Revisiting Circle of Healers
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 Focus every 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.
14 Responses
  1. Windsoar Says:

    I was trying to stay in my elemental box when this post came out, so I did a bit of reading and moved on. However, having played all the classes/specs but trees (sorry, I don't know what it is about druids) I really enjoyed learning some new things I *wish* I'd known when I was playing 'em.

    Blueberry Totem (http://blueberrytotem.wordpress.com) and Totem Forest (http://totemforest.wordpress.com) are both newer restoration shaman blogs :)

    I don't offer myself as a resto shaman despite it being my current main, because it's likely to change whenever the mood strikes me ^^ Although I think we had some good discussion about shaman healing on Evaluating Your Raid Team (http://wp.me/pD1Lb-gG)


  2. @Windsoar

    Thank you for the recommendations!

    I have Blueberry Totem in my feedreader, but I don't get to read the posts very much because only a description of them comes through the feed, not the whole post. :(

    I just added Totem Forest and Jaded Alt to my feedreader now. I'm reading your latest post now, because we had a similar discussion in our raid last week as well, with a resto shammy healing.

    Thanks bunches!


  3. Eversor Says:

    I consider my shammy my main, but I'd still have to say that even though I do enjoy healing, ele is still my main spec. I have now healed all 5 mans except the new icc 5 mans....still a little nervous about those. While I'd love to make a shammy blog for the beginner, I think my experience is still rather lacking. Enjoyed todays post. Got me itching to fire up my priest (who btw was holy after I read your blog and now you're all like "disc this and disc that"...lol). Thanks for all the info! Today's pass word..."copork". Best yet.


  4. @Eversor

    Ahhh! I know! I've become a Disco Priest. It's actually really hard to switch between the two!

    I tried to swap between Disc Priesting and Holy Priesting the other day... and the end result was 4 wipes on Marrowgar >.<

    HAVE I FORGOTTEN HOW TO HOLY?


  5. Tiex Says:

    Hey there!

    Well, I don't have a blog to post stuff, so I must pester everyone in their comments section =P

    You don't like being next to another disc in a 10 men raid? I must say that I enjoy it quite a bit =D

    Of course it is absolutely NOT the best setup, but it does work, you know?

    I 2 healed the first wing of Icc with another disc priest as soon as it came out. Despite the fact that you cannot stack your weakened soul effects, it runs very smoothly if you talk to each other in advance.

    We agreed to be responsible for a group each, healing both the tank and the other raiders in that said group. We had 2 Penances running around, 2 prayers of mending, shields at will inside your own group without running dry on mana, occasional renews popping where needed and, if things went to hell, 2 divine hymns and 2 pain suppresions =D

    One thing I found really interesting is that we had 2 completely different styles. I checked a few numbers and I did 85% of all the absorbs, but he did more than 60% of all the actual healing.

    In the end, it was a relly fun run.

    Oh, and in ToC5 I always scream at everyone to stack so I can spam Holy Nova until the bastard dies XD


  6. @Tiex

    Hmmm, sounds like it worked very well for you. Actually, that might be a superior idea anyway... each Disc priest could take care of their own party and not worry about stacking weakened souls, plus they could potentially holy nova...

    This idea is growing on me! It requires much more coordination and communication than the average pug, but if you're doing progression raiding, you would communicate more hopefully anyway!

    My primary reason for not having two of the same class is actually more about stacking buffs than healer functionality... but you're making me want to try a two-disc raid anyway! fun times!


  7. Zan Says:

    Altoholic response.

    Most of what I said the first time hasn't changed, though I've healed a bit more on my other toons and my least favorite class to heal with has shifted from my own to disc priests (mostly because my server has a high population of bad disc priests).

    http://musings.altoholicanonymous.com/2010/02/revisiting-circle-of-healers.html


  8. Saunder Says:

    I'm obviously not an *important* blogger :) I post, and nothing happens. Miss Medicina posts ... people respond. lol


  9. Dristanel Says:

    Since I just posted mine, I guess I'll have to revisit it when Cataclysm drops or something! You make me do so much work.

    And thank you so so so much for the tweet, I had no idea!


  10. @Saunder

    It's the boobs. Don't be fooled.

    @Dristanel

    Woohoo! I always make an effort to find a way to let someone know their comments won't work - because they usually have no idea, especially if they are a newer blog! Maybe now you'll see more comments :)


  11. Windsoar Says:

    And I totally forgot Ancestral Knowledge (http://ak-shaman.blogspot.com/). 10-man strict perspective (if I remember correctly he/she's guilded with Kae of Dreambound) and an absolutely wonderful read so far!


  12. Steph Says:

    A few months ago, there was an inundation of priests, and pugs would often say they were full on priests but would love a resto shaman. Fast forward, and I see fewer priests on my server but a heck of a lot more new resto shammies. I'm sure there are those who got tired of being the fifth holy priest in line for a raid and rerolled an underplayed class, but the resto shaman community definitely needs a communicative boost. It's good to see more resto shaman blogs starting up, especially since it's one of those specs that seem deceptively easy with its smaller toolbox.


  13. Wugan Says:

    Ok, I've been lurking in the WoW blog community for a long time, and you finally convinced me to jump in by calling out the lack of Resto Shaman blogs once again. I agree that Vixsin is a great new addition, and I'm hoping to add my own perspective at Flow, http://restoshamanflow.wordpress.com/

    It's all of a day old, so new content is on the way, but I'd love to have your feedback as I get going!


  14. koalabear Says:

    Here you go m'dear

    http://wp.me/pDNYJ-9m

    If I get any responses on my blog I will pop them over to you as well.

    dotsandhots.wordpress.com


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