana, I immediately start throwing some heals on the tank to help out the pally healer, and the group as a whole.
I would hate to see that change. I don't want to compete with other healers; I want us to all help one another be better healers.
And have world peace and stuff. Awww let's all have a group hug!