Thursday, March 5, 2009

Has healing changed?

I find that I am not having quite as much fun raid healing in Wrath of the Lich King than I had in vanilla WoW and The Burning Crusade. No, this is not another post about the difference in difficulty. But I have the impression that the very nature of healing has changed over time. Healing has become faster, less targeted, and involves less decision making.

I'm a big fan of Sid Meier's definition of a game as a "series of interesting decisions", and healing used to be all about interesting decisions. You had limited mana, and limited time, and you watched all of those health bars move slowly, and had to make a decision where to intervene and stop some health bar to reach the bottom. Only in Wrath of the Lich King those health bars don't move slowly any more. They move at lightning speed. If a non-tank pulls aggro he dies in less time than my fastest non-instant heal. And even when healing tanks at bosses, there is no time to make any decision. I healed the main tank at Patchwerk heroic last night, and all I could do was spam fast heals. There was no timing, no decision making, no selecting more or less mana efficient, more or less fast spells involved. Wrath of the Lich King is all about fast healing.

So quite often I find myself spamming AoE heals, or casting preventive healing spells like Renew or Prayer of Mending on characters I think will be damaged soon. On trash we usually have too much healing capacity, and healing degenerates into a meaningless race to top the healing meter, which has nothing at all to do with the original function of a healer to keep people alive. Even on bosses my healer is acting more and more like a dps class: Casting an "optimal" healing spell rotation of instant or fast heals, smart AoE as much as possible, without looking much. Slow healing spells have become useless. And the fun of deciding what spell to cast, based on the situation, has gone, because health bars just fluctuate too wildly to still make any meaningful decisions.

If you are a healer, do you have the impression too that healing has changed, or is it just me?

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