Saunder actually started this up nearly a month ago, and it has been sitting in a text document entitled "DO THIS JBIZZLE" on my desktop this whole time.
I've also been a bit hesitant to bring up the Circle of Healers topic again, because while it was awesome, it was also slightly overwhelming in terms of the number of responses! I actually STILL get responses from people, along with emails asking to be included on the responders page. For those of you who are listed on the page, you probably have noticed you still get quite a bit of traffic from it, especially if you were one of the first to respond.
The original iteration of the Circle of Healers healing survey was intended to make you think about how you heal, and to encourage you to learn about other healing classes, and how THEY heal - and then spread the word, and get to know your fellow healing bloggers. The aftermath was that dozens of healing bloggers added one another to their feedreaders, and we all got to know each other a bit better - but did we learn anything about our healing abilities?
Saunder wants to know, and asked me to personally look back on my responses and consider a handful of questions, to which I've added a few of my own. I invite the rest of you who originally responded to ponder these questions as well, and ask yourself: How much have you learned about healing since you replied to the survey?
The New Questions:
1. Reread your original answers to the questions. With the benefit of hindsight, score your own work in terms of its cringeworthiness.
It's interesting to look back on my responses from 3 months ago, because I have completely changed specs and raiding format. Therefore, it makes me laugh to think that at one point in time, Circle of Healing was my favorite spell. PSHAW. PENANCE FTW. I find myself shaking my head patronizingly at the holy version of myself. I was intimidated by the concept of Disc at the time... and now I completely love it.
2. Has your class's healing improved in the area you identified as its weakest?
My original answer to the "What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?" question was "Lack of instant burst healing... I'm thinking Penance or even Holy Shock. I wish we had a single target instant burst heal, even if it were on a long cooldown. Something like desperate prayer, but for someone other than ourselves."
Of course, now that I have changed my priority to Disc healing, I *do* have Penance. But aside from that, one of the many tips and tricks I learned from adding so many other healers to my Circle, and by getting more involved on the Priest WoW forums as well as the PlusHeal forums, is that I learned that in order to generate a lot more single target burst healing, a lot of Holy Priests use the Guardian Spirit trick. They pick up the Glyph of Guardian Spirit, which effectively gives your Guardian Spirit a one minute cooldown unless things go badly, and provides a 40% boost to the healing received by a target for 10 seconds.
It's still not exactly what I was looking for, but it's a start. To be fair, I don't think I will ever see the kind of single target burst healing spell to which I was referring for Holy Priests, and maybe that's okay from a balance perspective. Disc Priests have the single target burst healing spell that far surpasses any other (Penance), and Holy Priests have the AoE burst healing spell that is better than any other (Circle of Healing). In this way, Blizzard has managed to balance the two healing Priest specs against one another - when you pick your spec, you make your choice there.
3. Have you changed your "least favoured class to heal with"?
When I originally wrote this question, there was a lot of confusion about what I meant, since I worded it poorly. I had intended to ask what healing partner you prefer. My original answer to most favorite class to heal with, as a Holy Priest, was a Disc priest (which makes me cringe from a 10 man raid organizer standpoint, by the way). Now that I'm Disc myself, I frown when I see another Disc priest in the raid. It just doesn't work well in a ten man to have two Disc Priests (though in a 25 man it's perfectly fine - just takes more communication) due to the fact that Weakened Soul does not stack.
On the rare occasions that I do run Holy, I like the combination of a Holy Priest and a Holy Paladin now. The Pally can focus on the MT and OT, I can use my Renew liberally and take care of the rest of the raid.
Originally, I listed my least favorite class to heal beside as a Resto Druid - which is pretty funny now.
I absolutely love the combination of a Disc Priest and a Resto Druid. These two healers work in a fundamentally different way than the other healing classes, but partnered together, they can cover all the weaknesses of their individual classes. I can prevent a target from taking more damage and give the Druid's HoTs a chance to heal the target up. I can handle the tanks, with a spare bubble thrown around the raid, and the Druid works best peppering the raid with HoTs and rolling a few on the tanks to help me out. It's a great combination.
4. Did you read the entries from others in the webring, especially your class?
I did - and I put together some word documents separating the responses by class, but that's about as far as I got in terms of analyzing the responses. I learned quite a bit about how other classes work - knowledge I still use to this very day when organizing raids!
5. If Yes to #4, did you learn anything that made you a better healer?
Absolutely. I learned what other healers of my own class perceive as strengths. I learned tips and tricks for how to play my class better. I also learned that all classes have the ability to do well at single-target healing, but not all classes are as strong on multi-target healing. I learned the difference between Raid Healing and AoE Healing. I learned that plenty of Disc Priests are raid healers.
6. What tools/resources or information do you think you would need to improve as a healer and how could that help the community at large?
Saunder mentioned that he would like to get more feedback on his healing from other Holy Paladins, but the opportunity rarely presents itself. This is very true - when you are widely regarded as a single target healer, then you don't often get to raid with other healers of the same class/spec. Even in a 25 man, I rarely heal next to another Disc Priest against whom I can compare myself. It's not that I'm trying to compete with others - it's simply that I want to do the best job I possibly can. I'd love to put my numbers next to someone like Paolo on a 10 man ICC run, and get a feel for what kind of Weakened Soul uptime I have compared to him.
In regards to the larger community, the same problem that I saw three months ago still stands - a severe shortage of Resto Shaman blogs. Of course, since the Circle of Healers survey, I discovered Vixsin at Life in Group 5 and he has proven to be a wonderful resource to whom I recommend all resto shammies I meet. But I still do not see very many Resto Shammies period - and even less who have the skill and the ability to inform others on their class.
7. What did you identify as your worst habit as a healer?Have you improved in this area?
I listed my worst healer habit as using AoE heals when there were only one or two people needing heals. Obviously, as a Disc Priest, I no longer have this problem nearly as often - however, I have finally come to terms with the fact that using an instant AoE heal like Circle of Healing to heal only one or two people is incredibly common, and not necessarily a bad thing. Since Holy Priests lack that single target burst healing spell, it makes sense to use the AoE version liberally.
8. What did you list as your favorite healing spell and your least used healing spell for your class? Are these answers still true? If they have changed, what caused the change (i.e. patch fix, different healing environment, etc)?
I had to include this question along with Saunder's original six, because I think listing our most and least used spells helped many of us identify the weaknesses of our healing. When I run Holy, Circle of Healing *should* be my most used spell, and that was my original answer, and that was perfectly acceptable. However, I also identified that I never used Divine Hymn - and that was bad news. Of course, mathematically, with such a long cooldown, that spell will get used rarely - but I never used it.
However, I'm happy to report that ever since I took the time to note this problem in my survey response and set out to rectify it, my Meatloaf Hymn macro gets used nearly every boss fight - whether I'm Holy OR Disc. I can't even tell you how many wipes this spell has saved. Ever since I created my macro, I've never died during the third phase of the Black Knight fight in ToC5 - and that phase was always a challenge for healers.
Now that I'm Disc, I need to address the issue of not using Power Infusion and Inner Focusevery cooldown. Paolo pointed this out to me in a 25 man ToC to which he invited me, and I have been working to rectify that ever since. So, who knows... maybe soon you will see a fun macro post about Power Infusion that is intended to encourage me to use it every cooldown! After all... it worked last time!
Since I despise memes, I'm not going to tag anyone specifically for this - but I do encourage all of you who originally responded to go back and reread your answers and ask yourself if the survey helped you improve as a healer at all. That was the original intention - so if you feel that it was an aid in any way, I'd love to hear about it! Feel free to take these questions written by Saunder to which I have added my own, and repost them with your own responses.