But at some point that guild fell apart, as guilds are wont to do on occasion. And since server transfers weren't even a possibility at that point in time, I simply rolled another character on another server, vowing to take a break from any and all raiding. It lasted until paid server transfers were added as a feature, at which point my priest was promptly moved to my new server and I began healing again -- this time, in battlegrounds. I helped a lot of friends by healing them while they tried their hardest to get High Warlord in the original honor grind.
So what happened? Well ... healing happened.
It wasn't bad, necessarily. And the months I spent doing battlegrounds with friends was actually incredibly fun -- although I soon discovered that Benediction really ought to have been called the Here's-The-Healer-Kill-It-First Stick. But when Burning Crusade launched and my old friends wandered off for one reason or another, I was a healer left with nobody to heal. Which is when I decided to make a drastic change and play the class I wanted to play all along -- a rogue.
Stubborn over at Sheep the Diamond wrote a really interesting post on healing and the pressure involved with being a healer. In the post, he points out the distinct difference between being a healer, and being DPS. When you're playing a DPS class, your enemy is the boss. More and more, especially in later years, when you're a healer your enemy is not that boss. Your enemy is your fellow players ... you know, those guys you're supposed to be healing.
Starting with Cataclysm and moving firmly ahead in Mists is the concept of player responsibility and damage mitigation. Back when I healed in vanilla that was quite literally all I did. The DPS classes did nothing but DPS, because I was standing there off to the side healing them and keeping them alive. More often than not, I'd see DPS standing in fire or otherwise ignoring their surroundings in favor of their favorite activity -- stabbing large elementals and dragons square in the behind.
And what that does is create a subtle, quiet animosity in the back of the mind of the healer. I remember spending hours griping and commiserating with my fellow healers in our special channel. Invariably, we had healers that would burn out and leave. Stubborn points out that he was one of those players -- and the reason he left wasn't because the game was too difficult. It was because he had some sort of inward counter of resentment towards his fellow players, people who could not seem to grasp the concept that fire is bad and will kill you.
And Stubborn wonders -- if he actually played a DPS role, would he perhaps be more understanding of the woes of being a DPS? As someone who made the switch ... I'd have to say no. It's odd -- switching from a healer to a DPS class didn't make me think about DPS any other way. It just made me a DPS player who is incredibly conscious of damage mitigation and cooldowns, because I know what it's like to have to heal a DPS player, and I want to make that experience as easy as possible on the healers.
I haven't healed in years. I'm perfectly fine with that. But I'm interested in what healers of today have to say, especially in the face of an expansion that places so much importance on damage avoidance and personal survivability. Healers, what do you think?
Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.