Healing. Love it or hate it, this game cannot function without it, and as of next week it’s about to change forever.
I read with some satisfaction Matthew Rossi’s predictions on how it’s going to go down in 5 mans when Cataclysm hits, and I have to say I’m with him 100%, without even seeing what we’re up against. Things have gotten too sloppy in dungeons, people are too familiar with how things work and expect that a Giant Six Pack of Whupass (AoE Flavour) will be enough to cover all eventualities. I’ve been saving people on Druid, Paladin, Shaman and Priest in the last two months and frankly it’s easy to see the current disparities between classes: in the case of the Paladin especially the shortfalls are all too obvious. I’m hearing the phrase triage healing being thrown about a great deal in reference to the future: it brings back horrible memories of THAT First Aid quest in Theramore that I’d always fail, simply because I wasn’t fast enough with the bandages. If I’m going to be forced by the mechanics to prioritise who gets looked at first I find myself wondering ‘What’s the problem? I do that anyway!’
I have a confession at this point. I deliberately let people die in five man PuGs. If they refuse to ignore my polite whisper to stop standing in the sh*t I’ll stop healing. If they insist on pulling before the tank I’ll warn them: X tanks, not you. Do that again, no heals. Those who think I’m joking do seem to listen after I make them mob fodder, and I’ll grant you it’s hardly an ideal way to earn your badgers, but it makes a point: there is a way these things ought to be done. Tank up front, healer at the back, melee with the tank, ranged with the healer, all things being equal this should mean it’s a doddle to grasp who’ll need to be looked at first for some HP recovery. The problem with what’s coming of course is that I doubt that will ever be the case, that we’ll all have extra jobs to do as well as doing what we’re supposed to. Add to this a bunch of new abilities to grasp and frankly it could all go Pete Tong very fast. If you’ve not read Rossi’s predictions you really should. He tells it like it’s going to be.
It’s not like there’s no-one else prepping you for all this either. Restokin’s already looked at the healing model for Druids, WoW Insider’s talked about the Paladin options. With a bit of effort over the weekend I expect I can pull out similar primers for Priests and Shaman but the fact remains that the only sure-fire way to see how it’s all going to pan out is to play each class. I’d planned on taking the Priest out as the first wave of Healing but if it transpires that either the Shammy or the Druid look a better option I’m not stupid, I’m going to go with what think I can handle the best in a difficult environment. Giving us the time to settle into the new way of things is of course absolutely the best thing Blizzard can do, and after what happened from Vanilla to TBC I am under no illusions: hard content will be HARD and I’ll need potions, food buffs and a healthy dose of realism to survive the transition intact.
If the future is triage healing, I’m more than ready to make the tough calls.