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Ask WoW Insider: Should healing be competitive?

Barb Dybwad

Gather 'round the screen, orcs and gnomes, it's time for another edition of Ask WoW Insider. Last week we debated the post powerful character in Warcraft, and this week we return to contemplating game mechanics with a question from Valyre, healing lead of the Ascent guild on Scarlet Crusade (H):

Is healing competitive? And should it be?

The fundamental mechanics of playing a dps class seem to encourage competition. Your target has an unlimited pool of health to act upon, so if you have the mana/rage/energy, you always have an outlet. Each ability you use to create damage stacks with the other fifteen people in the raid doing the same thing. You never hear "Your melee attack made my spell worthless." Some buffs will aid your party members, but for the most part it's individuals striving to do the most damage. And there are meters to chart your progress.

Healing mechanics tend to work against themselves. Your target may or may not have enough of a hp deficit at any given time for you to act on. Your abilities don't universally stack. If your heal tops off someone's health but beats out another healer's heal, you've just wasted their heal on a healthy person and threw their mana in the trash. To make things worse, "divide and conquer" assignments are more based on being able to heal through an encounter than to actually provide a level playing field for all healers. How many times do you see 3 healers on a tank that might take 30k damage, but 4 healers on the raid that takes well over 100k damage? At the end of the night, meters show love to the people with the highest damage assignments.

With this system, can you be competitive? Should you be competitive? If so, how?
What do you think, people -- are healers just as competitive as face-melters? How do you determine the "best" healer?

WTB your questions! Send us what you want to know and we just may publish it next week. Send them to us at ask AT wowinsider DOT com.

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