This was a fun year for me as a healer. Granted, I had to learn how to heal again, but I do enjoy this expansion's model of healing (although a part of me does miss The Burning Crusade a little when all I had to do was pound Circle of Healing repeatedly). There were many memorable moments that I experienced during raids, and there are others that affected many more of us.
Announcing the monk Undoubtedly the best news for healers this year is this. BlizzCon 2011 unveiled a ton of news and announcements. The biggest one for healers was that there would be a new healing class for players. You guessed it, I guessed it, and I'm pretty sure half the world guessed and hoped for a monk class. These leather-wearing bears are set to help heal in the upcoming challenges that Mists of Pandaria will be throwing our way. While we don't have a complete look on the full range of abilities that monks can do, we do know that they rely heavily on mobility to get their spells out.
Healing Chimaeron If there was any encounter this expansion that gave healers heart attacks more than any other boss, it would've been Chimaeron. You and your raid would tackle him in Blackwing Descent. Many healers received their fair share of criticism and critique when they were unable to get the raid past. But then you hit the hard mode encounter, and that was a different story entirely. While Chimaeron wasn't the guild-killing boss of the expansion, I would surmise that it was one of the healing confidence-killers.
The great resto druid nerf I just had to include this one. I love druids very much! But druids were simply amazing throughout Firelands. When patch 4.3 arrived, Wild Growth was one of the spells hit with a nerf bat. A full 20% reduction in Wild Growth cut down on the potency of resto druids. Even then, I'm not seeing their being affected that much in the Dragon Soul raid. Looks like it may have been more of a slight adjustment then a real nerf. I will concede that the encounters in Dragon Soul have been much more forgiving to the other healing classes (especially with regards to movement and positioning).
Learning how to heal -- again Even though the expansion came out in December of 2010, I'm still going to include this aspect as a part of 2011. I had to learn how to heal all over again. I had some familiarity with the system because during The Burning Crusade, I had several rows of spells of different ranks. Now in Cataclysm, my single-target direct healing spells consist of three options.
Phasing out Heal Just as we were getting into Firelands, it was confirmed that the usage of our middle healing spell would no longer be needed as much. While it was efficient, it simply did not provide the speed or the punch that was required. That's all fine by me. Our gear got better, which meant we could use our inefficient spells and slow spells without as much penalty. Don't get used to it, though. Once the new expansion comes out, we'll have to resort to using Heal again until we are geared out.
More stat changes While it hasn't happened yet, we're going to see another change to stat priorities. That won't happen until Mists of Pandaria, though. I wrote about it back in November, but I felt it was worth mentioning again. I wish these would've been the stats right from the start of the expansion, but I guess Blizzard couldn't do that just yet. Spirit will be a regen stat and intellect will be the healing power stat. No more of this nonsense where intellect is a sometimes regen stat. I know it confused some of the newer healers who wanted to get started with raiding but didn't quite know how to allocate their gems or reforging. But at least there won't be any confusion this time around.
The clutch heal of the year We all make those plays from time to time. You know what I mean -- that one flash of insight where that seemingly innocuous spellcast manages to prevent a wipe? It's a play that would've ended up on TSN's Top 10 Highlights of 2011 or something. For me, it was in Blackwing Descent, and we were working on Maloriak. After we had blitzed him down to the final phase, our tank started kiting and maneuvering him around all over the place. Half the raid was dead at this point, and our tank took an almost lethal hit and I was completely out of mana. My healing spells were darkened out, implying that I didn't have the resources to cast them.
Without even thinking, I kept slamming Guardian Spirit and sighed in relief. Either the other healers were out of mana or they saw the glowing wings on the tank and ceased healing. The time it took for Guardian Spirit to proc felt like an eternity. His health bar shot up and the golden wings disappeared, indicating the spell had done the job. The rest of us started breathing, and we held out long enough to finish off the boss.
Surely you must have experienced something similar. What was your clutch healing story of 2011?
Thanks for the memories
Was this year memorable for you at all as a healer? Even though we didn't get any legendary weapons this year, I'm holding out we'll get something wicked in Mists of Pandaria next year. I'm guessing it'll be a mace of some sort again. But I'm not going to get my hopes up! Happy New Year, everyone!
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